Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FIA approves revised 2012 Formula 1 calendar

Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified, by unanimous decision, the revised calendar of the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship.

The calendar was been trimmed back from 21 to 20 Grands Prix.

The season will begin March 18 in Australia and finish November 25 in Brazil. The Turkish Grand Prix has been dropped. However, the Grand Prix of Bahrain returns to the calendar, and is scheduled to be held April 22.

The US Grand Prix has been moved later in the season, when temperatures should be lower.

On a final note, there are six back-to-back races: Australia and Malaysia, China and Bahrain, Germany and Hungary, Belgium and Italy, Japan and Korea and finally United States and Brazil.

The 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar is confirmed as follows:

18 March AUS Australia
25 March MYS Malaysia
15 April CHN China
22 April BAH Bahrain
13 May ESP Spain
27 May MCO Monaco
10 June CAN Canada
24 June EUR Europe (Valencia)
08 July GBR Great Britain
22 July DEU Germany (Hockenheim)
29 July HUN Hungary
02 September BEL Belgium
09 September ITA Italy
23 September SGP Singapore
07 October JPN Japan
14 October KOR Korea
28 October IND India
04 November ARE Abu Dhabi
18 November USA United States
25 November BRA Brazil

Source: Auto123

Alonso dreams of Newey designed Ferrari

Fernando Alonso has stated that he would welcome Sebastian Vettel to his Ferrari team provided the world champion brought along design guru Adrian Newey who has been responsible for penning some of the successful race cars in Formula 1 history, including the currently dominant Red Bull RB7.

Immediately after the Belgian GP, where Red Bull scored a 1-2, Alonso acknowledged, “At the moment, we must congratulate our opponents, who are doing a fantastic job.”

The Spaniard told AutoBild, “Adrian Newey is certainly the man for the decisive success.”

“My dream is to win for Ferrari. I’m sure a lot of engineers want to work for Ferrari, Newey could thus come to Ferrari,” said the Spaniard who won two world titles with Renault.

“Many drivers want to race for Ferrari, Sebastian [Vettel] is definitely welcome,” added Alonso. “If you’ve not driven for Ferrari, your career is incomplete.”

Alonso trails Vettel in the championship points standing by 102 points with seven grands prix left to run this season.

Source: YallaF1

Kimi's Column: Just cruisin’

Kimi Rally Germany review

Well, it was a rally just to cruise around. We’ve got position six and, obviously, some nice points. But it doesn’t change anything. I have no reason to be satisfied with my driving in this first WRC rally on tarmac this year.

It was our very first tarmac rally with this car. There were a few things to try. Obviously, we hoped to have dry weather, while we had not tested a single mile in the rain.

But, everything went wrong. We didn’t get it right since the beginning of the rally. There were some dark clouds coming while we started the rally, but we had to take the harder tyre while there was no data from the other options.

First special stage was still dry, but we had a spin in the third corner. After that I struggled to find the right rhytm to my driving. Then the next stage was fully wet, puddles all over the place. Then it was just a case of slipping and sliding – like the others with wrong choice of tyres in the car.

In the afternoon the roads were dry, but once we went wide and hit the fence. It was that heavy shunt, but enough to bend the door. We had to stop. I had to untie my belt and then try to shut the door. It was not possible to shut it properly, so, obviously, I had to keep it closed, but in every corner, it opened widely.

It was not nice, I can tell you now.

Then we improved on Saturday. The long stages in army area went better and better. We managed to climb a few places. But, all in all, I never had as good feeling as I had in Rally Finland for the last day.

Just a few stages went ok. But there were so many that didn’t go that well. That’s why I cannot be satisfied with this rally. At least we finished and got P6. That’s never too bad a result.

Obviously, there were a lot of punctures. We got our share of it. Obviously, we didn’t loose places because of it, but it was the most annoying moment, while the tyre got a puncture in the beginning of the power stage on Sunday.

Now we have had six rallies, finished every time and got points. I feel we have advanced since last year quite nicely. Hopefully we got some good rallies more this year. The next challenge for us is to improve in France from last year’s perfomance.

Courtesy: _TaniaS_

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Video: Tom Cruise test drives Red Bull Racing F1 car

Red Bull invited Tom Cruise to take a break from production of his new movie, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, to pilot the Red Bull Racing F1 car through Southern California's 2.5-mile (4km) Willow Springs circuit.
He reached a top speed of 181 mph (291 km/h) - just 4 mph off the top speed of his instructor and 13-time Grand Prix winner, David Coulthard

Source: RedBull

Jenson Button ready for extra year with McLaren rather than hurrying into long-term deal

Jenson Button wants McLaren to activate the one-year option they have on his services for next year rather than rush into signing a new multi-year contract to stay with the team beyond 2012

While McLaren would prefer to sign Button to a long-term deal now, rather than risk losing him in 2013, it looks as if they will run out of time before next month’s deadline for activating the option.

Both parties are clearly keen for the partnership to continue, with Button describing the weekend just gone in Belgium — where he finished third after a mistake in qualifying caused him to start the race 13th — as “probably the best weekend I have had with the team”.

“All Martin [Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal] has got to do is say ‘yes’ and I will say ‘yes’ because I want to be here next year,” Button said. “I want to fight for the championship. I am more confident now, more than I’ve ever been here. The car I really like and the direction we’ve taken with the car.”

Although the exact date of the deadline is unknown, the window for such clauses traditionally falls in September around the end of the European season and the start of the races in the Far East.

The danger for McLaren is that, with Button tied down for just one more year, he may choose to look elsewhere should the team have another dreadful start like this year’s.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber is only contracted for 2012 and the Milton Keynes-based team, homing in on a second successive world championship double, are known admirers of Button.

Ferrari, for whom Felipe Massa will also be out of contract next year, are also keen on the 2009 world champion who, like a fine wine, is maturing with age.

It is, however, unlikely McLaren will be so far off the pace at the start of next season with the technical regulations for 2012 remaining much the same as 2011 and the car basically an evolution of this year’s machine which is now very competitive.

Telegraph Sport understands that the will on both sides is to agree a long-term deal which will suit both parties.

Button will seek to cut down the number of PR days and sponsorship activities he must perform — McLaren are known to work their drivers harder than any other team — while the team, whose business model is sponsor-driven, will seek to strike the right balance between his salary and their commercial revenues. Button is believed to earn around £6 million per year at present.

Lewis Hamilton, whose McLaren contract ends at the end of 2012, and who like Button objects to the amount of PR time he is contracted to, is negotiating along similar lines.

Meanwhile, Whitmarsh has assured McLaren fans the team will continue to push and try to win the remaining seven races this year — rather than throw all their resources into 2012 — despite Red Bull’s and Sebastian Vettel’s overwhelming lead in both championships.

“The fans expect it,” Whitmarsh said. “If Ferrari or particularly McLaren say that we are going to freewheel now then I don’t think that is the right message. The fans deserve a stronger battle than that. The championship looks pretty ambitious but we have got to be positive.

“You review that emphasis all the time of course. In Belgium we had six performance modifications on the car. One of those came out of the development programme for next years’ car.

“We are always going to try and steal things form next year’s car. It is not a line you draw saying this is purely this year and on the other side of that line it is purely next year. I want the car to be quicker for the next race and the race after that. We are going to keep pushing.”

Source: The Telegraph

Monday, August 29, 2011

Video: BBC - Belgian GP - Mark Webber on stunning Fernando Alonso overtake

Belgian Grand Prix runner-up Mark Webber on the stunning overtake that took him past Ferrari's Fernando Alonso through Eau Rouge.

The Australian Red Bull driver, who signed a new contract this week, retains second place in the driver standings, 92 points behind Championship leader and Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel

Source: SixtyBuckss

Risk-averse Vettel admits Spa was 'scary'

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he was uncomfortable going into the Belgian GP with concerns over the safety of his tyres

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that heading into the unknown with tyres at the Belgian Grand Prix played against his new-found aim of minimising risks in pursuit of a second F1 championship title.

The German was 85-points clear of the field heading to Spa-Francorchamps and, knowing that he did not need to win another race in 2011 to clinch the crown, was determined not to take any unnecessary risks at one of the more formidable venues left on the schedule. However, when several of the frontrunners suffered blistering on their Pirelli tyres in qualifying, he admits that it added another, unpleasant, dimension to the race.

"We had a lot of concerns going into the race after the damage we had on the tyres from qualifying, so we weren't quite sure [what would happen]," he confirmed, "We took quite a lot of risk. We had reason to be confident that it should be fine, but you never really know and there is no-one walking up and down in the paddock giving you a guarantee.

"We didn't feel too comfortable and both of us stopped fairly early, right at the beginning of the race. The main target was to see how the tyres were after a couple of laps and to go from there. [We were] not thinking too much about the outcome but, surprisingly, the pace was very, very good in the race. I was feeling very comfortable in the car and, without too much effort in the beginning, I was able to keep up with the guys and get back into the lead.

"I think that, in that regard, [the safety car] helped us as much as it helped other people, [such as] Fernando [Alonso], who was in the lead, to give his tyres a break, which allowed him to make his set last longer. Obviously, I was able to conserve the peak of the tyre and use it a bit longer afterwards but, as I say, others gained some advantage and could cool down the tyres a bit as well.

"It was pretty scary to go around with blistering issues. It's not very comfortable, especially on the way down to Eau Rouge and then through Blanchimont, when you really look at the tyre and it doesn't look like being in great shape. You feel quite a lot of vibrations [and], if you ask anybody on the grid, we all suffered the same kind of problems. I followed Nico [Rosberg] at some stage at the end of his first stint, and he had the same problem on the front left. It's not really the idea, because it's driving into the unknown and it's not comfortable for us because, in the end, we sit in the car.

"The alternative would have been to change the set-up and start from the pit-lane. Maybe it would have been a completely different race, but we took that risk. We had some long discussions straight after qualifying, yesterday night, and this morning. Now we are sitting here, it all went well and we finished one-two, but it wasn't an easy decision to make and not an easy race, especially at the beginning, to manage.

"You are driving into the unknown. No-one has really had a lot of laps around here, in particular on Friday with the conditions, so everyone was a bit in the same boat. Those [top] ten cars in qualifying got a little bit of an idea. For some it turned out to be a problem, for others not - I saw [from] the cars I passed, people who thought they might not run into any problems had the same problems as we did, so we need to learn from that and see for the next races."

Mindful of the fact that he appeared to have jeopardised his chances of the 2010 world title when he collided with, and retired, the McLaren of Jenson Button, Vettel revealed that he was being extra careful when it came to pulling off passing moves this year, even though his early stop had dropped him down the order and behind potential title rivals Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. He was also forced to pass Button later in the race, after the Briton ran a long middle stint on the harder tyres, and Vettel confessed that he had picked his passing spot with care.

"We could get the [early] stop and not lose too much but, on the other hand, I think I was six or seven seconds in the lead at the time [the safety car appeared], so we lost the lead and lost that gap that we had," he reflected, "I don't think it made a big difference at the end as, fortunately, with the new regulations, there are very few possibilities that someone gains a big advantage.

"But, all in all, I agree with Jenson, it is good to finish the race and not to crash this year. When I came close to him, I was going to target to pass him at the long straight, not into the chicane, just to make sure.

"It was pretty busy in the beginning, then I was fighting my way back to the same group. It was a bit funny, as I had just pitted and then caught them up again, so I had to pass Nico one more time before he went in. That manoeuvre was quite good fun - the outside of Blanchimont. I think it was very fair from both of us and he gave me enough room, so it was nice.

"It was tricky race for tyre management but, when the chance is there to win, we go for it. When I was driving around, passing people around the outside here and there, then I don't think about the championship. If I think there's room to overtake, I go for it. If the risk is too high then, naturally, I think you shouldn't do it. I think I've done it in the past when it didn't work, as Jenson can tell you, so it's not necessary to take that risk."

Winning for the seventh time in 2011 increased Vettel's championship advantage to 92 points but, with 175 still on offer, he reuses to accept that he is a shoo-in for the title.

"I've got more points than after the last race, and of course I'm very happy with today's result as I know that it's very important to finish ahead of those guys and anybody else, and it brought us closer to our final target, but it's still a long way [to go] and, if you just look at last year, at how quickly things can change, all we do is try to get the optimum every time, like today."


Wurz lured Räikkönen to Le Mans

Alex Wurz worked as McLaren's test driver the same time Kimi Räikkönen was their racing driver. The Austrian got once to be Kimi's team mate in Imola 2005, when Juan Pablo Montoya was recovering from his collarbone injury.

It didn't come as a giant surprise when tv-commentator Wurz told during Belgium GP to Turun Sanomat that he had recommended Räikkönen to try a Le Mans -car.

Two years ago Wurz won with Peugeot 908 Le Mans 24 hours together with David Brabham and Marc Gene. In 2010 Wurz had to retire. This year he was 4th.

15 years ago Wurz celebrated his bull's eye in Le Mans with Joest Racing -team's Porsche together with Manuel Reuter and Davy Jones.

Hence one could call Wurz a true Le Mans -veteran.

– Kimi would be a really pleasant team mate to me next year. I once told Kimi that he should try it because I know he likes that kind of racing, Wurz explained the backgrounds.

Now at least the test became true.

Laptimes are secrets

Räikkönen tested Peugeot 908 -car last Wednesday on Motorland Aragon's track in Spain. The French team has been very quiet about laptimes because they don't want any comparison between their drivers.

For example Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny drove in the same test.

– I didn't have time to chat with Kimi because he had already left when I arrived. I don't know about his laptimes but I did hear Kimi had a good test, Wurz said.

Wurz doesn't have a contract for next year himself either, yet he is already preparing for the race.

– I drove for six years in McLaren's tests and know Kimi's driving style so well that I don't think we would run into any problems we couldn't overcome, if we would drive in the same team. I am taller but I have raced together with Anthony Davidson and he is shorter than Kimi.

37-years old Wurz stopped his 69 GP-long career in F1 the same season as Kimi won the WDC in Ferrari 2007.

Inquiries about Aragon's testing times from Peugeot through L’Equipe -magazine didn't succeed. The French team only tells that Räikkönen had the same pace the other drivers also had.

Räikkönen himself said that driving the Le Mans -car was different from his earlier experiences.

– It is different. The twisting is of a class where the technical challenge in driving is different from other racing cars, Räikkönen stated.

Turun Sanomat, Spa


Courtesy: Nicole

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Video: BBC - Belgian GP - I was ahead of Kamui Kobayashi - Lewis Hamilton

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton is despondent following his collision with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The British driver believes the crash was not his fault. Hamilton admits that McLaren were struggling with the condition of their tyres before his race was ended prematurely.

UPDATE via Lewis Hamilton on Twitter:

"After watching the replay, I realize it was my fault today 100%. I didn't give Kobayashi enough room though I thought I was past. Apologies to Kamui and to my team. The team deserves better from me. Best wishes, Lewis"

Source: SixtyBuckss

Schumi: Wife said it could be good

Michael Schumacher had no complaints with his Belgian GP result on Sunday, which his wife, Corinna, had predicted would be a good one

Schumacher celebrated 20 years in Formula One at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend as it was here that he made his F1 debut back in 1991 and a year later claimed his first grand prix victory.

However, after qualifying it didn't look as if it would be a good weekend for the German after he crashed out in the opening minutes of the Saturday afternoon session, putting him at the very back of the grid.

But, as Schumacher said after qualifying, the only way left was forward and forward is where he went.

The seven-time World Champ was P15 by the end of the first lap and continued fighting his way up the order, making good use of the power of his Mercedes engine around the Spa track.

Three laps before the end of the grand prix, sitting on his team-mate Nico Rosberg's rear wing, Schumacher overtook the younger German to claim fifth place, his best result of the campaign.

"I'm happy about the result," said the seven-time World Champion.

"It was a good battle with my team-mate Nico Rosberg. I was on the softer tyres while he was on the harder tyres and it gave me the chance to overtake him.

"This is a special weekend for me and although it wasn't too good yesterday, luckily it finished well.

"I had a good feeling earlier in the day my wife is here and she said it would be a good race."

Source: Planet-F1

Webber bemoans shocking start

Mark Webber admits his pedestrian start put him on the back foot during the early stages of the Belgian Grand Prix

The Australian produced another battling display at Spa on Sunday to finish second behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

He started third on the grid, but was down in eighth place by the end of lap three and made a pit stop on lap four for a new set of tyres. He fought back and eventually caught up with the front-runners.

The Red Bull veteran says his start wasn't up to standard.

"My start was shocking - I dropped lever and the car stalled, so that was disappointing," he said.

"It put me on the back foot knowing we would stop early to get rid of the set of tyres. The team handled things really well. It was not an easy grand prix for the crew on the pit wall. But it was a good result and I enjoyed the race."

Webber had a couple of close shaves when he was battling Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"Most of the race was charged with frustration from the start," he said. "We were obviously very, very close through Eau Rouge, I used some KERS, got a tow and thought I might have a chance.

"We didn't give much easy, it was a good battle. It was rewarding that it worked okay, but it takes two guys to get it right. You can do it with Fernando - he is a world class guy and knows when enough is enough."

The 35-year-old added that the result was one of the best for Red Bull following some pre-race concerns. Several teams wanted to use fresh rubbers during the first stint due to blistering problems in qualifying, but the request was denied.

Red Bull were forced to pit both Webber and Vettel very early due to the problems, but still managed to claim a 1-2.

"The team result today was probably one of our best results ever as a team," he said. "It was stressful last night, and a stressful morning, handled very well - putting drivers right in the discussions to understand how we can get through the grand prix as safely as possible, us giving them feedback on how tyres looked."

Source: Planet-F1

Video: BBC - Belgian GP - Fernando Alonso disappointed not to make podium

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso admits his car could not compete with the pace of the Red Bulls at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Spanish driver says he had a "fun race", especially the battle he had with Mark Webber

Source: SixtyBuckss

Seb Vettel Wins A Thrilling Belgian GP 2011

Sebastian Vettel claimed the victory in a thrilling Belgian GP, which saw six different drivers each lead a lap or more

Blistering tyres, a lack of dry running, different strategies and the sweeping corners of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit all played a crucial role in what proved to be one of the best races of the season.

Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Mark Webber all had a turn at the front of the pack but, after 44 laps, it was Vettel who was in the P1 slot.

The reigning World Champ finished ahead of Webber and Button, who had started P13.

As for Hamilton, he retired on lap 13 after contact was made between himself and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, which pitched the McLaren driver into a spin and into the barriers.

And as he hit one of the boards, spewing debris all over the track, the Safety Car also made a brief appearance for three laps.

Alonso eventually finished P4 as he just didn't have the pace in the latter stint to hold off the fast-closing Button.

Rosberg could only manage P6 after he was overtaken by his team-mate Michael Schumacher just a few laps from the end of the grand prix. It was a fitting end and a fantastic performance from the seven-time World Champ, who started P24 and finished P5 as he celebrates 20 years in F1.

01. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h26.44.893
02. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 3.741
03. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 9.669
04. Alonso Ferrari + 13.022
05. Schumacher Mercedes + 47.464
06. Rosberg Mercedes + 48.674
07. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 59.713
08. Massa Ferrari + 1m06.076
09. Petrov Renault + 1m11.917
10. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 1m17.615
11. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1m23.994
12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1m31.976
13. Senna Renault + 1m32.985
14. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
15. Kovalainen Lotus-Renault + 1 lap
16. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1 lap
17. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
18. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 1 lap
19. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 1 lap

Did Not Finish
Perez Sauber-Ferrari 27
Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 13
Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 12
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 6
Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1

Source: Planet-F1

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Alonso: Eighth on grid definitely not good

Fernando Alonso: I hardly ever managed to get a clean lap because on both my second and third laps I found [Sergio] Perez ahead of me and on the last one I had to slow at the entrance to the chicane to let [Mark] Webber pass, otherwise I might have been penalised. That's how it was, but definitely there is a sense of regret...

Fernando Alonso has blamed traffic after only qualifying eighth today for Sunday's F1 2011 Belgian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard admitted there was a real 'sense of regret' after not getting a better place on the grid, but he hasn't given up and is confident he will be able to fight back in his Ferrari.

Indeed he has vowed to give his all in a bid to get onto the Spa-Francorchamps podium.

“Eighth is definitely not a good result, but we have to accept it and try to make up for this bad qualifying in tomorrow's race. I am confident because I know the car's true potential is definitely better than this position,” Alonso said.

“We did a good job of managing Q1 and Q2, even if the red flag in the second part put us under a bit of pressure because there were only seven minutes left and at that time I was not through to Q3. In the dry I don't think I could have fought for pole position, but I could have been at least on the front two rows.

“Unfortunately, I hardly ever managed to get a clean lap because on both my second and third laps I found [Sergio] Perez ahead of me and on the last one I had to slow at the entrance to the chicane to let [Mark] Webber pass, otherwise I might have been penalised. That's how it was, but definitely there is a sense of regret, as I could have got a better place.

“No one is really sure what the relative strengths are down the field: all weekend long we have seen very big gaps of seconds not tenths, depending on when the cars were out on track and also, we don't have an idea about tyre degradation.

“We will see what happens: I am voting for a dry race and we will do all we can to get on the podium.”

Felipe Massa meanwhile had a much better day and out-qualified his team-mate for the second race in succession. He will start from fourth.

“At the start of the session, when the rain came down, if I had been offered a fourth place, I would have signed for it on the spot. My result isn't bad, even if the cars ahead of me have shown a much quicker pace,” he added.

“However, it's true that conditions in Q3 were the worst possible for us: we could not get the best grip level right from the start, because we struggled a lot to get the tyres up to temperature. I think that tomorrow, if we have a dry track, we could be more competitive and I hope to be fighting with the drivers who are ahead of me today.”


Video: BBC - Belgian GP - Lewis Hamilton relieved not be injured after Maldonado collision

Lewis Hamilton believes his collision with Williams driver Pastor Maldonado during Q2 could have been a lot worse, and is happy to come away unscathed.

The McLaren team were able to repair Hamilton's car and the British driver qualified in second for Sunday's race

Source: SixtyBuckss

Vettel still has the winning instinct

In order to seal his consecutive title Vettel doesn't even have to win anymore. Although he would everytime settle for 2nd position, nobody would win the WDC's points even if they won all remaining 8 races.

– I rather take two victories and drive off in a few races than start to ensure my lead, Vettel assures.

– The most important is not to lead now, only after the last race. Last year taught that. Now the situation in my case is different than back then, but I haven't even wanted to know what my difference to the others is.

When Vettel was asked if he is worried when three last races weren't victories, he gives a wide smile.

– Not at all. It's how one wants to see these things. I think it's the media who is starting to be concerned. We have had difficult races but yet got an okay result. There hasn't really been any dramatic turn here.

Vettel celebrated each victory with different hand gestures. They created all sorts of buzz in the opponent's camps but Vettel assures that he hasn't intended to annoy anyone with his finger tricks.

– They are all my own choreography. And I have new hands left when I win again, Vettel promises.

Webber's continuance still not confirmed

Webber's contract was supposed to be signed in the middle of July and 'sure sources' claimed that it would be announced during the break in August. Yet nothing has been heard. The whisper on Spa paddock and Red Bull's VIP-premises is that they still wouldn't have made the final decision.

In the rumour mill they have been grinding Kimi Räikkönen to replace Webber although Christian Horner has time after time denied that the Finn would be an option to drive alongside Vettel next year.

Ferrari's development work stops in Monza

Red Bull uses a smaller rear wing in order to compensate for their loss of powers on long straights. When the track was dry the lead McLaren and Ferrari achieved on long straights only grew bigger.

In Ferrari they have made a guideline that they will work on 150 Italia -car to Monza and charge everything to next year after that. However if it would happen that Fernando Alonso would reach Vettel's 50 points lead, then the plans could change.

Turun Sanomat, Spa


Courtesy: Nicole

Pastor Penalised, Hamilton Reprimanded at Belgian GP

Pastor Maldonado has been slapped with a five-grid slot penalty for his incident with Lewis Hamilton at the end of Q2 at Spa

The duo first came across each other in the final minutes of Q2 as Hamilton overtook the Williams driver in a bid to gain track position and put in another vital lap.

However, when both were on their in-laps after the chequered flag was waved at the end of Q2, the duo clashed as Maldonado appeared to move in on Hamilton, side-swiping the McLaren driver.

The incident left Hamilton with a damaged front wing, which had to be changed ahead of Q1. He went on to qualify in second place for Sunday's Belgian GP. Maldonado was P16.

And although Hamilton reckoned the Venezuelan had "deliberately" hit him, the latter was adamant it was not intentional.

However, the stewards believed Maldonado deserved more of the blame for the incident and have penalised him just five places on Sunday's grid.

Hamilton, though, did not escape entirely as he was given a reprimand.

Source: Planet-F1

Video: BBC - Belgian GP - Sebastian Vettel pleased with spot-on Spa qualifying

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel says he is pleased to have finally taken pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix after making mistakes in previous years

Vettel took his ninth pole position of 2011, beating Hamilton into second place by 0.432 seconds at Spa-Francorchamps, with team-mate Mark Webber in third

Source: SixtyBuckss

Photos: Happy Birthday Mark Webber

Mark Webber celebrates his 35th birthday with a cake and members of the team at Belgian GP 2011

Before the third practice session (and the rain) Mark Webber was presented with a cake for his birthday so the media had the chance to quiz him about his day and his contract for next year.

Asked about passing the milestone, Mark said: “It’s a good day, and this is a sensational venue to celebrate my birthday, they come along every year, but I feel good for 35 and still going to go around next year – I’m looking forward to it.”

And his reasons for continuing to race were fairly self-explanatory… “I still think I’m driving well, the team’s performing at a very, very high level so that’s attractive and I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy racing against these guys at the front at this level; you’re at the top of your game and that’s the enjoyment of being a competitor, so looking forward to continuing.”

The final question concerned his place within the team. Presumably he was assured everything will be exactly the same as it always has been between him and Sebastian, both in the car and on track? “Everything’s absolutely fine there. You know I wouldn’t be super-happy if it wasn’t like that so yeah, it’s all good and that’s why I’ll be going again.”

Source: YallaF1

Qualifying: Vettel pips Hamilton to pole at Belgian GP 2011

Sebastian Vettel put in a last gasp effort to stop Lewis Hamilton from taking pole position for the Belgian GP

It was a difficult session for the drivers given the changing conditions with many expecting Mark Webber to lead the way.

However, the Aussie just didn't have the pace to challenge leaving Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to fight for pole position.

With the chequered flag having already waved, Hamilton crossed the line with a 1:48.730 to take provisional pole.

But, moments later, Vettel posted a 1:48.298 to pip the McLaren driver by 0.432s and claim his ninth pole of the season.

Webber was third ahead of Felipe Massa, Nico Rosberg and the impressive Jaime Alguersuari.

Bruno Senna qualified in seventh place in his first race weekend for Lotus Renault, beating Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez and Vitaly Petrov.

Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher's qualifying came to an end after just one and a half minutes into qualifying when his right rear wheel came off as he exited Malmedy corner, sending him crashing into the barriers before sliding across the track and eventually coming to a halt in the Rivage gravel trap. He will line-up at the very back of the grid.

Adrian Sutil was another crasher as he lost the back end of his Force India during Q2, sliding down the track and destroying his car's front nose. His shunt brought out the red flags.

01. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m48.298
02. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m48.730 + 0.432
03. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m49.376 + 1.078
04. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.256 + 1.958
05. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m50.552 + 2.254
06. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m50.773 + 2.475
07. Bruno Senna Renault 1m51.121 + 2.823
08. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m51.251 + 2.953
09. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m51.374 + 3.076
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m52.303 + 4.005
11. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2m04.692 + 1.924
12. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 2m04.757 + 1.989
13. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 2m05.150 + 2.382
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 2m07.349 + 4.581
15. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 2m07.777 + 5.009
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 2m08.106 + 5.338
17. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 2m08.354 + 5.586
18. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 2m07.758 + 5.945
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 2m07.773 + 5.960
20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2m09.566 + 7.753
21. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 2m11.601 + 9.788
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 2m11.616 + 9.803
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 2m13.077 + 11.264
24. Michael Schumacher Mercedes no time

Source: Planet-F1

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alonso: We've nothing to lose

Fernando Alonso has once again urged Ferrari to take risks in the final stint of this year's World Championship

The Spaniard, who was fighting for the World title up until the final lap of last season's finale, currently finds himself down in fourth place in the Drivers' Championship, 89 points behind reigning World Champ Sebastian Vettel.

And Alonso reckons the only way Ferrari have any chance of beating the Red Bull driver to this year's crown is to go all out.

"We didn't program anything to be conservative at the beginning, or more aggressive now," said Alonso.

"It's just that the way things have worked out in the last couple of races, we've been lucky with strategies and they've worked out okay.

"With this year's tyres and the degradation, you need a bit of luck with strategy because tyre behaviour is very unpredictable from lap to lap.

"With 70 to 80 pit stops in general for the whole grid, you catch people when they go into the pits or they're coming out.

"There is nothing we can lose now if we take risks, like in the last race in Hungary where it was wet and dry, so you can take a bit more risk.

"In the past, if you want to fight for the Championship, normally you wait for someone to put on dry tyres when it's wet, or vice versa.

"Now we can be the first because we've nothing to lose."

But, however, Ferrari play it in the final eight races, Alonso admits his chances of success rest on him claiming maximum points at as many races as possible.

"Until the maths say otherwise, and if there is a possibility, then we will fight," said Alonso.

"We've seen many times in Formula One strange things happen, and in two, three races with the new points system, anything could happen.

"So we will not give up at this point. We will try to win every race.

"With four or five races to go, if there is still a possibility we will try and go for it.

"At that stage, if it is not possible, then it will be time to give up, but not now with the amount of points still on the table."

Source: Planet-F1

Lewis: Together we can destroy the field

Lewis Hamilton admits everyone at McLaren need to cut out the mistakes if they want to "destroy the field"

Hamilton finds himself third in the Drivers' Championship, 88 points behind pacesetter Sebastian Vettel with just eight races left in the season.

The 2008 World Champion, though, insists he is not losing too much sleep over his position in the standings.

"I could easily get upset about it."

He added: "What's important is that I drive the best I have ever driven.

"I think at the last race I wasn't at the top of my game, so I want to make sure I am at my best, and that's what I'm working towards.

"The team are also working towards being at their best so together we can destroy the field."

The 2008 World Champion will no doubt feel he should be a lot closer to Vettel as individual as well as team erroris cost him dearly. At the Hungarian Grand Prix a poor strategic call from the pit wall, a spin and a drive-through penalty saw him finish fourth instead of battling it out with team-mate Jenson Button for the victory.

The Brit adds that he will be striving for consistence in the latter stages of the season.

"I had the realisation a long, long time ago I could not afford to make any more errors, but we've still had them," he said.

"That's why I'm kind of relaxed. What will be, will be. We'll have some ups and downs for the rest of the season, that's the way it has gone.

"I've just got to take it one race at a time and see how it goes because you can have a good race here, a bad race there.

"So many things can affect it, not just your driving, but things you are affected by in the car, decisions made by the team.

"So I have to keep a lot of energy to make sure I make the right decisions. Everything has to come together, to be on point.

"We have not been as consistent in that area as we would like to be and that's something else we are working on.

"But if we're consistent for the rest of the season, like the time when I was always on the podium in 2007, that would be beautiful.

"I would definitely take that."

Source: Planet-F1

Mark Webber: All to play for in F1 title race

As F1 returns from its summer holidays, Mark Webber is ready for a fight: the racing is going to be tight, he says, and the Drivers’ Championship is still up for grabs

by Matt Youson, Aug 26, 2011

While most drivers spent their free time chilling at the beach, Mark Webber spent his on a bike racing four times F1 World Champion and semi-professional cyclist Alain Prost up the fearsome Alpe D’Huez.

It’s proof, if it were needed, that Webber is a competitor to the core, and despite being in second place, 85 points behind team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel, he believes there is still plenty of racing ahead before the season is done. Here’s what he has to say…

Mark, what’s going to happen this weekend?
MW: It’s always great to come here: the drivers love Spa – because thankfully it hasn’t been designed in the last 10 years. So, it’s got some real corners and a beautiful, undulating layout. You feel pretty remote out there in the forest, just you and the car.

I see the weekend being tight, to be honest. I see Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull with no clear advantage. I think it’ll be like the last three or four grands prix – very, very tight, nip and tuck around the pitstops. It’s going to be tight between all of the teams.

This hasn’t been a good track for Red Bull Racing…
MW: In the last couple of years there’s a few places where we have been very strong, like Budapest and Silverstone, Barcelona too, whereas this year you’ve had Seb practically pushed over the line in Barcelona by Lewis. So the tracks have tightened up in terms of us having an advantage at what we’d call our better tracks – but let’s see what happens on the tracks that have been a little bit difficult for us, like this one here and obviously Monza. Canada [where Red Bull have also struggled previously] wasn’t too bad this year. So we’ll see how we go here. It is in our minds a bit but not full-on.

you think it’s possible for a driver to dominate the end of the season like Seb did at the start?
MW: No. I think that’s over. To have five, six, seven victories on the bounce, that’s not going to happen. I think it’ll be more spread out. The same people though, and I’d love to get involved myself.

So, does is the [Drivers’] Championship is over?
MW: No. Not if Seb fails to finish in two races. Seb’s in a great position, no question about it, but it’s not completely comfortable for him yet.

It has seemed in recent races that the RB7 has been struggling with its tyres. Has something changed?
MW: It’s a big question and it is a challenge. We had a strange month with those cooler temperatures. Silverstone was very cold, Germany, Hungary… it was a bizarre little month. We saw Valencia be normal, and McLaren in the shit on Sunday, but the other races they’ve been very, very, very strong – so clearly there’s a lot to understand.

We knew from winter testing that [temperature and tyres] was going to be a big part of the racing, but now it’s really getting down to a fine line, and a fine part of how you manage to pull everything together.

We do everything we can to understand it and develop to suit it. We’ve had a successful recipe for the last few years where Adrian [Newey] sometimes isn’t even looking at the results. He’s still just looking at performance and how can we make it better irrespective of guys closing in on us.

Source: Red Bull

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lewis: It's cool that Schu's still racing

McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have lauded F1 legend Michael Schumacher ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix

Seven-time World Champion Schumacher celebrates 20 years at the highest level of motorsport this weekend as he made his debut for Jordan on August 25, 1991, at the Spa circuit. Sunday's race will be the German's 280th, placing him second on the all-time list behind Rubens Barrichello.

"It is a great achievement for Michael. I think it is quite cool he is still here, so good on him," Hamilton said.

Button, who celebrated his 200th grand prix in Hungary with a win, also hailed Schumacher's longevity.

"This is my 12th year in the sport, but 20 be at the top of his game for that long is very impressive," the 31-year-old said.

"For a driver, with the stresses and pressures that are on you, 20 years is a long time in the sport for anyone.

"Looking at it I'm only eight years behind. I can't see myself racing when I'm in my 40s, but there is always a possibility."

Schumacher won't be the only one looking forward to this weekend's Belgian GP as McLaren have a good record at Spa, winning 12 races. The Woking team are also on a good run of form as they won the two races before the summer break.

Hamilton admits he can't wait to get going again at one of his favourite tracks.

"After nearly a month out of the cockpit, I think every driver on the grid is really looking forward to racing on a track like Spa, which is easily one of the greatest circuits in the world," he said.

"Spa's always been one of my favourite tracks. It's a place where you really feel on the limit, which is pretty awesome in a Formula One car.

"I'm already looking forward to my first flying lap on Friday, and corners like Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont that are fantastic, just because they're so fast.

"Pouhon, in particular, is incredible, because you're really at the limit of the grip level.

"You're gently playing with the throttle and trying not to scrub off too much speed with the steering. Getting it right is an amazing feeling."

He added: "We go into the race weekend in a pretty good place as we've won the last two grands prix and the car feels strong.

"We've worked hard to improve the set-up, so it's really inspiring confidence at the moment, which means you can push it that little bit further, particularly in qualifying.

"Of course, the weekend is likely to be affected by the weather, which is always somewhat unpredictable at Spa.

"I'd prefer a dry race, but to be honest, I'll take any track condition. I just can't wait to get back out in my car."

Source: Planet-F1

Tomi Tuominen's blog : Rally or track?

The following is based upon completely playful guessing. I don't believe that any person in the world can predict what Kimi Räikkönen will do, since Kimi himself can't predict it either. Räikkönen is a track racer who enjoys life and weaves interesting activity around him based upon his chances. That's what everyone of us would do.

Räikkönen has now his 2nd year in WRC. This year he has less races than in 2010. Other than that his helmet has also been put on American oval tracks and in Peugeot factory team's track tests. I think that the latter of these will bring Räikkönen a job - of course if he wants it himself too. If Räikkönen would go to Peugeot's payroll, then it would remind of incidents that took place 20 years ago. Keke Rosberg was successful with that time's endurance vehicle from Peugeot after his F1-career. That's when our interest for track racing's endurance-races grew remarkably.

Räikkönen has been determined, competitive and a driver who wants to win ever since he sat in his karting car for the first time. The last two years he has been forced to drive in a serie where victory is only a future goal, perhaps only a dream. In LeMans -serie Räikkönen would once again have a chance to fight for victories - there's nothing unclear about that. And when you add Nascar to this it would probably take a couple of years before success would start to become ordinary. In Peugeot's car he wouldn't have to wait even a day for festive success.

The reason why I started guessing in the first place is that I get strangely often questions: "Will Kimi continue in rally, when will he win, will he go to the States, will he go back to F1...?" I can't give any sure answer to these questions but I can guess and of course speculate. That is the traditional frisky hobby in motorsport.

I give my best guesses to two options. Rally and LeMans. If Peugeot offers Räikkönen a deal, then I think that he grabs it. Why wouldn't he? But it doesn't have to mean that he couldn't continue rallying - especially when we are talking about the vehicle of the same concern. This would surely be a hilarious combination. LeMans -serie would give him a chance to drive for victories and be a part of a perfect factory team. Rally again could be his hobby which offers him challenge and where each better position would be a perfect bonus.

A small quiz to the end. How many Finns have been behind Peugeot factory-car's steering wheel during the years? Taking all genres into consideration. Not an easy task.

Source: Blog MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Massa's Blog: Staying at home was the best holiday

I am now back in Europe having spent all of the break since the Hungarian Grand Prix at home with my family in Sao Paolo. On the Monday after Budapest I went to Maranello for a day working on the simulator and from there I flew to Brazil. What did I do in these few weeks? To be honest, very little, just enjoying catching up with friends and family members that I don't see so often when I am based in Monaco for much of the season. It's winter in Brazil right now, so it did not feel like the time to take a real holiday going somewhere special. With all the travelling we do for work, staying in hotels around the world, for me, staying at home was the best holiday anyway.

Even at home, I did manage a day at the race track, at the Interlagos circuit and it was a very different feeling to being at a grand prix. We have a championship supported by Fiat here in Brazil, which has one category for single-seaters, one for touring cars and a third for motorbikes and I had an enjoyable time doing a day's testing in the touring car. It took me back to the last time I raced cars that had a roof, when I raced Alfa Romeos in 2001!

With everyone starting back at work in Maranello at the beginning of the week, I have already been on the phone talking with Stefano (Domenicali) and with my race engineer Rob (Smedley) just to catch up with the latest news about their holidays and more importantly to find out how preparations are going for this weekend in Spa. Of course, even if no work has been permitted because of the agreement between the FOTA member teams for the past two weeks, work was already carried out before the break to prepare for the next two races in Belgium and in Italy and we will be bringing some aero updates to Spa, including new wings to try out. Everything seems to be going in the direction we expected, so I hope we can have a good weekend. Like most drivers, I love driving at Spa and I have some good memories of winning there in 2008, finishing second the year before that, while last year I was just off the podium in fourth spot. I will be aiming for a repeat of 2008! I have been following the discussion regarding the use of DRS at the Eau Rouge corner and I think banning its use there for the whole weekend is the right decision: as racing drivers, we would always try and use DRS there and that could lead to an accident, because of the particular nature of the corner. So, just as was the case in the tunnel in Monaco, I think this is the best solution. I see there has also been talk about re-introducing some testing during the F1 season and I have to say I would be in favour of this. All drivers and teams want to be as well prepared as possible for each race and, as the top level of motorsport, some testing during the year should be allowed. Of course, we will never return to the way it used to be, with testing almost every day in between races, which was incredibly expensive. Maybe, we could do what they sometimes do in MotoGP and stay on at some circuits on the Monday after a race, which would reduce costs.

So now we come to the final eight races of the season, which means there is still a lot of racing ahead of us and I agree with Domenicali that, as a team, we should simply try and win as many races as possible and score plenty of points, without looking too closely at the championship situation. Certainly from a personal point of view, my most immediate aim is to try and record my first victory of this year. It's not going to be an easy few months, but we are certainly not going to give up. There is always a special atmosphere at Spa and I'm not just referring to the weather. It is one of those tracks where you get a sense of history and this weekend, one of my former team-mates has a historic moment of his own as Michael Schumacher will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of his first ever Formula 1 race, which took place in Belgium in 1991. Apart from all his other achievements, this is another great one and I am sure he is proud of it. I definitely like the idea of also spending twenty years in F1, but I'm not sure if I can do it! I've enjoyed relaxing during this break, which was very welcome after a busy time up to Hungary, but now I am fully rested and eager to go racing once again, because all of us at Ferrari is keen to prove to our fans that we can do better in these final eight races than we did in the first eleven.


Räikkönen enjoyed the Le Mans -test

Kimi Räikkönen enjoyed completely the test day with Peugeot's 908 Le Mans -car. He drove all and all 35 laps on Motorland Aragon -track in Spain. Others participating the test also were Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin, Alex Wurz and Simon Pagenaud.

There's nothing new and confusing about the fact that Räikkönen adapted immediately the new car's challenges. The 550 horsepowered 3,7-liters V8-turbodiesel offered him a new expericene to get under control.

– Kimi adapted very quickly to the car. We got some valuable feedback from him. It will be interesting to get influences from a driver like Kimi, Peugeot Sport's manager Pascal Dimitri praised.

Peugeot's sport manager Olivier Quesnel revealed that they had been planning Räikkönen's test for a longer time.

Le Mans Peugeot is already the fifth different racing car that Räikkönen has been driving during the three last months.

– The test went okay. I enjoyed driving. The 908 is a really good car to drive, Räikkönen praised.

They have already sketched Räikkönen to replace Pedro Lamyn or Nicolas Minassiani in Peugeot's Le Mans -crew. In addition to the 24 hours race a possible contract would also require other endurance tests.

– If I would go to Peugeot, then I would have at least three test races in addition to the actual Le Mans, Räikkönen explained.

Turun Sanomat


Courtesy: Nicole

Alonso's Blog: All my best wishes Michael!

Holiday over, it’s time to get back to the race track. This two week break has been very useful for me in terms of recharging my batteries after a really busy July. It was nice to spend some time at home, with family and friends. I didn’t do anything special, although I did tackle a little tour of Asturias by bicycle: it’s now become something of a tradition among my group of friends and this year we were joined by some of the guys from the team, including our sporting director, Massimo Rivola. It was good fun as well as being a useful way to do some training in preparation for the final part of the season. You know how much I love cycling and so it was great to share it with friends and I was pleased to discover people within Ferrari who share this interest. Who won? I did, but only because I’m fitter!

I arrived in Belgium this afternoon as I had an event to attend for my personal sponsor, Silestone and this evening I will get to Spa. I can’t wait to be back on track to continue with this run of positive results which goes back to Valencia. We will have some new parts on the 150º Italia which we hope will allow us to improve our performance a bit more. I am well aware that the championship situation is what it is, but that does not mean we have thrown in the towel. We always set out trying to win every race and, as I’ve been saying for a while now, we will do the maths at the end. These past weeks, I have spoken a few times to Stefano [Domenicali] and I could tell he is very motivated: I like that sort of spirit as it’s mine too.

It will be important to bring home some good results because the team has put in so much effort to get back on terms after a difficult start: all our guys and the fans deserve it.

Tomorrow is the start of what is a very special weekend for one driver who has played his part in the history of Formula 1 and Ferrari in particular: Michael Schumacher. It’s not for me to say he is the greatest of all time as usually, it is the numbers that do the talking: seven world titles, 91 wins, these are incredible records. I hold Michael in very high esteem and I feel honoured to have raced alongside him. When I came to Maranello, I realised even more how close are the ties that bind him to Ferrari and that is why I was particularly pleased with what Stefano had to say at the Wrooom Summer event, immediately before this break. I don’t know if in 2021 I will still be in Formula 1, it’s hard to say and this is a further confirmation of what an extraordinary career Michael has had. For my part, I want to take this opportunity to send him my very best wishes for this incredible landmark: twenty years is really an amazing achievement!


Photos: Kimi Räikkönen test Peugeot 908 Le Mans challenger

Today, Kimi Räikkönen drove for the first time with the Peugeot 908 on the Aragon circuit - Spain

Source: Nextgen-Auto

Kimi Räikkönen drove the Peugeot 908

35 laps on the Aragon circuit in Spain

Today, the 2007 F1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen drove for the first time with the Peugeot 908 on the Aragon circuit.

Olivier Quesnel – Peugeot Sport Director : « Originally, this test session was planned for a long time in order to prepare the rest of the season on top of which we have allowed Kimi to discover the 908. As of today, nothing has been scheduled or planned for the future. »

Towards the end of the morning, the Finn took part into the session alongside Franck Montagny, Stéphane Sarrazin, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Wurz. He covered a series of 35 laps on a circuit he’s never driven on.

Kimi Raïkkönen : « I enjoyed this test with Peugeot. The 908 is a really fun car to drive ».

Pascal Dimitri - Peugeot Sport Team Manager : « Kimi arrived yesterday evening in order to meet up with the team, prepare his seat and set up his driving position. He adapted very quickly to the car and gave us a valuable technical feedback. It is always interesting to get inputs from drivers such as Kimi. »

Source: Nextgen-Auto

Räikkönen, Häkkinen join Lauda as pensioners

The former F1 stars Kimi Räikkönen and Mika Häkkinen are joining Niki Lauda in filming a commercial, based on's Austrian sources.

The invitation to the shoot was given by Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz. The product to be advertised has already been revealed: the channel ServusTV -- owned by the energy drink group -- will start a new motorsports magazine show. The show is to be promoted by a number of famous faces in the business.

Filming at Red-Bull-Ring

Räikkönen and Häkkinen's parts will be shot next week in Austria at the former Spielberg F1 circuit, now known as the Red-Bull-Ring

According to our sources, the two Finns, Lauda and a few other motorsports personalities are put in an old 24-seat vehicle, which will be driven at pensioner speeds around the circuit.

First commercials wrapped

The new show's first commercials were shot at Red-Bull-Ring last Tuesday. The commercial featured David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger, whose performance was in stark contrast to Räikkönen, Häkkinen and Lauda -- their driving was reportedly speedy and unpensioner-like.

Source: RacingNewsFlash

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Räikkönen in a Peugeot

The 2007 Formula 1 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen will test drive a Peugeot 908 tomorrow at Aragon, Spain. The Finn has been trying for some time to sample an LMP1 prototype

Despite not being the most talkative of chaps, ‘Iceman’ managed to find the words to convince Citroën Racing and Peugeot Sport team boss Olivier Quesnel to allow him to test drive the Peugeot 908.

“It’s something he’s been requesting for some time and we will profit from this test, which has been scheduled for a long time, to try the 908 on Wednesday,” said a Peugeot Sport spokesperson. “It is not related to a possible future in endurance racing, but his feedback will no doubt be interesting.”

Since his retirement from F1, Räikkönen has tasted world class rallying (he steered his Citroën DS3 WRC to sixth place in Germany last weekend) and also Nascar’s Trophy Truck and Nationwide classes. He has just announced that he will not take part in early September’s Rally Australia, but he will back in action for the Rallye de France.

Peugeot Sport has completed quite a lot of testing this summer and this week will see Simon Pagenaud, Stéphane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny work on the 908′s set-up in Spain.

It still isn’t clear whether Anthony Davidson will be fit enough to contest the Silverstone 6 Hours at the beginning of September after breaking a collarbone in a cycle accident earlier this month. The British driver resumed fitness training last week but is still unable to drive a racecar. A decision will be taken early next week. Should he have to withdraw, Simon Pagenaud will be called in to join Sébastien Bourdais in the N°7 Peugeot.

Source: lemanslive
Courtesy: MomoD

Tom Cruise Jumps Into an F1 Car

Tom Cruise - producer and star of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol - which opens on December 21, took a break from post-production work to accept an invitation to test drive the Red Bull Racing Formula One car in Southern California on Monday, August 15. David Coulthard, a 13-time grand prix winner and former Red Bull Racing driver, served as Cruise’s instructor for the day with support from a 12-person crew, who flew in from Milton Keynes.

Cruise, an avowed racing fan who has driven various race cars over the years but never a Formula One car, reached a top speed of 181 miles per hour, just four miles per hour off of Coulthard’s top speed, when racing the 850-horsepower car around the 2.5-mile (4km) Willow Springs race track in Rosamond, California.

Cruise completed 24 laps during the seven-hour session, which began with Cruise and Coulthard lapping the track in a passenger car to get familiarized with the racing lines before Coulthard showed Cruise the intricacies of the F1 machine. Between stints on the track, the team went over the car’s telemetry data with Cruise, comparing it to Coulthard’s lap information. Cruise improved on his initial lap time by almost 11 seconds by the final lap.

"Tom's the real deal. I was surprised that he picked it up so quickly and is such an accomplished driver,” said Coulthard. “His recall was incredible considering how complicated driving an F1 car is. He's a guy who really pushes the envelope in real life. This day was not green screened. He thoroughly impressed me."

Tom's the real deal. I was surprised that he picked it up so quickly and is such an accomplished driver.

Formula One returns to America in 2012 after a four-year absence. The United States Grand Prix will be held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, which is currently under construction.

Source: Red Bull

Monday, August 22, 2011

Video: The 2011 Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix with John Surtees and Fernando Alonso

Shell has brought together legendary Scuderia Ferrari Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and John Surtees to compare notes on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the venue for this weekend's Formula 1 Shell Belgian Grand Prix.

During the four minute edit the two champions swap tales about Spa and said it was a "very special" circuit that instils an extra will-to-win in all drivers. They also had the chance to inspect Formula One cars from their respective eras -- namely Surtees' Ferrari 156 F1-63 and the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F60

Source: Shell

Räikkönen to skip Rally Australia 2011

Ice Man changes plans and will focus on remaining three WRC events of 2011

ICE 1 Racing’s Kimi Räikkönen is set to skip Rally Australia next month - despite having originally intended to tackle the event when his programme was announced at the start of the season.

Logistical and organisational difficulties mean that Räikkönen is now going to miss the Coffs Coast-based event, which takes place from 8-11 September on mainly gravel stages. Since switching to the WRC in 2010, the Finn has tended to miss the long-haul events, with the exception of Mexico, Japan and Jordan.

With Räikkönen’s programme depending largely on sponsorship input this year after energy drinks giant Red Bull scaled back its involvement compared to last season, less budget has been available for the 2007 Formula One world champion to use for tests and events.

Last year Räikkönen contested 12 rounds, missing only Rally New Zealand during the first half of the year, but also competed on some smaller regional rallies as tests. This season he will have entered nine world championship rallies, with a best result so far of sixth in Jordan (compared with fifth in Turkey last year).

However, his time difference to the frontrunners has improved considerably compared to the two seconds per kilometre he was lacking at the start of the 2010 season, and in Germany last week he showed himself capable of setting top six stage times, even on the most demanding tests such as Arena Panzerplatte - where he was fifth-quickest on Saturday evening.

After missing Australia, Räikkönen will compete in France, Spain and Great Britain: all rallies that he has entered before (although he was forced to miss the Catalunya round last year following a shakedown accident).

The 31-year-old Finn is yet to finalise his plans for next season, but has not ruled out the possibility of a full WRC campaign in 2012. Other possibilities in the frame include a return to Formula One or an extended NASCAR programme.

Räikkönen finished sixth on last week’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland. He’s currently eighth in the drivers’ standings, six points behind M-Sport Stobart driver Matthew Wilson.

Source: WRC

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Solberg, Räikkönen and Van Merksteijn Jr in the top 10

Kimi Räikkönen equaled his best result of the year

The three Citroën Racing Technologies Citroën DS3 WRCs driven by Petter Solberg, Kimi Räikkönen and Peter Van Merksteijn Jr all finished in the points in Rally Germany. Petter Solberg saw the flag in fifth place and scored an additional point in the Power Stage. Kimi Räikkönen equalled his best result of the season, sixth in Jordan. Peter van Merksteijn Jr came home ninth scoring his first points in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Petter Solberg was knocked out of the fight for victory in SS2 due to a wrong tyre choice when it was raining, and he found himself up against the Ford and Mini drivers. Despite four punctures, the Petter Solberg World Rally Team driver managed to hang on to fifth place till the very end. The Norwegian was third fastest in the Power Stage scoring an additional point, and is now only two behind the fourthplaced driver in the World Rally Championship.

“For the first tarmac rally of the season we had a new car,” said Solberg at the finish. “We went quicker and quicker as the stages unfolded. Being the best privateer and fighting in the middle of the works drivers gives me additional satisfaction. We lost a lot of time because of multiple punctures. I hope we’ll be back in the battle for victory in the next event.”

Kimi Räikkönen continued his series of finishes in the top 10 in his sixth rally with the Citroën DS3 WRC and saw the flag in sixth place. Despite a spin and then a slight off on the first day, the Finn installed himself in eighth place. After passing Henning Solberg during the second leg and taking advantage of Kris Meeke’s retirement near the end of the rally, he equaled his best result of the year.

“Overall, I made a lot of mistakes during the weekend,” said Kimi ruefully. “I feel I wasn’t quick enough due to these errors. It was a complicated rally. I learned a lot especially not to put the tyres just anywhere! Last year we could cross the pavements without problems. With the new tyres it’s not possible as our puncture in the Power Stage proved.”

Peter van Merksteijn Jr with his new co-driver Erwin Mombaerts made a cautious start to his first tarmac rally in the Citroën DS3 WRC, and ended the first day in a very encouraging eleventh spot. He was quick in the redoubtable Arena Panzerplatte stage – the longest in the rally – and moved up the time sheets during the second day breaking into the top 10. Today, the Dutchman defended his ninth place against fellow-countryman Dennis Kuipers and scored his first points in the WRC.

Peter van Merksteijn Jr : “I’m really happy to finish ninth. After all the problems I’ve had it’s a very good result. Erwin Mombaerts and I had to get on the same wavelength. I enjoyed myself a lot, especially in the military camp. I’m delighted to have scored points in the World Rally Championship. I’d like to thank the whole team for the work they’ve done to achieve this result.”

Source: NextgenAuto

Räikkönen from Rally Germany to Aragon for a Peugeot-test

Kimi Räikkönen was the 2nd best Finn in Rally Germany, but even the 6th position didn't make the owner of ICE1 Racing -team satisfied at all.

– The position is what it is, but it doesn't change anything. Only three stages went well. The others again had all kind of program.

Räikkönen never won in F1-races in Germany and the rallies could have gone better.

– It's true that races here have never gone well but it's not Germany's fault, Räikkönen emphasised telling he holds no grudges against the country itself.

A year ago Räikkönen was the fastest in Rally Germany's last SS, where they now gave out bonuspoints. This time the attack stopped right in the beginning because of a tyre puncture.

– The tyre went on the walking street where it lasted well last year. There's nothing you can do when it happens right in the beginning. That's how it is but it doesn't matter at all.

On Wednesday Räikkönen heads to a bench-fitting for Peugeot's Le Mans -car test to Motorland Aragon's track in Spain.

– We will go since we were asked and to see what kind of a car the Peugeot really is. I'm sure it will be different again. I don't know anything about the track other than that it's in Spain, Räikkönen said to Turun Sanomat.

From Peugeot's Le Mans -drivers at least Pedro Lamy and Nicolas Minassian are without a contract. For Räikkönen the most familiar regular Peugeot-drivers are Alex Wurz and Ferrari's Marc Gene.

Turun Sanomat, Trier


Courtesy: Nicole

Friday, August 19, 2011

Räikkönen craves good luck in Germany

Ex-Formula One world champion Kimi Räikkönen says a lack of good fortune has held him back on the opening day of ADAC Rallye Deutschland

Räikkönen, who is eighth overnight in the ICE 1 Racing Citroën DS3 WRC he shares with co-driver Kaj Lindström, took the only stage win of his World Rally Championship career to date on the Circus Maximus stage in Germany last year. But he’s yet to enjoy the same kind of success on the Trier-based round in 2011.

“Germany has been a bit unlucky for me so far,” said Räikkönen. “It’s hard to compare it with last year, because the car and the conditions are completely different. This morning I was on the wrong tyres and then in the afternoon I had a spin. But if you take away those things then it would not have been so bad, so I hope we can get better tomorrow.”

Räikkönen lost more than a minute on the rain-hit stage two alone, but revealed that he had come very close to taking the same bold tyre choice as the factory Citroens, with a mixture of hard and soft tyres. In the end he opted for the hard tyres exclusively, leaving him struggling for grip.

“We thought about doing the same; we probably should have done it,” he added. “Sure, it would be hard to know how the car might handle like that as we never tested it, but it probably would have been OK.”

Räikkönen’s best result so far this year is sixth overall in Jordan, which he believes he stands a chance of matching in Germany. “We need to be a bit lucky with that, but the feeling with the car is very good,” he concluded.

The Finn’s only other delay occurred on stage five when he carried too much speed into a right-hand bend and slid into a wooden fence. The impact damaged his driver’s side door, which kept flying open during the stage.

Source: WRC

Kovalainen defends Räikkönen - takes a dig at Villeneuve

Heikki Kovalainen wonders over Jacques Villeneuve's statement where Kimi Räikkönen is stamped as a lucky champion.

Villeneuve won his own WDC in 1997, when his Williams-car was clearly the best car in the serie.

- I don't think it was civil text from Villeneuve. If you think about it the other way, then Villeneuve had quite a superior car when he won his WDC and after that he didn't make any results, Kovalainen said to MTV3.

- I don't know if the dig is taken out of context or if it went just like that. I don't know Villeneuve personally. Maybe it was a little stupid statement. You give a feeling of being a sore loser. A WDC is a WDC. They don't give out style-points in F1 so it's all the same how you win the WDC, it is always a tough thing, Kovalainen continues.

Kovalainen reminds that Räikkönen lost more than one championship during his McLaren-years due to his unreliable car.

- In Kimi's case he lost many championships because the car broke down. Kimi would certainly have two or three championships more by driving.

Source: MTV3
Courtesy: Nicole

Alonso has fond memories of Hamilton pairing

Fernando Alonso has some fond memories of his single season alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

The duo’s championship scrap at McLaren was billed as a highly tumultuous one, but Spaniard Alonso - now at Ferrari - insists that his only argument was with the British team’s then management led by Ron Dennis.

"If we were teammates at another team it would be a much cleaner struggle, and a real one," said Alonso, who finished the season equal with Hamilton and a single point shy of Kimi Raikkonen’s title.

Recalling 2007, he explained to Spanish sports newspaper Marca: "You always learn lessons in tough times.

"That year was good overall, both Lewis and I learned many things. When you share a team with a top driver you learn to grow together.

"You improve in terms of preparing for a race and even from his driving style, because you share telemetry, so it was a great experience," added Alonso.

As for 2011, Ferrari is now switching its focus to 2012, with Alonso admitting chasing down Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will be almost impossible.

"Ferrari can not go to races not thinking about winning, but we are realists and know how difficult it is. We need Vettel to have failures," he said.

The Spaniard is therefore much more confident about 2012.

"Of course we can catch them (Red Bull)," insisted Alonso. "The rules have changed, the blown diffusers will be forbidden, so the philosophy in the development and in the wind tunnel has to change."

He said Ferrari’s recent structural changes have already made a difference.

"I have noticed more desire and general optimism, more speed in decision-making, more courage in the development. Yes, we have improved the structure and how we work."

Source: Nextgen

Räikkönen tips friend Vettel to keep title lead

Kimi Räikkönen has tipped his friend Sebastian Vettel to pip F1’s class of 2011 to become world champion for the second time.

In 2007, former Ferrari driver Räikkönen came from a long way behind to beat the feuding McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to the championship at the final race of the season.

Now as a F1 spectator and world rally driver, the Finn was asked by Turun Sanomat newspaper about German Vettel’s 85 point lead with just 8 races to go.

"Quite often the situation levels off by the end if someone has pulled out early in the season," Räikkönen said.

"(But) Vettel probably doesn’t even have to win any more races in order to stay in front until the end."

Räikkönen, meanwhile, will turn 32 in October but he is not yet making any plans for 2012 — nor ruling out a shock return to formula one.

"I don’t know," he answered after a series of probing questions.

"Even if you ask the same thing a hundred different ways, the answer stays the same. If I don’t know then nobody else does either."

Räikkönen, like his contemporary Jacques Villeneuve, admitted to being not so keen on the 2011 formula, including the DRS overtaking rear wing system.

"It doesn’t have anything to do with real overtaking," he insisted. "All you do is move close and push a button and the guy in front can’t do anything about it.

"I guess they are trying to push it in the right direction, maybe it’s good for the TV, but for the drivers it’s not so good."

Source: NextgenAuto

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kimi's Column: Challenging in a tricky way

Kimi Rally Germany preview in Finnish

This Germany is a quite tricky rally. Lets see how it takes off. I have good vibes from last year and lets hope that it goes better the second time, in this year's way.

The more in the top you would get to start, the more easier it would be. If you have to go on the route from very behind, then the more all kind of trash there is on the road.

Now we are on tarmac for the first time after gravel rallies. We had a test after Jyskälä. We could have used a bit more testing since we were left with things we have to try out during this rally week. Soon we'll see how we got things in place.

All and all it's easier when we know what to expect. They haven't changed more than a couple of stages. They took about 10 km off the super long SS on beton. Now we have about 35 kilometers of that banging.

Last year we went well until the last day. I made a few blunders in the crossroads and we lost our position.

Now we try to improve. Not do any blunders and try to get time-wise as close as we already got in Jyskälä.

Lets hope now that the weather stays good. It would be much nicer since we haven't drove even one test during rain with this car. This route gets very slippery if water starts falling down on it.

They talk about tarmac, although I think we are driving more on beton in this rally. There is a decent road somewhere there but usually it's something completely different from a clean tarmac surface.

Courtesy: Nicole