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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Never give up, never surrender!

What did Lewis Hamilton learn last weekend?

“I learnt to never, ever, ever, give up.”


F1 Mar 2009
So says the World Champion to AFP following his 18th to third place drive in Australia.

Hamilton talks about being a fighter, pushing like crazy and his “fantastic result” in the interview, as well as talking up the work Brawn GP did to get ready for the season.

And while he admits McLaren are off the pace heading to Sepang, he has no doubt the team will be mixing it up with the frontrunners before long.

Read the full story.








Plus:
And, check out the Malaysian Grand Prix team and driver preview quotes from Formula1.com 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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Monday, March 30, 2009

Post- (or pre-?) race roundup

Snug in that brief rest between Melbourne and Malaysia, here’s a look at what’s making news in the F1 world:


Canadian Formula One Grand Prix: Practice





“We started to look at the concept several weeks ago when we saw the cars run for the first time,” Horner said. “If the design is fully legal after 14 April then the seven teams will have to explore development in that area. We will accept the decision but would like to have absolute clarity going forward.”


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Sunday, March 29, 2009

"Fairy tale ending" for Button, Brawn GP

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello capped a dream weekend with a 1-2 result in Brawn GP’s debut at the Australian Grand Prix.

It’s been much said, but worth saying again -- not since 1954 has a new team finished 1-2 in it’s debut. We’re talking Fangio.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Race


Button took off into the distance at what was otherwise a wild start as Barrichello lost time battling with his anti-stall and getting caught up in a first corner fracas with Nick Heidfeld, Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen.

Button’s lead would take a hit, however, when Kaz Nakajima’s crash on lap 19 brought out the safety car, keeping him momentarily within reach of the pursuing Sebastian Vettel and Robert Kubica.

Button was able to build a gap again in the later stages of the race, but Kubica was continuing to be able to pressure Vettel. On lap 55, Kubica pressed his advantage and came alongside Vettel, but the two drivers touched.

After initially trying to go on, both crashed out, redeploying the safety car and moving Barrichello, who had soldiered on steadily with a damaged front wing, into second.

Jarno Trulli came from the back to the front to claim the third spot on the podium, but was later docked 25 seconds by the stewards for a safety car infraction, gifting the third spot to another back-to-fronter, Lewis Hamilton.

Valuable points for Hamilton. Timo Glock, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Sebastien Buemi completed the top eight finishers.

Rosberg will have to be terribly disappointed, he was running fourth until degrading tires evaporated his advantage and saw him fade after an otherwise strong outing.

Sebastien Bourdais was promoted to the eighth and final points paying position after Trulli’s penalty.

As expected, the old order was shaken up. Lewis Hamilton put in a good drive to get the points he could, while teammate Heikki Kovalainen retired early. Fernando Alonso claimed some crucial points for Renault. Neither Ferrari reached the end of the race. BMW Sauber came away with nothing.

But, once again, this was Brawn’s weekend. Jenson Button’s win -- the 200th for a British driver -- “a fairy tale ending.”

Notes: Brawn GP has one more week to press its point with the season’s second race in Malaysia. Then the FIA Court of Appeal meets on the 14th. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel received a 10-place grid penalty next weekend for ‘causing a collision and forcing a driver (Kubica) off the track.’ He was also fined $50,000 for continuing to drive his damaged car.

The Results
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  4. Timo Glock, Toyota
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  6. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  7. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  8. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  10. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  11. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota*
  13. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  • Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, retired, 56 laps
  • Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, crash, 55 laps
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, retired, 55 laps
  • Felipe Massa, Ferrari, retired, 45 laps
  • Nelson Piquet, Renault, crash, 24 laps
  • Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, crash, 17 laps
  • Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, retired, 0 laps
* Penalty

The Press Conference

The Quotes

From the BBC: The Australian GP as it happened 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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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Button captures pole in Australia

From sitting on the sidelines wondering if they have a future, to front row on the grid. That's the story today as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello put Brawn GP on pole position in qualifying for the season opening Australian Grad Prix.

As expected, the diffuser boys were strong, but before jumping to conclusions, the device was not good enough to put Kaz Nakajima in the top 10, and Sebastian Vettel put a Red Bull in third.

The Ferraris, both Red Bulls, the Toyotas and Robert Kubica made the final shootout. We also learned we can put those McLaren-sandbagging rumors to rest. Both cars were not only off the pace of the diffuser gang, but more alarmingly, Ferrari, with defending champion Lewis Hamilton not even turning a wheel in Q2 due to a gearbox issue.

Later, it was revealed the Toyotas were sent to the back of the grid (excluded from qualifying) for a wing infringement, and Hamilton was penalized for a gearbox change.

But in this "world turned on it's head," the big story has to be Brawn GP. Another blog recently opined whether Brawn will be everyone's new favorite team. Richard Branson's on board, and admittedly, it is hard not to latch on to the underdog come good. One hopes it can seal the deal before the FIA Court of Appeal hears its case April 14.

Formula One - F1


The grid

  1. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault
  4. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  8. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  9. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  11. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  14. Nelson Piquet, Renault
  15. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  16. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  17. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  18. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  19. Timo Glock, Toyota
  20. Jarno Trulli, Toyota

The press conference

The quotes

From the BBC: Australian GP qualifying as it happened

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Friday, March 27, 2009

"Diffuser three" dominate practice

Friday practice is behind us, and now we see why so many protested those diffusers. Unless there is some major sandbagging going on out there, it's apparent there are two groups on the track -- Brawn, Williams and Toyota -- and everybody else.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Practice


First session
  1. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:26.687, 19 laps.
  2. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:26.736, 21.
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:26.750, 24.
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn, 1:27.266, 21.
  5. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:27.453, 15.
  6. Jenson Button, Brawn, 1:27.467, 12.
  7. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:27.642, 24.
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:27.710, 24.
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:27.993, 20.
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:28.123, 16.
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1:28.137, 20.
  12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:28.142, 21.
  13. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1:28.511, 22.
  14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:28.603, 16.
  15. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:28.785, 27.
  16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:29.042, 18.
  17. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:29.081, 7.
  18. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:29.461, 25.
  19. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:29.499, 21.
  20. Sebastien Vettel, Red Bull, 1:32.784, 4.

Second session
  1. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:26.053, 36.
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn, 1:26.157, 38.
  3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:26.350, 42.
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:26.370, 30.
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn, 1:26.374, 38.
  6. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:26.443, 42.
  7. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:26.560, 33.
  8. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:26.740, 19.
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:27.040, 29.
  10. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:27.064, 35.
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:27.204, 32.
  12. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:27.232, 28.
  13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:27.282, 32.
  14. Nick Heidfeld, BMW, 1:27.317, 34.
  15. Robert Kubica, BMW, 1:27.398, 36.
  16. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 1:27.479, 36.
  17. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:27.802, 35.
  18. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:27.813, 31.
  19. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:27.828, 35.
  20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:28.076, 33.

Check out what everybody had to say.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Australia: Pre-practice odds and ends

As expected, stewards in Australia declared the diffusers on the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars legal, allowing the teams to race this weekend and opening the door to the FIA Court of Appeal process.

Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault made the official protest, and have confirmed they will follow up with the FIA, which will not be able to make a decision until after next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, meaning points may be at stake.

Check out grandprix.com for an in-depth explaining the diffuser situation.

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Previews


Plus, The Times reports Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, thought at one point to have been a monkey wrench in the management buyout of the Honda F1 team, has done a deal to be a sponsor for said management group. Read all about Brawn GP’s pending sponsorship deal.

And, Jenson Button, Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa, and Sebastian Vettel take part in Thursday’s press conference. Read the transcript here. 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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Australian Grand Prix: Virtual lap

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shadow looms over season opener

The weather is looking good, and with less than 24 hours to go before the cars hit the track for the first practice session of the 2009 season, it looks like the biggest battle will be off the track.

Red Bull Racing is expected to be joined by another team in its protest of the diffuser design of the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars.

F1 Mar 2009


Autosport.com reports talks underway behind the scenes determining a course of action on the diffuser situation, with it believed likely the stewards will declare the cars legal in pre-race scrutineering.

Should that be the case, protests will be lodged.

Like Sal Tessio, however, teams were quick to point out it was strictly business, nothing personal.

“This is an unfortunate situation - but a protest is the only way we can get the rules clarified,” a “senior source” told the Web site. “This situation has nothing to do with us being against any of the teams involved - it is just to get an answer about the regulations.”

So, what promises to be one of the more exciting starts to a season in recent memory is most likely going to have the shadow of a drawn out appeal hanging over it. Unfortunate.

For their part, Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota are convinced their cars are legal.

“To be honest we were surprised that it even turned into an issue because for us it was very clearly inside the regulations,” Williams technical director Sam Michael is quoted.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ecclestone claims teams threatened boycott

A report in The Times claims Flavio Briatore and Ron Dennis got so upset with Bernie Ecclestone over money owed they threatened to organize a FOTA boycott of the season opener.

Ecclestone confirmed a leaked report the newspaper obtained from the meeting, reportedly about money promised in exchange for signing an new Concorde Agreement.

F1 Mar 2009


“Flavio said, ‘we’re not going to put our cars on the plane, we’re not going to Melbourne,’ ” Ecclestone is quoted. “He — Flavio — started it, aided and abetted by Ron Dennis.” The apparent threat to wreck the start of the Formula One season was countered by a classic Ecclestone ploy. “I picked up the phone to our people that handle all the freight to ask them to cancel the aeroplanes,” the billionaire said. “They were saying, ‘all the Fota-schmota are not going — nobody’s going to go.’ So I said what I’d better do is cancel the aircraft obviously. It costs a fortune to charter those things and almost as much to cancel them.”


Read the full story.

Massa says Brawn fastest

Felipe Massa believes Brawn GP, with a car Frank Williams has called “absurdly superior,” will be the team to beat in Melbourne.

But the Brazilian is confident Ferrari will see him through.

“I'm going to Australia with great confidence and optimism, but also with some caution: the test results are not always repeated during the race weekends,” he says on Ferrari’s Web site. “We'll see in Melbourne; but I think they've (Brawn GP) got a good car and they did their tests with the right weight.”

Last year’s runner up thinks Ferrari will deliver the goods, however.

“I'm 100% ready, perfectly in shape and I think that this also applies to the team,” he said. “My goal is very simple: I want a season like in 2008 and to reach that goal I have to stay concentrated and work very hard.”

Read the full interview.

Senna to race for Oreca

Bruno Senna is making up for losing out on an F1 ride by joining the Oreca Le Mans Series team for selected events, including Le Mans, during the 2009 season. He will team up with Stephane Ortelli, Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis.

Schumacher will be with Ferrari at Melbourne

Michael Schumacher will attend the Australian Grand Prix in an advisory capacity this week.

“It wasn't so important to have him in the pits for the last two years, but with the new rule changes, Michael can help the engineers understand the car better,” Setanta reports Willi Weber told German tabloid Bild. “That is his task, it will be crucial to communicate with the engineers. They evaluate the data and Michael's experience will be very important for that.'”
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Monday, March 23, 2009

FIA will cut superlicence fees

It looks like a win for the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, as the FIA has agreed to reduce the cost of a superlicence in 2010.

The decision is the result of what the FIA calls a “very positive” meeting with the GPDA.

The FIA had massively hiked the fees, from €1,690 to €10,000, with an additional cost of €2,000 for every point scored in the previous year’s championship, arguing the need to fund safety measures.

The GPDA took issue, saying the fees should not be used as a “revenue stream” for the FIA, and it was even speculated the drivers could strike, though that talk had faded as the season approached.

As a bonus, it looks as if a line of communication has now been established between the GPDA and FIA:

“A number of other issues were discussed and the FIA has agreed to meet representatives of the GPDA on a regular basis to maintain what promises to be a constructive dialogue,” the FIA said in its statement.


Read the full statement here.

The entry list

Here it is, your official FIA entry list.

Getting excited yet?

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ecclestone 2010 will be “winner takes all”

Despite FOTA’s protests and the FIA’s U-turn this week on his “winner takes all” scoring system, Bernie Ecclestone has no doubt it will be in effect for the 2010 season.

“It will be supported by the FIA and it will be in the regulations. So when people enter the championship, that's what the regulation will be,” he tells the Daily Telegraph.


Motorsport/Formel 1: GP von Australien 2004


The F1 supremo says it makes sense, as opposed to the “play it safe” strategy often employed in the sport.

“It's logic - you go to athletics and you look at the 100 metres, you're not looking at the guy that's second, you're looking at the winner. In most sports, people are looking at winners,” he explains. “It's very simple, when people start the race I want them to want to win. I don't want them sitting there, which is what Lewis Hamilton did, quite rightly, a couple of times last year.”

McNish, Montagny, Bourdais, Salo...

Hey, maybe you heard. There was a big race in Florida this weekend, featuring a bunch of ex (and one current)-F1 drivers? See how it all turned out ... Plus, SpeedTV (as always) has in-depth coverage. 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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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mosley predicts long battle over diffusers

The simmering controversy over diffusers is likely going to come to a head in Australia, according to Max Mosley.

Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams have interpreted the rules to their advantage, developing a device that at least two teams have written the FIA with objections over, the Daily Telegraph reports.

“It's a very clever device and you can make a very good case for saying that it's legal and a very good case for saying that it's illegal," Mosley is quoted. "It's going to be difficult.”

Mosley sees a drawn out process involving the stewards and the FIA Court of Appeal, with no clear answer in the short run.

Mosley himself isn’t sure what the decision should be.

“It's not straightforward. I have an open mind on it at the moment - I can see it going either way. I really can. But somebody has to make their mind up and fortunately it's not my job.”


Max Mosley Court Appearance


Also in the Daily Telegraph, Mosley opens up on a number of topics heading into the new season.

Here’s a taste:

On “Mosleygate” -- “People like [Daily Mail editor] Paul Dacre, for example, they completely misread the modern public mood. Young adults now have a completely different view. I get this feeling that the zeitgeist – I shouldn’t use German words, I will get into trouble – is with us.”

On a fourth term -- “In one way it is interesting at the moment, but in another way if you don’t stop soon, at the age I am, you can suddenly find yourself in your seventies with not a lot of active life left. I will decide in the summer.”

On FOTA’s view on the optional £30 million budget cap -- “It was a weak response.”

Oh, and who was behind the “Mosleygate” scandal?

“[Those stories] were put around by one particular individual who is notoriously stupid.”

Bets, anyone?

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Did the FIA get the point?

For those of you who prefer for your World Champions to be vocal, Lewis Hamilton has weighed in on the FIA’s stunning, last-minute change to the scoring system for 2009 in a statement issued by McLaren. And he isn’t happy.

“I think it’s a shame what’s happening to Formula 1. It’s hard to believe that these recent decisions will improve things for the trackside spectators and TV viewers, who should always be our number one priority, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

But worry not, the FIA says it is now willing to backtrack.

“If, for any reason, the Formula One teams do not now agree with the new system, its implementation will be deferred until 2010.”


Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix: Race


The FIA said in an official statement it was led to believe the teams were all for the winner-takes-all championship proposal “made by the commercial rights holder.”

But labeled by FOTA as invalid, slammed by the likes of champions Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, the World Motor Sport Council’s attempt to appease Bernie Ecclestone’s wish for the championship to go to the driver with the most wins looks set to be postponed.

And so the great FIA/FOM/FOTA soap opera continues... 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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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Enough of this testing, let's go racing!

Williams and McLaren wrapped up the final day of preseason testing in Jerez, with Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima heading the sheets by posting a time of 1:17.494 for the fastest lap of the week.

Heikki Kovalainen’s 1:17.946 was a marked improvement for McLaren, giving the boys from Woking a boost heading into the season opener.

Next up: Melbourne.

Preparations Begin For Australian F1 Grand Prix


Thursday -- Jerez:
  1. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams FW31, 1:17.494
  2. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24, 1:17.946

Mixed reception for rule changes

The reaction is rolling in on the FIA's last minute rule changes, and it runs the gamut. Some question the timing, some question the need for constantly changing the rules, some are cautiously optimistic. But whether it be the points structure of the budget cap, there is no shortage of opinion:

Points:

Michael Schumacher – "astonishing"

Mark Webber – "unnecessary"

Fernando Alonso – "these kinds of decisions can only confuse the fans"

Jenson Button – "I think the public will struggle to understand…"

Bernie Ecclestone – "this is a good start"

Bernie also thinks Jenson Button may benefit from the new point system

"But if Brawn has got it right, there's a chance that for the first three races we could maybe see Jenson winning," the BBC reports he said. "Now that it is not points that decides the championship, if Jenson has three races in his pocket then it is not bad - although I suppose in the end you have to look at the old timers like Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton."

Budget:

Eddie Jordan – "Full marks to the FIA"

Flavio Briatore – "It was a bit of a shock"

Luca di Montezemolo – "disappointment and concern"

Bernie Ecclestone has little sympathy. "Any time we make any changes, there are a whole bunch of people who say, 'forget it, it won't happen'"

Ecclestone again hints at USGP return

While Bernie Ecclestone took an opportunity to slam Europe ("In the next 10 years, Europe is going to become a third-world economy,") PlanetF1 is running with a story hinting F1 will make a return to the States, but not at Indy. 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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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

McLaren heads a two-car field

Heikki Kovalainen set the pace for McLaren at Jerez Wednesday, posting a best of 1:18.202.

Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima was the only other driver in action.

Both teams will conclude testing Thursday.

Wednesday -- Jerez:
  1. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24, 1:18.202
  2. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams FW31, 1:20.023

Todt and Ferrari part ways

Jean Todt resigned from all positions he still held at Ferrari, including his seat on the board of directors, ending a 15-year relationship between the ex-team principal and the company.

Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix: Qualifying


“I would like to wish him the very best for the future which I hope will prove extremely satisfying both personally and professionally,” Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo said. “All of these years we've spent together - victories and tough times included - have forged a link between Jean Todt and Ferrari that will never be broken.”

Fun ’round the blogosphere
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

WMSC decisions; and Button sets pace at Jerez

As previously reported here, The FIA approved changes the the point structure for the 2009 season, which will now award the championship to the driver with the most wins, regardless of the point total.

Second and beyond will continue to be determined by the 10-8-6 point system, FOTA’s recommended 12-9-7 alternative being voted down.

European Formula One Grand Prix: Race


Also at its meeting Tuesday, the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council made decisions regarding testing, media access and formally approved the Brawn GP team.

Also, the WMSC announced teams which agree to a $30m cap on costs will be allowed greater freedoms in underbodies, movable wings and engines.

Teams may instead run under the existing rules, which will remain unchanged through 2012.

Read the full text:
World Motor Sport Council - Decisions

Button fastest in Jerez

Jenson Button celebrated Brawn GP’s newfound recognition by putting his BGP 001 at the top of the sheets Tuesday in Jerez, posting a best time of 1:17.844 over 114 laps.

Nico Rosberg was second for Williams, and Nelson Piquet third on Renault’s final day of testing before Melbourne.

Testing continues Wednesday.

Tuesday -- Jerez:
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:17.844
  2. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:18.071
  3. Nelson Piquet, Renault R29, 1:18.382
  4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:19.121
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WMSC revises point system

I'm sure this won't be confusing:

"The WMSC accepted the proposal from Formula One Management to award the drivers’ championship to the driver who has won the most races during the season. If two or more drivers finish the season with the same number of wins, the title will be awarded to the driver with the most points, the allocation of points being based on the current 10, 8, 6 etc. system.

The rest of the standings, from second to last place, will be decided by the current points system. There is no provision to award medals for first, second or third place. The Constructors’ Championship is unaffected.

The WMSC rejected the alternative proposal from the Formula One Teams’ Association to change the points awarded to drivers finishing in first, second and third place to 12, 9 and 7 points respectively."
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Alonso breaks Brawn dominance

Renault’s Fernando Alonso took down not one, but two BGP 001s, posting a best lap of 1:18.343 to break the Brawn GP stranglehold at the top of the sheets in the second day of testing at Jerez.

Rubens Barrichello was second, covering 62 laps in the morning before handing over to third place Jenson Button in the afternoon. Button’s day came to a premature end with gearbox issues.

Lewis Hamilton for McLaren and Nico Rosberg in the Williams also took part.

All four teams will be in action Tuesday.

Monday -- Jerez:
  1. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:18.343
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn BGP 001, 1:18.398
  3. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:18.892
  4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:19.513
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:19.783

FIA will vote on FOTA points plan

The FIA will put FOTA’s proposed 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1 points structure to a vote at this week’s World Motor Sport Council meeting, autosport.com reports.

The WMSC is also poised to make an announcement concerning “emergency cost-cutting ideas” to be evaluated. While nothing has been revealed, one could guess more standardization will be on the docket.

Indy centennial

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is marking the 100th birthday of the speedway this week by providing fans the opportunity to get their photo taken with the track’s founders.

Well, actors, anyway. Dressed in period clothing. For $5.

Indianapolis 500
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Barrichello again

Rubens Barrichello got the final winter test of the season off with a bang with a best of 1:19.236 in the Brawn BGP001 at Jerez.

Barrichello held and edge of over half a second to second place Fernando Alonso in the Renault.

Williams test driver Nico Hulkenberg was third.

Brawn GP, Renault and Williams are slated to participate through Wednesday. McLaren will also join the fray Monday through Thursday.

Sunday -- Jerez:
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn BGP 001, 1:19.236
  2. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:19.819
  3. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams FW31, 1:20.015

Toyota considered pullout

Toyota’s Tadashi Yamashina reveals in an interview with a Japanese newspaper Toyota was very close to joining Honda in pulling out of F1.

F1 Oct 2008


“I stressed again and again in the company's executive board meetings there was no way we should pull out, although we have to drastically cut our costs,” he told Japanese newspaper the Daily Yomiuri, Autosport.com reports.

The Toyota team principal was obviously successful in swaying the board, despite the economic difficulties facing the company.

Read Autosport.com’s report here. 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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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Barrichello shows his Brawn

Brawn GP ended this week’s group test on a high note, finishing at the top of the charts for the second day in a row as Rubens Barrichello turned a best time of of 1:18.926 at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.

Nico Rosberg was second in the Williams, and Toyota’s Timo Glock finished third in the last multi-team test before the season opener at Melbourne.

F1 Testing


Thursday -- Barcelona:
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn BGP 001, 1:18.926
  2. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:19.774
  3. Timo Glock, Toyota TF109, 1:20.091
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB5, 1:20.576
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:20.664
  6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari F60, 1:20.677
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:20.740
  8. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:20.869
  9. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:21.013
  10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India VJM02, 1:21.045
  11. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:21.629

Brawn GP has been a revelation this week, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed:

Felipe Massa: “Before Barcelona we (Ferrari) were one of the quickest on the circuit, we were very competitive, in the leading pack. Now we're competitive, but behind Brawn. No one can do the same times (as Brawn). Everyone was using less fuel, not only them. But their times were much faster than those that anyone else could do.”

Fernando Alonso: “That they should be so quick in the first tests is not normal. The truth is that they have a car that Honda began working on in 2007, to use in 2009. You can see that in its design, because it is a very detailed car with a different look to the others.”

So what’s the deal? Why is the Brawn so fast? Grandprix.com has some thoughts. So do two new(ish) blogs I’m a real fan of, Joe Saward's Grand Prix Blog and Allen on F1.

Whitmarsh: F1 needs America

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh believes the teams need to get their act together to bring back the United States Grand Prix, instead of relying on Bernie Ecclestone to work out a deal.

“Rather than who's going to give us the most money to rock up and race, it is to go there strategically, perhaps with FOTA offering to support the race, participate, send our drivers on a promotional tour one year before, six months before, to appear on shows and make investment,” Whitmarsh told autosport.com. “Rather than leave it in the hands of a promoter, how do we develop the interest? How do we develop the excitement and take up of F1 in North America? Be it Ferrari, be it Daimler, or be it BMW. You look at all of the principle investors in F1; the vast majority of them would consider the US to be a significant market.”


Read the whole interview here.

Quick Nick names his fastest teammate

Who does Nick Heidfeld rate as his quickest teammate over his career? It isn’t Kimi or Kubica. Crash.net picks up the commentary from Heidfeld’s Web site. 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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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Button puts Brawn on top

Brawn GP continued its strong showing this week at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, with Jenson Button turning in a best 1:19.127 to put the former Honda boys at the top of the charts.

Felipe Massa was second in the Ferrari, and Robert Kubica third for BMW Sauber.

F1: MAR 09 Barcelona Tests


Wednesday -- Barcelona:
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:19.127
  2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari F60, 1:20.168
  3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:20.217
  4. Timo Glock, Toyota TF109, 1:20.410
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:20.863
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull RB5, 1:21.165
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams FW31, 1:21.324
  8. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India VJM02, 1:21.545
  9. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:21.569
  10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-24, 1:21.657

Once again, McLaren is propping up the time sheets. What’s the story? Is everything OK, as Ron Dennis wants us to think? Is James Allen right -- Is there a real problem? Many think it’s just sandbagging, as this Google search reveals.

Briatore: “Three teams are not legal”

La Gazzetta dello Sport catches up with Flavio Briatore in Barcelona, where he talks about the upcoming season, Juventus, Fernando Alonso and those diffusers. 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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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Raikkonen tops, and another good showing from Brawn GP

Kimi Raikkonen topped the charts at Barcelona Tuesday, posting a best 1:20.314 for Ferrari in his final day behind the wheel before handing over to Felipe Massa.

F1 Testing


Kazuki Nakajima was second in the Williams.

Brawn GP put up another strong showing as Rubens Barrichello got his first taste of the new car, putting in 111 laps and taking third.

Tuesday -- Barcelona:
  1. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F60, 1:20.314
  2. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams FW31, 1:20.907
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn BGP 001, 1:20.966
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota TF109, 1:21.182
  5. Mark Webber, Red Bull RB5, 1:21.347
  6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:21.615
  7. Adrian Sutil, Force India VJM02, 1:21.834
  8. Fernando Alonso, Renault R29, 1:21.937
  9. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24, 1:21.991
  10. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:23.039
  11. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso STR4, no time

Speaking of Brawn GP, Autosport.com has a mess of Q&As with the major players: Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, and the big man himself. Worth checking out.

Here’s a sample:

Brawn: “If the management group, because it is not just myself, had not taken this task on, there would be no team. Then all of the staff would have been made redundant. So, this gives us an opportunity.”

Button: “I really wanted to be with this team in 2009 and that is why I turned down other possibilities. This is for sure the best choice for me.”

Barrichello: “I don’t think my chance came this winter. I think my chance started when I was running for Ferrari. Some people might not know my speed, but Ross Brawn does.”

There seems to be a reserved confidence coming out of the team, maybe there is something to that speed we’ve seen the past couple of days... 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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Monday, March 9, 2009

All eyes on Brawn GP, STR4 in Barcelona

Nick Heidfeld topped the charts on day one of testing at Barcelona, but Brawn GP’s first showing and the debut of the new Toro Rosso were the big stories at the Circuit de Catalunya Monday.

The BGP 001 was in the hands of Jenson Button, and he did not disappoint. The Briton finished fourth behind Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli on a day that started wet, but dried quickly.

All 10 teams were in action in the first day of a four day test.

Monday -- Barcelona:
  1. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber F1.09, 1:20.338
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari F60, 1:20.908
  3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota TF109, 1:20.937
  4. Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 1:21.140
  5. Nelson Piquet, Renault R29, 1:21.662
  6. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso STR4, 1:22.158
  7. Mark Webber, Red Bull RB5, 1:22.246
  8. Adrian Sutil, Force India VJM02, 1:22.452
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams FW31, 1:22.813
  10. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren MP4-24, 1:22.948

F1 Testing


Button pleased

Jenson Button spent the morning at the top of the time sheets, and all in all it looked to be an encouraging day for Brawn GP. While the circumstances have been trying, Button says it feels like a fresh start.

“We all do feel like kids again and you can see that within the team, the smiles on people's faces, and that was before we drove the car today,” the BBC quotes Button. “There's a great atmosphere and it's brought everyone that much closer together, and it's a great thing to be a part of.”

Read the full story here.

Rumors about Brawn GP sponsorship

Grandprix.com has caught wind of a rumor that Brawn GP might be getting funding from the Austrian online betting company Bwin Interactive Entertainment.

The site surmises that might explain delays in the sale of the team.

Additional rumors speak of a black and orange livery, the company’s colors.

Read the full report here.

STR4 marks final launch of the winter

Toro Rosso launched it’s challenger, the STR4, Monday before the first day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Scuderia Toro Rosso 2009 F1 Launch


The Adrian Newey-penned, Ferrari-powered car made it’s first official appearance in the hands of Sebastian Bourdais. Sebastien Buemi takes over for the final two days of the test.

“In 2008 our performance exceeded our expectations,” said team principal Franz Tost. “It’s going to be tough to live up to that this year.”

Get full coverage from Toro Rosso here.

2009’s only rookie not feeling the heat

Sebastien Buemi has no worries about being the sport’s most inexperienced driver.

“When you sit in the car it doesn’t matter,” he told reporters Monday. “All I’m planning to do is relax in my job and not worry about being the only rookie on the grid.”

Read ITV’s version of the interview here. 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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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Senna wants to remain close to F1

Bruno Senna hasn’t finalized any plans after missing out on a drive with Brawn GP to veteran Rubens Barrichello, but he is weighing his options and is determined to find something that will help him prepare for a future in F1.

“It's paramount to us to be doing something that will prepare me and make sure that we're close enough to Formula 1 to get a chance next year, but that's also a difficult thing to do,” he said in an interview with Crash.net Radio. “It's very difficult to tie up a different series and Formula 1. It's going to be quite tricky, but if it's done properly then I believe that I will get a chance as soon as there is a chance.”

Despite being the runner-up to the championship last season, the Honda/Brawn GP’s saga resulted in the Brazilian missing out on a top GP2 drive.

He has a test coming up in an LMP1 Oreca sportscar, and he has also been in talks with Mercedes about DTM.

“It's (DTM) something that we're looking into,” he said. “We haven't gone very deep into discussions about the DTM, again because we haven't decided what is the best way to go. We have to analyze what the risks are and what the pros are.”

Listen to the interview and read the full story.


Turkish Formula One Grand Prix: Qualifying


Barrichello “kept his faith”

The other player in that soap opera and Formula One's most experienced driver, Rubens Barrichello, fired back at his doubters in a note on his personal Web site.

“These last four months I preferred silence,” Reuters quotes the 36-year-old veteran. “People said I was done, that nobody wanted me, and there was one who wrote that Bruno Senna had already signed for three years with the team, an absurd story where the desperate (reporter) tried to get a beat without having any basis or source. The important thing is that during this period of hard times I kept my faith, worked my body out hard and kept quiet, speaking only to the team's personnel.”

Barrichello will join the team in its first full test in Barcelona next week. 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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Saturday, March 7, 2009

USGPE plays down name change

Peter Windsor says USF1’s change to USGPE is “no big deal.”

The team changed it’s name at the request of Formula One management, but Windsor said the organization was not concerned - at this stage, nothing was permanent.

F1: FEB 24 USF1 Press Conference


“Our original logo was just a placemark for a work in progress,” Windsor told ITV. “Now that we’re in business, we need to conform with FOM rules and of course we’re delighted to be doing that and will be announcing an official logo shortly.”


What was a big deal, said Windsor, was reaction to the new team, citing figures that show over 4,000 articles about the team were published in February.

“Who said that no one was interested in Americans in F1?”


Stewart will work for free in ’09

Sir Jackie Stewart is giving up his 2009 salary to help out the troubled Royal Bank of Scotland
, Autosport.com reports.

The bank announced Stewart, contracted to perform ambassadorial duties for RBS through 2011, offered to work for free this year.

“Some years I go to five races, some years ten, it depends,” Stewart explained. “They pay my expenses wherever I travel, which is sometimes commercial long-haul and sometimes in a private plane with other RBS people. If RBS already have a plane going somewhere, then I travel with them.”


The bank, under a microscope since receiving a government bailout, praised the decision.

“His commitment and loyalty at such a challenging time in the company's long history is greatly appreciated by everyone at RBS,” head of communications Andrew McLaughlin said.


Honda bids farewell

With the sale official, Honda thanks its fans for their support.

“We will always have happy memories of podium celebrations and, of course, Jenson’s victory at Hungary in 2006...”


Adrian Sutil speaks

Force India’s Adrian Sutil opens up on where things stand for Force India, and his hopes for the new season.

“Everything is possible. I just know the field is very close together, even closer than last year. If in Melbourne all the cars are close together then the chances are higher to get off the back row.”
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Silverstone shakedown for Brawn GP

Jenson Button put the newly christened Brawn GP car -- the Mercedes-powered BGP 001 -- through the paces at Silverstone today in a private test.

Check out some pics here.

Teammate Rubens Barrichello and Team principal Ross Brawn were also in attendance as Button put in his first laps since November.

With just under three weeks to prepare for the season opener in Melbourne, Brawn GP is slated to take part in the four-day test at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya Monday.

Bell “confident”

Many are convinced Renault has some work to do if it is to be competitive this season, citing the fact that Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet have often been at the bottom of the sheets in winter testing. Technical director Bob Bell sounds optimistic in this interview on the team Web site, however, but then he wasn’t really going to say the car’s a dog, was he?

F1 Testing Sessions


“We feel reasonably comfortable that we have the foundations to have a good season, challenging for podiums and wins, and ultimately that means hopefully challenging for championships. We have always said that has to be our objective; we’re not here to make up the numbers, we’re here to win.”

Brundle on Hamilton

Martin Brundle weighs in on Lewis Hamilton as he begins his title defense. Here’s three little tidbits to draw you in:

"The big question is, will he start believing in his own press, will the stardom get to him?"

"His head can still go to pieces; that's his Achilles' heel as we saw last season in Fuji."

"There is a very fine line between confidence and arrogance and he bumps right up against it without understanding why."
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Heidfeld quickest on final day

Nick Heidfeld took his turn at the top of the charts as this week’s Jerez test concluded, posting a best of 1:20.052 in the BMW Sauber.

Kimi Raikkonen was second in windy conditions for Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton finished third in the McLaren despite a high speed off.

Thursday -- Jerez:
  1. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:20.052
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.404
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:21.272
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.219
  5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:22.226
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:23.119

FOTA reveals its plan

FOTA revealed its blueprint for the future Thursday in Geneva, with all 10 teams in unanimous agreement.

The next step is FIA approval.

Technical, sporting and commercial issues were all on the table as the group proposed such things as additional cuts in engine costs, standardized KERS, and reduced aero spending.

FOTA also proposes a new points system: 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1

More specific to fans, FOTA agreed to open up the flow of information to the media, both through a designated team spokesperson and availability to data, and to make drivers more accessible to the public.

Eager for details? Read the official statement.

Meanwhile, FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo signaled the teams are ready to sign a new Concorde Agreement through 2012.

Brawn in control

Ross Brawn has taken over the former Honda Racing team, renamed ‘Brawn GP’ (so if you had your money on the previously reported Brawn Racing or Brawn Sport, too bad).

Formula One Testing In Barcelona


A statement issued midnight Thursday on the new team's Web site also confirmed what we all knew, it will use Mercedes power, with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at the wheel.

Brawn GP will take part in the two remaining tests prior to the season opener in Melbourne.

Read the official statement. 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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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fernando’s turn

Renault’s Fernando Alonso topped the charts Wednesday at Jerez, setting a best lap of 1:19.945 over 130 laps at the Spanish circuit.

Kimi Raikkonen was second in the Ferrari, and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld finished third.

Formula One Testing


Wednesday -- Jerez:
  1. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:19.945
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.250
  3. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:20.520
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota , 1:20.540
  5. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:20.894
  6. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:20.948
  7. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:21.302
  8. Adrian Sutil, Force India , 1:21.411

No wings for Sato

Takuma Sato revealed he will not be filling a test role for Red Bull or Toro Rosso.

“I am no longer in negotiation with the Toro Rosso or Red Bull teams about their third driver positions,” he said on his personal Web site. “I am very disappointed that we were not able to come to an agreement with them but you never know what is around the corner. As everyone knows, I never give up so we are still looking for the best options for the future.”


Senna to DTM?

Bruno Senna, looking to be edged out of Ross Brawn’s team by Rubens Barrichello, appears to be in talks with Mercedes to run DTM this season.

“There are talks but no decision," Reuters reports Mercedes motorsport vice president Norbert Haug told the German SID news agency on Wednesday. “... It would be of course good to have Senna at the DTM but it is still pure speculation if this will indeed happen.”

Minardi's take

Giancarlo Minardi weighs in on where he thinks everybody’s at heading into the season opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Ready? Toyota. Ferrari? Not so much. Crash.net reports.

Renault threatens to quit

Renault wants more commercial revenue or it will quit the sport, Bloomberg reports.

Renault Chief Operating Officer Patrick Pelata said at the Geneva Motor Show the company needs more than just the cost cuts agreed upon last December to keep it in the sport.

The Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) meets tomorrow in Geneva.

Ecclestone was not swayed.

“I’m surprised he would come out and say something like that,” he said. “We’ve got an agreement with the teams until 2013 and we’ll stick with that.”

USF1 becomes USGPE

You may have noticed when you type in the USF1 Web address it takes you someplace else. This isn’t a mistake, grandprix.com reports.

Due to difficulties with the sport over the use of the trademarked “F1,” the team has reregistered as US GP Engineering.

Why not USGP? Apparently, that one’s owned ny Tony George. 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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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jerez day three - Here comes the sun

The sun made a return Tuesday in Jerez, but the result was the same as Timo Glock was fastest, posting a best 1:19.814 over 142 laps.

Formula One Testing


Jarno Trulli takes over for the German on Wednesday.

Felipe Massa was second in the Ferrari after not setting a time yesterday, while Fernando Alonso was third for Renault.

Tuesday -- Jerez :
  1. Timo Glock, Toyota , 1:19.814
  2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.238
  3. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:20.296
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:20.535
  5. Adrian Sutil, Force India , 1:20.621
  6. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.021
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.069
  8. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.412

Barrichello safe?

No official word has come down, but reports would seem to indicate Rubens Barrichello had beaten out Bruno Senna to keep his seat at the team formerly know as Honda.

There seems to be enough truth to the reports for Autosport.com to pick up an story quoting Senna saying he was disappointed everything had dragged on so long.

“I'm kind of resigned to trying something else. I had a meeting today (Monday) with Ross Brawn and he canceled,” Senna was quoted. “I'm just a little upset because this situation has dragged on for so long, making me lose better professional possibilities."
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Monday, March 2, 2009

The rain in Spain...

... or wherever Toyota goes, bad weather will follow.

Toyota’s Timo Glock topped the charts at a rainy Jerez, but with rain in Spain, sand in Bahrain, and rain in Spain again, is it possible Toyota’s 2009 season will be derailed by weather?

Probably not, but something to ponder.

Formula One Testing


Glock turned in a best 1:30.979 over 89 laps in the TF109 as the team focused on wet weather work.

BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica finished second and Nico Rosberg for Williams.

Monday -- Jerez:
  1. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:30.979
  2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:31.327
  3. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:31.451
  4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:31.547
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:32.220
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 1:33.371
  7. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:33.476
  8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, no time

Q&A with Vijay Mallya

Autosport.com catches up with Vijay Mallya in an entertaining and informative interview. Among the interesting items he drops:

“... the FIA rules say that an engine manufacturer can only supply two teams. As far as Mercedes is concerned, that's McLaren and Force India. I think a special one-year dispensation, I understand, has been granted for Mercedes to supply the ex-Honda team just to keep it on the grid.

I could have objected but I chose not to because it is good for F1. Nobody likes to see a team disappear. We had unfortunately Super Aguri disappear last year and I don't think it is good for the sport that one more team goes.

We all have to recognize that we have to sometimes be more positive to keep the sport intact...”
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Vettel tops in Spain

Sebastian Vettel set the pace at Jerez, the Red Bull putting in a best time of 1:19.055.

Eight cars were in action on the first day of the next-to-last preseason test of 2009, which runs through Thursday.

The week could see all 10 teams in action somewhere across the globe. Toro Rosso is conducting a private test at Adria in Italy, while it remains to be seen if the “Honda” boys will make an appearance.

Sunday - Jerez
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:19.055
  2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.330
  3. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:20.699
  4. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:21.171
  5. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.292
  6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 1:21.584
  7. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:21.831
  8. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.011

Force India debuts

Force India’s 2009 challenger made it’s official debut on the Jerez circuit Sunday, a day after team photos were released revealing the 2009 livery.

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Rollout Force India VJM02


Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will be testing the Mercedes-powered VJM02 throughout the week at Jerez.

After switching from Ferrari and shaking up the management structure to take a more hands-on approach, owner Vijay Mallya is looking for big things in his second season on the grid.

“What we really set out to do over the winter was to put in place structures, procedures and partnerships that would give improvement, but crucially, no excuses,” Mallya told Formula1.com.

Mallya said he will be using McLaren as a benchmark to evaluate his team’s performance.

“If performance relative to McLaren - the 2008 championship winning team - is low, there are only a reduced number of variables that need to be analyzed and understood,” he explained. “I would like to see a strong start, rising to points midseason and a definite improvement in qualifying. Regular points finishes should be the aim.”


Read the full story here.

“Honda” update

Adam Cooper on SpeedTV.com goes in-depth with analysis over Brawnsport or Brawn Sport (BS?) or Ross Brawn Racing or RBR (can’t do that one, can they...) or Brawn Racing or the team that was Honda or whatever. Anyway, it’s an interesting read. He wrote it a couple of days ago, so sorry for the tardiness of the link.


Pitpass is convinced it will be Brawn Racing, by the way, and the evidence is fairly supportive...

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