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F1 News Shorts: Monaco
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2010   |  7:13 am GMT  |  60 comments

The trial of Nigel Stepney started in Sassuolo, Italy this week. He is accused of trying to sabotage the Ferraris before the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix with white powder. Stepney’s lawyers have indicated that they wish to plea bargain, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Stepney himself will appear before the court on May 21.


McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that designer Pat Fry has left the team. Fry has been with McLaren for 17 years and is one of two designers who takes it in turns to design the F1 cars. He was responsible for last year’s car and was in charge of next year’s car, the designs for which are now well advanced.

Renault strengthens its business case Renault has made two announcements in the last couple of days, adding a new partner in the form of Tarek Obaid, with whom Renault boss Gerard Lopez has had a long relationship, and a new sponsor in the form of Trina Solar, a Chinese manufaturer of high quality solar panels.

Obaid is also the Co-Founder, Co-Partner and CEO of PetroSaudi International, a private Oil and Gas company, based in Saudi Arabia.

F1 turns 60 Formula 1 as a sport celebrated its 60th birthday yesterday, the anniversary of the first ever F1 Grand Prix 13th May 1950 at Silverstone. The race was won by Nino Farina in an Alfa Romeo. Last night there was a celebration at the Hermitage hotel in Monaco.

Hill among the stewards 1996 world champion Damon Hill is the former driver representative on the FIA steward panel at Monaco this weekend. The initiative of having a former driver helping the three other stewards with decisions on penalties has proved a success, although it is noticeable that there has been some more leniency shown in key decisions than was evident in previous years. Monaco often turns up controversial incidents and with 24 cars in the field and a five to six second gap in qualifying between the fastest and slowest cars, there are likely to be some penalties handed out for blocking.

McLaren has made some major strides this season in its online activity with a new website, a prolific Twitter feed in the name of @thefifthdriver and a Facebook page, which today hit 100,000 followers.

McLaren has invested quite heavily in its online offerings and the website in particular has some unique content, such as the live telemetry updates.

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60 Comments
  1. Kakashi says:

    Kudos to McLaren for making efforts to make more information available to the fans. I hope other teams follow suit and improve the fans’ involvement and the information available to them as I feel that most of the times only ppl who dont get a clear picture are the fans :/ as the information is kept secret by the teams even though the rival teams study each other and know quite a lot

    1. John 85 says:

      Lotus already do this, and actually upload updates and pictures during practice, quali, and the race! its a great opportunity to see things from the other side of the pit wall during the race!

    2. The live telemetry continues to amaze me. It’s a brilliant little web gadget and I’m sure other teams will offer it soon. Seeing the brake, throttle and gear changes is an education. Hoping it will be useful when F1 2010 hits the Xbox in September!

  2. Tom Rushby says:

    James, this is a nice new feature, have you considered doing something like this for each race weekend?

  3. Formula Zero says:

    I am shocked that Damon Hill made it as a race steward. He has always been outspoken about the drivers he prefers more or less. Unless I see any good example of him being a good steward, it doesn’t convince me that he will be an impartial steward or consistent.

    I also wonder where we are going to see Pat Fry again. McLaren being one of the best teams in developing the car throughout the season is largely thanks to this man. Let’s see if they are able to produce the same result without Pat Fry.

    1. Martin P says:

      What possible reason can any right thinking person have to doubt Damon Hill’s integrity to be a race steward?

      This weekend is bound to be one of the most difficult for the stewards, both in qualifying and in the race, so I doubt he’s losing much sleep worrying about convincing you.

      1. JoTorrent says:

        How can he be fair to Schuey ! He hates the guy. I think Damon might start checking on schuey’s during his sleep !

    2. James W says:

      I’m sure Lotus, Hispania or Virgin might see him as “hot property” at the moment…

    3. PaulL says:

      Any info or suggestions on why Pat Fry has left the team?

      1. monktonnik says:

        my gut feeling is Renault

    4. tobi-wan says:

      I wouldn’t worry about it. Damon will be a good steward. I can’t recall a time he’s been outspoken.

      He’ll be as fair as anyone.

    5. Richard says:

      I totally agree about Damon Hill. Considering the past Shumacher/Hill get togethers I think his selection is a poor choice.

    6. JF says:

      I totaly agree about Hill. There as been too many english stewards so far… People will always be bias toward fellow country men, its human nature.

      1. Howard Hughes says:

        Perhaps that’s because England represents about 80% of the entire sport. And I’m not even English…

      2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Wow, i’m guessing you are English? What a strange thing to say. F1 is worldwide, my friend & is represented as such.

  4. Peter G says:

    Formula Zero. Re Pat Fry.

    Well, over the years, McLaren have had John Barnard, Adrian Newey, Pat Fry, Gordon Murray and many other talented designers there.

    They always have someone who is there in the wings to take over.

    1. David Jerromes says:

      So Pat Fry designed the dog of last years car?!

  5. Andy C says:

    James, excellent feature. This would be a great idea on a weekly basis in my view.

    The new McLaren website is absolutely excellent. Especially the info feeds while in quali and testing.

    Any news whether McLaren will promote from within, or if you’ve heard anything on replacement?

  6. Lewis Jones says:

    Frankly, I hope Michael does something out of line so Hill can exact some sweet revenge for Adelaide 1994! (On an unrelated note, does anyone know why Michael is abbreviated to MSC on all the FIA timing sheets, not SCH as is the case for all the other drivers, ALO, BUT, HAM, MAS etc?)

    1. M. Forrest says:

      to differentiate between Ralf and Michael Schumacher maybe?

    2. Stuey says:

      It’s from when he was racing with his brother – Ralph was RSC. They just have kept this lettering for his return rather than change it.

    3. mayhemfunkster says:

      Its a carry over from when Michael and Ralf were racing. Michael was MSC, Ralf RSC.

    4. The Craig Man says:

      I think it’s probably a carry over from when Ralf Schumacher was also in F1. Michael would be MSC and Ralf would be RSC.

    5. JR says:

      That must come from the times when Ralf was around…

    6. Mr G says:

      MSC for Michael Schumacher has been udes since they started to use abbreviation,
      It has been done that way to distinguish Michael from Ralf Schumacher when they both used to race, RSC and MSC.
      I hope this clear this matter.

    7. Jonathan Kelk says:

      To distinguish him from Ralph Schumacher. I know Ralph isn’t racing F1 this year (so far), but it is something that has stuck since they both were racing together.

    8. David Hodge says:

      It is in case Ralf comes back!

      1. Howard Hughes says:

        God I miss Ralf. I genuinely do…he was my favourite driver… :o(

      2. James Allen says:

        Many in F1 share that sentiment….not

    9. Dave E says:

      When Ralf Schumacher started in F1, SCH was changed to MSC (Ralf was RSC, I think). I presume his name was still in the computer from 2006?!

    10. TM says:

      I think it’s a historical thing, from when Ralf was also in the sport.

    11. Zark says:

      Presumably dating from when he and Ralf were both in F1, they had to distinguish between them (MSC and RSC) – and I guess they didn’t want to change his label just because his brother left the sport.

    12. Proesterchen says:

      I don’t know if Michael Schumacher was ever racing under ‘SCH’ in the early years of his career, certainly, there where other drivers with last names beginning in ‘SCH’ before hime, but when he raced along side his brother, Ralf, both would’ve gotten the same abbreviation.

      To alleviate any confusion, they received MSC and RSC, respectively, and those have carried over to their diverging careers today. (F1 and DTM)

    13. Martin says:

      Possibly stems from the days of Ralf and Michael. You’d end up with 2 SCH so doing MSC and RSC enables you to differenciate between the two.

      I don’t know this is the case – its just an educated guess.

    14. juan says:

      Because when his brother Ralf used to race they had to use MSC.

    15. seisteve says:

      Well spotted, I have been texting this question into the BBC coverage team for weeks and still no response…

      I am sure the conspiracy theorists can come up with some great reasons :-)

      …. but James will have the answer…

      1. Howard Hughes says:

        Along with about 729 other readers…

    16. GT says:

      Lewis,comes from the time when his brother Ralph was also driving in F1 – MSC & RSC.

      1. m de p says:

        there was no need for that, even when ralph was in f1. They could have put… sch and bro.

    17. michael grievson says:

      Maybe a throwback from when Schumacher ralf was on the grid as well

    18. SMH says:

      Just a wild stab in the dark, but could it possibly have anything to do with his brother Ralf, the one with the same surname, who used to drive a Formula One car?

      (Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’m laughing aloud at the dozens of helpful replies ;-)

    19. Lewis Jones says:

      Thanks everyone for the Ralf clarification! I guess my follow-up Q. to you all is, well why not change it to SCH for this season, as Ralf ain’t coming back any time soon. OR, (and here comes the punchline), is it because SCH sounds a bit like the way MSC’s comeback has gone so far in 2010 (i.e. a bit sh*t)……I still have my doubts that he will see out the season.

  7. CroftFan says:

    McLaren may be attempting to improve their web presence but IMHO their new web site is a total failure and places style way above useability and substance.

    The navigation structure is a complete nightmare & I have given up attempting to find the information that I’d like to read. Can anyone point me at where I can find their telemetry info online as the search on their web site returns nothing.

    1. Chris says:

      It’s only online during the practice/quali/race sessions.

      Once a session is underway the main page will change to a live radio transcript, GPS map and live telemetry.

  8. Philip S says:

    Sorry to pedantic James but its not the 60th anniversary of the first F1 GP, F1 and GP’s both existed before 1950. Its the 60th anniversary of the Drivers world Championship. (not the F1 world championship either as the WDC was contested by F2 cars for a number of years in the 50′s)

  9. Sam says:

    Any idea where Pat Fry is heading? Was Iley brought in with Fry’s departure in mind?

    What exactly was Stepney’s motive meant to be to sabotage Ferrari’s fuel tanks, aside from the whole spygate saga?

  10. Howard Hughes says:

    Cool feature – this site’s developing really nicely!

    I’m somewhat surprised at Stepney’s trial – if he’s found guilty what are the likely penalties? And if he knows he’s unlikely to ever be employed in F1, or even motorsport, again, why bother attending it?

    Italy is hardly going to extradite him, are they? And if he has to avoid visiting Italy for the rest of his life, well, surely that’s better than punishment?

  11. Robert McKay says:

    “Formula 1 as a sport celebrated its 60th birthday yesterday, the anniversary of the first ever F1 Grand Prix 13th May 1950 at Silverstone.”

    I’m sure others will say too but it wasn’t the first Formula 1 race. The first Formula 1 world championship race, certainly, but not the first F1 race.

  12. K. Chandra Shekhar says:

    Just a guess : Think Pat Fry is heading to either Mercedes or Force India.

    1. James Allen says:

      Speculation he may join his old mentor Ascanelli at Toro Rosso. That would mean moving his family to Italy, though.

  13. Mikko Ahlapski says:

    James,

    I have noticed that you keep well out of the debate on Merc, MS and NR. Is that deliberate or are you just too busy ??

    1. James Allen says:

      I posted on it. I tend to think it’s not in Merc’s interests to do that. But conspiracy theories will always follow Schumacher around

  14. Kedar says:

    BTW James, where is Rory Byrne? wasnt he instrumental in the F2002,F2003GA that won almost everything?

    1. James Allen says:

      Scuba diving last I heard

  15. Nick F says:

    What’s going to happen if Schumacher is involved in an incident that needs the stewards attention?

    I fully support a driver being involved in the stewarding decisions and Damon I’m sure will try and be impartial. …It’s just a potentially funny thing that could happen this coming weekend.

  16. Chris C says:

    Dear James

    I am frequent reader of your website for the past couple of years. I saw that you have received some positive feedback from a few readers to this feature.

    To be honest I do not like it. Not that it is bad, don’t get me wrong. But your site stands out of the the many F1 sites for one reason. Your site is about insight, it is about deep analysis and is about the interesting commentary your readers are giving (at least to me).

    As most of your readers are spending some time to read other sites that are mass producing news regarding F1, I do not see the need to see also here, short and without any detail news. If you want to transform the site to a one stop shop, fine but then do so consistently.

    Just my two cents…

    Keep up the good work

    1. James Allen says:

      Fair point, however the site is also about me pulling out the things I find interesting in the current goings on. I had a few things that didn’t merit a post of their own, but still caught my eye – Monaco is always like that – and so I put up a New shorts post. Thanks for the positive comment on the site generally. It seems that lots of people get what it’s about.

  17. Smiling SPACEWALKER says:

    I think Ferrari should let go of the Stepney case and move on, its just going to couse them more pain, fans love F1 and we need to see more action on the track. Ferrari themselves have made some mistakes in the past, this thing is not going to bring any race wins or championships. This is why i cant understand about F1 is that instead of solving stuff in a diplomatic way, we get these hardcore extreme action. F1 at the end of the day is about entertaining the fans, its the fans that pay to see and watch races.

    Lets get on with the action guys.

  18. trimjon says:

    Watch out for the Ulster bunch who are in Monaco this weekend….if you see the Red Hand of Ulster flags from Joel Harrison and co…give them a wave…so far he as Alonso and Vettel’s autograph’s and pics! Just needs James Allens Pic and autograph now! James where are you tommorow?

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