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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!


May it be a year full of good racing and wonderful things for you and yours!
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 for '10

SpeedRead takes a look back at some of F1’s most memorable moments from an exciting 2010 season in pictures and video.

Schumi

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 08: Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP prepares to drive during practice for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 8, 2010 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


2010 saw the return of Michael Schumacher from retirement to drive for Mercedes. But it wouldn’t be title number eight for the German, who found the car didn’t suit him. Unfortunately, it seemed to suit his teammate just fine...

No more #2



Not the one you’d likely expect. Through much of his time at Ferrari, Rubens Barrichello was forced to wear a hat with a big #2 on it. Literally. Well, in Hungary, Rubinho didn’t move aside.

Incredible Hulk

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 06: Nico Huelkenberg of Germany and Williams celebrates in parc ferme after finishing first during qualifying for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 6, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


Nico Hulkenberg put Williams on pole in Brazil. Alas, it would not be enough to save his job at season’s end.

Slippery Sutil



Rain in South Korea didn’t agree with Adrian Sutil in 2010. To say the least, he was a bit “off.”

Flying Mark



This coming together between Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen may have been the best remembered crash of 2010. Well, if not for the next one...

A couple of Turkeys



Freedom to race has dire consequences in Istanbul, as the simmering Vettel/Webber feud hit a new high.

Loco?

May 30, 2010 - 05975710 date 30 05 2010 Copyright imago Thomas Melzer Crash Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing Formula 1 GP TURKEY in Istanbul 30 05 10 motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP Turkey Istanbul Crash Single Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Formula 1 Formula UN F1 motor aviation Racing Grid Girls Formula One Racing.


Vettel certainly had his opinion on the matter...

Mark flips for Monaco

May 16, 2010 - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Redbull Renault driver Australian MARK WEBBER celebrating victory with a back flip into the Energy Station Swimming Pool at the Formula One World Championship Monaco Grand Priz.


These are the kind of flips Webber prefers, celebrating a win in Monaco with a dip in the pool...

Faster than you



What more is there to say?

Champion Seb

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 14: Race winner and F1 2010 World Champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme following the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 14, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010 eval: Red Bull

10.12.2010 Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Red Bull Racing Formula One car at the 2010 FIA Prize Giving Gala in Monaco - 2010 FIA Gala Prize-Giving Ceremony, EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY, FIA , CREDIT: FIA Photo via Newscom


Synopsis: Red Bull put the complete package together for 2010, winning the double in only its sixth year, despite some growing pains. Adrian Newey’s design overcame the power disadvantage of the Renault engine, and on most tracks the car was simply unstoppable. But make no mistake, Red Bull took it to the big boys, but it did it by spending the money.

Points: 498

Highlight: Winning the double.

May 30, 2010 - (L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 and team mate Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 after the two collided in the race...Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park.


Lowlight: A simmering driver feud came to a boil in Istanbul, when Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber came together while battling for the lead. Vettel was out, Webber managed to finish third.

Drivers:

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 16: Red Bull F1 driver and new world champion Sebastian Vettel and team mate Mark Webber, attend a press conference in Hanger-7 on November 16, 2010 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


  • Sebastian Vettel was clearly the flashiest driver of 2010, if not always the steadiest, the young German still seems susceptible to mistakes. He trailed his teammate through much of the season, however, it should be said he suffered from more technical issues than the Australian. Trailing Fernando alonso and Webber going into the final weekend, Vettel capitalized on the misfortunes of Webber and misguided strategy of Ferrari to complete a come-from-behind championship title. Five wins, ten podiums and 256 points.
  • Mark Webber surprised many by being at the front of the championship battle most of the season, dealing with his talented young teammate quite well. On the track, at least. The decision to take their feud public did little to cement his position with the team, and one wonders what the effect must have been like in his garage. Still, the veteran put on a show for age and experience, taking 242 points for third in the championship, four wins, and finishing on the podium ten times.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 14: Red Bull Racing team owner Dietrich Mateschitz (C), team principal Christian Horner (L), team consultant Dr Helmut Marko (R) and Red Bull Racing Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey (2nd L) are pictured ahead the official end of season team photo before the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 14, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)


A look ahead: 2010 was a dream season for the team, and there is little reason to think it cannot defend both its titles in 2011. The window is still open for a couple more seasons. Newey will pen the design, Vettel and Webber will be back (and are talking again). Principal Christian Horner and his troops should have learned a great deal from the highs and lows of the championship season. And Dietrich Mateschitz still seems hungry for more. But Red Bull must not rest on its laurels. McLaren, Ferrari, and Mercedes will be angling to make the new tires and rules work to their best advantage, and one mistake could easily put Red Bull on its back foot. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

All the best to you and yours!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 eval: McLaren

. 27, 2010 - McLaren motorhome...Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Preparations, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Thursday 27 May 2010.


Synopsis: With its two world champion drivers, including reigning champ Jenson Button, McLaren managed to provide Red Bull with its stiffest competition in 2010. Too often, however, McLaren was forced to play catch up as the car was just not fast enough on most tracks to deliver a championship. Still, both drivers were in the title hunt until nearly the very end.

Points: 454

Highlight: Jenson Button’s brilliant tire decisions. He came in for slicks on a drying track in Australia ultimately delivered McLaren’s first win of the season. Similarly brilliant strategy,being on the right tires at the right time in changable conditions, handed him the win in China, as well.

Apr. 18, 2010 - Shanghai, China - F1 GP of China, Shanghai 16.- 18. April 2010..Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren F1 Team - Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren F1 Team.


Lowlight: McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh famously branded Sebastian Vettel (who he covets for a seat in the future) a “crash kid” following a coming together with Button in Belgium. Ironically, it was Lewis Hamilton who more than lived up to the bill, aggressively pushing the issue at Monza and in Singapore. One driver went on to be world champion, the other eliminated himself from contention.

Drivers:

May 13, 2010 - 05899954 date 16 05 2010 Copyright imago Crash Media Group Lewis Hamilton GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4 25 and Jenson Button GBR McLaren Mercedes MP4 25 Monaco Grand Prix 12 16 May 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP Monaco Monte Carlo Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.


  • Lewis Hamilton put in a decent year in 2010, netting three wins and 240 points, but often found himself wanting for more out of the car. Too often, that led Hamilton to lean on the aggressive side of his driving nature, and his risk taking cost him enough that by Bahrain he needed a self-described miracle to win the championship.
  • Jenson Button, coming off winning the world championship with Brawn in 2009, moved to McLaren looking for the challenge of facing off with Hamilton. While many on the outside scoffed, Button proved he had the ability and experience to take it to him. His decisions early in the season were brilliant, and his smooth driving style proved to be an asset for the team. With 214 points and two wins, Button was well in the hunt until his mathematical elimination in Brazil.

May 30, 2010 - 05977367 date 30 05 2010 Copyright imago HochZwei Motorsports Formula 1 World Championship 2010 GP of Turkey 02 Lewis Hamilton GBR Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 01 Jenson Button GBR Vodafone McLaren Mercedes xHOCHxZWEIx motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP Turkey Istanbul Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd motor aviation Engine Formula 1 Formula One F1 F 1 one Grand Prix grand Prize Driving scenes Race Action Race Race Action shot Action Racing scene driving Fahrbilder Action photo Action Figure partner02 AlleAktuell SportmagAktuell.


A look ahead: McLaren has plenty to look forward to in 2011. New rules mean adaptation, and McLaren is well suited to that sort of thing. McLaren’s “F-duct” is out, but the reintroduction of KERS should be a benefit, McLaren used it well in 2009. Both drivers return, and proved they could be competitive and race without taking each other out. Whitmarsh runs a tight ship, there is little of the politics and infighting that often plagued McLaren in Ron Dennis’ reign. It doesn’t take an insider to assume McLaren will be at the front again. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Honoring Sir Frank Williams

The BBC honored Sir Frank Williams with the Helen Rollason Award, for 'outstanding achievement in the face of adversity,' at its Personality of the Year awards ceremony on Sunday.

Damon Hill presented the award, and his wife Virginia, Patrick Head, and Adam Parr joined him on stage along with other F1 personalities.

In the following video from the summer, the co-founder and boss of the Williams Formula 1 team talked to the BBC's Jake Humphrey about life and Formula 1.



"It was an unforgettable evening. Mine has been a great journey, one I'd love to do again if I was younger. I wouldn't try and do anything differently, except perhaps try and avoid the accidents. I wouldn’t have received this award without the assistance and energy of everyone at Williams, especially Patrick, and, of course, my wife and family, so my thanks go to them." - Sir Frank Williams
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2010 eval: Ferrari

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 10: Ferrari transporters are seen in the paddock during winter testing at the at the Circuito De Jerez on February 10, 2010 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)


Synopsis: A 1-2 to open the season looked to set the table for the Scuderia, but the Prancing Horse soon found itself playing third fiddle to Red Bull and McLaren after a string of disappointing results. The team orders controversy in Germany resulted in another 1-2, and a strong final third of the season saw Fernando Alonso haul himself up into the driver’s championship race. A bad strategy call in Abu Dhabi, however, left the Spaniard on the outside looking in.

Points: 396

Highlight: Alonso’s win at Monza, Ferrari’s first at the track since 2006, kicked off the team’s late season resurgence (three wins and two thirds), and gave the Spaniard the inside track in the driver’s championship.

Jul 25, 2010 - Hockenheim, Germany - Winner FERNADO ALONSO (L) and second place winner FELIPE MASSA of Ferrari after the 2010 Formula One World Championship, Rd 11 at Hockenheimring, German Grand Prix.


Lowlight: “OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?”

Drivers:

July 25, 2010 - Hockenheim, Germany - (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari and second placed FERNANDO ALONSO (ESP) Ferrari in the FIA Press Conference...Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Race Day.


  • Fernando Alonso again proved he is one of a handful of drivers who can wrangle more out of a car that it was meant to deliver. Results-wise, he and his teammate seemed pretty evenly matched in the early going, but he was clearly getting the better of Felipe Massa in the three races leading up to the controversial German Grand Prix. Once Ferrari had put all of its eggs in Alonso’s basket, the Spaniard was able to make a run at the driver’s title often without the support of his teammate, but Ferrari’s decision to cover Mark Webber in Abu Dhabi opened the door for Sebastian Vettel to take the championship.
  • Felipe Massa completed a stunning recovery from his life-threatening injury in Hungary in 2009, and was taking the fight to his highly-touted teammate before a string of poor results led the team to seemingly order him aside in Germany, ironically one year after the Hungary accident. Massa’s interest in his support role looked to fade over the remainder of the season, he ultimately finished sixth in the championship.

July 25, 2010 - Hockenheim, Germany - Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari in the post race FIA Press Conference...Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Race Day.


A look ahead: Ferrari insists despite the error in strategy, heads will not roll among the team leadership. Additionally, it insists both drivers start 2011 on equal footing. Time will tell. It will be interesting to see if the Massa is a “fragile” as rumored, or if he can step out of the shadow of famous Ferrari number twos and take the challenge to Alonso. The press already have his seat under threat, with names like Mark Webber and Robert Kubica thrown around as possible replacements. One thing is certain, Alonso can make a run at the driver’s title alone, but the constructors championship, far more coveted in Maranello, will only come if two drivers are scoring points. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The quotable F1: Luca di Montezemolo

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 13: Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Chairman of Ferrari, is seen in the pitlane before qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 13, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


"At a certain point in the season, Felipe was fed up and sent his brother. For this Felipe gets 7 minus." - Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Farewell, Tom Walkinshaw

Joe Saward reports on his blog Tom Walkinshaw has passed away at the age of 63. Walkinshaw had been battling cancer.

9 Mar 1997:  A portrait of Tom Walkinshaw of the TWR Arrows watches the action during the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Mike Cooper /Allsport


9 Jan 1997:  The new line-up for TWR Arrows are (anti-clockwise) Tom Walkinshaw, team owner, Jorg Mueller of Germany, Pedro Diniz  of Brazil and Damon Hill. At the launch of the Arrows new formula one car at the NEC in Birmingham.   Mandatory Credit: Mike Cooper/Allsport


July 10, 2010 - Silverstone, England, United Kingdom - (L to R): Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) CEO Formula One Group (FOM) with Tom Walkinshaw (GBR)...Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day.
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2010 eval: Mercedes GP

STUTTGART, GERMANY - JANUARY 25: Last year's Brawn GP Formula One car is seen in the new colours of the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team during a presentation at Mercedes Museum on January 25, 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)


Synopsis: Mercedes decision to become a team owner, buying out 2009 champions Brawn GP, comes at an odd time. The economy is struggling and the manufacturers (including rival BMW) have or are pulling out of the sport, and Merc already had a good thing going with McLaren. Obviously, it had acquired a topnotch organization and retained Ross Brawn, but the drivers champion left for McLaren and Rubens Barrichello went to Williams. In their place, the highly touted Nico Rosberg and octogenarian Michael Schumacher. By debut standards, Mercedes had a good year, but when you factor in it took over a champion, a distant fourth isn’t much to write home about, especially when second went to a customer squad.

Points: 214

Highlight: Strong early season performances by Nico Rosberg, including thirds in Malaysia and China, had the team sniffing contention. Rosberg’s 2010 as a whole proved he has the ability to win championships.

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 29: Nico Rosberg (L) of Germany and Mercedes GP and team mate Michael Schumacher (R) of Germany and Mercedes GP drive during the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on August 29, 2010 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Lowlight: Signing Michael Schumacher, reuniting the Brawn/Schumacher pairing, surly played well to the home crowd. But at 41, in a game increasingly played by 19 to 25 year olds, why? When you have Rosberg, why? It all makes sense for Schumacher, but Mercedes?

Drivers:

Mar. 14, 2010 - 05625250 date 14 03 2010 Copyright imago Andreas Suppl Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg Mercedes Team photo Pitlane Mercedes Box 14 03 2010 F1 Bahrain motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP Bahrain Manama Sakhir Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.


  • Nico Rosberg is among a handful of drivers who really impressed in 2010. Moving over from Williams, the German looked poised to make a run at the title as lead driver. Then Schumacher was signed and in a moment Rosberg looked to be the number two. But Rosberg went to work, and out drove the seven-times world champion, amassing 142 points, scoring in 15 of 19 races.
  • Michael Schumacher looked out of step in 2010. Seventy-two points, no wins, no poles, no fastest laps. After three years away from the sport, and at 41, this was to be expected for a time. But Schumacher was anticipated to handle Rosberg. Instead, there were a lot of stories about how the car and tires didn’t suit Schumacher. The great ones, including Schumacher in his prime, deliver despite the car’s shortcomings. That’s what his teammate did. And that is proof enough that Michael is “past it.”

Jan. 25, 2010 - Stuttgart, Germany - epa02004993 German Formula One driver and sevenfold Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher (3-R) poses for photographers with (L-R) team principal Ross Brawn, chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Zetsche, teammate Nico Rosberg, Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug and CEO of Mercedes GP Petronas Nick Fry with the 2009 racing car with a new paintwork on the occasion of the presentation of the Formula 1 Team Mercedes GP Petronas at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, 25 January 2010.


A look ahead: Brawn admits the transition to Mercedes, along with trimming the staff, led the team to take the eye off the ball a bit in 2010. It is hard to believe that the Brawn/Mercedes combination won’t be better in 2011, and with Rosberg’s technical smarts and driving ability, this could be a team to watch. But will Pirellis and a new chassis really be the answer for Michael Schumacher? It will be very difficult to win a championship on the back of one driver. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 eval: Renault

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JANUARY 31: The new Renault R30 is unveiled at the Ricardo Tormo circuit on January 31, 2010 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Synopsis: In recent years, Renault seemed to lack commitment to team ownership, in 2010 the company proved it, selling all but a 25 percent stake to Genii Capital. This could have been disastrous, but the new organization looks to have made the right moves in management structure, convinced Robert Kubica to honor his contract and finished easily as best of the rest. Still, it must have been a mixed emotion for Renault to watch a customer win the championship.

Points: 163

Highlight: Kubica. Fifth in the championship in a transitional season, 163 points, and three podiums was the direct result.

May 16, 2010 - Monte Carlo, Monaco - F1 GP of Monaco, Monte Carlo 13.- 15. May 2010..Podium - Robert Kubica (POL), Renault F1 Team.


Lowlight: Renault made noise in the press over the summer it was talking to Kimi Raikkonen about a return to F1 to partner with Kubica. Publicly speaking about talks angered the Finn, who flatly rejected he was interested in driving for Renault and charged the team of dropping his name for its own purposes. Whether true or not, the team’s new management look clumsy and out of its element.

Drivers:

YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 23: Robert Kubica (R) of Poland and Renault and Vitaly Petrov (L) of Russia and Renault walks in the paddock following qualifying for the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 23, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


  • Robert Kubica scored 136 of the team’s points, finished on the podium three times and suffered only three retirements. His only non-points finish was the opener. If you are keeping score at home, that’s 15 races in the points. With the exception of Fernando Alonso, maybe the best driver on the grid. Despite links to Ferrari, the Pole extended his Renault contract through 2012.
  • Vitaly Petrov had a mixed debut for Renault. Russia’s first F1 driver was at a severe disadvantage with Kubica as a teammate, though he showed flashes of ability on occasion. His best race was Hungary, where he outqualified Kubica and finished fifth. Petrov only managed five points finishes in 2010, and management has warned it needs more commitment from the Russian if he is to keep his seat in 2011.

47616, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Wednesday November 17 2010. Billy Baldwin and CEO of Lotus Group Dany Bahar arrive at West Hollywood's Katsuya restaurant in a pre-production Lotus. Photograph:  Greg Tidwell, PacificCoastNews.com
A look ahead: Renault sold it’s remaining stake to Proton, preferring to participate in F1 as an engine supplier. Renault will supply the engines and support while Proton gets a successful F1 organization as part of it’s strategy to market Lotus cars. It should be a good move for Proton if it steers clear of micromanagement. The team in Enstone has weathered many storms, consistently done more with less and won championships. Plus, in Robert Kubica, it has one of F1’s top talents. But the deal seemingly only makes sense for Proton if it gets to use the name, and whether this team will be known as Lotus Renault GP as hoped is a question for the courts. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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The quotable F1: Nelson Piquet, Jr.

'Look, both cars are at the back of the grid,' he told me. 'We are in a situation where we are not going to get anywhere in this race unless something extraordinary happens.'Briatore agreed, saying it would be 'a disaster for the team' unless something extraordinary happened. I just sat there listening because I couldn't figure out where this was going. They were both very fidgety and the situation was incredibly tense. I don't think I had said a word by this point. It was only after five minutes that Flavio made his pitch. 'Look, the only way we can benefit in any way out here is by getting a safety car on the course at the right moment,' he said. I just sat there, looking at them. They both reminded me of what had happened in Germany when someone had crashed just after I had pitted and I came second in the race. 'Do you want to help the team?' Flavio said. 'If you crash at the right moment, it could change everything.'

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 11: Former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore is seen in the Ferrari garage following qualifying for the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on September 11, 2010 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)


They wanted the safety car on lap 14. It actually felt good to agree to do something for the team after all the criticism I had taken. I did not even consider the morality of it. As the laps ticked by, I knew what was coming, but it was difficult to believe what I was going to do. I was almost more nervous of messing it up for the team than for my own safety. I was so scared, I could hardly breathe. I was straining my eyes to see the board each time I completed the circuit so I would know which lap I was on, but it was dark out there and I could hardly see a thing. I screamed into the radio again and again, 'What lap are we in? What lap are we in?' They confirmed the lap and I began to brace myself because I knew what I was about to do - even if I could not believe I was going to do it. I came around the chicane on lap 14 and I could feel my stomach tighten. I was incredibly scared, it was like a dream. I touched the rear wheel on the wall and then stepped on the throttle to crash into the other wall. I felt no pain on impact, but the adrenalin was pumping. I felt in control of the car throughout the crash."

23.07.2009 Budapest, Hungary, Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA), Renault F1 Team - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Thursday - PHOTO: FOTOSPORTS INTERNATIONAL/xpb.cc


If I am being honest, I think I was motivated more by anger against Flavio than by a desire for a clean conscience. Looking back, it seems like a lifetime ago, but I know I will never fully escape from its shadow. I apologise unreservedly for what I did. I just hope people will understand the pressures I was under. It is no excuse, but I was a deeply unhappy person. I am a stronger man today. If the question was asked again, I am sure I would have the strength to say no."
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Friday, December 10, 2010

FIA approves rules changes

July 22, 2010 - 06209765 date 22 07 2010 Copyright imago GEPA Pictures Formula 1 Grand Prix from Germany Hockenheim Germany 22 Jul 10 motor aviation Formula 1 Formula 1 Grand Prix GP from Germany Preliminary reports Picture shows a Feature with the FIA emblem PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUTxITA motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP ger Hockenheim Hockenheim Ring Objects Vdig xsk 2010 horizontal premiumd.


New engines, team orders ban discarded, and full team communications open to broadcasters among changes approved by the FIA December 10, 2010. Full text here.

FORMULA ONE

The WMSC approved the introduction of a new specification engine from 2013, underlining the FIA’s commitment to improving sustainability and addressing the needs of the automotive industry. Following dialogue with the engine manufacturers and experts in this field, the power units will be four cylinders, 1.6 litre with high pressure gasoline injection up to 500 bar with a maximum of 12,000 rpm.

The engines will deliver a 35% reduction in fuel consumption and will feature extensive energy management and energy recovery systems, while maintaining current levels of performance. In 2013, five engines will be permitted per driver, but each year after that the limit will be four.

Sporting and Technical Regulations

A number of changes were made to the Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2011, including:

  • The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted. Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and any other relevant provisions
  • Amendments to the list of penalties Stewards are permitted to apply
  • Revisions to driving and driver conduct
  • A limit on the width of the fast lane in the pits
  • The introduction of a regulation permitting the Race Director to close the pit lane during a race for safety reasons
  • The re-introduction of intermediate tyres for 2011
  • Penalties to be applied to any driver who fails to use both specification of dry weather tyre during the race
  • An amendment requiring gearboxes to be used for five consecutive races, instead of four
  • Clarification on when cars can overtake the safety car
  • A refinement to the principles of the regulations already agreed concerning moveable rear wings
  • A better definition of the reference plane, and reinforcement of bodywork deflection tests, especially at the front of the reference plane
  • The allowance for anti-intrusion panels to protect drivers’ legs

Amendments to the 2012 Technical Regulations were made in the following areas:

  • Team communications will be made available to broadcasters
  • The inclusion of fuel compounds produced from biomass
  • A limitation on suspension uprights
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Proton and Renault make it official

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 eval: Williams

Feb. 2, 2010 - Valencia, Spain - Williams FW32 detail, Formula One Testing.


Synopsis: Williams' 69 points, its most since 2004, were good for sixth in the championship, edging Force India and easily best of the teams that took part in Cosworth’s return to the sport. A fairly decent year all around, especially from midseason on, highlighted by consistency and reliability.

Points: 69

Highlight: Nico Hulkenberg’s shock pole in Brazil was easily the brightest moment of 2010.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 06: Nico Huelkenberg (centre white) of Germany and Williams celebrates in the paddock with team mates after finishing first during qualifying for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos Circuit on November 6, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Lowlight: A double retirement in Monaco, including Rubens Barrichello’s suspension failure after running over a drain cover. The Brazilian threw his steering wheel out of the car, where it was promptly run over by Karun Chandhok, emblematic of the frustration in the team at that moment. Williams would suffer two more uncompetitive races before turning it around in Valencia.

Drivers:

Apr. 17, 2010 - (L to R): Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams talks with team mate Nico Hulkenberg.
  • Rubens Barrichello, ageless at 62, clearly had the better of his highly-touted teammate in 2010. The Brazilian suffered only two retirements in 2010, and finished in the points 10 times. He only showed flashes of his fragility, while his technical input was widely credited with helping turn around the team’s season. It was enough to earn F1’s most experienced driver another season behind the wheel in 2011.
  • Nico Hulkenberg made his F1 debut after winning the 2009 GP2 championship and great things were expected, but 2010 proved to be more of an education for the youngster. Barrichello clearly had the better of him, he was outscored by his veteran teammate 47-22. A late-season surge that saw him finish in the points in four of his last six races, punctuated by his pole in Brazil, were not enough to save his seat for 2011.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 17: Pastor Maldonado of Venezuala and Williams F1 Team prepares to go out on track during the Young Driver Testing at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 17, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)


A look ahead: Much was accomplished in 2010, and the insatiable Frank Williams and Patrick Head will be wanting more in 2011. A second year with Cosworth, Barrichello’s return and reintroduction of KERS (whether it will be conventional, or Williams’ revolutionary flywheel is yet to be determined) should provide Williams with the opportunity to improve on its 2010 performance. Pastor Maldonado replaces Hulkenberg in the second seat, and his Venezuelan sponsorship will hopefully set off the loss of several team sponsors in 2011. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Semi-recent F1 video roundup

Here’s what’s featured on F1 team’s video channels in the past month (or so).

Sebastian Vettel takes Berlin



While Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo make a splash in Perth



Lotus Racing gives us an inside look at its motor home



Fernando and Felipe go for a ride at Ferrari World



Renault’s Jérôme D’Ambrosio put on a show in Seoul in October

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Report: New engine rules for 2013

The BBC's Andrew Benson reports F1's major players have reached an agreement on new engine rules for 2013 in an attempt to become "greener." Mercedes and Ferrari had concerns over cost, but sources say everyone is on board. It is believed an FIA announcement is pending.

July 08, 2010 - Northampton, England, United Kingdom - The Cosworth Factory in Northampton...Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Preparations.


The BBC breaks down the major points:

  • 1.6-litre, four-cylinder turbos with energy recovery and fuel restrictions to replace current 2.4-litre normally aspirated V8s
  • Fuel efficiency to increase by a target of 50%
  • Overall power to remain same at approx 750bhp
  • Checks and balances to ensure costs are contained and performance across all engines remains comparable
  • Plan for advanced 'compound' turbos to be introduced in subsequent years
  • Power of Kers energy recovery systems to increase from 60kw in 2011 to 120kw in 2013
- BBC


YEONGAM GUN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 24: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is seen in the paddock before the Korean Formula One Grand Prix at the Korea International Circuit on October 24, 2010 in Yeongam-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)


One man on the record in opposition to a rule change is Bernie Ecclestone.

"We have a very good engine formula. Why should we change it to something that is going to cost millions of pounds and that nobody wants and that could end up with one manufacturer getting a big advantage?" - Ecclestone to the BBC


It should be interesting to see how it all plays out.

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2010 eval: Force India

Feb. 11, 2010 - Jerez, Spain - Force India F1 Team logo..Formula One Testing, Day Two, Jerez, Spain, Thursday 11 February 2010.


Synopsis: It was a year of improvement for Force India, its 68 points the most in its short history, though perhaps a bit less showy than 2009, when Giancarlo Fisichella challenged for a win at Spa and Adrian Sutil finished fourth in Italy. Sutil finished in the top 10 nine times in 2010, including a string of six straight mid season, and Force India was just edged (by a single point) by Williams for sixth in the constructors championship.

Points: 68

Highlight: Relative reliability led to double points finishes in Monaco, Canada and Belgium. Fifth place finishes for Sutil in Malaysia and at Spa, and a sixth for Vitantonio Liuzzi in Korea were also notable.

MONTREAL - JUNE 13: Adrian Sutil of Germany and Force India leads from team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi of Italy and Force India during the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 13, 2010 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Lowlight: Tension between Liuzzi and Sutil during the season at times rivaled that at Ferrari or Red Bull. Also, the team lost several senior personnel over the course of the season, most notably technical director James Key, who moved to Sauber.

Drivers:

Mar. 23, 2010 - Melbourne, Australia - (L to R): Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 with Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1 Third Driver and Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1 on St Kilda beach, Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations.


  • Adrian Sutil had a strong season for a midfield driver, racking up 47 of the team’s points for 11th on the drivers table. His consistency and nine points-paying finishes were somewhat overshadowed by a terrible drive in Korea and a reputation for hot-headedness. Sutil may not be the stuff of champions, but could be very effective in a competitive car, he has shown he can deliver when in good equipment.
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi impressed upon his Force India debut in 2009, when the team released Fisichella to drive for Ferrari, prompting his retention in 2010. Liuzzi delivered early in the year, but as the season went on Sutil had the better of him. Some of that can be chalked up to bad luck, but with DTM champ Paul di Resta breathing down his neck, Liuzzi may be feeling a bit vulnerable.

Feb. 10, 2010 - Jerez, Spain - Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM03 in the garage, during Formula One Testing.


A look ahead: Many questions must be answered for 2011. Can Force India recover from the loss of Key, as well as the chief designer and head aerodynamicist? That is a tall order in an increasingly competitive midfield. Williams will be strong, Sauber will likely improve, and Team Lotus will be looking to move up now that it will have Renault engines and Red Bull gearboxes. Neither driver has been confirmed, though it seems a safe bet Sutil will be retained. With its Mercedes package and all the stars aligned, Force India could be best of the rest, still, it is not hard to envision a slide backward next season for Vijay Mallya’s squad. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 eval: BMW Sauber

Jan. 31, 2010 - (L to R): Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) BMW Sauber with Peter Sauber (SUI) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal and Kamui Kobayashi.


Synopsis: When Peter Sauber sold his team to BMW, he thought he was securing the future of the team for his employees. Little could he predict he’d be back to save the team from extinction just a few short years later, but save it he did, teaming up once again with Ferrari power.

Points: 44

Highlight: Several drives by Kamui Kobayashi are worth noting, including a strong home race at Suzuka. But his drive in Valencia, where he ran as high a fourth, and after pitting finished seventh by overtaking Fernando Alonso and Sébastien Buemi, was a turning point for the team in 2010.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - JUNE 27: Kamui Kobayashi of Japan and BMW Sauber drives during the European Formula One Grand Prix at the Valencia Street Circuit on July 27, 2010, in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)


Lowlight: The once proud Sauber team teetered on the brink with no guarantee of an entry after BMW’s attempt to sell it to Qadbak Investments Limited fell through, even after Sauber moved to repurchase the team. Once on the grid, early results were disappointing, but the typically strong organization began to see success as the season progressed.

Drivers:

May 12, 2010 - Monte Carlo, Monaco - BMW Sauber drivers PEDRO DE LA ROSA and KAMUI KOBAYASHI with engineer at the Formula One World Championship Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day.


  • Kamui Kobayashi impressed in his 2009 Toyota debut, but looked to be on the outside looking after the automaker’s withdraw until Sauber threw him a lifeline. After retiring in five of his first six races in 2010, he suffered only three more for the rest of the season. He finished in the points eight times, including his impressive drives in Japan and Valencia, and a season-best sixth at Silverstone. Murray Walker call’s him Japan’s best yet, and it is hard to disagree.
  • Pedro de la Rosa sat a long time as a tester to return to a race drive, but found himself consistently outpaced by his younger teammate throughout his term. His best finish, and only points of the season, came in Hungary where he finished seventh. He was replaced by Nick Heidfeld from Singapore on.
  • Nick Heidfeld was well travelled in 2010, starting the season with Mercedes, but was released so he could test for Pirelli. After three tests for F1’s new tire supplier, he was released so he could join Sauber for the third time in his career. He finished in the points twice, an eighth in Japan and a ninth in Korea.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 17: Sergio Perez of Mexico and Sauber F1 Team during the Young Driver Testing at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 17, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)
A look ahead: Sauber announced a deal with Telmex and the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim, before the season ended. Sauber stresses he has not sold the team, but rather the injection of cash is a sponsorship agreement. Whatever it may be, it should be good for a team that has proven in the past it can do more with less, now it may not have to. Sauber has traditionally utilized new technologies well, and in its independent guise has fostered strong relations with Ferrari. Kobayashi returns and will be joined by young Mexican Sergio Pérez, who impressed in the end of season young drivers test. If there are to be four challengers for the constructors title next year, it is not beyond reason to think the team could finish in fifth as best of the rest. Should one of those frontrunners miss the mark, don’t be surprised if Sauber do even better. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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The quotable: David Coulthard

Jun. 07, 2010 - 06006982 date 06 06 2010 Copyright imago HochZwei Motorsports DTM German Touring Cars Championship 2010 Euro Speedway Lusatia Miriam from Germanys Next Topmodel 2010  17 David Coulthard SCO AMG Mercedes C Class 2008 xHOCHxZWEIx motor aviation DTM Lausitzring Klettwitz Lusatia Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd German Touring Car Masters motor aviation Engine DTM German Touring Car Championship Championship Championship Edge scene Side Issue Rand motive partner02.


"I've always made it very clear that I've had my career in Formula 1, and this is just something else for me to enjoy. I'm not going to sit here and demand a new car just because of my past achievements. Obviously, I take this seriously and I'd love to be in a winning car, but there are drivers out there at the moment who would be far more deserving of it than me."

- David Coulthard on DTM

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FIA releases 2011 entry list

Mar 14, 2010 - Sakhir, Bahrain - Red Bull driver SEBASTIAN VETTEL in the lead at the Formula One Grand Prix in Sakhir, Bahrain.


Notable: Sauber is officially Sauber F1 Team, Lotus is recognized as "Team Lotus" and Virgin now has "Marussia" added. Among drivers, there are quite a few empty seats, including the number twos at Renault and Williams, as well as both seats at Force India, STR, HRT and Virgin. The only new name on the list is Sauber's Sergio Perez.

Red Bull Racing
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
3. Jenson Button
4. Lewis Hamilton

Scuderia Ferrari Marboloro
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Felipe Massa

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Nico Rosberg

Renault F1 Team
9. Robert Kubica
10. TBA

AT&T Williams
11. Rubens Barrichello
12. TBA

Force India F1 Team
14. TBA
15. TBA

Sauber F1 Team
16. Kamui Kobayashi
17. Sergio Perez

Scuderia Toro Rosso
18. TBA
19. TBA

Team Lotus
20. Jarno Trulli
21. Heikki Kovalainen

HRT F1 Team
22. TBA
23. TBA

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

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

2010 eval: Scuderia Toro Rosso

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 01: Sebastien Buemi (top) of Switzerland and Jaime Alguersuari of Spain unveil the new Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5 at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on February 1, 2010 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)


Synopsis: A quiet year for STR as the team made the transition to building its own car as per the Concorde Agreement. Equally quiet behind the wheel, as for once there was no turmoil regarding drivers.

Points: 13

Highlight: Sébastien Buemi finished in the top 10 four times, while teammate Jaime Alguersuari did so on three occasions.

Apr. 04, 2010 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - F1 GP of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur 02.- 04. April 2010.Jaime Alguersuari (ESP), Scuderia Toro Rosso - Vitaly Petrov (RUS), Renault F1 Team ..Hasan Bratic;Koblenzerstr.3;56412 Nentershausen;Tel.:0172-2733357;.hb-press-agency@t-online.de;http://www.uptodate-bildagentur.de;.Veroeffentlichung gem. AGB - Stand 09.2006; Foto ist Honorarpflichtig zzgl. 7% Ust.;Hasan Bratic,Koblenzerstr.3,Postfach 1117,56412 Nentershausen; Steuer-Nr.: 30 807 6032 6;Finanzamt Montabaur; Nassauische Sparkasse Nentershausen; Konto 828017896, BLZ 510 500 15;SWIFT-BIC: NASS DE 55;IBAN: DE69 5105 0015 0828 0178 96; Belegexemplar erforderlich.


Lowlight: After collecting 39 points and a race win in 2008 (with now champion Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel), the last two seasons have likely been more sobering than Franz Tost would have liked.

Drivers:

Mar. 11, 2010 - Sakhir, BAHRAIN - epa02075196 Scuderia Toro Rosso teammates Swiss Formula One driver Spanish Formula One driver Jaime Alguersuari (L) and Sebastien Buemi (R) walk on paddock at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain, 11 March 2010. The Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain will take place on 14 March 2010.


  • Sébastien Buemi turned in four points-paying performances as opposed to five retirements. He had the better of his teammate through most of the season, though Alguersuari seems to have more of a buzz about him. In short, Buemi has done well, but not well enough to increase interest in him.
  • Jaime Alguersuari got his first full season under his belt after replacing Sébastien Bourdais last year. His 2010 got off to a strong start when he delivered top 10s in Malaysia and Spain, echoing his strong 2009 STR debut. But the young Spaniard would not see points again until the finale in Abu Dhabi. Alguersuari’s reputation received a boost in Australia, where he raced Michael Schumacher wheel-to-wheel and credited the seven-times world champion for “showing him the way” to drive in F1.

MONTREAL - JUNE 11: Mark Webber (L) of Australia and Red Bull Racing is seen with Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo (R) of Australia during practice for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve June 11, 2010 in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


A look ahead: Why does this team exist? When Dietrich Mateschitz bought Minardi from Paul Stoddart, the idea was to use the team as a training ground for Red Bull’s young drivers. But with car sharing out the window, Mateschitz’s investment in Faenza has increased greatly, bringing into question the value of owning the team. Indeed, STR has been on the block since 2008, according to rumors, yet there has been no sale, despite the interest of several teams to take F1’s open entry. Why? Whatever the reason, STR remains in Red Bull hands, and both Buemi and Alguersuari have been confirmed for 2011. Neither look likely to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull, but keep an eye on reserve Daniel Ricciardo, who will drive every Friday at the expense of one of the established drivers. Given this team’s history, I’d bet the farm Ricciardo will be promoted to a race seat before the end of the 2011 season, and he is the first since Vettel to show the promise of great things in this sport. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Albuquerque stuns vets at Race of Champions

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 28: Filipe Albuquerque of Portugal (right) celebrates with runner up Sebastien Loeb of Fance after winning the individual event during the second day of the race of champions event at the Esprit Arena on November 28, 2010 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)


Filipe Albuquerque took two out of three rounds of the final to defeat Sebastien Loeb and claim the Race of Champions individual crown in Dusseldorf.

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 28: Filipe Albuquerque of Portugal in action during the second day of the race of champions event at the Esprit Arena on November 28, 2010 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)


The GT racer saw off Sebastian Vettel in the semis. Heikki Kovalainen withdrew after his crash and Alain Prost was eliminated early, as were Americans Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust and Carl Edwards. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Video: Kovalainen crashes at Race of Champions

Video of Heikki Kovalainen's spectacular crash after a suspension failure on his Audi R8 at the Race of Champions. The Finn was ok.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

ROC: Vettel, Schumacher take nations title

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel won the fourth straight Nations Cup for Germany Saturday at the Race of Champions in Dusseldorf.

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 27: Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher of Germany celebrate winning the race of champions event at the Esprit Arena on November 27, 2010 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)


The pair sneaked through the group stage after Vettel fell to Americans Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana and Schumacher was edged by Bertrand Baguette. But wins in their remaining heats gave them enough of an advantage on a tie-break with Team USA's Pastrana and Carl Edwards to advance.

Formula One driver Michael Schumacher (R) drives during the Race of Champions (ROC) at the Esprit Arena in Duesseldorf November 27, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Domanski (GERMANY - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING)


A loss by Vettel in the three-race final against Jason Plato and Andy Priaulx meant the world champion had to rely on Schumacher to take the win.

Alain Prost's French team was eliminated by Britain in the semi-finals, while Heikki Kovalainen's Team Nordic was eliminated in the group stage.

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

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2010 eval: Lotus Racing

Feb. 10, 2010 - Jerez, Spain - Lotus Racing logo, during Formula One Testing.


Synopsis: The best of the new teams in 2010, led by Malaysian Tony Fernandes and featuring the much traveled Mike Gascoyne as technical boss. Known as 1Malaysia F1 Team in Malaysia, the team received a late entry into the sport after BMW Sauber left, but defied the odds by having their challenger ready for the season opener. Reliability was an issue all season, but structurally the team looks sound.

Points: 0

Highlight: Nailing down 10th in the championship, out dueling HRT and Virgin. Despite reliability questions with the gearbox, Heikki Kovalainen rattled off a string eight classified finishes to close out the season.

REFILE CORRECTING TYPO Flames and smoke are seen pouring out of the car of Lotus Formula One driver Heikki Kovalainen of Finland after it caught fire during the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay circuit September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (SINGAPORESPORT - Tags: SPORT MOTOR RACING IMAGES OF THE DAY)


Lowlight: Celebrating the team’s 500th race in June was a bit irksome. A protracted legal battle over rights to use the Lotus name with automaker Proton continues into the winter.

Drivers:

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Lotus Racing drivers Jarno Trulli (L) of Italy and Heikki Kovalainen of Finland pose with the Lotus T127 during the Lotus F1 launch at The Royal Horticultural Halls on February 12, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)


  • Some part of Heikki Kovalainen must be in shock at how quickly it all turned around. From defeating the old hands at the Race of Champions to rides with Renault and McLaren, the Finn looked to be on course to battle for a championship. Instead, he spent 2010 battling for scraps with a new team. Still, he drove a solid campaign, including a string of finishes at the end of the season and consistently bettering his teammate. Kovalainen surly would like to get back into the top 10, but with little movement on the driver front this year, looks likely to stay where he is.
  • Jarno Trulli turned in a competent season, and at 36 gives Lotus an experienced veteran presence behind the wheel. Trulli had a NASCAR test over the summer, and there are rumblings he could jump to another series, but that seems unlikely to happen. Both drivers have shown an interest in staying for 2011, saying all the right things in the press, and the team’s young drivers don’t yet look ready to push out one of the vets.

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 19: (L-R) Lotus F1 Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne and Lotus F1 Team Principal Tony Fernandes talk during winter testing at the Circuito De Jerez on February 19, 2010 in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)


A look ahead: Interviews with members of this team seem to genuinely think it is on the road to success, and it is hard not to think this team could challenge for the midfield in the next few seasons. It has the funding HRT lacks, and the commitment Virgin seems to lack. The team has addressed the reliability issues, turning to Renault power and Red Bull Technology for the gearbox. Essentially, the car will be Gascoyne’s take on the Red Bull, less the billion-gazillions of development money of the champions. Fernandes made a friendly bet with fellow airline enthusiast Richard Branson in the 2010 championship, it might not be out of line to consider making a similar bet with Vijay Mallya for 2011. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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Friday, November 26, 2010

ROC on-board

Andy Priaulx takes us for a lap on the Race of Champions stadium course.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video: Vettelheim

Via Red Bull Racing, video of World Champion Sebastian Vettel's Heppenheim homecoming.

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