Posted on September 30, 2012


Former McLaren driver turned driver manager Mark Blundell suspects that the “timing is right” for Lewis Hamilton to begin a new chapter in his career with Mercedes and predicts that the move will pave the way for the Briton’s management to take ‘Brand Hamilton’ to a whole new level. Blundell is ideally placed to analyse the switch from both a racing and commercial point of view having driven for McLaren in 1995 and then in more recent time conducted test driver Gary Paffett’s contract negotiations with the team, in addition to the driver’s long-standing relationship with Mercedes in DTM. Speaking More…

Posted on September 28, 2012


Welcome to the October edition of the JA on F1 podcast, brought to you by UBS. This month we’ve been quick to react to the confirmation of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes – we analyse why Hamilton jumped from a sporting and business point of view with former McLaren Mercedes driver, turned driver manager Mark Blundell and study the timeline and behind the scenes details with Daily Telegraph F1 writer Tom Cary. Plus with the recent death of pioneering F1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins, we have a moving tribute from “Senna” film-maker, fellow surgeon and close friend of the Prof, More…

Posted on September 28, 2012


The FIA Motor Sport World Council met today and confirmed a 20 race world championship calendar, with some revisions from the version that was leaked in the Singapore paddock last week. Germany and Spa both move a week earlier, which makes more sense and gives a better balance to the July, August and September dates. Meanwhile New Jersey appears on the schedule, provisionally, despite some suggestions from Bernie Ecclestone this week that the event does not currently have a valid contract. In other news from the WMSC, the FIA said that the discussions over the new Concorde Agreement have progressed More…

Posted on September 28, 2012


[Updated] Lewis Hamilton has cut his 14-year umbilical cord to McLaren and announced he will join Mercedes at the end of the season on a three-year deal. In a huge coup for Mercedes and major shot in the arm for its ambitions of winning consistently in Formula 1 that was predicted by JA on F1 earlier this month, the 2008 world champion will replace Michael Schumacher in the team’s 2013 line-up, reuniting him with his old karting team-mate Nico Rosberg. Sauber’s Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton at McLaren. Intriguingly, however, there was no mention in the Mercedes press release of More…

Posted on September 27, 2012


The focus on the driver market this Autumn is on Lewis Hamilton and whether he will stay at McLaren or move to Mercedes. The future of 43 year old Michael Schumacher and of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is also pivotal to whether there will be any vacancies among the top teams or whether things will stay as they are for another year. But below that there are some worrying signs, as the effects of the global financial crisis are increasingly keenly felt among F1 teams, with the result that drivers who bring money to a team -either family money or corporate More…

Posted on September 26, 2012


Considering the Singapore GP is regarded as one of the most commercially significant events on the calendar it was somewhat apt that Ferrari and its most long-standing partner, Shell, celebrated their 500th race in partnership over the weekend. To mark the occasion several events were held around the city from Thursday onwards, including Fernando Alonso performing a demonstration lap of Marina Bay in the Shell Performance Simulator (which you can watch here), while a specially-commissioned tribute video was also shown for the first time which looked back at the history of the two world-renowned brands in partnership. The four-minute film, More…

Posted on September 26, 2012


The Circuit of the Americas in Austin has been given the definitive green light to stage its inaugural grand prix in November after passing the FIA’s mandatory inspection to gain its Formula 1 licence. As is the compulsory practice for all new circuits joining the calendar, FIA technical delegate and race director Charlie Whiting visited the venue to inspect the facilities and track itself and was duly satisfied enough to give the circuit the ‘Grade 1’ status it requires to stage a grand prix. As part of his inspection Whiting walked the now fully-paved 3.4-mile circuit and then around the More…

Posted on September 25, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Singapore Grand Prix can definitely be classed as a “what might have been” race, as the intervention of two safety cars meant that we were denied an exciting and unpredictable finish. Also the retirements of Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado spoiled what would have been intense competition at the front. None of this will have bothered Sebastian Vettel, who took his second win of the season, nor Fernando Alonso, who extended his championship lead over all his rivals bar Vettel. But despite the anti-climactic ending, the strategy decisions and factors that shaped the race are very interesting and worth More…

Posted on September 25, 2012


The constant push for Innovation in F1 always needs to be tempered with the requirement for the cars to be reliable. And it’s also vital in a fast evolving competition like F1 that any development steps the teams bring to the cars do actually provide the boost in performance they are intended to. In Singapore we saw both sides of this as McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton suffered a gearbox failure and lost what looked like a certain race win, which would have allowed him to close the gap on championship leader Fernando Alonso. It was the fourth retirement on technical grounds More…

Posted on September 24, 2012


Red Bull’s official charity, Wings for Life, has revealed details of its latest two initiatives to raise money for its research into spinal injuries – one of which reflects the unique nature of this season’s Formula 1 grid. First of all the charity is offering fans who sign up to run for the charity in the Silverstone half marathon next March two special money-can’t-buy experiences with the world championship-winning team. Runners who run for Wings for Life, and commit to raising at least £300 for the cause, will be invited to the Red Bull Racing gym for a training session More…

Posted on September 24, 2012


Sebastian Vettel took his second win of the season in the Singapore Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton retired from the lead. There were plenty of strong performances throughout the field, so who was your driver of the day? Sebastian Vettel Dominated both Friday practice sessions and continued that form in third practice. Failed to replicate that form in qualifying and started third on the grid but made a good start and was soon past Pastor Maldonado for second on the first lap. Kept pace with leader Hamilton while building a gap over Jenson Button in third. Took the lead when More…

Posted on September 24, 2012


The near-thousand strong parade of Ferrari sportscars that took to Silverstone earlier this month has been confirmed as a new Guinness World Record. In an attempt to beat the previous mark of 490 Ferraris all on the same racetrack set at Japan’s Fuji Speedway in 2008, Ferrari Racing Days sent out a call to owners of the iconic sportscar to descend on Silverstone on September 15 to see if they could beat that mark for a new world record. The attempt proved hugely successful with a mammoth 964 cars turning up at the home of the British GP. Organisers report More…

Posted on September 23, 2012


FIA Race Stewards in Singapore have handed Michael Schumacher a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the Singapore Grand Prix. In front of the stewards, Schumacher is reported to have accepted the blame for misjudging the braking distance to Vergne in front and smashing into the back of him on lap 39. Schumacher had just pitted and was fighting Vergne for 10th place. The race had jet restarted after the first safety car period. Vergne’s tyres were 14 laps old, Schumacher’s had done only five laps behind the safety car. It is More…

Posted on September 23, 2012


Sebastian Vettel took his second win in Singapore and the second of this 2012 campaign after pole sitter Lewis Hamilton dropped out at one third distance with a gearbox failure. The Red Bull driver had jumped Pastor Maldonado at the start and was too fast for Jenson Button in the second McLaren. When Hamilton pulled off the road on lap 23, the way was clear for Vettel to control the race and despite two safety car periods to allow for accident damage to be cleared away, he steered the Red Bull home for the 23rd win of his career. Button More…

Posted on September 23, 2012


McLaren sponsor TAG Heuer this weekend honoured the McLaren pit crew which set a new pit stop record this year, changing all four wheels and tyres in 2.31 seconds in Germany. It was the first sub 2.5 second stop ever seen in F1 and to celebrate it, each member of the 22 strong pit stop crew was given a TAG Heuer Carrera watch. “A Formula 1 pitstop is the perfect representation of seamless teamwork. Every movement needs to work in perfect sync for a stop to be a success,” said Jenson Button, who was the lucky recipient of the stop More…

Posted on September 23, 2012


Caterham F1 have announced this weekend that the current Deputy Managing Director of Renault Sport F1, Cyril Abiteboul, is to become the teams new CEO; taking control of all on and off track operations and reporting directly to Riad Asmat and Tony Fernandes. It is an interesting move which could also have wider implications for Caterham’s relationship with Renault on the road car side. Due to contractual commitments Abiteboul will remain in his role at Renault Sport F1 until January 2013, splitting his efforts between that and his new role at Caterham. Having been part of the Renault brand since More…

Posted on September 22, 2012


Lewis Hamilton continued McLaren’s recent qualifying dominance, making it four poles from four races for the Woking team and underlining his value to them as he set an untouchable lap to claim pole position in Singapore ahead of Pastor Maldonado and Sebastian Vettel. Following Vettel’s dominance of all free practice sessions Hamilton set the bar at an unbeatable height in the final part of qualifying to claim his 5th pole of 2012 and his 3rd in four races, by almost half a second. It is his 24th career pole position, matching that of Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet and the More…

Posted on September 22, 2012


[Updated] CVC Capital Partners, which holds 35% of the business that owns Formula 1′s commercial rights, has taken on a couple of new high powered investors in the shape of government backed funds from Singapore and Kuwait in recent months, according to reports. At the same time the sale of CVC’s stock which reduced its holding from 63% to around 35% and netted the firm $2.1 billion earlier this year, has also given them the luxury of being able to bide their time on a floatation of the F1 business. A floatation here on the Singapore Stock Exchange was prepared More…

Posted on September 21, 2012


World champion Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets in both Friday practice sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix, easing out the McLaren of Jenson Button. But it looks like the battle for the pole and the win will be a closely fought, competitive affair. Vettel hasn’t had a pole position for five races and still has only one win on the board this year, the Red Bull struggled with qualifying in Spa and Monza, but here they look stronger. Vettel managed a time which was three tenths faster than Button, but Lewis Hamilton’s fifth place result does not tell the More…

Posted on September 21, 2012


A provisional calendar for the 2013 F1 season has broken cover today in the Singapore paddock, with Autosport.com breaking the news this morning. It is quite similar in composition and timing to this year’s calendar. It features 20 races, including the inaugural New Jersey Grand Prix on June 16th, replacing Valencia, which will alternate with Barcelona as home of the Spanish GP. New Jersey is still provisional, subject to an FIA track inspection, which will take place 60 days before the due date. However the races in Korea and Singapore are also noted as provisional. Korea is known to have More…

Posted on September 20, 2012


The FIA has announced that there is to be a number of tributes in place for the late Professor Sid Watkins, F1′s legendary doctor including a bronze bust, book of Remembrance and a minute’s applause, at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. Although there have been suggestions that this may be revised to a minute’s silence. Formula One is also set to mark the passing of the Prof with the bronze bust, which was commissioned for him following retirement from his role as FIA Institute Honorary President, to be sat alongside a Book of Remembrance throughout the weekend allowing all those More…

Posted on September 20, 2012


Sauber’s Sergio Perez spoke this evening about his desire to get into a top team, claiming that he is “ready” to fight for wins and championships. At the same time he said that he had not had any approaches from top teams, despite speculation that McLaren is interested in him, as a possible partner for Jenson Button. “It’s only my second year in Formula One but I feel ready to do a good job with a top team, to fight for the championship. In that respect I feel ready,” said the 22 year old Mexican, who is the third youngest More…

Posted on September 20, 2012


Here is something a bit different – Ferrari F1 driver and world championship leader Fernando Alonso drove a flying lap of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit today on the Shell Performance Simulator, which was set up in a hotel downtown. The Spaniard, who has won the Singapore Grand Prix twice, drove a hot lap in 1m 48 seconds, which is only three seconds slower than he managed in qualifying here last year, whilst at the same time describing it in English, complete with corners speeds and some insights and details. It’s a pretty impressive performance; particularly because he did not More…

Posted on September 19, 2012


In just three years the Singapore Grand Prix, F1’s only night race, has established itself alongside Monaco as one of the two most important races on the calendar for the sport, the teams and sponsors. But the race on the Marina Bay Circuit is also one of the longest and toughest of the year for cars, drivers and strategists. The race can last up to two hours and with high temperatures, humidity and constant braking and turning, it is a real marathon. And there has been a safety car every year to throw all the best paid plans up in More…

Posted on September 18, 2012


[Updated] On the theme of television, former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore is the central character in the Italian version of “The Apprentice” – a reality series which has been a hit in the UK with entrepreneur Alan Sugar. The Italian series begins tonight (18th September) at 9pm on Cielo channel in Italy. Briatore will mentor around 14 young go-getters who want to get ahead in business. The idea is that each week he sets them a business task and then fires the one who performs the worst until he is left with the winner, who will become his Apprentice More…

Posted on September 18, 2012


The BBC is looking for a new presenter of its Formula 1 coverage in the UK after the main presenter Jake Humphrey announced that he is to leave the Corporation after 10 years. Humphrey will become one of the best paid presenters in sport as the face of BT Vision’s ambitious new Premier League football offering, due to start next season. It moves him away from Formula 1, which he has presented since March 2009. It’s an interesting move for the likeable Humphrey, who was well placed to become the main presenter for BBC Sport in the near future. He More…

Posted on September 17, 2012


Ferrari and fuel supplier Shell will reach a significant milestone in Singapore this weekend when the two companies rack up their 500th Grand Prix in partnership. The relationship between the two international brands is one of the most long-standing in world motorsport and to celebrate the landmark the front and rear wings on both F2012s will carry special ‘500 races’ liveries throughout the race weekend, with several other events planned from Thursday onwards. A special four-minute film will be shown to the media and feature interviews with key Ferrari figures including president Luca di Montezemolo, team boss Stefano Domenicali and More…

Posted on September 17, 2012


Innovation in F1 can take many forms and there is some very interesting work going on at the moment in alternative energies, with solar power companies attracted into F1. It’s not an obvious fit one might say, but they are drawn in by the opportunity to innovate and to align with a sport which is all about high tech. The prospect of drivers helmets and even the entire surface of an F1 car being made of solar panels is not far away. On a bigger scale, Sauber and Lotus F1 team are pushing ahead with developments in solar power at More…

Posted on September 16, 2012


[Updated] Formula 1 sage and former McLaren team co-ordinator Jo Ramirez believes a failure to come to terms with the fact that he had been beaten by team-mate Jenson Button explained Lewis Hamilton’s tweeting of telemetry traces at Spa. Hamilton endured a miserable weekend in Belgium at the start of this month, becoming embroiled in controversy over several messages posted to the social media site – all of which were ultimately taken down. Ramirez, a mainstay at McLaren for 17 years before retiring in 2001, reckons that the telemetry incident highlighted a general reluctance for the current generation of drivers More…

Posted on September 14, 2012


Jackie Stewart has led calls for a permanent memorial for Sid Watkins, the doctor who transformed safety and medical care in F1. “There needs to be something permanent to recognise his contribution to motorsport, particularly to Formula One,” said Stewart.” Something needs to be done to recognise Sid’s long term of office and how much he did for the sport.” Bernie Ecclestone has said today that, ““I am pretty sure that he is irreplaceable. You only meet somebody of his calibre once in your lifetime.” Memorials to Ayrton Senna, the driver with whom Watkins had the closest relationship in his More…

Posted on September 14, 2012


by Stephen Hood, Creative Director, Codemasters F1 2012 game What makes Maldonado, Maldonado? Why is Alonso able to get more out of a car than his current team-mate? Who wouldn’t like to better understand how Button treats his control inputs with such finesse? Many of us have these discussions pre and post race when talking to friends, family and enthusiasts alike but here at Codemasters, developer of the official Formula One game, we take it to another level. We have to try and isolate characteristics, recognise how drivers think, how they treat their cars and what it is that differentiates More…

Posted on September 14, 2012


The end of the European season is traditionally a time to take a look down the motorsport pyramid to see which drivers are beginning to knock on the door of F1 as the junior categories’ seasons come to a close. For the first time next week GP2 will travel to Singapore alongside F1 to stage its finale and the lead British driver in the category this year has been James Calado, who goes into the final two races in third place in the standings after a strong debut year at that level. The 23-year-old from Worcestershire is already guaranteed rookie More…

Posted on September 13, 2012


Jules Bianchi nothced up a hat-trick of fastest times at the Magny-Cours young drivers’ test as he returned to the Ferrari cockpit for Thursday’s final day. Having had a unique chance to directly compare the Ferrari F2012 and Force India VJM05 over the course of the first two days, Bianchi was back in the former’s title-chasing challenger on day three and wrapped up an encouraging week for both himself and Ferrari mileage-wise with 138 more laps to bring his personal test total to over 300. The 23-year-old was able to top the century again despite rain hitting the former French More…

Posted on September 13, 2012


Welcome to the JA on F1 podcast #7 for September, presented from the Williams F1 Team factory. This is the busiest podcast we have put together yet. It features not only a sneak preview of the new F1 2012 game from Codemasters and an interview with its creator, but also a celebration of 25 years of the Mechanics’ Trust with contributions from my fellow Trustees Patrick Head, Sir Jackie Stewart and Jo Ramirez as well as former drivers Derek Warwick and John Watson. Plus we speak to the next British driver aiming to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and More…

Posted on September 12, 2012


One of F1′s greatest figures has died this evening; Prof Sid Watkins, who was 84, passed away in a hospital in London. The neurosurgeon from Liverpool, who was brought into F1 by Bernie Ecclestone to improve safety and medical standards, did more than anyone else in that field, getting F1 to the stage where it is today: a highly dangerous sport where accidents are survivable. Prof Watkins was for 26 years the FIA medical delegate and introduced correct extraction techniques for getting drivers out of cars after accidents, led moves to improve crash structures and other safety measures and saved More…

Posted on September 12, 2012


Jules Bianchi continued to lead the way for the young drivers in action at Magny-Cours on day two of the test, although it was the appearance of a driver at the other end of the age spectrum that caught the attention today. With Mercedes using the test to try out some key developments for the remainder of the season – namely Coanda-style exhaust and passive double DRS system – Michael Schumacher arrived in the paddock in the morning to assess the upgrades first hand and speak to the team’s test driver Sam Bird, who remained in the W03 for the More…

Posted on September 12, 2012


A collection of 50 images taken by F1 drivers and team bosses will be auctioned tomorrow night in London to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. The images, which range from racing orientated to leisure and travel, have been collated by Zoom and will go under the hammer in a special event at London’s Wyndham Grand, Chelsea Harbour. Coys will conduct the auction. The images will be signed by the photographers. Images include: Lewis Hamilton’s ‘driver’s eye’ view from the cockpit of his car, Sebastian Vettel’s favourite Alpine view and Bruno Senna’s beach paradise. The full collection of images More…

Posted on September 11, 2012


Magny-Cours reverberated to the sound of Formula 1 cars for the first time in four years today as the second leg of the fragmented 2012 young driver test got underway for Ferrari, Mercedes and Force India. The circuit in the heart of France, which last hosted a grand prix in 2008 but continues to angle to stage a revived French GP in wake of improvements to infrastructure, was chosen by the three teams present as the venue for their permitted young guns running following concerns over the logistics of running the annual sessions in Abu Dhabi after the grand prix More…

Posted on September 11, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Italian Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races of the 2012 season so far, which is unusual for Monza. The track has a high-speed character and opportunities for overtaking, but doesn’t always provide excitement. However this year’s race was brought alive by the strategy decisions made by some of the teams and the bold gamble taken by many of them to try to do the race with only one pit stop. It was marginal in terms of tyre life. Some of the tyres that came off the cars at the end had no more than a lap More…

Posted on September 11, 2012


Lewis Hamilton’s demeanour and that of his team after victory in the Italian Grand Prix bore all the hallmarks of a divorce that has already been agreed. Minimal celebrations on the pit wall and beneath the podium, a team photo for appearances’ sake with an implacable looking Hamilton and Ron Dennis declining to join in. Despite appearances, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that suggestions that a deal was already done were “fantasy” and insisted that the door is still open if Hamilton wants to stay. However driver contracts often get signed during race weekends and there were More…

Posted on September 11, 2012


Here at JA on F1, we always get a kick out of sending fans to races, particularly if they have never had the chance to see F1 close up before. And we always like to help them get closer to the sport. The Ultimate F1 Road Trip to the Shell Belgian Grand Prix was an experience the four winners and their guests will never forget. They drove down from London to Spa Francorchamps, got to see behind the scenes in the Ferrari garage, drive an F1 simulator, saw Fernando Alonso, met Bernie Ecclestone at dinner on Saturday night and generally More…

Posted on September 10, 2012


[Updated] Something very unusual happened during Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix – the telemetry failed in the Ferrari garage between laps 17 and 24, so the team had no information from the cars on temperatures, pressures or any of the vital information on tyre wear. As this was in the window for making the one and only tyre stop of the race, this was quite a critical issue. An electrical problem had knocked it out. Luckily they were still transmitting data back to the team’s factory in Maranello and so the engineers on the pit wall had to liaise with them More…

Posted on September 10, 2012


Renault is promising Red Bull that it will do everything it can to improve both the reliability, and general performance, of its engines and related parts for the remaining races of the season in wake of the latest alternator failure suffered by Sebastian Vettel in Italy. What had already proved a challenging Monza weekend sunk to disastrous depths for the world champion team in the closing five laps of the race as the alternator on Vettel’s car failed for the second time in two days, prompting the German to park up, and then heavily-worn hard tyres accounted for Mark Webber More…

Posted on September 9, 2012


Lewis Hamilton ignored off-track distractions concerning his future to win his third race of the season in a thrilling Italian Grand Prix at Monza. There were strong drives all the way through the field so who was your Driver of the Day? Lewis Hamilton Arrived in Monza amid speculation he was to leave McLaren for Mercedes next season, but showed no signs of it distracting him as he set the pace in second practice on Friday, heading a McLaren 1-2. Looked comfortable with the car in final practice but struggled to keep pace with Fernando Alonso in Q1 and Q2. More…

Posted on September 9, 2012


Lewis Hamilton was never threatened as he dominated a dramatic Italian GP in Monza ahead of inspired displays from Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso. It was Hamilton’s third win of the season and the 20th of his career as well as one of the most dominant. Once he’d got clear at the start, he was able to control the race on a one stop strategy and even a surprise late charge from Perez was containable. “I was cruising,” admitted Hamilton. “The last 20 laps I had a 14 second gap. At the time Felipe was behind and even though I More…

Posted on September 9, 2012


The outlook for the Italian Grand Prix is very interesting, with signs that the key to the race will be for teams to gamble on getting to the finish without over stressing the front right tyre. Monza is a one stop race, always has been because the pit lane time is long, due to the fact that the cars staying on track are travelling very quickly. A one stop strategy this year looks like it is 10 seconds faster than a two stop. However the other problem with Monza is that the temperature of the inside shoulder of the front More…

Posted on September 9, 2012


Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was in the Monza paddock on Saturday and spoke late in the afternoon on a number of subjects. One of them was the idea of refreshing the format of F1 Grands Prix, so they are shorter and start later in the day. Currently a Grand Prix is 300 kilometres, which can take anything from 75 minutes to almost two hours in the case of Singapore. There have been calls in the past to make F1 races shorter or to split them into two events. Many casual fans who are interested but not hooked, often say More…

Posted on September 8, 2012


Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position today in Monza to head an all McLaren front row ahead of Jenson Button with Felipe Massa taking third. The Brazilian and his Ferrari team mate were working together as a team throughout practice and qualifying to give each other a slipstream worth around 3/10ths of a second. It worked for Massa, giving him his best qualifying position of the season. Unfortunately for Alonso his rear anti-roll bar broke and he could only manage only tenth. Nevertheless this is the most competitive Ferrari has been this season and Alonso’s progress through the field will be More…

Posted on September 7, 2012


The Italian Grand Prix is shaping up to be a thriller with close times set through the field and the top eight cars separated by 0.25 seconds in a fascinating Free Practice session 2 at Monza. Lewis Hamilton didn’t seem to distracted by being the centre of attention over his possible Mercedes move; he set the fastest time for McLaren ahead of team mate Jenson Button, three hundredths of a second behind. Fernando Alonso set the third fastest time despite a problem ridden day which saw a forced engine change after FP1, a brake problem and a gearbox problem. He More…

Posted on September 6, 2012


Lewis Hamilton faced the media today, 24 hours after BBC’s Eddie Jordan launched the story about him moving to Mercedes. So too did Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who said that he wants Mercedes to be a team every driver would want to drive for. Hamilton denied that a deal was done with Mercedes, but did not say he wasn’t talking to them. He also said he didn’t know where he would be driving next season. Mercedes did not deny that they were negotiating with Hamilton, but said that they wouldn’t comment. McLaren say only that Hamilton’s management have told More…

Posted on September 6, 2012


James Key, who left Sauber at the start of the 2012 season, has been confirmed as the new technical director of Toro Rosso. This story has been around for a long time, we trailed it well over a month ago, (full story here) but it’s finally been confirmed today officially. The Englishman, who came up through the ranks at Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India has a proven track record of getting plenty of performance on a tight budget. He is credited with turning Sauber around from the team which struggled after the departure of BMW in 2009, to the team which has a More…

Posted on September 6, 2012


The euphoria of Sauber and Williams in qualifying second, third and fourth at Spa quickly evaporated in the early laps of the race and none of them scored any points. It highlighted that the name of the game in Formula 1 has always been making sure to deliver the goods on a Sunday and there are quite a few examples of teams not making the most of the car they have, particularly Williams and Sauber. Clearly the exceptions are Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, whose run of 23 consecutive points finishes came to an abrupt end at Spa. Both have More…

Posted on September 5, 2012


With an average lap speed of over 250km/h, Monza is the fastest circuit in Formula 1. The cars run in low downforce mode here with thinner wings than usual. The aerodynamic package for this event is unique in the season. So what are the key considerations the engineers and drivers will go through during practice and in strategy briefings when preparing for Sunday’s race? From a strategy point of view, Monza is quite straightforward. It’s not particularly hard on the tyres as there are few fast corners to put energy into them. The track is basically a series of long More…

Posted on September 5, 2012


The BBC’s Eddie Jordan has broken a story today that Michael Schumacher is set to retire from driving at the end of this season and that Lewis Hamilton is shaping up to replace him. It was clear from the “Tweetgate” incident that Hamilton and McLaren were not on the same page last weekend, with the driver making public a telemetry set up sheet, to the disappointment of his team mate and team boss, who described it as “an error of judgement”. Hamilton is said by Jordan to be discussing terms with Mercedes, via his management team led by music impresario More…

Posted on September 5, 2012


The 2012 London Olympics have provided no end of inspirational stories over the past month and for the motorsport community the most poignant came on Wednesday afternoon at Brands Hatch as former F1 driver and double Champ Car champion Alex Zanardi claimed Paralympics gold in the handcycling time trial around the circuit he first competed on as a racing driver more than 20 years ago. The 45-year-old came close to losing his life when he was involved in a horrific crash during his second stint in the American-based Champ Car series at Germany’s Lausitzring in 2001, an accident which saw More…

Posted on September 5, 2012


One of the collateral effects of the one race ban on Romain Grosjean for causing the startline pile up at Spa, is to ask questions about how Pastor Maldonado has so far avoided a similar ban. Maldonado again firmly found himself under fire for his driving in Belgium with the Williams driver picking up penalties for three separate offences over the Spa weekend. It has raised questions about whether F1 should move towards a system of yellow cards, as in football, where an automatic ban is imposed once a certain number of yellow cards have been accrued. While Romain Grosjean’s More…

Posted on September 4, 2012

The Strategy Report

Jenson Button’s victory in the Belgian Grand Prix makes him the leading points scorer of the last three races, a reversal of a trend, which began in May, where the British driver and his McLaren team lost their way. The problem Button was suffering from was a lack of performance due to mismatched tyre temperatures between the front and rear tyres and the team was experimenting with various ways of solving that, including heating the tyres from the inside, using heat soak from the brakes. They’ve now found a solution, partly involving aerodynamics to increase rear end grip and aerodynamic More…

Posted on September 4, 2012


Jerome D’Ambrosio will race in place of the suspended Romain Grosjean’s for Lotus at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, the team has as expected confirmed, marking the former Virgin driver’s competitive return to a race environment for the first time since the end of last season. Although some of the bigger name drivers currently on the F1 sidelines were immediately linked to the one-off drive after Grosjean’s one-race ban for causing Sunday’s first-corner pile-up at Spa was announced, it was logical that Lotus would turn to their well-regarded Belgian test and reserve driver to fill the void at Monza. The More…

Posted on September 3, 2012


Sometimes the goal of an innovation in F1 is not the pursuit of better performance, but rather of safety. There have been plenty of examples of that and now the F1 teams and the FIA are fairly urgently and closely working together to come up with a solution to the problem of driver vulnerability in the cockpit. F1 has been lucky in recent years with several accidents which could have harmed or killed the driver due to his exposure in an open cockpit. We had another on Sunday. Fernando Alonso’s point of view as Romain Grosjean’s car smashed across the More…

Posted on September 3, 2012


Four winners of the JA on F1/Shell V Power “Ultimate F1 Road Trip” competition drove down to Spa Francorchamps for an unforgettable weekend and were in the circuit for qualifying and race day, taking in a visit to the paddock, the Ferrari garage and the Shell Track Lab, testing out a simulator, enjoying hospitality at Eau Rouge and even meeting Bernie Ecclestone in a local restaurant! Here, one of the winners, Andrew Jacobs, recounts his favourite moments from the trip. Andrew Jacobs writes: “Having been treated to a sumptuous four course meal at the rather chic Hotel Derlon in Maastricht More…

Posted on September 3, 2012


It was interesting to speak to a few of the drivers privately after the race in Belgium and to hear that some of them welcomed the stewards’ tough stance on Romain Grosjean, banning him from the next race in Monza. One or two said that the ban should have been longer. Clearly there is a problem here with two drivers in particular: Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Their fellow drivers are upset with their repeated incidents involving other drivers and don’t feel safe racing against them. Grosjean has been involved in incidents at the start in Australia, Malaysia and Monaco among More…

Posted on September 2, 2012


Jenson Button avoided the first lap carnage to take a dominant victory from pole position at Spa, but there were plenty of impressive drives elsewhere. Who was your Driver of the Day? Jenson Button Decided on a low downforce set-up after final practice and it appeared to be the right choice as he nailed a brilliant lap in the second part of qualifying. Two more scintillating laps in the top 10 shoot-out sealed his first pole position since the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix. A perfect start saw him escape the carnage behind him and though Sebastian Vettel looked quick in More…

Posted on September 2, 2012


Jenson Button drove a faultless race to secure his second victory of 2012 at Spa, as championship leader Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton retired after a nasty first lap pile up. It was triggered by Romain Grosjean, who moved over on Lewis Hamilton and who was launched over Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez causing the retirement of all four cars. It was another in a seres of first lap incidents, which have stretched the patience of the stewards to breaking point. They handed him a one race ban for the Italian Grand Prix, leaving Lotus looking for a substitute driver More…

Posted on September 2, 2012


Michael Schumacher has been forced to change an engine in part ferme due to an problem. The engine was the 5th unit Schumacher has used this season and has been replaced with one he has already used. The rules changed in the last couple of years so that engines can be changed without penalty as long as a driver does not exceed his allocation of 8 engines for the season. However it does mean that the engine which was taken out cannot be raced again, which is a setback for the Mercedes team, with 20 races to cover with 8 More…

Posted on September 2, 2012


Four winners of the JA on F1/Shell Ultimate F1 Road Trip competition have driven down to Spa Francorchamps and were in the circuit for qualifying day. Based in hospitality at the foot of Eau Rouge, they watched practice and qualifying from the grandstand at the side of Eau Rouge. Afterwards they had a chance to tour the F1 paddock and went into the Ferrari garage and the Shell track lab. Here is Anil’s account of his day. Anil writes: “Shortly after qualifying, we all waited inside the Shell hospitality area for a brief appearance from Ferrari’s Alonso. In typical celebrity More…

Posted on September 1, 2012


[Updated] Lewis Hamilton didn’t have a great day on Saturday in Spa. First he went the wrong way on aerodynamic set up, selecting the higher downforce option and ending up well behind team mate Jenson Button, then he got into a twist with his Twitter feed, using the expression “WTF” to highlight his frustration with the decision, before swiftly deleting the tweet and rephrasing it. On Sunday morning he did the same with a photo of his telemetry printout out, compared to Button’s. “Jenson has the new rear wing on, I have the old. We voted to change, didn’t work More…

Posted on September 1, 2012


Jenson Button claimed his first McLaren pole position in dominant fashion today with a spectacular performance in Spa to head an unexpected top three ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Pastor Maldonado. But hours after the session ended, stewards took Maldonado’s fastest time away for an impeding incident in Q1 on Hulkenberg. It moves Kimi Raikkonen, who was also quizzed by stewards for leaving the circuit boundary with all four wheels, up to third, with Perez fourth. In Button’s 50th Grand Prix for McLaren he set two laps fast enough for pole and finished the session 3/10ths faster than anybody. The More…



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