Posted on February 13, 2014


Michael Schumacher has now been in a coma since December 29th – 46 days ago. The process of “waking him up” has been underway for two weeks; this is done by means of reducing the chemical sedation, which was keeping him in a medically induced coma, to control the swelling in his brain following his severe head injury. Schumacher suffered the injury when skiing in the French alps and is still in Grenoble Hospital. In a statement released today by Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, the family are continuing to carefully guard his condition and there is no mention of the More…

Posted on February 12, 2014


Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali says that his team has started the new era of hybrid turbo technology “in the right way” and added that in new signing Kimi Raikonnen he has a driver who knows that for Ferrari, “finishing second is a tragedy.” In an extensive interview with Gazzetta dello Sport today, the 48 year old team principal says that there he is pleased with the way his team has responded to falling short the last few years – he has a photo on his office wall of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix debacle which cost Fernando Alonso and More…

Posted on February 10, 2014


Over the weekend it emerged in the French media that former Citroen and Peugeot motorsport boss Olivier Quesnel is in pole position to take over from Eric Boullier as team principal of Lotus F1 team The role is currently filled on an interim basis by team owner Gerard Lopez, who told L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday that Quesnel is the first choice, but that “The decision is not yet made.” Quesnel, who has a glittering career of success in rally and sportscars, was on the list of candidates four years ago when Lopez hired Boullier for the role and he was More…

Posted on February 7, 2014


The Lotus E22, the final car to hit the track in this pre season build up, should finally get a run out today at Jerez, Spain. It is due to be given a shakedown in preparation for the crucial Bahrain tests starting in a couple of weeks. Pastor Maldonado will drive the car and he tweeted, “Finally back to the track work, planing a filming day in Jerez today. Looking forward to drive the new E22.” Lotus elected to skip the Jerez group test last week, which in retrospect looks like a reasonable plan given the troubles that Renault powered More…

Posted on February 5, 2014


Felipe Massa’s quote at the weekend about the new ‘brake-by-wire’ systems on the 2014 F1 cars taking some getting used to has sparked a lot of discussion on the JA on F1 site, with readers wanting to know more about what it is and how it works. Let’s start with an explanation from the Sauber F1 team, “The braking system concept is totally new, taking the form of a brake-by-wire system for the first time at the rear wheels. This has become necessary due to the significantly increased performance of the ERS, which requires much greater variations in rear wheel More…

Posted on February 4, 2014


The subject of awarding double points at the end of the F1 season has proved controversial since its introduction at Christmas. As things stand the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix winner will collect 50 points and the driver finishing third will score 30 – more than the winner gets at any other 2014 Grand Prix. Bernie Ecclestone, whose idea this was, is now pushing for the last three races to be awarded double points, which would require unanimous approval from the teams. But with the obvious problems faced by Renault powered teams at this early stage of the season – Red More…

Posted on January 30, 2014


He might have completed hundreds of pre-season laps of the Jerez circuit during his career, but Felipe Massa’s early morning first drive out of the garage at the wheel of Williams’s FW36 was nevertheless special, marking the start of the former Ferrari driver’s adventure with a new team after eight seasons at Maranello. If he was nervous it didn’t show as the vastly experienced Brazilian gradually built up pace through the morning. Fourth fastest at the lunch break, he rose to second by the close of play, looking as comfortable in blue as he ever did in red. While Massa More…

Posted on January 28, 2014


Rewind back to January 2007: Kimi Raikkonen’s first ever pre-season test in Ferrari-red overalls was taking place. It was also in Spain and he went on to win the world championship. Seven years later he has not only chosen to race with the same number, but he is back testing with the Italian team, once again in Spain. Kimi’s start to the season at Ferrari today was a totally different story to back in 2007, however, a story of new challenges, a new car, a new engine… and patience. A lot of it. “We’ve been working very hard to get More…

Posted on July 7, 2012


Fernando Alonso survived a spin in Q1, a yellow flag in Q2 and picked the right moment in Q3 to set the pole lap for the British Grand Prix. It was the Spaniard’s first pole position since Singapore 2010, as he edged out Mark Webber by 5/100ths of a second with Michael Schumacher third. In a rain delayed qualifying session Alonso used all his experience and guile to be in the right place at the right time to take his 21st pole position. During the 10 minute final shoot out the timesheets changed constantly with Webber, Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton More…

Posted on May 10, 2012


Caterham has introduced its new F1 Performance Director, John Iley, with an interview on the Caterham F1 website. Iley is one of many established names to have joined Caterham F1 (formerly Team Lotus) since their re-introduction in to Formula One in 2010. He has a strong pedigree with stints as a senior aerodynamicist at Ferrari and Renault during their championship winning seasons among other credits. Following on from Mike Gascoyne and Mark Smith, Iley, who was confirmed as the squad’s Performance Director in December last year, will take up his role as head of aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) More…

Posted on February 9, 2012


It has been announced today that Heikki Kovalainen has joined IMG Worldwide as his new management team, as well as being represented for all future commercial interests. At the same time, Kovalainen is testing the new Caterham CT01 in Jerez and believes that it is a big step closer to the midfield cars than was his 2011 model. The Caterham has full use of KERS for the first time and this alone is worth around 4/10ths of a second per lap. “Just looking the timesheets we’re closer than we’ve been before. We’ve done proper running, we haven’t done any show More…

Posted on January 17, 2012


Here is the audio of an interview I did with Williams’ new driver Bruno Senna for BBC Radio 5 Live this afternoon. The interview runs just under 7 minutes. We spoke about painful memories of his uncle Ayrton’s time at Williams, the Williams team in transition with new technical staff, his thoughts on where his move leaves Rubens Barrichello and his plans for pre-season testing. Bruno also takes a look forward to the 2012 F1 season and the state of the competition with changes on rules on exhausts. Throughout the season you can follow our F1 adventures on BBC Radio More…

Posted on April 29, 2010


Today I had the unique opportunity to drive around the new Silverstone circuit as a passenger in a 2 seater with my old friend and sparring partner Martin Brundle at the wheel. It was drizzling and quite greasy when we were out there, but you still get a feel for the flow of the track and the exciting new sequence of corners, starting with the astonishing new Abbey curve. This video is the first onboard lap showing the new corners at racing speeds, with a live commentary for JA on F1 users by Martin himself. Early next week you will More…

Posted on April 15, 2010


Michael Schumacher is adamant he’s still got every chance of winning an eighth Formula 1 World Championship this season despite taking his time to get back up to speed. After the opening three races, he is one of only five drivers not to outqualify his team mate. The 41 year old began the season with a sixth place finish in Bahrain, but struggled to tenth place in Australia, a week later, and retired after just nine laps in Malaysia with a wheel nut problem. However, the Mercedes GP driver said today in Shanghai that he was pleased with his start More…

Posted on April 4, 2010


After leading but failing to win the first two Grands Prix Sebastian Vettel won the Malaysian Grand Prix today at Sepang, thanks to a bold pass on his team mate the pole sitter Mark Webber at the start of the race. It was another race where the start was decisive. That move by Vettel was the key. Webber finished second, with Nico Rosberg third. Robert Kubica had another strong performance, jumping up to fourth place at the start, as in Melbourne and holding that place until the finish. And Adrian Sutil underlined Force India’s credentials with a strong drive to More…

Posted on December 31, 2009


It’s New Year and the end of a decade. The “noughties” were pretty good in F1 terms with some very talented drivers battling it out for glory. I spent most of it very close to the action as the commentator on British TV network ITV and I observed and worked with all the drivers very close up. I would argue that the decade ends with a stronger cast of drivers than we had at the start. I’m really excited about the array of talent in F1 now, with three out and out aces, one potential ace and some very strong More…

Posted on November 21, 2009


The JA on F1 reader competition to name your top five drivers of the season has been a big success so far and we have had 870 entries in the last few days. The competition runs until next week and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 24th. For those who missed it first time around – anyone who names the same top five drivers of the season, in the same order as me will get a free signed copy of my review of the 2009 season, ” F1 2009: A revolutionary year”. There’s a limited print run of these More…

Posted on October 28, 2009


I’m delighted to announce that on November 27th we will be publishing a book looking back on the 2009 season. It is a review of the goings-on both on and off the circuit in what has certainly been the most action packed season I’ve ever covered. The book is the story of the 2009 season told through the eyes of the James Allen on F1 blog, with updates and extra editorial from me. It has the behind the scenes insights into all the big stories of the year from the F1 breakaway threat and the Renault crash scandal to Ferrari’s More…

Posted on October 24, 2009


Last week I showed video of the first on-board laps of the new Yas Marina Island circuit in Abu Dhabi. Here’s some footage from the same two seater F1 event, which I have edited up to give an idea of what the spectacle will look like on TV next weekend. The event is set to be the first F1 race to start in daylight and go into the night. I’ve also got some data on the track, from one of the teams. This gives you a bit of an idea what kind of track it is in terms of fuel More…

Posted on September 12, 2009


It’s been great fun and we had over 300 people contributing ideas as to how close Giancarlo Fisichella would get to Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for his Ferrari debut at Monza. Thanks to everyone who took part and I’m sure we will do this again soon. The prize is a signed copy of my biography of Michael Schumacher, The Edge of Greatness. I’m very proud to say that we had lots of really good estimates with over 30 comments being within five hundredths of a second – it’s even more competitive than the F1 grid itself! It shows that we More…

Posted on May 23, 2009


There is a fantastic interview with Fernando Alonso in the Gazzetta dello Sport today, in which he gently moves closer to talking about Ferrari and his possible move there. According to Pino Allievi, the number one writer on the paper, Alonso has moved to a house on the border between Switzerland and Italy, near Lugano. He spoke about the affection he has for Italy and Italians: “As a Spaniard I feel more at ease with Italians,” he said. “We have a lot of shared culture and character. We have identical feelings.” As for Ferrari he started talking about the team, More…

Posted on May 22, 2009


While we wait for the grands fromages to have their meetings and decide what kind of spectacle we are going to see next year and beyond in Formula 1, I thought a brief colour post might be in order. For the first time in years I’m not staying in Monaco this year. I’m in Villefranche, which is 20 minutes west by train. They have a fantastic train service here with double decker trains whizzing you along the coastline. Monaco railway station is a 10 minute walk from the paddock and the media centre. On my way in I passed a More…

Posted on May 21, 2009


I caught up with Fernando Alonso this afternoon at his press briefing in the Renault motorhome. He’s one of the few drivers to do this session on the first day of practice. I was interested to hear how good it felt to be back on the streets here, brushing the barriers, feeling that unique adrenalin rush of Monaco. His answer surprised me a little, “Not feeling good because being close to the barriers is not something you enjoy too much it’s a bit stressful. It’s always nice to be at Monaco and you get a different feeling, but it’s very More…

Posted on May 18, 2009


For the first time in his career, Jenson Button goes to Monaco as the favourite to win the race. “To go to Monaco with the lead in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships is fantastic but we saw in Barcelona that the performance margins at the front are extremely close. There will be a lot of competitive cars fighting it out this weekend, ” he said. He has won four of the first five races and even though there have been signs lately that the Red Bull car is more than a match for the Brawn, at a tight circuit More…

Posted on May 16, 2009


You will have seen some of the interviews Lewis Hamilton did this week, on Reuters, in the Times and on the BBC. The Times one caught my eye because it was an open expression of regret that Formula 1 has become a job and that he does not enjoy the political environment around him. Hamilton has slotted into the space left vacant by Michael Schumacher in Formula 1, clearly massively talented, unloved by his fellow drivers and always seeming to find himself tangled up in controversies. Senna occupied that space before Schumacher. The Times interview reveals the state of mind More…

Posted on May 14, 2009


Ferrari F1 memorabilia including engines, a motorhome used between 2001 and 2005 and wind tunnel models are some of the items under the hammer at an auction due to take place at Ferrari HQ in Maranello this Sunday, 17th May. The event is called Leggenda e Passione. The auction is likely to see a new record for a Ferrari as a 1957 250 Testa Rossa goes under the hammer. The record currently stands at £5.9 million. It’s an exciting time of year for car lovers to be in Italy. The classic Mille Miglia set off on 13th May and runs More…

Posted on May 14, 2009


Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has today backed Brawn GP’s Jenson Button, the runaway championship leader, to finish the job off and take his title. “I think Jenson’s got a great chance, a great shot at it so I wish him all the best,” he told Reuters’ Alan Baldwin today. “I think if I were to wish anyone (else) to win, it would be him.” It’s quite an exciting prospect for British F1 fans to have two consecutive world champions. This used to happen in the 1960s when British drivers dominated the F1 scene. In 1962 to 65, we had More…

Posted on May 14, 2009


You recall the banter between Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone last year when Jenson challenged Lewis to join him in a Triathlon and Lewis accepted the bet only for his Dad to withdraw him later. Well Jenson will be participating in this year’s London Triathlon on August 1st and is going to be raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The race covers a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run, which Jenson is challenging himself to complete: “I’m aiming to finish in the top 10%, so no pressure!” I think it’s great he’s doing More…

Posted on May 14, 2009


As the pressure builds in the powerplay between the FIA and the manufacturers, led by Ferrari, the Scuderia continues to push the idea that F1 is what it is today because of their unbroken participation over 60 years. On the official Ferrari website they have posted a piece called, “The pride of making F1 great” and they go on to list all the great moments, which make up the sport’s history, of which Ferrari was the central protagonist. The intro to the piece reads, “Since the year 1950, when the modern Formula 1 World Championship was held for the first More…

Posted on May 11, 2009


I’m intrigued by the comments coming out of Williams over the last 24 hours, regarding Nico Rosberg. First at the top of yesterday’s press release after the race they said, “Inconsistency compromised a strong strategy and left Nico in P8 and with one point at race end.” Then lower down, Patrick Head says, “Nico’s pace in the first stint was initially good, but we then struggled to maintain consistency, so we will have to investigate that.” Today comes a de-brief document from the team, in which technical director Sam Michael says “Nico’s lap times were somewhat inconsistent, yes, and we More…

Posted on May 10, 2009


Felipe Massa has his tail up today, Ferrari are back in business and he knows that he has an important role in the outcome of the race, particularly at the start, where he lines up fourth on the grid. Using the KERS system, which will give him an 80 horsepower boost on the run down to turn one, projections show that he should be second by the first corner, but if Button makes a poor start as he did in Bahrain and Kuala Lumpur, Massa will have him. “It will be hard to pass in one go all three cars,” More…

Posted on May 9, 2009


Fernando Alonso is not enjoying his home Grand Prix and yesterday evening he had a major blow up with some of the Spanish journalists. It all relates to an autograph signing session on Thursday in the pit lane, where he was surrounded by photographers, so couldn’t get to the fans. He lost his temper and left the pits, then came back when the photographers had gone and signed the autographs. This was reported in El Mundo in particular as Alonso being rude to fans and showing arrogance towards poor people who’ve saved up to see their hero. Alonso was very More…

Posted on May 8, 2009


Jenson Button says that he is not happy with the performance of his Brawn Mercedes car today, the first day of practice in Barcelona. The car is equipped with the new aerodynamic package, the team’s first major development step since the season started. It features a new engine cover, new floor and new bodywork around the rear suspension. It is supposed to have given around three to four tenths of a second to the car. Rubens Barrichello was fourth today and is happy with his car. It looks very much as though it is still the strongest car out there, More…

Posted on May 8, 2009


I went along to Nelson Piquet’s press briefing yesterday afternoon. The poor lad is under some pressure at the moment, with speculation that he has this race and Monaco to save his seat. So far this season he has not impressed, struggling particularly in qualifying. Twice 15th on the grid, twice 17th he admitted that lack of testing had caused this problem, “Not getting pre-season (testing), not running low fuel, and then suddenly, when you put everything together, you can’t get the maximum out of it. Or you push too much and you end up overdriving the car. I think More…

Posted on May 7, 2009


One of the striking images from the Bahrain GP was Fernando Alonso being carried from his car, having fought his way to the finish in seventh place depsite having no drinks bottle. That in itself is not unusual, but what made Alonso’s situation really severe was a further problem inside the car. “I had very specific problems with not having enough water in the car because I lost five and a half kilos in the race, this is not normal, ” said Fernando. “There was a problem with the radiator, we had some hot gas going into the cockpit. It More…

Posted on May 6, 2009


Kimi Raikkonen will be in Regents Street, London this morning, opening the new Ferrari store. It’s a big site, I went past it yesterday and it’s full of Ferrari branded goodies. It’s amazing to think that it’s a year since Raikkonen last won a Grand Prix. He dominated the Spanish GP last season from pole, but since then he’s failed to make the top step. He would probably have won in Canada if he had not been hit in the pit lane by Lewis Hamilton and he was on target in France until his exhaust started burning a hole in More…

Posted on May 3, 2009


The would-be promoters of the 2010 British Grand Prix, face a crunch meeting with the local North West Leicestershire council on Tuesday which, if it goes wrong, could mean the end of plans for the race at Donington. Already squeezed by a £2.5 million law suit from circuit owners the Wheatcroft family, Simon Gillett’s Donington Ventures group must persuade the council to give them more time to get the Wheatcrofts to sign a crucial section 106 spectator safety document, without which the race cannot go ahead. According to the council leader, speaking in the News of the World today, either More…

Posted on May 1, 2009


Today is the 15 anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna. The day before we lost Roland Ratzenberger. Thankfully these were the last fatalities in the sport. I was at Imola that weekend. I had been working hard on research interviews for the autobiography of Nigel Mansell I was ghostwriting at the time. I’ll never forget the chill that weekend, it seemed that the weekend was cursed, with Rubens Barrichello being hospitalised by a huge shunt on Friday, then Ratzenberger on Saturday and Senna on Sunday. Also there was a big shunt at the start and a wheel went into More…

Posted on May 1, 2009


In response to the letter Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo wrote on April 28th to the FIA president expressing concern about having two classes of F1 car and about a possible legal challenge to the budget cap, Max Mosley wrote back the following day. He quotes FIAT boss Sergio Marchionne, with whom Montezemolo works closely and his belief that in an economic crisis such as we are in at the moment, only an extreme response will do, “We are just going to slam the brakes on, cut everything back to essentials. It may be painful, it may be ugly. But More…

Posted on May 1, 2009


Although Ferrari is refusing to comment on yesterday’s budget cap announcement, some letters between its president Luca di Montezemolo and FIA president Max Mosley have come to light. These show Ferrari’s concerns and hint at arrangements between Ferrari and the governing body, which Ferrari feel have not been honoured. On April 28th Montezemolo wrote to Mosley and other world council members, unhappy that budget caps had been put on the agenda of a meeting which was called to hear the McLaren case. He wrote, ” I have always been concerned about its introduction (cost cap) mainly because I consider that More…

Posted on April 30, 2009


The introduction of the £40 million budget cap poses serious problems for half of the F1 teams and the idea of a two-tier system is an issue for everyone. The reaction I have had today from ringing around the teams is that the independents welcome the move to a budget cap and are pretty happy with the level. They acknowledge that the engines being left out of it for 2010 provides an element of the ‘glide path’ that was being discussed in recent weeks, as does the exclusion of driver salaries and marketing costs. With those added on, for a More…

Posted on April 30, 2009


The details of the Budget cap have been released by the FIA. It will start next season. The level has been set at £40 million with no ‘glide path’ from a higher figure to a lower one. It will present teams with an obligation to lay off a significant number of people quickly, which in itself is an expensive exercise. The FIA has maintained the idea of a two tier championship, with teams able to spend more if they wish to, but the cost controlled teams enjoying greater technical freedom. This will greatly annoy Ferrari and BMW. The FIA statement More…

Posted on April 30, 2009


Good week for: Kimi Raikkonen – the 2007 champion has bought a £20 million dream home on the outskirts of Zurich, where he can shut the door behind him and not give another thought to slow Ferraris, KERS or the media. Ice cream anyone? Honda – Despite seeing the car it paid for winning three out of four races, the company says that ditching the F1 programme will help it stay profitable in 2009. KERS – After lots of wobbles as teams lost confidence in KERS in China, in Bahrain it was proven to be a ‘must have’ for any More…

Posted on April 29, 2009


Today’s verdict by the World Motor Sport Council to issue a three race ban for McLaren, but to suspend it for 12 months has received a fairly balanced reaction. Given the original incident, where Trulli was allowed to pass Hamilton behind the safety car in Melbourne, what happened in the stewards’ room there and in Kuala Lumpur and what has transpired since with McLaren going out of its way to demonstrate that it has accepted mistakes were made and changed the governance of the team, this is a well balanced and light judgement. To go further would have been excessive. More…

Posted on April 29, 2009


The FIA World Motor Sport Council announced at lunchtime today after a brief hearing in Paris that McLaren will not be forced to miss any races this season, nor will it lose any constructors’ championship points. Instead it has decided to suspend the sentence it planned to hand down, namely a three race ban. Interestingly, given that this is the second time in two years that McLaren has faced disrepute charges, the suspension is for a period of one year. It’s hard to imagine that they would do anything like this again – and the team was at pains to More…

Posted on April 29, 2009


There seems to be a division of opinion about what is going on between Brawn GP and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. There are stories that a deal has been done for this year and next, while there are strong suggestions coming out of the team that other parties are interested and Branson should pony up some more serious money if he wishes to go forward. Branson was in the Bahrain paddock at the weekend, holding a press conference to announce that Rubens Barrichello and Niki Lauda had both paid €200,000 to fly into space on the Virgin Galactic spaceship. More…

Posted on April 28, 2009


Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes Benz has today announced a £1.1 billion loss for the first quarter of 2009. Last year in the same period it made a profit of £1 billion. This frightening result is partly as a result of writing off a large sum from its failed investment in Chrysler. But it is also because sales are down 34% and the outlook for the rest of the year is bleak. And the scary bit from the point of view of the company’s involvement in F1 is that it is now committed to slashing costs. “We want to More…

Posted on April 28, 2009


Alex Wurz has reinvented himself as a pioneer of road safety, rather like Michael Schumacher. The difference is that Wurz has set up a company called Test and Training International, to set up road safety training centres and he has been commissioned by the Egyptian government to build a massive new site new Cairo. Wurz was Honda’s test driver until their withdrawal last winter. The position of test driver is unclear at Brawn. Wurz has been coming along to Grands Prix this season, hanging out at Brawn, but not wearing team kit. Wurz’s F1 racing career came to an end More…

Posted on April 28, 2009


Jenson Button took his third win of the season on Sunday in fine style. This was a victory which demanded a great deal of care, because he didn’t have the fastest car out there on the day, not even on the qualifying day, even though the Brawn had appeared to have the legs of the others in Friday practice. He also had to be aggressive on the opening lap, to regain the place lost to Lewis Hamilton at the start. F1 fans around the world are now debating whether Button can capitalise on the superb start he has made to More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


I’m absolutely buzzing. Sitting here in the press room in Bahrain, tapping out my stories and I get a text from the Palladium in London to tell me that the ITV F1 coverage of the Brazilian Grand Prix has won the BAFTA for best sports programme. It is the third year in a row that the team I was part of has won this most prestigious award. We won for the show which covered Jenson Button’s 2006 Hungarian GP win, for the 2007 Canadian GP show where Lewis Hamilton won his first race and now the ultimate TV moment in More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


I always like to look at the fastest race laps, it tells you a lot about the relative pace of the cars and as this is the first ‘normal’ race on a ‘normal’ track it is quite instructive. The fastest car in qualifying and race was the Toyota. They should have won their first victory today, but they made the wrong tyre choice at the first stop and it left both drivers vulnerable. McLaren will be hugely encouraged by their performance here. From being over 2 seconds off the pace of Brawn when I first saw this car on the More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


Jenson Button and the Brawn team took their third win in four races this afternoon at the Bahrain Grand Prix, ahead of Sebastian Vettel, but the result could have gone either way. The two cars were very evenly matched. What made the difference was that Button was able to run in clear air and Vettel wasn’t. The key moment of the race was the end of the first lap, where Button was able to pass Lewis Hamilton under braking into turn one. This allowed him to run in clear air ahead of Hamilton, while Vettel was held up by the More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


Well…..not literally but we have just witnessed a new world record on the start finish line here in Bahrain, as the record for holding your breath under water was just broken by escapologist David Merlini. Not something you see every day.. The new record stands at 21 minutes and 29 seconds. A tank of water was placed on the start finish line and Bernie Ecclestone led a delegation of team principals as well as the drivers, standing around waiting for the new record to be set. The event was was staged by watchmaker Jacques Lemans, which has a deal with More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


Luca di Montezemolo arrived in Bahrain this morning to give encouragement to his Ferrari team, which has endured its worst start to a season for over 25 years. He talked of the team making the mistake of thinking it is the best and being caught out and called for a fresh attitude He also talked to representatives of other teams and manufacturers about the current state of F1. This is a huge week for the sport, It is essentially being restructured with new rules for 2010 due to be ratified on Wednesday at the FIA World Council meeting which has More…

Posted on April 26, 2009


Spare a thought for Mark Webber. He is sitting in a car capable of winning this weekend and yet he starts the race from 18th on the grid because another driver, Adrian Sutil, blocked him on his hot lap in the first qualifying session. Not his fault and yet he loses out massively and the feeling here in Bahrain is that this is turning into a real problem, which could easily affect the world championship. Last night the stewards penalised Sutil, who had weaved in front of Webber while warming his tyres for his own hot lap. He was dropped More…

Posted on April 25, 2009


The fuel weights the cars will carry at the start of the race are now public. Based on these the top performer in qualifying is Jarno Trulli, who decimated his team mate (half a second!) and was 2/10ths faster than Sebastian Vettel. The Brawn again shows that it is a better race car than a qualifying car, while Lewis Hamilton’s performance – on the same fuel as Button and only a tenth slower – shows that the McLaren is developing very quickly and will be racing the front runners when we get into the European season. I think they will More…

Posted on April 25, 2009


Today’s qualifying session again showed that the Brawn cars do not have it all their own way when it comes to single lap pace in qualifying, but their performance in practice, where they seem to have focussed on long runs, indicates that they certainly have the speed to go for the race win tomorrow. But they face a number of complications which may take the race away from them. Their lack of speed hurt them today and meant that they could not afford to carry much more fuel than their opposition for fear of falling down the grid behind Alonso’s More…

Posted on April 25, 2009


It is well documented that Ferrari has suffered its worst start to the season since the 1980s. If they fail to score a point tomorrow it will be their worst start ever. While both Renault and McLaren have been able to bring a version of the double diffuser to their car already, Ferrari is still waiting for its edition to come out in Spain. Against the backdrop of a significant step forward for McLaren, all eyes were on Ferrari in qualifying today to see whether they could get both cars into the top ten shoot out. As it turned out More…

Posted on April 25, 2009


It should be a very close qualifying session this afternoon, with a few different names up the front compared to recent races. McLaren look more competitive here than at any stage this season and while this will not be enough of a step for them to challenge for the win on Sunday, I fancy that one of the cars could be in the top five or six. Judging from free practice, McLaren has a car capable of getting into the top ten shootout and from there we could see them and/or others doing what Fernando Alonso did in China and More…

Posted on April 24, 2009


Flavio Briatore has spoken in support of his driver Nelson Piquet, who has endured another disappointing start to the season in the Renault. At the last race in Shanghai, Piquet was half a second slower in qualifying than his team mate, Fernando Alonso. But Alonso had the only example of Renault’s new double diffuser. Here this weekend the team has new parts on both cars, including modifications to the front wing and front suspension. The pressure is really on Piquet in qualifying tomorrow. Judging from today’s running the Renault is capable of getting both drivers into the top ten, with More…

Posted on April 24, 2009


McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has written to the FIA ahead of next Wednesday’s world council meeting, essentially pleading guilty to all five charges of bringing the sport into disrepute over the issue of lying to the stewards in Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur, according to the Times. “Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren team principal, has written to Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, informing him that his team accept that they are in breach of Article 151c of the Formula One sporting regulations, which covers bringing the sport into disrepute. The letter also contains a full apology from Whitmarsh for More…

Posted on April 24, 2009


Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the British Grand Prix will disappear from the F1 calendar if Donington does not manage to put the race on next season. Yesterday Simon Gillett’s Donington Ventures group, the promoter of the event at the Midlands circuit, suffered a major blow when legal proceedings were launched by the circuit’s owners, Wheatcroft and Son for £2.5 million in unpaid rent. The Wheatcrofts are also seeking forfeiture of the 150 year lease. Ecclestone said that he had spoken to Gillett during the day and attacked the British Government for not investing in one of its largest annual More…

Posted on April 23, 2009


I’ve just received the item below in my inbox. It relates to a law suit which veteran Donington circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft has filed against the Donington Ventures company of Simon Gillett, who has a contract to stage the British Grand Prix from 2010 onwards. “Wheatcroft & Son Limited, the owners of Donington Park motor racing circuit, have issued legal proceedings against Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, the operators of the circuit, seeking £2.47m in rent arrears and forfeiture of the circuit lease. Lawyers at Browne Jacobson LLP, acting on behalf of their client Wheatcroft & Son Limited, issued the proceedings More…

Posted on April 23, 2009


More details have emerged today of the new F1 game, produced by Codemasters, which will replace the long standing Sony product. According to Autosport, “F1 2009 will come out in the autumn for the Nintendo Wii and Sony PSP, while a higher-spec F1 2010, with HD graphics and a more sophisticated gaming mode will be launched next year for the Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and Windows.” The game will be fully up to date, with all the latest tracks, latest drivers and the technical features of 2009 cars, like KERS and slick tyres. Presumably it will feature a lot More…

Posted on April 23, 2009


All of a sudden we have a rush of people heading for the revolving doors into F1. Hot on the heels of the news that Lola is lining up an F1 entry, comes Dave Richards, former head of BAR Honda and before that Benetton. Richards has unfinished business in F1. His time at the BAR Honda team was cut short after their most successful season in 2004. He has long been an advocate of cut price F1 and planned an entry with Prodrive which did not materialise because his plan was based on customer McLaren Mercedes cars and the rules More…

Posted on April 22, 2009


Mike Gascoyne seems to have plenty of admirers among readers of this site and seems to have won many more over with his performance on BBC F1 last weekend in Shanghai. Gazza likes doing media work, but he was really in China to see if he could win over any of the F1 teams, who might like to employ him. He’s been out of work since Force India let him go at the end of last year. Gazza believes that his ability as a technical co-ordinator with specialist knowledge in the field of aerodynamics might appeal to some teams who More…

Posted on April 22, 2009


Fernando Alonso interests me greatly, as regular readers will know, particularly his pronouncements and predictions. He rarely wastes his breath on hype or pr. He’s focussed on what is possible and regularly achieves it, as he showed at the end of last season when he took sensational wins in Singapore and Japan. To see today that he still believes Renault can develop quickly enough for him to have a crack at the title is very interesting. “It’s still an early stage in the year and already the team has made incredible progress, which gives me the belief that we can More…

Posted on April 21, 2009


Good week for: Concrete bollards These largely overlooked and unheralded pieces of roadside furniture were given a welcome boost by Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who compared them with the F1 world championship leader Sebastian Vettel Peerless in the dry in qualifying, masterful in the wet on Sunday, the 21 year old is now soaking up the hype once reserved for Lewis Hamilton. Bernie Ecclestone is building him up as ‘better than Lewis’. Sebastien Buemi As the most junior of F1′s three Sebastiens, the Swiss risks being lost in the crowd, but he’s winning plaudits for his driving this year. Lucky More…

Posted on April 20, 2009


Almost a week after the diffuser appeal was thrown out by the International Court of Appeal in Paris, the FIA has issued a full explanation of how the decision was arrived at. It’s a lengthy document, very technical and it gives all the reasons why the judges found the way they did. There were multiple grounds submitted for appeal, all of which were thrown out, from procedural error by the Melbourne stewards to going against the spirit of the overtaking working group to unecessary expense involved in copying the device. At the core of it was a judgement on whether More…

Posted on April 20, 2009


A lot of people are confused by the performance of Lewis Hamilton in the Chinese Grand Prix. Rain is a great leveller in Formula 1. Talented drivers who do not have the car to compete in normal conditions can shine on a wet track and we have seen plenty of that over the years. Wet races in the last couple of years seem to have been dominated either by Sebastien Vettel or by Hamilton. Hamilton delivered his masterpiece at Silverstone last July, but in Shanghai this weekend he had a very different kind of race, which showed that having the More…

Posted on April 19, 2009


Form is temporary, class is permanent. That is the great adage of the sporting world. So what are we to make of what’s happening at the moment in F1? Is this the start of a change of order, with great names like McLaren, Renault and Ferrari in decline and new teams like Red Bull and Brawn the new top dogs? Anyone who says that would be guilty of serious short term thinking or buying hype. Those three teams deserve great respect for their record of success spanning many years, they are not to be written off so easily. You look More…

Posted on April 19, 2009


Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali started the weekend by sending an email to his team asking them to react to the poor start to the season “with pride”. The team came away from Shanghai empty handed again and now only they and Force India are left without a point. It could have been worse, if Adrian Sutil had held on to his sixth place, but the German driver crashed heavily five laps from the end. However Domenicali was able to draw some pride from the way the early part of the race unfolded. In his post race briefing he was More…

Posted on April 19, 2009


Renault boss Flavio Briatore said this weekend that the current pecking order undermines F1’s credibility. But today was a great race with great performances at the front from Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber, who scored a Red Bull one two. Jenson Button and team mate Rubens Barrichello were struggling to get the wet tyres to work as well as Red Bull and managed third and fourth places. Meanwhile the grandee teams whom Briatore believes should be at the front, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault had another difficult day. Ferrari got no points again for the third race, Renault turned P2 on More…

Posted on April 18, 2009


Ross Brawn’s team has been in the eye of the storm lately, what with the protests over the double diffuser and the criticisms of people like Flavio Briatore. Brawn is a thick skinned individual, but he will have felt the personal attacks of Ferrari’s lawyer in the appeal court hearing last week. Of course he’s been around long enough to know that you take the heat when you are the team to beat, he’s been in that situation at Benetton and Ferrari and controversy has been in the air in those times too. He’s a big man, he can take More…

Posted on April 17, 2009


This weekend I will again be doing a live update service during qualifying and the race using twitter, which you can follow here on jamesallenonf1.com or on twitter itself. It is basically a feed of my thoughts and observations as the action unfolds; reading the race, seeing the trends, looking at how the strategies are unfolding and so on. At present if you follow the updates here on the JA on F1 site you will have to refresh the page (will have that fixed soon). If you go to twitter.com and ask to follow jamesallenonf1 you will get the updates More…

Posted on April 17, 2009


Jenson Button was fastest today in Friday second practice, his time a good six tenths inside last year’s pole time. He finished second here in 2004 behind team mate Rubens Barrichello, who was in a Ferrari at the time. Both men love this track and are strong here so it should be the best battle between them to date. He has been attacked this weekend by his former boss Flavio Briatore as a ‘kerbstone’ -an odd use of a word, but I think what Flavio meant is one of those big old heavy milestones or bollards at the side of More…

Posted on April 17, 2009


A furious Flavio Briatore continues to rage about the unfairness of Formula 1. After some savage comments in Melbourne about the integrity of Ross Brawn, his former technical director, the Renault boss has now laid into the FIA and the drivers currently at the front of the field. He claims that a pecking order of Brawn, WIlliams and Toyota shows that F1 has lost all its credibility, “The drivers in our teams are all world champions and instead there’s a driver who’s a semi-pensioner and another, a decent bloke, but he’s a kerbstone, fighting for the world championship. (A reference More…

Posted on April 16, 2009


Ron Dennis announced today that he is stepping down as CEO and chairman of McLaren Group and has walked away from all racing activities, a decision he says is unconnected with the team’s current disciplinary problems and which he reached alone. He will head McLaren Automotive, making road cars, a business which later this year will be spun off from the McLaren Group. He has said he wants to double the company’s value in the next five years. The new chairman of McLaren is Richard Lapthorne, the current chairman of Cable and Wireless Plc. Dennis and Whitmarsh will both report More…

Posted on April 16, 2009


In the wake of the appeal court decision to confirm the findings of FIA’s Charlie Whiting and the stewards in Melbourne and Sepang that the double decker diffusers are legal, Ferrari team principal  Stafano Domenicali has sent an email to every member of staff at the Gestione Sportiva, Ferrari’s race team. The message urges them to react to this latest set back in their toughest start to a season since 1992 “with pride”. “This decision confirms the legality of solutions which we believe  violate the spirit and the principles of the plans to reduce downforce. I know that we can More…

Posted on April 16, 2009


Williams driver Nico Rosberg is one of the main people to benefit from the appeal court decision into the legality of the diffusers. He believes that it will mean that the status quo in F1 will be maintained for a few more races, with Brawn, Toyota, Red Bull and Williams the top four teams. He has a car which appears to be consistently strong at all tracks, something you couldn’t say about last year’s car. Rosberg has his tail up at the moment because he has been the pace-setter in practice, strong in qualifying and the races. His performance in More…

Posted on April 16, 2009


Mike Gascoyne is back in an F1 paddock for the first time since he was dropped by Force India at the end of last season. Gascoyne is working for the BBC this weekend in place of his former boss Eddie Jordan. Gascoyne has had a stop start career in recent years, sitting out after being dropped by Toyota at the start of 2006 until being picked up by Spyker in 2007 shortly before it was sold to Vijay Mallya and became Force India. He bought a large yacht in 2006 and did some fairly ambitious single-handed sailing voyages, but you More…

Posted on April 15, 2009


According to Autosport website there is something cooking at McLaren, with the suggestion that former team principal Ron Dennis is to make some kind of an announcement about his future plans today (Thursday). There are  suggestions he could step back completely from his involvement with the Formula 1 team. He already relinquished the team principal role to Martin Whitmarsh on March 1st, but has stayed involved with at least a finger or two on the tiller and was present at the Australian Grand Prix, where the team was found to have ‘deliberately misled’ the stewards after the race. If it More…

Posted on April 15, 2009


The International Appeal Court has ruled that the diffusers used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams are legal. So now we have clarity and we move on. But bad feelings remain. The hearing yesterday certainly got nasty, it seems, as it dragged out into yesterday evening.

Posted on April 14, 2009


The Italian media is suggesting that Luca Baldisseri has been made the fall guy for the poor start to the season, particularly as far as the poor strategy decisions of the first two races. Corriere della Sera says that when Stefano Domenicali said on the Sunday night after Malaysia that ‘everyone has to take their share of responsibilty’ it was ‘Baldo’ he was thinking of. Corriere also says that Baldo ‘mentioned in his blog’ that morale was low. This got me looking for said blog. I’ve not turned it up yet, but if any of you can find it, please More…

Posted on April 14, 2009


Today in Paris the International Court of Appeal has been hearing the two sides of the debate into the legality of the so-called double decker diffusers, as used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams. It all got quite passionate as the lawyers for Ferrari and Renault in particular stated their cases. Andrew Ford for Renault said that the FIA had already established that a design which incorporated holes to improve the efficiency was illegal in F1, “It is not that Renault missed the boat, as Brawn have pointed out, it is because the FIA said it was illegal. It was at More…

Posted on April 14, 2009


Ferrari F1 team boss Stefano Domenicali said after Malaysia that its worst start to a championship since 1992 was ‘not acceptable’ and now we have the repercussions. The senior management has been restructured and the key move features Luca Baldisserri, who took over the track operations and strategic part of Ross Brawn’s role, when Ross left the team at the end of 2006. He loses that responsibility to Chris Dyer, formerly Michael Schumacher’s race engineer. Baldisseri meanwhile moves to a factory-based role in a new ‘working party’, headed by technical chief Aldo Costa, which has been established to improve the More…

Posted on April 13, 2009


It’s been a fairly quiet Easter as far as happenings in F1 are concerned. I guess Malaysia was such a momentous weekend, with the McLaren/stewards affair and the crazy race, it’s hardly surprising that the sport needed to take a breather. But tomorrow (Tuesday 14th) things will get intense again as the international appeal court makes its decision regarding the legality of the diffusers of Brawn, Williams and Toyota. This decision could well decide the outcome of the world championship, certainly that is the view of former world champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, who are on the wrong side More…

Posted on April 11, 2009


Here is something new, something I’ve been working on for a short while. I hope you like it. I’ve joined forces with Darren Heath, in my view the number one photographer in F1. He and I started in F1 around the same time, 20 years ago and have been mates ever since. This is an audio slideshow of the Malaysian GP, with Darren’s photos and my words. Enjoy and Happy Easter! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWOTDQLSgdM]

Posted on April 10, 2009


I’m grateful to one of my readers, doctorvee, for posting a very interesting comment here on the JA on F1 site. He highlights an interview which McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh gave to the BBC at the end of the Australian Grand Prix. “…there’s some debate about whether it’s a 3rd place at the moment given that Trulli fell off and re-passed under the Safety Car… [Ted Kravitz asks him to expand on this.] …At the end, under the Safety Car, Trulli fell off onto the grass and Lewis had no choice but to go past him. He was not on More…

Posted on April 9, 2009


I have no wish to start scaremongering, but looking at Bernie Ecclestone’s comments in the Express that he wouldn’t rule out a ban of a few races for McLaren, makes me look through the F1 calendar at the races ahead with some nervousness. The recent precedent was BAR, which received a ban over its fuel tank irregularities in May 2005. In that instance BAR was found guilty of ‘fraudulent conduct’ and the word ‘fraud’ was used again this week by Ecclestone in the McLaren case, “It is about stealing a point and a place but those are worth money so More…

Posted on April 6, 2009


As the teams return to the UK and the dust begins to settle on an explosive weekend, we start to contemplate the next stage in the saga over Lewis Hamilton and McLaren ‘deliberately misleading’ the stewards. The feeling on Saturday was that Hamilton’s frank and astonishing ‘mea culpa’, held in the FIA press conference room, was enough to satisfy the FIA. McLaren, however, still have a lot more explaining to do. “We recognise Lewis’s efforts to set the record straight today,” an FIA spokesman told Reuters. “It would appear that he was put in an impossible position. We are now More…

Posted on April 5, 2009


It’s a shame that Jenson Button has yet to see the chequered flag at full racing speed at the end of a full race. Both his wins have been terrific, but this one today was really special and you have to pay tribute to the masterful way that the Brawn team, Button and his engineer Andrew Shovlin managed the changing conditions. Others, like Glock and Heidfeld made greater gains by gambling on wet tyres, and Heidfeld gambled several times with the result that he made only one pit stop compared to Button’s four. But then Glock and Heidfeld had nothing More…

Posted on April 5, 2009


Two races in and still no points on the board for Ferrari. Of course they can point to the effort put in to win last year’s title and to the row over the two step diffusers which Brawn, Toyota and Williams have, but the fact of the matter is that both of these races have offered opportunities for Ferrari and McLaren to score points but they haven’t taken those chances. In two normal dry races, maybe the diffuser three would have had an advantage, but these last two races have given the non diffuser teams opportunities, in Melbourne the two More…

Posted on April 4, 2009


In all the excitement of the McLaren and Hamilton apologies, we are forgetting that the cars have been running and that today they will go out and qualify for the Grand Prix. So what is the state of play here in Sepang. Well yesterday the Brawns were not dominant, even though every one expects them to be later today and tomorrow. The feeling is that they have between three tenths and half a second on the field, depending on which tyre they are on and set up. Yesterday Jenson Button wasn’t too happy with the balance of his car in More…

Posted on April 3, 2009


Things are moving so fast here in Sepang it makes your head spin. Lewis Hamilton has just made an appearance in the media centre and given what has to be the most frank and open admission of guilt and sincere apology we have seen in this sport. He sat alone on the stage and spoke for a little over ten minutes , his voice cracking at times, his body language full of anguish and regret. “I went into the meeting wanting to tell the story and I was misled. I was instructed and misled by my team manager to withhold More…

Posted on April 3, 2009


Here’s a snapshot of the reaction from some of my international colleagues in the media. First to Germany, where, true to form, leading tabloid Bild have making mischief with Photoshop again. Last week Hamilton was morphed onto a snail’s body, today he’s got Pinocchio’s nose and is described as the ‘lying world champion’ Ouch! Next on to Spain, where El Pais simply has the headline, “Lying for a podium.” They feel that this has been a damaging moment for the world champion, but do not feel that the matter requires any further punishment. That said, many in Spain are rubbing More…

Posted on April 3, 2009


The fallout from McLaren’s Melbourne radio fiasco has begun with sporting director Davey Ryan suspended from duty and sent home from Malaysia. He is taking the rap for the heavy punishment the team and its driver Lewis Hamilton have received for misleading the stewards on an overtaking issue behind the safety car in Melbourne. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “In my 20-odd years working for McLaren, I doubt if I’ve met a more dedicated individual than Davey. He’s been an integral part of McLaren since 1974 and has played a crucial role in the team’s many world championship successes since More…

Posted on April 3, 2009


There is some very strong criticism of Lewis Hamilton and McLaren in the media today, a wave of hysteria in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s punishment for ‘deliberately misleading’ the stewards. It has been written in some quarters that Hamilton could be banned for some races by the World Motor Sport Council, which is due to meet in June. An emergency meeting could be called sooner. An FIA spokesman has hinted that there could well be further repercussions for McLaren and Hamilton, “Given the seriousness of this matter, we cannot rule out further action at this stage.” This situation reminds More…

Posted on April 2, 2009


I posted last night that Lewis Hamilton and his McLaren team faced a tough day in front of the stewards and it has proved to be worse than we ever imagined. When I left the track this evening, in the dark, sitting outside the McLaren team office was a thoroughly dejected looking team principal, Martin Whitmarsh with his communications staff, picking through the wreckage of their day. Whitmarsh faced the media this afternoon and said that the team did not lie to the FIA stewards The stewards have released material this evening that appears to prove that they did lie. More…

Posted on April 2, 2009


There was a lot of energy in the paddock this afternoon as McLaren went into crisis management mode, with head of communications Matt Bishop (ex F1 racing editor) and Steve Cooper (ex F1 racing journo). Scrums of TV crews and hardened journos waited around outside the teams offices in groups waiting for Hamilton or his boss Martin Whitmarsh to speak. The chat was all about what punishment they would be given. Many questioned how Hamilton could have told reporters straight after he got out of the car that the team had told him to let Trulli past, but then gone More…



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