Posted on April 30, 2013


Rising star James Calado’s chances of making the move up to Formula 1 have been boosted by a deal to be managed by Nicolas Todt, whose All Road Management group manages Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi. Nicolas is the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also a shareholder in ART Grand Prix, a front running team in GP2 and other categories. Calado is currently driving for ART GP in the GP2 series. Calado, 23, competed with current Williams F1 driver Valterri Bottas for the GP3 title two seasons ago and last year won two races in his More…

Posted on April 29, 2013


F1 in Schools in the Middle East – Watch this Space! By Steve Nevey F1 technical business expert, formerly with Red Bull Racing As part of my Business Development role with the fabulous F1 in Schools educational initiative, I have the occasional pleasure to meet some of the inspirational students who participate in the program. F1 in Schools is currently active in more that 40 countries, making it a truly Global initiative that encourages children to develop an interest in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). http://www.f1inschools.com One of the regions where F1 in Schools is really beginning More…

Posted on April 29, 2013


Welcome to the third JA on F1 podcast in our 2013 series. This month we speak to a driver and a team boss, a technical director and the man at the centre of F1′s hottest debate of the moment. Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff tells us how many marks out of 10 he gives his team for their start to 2013, talks about Lewis Hamilton’s impact on the team and whether Ross Brawn is staying; we ask rising Toro Rosso star Daniel Ricciardo about his standout drive in China and his chances of getting a Red Bull seat; we explain More…

Posted on April 29, 2013


This month we ran a competition called “Performance Reinvented”, in conjunction with Shell, giving three lucky winners the chance to do some performance driving with former F1 racer Gimmi Bruni, get into a proper F1 Simulator and to get a ride with Ferrari test driver Giancarlo Fisichella at the launch event of the new Shell V Power Nitro + fuel at London’s Battersea Power Station. We’ve already heard from Rich Gibbons. Here are the other two guest blogs, from long time JA on F1 poster “Hero was Senna” (Carlo Carluccio) and Robin Middleton. Guest Blog by “Hero was Senna” When More…

Posted on April 29, 2013


F1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that the automatic $10m prizemoney payments made to the “new” teams which entered F1 in 2010 are to end. From now on only the top ten teams will receive money each season. This makes the battle for 10th place in the constructors’ championship more intense than ever, with Caterham and Marussia vying for the final position. Currently Marussia holds 10th place due to Jules Bianchi’s 13th place in Malaysia. When former FIA president Max Mosley pressed for the new teams to enter the sport, Ecclestone agreed to pay them each More…

Posted on April 28, 2013


Former Marussia F1 aero test driver Maria de Villota has been speaking this weekend of her new life, following her life threatening accident at Duxford almost a year ago. De Villota was doing straight line aero tests on the runway at the former WWII airbase when she crashed into the open tailgate of a truck which was parked near the team’s temporary pit awning. Formula 1 held its breath as she underwent a series of vital operations at Adenbrokes Hospital in nearby Cambridge. She suffered a severe head injury, lost her right eye and required 104 stitches in her face. More…

Posted on April 25, 2013


This month we ran a competition called “Performance Reinvented”, in conjunction with Shell, giving three lucky winners the chance to do some performance driving with former F1 racer Gimmi Bruni, get into a proper F1 Simulator and to get a ride with Ferrari test driver Giancarlo Fisichella at the launch event of the new Shell V Power Nitro + fuel at London’s Battersea Power Station. Over the next few days we will share with you their experiences in the form of guest blogs and images. Here’s the first, from long time JA on F1 reader Rich Gibbons. Tyre degradation. Backmarker More…

Posted on April 25, 2013


After weeks of speculation, Pirelli has today announced that it is changing one of the F1 tyres in its range from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards. The hard tyre will be changed to be closer in specification to the 2012 tyre, which would make it more durable. It will likely have a larger working range, so will be more versatile. It was the preferred race tyre in Bahrain at the weekend for most teams. This is a surprise change in some ways, as there was speculation that the soft tyre would be the one to face changes. It proved troublesome More…

Posted on April 24, 2013


While they work behind the scenes on their car ahead of the start of the European season, Mercedes is aiming to be three times faster than the opposition when it comes to the increasingly important area of transferring data from the car at the race track to the factory and back again. And a new deal announced today could ultimately lead to F1 teams taking smaller numbers of staff to the race track in future. Mercedes has become the first F1 team to follow the lead of Formula One Management, which signed a deal last year with Tata Communications, for More…

Posted on April 23, 2013

The Strategy Report

The Bahrain Grand Prix was another race packed with action and incident, the outcome heavily influenced by race strategy. The drivers who finished in the top ten tried a wide variety of strategies to attain their result, working around the limitations of the medium and hard Pirelli tyres and the intensely high track temperatures. The DRS wing technical problems encountered by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who started third on the grid, meant that it was a relatively easy win for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. But behind him, everyone else was reliant on strategy for their result as we shall see. The More…

Posted on April 22, 2013


The McLaren Group’s electronics business has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its work in international trade. McLaren Electronic Systems (MESL) sells electronics, software and components internationally, with the company saying export sales are up by more than 60% since 2008. MESL is the supplier of the official engine control unit for all teams in the Formula 1 World Championship – a contract which the company has had for 20 years – and also provide the same service to the American Nascar Sprint Cup stock car and IndyCar single-seater series’. Outside of motorsport, the company sells its products – More…

Posted on April 22, 2013


Championship leader Sebastian Vettel says the Sochi Olympic Park Circuit, which will host the inaugural Russian Grand Prix next year, is very impressive. Along with former F1 driver David Coulthard, Red Bull’s Vettel drove part of the track, which is still under construction, in an Infiniti road car a day after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix. The German three-time world champion then toured the venue in Sochi, a southern Russia Black Sea resort near the Caucasus Mountains, with officials from the Russian government. Russia’s first grand prix is scheduled to join the F1 calendar next year at some point after More…

Posted on April 22, 2013


McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is confident Jenson Button and Sergio Perez will be able to move on after the team mates clashed several times in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Perez, who joined McLaren from Sauber this season, has had a lacklustre start to the season, prompting Whitmarsh to tell him earlier this week that he needs to “toughen up” and “use his elbows” – and in Bahrain, the Mexican did just that. The 23-year-old boldly overtook Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to show signs of the spark which attracted McLaren to him in the first place. More…

Posted on April 22, 2013


Paul di Resta has sent out a message to his Force India team: “Give me a faster car and I’ll get a podium. The Scot drove an impressive race in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, leading at one point and spending much of the grand prix in the top three. However Di Resta was passed by the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who was on fresher option tyres, in the closing stages and had to settle for fourth. Despite just missing out on the first podium finish of his career, Di Resta told JA on F1 after the race that the team More…

Posted on April 22, 2013


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to win two races this season with an impressive victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix – but behind him, there were countless battles all the way down the field. Kimi Raikkonen bounced back from a disappointing qualifying, which saw him start eighth, to finish second ahead of Lotus team mate Romain Grosjean who secured his first podium of the season. Paul di Resta produced one of the best drives of his career, running in third place in the Force India and on course for his first F1 podium before losing out to More…

Posted on April 21, 2013


Sebastian Vettel pulled off two key overtakes and managed his tyres to perfection to get early control of the Bahrain Grand Prix and take an easy victory, ahead of impressive drives through the field from Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. It was the same podium as last year’s race, with Vettel again starting on the front row and the Lotus cars being forced to come through the field. After losing his second place to Fernando Alonso at the start of the race, the World Championship leader scythed past the Ferrari in the midfield esses section and promptly set about taking More…

Posted on April 20, 2013


One of the biggest surprises in Saturday’s qualifying session for the Bahrain Grand Prix was the performance of the Lotus cars, with Kimi Raikkonen 9th fastest and Romain Grosjean 11th. They were the pace setters on Friday, set the fourth fastest time in Saturday morning practice and Raikkonen set a competitive Q2 time in 1m 33.146, the third fastest time in that session. So what happened? According to Lotus’ Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane, the result is something of a mystery. They believed – and many other teams agreed with the view – that Raikkonen could win this race, based More…

Posted on April 20, 2013


Nico Rosberg made it two Mercedes pole positions in as many weeks as he produced a sensational final lap to take the spoils in Bahrain, ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. It was the second pole position of his career and means that Mercedes and Red Bull have both taken half the pole positions this season. But the race could be a different story. After being off the ultimate pace throughout the weekend’s practice sessions Rosberg showed his speed from the outset of qualifying, although he only topped the times in Q3. And after coming close already this year More…

Posted on April 19, 2013


Kimi Raikkonen continued his strong start to the season and highlighted Lotus’ position as front runners for this weekend by topping the time sheets in Friday’s Free Practice, ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. It looks like being an extremely competitive weekend between the Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull teams, while Mercedes look to be struggling with tyre management. With much of the afternoon being spent on longer runs and race simulations, the front-runners took their only medium tyre run in the opening half an hour of the afternoon. And it was Raikkonen who found the largest improvement switching More…

Posted on April 19, 2013


There has been something of a phoney war going on this week with Fernando Alonso mischievously tweeting a photo of himself having dinner with Red Bull’s Mark Webber in Dubai. In the light of the climate of antagonism between Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel after the team orders debacle in Malaysia, the photo assumed a different significance and that was exacerbated when it was mysteriously taken down. There is nothing unusual about them having dinner together; they do it regularly. However, both drivers are celebrating 200 Grands Prix and on Thursday and ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, More…

Posted on April 19, 2013


Lewis Hamilton says that Mercedes’ positive start to the season, with a pole and two podiums, is much better than he expected, but believes there is a lot more to come from the Brackley team. Pre-season Hamilton had managed expectations carefully, not wanting to over promise and under deliver given how poor Mercedes were in the second half of 2012. However he is right there in the championship with the group of title contenders, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, on 40 points. On the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Hamilton has been speaking extensively about the work More…

Posted on April 18, 2013


The organiser of the Bahrain Grand Prix said today that the F1 personnel attending the race this weekend will be safe and claimed that 77% of the Bahraini people wanted the race to go ahead. I had a chance to interview Zayed Al-Zayani, Chairman of Bahrain International Circuit this afternoon for BBC Radio 5 Live and asked him if he could guarantee the safety of F1 people,” Absolutely,” he said, “They have always been safe here and I think this year won’t be any different.” Last year four Force India staff members were caught in a firebomb incident on the More…

Posted on April 17, 2013


This weekend’s Bahrain promises to be another tense race and is likely to be decided on race strategy, if last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix are anything to go by. And one important detail to note is that Pirelli has changed the tyre specification for this weekend from the soft compound tyres which proved short-lived in China, to mediums, which have been used in every race so far. Alongside this tyre is the hard compound, which was used in Malaysia. Due to lead times and logistics, this decision will have been made before the Chinese More…

Posted on April 17, 2013


Caterham F1 Team has announced a restructuring of its drivers with former racer Heikki Kovalainen coming back into the team, initially to drive in Friday morning practices at Grands Prix and to give technical feedback on Caterham’s new technical package due in Barcelona. Reserve driver Alexander Rossi will move over to race in GP2 for Caterham Racing, taking the seat of Ma Qing Hua. Kovalainen raced for Caterham for three seasons, but left the team at the end of 2012 as it took on two young drivers with budgets, Charles Pic and Guido van der Garde. Kovalainen’s presence will increase More…

Posted on April 16, 2013

The Strategy Report

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix was another tense race and the outcome was once again decided by race strategy. What made it particularly interesting was that there were different approaches among the leading teams, forced by the disparate performance levels of the soft and medium Pirelli tyres. Team strategists had to find a way to do the fastest race, which meant spending the least amount of time on the weaker tyre and running in clear air as much as possible. Here, with the help and input of several team strategists as well as JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, More…

Posted on April 16, 2013


Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is targeting a return to the podium after narrowly missing out in the Chinese Grand Prix. And a glance at the drivers’ championship table shows that, without the extra seven points he gained controversially by taking the win in Malaysia despite team orders not to, he would now by second behind Kimi Raikkonen with arch rival Fernando Alonso just two points behind him, having recovered from his retirement in the Sepang. Knowing that they didn’t have the pace in Shanghai, the Red Bull driver chose a different strategy to the Ferraris, Lotus and Mercedes which More…

Posted on April 15, 2013


Thanks to everyone who took part in our first major competition of 2013: the Shell “Performance Reinvented” competition. The prize was a big day out at a spectacular venue in London on April 18th, which three lucky JA on F1 readers will attend; with a variety of activities including performance driving with none other than Ferrari reserve driver Giancarlo Fisichella and attending a major event hosted by former BBC F1 frontman Jake Humphrey. Entrants were asked to define what “Performance Reinvented” means to them in 150 words. The winners are listed below, together with their entries. They will be contacted More…

Posted on April 15, 2013


It’s tough times for McLaren at the moment: Sergio Perez has yet to get his season started while Jenson Button says his team still lack the pace to compete with the likes of Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus despite scoring his best result of the season in China. The 2009 world champion battled to ninth place in Australia and then failed to finish in Malaysia, after earlier being on target for a top six finish. But in China, buoyed by some new upgrades and a brave strategy, he finished fifth. In each case McLaren has gambled on strategy, because More…

Posted on April 15, 2013


Tyres were once again the talk of the Formula 1 paddock in China as teams chose to sit out much of qualifying to save rubber while in the race, those who started on the soft tyre were forced to pit as early as lap six because their rubber fell off the cliff. Jenson Button had to ask whether to fight another driver mid race as lap time consistency was more of a priority. The performance difference between the two compounds also prompted a mix of strategies, with the front seven cars starting the race on the soft tyres, while the More…

Posted on April 14, 2013


The 2013 Chinese Grand Prix delivered an entertaining race which saw a third different winner in three races this season and plenty of impressive performances all the way down the field. Ferrari’s double world champion Fernando Alonso took an impressive victory, building on a fantastic start to take his 31st career win. Kimi Raikkonen felt he could have challenged for the win in the Lotus had it not been for a glitch at the start and damage to his nose following a collision with McLaren’s Sergio Perez. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton couldn’t match his scintillating qualifying pace in the race but did his More…

Posted on April 14, 2013


Fernando Alonso won the Chinese Grand Prix for Ferrari, the third different race winning driver and car combination in three races this season, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second, where he started and Lewis Hamilton holding off a hard charging Sebastian Vettel for third. It was Alonso’s 31st career victory, equalling Nigel Mansell for fourth in the all-time winners list and his second in China. Vettel retained the drivers’ championship lead, three points ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton, but it tightened up; just 12 points separate the top four drivers, all World Champions. Ferrari closed to within five points of More…

Posted on April 13, 2013


Lewis Hamilton took the first pole position of his Mercedes career in China with Kimi Raikkonen throwing down the gauntlet in second place and Fernando Alonso third. Mark Webber stopped on track in Q2 with a fuel shortage issue and was sent to the back of the grid by stewards. Given the tyre management abilities of Lotus, Raikkonen is in a strong position, although he has questioned whether the Lotus has the pace to win tomorrow. Whether he can make one less stop than his rivals and turn it to his advantage, time will tell. More likely it will mean More…

Posted on April 12, 2013


Ferrari finished the Friday practice session in first and third places with Felipe Massa setting the fastest time and team mate Alonso third. The pair were split by the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen, with Nico Rosberg fourth ahead of Mark Webber. It looks like it could be a competitive race, with qualifying certain to be important, but race strategy likely to be the decisive factor, with managing the difference between the soft and medium tyre the key to it. Mercedes had been the clear pace setters on the medium tyres in the morning and at the start of the second More…

Posted on April 11, 2013


Ma Qing Ha will become the first Chinese driver to compete in his home grand prix weekend, when he replaces Charles Pic in first practice on Friday for the Chinese Grand Prix. The 25-year-old has competed in four practice sessions previously with HRT, but this will be his first outing since signing for Caterham as reserve driver. Ma, along with race driver Giedo van der Garde, will be working on handling and set-up issues which Pic says the team have struggled with in the opening two races of the season. Pic, who will back in the car from second practice More…

Posted on April 11, 2013


Double world champion Fernando Alonso says he does not regret the decision not to pit for a new front wing which ultimately caused his retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver, 31, broke his front wing when he made contact with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel at turn two at Sepang. With the track drying out after a rain shower, the team took the decision not to pit after the first lap in the hope they could keep going and change the wing when they changed tyres. However, the wing gave way and became trapped underneath the car on More…

Posted on April 11, 2013


Nico Rosberg says he is confident that there is no number one and no number two at Mercedes despite being asked to hold position behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia. Rosberg, 27, was quicker than Hamilton, 28, in the closing stages in Sepang and asked if he could overtake the 2008 world champion. However team principal Ross Brawn refused his request citing that Hamilton had been asked to back off due to concerns over fuel consumption. Hamilton went on to finish third, scoring his first podium for the team and saying after the race that Rosberg deserved to be on More…

Posted on April 11, 2013


Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber did not “deserve” to win the Malaysian Grand Prix and that his decision to ignore team orders was “indirectly” paying Webber back for a lack of support in the past. Webber, 36, was leading Vettel, 25, last time out in Sepang when the team ordered both drivers to hold position after the final pit stops. However, Vettel chose to ignore the order and past his team-mate with 13 laps to go to take victory. Vettel was quoted on Wednesday as saying he will never apologise for winning but it’s More…

Posted on April 11, 2013


A few weeks after announcing that its title sponsorship deal with Vodafone would end in December, McLaren has today unveiled a new sponsorship with Gillette, initially focussed on Asia. And it offers some pointers to McLaren’s long term commercial plans. The deal begins as of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. Despite strong signals that money supply is tight for many teams in F1, this deal also indicates that there is a willingness for global companies to enter the sport, following on the heels of the arrival of Emirates, Rolex, UPS, Blackberry and Experian in the last few months. Gillette Brazil More…

Posted on April 10, 2013


The teams are gathering for the Chinese Grand Prix and inevitably the focus of attention at the start of this weekend will be the Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. But it could move on pretty quickly. In the run up to the event there have been some messages placed in the media setting out a few markers; there will no longer be team orders as in Malaysia, Red Bull mechanics are celebrating their record 2.05 second pit stop in Sepang and Helmut Marko says he never meant to criticise Mark Webber before the season. The Sepang incident More…

Posted on April 9, 2013


After the dramas of the first two Grands Prix, the tenth running of the Chinese Grand Prix should provide another very open contest, with strategic decisions likely to be the deciding factor once again. After the high temperatures and high tyre degradation of Malaysia, Shanghai will see a less extreme picture, as far as tyre wear is concerned. Whereas Sepang was all about managing the rear tyres, Shanghai is all about getting the front tyres at the optimum temperature for qualifying and then managing them in the race. The first sector of the lap features a series of slow corners; More…

Posted on April 8, 2013


After the first two Grands Prix the teams have had a couple of weeks to prepare for the next pair of races in China this weekend and then Bahrain the following week. In terms of development, new parts will be coming to many of the cars for these races, but one innovation which many will be working to perfect is the FRIC suspension system, which has helped Lotus and Mercedes for far. FRIC stands for “Front and Rear-Interconnected” system, which links the front and rear suspension using hydraulics with the aim of improving ride stability. This helps to give the More…

Posted on April 5, 2013


Today we announce the first major JA on F1 competition of 2013. We’ve done some pretty cool ones over the years, giving many fans the chance to get closer to the sport. This one is particularly intriguing. In conjunction with our friends at Shell, it’s your chance to take part in a very special event in Central London on April 18th, hosted by former BBC F1 frontman Jake Humphrey and featuring a chance for you to do some driving in high performance cars in a dramatic setting, with Ferrari test drivers, including Giancarlo Fisichella. You will also get a chance More…

Posted on April 4, 2013


JA on F1 technical adviser and former Williams chief engineer Mark Gillan believes it will take McLaren quite some time to fix problems with their 2013 car. The Woking-based team ended last year with the fastest car, but decided to go for a significant change, rather than evolve the 2012 design. They have been well off the pace in the first two races of the season, with ride issues among their problems. The team has just four points, 62 less than championship leaders Red Bull, with Jenson Button and Sergio Perez scoring a ninth place each. However Button was on More…

Posted on April 2, 2013


Lotus technical director James Allison believes the team’s car has genuine pace in the dry and will continue to race at the front of the field in the upcoming races. Kimi Raikkonen produced a scintillating drive to take victory, his second for the team, in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Raikkonen was seventh last time out in the rain-hit Malaysian Grand Prix, one place behind team-mate Romain Grosjean, but Allison told the latest edition of the JA on F1 podcast that the car still showed front-running pace in dry conditions. “We didn’t have a great race at Sepang More…

Posted on April 1, 2013


This season I have been working with a new producer on BBC Radio 5 Live, who comes to the sport for the first time. She has worked extensively on athletics, football and other sports, but sees F1 through fresh eyes. Likewise in my work with Australian TV Network 10, the 27 hour live spectacular they put on for their home race was staffed by people for whom Melbourne is a once a year touch point with F1. The result is that I’ve come to see the sport anew, particularly the way that the key players communicate with the media. F1 More…



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