After almost 4 years the wolf is tired and needs a break. The motivation is no longer there. With that also is gone the willingness to voluntarily sacrifice all the time needed to keep the site going. Even that bare minimum of time the wolf devoted to the site in 2010 …
So, after a year of contemplating whether to continue or to stop working on this site the wolf has decided to take an indefinite break from F1Wolf. The wolf may or may not return from the break. I wish the last proper post was something other than the news about Lotusized Renault though …
Thank you all for coming and may be see you again one day !
So, Group Lotus became the equity partner in Renault F1 team after Renault sold its remaining shares to Genii Capital. Renault becomes the engine supplier and technological partner. For obvious historical and financial reasons Renault remains the name of the chassis. The official name of the team however changes to Lotus Renault GP.
Lotus Renault GP already released the artist impression of their 2011 livery – the black on gold one reminiscent of the Team Lotus in JPS era.
All fine and well except there will be another Lotus team, the Team Lotus (known as Lotus Racing in 2010) on the grid next year. Team Lotus will be powered by Renault engines and is listed on the 2011 FIA entry list as Lotus-Renault. Team Lotus (powered by Renault) also plans to run next year in black and gold livery (selected from designs submitted by fans).
So, after having no Lotus cars on grid for 15 years, it does seem there will be four of them in 2011 …
Renault in the meantime announced the creation of Renault Sport F1, the sporting division that will be responsible for Renault’s involvement in Formula 1™ racing as a supplier of engines and technology for the 2011 season and beyond. Renault Sport F1 will supply three teams in 2011, which equates to 25% of the grid.
Renault will be supplying engines to three of the teams on the grid in 2011:
- Lotus Renault GP: Renault will be supplying engines and technological support to Lotus Renault GP, the team that previously competed under the name of Renault F1 Team and with which it won two
world championships in 2005 and 2006.
- Red Bull Racing Renault: the 2010 world champion has been using Renault engines for four
seasons. Demonstrating its confidence in Renault, it has extended the partnership for a further two
- 1 Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd (aka Team Lotus): a new customer for Renault in 2011. This team made its F1 debut in 2010. It has a sound technological base with the Renault engine and Red Bull Technology transmission
With this decision to supply engines to three teams next season, Renault is returning to its core expertise in engine manufacturing and getting ready to meet the challenges of the future, particularly the new engine regulations to be introduced over the next few years.
Here is the full Renault F1 press release:
Genii Capital and Group Lotus plc today announced the creation of Lotus Renault GP, the successor to the Renault F1 Team that will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship. This exciting announcement is made in the context of a strategic alliance between the two companies that will provide Group Lotus with significant technological and commercial opportunities for its range of road cars.
Following the return of the Lotus name to Formula 1™ in 2010, under licence from Group Lotus, this historic announcement marks the complete return of the Lotus manufacturer to the sport, with the full backing of its parent company Proton. Group Lotus plc will become a major equity partner of Genii Capital in Lotus Renault GP, and the two parties have concluded a title sponsorship agreement that will run until the end of the 2017 season. With the continued support of Renault as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise, Lotus Renault GP enjoys a strong, stable platform for future success.
Gerard Lopez, Chairman of Renault F1 Team, commented: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011. It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”
Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar said: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing. We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”
The new partnership has been enabled by Renault selling its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital. Group Lotus plc will subsequently become a major equity partner in Lotus Renault GP, which it will co-own with Genii Capital.
Renault will continue its strong support of the team with which it won the 2005 and 2006 world championships, as a supplier of engines and technological and engineering expertise. Reflecting this technological support, Lotus Renault GP will continue to compete with the Renault chassis name and Renault will enjoy pre-eminent brand exposure on the livery.
For 2011, the Lotus Renault GP cars will race in a new interpretation of the iconic black and gold colours that were last used when Lotus and Renault joined forces in the 1980s. This livery, which has been on the drawing board for over two months in order to reinterpret its iconic graphic signature to suit modern media requirements, is sure to strike a powerful chord with the sport’s enthusiasts around the world.
The team scored a strong fifth-place finish in the 2010 constructors’ championship, which included three podium finishes for Robert Kubica. Next season, Lotus Renault GP is aiming to take another step forward which will see it competing regularly with the most prestigious names in Formula 1™.
If I am to participate in the Thursday Thoughts adventure it seems the only way is to convert it to Friday ones. Blame the time difference.
Anyway, here is the topic for this week, Thursday of Friday:
The three new teams made quite an impression on F1 this year. What do you think they brought to the sport? How would the year have been without them? Better or worse?
Maybe the question should be rephrased – Are the new teams welcome and is it OK to have on the grid teams several seconds off the pace ?
And few more questions to follow up – Was F1 better with Toyota after the car maker joined the sport in 2002 ? Were we better off with Minardi and Jordan on the grid (not Eddie himself but the team) or without them after the former was turned into Toro Rosso by Red Bull and the latter metamorphosed to Midland, Spyker and finally Force India ? Was F1 better with or without Super Aguri ?
One thing we should recall is that F1 grid was relatively stable and occupied by established and one can say competitive teams since 1997. Footworks, Fortis, Simteks, Larousses etc all disappeared, Lola’s attempt failed. When you look at the 1997 grid you can see there almost all the teams that raced in F1 at the end of 2009. Yes Benetton turned into Renault, Jordan is now Force India, Stewart is Red Bull, Tyrell is Mercedes, Minardi is Toro Rosso but they are still all there. The only teams genuinely lost between 1997 and 2002 were Prost and Arrows in 2002 although Arrows briefly resurfaced in the form of Super Aguri few years later. The only real addition to the grid in those years was Toyota. But what looked like stability was in fact manufacturers dominated series with budgets spiraling out of control and we know how that house of cards quickly collapsed once the car sales plummeted…
The years of relative stability (economics, technical regulations) brought us to the situation where all the cars were separated by less than two seconds. Just look at the final qualifying session before the major rule changes – the 2008 Brazilian GP – Q1 fastest time by Massa – 1:11.830, slowest by Sutil – 1:13.508. Things got a bit shaken up in 2009 but by the end of the season the gaps between teams were back to the 2008 level, although different teams were on different levels.
When we look back to Toyota’s debut in 2002, the first relevant qualifying session was Malaysia (as Australia was wet). The best Toyota driven by Salo qualified 10th, 2.428s behind pole setting Schumacher’s Ferrari. This was approximately 3 years since one of the largest and richest car manufacturers in the world decided to go into F1, 2 years after they were granted entry and a year later than their original plan. At the same qualifying Heidfeld in 7th place was 1.933s off the pole, both Jaguars were over 3 seconds off the pace, Mark Webber in Minardi 4.188s back just ahead of his hopeless team mate Yoong (+4.892).
Gaps like these were rather normal in F1 less than 10 years ago and these were gaps between cars run (with the exception of Toyota that time) by established teams.
The next new team to appear was Super Aguri in 2006. It does not really make much sense comparing them to current new teams as Super Aguri never really designed and built their own car. They used the 4-years old Arrows chassis before switching to a year old Honda machinery.
Then came the economic downturn, Honda exit, the drive to reduce the cost, the politics, the exits of BMW and Toyota, the budget cap, new entries and all the mess that threatened the existence of F1. Somehow the sense has prevailed. Two out three teams that were to enter F1 under the budget cap regulations made it to the grid even after the budget cap was flushed down the toilet. Another operation managed to build the team and a car from scratch within 9 months.
The result ?
Yes, the new teams were hopelessly off the pace and with no realistic chance to score points or make it to Q3, or even Q2 without others messing up. But they were all well within the standards of F1 in the early years of the millenium, before the car manufacturers turned the F1 economics on its head. Their relative performance was better than that of many of the teams that came and went before 1997. They kept the gap to the top teams rather steady during the season which is amazing achievement given the pace and cost of development at the top of the grid.
They also provided space on the grid for six drivers (or more if we count the merry go round in HRT).
Yes, that was space way back on the grid, but how did Alonso and Webber, the 2010 title contenders, enter F1 ?
Photo: Lotus Racing
Yesterday Williams announced signing of Pastor Maldonado, a Venezuelan driver, to partner Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian. As a result, Williams will contest the 2011 F1 season with two Latin American drivers. There have been many drivers from Latin America in F1 and Argentina and Brazil also gave the world some World Champions. But having both drivers from that part of the world hasn’t been that common. Here is brief look back to the recent F1 history.
The last time a team had two drivers from Americas was in 2005 when Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) and Felipe Massa (Brazil) raced for Sauber.
The last time a team had both drivers from Latin America was a year earlier, in 2004, when Antonio Pizzonia (Brazil) moved up to Williams race seat for final 4 races alongside Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia).
Also in 2004 Brazilians Ricardo Zonta and Cristiano da Matta raced for Toyota. Zonta however entered the picture only after da Matta left, so although they were on the same team they never raced together as team mates. Similar scenario occurred in 2001 at Prost with Gaston Mazzacane (Argentina) and Luciano Burti (Brazil), they never raced together as it was Burti who replaced Mazzacane.
Year 2000 was another year with two drivers from Americas racing for the same team (Villeneuve and Zonta) but one of them was Canadian.
To find two Latin American drivers racing alongside each other in one for the entire F1 season we need to go back to 1995. A new team entered the F1 circus – Parmalat Forti Ford – with two Brazilians on board – Pedro Diniz and Roberto Moreno.
Roberto Moreno also raced as a team mate of Nelson Piquet for Benetton at the end of 1990 season and in 1991 before replaced by Michael Schumacher in the second half of the season.
In 1984 a Venezuelan driver had a Brazilian team mate, Johnny Cecotto raced alongside Ayrton Senna in Toleman (10 races). That same Cecotto had a Colombian team mate Roberto Guerrero in Theodore racing a year earlier.
Since the late 1979 season Brabham raced with Argentine Ricardo Zunino and Brazilian Nelson Piquet. Zunino was replaced during 1980 season by Mexican Hector Rebaque. The team continued with the same drivers also in 1981.
And that is as far as this post goes in the history .
Williams F1 today confirmed that 2010 GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will race for the AT&T Williams team in 2011 season. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for next year following confirmation of Rubens Barrichello last month.
“Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.” – AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams
“I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.” – Pastor Maldonado
FIA issued 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list. Six teams have both drivers listed including Lotus (staying with Trulli and Kovalainen). Renault and Williams still haven’t confirmed team mates for Kubica and Barrichello, while no drivers have been officially confirmed by Force India, Virgin, HRT and surprisingly also Toro Rosso.
Team formerly known as Lotus Racing is listed as Team Lotus with Renault engines, BMW is no longer part of the name of the Sauber team. Here is the November 2010 version of 2011 F1 entry list:
RED BULL RACING (Red Bull Racing Renault)
1. Sebastian VETTEL (DEU)
2 Mark WEBBER (AUS)
VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES (McLaren Mercedes)
3. Jenson BUTTON (GBR)
4. Lewis HAMILTON (GBR)
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (Ferrari)
5. Fernando ALONSO (ESP)
6. Felipe MASSA (BRA)
MERCEDES GP PETRONAS F1 TEAM (Mercedes)
7. Michael SCHUMACHER (DEU)
8. Nico ROSBERG (DEU)
RENAULT F1 TEAM (Renault)
9. Robert KUBICA (POL)
AT&T WILLIAMS (Williams Cosworth)
11. Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (Force India Mercedes)
SAUBER F1 TEAM (Sauber Ferrari)
16. Kamui KOBAYASHI (JPN)
17. Sergio PEREZ MENDOZA (MEX)
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (STR Ferrari)
TEAM LOTUS (Lotus Renault)
20. Jarno TRULLI (ITA)
21. Heikki KOVALAINEN (FIN)
HRT F1 TEAM (HRT Cosworth)
MARUSSIA VIRGIN RACING (Virgin Cosworth)
I was little bit less camera crazy this time in Macau, here are few shots from Saturday and Sunday action at the Lisboa Corner of the Guia Circuit. As you can see from first two photos, Macau offers proper wheel-to-wheel racing (courtesy of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Juncadella):
(click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images)
Edoardo Mortara won the 2010 Macau GP Formula 3 race and made history by becoming the first driver to win this race twice. The 23-year-old Italian driver made a strong start from pole position. However, a start line crash resulted in two laps of the safety car and at the restart both Daniel Abt and Laurens Vanthoor slipstreamed Mortara on the long straight. They passed their team-mate before Lisboa corner. Abt however haven’t spent much time inthe lead. He crashed only seconds later and safety car was out for the second time. When it came in, it was Mortara who took advantage and slipstreamed Vanthoor to re-gain the lead. He pulled away and never looked back. Valtteri Bottas closed on Vanthoor but the order at the top hasn’t changed.
“It feels superb to win again and it’s a great honour for me to be a small part of motorsport history. Every year the competition at this race is really tough. Today was a big challenge. Laurens [Vanthoor] and Valtteri [Bottas] were pushing me really hard. I’ve got quite a lot of experience here and know that if you haven’t got a big gap to the car behind as you exit the last corner, they will overtake you. I thought I had enough when the first safety car came in, but unfortunately that was not the case and they Laurens and Daniel [Abt] passed me right at the end of the straight. Daniel then crashed and he wasn’t moving as we came past the wreck behind the safety car, so I really hope
At the second restart I got close enough to Laurens on the straight to pass him, and from there I pushed like hell. More than in qualifying. I gave it everything – every corner I was close to touching the wall. I risked it all to create a gap. The best part was seeing my guys cheering from the pitwall as I took the chequered flag. I love my Signature boys. Huge thanks to them and to Volkswagen for giving me a fantastic car and fantastic support. This is a sensational end to the perfect year for us.” – Edoardo Mortara
2010 Macau GP – Formula 3 Race Result:
1. Edoardo MORTARA – Signature – 39:30.753
2. Laurens VANTHOOR – Signature +2.120
3. Valtteri BOTTAS – Prema Powerteam +3.156
4. Marco WITTMANN – Signature +6.230
5. Renger VAN DER ZANDE – Motopark Academy +10.631
6. Antonio DA COSTA – Carlin +13.173
7. Jean-Eric VERGNE – Carlin +16.508
8. Roberto MERHI – Prema Powerteam +19.313
9. Felix ROSENQVIST – Performance Racing +20.343
10. Carlos HUERTAS – Hitech Racing +21.362
11. Felipe NASR – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +22.994
12. Alexandre IMPERATORI – Toda Racing with KCMG +23.926
13. Hideki YAMAUCHI – Hanashima Racing +25.486
14. Jazeman JAAFAR – Carlin +25.989
15. Will BULLER – Fortec Motorsport +31.563
16. Yuji KUNIMOTO – Tom’s +36.143
17. Rafael SUZUKI – Tom’s +36.621
18. Oliver WEBB – Fortec Motorsport +41.413
19. James CALADO – Carlin +41.753
20. Yuhi SEKIGUCHI – Three Bond Racing +46.198
21. Adderly FONG – Sino Vision Racing +46.336
22. Lucas FORESTI – Fortec Motorsport +46.731
23. Hywel LLOYD – CF Racing with Manor Motorsport +49.720
24. Kimiya SATO – Motopark Academy +52.555
4. Daniel ABT – Signature – lap 2
15. Daniel JUNCADELLA – lap 1
14. Rio HARYANTO – Raikkonen Robertson Racing – lap 1
24. Carlos MUNOZ – Hitech Racing – lap 1
13. Michael HO – Raikkonen Robertson Racing – lap 1
11. Alexander SIMS – Raikkonen Robertson Racing – lap 1
The delayed and shortened F3 practice session (due to crashes and track repairs in the previous event) ended with Valtteri Bottas on top ahead of Edoardo Mortara.
2010 Macau GP – Friday morning times:
1. Valtteri BOTTAS – Prema Powerteam – 2:11.080
2. Edoardo MORTARA – Signature +0.614
3. Marco WITTMANN – Signature +1.431
4. Carlos HUERTAS – Hitech Racing +1.864
5. Roberto MERHI – Prema Powerteam +1.984
6. Jean-Eric VERGNE – Carlin +2.134
7. Renger VAN DER ZANDE – Motopark Academy +2.201
8. Laurens VANTHOOR – Signature +2.237
9. Alexander SIMS – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +2.473
10. Antonio DA COSTA – Carlin +2.563
11. Felix ROSENQVIST – Performance Racing +2.600
12. Daniel ABT – Signature +2.673
13. Alexandre IMPERATORI – Toda Racing with KCMG +2.782
14. Daniel JUNCADELLA – Prema Powerteam +2.897
15. Yuji KUNIMOTO – Tom’s +2.990
16. Felipe NASR – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +3.031
17. Jazeman JAAFAR – Carlin +3.243
18. Will BULLER – Fortec Motorsport +3.398
19. Yuhi SEKIGUCHI – Three Bond Racing +3.635
20. James CALADO – Carlin +3.670
21. Kimiya SATO – Motopark Academy +3.783
22. Rio HARYANTO – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +4.033
23. Hideki YAMAUCHI – Hanashima Racing +4.039
24. Carlos MUNOZ – Hitech Racing +4.094
25. Oliver WEBB – Fortec Motorsport +4.123
26. Hywel LLOYD – CF Racing with Manor Motorsport +4.530
27. Lucas FORESTI – Fortec Motorsport +4.800
28. Rafael SUZUKI – Tom’s +5.139
29. Adderly FONG – Sino Vision Racing +5.765
30. Michael HO – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +5.876
Valtteri Bottas left it until his final lap to set the quickest time. Bottas and Mortara have topped the timesheets in every session held so far this weekend.
The start of practice had had to be delayed while repairs were made to the track following a crash in an early qualifying session, and F3 team agreed to shorten the originally scheduled 45-minute session down to 30-minutes.
At the midway point of the session, Mortara delivered his best effort to top the timesheets shortly before Rio Haryanto brought out a red flag when he crashed into the barriers on the exit of the final turn.
At the restart, Bottas and Mortara both pushed hard to improve on their times –but it was Bottas who did the best job as he set his best lap on the final lap of the session to end it six-tenths quicker than his closest rival.
Mortara’s Signature team-mate Marco Wittmann was third fastest, ahead of Carlos Huertas – who found out this morning that he has been handed a five-place grid penalty for infringing the yellow flag regulations during Thursday’s first qualifying session.
There were a number of incidents throughout the session, with Carlin’s James Calado crashing at Fishermen’s Bend and Will Buller also brushing the barriers at the same corner. And, as well as Haryanto’s incident, Carlos Munoz went straight on into the barriers at Police.
Nice topic thrown into the air by the nice Sidepodcast people for the first off-season Thursday – Which are your worst three circuits, and what would you do to fix them?
It is not easy to pick only three worst circuits as there are quite a few not so good ones that come to mind – Bahrain, Shanghai, Barcelona, Valencia, Monaco, Hungary, Singapore, Abu Dhabi. Plus add Turkey that has a good track but no one in Turkey cares …
Anyway, here are my top three worst tracks:
I would simply get rid of this race. The organizers haven’t managed to attract any decent audience in 7 years of racing, the city is a mess, the organizers too, just drop it. The track itself is not the worst on the calendar but the event itself probably is. I tried hard trying to like it, I went there 4 times… Did not work …
2) Abu Dhabi
What a ridiculous addition to the calendar. Yes, the journalists are singing odes on free internet but all we fans get is a brand new super expensive facility that is perhaps the worst Tilkedrome of them all. Must have been seriously difficult to spend all that money and built so boring track. Dig it up (or at least parts of it) and try again, if possible before the F1 returns next year …
3) Not easy to choose the third one. I decided to use elimination method by finding some positives on the other tracks I listed above. Monaco usually offers boring races but well, it is Monaco. Singapore GP may not be the most exciting race on calendar but it is a great event for fans although you probably have to be there to appreciate. Valencia has a beach 5 minutes walk from the grandstands. Turkey may have no people watching but the track is OK. Bahrain was horrible this year but hopefully things will get better once we are back to the shorter version of the track.
That leaves Barcelona and Hungaroring. I simply can’t come up with any excuse for these two tracks… I declare a tie for 3rd and 4th here. I would either drop them both or require the organizers to build a sprinkler system that will be on during every session …
Edoardo Mortara and Valtteri Bottas emerged as early favourites after Thursday action in Macau. Following almost identical times in first free practice the gap between them remained very close also in the first F3 qualifying session. This time the positions were reversed, Mortara edged Bottas by 0.113 and claimed provisional pole position.
2010 Macau GP – Qualifying 1 Times:
1. Edoardo MORTARA – 2:13.068
2. Valtteri BOTTAS +0.113
3. Marco WITTMANN +0.525
4. Laurens VANTHOOR +0.857
5. Carlos HUERTA +0.975
6. Renger VAN DER ZANDE +0.994
7. Felipe NASR +1.149
8. James CALADO +1.198
9. Alexandre IMPERATORI +1.247
10. Daniel ABT +1.444
11. Oliver WEBB +1.598
12. Jean-Eric VERGNE +1.683
13. Will BULLER +1.787
14. Antonio DA COSTA +1.951
15. Yuhi SEKIGUCHI +2.060
16. Hideki YAMAUCHI +2.141
17. Yuji KUNIMOTO +2.270
18. Alexander SIMS +2.282
19. Roberto MERHI +2.437
20. Jazeman JAAFAR +3.056
21. Rio HARYANTO +3.071
22. Lucas FORESTI +3.290
23. Hywel LLOYD +3.627
24. Kimiya SATO +3.816
25. Felix ROSENQVIST +3.821
26. Carlos MUNOZ +4.453
27. Rafael SUZUKI +5.391
28. Adderly FONG +5.874
29. Daniel JUNCADELLA +7.824
30. Michael HO +9.604
Almost immediately after Mortara set that provisional pole position time, Carlin’s Jazeman Jaafar crashed at Fishermen’s Bend – leaving his car stranded near the barriers on the inside of the track and bringing out the yellow flags.
Those caution flags meant drivers were unable to improve on their fastest times before the end of the session – meaning that Mortara’s best effort was enough to keep him 0.113 seconds ahead of Bottas.
“I’m happy to be first, but I don’t really care about the times at the moment. Today is all about getting prepared for qualifying and the race. I’m feeling good so let’s see what we can do tomorrow.” – Edoardo Mortara
“It was a bit of a shame with the yellow flags because the car felt good and there is plenty of time still to come. I used the same tyres as this morning so I know second qualifying will be quicker.” – Valteri Bottas
The session was red flagged after 14 minutes when Daniel Juncadella hit the wall at Fishermen’s Bend. There was a short delay while his car was retrieved and the barriers were fixed.
Both Sato and Abt who crashed in the first practice session managed to get their cars together for the second session.
2010 Macau GP begins today. The F3 line up includes Jean-Eric Vergne, Ryo Haryanto and Felix da Costa who only day or two ago tested F1 cars for Toro Rosso, Virgin Racing and Force India in Abu Dhabi during the young driver test. Fastest time in FP1 belong to Valtteri Bottas only who finished the session only 0.01s ahead of last year winner and 2009 runner up Edoardo Mortara.
There were two red flags during the practice, one inevitably caused by Japanese driver called Sato . See the video.
2010 Macau GP – FP1 Times:
1. Valtteri BOTTAS – FIN – Prema Powerteam – 2:14.578
2. Edoardo MORTARA – ITA – Signature +0.010
3. Laurens VANTHOOR – BEL – Signature +0.767
4. Roberto MERHI – ESP – Prema Powerteam +0.805
5. Carlos HUERTAS – COL – Hitech Racing +1.197
6. Renger VAN DER ZANDE – NED – Motopark Academy +1.575
7. Daniel ABT – GER – Signature +1.665
8. Yuji KUNIMOTO – JPN – Tom’s +1.754
9. Marco WITTMANN – GER – Signature +2.058
10. Daniel JUNCADELLA – ESP – Prema Powerteam +2.083
11. James CALADO – GBR – Carlin +2.329
12. Felipe NASR – BRA – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +2.630
13. Alexandre IMPERATORI – SUI – Toda Racing with KCMG +2.818
14. Jean-Eric VERGNE – FRA – Carlin +3.717
15. Will BULLER – GBR – Fortec Motorsport +3.845
16. Jazeman JAAFAR – MAS – Carlin +3.878
17. Rio HARYANTO – INA – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +4.340
18. Antonio DA COSTA – POR – Carlin +4.504
19. Oliver WEBB – GBR – Fortec Motorsport +5.307
20. Rafael SUZUKI – BRA – Tom’s +6.785
21. Hideki YAMAUCHI – JPN – Hanashima Racing +7.255
22. Michael HO – MAC – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +7.479
23. Alexander SIMS – GBR – Raikkonen Robertson Racing +7.882
24. Kimiya SATO – JPN – Motopark Academy +7.895
25. Lucas FORESTI – BRA – Fortec Motorsport +7.994
26. Hywel LLOYD – GBR – CF Racing with Manor Motorsport +8.300
27. Adderly FONG – HKG – Sino Vision Racing +8.341
28. Yuhi SEKIGUCHI – JPN – Three Bond Racing +4:39.353
29. Felix ROSENQVIST – SWE – Performance Racing +7:53.685
30. Carlos MUNOZ – COL – Hitech Racing +11:42.107
While people keep on bragging about the 2010 F1 season and follow the young driver tests in Abu Dhabi I am already turning my attention to the 2010 Macau GP that is on this weekend. The racing season is not over for me until all the debris is swept from the twisty curvy Macau street track on Sunday evening . I will be in Macau this weekend enjoying what likely will yet again be an action packed crashfest.
The star event of the weekend is the Formula 3 race with Edoardo Mortara back in the former Portuguese enclave to defend his 2009 title. Nobody has ever won the Macau F3 race back-to-back, in fact nobody has ever managed to win it twice. Mortara came close – he was the runner up in 2008 before winning the race in 2009. I found last night in my mailbox press release including Q&A with Edoardo Mortara. I decided to post the questions and answers here as they offer a Macau race winner’s view of this exciting and challenging street circuit (plus yet another hint that without pile of money in the pocket it is hard to graduate to F1 these days):
What is it you love about Macau, and why are you so bleeding fast there?
I don’t know really, I just feel comfortable at this track. I have no fear of the walls, I have the confidence to push incredibly hard. Maybe that’s not the case for some others. Also, the atmosphere is really fun. If you can go, I’d urge every race fan to come, and if you can’t then you should definitely watch it on TV.
What are the set-up demands of a circuit like this? It seems to be a circuit of two halves.
The Circuito da Guia is a pretty unique track. You’ve got a very, very long straight where you need top speed. But the mountain section is tight and twisty, so the challenge is to find the correct balance between high downforce and low downforce.
Talk us through a complete lap, corner-by-corner…
The first two corners after the start finish line are easy flat. They’re part of the big straight and here you can get a good tow and make overtaking moves. The braking zone for Turn 3 – Lisboa Bend – is severe. You arrive in sixth-gear at 260km/h and have just 100 metres to slow for the sharp right-hand second-gear turn.
Here begins the mountain section, and I have to say I absolutely love this part of the track. I’m getting excited just picturing it. Turn 4 is a fast right where you try to carry a lot of speed in and get a good exit for the straight up San Francisco Hill. The following corners are a combination. You arrive in fifth and brake on the right-hand-side of the track, change down to third, and carry lots of speed into the left-hander. Then you brake immediately for the third-gear, right-hand corner known as Maternity Bend.
Then there’s a small straight, enough to get up to fourth, and you stay in that gear as you sweep through a fast left turn. It’s an ‘S’ curve which switches back, and you can take the right-hander still in fourth. Next is a left-right kink which is flat-out but tricky – it’s pretty easy to lose the car here.
There’s another small straight where you accelerate up to fifth-gear before braking for a third-gear left-right corner combination. Back to fourth and immediately there’s a really narrow right, which is pretty bumpy under braking. Here, it’s easy to lock a front wheel and go off. Second-gear on the exit, then third, then brake hard for another second-gear right-hander.
Up through the gears to fourth, and brake for a left-hand spoon curve that is banked and allows you to carry a lot of speed. Exit in third-gear. The next corner is the famous Melco Hairpin, and that demands first-gear and a lot of steering wheel lock. It’s very tight – the track is just seven metres wide here.
Now we’re back on the wide track section. Watch out for the walls. This is a pretty long straight, fifth-gear, brake for the penultimate corner, Fisherman’s Bend. A fast right-hander, third-gear. The exit is pretty critical to prepare for the final corner, and if you’re not carrying maximum speed at the exit there you’ve had it. Straighten up in fourth-gear and put your foot to the floor for another lap.
You dominated the weekend last year, but were passed by your team-mate in the race and had to win the position back. Tell us about that weekend, and how it felt to win.
I arrived in Macau off the back of a very difficult, frustrating GP2 season. I was downcast. I knew I had to win Macau at all costs in order to save my career. The stakes were huge, but the result was totally revitalizing. It was the best day of my life.
I was quickest in all the practice sessions but I couldn’t really get a good lap in qualifying. I started the main race third on the grid. My team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay was on pole. We had an identical package and he was driving very well, so I knew it would be a real challenge to win the race.
I got in the lead at the start but when the safety car came out, Jean-Karl slipstreamed past me. I hunted him down until Lap 11 when he fluffed a gearshift at the hairpin. I closed right up on the straight, got a tow, and made the move stick at Lisboa. It wasn’t an easy race for me, but it was a fantastic race!
With one victory and a second place you’re already have the most successful record in Macau. But was it gutting not to win in 2008? What happened?
Of course it was disappointing, but I learned a lot from it. We dominated that year until I had a small technical problem during the final, which slowed the car. On top of that I clipped the wall because I was pushing so hard to stay with race leader Keisuke Kunimoto. That was it for me. I had to settle for second, and come back the following year to prove what I was capable of.
It’s your third Macau with Signature. What makes your partnership so successful? Is it the technology or more the relationships?
The relationships, for sure. It feels more like a big family than a racing team. I’ve been there for quite a long time now, I know all the guys well, and I think that’s helped us be so competitive. They work 100 percent to give me the best car possible every time.
Why are you returning to Macau? What else is there to prove?
Nothing really. But I’m not going to Macau to prove something, I’m going because I absolutely love racing there. I’ve raced at Monaco, Monza and Spa. For me, this is the greatest track in the world. End of story.
On top of that, I know we have a strong package and I can win this important race for a second time. It’s a nice position to be in.
If you win again, that’ll put you firmly in the history books. That’ll make you Mr Macau! What’s your next racing ambition?
In a way, I’m already Mr Macau. But certainly, to be the only driver to win there twice would be magic. I’m not really focusing on that, I’m just going there to give it my maximum. We’ll see for the rest.
As for my ambitions, the first Macau win didn’t result in loads of calls from F1 and GP2 teams – not without them wanting lots of money, anyway, which I don’t have – so I’m not expecting another Macau victory to be any different really.
How did your first taste of a DTM car go, in the Six Hours of Brno?
It was a great experience. I had just a small taste of what a DTM car is like to drive, but I loved it. It was a bit different to what I’m used to, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I’m really looking forward to driving it again.
Right now, of course, you’re focused on the week ahead. When you won the Euro Series you got engaged. What are you planning by way of celebration should you do the double in Macau?
(Laughs) Nothing special. I’ll buy the drinks! I think getting engaged is enough at the moment. It’s been an incredible 12 months for me, winning Macau a year ago, winning the Euro Series, and yes, getting engaged – all life changing stuff. Best year ever, I’d say, and another Macau victory this week would bookend it nicely. But even if I don’t win, it’s not the end of the world. Life is very good at the moment. I’m really happy. And I’m really excited about revisiting ‘my’ circuit.
Here are the results of round 19 of the prediction game and further down this post the final standings. The highest one belongs to DaniGo – 24 points, still short of 25 – the highest score of the season achieved by Enigma in the round one of our game.
2010 Prediction Game – Round 19 results:
24 – DaniGo
23 – Pgirish13
22 – psychy
20 – Stew Bibby, vroom, FISHEYE, Aienan
19 – Biggles209, Queen Bee, patosainz, Mike Coxon
18 – Flying Dutchman, GTR, zblkhwk, mcw3, Blazena, Alex’, F1Wolf
17 – Enigma, Royce, Klokan, sky, OliOlifant, Richard Tollman, brabhamburger, AHMAD AQEL, Tom jefford
16 – ncng, Saigon56, NJM, Clive Einkamerer, Vaibhav Pareek, sainzf, JGH, zoohead
15 – Red05
14 – Aaron Mullan, Nic B 205, DavidH
13 – GIMIFAI
After 19 rounds, deduction of 2 worst results and addition of 15 points to all who predicted Vettel there is only point difference between the top two in our game. The 2010 Prediction Game winner with 321 pointsis Pgirish13 ahead of JGH with 320 points. The final podium place belongs to sky with 316 points.
Here are the final scores after round 19:
321 – Pgirish13
320 – JGH
316 – sky
312 – DaniGo, Enigma
310 – psychy, Stew Bibby, Biggles209
308 – Queen Bee
305 – ncng, Aaron Mullan
302 – Flying Dutchman
301 – FISHEYE
300 – vroom
300 – Saigon56
297 – Klokan, OliOlifant
296 – F1Wolf
295 – GTR, NJM
293 – patosainz, mcw3, Red05, Roager
289 – Royce
288 – zblkhwk
286 – Clive Einkamerer, Vaibhav Pareek
285 – sainzf
277 – Kerb Rider
274 – Mike Coxon
273 – Richard Tollman, Duncan B
271 – Aienan, Psychy’sOlderBrother
266 – GIMIFAI
264 – Nic B 205
258 – Blazena, zoohead
250 – velvet demon
249 – brabhamburger
228 – Steve Robertson, Ozzi
216 – draconte
209 – Fantoci, Ino
206 – nieuwe
203 – Ice
196 – Alex’
185 – Mellor1
181 – Kotenok
170 – TiMMiE
149 – leveller
145 – Thorn GP
141 – james
138 – Cepastor
134 – DomPrez
129 – Pat W, Astremos
125 – daniel
112 – B Tay, Jose Arellano
81 – Blue42
80 – AHMAD AQEL
66 – dibsmjf
64 – marjan
63 – SYJYTG, Arun Srini, JR
50 – James W
49 – From
48 – Andy92
35 – James, Jeffrey Ho
33 – Mitch, osama
31 – pk_dude04
19 – Sarah
18 – Ex-race-marshal
17 – Tom jefford, Andy, Manu, vincent
16 – Rich, GREASYWEASEL
15 – Kees, eagleone
15 – muNEiF, Shivan Selva, RG
14 – DavidH
13 – El Chinero, Chobi
10 – Rowan Booney
The complete results of all players are available on the 2010 Prediction Game page. The table shows all the scores from all rounds, “-” indicates deducted scores (if the score to deduct was 0 I left 0 in the table). In the champ column those who voted Vettel have 15 points, those who voted other drivers have those drivers initials, those who voted for nobody have “-”.
Now I would need Pgirish13 (the overall winner) and Enigma (the highest score in single round) to mail me via the contact page in order to make the prize delivery arrangements.
Thank you all for taking part in this game in 2010, even bigger thanks to those selected few who have played since the year one (2007). The game may return next year but there is also chance that it will not or will in some changed format. I will make use of the off season to make up my mind .
Right on the first day of the off-season Williams announced some decisions on the their 2011 drivers line up. Rubens Barrichello will stay on with team, Nico Hulkenberg however will not. The team will confirm their second driver before the end of the year. Current GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado has been connected with the team.
The AT&T Williams team today announced that Rubens Barrichello will continue to drive for the team in 2011. The team’s second driver will be confirmed before the end of the year.
Rubens Barrichello enjoyed a successful first season with Williams, and his 18th in the sport. The Brazilian drove his FW32 into the qualifying top ten a total of 13 times and claimed 10 points scoring finishes over the year, all of which helped the team move forward to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The team can also confirm that Nico Hulkenberg will not contest the 2011 FIA World Championship with AT&T Williams. Nico joined the squad as a rookie at the start of the season, following a dominating career in Formula 3 and GP2 supported by Williams. Convincing performances in his debut year in Formula One culminated in 14th place in the Drivers’ Championship and an undoubtedly bright future in the sport. The team wishes to thank Nico for his dedication and team work over the past year, and for delivering a memorable first pole position in five seasons for the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“First, I would like to thank Nico for his hard work this year, and before that in preparing himself for Formula One. We are very proud to have supported him as he secured the Formula 3 and GP2 titles and during his debut in Formula One. At Williams we have for many years tried to bring new talent into the sport, and we are convinced that Nico will go on to great things. We wish him well and hope that our paths will cross again in the future.”
“We recruited Rubens to Williams knowing that he would bring technical expertise, experience and passion. He has delivered everything we could have hoped for this season and we are delighted to confirm that he will drive for us again in 2011.” – Frank Williams
Visit Nico Hulkenberg’s website to see his reaction to the split with Williams.
Sebastian Vettel won the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP and became the youngest ever Formula One champion. Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second place ahead of Jenson Button.
Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber became victims of their strategies. Both dropped down to the midfield after their pitstops and spent better part of race behind Vitaly Petrov (who pitted on lap one during safety car period).
2010 Abu Dhabi GP – Race result
2. Hamilton +10.1
3. Button +11.0
4. Rosberg +30.7
5. Kubica +39.0
6. Petrov +43.5
7. Alonso +43.7
8. Webber +44.2
9. Alguersuari +50.2
10. Massa +50.8
11. Heidfeld +51.5
12. Barrichello +57.6
13. Sutil +58.3
14. Kobayashi +59.5
15. Buemi +63.1
16. Hulkenberg +64.7
17. Kovalainen +1 lap
18. di Grassi +2 laps
19. Senna +2 laps
20. Klien +2 laps
21. Trulli +4 laps
Did not finish:
Sebastian Vettel will start the title deciding race from the pole position after qualifying 3 hundreds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso secured P3 ahead of Button and more importantly ahead of Webber in P5.
1. Vettel – 1:39.394
2. Hamilton – 1:39.425
3. Alonso – 1:39.792
4. Button – 1:39.823
5. Webber – 1:39.925
6. Massa – 1:40.202
7. Barrichello – 1:40.203
8. Schumacher – 1:40.516
9. Rosberg – 1:40.589
10. Petrov – 1:40.901
Q2: Sebastian Vettel posted the fastest time in Q2 ahead of Button, Rosberg, Webber, Hamilton, Alonso and Massa. Schumacher, Barrichello and Petrov also made it to Q1. Petrov outqualified his team mate Robert Kubica only for the second time. Kubica missed out on Q1 for the first time this season.
Drivers eliminated in Q2:
11. Kubica – 1:40.780
12. Kobayashi – 1:40.783
13. Sutil – 1:40.914
14. Heidfeld – 1:41.113
15. Hulkenberg – 1:41.418
16. Liuzzi – 1:41.642
17. Alguersuari – 1:41.738
Q1: Fernando Alonso was fastest in the first part of the qualifying (1:40.170) ahead of Rosberg, Vettel, Hamilton, Webber and Button. Sebastien Buemi joined the six usual suspects in the drop out zone.
Drivers eliminated in Q1:
18. Buemi – 1:41.824
19. Trulli – 1:43.712
20. Kovalainen – 1:43.712
21. Glock – 1:44.095
22. di Grassi – 1:44.510
23. Senna – 1:45.085
24. Klien -1:45.296
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were fastest in final practice session of 2010 season ahead of Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Petrov.
1. Vettel – 1:40.696
2. Webber +0.133
3. Hamilton +0.584
4. Alonso +0.794
5. Button +0.882
6. Petrov +0.993
7. Schumacher +0.994
8. Rosberg +1.033
9. Kubica +1.181
10. Heidfeld +1.197
11. Hulkenberg +1.238
12. Massa +1.282
13. Barrichello +1.620
14. Kobayashi +1.870
15. Sutil +1.891
16. Liuzzi +2.162
17. Alguersuari +2.297
18. Buemi +2.648
19. Kovalainen +4.180
20. Trulli +4.352
21. Glock +4.354
22. Senna +4.794
23. di Grassi +4.933
24. Klien +5.768
Fastest time of the first Abu Dhabi practice session belongs to Sebastian Vettel, six tenths ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Button, Webber, Kubica and Alonso were all over a second slower than Vettel. The session started on the wet track following earlier rain. Yes, it can rain in Abu Dhabi…
Friday Practice 1 Times:
1. Vettel – 1:42.760
2. Hamilton + 0.609
3. Button + 1.025
4. Webber +1.080
5. Kubica +1.320
6. Alonso +1.361
7. Schumacher +1.439
8. Kobayashi +1.844
9. Rosberg +1.958
10. Heidfeld +1.977
11. Massa +2.400
12. Petrov +2.685
13. Barrichello +2.714
14. Sutil +2.792
15. Liuzzi +2.825
16. Alguesuari +3.243
17. Hulkenberg +3.884
18. Buemi +4.345
19. Glock +5.690
20. Trulli +5.712
21. di Grassi +6.615
22. Senna +6.830
23. Klien +7.514
24. Fauzy +8.945
Friday Practice 2 Times:
1. Hamilton – 1:40.888
2. Vettel + 0.257
3. Alonso + 0.426
4. Webber + 0.427
5. Kubica + 0.688
6. Massa + 0.695
7. Petrov + 1.208
8. Button + 1.244
9. Liuzzi + 1.315
10. Rosberg + 1.334
11. Schumacher + 1.358
12. Hulkenberg + 1.561
13. Sutil + 1.647
14. Kobayashi + 1.880
15. Barrichello + 2.026
16. Heidfeld + 2.062
17. Alguersuari + 2.240
18. Buemi + 2.696
19. Kovalainen + 4.292
20. Glock + 4.371
21. Trulli + 4.724
22. di Grassi + 5.165
23. Klien + 6.322
24. Senna + 6.546
The upcoming 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is not only the drivers title deciding race but also for the foreseeable future the last F1 race for Bridgestone tyres. The Pirelli era (and not only in F1) will begin. Here is a brief look back at Bridgestone in F1.
Bridgestone tyres appeared in F1 for the first time in 1976. The first and for almost 20 years the only driver to use Bridgestones in F1 was Kazuyoshi Hoshino (Heros Racing). He entered only 2 races – 1976 and 1977 Japanese GPs. He retired from the first one because he ran out of tyres.
The proper entry into Formula One came in 1997 ending five years of Goodyear monopoly. Bridgestone supplied 5 teams in their first year in F1 – Arrows, Prost, Minardi, Stewart and Lola (although the MasterCard Lola team never really made it).
“We scored points in our first race and the first Bridgestone podium came in our second race. We even came very close to a win with Damon Hill in the Arrows Yamaha at Hungary so this was a very good debut for us.” – Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima
In 1998 F1 introduced the grooved tyres. Benetton and McLaren switched to Bridgestone rubber. Mika Hakkinen won the drivers title, the first one for Bridgestone in only their second year in F1. This season also marked the end of the brief period of competition with Goodyear. For the next two seasons (1999-2000) Bridgestones were the only tyres in F1.
The tyre war resumed in 2001 following the return of Michelin (Williams, Benetton, Jaguar, Minardi, Prost). In the following seasons Bridgestone worked closely with Ferrari, perhaps too closely for their other customers comfort. By 2005 only Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi used Bridgestone tyres, all other teams switched to Michelins.
The 2005 season was also the season of major rule change – the tyre change ban. Bridgestone lost the title to Michelin (Alonso, Renault) as Ferrari struggled to adapt to new harder tyres. The only Bridgestone win that season came in the controversial US GP …
At the end of the year FIA announced that from the 2008 season there would be only one tyre supplier in F1. Only few days later, Michelin announced the 2006 season will be their last in Formula One as they had no desire to remain in F1 as a sole tyre supplier.
Two teams jumped the ship ahead of 2006 season (Toyota, Williams) and switched from Michelin to Bridgestone a year ahead of planned Michelin exit. The tyre changes returned, Ferrari became competitive again but the final win in F1 tyre war to date went to Michelin (again Alonso, Renault).
From 2007 on Bridgestone have been the sole tyre supplier. Obviously they won all the titles. To keep at least some fan and media interest in tyres the compulsory tyre changes were introduced with the softer compounds marked with white paint in one of the grooves. When the slicks came back in 2009 the white groove was replaced with green stripe on the side. There were some interesting moments thanks to drivers racing on different compounds (Sato vs Alonso in Canada 2007 for example) but in general it can be said that this failed to deliver.
Then came November 2, 2009 and rather surprising announcement of Bridgestone’s withdrawal from F1. Season 2011 will after many years be the first one without involvement of major Japanese automotive company in Formula One.
In 8 years (not counting the odd 1976-77 appearances) while competing with other tyre manufacturers (Goodyear, Michelin) Bridgestone won five drivers (Hakkinen 1998, Schumacher 2001-2004) and five constructors championships (McLaren, Ferrari). Hakkinen, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Button won while Bridgestone tyres were the only ones in F1 with one more to make the list this Sunday.