Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Teams’ Category

It was Alfa Romeo who won the first ever F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone, Ferrari won the second. Will Sunday see the Scuderia claim victory in the final race there? Never say never, but they were not as competitive in Turkey as many had imagined they would be.
Massa pits st.

However for Silverstone they have some upgrades for the car which were tested in a straight line aerodynamic test on Monday by Felipe Massa. The Brazilian was driving a new chassis, which has a lower centre of gravity and is slightly lighter than the previous one, like the chassis Raikkonen has been using for the last two races. The car is sufficiently different that it has required a new crash test.

In addition Massa tried some new parts on the car, including a new front wing and new front suspension designed to get the weight further forward and get more out of the front tyres. This should help them in qualifying, particularly.

The car also has a revised KERS system, which is lighter and one hopes, more reliable. There are also some modifications to the sidepods and wheel covers.

I saw Felipe this afternoon in London and pointed out that forecasts say it is unlikely to rain on Sunday. He was saying that with this car he would not have the difficulties in the wet he encountered last year, as this car should really get the tyres working in the wet.

Read Full Post »

This morning in Monaco there was plenty of activity around the ongoing discussions about the 2010 F1 rules and plenty of chat about what was going to happen next.

It seems to be becoming widely believed that Toyota will use this situation to make its exit from Formula 1. They were thinking about it towards the end of 2008, but there seems to be general belief among the other teams that they will go at the end of this year. BMW, which is having its worst season by far in F1, is also said to be reviewing it’s participation.

FIA president Max Mosley was making himself very available to the media and his message was that Ferrari will be staying in F1 “100% sure.” But the sport needs to fill the empty grid slots and that is the area a lot of work is going into.

It was being said that the teams and the FIA had kissed and made up and that it was all going to be sorted out by the May 29th deadline for entries, but team bosses I spoke to on the grid in Monaco sounded a not of caution. “Are you all loved up again?” I asked one, and he replied, “No, but we’re falling in love again.”

The teams say that they would like to start from the point of maintaining the 2009 regulations and go from there in terms of finding a communal way of regulating the costs down to a level around the £40 million Max Mosley wants the budget cap set at, perhaps by 2011. But by then the world will be out of recession, in all probability, and new opportunities will be out there to generate income for the teams.

Mosley, who is still determined to maintain the idea of a budget cap, said, “I can imagine we can take it through one year if possible [with the] higher figure and then go to the full cap in 2011, but that’s something under discussion. This is a possibility.”

“Ultimately, it’s going to have to be that sort of region,” he said. “Just imagine in today’s world, you go out to get sponsorship and you are just an ordinary team, so to raise 45 million Euros is a massive undertaking.

“Everybody can talk figures, well it ought to be this figure or that figure, but if a team cannot raise the money, then there is nothing they can do.”

Money is hard enough to find for the existing teams, look at the amount of sponsorship on the Brawn and they have won five races!!

It seems very hard to imagine new teams being able to raise the kind of money necessary to get into F1. But Mosley insists on new teams coming in, so discussions are centring around ways of helping new teams, with cheap engine and gearbox deals and a possible chassis lease package to allow them to run competitively at low cost to start with. It seems that the existing teams are saying that they would require the new teams to run rookie drivers on that basis.

Read Full Post »

On the official Ferrari website there is an extraordinary piece, posted today, which has a major dig at the calibre of teams lining up to join Formula 1 next season under the new budget cap rules. The tone is very disparaging.

Under the headline “Formula 1 or GP3?” the following piece appears,

“Maranello, 20th May – They couldn’t almost believe their eyes, the men at women (sic) working at Ferrari, when they read the papers this morning and found the names of the teams, declaring that they have the intention to race in Formula 1 in the next year.

Looking at the list, which leaked yesterday from Paris, you can’t find a very famous name, one of those one has to spend 400 Euros per person for a place on the grandstand at a GP (plus the expenses for the journey and the stay..). Wirth Research, Lola, USF1, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech, Campos, iSport: these are the names of the teams, which should compete in the two-tier Formula 1 wanted by Mosley. Can a World Championship with teams like them – with due respect – can have the same value as today’s Formula 1, where Ferrari, the big car manufacturers and teams, who created the history of this sport, compete? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to call it Formula GP3?”

This was posted before the Paris court rejected Ferrari’s application for an injunction against the 2010 rules, but it has certainly upped the ante. Ferrari is deliberately provoking the debate, remember on their site last week was a long piece about how “Ferrari made F1 great.”

The FIA’s statement today is as much a response to this latest posting on the Ferrari site as it is to the verdict of the Paris court,

“No competitor should place their interests above those of the sport in which they compete. The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work to ensure the wellbeing of Formula One in 2010 and beyond.”

Read Full Post »

Vijay Mallya is bobbing in the harbour on his motor yacht, Flavio Briatore will have zoomed off in his private jet, like most of the drivers but the winner of today’s Grand Prix, was on the Easyjet flight to Luton with his team, Red Bull, Force India, me and a load of sunburned, happy fans.
IMG_0014

Most of them couldn’t believe their eyes that Ross was on the same flight and he had to pose for photos with many of them. His only token bit of elitism – he paid €12 for Speedy Boarding!

Ross has always been a team player when it comes to travel. A number of times in the past when my family has been on holiday in Italy in summer I’ve cadged a lift on the Ferrari charter and Ross and Jean Todt always used to travel with the engineers and mechanics on the same plane. It’s part of the team building ethic, which also includes sending different members of the team up onto the podium, to allow them to feel that buzz and to motivate them to work hard to achieve it again.

Anyway, on the way out on Thursday morning the Easyjet plane was half full of hungover Barcelona fans on their way home after beating Chelsea in the Champions league. Ross got sat next to a guy who must have been 20 stone and who had clearly been in a bar all night.

Tonight he was on good form, relieved to have won another race and to have negotiated through all the potential little problems, surprised that Red Bull hadn’t done more with pit strategy to try to get Vettel away from Massa.

On the plane the atmosphere was good. The captain in his welcome speech congratulated the team for its success and wished them many more. Red Bull guys rolled their eyes..

Brawn has now won 11 trophies in the five races so far and Jenson Button has dropped only four points from a possible 45.

They are making it look Easy.

Read Full Post »

Felipe Massa has his tail up today, Ferrari are back in business and he knows that he has an important role in the outcome of the race, particularly at the start, where he lines up fourth on the grid.
Massa portr

Using the KERS system, which will give him an 80 horsepower boost on the run down to turn one, projections show that he should be second by the first corner, but if Button makes a poor start as he did in Bahrain and Kuala Lumpur, Massa will have him.

“It will be hard to pass in one go all three cars,” he says. “However the KERS has shown itself to be very efficient on other races. Let’s hope we get a good start and take advantage of it.”

He is clearly in the fight for a podium, which would be Ferrari’s first of the season.
“That’s the objective,” he says. “It would be a great result, if we think where we were in the first four races.

” Judging from Q2, on low fuel, I’d say that we are still a couple of tenths off (the Brawn and Red Bull cars). It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you add it up over a race it’s quite a distance. I hope that the next evolutions which hopefully we’ll have in Turkey, will close the rest of the gap, even if it might be a little bit late in the championship.”

The new car, he says, is a marked improvement in a few key areas. The main thing is that it has more downforce, but it’s also more driveable,
“It’s more stable under braking and in the fast corners you can be more aggressive with it, ” says Massa.

Read Full Post »

Both Ferrari drivers will have a major upgrade this weekend, but Kimi Raikkonen will have a new chassis which is 10kg lighter than Felipe Massa’s to accomodate him and the KERS system. Raikkonen himself is 10kg heavier than Massa, he revealed today.

Ferrari’s biggest problem has been a lack of downforce compared to the opposition. “The car is handling well, the balance is good, there’s just not enough downforce,” said Raikkonen.

The new Ferrari has detailed aerodynamic changes everywhere. The sidepods are more rounded, there is a new engine cover with new exhaust exits as well as a new floor and a new double diffuser. The engineers have had a lot of redesigning to do at the back end of the car to reposition electronics and hydraulic systems to fit in the new diffuser.

The car is expected to feature modifications to the front and rear wings. Neither driver wanted to say what the expected gain is from this package, but it will need to be a minimum of half a second to get them closer to the front of the field. “I hope we can improve more than the others so we can step forward, ” said Massa. “We have good numbers, so I hope we improve very well.”

Most teams have brought updates which should be worth between two tenths and half a second, depending on the scale of the project.

Brawn GP has its first major update of the season with a new floor and new engine cover among other modifications. Meanwhile Renault has been delivering boxes into the paddock this afternoon in a very public way. New rear wings in bubble wrap and boxes of parts were wheeled through the paddock just after lunchtime to be fitted to the cars before practice tomorrow.

With no track testing allowed during the season, this will be the first time any of the teams will be able to get a sense of what effect their updates make on the track and how much they help lap time. It’s going to be fascinating to see who’s up and who’s down.

Read Full Post »

Kimi Raikkonen will be in Regents Street, London this morning, opening the new Ferrari store. It’s a big site, I went past it yesterday and it’s full of Ferrari branded goodies.
kimi-a1

It’s amazing to think that it’s a year since Raikkonen last won a Grand Prix. He dominated the Spanish GP last season from pole, but since then he’s failed to make the top step. He would probably have won in Canada if he had not been hit in the pit lane by Lewis Hamilton and he was on target in France until his exhaust started burning a hole in the bodywork of his car.

“It was one of my best weekends with Ferrari, ” he says on the Ferrari website. “Pole, win and fastest lap. A driver never loses his taste for victory and I want to try it again as soon as possible.”

Raikkonen did a great job in Bahrain, squeezing the absolute maximum out of the Ferrari there, putting to rest any doubts about whether he still has the motivation. He was unlucky at the end not to nick fifth place off Rubens Barrichello.

There is the spectre of Alonso in the background, with well-informed Italian colleagues assuring me that an agreement is in place with the Spaniard, just as it was with Kimi for almost a year before it became public in late 2006. The deal is for 2011, but may be brought forward to 2010 if Kimi underperforms or wants out early. The president of Santander bank was very high profile in Bahrain, spending a lot of time around the Ferrari area. The Spanish bank is due to come on stream as a sponsor of Ferrari next year, having left McLaren following the failure of their relationship with Alonso.

Spain will be a important weekend for Ferrari, with the updated car expected to give them more of the kind of performance the front-runners have had so far. A quarter of the season has gone already, however.

Some Italian papers are saying that based on the performance this weekend, Ferrari will decide whether to press on with development of this car or throw more effort into 2010, as Brawn did last year. But I’m not so sure about that. For a start, the scale of the aerodynamic rule changes for next year is nothing like what it was for this year. But also team boss Stefano Domenicali pointed out after the race in Bahrain that when you are Ferrari, “You don’t write off a season, ” however badly it might be going.

Meanwhile Felipe Massa is keeping the faith. He was in Rome the other day doing a road safety campaign, following in the steps of his mentor Michael Schumacher,

“I hope things will improve, ” said Massa. “I hope we can have a different championship now. We have to keep working, things don’t come to you for free. In the team there is still a lot of faith. The team is very united.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers