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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tony George out

In news that likely doesn’t matter much to most of the F1 world, but is monumental here in the States, Tony George is out as head of the Hulman-George companies effective July 1.

Current IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus take over, George remains on the board.

A statement from Mari Hulman George, IMS chairman of the board, said George was asked to restructure the management staff and “now would be the time for him to concentrate on his team ownership of Vision Racing with his family and other personal business interests he and his family share.”

Tony George


George had been rumored to be on his way out in the spring, but had emerged with his position intact.

In his role, he was chief negotiator with Bernie Ecclestone for the United States Grand Prix, which dropped off the calendar after the 2007 edition when the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

The IRL support staff remains untouched, with Terry Angstadt president of the commercial division and Brian Barnhart president of the competition division. Joie Chitwood remains president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speedcar shuts down

The Speedcar Series, a NASCAR-ish stock car championship run on road courses primarily in the Middle East, which had supported several Formula 1 events in its two seasons, is no more, according to backer Union Properties.

Crash.net reports.

A1 GP in trouble

The Telegraph reports the British company which runs much of the operations for A1 GP, A1 Grand Prix Operations Limited, went into liquidation last Wednesday, leaving the future of the “world cup of motorsport” in doubt.

Superleague Formula kicks off

“The Beautiful Race” is back, and Liverpool took two of the three races last weekend at Magny-Cours. AC Milan took the third, with the ever hopeful Giorgio Pantano at the wheel.

Talking KERS

Remember this gadget? Nigel Roebuck weighs in on KERS – another costly mistake by Mosley for Motorsport.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Angry Mosley threatens deal

Peace in F1? We knew it couldn’t last.

Angered at FOTA’s “deliberate attempt to mislead the media” regarding who has authority over the sport, Max Mosley has threatened to withdraw his decision to stand down at the end of his term.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


This according to a letter sent to FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo, which appeared on the website www.racefax.com and later was seen by Autosport.

At issue is a statement by FOTA representatives that Mosley was no longer overseeing F1, but rather FIA Senate president Michel Boeri.

Unless FOTA corrects the offense, Tuesday’s deal could be out the window.

Read the nitty gritty here.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Agreement reached

An agreement has been reached in Paris to prevent a split and lower costs. In exchange, Max Mosley stands down at then end of his term.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race


The relevant part of the FIA press release:

Press Release
World Motor Sport Council
24/06/2009

The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 24 June 2009. The following decisions were taken:

FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

All currently competing teams have committed to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

There will be no alternative series or championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009.

As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the championship to the level of the early 1990s. The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance.

The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport’s governing body. They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.

All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement.

The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

TEAM , CONSTRUCTOR
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO, FERRARI
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES, McLAREN MERCEDES
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM, BMW SAUBER
RENAULT F1 TEAM, RENAULT
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING, TOYOTA
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO, STR TBA
RED BULL RACING, RED BULL RACING TBA
AT&T WILLIAMS, WILLIAMS TOYOTA
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM, FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM, BRAWN TBA
CAMPOS GRAND PRIX, CAMPOS COSWORTH
MANOR GRAND PRIX, MANOR COSWORTH
TEAM US F1, TEAM US F1 COSWORTH

In view of this new agreement and with the prospect of a stable future for Formula One, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed his decision not to stand for re-election in October this year.

So, it seems that's it.
A painful split is avoided, and Max is out. Both sides get to claim they got what they wanted. The BBC has a pretty good comprehensive.

Obviously, the details will reveal themselves in time. For now, we can move forward with a good idea this year's champion will get to defend his title, and F1 as we know it continues.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mosley ain't going anywhere

If Max Mosley wasn’t going to leave office over last year’s colorful scandal, no one should have believed he would voluntarily stand down and retire at the end of this term. After all, it is only what he said he was going to do.

In news that certainly won’t come as a shock to anyone, Mosley has been making noise about standing for re-election.

Mosley says it is for the FIA to decide who its leader shall be, and he will not be removed. Insiders have been saying Mosley’s removal is one of FOTA’s goals, and that is certainly the way the FIA chief sees it, and that's why he may need to stick around.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race


The BBC quotes from a letter Mosley sent to FIA members:

“Over recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that one of the objectives of the dissident teams is that I should resign as president of the FIA.

“Last year you offered me your confidence and, as I wrote to you on 16 May 2008, it was my intention not to seek re-election in October this year.

“However, in light of the attack on the mandate you have entrusted to me, I must now reflect on whether my original decision not to stand for re-election was indeed the right one.

“It is for the FIA membership, and the FIA membership alone, to decide on its democratically elected leadership, not the motor industry and still less the individuals the industry employs to run its Formula 1 teams.”

Meanwhile, FOTA moves forward in setting up its new series, while some members continue to talk about finding a compromise.

The World Motor Sport Council meets Wednesday, and there is some interesting analysis available ahead of the meeting.

The BBC’s F1 Mole blog takes a look at how things got to this point. Of interest:

“The Mole's sources say that on Wednesday last week, the teams' umbrella group Fota had agreed a compromise with FIA president Max Mosley that would have seen everyone sign up for F1 in 2010.

It appears, though, that when Mosley sent through the documentation the following morning, he had changed the date until which the teams had to commit to F1 from 2012 to 2014.

For Fota, it seems this was the final straw - one more piece of evidence of what they see as Mosley's autocratic and arbitrary decision-making.”

While James Allen goes into what we can expect from tomorrow’s WMSC meeting.

And Joe Saward waxes philosophical.

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Hey, Ferrari would like to know if you are with them. So let them know, OK?

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Heavy stuff. Let’s lighten the mood:



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Monday, June 22, 2009

Bernie speaks

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


“I have given 35 years of my life and more to Formula One. My marriage broke up because of Formula One, so I am sure as hell not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing. If you analyse the problems, there aren’t any that can’t be easily solved.”
--Bernie Ecclestone


Read the Full article from The Times here.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vettel dominates British Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel took his second victory of the season, heading a Red Bull 1-2 at Silverstone and reminding the world this championship is far from over.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race


There was never a doubt as Vettel dusted Rubens Barrichello off at the start and sped off into the lead. Teammate Mark Webber dispatched Barrichello in the first round of pit stops, and barring mechanical difficulties Red Bull looked sure to deliver on the promise it had shown all weekend.

Barrichello took third in the lead Brawn. Championship leader Jenson Button provided some of the best action in the closing stages of the race. The Briton, after suffering a start that saw him drop back to ninth, battled back to put pressure on Nico Rosberg for fifth. For a few moments, even fourth place Felipe Massa looked to be vulnerable.

In the end, Button would settle for sixth, his starting position, and valuable points. Massa and Rosberg finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Last year's winner, Lewis Hamilton, had a race to forget, one lap down in 16th, but that didn’t stop him from thrilling the fans with some donuts after the race.

Only two retirements, both as a result of the same incident, when Sebastien Bourdais made contact with Heikki Kovalainen in an attempt to overtake at Abbey.

So, on to Germany. A difficult weekend for Button, but he only lost three points to teammate Barrichello, second in the championship. Silverstone suited the Red Bull, but the real question is whether the team have taken a real step forward. If so, the second half should prove a real humdinger.

Provisional results (60 laps)
  1. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull-Renault
  2. Mark Webber, RedBull-Renault
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  4. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  6. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  7. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  8. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  9. Timo Glock, Toyota
  10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  11. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota
  12. Nelson Piquet, Renault 1 lap
  13. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber 1 lap
  14. Fernando Alonso, Renault 1 lap
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1 lap
  16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes 1 lap
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India - Mercedes 1 lap
  18. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
  • Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso - Ferrari 23 laps
  • Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes 24 laps


GP2

Alberto Valerio took his first victory in race one yesterday, ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Nico H├╝lkenberg. In race 2, Pastor Maldonado won his second of the season, going wire to wire. Andreas Zuber and Karun Chandhok rounded out the podium.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vettel on pole at Silverstone

Red Bull has been looking good at Silverstone, and Sebastian Vettel continued the domination, taking pole for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Vettel’s time of 1:19.509 bested Rubens Barrichello in the lead Brawn. Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber starts third.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Qualifying


The best championship leader Jenson Button would manage was sixth, behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli and Kazuki Nakajima, who put in a last minute stunner to take fifth.

The big losers for the day were Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton. Sutil, who nailed third in Friday’s second session, lost it at Abbey in Q1, resulting in a red flag that ruined Hamilton’s flyer and left him on the outside looking in at the end of the first session.

So, once again, Vettel is in prime position. But he will want to avoid a mistake, because he has two hungry vets on his tail, both looking to take that first big win of the season.

Meanwhile the odds look long for the championship leader. It all adds up to a memorable send off for one of F1’s storied tracks, if this is indeed the end of the road. Bernie told the BBC if Donington’s not ready, “Silverstone will ‘for sure’ host the British Grand Prix next year.”

The grid and pre-race weights
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 666.5 kg
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 657.5
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 659.5
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 658
  5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 652.5
  6. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 657.5
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 661.5
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 660
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 654
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 654
  11. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 675
  12. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 689.5
  13. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 695.5
  14. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 682.5
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 665.5
  16. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 668
  17. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 687.5
  18. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 692
  19. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 666
  20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 672.5

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Red Bull dominate Friday at Silverstone

With so much going on off the track, it might have escaped notice Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber put it to the Brawn boys that they mean to challenge at this weekend's final appearance at Silverstone.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


The duo led both sessions, heading Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello in the first, and besting a surprising third place Adrian Sutil in the second.

But it isn't all sunshine and flowers, as Webber's car rolled to a stop before the end on the second session with some kind of gremlin.

The second session saw the Brawn cars much further back, Button in particular complaining about grip, but we have seen this before and Brawn's attention may have been focused on race preparation rather than qualifying runs.

Silverstone seems to suit the Red Bulls, though, and it should be interesting to see how it shakes out Saturday.

Practice 1
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:19.400
  2. Mark Webber, Red Bull - Renault, 1:19.682
  3. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:20.227
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:20.242
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:20.458
  6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:20.471
  7. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:20.585
  8. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:20.650
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 1:20.815
  10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:20.838
  11. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:20.913
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:21.029
  13. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.103
  14. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:21.179
  15. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1:21.384
  16. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:21.386
  17. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 1:21.489
  18. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:21.525
  19. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1:21.590
  20. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:21.801

Practice 2
  1. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull - Renault, 1:19.456
  2. Mark Webber, RedBull - Renault, 1:19.597
  3. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:20.141
  4. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 1:20.209
  5. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:20.237
  6. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:20.244
  7. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:20.417
  8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:20.458
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 1:20.468
  10. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:20.608
  11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:20.622
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:20.733
  13. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:20.762
  14. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:20.767
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:20.932
  16. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1:20.945
  17. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.005
  18. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:21.132
  19. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:21.413
  20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso - Ferrari, 1:21.668

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FOTA announces breakaway plans

In the latest round of the war over the 2010 regulations, the remaining FOTA teams have refused to drop the conditions on their entries and instead announced they are preparing a rival championship.

The announcement followed a FOTA meeting Thursday night.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


Text of the FOTA statement:


Press Release
Date:
19 June, 2009



FOTA UNITED ON THE FUTURE


Silverstone, 18 June 2009 - Since the formation of FOTA last September the teams have worked together and sought to engage the FIA and commercial rights holder, to develop and improve the sport.

Unprecedented worldwide financial turmoil has inevitably placed great challenges before the F1 community. FOTA is proud that it has achieved the most substantial measures to reduce costs in the history of our sport.

In particular the manufacturer teams have provided assistance to the independent teams, a number of which would probably not be in the sport today without the FOTA initiatives. The FOTA teams have further agreed upon a substantial voluntary cost reduction that provides a sustainable model for the future.

Following these efforts all the teams have confirmed to the FIA and the commercial rights holder that they are willing to commit until the end of 2012.

The FIA and the commercial rights holder have campaigned to divide FOTA.

The wishes of the majority of the teams are ignored. Furthermore, tens of millions of dollars have been withheld from many teams by the commercial rights holder, going back as far as 2006. Despite this and the uncompromising environment, FOTA has genuinely sought compromise.

It has become clear however, that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship.

These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners. This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.

The major drivers, stars, brands, sponsors, promoters and companies historically associated with the highest level of motorsport will all feature in this new series.

Note to Eds: Statement issued by FOTA on behalf of BMW-Sauber, BrawnGP, Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Toyota.


The FIA has since responded:

Press Release
2010 FIA Formula One World Championship
19/06/2009

The FIA has noted the latest press statement from FOTA.

The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA’s inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport. It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith.

The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the Championship nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula One.

The deadline for unconditional entries to the 2010 FIA Formula World Championship will expire this evening.

The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list will be announced tomorrow.

UPDATE -- This was somewhat inevitable:

Press Release
The FIA and FOTA
19/06/2009

The FIA’s lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series. The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari's legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law. The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay.

Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

A virtual lap of Silverstone




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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lola out; FOTA sends a letter

Lola has pulled the plug on its planned return to Formula 1.

Passed over in the initial entry list last Friday, the team was thought to be a wild card to replace an existing entry if no solution could be reached with the FOTA squads.

Lola's omission was a bit of a surprise, given the organization seemed pretty far along in its development and was likely well funded.

Does Lola's decision mean, as some are speculating, Lola knows something about the negotiations we don't? That might be a leap.

Le Mans 24h Race


The official statement:

Lola withdraw F1 application

Lola F1 Team Ltd has today advised the FIA of the decision to withdraw its application to enter the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Significant financial investment has been made in producing its 2010 contender and the FIA had requested that the Lola F1 Team remain in a state of readiness for a possible future entry.

Lola F1 Team has thanked the FIA for giving its application to enter the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship serious consideration.

No further comment will be made.

Meanwhile, FOTA has sent a letter to Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone, and all members of the FIA World Council and Senate calling for a compromise.

The letter reiterated FOTA's key points in the dispute, while also asking for the entry deadline to be extended to July 1.

UPDATE: The FIA has since responded, in the form of a letter from Max Mosley. Mosley stands firm on the Friday deadline. It is possible we are inching toward a solution, but just as likely this power struggle is beyond resolution...

Autosport goes a little more in-depth on the Mosley response.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The FIA makes its case

The FIA has released a statement putting forth its view of the current crisis facing the sport. You can read the full statement by following the link below.




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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Peugeot finally cracks the top spot

Peugeot won the 24 Hours of Le Mans Sunday, ending Audi’s five-year stranglehold on the event when perennial F1 test driver Marc Gene brought the No. 9 diesel home ahead of the second, No. 8 Peugeot machine.

Le Mans 24h Race


Gene shared the No. 9 with a couple of other F1-ers, David Brabham and Alexander Wurz, while the French-driven No. 8 sported current STR driver Sebastien Bourdais, F1 refugee Franck Montagny and Stephane Sarrazin finished second.

The top Audi was third overall, with Allan McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen behind the wheel.

Team Essex won the LMP2 class. The Corvette No. 63, driven by Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Johnny O'Connell won the GT1 class, and Risi Competizione won the GT2 class.

55 cars started the race, 21 failed to finish.

See the final results here.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, at Le Mans as official starter, told reporters F1’s manufacturers are prepared to set up a breakaway series, and left open the possibility of a return to Le Mans if Ferrari were not participating in F1.

Meanwhile, Lola head Martin Birrane said the company will decide Tuesday if it will remain in contention for a spot on the 2010 entry list, Autosport reports.

While Lola was not on Friday’s official list, should one of the current teams not drop the conditions on its entry by June 19, the FIA would look at the current pool of applicants for a replacement.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Le Mans!

It's that time again! The biggest race in the world! And it is chock full of F1-related folks!

Le Mans 24h Race - Qualifying


Follow the action on Radio Le Mans, and keep up with all the goings on at the official site.

Here in the States, the combination of Speed and SpeedTV.com have you covered for the full 24, and all the action will also be on Sirius 126 and XM 243.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

FIA releases official entries

Team US F1, Campos and Manor granted entry, Prodrive out

The FIA released the official entry list for 2010, as scheduled, and all the current teams are on it, plus three newcomers.

F1 Grand Prix of Turkey - Qualifying


But don't think for a moment that is the end of it. Five teams on the list have asterisks based on their conditional entries, and have until the 19th to drop those conditions. In fact, it is all a bit confusing, as the FIA has some FOTA squads listed as unconditional entries, specifically, the two Red Bull teams and Ferrari.

FOTA released a statement to set the record straight, and Ferrari released its own statement saying it had not changed its stance. Ditto Red Bull.

Perhaps just one more play in the gamesmanship between Max Mosley and the teams? Destabilize the remaining eight FOTA squads and ignore Ferrari's position in one fell swoop?

Joining the grid are three new outfits: Team US F1, Campos and Manor. All three plan to use Cosworth power, marking the organizations return to the top level of motorsport.

Obviously, US F1's inclusion is interesting news for stateside F1 fans. Campos was somewhat expected. The big surprise was Manor. The FIA has a short info section on the three newbies here.

Surprisingly, two names that one might have thought would be among the new squads were not included on the list: Lola and Prodrive.

David Richards expressed his disappointment at being excluded, but noting how quickly things change in F1, remains optimistic an opportunity will still present itself, perhaps by the 19th?

Lola is also keeping an eye on the 19th.

The FIA has a Q&A explaining its decisions here.

The official statement from the FIA:

Press Release
2010 FIA Formula One World Championship Entry List
12/06/2009

Following the completion of the applications process for teams to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, the following teams have been confirmed.

TEAM , CONSTRUCTOR
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO, FERRARI
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO, STR TBA
RED BULL RACING, RED BULL RACING TBA
AT&T WILLIAMS, WILLIAMS TOYOTA
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM, FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
CAMPOS GRAND PRIX, CAMPOS COSWORTH
MANOR GRAND PRIX, MANOR COSWORTH
TEAM US F1, TEAM US F1 COSWORTH
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES*, McLAREN MERCEDES
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM*, BMW SAUBER
RENAULT F1 TEAM*, RENAULT
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING*, TOYOTA
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM*, BRAWN TBA

*These five teams have submitted conditional entries. The FIA has invited them to lift those conditions following further discussions to be concluded not later than close of business on Friday 19 June.

The maximum number of cars permitted to enter the 2010 Championship has been increased to 26, two being entered by each competitor. Pending completion of the discussions referred to above, further due diligence is currently taking place on other potential entries.

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But hey, it's still 2009

For those who are more focused on this year's championship:


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mosley, teams to meet today

The sport's eight remaining FOTA squads are slated to meet today with Max Mosley in a last ditch attempt to reach a deal on the 2010 regulations.

The FIA is slated to release its official entry list tomorrow.

Autosport reports a letter from Mosley to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo allowed for some softening of the FIA's stance for 2010, including scrapping the possibility of a two-tier championship. But Mosley does insist on some kind of budget cap.

This is on the heels of a FOTA response called "not entirely negative" to Mosley's request for the teams to drop their conditional entries, get on board and enact change from within the system.

A key issue for FOTA is a new Concorde agreement, a goal Mosley says can not be met in the short term. While the 2010 regulations are at the heart of the debate, who gets the profits from the F1 business is certainly on the periphery.

LA Auto Show held in Los Angeles


Just this week Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn told France’s National Assembly:

"We are the ones who make the show. We bring the technology, we bring the engines, and we hire the drivers. And if we make the show, it’s only right that the revenues of Formula 1 must come back to us."


Much has been made about the possibility of a breakaway series, and Bernie Ecclestone warns he will defend his turf.

Ecclestone also has a different view on who deserves the bulk of the revenue.

"Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams, they roll up with all their sponsors’ names and money and race in front of a huge television audience which I supply through the contracts we win. That money flows back to the teams and they spend it. It would be different when they have to provide all the venues, hire their own race people, find their own television companies – and we have the best – and promote it."

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Max writes the FOTA eight

FIA president Max Mosley has written a letter to the remaining eight fence sitters urging them to enter the 2010 championship unconditionally and enact change from inside the sport.

Only by joining the sport unconditionally could teams participate in the rule making process, as per the International Sporting Code Mosley told the teams, according to a letter seen by Autosport. Mosley said he is prepared to sit down with all officially recognized competitors in the wake of Friday's announcement to discuss cost-cutting proposals made by FOTA.

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Race


Mosley also said he is willing to enter into a new Concorde agreements, but it would be impossible to do so in time to meet the conditions set by the FOTA members when they filed their entries for 2010.

Meanwhile, Force India's Vijay Mallya said commercial obligations were the reason his team broke ranks with FOTA and pulled the conditions off of its entry.

Mallya said he had hoped FOTA would be understanding of his situation, but should the team be suspended, "then so be it, there's not much I can do about it."

Many teams are feeling the commercial it, particularly the one with little sponsorship currently running at the front of the pack.

Ross Brawn said uncertainty over the future of the sport has shaken sponsor confidence.

One would think, given the team's domination of the championship this season, should the situation be resolved, sponsors will be clamoring to get on board. But for the moment, all is in limbo.

Finally, count Michael Schumacher among those who believe it won't be F1 without the manufacturers.

Autosport quotes from a video interview on the Ferrari Web site:

"It is not a very exciting situation that we are facing - especially the sport that I have participated most of my life in and that I really love. To see what is going on there, it is not very great.

"At the end of the day, if you think Ferrari, the name is so important, it is so big in this sport. It became big due to the sport but it actually grew the sport at the same time.

"You cannot see F1 without Ferrari or the other manufacturers who have participated for so long. I really believe that somehow they must find a solution – and the solution can only be that it suits those teams that have built up F1 to the state that it is now.

"You cannot expect drastic changes to be accepted by such important manufacturers. Yes, you have a target, yes, you want to reduce costs, but you have to do it step by step, you cannot turn the world around in one day – that is impossible."


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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Button continues domination with Turkish win

Jenson Button tightened his hold on the 2009 championship, passing pole sitter Sebastian Vettel on the first lap and taking his sixth win in seven races at Istanbul Park.

F1 Grand Prix of Turkey - Race


Vettel led Button from the start. Brawn’s Rubens Barrichello dropped back after a horrendous start, leaving Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber in third as Button took off in pursuit.

Taking advantage of a Vettel mistake at turn 10, Button took the lead and never looked back. The mistake was the worst that could happen to Vettel, who was on a three-stop strategy, and had to settle for third place after falling victim to Webber’s more conventional two-stopper.

Among the best of the rest, Jarno Trulli beat Nico Rosberg for fourth. Felipe Massa finished sixth in the Ferrari, while Robert Kubica delivered a seventh for BMW Sauber ahead of Toyota’s Timo Glock.

It was a difficult day for Lewis Hamilton, the champion barely avoiding finishing a lap down, but it was one better than teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who started from a far better position.

But the prize for worst afternoon has to go to Barrichello, who suffered from his anti-stall kicking in at the start. The Brazilian, desperate to salvage points, tried to force things with both Kovalainen and Adrian Sutil, the first resulting in a spin and the second with a damaged from wing, and retired after 47 laps, his title challenge dealt another 10-point blow.

Button heads to his home race, perhaps the last at Silverstone, with a 26 point lead on his teammate, and 32 on Vettel. Second and third for Red Bull did give the team a boost in the constructors, however, where Brawn have 96 points to Red Bull’s 56.5.

Turkish Grand Prix (58 laps)
  1. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes
  2. Mark Webber, Red Bull - Renault
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull - Renault
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota
  6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  8. Timo Glock, Toyota
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota
  13. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes
  14. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes 1 lap
  15. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
  16. Nelson Piquet, Renault 1 lap
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India - Mercedes 1 lap
  18. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso - Ferrari 1 lap
  • Rubens Barrichello, Brawn -Mercedes 11 laps
  • Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes 54 laps




GP2

Lucas di Grassi led wire to wire to win race two today in Istanbul. Javier Villa and Vitaly Petrov rounded out the top three.

Latest from the front

FOTA met with the drivers and the report coming out of Istanbul is the drivers are backing their teams.

It was a meeting involving eight FOTA teams, as it appears rumors Force India have broken ranks and lodged an unconditional entry for 2010 are true.

It was also rumored some teams wanted to boycott the Turkish race, a la Indianapolis 2005, leaving only Force India and Williams on the grid, but if true, those plans did not come to fruition.

The FIA is set to make an announcement on 2010 entries Friday.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vettel on pole in Turkey

Once again it came down to the final moments of qualifying, but this time it was Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who took pole from Jenson Button and put himself in prime position for tomorrow's Turkish Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Turkey - Qualifying


It was a hectic Q3, with first Mark Webber, then Button, and then Vettel taking the top spot. Button will start second. Teammate Rubens Barrichello pipped third from Webber, who starts fourth in the second of the Red Bulls.

Jarno Trulli shook off Toyota's terrible Monaco weekend, taking fifth and beating both Ferraris. Kimi Raikkonen starts sixth and Felipe Massa, who led the morning practice session, seventh.

Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica round out the top ten.

It was another difficult qualifying for McLaren, Heikki Kovalianen eliminated in Q2 and Lewis Hamilton, struggling for grip, a Q1 casualy. But Hamilton's loss was Adrian Sutil's gain as the German put the Force India into Q2.

So that's how it shapes up for Sunday's race. With time starting to work against them, Red Bull will be looking to take the fight to Brawn. That means the lighter fueled Vettel will be hoping for a good start from teammate Webber to help keep Button off his back. Another Button win will be one more nail in the coffin for Red Bull's title hopes.

The Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 649.5
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 655.5
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 652.5
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 656
  5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 652
  6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 658
  7. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 654
  8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 644.5
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 660
  10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 664
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 681.5
  12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 680.4
  13. Timo Glock, Toyota, 689
  14. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 665
  15. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 668.5
  16. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 696.5
  17. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 689.6
  18. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 686.5
  19. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 688.5
  20. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 701






GP2

Vitaly Petrov dominated the first race for Barwa Addal. Luca Filippi and Davide Valsecchi joined him on the podium.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Heikki time in Istanbul

Heikki Kovalainen topped the charts in the second session as F1 hit Istanbul in earnest Friday, setting 1:28.841 in his McLaren, the Finn edging Renault's Fernando Alonso by a narrow margin. Robert Kubica was third in the BMW Sauber.

McLaren, despite Kovalainen's performance, was hedging its bets for qualifying, aiming merely for Q3.

Earlier, Nico Rosberg took his typical Friday place at the top of the sheets in the first session, ahead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and Jarno Trulli in the Toyota.

F1 Grand Prix of Turkey - Practice


Both sessions provided plenty of fun, with spins and offs aplenty. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel took time out in the second session for mechanical issues, limiting the German to just three laps in the afternoon.

Notable for not being near the top of the table was Brawn GP, but then, it is only Friday. Still the team was struggling to find the right balance for the cars, and all on hand were talking about a "challenging" first day.

In fact, the theme throughout the paddock for the day seemed to be the challenge of racing on the green circuit, and one gets the feeling we haven't seen the real pecking order yet. The final session before qualifying should prove interesting.

First session
  1. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:28.952
  2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:29.263
  3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:29.271
  4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault, 1:29.337
  5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:29.342
  6. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:29.371
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:29.398
  8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:29.422
  9. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:29.525
  10. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:29.590
  11. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:29.747
  12. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:29.864
  13. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:29.934
  14. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:30.132
  15. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:30.176
  16. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:30.645
  17. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:30.669
  18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:30.729
  19. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:30.838
  20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:30.944

Second session
  1. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:28.841
  2. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:28.847
  3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:29.056
  4. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:29.091
  5. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:29.202
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:29.207
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:29.257
  8. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:29.305
  9. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:29.383
  10. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:29.401
  11. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:29.416
  12. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:29.430
  13. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:29.435
  14. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:29.518
  15. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:29.520
  16. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:29.550
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:30.081
  18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:30.091
  19. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:30.295
  20. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:30.629


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DEFCON3?

Meanwhile, the game of chicken escalates between FOTA and Max Mosley. A day after Mosley told FOTA teams to go pound sand…er…start their own series, the Association responded that it wasn't bluffing and is ready to go on its own. This despite Flavio Briatore saying they don't want a war. Hmm… OK.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Max stands firm

Max Mosley has something to say if you are a team looking playing hardball over the 2010 regulations.

"If you want to formulate your own rules, then you can organise your own championship."


F1 2009 - Rd6 Monaco GP - Button Dominates AGAIN - 5 Wins in 6 Races


That's the word being reported by the BBC, via Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell.

Things had been somewhat silent in the FIA camp following FOTA's conditional application for entry into the 2010 championship, but it now seems a compromise my not be as close to reality as we were led to believe in the wake of the Monaco weekend.

Meanwhile, the available 13 spaces continue to be gobbled up by fledgling outfits of varying degrees of viability.

For those who buy the resurrection of the March name, it should be no surprise that the latest blast from the past is Brabham, the name being applied to a team built from the ashes of the Super Aguri team (and no attachment in any way to the Brabham family).

For those counting at home, that makes ten, enough to run a championship (of sorts).

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A virtual lap of Istanbul



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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Add March to the list

March is the latest, it is revealed, to have filed an entry for the 2010 championship.

The former Max Mosley team, though uninvolved in racing since the 90s, still exists, owned by British businessman and chairman of Swindon Town FC, Andrew Fitton.

Sports News - February 07, 2009


AUTOSPORT reports March would make no further comment, but plans to use... wait for it... Cosworth power.

Its like the 70s all over again.

Making send of it all

Grandprix.com weighs in at this point with some appropriate analysis: Who is serious and who is not?

Speaking of Max...

Also, you may remember Max’s other pet project, Formula 2. It all kicked off last weekend, and grandprix.com has some thoughts on that, too: Assessing the new Formula 2

And finally...

Sebastian Vettel received the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, awarded annually by the Italian village of Brisighella, last weekend. There are a lot of ways to get to the village, but Vettel chose to drive himself.

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