Friday, April 29, 2011

Schumi vows to see out his Merc contract

Michael Schumacher insists he is not ready to throw in the towel following another difficult start to the season

A lot was expected of the seven-time World Champion when he came out of retirement in 2010 to sign a deal with Mercedes GP. However, he failed to live up to expectations last year and finished a disappointing ninth in the Drivers' Champions - 70 points behind team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Although there has been a marked improvement this year, he is still finding it difficult to match the performances of Rosberg.

There have been suggestions that Schumacher could pack it in before his contract expires in 2012, but he is having none of it.

"I will fulfil my three-year contract with Mercedes after which I will work as a representative of the team's brand," he told Germany's Bunte.

He added: "I am on a mission to take Mercedes GP to the top step of the podium. Fighting for 10th place is not always pleasant. I expect to be in a better position soon."

Although he is confident of improving, Schumacher also admits that being 42-years-old "is not the same as 25".

Source: Planet-F1

Three Ferraris for Massa

Maranello, 29 April – He celebrated his thirtieth birthday four days ago and today, Felipe Massa was able to enjoy an experience that would be amazing for most people and was even unusual for him, even though he has been a frequent visitor to Maranello for the past ten years: he drove three different Ferraris at the Fiorano track all on the same day. This came about as part of a promotional film being shot for, featuring the 458 Italia, the 458 Challenge and, of course, the 150º Italia.

“It was so much fun: I’ve never driven three Ferraris one after the other like that,” said the Brazilian driver. “After so many hours in the simulator it was nice to have a break and enjoy myself on track.”

Special guests at this promotional day were India’s Ambassador to Italy, Debabrata Saha, accompanied by his wife Homai and the Consul General, S.K. Verma who, along with some friends, were guests of Tata Consulting Service, one of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s partners.

Before being taken for a lap of the track in a 458 Italia, driven by test driver Dario Benuzzi, the Indian delegation visited the Ferrari factory where they were able to admire the new FF car.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harsh critic in Italy over Ferrari's anemic car

Italian Auto Sprint put thoroughly down all Maranello's accomplishments in their issue on Tuesday.

According to the paper 150 Italia -car's anemic aerodynamics is of such class that Ferrari only has two choices out of which one is hidious and the other one is horrible.

The hidious option is to try and catch up with the car's three months belated car project and develop it into more competitive. They say that Ferrari still only analyses their mistakes while their competitors are working fulltime making new updates to their cars.

The horrible option again would be to do what they did two years ago: stop the current car's development work and invest everything into next year. According to the paper this would be horrible for both the drivers as for the sponsors who have invested so much especially in Fernando Alonso.

– Although Red Bull would retire in the next races McLaren is also too far away to be reached by Ferrari. Ferrari has to battle with Mercedes and pray that Renault won't come cruising past them from behind, the verdict says about the current car.

Their attempt to improve their competitiveness in China didn't bring any results. Auto Sprint describes Ferrari as the red crab going backwards while the lead is improving.

As basis they compared the China-qualification from last year: Red Bull was now 0,85 and McLaren 0,55 seconds faster while the 'red crab' was 0,2 seconds slower than last year.

The magazine accuses Ferrari of making two basic mistakes. One is failing in estimation and the other one is arrogance.

The estimation went wrong when Ferrari abandoned the elastic front wing they had developed. Technical Manager Aldo Costa had admitted that they had worked with a front wing that bended more closer to the track but they gave it up because they didn't think it would have passed FIA's strictest test.

Now they are working long days in Maranello so that they could get as soon as possible a front wing that works the same way Red Bull's wing works. Yet it requires a lot of time to get it to function in a similar way because the wing changes all air flows in the car, which again requires in practice re-development of the whole chassis.

The accusation of arrogance again comes from Ferrari's decision to continue with the traditional suspension while seven other teams followed Red Bull's suspension-idea. Auto Sprint lists that the only teams who are in the same camp with Ferrari when it comes to their thinking are Hispania, Virgin and Sauber, who has to use the rear end inherited from Ferrari.

– When has some other team used Ferrari's development work the last time? It was in 2008 when Ferrari had the hole in the nose. After that nobody has even tried to copy Ferrari's ideas, Auto Sprint shoots.

According to the paper Ferrari sank down in the problems starting from year 2009 when testing was limited with a harsh hand and banned altogether during the season.

Also the problems in the windtunnel from 1988 are only highlighted. According to the paper Maranello's windtunnel is too short and everytime they test a car there they have to make artificial corrections to their calculations.

However KERS worked well in Ferrari. The paper reminds that it was KERS, which put Ferrari back in the winning strike when Räikkönen made the victoriuos pass with additional powers in Spa in 2009.

Turun Sanomat, Rooma


Courtesy: Nicole

Jense plans to end F1 career at McLaren

Jenson Button has reiterated his desire to see out his Formula One career with McLaren

The 31-year-old's three-year contract with the team expires at the end of the 2012 season, but both parties have previously indicated that they would be keen to extend the deal so that the "dream team" of Button and Lewis Hamilton remain intact for the foreseeable future.

Recent reports suggested that McLaren would be willing to spend up to £100m in order to retain their current line-up until 2017.

Button admits he is eager to remain part of the Woking-based outfit until he quits the sport.

"When I finish racing here, I won't be racing in Formula 1 anymore," Button told Autosport. "I'm very happy here. I want to enjoy my racing and I'm really enjoying my time here. I can't see any reason to be anywhere else.

"I'm driving for one of the best teams in the world. It's a position that most drivers would love to be in and I've worked very hard for it. I might be around for three years, five years... I don't know."

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh also gave the clearest indication yet that they are eager to hang onto Button's services.

"If Jenson says he is totally committed and wants to do x more years, then I suspect that we could quickly come to an agreement," Whitmarsh told Autosport. "He's a tremendous asset to the team and when we get around to that, I hope that it will be a quick and easy conversation."

Source: Planet-F1

VIPs at the FIM Motocross Grand Prix of the Netherlands

By Youthstream
Kimi Räikkönen, Sami Hyypiä and Keith Flint visited Valkenswaard during the Grand Prix of the Netherlands last weekend. Youthstream’s President Mr. Giuseppe Luongo had the opportunity to spend some time with all these celebrities and exchange some experiences on Easter Monday at Valkenswaard.

2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen entered the 2011 FIM Motocross World Championship as the team owner of the ICE1RACING Team with Toni Eriksson and Ludde Söderberg as the official riders in the MX1 and MX2 classes. Räikkönen, who is now racing the World Rally Championship and in May will enter the Nascar, decided to attend the second Grand Prix of the season to spend some time with his MX team and give some good pieces of advice to his riders. Räikkönen counts with the experience of seven times Enduro World Champion Kari Tiainen, who shares his long experienced career with his young riders developing his role as team manager.

Sami Hyypiä, football defender of Bayer Leverkusen and former player of Liverpool, with whom he won the UEFA Super Cup in 2001 and 2005 and the Champions League in 2005, also visited the Grand Prix of the Netherlands last weekend.

And Keith Flint, the singer of the well-known group Prodigy, met Mr. Giuseppe Luongo at the VIP Pit Lounge of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands on Easter Monday. The British singer admitted that he is a motorcycle fan and he enjoyed the experience of watching the best motocross of the world from the VIP Pit Lane.

Source: Motocrossmx1 - Ice One Racing

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vettel buys himself a $100,000 chopper

Sebastian Vettel poses on the chopper that will be severely modded for him by Marcus Wal

Sebastian Vettel does not strike one as an extravagant chap, but the – did splash out $100,000 on a – chopper to celebrate his 2010 Formula 1 World Championship.

Word is that Vettel has been tight-lipped about his new toy but his close mate Kimi Räikkönen, himself a chopper connoisseur, let slip that the Red Bull driver had commissioned German master motorcycle builder Marcus Walz to customise an Avalanche chopper which is 1.78 metres long and with 120 bhp on tap.

The Walz mods is likely to add another $50,000 onto the overall cost of the motorycle, but for sure it will be unique and meticulously handcrafted to Vettel’s exact requirements.

It is not the first motorcycle Walz has been commissioned by F1 stars, as he created a Ferrari inspired chopper for 2007 Formula 1 World Champion Raikkonen.

Meanwhile the hand-built chopper commissioned by Vettel will be delivered to the German, in September, during the Italian GP weekend at Monza.

Source: YallaF1

Manager outlines Räikkönen’s racing plans

Kimi Räikkönen’s current racing agenda has been outlined to this week by the Finn’s long-term manager, Steve Robertson. The 18-time Grand Prix winner is currently contesting the World Rally Championship (WRC) with ICE 1 Racing and will continue to do so while embarking on his new NASCAR ambitions.

The ex-Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari Formula 1 driver signed a deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports earlier in April to compete in the NASCAR Truck Series and Robertson has explained that, if Räikkönen’s selected races prove enjoyable throughout the season, the 31-year-old could commit himself to the sport.

"He’s got a plan for this year, so he’s doing some races this year in the trucks and also the Nationwide cars," Robertson told

"That’s happening very, very soon. Obviously he’s got a pretty heavy programme with WRC as well and he’s going to combine the both, which is not so easy to do, but that’s what he wants to do.

"But (his move to NASCAR is) with a view for possibly 2012 and 2013, but he wants to see if he enjoys it first before he makes a decision as to what he does."


Video: Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart's Track Challenge

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Driver Lewis Hamilton and NASCAR'S Tony Stewart test each other's course knowledge

Source: OfficialMcLarenVids

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Felipe! Best wishes from Montezemolo, Domenicali and Alonso

Maranello, 25 April – Today is a special one for Felipe Massa as he reaches his thirtieth birthday. There have been plenty of messages sent to our site and today we have three extra special ones from President Luca di Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali and Fernando Alonso.

Luca di Montezemolo
“Dear Felipe, I wish you all the very best for your thirtieth birthday. It’s a special day for you and also for all of us: you have been part of our family for ten years now and I know that you now live and breathe Ferrari. Your talent and your good nature mean that each and everyone of us appreciates you as a driver, but even more so as a person. Enjoy this day with your lovely family knowing that we can expect the new few weeks to be crucial for our championship chances.”

Stefano Domenicali
“Dear friend, I send you a hug of affection for your thirtieth birthday, not just from me but from all the men and women at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. We have known one another for such a long time and we have shared great moments together as well as some dramatic times and through them all, we have always been united, which is what makes our relationship special. When you arrived in Maranello you were a kid and while here, you have become a man: we still have a long road to travel together and we hope it will be full of well deserved success. A present? All of us are working flat out on it at Maranello, without pausing for breath: you know what I’m talking about…”

Fernando Alonso
“Hi Felipe and all my very best birthday wishes! You have got there a few months before me as, in July it will be my turn to turn thirty, so you’ll be able to tell me if it’s something special to reach this age. Joking apart, I want to tell you that I’m happy to be alongside you at Ferrari: I think we make up a good duo, respecting one another and working well together, in the knowledge that the interests of the team come before those of the individual. Now I hope we will soon a have a car good enough to see us fight for the top places, after which it will be down to the two of us to try and win.”


25 days to Räikkönen's big bang

Turun Sanomat 25.4 2011

Kimi Räikkönen's 'big bang' in the States and elsewhere in motorsporting world, due to his Nascar-debut will be seen in 25 days in Charlotte, North-Carolina.

Camping World Truck -serie's 7th race along with qualification will be held on Friday 20th May. Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1,5 mile long so called square oval.

On Saturday they will drive for a million dollar prize in all star Sprint Cup -race, where only the established stars in the serie have been invited to.

Räikkönen's ICE1 Racing -team will lease a car from Kyle Busch Motorsports. Kyle Busch himself won the Truck-season during the weekend in Nashville.

Nelson Piquet junior came in 2nd. It was the Brazilian's first podium on Nascar-level and his all time best result in the three main series.

So far they are still only building up Räikkönen's schedule. On top of Charlotte's races we might see Kimi in at least two Nascar-races on normal racing arenas.

Räikkönen's next WRC-rally is in Greece from where he immediately leaves to California.

Räikkönen spent the weekend with his own motocross-team as a mechanic and supporter in Holland's second race of the season. Kimi participated with enthusiasm in the maintenance of the bikes.

Mark Arnall hasn't yet made any special programs for his driver's Nascar-challenges.

– In tests Kimi drove a couple of hundred laps on an oval per day. They turn into the same direction there all the time and in theory the strain on certain muscles is different than for example in rally. The faster you go, the more harder it is on the neck muscles, Arnall thinks.

– In tests Kimi drove about 20 lap stints. I massaged the muscles in the evening. The neck was a bit stiff but I can't say if it was because of the driving strain or something else.

– Let's just wait for the first races. Then they drive 300-400 laps flat out and we will see if something special is required when it comes to the muscles. I think it's the same as it was when starting the season in a F1-car, the more you drive the better your muscles get used to it.

Arnall can't use any expertise-help since on Nascar-level the drivers don't have a personal trainer to help them.

Kaj Lindström doesn't believe that combining two very different genres would in any way mess up the performance level in either way.

– There's nothing wondrous about that. Kimi has planned his Nascar-job so that it won't interfere with our rallies. It didn't come to me as any surprise. You have to try out everything when you get the chance and they have been asking him there for so many times already, Lindström says.

– We were holding the 5th place and we lost it without the driver's mistake. A success like that rewards in a nice way between the ears and gives more trust into one's own doing in the future, Lindström praised.

Then what does Foster Gillett who lured Räikkönen to Nascar-circles expect from the Finn:

– There is a lot of challenge to come come out of the bushes in the middle of the season. Yet Kimi has so much experience of all kind of racing in all kinds of circumstances that I would believe he would feel good in Nascar-races too. I'm sure he will in a way have an advantage of driving rally after his F1-career, Gillett thinks.

– All decisions about his Nascar-continuance is completely up to Kimi, he reminds.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Video: 2011 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix Race Edit

Source: LewisWDC11

Mark Webber desperate for Red Bull to fix KERS

Mark Webber has warned Red Bull will fall off the pace quickly unless it can resolve its KERS curse

Formula One's leading team has struggled from the start of the season with the power-boosting device.

Despite either having KERS part-functioning or not working at all, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel managed to win the first two races and was second in China last week behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Webber carved his way through the field from 18th to third in perhaps his best-ever drive but says Red Bull won't be able to hold McLaren at bay for long unless its KERS issue is fixed.

"McLaren have a huge amount of experience with Mercedes from 2009 and they're doing a good job of it, and that's not an excuse," Webber said.

"It means that we have to work harder, we have to work as cleverly as we can and as fast as we can.

"Fortunately, we now have a bit of a break, so it will be a clear focus for us in terms of durability and consistency and also understanding the system.

"We have awesome guys on the case. With the limited experience we have, that's the way it is and we're still going okay in the constructors' championship, so let's regroup, get to (the next race in) Turkey and work hard on it."

Webber said the KERS problem was doing more than just slowing down Red Bull's cars.

"It's not only a performance thing but it's also incredibly disrupting in the garage. My car was rebuilt about four times this weekend," he added.

"It makes it so much harder for them in terms of making mistakes, when you open a car up and put it back together all the time, it's not easy."

Webber has yet to run a working KERS in a race this season, and Vettel has only had it part-time at the last two grands prix.

According to Vettel, the lack of KERS cost him his third win of the season in Shanghai.

Team boss Christian Horner said Red Bull would make the reliability of their KERS a priority during the three-week break to the start of the European leg of the season in Turkey next month.

Source: Herald Sun

Robert Kubica released from hospital at last

Robert Kubica has been discharged from hospital in Italy where he has been recovering for the past two months – 76 days to be exact – after his horror accident in the Ronde di Andora Rally in Italy. reported that an official announcement was made late Saturday night regarding Kubica’s discharge, “Robert Kubica is no longer the Hospital Santa Corona in Pietra Ligure.”

The Renault F1 driver had several operations since the accident, enjoying a rapid and remarkable recovery according to doctors.

The statement added, “His condition is good and the [F1] driver will begin a new phase of rehabilitation outside of the ‘hospital. Appointments are expected with the doctors who have treated and will continue to monitor the driver.”

Last week Kubica, speaking in an official capacity for the first time, said, “I am starting to feel a lot better now. My recovery is moving in the right direction: my strength and weight are increasing day on day and as a result I will leave the Santa Corona hospital very soon.”

He added, “As soon as I leave hospital, I’ll head to my home in Monaco for a short period of rest. Then I’ll move to Dr Ceccarelli‘s facilities in Italy where I will start a deep rehabilitation program and a preliminary soft training programme. The two programmes will gradually cross over based on the speed of my recovery.”

Kubica last drove a Formula 1 car on 3 February, on the final day of testing in Valencia, where he ended the fastest of all in the Renault R31.

A couple of days later, during the minor rally in Italy, he suffered the career altering accident.

Source: YallaF1

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kimi Räikkönen has promised a lift on Ferrari to Miami Vice star

The Miami Vice famous actor Philip Michael Thomas has fans in Finland.

One is Jussi Salonoja and another is the former F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen.

Ilta-Sanomat journalist Rita Tainola sat recently in the back seat of a taxi with Räikkönen and the conversation touched the Miami Vice series.

- Kimi said he likes the series because of Tubbs and thought that it would be nice to meet the man.
I picked immediately up the phone from my pocket and called Philip, Tainola tells.

- We chatted for a while and I told him that a certain F1 World Champion admires him, and I tapped the receiver on Kimi’s hand. Kimi told Philip that, if he will come to Finland one day, a Ferrari, similar to the one used in Miami Vice, will be acquired/prepared for him.

Buy this weekend edition of Ilta-Sanomat and read what Tainola thinks about the real star of this TV-series: Don Johnson.


Courtesy: luieluv

Alonso's Blog: Never give up: things can change very quickly in Formula 1

A break was much needed after such a packed start to the season. I had not been home for a month, given that I stayed out in that part of the world between Australia and Malaysia, so it’s nice to have a bit of free time with the family and close friends. Truth is there’s always something to do because you need to keep in shape, given that after this slightly longer than usual break we will face a really busy May, with three Grands Prix – Turkey, Spain and Monaco – in the space of four weeks.

It was definitely not the start of the season we were hoping for, for us and all our fans. Fifty points between the two of us is not much and we know our performance is not good enough at the moment, but we are aware that this can change very quickly. Formula 1 has always been like this: in one race you struggle to get into the top five and in the next, you’re fighting for the win. This year has been no exception to that rule: after the final test in Barcelona, everyone reckoned the McLarens were nowhere and then they always got on the podium, ending up with a win in China. At the same time, others were saying Vettel was unbeatable and then in Shanghai, we all saw how things turned out in the end. Three races are not yet enough to give a definitive judgement.

But this does not mean to say I am underestimating the seriousness of our situation, far from it. We have to work very hard to improve on every front. Success only comes when every element is operating at its best: the car, strategy, pit stops, drivers and everyone else included. I’ve stayed in touch with the engineers these past few days and I know there is no let up in the development of the car at Maranello. We have to catch up and we cannot allow ourselves to lose too much time, especially as the others won’t be twiddling their thumbs over the coming weeks. I trust in the team: I know what it’s made of and I can feel the will to fight back from everyone at Maranello. In the past I have experienced, first as an opponent and then as an insider how capable the Scuderia is of staging a comeback. I well remember when I was at Renault in 2006, that in the first part of the season I had built up a big lead but then Ferrari made such a good job of developing its cars that Schumacher staged a great fight back, overtaking me with two races remaining. Then you only have to look at last year: first in Turkey and then in England, it was suggested we should already be looking to the following year, but we did not give up and we managed to be in the fight for the title right up to the final race. It sounds like a slogan, but it’s the absolute truth: never give up in Formula 1!

If the racing season has yet to make me very happy, at least on the football front there’s been one bit of good news. I was very happy that Real Madrid won against Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey, as it’s a title that has eluded them for such a long time and it came at the end of a very closely fought game. Next up comes the Champions League semi-final, again against Barca. Whatever the outcome, it will be a truly fascinating tussle and obviously I’m hoping for a win for Mourinho’s team!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Q&A with Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica says his recovery is going well, he should leave hospital soon and he's not giving up on returning to F1...

"Hello everybody, here I am. Sorry for the delay in contacting you but I preferred to wait until the moment I could finally share some positive news with you. First of all I would like to pay a huge amount of thanks to my fans whose support has been simply incredible since my accident in Italy back in February. I have been literally submerged by letters and various gifts and objects and it seems the flow is not slowing down. I also want to thank all the people in the world of F1 who showed in various manners their concern for the difficult situation I'm in."

Q: Robert, just over 10 weeks on from your accident - how are you feeling?
RK: I am starting to feel a lot better now. My recovery is moving in the right direction: my strength and weight are increasing day on day and as a result I will leave the Santa Corona hospital very soon.

Q: When exactly will you leave the hospital?
RK: I don't have a precise date as yet but I hope to be able to leave within the next 10 days.

Q: Concerning the injury to your hand, how is the mobility now?
RK: The mobility of my hand is limited but this is pretty normal in this kind of situation, because the connected arm muscles are still very weak due to the long period of immobility. Things are definitely improving day by day.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your rehabilitation programme?
RK: As soon as I leave hospital, I'll head to my home in Monaco for a short period of rest. Then I'll move to Dr. Ceccarelli 's facilities in Italy where I will start a deep rehabilitation program and a preliminary soft training programme. The two programmes will gradually cross over based on the speed of my recovery.

Q: There's been an amazing reaction from the fans - how has the response helped your recovery?
RK: I must admit that it's been overwhelming and, yes, it's helped me a lot. I really didn't realise that quite this many fans were supporting me. I'm very flattered and I promise them that, when I'm back, I'll give them my absolute best.

Q: Have you been staying in regular touch with the team since you've been away?
RK: Yes, of course. Especially since the season started, I've been liaising with my engineers on what's been going on over race weekends. They are sending me the race reports so I can remain up to date and fully informed, as if I were there at the tracks. Eric Boullier is also in constant contact, keeping up to date with my general condition.

Q: Have you watched all the races so far this year, and what are you making of the new season and LRGP's performances so far?
RK: Yes I've watched them, and there is no doubt that it's been a strong start to the season. The potential of the car, which I already noticed in the February Valencia test, seems to be confirmed. As usual, it's now important that the development done in Enstone continues to produce consistent updates for maintaining this level of performance. The guys did a great job with this car and I'm sure they'll continue to improve.

Q: Finally, what messages would you like to pass on to your supporters in the Formula 1 world?
RK: Well, just continue to enjoy the F1 show even though I'm not there at the moment. From my side, I'll try to use my difficult experience to come back as strong as I possibly can.

Source: Lotus Renault GP - Planet-F1

Kimi Räikkönen earns more than Fernando Alonso

Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 F1 champ, made a bigger salary in 2010 than current Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso

It was Alonso that replaced Räikkönen after the 2009 F1 season. Spanish bank Santander (Alonso’s stout backer) agreed to pay Räikkönen’s full yearly salary to make way for Alonso to join Ferrari in a three-year deal.

Santander have yet to see their investment pay off as the 2010 and 2011 seasons have not produced the result they so badly crave. The 2012 season is Santander’s last chance to demonstrate shareholders some sanity in the Ferrari/Alonso move.

When deals like this are made by the largest bank of one of the most in-debt countries in Europe, it is no surprise a pan-European financial bailout is needed for the entire country of Spain. If I was one of the many unemployed in Spain I would be quite disgusted that my bank would spend $26,3m to get rid of a driver in an F1 team. Spain has an official unemployment rate of around 20%, but the official rate is much higher than this, probably close to 30% or 40%.

In 2010 Ferrari (Santander) paid $26,3m to Räikkönen to give the seat to Alonso, plus $22,7m for Alonso’s yearly salary. That’s $49m for a single seat in Ferrari for 2010 – that’s just nuts.

Courtesy: Boudica

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why happy Kimi continues to improve

While the thrilling finish to last week's Jordan Rally wrote headlines around the world, Kimi Räikkönen was delivering another solid performance at the wheel of his Ice 1 Racing Citroen DS3 WRC

For the third event in succession, Räikkönen scored championship points. While he might yet be some way from threatening the podium it was a notable achievement from a driver who could barely muster an error-free run during his debut season in 2010.

Kaj Lindström, who has co-driven Räikkönen since the ex-Formula One world champion took his first steps in rallying back in 2009, said increased experience - and confidence - is playing a huge part in the Ice Man’s upturn in form, rather than a change to his approach behind the wheel.

“It’s much better than last year because he’s finding the right way by finishing rallies without making mistakes,” said Lindstrom. “There’s no difference to what he’s doing. Rallying was a brand new experience for him when he started and there’s no short cut in this sport. It takes time to learn and after one year it’s getting easier for him.”

Lindström explained that Räikkönen is finally able to trust his pace notes, which was one of his main weaknesses last season.

“There won’t be any miracles from him just yet but his self-confidence is building because we’ve seen a big improvement in his pace notes,” said Lindstrom. “He is relying on them more and more and when that happens there are no big surprises for him on the stages.”

Asked whether Räikkönen was happy within the Citroën Racing empire, Lindström said: “The team took us in from the start and the second year is always easier in any relationship. You have to remember he had the option to go where he wanted. It’s his choice and he chose to stay with Citroën, which says it all. He’s happy and he’s definitely enjoying the WRC. He doesn’t have to drive but he does because he wants to be here. He’s very motivated.”

Source: WRC

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Massa's Blog: I hope I continue to fight at a higher level

A couple of days have passed since the Chinese Grand Prix and I am still in Shanghai attending various events in a city which I find I enjoy more every time I come here. I had a very good race on Sunday, running strongly and getting involved in a lot of fights. The result should have been a bit better than my eventual sixth place, but I was very happy with how it went and I hope I can continue to fight at a higher level for the coming races.

For sure, we need to qualify better so we can start further forward on the grid which helps in the race, even with the talk of grid position being less important this year. In China actually my grid position, sixth, was not too bad and then I gained one place immediately after the start which moved me up to fifth. Most importantly though, if you look at the pace of the car, it was good enough to allow us to fight with the leaders. That meant I had a very interesting race, being able to make up several places because effectively, the car we had in the race was completely different to the one we had the day before in qualifying. It definitely worked well, because I even led the race for a short while at one point and I held a genuine second place for quite some time. Unfortunately, those who were three stopping for tyre changes caught us up much faster than we had expected in the closing stages and, on tyres that were in much better shape than mine, they were able to get past.

It’s easy to say, having seen how the race evolved, that I should have been on a three stop rather than a two stop strategy, but in fact, I am not completely sure this would have been correct, because the main problem I had was much poorer performance than the other cars experienced on the hard Pirellis, which meant that, when these tyres were fitted, the car had a pace more similar to what we had seen in qualifying and we definitely had more problems than the others. Up until then, the car was quite competitive. People have pointed out that Webber drove a fantastic race, which involved three pit stops, but you have to accept that, because he failed to get further than Q1 on Saturday, he had plenty of new tyres: everyone would want to be in that position, but you must remember he has a very good car, the quickest of the year so far. Nevertheless, we are always learning at this stage of the season and we should analyse everything very carefully to see if we should adopt a different approach, maybe modify our qualifying strategy to have some fresher tyres for the race. But after three Grands Prix it is still too early to say what is the best way to work with all these new rules, because in China at the weekend, you saw many different combinations of strategies and tyre useage and many of them seemed to work well. Nothing is one hundred percent clear yet and at Ferrari, we have to work out what is best for our car. It is possible that we could see very different strategies in the next few races, depending on the characteristics of the circuits.

In Shanghai, it was good for the sport of Formula 1 that Lewis won the race, so we don’t have the same car winning every time. However, we must not forget that Sebastian still finished second which is a very good result, which still keeps him in a good position for the championship. We have three weeks now during which everyone at Ferrari has to push hard to try and arrive at the next race, or more specifically the next qualifying, in a stronger position, so we can continue to take the fight to these guys. After Shanghai, we must also consider Mercedes as being part of the fight for the top places. They definitely have a quicker car than us for qualifying, but it’s not yet a match for Red Bull. But it is also true that the Red Bulls suffer more than most in a performance drop off from qualifying to the race, so this could see Mercedes continuing to be very competitive now in the races.

I am now preparing to leave Shanghai for home in Monaco. On Monday, I attended an event for a personal sponsor, Richard Mille who manufacture watches and in the evening I was at a dinner for Ferrari owners. Then before flying home, on Tuesday morning I was at the Shanghai Motor Show, making an appearance on the Ferrari stand, doing some press interviews and unveiling the Ferrari FF, the recently launched four wheel drive car, seen for the first time now in China. I am looking forward to this slightly longer than usual break at home before heading for Istanbul and I will be following very carefully the work going on at Maranello during this period.


Lewis: Now for the downforce package

Lewis Hamilton has identified the MP4-26's downforce package as the next area that McLaren need to improve on if they want to match Red Bull consistently

After enduring a mediocre pre-season during which they struggled to match Virgin and Lotus in terms of reliability let alone Red Bull and Ferrari, the Woking team have managed to turn things around in the space of a month. Hamilton and Jenson Button picked up second-place finishes in Melbourne and Malaysia respectively and the former added the cherry on the cake with victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Their ability to haul in Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, who looked to be untouchable in pre-season, has been impressive and Hamilton feels they could knock more time off the Milton Keynes team's pace if they improve their downforce package.

"We are definitely the second quickest team and behind Red Bull," he told Reuters. "We are the only ones really applying pressure but you can see Mercedes are catching up and Ferrari are still quite competitive. We have really got to just keep moving forwards and we can't let the ball really drop.

"I think the next step is making a step on our downforce package because the Red Bulls definitely have quite a bit more downforce than us. They've got over half a second's worth of downforce on their car than we do which I think we can catch. Then we will really have a winning car."

As for winning so early in the season after their poor performance during winter testing, the 26-year-old admits he never thought he'd be on the top step of the podium after just three races.

"If you really, really knew how bad the car was behaving in the winter... you would get to 10 laps if you were lucky," he is quoted in The Guardian.

"The reliability was a disaster. While we were being quite cool about it, it was worrying for sure. Then they pushed very hard and in the space of two weeks it was incredible what they were able to bring to Australia. We worked so hard. Our desire to win is huge.

"It still feels absolutely amazing to have a car beneath us that can compete. We've still got some way to go to close the gap to the Red Bulls but we had the better strategy in China and were able to execute it really well. The team will keep on pushing as hard as ever as we head into the European season."

Source: Planet-F1

Massa at the Shanghai Motor Show

Shanghai, 19 April – Another day revolving around four wheels in China for Felipe Massa. However, this time the only Formula 1 car involved was the F60 which was definitely at its eye-catching best on the Ferrari stand at the Shanghai Motor Show, which got underway with the press day today.

Felipe took part in the presentation of the new FF on the Chinese market, when it was revealed to the accredited media by the Managing Director of the Prancing Horse company, Amedeo Felisa. “The FF is fantastic, a perfect combination of sporty performance and comfort,” said the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. “It is also ideal for a family, like mine for example, because there is so much space for everything. I drove it at Maranello and I was impressed with the technology that’s crammed into the car and the all-wheel drive system is really incredible.”

Felipe was able to have a look round the Show, visiting the Fiat stand where the 500 was also making its debut in China and calling in at Maserati. “It was good to see how much interest the Chinese show in the world of motoring and the passion they have for our marque, even away from the track environment that’s home to the Formula 1 cars.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Video: Lewis Hamilton says start was key to victory in China

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton hails his race strategy after claiming his first victory of the 2011 season in a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix

Source: FiftyBuckss

Hamilton: That was one of the best

Lewis Hamilton has hailed the Chinese GP as "one of the best races I've experienced" after claiming his first victory of 2011

What maked the win sweeter for Hamilton and McLaren is the fact that it put an end to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's early-season dominance after the German won in Australia and Malaysia.

Starting P3 on the grid, Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button both beat Vettel off the line.

The defending World Champion hit back in the first two rounds of pit stops to reclaim the lead, but Hamilton had the last laugh as the decision to pit for a third time paid dividends when his fresher rubber allowed him to pass Vettel with four laps to go.

Hamilton says everything fell into place once the race got underway.

"I am absolutely overwhelmed," said the McLaren driver. "It feels like a long time since I was sitting here. I am proud and grateful for all the hard work I have put in.

"I will continue to push and looking forward to many more like this."

He added: "I think today the strategy that we came up with definitely helped

"My new option tyres seemed to last longer. The pit stops were fantastic. The car felt great and I was trying to nurse my tyres while picking up pace.

"It was one of the best races I've experienced. It feels amazing to be able to bring home a victory for the guys in the factory."

The 26-year-old nearly failed to make it to his P3 slot on the grid after a fuel line came loose before the start of the race. That resulted in a mad scramble to fix the problem. Even though he was able to line up in position on the grid, his mechanics were still working on the car moments before the formation lap.

Hamilton, though, insists he was never worried.

"I don't think worried was coming into my thoughts," he said. "I'm not sure what went on, but we took a lot of bodywork off. We knew there was six minutes to go and then with two minutes fortunately everything came together very quickly.

"But of course for me it is important to stay as calm as possible as that reflects on the guys in the garage. They got the car out which is the most important thing."

Now that McLaren have managed to overhaul Red Bull during a race, the next target will be to catch up with Vettel in qualifying.

"I think obviously we still have a long road ahead of us," Hamilton said.

"We are working very hard to close the gap. In race pace we are quite similar, but in qualifying we still have a lot of work to do."

Source: Planet-F1

Alonso: Car is just too slow

Fernando Alonso insists he wasn't undone by his strategy in China. Rather, he was undone by his slow car

The Spaniard started the Chinese GP fifth on the grid but lost out to his team-mate Felipe Massa off the line. And by the end of the 56 laps, during which Ferrari deployed a two-stop strategy for both drivers, he was down in P7, one place behind his team-mate.

However, the Spaniard says it wasn't Ferrari's decision to go with a two-stopper, when a three-stop proved to be the better option, that cost him.

"We'll see now which one was the best," he told Autosport.

"It's very easy to choose the strategy when you have the fastest car and it's very hard when you are slow. (Mark) Webber today showed qualifying is not very important.

"The most important thing is to have a good tyre degradation and a good strategy, and this year we can overtake. As I say, the easiest thing is to have a quick car, like Red Bull, you pit three, two, one times and you end up on the podium.

"We need to improve the car above everything. I don't think it would have changed much. We were much slower than the cars we had in front so we would ended up with a similar result."

The double World Champ also denied that he had a problem with his car in the closing stages of the race, saying once again the only problem is that the car is too slow.

"No, we didn't have any particular problems. We just weren't fast at any point during the race and we kept on losing positions little by little.

"Then we opted to go for two stops so it looked like we were in a good position during some points of the race and others where they were flying like bullets from behind. We had to try to hold on and finish the race in whatever position."

Source: Planet-F1

Video: Mixed emotions for Sebastian Vettel after Chinese GP 2011

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel remains happy despite not winning for the first time in 2011 after finishing second in China and talks about his first pit stop when McLaren's Jenson Button stopped in his box

Source: FiftyBuckss

Photos: Lewis Hamilton the winner of Chinese GP 2011

Lewis Hamilton in his first victory in the 2011 season at Chinese Grand Prix


Webber relishing Vettel's loss

Mark Webber may not have won the Chinese GP, however, he was one of the happiest guys around as his team-mate Sebastian Vettel also didn't win

Vettel claimed dominant wins in Australia and Malaysia prompting some to question whether F1 should just gift him the title right now.

After taking pole in China, it appeared as if it was going to be another Vettel victory.

However, the German lost out to McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who used his fresher rubber to pass the reigning World Champ on lap 52, taking the win.

Surprisingly, the man who was happy to see Vettel lose was his own Red Bull team-mate.

"Congratulations to Lewis. It was good that someone finally... of course Seb is in the same team, but he's been on a phenomenal run and we're all here together fighting for victories," said the Aussie.

"Shame McLaren won in a way, but also we can't let Seb get too far away. It was a good day for the racing, I think, and a good day for us in terms of points for the team."

As for his own grand prix, Webber fought back from a dismal P18 in qualifying to finish on the podium, slicing past the Ferraris, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button in the final ten laps thanks to his newer tyres.

"It was an interesting GP, we decided to start on the prime hard tyre. We know it was not the more desired tyre. We got that out of the way, and it was quite tricky. It was not easy to come back with those guys.

"But I got the car back and we really started from there. To still see P17 on board after 15 laps [was hard], then I felt comfortable with car, and I had a few sets of tyres left after qualifying - so maybe the best bet is not to take part in qualifying and go from there!

"Jokes aside, great job this weekend, the guys haven't given up - it is a drive for everyone at the factory."

Source: Planet-F1

Vettel: Nothing I could do to stop Lewis

Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull must learn from the Chinese GP after they were out-strategised by McLaren for the victory

Having lost out to both McLarens off the start-line, Red Bull opted to run Vettel on a two-stop strategy, which, given that he was leading with ten laps remaining, appeared to be the right call.

However, with fresher tyres thanks to his three-stopper, Lewis Hamilton came charging towards Vettel and easily took first place and the race victory off the German.

"We probably tried too hard staying on two stops," Vettel later admitted.

"The middle stint should have been longer, but then you find yourself on the hard tyre and I saw Lewis coming closer and closer. There was no point, I tried to defend as much as I could without losing too much time.

"We made a couple of mistakes and we had some problems, but still we finished second so I am very happy for that.

"Congratulations to Lewis and McLaren - it shows that one race when you try something a bit different, you make mistakes. It is natural and there is someone else to beat you.

"We learned a lot today. I am the only one on two stops here (on the podium) so surely something to look into tonight."

Vettel was joined on the podium by his team-mate Mark Webber, who put his fresher tyres to good use to overtake the second McLaren of Jenson Button.

However, Button did offer the one comical moment of the grand prix when he mistakenly pulled into Vettel's pit box when he came in to change tyres.

"It was quite a surprise - Jenson in front of me went into my garage," Vettel said. "We had something similar with STR, I don't know what attracts people to stop in our garage... The guys kept their heads cool, we came out in the lead."

Source: Planet-F1

Chinese GP: Lewis Ends Seb's Dominance

Lewis Hamilton and McLaren overcame a pre-race wobble to end Sebastian Vettel's dominance with a superb Chinese Grand Prix victory

Hamilton's mechanics were frantically repairing a fuel leak on his car before the start of the race, but their hard work paid off as he finished ahead of Vettel.

The German's Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber put in a sensational performance to claim the final podium position.

The Woking-based team made the dream start as both their drivers overtook Vettel at the first corner. Vettel hit back in the middle stages of the race, but ultimately the pit stop strategy cost him dearly.

The two McLaren drivers, Vettel, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg all led the race at one stage, but Red Bull's decision to put Vettel on a two-stopper saw him drop to P2 as Hamilton on a fresher set of rubbers overtook him on lap 52.

Webber, who started 18th on the grid, charged up the field pretty much the whole afternoon and he was rewarded with a P3 after overtaking Button on the penultimate lap.

Mercedes claimed their best result of the weekend as Rosberg hung onto P5 with Massa and Fernando Alonso fifth and sixth.

01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:36:58.226

02. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +5.198
03. Mark Webber Red Bull +7.555
04. Jenson Button McLaren +10.000
05. Nico Rosberg Mercedes Grand Prix +13.448
06. Felipe Massa Ferrari +15.840
07. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +30.622
08. Michael Schumacher Mercedes Grand Prix +31.026
09. Vitaly Petrov Renault +57.404
10. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber +1:03.273
11. Paul di Resta Force India +1:08.757
12. Nick Heidfeld Renault +1:12.739
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams +1:30.189
14. Sebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso +1:30.671
15. Adrian Sutil Force India +1 Lap
16. Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus +1 Lap
17. Sergio Perez Sauber +1 Lap
18. Pastor Maldonado Williams +1 Lap
19. Jarno Trulli Team Lotus +1 Lap
20. Jerome d' Ambrosio Virgin Racing +2 Laps
21. Timo Glock Virgin Racing +2 Laps
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT F1 Team +2 Laps
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT F1 Team +2 Laps

Did not finish

24. Jaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso +47 Laps

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Kimi Jordan Rally preview in Finnish

Okay, so I went to drive a NASCAR-test. It was completely super awesome. That serie is a completely different world and everything is new for us who are used to drive elsewhere. It's interesting and challenging to go there.

But now we are driving rally again. It is after all 'our thing' at the moment.

Jordan is one of the most trickiest gravel rallies. We were here last year so we have some kind of understanding over what we can expect this weekend. So far being in the same rally for the second time has helped us and it's 100% sure that we have an advantage of it in Jordan too.

I have a pleasant image from Portugal's gravel. Once we recovered from *** No swearing *** up the setups - the whole front of the car was too high - the car felt good in the final games.

It's going to be exciting to see how it goes now. This rally is as challenging as challenging can be. The roads are hard gravel and loose sand. The weather is quite warm too. You don't seem to find any focusing points from the terrain. Fortunately I have learned to make and understand notes better and better all the time. They are really important in this rally.

They have warfare going on nearby but it's peaceful in Jordan. We all wish that the rally could be pulled through without any incidents.

Our goal is once again to get through the route without making any bad blunders. Last time we came in 8th in Jordan. They were our first points.

We are now going there to see if we can improve our position. It's going to be a tough twist since the group is so even at this point.


Courtesy: Nicole