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…



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