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Friday, January 30, 2009

FIA reports on medals

F1's history would be vastly different if Bernie Ecclestone's medals system were applied instead of the current point system.

That's the word from the FIA, which released its analysis Friday.

Ecclestone's aim was to inspire risk taking and passing, but the idea received a less than enthusiastic response in the greater F1 community, with the FIA tabling it for further study.

The FIA reports, when applied to the past, medals would have resulted in different champions 13 times in 59 years, and different top threes 37 times.

Stirling Moss


Good news for Sterling Moss, who would have been champion in 1958. Others who benefit: Didier Pironi, Felipe Massa, would-be four-time champ Jim Clark, three-time champ Nigel Mansell and five-time champion Alain Prost.

Ayrton Senna would have won four consecutive championships from 1988-91, as well.

Not so good for Nelson Piquet, who would lose all his titles, and Niki Lauda, who would retain just one (though would expect he would have remained with Ferrari for the duration of the 1977 championship). Ecclestone's Brabham would have lost all of its championships.

Overall, the FIA says, fewer drivers would have won the championship. While there were changes in duration of the championship, more would have been wrapped up sooner. As far as contests that went down to the final race, nearly as many were lost as were gained.

Read the full report.

Force India plans to be ready

Force India is targeting the final two tests before the start of the 2009 season to have its new car on the track.

The team was forced to make modifications to the car, which had initially been designed with a Ferrari engine and team-built gearbox in mind, after signing the McLaren deal. Force India will be using a McLaren gearbox with its Mercedes power plant.

"The deal took quite a while to do and therefore the announcement and the opportunity to start work was late, especially considering the package included such fundamental items such as the gearbox," said technical director James Key. "We started designing this car in January 2008, as the new rules dictated such a different car from what we are used too. As a result there was a lot to do very quickly! The news was however extremely well received by the team."

The team, dating back to the Jordan years, has seen its share of engine changes, the team points out. Cosworth, Yamaha, Hart, Peugeot, Mugen, Honda, Cosworth (the second time around), Toyota and Ferrari if you are keeping track at home.

That experience will benefit, Key implied.

"We’ve certainly had late calls in the past! This is quite a late one, but for all the right reasons, in terms of long term stability for the team."

Meanwhile, former chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has sued the team for £2M in damages, according to Autosport.

Rahal Letterman Racing may not run IRL in '09

Bobby Rahal said his team may sit out the 2009 IRL season due to the inability to find sponsorship.

"To be honest, unless pennies from heaven fall in our lap, I don't see, at this stage, getting the appropriate level of funding to put forth a good, competitive effort for the season." Rahal is quoted by USA Today.

The team, co-owned by talk-show host David Letterman, ran one car in the series last year for Ryan Hunter-Reay. It ran Ethanol sponsorship, but that money will not be available this year.

Rahal said with a veteran driver, like Hunter-Reay, he could participate with two weeks notice prior to the start of the season, but the window is closing.

The team still plans a run at the Indy 500. The team won the 2004 event with Buddy Rice.

"We feel strongly we can have something in place for Indy. There's a lot of interest in that race because it's the crown jewel of our sport."

IndyCar puts its current car count at 18. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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