Posted on May 31, 2011

The Strategy Report

Each race we look in depth at the strategies and analyse the decisions taken in the heat of battle and sometimes we see teams and drivers taking big risks. We also see the part that luck can play in the outcome. Both are particularly true when you are trying to get a good result in Monaco. All the strategists know that there is a 71% chance of a safety car here and if it falls at the right time it can make your race – as it did this year for Sutil and Kobayashi. But if it falls at the More…

Posted on May 30, 2011


Racing drivers very rarely say sorry, especially the really competitive ones who regard winning as their birthright. Senna, Schumacher and the like rarely used the ‘S’ word. Schumacher was asked to on numerous occasions, but only did so under extreme duress, such as post Jerez 1997 when Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo demanded that he host a press conference and apologise for his collision with Jacques Villeneuve. Today Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado for any offence caused by his comments after the race, when he complained about them not giving him room when he attempted More…

Posted on May 30, 2011


The Sauber team has done a decent job since Saturday of keeping information about Sergio Perez’ condition coming through when appropriate and today’s bulletin is decidedly upbeat. In the aftermath of the accident some of the drivers were told that he may have broken his right femur (thigh bone) but thankfully this turned out not to be the case, instead he had some bruising on his thigh and a concussion. Under measures put in place in F1 by Professor Sid Watkins, it is standard for a concussed driver to be told he will not race and Perez was also kept More…

Posted on May 30, 2011


Tony Fernandes says that following the judgement delivered last Friday on the Lotus vs Team Lotus row, he has no need to change his chassis name, as his rivals claim. The judge in the High Court ruled that Team Lotus, owned by Fernandes’ consortium, had the right to race in F1, and that their rights came with the logo and the goodwill. However he also ruled that they are not to use the name “Lotus” on its own. Rivals from the Group Lotus-sponsored Renault team, claim that this means Fernandes will not be able to continue to use Lotus as More…

Posted on May 29, 2011


The streets of Monte Carlo delivered an exciting Monaco GP from start to finish but who do you think deserves the accolade of Driver of the Day? Sebastian Vettel Delivered the goods in qualifying to secure pole position and made a great getaway at the start. A wheel problem caused a delay during his second stop and he lost the lead to Button. The team decided not to pit him again for the rest of race to ensure he got ahead of Button, meaning he had to do 61 laps on one set of tyres. Managed to hold off a More…

Posted on May 29, 2011


Sebastian Vettel won the Monaco Grand Prix after the race was red flagged and then restarted with only six laps to go. Fernando Alonso was second and Jenson Button third. It was a fascinating three way battle for the victory, with three completely different race strategies creating tremendous tension and excitement. Vettel was forced into stopping only once, managing to do almost 60 laps on a set of tyres. while Alonso took advantage of a safety car to make his second stop and jumped Button, who drove an attacking three stop strategy, but the safety car wrecked it for him. More…

Posted on May 29, 2011


After his ferocious accident yesterday, Sergio Perez was due to spend the night in hospital under observation, as doctors assess the concussion he suffered in particular. He escaped without any broken bones. The incident was particularly vivid for his team boss, Peter Sauber, who lived through a similar but far worse accident with Karl Wendlinger in 1994. The Wendlinger accident came a few weeks after the death of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola, a time when the sport was already feeling raw. Wendlinger was in a coma and, although he recovered and still races today in GT cars, More…

Posted on May 28, 2011


Lewis Hamilton has had his time from Q3 deleted by the stewards in Monaco as he missed the chicane. And speaking to TV reporters after the session he appeared to criticise his engineers for putting him in a vulnerable position, only doing one run at the end. Other teams have expressed surprise at McLaren’s tactics, as Monaco is famous for throwing up incidents. For that reason most teams planned two Q3 runs of two laps each in case a run or a first lap was compromised. The Englishman had been in the hunt for pole position, having set the fastest More…

Posted on May 28, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his first pole position at Monaco and the fifth of the season ahead of Jenson Button and Mark Webber. It is Vettel’s 20th career pole in just 68 races, equalling the total of Fernando Alonso, who has done 163 races. His time was 3/10ths of a second faster than last year’s pole at Monaco, set by Vettel’s team mate, Mark Webber. Once again it came about because of a massive step up in performance from Q2 to Q3, where Vettel found 7/10ths of a second from his Red Bull car. But qualifying was dominated by the accident More…

Posted on May 28, 2011


I observed a Monaco ritual this morning when I watched Free Practice 3 down by the swimming pool section of the track. It never fails to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck as you watch the drivers go flat through the first part of the corner, pushing out towards the barriers in search of a few extra hundredths of a second. To the naked eye the Red Bulls haven’t yet stuck it all on the line yet and I still sense that Webber is more comfortable up against the barriers than Vettel, whom Anthony Davidson More…

Posted on May 27, 2011


The High Court in London has ruled that Tony Fernandes’ Team Lotus does have the right to use the Team Lotus name in F1. Group Lotus has indicated that it is likely to appeal and the judge acknowledges that the ruling, which leaves two Lotus entities in F1, is confusing for fans. Both sides are claiming it as a win, when it leaves neither with all of what they needed. However Fernandes does not have the right to simply “Lotus” on its own and this could present some difficulties as the chassis is currently a Lotus. One could argue that More…

Posted on May 27, 2011


Flavio Briatore is at large in the Monaco paddock, his larger than life boat, Force Blue is moored in the harbour and he’s got some things to say about the current F1 scene. Currently still serving a ban for the Singapore race fixing scandal of 2008, Briatore is still involved behind the scenes in the management of Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. On the latter he has raised the question, speaking in today’s Gazetta dello Sport, of why it is that Webber has all the bad luck at Red Bull. With Webber this year noticeably keeping a lid on the More…

Posted on May 27, 2011


Buried deep in the transcript of yesterday’s FIA press conference at Monaco is an explanation from Red Bull’s Adrian Newey of why the FIA had to row back on the off-throttle exhaust ban they tried to introduce in Spain. Newey says that the Renault system is set up as it is to provide exhaust valve cooling and that to ban it with immediate effect would introduce a reliability issue, which would unfairly disadvantage them. He says that the methods others have used to get the same aerodynamic effect, do cross the line. Clearly the exhaust valve cooling was Renault’s argument More…

Posted on May 27, 2011


It’s a rest day at Monaco today. No F1 on track. This was sent to me on twitter by a reader and I loved it so thought I’d share. It’s the 1931 Monaco Grand Prix video, with some great lines of commentary, like the one about the race featuring lots of ‘accidents and burning cars’. It’s amazing to think how differently they considered danger back then. When the cars come down by the water side there are no barriers to stop them falling into the harbour! The race was won by local driver Louis Chiron, after whom the swimming pool More…

Posted on May 26, 2011


It’s a throwaway line, but amusing nevertheless. In today’s Gazzetta dello Sport Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey is asked how he feels to have caused Aldo Costa to lose his job. Costa was moved out of the role of technical director at Ferrari this week, as the team felt his technical leadership was not going to take the team to where it can compete with the dominant Red Bulls. Newey says, “It’s nothing to do with me, but I am sorry for Aldo.” He then asks reporter Pino Allievi who will make the Ferrari cars now and is told More…

Posted on May 26, 2011


The sun is shining, the harbour is full of big boats and the competition looks very exciting this weekend at the Monaco Grand Prix. You can tell that the drivers are really pumped up about this race and several of them have a chance as things look after the first day of practice. As the world pulls itself out of recession, there is a real buzz about Monaco this year. There are some monster boats bobbing in the harbour, the corporate execs are happy to be seen here again after wearing sack cloth and ashes for a year or two. More…

Posted on May 25, 2011


The Horse Whisperer, Ferrari’s legendary blogger, who is wheeled into action only occasionally on Ferrari.com to pump out usually quite feisty messages, has awoken this weekend. The target of its wrath is Spanish journalist Raul Romojaro of the leading Spanish sports paper AS, who wrote a piece saying that the president of Santander, Emilio Botin, had had harsh words with Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali during the recent Spanish Grand Prix weekend about the team’s performance. The article was picked up by the Italian media and caught my eye in today’s Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy, which brought it pretty More…

Posted on May 25, 2011


I’ve been talking to the race strategists from some of the teams the last couple of days and this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix is shaping up to be a very close affair, particularly between Red Bull and McLaren. At the last race in Spain the McLaren was actually the faster race car at several points in the Grand Prix and the Red Bull qualifying advantage – over a second in Spain – will be far less in Monaco as they will not be able to use the DRS wing in high speed corners, as they did in Barcelona. The championship More…

Posted on May 24, 2011


Four years after Ross Brawn left the team, Ferrari has once again decided to put its faith in an Anglo Saxon technical director. Aldo Costa, who was long groomed as Brawn’s successor, has been relieved of his post to be replaced by ex McLaren engineer Pat Fry. The 47 year old Englishman was brought in over the winter as deputy technical director. He was previously one of the senior engineers and designers at McLaren and he now assumes overall control of the chassis side of the technical operation. Luca Marmorini stays on as boss on the engine side and Corrado More…

Posted on May 24, 2011

The Strategy Report

This year’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona was widely heralded as one of the most exciting largely due to the way strategies played out, meaning that an intense battle for the lead developed in the final third of the race. Also we saw the pole sitter Mark Webber dropping to fourth place, Fernando Alonso, the leader on lap one, finishing in fifth place a lap down on the winner and the recovery of Jenson Button, from tenth place on lap one to finish on the podium thanks to a bold strategy variation. Pre race Strategies On paper going into the More…

Posted on May 24, 2011


I came across these two videos of two of F1′s leading drivers Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, formerly team mates at Williams. One is a video blog, the second that Rosberg has done from the back seat of his Mercedes limo as he speeds toward the private aviation terminal at the airport, no doubt. It’s good to get a driver to share his thoughts immediately after the race, like this. Rosberg reflects on Mercedes pace in the race and his own performance. He lost the start to his team mate Michael Schumacher and couldn’t get back in front. The other More…

Posted on May 23, 2011


The Spanish Grand Prix was a strange one for Ferrari, with Fernando Alonso rocketing into the lead at the start and then sliding backwards as the race went on, later to be lapped by the two leaders. He now lies 67 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship. There were a number of problems on Sunday for the Scuderia, but the main one was the car’s inability to generate heat and grip in the new hard Pirelli tyre. Alonso showed his determination to get a result for his home fans and to celebrate his new five year contract with More…

Posted on May 22, 2011


An action packed race in Spain means there are plenty of contenders for Driver of the Day, but who do you think deserves the accolade? Sebastian Vettel Saw his run of five consecutive pole positions come to an end when teammate Webber pipped him by 2/10ths in qualifying. Jumped the Australian at the start but lost the lead to a fast starting Alonso. But a superior strategy got him ahead of race leader Alonso at the second stops. Despite no KERS he held off a late charge from Hamilton to secure his fourth victory in five races this season. Lewis More…

Posted on May 22, 2011


Sebastian Vettel won his fourth race of the season – and extended his championship advantage to 41 points – in today’s Spanish Grand Prix, holding off a charging Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps. It was Vettel’s 14th career win and one of his most hard fought with Hamilton’s pressure very intense. Vettel did not have KERS for much of the race, yet another reliability issue which he had to deal with in qualifying and the race. Sooner or later that is going to really start costing them, especially as McLaren are right there on race pace. But he used More…

Posted on May 21, 2011


Mark Webber took his first pole position of the season for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, repeating his Barcelona pole of last season, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. The superiority of the Red Bull car was confirmed as the gap between Webber and Hamilton was a second. It was the first pole for the Australian since last September. However Vettel had a problem with his KERS in qualifying and was forced to run without using it, giving up around 4/10ths of a second. Webber’s margin over him was exactly 2/10ths. Fernando Alonso managed to split the McLarens for fourth More…

Posted on May 21, 2011


Further to the post earlier in the week about why the FIA is looking to clamp down on the way engines blow exhaust gases over the diffuser even when the driver lifts off the throttle, it was interesting to hear Charlie Whiting’s view on it last night. This is the second time this season that the FIA, now under a different press management team, has sat Charlie down and got him to give a media briefing. He has done a briefing for broadcasters at the start of each season for some years, but this is something to be encouraged. As More…

Posted on May 20, 2011


The situation surrounding the injury sustained by Renault F1′s Eric Lux at the hands of Force India driver Adrian Sutil in a Shanghai nightclub continues to fascinate the paddock. From Force India’s cryptic statement which fully supported their driver, for this race, to the last line of Lux’s lawyer’s press release which hinted that he would also be seeking redress from others who may have had an indirect involvement, the story has more twists and turns than this Catalunya circuit. Sutil’s manager Manfred Zimmerman has made some interesting comments to a couple of my German colleagues which are worth noting. More…

Posted on May 20, 2011


Today’s first day of practice at Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix showed a varied picture, with Red Bull over a second clear in first practice, but Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren pushing them hard over a single lap in the second session, ending up less than a tenth of a second down on Mark Webber. But Sebastian Vettel, who was third, has generally been a few tenths ahead of Webber in qualifying this season, so we’ve not necessarily seen the full picture today. All of the leading drivers set their fastest times on the first lap of a short run on More…

Posted on May 19, 2011


Another story to break today is the growing energy behind trying to run the postponed Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30, with India moving to the last race of the season on December 4. It’s fair to say that the teams feel uneasy about this for several reasons. First the moral question, with the obvious difficulties of walking into a highly political situation and endorsing an event which is a creation of the ruling regime. Some are more troubled by this than others. There is a security issue for the teams and drivers, but they would be likely to be More…

Posted on May 19, 2011


The news today that Fernando Alonso has signed a new five year contract keeping him with Ferrari until the end of 2016 has been met with an interesting reaction in the Barcelona paddock. Alonso himself appeared in the press conference and said that the whole process of contract renewal had taken only two weeks from start to finish. His reason for committing the rest of his career to the Scuderia was very clear, “I think the intention is to keep enjoying racing, ” he said. “For sure, I think I’m in the best team possible to fight for World Championships. More…

Posted on May 19, 2011


Fernando Alonso today committed his future to the Ferrari team, with a five year deal which will take him though to the age of 35. Alonso spoke of “ no doubt ending my F1 career” at Ferrari. Alonso, who narrowly missed out on last year’s world championship in his first year with the team, was praised by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as “a driver who has always demonstrated a winning mentality even in the most difficult circumstances,” a reference to the disastrous final round of 2010 in Abu Dhabi, where the strategy let him down, but also to his More…

Posted on May 18, 2011


Yesterday’s volte face by the FIA on the exhaust blown diffusers has sent out some confused messages to fans about what’s going on behind the scenes. I’ve been in touch with engineers and with the FIA today to get to the bottom of it and here’s my take on what’s happened here. The FIA’s Charlie Whiting sent out a letter to teams on Thursday May 12th telling them that the FIA planned to clamp down on the way the engines were used to generate exhaust gas pressure on the over-run, in other words when the driver lifts off the throttle. More…

Posted on May 18, 2011


Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne believes that the updates on its car, which will be rolled out in Spain this weekend, will be worth “about a second (per lap)”. Although no teams stand still in terms of development at this time of year, a second off Lotus’ lap time would put them into the midfield, around where Force India and Williams are and certainly into the second part of knockout qualifying. “It’s (the update) all built around the rear end,” says Gascoyne. “It’s a Red Bull style diffuser package. It’s a very big step, far bigger than you More…

Posted on May 17, 2011


I posted on Monday about how this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix will be the acid test for the new rules, because the Catalunya circuit is the worst of all the F1 permanent circuits to overtake on. I’ve since had some interesting data sent to me by Mercedes which goes into detail about what we have seen in the past in Spain in terms of overtaking and what we’ve seen this season with the DRS wing, KERS and Pirelli tyres. 16 of the 20 races held at the circuit have been won from pole position, including every one in the past More…

Posted on May 17, 2011


The British Racing Drivers’ Club today unveiled its £27 million new “Wing” – a state of the art pit building which puts the circuit on a par with most Grand Prix venues around the world. The Wing is the culmination of a painfully long and drawn out process stretching back over a decade with Bernie Ecclestone pressuring the BRDC to improve its facilities and the club making cautious steps so as to avoid financial ruin. Ecclestone was not present at today’s opening by HRH The Duke of Kent, but he sent a message, saying that the facilities set Silverstone up More…

Posted on May 16, 2011


Donald McRae, the award winning writer from the Guardian, has done it again with a groundbreaking interview with Adrian Newey, the design genius behind Red Bull’s current domination of Formula 1. But the quotes which catch the eye are not about Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber, they concern the death of Ayrton Senna, 17 years ago this month, in a Newey designed Williams-Renault car. “The little hair I had all fell out in the aftermath,” Newey told McRae for an article in today’s Guardian. “So it changed me physically. It was dreadful. Both Patrick Head and myself separately asked ourselves More…

Posted on May 16, 2011


A statement has just been released by Eric Lux, the co-owner of Genii Capital and therefore of the Renault F1 team, who was injured in an incident with Adrian Sutil on the evening after the Chinese Grand Prix. He says that he plans to press for criminal proceedings against the Force India driver, “Mr Eric Lux has decided to file a criminal complaint against Mister Adrian Sutil for physical assault and grievous bodily harm. “As soon as the complaint is registered, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the team Force India will be notified. “Furthermore, please note that Mr More…

Posted on May 16, 2011


I’m struck by the contrast in the start to the season of Sebastian Vettel has enjoyed compared to last year. He has reached 93 points already after 4 races, something it took him 9 races to achieve in 2010. A sixth place or better will take him past 100 points from five races. Also interesting is the stat about him leading team mate Mark Webber in qualifying by 4-0, which is quite surprising, given how the pair matched up last season. The difference this year is that Vettel has an edge over a single lap on these Pirelli tyres. He More…

Posted on May 13, 2011


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has made a strategically timed intervention in the saga of what happens next with F1′s commercial rights. It comes as rumours intensify that Montezemolo will meet with Daimler boss Dr Zetsche (ultimate boss of Mercedes) and Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns Red Bull as well as a representative of McLaren (likely to be Mansour Ojjeh) in Stuttgart this weekend to discuss the team’s next move. “I think we have to be very pragmatic. At the end of 2012, the contracts of every single team with CVC will expire. So, we have three alternatives,” di Montezemolo told More…

Posted on May 13, 2011


Here is something a bit different. There are two fundamentals without which F1 cars don’t run; tyres and fuel. There is a lot of talk at the moment about tyres, but not so much about fuels. Always keen to get closer to the details of how the sport works, I was given a chance recently to try my hand at blending F1 fuel on a visit to the Shell motorsport laboratory in Cheshire. It’s here that they blend the V Power racing fuel Ferrari use in F1. I knew that the rules were quite strict in terms of creating a More…

Posted on May 13, 2011


F1 drivers these days tend to keep strong opinions to themselves, not wishing to stick their heads above the parapet. Like all professional sportsmen they will speak out if another driver cuts them up on the track, or about a rule change which doesn’t suit the drivers, but when it comes to big issues they clam up. This is especially true in issues such as whether F1 should go to race in Bahrain in the current climate, for example. It is rare for a driver to have a go at his own team these days, as Rubens Barrichello has done More…

Posted on May 12, 2011


We’ve seen a few examples in recent days of F1 drivers, normally considered some of the most selfish individuals on the planet, using the platform of their fame to reach out for good causes. It is not new for drivers to lend their names to causes, but the scale of it, particularly on road safety, is interesting and suggests a trend whereby the drivers are becoming more ambassadorial. Mark Webber has led the drivers to help him raise money for Aussie V8 driver Jason Richards, who has a very rare form of cancer. He is currently undergoing treatments in Australia More…

Posted on May 10, 2011

The Strategy Report

The Turkish Grand Prix featured 82 pit stops, a new record for Formula 1 and some spectacular overtaking moves. It was quite a confusing race, which requires some decoding and there are some clear trends emerging which will have a big effect on the way the races happen from now on. It was also another race which was all about strategy; not just in terms of pit stops on race day, but further back than that, it was also about planning a strategy for the whole weekend and particularly for qualifying. After four races with new rules and new tyres, More…

Posted on May 10, 2011


Williams F1 team has announced its results for the 2010 financial year and it shows that while the team’s turnover has shrunk from £108.3 million to £91 million – a drop of 8.5%, its profits increased by 28% from £4.5 million to £5.8 million. At the same time it has announced that it is collaborating with Jaguar, now owned by Tata Motors, on the hybrid supercar, C-X75. The team floated some of the shares on the Franfurt stock exchange in March, the method by which founder and engineering boss Patrick Head could make his exit. These have fluctuated quite a More…

Posted on May 9, 2011


Michael Schumacher cut quite a forlorn figure in Turkey at the weekend. And after the race he confirmed that impression when he admitted that he wasn’t really enjoying his racing at the moment, “The big joy is not there right now,” he said. The seven times world champion seemed to be relishing the improved competitiveness of the Mercedes car in free practice, but wasn’t able to deliver the expected lap time in Q3 when it mattered. In Q1 he was just over a tenth off team mate Nico Rosberg’s best time and it was all looking good. I was even More…

Posted on May 9, 2011


While Sebastian Vettel secured a pole-to-flag victory in Istanbul, it was all-action further down the field with several drivers showing impressive form. Who was your Driver of the Day? Sebastian Vettel Crashed heavily in wet conditions during Friday’s first practice and lost valuable running time. However, he recovered impressively in qualifying to secure pole position with just one run, crucially saving an extra set of tyres for Sunday. Made a good start and controlled the race, pitting late on for a fresh set of tyres to cover off his rivals and secure victory. It was his third win out of More…

Posted on May 8, 2011


As the fallout from Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix comes in, it’s clear that this race was a bit too much. It featured 82 pit stops and countless passes assisted by the Drag Reduction System wing which were too easy in the eyes of the fans and of the drivers as well. I picked up a distinct undercurrent from drivers after the race that they hadn’t enjoyed being able to sail past each other in the DRS zone which was half way down the high speed straight leading to Turn 12. We saw many passes where the driver who was unable More…

Posted on May 8, 2011


Sebastian Vettel won the Turkish Grand Prix with something to spare today, leading from pole position and staying “very much in control” as he put it. It was Vettel’s 13th career victory, his third of the season and his 6th win in the last 8 races. Mark Webber finished second and Fernando Alonso third. In front of a thin, but better crowd than in recent years, it was a day on which team strategists told their drivers to move to Plan B, meaning four pit stops rather than the planned three, because tyre wear was significant due to the loads More…

Posted on May 8, 2011


This weekend has seen the News Corp story move on a little, with comments from FOTA president Martin Whitmarsh on Friday and Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday. In today’s Gazetta dello Sport one of the men bidding to buy the sport has made some comments too. John Elkann is Gianni Agnelli’s grandson and he runs Exor the Agnelli family investment business, which owns Ferrari. Elkann has joined forces with James Murdoch to explore a move to buy the F1 commercial rights, a move which the parties announced last week. This in itself surprised many people, it’s not common practice to announce More…

Posted on May 7, 2011


Sebastian Vettel made it four pole in four races, by setting the fastest time in qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, doing only one run in the final part of qualifying. It is his 19th career pole position and he is the first man to take the first four poles of the year since Mika Hakkinen in 1999. His Red Bull team mate Mark Webber was second on the grid, four tenths behind, but ahead of Nico Rosberg, the first time a Mercedes driver has been in the top three this season. All three men saved a new set of More…

Posted on May 7, 2011


Pirelli’s impact on F1 has been impressive this season. Despite negative noises from drivers during winter testing, where at times it looked like F1 could be more about pit stops than about racing, the first three races have provided real variety in strategy and the feeling after the Chinese Grand Prix is that the balance was about right. What is really exciting for me about this season is that F1 has done something that it has always found it hard to do and that is unlearn something that it’s learned. In aerodynamics, electronics and all areas of F1 car performance More…

Posted on May 7, 2011


Ferrari have been worth watching this weekend, as they attempt to claw back ground lost to their rivals at the start of the season. And team boss Stefano Domenicali said that the turnaround won’t happen over night, but that the target is to have a winning car in Canada. On Friday they ran a wide range of new parts on the car, some for use this weekend, others for possible use in Barcelona in a fortnight. There was a new front wing, with many detail changes from the previous model, a rear wing, which seems to have got the thumbs More…

Posted on May 6, 2011


FOTA held a press briefing this afternoon in the top floor of the McLaren motorhome to look back on what has been achieved so far and to look forward to what lies ahead. It was an interesting hour, with recently re-elected chairman Martin Whitmarsh doing most of the talking, backed up by his newly elected vice chairman Eric Boullier of Renault. Inevitably seventy five percent of the content was about the News Corp/Exor takeover story. In their press release this week the two companies said that “Over the coming weeks and months, EXOR and News Corporation will approach potential minority More…

Posted on May 6, 2011


Here is the video of Tuesday night’s JA on F1 screening of the Senna movie in London, featuring contributions from Sir Jackie Stewart, Martin Brundle, Prof Watkins and the driver whom Senna described as his greatest rival – kart champion Terry Fullerton. It reflects the emotion of the evening and gives a flavour of a memorable event, which played out to an audience of 320 people and raised money for the GP Mechanics Trust. Thanks to all the JA on F1 readers who came and who contributed.

Posted on May 5, 2011


The grey overcast skies and light drizzle in the Istanbul paddock make for a lifeless, gloomy sort of atmosphere. Drivers huddle in their rain jackets, stepping over puddles on their way from garage to motorhome. The latest forecast is for it to improve from Saturday, which is a relief. Add in the total lack of crowd or any kind of buzz around the event and F1 seems to be in a sterile bubble this weekend, going about its business behind closed doors. But it still has to put on a show and luckily there is a lot going on in More…

Posted on May 4, 2011


The last 24 hours have seen some interesting twists in the story of a possible takeover of Formula 1 by News Corporation. Last night we had a joint statement from News Corp and Exor, the Agnelli family company which owns a stake in FIAT and Ferrari, saying that they were “in the early stages of exploring the possibility of creating a consortium with a view to formulating a long-term plan for the development of Formula One in the interests of the participants and the fans.” They added, “Over the coming weeks and months, Exor and News Corporation will approach potential More…

Posted on May 4, 2011


Last night JA on F1 hosted a screening of Senna, the award winning documentary at the Curzon Mayfair, to an audience of 320 people; fans, F1 insiders, ex Senna mechanics and ex drivers. The evening was introduced by Sir Jackie Stewart. The evening was supported by TAG Heuer and all proceeds went to the Grand Prix Mechanics Trust. After the screening we did a Q&A session with the film makers Asif Kapadia and Manish Pandey and there were contributions from Senna’s rival in F3 Martin Brundle, Dave Ryan, the ex McLaren team manager, Clive Hicks and Kenny Szmanski who were More…

Posted on May 3, 2011


Williams has announced details of the long expected changes to its technical department, with the controversial appointment as chief engineer of Mike Coughlan, who was centrally involved in the McLaren/Ferrari Spygate scandal of 2007. Williams chairman Adam Parr said that the team needs “a fresh approach”. Sam Michael has resigned after 11 years as Technical Director and will leave the team at the end of the season. His short term role will be to oversee development of the 2011 car to unlock its potential, which has not been seen to date. The team will evaluate Coughlan’s suitability to become Technical More…

Posted on May 2, 2011


Tomorrow night we have the JA on F1 screening of the Sundance Award winning documentary movie “Senna”, followed by a Q&A with director Asif Kapadia and writer Manish Pandey. The event, which is supported by TAG Heuer and in aid of the GP Mechanics Trust, sold out in 45 minutes when the tickets went on sale back in March. There will be some special guests from Senna’s career there including mechanics and rivals and a special message from someone very close to him. The film goes on general release in the UK on June 3rd. A video of tomorrow night’s More…

Posted on May 2, 2011


It pains many in Formula 1 to see the Williams team’s difficult start to the season. Around for over 30 years, responsible for some of the most celebrated moments of F1 history, they are still popular with millions of fans and are many people’s second favourite team. But there is no getting away from the fact that the beginning of 2011 has not been kind to them. Like Ferrari and Mercedes they are a team which looked better in pre-season testing than in the races and, like Ferrari and Mercedes, the pressure is on to fix it, starting this weekend More…



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