Posted on March 9, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

After several months of not hearing and seeing racing cars it was fabulous to come to the Montmelo circuit in Barcelona today and get up close to the 2009 cars. At the end of the day, all the drivers lined up for practice starts on the main straight and I could feel my heart thumping the inside of my rib cage, just as it was when the last engine was switched off in the pit lane in Brazil last November. All the teams are here and, although the 2009 cars take some getting used to with their ungainly front wings More…

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Posted on March 9, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

I’ve been at the Barcelona test today, where Jenson Button put the new Brawn-Mercedes through it’s first full day of testing alongside the opposition. And what a day it was. Jenson was fastest this morning and then this afternoon he wound up fourth with a best lap of 1min 21.140. But we shouldn’t get too carried away with the headline lap times, the point is that the car ran very reliably, covering 250 miles in total, which is a fantastic effort for a first full day’s running, as rival teams acknowledged. It ran with hardly any problems and Jenson had More…

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Posted on March 7, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

On Monday I’m off to Barcelona for the test session. For many teams it is the final test before the season starts. For McLaren, Williams, Renault and Brawn GP there are another three days of running at Jerez from 15-17 March. So it’s a pretty vital week for a lot of teams, most of whom will bring heavly updated cars. It’s a huge week for Ferrari, who have still not shown exactly where they are in the pecking order. Meanwhile McLaren have been having problems with the rear wing and although they have those extra days in Jerez, they will More…

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Posted on March 7, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

Ross Brawn has revealed more details behind his takeover of the Honda team and some of the decisions he’s made. Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Brawn makes the key revelation that he had the choice of Ferrari or Mercedes engines but chose the Mercedes because it was easier to fit into the Honda chassis. This is interesting because it had been widely believed that Ferrari had said no. He also says that they started modifying the chassis just after Christmas. Brawn also reveals that, “When I left Ferrari I never imagined that one day I would become the owner More…

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Posted on March 7, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

Here we go again. Another round of ‘what ifs’, this time based on the proposal put forward by FOTA for revising the points system this season. They suggest that the winner should be receive greater reward (12 points) and that the podium finishers should gain more relative to the rest. So the mathematicians have been working out what different championship outcomes we might havd had in the past if this system had been in place. The biggest difference is that Eddie Irvine would have won the title in 1999 and Damon Hill would be a double champion, with victory in More…

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Posted on March 6, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

Ross Brawn issued a brief Question and Answer document today, to mark his first full day as a team owner. It doesn’t say much, beyond expressing relief and joy that they finally got there and some heartfelt thanks to Honda and Mercedes for making it happen. Interestingly he does not pick up on the theme expressed yesterday that this deal would not have happened without FOTA, nor does he express heartfelt thanks to Bernie Ecclestone (who offered to fund the buyout) nor the FIA. He says that he is looking for ‘respectable’ performance this season. What is respectable in F1? More…

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Posted on March 6, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

From a fans’ point of view the big story from yesterday’s FOTA press conference was the changes they’d like to make to shorten the races, change the points and boost the TV coverage. Martin Whitmarsh spoke about the desire to change the points system to reward the winner and podium finishers and to shorten the races by fifty miles, which for the average race will take about 20 minutes off the race time. The points thing will exaggerate the difference between the top teams and the rest and is possibly a payback for the big guys agreeing so many cost More…

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Posted on March 6, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

Yesterday was frantic. I got up at 4-30am in London and got the 6-50am BA flight to Geneva with a load of excited people who were going skiiing. Geneva was cold and wet, the motor show is on, but there isn’t much enthusiasm from (or for) the car industry at the moment. The FOTA press conference was held in a kind of transport museum, not far from the airport. There weren’t as many media there as I’d expected. The usual faces from Italy, Germany, UK, but not the hundreds I thought might come. It’s a sign that the credit crunch More…

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Posted on March 6, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

I’m delighted that Brawn GP has emerged from the rubble of the Honda GP team. It is a bold move by Ross and knowing him, he would not have done it if he did not think he could be successful. Everything he does he does well. The money must be solid because Mercedes would not have done the engine supply deal if it wasn’t. The money is coming from Honda, is my understanding. It’s an enormous challenge, but the rewards are potentially enormous for him too. After all he’s now 100% shareholder in a business with guaranteed income of at More…

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Posted on March 5, 2009
James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1 | Formula 1 / F1 | Page 294

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…

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