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Friday, July 31, 2009

Schumacher tests an F2007 at Mugello

Michael Schumacher has borrowed and F2007 an has been in action today at Mugello, AUTOSPORT reports.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


According to his personal Web site, after a stop yesterday at Maranello to check the functionality of the steering wheel, the seven-time champion contacted F1 Clienti to borrow a car.

Schumacher is seeking to get as many miles as possible under his belt, despite the testing ban, even if that means driving old cars.

Meanwhile, Adam Cooper reports on SPEEDtv.com Ferrari has asked the teams for permission to give the German a full, one-day test in the F60.

A copy of the letter, from sporting director Massimo Rivolva, was sent to all team managers. Renault has reportedly agreed to the request. A copy of the letter appears on the SPEED site.

UPDATE: FOTA has approved the test.

Date set for Renault appeal

The FIA has set August 17 as the date for Renault's appeal of its European Grand Prix suspension, the Monday before the Valencia race. Should the appeal fail, Spain's second race of the season will run without native star Fernando Alonso.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ralf on Michael's return: "Nothing better could have happened for Formula 1"

One guy really excited to see Michael Schumacher back behind the wheel of a Formula One car is brother Ralf.

F1 Grand Prix of Europe - Previews


"He was itching to come back. But no one expected that," AUTOSPORT reports Ralf told German television. "After all the bad headlines on the sport recently this is absolutely great. Nothing better could have happened for Formula 1 than my brother coming back."

The 40-year-old will be making his debut at Valencia, a track he has never seen, and will race against Lewis Hamilton for the first time.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa's condition continues to improve, with the Brazilian taking his first steps since the accident and soon to leave intensive care.

Renault reports loss

Grandprix.com reports Renault has announced a $3.8B loss through the first half of 2009.

Yesterday's shock announcement by BMW reminds us F1 is an expensive hobby for manufacturers, and with notorious cost cutter Carlos Ghosn at the helm, it is a wonder Renault has stuck around this long.

Certainly Flavio Briatore's reputation for doing more with less is partially to credit, but with the number of manufacturers in the sport down by one more, one has to wonder how long participation will make sense to Renault.

How did the manufacturers ever hope to create and maintain their own series?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weber 200% wrong, Schumi in for Massa

Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher is coming out of retirement to sub for the injured Felipe Massa in Valencia, the team confirmed.

Schumacher also released a statement on his Web site, saying he was “happy to help.”

F1: APR 03 Malaysian Grand Prix


“Though it is true that the chapter Formula 1 has been closed for me since long and completely, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am I also very much look forward to facing this challenge.”


From the moment it was apparent Massa would not participate in Valencia, Schumacher had topped the list of potential replacements, but the seven-time world champion had been resistant to the idea of returning to the sport in the past.

With the summer break, Schumacher will have a little extra time to get fit. It is unknown what lasting effects his motorcycle accident last spring will have had, not to mention his time away from the sport. The last time he was in an F1 car was over a year ago.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa’s doctor in Hungary “has no doubt” the Brazilian will race again.

Dino Altmann said the damage wasn’t as extensive as first believed and Massa is making a rapid recovery.

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BMW quits F1

BMW held a press conference Wednesday morning announcing it will quit Formula One at the end of the season.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice


"Of course, this was a difficult decision for us," explained Dr. Norbert Reithofer, the chairman of the BMW board. "But it’s a resolute step in view of our company's strategic realignment. Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us."

Much speculation has surrounded Toyota as being most likely to follow Honda out of the sport, something Toyota finds itself denying again today, but the loss of BMW was a bit of a shock.

It does, however, put into perspective the team’s statement earlier this month the it planned to keep focusing on this year’s uncompetitive car rather than turn its attention to 2010.

BMW’s full statement can be found in the news section of the team Web site.

Reactions

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Piquet on thin ice?

Speculation has been running rampant that Nelson Piquet will soon be joining Sebastien Bourdais on the sidelines, and a recent interview with an Italian magazine and reported by AUTOSPORT is likely to do little to help him keep his job.

Sports News - January 19, 2009


"Flavio is a business man, but he doesn't understand s*** about F1," Piquet was quoted. "He's my manager, but in his role of team boss he doesn't respect me. He only thinks about money, at how much money he can pocket in everything he's involved, he's a man with no friends."

Piquet would seem to be upset with comments Flavio Briatore made to Autosprint taking issue with "excuses" and pointing out a lack of testing didn't create the same disparity between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel as it seems to have made between Piquet and Fernando Alonso.

"When a driver lacks results, he opens the book of excuses and begins: the fault is the weather's, a spectator's sunglasses, a spin on the straight, this and that..."

Schumi for Massa: Will he or won't he?

Sabine Kehm, spokesperson for Michael Schumacher, says he would consider subbing for Felipe Massa, if asked.

"The whole thing will be considered by Ferrari,” Kehm told BBC Sport. "If they approach Michael, then he will consider it. But there is no reason for him to step into their discussion."

Schumacher's manager, Willi Webber, however, doesn't think the seven-times world champion would take the job.

"Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher," Weber told the Daily Mail. "I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure."

Ferrari has test drivers Marc Gene and Luca Badoer on the books. Badoer hasn't raced competitively in F1 since 1999. Gene subbed for Williams in 2003 and 2004.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Massa improves, Renault appeals

Doctors at the Hungarian hospital where Felipe Massa is being treated said the Brazilian’s condition is improving at a press conference Monday.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Race


Massa has been awakened and has spoken, and it has been suggested he can make a full recovery. Previous reports of eye damage have been denied for the time being, as at this point Massa cannot open the eye, so examination is not possible.

Doctors suggested lasting injury could be determined after a week to ten days.

Luca di Montezemolo, who visited Massa Monday, said the team was in no rush to name a replacement, as all attention was on Massa for the moment. Doctors believe a return for Massa this season is unlikely.

Internet rumblings have Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso on a short list to replace Massa. Marc Gene would seem a more likely choice.

Renault appeals race ban

No Surprise, Renault has filed an appeal of the decision to ban the team from the European Grand Prix following the Fernando Alonso wheel nut incident.

The team now has eight days to file grounds for its appeal.

Internet rumors have Valencia organizers and Bernie Ecclestone as unhappy with the decision to ban Alonso’s team from one of his two home races, but the FIA may be a tough nut to crack following the incidents involving Felipe Massa and Henry Surtees.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hamilton wins Hungarian Grand Prix

Stewards suspend Renault for Valencia

Lewis Hamilton had been fast most of the weekend, and he delivered on Sunday, winning his and McLaren’s first race of the season in dominant fashion.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Race


Kimi Raikkonen put in an outstanding drive to deliver second for Ferrari, though the Finn is under investigation for a pair of incidents, and Mark Webber was third in the Red Bull.

Fernando Alonso took the lead from pole at the start with Webber in second, but Hamilton was able to use KERS to get by the Australian.

After the first round of stops Raikkonen got by Webber due to “confusion” in the Red Bull pit, but the Ferrari driver was never really able to close the gap to Hamilton.

Hamilton got the lead when Alonso lost his right front wheel following his pit stop and had to retire. It only gets worse for the Spaniard, as it emerged after the race Renault will be suspended from the European Grand Prix for the incident.

The stewards ruled the team knowingly released Alonso’s car with the wheel nuts unsecured and cited multiple breaches of the sporting regulations. The team may appeal the decision.

With a month off before Valencia, it’s good to know we’ll have something to keep us interested.

From there, Hamilton controlled the race.

It was another difficult weekend for Brawn, Jenson Button finishing seventh, but he and the team will value those two points as both championships tighten up. Button leads Webber 70-51.5, while Brawn’s edge on Red Bull is down to 15.5 (114-98.5).

The damage was limited somewhat by the retirement of Sebastian Vettel with a suspected engine problem, but after three races where Brawn was thoroughly outperformed by Red Bull, the team will be desperately looking for speed by Valencia.

Other points finishers on the day were Nico Rosberg (Williams), Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren), Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli (Toyota), finishing fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively.

Much-eyed rookie Jaime Alguersuari turned in a decent races, matching teammate Sebastian Buemi and finishing ahead of him after a couple of spins by the Swiss driver.

Now, F1 goes on vacation for two weeks, part of the cost cutting initiative, and it will be almost a month before they hit the streets of Valencia. in the meantime, we’ll have Renault’s likely appeal of its suspension and ongoing negotiations over the new Concorde Agreement to keep us busy.

It will give some time for Ferrari’s Felipe Massa to recover from his injuries following yesterday’s freakish accident. The Brazilian remains in stable condition following successful surgery at a Budapest hospital, but his conditions remain life threatening, according to the hospital’s medical director. What the lasting effects of the injury may be on Massa and his career are unknown.

Hungarian Grand Prix (70 laps)
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  4. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  5. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  6. Timo Glock, Toyota
  7. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota
  10. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  12. Nelson Piquet, Renault
  13. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes +1 lap
  15. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
  16. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
  • Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 29 laps
  • Fernando Alonso, Renault, 15 laps
  • Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1 lap
  • Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Did not start


GP2

Championship leader Nico Hülkenberg made it three in a row with a win in the first race, Lucas di Grassi and Javier Villa rounded out the top three. In the second race of the weekend, Giedo van der Garde took his first win of the season, holding off di Grassi.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Alonso on pole in Hungary

Massa, struck by debris, will not race

Renault's Fernando Alonso took his first pole of the season in Hungary, besting the Red Bulls to put himself in prime position on a track where qualifying first often means victory.

Q3 was delayed for 22 minutes after a big crash involving Felipe Massa. What is believed to be a piece of suspension work from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn came loose and struck Massa in the helmet. The Ferrari subsequently went into the turn 4 wall.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Qualifying


Medics removed the Brazilian, who was later airlifted to a hospital. Ferrari confirmed he will not race tomorrow. The Associated Press reports he has skull damage and will require surgery.

The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber start second and third. Lewis Hamilton, fast in practice all weekend, including the final morning session, starts fourth.

The best championship leader Jenson Button could manage was eighth in his Brawn, while teammate Barrichello starts 13th, the suspension failure putting an end to his challenge.

Rookie Jaime Alguersauri will start 20th after his Toro Rosso slowed to a halt in Q1.

Provisional grid and pre-race weights
  1. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 637.5kg
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 655
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 652
  4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 650.5
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 654
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 655.5
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 651.5
  8. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 664.5
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 658
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 671.5
  11. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 671.3
  12. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 689
  13. Timo Glock, Toyota, 679.2
  14. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 667.7
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 658
  16. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 680.5
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 683.5
  18. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 666
  19. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 675.5
  • Felipe Massa will not race

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Friday, July 24, 2009

McLarens shine in Hungary practice

It was Heikki Kovalainen topping the first session, and Lewis Hamilton leading a McLaren 1-2 in the second as practice got under way for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice


Kovalainen posted his best in the morning on his final lap, edging perennial Friday performer Nico Rosberg's Williams in a tight session. Hamilton was third while Mark Webber led the Brawns and Red Bulls in fourth.

In the second session, it was Hamilton edging his teammate, while Rosberg again finished in the top three.

Webber wound up fourth again, but had to wrap things up early, a victim of a hydraulics issue. Teammate Sebastian Vettel improved on his morning session to finish sixth, while Rubens Barrichello was the better of the Brawns in seventh.

Championship leader Jenson Button was 10th in the first session, 13th in the second.

Rookie Jaime Alguersuari acquitted himself well in his first action in the Toro Rosso, finishing last in both sessions, but putting up respectable times in comparison to his teammate.

Free practice times – First session
  1. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:22.278
  2. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:22.337
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:22.554
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:22.615
  5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:22.619
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:22.705
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.796
  8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:22.855
  9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:23.001
  10. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:23.130
  11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:23.146
  12. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:23.154
  13. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:23.209
  14. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:23.234
  15. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:23.283
  16. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:23.484
  17. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:23.678
  18. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:23.845
  19. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:23.998
  20. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:24.228

Free practice times – Second session
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:22.079
  2. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:22.126
  3. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:22.154
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:22.369
  5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:22.426
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:22.550
  7. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:22.641
  8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:22.663
  9. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:22.690
  10. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:22.751
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.763
  12. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:22.793
  13. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:22.806
  14. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.870
  15. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.927
  16. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:22.978
  17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:23.029
  18. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:23.156
  19. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:23.176
  20. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:23.942


The FIA says a copy of the new Concorde Agreement has been sent to the World Motor Sport Council. Read the official statement.

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Virtual lap of Hungary



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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Contract extension for Webber

Win a race, get a new contract.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews


Surely it wasn't planned that way, but that's how it worked out for Red Bull's Mark Webber, who has signed a new contract keeping him with the team in 2010.

“His recent results show he is on the form of his life – most notably with his recent win at the German GP – and he has the motivation to deliver at the highest level, ” said team principal Christian Horner. “It was therefore a straightforward decision to extend the relationship. We believe that the driver line-up of Mark and Sebastian is one of the strongest in the sport.”


Plus, Jaime Alguersuari may have gotten the ride, but Sebastien Loeb is still downplaying he's moving to F1 after the rally season to drive for STR.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Changes, F1 unlikely for IMS

As newly-appointed president and chief executive officer Jeff Belskus takes over from Joie Chitwood at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he said he expects few changes, Autoweek reports.

F1 Grand Prix of USA


Much of the interview focuses on the upcoming Brickyard NASCAR race, but it also briefly touches on the future of MotoGP and F1 at the speedway.

While the MotoGP race is entering the second year of a three-year commitment, F1 dropped off the schedule and looks unlikely to return, with Chitwood saying "he hasn't thought about bringing it back to IMS 'in a long time.'"

Uses for the road course, currently only utilized for the bike race, are being looked at. One answer might be sports cars, and part of Chitwood's new role with International Speedway Corp. will be oversight of the Rolex Grand Am series.

FIA mudslinging

The back biting continues between Jean Todt and Ari Vatanen. Vatanen's comments drew the ire of the FIA Foundation, Todt is hopeful the election will maintain its integrity.

US F1 update

They may not have a functional Web site, but Team US F1 plans to have a car ready in October.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chitwood latest to leave IMS

Less than a month after Tony George was asked to resign as chief executive of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Joie Chitwood has resigned as president of the organization.

Allstate 400


He says the move is not related to George's situation.

Chitwood remains with the organization until August 6, when he moves to his new position as vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp.

ISC owns 13 racetracks around the U.S., and also promotes the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Jeff Belskus, who took over for George on July 1, now takes on Chitwood's duties.

Chitwood joined the Hulman-George organization in 1996. He was instrumental in getting the MotoGP race at IMS.

Chitwood's grandfather competed in seven Indianapolis 500s from 1940 to 1950.

It is difficult to see what effect this may have on F1 returning to the states, but it appears on the surface International Speedway Corp. is focusing on its core races – the Indy 500 and the Brickyard – it's strongest champions for international forays exiting the organization.

While Belskus has yet to reveal his vision for the future, my guess is this will give Bernie Ecclestone the ammunition he needs to explore options elsewhere. With the road course at Indy the only FIA standard track and the only one with the infrastructure in place to support F1, short of a street race, it may be a while before we see a race back in the states.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

F1 roundup 7/20/09

Danica Patrick, America’s “hottest” racer, has pretty much ruled out a switch to F1.

The Andretti Green Racing driver, whose contract expires at the end of the year, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview she prefers to remain in the States.

Honda Indy Toronto


"I've had opportunities to take it a step further with Formula One, and I don't want to lead anyone down a path. It's not in my heart to go there. I've explored Europe before. I particularly like to be here and I like my family and I like my friends and I like my creature comforts of my home country."

Patrick’s name has come up in connection with Team US F1, but the driver confirms that the team, currently testing talent, hasn’t even called.

While F1 seems to have dodged the bullet, NASCAR has yet to be so lucky. Much of the interview centers on Patrick’s ability to make the switch to the 3,400-pound stock car.

Patrick’s likely target, should she stay in IndyCar, would be Ganassi.

Official: Alguersuari in for Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso officially announced Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari as Sebastien Buemi’s teammate in Hungary, making him the youngest ever F1 driver.

Trulli closing in on contract extention

AUTOSPORT reports Jarno Trulli is considering an offer to remain with Toyota in 2010.

“I am happy about my performance and confidence. And for sure in my mind I don't have the feeling I want to stop because I feel I have a lot to do. I feel very strong and very competitive, so I just hope I can stay in F1 and I am confident, but it is difficult to talk at the moment because the teams are busy doing other things at the moment.”

According to sources who spoke to AUTOSPORT, the offer came on the table after Kimi Raikkonen rejected an approach from Toyota.

F1 champion’s son killed in F2 race

An accident at Brands Hatch in a Formula 2 race claimed the life of Henry Surtees, son of John Surtees.

In the second race of the weekend, Surtees was struck by the wheel of another car and knocked unconscious. His car ran off the track and into the barrier.

He was airlifted to Royal London Hospital where he later died.

Colombian driver murdered

Driver Ricardo Londono and two associates were shot and killed last weekend leaving a spa in the Colombian town of San Bernardo del Viento.

Londono made an attempt in the early 1980s to become Colombia’s first F1 driver when he signed a deal with Ensign prior to the Brazilian race. He was denied his superlicence after tangling with Keke Rosberg in a pre-race acclimatisation session, and was replaced by Marc Surer. Because an entry was made in his name, he is considered his country’s first F1 driver.

He retired in 1985. Much of his property was seized by the Colombian government, which claimed his money came from drug trafficking.

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Finally, over at ITV-F1, James Allen asks, Why is Toro Rosso an ejector seat?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Bourdais' reaction

Sebastien Bourdais is obviously not happy he no longer has a drive with Toro Rosso, and is threatening legal action against the team.

F1 Grand Prix of Turkey - Practice


"I am very disappointed and shocked by the decision taken by Scuderia Toro Rosso of not allowing me to drive for the Team until the end of the current season," the Frenchman said in a statement on his Web site. "I consider that, in doing so, Scuderia Toro Rosso has breached its contractual duties towards me; also I believe that nothing in my behavior would legitimate a decision of the Team to terminate the contract. I think that the Team’s decision is in clear violation of Scuderia Toro Rosso’s obligations under the agreement. I have instructed my lawyers to review the situation including the possibility of issuing legal proceedings."


Bourdais was particularly disappointed he was fired before receiving the update package he was due to get in Hungary, a version of the update Red Bull had seen significant improvement from at Silverstone.

"I am convinced that if I was given the chance to race with such new package I would have had the opportunity to achieve satisfactory results," he said.


Joe Saward's blog shares a story from GP+ analyzing the strange case of Sebastien Bourdais: Au revoir (or not) Sebastien

Chandhok rules out run for the presidency

Former India motorsports chief Vicky Chandhok will not run for the FIA presidency, AUTOSPORT reports.

"I have no interest in getting involved in a big election battle with Ari Vatanen and Jean Todt, so I would like to clarify once and for all that I shall not be throwing my hat into the ring this time," Chandhok is quoted.


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Todt throws his hat in the ring

Former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt, endorsed earlier this week by Max Mosley for the presidency of the FIA, has officially confirmed he will run.

Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix: Practice


He joins former world rally champion Ari Vatanen in the running for Max Mosley's position.

In a letter to the FIA, Todt laid out his proposed leadership team and promised to"continue and expand the outstanding work of President Mosley."

Todt's close affiliation with Ferrari is sure to disturb FOTA, who have been calling for an independent candidate.
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Now, it's official. Bourdais out

Toro Rosso have made it public, the team is splitting with four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais.

F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Race


A brief message on the Toro Rosso Web site by Team principal Franz Tost confirmed the decision.

“In Sebastien’s second year with us, the partnership has not met our expectations and therefore we have decided to replace him as from the next round of the World Championship, the Hungarian Grand Prix.”


His expected replacement is young Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, the reigning British F3 champion who took over as reserve driver earlier this month. If so, the Red Bull Young Driver Development programme product would be the youngest ever driver to start a race in F1 history.

Bourdais never seemed comfortable with the Faenza outfit, outperformed last season by wunderkind Sebastian Vettel and this season by rookie Sebastien Buemi. Like Alex Zanardi a decade ago, his removal will likely fuel the debate over the quality of drivers who rise through the U.S. system.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Max quitting. Really. As of now, anyway…

Max Mosley says he really will stand down at the end of his term, and is touting Jean Todt as his replacement.

Mosley threatened to retract his decision to go softly into the night after "misrepresentations" by the FOTA squads, but sent a letter to the FIA confirming his intention not to seek reelection, the BBC reports.

Todt has not stated an intention to run, though the BBC reports he has been campaigning. Ex-rally champion Ari Vatanen has put his hat in the ring.

Mosley has not ruled out a "modest" role for himself post-presidency.

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain: Practice


Bernie "here to stay," but how long?

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone appears to have survived his "Hitler" comments for the moment, despite a tongue lashing in the Daily Mail from Sir Martin Sorrell of CVC Capital Partners.

"His comments were disgusting. He issued a full apology after taking advice. Any other CEO in any other business would be gone."


The newspaper also reports moving Ecclestone into an "honorary role" was discussed, and speculates a move upstairs could be in store for the F1 ringmaster in the coming months, despite claims he is "here to stay."

German GP facing the chop?

Grandprix.com says the management of the Nurburgring will not be hosting next year's German Grand Prix, which was slated for Hockenheim before the local government pulled its support, unless the price comes down.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

A pair of moves at RBR/STR

Sebastien Bourdais, rumored to be on thin ice heading into last weekend’s German Grand Prix, is set to be replaced by Red Bull reserve driver Jaime Alguersuari in Hungary.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Practice


AUTOSPORT says an announcement will be made in 48 hours. It also speculates the young Spaniard may benefit from Repsol.

Multiple sources say Bourdais was told after qualifying 20th Saturday at the Nurburgring his services would no longer be needed after Sunday’s race.

That may have been the explanation for the Frenchman’s hugging of teammembers following his departure from the race after a hydraulics failure.

According to ITV-F1, however, Bourdais told French broadcaster TF1 he has a contract in place and will be in Hungary.

The team Web site, as of this posting, is still touting the four time Champ Car champion as one of its drivers.

Sources say due to the lack of testing, STR want to get the young Spaniard time behind the wheel of an F1 car in preparation for a full season in 2010.

Alguersuari, British F3 champion, would be the youngest F1 driver in history at 19 years and 125 days. He replaced Brendon Hartley as third driver for RBR/STR at the beginning of the month.

Willis leaves Red Bull

Red Bull Technical Director Geoff Willis has left the team
after his position was eliminated.

Willis, who made a name for himself at BAR before being let go by Honda, was reunited with Adrian Newey at Red Bull, whom he had worked with in the 90s.

According to sources, Willis is often credited as the man who makes Newey’s designs work reliably on the track. Interesting timing, considering Red Bull’s sudden surge as a title contender.

A young driver backed by Repsol, a high level position being made redundant? Pure conjecture here, but the underlying thread in both of these RBR/STR moves could be money.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Webber takes first win

Nothing was going to keep Mark Webber from getting his first F1 win this afternoon. Not a drive through penalty, not the famous Nurburgring weather, nothing.

F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Race


When all was said and done, the Aussie headed a Red Bull 1-2 in the German Grand Prix and closed the gap on Jenson Button and Brawn GP, as the Red Bull boys continue to turn what just a few weeks ago looked like a cakewalk for Button into a pretty entertaining race for the title.

A harrowing first corner saw Webber cut across on Rubens Barrichello, a move deemed dangerous by the stewards who awarded the drive through. It seemed Webber’s best chance at a victory was lost, but he quickly made the ground back up, a testament to how superior the Red Bull was to the Brawn on this track.

Meanwhile, Heikki Kovalainen’s good start led to a “Trulli train” behind the Finn that held up points leader Button, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel, quickly making it into a two horse race.

Button clashed with Lewis Hamilton’s KERS aided McLaren at the start, but a bold move from the champion saw him go off. A cut tire forced Hamilton to pit, and he finished the race the only lapped runner of the day.

A refueling rig problem put an end to Barrichello’s challenge, and the Brawn three-stop strategy did the rest, handing Vettel the second spot. Massa finished third to give Ferrari a podium. Nico Rosberg took a deserved fourth in the Williams.

The best the Brawns could do was fifth and sixth, Button getting his teammate in their final stops.

Fernando Alonso and Kovalainen rounded out the top 10.

Heartbreak of the day goes to Adrian Sutil, who once again saw a chance at points taken away when Kimi Raikkonen took off his front wing. The Force India was emerging from the pits after his first stop. The German, a victim of Raikkonen last year in Monaco when looking at a points finish, wound up 15th.

Sebastien Bourdais, in perhaps his final race for Toro Rosso, and Raikkonen were the only retirements.

As we head to Hungary, Red Bull creeps ever closer to Brawn at the top of the constructor’s race. Meanwhile, both Red Bull drivers move ahead of Barrichello -- Vettel into second and Webber into third -- in the driver’s championship, where Button still holds a 20-point edge at the top of the table.

You have to go all the way back to 1981 to find the last time an Australian won a grand prix. Considering where Mark Webber was at last winter, recovering from a broken leg and dislocated shoulder, that can only make his win maiden win all the sweeter.

German Grand Prix (60 laps)
  1. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault
  3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari
  4. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  6. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  7. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  8. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  9. Timo Glock, Toyota
  10. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  11. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes
  12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota
  13. Nelson Piquet, Renault
  14. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  15. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  16. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  17. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  18. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
  • Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 34
  • Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 18, Hydraulics




GP2

Nico Hülkenberg made it a clean sweep this weekend, claiming all 20 points available at the Nurburgring and moving into the lead in the driver’s championship.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Webber takes maiden pole in Germany

Mark Webber put Red Bull in the top spot for Sunday's German Grand Prix, taking his first career pole at the Nurburgring.

F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice


The Brawns of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button start second and third, while Sebastian Vettel slots into fourth on the grid.

The resurgent McLarens make up the third row, and in the dying moments of Q3, Lewis Hamilton, fastest in morning practice, gave the Brawns and Red Bull's a run for the top spot.

Force India made a lot of noise leading up to this weekend, and while Giancarlo Fisichella was a Q1 victim, Adrian Sutil delivered, qualifying seventh and ahead of the Ferraris. Nelson Piquet rounded out the top 10 in his Renault, out qualifying teammate Fernando Alonso.

Things look glum here for Toyota, BMW Sauber and Williams, all buried deep on the grid, while Sebastien Bourdais, rumored to be on thin ice at STR, did nothing to improve his job prospects by qualifying last. Bourdais will move up to 19th, however, after Timo Glock was penalized for the 'potentially dangerous' blocking of Alonso in Q1.

Once again, weather was a factor, rain hitting at the start of Q2, and cool and wet looks likely to continue to be the story tomorrow as Webber looks for another career first.

Provisional grid and pre-race weights
  1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 661kg
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 647
  3. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 644
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 661
  5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 654.5
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 664.0
  7. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 678.5
  8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 673.5
  9. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 674
  10. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 676
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber,
  12. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 668.2
  13. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 683.6
  14. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 683.7
  15. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 689.6
  16. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 673.5
  17. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 674.5
  18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 662.5
  19. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 689.5
  20. Timo Glock, Toyota, 662.3*
*penalty

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Hamilton claims top spot in practice

Lewis Hamilton put McLaren in front Friday in cool, occasionally wet conditions at the Nurburgring, posting a 1:32.149 to kick off the German Grand Prix weekend.

Mark Webber had set the fastest time in practice 1 with a time of 1:33.082, ahead of Jenson Button and Felipe Massa. Teammate Sebastian Vettel's morning ground to a halt with mechanical issues.

But Vettel was back in action for the second session, finishing second to Hamilton and edging rival Button, who finished third. Webber ended the session fourth.

F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Practice


First session - German GP
  1. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:33.082
  2. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:33.463
  3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:33.745
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:33.795
  5. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:33.839
  6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:33.840
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:33.902
  8. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:33.909
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:33.952
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:34.148
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:34.221
  12. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:34.227
  13. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:34.483
  14. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:34.694
  15. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:34.738
  16. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:34.827
  17. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:34.878
  18. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:34.893
  19. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:34.911
  20. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:35.092

Second session - German GP
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:32.149
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:32.331
  3. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:32.369
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:32.480
  5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:32.511
  6. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:32.585
  7. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:32.664
  8. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:32.774
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:32.872
  10. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:32.992
  11. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:33.012
  12. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:33.052
  13. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:33.128
  14. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:33.161
  15. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:33.172
  16. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:33.182
  17. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:33.724
  18. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:33.903
  19. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:34.025
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India-Mercedes, 1:38.877

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

A lap of the Nurburgring



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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FOTA leaves FIA meeting

In another show of F1's new-found peace, the FOTA teams walked out of an FIA technical meeting Wednesday at the Nurburgring.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race


FOTA's squads were meeting with the FIA to finalize the 2010 rules, and the meeting also included newcomers US F1, Campos Meta and Manor Grand Prix.

While some progress was made at the meeting, the teams could not agree on weight limits, nor the legal agreement to reduce costs.

According to the FIA, FOTA's eight members left the meeting when asked for input on further rule changes.

"The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010. Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting."


FOTA claims it was informed by Charlie Whiting its teams are not currently entered in the 2010 championship and thus have no voting rights.

"During the course of this meeting, the team managers were informed by Mr Charlie Whiting of the FIA that, contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof."


When a postponement of the meeting was requested, it was denied, FOTA says, leaving the teams no choice but to leave the meeting.

The FOTA statement goes on to remind that the rules are already set for 2010, a continuation of the 2009 regulations, as per the FIA.

This is fun.

Read both the FIA and FOTA statements.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Relatively quiet

Seems teams are taking this three week break to heart, with little of note happening since the sides reached an agreement in Paris and Max Mosley threatened to tear it up.

The little news in F1 has been reflected in the lack of news here at SpeedRead, but we’ll be back to the racing this weekend in Germany, and it will be interesting to see if Brawn and Button have an answer for Red Bull.

F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain - Race


Still, it wasn’t all quiet, as Bernie Ecclestone made some odd comments that managed to draw world condemnation...

... And US F1’s Peter Windsor revealed, well, very little about a possible tie-up with YouTube.

“I did see Chad at Silverstone, he was around and it was good to see him there. People have tied him to our team, which is incredibly flattering, and who knows?”

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