Posted on August 31, 2012


This weekend four lucky winners of the Ultimate F1 Road Trip competition, which JA on F1 organised with Shell, are making their way down to Spa by road from London with their guests, ahead of a dream weekend at the heart of the F1 action. We’ll be posting content with their experiences during the weekend and a video early next week, but here is the first instalment, from Rob Sinfield (aka Grand Prix Diary) written in the back of a Chrysler Voyager as they sped towards Spa. Rob Sinfield writes: The day started for us lucky four prizewinners and guests, More…

Posted on August 31, 2012


Mark Webber has once again hit bad luck with a forced gearbox change ahead of Saturday’s free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix. The Australian has had a problem with this before, as recently as the German Grand Prix. It meant that he qualified behind his team mate and other rivals and ended up taking just 4 points from the weekend. As Webber is Alonso’s closest challenger for the world championship lead, 40 points behind the Spaniard, he needs to keep the pressure on with regular big points scores. This is a serious set back and he will have More…

Posted on August 31, 2012


Caterham F1 have confirmed today that EADS, an aerospace and defence group, has joined the team as an official partner. This is one of those deals which don’t appear to mean much at first glance, but which on closer inspection is quite significant. It means that Caterham will be able to outsource a significant amount of CFD and use the computing power of EADS, which has a significant value. To pay for that capability in house would be many millions. EADS is a leader in aerospace, defence and related services; it owns the aircraft maker Airbus, and Astrium, a European More…

Posted on August 31, 2012


The Friday free practice sessions at Spa were a washout today, with hardly any competitive laps turned in the afternoon session, as heavy rain lashed the circuit. No-one ventured out on circuit for almost 45 minutes as winds of 7 metres per second brought curtains of rain down on the track. There was also heavy rain in the morning, but most of the cars did get some laps in. It was the fourth Grand Prix in succession where rain has thwarted the teams who always seek to learn as much as possible on Friday about new parts on their cars. More…

Posted on August 31, 2012


This weekend at Spa we will be hearing a lot about DRS and Double DRS. That is because Spa offers one of the largest boosts in lap time from the Drag Reduction System of any F1 circuit at 1.2 seconds per lap. But beyond that, there is a gain to be had from “amplifying” the DRS effect by a secondary system such as the front wing system on the Mercedes or the rear wing system on the Lotus, which should be used in qualifying for the first time in Spa. Given the nature of the Spa circuit with its many More…

Posted on August 30, 2012


Felipe Massa has called on Ferrari to stick with him for next season because, “I believe I am a good driver and I can do a lot more than I did in the first part of this year.” Speaking in the paddock at Spa on Thursday, the Brazilian said that he was working to stay at Ferrari in 2013 and believes he still has a chance to retain his seat, but admitted that nothing is in place yet and anything could happen. “The direction is to stay here, but nothing is sure yet, ” he said. “So we need to More…

Posted on August 30, 2012


Kimi Raikkonen is many people’s favourite for the win this weekend, in the Lotus, on a track where he has won four times. The Finn has a special empathy with the circuit and although he doesn’t give anything away about how he is feeling, being back here after two years away, he seems to have a quiet confidence. Certainly many media figures believe he has a great chance, as well as fans, judging by the large turn out at his media briefing in the paddock this afternoon. “I don’t think that there is anything special, I have had some good More…

Posted on August 30, 2012


McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh believes the performance the team showed in the two races immediately prior to the summer break has set it up to have a real crack at both world championship titles over the remainder of the season. The Woking squad had looked in danger of being cut adrift in the battle for the drivers’ championship in particular after disappointing race performances in Valencia and Silverstone but a big upgrade for the German Grand Prix provided a much-needed breakthrough with Jenson Button finishing second there and Lewis Hamilton then winning the following weekend in Hungary. Hamilton is in More…

Posted on August 29, 2012


The F1 season resumes this weekend with the classic Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps. It’s the 12th round of the 20 race season and there are lots of talking points in this Strategy Briefing around how this race will be run strategically and who it will favour. Pirelli have made some changes after the controversy last season when their tyres suffered severe blistering on the Red Bull and other cars. The choice of hard and medium compounds and the changes made to the shoulders of the tyres should ensure that the drivers can push to the limit. Spa these More…

Posted on August 28, 2012


Caterham’s race trucks began their journey to Belgium for this weekend’s grand prix from a new location after the team officially opened the doors at its Leafield factory over the summer break. While the importance of a move from one headquarters to another – albeit ones 150 miles apart – might be underestimated, Caterham believes the relocation from Norfolk to Oxfordshire marks a seminal moment in its relatively short history. As not only does it place the team firmly in the heart of the UK’s ‘Motorsport Valley’ but the site provides the platform for future expansion. The Leafield facility, previously More…

Posted on August 28, 2012


The world of electric motorsport has taken a step closer after the FIA announced that it has awarded the promoter contract for the new Formula E series to a group called Formula E Holdings, involving French company Formulec, former UK science minister and champion of green racing Lord Drayson and GP2 entrant Alejandro Agag. It is also being funded by entrepreneur Enrique Banuelos. The series will start in 2014 with a race in Rio de Janeiro after some demonstration runs in 2013 and will feature 10 teams each with two drivers. The prototype car, produced by Formulec, will have a More…

Posted on August 27, 2012


This is something a bit special, a chance to see what the cars will look like as they drive the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The circuit is still under construction, ahead of its inaugural Grand Prix on November 18th, but we’ve got together with official F1 game developer Codemasters to drive this lap. It is driven on the final launch version of the F1 2012 game, by Codemasters Creative Director Stephen Hood, with comments from him and from JA. The track is 5.51km (3.42 miles) and features 20 corners. Designed by Hermann Tilke it has a More…

Posted on August 26, 2012


This week I was lucky enough to visit the Codemasters Studio in Birmingham where developers are putting the final touches to the new F1 2012 game, due out next month. We recorded an interview with Creative Director Stephen Hood which you can hear in the next JA on F1 Podcast next week. This is the third year of Codemasters producing the official F1 game and with a new contract in the bag going forward the developers have been able to stretch their legs a little. There are some interesting new features on the game, including Champions’ mode – a section More…

Posted on August 23, 2012


The fragmented approach of the F1 teams to the traditional Young Guns F1 test was highlighted today when it was announced that three teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India would hold their test at former French GP venue Magny Cours in the week after the Italian Grand Prix. This follows the decision by Williams, Marussia and HRT to do their Young Guns test at Silverstone last month to save money. In previous years the test has taken place at Abu Dhabi, following the Grand Prix. The Young Guns test is an opportunity to give young drivers a chance to taste More…

Posted on August 23, 2012


The Summer break has dragged on, with all F1 factories shut down for two weeks since the last Grand Prix. But that does not mean that nothing has been happening. Behind the scenes F1 is moving forward on several fronts, at the same time as keeping an eye on the prosecutor’s office in Munich for any signs of a follow up to the conviction of Gerhard Grobkowsky, who said he had accepted a “bribe” from F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone. The teams are closing in on a deal to secure their involvement for the medium term, the next 8 years. More…

Posted on August 21, 2012


Bored with waiting for the F1 season to start up again? Tired of crossing off the dates on your wall planner until Spa? If you are missing your fix of F1, we’ve produced a “Summer Special” podcast, which features plenty of new material as well as some “best bits” from the six podcasts we have produced so far, featuring Mark Webber, Ross Brawn, Heikki Kovalainen and many more familiar names. Download it and take it on the beach or just click on the player below to listen. In case you haven’t heard the series so far you can listen to More…

Posted on August 20, 2012


There was an interesting story in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday about an innovative new use in the medical world for the F1 electronic control unit, the “brain” of an F1 car. As a result of a chance conversation between a McLaren engineer and a paediatrician, Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been trialling the ECU in a children’s intensive care ward; the idea is that the F1-derived unit can measure all the key signs from the child, sense trends and detect developing problems earlier than the electronics previously used by the NHS. The unit normally measures oil pressures, brake temperatures and the More…

Posted on August 19, 2012


In response to the debate we’ve been having this week about the “pagelle” or marks out of ten for drivers so far this season, one of our regular readers, Martin Leaver, has put forward an interesting position. He argues that with the cars so close together on performance in modern F1 and fine details of tyre use sufficient to take the edge off a performance, the drivers are actually more highly skilled than in the golden age of drivers in the late 1908s and early 1990s – the Senna/Prost/Mansell/Piquet era. Martin writes: ” Personally, I think the standard is higher More…

Posted on August 17, 2012


This week we have been reviewing the performances of the first half of the season by the drivers, following a rating by influential Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport. To read their ratings click Here We’ve had an interesting debate on the ratings, with over 300 comments left, many with fans posting their own version of the “pagelle”, or marks out of ten. Gazzetta gave Alonso a perfect 10, which leaves no room for improvement. Though he is having his best season in F1 to date, leading the championship with three wins without having the fastest car and has convinced More…

Posted on August 15, 2012


We have been running our best ever competition on JA on F1 for the last few weeks. And now it’s time to announce the winners. Along with Shell, the title sponsor of the Belgian Grand Prix, we are organising the Ultimate F1 Road Trip, which will see four lucky winners plus guests drive down from London to Spa Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. It’s all part of our ongoing commitment at JA on F1 to help bring the fans closer to the sport. The prize includes grandstand seats, hospitality at the foot of Eau Rouge, F1′s most iconic More…

Posted on August 14, 2012


The influential Italian paper Gazzetta dello Sport has done a mid-season rating of each of the F1 drivers, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso coming out on top, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. And in a stark assessment of Ferrari’s other driver, Felipe Massa is at the bottom of the table. The Italian media is very fond of what they call “pagelle”, which are marks out of 10 after every event. It’s a well established part of Italian sports media coverage and has been copied here and there in the UK media and elsewhere. But in Italy it carries More…

Posted on August 13, 2012


With the closing of the 2012 Olympics in London the “Greatest Show on Earth” has ended. It has been an amazing two weeks of sport, particularly for those of us who live in the host nation and have seen another side to our country. These were the “Happy Games”; in fact, to borrow a couple of adjectives from the British national anthem, “Happy and Glorious” would be the best way to sum up the London 2012 games. So what can Formula 1 learn from the last two weeks? Is there anything that could be adopted to make F1 better, any More…

Posted on August 12, 2012


Today is the last day of the 2012 London Olympics…but it’s also the last day of the JA on F1 Ultimate F1 Road Trip competition, which we have organised with Shell, the sponsor of the Belgian Grand Prix. The event will see 8 lucky fans win the trip of a lifetime to the best F1 circuit in the world at Spa Francorchamps with Grandstand seats; hospitality at the legendary Eau Rouge corner; seat time in an F1 simulator (the Shell Professional Simulator Experience, developed in collaboration with Ferrari) and, of course, a fun road trip down there in the company More…

Posted on August 8, 2012


Bruno Senna’s performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix shows the Brazilian is beginning to finally come of age in F1, reckons his team boss Frank Williams. While the wildly contrasting fortunes of Pastor Maldonado have dominated Williams’ season, Senna’s quiet efficiency in delivering a steady stream of the minor points finishes has ensured the Grove team remain ahead of Force India in the constructors’ table. Senna’s main weakness up until the Hungaroring had been matching Maldonado’s qualifying performances but in Budapest the former HRT and Renault driver finally hauled his FW34 into Q3 for the first time and then raced More…

Posted on August 7, 2012


Sir Jackie Stewart has warned Sebastian Vettel against swapping the stronghold of support he has built up at Red Bull for a move to Ferrari to go up against Fernando Alonso. Strong reports over recent months from respected outlets in the Italian media have suggested that reigning two-time world champion Vettel has some sort of agreement in place with Ferrari over potentially joining the Maranello marque as Alonso’s team-mate in 2014, although Red Bull chief Christian Horner, whose team announced last year that Vettel had signed a contract extension up to the end of the season after next, has insisted More…

Posted on August 5, 2012


This week we have been looking back at the first half of the F1 season, analysing the performances, breaking the teams down into three groups: * GROUP 1 – Those who have matched or exceeded expectations. READ HERE * GROUP 2 – Those who have had some success but it could have been more. READ HERE * GROUP 3 – Those who have under-performed Today it’s the final group: the teams who haven’t got as much out of the season so far as they – or we – were expecting. This analysis can only start with one team. MERCEDES What More…

Posted on August 4, 2012


Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn has credited the growing maturity of the team’s two young drivers as a key factor behind its transformation this season into a competitive Formula 1 force. Aside from its heavily-funded BMW era in 2006-2009, the Swiss outfit has been the epitome of a perennial midfield runner since entering the sport in 1993, with only six podium finishes achieved either side of its manufacturer-owned period heading into this season. However this year enjoying the benefits of what Peter Sauber has already described as the best car ever made at Hinwil, Sergio Perez has added a second and third place More…

Posted on August 4, 2012


Yesterday we looked at the teams who have matched or exceeded expectations so far this year. Part 2 of our mid season review focusses on the teams that have enjoyed some success, but who are left feeling that there should have been a lot more. This group contains Williams, Sauber and McLaren. WILLIAMS Williams is still one of the most popular teams in F1, thanks to its place in the sport’s history, but it has made precious little history of its own in the last seven years and is in transition with Patrick Head retired and Frank Williams handing over More…

Posted on August 3, 2012


Here, by popular demand, as we enter the summer shut down weeks, is our mid-season review. We’ll do it in three parts, with the first part today. It’s quite noticeable this season that the teams divide into three distinct groups: those who have matched or exceeded expectations, those who have had some breakthroughs but ultimately feel they “could have done better” and those who have disappointed. In the first category, I would obviously place Ferrari and Lotus but also, just, Red Bull. Ferrari and Lotus have scored far more points and podiums than might have been expected at the start More…

Posted on August 2, 2012


I’m delighted to release the JA on F1 Podcast #6 – featuring some of the biggest names in the F1 game. We’re really pleased with this one, as it has some great content from some very interesting people. It’s the half way point in the F1 season and we have some frank assessments of how it’s gone so far from, among others, Sir Frank Williams, “Maldonado probably does overstep the mark,” he says in this candid interview with Tom Clarkson. Sir Jackie Stewart runs the rule over the three of the leading drivers in the sport and analyses their performances More…

Posted on August 1, 2012


We are running the most exciting competition we’ve ever had on JA on F1 and after a week in which we’ve seen a staggering 900+ messages left on the post announcing the competition – featuring both entries and votes – we can reveal the Top 10 Leaderboard. Fans have to describe in 150 words max their best every road trip in the comments section of the competition post and then use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and any other means to get friends to vote for them as a “reply” under their entry. Entry closes on Monday 13th at 9am UK time. More…



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