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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hamilton on pole in Abu Dhabi

Outgoing world champion Lewis Hamilton took pole for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, holding off the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the Yas Marina Circuit.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Qualifying

Rubens Barrichello starts fourth and Jenson Button fifth in the Brawns. The BMW Saubers ended up at respectable seventh and eight in BMW's final race in F1, just behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli in what is likely his last race for the Japanese manufacturer.

Among other drivers on the move, Kimi Raikkonen missed out on Q3, and will star 11th in his Ferrari swansong. He starts next to Toyota rookie Kamui Kobayashi. Nico Rosberg starts ninth in his last race for Williams, while Kazuki Nakajima, also exiting, slots into 12th.

A gearbox problem cost Heikki Kovalainen his chance in Q2, and a subsequent change sees him start 18th. Giancarlo Fisichella brings up the rear in his last race subbing for the injured Felipe Massa.

Like tomorrow's race, qualifying took place in the twilight. The weather forecast is calling for warm and dry, and the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix looks set to be a fitting finale to the season.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 658.5kg
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 663
  3. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 660
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 655
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 657
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 661
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 654.5
  8. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 664
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 665
  10. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 661.5
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 692
  12. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 694.3
  13. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 704
  14. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 696.5
  15. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 708.3
  16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 695
  17. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 696
  18. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 697*
  19. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 710.8
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 692.5

*Heikki Kovalainen received a five-place grid penalty due to a gearbox change

Senna name set to return to the grid in 2010

Bruno Senna, nephew of Ayrton, has been confirmed by newcomers Campos Meta for 2010.

News first broke on Senna's Twitter page Friday:

"I'd like to thank God, my family, friends and all of my supporters!"

The team confirmed the deal in a statement Saturday.

"For Campos Meta it is an extraordinary honour to return the name of Senna to Formula One," Campos Meta's Enrique Rodriguez de Castro is quoted on the official formula one 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


Friday, October 30, 2009

Kovalainen Friday's fastest in Abu Dhabi

Heikki Kovalainen set Friday's fastest time at the brand new Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, edging teammate Lewis Hamilton with a 1:41.307 in the second session.

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Practice

Jenson Button was third on a day of domination for Mercedes power.

Hamilton had led the morning practice, the outgoing world champion topping the newly crowned one. Sebastian Vettel was third in the Red Bull.

Young Kamui Kobayashi continued to impress, fifth fastest on the day while subbing for Timo Glock.

A quiet morning session gave way to a more adventurous afternoon, but while several drivers went off course, no serious were of note. Temperatures were on the hot side, and combined with Formula One's first twilight race, it should prove an interesting spectacle to end the season.

First session
  1. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren – Mercedes, 1:43.939
  2. Jenson Button , Brawn - Mercedes, 1:44.035
  3. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull - Renault, 1:44.153
  4. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:44.207
  5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:44.667
  6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:44.687
  7. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:44.688
  8. Mark Webber, RedBull - Renault, 1:44.805
  9. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:44.955
  10. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:44.958
  11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:44.988
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:45.123
  13. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 1:45.649
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 1:45.679
  15. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:45.704
  16. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:45.865
  17. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 1:46.239
  18. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:46.267
  19. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:46.364
  20. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:46.411
Second session
  1. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:41.307
  2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes, 1:41.504
  3. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:41.541
  4. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull - Renault, 1:41.591
  5. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:41.636
  6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:41.683
  7. Mark Webber, RedBull - Renault, 1:41.684
  8. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes, 1:41.831
  9. Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 1:41.931
  10. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:41.987
  11. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:42.180
  12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 1:42.245
  13. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:42.278
  14. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:42.409
  15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 1:42.530
  16. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:42.782
  17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:42.932
  18. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:43.021
  19. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:43.022
  20. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:43.708


Williams goes with Cosworth

Frank Williams confirmed the team has signed a three-year deal to use Cosworth power.

Williams had considered going with Renault, but opted for the storied engine builder instead, which is returning to the sport for the first time since 2006, citing independence.

"We will be not under the influence, not that Toyota ever bossed [us] around, but we've just gone a private and independent route," Gulf News quotes Williams.

Williams is also expected to name drivers next week. It was revealed Nico Rosberg was leaving the team, and Kazuki Nakajima was tied to Toyota.

Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg look to be locks.

US F1 selects European base

The US F1 Team announced it has selected MotorLand Aragon in Spain as its base in Europe, the official Formula One Web site reports.

"MotorLand Aragon is the ideal motorsports complex for our European operation," said sporting director Peter Windsor. "From the excellent location and weather, to the rich racing heritage and diverse track configurations, MotorLand provides America’s first Formula One team in more than 40 years with the perfect facility to manage the 2010 season and train for 2011 and beyond."

"MotorLand is the only facility of its kind in Europe and we’re thrilled to call it our European home,” added Ken Anderson, team principal. "Between the Formula One-inspired, Tilke-designed road course and accompanying circuits, as well as the elaborate amenities of the leisure and cultural area, MotorLand is truly the perfect complex for US F1, from both competitive and business perspectives."
Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rosberg's last race with Williams

Nico Rosberg confirmed he is leaving Williams at the end of the season, the BBC reporting he is expected to swap seats with Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Qualifying

"It is my last race for Williams so it's a bit strange," Rosberg is quoted. "I've been with the team for five years… There's no reason why they (Williams) can't be as good as this year (next year). But I'm not sure they can win races at the moment, and I would like to win races."

Long thought to be a candidate to team with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, the landscape would seem to have changed based on Mercedes' interest in purchasing a stake in Brawn. It is thought the manufacturer wants a German driver in the team.

Should such a deal go through, Mercedes will likely sell its 40 percent of McLaren.

Donington done

Bernie Ecclestone says there is now no chance Donington will host next year's British Grand Prix.

"There's no Donington. They've missed the deadline which we kept extending for them," AUTOSPORT quotes Ecclestone. "It's unfortunate for them, to be honest with you. It was the credit crunch that caused them to be in trouble because their intentions were good, that's for sure."

Ecclestone is now talking with Silverstone about hosting the event.

"We're talking. A deal can be done if they want to."

Trulli's still mad

Despite pretty much everyone calling it a racing incident, Jarno Trulli has refused to let his first-lap tangle with Adrian Sutil at Interlagos go.

The first round, trackside after the crash, resulted in a $10,000 fine for Trulli. The Italian took another run at the Force India driver at Thursday's press conference:

Q: (Ian Parkes - The Press Association) Question to Jarno and Adrian: I’m just wondering if you two guys have settled your differences after your exchange of words following your first lap accident in Brazil?

Jarno Trulli: I think we’re going to discuss it probably tomorrow in the drivers’ briefing and in the GPDA briefing. Obviously it was very disappointing to end the race like that, especially on the first lap. Obviously I think I had every reason to be extremely furious. I’ve got all the evidence to show that I was there, I was next to him, so I think tomorrow we are going to discuss it.

Adrian Sutil: I think there’s nothing to discuss. It was a quite obvious incident. In the end it was very disappointing for myself, even more, I think, because I was the one who was just driving and he lost control of his car and crashed in my back, so it was not my problem, it was his problem. I don’t know why he’s freaking out like that, to be honest.

JT: (Laughing) If you want, I can show you some pictures. I don’t know if you’re blind but they clearly show you that my front wing is next to your front wing, so…

AS: Yeah, but you’re trying to overtake me on the outside on the kerbing. There was not a problem…

JT: So you mean… you didn’t move there…

AS: No, you were just not going off the power. The same happened in Barcelona where you lost control again and crashed again into a Force India car. You just have to sometimes also…

JT: I just lost…

AS: ...expect the limits of the car. If there’s no way to go, you have to back off, that’s how racing is, and I don’t know how long you want to learn it.

JT: In Barcelona I spun and he hit me because he tapped the kerb, he completely cut the circuit and he didn’t slow down, so basically… Anyway, I think it’s better…

Fernando Alonso: (to Kimi Raikkonen) Shall we go?

AS: No, no. Watch the race in Barcelona. I didn’t hit you, you hit me. I don’t know what’s the problem, but maybe your eyes are a problem.

JT: I don’t have any feeling about him.

AS: I don’t understand, really, sorry.


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Virtual lap of Abu Dhabi

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NASCAR team plays down Busch to F1 rumors

US F1 may be interested in Kyle Busch, but his NASCAR team has played down the idea the star could move to the squad when his contract runs out after 2010.

Kansas Lottery 300

In a story in USA Today last week, US F1 sporting director Peter Windsor talked openly of his interest in the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

"If he wanted to drive for us in 2011, we'd certainly be keen on that. I think there'll be a lot of speculation about that as time goes on. If I was Kyle, I'd be saying to myself, yeah, those guys all talk the talk, let's see what they do, let's see what the car's like. Let's see what the race shop is like. Fair enough. We're going to do a good job. I know when Kyle gets to see it, I'm pretty sure it'll get his pulse rate going."

Busch's team, through a spokesman, has said there is nothing to the talk, and Busch himself says he has yet to have direct contact from anyone within the fledgling F1 team.

"I have not been talked to, no," Busch is quoted by SpeedTV.com. "I don’t know if (Jeff) Dickerson (business manager and spotter) has or not. I toss the idea around — it’s definitely something I wouldn’t shoot down but I don’t think it’s the right time yet in my career and where I’m at. I’m happy with where I’m at."

Busch said in February he might be willing to take a crack at F1 if he could first win a NASCAR championship.

US F1's stated goal is two American drivers, but the complete lack of American drivers with F1 superlicenses means the team will likely do without when it makes its debut.

That is something Windsor hopes to change.

"I don't want to be arrogant about it, but I feel confident I can find, with the help of others, a Nigel Mansell in the United States," USA Today quotes Windsor. "We can see the drivers who have the right touch, feel, suppleness and mental approach to be worthy of being a world champion."

Glock's season over

Toyota has announced the injured Timo Glock will sit out the season ender in Abu Dhabi.

As he did in Brazil, Kamui Kobayashi will fill in.

Glock suffered a cracked vertebra and a cut leg in a qualifying crash at Suzuka.

Donington deadline passes, British GP back in doubt

Donington Park's deadline to prove it had funding to stage next year's British Grand Prix has passed, putting the future of the race in doubt.

Silverstone in angling to reclaim the event, but despite saying earlier in the year the race was a definite, F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone seems to have changed his tune.

"I want a British Grand Prix, of course, but we are not going to do special rates for Britain," The BBC quotes Ecclestone. "If they [Silverstone] can't make it work then don't do it. If that happens, there won't be a British Grand Prix. Simple as that."

Renault's long-term exit strategy?

Grandprix.com discusses talk Renault is looking to sell it's F1 team at the end of the current Concorde agreement by offering part of the squad up to a shareholder now with an option to buy in the future. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Friday, October 23, 2009

Todt elected

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt was elected president of the FIA Friday, soundly defeating rival Ari Vatanen 135-49.

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Previews

Todt was Max Mosley's choice to succeed him.

The FIA's 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


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Williams not alone opposing grid expansion

Williams CEO Adam Parr has gone on record saying more than just Williams have come out in opposition to expanding the field to 28 cars to make space for Sauber.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice

"Frank has been crystal clear on this," AUTOSPORT quotes Parr. "He feels very strongly about it, but he's not the only one. At the last FOTA meeting it was not the only team that raised concerns, and it was not the only team that voted against 14 teams."

Key to the opposition says Parr, is the lack of research as to the implications of accommodating two more cars on the grid, including logistics and revenue.

Parr believes no work has been carried out to check if it would be logistically possible to make room for four new teams next year, and he is convinced there would not be enough revenue to share among them.

He cited Brazil and Monaco as two tracks incapable of holding 28 cars.

Parr also made it clear the team is against the concept of pre-qualifying.

"No, because then people will start saying we need to pre-qualify, which is completely ludicrous. The idea, in this day and age, to have a team flying all the way to Melbourne or somewhere at massive expense, only to tell their sponsors that they are not going to appear on the grid. It's just ridiculous."

Other teams have acknowledged the difficulties involved in adding a 14th team, but are keen to help save Sauber.

Button in talks with Brawn

Newly-crowned World Champion Jenson Button is in talks over his future with Brawn GP, indicating he wants to stay with the team.

"I'm not going to look for another team just because they say they'll pay me a load of money. I want to be with Brawn, we've not discussed a contract yet and it was right not to do so because we had to focus on winning a world championship," AUTOSPORT quotes Button. "Now we can discuss it in a few days. I'm certainly going to put some pressure on them but I'm not that expensive."

Toyota makes offer to Raikkonen

Toyota has confirmed it made an offer to departing Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.

“We don't play too many games. We put on the table what we can afford and what we think is a serious offer in the current market,” said team president John Howett, according to Reuters. “I think genuinely we could work well with him, give him a car that’s quick.”

Raikkonen has been tied to a return to McLaren, but Howett has hinted Toyota may better suit the Finn's lifestyle.

“We have had very good relationships with Scandinavian drivers in the rallying times that enjoy life and it works very well, so we could cope with it as a team,” he said.

It is thought Toyota is aiming to replace Jarno Trulli, who hasn't been happy with the current offer on the table.

Timo Glock is not yet secure, either. And rookie Kamui Kobayashi did a good job subbing for the German in Brazil.

Briatore appeal set

Flavio Briatore's appeal against his lifetime ban is set to be heard in French court November 24.

Briatore is challenging on grounds including "procedural issues, a breach of natural justice and an abuse of the FIA’s power" according to ITV-F1. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Webber wins; Button, Brawn lock up titles in Brazil

Throughout the second half of this Formula One season, many were asking for Jenson Button to drive like a champion. In Brazil, that’s exactly what he did, coming from 14th on the grid to finish fifth and take the 2009 drivers championship.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Race

Fifth and eighth from Rubens Barrichello were enough to clinch the constructors title for Brawn, as well, capping off a storybook season for a team left for dead last December when Honda announced it was leaving the sport.

Not to be lost in the shuffle, Mark Webber drove a brilliant race to win his second of the season. Robert Kubica was second in the BMW Sauber, and Lewis Hamilton came from 17th on the grid to take the final podium spot.

Button was on it from the start, benefitting from some first lap shenanigans to jump to ninth by the end of the lap. Jarno Trulli, Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso all saw their races come to a premature end.

A furious Trulli was all over Sutil when they got out of the cars, though an investigation ruled it a racing incident. The stewards did not take kindly to Trulli’s actions, however, reprimanding and fining him for ‘failing to leave the track as required by the marshals immediately after the incident and aggressively confronting Sutil.’

Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen both were forced to pit at the end of the lap. More drama ensued as Kovalainen was released early, with fuel hose attached, and Raikkonen was forced through a ring of fire as a result.

That, too, drew the attention of the FIA, and McLaren was fined for the incident and Kovalainen handed a drive-through post race (25 seconds added to his time).

On the restart, as Barrichello tried to pull away from Webber, Button went to work making up more ground. He soon dispatched Romain Grosjean, Kazuki Nakajima, and impressive Toyota rookie Kamui Kobayashi.

Unfortunately for Barrichello, he did not have enough car for Webber today, and after pitting the Australian took the lead. Not only that, he also lost a spot to Kubica, and it looked as though the Brazilian’s notorious bad luck at Interlagos was once again rearing its ugly head.

Sure enough, under pressure from Hamilton, who changed to a one-stop strategy after the safety car at the start of the race, Barrichello suffered a puncture that forced him to make a third stop and dropped him to eighth and gave Button fifth.

After the weekend’s antics, Webber was quoted as wanting a boring afternoon. He got his wish, and the Red Bull driver had a quiet road the rest of the way to the checkered flag, having driven an absolutely superb race.

But the day rightly belongs to Button and Brawn GP. Button believed, despite his qualifying position, he could finish fifth or sixth today, and was proved right. Though he had a share of the good luck he has benefitted from all season, he did it by driving like a champion, taking risks when necessary, and not making dumb mistakes.

For a man who didn’t know if he’d have a job at the beginning of the season, so often dismissed as not good enough, it would take a hard heart not to smile as he sang “We are the champions my friends!” over the radio to his team.

Next up, the final race of the season at the brand new Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Brazilian Grand Prix (71 laps)
  1. Mark Webber, RedBull-Renault
  2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren - Mercedes
  4. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull - Renault
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn - Mercedes
  6. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  7. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari
  8. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn - Mercedes
  9. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota
  10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari
  11. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes
  12. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren - Mercedes*
  13. Romain Grosjean, Renault +1 lap
  14. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso - Ferrari +1 lap
  • Kazuki Nakajima, Williams - Toyota, 30 laps completed, Accident
  • Nico Rosberg, Williams - Toyota, 27 laps, Gearbox
  • Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 21 laps, Out of fuel
  • Fernando Alonso, Renault, 0 laps, Accident
  • Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 0 laps, Accident
  • Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 0 laps, Accident

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Button, Brawn sew up championships

Marc Webber wins the Brazilian Grand Prix, but Brawn and Button take the day, clinching the drivers and constructors championships at Interlagos.

More to come. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Barrichello takes home pole in wild session

Could this be the year Rubens Barrichello finally takes home his home grand prix, and could he ride that wave of success to the championship?

The Brazilian certainly took a step in the right direction Saturday, claiming pole in a chaotic, thunderstorm-soaked session that will go down in the books as the longest qualifying in the history of the sport.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying

It took two hours and 41 minutes to shake out, and championship leader Jenson Button was left starting 14th.

It was much worse for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who saw his slim title chances go on life support after elimination in Q1. The German starts 16th, a victim of bad timing and and the weather.

Q2 was quickly red flagged after Vitantonio Luizzi aquaplaned in the pit lane and did in his Force India.

The session was stopped for over an hour until conditions improved enough to continue. After the restart, Button chose to remain on his wets too long and Button looks to be left trying to limit the damage to his lead tomorrow rather than sewing up the championship.

Mark Webber starts next to Barrichello on the front row. Adrian Sutil once again put Force India in a good position to score points by qualifying third.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 650.5kg
  2. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 656
  3. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 656.5
  4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 658.5
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 651.5
  6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 659
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 657
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 656
  9. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 664
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 652
  11. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 671.6
  12. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 671.5
  13. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 677.2
  14. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 672
  15. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 683.5
  16. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 656.5
  17. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 661
  18. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 650.5
  19. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 683.5
  20. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 680*
*gearbox change

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Alonso tops Brazil practice

Fernando Alonso was top dog in free practice at Interlagos Friday, turning a time of 1:12.314 in the Renault.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Practice

The Spaniard led the second session ahead of the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi. Rubens Barrichello was third in the Brawn.

Mark Webber set the best time in the morning session, with Barrichello splitting the Australian from his teammate, Sebastian Vettel.

Championship leader Jenson Button was seventh in the first session, fifth in the second.

Kamui Kobayashi subbed for the injured Timo Glock in the Toyota, and posted an impressive 13th in the second session.

First session
  1. Mark Webber, RedBull-Renault, 1:12.463
  2. Rubens Barrichello, Braw -Mercedes, 1:12.874
  3. Sebastian Vettel, RedBull-Renault, 1:12.932
  4. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:12.989
  5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:13.048
  6. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota, 1:13.067
  7. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:13.141
  8. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:13.147
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:13.232
  10. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:13.321
  11. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:13:326
  12. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:13.464
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:13.503
  14. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:13.563
  15. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 1:13.619
  16. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:13.787
  17. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes, 1:13.829
  18. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:14.029
  19. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:14.040
  20. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:14.173

Second session
  1. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 1:12.314
  2. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, 1:12.357
  3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:12.459
  4. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, 1:12.514
  5. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes, 1:12.523
  6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:12.605
  7. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault, 1:12.611
  8. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, 1:12.633
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes, 1:12.720
  10. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, 1:12.749
  11. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 1:12.806
  12. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:12.862
  13. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota, 1:12.869
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota 1:12.929
  15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1:12.948
  16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes 1:12.950
  17. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.992
  18. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:13.026
  19. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.041
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari 1:13.275

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


Gearing up for Brazil

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Previews

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Virtual lap - Interlagos

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Barrichello confirms Williams talks

Multiple sources are reporting Rubens Barrichello has admitted to open talks with Williams on a drive for 2010, as well as his current employer.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Previews

"I haven't signed with anybody yet, but it's true that I'm talking with Williams and Brawn," the BBC quotes the Brazilian.

Meanwhile, Williams confirms it will split with Toyota at the end of the season.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice

"At a time of great difficulty for us as a team, Toyota stepped forward and agreed to supply us with engines for 2007 through to the end of 2009," AUTOSPORT quotes Frank Williams. "Toyota has been a very decent partner who have always respected our independence and provided us with a first-rate technical product."

Williams looks to be considering Renault or Cosworth as a replacement. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Massa tests

Felipe Massa was back behind the wheel of a Ferrari Monday for the first time since his accident in July.

Michael Schumacher

After limited running in the morning due to rain, Massa put in almost 100 km in a 2007-spec car with GP2 tires at Fiorano.

“The moment I got into the car it was exactly like before the accident, as if nothing had happened,” Massa is quoted on the Ferrari Web site. “It was important to demonstrate to the people who work with me, that nothing has changed, that I can be competitive and that I can contribute to what will be the new car and to next year’s fight for the title.”

Donington deadline?

Just where the British Grand Prix will be next year looks set to be determined in the next two weeks.

An end-of-September deadline has passed for Donington Ventures Leisure Limited to show it had the funds to put on the race, but a press release from chief executive Simon Gillett says Bernie Ecclestone has given the track another two weeks.

Ecclestone denies he has given Donington a reprieve, however, claiming the two weeks is the result of a breach of contract, and Gillet has 14 days to remedy the breach.

“He’s either going to remedy the breach or he isn’t,” ITV-F1 quotes Ecclestone. “If he isn’t then that’s the end of the story.”

Silverstone is keeping an eye on the situation in hope of regaining the event for the long term. Donington’s deal was for 17 years.

"We have an agreement with Silverstone that in the event of a breach we will talk to them and we will be discussing this. Of course it is no good for them having a one-year job, for sure,” Ecclestone told the Guardian. “We'll talk to them and see but we won't return to Silverstone under the same conditions. There's nothing wrong with Silverstone; the only thing is they promised things that didn't happen.”

Extra reading

Brazilian Grand Prix - team and driver preview quotes

The trials of A1GP - grandprix.com

Four American champions crowned - MotorSport Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Thursday, October 8, 2009

FIA happy with US F1 progress

The FIA came away pleased after its second visit to the new US F1 team's Charlotte headquarters, AutoWeek reports, easing rumors the team was off track and would not be on the grid in 2010.

"I personally visited the U.S. F1 Team in August as well as this week, and I am impressed with the progress made by the organization since the Concorde Agreement was signed in late July," AutoWeek quotes Nick Craw, the FIA's deputy president for sport. "It has all come together very quickly for the team, and we welcome them into Formula One competition in 2010."

It was the second visit in three months for the Ken Anderson/Peter Windsor team. The first drew concerns over the team's progress from Max Mosley at the Italian Grand Prix, and were recently reiterated by Bernie Ecclestone.

Anderson said the team is well along on its car development, and will be on track in January for testing.

"We are proud to show them that, despite what is currently circulating in the rumor mill, our Charlotte shop is fully operational and we are well under way to construction of a unique U.S.-designed Formula One race car."

Drivers should be named by the end of the year, AutoWeek reports. It appears less likely there will be an American driver, however.

Mercedes-Benz/AMG Driving Experience

Peter Windsor told AUTOSPORT the team's driver development effort was a casualty of the Concorde Agreement saga.

"Because of all the time we've lost, our ambition to run two young Americans is looking more difficult. I'm still hoping we'll be able to run one American, but that's a tall order because there aren't many Americans out there with superlicences."

Among young Americans, Jonathan Summerton seems a likely candidate. AUTOSPORT also mentions Indy Lights champion JR Hildebrand.

Veterans Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz have also been mentioned in connection with the team. Both have a wealth of car development experience.

Should plans for an American driver fall through for 2010, the team plans to set up a young driver program to fulfill its long term goal of two American drivers.

"If we can't fulfil that [the plan to run an American] in 2010, we will certainly put a programme together for young Americans. We're making sure we're disciplined to put some money aside to help them with what they are doing whether it's Formula BMW in Europe, Formula Ford 2000 in the States or even GP2."

AUTOSPORT's Q & A with US F1's Ken Anderson Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Renault confirms Kubica

Robert Kubica's move to Renault for 2010 has been confirmed.

F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Race

"We are very excited to have signed Robert with the Renault F1 Team starting next season," team principal Bob Bell said in a statement on the Renault F1 Web site. "… Renault has high ambitions and hopes for the future of the team and we feel that Robert can play a big role in fulfilling them."

Kubica, who had declared himself available after BMW announced it was pulling the plug on F1, replaces the departing Fernando Alonso at Renault.

"I share with Renault a strong winning mentality and feel comfortable with their friendly and open attitude," Kubica said in the team statement "I’m highly motivated and optimistic that together we can be at the front of the grid next year and hopefully fighting for the world title."

The Pole thanked present employer BMW Sauber for giving him a chance in F1, and the team had warm words for its departing driver.

"Robert played an important role for us -- and certainly we did the same for him," said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen on the team Web site. "He never let us down"

Who will partner with Kubica at Renault remains to be seen. Current number two Romain Grosjean's position has not been confirmed.

Renault's statement

BMW Sauber's statement
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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nothing decided as Vettel dominates in Japan

Sebastian Vettel kept his title hopes alive in Japan, keeping Lewis Hamilton’s KERS equipped McLaren and a surprising Jarno Trulli behind him both at the start and after a safety car to deliver his third win of the season.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Race

Trulli finished second after jumping Hamilton in the pits, the world champion finishing third.

The champaign remains on ice in the Brawn garage, as while the constructor’s title is almost assured, seventh for Rubens Barrichello and eighth for Jenson Button was not enough to seal it up. Brawn holds a 156-120.5 edge, that’s half a point shy off the title.

In the drivers championship, Button leads his teammate 85-71, while Vettel sits on 69 points with two to go.

After taking the lead from Trulli and Hamilton, Vettel settled into the lead and looked to be on track for an easy win. That changed when Jaime Alguersuari lost his Toro Rosso at 130R on the 44th lap, bringing out the safety car and giving Trulli and Hamilton another chance at Vettel.

Lapped traffic helped Vettel on the restart, however, and the German was able to put away the win.

No such luck for Vettel’s teammate, Mark Webber, who started from the pits and would return five times over the course of the race.

Next up, the penultimate race in Brazil in two weeks time. The tightening driver’s championship is already drawing comparisons to the 2007 championship, when Kimi Raikkonen came from behind to take the title by a point over battling teammates Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Japanese Grand Prix (53 laps)
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault
  2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes
  4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
  5. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota
  6. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
  7. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes
  8. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  9. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
  10. Fernando Alonso, Renault
  11. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari
  13. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes
  14. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota
  15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes
  16. Romain Grosjean, Renault +1 lap
  17. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault +2 laps
  • Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 43 laps
  • Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 laps
  • Timo Glock, Toyota, injury, did not start

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Revised grid -- Japan

  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 658.5kg
  2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 655.5
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 656
  4. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 660
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 661
  6. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 660.5
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 684.5
  8. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 650
  9. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 686
  10. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 658.5
  11. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 675
  12. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 682.5
  13. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 665.4
  14. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 661.5
  15. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 695.7
  16. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 689.5
  17. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 691.8
  18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 682.5
  19. Mark Webber, Red Bull, n/a

Note: In addition to the Button, Barrichello, Sutil, Alonso and Buemi penalties, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Heikki Kovalainen both docked five places for gearbox changes. Penalties were applied in the order in which they were committed. Mark Webber will start from the pitlane, Timo Glock will not start and there will be no replacement. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vettel on pole in Japan while penalties shuffle grid

Sebastian Vettel topped an eventful qualifying session marred by three accidents at Suzuka, while five drivers were penalized, including the two Brawn drivers.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Qualifying

Jenson Button's hopes of sealing up the title look to be on hold as the championship leader was penalized for speeding under the yellow. He wasn't alone. Rubens Barrichello, Adrian Sutil, and Fernando Alonso received similar penalties, while Sebastien Buemi was hit for impeding.

Sutil, in particular, will be disappointed after putting the Force India third on the grid.

Jarno Trulli lines up next to Vettel in the Toyota, while Lewis Hamilton starts third in the McLaren.

Despite worries about rain, conditions were clear for qualifying, but that didn't prevent some serious shunts.

Q2 was delayed for eight minutes after Jaime Alguersuari crashed heavily, and again when Timo Glock went off. Alguersuari was unhurt, while Glock was taken to the medical center.

One more victim in Q2 was Buemi, who went off at 130R, bringing out the yellows.

It was another tough session for Giancarlo Fisichella, missing the cut in Q1 and well back from teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Mark Webber missed qualifying after a practice shunt. Both he and Glock will start from the pitlane after swapping chassis.

Grid and pre-race weights
  1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 658.5kg
  2. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 655.5
  3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 656
  4. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 660
  5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 661
  6. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 675
  7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 684.5
  8. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 686
  9. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 650*
  10. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 660.5*
  11. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 682.5
  12. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 658.5*
  13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari, 661.5
  14. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 665.4*
  15. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 695.7
  16. Romain Grosjean, Renault, 691.8
  17. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 689.5*
  18. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 682.5
  19. Timo Glock, Toyota, n/a
  20. Mark Webber, Red Bull, n/a

Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


Friday, October 2, 2009

Kovy tops local hero in practice

Heikki Kovalainen edged Kazuki Nakajima in the opening session for the best time Friday in wet conditions at Suzuka Friday.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice

Nakajima was one of two Japanese drivers taking part, Kamui Kobayashi subbing for an ill Timo Glock in the Toyota.

Adrian Sutil was third in the opening session for Force India.

The results mean little, with the track never ideal for high-speed running, and the morning times would prove to be the fastest on the day.

There was little action in the afternoon session until just under a half hour remained. Still, Heikki Kovalainen and the Brawns did not make an appearance.

It was Adrain Sutil who topped the session, followed by Sebastian Vettel and Vitantonio Liuzzi. But their results were no where near the morning times.

Rubens Barrichello was the fastest of the championship runners, ninth overall on the day.

Showers and cold weather are expected for qualifying, which could shake up the grid for Sunday's race, so vital for the championship contenders.

First session
  1. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.356
  2. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota 1:40.648
  3. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes 1:40.806
  4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari 1:40.985
  5. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:41.421
  6. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.443
  7. Fernando Alonso, Renault 1:41.532
  8. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:41.577
  9. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes 1:41.821
  10. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota 1:42.188
  11. Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault 1:42.332
  12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes 1:42.475
  13. Jarno Trulli, Toyota 1:42.657
  14. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:42.667
  15. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber 1:42.833
  16. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1:42.977
  17. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault 1:43.218
  18. Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes 1:43.318
  19. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota 1:43.407
  20. Romain Grosjean, Renault 1:43.572

Second session
  1. Adrian Sutil, Force India-Mercedes 1:47.261
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull-Renault 1:47.923
  3. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India-Mercedes1:47.931
  4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.983
  5. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams-Toyota 1:48.058
  6. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.691
  7. Fernando Alonso, Renault 1:48.693
  8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota 1:48.737
  9. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.802
  10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber 1:48.861
  11. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari 1:48.886
  12. Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota 1:49.054
  13. Mark Webber, RedBull-Renault 1:49.382
  14. Romain Grosjean, Renault 1:49.405
  15. Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari 1:49.553
  16. Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota 1:49.872
  17. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber 1:50.179
  • Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren-Mercedes
  • Jenson Button, Brawn-Mercedes
  • Rubens Barrichello, Brawn-Mercedes

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Virtual lap -- Japan

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