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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's official: Fernando to Ferrari

Ferrari released an official statement confirming Fernando Alonso will replace Kimi Raikkonen as Felipe Massa's partner for 2010.

Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix: Race

"We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two World Championships in his career to date,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali. “Of course, we wish to thank Kimi for everything he has done during his time with Ferrari … he played a vital role in our taking of the Constructors’ title in 2007 and 2008."

The contract is for three years. Raikkonen is linked with a return to McLaren, while Robert Kubica is believed to be set to move to Renault.

Current number two Giancarlo Fisichella will be the Ferrari's reserve driver.

The team had to negotiate an early release for Raikkonen, who won the world championship in 2007 with Ferrari.

"I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years, during which time I won plenty of races," Raikkonen said. "Together, we have won 50% of the world titles in that period ... I have always felt at home with everyone here and I will have many happy memories of my time with the team."

The full Ferrari statement
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Massa to use simulator

Hot off the heels of a run in a kart Monday, Felipe Massa is to take another step in his recovery next week when he will use Ferrari's simulator.

Felipe Massa Opens Ferarri Store in Italy

While the Brazilian is schedule for more karting this week, Ferrari played down the chance Massa will return this season, though the BBC had reported he was eyeing Abu Dhabi. After Singapore, team principal Stefano Domenicali did not rule out the possibility, according to the news service.

Massa's kart action was observed by his doctor, Dino Altmann.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

The world revolves around Fernando

With Ferrari news pending, silly season will soon begin

Fernando Alonso made all sorts of news this weekend, first by saying his mind is made up for the future and second, by dedicating his third place in Singapore to Flavio Briatore.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Race

“This podium (finish) doesn't change anything, I made a decision already...and soon we will know,” Reuters quotes the Spaniard.

That the decision means leaving Renault would seen to be confirmed by managing director Jean-Francois Caubet.

“Renault will remain his family, We will miss him but he will miss us," he is reported to have told French television channel TF1.

It is believed a move to Ferrari by Alonso will see Kimi Raikkonen return to McLaren and Robert Kubica take over at Renault. Alonso seems to have been linked to Maranello for years.

Alonso also stirred a little controversy.

“Obviously, now we have had these recent problems, I would like to dedicate my third place to Flavio, who watched this race at home. Part of this success is down to him and he will be pleased for the team and they deserve it too as it has been difficult for everyone, the mechanics... engineers.”

AUTOSPORT’s Jonathan Noble reportss Ferrari could announce its deal with Alonso as soon as Suzuka. It’s just a matter of working through the red tape of Raikkonen’s contract. When asked directly, team principal Stefano Domenicali said it was a possibility.

“I think that as soon as we are ready we will let you know. We don't want to wait too long.”
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Hamilton wins in Singapore, Button closes in on title

Lewis Hamilton won the race, but Jenson Button made the most from a bad starting position to gain a point on teammate Rubens Barrichello in the race for the championship.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Race

Hamilton drove a near perfect race, leading from the start and only relinquishing that lead to pit.

Timo Glock was second in the Toyota, while Fernando Alonso delivered what must be a most welcome third for Renault.

Jenson Button led the Brawns in fifth, a remarkable recovery after Saturday’s disastrous qualifying, and his best result in some time. Teammate Barrichello was sixth. Both were well short of the podium, but their nearest challengers suffered their own share of problems.

Sebastian Vettel pressured Hamilton early, but the German suffered a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane after his second stop. Instead of a major points haul, his fourth place did little to boost his challenge.

Mark Webber’s race was filled with disappointment, having to hand back a great start after it was ruled he went wide on the maneuver, then crashing out after a brake failure.

It was an eventful race overall, with a safety car due to Adrian Sutil driving into Nick Heidfeld after spinning (a move which earned him a fine), Nico Rosberg running as high as second before a penalty for crossing the white line exiting the pits, and Jaime Alguesuari leaving his pit stall early with the rig attached.

Button now leads Barrichello 84-69 in the drivers’ championship. Brawn GP leads Red Bull 153-110.5 in the constructors’ battle. Just three races to go, with practice for the Japanese Grand Prix a little less than four days away.

Singapore Grand Prix -- 61 laps
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  2. Timo Glock, Toyota
  3. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull - Renault
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes
  6. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes
  7. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota
  10. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  11. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota
  12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari
  14. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes
  • Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 14 laps
  • Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 14 laps
  • Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 16 laps
  • Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 38 laps
  • Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 42 laps
  • Romain Grosjean, Renault, 58 lap

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hamilton on pole in Singapore after Rubens red flag

Lewis Hamilton may owe a favor or two to Rubens Barrichello, as the Briton can thank a red flag caused by the Brawn driver for assuring him pole for tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Qualifying

With 26 seconds left in the session, the Brazilian crashed in turn five. On final runs at the time? Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Hamilton, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Timo Glock, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen. They would all have to settle for their first run times.

That puts Vettel second and Rosberg third. Webber starts fourth in the second Red Bull.

Barrichello was fifth, but a gearbox change after the final practice session will dock him five places to tenth. That will still be better than his championship leading teammate, Jenson Button, who had yet another disappointing session and will start 12th.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 660.5kg
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 651
  3. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 657.5
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 654.5
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 658
  6. Timo Glock, Toyota, 660.5
  7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 650
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 664
  9. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 664.5
  10. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 655.5
  11. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 680.7
  12. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 683
  13. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 680.5
  14. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 678
  15. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 690.9
  16. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 693
  17. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 683.5
  18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 678.5
  19. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 683
  20. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 656

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


Friday, September 25, 2009

Vettel is Friday’s fastest in Singapore

Sebastian Vettel topped the timesheets Friday in the second practice session in preparation for Sunday’s race under the lights on the streets of Singapore.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice

The German picked up where teammate Mark Webber had left off after the Australian clouted the wall. Prior to bringing out the red flag, Webber had been setting the pace. It was the second stoppage of the day, with Renault’s Romain Grosjean the culprit in the first session.

Fernando Alonso was second in the Renault and Heikki Kovalainen third for McLaren.

It was Brawn GP at the top of the charts in the first session, with Rubens Barrichello heading teammate Jenson Button in a 1-2. Webber was third.

Apart from Grosjean’s and Webber’s miscues, the proceedings were relatively quiet. Nick Heidfeld received a gearbox change, the verdict is still out on a grid penalty.

First Session
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:50.179
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes , 1:50.356
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:50.416
  4. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:50.567
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:50.614
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:50.699
  7. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:50.715
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:50.815
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:50.865
  10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:51.089
  11. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:51.427
  12. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:51.544
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:51.643
  14. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:51.656
  15. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:52.083
  16. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:52.135
  17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:52.390
  18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 1:52.905
  19. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:53.232
  20. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:53.458

Second session
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull - Renault, 1:48.650
  2. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:48.924
  3. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:48.952
  4. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:49.098
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:49.311
  6. Mark Webber, Red Bull - Renault, 1:49.317
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 1:49.333
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:49.342
  9. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:49.358
  10. Robert Kubica , BMW Sauber, 1:49.609
  11. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:49.616
  12. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:49.710
  13. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:49.795
  14. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:49.941
  15. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 1:50.023
  16. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:50.253
  17. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:50.527
  18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 1:50.605
  19. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:50.972
  20. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1:51.423

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


Virtual lap -- Singapore

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Renault fallout

Bernie Ecclestone thinks the FIA got it right where Renault was concerned, but that Flavio Briatore’s penalty is too harsh and he should appeal.

Monaco Formula One Grand Prix: Qualifying

“There were three people who knew what was going on and that is it. No one else was involved. Those people have been dealt with – in my view quite harshly in [regards to] Flavio. I don't think it was necessary, but I was on the commission so I am probably just as guilty as anyone else. On reflection it wasn't necessary,” AUTOSPORT quotes the F1 ringmaster.

But he said the Italian could have done much for his own cause had he been truthful about the plot.

“Honestly, I am a friend of Flavio's. He has just handled the whole thing badly. He could have handled it in a completely different way, and they would have said, ‘you were a naughty boy’ and that would have been the end of it.”

Meanwhile, Renault took a pair of hits today as two sponsors, including title sponsor ING, terminated their contracts with the team with immediate effect.

Driver Fernando Alonso says it is time to put the scandal behind them.

“What happened is the past, and now it is the present and the future. It has been difficult times for the team maybe but that's the past. Now it's behind us and we move on. Let's concentrate on this race in Singapore, then next weekend in Japan, and life continues so it is time to get some results again. The past is clear, it is right that everything is settled, and it is finished for us,” ITV-F1 quotes the Spaniard.

With Briatore banned from the sport, Mark Webber finds himself without a manager. Perhaps taking a cue from teammate Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver says he will now manage himself.

“I had Flavio looking after me for 11 years and I never looked at the contract since I signed on the first day and there is not many people in the paddock you can do that with. He has been sensational for me and I won't work with anyone else in the future if I can't work with him,” Sky quotes Webber.

Briatore also managed Heikki Kovalainen, Romain Grosjean and Alonso.

Bernie loves New York

Bernie Ecclestone continues to look for a return to the United States, and once again pushed for New York as his ideal destination.

“We are getting there. All in different places, we will see which one comes first,” Racer reports he said.


“Obviously Manhattan. I will tell when it happens if I can do it or not. We were told we couldn't do a race in Singapore.”

BMW Sauber’s new owners turn to Ferrari

Mario Theissen said the current BMW Sauber team will use Ferrari power next season as it passes to its new owners.

The team is still not guaranteed a place in the 2010 championship.

Theissen also defended the commitment of the team’s new owners, and while he is employed by BMW, left open the possibility he could stay with the F1 team at the end of the season.

“My personal future is fully open and I will keep it open until the end of the season. It wouldn’t be helpful to mix up my own situation with all the efforts to secure the future of the team. I’m not concerned. There will be time later this year,” ITV-F1 reports he said.

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


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bell takes over at Renault

Technical Director Bob Bell will replace Flavio Briatore as team principal at Renault for the rest of the season. He will continue as chief technical officer, as well.

Taking over as managing director is Jean-François Caubet, director of marketing and communications.

FIA World Motor Sport Council Hearing in Paris.

Both will report to Bernard Rey, president of the team.

“The Renault F1 Team is now ready to concentrate on the future and wishes to stress that no further comments or statements will be issued relating to the events of Singapore 2008,” the team said in a statement on its Web site.

No guarentees, Mr. Raikkonen

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said the team will keep the injured Felipe Massa for 2010, but made no similar commitment to its other driver, Kimi Raikkonen, the BBC reports.

“…we are mulling the best choice but we still have time. We will decide in a few weeks,” di Montezemolo is quoted, adding fuel to the rumor a deal has already been agreed to with Fernando Alonso.

The recently acquired Giancarlo Fisichella is slated for the reserve driver role. 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


Monday, September 21, 2009

Suspended sentence for Renault while Briatore, Symonds banned

Due to mitigating circumstances, Renault have been given a two-year suspended sentence for its role in Nelson Piquet’s crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix scandal.

FIA World Motor Sport Council Hearing in Paris.

Renault benefited from taking action to address the situation within the team, mainly parting ways with team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds.

The FIA put an unlimited ban on Briatore from sanctioned events, while Symonds is excluded for five years.

The FIA further stated it will not grant a license to any team Briatore has involvement with or a Superlicense to any driver he represents. The Italian currently manages Alonso and Mark Webber.

Piquet received immunity, but is likely unemployable in Formula 1, according to many experts. Fernando Alonso, the beneficiary of Piquet’s actions in Singapore, was cleared of involvement.

Renault accepted the decision. The French concern has yet to comment about its F1 future. Title sponsor ING is set to pull out at the end of the year, according to the BBC.

The FIA statement

Renault’s statement

In other FIA news…

The FIA will allow engine equalization for 2010, but will accomplish it by reducing the performance of the better engines rather than allowing teams to re-tune engines to increase performance.

It also released a 19-race 2010 calendar which includes Canada and South Korea.

3/14 Bahrain
3/28 Australia
4/4 Malaysia
4/18 China
5/9 Spain
5/23 Monaco
5/30 Turkey
6/13 Canada*
6/27 Europe (Valencia)
7/11 Great Britain
7/25 Germany
8/1 Hungary
8/29 Belgium
9/12 Italy
9/26 Singapore
10/3 Japan
10/17 Korea
10/31 Abu Dhabi
11/14 Brazil

* tentative

The FIA statement

Singapore Grand Prix - team and driver preview quotes
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Briatore, Symonds out at Renault

Renault has released a statement on its Web site reporting Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have left the team, and that it "will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix."

Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix: Practice

The team faces a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris September 21.

Yesterday, it was reported the FIA offered Symonds immunity in exchange for revealing the details of the alleged plot. 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


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sauber saved, but is it too late?

BMW agreed to sell the Sauber F1 team to a group of Swiss investors, but it may be too little, too late as the FIA handed the 13th slot on the grid to the Malaysian-based Lotus effort.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Practice

Qadbak Investments is the buyer, which also recently took over English football club Notts County.

The FIA have given the group's new acquisition the 14th, "first reserve" slot. It also said it would approach the current squads to allow for a 14th team on the grid, expanding the field to 28 cars.

The official FIA statement.

The Official BMW Sauber statement.

Meanwhile, the Lotus F1 Team joins fellow newcomers Manor, Campos and US F1 for the 2010 season. The team will be based in Norfolk, UK until a purpose-built facility is completed at Malaysia's Sepang International circuit.

The organization is a collaboration between the Malaysian government and private investors.

Team principal is Tony Fernandes, founder of the Malaysian-based Tune Group, which owns the Air Asia airline, and will have Mike Gascoyne as its technical director. The team will have Cosworth power.

Canada officially back

The Canadian Grand Prix is a definite for the 2010 schedule after promoters have reached a settlement in their dispute with Bernie Ecclestone, SpeedTV's Adam Cooper reports.

Normand Legault, head of Grand Prix F1 du Canada Inc, will no longer be involved with the event. 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


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Brawn boys are back

Barrichello leads Brawn sweep at Monza

After weeks of watching its dominant lead evaporate, Brawn GP put things back on track at Monza with Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button delivering a 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Race

The race ended in dramatic fashion, with Lewis Hamilton crashing on the last lap in hot pursuit of Button.

Hamilton led from the start in his lightly-fueled McLaren, with Kimi Raikkonen slipping past Adrian Sutil. But the biggest move at the start was that of the Brawns, both on one-stop strategies, slotting into fourth and fifth.

Hamilton was in early, on lap 15, Sutil and Raikkonen soon followed, leaving the one-stoppers in prime position to make up ground. When the Brawns came in on lap 28 and 29, they took off after Hamilton, Raikkonen and Sutil, who would have to all come in for a second stop.

Hamilton pitted again on lap 34, and was passed by both Brawns.

Hamilton, now third, pressed in the remaining laps, eating into the gap. That was when, on the last lap, the world champion lost it in the second Lesmo, spinning into the wall and dispatching the safety car due to the debris field.

That handed third to Raikkonen, as the order was locked down when the safety car appeared. Sutil, who had not given up all day, settled for fourth.

Barrichello’s second victory of the season eats into Button’s championship lead by two more points, he trails his teammate by 14 with four races yet to run.

It was a bigger day for Brawn GP in the constructors, Sebastian Vettel scoring just one point for eighth in his Red Bull. Mark Webber was shunted out on the first lap by Robert Kubica. Brawn 146, Red Bull 105.5, for those scoring at home.

Other retirements included Kubica, Jaime Alguersuari and Vitantonio Liuzzi. It was a shame for Liuzzi, who was putting in a brilliant drive in the second Force India before succumbing to mechanical problems.

Belgian Grand Prix hero Giancarlo Fisichella finished ninth in his Ferrari race debut.

Red Bull now need to regroup by the next meeting in two week’s time in Singapore. While it is still possible for Vettel, Webber and the team to challenge for the titles, the odds are getting long.

Italian Grand Prix (53 laps)
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  4. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  8. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull - Renault
  9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari
  10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota
  11. Timo Glock, Toyota
  12. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes, 1 lap
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1 lap
  14. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1 lap
  15. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1 lap
  16. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 2 laps
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 31 laps
  • Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 34 laps
  • Robert Kubica , BMW Sauber, 37 laps
  • Mark Webber, Red Bull - Renault, 53 laps (accident)

Hülkenberg takes GP2 title

Needing one point going into the sprint race, Nico Hülkenberg locked up the GP2 title over Vitaly Petrov by taking third at Monza.

Luiz Razia took his first win ahead of Lucas di Grassi.

Giedo van der Garde won Saturday's feature race. 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


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pole for Hamilton in Italy

Adrian Sutil has looked fast all weekend, topping the sheets yesterday afternoon and this morning, and he did not disappoint. But it was Lewis Hamilton who snatched pole in the waning moments of qualifying Saturday at Monza.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Qualifying

Kimi Raikkonen starts from third in the Ferrari.

Mercedes power definitely seems to be the way to go lately, all six cars in the top ten. The Brawns are on the third row, Rubens Barrichello in fifth and Jenson Button sixth. Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen starts fourth, and Vitantonio Liuzzi a respectable seventh in his Force India debut.

Brawn GP's Renault-powered opposition, the Red Bulls, are led by Sebastian Vettel and line up ninth and tenth behind the factory Renault of Fernando Alonso.

As for Belgian Grand Prix star Giancarlo Fisichella, he starts 14th in the second Ferrari. One wonders at the mixed feelings the Italian must have, running for the home team in his home race, but watching his ex-teammate fight for the pole.

It was a tough day for BMW Sauber, who had high hopes going into the weekend. Both cars stopped in Q2 with mechanical issues. Tough too for Williams' Nico Rosberg, who saw his string of strong qualifying results come to an end. The German starts 18th.

Jaime Alguersuari receives a five-place penalty for a gearbox change, but it will mean little, the Spaniard qualified last.

The times are tight, and it should be interesting to see how it plays out on this high-speed circuit. Questions abound. Can the KERS boys press their advantage? Can Button turn around a series of disappointing races? Can Red Bull chew up some of his title lead?

Tune in tomorrow.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 653.5kg
  2. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 655
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 662
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 683
  5. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 688.5
  6. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 687
  7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 679.5
  8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 677.5
  9. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 682
  10. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 683
  11. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 703
  12. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 699.8
  13. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 697.5
  14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 690
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 697.5
  16. Timo Glock, Toyota, 709.8
  17. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 706.2
  18. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 708.6
  19. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 706
  20. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 706

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


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sutil's turn: Force India tops Monza practice

Even without Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India was once again at the top of the sheets as Adrian Sutil edged Lewis Hamilton's morning mark in the second session Friday at Monza.

F1 Grand Prix of Italy - Practice

Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen put together a McLaren 1-2 in the morning, while Sutil was third.

The afternoon saw Sutil lead home the Renaults of Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso.

Trying to determine what this means for qualifying, however, is a bit of a crapshoot.

Jenson Button had a decent morning, but was 19th in the afternoon. Teammate Rubens Barrichello was outside the top ten in both sessions. For Red Bull, Mark Webber ran in the midfield, while Sebastian Vettel was once again in engine conservation mode and saw limited running.

Guess we'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. It should prove interesting.

First session
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.936
  2. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.332
  3. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes 1:24.471
  4. Fernando Alonso, Renault 1:24.477
  5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1:24.683
  6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.703
  7. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes 1:24.706
  8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari 1:24.732
  9. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault 1:24.759
  10. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:24.761
  11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber 1:24.813
  12. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes 1:24.826
  13. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota 1:24.927
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota 1:25.150
  15. Romain Grosjean, Renault 1:25.612
  16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes 1:25.689
  17. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.742
  18. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault 1:25.951
  19. Jarno Trulli, Toyota 1:26.020
  20. Timo Glock, Toyota 1:26.325

Second session
  1. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes 1:23.924
  2. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:24.163
  3. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:24.297
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.482
  5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber 1:24.622
  6. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:24.634
  7. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1:24.693
  8. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:24.796
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota 1:24.799
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.884
  11. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.902
  12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes 1:24.921
  13. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:24.967
  14. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault 1:24.979
  15. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.003
  16. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.140
  17. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota 1:25.215
  18. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault 1:25.386
  19. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.424
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:25.543


Renault sues the Piquets

Renault released a statement saying while have not publicly commented regarding the FIA's investigation into events surrounding the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, the team have "commenced criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet Junior and Nelson Piquet Senior in France concerning the making of false allegations and a related attempt to blackmail the team into allowing Mr Piquet Jnr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season."

The matter is also being referred to the police in the UK

Schumacher extends contract

Michael Schumacher and Ferrari announced the seven-time world champion has extended his consulting contract with the team for three more years.

Schumacher's statement

Ferrari's statement

Yesterday, Ferrari announced a sponsoring agreement with Santander. You can watch a video of the news conference on the Ferrari Web site.

Today, Luca di Montezemolo moved to deflect the latest round of Alonso to Ferrari rumors. 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


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Piquet's statement to the FIA: Revealed?

F1SA claims to have a leaked copy of Nelson Piquet Jr.'s statement to the FIA regarding the investigation into last year's Singapore Grand Prix. This has the look of the real deal.

Nelson Piquet Jr , Renault F1 Team during testing in Spain

Obviously, as this story broke out of Brazil, it was natural to assume Piquet was involved. We knew he was mad about being fired, if this is the goods, it looks like he plans to get even.

I've been predicting Renault will pull out of the sport before long. This may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

AUTOSPORT, meanwhile, reports Fernando Alonso told investigators he knew nothing of the alleged plan. 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


Virtual lap of Monza

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


Monday, September 7, 2009

Merc investments, Tonio Liuzzi, KERS and Badoer: F1 roundup 10/7/09

Contrary to what many of its competitors are doing, Mercedes may be looking to increase its investment in F1. The auto giant is reportedly in talks to take an interest in Brawn GP.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Qualifying

A statement from Mercedes says there will be no impact upon its current relationship with McLaren.

The BBC reports McLaren is “supportive.” Brawn refused comment.

Liuzzi in for Force India

Force India have named reserve driver Vitantonio Liuzzi to replace the departing Giancarlo Fisichella for the remainder of the season.

Liuzzi will be looking at this as a chance for redemption after being dumped by Toro Rosso after the 2007 season.

“Although it’s unfortunate that this came about as an direct result of Felipe’s accident, this is my opportunity to show people what I can do and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Read more, including some Tonio fun facts, on the Force India Web site.

KERS for Renault at Monza

Renault is bringing back its KERS system for the Italian Grand Prix.

The team had started the season with the system, but dropped it after Spain.

Ferrari and McLaren have used their KERS systems to their advantage in the later stages of this season. It played a vital role for Kimi Raikkonen’s victory at Spa, and Renault’s Pat Symonds sees similar advantages for the system at high-speed Monza.

“Firstly, the gain in lap time of running KERS in Monza is likely to be around a quarter of a second and it's worth even more in qualifying as you can do one release before you start a timed lap and another release during the timed lap. In terms of the advantage at the start, it's a long way from the grid to the first corner in Monza and KERS will give an advantage of well over fifteen metres compared with non-KERS cars. For assisting overtaking, you have to remember that Monza is a circuit where it's very difficult to overtake, but running KERS certainly won't disadvantage us in that respect. All these factors combine to make Monza a very favourable circuit for KERS.”

Read AUTOSPORT’s full Q&A with Symonds.

Badoer: The media is to blame

Luca Badoer believes the media, not his two last place performances, cost him his race seat at Ferrari.

"Those who write don't understand how much harm they can cause. The media played a fundamental role in the decision to replace me," Sky reports Badoer told Italian newspaper Gazzetta Sportiva.

While he regrets not being able to show how much better he would have been at Monza, Badoer says racing for Ferrari was the realization of a dream.

He also said he is very happy for Giancarlo Fisichella, and expects the Roman will adapt quickly to his new surroundings. 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


Friday, September 4, 2009

Renault has a date with the WMSC

Ross Brawn escaped a driving ban for speeding, Renault probably is wishing it could escape its own quandary, as the team have been summoned to answer charges it ordered Nelson Piquet to deliberately crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Singapore Formula One Grand Prix: Race

Renault heard those dreaded words, Extraordinary Meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, specifically regarding “a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.” The team has been asked to appear in Paris on September 21.

Article 151c refers to “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

Renault acknowledged the request but refused further comment in an official statement.

The FIA statement

Renault’s statement

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fisichella to Ferrari

Giancarlo Fisichella was released from his Force India contract and will take over the second car for Ferrari at the Italian Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Qualifying

Rumors had been swirling for close to a week that the veteran Italian would be replacing the embattled Luca Badoer for the Scuderia, and only intensified after Fisichella's stunning performance at Spa.

Discussions apparently opened up after it became clear Felipe Massa was not going to be able to return this season, and a deal was quickly arrived at.

"Giancarlo and his management team approached me yesterday with the proposal from Ferrari," owner Vijay Mallya is quoted on the team's Web site. "For any Italian driver, a Ferrari race seat is a long-held dream and for Giancarlo it was no exception. No one should stand in the way of this. Furthermore the agreement will secure Giancarlo’s long-term future with Ferrari and it would be incorrect to jeopardise this, particularly when Giancarlo has made such a vital contribution to Force India."

Mallya also denied speculation the agreement was reached to settle old debts with Ferrari.

"We would like to stress that we have not agreed any financial settlement with Ferrari. This agreement has been made in good faith and for the good of Giancarlo and the sport in general. A competitive Italian driver in a Ferrari for Monza is a positive story for Formula One, which can only help raise the sport’s profile in these difficult times."

A decision has yet to be made as to who will line up with Adrian Sutil at Monza. Force India have test driver and Toro Rosso survivor Vitantonio Liuzzi on the books.

“We have chosen Fisichella because we can expect him to make a valuable contribution in this final part of the season,” Stefano Domenicali is quoted on the Ferrari Web site. “Giancarlo has shown, throughout his long career, that he is fast and competitive and we are therefore proud to be able to run an Italian driver in our home race."

Domenicali also defended Badoer's effort in the last two races.

"We wish to thank Luca Badoer for the team spirit he demonstrated in these circumstances: it is a shame he was unable to show his true worth in these last two races, tackled under conditions which anyone would have found difficult.”

The Ferrari statement

The Force India statement
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Positive check up, but Massa a no-go for 2009

Ferrari has announced while Felipe Massa's checks are all positive, the Brazilian will not be returning to the cockpit for 2009.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Qualifying

Massa had an examination in Miami Monday, and while all signs point to yes for 2010, there will be no surprise return at Monza.

The team had been waiting for the outcome of the examination before announcing what it plans to do for the open seat for the remainder of the season, whether that be retaining the struggling Luca Badoer or making a move for someone else. It seems half the grid has been tied with the team in the past few days.

Massa expressed his pleasure with the positive check up on the team Web site.

“I'm very happy about the results. After the small surgery in the next days I can finally start to go to the gym to get back into shape and drive some tests in karts. On the track with a Formula 1 single-seater? Let's take it step by step; at the moment I'm concentrating on taking up physical activities, which is a great step forward.”
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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