Posted on December 31, 2011


As 2011 draws to a close, it’s a good moment to reflect the good, the bad and the “only in F1″ moments of the year. I’ve laid out some of my personal favourites below, please let us know what yours were. The Good Jenson Button winning in Canada after running last, hitting Hamilton and Alonso and seeing Vettel spin off in front of him on the last lap. Sebastian Vettel’s pass on Alonso at Monza… wheels on the grass Alonso’s starts in Barcelona and Monza which lit up both races and showed his hunger. Michael Schumacher in Canada, showing all More…

Posted on December 28, 2011


Before Christmas break I had the chance to visit the Mercedes F1 engine factory near Northampton and I posted on their analysis of the 2011 season. You can read that post HERE But the final part of the visit was forward looking, with an eye to 2014 and we got a sneak peak at what lies ahead as the engine builders prepare to run prototypes of the new engine on the dyno for the first time in 2012. The new generation of F1 engines for 2014 are small capacity single turbo V6 engines. They will turn the page as far More…

Posted on December 27, 2011


While 2011 was by no means a classic year for F1 with such a dominant champion, it was an exceptional year in the sense that there were so many outright records set during the year. The headline numbers of course revolve around Sebastian Vettel, but there are plenty of other eye catching figures from the year: Most Grands Prix started: 322 Rubens Barrichello continued to extend the record held for many years by Riccardo Patrese. With safer cars and F1 seasons now extending to 19 or 20 races, this was always likely to be broken, but Barrichello’s marathon career is More…

Posted on December 26, 2011


How would the world championship table look if the fans voted for who they thought had performed best? We have the answer. After a fantastic response, with 500 fans from around the world submitting complete forms this week, here are the conclusions of the JA on F1 Fans’ World Championship of 2011. We asked you to look past the machinery and provide us with your Top 10 drivers of 2011, based on who did the best job with the equipment they had. Each reader listed their Top 10 and we gave them points as in a Grand Prix (25 for More…

Posted on December 23, 2011


Yesterday was Ferrari’s traditional end of year dinner with the Italian media and there have been some headlines about company president Luca Montezemolo wanting more from the team and from Felipe Massa. But less widely reported were his comments about world champion Sebastian Vettel and Bernie Ecclestone, which could have more far reaching consequences. There have been various stories this year speculating about Ferrari’s interest in Vettel, but Gazzetta dello Sport’s Pino Allievi – normally a reliable guide to the goings on in the corridors of Maranello – suggests that there has been a change of feeling and that the More…

Posted on December 22, 2011


During 2011 JA on F1 reached out to F1 fans like never before, playing a central role in organising and hosting the three FOTA Fans Forums in Montreal, Woking and Milan, organising one of the first UK screenings of “Senna” for over 200 fans with a star studded list of speakers, sending 14 fans to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and last month we sent a fan ambassador to Abu Dhabi in conjunction with our partner Shell. After a competition in which the contestants were asked to write a post and submit a video, Rachel Clarke was selected as More…

Posted on December 21, 2011


Fernando Alonso has been in the news a couple of times this week, first for his bullish statements about Ferrari’s competitiveness in 2012 and then again yesterday with the sad confirmation that his marriage has ended. The Spaniard, now 30 years old, met his wife Raquel de Rosario in late 2005 and married a year later, just after he clinched his second world title. Apparently the pair have been separated for some months, they were last seen together at a Grand Prix in Hungary in late July, where Alonso celebrated his 30th birthday. The private life of F1 drivers has More…

Posted on December 19, 2011


Luca Montezemolo celebrated 20 years as the president of Ferrari with a Christmas lunch this weekend for the F1 team’s employees, sponsors and drivers. Montezemolo began the year by saying that Ferrari had to win this season, but that didn’t work out and the team was third best after Red Bull and McLaren. He did not dwell on this too much in his speech to the staff, instead focussing on the future and asserting his confidence in the technical team under team principal Stefano Domenicali. Ferrari ends 2011 in a place where it has been before, somewhat isolated as it More…

Posted on December 18, 2011


We had a fantastic response to the Top Five Drivers of the year competition. But the comments that it sparked about the relative merits of the current F1 drivers really got us thinking. Following on from that, we thought it would be fascinating to see how the drivers’ championship table might look if it were decided by you. So give us your top ten and we’ll award them championship points, add them all up and see who’s the champion. The key to this is to imagine the drivers in equal cars and then look at the job they did week More…

Posted on December 18, 2011


Caterham F1 Team have announced, via the team’s chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, that next year’s car has successfully passed the FIA crash tests. The CT-01 has yet to be given an official launch date, but getting the all clear from these preliminaries will allow the team to tick another box and make advances heading into the new year. It has been a busy week for the Hingham based squad following on from their official name change from Team Lotus to Caterham F1 Team on Tuesday. Gascoyne expressed his joy on Twitter. “Great week,” he said. “Renaming as Caterham F1 More…

Posted on December 16, 2011


Another midfield team has unveiled its driver line up for next year, but unlike Toro Rosso, which sacked both incumbents this week, Sahara Force India has gone with the line up which was predicted in the final third of this season. Paul di Resta keeps his seat for another year and Nico Hulkenberg steps up from reserve driver to race driver alongside him. This means that there is no place for Adrian Sutil, who has been with the team for four seasons. Sutil’s manager was a man on a mission in Brazil, which was the tell tale indicator that this More…

Posted on December 15, 2011


It’s not often that a piece of news in F1 genuinely causes shock, but the sacking of Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari seems to have done so, especially to the drivers themselves. After a simple statement yesterday thanking them for their efforts and wishing them well in future, team boss Franz Tost has acknowledged that the decision looks “harsh” and found it necessary to go further today and explain in more detail why the team let the two drivers go, “Sébastien has been with us for three seasons and Jaime for two and a half. Both of them worked hard More…

Posted on December 14, 2011


Toro Rosso, the Red Bull junior team which exists to develop young drivers for the energy drinks brand, has unveiled its driver line up for 2012 and it’s all change with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne replacing Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. The programme is overseen by Dr Helmut Marko and he has made a tough decision here, clearing out Buemi and Alguersuari and bringing in new blood. The decision is something of a shock, given that Alguersuari, who is still only 21, had appeared to be getting a lot stronger in the second half of the season and More…

Posted on December 14, 2011


Today Team Lotus steps back out of F1 and Caterham F1 comes to life as part of the deal which saw Group Lotus and Tony Fernandes end the dispute over the use of the Lotus name in F1. The Caterham team’s new logo has been unveiled and next season the cars will race in green and yellow colours under this brand. Meanwhile Lotus Renault will race in black and gold. Speaking in the final edition of its e-magazine Team Lotus Notes Fernandes said, “With Team Lotus, I would have battled to the end if I felt it was the right More…

Posted on December 14, 2011


John Iley has today been confirmed as the Team Lotus Performance Director. The teams name change to Caterham F1 Team will be confirmed on December 14th and the move from McLaren will see Iley rejoin his former Jordan and Renault F1 colleague Mike Gascoyne at the newly named squad. Iley’s new title will see him take control of all aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) aspects of development heading into the new year and the pre-season tests. Having worked at both Ferrari and McLaren, Iley brings even more experience to Lotus’ growing roster of accomplished personnel as the team looks More…

Posted on December 13, 2011


Today sees the publication of the review book of the season, JA on F1 2011 – “Vettel steals the show” This is the third year we have produced a limited edition yearbook, which features the best of the posts from 2011, plus lots of new text linking the stories and looking back and how they developed. It’s fascinating to look back and see the origins of a story and then to see how it plays out across a year, to see how the principal characters reacted at the time and how their attitudes change over time. There are reports on More…

Posted on December 12, 2011


Today Dany Bahar the CEO of Group Lotus entertained a small group of media at a lunch at the RAC Club in London’s Pall Mall. This was the second year of this event. On the agenda this time were Kimi Raikkonen, the possibility of Group Lotus taking over the F1 team from Genii or vice versa, Lotus Renault GP’s rejection of “pay drivers” and the future of Eric Boullier as team principal of the team. It was confirmed that Bahar has been awarded a four year contract extension, following a visit by the board of Lotus holding company Proton to More…

Posted on December 11, 2011


The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge has drawn to a close after a five gruelling days, in which Webber himself competed in the early stages. A 60-strong field of athletes in two-person teams took on some of Australia’s most rugged scenery, racing on foot, with a paddle and pushing pedals. This year’s Challenge covered a course of around 350km and involved a variety of disciplines including kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and rope work. Webber took part in the early stages, but having finished third in the world championship thanks to his win in Brazil, he had to attend the More…

Posted on December 11, 2011


There is an interview with Paul di Resta in Gazzetta dello Sport today, ahead of an important week for the Scotsman, as he waits to learn of his confirmation in a race seat for 2012. That announcement is due to be made on Thursday. Di Resta was famously team mate to Sebastian Vettel in F3 back in 2006 and beat him in equal cars. The Scotsman is a year older than his celebrated former colleague and took longer to break into F1 because he didn’t have a BMW or a Red Bull to push him forward. Invited to draw conclusions More…

Posted on December 9, 2011


We have been running our annual end of year competition for readers to name their top five drivers of the season and this year we had well over 700 entries. The first ten entries which match my selection, will receive a free signed copy of our review book of the season; James Allen on F1 2011: Vettel Steals the Show, which is due to be published on December 13. It was a difficult choice, as always, with many strong contenders throughout the field. So here is how I see it: 1. Sebastian Vettel I’ve gone with the World Champion as More…

Posted on December 9, 2011


Romain Grosjean is back in Formula 1. The 25 year old Frenchman will drive alongside Kimi Raikkonen in a deal which has clearly been brokered by French oil company Total, which has also extended its sponsorship of the team for a further two years. Team owner Gerard Lopez of Genii hinted recently that the team might well change both drivers after a lacklustre 2011 season, which saw Vitaly Petrov criticise the team and Bruno Senna drafted in half way through the year to replace Nick Heidfeld. Grosjean did a stint in F1 with the Enstone based team during its days More…

Posted on December 8, 2011


Professor Sid Watkins has retired as president of the FIA Institute bringing down the curtain on his professional involvement in motor sport. Watkins served for over 25 years as the F1 Medical Delegate, staring in 1978. He has saved many lives in many ways, wither through helping to make the cars and circuits safer or more directly, such as when he saved Mika Hakkinen’s life trackside after a heavy accident in Adelaide in 1995. He will take up an honorary role with the organisation, but the presidency will now pass to Professor Gerard Saillant, who is a close ally of More…

Posted on December 7, 2011


The FIA World Motor Sport Council met today in India for its traditional pre-Christmas session to finalise the calendar and rules for 2012. The calendar is as previously published, which means that Bahrain and Austin are on. The promoters from Circuit of the Americas have therefore paid Bernie Ecclestone the outstanding payment which was due and presumably have agreed or will agree the increased terms for the contract. They have already invested $100 million in the venue, so had to decided whether to cut their losses or go in bigger. As for Bahrain, it still remains a doubt in the More…

Posted on December 7, 2011


The on screen team has been announced which will lead Sky’s F1 coverage when it kicks off a new six year contract next season. It features five presenters who have been employed on F1 by the BBC this season, as the Pay TV broadcaster flexes its muscles and raids the Corporation’s staff roster. Radio 5 Live’s David Croft will be lead commentator, with Martin Brundle moving into a role like the one Andy Gray used to have in football for Sky; live colour commentator, chief pundit and lynchpin of the operation. His hiring is the main coup for Sky and More…

Posted on December 6, 2011


Mercedes has been the top scoring F1 engine maker since it started selling customer engines in 2009, with 35 wins and 104 podiums. The Mercedes AMG powertrain division at Brixworth in Northampton opened its doors today to a small group of media to give us a behind the scenes insight into what went on during 2011 and to get a sneak peak of how the 2014 engine is coming on, which I will post on separately. We learned some very interesting background information from senior Mercedes engineer Andy Cowell about some of the things engine builders faced in 2011. In More…

Posted on December 5, 2011


This morning I took part in a teleconference with two of the principals of the Mercedes F1 team, Nick Fry and Norbert Haug. The conference was called to discuss the name change for the F1 team, which will incorporate Mercedes’ high performance brand AMG and leverage the name through increased exposure on F1′s world wide media platform. It will be called Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. This is entirely logical and will help the company to increase the value it gets from involvement in the sport. But there was also a chance to get the company’s reaction to the More…

Posted on December 4, 2011


We’ve done some great competitions this year, bringing JA on F1 readers closer to the sport, but here’s something different: Fancy jogging alongside Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner, then visiting the top secret RBR factory in Milton Keynes – and raising some money for charity in the process? Wings for Life have offered one JA on F1 reader a place on the team they are entering in conjunction with Red Bull Racing in next year’s Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon, which takes place on Sunday 11th March 2012. The winner will be able to run alongside RBR team members with More…

Posted on December 2, 2011


The decision of two of the most powerful teams in F1, Ferrari and Red Bull, to quit the Formula One Teams Association over the ‘stalemate’ in the organisation, leaves questions about whether the institution will survive. And if it does not, will F1 again descend into a spending arms race between a few wealthy teams? FOTA was formed in September 2008 to represent the interests of the F1 teams in dealings with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone’s organisation. It was designed to prevent a repeat of what happened in 2005 when Ferrari broke ranks with the other manufacturers who were More…

Posted on December 2, 2011


A day after its entry for 2012 was published by the FIA without a named driver, Williams has this evening announced that Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado will race with the team in 2012. Meanwhile rumours that Finnish GP3 driver Valterri Bottas would get a race seat have proved wide of the mark, as the team confirmed that he will remain as third driver. But as an added incentive to the youngster, he will be given Friday morning practice runs at 15 of the races next season. This is a programme which Force India has used very effectively over the past two More…

Posted on December 1, 2011


It’s that time of year again, where we need to establish the Top Five drivers of the year, in descending order, with your Driver of the Season at the top. This is the third year we’ve run this popular competition. Once again the first ten entries which match my selection, will receive a free signed copy of our review book of the season; James Allen on F1 2011: Vettel Steals the Show, which is due to be published on December 13. You have just under a week to give us your answers in the comments box below – the closing More…

Posted on November 30, 2011


The FIA issued an entry list today for the 2012 F1 season with nine driver vacancies from the 24 cars which will line up for the first race in Melbourne. Kimi Raikkonen is among the unprecedented list of six world champions in the field. Among the names unexpectedly missing from the list are Pastor Maldonado and Vitaly Petrov, both of whom were believed to have contracts to race for Williams and Lotus Renault respectively. Toro Rosso is keeping its options open with two empty berths as is Sahara Force India, although Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg are expected to More…

Posted on November 30, 2011


After a season in which they dominated the opposition, some items donated by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will go under the hammer tomorrow (December 1st) in a Bonhams sale at Mercedes Benz World, Surrey, England. There is one item from almost every 2011 Grand Prix race, with the exception of Abu Dhabi. The auction is in aid of Wings for Life, a charity with connections to the Red Bull team and features race suits from both drivers as well as a Mark Webber helmet which he wore at five Grand Prix in 2011 – Monaco, Valencia, Germany, More…

Posted on November 29, 2011

The Strategy Report

This is our final Strategy Report of the 2011 season, looking not just at how the key decisions were made in Brazil, but also at the trends we have seen in 2011 and what we see as the likely trends for 2012. The Brazilian Grand Prix brought to an end a season which has seen Formula 1 run to a quite different pattern in terms of Race Strategy, largely due to the Pirelli tyres. But also because the DRS wing has made it easier for cars to overtake, so less time is lost for fast cars in trying to pass More…

Posted on November 29, 2011


Here’s a video that’s well worth watching of Kimi Raikkonen’s first interview since announcing his F1 comeback with Lotus Renault. He says that he hasn’t really followed the 2011 F1 season or the progress of the Lotus Renault team and reckons that the biggest thing he’ll have to get the hang of is the new Pirelli tyres, on which his rivals will have a year’s head start. He also says that he’ll have to step up his training and that he started a month ago on F1 level fitness.

Posted on November 29, 2011


Kimi Raikkonen, Formula 1′s most enigmatic driver, will make it a record six world champions on the F1 grid next year when he lines up to race with Lotus Renault. Fans have been on tenterhooks for months to see whether the 2007 world champion, who is still only 32 years old, would make a comeback, following in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher, who spent three years on the sidelines before coming back with Mercedes in 2010. Like Schumacher, Raikkonen was eased into early retirement by Ferrari. The Finn has been in rallying since he was dropped by the Scuderia after More…

Posted on November 28, 2011


Mark Webber finally reached the top step of the podium in 2011 with his triumph in the Brazilian Grand Prix, but elsewhere in the field, there were a number of impressive performances. So who was your driver of the day? Mark Webber Started his weekend in style by topping first practice on Friday. Lost out to Red Bull team-mate Vettel in qualifying but was encouraged by his pace. Made a clean start, maintaining his second position but gradually dropped back from Vettel in the opening stint. Started to catch his team-mate again when Vettel developed a gearbox problem and took More…

Posted on November 27, 2011


The feud which has simmered between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa this season, often flaring into an on track clash, has been put to an end by Hamilton visiting Massa after the race to make up. The Brazilian was finishing off his press briefing at the front of the Ferrari hospitality area when Hamilton approached him and gave him a hug and said a few words. It is not clear whether Hamilton felt moved to make some kind of apology or just a gesture to say that he wanted to put the events behind them. But either way, Massa, who More…

Posted on November 27, 2011


Mark Webber won the Brazilian Grand Prix for the second time today, the seventh victory of his F1 career, but crucially it was his first win of the season and it came about because of a rare technical problem for his team mate Sebastian Vettel. The World champion rolled in second having survived most of the race with a gearbox problem, which forced him to short shift in second and third gears and eventually to use only the higher gears. Jenson Button came through after an intense race long battle with Fernando Alonso to claim his 12th podium finish of More…

Posted on November 27, 2011


As Team Lotus embarks on its final F1 race before becoming Caterham F1 next season, team boss Tony Fernandes this morning laid out his vision for the team to a small group of media in the paddock at Interlagos. There were many details to do with the company being in four main divisions and some of the initiatives were eye catching. For example the future of technical director Mike Gascoyne. He and Fernandes see great potential in taking F1 composites and other technologies into aviation, an area where Fernandes has businesses (Air Asia and a share in Malaysian Airlines) and More…

Posted on November 26, 2011


The Force India team has three drivers on its books and has said that it will announce which two will be the race drivers on December 15th. There has been a lot of speculation about which of the three is to be disappointed, but in the press conference yesterday, Bob Fearnley the deputy team principal, said something very interesting, “I think it is only fair we deal, obviously, with the drivers. We have got three very talented drivers and we need to make sure that the one that is going to be disappointed has the best opportunity to position himself More…

Posted on November 26, 2011


World Champion Sebastian Vettel scored his 15th pole position of the season, setting a new record that beats the one set by Nigel Mansell which has stood for almost 20 years. It was Vettel’s 30th pole position in just 81 Grands Prix. It was a scintillating lap by Vettel, only a tenth faster than team mate Mark Webber, but a perfect summing up of the season in many ways, as the German put everything together in one lap. The Red Bull’s prowess in the middle sector was the decisive factor in keeping them ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button, More…

Posted on November 26, 2011


The final Grand Prix of 2011 is upon us and so far only seven drivers have stood on the podium this year, tying the record for the lowest number ever. They are Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso, Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld. Amazingly neither of the Mercedes drivers have been up there and nor has Felipe Massa. Will that still be the case on Sunday or will one of those faces or a new face appear on the podium, especially is we get one of those rain affected Brazilian classics? And what does it say More…

Posted on November 25, 2011


The first day of practice for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix saw some close lap times between the two leading teams, Red Bull and McLaren, promising a tense battle for the final race of the season. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day, just over a tenth clear of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, but the long runs were interesting. The Red Bull was 8/10ths faster than the McLaren, but allowing for the difference in fuel loads, they were close. Red Bull tends to do its long runs using the fuel load it would typically start the second stint More…

Posted on November 25, 2011


The build up of technical staff at Team Lotus is set to take a new step with the arrival of leading aerodynamicist John Iley from McLaren. The move has yet to be announced by Team Lotus, but it is believed that Iley has left McLaren and is on gardening leave until joining what will then be called Caterham F1 Team in June 2012. Iley is another in a series of leading names who have worked before with Mike Gascoyne and have decided to join him at Team Lotus. He joins ex Red Bull technical director Mark Smith and ex Renault More…

Posted on November 25, 2011


This is the last F1 race before Sky come into the sport and start their blanket pay TV coverage which will run until at least 2018. It will be a big change in the way F1 fans in the UK watch the sport. Meanwhile BBC has released details of the 10 races it will cover live. Sky wants to appeal to F1 fans, giving existing subscribers another reason to continue paying, avoiding the dreaded “churn” as it is called when subscribers cancel. And it hopes to attract at least 150,000 new subscribers, which would be roughly the break-even point against More…

Posted on November 24, 2011


Lewis Hamilton looked on good form today in the paddock at Interlagos as he spoke openly about his ups and downs in 2011 and drew the conclusion that although it’s been a painful year, he has grown as a driver and his three wins, including at the last race in Abu Dhabi, were a great satisfaction. He will be going all out for a fourth on Sunday. “It’s been a year of growth, which was one of the most positive things I have learned this year,” he said. “It really has been. What I’ve learned this year I’ll take into More…

Posted on November 24, 2011


We’ve very proud that this year here on JA on F1 we’ve given many fans a chance to get closer to the sport, sending 14 fans to Grands Prix, one fan to Abu Dhabi, we’ve put two fans on a real F1 simulator and we’ve had lots of other great prizes for competitions. Our friends at Santander, with whom we did the FOTA Fans Forum in June, have given us a few nice things to celebrate the end of a great season of F1 – a VIP trip for two people to the McLaren factory (known as the McLaren Technology More…

Posted on November 24, 2011


The short term future of Robert Kubica has been cast in doubt after the Lotus Renault team issued a statement in which the Pole said that he wouldn’t be ready to return in 2012. But his manager denied that his client had used the words quoted in the statement. And paddock speculation here in Brazil is that Ferrari is keeping the door open for him to return with them. “Even if I’ve been working very, very hard over the course of the last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for More…

Posted on November 23, 2011


With a fairly high likelihood of a safety car and a new tyre choice from Pirelli which brings the two compounds closer together on performance, this should be one of the most interesting races of the season from a strategy point of view. The weather forecast also adds spice to the event with a strong likelihood of showers on Saturday and Sunday. The Brazilian Grand Prix is special for a number of reasons; set in a natural bowl around a lake in a suburb of Sao Paulo, the passionate and noisy crowd can see most of the circuit from their More…

Posted on November 23, 2011


Heading into the final race of the 2011 Formula One World Championship we are able to reflect on how overtaking has changed through the installation of DRS and the new Pirelli tyres, as well as the return of KERS, thanks to data from Mercedes. And Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Buemi turns out to be the pass master, the driver who has done the most overtakes. With a deliberate focus on increased overtaking 2011 was set to be, at the very least, a very interesting experiment aimed at producing a better spectacle for fans. The overtakes can be split down according to More…

Posted on November 22, 2011


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has given Felipe Massa notice that he is fighting to save his seat with the team next year. Montezemolo used an interview on a show in Italy called Politica nel Pallone to confirm that the Brazilian, who almost won the world title three years ago, is safe for next year despite an “unfortunate season” but that he must prove himself to stay with the team beyond next year. “With Massa we have a contract for next year. He’s had an unfortunate season but we aren’t doubting a driver who three years ago fought for the More…

Posted on November 21, 2011


Veteran Pedro de la Rosa will make it two drivers over the age of 40 on the grid next year when he lines up with HRT. The Spaniard has signed a two year contract with the team which will certainly help them to move forward technically. The team is owned by Thesan Capital and sees itself very much as the Spanish team in F1. De la Rosa has had a chequered career as a race driver in F1 with stints at Arrows and Jaguar and an ill fated stint at Sauber last year. He has been McLaren test driver and More…

Posted on November 20, 2011


This weekend there have been rumours that McLaren and Honda may be looking at getting back together to chase the coveted number one plate they carried during the classic partnership which dominated F1 in the late 1980s. But is there really a business case for it as far as Honda are concerned? The Honda era for the McLaren team was a real landmark, with 44 victories between 1988 and 1992 and Prost and Senna in their prime. Recently we’ve seen the revival of the Williams-Renault for 2012 onwards, so retro brands are in vogue. German magazine Auto motor und sport More…

Posted on November 20, 2011


Bernie Ecclestone has raised the possibility of the commercial arm of F1 being floated on the stock market in Asia. The 81 year old billionaire has told the Telegraph that he thinks a floation in Asia, either in Singapore or possibly Hong Kong would be a good step for the business and allow private equity form CVC to make a complete or partial exit. “If I wanted to dispose of the company today I would float it in Singapore or Hong Kong,” Ecclestone said, adding that if CVC wants an exit, “it would be better to float the company in More…

Posted on November 19, 2011


Rachel Clarke was the winner of our competition in partnership with Shell V Power to send a Fan Ambassador to Abu Dhabi. The two day adventure takes in Ferrari World with its record breaking roller coaster and an insight into Shell’s partnership with Ferrari. Here are Rachel’s thoughts as she set off this weekend on her journey. Rachel will meet with bloggers and other people active in social media from around the world. Rachel Clarke writes: Do you enter competitions? I’ve been entering them a lot more over the last year, winning a few things like a month’s supply of More…

Posted on November 18, 2011


This week twenty-nine of the world’s most promising young racing and rally drivers arrived in Austria for the Selection Event for the second year of the FIA Institute Young Driver Excellence Academy. Each driver was assessed over the 4-day event and 18 were chosen to take part in the year long programme. They are: Mohamed Al Mutawaa, 18, UAE Klaus Bachler, 20, Austria Andrea Bate, 22, South Africa Craig Breen, 21, Ireland Andrea Caldarelli, 21, Italy Gabriel Chaves, 18, Columbia Jonas Gelzinis, 23, Lithuania Michael Klitgaard Christensen, 21, Denmark Jack Le Brocq, 19, Australia Michael Lewis, 20, USA Alexander Lynn, More…

Posted on November 18, 2011


Russia’s first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov has unleashed a broadside against his team, Renault, accusing them of a lack of development, poor race strategy and sloppy pit work. It throws doubt over whether he will continue with the team in 2012. The 27 year old, who has started 37 races with the team, stood on the podium at the first race in Australia and feels that it’s been a downward slide into midfield mediocrity ever since. Renault came out with an highly imaginative front facing exhaust this season, which exited at the front of the sidepods. Although it looked quick More…

Posted on November 18, 2011


The only in-season test of the 2011 season came to an end today at Yas Marina Circuit, Abi Dhabi as the Young Guns switched off the engines after three exciting days. For many of the drivers it was a first taste of F1 power; a couple of them are as young as 18 years of age. For teams it has been a chance to test out ideas for the 2012 car, try out the experimental Pirelli tyres for next year and in some cases, to evaluate some young drivers. For the third day in a row the fastest man was More…

Posted on November 17, 2011


The leading F1 teams are in the thick of an argument at the moment about how much money they should be allowed to spend every year to go racing, with Red Bull out on a limb, taking a different view from other FOTA members about the next phase of the Resource Restriction Agreement. If it all goes wrong, as some predict, this could lead to a new arms race in F1 with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes able to spend more than McLaren (which no longer has Mercedes factory backing as it did in the last “Arms Race”) and far More…

Posted on November 16, 2011


Fresh faced drivers are getting their chance to drive current F1 cars this week at the Abu Dhabi Young Guns test, with one driver as young as 18 out on track. However Jean Eric Vergne continued to set the headline lap times in the Young Guns test at Abu Dhabi after two days of running. The Frenchman has picked up where Dan Ricciardo left off in last year’s test in the Red Bull, setting the fastest time of the day ahead of Ferrari’s Jules Bianchi, who covered 91 laps today and McLaren’s evergreen Gary Paffett. Vergne only did 43 laps More…

Posted on November 15, 2011


There is a lot going on behind the scenes in Austin, Texas at the moment with threats from all sides that the 2012 Grand Prix might not take place. And this afternoon Susan Combs, who controls the finances for the State of Texas, has confirmed that the recent announcement of a rival race in New Jersey for 2013 is a “concern” and said that the first $25 million the state had earmarked for the project will no longer be available before the first event has taken place. This is significant, because the deal agreed with Combs was that she would More…

Posted on November 15, 2011

The Strategy Report

This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was very interesting from the point of view of Race Strategy, with six different strategies in the top ten finishers. Pre race predictions of two stops were the norm, but there was a wide variety of alternatives tried, with Mark Webber doing three stops en route to fourth place and Paul di Resta scoring a points for ninth using a one-stop plan. We also saw McLaren pull off something very audacious at the first stop; they pitted Jenson Button on the same lap as the leader Lewis Hamilton, with only a 12 second window More…

Posted on November 15, 2011


It is well-known in Formula One that time is integral to any development. Whether it be designing the car or testing new configurations; strict limits on wind-tunnel use and testing can only allow for a certain amount of improvement during the season. For the three new teams that joined the grid in 2010, the last two years have consisted of non-stop development just to keep within touching distance of the more established outfits. Team Lotus has proved itself to be the out-standing case of the new entries and as we come to the end of the 2011 season the T128 More…

Posted on November 15, 2011


Today and for the next three days the F1 teams will test at Abu Dhabi in what has become the traditional “Young Guns” test. The idea behind it originally was to evaluate young up and coming drivers, who haven’t taken part in Grands Prix, giving them a chance to drive a real F1 car, rather than a simulator. But as ever in F1 some teams have taken it differently. McLaren for example are using the three days to do some serious evaluation work on 2012 technology with 30 year old Gary Paffett leading the way, although Day 1 they ran More…

Posted on November 14, 2011


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was always going to be the acid test for the new concepts introduced this year to promote overtaking; Pirelli short life tyres and DRS. After all it was at this track last year that Fernando Alonso lost the world championship because he couldn’t pass Vitaly Petrov’s Renault after a bad Race Strategy call. For this year’s race the FIA went for a double DRS zone, as it has done a few times this year, on Yas Marina’s two straights. The result was a lot more overtaking and plenty of examples of drivers overtaking in the More…

Posted on November 14, 2011


McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took his third victory of the season as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel crashed out in an intriguing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina. So who was your driver of the day? Lewis Hamilton Began the weekend strongly, topping the times in second and third practice as his McLaren team had some trouble-free running. Set the quickest time in qualifying, albeit in Q2 when times don’t count for pole, and finished second quickest after getting edged out by Vettel. Made a clean getaway and benefitted from Vettel’s puncture at the start to take the lead. Was closed More…

Posted on November 13, 2011


I’m delighted to announce that the 2011 JA on F1 Yearbook is now available to pre-order. Titled “Vettel Steals the Show”, it is a comprehensive look back on the F1 year, comprising the best posts from this site during the 2011 season, along with extensive new written content and stunning photos from F1′s top photographer Darren Heath. There is a foreword from world championship winning Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner. All books ordered through this site will be personally signed by me. This is the third year we have produced this limited edition book and collectors who already have More…

Posted on November 13, 2011


Lewis Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a close battle with Fernando Alonso, with Jenson Button in third place. It was Alonso’s 73rd podium and his first trophy from this event, so he now has a complete set of trophies from every track he’s raced on in F1. It was Hamilton’s 17th career victory and his third of this season and although he said he felt “fantastic” he was also pretty humble in his post race statements, saying that one win hadn’t necessarily put him back on track, he felt above all “fortunate not to get into any More…

Posted on November 12, 2011


Sebastian Vettel staged a dramatic last minute smash and grab raid on McLaren with a stunning lap to take pole away from Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. It was Vettel’s 14th pole of the season, equalling Nigel Mansell’s record from 1992 and the 29th of his career. McLaren had controlled the pace throughout the weekend, but in the final crucial phase they lost out to Vettel, who strung together a perfect lap, with a stronger Sector 1 and Sector 2. It seemed that the McLaren didn’t perform quite as well as the Red Bull when the temperature came down to More…

Posted on November 11, 2011


The first day of practice at Yas Marina Circuit brought some surprises as both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso went off track, although both cars were only lightly damaged. It is the fourth time this season that Vettel has crashed in practice, of the three previous occasions in Turkey, Canada and Japan he went on to win only one of them. Alonso meanwhile hit the kerb under braking in the same Turn 1 and went off into the barriers. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button set the pace, as Pirelli tried out an experimental soft tyre, with a More…

Posted on November 11, 2011


With two races to go in the 2011 F1 season and Jenson Button ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 38 points, we’re running a competition to predict what the final points position will be between the two McLaren team mates after the final race in Brazil. Hamilton had the edge during the first two thirds of the season then Button got in front at the Belgian Grand Prix and since then his run of podiums and a win in Japan have eased him clear, while Hamilton has been involved in collisions and hasn’t hauled in the points. Hamilton, who has never More…

Posted on November 11, 2011


One of the themes running through the second half of this season has been Lewis Hamilton’s troubled demeanour and the way issues off the track have affected his performances on it. Here in the Yas Marina paddock yesterday Hamilton offered a window in to his troubled soul, confirming many of the things commentators have been saying for months about the effect his private life have had on his professional life. He explains some of how he is feeling. He envies team mate Jenson Button’s protective “bubble” of friends and family and faces the prospect of being beaten by a team More…

Posted on November 10, 2011


Nico Rosberg has extended his contract with Mercedes, for a period that will take him into his 30s. It puts to an end all suggestions that he may join Ferrari as replacement to Felipe Massa any time soon. Rosberg was already under contract for 2012, but the new deal adds a “multi-year” term to that, likely to be three years from 2013 onwards with options. Mercedes statement claims that the 26 year old has demonstrated that “he belongs to the top group of drivers currently racing in Formula One.” Meanwhile Rosberg himself confidently asserts that “To win in a Silver More…

Posted on November 9, 2011


Two JA on F1 readers got the chance to experience a 3 hour in-depth driving session on a real state of the art driving simulator today with coaching from Darren Turner, who has over 10 years experience of F1 simulator design. Turner is an experienced racer and F1 test driver who now runs Base Performance Simulators in Banbury. He has become an expert on F1 simulators in particular. He did the initial development work on the McLaren simulator from 1999 to 2006 and has worked with two other F1 teams developing their simulators. Our two competition winners, Joe Consiglio and More…

Posted on November 9, 2011


Group Lotus, Proton, 1Malaysia Racing Team and the current Team Lotus have announced today that the legal dispute surrounding the names of Team Lotus and Renault Lotus is now officially over. As of 2012, Team Lotus will become Caterham F1 Team and Lotus Renault will be rebranded purely as Lotus. Through the settlement, the “Lotus” brand has been re-established under the sole ownership of “Group Lotus”, which includes the use of the name throughout Formula One. This means that any relations between Tony Fernandes and Group Lotus has come to an end. The 1Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT), which is owned More…

Posted on November 9, 2011


Behind the scenes in F1 at the moment there is movement everywhere as things start to click into gear in a process which will ultimately lead to a change of ownership of the sport and a new way of operating it. Today and tomorrow in Munich, Formula 1′s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone will give evidence in the fraud trial of Gerhard Gribkowsky, a former banker and chairman of F1′s holding company. Clearing up this matter and getting to the bottom of what happened when CVC bought the sport from Gribkwosky’s bank Bayern LB, is crucial to the hopes of CVC, More…

Posted on November 8, 2011


Last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix showed how critical Race Strategy is in F1 and how a bad call can cost the World Championship. Following a strategic blunder by the Ferrari team, Fernando Alonso came out of a pit stop behind two slower cars, which he could not then overtake. So this year’s Abu Dhabi race will be the ultimate acid test of the extent to which the DRS wing and Pirelli tyres have improved overtaking opportunities in Formula 1. There are two DRS zones on the circuit and with the long back straight out of the hairpin, overtaking slower More…

Posted on November 8, 2011


Team Lotus has announced that Steve Nielsen will be joining the team as Sporting Director next month. He will perform a similar role to Sam Michael at McLaren and Ron Meadows at Mercedes, overseeing the way the team operates at the race track, liasing with the FIA Race Director, attending stewards meetings and working alongside the engineers to get the most from the package at any given race weekend. He worked most recently at Renault and was offered the job at Team Lotus last Autumn and turned it down, but then things changed at Enstone this season as the new More…

Posted on November 7, 2011


There has been a lot of chatter in the last 24 hours with reference to statements made by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo yesterday at the Finali Mondiali event at Mugello. Many commentators have read Montezemolo’s line as “Ferrari boss threatens F1 pullout” but it isn’t easy to decode his message here. I’m not sure that he meant to go that far on this occasion and that’s why the notorious Horse Whisperer was deployed on Monday to play down suggestions that Montezemolo was making threats. What is clear is that he was doing something he likes to do from time More…

Posted on November 7, 2011


As motorsport continues to come to terms with the death of Dan Wheldon in an Indycar accident a few weeks ago, this weekend there was a heart warming story of a driver who himself was once caught up in an accident on an oval, lost his legs as a result, but has found a new outlet for his competitive drive. Former Lotus, Jordan and Williams driver Alessandro Zanardi won Sunday’s New York City Marathon’s handcycle division yesterday with a time of 1 hour, 13 minutes and 58 seconds. Zanardi lost his legs in an accident in 2001 and since then More…

Posted on November 4, 2011


Team Lotus has announced that American, Alexander Rossi, will join the team for the Young Driver tests at Abu Dhabi, taking place in the week following the Grand Prix. The former World Series by Renault race winner has shown a lot of promise in the recent GP2 winter test sessions and will step into the seat of a Formula One car for the second time, his first having taken place with the BMW Sauber team in 2009. Rossi will also be competing in the GP2 season finale at Abu Dhabi for Caterham Team AirAsia and will be looking to improve More…

Posted on November 3, 2011


“And so it came to pass that in Milton Keynes in the shire of Buckingham, Stewart GP begat Jaguar, which begat Red Bull, which smote everyone into submission. While Tyrrell begat BAR, which begat Honda which begat Brawn which begat Mercedes which chased furiously after the Red Bulls.” Name changes in Formula 1 are as old as the hills; it’s a business and takeovers are an essential part of business life. They aren’t always allowed, as Tom Walkinshaw found when he tried to turn Arrows into TWR, but generally where it’s in most people’s interests to see strong brands with More…

Posted on November 3, 2011


The performance of the Toro Rosso cars at the weekend underlined how much progress the team has made in the second half of the season. But where is the boost coming from and is there a back story to it? Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastian Buemi both qualified in the top ten in India and Alguersuari raced strongly to another points finish. In the last five races the team has scored 29 points, while rivals Sauber in the same period have scored six and Force India 19. Since Suzuka in particular the Toro Rosso has been making huge strides. In Singapore More…

Posted on November 1, 2011

The Strategy Report

Although this was not a thrilling race, it was an intriguing one from a strategy point of view because of the difference between the two types of tyres each driver had to use. Like many races this year, it didn’t turn out the way pre-race expectations had predicted. In fact it was quite a surprise. At the front, Vettel always had something in hand over Button. Although the McLaren was closer at the start of each stint, the Red Bull had the raw pace to ease away each time into a five second cushion. This was a margin Vettel was More…

Posted on November 1, 2011


Today we announce the winner of the Shell V Power Fan Ambassador programme, which will take them to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi later this month. We have been looking for a Fan Ambassador to go to Abu Dhabi in November, the week after the F1 Grand Prix and days after the Young Guns test, to have the experience of a lifetime at a Shell V-Power Network of Champions event at Ferrari World, then experience the Yas Marina GP Circuit in a high performance race car. The winner will then report on the trip for the JA on F1 website. More…

Posted on November 1, 2011


We have been running a competition which will give two JA on F1 readers the chance to experience a 3 hour in-depth driving session on a real state of the art driving simulator, with coaching from Darren Turner, who has over 10 years experience of F1 simulator design. Turner is an experienced racer who now runs Base Performance Simulators in Banbury. He has become an expert on F1 simulators. He did the initial development work on the McLaren simulator from 1999 to 2006 and has worked with two other F1 teams developing their simulators. The session with Darren will take More…

Posted on October 31, 2011


It was interesting last night after the Indian Grand Prix to hear McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh suggest that part of the reason for Lewis Hamilton being off form and rather niggly with many people he encounters in F1 at the moment is because he isn’t enjoying being beaten by his team mate, Jenson Button. “Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances from Jenson at the moment, ” said Whitmarsh. “Lewis, the great, exciting driver that he is, will not like being beaten by Jenson. I don’t want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate. I More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel became the first man to win a Formula 1 race in India when he scored his 11th victory of the season at the Buddh International Circuit but elsewhere in the field, there were a number of standout performances. So who was your driver of the day? Sebastian Vettel Arrived in India with the drivers’ title and constructors’ title for Red Bull already in the bag but refused to take his foot of the gas. Took his 13th pole of the season to keep him on course to break Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 in a single More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Felipe Massa spoke around 90 minutes after the Indian Grand Prix in which he was penalised with a drive through for colliding with Lewis Hamilton. It was the sixth occasion the pair have collided in a bitter season. Speaking after the race Massa said, “I don’t have anything against him. Zero. If I saw him I would tell him what I’m telling you now. “I don’t understand why I have the penalty. I braked later than him, I was in front and on the grippier part of the circuit and I didn’t see him on the left. So he was More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Sebastian Vettel made more history today as he won the first Indian Grand Prix, setting a new record for most laps led in a season in the process. The German went past Nigel Mansell’s 692 laps led from the 1992 season. It was his 11th win of the season and the 21st of his career. It was one of Vettel’s most comfortable wins of the season; he won from pole position, led every lap and set the fastest lap. “I’m very proud to be the first winner of the Indian Grand Prix,” said the world champion, “It’s a great country, More…

Posted on October 29, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his 28th career pole position today equalling the great Juan Manuel Fangio, as Red Bull Racing set a new record for poles in one season with 16. There are still two races to go. Lewis Hamilton went into qualifying knowing that he would have to go three places back on the grid from where he qualified, following an incident in practice where he ignored waved yellow flags, as did Sergio Perez. Vitaly Petrov carried a five place penalty from the previous race. The hard tyres are 2 seconds a lap slower than the softs here, so the More…

Posted on October 28, 2011


Felipe Massa set the pace on Day 1 at the Buddh International Circuit, with Sebastian Vettel second and Fernando Alonso third after three hours of running on the new track. It is a hit with drivers and teams alike, certainly as far as the layout is concerned, even if the facilities behind the scenes aren’t quite there yet. Alonso had an engine failure in first practice, which was halted early on due to a dog on the track. An earlier support race session had to be stopped for the same reason. The track was very dusty in the morning and More…

Posted on October 28, 2011


Several of the top teams have flown out half a dozen mechanics to have on standby in case any of their crew should fall ill during this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. This unprecedented situation has arisen after stories emanating from the Commonwealth Games, held here in India last year, where many key workers got “Delhi belly” and were incapacitated. With long transit times from Europe, some teams do not want to take the risk that they might have people unable to work or to perform vital functions, such as late night rebuilds or even pit stops. The rules say that More…

Posted on October 27, 2011


The confirmation on Tuesday of the news that there will be a second F1 race in America from 2013 onwards is positive for the sport. Rather than write about this from a purely F1 insiders perspective, I asked a long time JA on F1 reader and poster, Rudy Pyatt, who lives in the area, to give us a local perspective on the news and I have intercut his thoughts with mine. Rudy Pyatt writes: There are three key parts of the potential audience. F1 must win them over, or this event will be Phoenix all over again. The easiest audience More…

Posted on October 26, 2011


The Formula One fraternity heads to India for the first time this week, keenly anticipating the nations first Grand Prix event. The race will be sure to boost India’s passion and image within the sport, as well as allowing people within F1 the chance to experience a new culture. The event will be particularly special for Lotus reserve driver, Karun Chandhok, whose father has been instrumental in bringing the race to India and building the track. Although the Indian driver has only competed in one race this season, he had high hopes that he would have the chance to contest More…

Posted on October 25, 2011


This weekend the teams race on the new Buddh International Circuit, located about 50 kilometres south east of New Delhi. The track has similarities in composition of corners to a number of F1 circuits but it has unusual features too. So how will the teams tune the cars in to the circuit and what will the winning race strategy be on Sunday? Here is a comprehensive guide to the considerations the F1 engineers will be looking at when deciding how to attack this weekend’s race. Track characteristics Buddh International – 5.125 kilometres. Race distance – 60 laps = 307.249 kilometres. More…

Posted on October 25, 2011


The social media competition we’ve been running, in conjunction with Shell, to find a Fan Ambassador enters its final phase. We are looking for a Fan Ambassador to go to Abu Dhabi in November, the week after the F1 Grand Prix, to have the experience of a lifetime at a Shell V-Power Network of Champions event at Ferrari World, then experience the Yas Marina GP Circuit and then report on the trip for the JA on F1 website. They will join fans from around the world at this unique event. After an initial phase we selected five finalists, who were More…

Posted on October 24, 2011


We’ve done some great competitions this season, taking the fans closer to the sport of F1 and taking them to Grands Prix and overseas events. But for those fans who dream of getting behind the wheel, here is something a little bit special; we are delighted to offer JA on F1 readers the chance to experience a 3 hour in-depth driving session on a real simulator, with coaching from Darren Turner, who has over 10 years experience of F1 sim development. Turner now runs Base Performance Simulators in Banbury. Turner is an expert on F1 simulators. He did the initial More…

Posted on October 23, 2011


Here is my video of the day a F1 fan drove Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren F1 car at Silverstone. Djorge Simic works in a bank in Serbia, but for one day he got to taste the shattering performance of a 2008 F1 McLaren, the car in which Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 British Grand Prix. Contributing to the video are Mika Hakkinen and Hamilton – “I bet he’s crapping his pants!” says Hamilton when asked how the fan will be feeling moments before the off. Simic was chosen from 17 finalists to win the drive as the top prize in McLaren More…

Posted on October 22, 2011


On Friday evening in the US news began to emerge that there could be a second US Grand Prix from 2013 onwards, with suggestions that a street circuit in New Jersey would be announced as an F1 venue on Tuesday. According to Autoweek, the circuit is believed to have the Manhattan skyline as a back drop and the concept has been developed over several years by Leo Hindery Jr, who is married to the daughter of legendary US motorsports promoter Humpy Wheeler. There are suggestions that the race would be paired in June with Montreal, which is a short distance More…



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