Posted on June 30, 2011


FOTA Fans’ Forum, UK. Part 2: Drivers by James Allen on F1 You can listen to all of the audio from this afternoon’s FOTA Fans’ Forum discussion involving Lewis Hamilton and Kamui Kobayashi on the SoundCloud link above. Predictably, fans’ questions largely revolved around their prowess in overtaking. Although one fan asked Hamilton what question he would ask Ayrton Senna if he had the chance. “I’d ask him how he managed to qualify a second ahead of the rest in Monaco that time,” said Hamilton. Both drivers agreed that of the three aids to overtaking in F1 today, KERS tyres More…

Posted on June 30, 2011


The third FOTA Fans Forum took place today at McLaren’s Technology Centre in Woking, England, organised by JA on F1 and FOTA. The event, which was supported by Santander, was attended by 300 people, the majority of them F1 fans. The event had been five times oversubscribed. They had the chance to put questions and points of view to three panels of team personnel, including Ross Brawn, Kamui Kobayashi and Lewis Hamilton. The subjects under discussion included overtaking, TV coverage, F1 and new media and the 2014 engine regulations. There was lively discussion and some strong views. Roughly a third More…

Posted on June 30, 2011


An audience of 300 will hear from Lewis Hamilton, Kamui Kobayashi, Martin Whitmarsh, Ross Brawn and some of F1′s leading engineers today at the FOTA Fans’ Forum, sponsored by Santander, which is being hosted at the McLaren Technology Centre, starting at 11am UK time. This the third FOTA Fans Forum and the second of the 2011 season after a successful event in Montreal last month. A third event is planned for Italy in September. The Fans Forum concept began on this website with fans sending questions and views on F1. I started forwarding some questions and suggestions to FOTA and More…

Posted on June 29, 2011


There has been a lot of talk lately about engine mapping, what with the changes made for Valencia and for Silverstone. In Valencia the FIA outlawed the changing of engine maps between qualifying and the race, while from Silverstone onwards teams will have to rework engine maps and throttles so that there is no more than 10% throttle opening blowing exhaust through the diffuser when the driver lifts of the throttle pedal. We’ve all got very carried away with talk of engine maps, but one reader, Gondokmg, from South Africa, pulled us up and asked us to explain. He posted More…

Posted on June 28, 2011

The Strategy Report

The European Grand Prix at Valencia was the least exciting race of the season so far from the point of view of spectacle. But from a race strategy point of view it was quite interesting. It was less frantic than some of the races we have experienced so far this year and, surprisingly, there was no safety car. As a result the teams had some time to consider their options during the race. Many had planned to do the race on a two-stop strategy, which on paper was eight seconds faster than a three-stop, assuming you had a trouble-free run More…

Posted on June 28, 2011


Williams has recruited two new senior engineers as it faces up to a new future under the technical direction of Mike Coughlan. They have hired the highly regarded Mark Gillan as Chief Operations Engineer. Gillan worked at Jaguar Racing and Red Bull before quitting F1 to take up a professorship at the University of Surrey. He starts work on October 1 and will be in action from the Japanese Grand Prix onwards. Also announced today is the new head of aerodynamics, Jason Somerville, an ex Williams employee who has been at Toyota and Renault in recent years. He starts work More…

Posted on June 27, 2011


The documentary film about three times world champion Ayrton Senna continues to be a massive success in the UK, with box office gross takings in excess of £2.5 million. In the next few days it will overtake the film “Touching the Void” as the most successful UK-produced documentary and Number 3 in the all time UK box office records for documentary. And the good news is that the success of the film has made movie distributors Universal expand the film’s programme; this week it is showing on over 300 screens in the UK. The reason for the success of the More…

Posted on June 26, 2011


Sebastian Vettel Pulled together a near perfect lap to secure his seventh pole position in eight races this season. Made a clean getaway at the start and controlled the race from the front. Though he never pulled out a big gap, the German looked to be driving well within himself all race and never looked troubled as he secured his sixth victory of the season. The win extends his championship lead to 77 points – that’s more than the equivalent of three race victories. Fernando Alonso Looked competitive throughout Friday practice and qualified fourth place on the grid. Passed Lewis More…

Posted on June 26, 2011


Sebastian Vettel dominated the European Grand Prix in Valencia, his sixth win from pole of the 2011 season and extended his championship lead to 77 points. A week short of his 24th birthday, he gave himself a present of pole position, win and fastest lap and he has the championship in his hands. It was also a great response to critics after he made a rare mistake on the last lap in Montreal two weeks ago. He also became the first man to finish either first or second in the first eight races of the season. He has only dropped More…

Posted on June 26, 2011


On Tuesday John Surtees will be in Maranello with Ferrari, the team with whom he won the 1964 world championship, doing a variety of activities. Surtees remains the only man to win the world championship on both two wheels and four, something which as a keen biker myself I still find unbelievable. Of course there was no downforce on the cars then, as there is today, so the difference between disciplines was probably a little less, but it’s a mind blowing achievement. One of Surtees’ tasks in Maranello will be to record a short video for JA on F1 readers More…

Posted on June 25, 2011


Qualifying for the European Grand Prix featured an anti-climactic end, with most of the front runners not completing their second runs and only one driver, Mark Webber, making an improvement on his final run. Meanwhile two drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil choosing not to set a timed lap in order to save a set of new soft tyres for the race and have a free choice of what tyre to start the race on. Michael Schumacher found himself in the position of setting no time in Monaco and many teams were unsure of how the rules would be applied. More…

Posted on June 25, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his seventh pole position of the season, ahead of team mate Mark Webber, showing that the FIA’s mid season rule changes to engine maps have had little effect on his or Red Bull’s competitiveness. It was the 22nd pole position of his career and the ninth in the last 11 races. Lewis Hamilton qualified third. The German was on imperious form, setting the fastest time in both the second and final parts of qualifying. But after a tricky start to the session, it was a strong finish by Webber who ended up only a tenth and a More…

Posted on June 25, 2011


Spare a thought for Paul di Resta this weekend; the Scot finds himself in an unenviable position going into qualifying and the race after his car was crashed in Friday morning practice at Valencia by reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg. Di Resta did only three times laps at the end of the second session. It puts Di Resta at quite a serious disadvantage, as he has not been able to do any set up work, nor assess the new medium Pirelli tyre. As it’s a street circuit, he also has the problem of building up to the limit, where having those More…

Posted on June 24, 2011


Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Juan Manuel Fangio, the five times world champion racer from the 1950s. Fangio raced for Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and won two world titles with Mercedes-Benz, the last time they were in F1 in 1954 and 1955. He once had a playful debate with Ayrton Senna on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix 1993 about who was the greatest F1 driver of all time. Each was proposing it was the other. Fangio is the source of one of the most poignant quotes I’ve come across about what makes a racer, More…

Posted on June 24, 2011


On the eve of the European Grand Prix at Valencia, Fernando Alonso said all is not lost in his and Ferrari’s quest to win the world championship this year, but admitted that the team was having “a very bad year.” He also said that his own performance is as strong as at any time in his career and compared his performances to his team mate Felipe Massa, “These seven races.. I think I drove the best seven races of my career, with the best qualifying laps, compared to my teammate, compared to last year,” he said. After a slow start More…

Posted on June 23, 2011


Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari was speaking today about his season so far and batting away questions about whether he is likely to be moved aside in order for Daniel Ricciardo to be given a chance to do a race weekend, or maybe a series of them. “I think it is interesting as he (Ricciardo) gets to try different things on the car and at the end, still this year, I did not find the best way to improve the car, the performance, and am just still learning about the set-up, about the tyres, about so many things on the More…

Posted on June 23, 2011


Following on from yesterday’s story about the F1 teams and governing body compromising on the future engine regulations by deciding to adopt V6 turbo engines rather than in line 4 cylinder turbos, we got a good question from long time reader Jose Arellano, “Why not limit the total amount of C.C and let them do whatever number of cylinders they want?” This is a great question to which I didn’t know the answer so we put it to Cosworth’s F1 General Manager Mark Gallagher, an old friend of the JA on F1 site and here is his response. Mark Gallagher More…

Posted on June 22, 2011


As expected the F1 Commission, which met today, has delayed the introduction of a new engine formula to 2014, rather than 2013. And compromise seems to have been reached on the layout, with the 1.6 litre turbocharged engines likely to be V6 rather than in-line 4 cylinders, to which Ferrari was vehemently opposed, among others. This looks like a sensible compromise to me. I was struck by the strength of opposition from fans to the 4 cylinder units at the recent FOTA Fans Forum we hosted in Montreal. As far as I know, the other elements of the new engine More…

Posted on June 22, 2011


Welcome to version 2.0 of the JA on F1 website. It has some exciting new features, which I believe it will take the site to a new level. We’ve done a redesign, as you can see, but the main component parts of the homepage are the same as before. It’s still all about the content and the interaction with fans, with the aim of giving you a better insight into F1 and bringing you closer to the sport. What’s new is the Teams section. The plan is to have a page for each of the teams, where fans of that More…

Posted on June 20, 2011


Not surprisingly the stories beginning to swirl around Ferrari being interested in Jenson Button have led to McLaren suggesting that they plan to offer an improved deal starting at the end of his current contract in January 2013. They have let it be known, via Autosport.com today, that they will be looking to tie up a renewal quickly with the 2009 champion. Button is having a very good year, driving very well and lying second in the championship with a win under his belt from Canada. He’s even talking about being able to challenge Sebastian Vettel for the title this More…

Posted on June 20, 2011


Yesterday’s story in the Sunday Times that the BBC is thinking of dropping its coverage of F1 has certainly lit a blue touchpaper. Printed as it was in a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which has announced that it is looking at a joint bid for F1′s commercial rights with the Agnelli owned Exor group, this has added another dimension to the story and put the subject of the commercial model for TV coverage centre stage. As someone who has worked in TV for over 20 years, I’ve seen plenty of shifts of emphasis within networks, as executives More…

Posted on June 19, 2011


The FIA Technical Working Group met at the end of the week to rubber stamp the FIA’s ban of off-throttle blown diffusers. They also discussed how the ban can be policed. They also accepted that from next season the whole concept of blown diffusers goes out of the window. From Silverstone this year onwards engine makers will be limited to using just 10% of engine over-run when the driver is off the accelerator. This will kill of the current practice of blowing high pressure exhaust gas through the diffuser when the driver lifts off the throttle – ie in corners More…

Posted on June 18, 2011


On Friday I had lunch with Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar in London, along with journos from Reuters, the Telegraph and Autosport. It was the first opportunity to speak to Bahar since the High Court judgement over the use of the Lotus name in Formula 1. Although the judge upheld Group Lotus withdrawing the licence it issued to Tony Fernandes’ 1 Malaysia Group to use the Lotus name in F1, the main judgement did not go the way Bahar and Group Lotus had hoped, with the judge upholding Tony Fernandes’ right to use the name Team Lotus in F1. Fernandes More…

Posted on June 18, 2011


F1 Rocks returns to the Grand Prix circuit next weekend with a concert on Friday night by electronic musician David Guetta. And we’ve been given two pairs of tickets to the gig to give away. F1 Rocks started as an adjunct to Formula 1 Grands Prix in 2009 at Singapore. The idea is to bring together music stars and F1 stars, sprinkle a bit of showbiz glamour onto the F1 scene and a TV highlights package is produced and distributed around the world. It’s all part of an outreach programme to take F1 to a younger audience and to try More…

Posted on June 16, 2011


You’ll have to be quick to take advantage of this opportunity, as today we are announcing the latest initiative in the FOTA Fans Forum programme; a UK event at the McLaren Technology Centre on June 30th. The Fans Forum is a unique opportunity for F1 fans to meet face to face with the competitors to ask questions and put across their points of view on the sport they love. As with the recent Montreal Forum we will break the 90 minute programme into three parts: PART 1: THE BIG PICTURE This segment will focus on The Show, and how to More…

Posted on June 16, 2011


I posted recently about the visual symbolism at work at the Montana Restaurant, next to Ferrari’s Fiorano test track, with Fernando Alonso’s presence increasingly clear. Here is the video I shot there on the night, which gives a better idea. In that post I forgot to mention that on that two day visit, organised by Shell to highlight their technical partnership with Ferrari, which traces its origins back to the very beginning of the Scuderia, we also visited the race bays in the F1 factory, where the cars are prepared. On the walls there are a number of large photos More…

Posted on June 15, 2011


Team Lotus announced yesterday that it has closed a deal with General Electric as a “premium partner” of the F1 team and it’s worth taking a closer look at this deal which will put sponsorship money into the team, offer technological support and potentially provide an interesting media platform in the USA and elsewhere. GE has worked with Team Lotus team principal Tony Fernandes’ Air Asia business in the past and this is one of those deals which had been pending, waiting for an outcome in the nine month legal battle with Malaysian government backed Group Lotus. The judge in More…

Posted on June 15, 2011


The Mobil 1 seat swap footage is now out, with various content from Watkins Glen in upstate New York. Lewis Hamilton, fresh from his nightmare weekend in Montreal, was driving Tony Stewart’s Chevrolet Impala, while Stewart climbed into the cockpit of the McLaren MP4-23, the car from 2008, Hamilton’s title winning year. Despite some fairly mixed weather, the pair seem to have enjoyed experiencing each others’ machinery on the long course at “The Glen”, which is a 3.4-mile road course. There is a deeper strategic play going on here. The seat swap is quite timely and is part of the More…

Posted on June 14, 2011

The Strategy Report

By common consent, the Canadian Grand Prix this year was an absolute classic. It had everything; great racing, safety cars, rain, collisions and some very tight strategy calls, often with little data with which to work. The strategists were really tested on Sunday and it made for a fascinating race. Jenson Button won despite a drive through penalty, five pits stops, two collisions and a whole lap with a puncture. Even more incredible is to look at it like this; in the 70 lap race there were only 38 racing laps in total. The other 32 were safety car laps. More…

Posted on June 13, 2011


Here is a video with Part 2 of the FOTA Fans Forum in Montreal, featuring F1 drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Hulkenberg as well as Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne discussing the stewards’ decisions on overtakes, collisions and “racing incidents” this year and also explaining to fans why F1 changes technical rules mid season, such as the blown diffuser, part of which looks set to be banned from Silverstone onwards.

Posted on June 13, 2011


Once we finally got underway, there were thrills and spills from start to finish at a rain-soaked Montreal, but who stole the show in your eyes? Jenson Button Qualified a disappointing seventh, two places behind team-mate Hamilton, and picked up a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane while the first safety car was deployed. Clashed with Hamilton on the start-finish, forcing the latter out of the race. Then hit Alonso, forcing the Ferrari driver out. Picked up a puncture as a result, dropping him to the back of the field. Delivered a supreme fight back, passing championship leader More…

Posted on June 13, 2011


As the rain lashed the Montreal circuit yesterday, forcing the race to be stopped, all of the leading drivers knew that this day was an opportunity. Canada often presents them. Admittedly Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who has dominated the season so far, was in the driving seat at that stage, but with constantly changing conditions, safety cars and chaos, there was a chance to make something happen. As Jenson Button did. But by that stage Lewis Hamilton already had no chance to affect the outcome, having had another messy race in which Emerson Fittipaldi’s verdict that he is “too aggressive More…

Posted on June 12, 2011


Jenson Button won an astonishing Canadian Grand Prix with a last lap pass on Sebastian Vettel, who made a mistake when leading. After two high pressure finishes in Spain and Monaco where he held on, Vettel made a mistake under pressure this time and you could tell that it hurt him. He extended his championship lead to 60 points, with Button moving into second place in the table, but it was scant consolation; everything has been going right for Vettel so far this year, but today he came unstuck. It was Button’s 10th career victory and his first since China More…

Posted on June 12, 2011


The Formula 1 teams have been on notice for a few weeks that the practice of “hot blowing” and “cold blowing” exhaust through the diffusers is to be banned and yesterday the FIA confirmed that this would take effect from Silverstone onwards. Meanwhile the whole concept of blown diffusers will be banned in 2012 as new rules will insist that the exhausts exit out of the back of the car, as in the past. The Technical Working Group, which consists of the FIA’s Charlie Whiting and engineers from all the teams, will meet this week to decide exactly how to More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


Here is a short video with a highlight of the first part of the FOTA Fans Forum from Montreal, featuring McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh and Renault boss Eric Boullier. In a unique face to face meeting, US and Canadian F1 Fans were given the chance to set the agenda and give their points of view. This clip starts with a fan, Tristan Baker, asking the team bosses what they say to fans who do not like the idea of the proposed 4 cylinder turbo engines for 2013. Watch the video then leave your comment below and please vote in the More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole in seven races and the 21st of his career at the Canadian Grand Prix. It was a close session with the Ferraris looking very competitive with Alonso and Massa right on Vettel’s tail. Mark Webber was fourth for Red Bull having lost the morning practice session to a KERS problem and it was not overcome before qualifying. So for him to be only 4/10ths off Vettel’s pace which is probably slightly less than KERS is worth, is a positive outcome for the Australian. The McLarens were not as competitive as expected with Lewis Hamilton More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


On Thursday night the FOTA Fans Forum took place in Montreal, offering fans from Canada and the USA a chance to meet face to face with the competitors in the sport they love and to ask questions and put their points of view across. Here is the full audio soundtrack of Part Two of the evening, which features Team Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, and driver Heikki Kovalainen as well as Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg addressing questions and points for view from fans including overtaking, DRS wings, Pirelli tyres, banning technology mid-season, tyre saving in qualifying and the More…

Posted on June 11, 2011


Last night the FOTA Fans Forum took place in Montreal, offering fans from Canada and the USA a chance to meet face to face with the competitors in the sport they love and to ask questions and put their points of view across. Here is the full audio soundtrack of Part One of the evening, which features McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh and Renault’s Eric Boullier addressing topics including Bahrain, the 2013 engine rules, and the importance of the US to Formula 1. Montreal Fans’ Forum – part 1 by James Allen on F1

Posted on June 10, 2011


The first day of practice for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix saw four drivers hit the walls and a spate of Red Flag stoppages. In morning practice world champion Sebastian Vettel had a big impact with the “wall of champions” on the outside of the final corner, badly damaging the right side of his car. This wall has claimed Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Jenson Button among others over the years. Then in the 90 minute afternoon session Adrian Sutil hit the wall, breaking his left front suspension and then Kamui Kobayashi and Jerome D’Ambrosio both went in hard More…

Posted on June 10, 2011


One of the interesting threads from Thursday night’s FOTA Fans Forum in Montreal was in the final session, where Williams boss Adam Parr together with McLaren marketing guru John Allert and Ferrari’s head of communications Luca Colajanni discussed the impact of social media, particularly Twitter on F1 in general and their teams in particular. Colajanni made a particularly striking point about why the Ferrari drivers are not permitted to use Twitter, Here’s a transcript of the discussion, John Allert, McLaren: “Twitter is a terrific medium for F1. It’s a dangerous medium for any sport because we’ve seen it backfire on More…

Posted on June 10, 2011


Following on from the success of last year’s FOTA Fans’ Forum in London, last night saw the first of the 2011 events at Montreal with an audience of 240 knowledgeable and enthusiastic Canadian and American fans. The 90 minute discussion allowed fans to come face to face with the competitors in the sport they love and to ask questions and put across their points of view. The event, organised in conjunction with US based Grand Prix Tours, featured lively discussion about the Bahrain Grand Prix, the new style racing with high levels of overtaking and advice from fans on how More…

Posted on June 10, 2011


Last night the organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix issued a statement accepting that it will not be possible to stage the race this year and focussing their efforts on getting ready to host the sport in March 2012. In many ways this is what the organisers and the government there should have sought to do from the outset, rather than push for an Autumn date this season. With so much going on there, and with uncertainty in the outside world about the extent of the troubles, it was always going to be problematic to try to hold the race More…

Posted on June 9, 2011


Lewis Hamilton was right at the centre of things in the early stages of the Montreal race weekend. He took part in the FIA press conference and was obliged to explain his behaviour in Monaco, where he criticised the FIA stewards and fellow drivers and what he had done about it afterwards. Hamilton said that he had been home and had a rest and time to reflect on his words and actions last week. He wrote a letter to FIA president Jean Todt apologising for his words about the stewarding, and accusations that the FIA stewards pick on him. It More…

Posted on June 9, 2011


The analysis of the way the teams are likely to approach this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix shows that qualifying will have little importance and it will be all about running your fastest race, as overtaking is set to be very easy with the double DRS zone. But analysis of the driver’s start performance, a key factor in race strategy, shows that after six races Mark Webber is the worst starter in the field, having dropped 11 places so far. As his margin behind team mate Sebastian Vettel has grown this season, from hundredths of a second to tenths, he can More…

Posted on June 8, 2011


Although he has started less than half as many races, Sebastian Vettel has now equalled Fernando Alonso’s 20 pole positions, has passed Lewis Hamilton’s pole tally easily and with his win on Sunday he equalled Hamilton’s total of 14 wins. The events of Monaco weekend showed that this is all rather hard to take for Hamilton, as it was for Alonso before him. The three men stand head and shoulders above the other F1 drivers in terms of their quality and their dominance of the sport. This year Vettel has the faster car and has made good use of it More…

Posted on June 7, 2011


The F1 teams have written to the FIA, FOM and the Bahrain Grand Prix organisers, stating their collective position regarding Friday’s FIA World Council decision regarding Bahrain. Having deliberated on it yesterday, the teams collectively, via the channel of the F1 Teams Association (FOTA – which does not include HRT), is understood to have said that they are unwilling to race in Bahrain on October 30th, as was decided by the WMSC and feel that the Indian Grand Prix should be restored to that date, as originally scheduled in the 2011 calendar. It was reported earlier today that the teams More…

Posted on June 7, 2011


The film about the life of Ayrton Senna has broken the record for the highest grossing opening weekend for a documentary film in British cinema history. And its success means that more cinemas will start showing it from next week. The film opened in UK cinemas on Friday June 3rd and took $614,000 for the weekend (£375,000), which is a new record for a documentary. For comparison the acclaimed documentary “Touching the void” had gross sales of less than a third of Senna in its opening weekend. Senna has received rave reviews from critics, with Jeremy Clarkson calling it “unmissable” More…

Posted on June 7, 2011


The situation over the reinstatement of the Bahrain Grand Prix has been thrown into some confusion by the intervention of Bernie Ecclestone, who appears now to be urging the teams to revolt against the FIA’s decision last week. The decision by the FIA World Council, on which Ecclestone sat – as did Ferrari – has been heavily criticised by fans and commentators alike. On this site 92% of a sample of 4,000 fans said that the FIA had been wrong to reinstate the race. FIA president Jean Todt has explained that the federation acted on the basis of a report More…

Posted on June 6, 2011


Here, as promised, is the video of my drive at the Fiorano test track last week in a Ferrari 458 Italia. I posted on Thursday night about the experience, which was organised by Shell, who are partners with Ferrari both in racing and road car development. The video gives a small insight into the teaching process that the instructors from the Pilota Ferrari school take you through and the way they focus on improving specific areas of your driving. It is a fantastic car – exciting to drive but forgiving at the same time. Readers who saw the post on More…

Posted on June 5, 2011


There has not been any reaction yet from the Formula 1 teams to Friday’s FIA World Council announcements on the Bahrain Grand Prix being reinstated. It is likely that they will discuss the developments at the start of next week and may even respond before travelling to Montreal for the next race. Not for the first time, Montreal is likely to be the setting for an intense weekend of politics. Several teams, including Red Bull, Renault, Virgin and Sauber issued press releases after Friday’s announcement, but these mostly featured only preview material for the Canadian Grand Prix, without making any More…

Posted on June 5, 2011


A month ago I posted a video based on a visit I made to the Shell F1 fuels laboratory in Cheshire, England, where I got the chance to mix some F1 fuel and see what went into it. This post prompted many questions from readers about F1 fuels and while I was at Maranello this week with Ferrari, I took the opportunity to put some of these questions to the experts; Cara Tredget and Mike Evans, who are responsible for Shell’s F1 activities with Ferrari. Here are their answers. By the way, if you are wondering what the setting is More…

Posted on June 4, 2011


Red Bull driver Mark Webber has been the first Formula 1 competitor, either team or driver, to make a statement about the FIA’s decision yesterday to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix on October 30th. Writing on his own website he said that he personally is fearful of travelling to the country to compete in an event which has been singled out by protesters as a rallying point for dissent. “As a competitor I do not feel at all comfortable going there to compete in an event when, despite reassurances to the contrary, it seems inevitable that it will cause more More…

Posted on June 4, 2011


On my visit to Maranello this week organised by Shell, I was lucky enough to have dinner at Montana restaurant, which is right next to the Fiorano test track and which is like a canteen to Ferrari’s drivers and management. Montana is a key piece in Ferrari folklore – on the walls are helmets and signed sheets from all the key drivers in Ferrari’s history as well as others like Nelson Piquet. In the era of the Dream Team, it was a key part of the reason for the success as exiles like Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Jean Todt More…

Posted on June 3, 2011


The FIA World Motor Sport council today decided unanimously to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix, after postponing it earlier this year due to civil unrest. It is a very big decision and one that will cause a mixed reaction. It will surely resonate well beyond the boundaries of motor sport or of sport in general. Bernie Ecclestone has argued that money is not the reason the race is back on and has argued that F1 does not want to get involved in politics, but inevitably this is a case of “in not choosing we choose”. It was very important to More…

Posted on June 2, 2011


The second day of my visit to Ferrari at Maranello was spent at the Fiorano test track driving 458 Italia cars with the Corse Clienti staff. As you can imagine it was an amazing day – the first time I’ve had a chance to drive on the Fiorano test track which sits right next to the Ferrari F1 factory. I’ve been to Fiorano many times, but there was always an F1 car pounding around testing. Those days are gone now. Instead the circuit is used for things like the Ferrari Driver Academy, which brings on young drivers using two year More…

Posted on June 2, 2011


Renault team principal Eric Boullier did an interview in l’Equipe newspaper at the weekend, which contained some interesting lines that did not get wide circulation. They deserve deeper consideration as they appear to hint that some key personnel changes are imminent. Under the headline “We miss Robert,” the 37 year old Boullier starts out by saying that the team lacks race management and points to Robert Kubica’s leadership qualities as something that are sorely missing, “Robert put himself in a leadership role,” he says. “He’s a demanding driver, who knows what he can deliver and what he wants from the More…

Posted on June 2, 2011


I’m on a visit to Maranello for a few days organised by Shell and last night had the chance to go into the Gestione Sportiva, where we spoke with Matteo Binotto, who is in charge of the engine department. I was last there about eight or nine years ago and it has shrunk a bit in the interim with the engine restrictions in place there is no need for as many people – or engines – as in the Schumacher days. Roughly half of the space is dedicated to building the race engines for the Scuderia as well as for More…

Posted on June 1, 2011


If you are attending next week’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, here’s your chance to meet face to face with leading figures from the sport; team principals, engineers and drivers at the FOTA Fans Forum in Montreal on Thursday June 9th at 6pm at the Omni Mont-Royal Hotel, 1050 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal. The FOTA Fans Forum, launched last summer at a pioneer event in London, is a unique opportunity for the fans and the sport to come together and exchange ideas. In no other sport do the competitors engage with the fans in this direct way. Fans will have More…



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