Posted on April 30, 2011


Denis Jenkinson, the great motorsport journalist and a mentor in my early career, used to say, “The greatest driver in the world is a woodsman who livies in Siberia. The problem is, he’ll never find out and neither will we.” DSJ’s point was that with motorsport being such a difficult sport to progress in, demanding of money and rare in opportunity, many people with great talent will never get to shine, while well funded youths of lesser talent have F1 careers. Over recent years we have seen drivers coming from more diverse countries and the better organised new circuits like More…

Posted on April 28, 2011


I’ve been sent an interesting Q&A from colleagues at Italian website 422.com with Dr. Francesco Lanza, director of Orthopaedics at Santa Corona Hospital in Pietra Ligure, who carried out operations on Renault’s Robert Kubica, after his rallying accident two months ago. It’s worth highlighting because it is an independent point of view on Kubica’s situation and his chances of coming back to F1. Lanza says that the Pole is” definitely fine, generally the situation is very satisfying.” What made you decide about letting him leave the hospital? “It was already scheduled, because you can’t stay for six-seven months in a More…

Posted on April 27, 2011


The consortium behind Team Lotus today confirmed that it has acquired the Caterham road car business. Team owner Tony Fernandes has indicated that “we will link the Formula 1 team and the car company close together. Then we will look at building technology links and marketing links.” He said that adding the road car platform to the F1 programme is where he wanted to be 12 months ago with Group Lotus, but that came unstuck due to a clash with Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar. “Now it’s our baby and we will build from a solid base into something in More…

Posted on April 25, 2011


The battle over the use of the name Lotus in F1 is in a holding pattern at the moment as the two sides wait for the judge, who heard the case last month at the High Court in London, to deliver his judgement. This will probably come in the next couple of weeks. But in the last few days, stories have emerged of what Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes’ next move is likely to be. On Wednesday 27th April he is holding a press conference at Duxford aerodrome, near Cambridge to announce a new business venture and both Reuters and More…

Posted on April 22, 2011


The news this week that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is looking at buying Formula 1′s commercial rights from CVC in a consortium with Carlos Slim has elicited a range of reactions; an almost instant denial by Bernie Ecclestone, some media coverage giving the idea some credence and many seasoned people thinking it’s a smokescreen, or negotiating ploy aimed at other interested parties. News Corp does make bold acquisitions. But it is also frequently trotted as a possible buyer of eye catching assets, when there is no substance to the story; it was linked with Facebook at one time. And Bernie More…

Posted on April 21, 2011


The first three races have given us much to reflect on in terms of the new style of racing F1 now provides, but there are some fascinating details emerging too about the relative performance of the cars. One of the things to catch the eye has been the relative pace of the Red Bull and the McLaren in qualifying and in the race. And it’s not just about who has the newest tyres. When you look at it closely you see that there is reason to feel very excited about the competition between the two cars this season. At the More…

Posted on April 20, 2011


There’s a very interesting story on Reuters featuring quotes from Williams chairman Adam Parr about the 2013 engine plans. In light of recent comments from those who are against the move away from V8s towards a ‘greener’ engine, including Bernie Ecclestone and Luca di Montezemolo, Parr says that there is no going back on the direction of travel. He also makes a point I’ve not heard before that with the 2013 engines, when the car is in the pit lane, it will be running on pure electric only, a very interesting step and quite a message, if you think about More…

Posted on April 19, 2011

The Strategy Report

So much happened in the Chinese Grand Prix, it’s important to take the time to examine exactly how and why things worked out as they did. The overriding observation is that strategy was the difference between winning and losing on Sunday. While we have seen some interesting mixtures of strategy in the first two races, the podium finishers in both Melbourne and Sepang all did the same strategy. The Chinese Grand Prix was the first race to show variations on this and to illustrate how finely balanced some of the decision making is in F1 this year. Another interesting difference More…

Posted on April 18, 2011


An online poll on JA on F1 overnight has shown that from a sample of over 3,500 fans polled, 90% of them thought that the Grand Prix yesterday was really good and that the racing in China was entertaining. This contrasts with the mixed feelings after the first races, where there was too much action in Malaysia and not enough in Melbourne. Not everyone is happy about the new style racing, with around 10% still feeling that the DRS and the high wear Pirelli tyres make the racing artificial. Meanwhile 55% of a poll of 6,000 JA on F1 fans More…

Posted on April 17, 2011


There was plenty of action all the way down the field until the final lap of the race, so it’s a tough call for driver of the day. Who’s yours? Lewis Hamilton – Qualified third and made a good start to jump slow-starting pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel into the first corner for second. Drove an aggressive race, pulling off a bold move on team-mate Jenson Button before passing Vettel for the lead. His 15th career victory and first since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix. Mark Webber – The Australian had another tough weekend, crashing out of Q1 for the first time More…

Posted on April 17, 2011


Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s stranglehold on F1 this season in a thrilling Grand Prix which featured the Holy Grail of a pass for the lead in closing stages of the race. It was Hamilton’s first win since September last year and the fifteenth of his 74 race career. And it wasn’t because of the DRS wing, the pass Hamilton pulled on Sebastian Vettel happened in Turn 7, one of the faster corners on the track, when Vettel least expected it and it came about because of differences of strategy. Hamilton had learned from his More…

Posted on April 16, 2011


Sebastian Vettel made it a hat trick of poles in 2011, setting the fastest ever lap of the Shanghai circuit, no less than seven tenths of a second ahead of the McLaren drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. “It’s too easy,” Lewis Hamilton said to him as they climbed from their cars in parc ferme. Having been a tenth away in qualifying in Malaysia, the colder conditions again helped the Red Bull to stretch its advantage over McLaren. It was Vettel’s 18th pole and his third in China. Tomorrow he bids to become the first driver to win the Chinese More…

Posted on April 15, 2011


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel headed the times at the end of the first day of practice for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. The 23 year old world champion, who has led 109 of the 114 racing laps this season and taken pole in both Grands Prix so far, edged out the McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. The times for all three men were set at the same time of the afternoon on new soft Pirelli tyres. But there was an interesting variation whereby Vettel’s time was set on the third lap of the run, while Hamilton’s and More…

Posted on April 14, 2011


In Malaysia, observed Felipe Massa, there was “a lot of overtaking in the final laps. That is why the strategy is even more important now, in order to get the tyre change sequence just right, so that you can avoid finding yourself fighting for position in the last few laps, while dealing with tyres that are no longer at their best.” This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix takes place on another track where the effects of KERS, the DRS wing and the tyre degradation will be transformative, as they were in Sepang. Interestingly, the FIA is considering single detection, double activation More…

Posted on April 13, 2011


Despite the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend being back to back with Malaysia, the three main managers of Ferrari’s F1 team have made a 48 hour return trip to Italy this week to try to resolve some issues relating to the performance of the cars. Team boss Stefano Domenicali, technical director Aldo Costa and his deputy Pat Fry made the two day round trip to investigate why the car is not performing the way the simulation tools say it should. The problem is particularly clear in qualifying. Downforce is central to this. Massa said on the eve of the Malaysian More…

Posted on April 12, 2011

The Strategy Report

As in Melbourne the renewed importance of race strategy was highlighted in Malaysia on Sunday. The tyre degradation was much worse than Melbourne and so reacting and making quick decisions and correct decisions was vital. “A lot of it is getting the strategy right, which is up to the team but also the driver,” said Jenson Button after the race. How right he was. But tyres weren’t the only strategic consideration; the adjustable DRS wing and the difference between cars with KERS and those without was also a far more significant factor in the way the racing played out than More…

Posted on April 11, 2011


There has been an interesting response from fans to the racing we saw yesterday in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Jenson Button, who finished second having started fourth, described the race as “confusing” with 55 pit stops to take in plus countless overtakes to try to evaluate. I said yesterday that it’s a bit like going into a sweet shop and eating half the stock, when you’ve only been used to getting a packet of Polos at best. Many fans consider this to be artificial racing, F1 on steroids in other words and didn’t find it entertaining. Sometimes you can have More…

Posted on April 10, 2011


It was an all action race today in Malaysia with some great performances from a number of drivers. So who was your Driver of the Day? Sebastian Vettel Took pole under pressure from Hamilton, also held the lead at the start under pressure from him. After that he managed the race brilliantly coping with no KERS, maintaining his tyres and his engine. Has led 109 of the 114 laps in 2011 Jenson Button Started fourth on the grid and held it at the start. Battled with Alonso and Hamilton in the race and got ahead of both through pit strategy. More…

Posted on April 10, 2011


Sebastian Vettel maintained his 100% success record this season with another win from pole position in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Jenson Button finished second and moves into that position in the championship, while Nick Heidfeld gave Renault a second consecutive podium, one which was again based on a sensational start. The race gave a very vivid example of F1 2011 style with the DRS adjustable wing and the high wear Pirelli tyres leading to a lot of overtaking, some of it absolutely thrilling. We had three cars abreast into the final corner at one point and a very spirited battle More…

Posted on April 9, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took a dramatic pole position at the very end of qualifying to steal pole position from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by a tenth of a second. It was a great showing from the pair, who eclipsed their team mates once again. Webber was third for Red Bull, a full three tenths off Vettel, while Button was a similar margin behind in fourth. It was Vettel’s second pole of 2011 and his 17th in just 64 Grands Prix – a ratio of 26%. Going back into last season as well, he has had pole in five of the last six More…

Posted on April 8, 2011


Mark Webber set the fastest time in both practice sessions on the first day of the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. The Red Bull driver headed Jenson Button by 0.005s in the second session, with Lewis Hamilton third and Sebastian Vettel fourth as Red Bull had the KERS on its car working today. The rest of the field was over a second behind, with Ferrari admitting that they are a little off the pace again. Sepang has always been a strong track for Webber – he once put a Jaguar on the front row and has outqualified team mate Sebastian Vettel More…

Posted on April 7, 2011


The second round of the world championship takes place this weekend in Sepang and there will be a lot of learn from the action on track this weekend. Melbourne gave us a partial picture, with Red Bull clearly the fastest car, McLaren in much better shape than in testing and Sauber clearly the most gentle car in its tyres. But the teams are all still on a sharp learning curve when it comes to ways of getting the most from the tyres on race day and maximising the exhaust blown diffusers, now that single diffusers are the order of the More…

Posted on April 6, 2011


Turnover for F1′s commercial activities exceeded $1 billion last year, according to annual figures released by Formula One Administration, which represents a $19 million increase on the previous year. The teams’ share increased by $114 million to $658 million. Although this equates to an average of $54 million for each of the 12 teams in F1 last season, it doesn’t work out that way as the money is not split evenly. It is paid out according to several columns laid out in the Concorde Agreement, whereby prizemoney share goes with success; the champion team receives more than lower placed teams, More…

Posted on April 4, 2011


Although he feels that Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley have done a very good job in the past, getting Formula 1 to the point where it is today, as one of the world’s leading sports series, FIA president Jean Todt says he must focus the FIA’s efforts on what F1 needs to be in the future. And, 15 months into his first term as president, he doesn’t rule out running for a second term of office. On Friday I went to FIA headquarters in Paris where Todt gave a rare interview to the Financial Times. My FT colleague Roger Blitz More…

Posted on April 1, 2011


The FIA will not be appointing an F1 Commissioner, Jean Todt said today. At the time of his election as FIA president in Autumn 2009, the Frenchman promised the introduction of a commissioner to represent the FIA at Grands Prix and oversee F1 on a day to day basis. This led to speculation as to who the ideal candidate to fill this powerful new role might be, with various names bandied about, including Gerhard Berger. But 15 months into his tenure as president Todt has decided that an F1 commissioner is not needed, “I had a superficial understanding about the More…



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