Posted on December 31, 2010


Virgin Racing, 0 wins, 0 poles, 12th in Constructors’ Championship If Lotus’ first season on track turned out more or less how they expected it to, Virgin’s fell below their expectations for a variety of reasons. First they were caught out by a couple of changes in fuel regulations which meant that the fuel tank wasn’t quite big enough to do the race distance. They were given dispensation to change the chassis – something which is expressly banned nowadays for cost saving reasons. Reliability was worse than expected, due to a range of problems, of which hydraulics was the main More…

Posted on December 30, 2010


Lotus Racing, 0 Wins, 0 poles, 10th in Constructors’ Championship Having lived through the political upheaval of 2009, much of which was based on then FIA president Max Mosley’s desire to see new teams come in to F1, for me the 2010 season was notable for the birth of three new teams; Lotus, Virgin and HRT. They got a frosty reception from Ferrari for ‘limping’ into the sport and as the year went on were criticised by Bernie Ecclestone. But they survived and the most effective of them was Lotus. It’s extremely hard as an independent to set up a More…

Posted on December 29, 2010


McLaren, 5 wins, 1 pole, 2nd in Constructors’ Championship McLaren were one of the most interesting teams to follow during 2010, as they bedded in the relationship between Lewis Hamilton and his new team mate Jenson Button, who arrived at the team as world champion. Many people predicted tension and conflict but there were two reasons to suspect that this would not be the case. First Button isn’t that kind of character and second the team bent over backwards to make him feel welcome and to remove all obstacles to him feeling at home. I sensed that the disastrous Alonso More…

Posted on December 28, 2010


As I said yesterday, this team review is in no particular order and today we’re looking back at the performance of Force India. Force India, 0 wins, 0 poles, 7th in Constructors’ Championship When you cover F1 you inevitably spend more time on the leading teams, less on the midfield and less still on the ones at the back. When I look back on this season, I realise that I didn’t write all that much about Force India in comparison to other teams on their level, like Williams, with whom the team was locked in a battle for sixth place More…

Posted on December 27, 2010


Continuing the series of personal look backs on the season, in no particular order, as they say.. Mercedes GP Team, 0 wins, 3 podiums, 0 poles – 4th in Constructors’ Championship I remember saying towards the end of the 2009 season, when the Brawn team was fending off McLaren and Red Bull for the championship, that in 2010 they would be the fourth place team and so it proved. It was a combination of limited resources and having to divert much of them to winning the 2009 title at the expense of the 2010 car. The cutbacks in what was More…

Posted on December 26, 2010


There are 12 days of Christmas and there are 12 F1 teams so I’m doing a brief personal look back on the season for each of them. I’m starting with Red Bull, the champions this year. Red Bull Racing, 9 wins, 20 Podiums 15 pole positions Red Bull is involved in over 100 sports and currently sponsors 456 athletes, from volleyball players to freestyle motor crossers. But this year they won big in the world’s most high profile regular event, Formula 1. And they did it according to the values of owner Dietrich Mateschitz, which is that in sport Red More…

Posted on December 26, 2010


Happy Christmas to all readers and for those in countries where Christmas isn’t celebrated, thanks for bearing with us through the holiday period. Hope you had fun with the Quiz over the last couple of days. Here are the answers, did you get them all? Did anyone manage it without reference books or Google? There is a clarification on the question about the only driver to win a world title without scoring a point the year before. I meant a driver who took part the year before but didn’t score… Sebastian Vettel became the youngest world champion this year, but More…

Posted on December 24, 2010


Fancy you know a bit about Formula 1? Were you paying attention this season? Then try your hand at the JA on F1 Christmas Quiz. We’ve put together 20 Questions to test your knowledge of F1 from this season and from the past. This isn’t meant to be some obscure chassis-spotting exercise, but a collection of fun questions to answer over the holiday period. There’s no prize, just see how quickly you can solve it. Try it without using Google first, see how far you get. Good luck! Answers will be posted on December 26th. For obvious reasons, please don’t More…

Posted on December 23, 2010


This afternoon the family of Lotus founder and legendary engineer Colin Chapman issued a statement which distances them from the Tony Fernandes vision for Lotus. It’s not a body blow to the Malaysian’s plans, but it is an important piece on the chess board which has now fallen to Danny Bahar and Group Lotus. The support of the Chapman family, Colin’s son Clive and his mother Hazel, was fundamentally important to Fernandes when he launched his Lotus Racing team last year. They were present at the launch in London and Clive is reported to have entrusted his father’s famous corduroy More…

Posted on December 22, 2010


The Lotus Renault GP Team has confirmed today that it has signed Vitaly Petrov for another two seasons. This is a great vote of confidence in the Russian, who was a rather erratic performer in 2010 with some very strong showings, such as Hungary, but also a tendency to lose the car when on slick tyres on a damp track. But he showed enough in the closing stages of the season to retain the drive and now has the security of knowing that he is in for 2012 as well as 2011. So he can build on the positives from More…

Posted on December 21, 2010


The Virgin Racing team has fulfilled its promise of announcing the driver line up for 2011 ahead of Christmas. This morning 25 year old Jerome d’Ambrosio was confirmed in the seat alongside Timo Glock at Virgin. D’Ambrosio did some Friday running for the team at the end of the season where he was evaluated. He ran in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil car at the Abu Dhabi young guns test in November. The Belgian has spent the last four seasons racing in GP2, a former team mate of Kamui Kobayashi at DAMS, he is managed by Gravity Sports management, which More…

Posted on December 21, 2010


I was recently sent a copy of a magazine run by an old friend and former commentator Pierre Van Vliet called F1i. Pierre used to be my opposite number on France’s TF1 coverage and in the magazine there was a feature interview with McLaren’s Ron Dennis which caught my eye. Asked about the relationship between the two world champions, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button he said, “Managing the co-habitation of two world champions is often a challenge. I have tried it a few times. Martin is perhaps showing himself to be better than me at that role.” He certainly is. More…

Posted on December 20, 2010


Today is the last day that readers in the UK can order the JA on F1 2010 season review – Five rivals, one champion in time to get it delivered before Christmas. So if you are looking for a last minute present for an F1-loving loved-one, this could be the thing for you! The book is a collection of the best posts from the JA on F1 website from this season, but after listening to feedback from readers of last year’s book, this year I have written a lot more additional content, linking the posts and also adding more insight More…

Posted on December 19, 2010


Fantastic response to the season review video posted yesterday, which reminded us all of what a great sport this is and what drama we had in 2010. But not everyone thought 2010 was a ‘vintage’ year for F1. Long time reader and poster Paul Lucas, who posts here under the name FlukieLucas, sent in an interesting analysis of why he thought that the rule changes for 2010 made F1 into “Proforma” racing – with the absence of refuelling strategy. He argues that it was only the “peripherals” such as weather, safety cars, penalties etc, which made the races entertaining. This More…

Posted on December 18, 2010


Check this out: the long form 2010 season review video from the FIA Gala, looking back on the season, but with a sensational historical opening sequence, which sets Sebastian Vettel’s world championship success in the context of all that has gone before in the sport’s 60 years. It sums up everything that is compelling and irresistable about Formula 1; the speed, the drama, the people, the chaos, the emotion.

Posted on December 17, 2010


F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone is reported to have bought out Flavio Briatore’s stake in Queens Park Rangers football club which gives him a majority stake of 62%. The flamboyant Briatore, who got Ecclestone into football in the first place, stepped down as chairman of the club in February. “We’re not changing anything, just tidying a few things up,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “We need to be ready in case we get promoted.” Ecclestone got involved in QPR in 2007 along with Briatore and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who remains a significant shareholder. The club is based in London, near the More…

Posted on December 16, 2010


A small note, but an important one on the status of the two Ferrari drivers going into next season. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has made the point today that the two drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will start next season with equal status, after the team backed Alonso from July onwards last season. And it seems that Massa backed up his team mate in exchange for an agreement that they would hit the reset button at the start of 2011. So it will be up to Massa to beat Alonso or face a similar situation in the second More…

Posted on December 16, 2010


Tony Fernandes has reacted angrily to comments made at a media briefing yesterday by Group Lotus CEO Danny Bahar and has said that there is now no chance of a deal being struck between the shareholders of his 1 Malaysia operation and Group Lotus, which is owned by Proton. Speaking to me on the phone from Manila this morning he said of Bahar’s allegation that his demands for a deal were three times the cost of the Renault sponsorship, “It’s just not true. I can confirm categorically that there was never an offer in any written form and certainly nothing More…

Posted on December 16, 2010


There is a very interesting interview in French magazine Auto Hebdo this week, with Jean Francois Caubet, general manager of the Renault Sport F1 unit, which is now solely an engine supplier in F1, after the marque sold its stake in the F1 team to Genii Capital and Lotus. Caubet justifies Renault’s decision to change role on the grounds of return on investment; F1 will now be a profit centre for the company with sales of engines to Red Bull and Lotus and then in 2013 a fourth team as well. For the next two seasons, Renault will also benefit More…

Posted on December 15, 2010


The Italian press were at Maranello the other night for a dinner to look back over the season and look forward to the next. President Montezmolo hosted the event, along with team principal Stefano Domenicali, who still enjoys the full support of the Ferrari board. There were suggestions in the Italian papers today, however, that some changes of personnel may be made before the start of next season, with senior engineer Chris Dyer, the Australian who is believed to have been at the centre of the decision to pit Alonso at the wrong time in Abu Dhabi, in the cross More…

Posted on December 15, 2010


Lotus CEO Danny Bahar hosted a small group of media at the RAC Club in London today, of which I was one, to lay out his vision for Lotus in F1 and road cars. He didn’t say much about his rival Tony Fernandes, who has been using the Lotus name in F1 this season. However he did say that he tried to do a deal with him, but the Malaysian wanted too much money, “We tried, but when the counter proposals are so ridiculous, there is no point to continue to talk. ” said Bahar. “(The Renault deal) was one More…

Posted on December 14, 2010


Last Friday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council was the culmination of a lot of work behind the scenes and threw up some interesting outcomes on several fronts. The sport is changing in significant ways and these decisions are a milestone on that journey. F1 always has to balance several requirements; to be entertaining, to be relevant and to be technologically innovative and there are big moves in all three directions going on at the moment. On the entertainment side you have the moveable rear wing, which will mean that a slightly faster car should be able to pass a slower More…

Posted on December 14, 2010


Ferrari put its end of season disappointments behind it and held a Christmas party over the weekend in Maranello and the drivers dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out presents to local children. There was also a show based on the children’s character Geronimo Stilton. The photo commemorating the event is pretty surreal; Fernando Alonso seems a little self conscious on the right, next to test driver Jules Bianchi, Giancarlo Fisichella (centre) is thinking about calling Vijay Mallya to get his old job back, while Felipe Massa looks comfortable sandwiched between President Montezemolo and a six foot rodent. Your More…

Posted on December 13, 2010


One of the features of this season was the Red Bull mechanics looking utterly exhausted as a result of working deep into the night before qualifying to fit new parts to the cars which arrived at all hours at the circuit. The ‘go faster’ parts certainly made a difference and I’m sure that those mechanics have been catching up on sleep pretty much since they finished in Abu Dhabi, dreaming of what to spend their bonuses on. But it’s not all like that. The mechanics at every team were stretched during a gruelling 19 race calendar and those working for More…

Posted on December 13, 2010


Former F1 team owner Tom Walkinshaw died today aged 64. I last saw him at Silverstone on Grand Prix Sunday, where he looked thin and ill after a long struggle with cancer. In his prime he was a burly, forceful man, very tough and determined, not afraid to upset people to get his way. I first encountered him in the early 1990s when he controversially persuaded the board of the BRDC to buy some of his garages, a move which enraged many members. I was news editor at Autosport magazine at the time and worked on that story, so had More…

Posted on December 12, 2010


In the intricate chess match which is the battle to be “Lotus” in Formula 1, this weekend it was the turn of Tony Fernandes to make some moves. The Malaysian businessman, who owns the team which competed this year as Lotus Racing and which is entered for next year as Team Lotus, phoned around a few journalists for a chat, including myself. This follows a week in which most of the running had been made by the opposition in the form of Danny Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus. As in his struggles to build his airline business, Fernandes finds himself More…

Posted on December 10, 2010


The FIA World Motor Sport Council met in Monaco today and two significant things came out of it. First the WMSC approved the small capacity turbo engine which has been under discussion for some months and second it dropped the controversial rule banning team orders from F1 with effect from 2011 onwards. This follows the unsatisfactory outcome of the hearing into the Ferrari team orders incident in Germany this season. The FIA statement on the engines said, “The WMSC approved the introduction of a new specification engine from 2013, underlining the FIA’s commitment to improving sustainability and addressing the needs More…

Posted on December 9, 2010


Brazilian Grand Prix polesitter Nico Hulkenberg should find out very soon if he is going to be on the grid next season, as Force India is poised to decide its drivers. And Mercedes may well hold the key. The team has come up from the back of the grid in the last two years thanks to a technology partnership with Mercedes and McLaren, which provides them with an engine, gearbox and hydraulics system. And now it finds itself in the enviable position of having several strong drivers vying for seats, one of which is Hulkenberg. The incumbents are Adrian Sutil More…

Posted on December 8, 2010


Tonight F1 fans are a little confused and a little concerned as they contemplate a 2011 season with four black and gold Lotus Renault cars on the track, two owned by the Enstone based Lotus Renault GP and two – in slightly different livery – owned by Norfolk based Team Lotus. The Team Lotus entries have nothing to do with the Norfolk based Lotus Cars operation, which is a 25% shareholder in the Enstone based team. The two different Black and Gold liveries – both tributes to the iconic JPS Lotus colours of the 1970s – are at large on More…

Posted on December 8, 2010


There will be a new partnership on the F1 grid next year as Group Lotus, owned by the Malaysian government via Proton, has bought a stake in the Enstone based F1 team, creating Lotus Renault GP. This deal, which sees Lotus come in both as an equity partner alongside Genii Capital, the teams’ main shareholder, and as the main sponsor of the team, has been mooted for many months now and was finally signed off at the start of this week. In addition to a stake in the team, which is open ended, Lotus will be the title sponsor until More…

Posted on December 7, 2010


The Renault F1 team has apologised to Nelson Piquet and his son Nelson Jr and agreed to pay a large amount of damages for libelling them in September last year over the Singapore crash scandal. The matter was heard in the High Court and Renault accepted the outcome. The Piquets however have indicated that this is “the start rather than the end” of their mission to clear up “wrongs” over what the case which rocked F1. Piquet Jr was involved in a plot with then team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds to deliberately crash his car at More…

Posted on December 7, 2010


Back in the 1990s Benetton ran a series of shock adverts, devised by photographer Oliviero Toscani, which helped to define and promote the brand very quickly. They were selling sweaters, but their posters showed a man dying of Aids, a death row prisoner, a nun kissing a priest. Now F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who was close to Benetton’s Flavio Briatore throughout those years, has revived the practice with an ad for the Hublot F1 King Power watch, the first official F1 watch. It’s an amazing play; Hublot is a premium brand, with watches retailing for tens of thousands of pounds More…

Posted on December 7, 2010


Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has admitted that his driver Mark Webber should have told him about the shoulder fracture he suffered before the Japanese Grand Prix this season. Yesterday morning JA on F1 broke the story that Webber had driven the last four races of the season with a broken shoulder. The 34 year old made the admission in his new book that he suffered a second mountain bike accident in two years resulting in a fractured shoulder, ironically the first time he’d been on a mountain bike since his collision with a vehicle in Tasmania. Horner said More…

Posted on December 6, 2010


Last night I went to the Autosport Awards at London’s Grosvenor House hotel, the annual end of season get together for the UK motor sport industry. It’s changed little over the years, my old ITV colleague Steve Rider still presents it; gently and respectfully taking the mickey out of many of the great names of the sport. Last night the two stars of the show were Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastian Vettel. Kobayshi was there to collect the Rookie of the Year award, previously won by Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Vettel. Strictly speaking Kobayashi wasn’t really a rookie this year More…

Posted on December 6, 2010


One possible reason why Mark Webber’s form in the crucial final four races of the season declined is a fractured shoulder from yet another mountain bike accident, shortly before the Japanese Grand Prix. The 34 year old travelled back to Australia after the Singapore Grand Prix and went out on a mountain bike ride when he injured himself again. He was following a friend who fell and with nowhere to go, Webber crashed into him and fractured his shoulder. It is what is known as a “skier’s fracture”, because the most common reason for that type of break is a More…

Posted on December 5, 2010


There is a piece in the new edition of the Red Bulletin magazine where the key players in the Red Bull team talk about their favourite moments of the year, which offers a few insights into what motivates them and what was most important to them, with the benefit of hindsight. Adrian Newey said that for him the most special thing about this year was taking on the big teams and beating them. The Red Bull project is the fulfilment of a dream he had tried to fulfil over 20 years ago, of building up a small private team to More…

Posted on December 4, 2010


We’ve had a great entry to Stars in Average Cars competition, with some very amusing top five lists. The emphasis was on entertainment here, the once we liked best we’ve selected below, together with some choice Darren Heath images. Each will receive a signed copy of the JA on F1 2010 season review book. And now I think that’s enough lists… Enjoy! Aaron James’ list 1. Kobayashi- a terrifying mix of Takuma Sato’s bravery and the racecraft of Ayrton Senna, Kobayashi has set this season’s F1 season alight (well it was his engine alight for the first few races!. I More…

Posted on December 3, 2010


Although the team has yet to announce it officially, Timo Glock has insisted on the Virgin racing official website that he will stay with Virgin next season. “I am definitely driving for Virgin Racing,” Glock said “There has been a lot of speculation about me wanting to leave the team, but it is not about leaving a team, it is about wanting to do better and keep moving forward. It is not just 99.9% certain that I will stay, as has been reported – it is 100% certain!” The statement comes on the back of rumours that he was looking More…

Posted on December 2, 2010


There has been quite a bit of chatter in Italy in the past couple of weeks about Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo considering running for office backed by his “Italia Futura” group of leading Italian industrialists, entrepreneurs and thinkers. But Montezemolo says it’s not the right moment to enter the Italian political scene and that he does not want to leave Ferrari. The members of Italia Futura are urging him to seize the moment and come to the rescue of the country. He however appears to be pushing back on this, saying, that he will not go into politics, at More…

Posted on December 1, 2010


Williams will have two South American drivers next season as it has been confirmed that the seat alongside Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello will be filled by Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado. He is the first driver from that country since Johnny Ceccotto, who did 18 Grands Prix in 1983 and ’84. The news is no surprise, it has been rumoured for months and when Nico Hulkenberg was released last month it was only a matter of time before Williams announced the reigning GP2 champion as its new driver. In this respect he follows a proud tradition of GP2 champions who have taken More…

Posted on December 1, 2010


Sauber has issued an interesting Q&A with its team principal and 100% shareholder Peter Sauber at the end of a very turbulent season for the Swiss team. It started with a desperate situation and ended with a lifesaving deal with the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim and a new Mexican influence on the team. Sauber confirms that at this stage this is purely a sponsorship deal, by Slim’s Telmex company, with no equity transfer. But clearly he is looking at how he can make his exit. In today’s Q&A he talks up next year’s Sauber Ferrari package, “We’re setting our More…



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