Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Vitaly Petrov Compares This Year To Last Year

We all are pretty sure Vitaly Petrov has had an easier time competing against his team mate this year at Lotus Renault because of the absence of Robert Kubica. Likewise it is also evident Petrov has improved greatly since this time last year. Vitaly discusses how he has improved and his relationship with new team mate Bruno Senna.

Jordan Gives Schumacher New Clutch 20 Yrs Late

Eddie Jordan who Michael Schumacher first raced for 20 years ago in his debut had a special gift to mark the occasion. Jordan presented Schumacher with a new clutch albeit 20 years late as a defect one might well have cost the seven time world champion victory in his debut race.

Wind back 20 years, in the words of Schumacher "The background was that we had problems with the coupling in the warmup. At the briefing I pointed out that the clutch slips. We talked about the hot heads, whether we should change it or not, but Eddie finally said that it costs too much money." Guess Eddie can afford it a bit easier now!

The entire paddock had been invited to the Mercedes motor home for the celebration with beer and sausages. Only the Red Bull drivers failed to show up as they had an over running technical meeting no doubt talking about camber and blistering tyres! Even Rubens Barrichello was their after Schumacher missed his 300th GP-start celebration a year ago and the both aren't exactly the closest best buds.

After brief speeches by Norbert Haug, Ross Brawn and Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali the gifts were handed over. Mercedes with a photo of Schumacher's Le Mans car which he used to race for them. Ferrari handed it's most successful driver the engine cover of the unbeatable 2004 Ferrari which he won 13 races with. Schumacher joked "can we screw the part onto our Mercedes tomorrow?"

In his speech Ross Brawn regretted that he did not give Michael the best equipment available, talking about the wheel coming of before a qualifying lap could be completed. Brawn added "We promise to do better tomorrow"

Do better was exactly what they did, helping Schumacher end up 5th in a sensational drive from the back.
Unfortunately missed by the standard FOM TV feed was a classic double overtake of the two Virgins who were side by side at the time with Schumacher faking one side then passing them both on the other side.

Unfortunately FOM feel the need to keep footage like that hidden away so no one can see it as they keep deleting footage of race action so it may be hard to find now. I replaced Schumi's on board opening laps a couple times because they were unreal but FOM keep invoking the copyright. That's their great way of promoting the sport... give a rubbish feed that misses basically everything then after the race ban every type of footage and just make available a 5 minute highlight video about a month later. Sounds like something else that's planned next year!

How Schumacher Went From 24th To 14th In 2 Laps Video

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Jarno Trulli Laps Monza On Simulator

Team Lotus driver Jarno Trulli previews his home grand prix at Monza.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Bruno Reflects On Belgian GP

Bruno Senna discusses his first weekend racing for Lotus Renault.

Nico Rosberg Post Race Video Blog (Belgian GP)

Rosberg made a super start from 5th on the grid to 2nd place before overtaking Sebastian Vettel for the lead. Unfortunately for Nico it was all downhill from there ending the race in 6th place behind team mate Michael Schumacher.

How Schumacher Went From 24th to 14th in 2 Laps

Great race from Schumacher on his 20th anniversary. Starting 24th and last place because of a wheel coming of in qualifying and ending the race in 5th. Schumacher gains 10 places in first two laps. On-board footage from start to beginning of third lap.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Making Of Schumacher's Anniversary Helmet

You will probably notice Michael Schumacher wearing a different helmet this weekend. Helmet manufacturer Schuberth has presented the 7-time world champion with a  21-carat gold helmet to commemorate his 20th anniversary.

Tom Cruise In Red Bull On Track Video

Tom Cruise takes a spin in a Red Bull F1 car at the Willow Springs race track in southern California. Cruise then jumps into the Red Bull aerobatic helicopter with pilot Chuck Aaron. Excellent from Red Bull!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Smedley & Stella: Best Memory To Favourite Swear Word

Ferrari racing news including double interview with race engineers Andrea Stella and Rob Smedley.

Bruno Senna Talks About His Surprise Chance

Bruno Senna interviewed by Lotus Renault discusses his promotion to race seat, starting at Spa his favourite track.

Button & Hamilton Vodafone Interview

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button talk about the Spa challenge on Vodafone Inside Track.

Quotes From Schumi's F1 Debut

20 years ago the seven time World Champion started his Formula One career at the Belgian GP. It's fascinating to take a look at some of the reactions at how special a driver this unknown German was appearing to be.

At the Jordan Silverstone test when Schumacher first drove a Formula One car.

After Schumacher goes out the first time in a Formula 1 car, lapping at an incredible speed, team manager Trevor Foster calls him in and says to marketing director Ian Philips "We must slow the guy. See that you get Eddie on the phone and tell him that we have a madman or a superstar in your car"

Eddie Jordan being phoned with team manager Trevor Foster stating "I'm not sure what's going on. Did they alter the track this morning? His times are ridiculously fast."

Eddie Jordan further elaborating on the team talking to him on the phone. Jordan team: "The guy is a rocket" with Eddie responding "Check it out with Silverstone Syd(Syd Herbert). Maybe you have made a mistake in the route."

"Everything in order" comes back in reply. "There was a narrow section of the course, called 'The Loop'. John Watson was unbeatable there. Schumacher has in that sector immediately set a new fastest time."

Gary Anderson: "He only did about 20 laps, but his fastest lap was as good as we'd ever done at that circuit,"

Schumacher on his Silverstone test "I have a feeling I was not even on the limit"

At the Belgian Grand Prix

Team mate Andrea de Cesaris: "I said to my engineer: 'This guy's got guts'. I realised straight away that he wasn't just some newcomer, this guy could really drive. Now it's easy to say that he was really bloody quick, but Spa is no picnic. It's one of the toughest tracks, very quick, long and extremely challenging.

"In short, it's unforgiving and I expected the rookie to struggle there. I'd never met him before we arrived at the circuit. Straight away he was as quick as me. My engineer, Gary Anderson, came to me and said: 'Look, Michael is taking Blanchimont flat and you're not. You have to take this corner flat'. For me it was a very demanding weekend!"

Trevor Foster: "Michael, in the sessions, was never out of the top eight. I pulled him in at one point to ask him 'Are you sure you're not going over the limit?' His tone was just so calm: 'It's OK, don't worry, I'm on the limit but I'm not over it'. He was totally relaxed and took everything in his stride."

Talking about the post qualifying debrief to ESPN, Foster: "Andrea went into great detail about how, when he entered Blanchimont, the rear of the car would get very nervous, and there was a bump there where they'd resurfaced it. It would make the car unstable, which is why he wasn't able to take it flat.

"Andrea gave this long and detailed explanation, and at the end I asked Michael 'Is it the same for you?' Michael said: 'Well, it was for the first three laps but after that I just took it flat. If you keep your foot planted it stabilizes the car and away you go'."

Eddie Jordan "Michael went into the fourth row. The first time in Spa. It was incredible"

Unfortunately it all ended with Schmacher in the first lap because of a clutch failure. With his slower team mate as high as 2nd in the race it is highly possible Schmacher could have won his debut race but for the clutch. To make matters worse for Eddie Jordan, Schmacher was immediately snapped up by Benetton with him sending Jordan a hand written fax.

'Dear Eddie,
I'm sorry but I am unable to take up your offer of a drive.
Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Belgian Grand Prix TV Coverage (BBC)

BBC Red Button Freeview
0855-1035 Live coverage of the 1st practice session.
1255-1435 Live coverage of the 2nd practice session.

BBC Red Button Freeview
0955-1105 Live coverage of the 3rd practice session.

BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1210-1415 Live coverage of Qualifying.

BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1205-1530 Live coverage of Race.

BBC Red Button Freeview
1530-1630 Post-race analysis and debate.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Schumi Talks Spa

Michael Schumacher discusses why the Belgian GP at Spa is special to him.

Why Is This Dude Schumacher So Special

Inside Grand Prix News by Allianz do a Schumacher special to commemorate 20 years since he made his debut at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Williams Preview Belgium Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado and Sam Michael talk about the Spa circuit. Sam Michael sums it up by describing Spa as "fantastic circuit, one of the best circuits on the calendar. Great for drivers, separates out the good drivers from the bad."

Alonso & Surtees Compare Past & Present Spa

Current and past Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and John Surtees discuss the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Up Close Fan View Of Ferrari Demo In Rotterdam

You don't get much closer to a Formula One car doughnut than 47 seconds into this video. Excellent footage from a fan watching Ferrari's demo run by Marc Gene in Rotterdam. 

Austin Red Bull Demo Run With Coulthard

David Coulthard discusses how Austin, Texas will embrace Formula One. Also footage of his demo run on the streets of Austin in the Red Bull.

Heikki Kovalainen Laps Spa On Simulator

Heikki Kovalainen previews the legendary track for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Friday, 19 August 2011

BBC/Sky Deal Negotiated Privately By BBC

Bernie Ecclestone claims it wasn't him but BBC bosses who came up with the joint TV coverage deal which has left us F1 fans not so happy. Last week it was revealed Channel 4 also made a big money bid which was rejected with Ecclestone praising their effort.

Speaking to the Mirror about the BBC, Ecclestone: "They had a contract in force already, from 2012 all the way through to 2014.

"They got to grips with Sky themselves. I spoke with ITV too, and came up with the same problem as Channel 4 had. We had a contract with the BBC which didn’t run out until 2014.

"We couldn’t very well do a deal with other people for them to start doing ­something next year, because we had that contract.

"Other broadcasters wouldn’t want to wait until 2014 to decide what they wanted to pay."

When asked if BBC held all the cards, Ecclestone replies "Yes, absolutely. If they [Channel 4] had said they wanted to sign a contract today to start broadcasting for £45m a year, then we would have probably done it.

"But that’s the problem. We couldn’t deal with them, even if they had wanted to."

Bernie now goes into autopilot saying the same lines all who are involved in this deal keep trying to make everyone believe. "I think the two of them will eventually do a good job. Sky aren’t going to get the live viewing figures that we had with the BBC, but I think with the combination of the two across all the Formula One that is ­broadcast there will be a lot more viewers.

“In the short-term, I think that collectively taking in the amount of ­broadcasting that’s going to be scheduled between the two of them next year, there will be more eyeballs watching than we have now.

“That’s good for us, good for the teams and good for the fans.”

You would nearly think when Ecclestone met the team bosses after the deal was announced he sat them down and told them to just keep saying these lines and nothing else as the fans are stupid.

Eric Boulier:"I think it is rather good news and should be positively welcomed by fans,"

Martin Whitmarsh:"Bernie assured me, and I asked him several times, the deferred coverage will not be highlights, it will be a full race.

"That, to some fans, will be very important, depending on exactly what races they are, so hopefully that means it’s a good deal for everyone.

"Based upon that, if it increases the total viewership, and it maintains the ability of free to air for all of the viewing public in the UK, then cautiously it’s good news isn’t it?"

Looks like Ecclestone told FOTA head Whitmarsh the whole race was going to be shown delayed and not just the highlights to get FOTA on board, with it always looking highlights was the intention of all involved. Unfortunately it looks highly unlikely Whitmarsh or any other team boss will stand up to Ecclestone even if they were led astray.

It is also hard to believe the BBC held all the cards when they will have broken the original contract by not wanting to pay the full amount for the years left on it. Ecclestone could have just said as he speculated about before: "I can't see how the BBC could cancel [its contract early]. We could probably sue them.". He could have said, either the BBC show the coverage as before for the last years of the contract or we fine them and show it on Channel 4 or ITV.

Support the petition, 100,000 names needed and will be debated in UK parliament. Only for UK citizens.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Schumacher: You Will Have To See Me In 2012

Michael Schumacher has completely quashed any retirement rumors. A fabricated story appeared on an Italian website which Schumacher describes as "funny rumors and stupid untruthful stories" further adding "you will have to see me in 2012, who likes it or not likes it I will be their"

Thursday, 11 August 2011

If You Like Theme Parks Or Ferrari

It is Formula One holiday season so might as well show somewhere pretty good to visit on one. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi the largest indoor and the only Ferrari branded theme park in the world.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Alonso & Domenicali Discuss Rest Of Season

Fernando Alonso and Stefano Domenicali talk about Ferrari's plans for the rest of the season. Also interviews with various Ferrari team members on the summer wrooom event.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Schumacher Considering Retirement Again?

Michael Schumacher has been dropping some hints he might have had enough of his comeback. Speaking to Corriere dello Sport Schmacher says "I arrived at Mercedes with a specific task: not winning at all costs but to grow the team,

"If anything, I am the problem: it is a fact that I am a bit more relaxed than before and I do not know if my mindset is right for this team.

"I have experience, I can estimate when it is necessary to concentrate. But I do not know if my mind-set is right for the team, in some time we will evaluate whether to continue or stop in F1"

Schumacher is contracted for one more year of his three year comeback. When Ross Brawn was asked previously on which side the option to continue for the final year was he replied "Michael's"

If Schumacher does retire at the end of the year, Paul Di Resta is strong favorite for the vacant seat at Mercedes.

Update: Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm as responded to the retirement rumors by saying  it is "All nonsense." 

Kehm continues "Since he returned to F1, Michael has not spoken to anyone from Corriere dello Sport, he is full of passion for the project and regards it as an exciting challenge to build something big together with Mercedes. 

"That it is sometimes tough only encourages him more, Someone who will soon celebrate their 20th anniversary in formula one knows that perseverance is what makes the difference."

That sounds more like the Schumacher we know and love or some loathe! 

Schumacher's response You Will Have To See Me In 2012

Monday, 8 August 2011

How The Drivers Are Spending Their Holidays

Inside Grand Prix News by Allianz track what the drivers are up to over the summer break. The latest paddock news is reviewed included Rubens Barrichello becoming increasingly unhappy at Williams and Bernie's calendar for next year.

Fernando Alonso Goes Mountain Biking

Ferrari 2011 summer wrooom event were Fernando Alonso tries out some mountain biking.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Damon Hill Talks About The Season & Schumi

Damon Hill interviewed by The Sun talks about Sebastian Vettel's lead and how the season is going. Damon also chats about how his old pal Michael Schumacher is getting along.

Webber Talks About Hungary & Rest Of The Season

Mark Webber talks about the gamble he took putting on intermediates when the rain started to fall near the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Mark also discusses his plans for the rest of the season after the summer break.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Schumi More 'Relaxed' Since Comeback

Michael Schumacher has admitted he has a more relaxed attitude since coming back to the sport after a 3 year break. The Schumacher of old was known for his intense and standoffish attitude. Speaking to the Cologne tabloid Express, Schumacher: "It is a fact that I am somewhat more relaxed than I was before, No question.

"I just have much more experience and simply know what is necessary at what moment, I know when I need to be concentrated and when I can ease up."

Discussing his comparison to team mate Nico Rosberg, Schumacher says "To be first, one must first have his team mate under control. That is very possible. Especially as regards the race situation, I'm not in my opinion so far away"

It seems the main problem with Schumacher's comeback is Rosberg's speed in qualifying. Alex Wurz, Rosberg's  former team mate at Williams stated when he retired, Rosberg had to be the best in the paddock at qualifying. With Schumacher his greatest strength was always in the race with the pole record the last of the records he beat in F1 supporting this claim.

The good news for the seven times World Champion is when it comes to the Sunday he has been the quicker Mercedes driver of late but unfortunately keeps getting involved in incidents that ruin his race. He has had the lion's share of bad luck in the team retiring in both Monaco and Hungary with reliability issues. To properly access Shumacher's comeback the big question is, how really good is Nico Rosberg?

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

USA Street Race As Soon As 2013?

Two mayors in New Jersey towns USA have announced Tuesday they are in early talks with a group of investors led by Leo Hindery Jr. to host an annual Formula One race reports The Wall Street Journal. Weehawken mayor Richard Turner and West New York mayor Felix Roque are counting on the grand prix to bring millions of dollars of spending and investment to their areas each year.

In a joint statement, mayors Turner and Roque said: "It is already clear that the economic impact on our towns and local businesses from this Formula One race could be dramatic, in the order of several hundred million dollars to the region annually.

"In these uncertain economic times when every direct and indirect revenue source is vital, our own Formula One race could be a very positive boost to our citizens. This said, we need to ensure that the financial benefits from the privilege of having these races in our towns are equitably shared and that no tax dollars are used.

"The investor group has already told us that our towns would be substantially compensated annually. If this advances, we will make every effort to ensure that these events will be highly enjoyable for the people of our towns."

Leo Hindery Jr who has a long history in motorsport and is the founding chairman of The Yes Network which is the nations largest regional sports network said: "We are thrilled about the possibilities associated with our discussions to bring Formula One racing to New Jersey, and we're grateful for the mayors’ consideration. We are fully committed to an open public process, which will include dialogue with residents, elected officials and other key stakeholders."

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ecclestone Prefers Just Highlights On The BBC

Bernie Ecclestone is fast becoming a hate figure among F1 British fans and comments like "I prefer highlights on the BBC" doesn't help his cause when apparently according to Bernie they can show the whole race if they want.

Briatore: Alonso Deserves To Be The Best Driver In History

Former Renault F1 team boss and current Fernando Alonso manager Flavio Briatore has yet again heaped some very big praise on the two time F1 Champion. Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero Briatore says "Fernando deserves to be the best driver in history.

"He has decided to stay at Ferrari until the end of his career and hopefully Ferrari gives a car were Alonso can win more titles than Schumacher"

Briatore says Fernando at present is the best of the current drivers. Briatore: "There are five or six very good drivers and Fernando is the best. Then there are Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Webber. Rosberg is very good too, despite not having a car that can compete.

"Fernando is doing wonderful things but does not have the car like Red Bull and McLaren. Vettel is the youngest and fastest and being world champion has given him more confidence. If Fernando drove a Red Bull he would win by a huge amount, which we must respect the Red Bull because engineers have done a spectacular car."

Briatore himself doesn't rule out making a return to Ferrari to work with Alonso stating "in life you never know"

Alonso post race BBC interview below.

Marko: 2012 Could Be Webber's Last In F1

Red Bull Racing team consultant Helmut Marko has claimed 2012 could be Mark Webber's last season in Formula One. Marko is famously known for being much closer to Webber's team mate Sebastian Vettel and a dig at Webber is certainly nothing new.

The latest being Marko stating to broadcaster One "Mark will probably retire next year. We are therefore looking for a junior from the Red Bull stable to succeed him."

Ironically, the leading junior could well be Webber's fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo, who is being evaluated by Red Bull while driving for backmarker team HRT.

About Riccardo Marko says "First of all, he has to beat his teammate, and he has to progress, He is losing too much in the pitstops, and losing too much when he is being lapped so he must get the feeling. And we want him to fight with the people who are around him."

Since Webber has got to grips with the new tyres there has been very little to choose between him and Vettel like it was last year. Unless Mark suddenly can't challenge his team mate anymore or the Red Bull competitiveness suddenly disappears I find it hard to believe Webber will retire.

Below is Webber's BBC interview after the Hungarian Grand Prix.

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