Monday, February 28, 2011

The Spanish press chase Fernando…in karts! Santander sponsors the Ferrari Driver Academy

When Fernando Alonso makes a public appearance in Spain, it always draws plenty of attention in the media: just look at the tens of thousands of spectators who packed the grandstands in Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona during the winter test sessions and the big crowd of journalists who headed for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro hospitality unit for the press meetings which took place on every day of track preparation for the World Championship. Today, the Iberian press, radio and television finally got the chance to see how they really measured up against Fernando in the arena that the man from Oviedo likes best, namely the track. The opportunity arose thanks to the Santander Bank, one of the Scuderia’s main sponsors, who took over Carlos Sainz’s karting facility in Madrid, organising an event in collaboration with the Spanish Automobile Federation. Fernando was the guest of honour, along with Santander’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Juan Manuel Cendoya and the President of the Federation, Carlos Gracia.

For the record, the “La Sexta” television channel took a clean sweep of the podium places, with Alvaro Garcia in first place, Antonio Lobato second and Jacobo Vega third, with Fernando not classified…

The event was also the scene of an announcement that the Bank is now a partner of the Ferrari Driver Academy, as well as supporting the Spanish karting championship for a three year period from 2011 to 2013. In recognition of the agreement, a very young Spanish karter, Victor Colome, winner of the 2010 Beca Santander Jovenes Promesas, is currently taking part, along with other drivers from the Ferrari Academy, in a course, being held at Maranello.


Alonso in Madrid: “We won’t know where Ferrari stands until Melbourne”

During the event organised by the Santander Bank in Madrid, Fernando Alonso obviously spoke at length about the weeks of preparation prior to the start of the World Championship, although he repeated much of what he had already said at the tests. “We will only really know where we stand compared to the others when we are in Melbourne,” said the Spanish driver. “At the moment, I am happy because we proved to have a reliable car. If all goes to plan, we will be in the group of teams capable of fighting for the title, along with Red Bull the reigning champions, McLaren, Mercedes and also Renault, who had already made a step forward towards the end of last season. Even Toro Rosso has made significant progress.”

As usual, tyres were centre stage. “From what we have seen so far, degradation is very significant, which means we will have races with lots of pit stops,” continued Fernando. “I’m not keen on that because I think this increased uncertainty does not favour the strongest teams: it’s as if in football, it was decided to have a penalty per team each half hour in which case Barcelona and Real Madrid would not be jumping for joy. However, the situation is the same for everyone: it will be important to be fastest because I don’t think we can make one stop less than our main rivals.”


Sunday, February 27, 2011

FIA president Todt visits recovering Kubica

On Saturday Robert Kubica was visited at the Santa Corona Hospital by FIA president Jean Todt.

Todt is one of several high profile Formula 1 related personalities who have been to see Kubica in Italy. The Pole is on the road to recovery after his horror accident during a club rally earlier this month.

Todt did not speak to media after his visit.

Meanwhile reports in Italy suggest that Kubica’s psychological state and physical condition are good.

His manager Daniele Morelli has also indicated that he is optimistic of a full recovery, however has called for the Lotus-Renault driver’s privacy to be respected as he starts his rehabilitation.

Kubica’s room is protected by security guards and cameras to ensure that he not be disturbed by fans, media and other patients.
Source: YallaF1

Hamilton to drive NASCAR at Watkins Glen

Lewis Hamilton is set to drive a premier Sprint Cup NASCAR for the first time later in 2011.

American sports network ESPN reports that the McLaren driver will swap his formula one car for Tony Stewart’s Chevrolet.

The exhibition, organised by mutual sponsor Mobil 1, is set to take place some time in the summer at the famous Watkins Glen road course in New York.

The car provided by McLaren for the swap will be the British team’s 2010 model MP4-25, the report said.

Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning confirmed the report.

Source: Nextgen

'Alonso wanted to sabotage Hamilton's car'

Any biography about Bernie Ecclestone is bound to come with a few surprises, the latest being that Fernando Alonso allegedly tried to sabotage Lewis Hamilton

The acrimonious relationship between the two during their year together at McLaren in 2007 is well documented. The duo not only fought on the track but also off it.

Following qualifying for the Hungarian GP, Alonso was stripped of his pole position for blocking Hamilton in the pits during qualifying, preventing the then-rookie from challenging for pole position.

Added that, there was the Stepneygate spy scandal where McLaren received secret technical information about Ferrari's 2007 challenger.

The scandal reportedly came to light when Alonso threatened to report team boss Ron Dennis to the FIA if he was not handed number one driver status.

But it now appears that those were not the only controversies during the Spaniard's time at McLaren.

According to The Star, Tom Bowers' recently published biography "No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone", claims that Alonso asked Dennis to sabotage Hamilton.

The book alleges that, hours before the start of that tension-fraught 2007 Hungarian GP, Alonso approached Dennis, telling him to short-fuel Hamilton's McLaren so that the Brit would run out of fuel and fail to finish the grand prix.

And although Hamilton and Alonso have insisted in recent months that they have buried the hatchet, these claims may spark yet another war between the two World Champions.

Source: Planet-F1

Video: Kimi Räikkönen Driver Profile WRC

Courtesy: F1ARAB

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Vettel tips Massa to bounce back

Although Sebastian Vettel has backed Fernando Alonso to be his main rival this season, the German reckons Felipe Massa could also pose a threat

Alonso led Ferrari's title challenge in 2010, his first season partnering Massa the Scuderia. However, he fell short, losing the title by four points to Vettel in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Massa, in contrast to his team-mate's performances, struggled after appearing to lose motivation in the wake of Ferrari's team order debacle. He finished the campaign 6th in the standings on 144 points, 108 points behind Alonso.

Vettel, though, reckons the Brazilian could bounce back this season, although he's not the only driver the Red Bull racer is tipping to succeed.

"Alonso for sure, and Hamilton is without question one of the best drivers," Vettel told Sport Bild when asked about his main rivals.

"Massa didn't have a good season (last year) but do not underestimate him; it's not so long ago that he was really strong.

"Schumacher's history is too great to write him off as well. I think neither of them have forgotten how to drive, and Nico Rosberg has also showed us his strength."

Source: Planet-F1

Brawn reveals: Merc W02 is running hot

Mercedes GP team boss Ross Brawn has revealed that a "cooling problem" has hampered his team's progress in pre-season testing

In 11 days of pre-season testing, Mercedes GP's W02 has proven to be one of the most inconsistent 2011 challengers.

The car has shown signs of pace with Nico Rosberg setting the second fastest time at the recent Barcelona test while Auto Moto und Sport claims Merc GP had the "number one top speed" at the Spanish track.

The drivers, though, have struggled to put in consistent lap times, prompting rivals to suggest that Mercedes GP are lagging behind the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.

"It's a fair statement," was Brawn's response when asked by his team's official website whether he is worried that they are behind their rivals.

"We are well aware of the pace of our current car, the distance to the current frontrunners and the reasons for this, which include the compromises brought about by our cooling issues.

"Our intention was always to launch the car in a fairly basic specification to allow more time to focus on the upgrade package. This inevitably means that we look further off the pace than people might expect.

"Knowing all of the facts, I am comfortable with our current position and the developments that we have to come."

Brawn added that the solution the team came up with to the cooling problem had a negative impact on their current car's pace. However, he fully expects the situation to be resolved when they introduce their updated package.

"The biggest challenge for us so far has been a cooling problem.

"The short-term modifications that we made to the launch-specification car cost a reasonable amount of performance.

"The solution has been incorporated into the bodywork design for our upgrade package and will recover that performance before the first race."

As for the W02's reliability, which has caused a few frustrating moments for Brawn and his drivers, he said: "You naturally expect to experience faults with a new car and fortunately we've had relatively few of a 'car-stopping' nature so the impact on our programme has not been significant.

"Our mileage has been good, we've covered 4,300kms over the three tests to date and, of course, the more mileage you can achieve, the more opportunities there are to identify any issues and resolve them before the season gets underway."

Source: Planet-F1

Kimi Räikkönen Wetten Dass Show 2005

The show is from the 15.5.2005, it was a simulcast and the theater is located in Turkey. The Moderator is Thomas Gottschalk. The other guests are Viktoria and Heiner Lauterbach (Actors), Peter Maffay (a German singer), Erkan and Stefan (Comedians) and Paris Hilton. The show is in German language, so I made a translation from the main part with Kimi: Before Kimi comes in, Thomas Gottschalk says:

In the Formula 1 cars he is one of the biggest stars of our time, during interviews he is a little bit uncommunicative, let´s see if we hear something from him today, otherwise we just have a look at him. To have a little bit pep, we gave him a warm-up lap and he should be on the way already. So when he will see him in a moment, the formula 1 fans immediately know that he isn´t indeed here with his official car, but we put his silver-arrow directly in front of our arena, and here he comes and now we can also see the wonderful theater here in Aspendos. We all have been very happy when we watched the last race on Sunday, because he stayed espically for us, from the beginning to the end on Position 1, of course all Formula One fans know about whom we talk, here he is, the new pride of Mercedes, winner of the last week in Barcelona, here he is, welcome Kimi Räikkönen!

Question 1: Yea, Iceman is his Nickname, but today he said he will defrost, but I know it´s not easy for you, so what is the bigger challenge for you, rushing with 300 km/h on the asphalt or sitting in an entertainment show with thousands of people?

-Kimi: I think so for me the second one is the most difficult because to drive fast on the circuit is just something like normal for me, I do it almost every time, so it´s not the absolutely perfect place for me, but I am happy to be here, that I am present this evening.

Question 2: You see, the Germans embed you in their hearts, maybe it´s a little bit because of the car you drive and of course we all have waited for the last Sunday and we are glad to have sitting here a Champion, so do you have the feeling that the knot, which some people have seen, is cracked finally?

-Kimi: Yea, definitely I have this feeling and it´s looking like it´s going in the right way and the knot is cracked, and we also have won this race very convincingly, we have had a great week and I think, that it will be going on like this, we are fighting for the World-Championship now and hopefully we will win.

Question 3: Do you speak English or Finnish? I don´t hear it. Of course you can perfectly speak Finnish, but our translator understands English much better. It´s very interesting with the Finns, there are many, for example the colleague Häkkinen, he is a big "dancer", and the Finn himself is normally a quieter companion, although on the F1-track you are like a flamenco-dancer!

-Kimi: I think so, we are in fact very fast, we are indeed a small country, but we have some really good race-drivers, but not only in F1, also in other sports, Rally for example, there we are actually very good. I don´t know why this is like that, perhaps something special in us ,in our character. Of course it´s good for our country.

Question 4: The whole F1 is thankful to you now, excepting Michael Schumacher. Do you still give him a chance?

-Kimi: Hopefully not! I have to say that very selfish.

Question 5: Oh oh, he has to think so, every different his racing team don´t want to hear from him. But now a neutrally question, there will be a F1-track in Turkey, does it make for you as a driver any difference where you are driving or has every Track it´s own character?

-Kimi: Well, every track is different and has it´s own character, but in which country we drive is no preference. Of course it´s nice to drive there you have already been, but a new track is always interesting. It´s nice to see new tracks and visit new countries and I am looking forward to come here and drive races. For me this is the first time in Turkey and it seems to be very nice here.

Question 6: Your brother is also a talented race-driver, obviously like in the Schumi-Family. Could it be that this racing talent is in the genes?

-Kimi: Maybe yes. It´s going well for him, but he is more a family-person and doesn´t drive so many races in the moment Maybe there is something special in the family, but of course we are not comparable to the Schumacher brothers.

Question 7: What dip to you when you are thinking on the 31th of July, your wedding-day or the race? It´s on the same day.

-Kimi: Ah, this year is both, I hope I will have a good day on the circuit and a beautiful day after it, too.

Gottschalk: So he is going to drive a little bit faster, that he is soon back and have time for his wife!

Now Kimi had to decide if the lorry-driver is able to hold his bet, Kimi said "Yes, he can do that" but (un)fortunately the lorry driver lost his bet and Kimi had to blow up water-wings for the children.

Courtesy: Essi

Friday, February 25, 2011

WRC Face to Face 2010 Book: Kimi Räikkönen

WRC Face to Face 2010 Book!

Courtesy: sleenster

Vettel: Schumi can finish second to my first

Sebastian Vettel says compatriot Michael Schumacher is still his role model and has backed the Formula One legend to return to form this season

"I always see him as a role model and I think he is capable of achieving something big this season," the reigning World Champion told German motoring magazine ADAC Motorwelt.

"I hope that it will not be too big, if he is second in the 2011 Championship, that would be okay for me," he joked.

Schumacher returned to Formula One racing in 2010 after a three-year hiatus which followed his seven World title victories.

He finished a disappointing ninth in last season's Drivers' Championship racing for Mercedes GP.

Schumacher turned 42 in January and told the magazine he is feeling "rather good" with the new season, which is set to start with the Australian GP on March 27.

"This season, I think we can claim for the podium and why not some grand prix wins," said Schumacher.

"But talk of the World title is still unrealistic."

Source: Planet-F1

Kubica: I’m facing long difficult rehabilitation

Robert Kubica insists he is “very lucky” despite recovering from horror injuries in an Italian hospital and is aware that the road to recovery will be long and hard.

The Pole has been replaced at Renault for the start of the 2011 season, and there are doubts as to whether he will return to full fitness in the future.

“There are milestones to be met, and his journey will be long,” admitted Santa Corona’s spinal unit chief Antonino Massone, according to La Stampa newspaper.

“For a month, there is the risk of infection. When a bone is exposed for 45 minutes, as it was in this case, it is attacked by bacteria and we need to treat it with antibiotics,” he said.

But he hailed the Pole as “extraordinary”, and Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli said he is a good patient “because he is a driver”.

“The doctors and physiotherapists, for him, are like the engineers at Renault; adjusting, modifying and correcting the machine for the best result.”

The Italian media report said it will be at least three months until it is known if Kubica has recovered enough functionality to drive again in the future.

“I know I’m not in good shape, but I consider myself very lucky,” Kubica said. “I am facing a long and difficult rehabilitation, but I am not worried about that.”

Source: YallaF1

It's a relief Kimi is not coming back

When Kimi Räikkönen quit Formula One to go top flight rallying, there were few feelings of regret through the paddock ranks and, indeed, a sigh of "good riddance" from some.

The glum-faced Finn's refrigerated persona and dead-pan response to most questions posed beyond the precincts of a nightclub bar after midnight where he was more relaxed endeared him to few in Formula One.

On the other hand, his transfixing ability and speed when he put his mind to it triggered widespread admiration, more especially when he captured the world crown with Ferrari in 2007 before his stardom faded under the onslaught of, first, Lewis Hamilton and then the Briton's subsequent McLaren teammate Jenson Button. But he forsook his near £30 million (Dh178 million) a year wages with the Prancing Horse legends and gave up grands prix for international rallying two years ago for a fraction of Ferrari salary.

Since then, and with mixed fortunes and some scary crashes over the rough stuff, the 31-year-old has pondered on the wisdom of his fleeing the F1 scene with spasmodic temptations for him to return. The latest, after he was wooed by Renault at the end of last year, was to be mooted for the seat left vacant by Robert Kubica's unfortunate and perhaps career-ending crash in a no-account rally in which he almost lost a hand and has suffered 24 hours of surgery since.

No interest

But Räikkönen, no doubt boosted by his encouraging eighth place in the Swedish World Rally round, has dampened any flames of hope of his comeback, a la Michael Schumacher, by insisting: "I have no interest in returning to Formula One". He left no room for doubt, no hint that he could be stalling for a big pay day or that the magic of F1 still tempts him, when he summarily dismissed the rumours even as Renault, no doubt fearful of the embarrassment of a rebuttal, plumped instead for German Nick Heidfeld.

"I do not want to talk about Formula One," stressed Citroen works driver Raikkonen, a Grand Prix winner 18 times, second twice and third once in the championship chase as well as being crowned king. "Rallying is where I want to be," he added from behind his familiarly blank face. "And it is good to be back for another season."

So that's that then. Now all of us who have ever tried to stir him to anything other than a stony-faced and cold response to our questions may breathe a sigh of relief.

Source: GulfNews

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Video: Kimi Räikkönen visit ICE1RACING


Visit from Kimi

ICE1RACING ready for Spanish Championship the next weekend – Kimi Räikkönen speeding up the training in Fuengirola

The motocross team ICE1RACING prepares for the first race of the Spanish Championship, which will be raced in Talavera near Madrid this weekend February 27th. Kimi Räikkönen took part of the training of the team in Fuengirola early this week.

The motocross team of Kimi Räikkönen, ICE1RACING opened the season ten days ago with a practise race in Alicante and is now already preparing for a new event. ”The season in Spain starts very early, since the teams are eager to test their conditions”, clarifies the team manager Kari Tiainen and continues ”here we have summer in the middle of the winter , so we need to take all the advantage out of that.”

The training center in Fuengirola, started by Kari Tiainen, has served as the training facility for many Finnish riders during the past years. ”Juniors spend their school breaks within the sport and stock good riding days before the snow melts from Finland”, says the ICE1RACING junior team leader Vesa Kytönen. Kytönen, who is also himself the world champion in enduro, works with the junior team of six young riders. ”The goal of the ICE1RACING team is to bring the sport back to the level it used to be in Finland. Training camps like this are the steps we need”, agrees Kytönen.

The owner of the team Kimi Räikkönen visited the junior team spring camp in Fuengirola early this week. ”Him being here is naturalyy a bog thing for our young riders and gives them boost”, smiles Kari Tiainen. ”Kimi enjoys riding and spends a lot of time with the riders. I’m sure he leaves something for the riders to think about on his visits.”


Ferrari with most reliable 2011 car so far

Ferrari’s new car has been the most reliable of the 2011 pre-season, according to an analysis by Auto Motor und Sport.

The German report said that the F150 already has 800 more kilometres on its odometer than its nearest competitor, Red Bull’s RB7.

"From what we have seen so far, we are in a good position," admitted Fernando Alonso, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

But Red Bull is also happy. "We have never had such a trouble-free testing season," said team boss Christian Horner.

Just 100 kilometres behind Red Bull in the pre-season reliability stakes is Mercedes, followed by Sauber and Williams.

With 1,500kms fewer than Ferrari’s 5,200km is Renault, but Nick Heidfeld is impressed with the innovative R31, particularly the KERS system.

"It’s better than with BMW," said the German, referring to his former team, "particularly with regard to the impact during braking."

Also with quite an impressive winter behind it is the Red Bull ’B’ team, Toro Rosso, ranking just seventh in the reliability ranking but crucially ahead of McLaren.

"Considering that we are still a young team, we have done a very good job with reliability," agreed Sebastien Buemi. "We have had only minor problems, and quite often it was just stoppages to be on the safe side."

In ninth place out of F1’s 12 teams is Virgin. "Compared to 2010, there is no comparison," said a satisfied Timo Glock, before joking: "We can’t have any problems with KERS because we haven’t got one!"

Force India is just tenth, ahead of Team Lotus, whose reliability was better only than the unranked HRT, who have not yet launched a 2011 car.

Lotus has switched since 2010 to Renault power and a Red Bull rear end, but Heikki Kovalainen said the biggest problem has been the diffuser.

"When you first have a blown diffuser, you pay dearly," said the Finn. "Even the bigger teams found this out last year."

Source: Nextgen

Vettel takes stock of main title challengers

Sebastian Vettel wary of his world championship rivals

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has singled out two leading challengers to his F1 title, and mentioned two more rivals that could spring a surprise.

“Alonso for sure, and Hamilton is without question one of the best drivers,” the German told Sport Bild during an interview.

But Vettel has also warned rivals and pundits against writing off 2006 Ferrari teammates Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher.

“He (Massa) didn’t have a good season but no one should underestimate him; it’s not so long ago that he was really strong,” said the 23-year-old, referring to Massa’s title challenge of 2008.

And Vettel said the same logic also applies to Schumacher who returned to F1 last year after layoff but has yet to ignite the scene in the fashion he did when racking up seven world titles.

“I think neither of them have forgotten how to drive,” he said. “Schumacher’s history is too great to write him off, and Nico Rosberg has also showed us his strength,” he added.

Vettel also said Jenson Button has unique skills that kept him in last year’s title race, and admitted that his own Red Bull teammate Mark Webber is similarly a threat.

“If our car is good enough, he (Webber) will get involved again.”

On Webber, Vettel said he and the Australian have cleared the air since their 2010 clashes, but admitted that the pair are “not necessarily on the same wavelength”.

Source: YallaF1

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Helmut Marko says Renault and Mercedes trailing

Helmut Marko has backed paddock sentiment that Red Bull and Ferrari are heading into the 2011 season as the early favourites for the title.

“Red Bull and Ferrari are at eye-level,” the energy drink-owned team’s driver consultant told Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung.

“And McLaren has the potential to catch up before the start of the season,” added Marko.

Another potential frontrunner is Renault, after Robert Kubica and then his replacement Nick Heidfeld so impressed at recent Spanish tests.

“Renault are showing they are a lot more competitive than they were last year,” Fernando Alonso said in a television interview, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

German Heidfeld, however, is not quite as confident.

“My guess is that there are still some teams ahead of us — especially Red Bull,” he is quoted by F1′s official website on Wednesday.

Red Bull’s Marko agrees: “Mercedes and Renault are not quite at the level of the top three.”

Source: YallaF1

Fernando Aonso: Of course Vettel wants to race for Ferrari!

As stories of Sebastian Vettel's desire to drive for Ferrari mount, Fernando Alonso has said the German is simply expressing a feeling all drivers have

Earlier in the month Vettel jokingly told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport that he'd fork out money drive Fernando Alonso's "red car".

"I'm happy at Red Bull but I dream of Ferrari," said the German

"I would pay a year's holiday to (Ferrari driver) Alonso to have the red car."

Alonso says he is not surprised that the 23-year-old would like to join the Scuderia.

"Vettel dreams of racing for Ferrari? All drivers have that dream. Some actually say it, but all think of it," Alonso is quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport

Shifting focus to the upcoming season, Alonso insists he is happy with the progress the team is making.

"We are in a good position, we know we still need to improve as the competition in fierce, but we are at a good stage," he explained.

"All the tests with the F150 have gone well, we are very optimistic ahead of the season opener in Australia.

"From what we have seen so far, we are in a good position. But we still need to grow because the other teams will be competitive. We keep the faith, all is proceeding well," he added.

Source: Planet-F1

Video: Test in Jerez de La Frontera

Sunday 13 and Monday 14 February some lucky guests from the Scuderia Ferrari Community attended the test session and the filming day with the Ferrari F150th Italia, meeting Felipe and Fernando!

Source: ferrariworld

Webber: Delay won't make a big difference

Mark Webber doesn't believe that the delay in the start of the F1 season will serve as a great benefit to the teams

With the Bahrain Gran Prix postponed due to unrest in the Arab nation, the start of the 2011 season will be delayed by two weeks, with the Australian GP on the 27th March will now be the season-opener.

It has been suggested that certain teams who may be struggling with the development of their 2011 challenger will benefit from the delay, but Webber thinks the difference will be negligible.

"I don't think the extra two or three weeks will make a huge difference to the championship," Webber told Reuters

"It might give someone or some teams a bit more time to get their house in order for the first race but also the guys that are in good shape are polishing and sharpening their knives pretty well.

"Everyone can benefit from a bit more time so I'm not going to read too much into that."

There has been intense speculation regarding the future of the Australian Grand Prix, with various members of the Victorian government suggesting that Melbourne should cut its losses and do away with the race.

But Webber is unfazed by the talk, instead focusing on the positives of hosting the opening race.

"That's normal stuff mate, isn't it?" the Australian said of the negative rumours.

"It always comes around each year.

"This [being the season opener] is a real great positive boost. As usual with someone's little bit of misfortune or bad luck, which is certainly the case with this one, someone receives a bit of a boost."

The 34-year-old admits that the upcoming season should be an exciting one although he's not 100% sure what to expect.

"I think every grand prix this year has a chance to be pretty interesting," he said.

"We don't know quite yet how the races are going to unfold with strategy and how the rear wing's going to work and KERS [Kinetic Energy Recovery System] and that sort of stuff.

"When you get down to the nitty gritty of actually what's going to happen on Sunday afternoon and how exciting it's going to be, we don't quite know yet," he added.

Source: Planet-F1

F1 tests confirmed for March 8 to 11

Circuit de Catalunya will host a second series of Formula One Test from 8 to 11 March, following the cancellation of the Bahrain tests and Grand Prix due to the civil disturbances in the country.

The Formula 1 Teams have decided to return to the Circuit de Catalunya facilities for their final tests, the only racetrack included in the World Championship that has hosted Formula 1 tests this preseason, and will be hosting the Spanish Grand Prix on 22 May.

The teams will be staying 4 days at the facilities in order to carry out their final tests of the preseason. The single-seaters that will be lapping from 8 to 11 March on the Circuit de Catalunya racetrack, will already include a large part of the novelties prepared for the 2011 season, which will be starting in Melbourne, Australia with the first F1 Grand Prix of the season on March 27.

Source: Nextgen

Bahrain not to be charged for cancellation

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he will not be charging the Bahrain government for its postponed 2011 season opener.

It was reported in recent days that, because it was the island Kingdom’s crown prince who actually called off the event, the more than $40 million race sanctioning fee was technically still payable to the sport.

But the Times quotes the F1 chief executive as saying: “Nobody wants to gain from this. I want to be loyal to the king because he is doing everything he can to put things right with his people. He doesn’t need people like me stabbing him in the back.”

Also to the Telegraph, 80-year-old Ecclestone played down claims he is so ruthless he will be collecting the fee even though the 2011 race may not take place.

“The fee that is normally being paid for the event is not being paid,” he insisted. “I am not charging them for a race they are not getting. Whether they are covered by their insurers for loss of revenues, ticket sales etc, I am not sure. But if anything is force majeure then that is. It is similar to if an earthquake had struck — no one could have foreseen that a month ago,” added Ecclestone.

The Briton clarified that F1 is “not insured for this sort of thing”.

“If and when it is rescheduled they will pay their usual fee,” explained Ecclestone, who denied that Bahrain pays more for the privilege of having the first race.

“There has never been an extra fee to stage the first race — or the last race for that matter. We put the calendar together to suit the sport,” he insisted.

Source: YallaF1

Villeneuve doubts Vettel ’maturity’

According to Jacques Villeneuve, one question mark surrounding F1’s new world champion Sebastian Vettel is his "psychological maturity".

"That Vettel is very quick, there is no doubt," the 1997 world champion is quoted as saying by Germany’s T-Online.

"The question has always been his psychological maturity," added the French Canadian, who last year questioned the young German’s reaction to his crash in Turkey with Mark Webber.

Vettel has since won the title, but as for his maturity, "viewing it from the outside, it’s impossible to say how this has developed", said Villeneuve, 39.

Interestingly, Villeneuve continues to back his former championship nemesis Michael Schumacher.

"In the second half of the (2010) season he was really strong," he said.

"He was criticised severely because he didn’t just blow Nico (Rosberg) away. But if he is still as hungry to win as he used to be, then he has the makings to be champion again."

Meanwhile, he is critical of the new adjustable rear wings, designed to increase overtaking.

"2010 was one of the best seasons ever," said Villeneuve, who won 11 grands prix for Williams.

"There was lots of overtaking, so I can’t understand these rule changes," he added. "It might be even easier with the rear wing, but that’s just artificial."

Source: Motorsport

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Robert Kubica 'recovering well' says his surgeon

Robert Kubica is recovering well and is psychologically "strong", according to a surgeon who has operated on him

The 26-year-old Pole has been in hospital near Genoa, Italy, since he was seriously hurt in a crash while competing in a rally on 6 February.

Dr Igor Rossello said: "The good news is there have been no complications following all the surgery he has had.

"He is doing pretty well and his condition is positive considering what he has been through."

Dr Rossello, who operated on Kubica's right hand, which was nearly severed in the crash, added: "What is very important is there is no sign of infection, which is the main concern, and he also no longer needs intensive care, so he has begun the rehabilitation process."

He added that Kubica, who finished eighth in the 2010 drivers' table, had regained "a little bit of sensitivity" in the hand and was able to slightly flex his fingers.

Kubica has undergone three operations since his car left the road in the Ronde di Andora.

In addition to the hand injury, he sustained multiple fractures to a leg and arm.

The medical team attending Kubica say he will spend at least two more weeks at the Santa Corona hospital in Petra Ligure, while he is recovering from the operations.

Kubica is expected to miss the entire 2011 season, although he told Gazzetta dello Sport last week that he was aiming to return to F1 before the end of the year.

Renault have since named his former BMW Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld as his stand-in.

"He [Kubica] is no longer in pain and his psychological condition is pretty good," added Rossello, in an interview on the Renault website.

"He's obviously keen to start the rehabilitation work as soon as possible. For the next couple of weeks he will stay here so we can monitor his condition.

"During that time there is still the possibility of infection and other complications, so he will have the dressings on his hand changed every few days."

Source: BBC Sport

Bahrain axe benefits problematic McLaren

Lewis Hamilton has admitted he is not too disappointed that the 2011 season will begin two weeks later than originally scheduled.

The early life of McLaren’s radical 2011 car, the MP4-26, has been troubled, after it debuted one test late and has so far made little impression in the reliability and performance stakes.

“We are trying to understand how the car, the tyres and all the systems work together,” 2008 world champion Hamilton is quoted by Turun Sanomat.

“We are not yet in the position to do 140 laps a day, like Webber did,” he added.

On Monday, it was finally confirmed officially that the Bahrain grand prix has been postponed until later this season due to the political situation in the island Kingdom.

“I am not too unhappy about the world championship only starting in Australia, because it gives us more time,” said Briton Hamilton.

“We have some catching up to do and not a lot of time until the season starts,” he added.

A major shareholding of Woking based McLaren is held by the Bahrain government’s Mumtalakat company.

Source: YallaF1

Video: McLaren MP4-12C - Prototype drive with Jenson Button

Source: eurocarnews

Monday, February 21, 2011

Barcelona to replace Bahrain for final test

In the wake of the postponement of the season opening Bahrain Garnd Prix, Formula 1 teams have agreed to return to Barcelona for the final test sessions on 8 to11 March.

Bahrain was set to host the final F1 test a week before the Grand Prix in the country but political unrest has put an end to these plans.

In a statement released by AT&T Williams the British team supported the Bahrain crown prince’s decision to postpone the race and also mentioned, “the team will now undertake the final winter test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya between 8 and 11 March 2011.”

Earlier it was reported that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was adamant that the teams had agreed to return to Circuit de Catalunya for the final test.

The Australian Grand Prix weekend, staring on March 25 in Melbourne, will mark the de facto start to the 2011 F1 season.

Source: YallaF1

Barcelona: Massa reigns supreme

Felipe Massa concluded the Barcelona test by setting the fastest lap time seen at the Circuit de Catalunya over the four days

The Brazilian, who put aside Sunday's slips and slides to amass 121 laps, clocked a 1:22.625, half a second up on the previous best set by Nico Rosberg on Sunday. Massa's time was posted over a two-lap qualifying-style run.

He wasn't the only driver to move to the front with a short burst as Mark Webber claimed second place with the exact same run. The Aussie, though, was 0.817s slower on his flying lap than his Ferrari rival.

Sebastien Buemi continued Toro Rosso's fine form in the STR6 as he finished the day in third place, less than a second behind Massa's Ferrari.

The Swiss driver also had the joys of another problem-free day, putting in 90 laps as the third of four pre-season tests reached its conclusion.

"Today went well and I am happy with what we achieved. We got through the entire programme we had planned and did enough laps to improve
our understanding of the various types of Pirelli tyre," said Buemi.

"Along with the two other drivers, we gathered a lot of data over the past four days here in Barcelona and it will be important to analyse everything very carefully to find the right way to move forward in terms of reliability and performance, when we tackle the final pre-season test session."

Nick Heidfeld, despite not having Renault's KERS unit on board, was fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton. The latter covered in 107 laps as McLaren put some much-needed mileage on their MP4-26.

Sixth place went to Williams rookie Pastor Maldonado, although it was by not means an easy day for the Venezuelan. He again found himself spending time in the team's garage when he came to a halt out on track in the afternoon, bringing out the red flags.

Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez were next in line ahead of Jerome D'Ambrosio, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli - the latter three all responsible for red flags.

Trulli caused the day's first stoppage when he crashed at Turn Nine. It also resulted in Team Lotus stopping their test as the team did not have all the parts needed to rebuild the car.

Trulli has already been cleared of all blame with tech boss Mike Gascoyne saying the crash was caused by a malfunction of the T128.

D'Ambrosio was responsible for the second red, stopping out on track in the morning while Schumacher caused the day's final stoppage in the last half-an-hour of testing.

It was a sharp and sudden fall back down to earth for the Mercedes GP team, who had set the pace on Sunday with Rosberg and had completed three days without any problems.

01. Massa Ferrari 1:22.625 121 laps
02. Webber Red Bull 1:23.442 + 0.817 69 laps
03. Buemi Toro Rosso 1:23.550 + 0.925 90 laps
04. Heidfeld Lotus Renault 1:23.657 + 1.032 95 laps
05. Hamilton McLaren 1:24.003 + 1.378 107 laps
06. Maldonado Williams 1:24.057 + 1.432 121 laps
07. Sutil Force India 1:24.177 + 1.552 64 laps
08. Perez Sauber 1:24.515 + 1.890 74 laps
09. D'Ambrosio Virgin 1:26.501 + 3.876 50 laps
10. Schumacher Mercedes 1:27.079 + 4.454 114 laps
11. Trulli Team Lotus 1:29.992 + 7.367 18 laps

Source: Planet-F1

It's official: Bahrain GP is postponed

Formula One will not be heading to Bahrain for the season-opening race, which will be rescheduled in light of political unrest

The F1 teams were expected to race at the Sakhir circuit on March 13th as the season got underway at the island kingdom.

However, recent political unrest, which has resulted in the deaths of protesters and hundreds more being injured, has forced the powers-that-be to concede there are more pressing matters than hosting a F1 race.

"At the present time the country's entire attention is focused on building a new national dialogue for Bahrain," Bahrain's Crown Prince - HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa

"Although Bernie Ecclestone had graciously made clear that a decision on the race was entirely Bahrain's to make and was not yet required, we felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest and leave the hosting of Bahrain's Formula 1 race to a later date.

"I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Bernie Ecclestone for his support and understanding.

"After the events of the past week, our nation's priority is on overcoming tragedy, healing divisions and rediscovering the fabric that draws this country together; reminding the world of the very best that Bahrain is capable of as a nation once again united."

Source: Planet-F1

Photos: Fernando Alonso at 61st Festival di Sanremo 2011

Gianni Morandi and Fernando Alonso attend the closing night of the 61st Italian Song Festival at Festival di Saenremo 2011


Räikkönen: there is still more to learn

Kimi Räikkönen says he still has plenty to learn despite scoring points on Rally Sweden earlier this month

Räikkönen, the 2007 Formula One world champion, finished eighth on the world championship season-opener in his ICE 1 Racing Citroën DS3 WRC alongside co-driver Kaj Lindström.

The Finn has elected to skip next week’s Rally Guanajuato Mexico but will return to the WRC on Vodafone Rally de Portugal following a test on gravel, where he says the learning process will continue.

“Before [Sweden] we had only one day for testing so obviously there is much to learn,” the 31-year-old told his official website. “While the car felt good, still the race is the race and when you get very challenging and changeable weather it is difficult.

“Every time after the rally you feel you could have gone faster. But [the] most important feeling was this time [was] I have learned more and improved from last year. Sweden was a good start for the season. The next rally for us is Portugal. Before that we have a test. Now it’s time to start working to go well on gravel too.”

As well as adjusting to Citroen’s DS3, Räikkönen said he still had to make improvements to his pace notes.

“We still have to focus more on the pace notes,” said Räikkönen, who finished 10th in last season’s final WRC standings. “There were not that many places we had it wrong but there were some, we had to change before the second pass. If you get it wrong, it’s always very tricky to keep the car on the road. It’s challenging to work with pace notes that’s for sure.

“But it was great fun to get back racing again. We didn’t have any major problems and we seemed to get closer to the frontrunners. Actually it was pretty much an easy-going rally for us in very tricky circumstances.”

Source: WRC
Courtesy: momo

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mark Webber voices Bahrain Grand Prix doubts

Red Bull's Mark Webber has expressed doubts about whether the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix should go ahead as unrest in the country continues

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport that the decision whether to hold the race on 13 March would be down to the Gulf state's crown prince.

Webber said: "When you hear of people losing their lives, this is a tragedy.

"It's probably not the best time to go there for a sporting event. They have bigger things, bigger priorities."

Protestors have re-occupied a square in the centre of Bahrain's capital Manama following the decision of the crown prince, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifah, to withdraw security forces.

In the early hours of Thursday, six people were killed as police cleared Pearl Square, firing live rounds at protestors.

The crown prince, who established the grand prix, has been charged with holding talks with opposition groups over reform in the country.

Opposition figures have said they want political reforms that will lead to a constitutional monarchy.

Some protesters have also called on King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah, the crown prince's father, to step down.

Webber, who finished third in the drivers' championship in 2010 after leading it for much of the season, is the first major F1 figure to voice concerns about whether it would be right to race in Bahrain in the circumstances.

The Australian, 35, added: "In the end the right decisions will be made. Maybe it is still the first race, maybe Melbourne is the first race, we don't know.

"It's not a big deal to be honest because there are more things than Formula 1 in Bahrain.

"They have bigger things, bigger priorities and that is what they want to work on over there, generations of issues.

"That's the most important thing for them to sort out and not to worry about Formula 1."

Earlier on Sunday, Ecclestone told BBC Sport he felt the crown prince was the right man to make the decision about whether to hold the race.

"He will decide whether it's safe for us to be there," Ecclestone said.

"I've no idea. I'm not there, so I don't know.

"We won't advise people to go unless it's safe."

The 80-year-old said a decision about the event would be made on Tuesday.

Complicating the issue is that the final pre-season test is scheduled to be held at Bahrain's Sakhir track a week before the first race, from 3-6 March.

That would mean many F1 team members being in the country for more than two weeks at a time when the situation is changing by the day.

Teams have already discussed contingency plans amid widespread expectation that the Bahrain test will be cancelled and moved to either Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, Jerez in south-west Spain or the Portimao track on the Portuguese Algarve.

Source: BBC Sports

Hamilton: 90 plus laps a big positive

With the third of the four pre-season tests almost over, Lewis Hamilton admits it was a "big positive" to get more than 90 laps to his name at Barcelona

The McLaren driver replaced his team-mate Jenson Button at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday and led the charge on the Pirelli intermediate tyres when the track was wet in the morning.

With the track drying out as the day progressed, Hamilton dropped to third place on the timesheets, finishing 0.690s behind pace-setter Nico Rosberg.

But for the McLaren driver it was mileage that was more important as his team have fallen behind their rivals after a late launch and then being hit with reliability issues.

The 2008 World Champ managed to cover 93 laps on Day Three despite a few technical problems during the morning session.

"This was a positive day: we've been focusing on our programme, trying to complete as many laps as possible, improve reliability and understand the Pirelli tyres. We're learning more and more about them every day," said Hamilton.

"We've had a few technical issues with this car, but the guys have been working incredibly to rectify them.

"To get more than 90 laps under my belt today was a big positive, and I'm looking forward to a trouble-free day tomorrow."

Source: Planet-F1