Posted on March 5, 2012


HRT has this evening released the first images of its car for the new season following a shakedown at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, finally completing the line-up for the 2012 grid with little over a week to go before the first practice session in Melbourne. Like chief rivals Marussia, who rolled out its 2012 challenger this morning at Silverstone, the Spanish-owned team has taken advantage of the regulations that allow for 62 miles of running for filming purposes after its chassis didn’t pass all of the crash tests in time to compete at Barcelona last week. With those tests now More…

Posted on March 5, 2012


Marussia today belatedly rolled out its 2012 car for the first of two filming days at Silverstone and in the process pointedly drew a line under the design philosophy of the team’s first two years in Formula 1 – describing the new MR01 as a “ground-up re-evaluation of the way the team designs its racing cars”. The team, which is now named after the Russian sportscar company that holds the majority stake, famously pioneered an all-CFD approach with the VR-01 and MVR-02 but after an underwhelming start to last year parted company with technical director Nick Wirth and set about More…

Posted on February 27, 2012


Marussia has become the latest team to run into problems with its 2012 car, the Russian-backed team tonight announcing that its new MR01 has failed the final FIA crash test and as a result forced it out of this week’s final pre-season test. The Banbury-based outfit had been hoping to roll out the first car to be built in-house in time for the start of Thursday’s four-day test, having run with last year’s machine during the first Barcelona test last week. However, those plans have now been scuppered following news that the MR01 has failed the 18th and final crash More…

Posted on February 17, 2012


Mike Gascoyne has been appointed the Chief Technical Officer of the entire Caterham Group, expanding on his previous role of Caterham F1 CTO, which will now be taken over by Mark Smith. The new appointment will mean that Gascoyne’s talents will now be spread to Caterham Cars and Caterham Technology & Innovation, as well as taking a deeper step into the Caterham-owned GP2 team and the new Arden Caterham Formula Renault 3.5 squad. “My new role will now give me the chance to help drive value across the whole group through the creation and delivery of new projects in all More…

Posted on February 8, 2012


Ferrari’s most aggressively-designed car for a number of years made its track debut at Jerez on Tuesday, and afterwards its designer explained the approach the team is taking to the opening test of pre-season. The F2012 features a number of wholesale technical departures compared to last year’s disappointing challenger, notably pull-rod front and rear suspensions along with fundamental changes towards the rear of the car. Although the team’s recent cars have proved disappointing, Ferrari has nonetheless often been consistently at the sharp end of the winter testing timesheets with its cars invariably proving reliable out of the box. On Monday More…

Posted on February 5, 2012


The team formerly known as Renault officially launched its new Lotus era today by unveiling its new car with the relatively low-key target of moving up one place to fourth in the constructors’ championship in 2012. The Genii Capital-owned outfit revealed the E20 – the ‘E’ in reference to Enstone, the team’s home of 20 years – on the internet but, rather than a live stream, released a novel pre-recorded broadcast from its factory which included the car’s unveil, interviews with drivers and management, along with behind-the-scenes footage. The black and gold-liveried challenger features the in-vogue stepped nose, but is More…

Posted on February 4, 2012


More than three years on from his last appearance behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, and Dutchman Giedo van der Garde has been handed his biggest chance at motorsport’s top level yet after Caterham announced him as its reserve driver for 2012. The Tony Fernandes-owned team says the 26-year-old, who last year finished fifth in the GP2 Series, will make his debut for the squad in the forthcoming pre-season tests and then, like his predecessors in the role Fairuz Fauzy and Karun Chandhok, will “take part in a number” of Friday morning practice sessions during the course of More…

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 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 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 March 9, 2011


The final piece in the driving jigsaw for the 2011 season fell into place today as Hispania announced Tonio Liuzzi as its second driver alongside Narain Karthikeyan. It’s good that the team has gone for someone with speed and experience, rather than opt for a pay driver as they were forced to do last season, with Sakon Yamamoto. Liuzzi has raced for team principal Colin Kolles before and although his record in F1 is rather mixed, he undoubtedly has speed and an ability to get results. It’s just stringing results together consistently that he’s not managed to do in F1. More…

Posted on March 18, 2009


There’s some very good writing in reaction to yesterday’s shock announcement of the £30 million budget cap and the new system for deciding the champion. There’s no doubt that a big part of the background to this is a response from Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone to the formation of FOTA and its recent announcement of a ‘road map’ for F1. Mosley and Ecclestone do not want the teams deciding the rules or the share of commercial revenues and they are reminding them who’s boss. The £30 million budget cap is designed to repel calls for teams to receive a More…

Posted on March 17, 2009


I nearly choked on my Rich Tea biscuit when the news came through about the £30 million budget cap voted through today by the FIA world motor sport council. The teams did likewise. They did not expect this after presenting such a unanimous front the other week in Geneva. Their confidence that their unified voice would be taken into account by the FIA, when deciding rules and policy, was misplaced. Instead Max Mosley has gone much further than the teams wanted to in stripping costs out of the sport. FOTA has just put a statement out which makes clear how More…

Posted on March 17, 2009


Jean Todt, who guided Ferrari’s F1 team to it’s greatest era of success, with 13 world championships in the period from 1999 to 2007, has stepped down from all his administrative roles at the company, Ferrari has just announced at a shareholders’ meeting. “Todt has been one of the fundamental protagonists of the Ferrari story in the last 15 years, ” said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo. ” All these years together, the wins but also the difficult moments, have created a bond between Ferrari and Todt which will last for ever.” Todt (63) arrived at Maranello in 1993 to More…

Posted on March 16, 2009


Fernando Alonso set the fastest time on the second day at Jerez today. His lap of 1 min 18.343 was 5/100th faster than Rubens Barrichello’s best in the Brawn. This compares with the time of 1min 19.945, he set on the final day of the last Jerez test a fortnight ago. This does not mean that Renault has suddenly vaulted ahead of Brawn, as they were some way behind in Barcelona – a second and a bit. Jerez arguably suits their car better than Barcelona at the moment, Alonso was quick there earlier this month. Renault had a slow start More…

Posted on March 16, 2009


Mario Theissen put out a quick Q & A today with some comments about FOTA, a look back at the winter testing and a quandry about whether to use KERS or not at the first race. He makes no mention of the Brawn phenomenon. BMW’s testing has gone pretty well, but not outstandingly. Many, including myself, though that they would start the year with an advantage over Ferrari and McLaren because they devoted more energy earlier to the 2009 programme than their rivals. But despite topping the time sheets occasionally at tests, they have yet to show blistering pace. Robert More…

Posted on March 12, 2009


This has been a great week for F1 with a real buzz starting to build around the start of the new season. As predicted it has also given us a much better idea of where the teams are relative to each other in performance, with a few surprises, like McLaren and Brawn. The key question is, who’s the pace setter? Well from what I’ve seen so far this week -and the picture has been clearing as the week’s gone on – there is nothing to choose between Ferrari and BMW, with Toyota and Brawn right there too. The one thing More…

Posted on March 5, 2009


Former Honda CEO Nick Fry was at the FOTA press conference this morning and after FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo confirmed that the team had been saved, he felt obliged to confirm this and to say that it would not have happened without FOTA support. “Our team has been and will benefit from FOTA, first in cost reductions and help for the next three years and also from the level of support over the last three months from the all the teams. “On the day Honda announced that they were pulling out we had support from Luca di Montezemolo and More…

Posted on March 1, 2009


Things are really starting to hot up now as the new season approaches and the final two tests before the first race are upon us. This week Jerez, next week Barcelona. We will know who’s looking good and who’s not in the next fortnight. The new Force India package has been launched and this team are demanding that we take them seriously. There is every reason to. They have made a very smart technical and strategic alliance with McLaren. This means that in addition to a McLaren man moving in as the CEO of Force India, they will run the More…

Posted on February 25, 2009


Williams has just announced that RBS will stay with the team this season and next, but that the sponsorship will finish at the end of 2010. RBS is conducting a review of all its sponsorships in light of the critical situation in the banking sector and the huge corporate losses shortly to be announced. The partnership with Williams began in 2005 and was renewed in 2007 for three seasons. RBS points out that sponsorship costs have been reduced by 25% for this year and 50% in 2010 while hospitality has been cut by 90%. RBS has made further cuts by More…

Posted on February 9, 2009


The new Red Bull hit the track today, for all of 14 laps before being halted by a gearbox problem. Uh-oh. The gearbox was the Achilles Heel in 2007. Let’s hope that this is just a small teething problem. The car looks pretty cool, I like the long think nose and the experts seem to think that there is a lot of tidy detail there, showing that the extra time in the wind-tunnel has been well spent. The fact that Adrian Newey has been pushed into the foreground on this launch is interesting and tells me two things; first that More…

Posted on February 7, 2009


Red Bull launches the new car on Monday in Jerez and they seem to be getting quite excited about it in the build up to the event. We’ve had Mark Webber saying that it’s the best looking of the 2009 cars so far and their website is pretty gushing about it. It talks about the car being a creation from the drawing board (literally because he still uses one) of Adrian Newey. He’s overdue a real winner of a car and this year is a pretty vital one for the team as they have to take a serious step closer More…

Posted on February 4, 2009


There is a deafening silence coming out of Honda at the moment. The initial deadline of 31st January has passed and now it seems that efforts are focussing on a management buyout. This, of course, requires capital funding, which is in very short supply in the world at this time. Honda likes the idea of a management buyout because it will turn out to be much cheaper for them than simply shutting the factory down and laying off all the workers. There is some interest in the assets of the team, should they be sold off. I’m told that one More…

Posted on February 3, 2009


Last week a few of us were invited for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Chelsea by the heads of communication from both McLaren and Ferrari. It’s a shame the invitation was electronic, if it had been printed on card I would have framed it. It seemed as unlikely as Peter Mandelson being invited to join the cabinet by his arch enemy Gordon Brown…except that, as in that situation, needs must. The dinner was the public face of a private event that day, which showed how far relations have changed between F1′s two top teams. Ferrari’s Luca Colajanni had been More…

Posted on February 3, 2009


There is a story doing the rounds on the websites at the moment, based on an article in a German magazine called Focus, to the effect that Mercedes’ continued participation in F1 was the subject of a recent vote by the board of parent company Daimler and that the vote only just carried, by three votes to two. Sounds dramatic, another warning sign to F1 from the crumbling empire of motor manufacturing. Except that it isn’t true. I rang Mercedes to find out more about this and it turns out that the story is completely bogus. “There was no voting More…

Posted on January 21, 2009


Perhaps the most eagerly awaited launch this January was the BMW Sauber team’s new car. This is because the team has been making a steady march towards the front of the grid in the last three seasons and now it needs to make the last and most difficult step of all, to champion status. A few teams have come along in the last twenty years or so and threatened the McLaren/Williams/Ferrari elite, including Jordan, which won a few races. But really only Benetton/Renault has been able to elbow the big boys aside and make a permanent space for itself at More…

Posted on January 17, 2009


The Ron Dennis story has dominated coverage of the McLaren launch, which is probably just as well because Lewis Hamilton wasn’t on great form, suffering with a heavy cold. He looked pretty proud to see the number one on the car, however, the first time for McLaren in a decade. Nevertheless, we had a good chance over the course of a long day in Woking, to go behind the scenes and find out more about this new car and about how it will be raced this year. The first thing that struck me was how much more there is for More…

Posted on January 16, 2009


Today’s McLaren launch was a quietly confident affair. The team looked composed and calm ahead of what is likely to be a hard fought and chaotic season, with complex new rules and an intense development programme away from the circuit. And then just as the thing was winding to a close, Ron Dennis, the sport’s most successful entrant, goes and lets slip that he’s standing down as team principal at the end of February. It’s no great surprise in one sense; he is 61 years old and has been discussing stepping down for some time. He was under pressure from More…

Posted on January 15, 2009


Amid promises of a first win being around the corner and a commitment to stay in F1 for the long term, Toyota virtually launched their new car today in an online ceremony, which saved them a lot of money. It’s important at the moment in F1 to show that you are cutting costs wherever possible. I’m hearing that job cutting programmes are starting to bite now, many posts have been shed in catering departments, while one UK based manufacturer team has imposed a 20% pay cut on management and 10% on the workforce. There will be some big job losses More…

Posted on January 12, 2009


Full marks to Ferrari for getting their 2009 car out first, especially as they were fighting for the world championship until the final round last season. So dramatic are the rule changes this year – the biggest for a generation – everything is new with these cars and it’s hard to make many judgments based on what we see at the launch. Technical boss Aldo Costa says that it is a completely new car, a clean sheet of paper, but I’m sure much of the DNA which has run through the ultra successful generation of Ferrari cars since 1999 is More…

Posted on December 6, 2008


Today’s papers are full of the story of Honda’s withdrawal from F1 and the efforts to sell the team and save some of the 670 jobs at Brackley. It’s just a number, like the figure Woolworths and Citibank are shedding. But, as Jenson Button highlighted in his statement yesterday, there are real people behind these numbers, people he feels very close to. Although this is potentially a disaster for Button’s career, he has a huge amount of money in the bank and will be alright. The same is true of Ross Brawn. But the rest of the team are not More…

Posted on December 4, 2008


Honda announced this morning that it is withdrawing from Formula 1. It is putting its team up for sale and will continue to fund the team for three months, but if no buyer is found by March then the team will be closed down. There is a sense of shock in Japan about this. Apparently there have been rumours out there during the last week that Toyota was building up to make an announcement of this kind, but not Honda. All eyes are now on Toyota to see what their next move will be. Honda president Fukui made the announcement More…

Posted on December 1, 2008


There have been some very positive noises coming out of Munich recently to the effect that BMW has set its goal for 2009 as nothing less than fighting for the world championship. No big deal, I hear you say, teams always come out with that kind of talk. Well not BMW. Mario Theissen’s team has always been meticulous in setting targets that it believes it can hit. If you read my Theissen interview elsewhere on this site you’ll get more background insight into the way the man thinks. He’s a company man, one who has come up through the ranks More…

Posted on November 28, 2008


With all the fuss about medals, you might not have paid much attention to the story of the three young Italian drivers, who got to test a Ferrari F1 car at Fiorano this week. But digging into what happened, it seems the test was a minor revelation. The top three finishers in the Italian F3 championship were invited to drive Kimi Raikkonen’s 2008 car on Wednesday and the guy who won the F3 championship, 18 year old Mirko Bortolotti, went two tenths under the lap record for that car at Fiorano, setting a 59.111s lap. Now this needs qualifying; the More…

Posted on November 12, 2008


Williams picked up their first winners’ trophy in a while on Sunday, emerging victorious in the annual F1 mechanics’ football tournament at Milton Keynes. The event is organised by Grant Mundy, who is number one mechanic on David Coulthard’s car at Red Bull. A full compliment of sixteen teams representing most of the grid, took part in the event. Grant’s RBR team has been the one to beat in recent times, but this year the final featured two great F1 institutions, Williams and McLaren in a head to head. The weather was atrocious by the time the final kicked off, More…

Posted on October 14, 2008


Interview with BMW Sauber boss Dr Mario Theissen,  The character of the Formula 1 boss is changing. The old guard were the products of the 1970s; grafters, boys-done-good, men who were passionate about racing, who pulled strokes and called in favours to keep their cars in the race. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps from humble beginnings and then in the 1990s found themselves owning private jets once Bernie Ecclestone’s TV deals started to bring in serious money. This type of team owner, personified by McLaren’s Ron Dennis, the mechanic made good and Sir Frank Williams, the used car More…



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