Posted on January 31, 2012


The forthcoming season is unquestionably an important one for Ferrari, and with just a few days to go until the launch of their 2012 car, the team’s race drivers have been completing their winter training programme in Lanzarote. The specialist pre-season training camp, in sunnier climes to the traditional northern European winter, has long been a staple of many teams’ preparations ahead of a new season, giving them the chance to put their drivers through some rigorous exercises as well as providing an opportunity for team building. Ferrari have chosen the Canary island for their training camp in recent days, More…

Posted on January 31, 2012


Rubens Barrichello drove an IndyCar this week in a specially arranged test session at Sebring, Florida. The Brazilian, who lost his seat for this season at Williams to Bruno Senna, completed 94 laps and was on the pace of the KV Racing Team’s lead driver Tony Kanaan. “I’m truly happy and I like what I saw,” said 39 year old Barrichello. “I just need to see what comes up. I need to talk to my family and to Jimmy (Vasser, KV team owner). Barrichello certainly does need to speak to his wife, Silvana. Because he made her a promise, that More…

Posted on January 31, 2012


Former Force India driver Adrian Sutil has been in Munich this week appearing before public prosecutors charged with grievous bodily harm surrounding an incident with the co-owner of the Lotus F1 team in a Shanghai nightclub last April, and on Tuesday the court found the German driver guilty and gave him an 18-month suspended sentence. The 29-year-old was also handed a 200,000 euro (£166,139) fine, which will be paid to charities, according to the BBC. The two-day trial had centred around an incident following last year’s Chinese Grand Prix when Sutil had been in a nightclub celebrating his close friend More…

Posted on January 29, 2012


Stories coming from Italy suggest that injured F1 driver Robert Kubica aims to get into an F1 simulator and then back into a car and has set his sights on doing it from June onwards. The Pole, who broke bones down his right side and severed nerves in his right arm in a rally accident a year ago, is still in a light cast at present after breaking his right leg again earlier this month. But he’s counting down the days to getting back into training. According to our colleague Pino Allievi, who is in close contact with Kubica, he More…

Posted on January 27, 2012


The new-look Caterham F1 squad has taken great pride from becoming the first team to show off its new car for the 2012 season this week and at its factory on Friday completed another important stage of the CT01’s birth – the symbolic first fire-up of the engine. From the outside this could seem like a trivial task given the months of design and development work that go into a Formula 1 car’s conception, but Caterham explained why the maiden fire-up of the Renault Sport engine in the new chassis was an important moment. “Firing up the engine for the More…

Posted on January 27, 2012


Today the Sahara Force India team confirmed the story which we first ran during the Brazil GP weekend: that Jules Bianchi will become its third driver. The 22 year old Frenchman will have the opportunity to drive on at least nine Grand Prix weekends in the Friday morning practice session. He will join a small but growing number of young drivers getting some regular track time on Fridays, including Williams’ Valtteri Bottas and Lotus’ Jerome D’Ambrosio. Caterham are likely to have someone in that role and Marussia has also made use of the Friday morning opportunity too. It’s the right More…

Posted on January 27, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen completed his comeback F1 test this week and has spoken about his feelings at driving an F1 car after two years away. Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 world champion now aged 32, drove for two days at Valencia’s Riccardo Tormo circuit, which has been used for F1 testing for many years. Testing restrictions meant that he was in a two year old Renault on Pirelli demonstration tyres, but the Finn said it was enough to give him back the old feelings and to show that he’s still got it. “I was a little concerned about finding the sport had More…

Posted on January 26, 2012


Caterham team boss Tony Fernandes says his squad prepares to enter the new season “light years ahead” of where it started in Formula 1 two years ago, and must now look to score points for the first time. A day on from issuing a teaser shot of the new CT01, the outfit formerly known as Lotus on Thursday officially became the first Formula 1 team to unveil a 2012 challenger via the front cover of F1 Racing magazine and on its own website. Steady improvement has characterised the squad’s first two seasons in the sport but technical stability under Mike More…

Posted on January 25, 2012


The Caterham F1 Team has today unveiled a teaser photo its 2012 season challenger, the CT01, a day ahead of the planned release in F1 Racing magazine. Caterham had intended to showcase their car, the first since the name change from Team Lotus, on the cover of F1 Racing magazine, which is released on Thursday. However at midday UK time, the team posted an image of this years car on its official Twitter feed with more images set to be published on Caterham’s website tomorrow, along with some thoughts from technical boss Mike Gascoyne and team boss Tony Fernandes. The More…

Posted on January 25, 2012


Pirelli has launched the 2012 range of F1 tyres promising that they will create more exciting racing and more variation in race strategies. Although still targeting a minimum of two stops per race, Pirelli says the tyres will be more consistent in the way they degrade and be slightly more durable than last season’s, which led to four pit stops at some races. One of the objectives for Pirelli this year is to achieve a crossover point, where the performance of the harder tyre is close enough to the soft that it’s extra durability makes it worth using, rather than More…

Posted on January 23, 2012


Italian technical journalist Giorgio Piola has struck again, releasing some details of the new Ferrari due to be launched at Maranello on Friday February 3rd. The car has been described as “ugly” by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and it’s certainly a new departure from the DNA of Ferraris of recent years, but all there are agreed that if it’s fast enough, it will certainly be beautiful! Among the indiscretions Piola has published in Gazzetta dello Sport today are that the suspension is a pull-rod system, the first on a Ferrari for 11 years. This is what Red Bull has More…

Posted on January 23, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback is go; the Finn is driving today the first of two days in Valencia at the wheel of a two year old Renault R30. It’s the car with which Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov campaigned the 2010 World Championship. It’s the first time Raikkonen has driven an F1 car since the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He covered 300kms on his first day and will do more tomorrow. “Having not driven a Formula 1 car for two years and obviously with a new team, there is a lot to get used to,” said Raikkonen. “I’m happy because More…

Posted on January 21, 2012


Last week we reported a story from technical journalist Giorgio Piola about a clever device Lotus Renault had developed to stabilise the suspension under braking. After initial signals from the FIA that the system would be considered legal, last night it became clear that there has been a change of heart in Paris with a message to teams saying that it will not be allowed during the 2012 season. It contravenes the rules regarding moveable aerodynamic devices. Williams’ senior operations engineer Mark Gillan confirmed the news on Peter Windsor’s “Flying Lap” webcast last night. “The FIA has just banned that More…

Posted on January 21, 2012


Yesterday the boss of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, said that “Sebastian (Vettel) has improved and is stronger than ever. He has prepared during the winter break like never before and he will certainly not let us down.” With just two weeks to go until the wraps come off the new cars from the challengers for the championship, attention is building on what kind of season we will have and how close the racing will be. Mateschitz went on to say in the same interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, that he thinks the closest challenger this year will be McLaren, then More…

Posted on January 20, 2012


The Grand Prix Mechanics Charitable Trust has launched a new area on its website, exclusively for former and current F1 mechanics to chat online and swap photos and stories. The new area of the website is open to current or past F1 mechanics, who have registered with the Trust. Called ‘The Garage’, it is a private area where mechanics, past and present, can find old friends and colleagues, interact and reminisce or plan meet ups. There’s a forum to discuss any topic they like, plus a section for photographs from when mechanics worked in the paddock. There’s even a list More…

Posted on January 19, 2012


Veteran Italian driver Jarno Trulli has today reacted to increasing rumours in F1 circles that his Caterham seat is under threat from Lotus Renault refugee Vitaly Petrov. The 37 year old has a firm contract for 2012, but has faced question marks about it since it was signed, with Daniel Ricciardo being linked with the drive at the end of last season. More recently Petrov, who brings backing from Russian sponsors, has been linked with the seat since he was dropped by LRGP. It is clear why someone like Petrov would appeal as he might offer similar levels of performance, More…

Posted on January 18, 2012


Caterham F1 Team and its GP2 team Caterham Racing have today confirmed their long rumoured move to a new factory, closer to F1′s Silicon Valley of Oxfordshire. They are proposing to move from their Norfolk based operation to Leafield, in August 2012, although some areas of the business will stay in Norfolk. As the Caterham Group looks to expand, Team Principal Tony Fernandes believes that housing both racing teams and Caterham’s road car operation together will help the group to grow as a whole. “Acquiring Caterham Cars and establishing the wider Caterham Group, it became clear that we needed to More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


Here is the audio of an interview I did with Williams’ new driver Bruno Senna for BBC Radio 5 Live this afternoon. The interview runs just under 7 minutes. We spoke about painful memories of his uncle Ayrton’s time at Williams, the Williams team in transition with new technical staff, his thoughts on where his move leaves Rubens Barrichello and his plans for pre-season testing. Bruno also takes a look forward to the 2012 F1 season and the state of the competition with changes on rules on exhausts. Throughout the season you can follow our F1 adventures on BBC Radio More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


Bruno Senna took part in a conference call with media this afternoon, answering questions about his move to Williams. Among the eye catching notes to arise from it were that he first had contact with the team about a 2012 drive at the Japanese Grand Prix, that he and senior Williams engineers believe that they will be solidly in the top ten in qualifying and the races this year and that his grand parents – Ayrton’s mother and father – were ‘ecstatic’ about the news. It’s very clear that tomorrow morning’s headlines will be all about the death of Ayrton More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


Williams F1 today announced that Bruno Senna, nephew of former Williams driver Ayrton Senna, has joined the team to partner Pastor Maldonado for the 2012 season. The news appears to put an end to Rubens Barrichello’s career in F1, spanning almost two decades. And it leaves just one seat open on the F1 grid, the second seat at HRT. Senna was long rumoured to be favourite for the drive ahead of his fellow Brazilian, with the CEO of one of his sponsors, a Brazilian oil company, tweeting last week that he would drive for the team. Senna did an unhappy More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


We are in the thick of what the movie industry calls “Awards Season” with the Writers Guild of America awards, the BAFTAs and the Oscars among the many awards ceremonies on the horizon. Although the Senna movie was snubbed by the Academy for an Oscar nomination, it seems to be finding more traction with the British version of the awards, the BAFTAs. Today it was confirmed that the documentary about the great Brazilian three times F1 champion has been shortlisted in three categories, including Outstanding British film for the ceremony on February 12 in London. It has also had the More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


Tonio Liuzzi has had one of those careers where his drive for the next season seems always to be in doubt. Now at the age of 30 he finds himself once again waiting for a call, despite the fact that he has a contract with HRT. And it sounds like this time, he might have run out of options. “At the moment everything is very vague,” he told Italian site 422race.com. “The main problem is that the team have no budget, so they are evaluating the way to get the money to have two drivers. Now I’m still tied to More…

Posted on January 16, 2012


F1 drivers are among the fittest of all athletes, even though they do their sport sitting down. The strength and stamina required to sustain forces of up to 5g many times in a lap and maintain concentration without giving in to fatigue are vital to success. Lewis Hamilton has had a relationship with sports clothing brand Reebok since the early days of his F1 career and he is set to become one of the key faces in a new multi million pound campaign for the brand, set to launch in March. According to Marketing Week, Reebok, which is part of More…

Posted on January 13, 2012


We’ve had a big response to the story earlier this week about the new ride height control system on the Lotus Renault using tiny cylinders on the end of the pushrods. There were many questions from readers about whether Lotus could patent the idea. A senior F1 engineer has kindly stepped in to clear up the question of patenting F1 technical ideas for readers. His explanation is below: “The lack of patents in F1 is quite simple. It’s because if a team takes out a patent on a design, that then locks in an advantage the other teams cannot access. More…

Posted on January 13, 2012


Public prosecutors in Munich, Germany announced on Thursday that former Force India driver Adrian Sutil has been indicted on charges of grevious bodily harm and will face trial at the end of this month on. The trial is slated for the 30th and 31st January. The German driver was in a nightclub in Shanghai in April celebrating his friend Lewis Hamilton’s victory in the Chinese Grand Prix, when an incident occurred with a champagne glass which led to Eric Lux, the co-owner of the Lotus Renault GP team receiving a serious wound to the neck. Lux went to hospital immediately More…

Posted on January 12, 2012


Felipe Massa appeared at the Ferrari Wrooom media event in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy today, knowing that his back is against the wall and 2012 could be his final year with the team if he doesn’t raise his game significantly. Two lacklustre campaigns have left the Brazilian vulnerable and both Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and team boss Stefano Domenicali have spelled out that he is fighting to save his job. Interestingly, the Ferrari website presents a stark picture in its story on Massa’s appearance in Madonna and puts Massa’s position in these terms, “Felipe Massa’s future depends on what More…

Posted on January 11, 2012


Troubled Polish driver Robert Kubica is back in hospital, according to reports on the BBC, after a fall on ice near his home in Italy. The 27 year old, who was recovering from multiple fractures and a partially severed right forearm in a rally accident almost a year ago, slipped on ice near his home and reopened a fracture in his right leg, setting back his rehabilitation further. According to the BBC he will need an operation to insert a metal screw above his ankle, plus more time in plaster. Kubica split with his long time doctor and ally Riccardo More…

Posted on January 11, 2012


Ferrari’s annual Wrooom event is underway at Madonna di Campiglio in Italy. This is a traditional pre season media event at which the team and management give their thoughts and assessments on the sporting and political year ahead. I went last year, but this year had to decline, as I have to be at the Autosports International Show in Birmingham tomorrow for the BBC. Today saw conferences from team boss Stefano Domenicali and a brief appearance by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. Montezemolo has been quite vocal over the winter about many things and today reiterated that Ferrari is ready More…

Posted on January 10, 2012


In 2010 it was the F Duct, last year the blown diffuser, is this year’s must-have technical gizmo a braking stabilising system, innovated by Lotus? Veteran technical journalist Giorgio Piola is writing that Lotus Renault GP has a system which brings back echoes of the “mass-damper”, one of the innovations when the team was known as Renault, that helped to win it the 2006/6 world championships. According to Piola, the system is mechanical, operated by the driver (like the F Duct) and means that when the driver hits the brakes, it manages the ride height as the front of the More…

Posted on January 9, 2012


Raniero Gianotti (above left), one of the best known driver physical trainers in F1 circles, who has worked with Sebastian Vettel, Rubens Barrichello and most recently the Toro Rosso drivers, died of a heart attack when out cycling. The 46 year old was cycling with friends in Urbino, in the Marche region of Italy and was only a few kilometres into a ride. Gianotti had been working in motorsport for many years. In F1 he was a well known and popular figure as the trainer of Barrichello, first at Stewart GP, then at Ferrari. On Twitter Barrchello said, “It was More…

Posted on January 9, 2012


With just over three months to go until the scheduled date for the Bahrain Grand Prix, a human rights group in the country has called for the teams and drivers to boycott the event. Last year in the wake of protests in the country, the event was first postponed to later in the year and then cancelled after the F1 teams wrote to the FIA saying that they didn’t feel the event could take place. That letter was signed by F1 Teams Association chairman Martin Whitmarsh, who took a significant personal risk in doing so as his team, McLaren, is More…

Posted on January 8, 2012


Helmut Marko, whose influence on the moves made by the Red Bull company in F1 is significant, has explained why the company decided to drop Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi from the Toro Rosso team. “Toro Rosso was created to give young drivers a chance,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday. “Alguersuari and Buemi had that chance for three years and after that period it’s possible to evaluate a drivers’ development. “We didn’t see in them any possibility of growth. Both are Grand Prix drivers, but for us that’s not enough. We want Grand Prix winners.” Although a tough decision, More…

Posted on January 6, 2012


The success of the Senna movie continues to impress, with news today that not only have DVD sales in the UK surpassed 600,000 copies, making it the most successful British made sports documentary ever, but that it has been nominated for some prestigious awards. The writer Manish Pandey has been shortlisted for the documentary screenplay award by the prestigious Writers Guild of America. Producer James Gay Rees has also been nominated by the Producers Guild of America. And also today comes news that BAFTA has long listed “Senna” in six categories, including best documentary and best editing. Surprisingly however the More…

Posted on January 5, 2012


I’m delighted to announce that I am joining the BBC Radio 5 Live team as F1 correspondent and lead commentator this season. I’m really happy about this; 5 live is the default setting on my radio at home and in the car, it’s a great institution and I’m proud to be part of it. Anyone who has followed my career knows I love a challenge; whether it’s taking over from Murray Walker, setting up this website, or creating the first F1 fans forums. I’ve never done radio before and I’m really looking forward to adapting to a new medium. This More…

Posted on January 5, 2012


This is a moment Kimi Raikkonen’s many fans around the world thought they may never see again; the 2007 world champion back behind the wheel of an F1 car, albeit a chassis mock up, in the Lotus Renault factory near Oxford. It’s the first time Raikkonen has sat in an F1 car since the end of the 2009 season, when he left Ferrari and went to compete in the WRC. Raikkonen was at Lotus’ Enstone factory today for a seat fitting ahead of his first run in an F1 car. The chassis he is sitting in is not the 2012 More…

Posted on January 5, 2012


Lewis Hamilton has done a short interview in La Gazzetta dello Sport today in which he says a couple of interesting things. One is about team mate Jenson Button, the other on Felipe Massa. On Button he says, “Jenson is very fast and has built around himself a very strong team of technicians. I always want to beat him and I’m never happy if I don’t. But psychologically I don’t see it as a problem. He’s an open person who you can get along with. “It would be great to fight with him for the world title in 2012, it More…

Posted on January 5, 2012


Red Bull Racing has confirmed pre-Christmas rumours that Sebastien Buemi will be the test and reserve driver for the 2012 season. He will carry out simulation work at the team’s HQ in Milton Keynes and will be present at all the Grands Prix, standing in for either Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber should either of them be injured or unavailable. It would make sense for him also to fulfil a similar role for Toro Rosso as he will be at the races, knows the team and it’s highly unlikely that both teams would find themselves a driver short at the More…

Posted on January 2, 2012


With a month to go before the start of the new car testing season and two months to the first race there are still two race seats available. Many seats were filled in the weeks leading up to Christmas with Lotus Renault, Toro Rosso and Force India filling in their entry cards. But what of Williams and HRT? The contenders for Williams seem quite straight forward; Rubens Barrichello is the choice of the Williams engineers, who rate the Brazilian highly and were pleased with his performances in the closing stages of last season. Meanwhile Adrian Sutil has experience, is fast More…



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