Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Vettel Visits Renault Sport F1 Factory In France



World champion Sebastian Vettel visits the Renault Sport F1 factory in France to thank the engine supplier who powered him to two successive world titles.

Red Bull Decline Bike Swap Offer For Vettel

Red Bull Racing have declined an invitation for world champion Sebastian Vettel to swap his F1 car with fellow German and 2011 Moto2 champion Stefan Bradl's bike.

La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes Bradl "I would gladly try a Formula One single seater and Sebastian could get on my bike. Yes, the change would be harder for him than for me."

Vettel was keen on the idea reports German tabloid Bild but the double world champion knew the dangers. "If you have a little slide, the car runs off. On a bike, you fall right off." said Vettel.

The problem is when Red Bull Racing consultant Helmut Marko was asked about the chances of the demonstration swap he replied with a resounding "no" adding "Not under any circumstances, the danger that Sebastian could get hurt on a bike is too great."

After the Robert Kubica ordeal teams will want to wrap their F1 stars in cotton wool if they could and you can hardly blame them.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Vintage Alonso & Massa In Vintage Ferrari's



Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso put on vintage racing gear to drive 60-70 year old Ferrari's. Massa in a 815 Auto Avio Costruzioni and Alonso in a 125 S.

Kimi Raikkonen Video Interview With Lotus Renault



Kimi Raikkonen talks about his often questioned motivation. Raikkonen also discusses what are the main challenges awaiting him, suspecting the new tyres will be the main one. The 2007 world champion also admits he will need some neck strengthening exercises to cope with the G forces of F1 again.

Related:
  Raikkonen's F1 Comeback Official
  Kimi Räikkönen Resume

Raikkonen's F1 Comeback Official

Kimi Raikkonen's comeback has been made official after months of speculation and recently a near certain deal with Williams failing. Kimi will be on the Formula 1 grid next year with Lotus Renault after signing a two year deal.

Kimi Raikkonen: "I'm delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break, and I'm grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity. My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can't deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming. It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team's ambition. Now I'm looking forward to playing an important role in pushing the team to the very front of the grid."

Team owner Gerard Lopez: "All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we've been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level. Kimi's decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I'd like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1."

It is not known who will partner Raikkonen for next year but Vitaly Petrov appears to have the best chance as the Russian has a contract and good sponsorship. Eric Boulier would be pushing for his managed driver Roman Grosjean but Boulier's own job isn't safe after Lotus Renault's performance this year.

Related: 
Kimi Raikkonen Video Interview With Lotus Renault
Kimi Räikkönen Resume

Friday, 25 November 2011

Raikkonen To Williams Comeback Off

It appears Kimi Raikkonen's comeback with William's has hit a major stumbling block. According to German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport the comeback was aborted last week. The Williams seat will now be fought over between current driver Rubens Barrichello, Williams young driver Abu Dhabi tester Valtteri Bottas and Force India's Adrian Sutil.

The reasons for Raikkonen's Williams comeback failing are unknown with speculation he was asking to much(12 million euro rumored) and also reports he wanted a 20 percent stake in the team with the latter denied by a major Williams shareholder.

With the Williams deal over it appears there is still a chance of Raikkonen being in F1 next year with Renault admitting Raikkonen was in contact the week before the Abu Dhabi grand prix. However allegedly last year Raikkonen was in negotiations with Renault and they ending badly. Raikkonen later said about Renault something to the effect of it isn't cool to drive a slow car! Right now though both are more in need of each other with Raikkonen appearing more desperate to get back in F1 and Renault looking like loosing their star driver Robert Kubica.

Update 28 Nov: Strong rumors Kimi Raikkonen is shortly going to be announced as a Lotus Renault driver for next year.

Hamilton vs Button In Press Ups



McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton compete against each other to see who can do the most timed press ups.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hamilton & Button Reflect On Brazil GPs



In Johnnie Walker, Step Inside The Circuit, McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton look back on their Brazilian grands prix.

Kubica's Manager: "Renault Has Changed Robert's Words"

Robert Kubica has never said that he would not start next season claims Daniele Morelli, the manager of the Pole in Gazzetta dello Sport.

On Wednesday Renault issued the following statement from Kubica: "Even if I've been working very, very hard over the course of the last few weeks, I came to the conclusion that I am not yet certain to be ready for the 2012 season. I have called the team and I have informed them of the situation,"

On Thursday Kubica's manager revealed he was not happy with the way Renault quoted Robert and speaking in Gazzetta dello Sport, Morelli says "I don't understand why Renault has changed Robert's words, It's not true he won't be ready for 2012: he stated he doesn't have certainty that he will be in shape for the first tests in February. We count on and hope to be ready, but in any case the delay will be a few months, 2013 was never mentioned.

Morelli drops strong hints the Kubica/Renault relationship is as good as over by adding "Renault will go its way with regards to the drivers, while we will look for alternative solutions. [The contract] does not extend to 2012, it ends at the end of December, so from 1st January will we be free to go in whatever direction."

Morelli is also expecting Kubica to be as good as before the rally accident and attractive to the top teams if he comes back. Morelli: "Plans have gone out of the window, but if Robert comes back that's because he will be competitive like before and attractive for the top teams.

"He is a bit overweight, but his right leg is almost the same as the left one muscle-wise. His elbow's external brace will be removed on Tuesday, so from that point on he will be free from that scrap metal. The hand's sensitivity is OK, the only limit is strength: the forearm's muscles have been immobilized for a long time so there's a lot of work to do, but it's a matter of time, by the end of January the strength should be adequate."

On how Kubica will return to Formula one Morelli says "Not with a kart, because it's too extreme vibration-wise and for the lack of power steering. We'll start gradually and we'll see the responses after almost a year of inactivity. Robert is charged up: the tough times were in September/October, when the forearm's rotation was limited and progress wasn't so quick. But in the last month there's been a nice acceleration."

The squabbling between Kubica's management and Renault has been going on for months now with differing reports coming from both sides on the poles rehabilitation progress and how Kubica will make the comeback. One senses though this time the relationship is close to over and it is hard to imagine seeing Kubica sitting in a Lotus Renault again. Maybe a Ferrari but not a Lotus Renault!

Schumacher & Hamilton Refuse Helmet Safety Update

Last month at the Japanese Grand Prix, it was believed all the drivers were wearing helmets fitted with the latest safety update designed after Felipe Massa's near fatal crash in 2009.

The new feature on the helmets is a bulletproof Zylon strip across the top of the visors. The downside of the safety enhancement is the strip adds 50 grams of weight to the helmet, and affects the visor tint coatings and also the tear-off strips.

Turun Sanomat reports that the zylon visor is not yet mandatory with Japanese helmet manufacturer Arai's Peter Burger stating "(Michael) Schumacher and (Lewis) Hamilton don't use it because it saves them an extra 50 grams, Perhaps with the g-forces it adds up to a bit more (than 50 grams)"

World Champion Sebastian Vettel does use the zylon strip with Burger adding "I had to carefully explain to him why to use something that is not actually compulsory, It was supposed to become mandatory in Japan but the FIA only sent a letter to each driver strongly recommending that they use it."

The last time Schumacher and Hamilton went against the thinking of most other drivers in the paddock was when the two of them refused to sign a document wanting to ban the (thought dangerous)DRS at Monaco.

Infiniti F1 Art of Performance Brazilian GP



Red Bull Racing and Infiniti talk about getting the best performance from car and driver. David Coulthard states the importance of starting at a young age with Sebastian Vettel revealing he started karting at three and a half years old.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bruno Senna Looking Forward To Brazilian Vibes



Lotus Renault driver Bruno Senna is looking forward to properly racing in the Brazilian grand prix for the first time, not counting his weekend last year with back markers HRT. Bruno talks about the special atmosphere at the Interlagos circuit. With speculation Roman Grosjean will take Senna's seat next year the pressure is on Bruno to have a really good performance at his home grand prix.

Massa Tells Barrichello To Retire

Felipe Massa has advised fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello to retire rather than seek out sponsorship to continue his career.

39 year old, 11 grand prix winner Barrichello revealed this week he has been looking for sponsors to increase the chances of keeping his Williams seat for 2012. If Rubens is successful it would be his 20th consecutive season on the grid.

Reported in the Brazilian media Massa says "In my opinion, Rubens has had an incredible career in Formula One, driven for the best teams and won races. Many drivers would love to have had his career.

"What I said was not 'to run, you're old', What I would advise is to stop racing, because of his team and everything that is happening in the category, There are 12 teams and at least 6 of them ask for money from their drivers. For the career that Rubens has had, I cannot see him ending this way, needing to pay to race in Formula 1."

On Brazilian television network Rede Globo, Barrichello responds in kind to Massa's advice. Rubens says "Felipe is coming from the side of a caring friend. 'It's not worth you suffer,' he says. I've heard that a lot of various people, including my father"

It is interesting to note Felipe gave Rubens the same advice in 2008 and we all know what happened the next year with Barrichello getting two wins and fighting for the championship in the Brawn.

Brazilian Grand Prix TV Coverage (BBC)

Friday
BBC Red Button Freeview
1155-1335 Live coverage of the 1st practice session.
1555-1735 Live coverage of the 2nd practice session.


Saturday
BBC Red Button Freeview
1255-1405 Live coverage of the 3rd practice session.

BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1500-1725 Live coverage of Qualifying.


Sunday
BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1500-1810 Live coverage of Race.

BBC Red Button Freeview
1810-1710 Post-race analysis and debate. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Felipe Massa On 100 Grands Prix At Ferrari



Felipe Massa talks about his highs and lows at Ferrari. Felipe will start his 100th grand prix at Formula 1's most famous team in his home race in Brazil. Also includes Jules Bianchi discussing the technology transfer from Formula 1 to road cars.

Jarno Trulli Laps Interlagos Circuit On Simulator



Team Lotus driver Jarno Trulli previews the Brazilian Grand Prix with a lap of Sao Paulo's Interlagos circuit on the simulator.

F1 News Roundup From Abu Dhabi & Brazil



Inside Grand Prix News covers the latest news from the Formula One paddock. This episode includes Jean-Eric Vergne in the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi, the winner of the DHL fastest laps trophy this year(Mark Webber) who incidentally Vergne said he could do no worse than!, the American grand prix situation in Austin, Lotus Renault's four options for next year, Red Bull Racing workers 11,000 euro bonus, Cosworth's award, Nelson Piquet waving the chequered flag in Brazil and the Brembo brake facts for the Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pedro de la Rosa In 2 Year Race Deal With HRT

Pedro de la Rosa will return to Formula One racing next season after signing a two-year deal with HRT. The 40-year-old Spaniard is currently a reserve driver for McLaren but is willing to go to the back marker HRT team to get the chance to return to racing.

Pedro de la Rosa: "This is a very important step in my sporting career and one of the most meditated ones I've taken. I'm at a very good stage in terms of maturity and am prepared to take on this challenge, which motivates me hugely.

"When deciding on joining this project, for me there were three decisive factors: my desire to return to active competition, the fact that HRT is a Spanish team and getting to know the people leading this project, Luis Perez-Sala being amongst them.

"I'm here to work hard, with modesty and humility, accepting where we are now but keeping in mind where we want to be in two years' time. For me, this is the time to put into practice everything that I have learnt over the years at international top level racing teams so that we can grow together. I am proud that Spain has an F1 team and that I have this opportunity to be its driver. I can only show my gratitude towards HRT for having trusted in me for this.

"Lastly, I can't forget to thank McLaren for allowing me to take this step. I have been very happy over the eight seasons I spent with them, growing as a driver and person. Without them I wouldn't be here today."

HRT Team principal Colin Kolles: "The team's objective has always been to reinforce itself in every aspect: economically, technically and in a sporting aspect. Without a doubt, the addition of Pedro de la Rosa for next year will be a fundamental foundation in the development of our project. We are a young team that needs to continue progressing and with this incorporation I am convinced that we will do just that.

"Apart from being a great person he is an experienced driver as his career and prestige in Formula 1 prove. I give him my most sincere welcome. I am sure that he will adapt perfectly and that together we will achieve great things."

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh: "Pedro's contribution to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been fantastically valuable, perhaps even more valuable than may be apparent to outsiders, in fact ever since he joined us in 2003. As a test driver, he's been extraordinarily hard-working, on track and latterly more often, in our simulator and his feedback has been reliable and expert.

"But his contributions have gone wider and deeper than that, Pedro is the archetypal team player, a big motivational presence in our team and perhaps because of that, he's someone whom I personally will always count as a true friend.

"In 2010 and 2011 he drove some races for the Sauber team and although he's always approached his test and development work with McLaren with energy and enthusiasm, he remains a racer at heart. For that reason, we understand and support his decision to join HRT as a race driver and we wish him well. It goes without saying, however, that he'll be missed."

Hamilton & Button Preview The Brazilian GP



Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton preview the Interlagos Circuit with Vodafone Inside Track.

Red Bull Brazil Track Record & Preview



Sebastian Vettel: "Brazil is going to be exciting because Interlagos is known for its passionate fans, anti-clockwise driving and the extreme altitude of the track. Sao Paulo is about 1000 metres above sea level, which costs us some power. The long left corners are a strain on our neck muscles because the track is anti-clockwise, which is opposite to normal. That's why i usually do some special training before Sao Paulo to get my muscles used to it. One of the best overtaking places is in the first chicane, the so-called Senna S. it's perfect for braking as you can drive in the slipstream of the car in front, to be able to pass. One important thing is, if it rains, which is certainly possible in Sao Paulo, aquaplaning can be extreme here."

Mark Webber: "Brazil is one of the best races of the year. It's a track which reminds me of brands Hatch and the Formula Ford racing there because it's a like a bowl in terms of the atmosphere. The Brazilian people love their motorsport and are extremely passionate about it, obviously off the back of Piquet, Senna, Fittipaldi and Rubens - they've had some really great drivers. There are nice memories for me from Brazil. I've always done well there so i hope i can get a nice result, it would be a great way to end the season with a good last race."

Brawn & Rosberg Discuss Telemetry In F1



Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn and driver Nico Rosberg talk about the importance of telemetry in Formula 1 and how its use has changed in the last 10 years.

Vergne Says He Would Do No Worse Than Webber

After an impressive young drivers test in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull tester Jean-Eric Vergne has claimed he would be as good as regular driver Mark Webber if given the chance.

In an interview by French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur Vergne says "When I came back (from the test) I saw the comments of (engineering boss) Ian Morgan and they were very positive, I cannot hide it, I know that the top teams are cautious of young drivers, the only one (McLaren) that dared to go with a young guy recently was Hamilton, and it worked.

"We have had a similar preparation, I did three days of testing and physically had no problems. So I think if I was put in the Red Bull, I would do no worse than Webber. That's my impression, anyway, after these tests.

"But I know that the road is still long and where I go next is Brazil. This is my last practice session with Toro Rosso before I know what I will be doing next season"

Update: Vergne's friend and mentor Renaud Derlot, who has been involved with the Frenchman's career for the past seven years, has told commentator Jean-Louis Moncet's Auto Plus blog; "I can tell you that how the journalist quoted Jean-Eric is wrong. I record everything he (Vergne) says and I was the only one to do it that day because the journalist did not. I spoke with the journalist last night and he apologised not only to me but also to Jean-Eric." says Derlot.

Below an onbard of Vergne in the RB7 doing a few laps at a wet Silverstone track.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Highlights



The official race edit of the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

HRToon Time



Guess from the HRT movie we can see that Narain Karthikeyan isn't getting to race for the season finale in Brazil. If you look really closely you can check that it is in fact Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo that land in the HRT.

Why do all the other teams make everything so complicated!? If only Williams would do a Willytoon to show who is going to land in their car for next years opening grand prix! Fingers crossed one of the drivers is eating an ice cream and drinking coke!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Petrov Criticizes His Renault Team On Russian TV

Lotus Renault driver Vitaly Petrov has unleashed a barrage of criticism against his own team for it's lack of progress over the season. Petrov at the first race of the season in Melbourne was third place on the podium, but for fifth place in the seventh race in Canada, the Russian has taken just five points.

Speaking on TV station Russia 2 Petrov has let his frustrations be known. Petrov: "I’ve been asking the team this question throughout the season. At the beginning of the season, the first five or six races, we really looked very solid. We could not compete with Ferrari, Red Bull, or McLaren, but we were literally three-tenths away from Ferrari and much faster than Mercedes. We qualified very easily from the second part of the qualifications into the third one on a single set of tires. We didn’t even use the entire potential of the car and of myself to make it into the third part. The first six races were pretty easy for us.

"But when our wind tunnel started working, new parts began to arrive, but due to the fact that we use a forward-directed exhaust system, those parts just didn’t fit. We installed them – the front wing, the rear wing, the diffuser, the under body, the barge boards, – we changed everything, yet in vain. For almost ten races we haven’t had absolutely nothing, which, in fact, means we drive basically the same car we’ve began the season with. Of course, the first podium kind of inspired me, the whole Russia, all the fans. I myself was delighted with the team, with the car, with what we’ve done. But then I was just angry with everything and tried to do something.

"Unfortunately, I can’t say anything bad about the team, it is written down in my contract. But you could read a lot of that in the press. People said that the team criticizes its drivers. Hey, read my interviews, I don’t criticize a team that lost many times. How much have we lost on pit stops? How much have we lost on tactics? In my opinion, if you ask any fan this question, he will say in a particular situation: of course, you had to change the soft tires early in the race. Of course, we would analyze it, but it was too late, any fan would already know what had to be done.

"Due to that kind of things we lost, I can say, about ten races, if not more. Even without a fast car, we could make good points, could easily finish in the points zone, if there was a good strategy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say in an interview that, roughly speaking, we lost due to poor pit stops once again. I still can’t speak about it, but once it comes to that I also can’t remain silent, I’ve had enough of it, I can’t keep everything inside myself.

"Right said Oksana Kosachenko. Eric Boullier criticized the drivers, but now, if you read his interviews, he began changing his tune a little, started to protect the drivers. But it was already when half a season was behind, and they did nothing, they only started protecting us in some way only towards the end of the season.

"This is Formula 1, it’s business. Gradually, they’re just working to get more – maybe the price, maybe the sponsors, may the drivers around them. Look at the queue of drivers in Williams – I believe there are some twenty people eager to take the second place there. Thank God I’m not in it. As for me, I think it is quite clear – I have a contract. But as I said before, even the world champion Kimi Raikkonen was asked to leave Formula 1 for a certain amount. It’s a world where everything is possible, it will be hard to oppose if they want to remove someone.

"I really want to be in the top ten. I know that the car can’t be in the top six, and even in the top seven already, cause Mercedes cars are going strong. But for me the places from eight to ten are almost like a podium in fact. If my performances are stable and if everything in the team work as it should – the pit stops, the tactics, no problems with the car, – and I would finish consistently between the eights or tenth in the last five races, I’d be happy. It is very important for me and for the team"

The smart money seems to be on Vitaly partnering Romain Grosjean next year. Robert Kubica seems to be out of the equation for starting the season and his contract with Renault is set to expire in December this year. One would imagine if Kubica can prove he still is as good as before the accident he will be more interested in some of the top seats that become available in 2013. He has for a long time been linked to Ferrari.



Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Review Of The News At Abu Dhabi GP



Inside Grand Prix News by Allianz reviews the latest news from the Abu Dhabi grand prix weekend.

Sebastian Vettel Reviews His Red Bull Season



Sebastian Vettel looks back at his second championship year for Red Bull Racing.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Frank Williams: Negotiating Over Kimi Raikkonen Price



Frank Williams interviewed by MTV3 says the negotiations with Kimi Raikkonen over price are ongoing. Frank Williams: "It's no secret we have strong interest in Kimi. Obviously anyone worth his salt in any business will argue about the price of things, so there's an argument going on about that. Williams adds about the likelihood of Raikkonen to Williams "only its possible"

Friday, 11 November 2011

Webber Riding Camels And Desert Driving



Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber takes a trip to the Al Khatim desert where he compares the camel mode of transport to sand dune driving in a jeep.

Petrov Previews Abu Dhabi GP



Lotus Renault's Vitaly Petrov previews the Abu Dhabi weekend, the scene of his great performance last year in the Renault when his seat was in danger.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Webber's Missing Monza Front Wing Is Found

Mark Webber crashes his car at Parabolica, Monza. His long talked about Red Bull flexible front wing goes missing in Ferrari homeland. Rumors circulate the wing has made it back to Maranello. A month later Felipe Massa shows up at the Indian grand prix with an overly flexible new front wing.

It all adds up until a fan turns up in Spain and posts photos of himself and the wing to Spanish sports paper, Marco. The unnamed fan was at Monza and noted how one of the stewards threw the piece toward the fence and he waited until after the race to pick it up. About giving it to Ferrari he states "It never entered my head to give it to Ferrari. I did not think it was so important"

Spanish article with photo at Marca sports daily

Rosberg Video Blog "Its Done And Dusted"



Nico Rosberg talks about looking forward to "hopefully very successful times" with Mercedes now his contract negotiations are sorted out. Nico also hopes to "very very soon win races with that Silver Arrow(Mercedes)."

Rosberg Snobs Ferrari For Mercedes

Nico Rosberg has ended the Ferrari rumors by signing with Mercedes to at least 2013. Recent speculation in the German media suggested Rosberg visited Maranello in the week before the Indian GP, apparently the source of the speculation were colleagues of Rosberg playing a joke on the German tabloids.

Rosberg who already had a contract for next year has signed a "multi-year contract" beyond 2012 which is probably 3 years with options to extend further. Ironic thing is the last "multi-year" contract to be signed was Jenson Button's who also was rumored to be on Ferrari's shopping list.

Nico Rosberg: "I am very excited to have extended my contract with the Mercedes GP Petronas team. To win in a Silver Arrow will be one of the highlights of my life so far, and I greatly enjoy helping to lead our team in our quest to become the best in Formula 1.

"I have every confidence that the team will provide me with a winning car, and that we will be able to contribute to the fantastic racing heritage of the Silver Arrows. I look forward to great times in the years ahead with the Mercedes-Benz family."

Ross Brawn: "We are delighted to have extended our contract with Nico as we know that he is a driver who can win races and championships. Nico has performed exceptionally well for our Silver Arrows team over the past two seasons, achieving results at the very limit of the technical capabilities of our current car.

"He has an excellent work ethic and, together with Michael, this gives us a driver pairing who consistently push the team to improve and progress. As we continue to strengthen our team for the future, we look forward to providing Nico with a car which will enable him to compete right at the front of the field and achieve his deserved first win in Formula 1."

Norbert Haug: "Nico and Mercedes GP Petronas have the same targets, he loves to work with our team and we are fully committed to a long and successful future together. I very much appreciate Nico's total dedication and his precision. He is certainly one of the quickest, most talented and most consistent drivers in the field, and his level of professionalism is second to none.

"We will work very hard to improve our technical package, in order to give our drivers the car to deliver the results they deserve. In Michael, Nico has the most successful racing driver in the history of the sport as his team-mate, which is a perfect combination for him as well as for our team. We all rate Nico very highly and we are looking forward to a long co-operation full of hard work, which will deliver great success for Nico and Mercedes GP Petronas."

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Ferrari Prepares For Next Season



Ferrari racing news with Pat Fry talking about testing at the seasons last races with an eye to next year. Michele Pignatti Morano, Head of the New Business department, talks about Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari's theme park next to the Yas Marina circuit inaugurated at last years Abu Dhabi GP.

Fernando Alonso's physiotherapists, Ercole Bendinelli and Fabrizio Borra discuss their work with the double world championship driver. Also included the 2011 Finali Mondiali, the traditional event at the end of the year held at the renovated Mugello circuit.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix TV Coverage (BBC)

Friday
BBC Red Button Freeview
0855-1035 Live coverage of the 1st practice session.
1255-1335 Live coverage of the 2nd practice session.


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

BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1215-1430 Live coverage of Qualifying.


Sunday
BBC 1 & BBC 1 HD
1215-1510 Live coverage of Race.

BBC Red Button Freeview
1515-1615 Post-race analysis and debate. 

Pat Fry Discusses Felipe's Flapping Front Wing



Pat Fry talks about Ferrari's new front wing and its flapping on Felipe Massa's car at the Indian grand prix. Fry also looks ahead to Abu Dhabi which was the scene of a great deal of heartache to Ferrari last year.

Pirelli Preview Abu Dhabi Grand Prix



Pirelli's Paul Hembery discusses the tyre choices for the Abu Dhabi grand prix and talks about the better than expected performance of the hard tyre in the Indian grand prix.

Below, Pirelli preview a lap of the Yas Marina circuit.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Kovalainen Laps Yas Marina Circuit On Simulator



Team Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen previews the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with a lap of the Yas Marina circuit on the simulator.

You can follow @myteamlotus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/myteamlotus and Facebook at http://www.fb.com/teamlotus

Mika Häkkinen Comeback With Mercedes



Two-time Formula One world champion Mika Häkkinen driving a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 makes a racing comeback in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in Zhuhai, China on 13 November.

Nico Rosberg whose father Keke managed Mika says how he was a big fan of the two time world champion. David Coulthard talks about how hard it was to beat the flying Finn when they were team mates at McLaren for seven years. Ralf Schumacher and Bernd Schneider also share their thoughts on Mika and his comeback.

Abu Dhabi GP Preview (Inside Grand Prix News)



Inside Grand Prix News by Allianz previews the Yas Marina circuit.

Below the extended program of Inside Grand Prix News featuring a lap of the Yas Marina circuit by Mark Webber on the Red Bull Racing simulator, a look at the 2010 finale in Abu Dhabi, what a Formula 1 team CEO does, Toro Rossa feature, Ross Brawn talks telemetry, Sebastian Vettel's home coming celebration event, historic Formula 1 racing and Mika Hakkinen's comeback.




Monday, 7 November 2011

Rosberg And Brawn Talk Formula 1 Breaks



Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and team principal Ross Brawn discuss breaks in Formula 1 on Grand Prix Insights by Allianz.

Below Brembo break facts for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hamilton & Button Preview Abu Dhabi GP



Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton preview the Yas Marina Circuit with Vodafone Inside Track.

Indian Grand Prix Official Highlights



The official race edit of the Indian Grand Prix.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Red Bull 100% Abu Dhabi Track Record



Red Bull Racing discuss their impressive statistics at the Abu Dhabi grand prix.

The Mystery Of Massa's Flapping Front Wing



Craig Scarborough explains Felipe Massa's flapping front wing at the Indian grand prix. Extract from Peter Windsor's The Flying Lap. Catch up with the whole show and previous episodes at TheFlyingLap.com For further information on everything technical in Formula 1 http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/ is the place to go. 

The funny story behind Ferrari's front wing is at Monza when Mark Webber crashed out, his Red Bull flexible front wing went missing with many suspecting it ended up in Maranello. A month later Ferrari show up at the Indian GP testing an overly flexible front wing!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rosberg To Ferrari Rumours

Rumours of Nico Rosberg taking Felipe Massa's seat at Ferrari as early as next season are gathering pace in the German media. "Nico was a week before India even in Maranello. Ferrari wants him" the German newspaper Express quotes a confidant of Rosberg.

The obvious sticking point is they are both contracted to their teams for one more year. In Rosberg's situation it is understood his Mercedes contract was a three year with opt-out clauses built into the third year which is next year. The Express talking about Rosberg's Mercedes contract "He is reportedly said to have signed before the 2010 season, a three-year contract - but with clauses that could theoretically allow him to change after two years"

When Rosberg joined Mercedes they were under the "Brawn" name the driver and constructor champions. If "opt-out performance clauses" where on the contract you can be sure they were not met on Mercedes side as they have only been the fourth best team this past two years.

Interesting in a recent interview in Bild Norbert Haug and Ross Brawn are asked about not having officially confirmed Rosberg for next year. Both respond that Nico wants to continue with them and Mercedes with him but the intriguing bit is Haug adds about the importance of a driver not being in the wrong team at the wrong time and that every driver should avoid that mistake. Perhaps a warning to Nico thinking about jumping to Ferrari at the wrong time.

As for Massa's Ferrari contract for next year, just ask Kimi Raikkonen how much that is worth with Ferrari paying the 2007 world champion several million to step aside for Alonso. Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is understood to be furious with Massa's performance at the Indian grand prix were Felipe managed to hit the kerb twice over the weekend and both times wrecking his car's suspension.

David Coulthard being questioned on ServusTV talks about the likelihood of Rosberg at Ferrari next year. Coulthard answers "In Formula 1, anything's possible, I've learned that in my 17 years."

Coulthard talks about how he, as many others feel Massa hasn't been the same since his life threatening accident in Hungary 2009. "He's a very nice, likeable guy who drives with his heart, but he no longer shows the sort of performance he did before his accident in Hungary. Ferrari probably have no choice but to look for another driver" says DC.

Another twist to the tale is Force India signing their two drivers for next year earlier than expected. The line up is highly likely to be Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg. Some expect so Vijay Mallya could command a big transfer fee from Mercedes as Paul Di Resta is their preferred driver to replace Rosberg.


UPDATE 4/11/2011:  Nico Rosberg talking to news agency "DAPD" on Friday has denied visiting Maranello. Rosberg says "This is all nonsense. I was not at Maranello, My dream is to win in the Silver Arrow."Adrian Sutil denied visiting the Williams headquarters but we know almost certainly he did because of the very reliable sources. I am inclined to believe Rosberg here because the rumours originated from the German tabloids which aren't the most reliable for such information.

Austin GP Grandstand & Pit Construction Begins



The latest progress on the "Circuit Of The Americas" grand prix in Austin which is scheduled for completion in November 2012.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

BBC/Sky F1 Deal Viewing Figures

BBC F1 anchor man Jake Humphrey tweets today 7.2 million viewers tuned in to view the Indian Grand Prix. Jake tweets "In TV terms those figures are the size of Everest." The question is, under the terms of the BBC/SKY deal how many will be watching the Indian grand prix next year if it is just live on Sky Sports?

There is no way of knowing exactly but we can have an estimation using information from BARB. Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (BARB) is the organization responsible for providing the official measurement of UK television audiences.

Figures for latest quarter are:

BBC 1 audience reach is 83.7% per week or 98.9% per quarter

Sky Sports 1 audience reach is 10.7% per week or 23.4% per quarter

Under the quarter figures BBC 1 is 98.9% = 7.2 million so 23.4% audience reach on Sky Sports will work out as 1.7 million. A potential 5.5 million fans left high and dry.

Under the weekly figures BBC 1 is 83.7% = 7.2 million so 10.7% audience reach on Sky Sports will work out as 0.9 million. A potential 6.3 million fans left high and dry.

Zoom back to May this year when Bernie Ecclestone was interviewed and asked about Sky. Bernie: "Sky is doing an incredible job but if you look at their audience they are nowhere. With these figures it would be almost impossible for teams to find sponsors. That would be suicidal."

So a potential 5.5 million to 6.3 million loss of people to be advertised to in a single Sunday morning and you can see why Bernie said that would be suicidal form the team sponsorship position.

Norbert Haug questioned about the Sky deal at the Singapore grand prix "I think you need to see things right: it was BBC taking the decision if I'm informed correctly and I think it was a great job from Bernie, from Sky, from everybody else to step in and now we will see what the development will bring, but of course the initiative from the BBC. It was not the commercial rights holder selling non-free-to-air and I think that it is very important to keep that in mind. 

"I can understand the BBC's position but the basic plan was a different one. It's a good combination still. I think pay TV…this channel in England is completely different, for example, to Germany. I heard that they have ten million or whatever subscribers so basically you can have a lot of viewers. But I'm not qualified to judge that in detail, but I think it is important to realize how it all started."

"If I'm informed correctly, you can watch each and every Grand Prix free-to-air, this is still the case, and so maybe it's an addition, if it's played in the correct way. We have to wait and see but there was no alternative."

From reading what Norbert Haug says you wonder what the teams have been told to let this deal go through and Martin Whitmarsh below doesn't help them fears. As for the "no alternative" look at the free-to-air Channel 4 pitch document http://www.graphicalhouse.co.uk/#/projects/channel-4 and check out Investigation into the legality of the Recent BBC/SKY F1 deal 

Just after the deal was announced and the teams had a meeting with Ecclestone, Martin Whitmarsh states: "Based on what I've heard there won't be a premium for watching Formula 1 on Sky" and on the highlights issue Whitmarsh says "From what Bernie has said it's better than expected, The BBC will show every grand prix in full, half of them live and half of them deferred, so free-to-air is available to everyone."

So full reruns on BBC and if you want to watch on SKY you won't have to pay a premium! The BBC have always stated it is going to be 75 minute highlights from when the deal was announced up to recently and the no premium for Sky doesn't even deserve to be answered.

What about the viewing for the 75 minute highlights, will that not add the lost 5-6 million viewers?
 Maybe for full reruns fans will avoid all social interaction, TV, internet, Facebook etc, in the time waiting for the show but for one hour of highlights without being able to follow timing information or anything even hardcore fans will struggle to be bothered. As for watching it knowing the result, yes like a couple of million are really going to want to do that!  (See 20 February update at bottom of article)

What about all the extra people joining Sky for the coverage?
 If only 33,000 fans follow the sport closely enough to know what has happened and bothered to sign the government petition it's unrealistic to assume a couple of million are going to suddenly show up looking to pay £40 a month(£50 for HD) for watching the races on Sky. 

Are all the people who haven't signed the petition in favour of the deal?
How many people do you know like paying to get something that was free before and also was much superior when free(Sky will have advertisements everywhere except during the race and it's only guaranteed to be off limits for one year.) The much more reasonable explanation is the vast majority of the millions watching on the BBC are not hard core fans which are not likely to want to pay anything and will just easily walk away.

For us many fans dismayed at the way we have been treated don't worry. All you need to do for Formula 1 next year is to get a satellite dish and point it at Astra 19.2°E to watch the German channel RTL and listen with 5 live commentary. Completely legal and completely free!


What equipment do I need to receive German RTL in the UK?
BARB viewing figures source

Update 02 December: With Sky's recent announcement, coverage of F1 is also available to customers with Sky HD. Does this make much difference to the article above?? With the latest(September) viewing figures from Sky's corporate releases we can work out Sky HD has a 6.8% audience reach with a high probability of most overlapping the 10.7% reach on Sky Sports 1. So to sum up it makes little difference to article above. Also this article is not meant to be against Sky in any shape or form, it was to show as openly as possible how the average UK fan will be left behind which will cost the teams in the long run.   

Update 20 February: Some more details on the new Sky F1 channel. Sky's own viewing estimation which was released in a sales proposal to advertisers about a month ago seems to show 1.42 million for exclusive races and 0.53 million for races shared with the BBC. My own figures above worked out through viewer reach information on BARB where between 0.9 and 1.7 million although that was based on the Indian GP viewing figures which were above average.

The one thing which has changed on the BBC side is the length of  the highlight programs originally said to be 75 minutes. They are now 90 minutes or 2 hours long depending on the race and also will be shown slightly earlier than before mentioned. The BBC has also helped to show it is still committed to F1 by strengthening its team with Ben Edwards and Gary Anderson. Given these developments by the BBC it would be a surprise if there wasn't respectable and maybe even good viewing figures for the highlight programs even though it is far from an ideal situation.

The details of Sky's own estimation of viewing figures and some information on the new channel are available at f1fanatic.co.uk/downloads/F1_2012_Sales_proposal


Update on viewing figures:

BBC & Sky F1 Viewing Figures 2012

Button's Multi-Year Contract Is A 3 Year Deal



The much talked about Jenson Button multi-year contract with McLaren was before up to guesswork how long multi-year actually meant. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh lets it slip here in an interview with BBC after the Indian grand prix.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Grosjean And Petrov 2012 Renault Lineup

Romain Grosjean and Vitaly Petrov are set to be Lotus Renault's driver line up in 2012 according to German website motorsport-total.com. Team manager Eric Boullier is reportedly tired of waiting on Robert Kubica and is not sure when and if the Pole can ever get back to his earlier levels in Formula 1.

Russian Petrov brings substantial sponsorship to the team helping keep his seat safe while Eric Boulier is fellow Frenchman Grosjean's manager. If these rumours are true and it is a big if, current driver Bruno Senna would be left on the sidelines along with Kubica.

If Robert Kubica is left without a drive and does make a full recovery for next year it is highly likely a talent like him will be snapped up by some other team rather quickly.
  

 
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