Silverstone have officially launched their new addition to the circuit known as the Arena layout.
The race track, located in Northamptonshire in England was not expected to be hosting a Formula One race this year with the spoils of the top motorsport event in Britain going to Donington Park. Silverstone had the rights to the MotoGP championship which prompted the idea to adjust the circuit to a faster and free flowing design. However when Donington Park ran out of money, Silverstone stepped in and secured rights to the Formula One and the cars will use the new circuit upon their visit.
The new part of the track sweeps off from Abbey and goes right through to the National circuit straight. It has already been hailed a success by some.
“This is a new circuit for a new generation of people to enjoy motorsport and we believe it will offer a big challenge to drivers as well,” Damon Hill, the head of the BRDC who run Silverstone said this morning.
His Royal higness the Duke of York attended the opening and was beaming about the success of motorsport in Britain.
“The real reason I am here to support Silverstone and the BRDC is because high performance engineering is vitally important for the British economy.
“Motorsport is right at the pinnacle of this industry, so it is through events like F1 and Superbikes that we can demonstrate our expertise.
“And I can say I hope the future will continue to be rosy not just for motorsport in the UK but also high performance engineering as a whole.”
Former Grand Prix winner and Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard sampled the circuit in a Red Bull car, completing 6 laps and he seemed very impressed giving us his breakdown of the new circuit.
“It might take us a step closer to good racing,” he said. “It’s always difficult to tell until you really drive a proper line at speed. But the corner out of Club, the Abbey kink, and the kink out of Aintree might be the areas, where if they are not flat, drivers can make a mistake and someone can get in their slipstream.
“Otherwise it’s the same, the start finish straight is the same, Copse is the usual mighty corner – a real opener that you drive right on the edge.”
Speaking about the track, he said: “Club is now a very defined double apex. Before it just had one apex but now there is one apex, and then another one. So in the damp you can imagine someone having a bit of a wobble there.
“When you come out of The Loop there is another little kink [at Aintree Corner] and I’m hoping that won’t be flat. If it is flat then it does nothing, but if it isn’t then maybe someone can get a run down in to the braking area at Brooklands.
“It is a very wide entry there and F1 car’s take a narrower line than a touring car or whatever, just because of the nature of the cars. But if you did make a mistake there then that could also lead to overtaking.
“Otherwise it’s the same. There has been a small realignment at Maggots, but nothing major. Abbey is now a very fast corner. I think Village is more likely to be a spectator area than a spectator zone.”
Ralf Schumacher, the former F1 driver with 6 Grand Prix wins to his name will be staying in the German Touring Car series DTM instead of jumping across to Formula One again after the team he was linked with, Stefan GP, were told they could not have an entry slot today.
Schumacher, whose elder brother Michael recently returned to F1 with Mercedes Benz, will stay in DTM where he has been struggling to find his feet since moving to the series 2 seasons ago, and having spent last season driving a brand new up to date car with the front running HWA team. Other former F1 drivers have struggled with the series, including Mika Hakkinen and Jean Alesi.
“Ralf would like to continue his DTM career and we also think that the chances of continuing our co-operation look promising,” Norbert Haug, Mercedes Benz motorsport boss told dtm.de
“I think that we have come close to making a decision. It will be announced as soon as it has been made. Currently, however, the deal is not yet home and dry.”
Haug added that talks were still taking place with David Coulthard following his two tests with Mercedes in recent weeks.
“David did a good job and also had a lot of fun, so now we are talking about possibilities to make a solution,” he said.
“Maybe there will be a positive surprise but at this point in time I can’t make any promises.”
A museum cataloguing former F1 driver David Coulthard’s career is set to close.
The Scottish driver who retired at the end of last season had a fruitful racing career eventually leading him to be in F1 for over 10 years and gain race wins with the McLaren team.
Four years ago Coulthard’s sister abandoned running the museum after she moved away from their birthplace of Twynholm. Afterwards, a Coulthard-Superfan – Wendy McKenzie – took over running the museum.
McKenzie told F1Live: “Short of a miracle, it will not be opening to the general public again.”
It is believed that diminishing interest in Coulthard, who is now an advisor to Red Bull Racing and a pundit of the BBC Sport F1 coverage is the reason for close.
Red Bull Racing have today launched their 2009 contender, the RB5.
It will be the teams 5th car, and will be piloted by Australian Mark Webber and German rookie sensation Sebastian Vettel.
Their car shares some similarities with the Ferrari F60, with winglets across the top of the nose, and also with the protruding poles out of the floor wide by the sidepods for aerodynamic purposes, and also those wide wing mirrors. The sidepods also feature in-built bargeboards, very similar to other cars. The incredibly thin nose is a throwback to some older McLaren cars, a clear Adrian Newey design piece.
Scuderia Toro Rosso will probably run an incredibly similar car.
Christian Horner said;
“2009 will also see us benefit from greater stability in terms of how we run the operation, with all our key players in the technical group having been with us for at least two years,” said Horner. “We should not forget they designed a car that won a grand prix in 2008, in the hands of Sebastian Vettel and Scuderia Toro Rosso.
“There is no reason to believe we cannot do that again with these new rules. The regulation changes almost constitute a new formula for the sport and it will be interesting to see how the teams interpret them.
“Certainly in the early part of this season we expect to see a much bigger spread in terms of performance between the teams than we have over the past two years. “
Sebastian Vettel admitted the clear goal was to win races.
“The target is to win. Obviously it’s not correct sitting here and say I am going to win the world championship. I want to, but we need to see.
“We need to see how we are going, where we are in comparison to the others. I believe that the new rules could give a chance to teams like us to close the gap to the front but the favourites are Ferrari and McLaren, no doubt.
“If we are doing extremely well then we will be in a position to score points regularly and maybe fight for a little bit more. I am not the kind of guy to tell you we are going to be here. I prefer to stay on the floor and work hard. If we are getting a surprise then it’s much better!”
David Coulthard has reflected on his career in F1 in an exclusive interview with BBC Radio Scotland.
The driver discussed everything from race victories, to the final race, nearly dying in a plane crash and even showing Michael Schumacher the middle finger.
Coulthard admitted that he was very disappointed not to finish even one lap of his final race.
“I wanted to take the chequered flag, but I can’t complain after a good career,” said Coulthard.
“I’m obviously disappointed I didn’t complete a lap of the Grand Prix. What an exciting end to the world championship and what a great day for motorsport.”
Coulthard probably wasn’t a bad driver, but it was unfortunate for him to be at his peak when Michael Schumacher was at his own and winning everything under the sun.
“I know opinion is divided as to whether I was any good or not,”
“If I’d won a championship, that would take away any real discussion.
“But I finished second and who really remembers the runner-up in the World Cup or in the Olympic 100m final?
“Ultimately, it’s all about winning. But I don’t feel unfulfilled in finishing second to someone who turned out to be the most successful driver in the history of the sport.
“It was just bad timing for me to be around at the time of a seven-time world champion!!”
When asked about the past, he commented,
“I’m not really someone who reminisces a great deal,”
“I certainly don’t talk about the good old days because I think I’m living them now
“I’ve been asked a lot of questions about highlights and the beginning of my career in 1994, but it seems so long ago that I don’t really remember the details.
“I’ve just been enjoying the journey.”
When the reporters decided to push Coulthard to look for some highlights of his career, which spanned from 1994, he said,
“A couple of races stand out.
“Those who follow F1 closely may remember I gave Schumacher the finger at Magny-Cours in 2000. I’m not proud of it because it’s not big and it’s not clever; but it was a race full of frustration.
“Michael tried to shove me off the circuit at the start of the race and I dropped to third and had to battle back to get in behind him and eventually pass him. I was particularly pleased that I was able to control my emotions.”
“Winning in Monaco for second time (in 2002) was also very special. I led from the front on a circuit where there is just no room for error. It’s almost a two-hour race, it’s hot and physically demanding. If anyone was to say I wasn’t any good as a driver, I would always put forward Monaco as an example of being able to win on one of the most difficult circuits.”
So there you have it, one of the stalwarts of the F1 paddock bows out, and if Rubens Barrichello fails to secure a race seat next season, then it is good bye to the old school.
Goodbye and good luck David!
The BBC, who are set to take back F1 coverage from ITV in the UK for 2009 onwards are believed to be on the verge of confirming their commentators for the forthcoming season.
Jonathan Legard is believed to become the new main commentator, with contract talks right in their final stages. Legard has been a F1 commentator on 5Live for sometime, alongside football work.
Martin Brundle is also said to be close to a deal, he has stated his desire on many occassions but formally denied he had signed on the dotted line.
Brundle said: “Nothing is signed yet. I am hopeful that I can move to the BBC and continue my current role, and we are still in discussions.”
Jake Humphrey is set to take over from Steve Rider, and the rumour mill has it that David Coulthard is going to become an expert pundit.
David Coulthard has told reporters that even though he is leaving F1 at the end of this season, he has no intention of just hanging up his helmet.
The veteran Scot has decided to bow out of F1 at the end of 2008, after a long and illustrious career.
Unlike rival Michael Schumacher who has all but finished racing, except for a few alias races on motorbikes, he wants to continue in a series maybe 6-12 months from now.
“I have had no conversations with anyone about racing anything next year.
“The only reason I said I haven’t hung up my helmet is because in six months or one year, if there is an opportunity to race something that I think could be interesting, then everybody will say he is coming out of retirement,” Coulthard told reporters.
This news came as popular German magazine, Focus claimed that Coulthard would be following a string of other ex-F1 drivers into the German Touring Car series (DTM) racing a Red Bull sponsored Audi A4, alongside current world champion Matthias Ekstrom likely replacing Martin Tomczyk if Red Bull Audi decide not to run a 3rd car.
Mika Hakkinen, Jean Alesi, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Chrstijan Albers and Ralf Schumacher have all left F1 and entered in the series.
David Coulthard has said he would welcome Fernando Alonso to join Red Bull Racing, to take the seat he is vacating.
The retiring Scot believes that as a double world champion he could bring invaluble advice to the team who are getting podiums and aiming for that race win.
“I’ve been asked several times who I think should take over my seat next year,” Coulthard wrote on his column for the ITV website.
“That’s a decision for the Red Bull management, but the common sense answer is that it should go to the quickest guy with a proven track record who is available.
“That might be Fernando Alonso for instance; if the team could get him that would make sense because he has great credentials as a double world champion.
“But if we assume he’s not available, then it’s completely logical to take Sebastian Vettel, who is within the Red Bull family, is performing well at Toro Rosso and naturally wants to progress to the larger team. I’m confident he would do a very good job for our team.”
David Coulthard has announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of this season.
The 36 year old Scot has been an F1 driver since 1994, completed 230 races and had 13 wins.
He is popular throughout the paddock, and gained many fans throughout the years, even more during the past few with Red Bull Racing with his free and easy approach to F1, bringing some humour to the generally dour pitlane.
Coulthard began his F1 career with Williams before jumping ship over to McLaren when they started their partnership with Mercedes. He raced there in the shadow of Mika Hakkinen until the Flying Finn retired. He continued with McLaren jostling for position alongside Kimi Raikkonen as Michael Schumacher took multiple world championships and completly dominated the sport. in 2005 he made the shock move to Red Bull Racing where he has had mild success but it has been marred with reliability problems.
He won’t be bowing completly out of F1, as he will continue to be a consultant to the Red Bull Racing team.
“I would like to announce today my decision to retire from racing in Formula One at the end of this season,” said the Scot in a statement ahead of the British Grand Prix.
“I will remain actively involved in the sport as a consultant to Red Bull Racing focusing on testing and development of the cars.
“I have an open mind as to whether or not I will compete again in the future, in some other form of motorsport, so I am definitely not hanging up my helmet,”
“The decision to make this announcement at the British GP should be an obvious one for all to understand, as I have achieved two of my thirteen F1 victories at Silverstone and I am a member of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which hosts this event,”
“I am proud of my work at Red Bull Racing and will continue to race with the same focus until the last lap in Brazil. Thereafter I will continue to help the team develop and move towards their ultimate goal of winning races.”
“There are many people who have played a part in my career and I would like to list a few of them below;
- My parents whose energy and encouragement through my entire career has been amazing
- Dave Boyce who guided me through Karting
- David Leslie Senior and Junior for teaching me how to set up and race a car
- Sir Jackie and Paul Stewart for putting me through their “staircase of talent”
- Sir Frank Williams and Williams Renault for having the faith to promote me from test driver to race driver, which lead to my first GP victory
- Ron Dennis and the McLaren team where I spent nine seasons and achieved the majority of my success.
- Norbert Haug and Mercedes for being racers through and through
- Dietrich Mateschitz and his Red Bull Racing team for providing me with the chance to contribute to the development of a new team, while continuing to compete and add to my tally of podiums
- Christian Horner for his open and professional management style in association with Helmut Marko
- Bernie Ecclestone for providing such a strong platform for us all to develop our skills and be able to call ourselves professionals. In years to come, my future family will still be thanking him for the financial success of F1
- My management team of Martin Brundle and David Cawthorne in association with Annette Hutchinson and Iain Cunningham for providing their valued opinions
- There have been three teams but only one designer, so Adrian Newey deserves special thanks for all the champagne that I have sprayed
- And last but not least, all the media, officials, marshals, medical support, mechanics, engineers, sponsors, lawyers, accountants and back room staff that I have worked with during this period.”
We wish David Coulthard much luck in the future with whatever he decides to do with his life. Congratulations on a prosperous career throughout F1.
Luca Badoer put Ferrari back in a commanding position in the first day of testing at Barcelona this week.
The test driver set a fastest time of
This was enough to push maiden GP winner in Canada Robert Kubica down into 2nd position on the sheets.
Coulthard and Buemi, who were sharing the same car for Red Bull were 3rd and 4th.
Gary Paffett joined the barrage of test drivers at the event coming 5th, just ahead of Anthony Davidson who returns to F1 as Honda’s test driver.
Nico Hulkenberg was 7th in the Williams completing 112 laps, the most of anyone; with Romain Grosjean, who had problems with his engine in 8th.
“It was a great day and I’m grateful for this opportunity to test the R28 and work with the team,” Grosjean commented.
Kamui Kobayashi was last for Toyota.
|2||R. Kubica||BMW Sauber||1.22.682||69|
|3||D. Coulthard||Red Bull||1.22.724||21|
|4||S. Buemi||Red Bull||1.22.764||79|
David Coulthard has declined to comment on his future in F1, and is certainly not going to speculate.
The Scot was discussing the recent revelations that Mark Webber, his team mafe at Red Bull Racing, who is opening discussions with the team over extending his contract.
DC thinks this is stupid to start speculation even before the European rounds have fuly got underway, and is not going to comment on his own future in F1 until something certain has been sorted.
“Speaking of career moves, my teammate Mark Webber told the media over the Istanbul weekend that he has opened talks with Red Bull to extend his contract,” Coulthard wrote,
“If I try to rationalise why Mark would say that, I can only presume it was either to stimulate talks with the team or to stimulate interest in the rest of the paddock, reminding people that he’s on the market.
“When you think about it logically, you do your private negotiations in private and then when you’ve reached an agreement you make an announcement. You don’t normally say, ‘Er, I’m about to enter negotiations…’ So I would conclude that it was a positioning tactic rather than anything else.”
“As far as my own situation goes, I will keep my own counsel until I have a firm deal to announce.”
David Coulthard has trapped a nerve in his neck, and was unable to test today, Red Bull Racing have informed us.
The Scotsman felt his neck badly in testing on Monday, and was instructed by doctors not to test today, but will return to the set tomorrow.
“Unfortunately David suffered a trapped nerve in his neck yesterday, so we took the precautionary measure of giving him a day to recover ahead of the final day of testing and this near to the start of the season,” explained Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner.
This meant that there was a free seat in the RBR4 for today. Right on queue, Sebastian Vettel from the feeder team Scuderia Toro Rosso was thrusted into the role, and given permission to test the works teams latest piece of machinery today.
The young German was impressive too, bagging himself 7th position as Mark Webber lingered at the tail end of the table.
“It was logical to use Sebastian Vettel to continue testing, evaluating various important pre- Melbourne developments. We’re grateful to Toro Rosso for making him available to us today.” Horner went on to say
David Coulthard has stated his intentions to challenge the FIA’s proposed tyre warmer ban from 2009 as it will cause many accidents and is a serious safety threat.
The British driver admitted that with this coming into play in 2009, along with slick tyres in the same year could cause problems as some cars on hot laps have very different lap times and levels of grip than those straight out of the pits. The difference in speed is phenommenal. This was noted during the slick tyre testing at Jerez last week.
Coulthard also fears that a Senna situation could occur making similarities to how teams ran very different tyre Psi’s back in the 90′s.
“I am quite concerned about the temperature differential between the cars, especially in qualifying.
“I have talked to quite a few drivers about it and they all shared the same opinion that without the blankets (tyre warmers), when a car from the pits joins the track when other cars are on a hot lap, it is pretty scary. There is such a big difference of speed.”
“I am planning to talk it through in the GPDA. There are not more meetings this year, but in the new year this issue has to be discussed.”
David Coulthard has publically slammed the behaviour Scuderia Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost in relation to rumours he started regarding Fernando Alonso.
Tost kept the ball-rolling that Aonso was on his way to Red Bull Racing, telling the presses that they were in negotiations, when Tost isnt even the boss.
Coulthard found this unacceptable, and in his column for ITVF1 he said;
“One thing that has surprised me from a Red Bull point of view since all the speculation began is that Scuderia Toro Rosso’s team principal Franz Tost told the press that there were talks going on between Red Bull and Alonso,”
“I cannot understand why he would feel it’s appropriate to make a comment about another team, owned by the same parent company, without any authority to do so and no understanding of the contractual situation,” he went on.
“STR had the same car as us this year but nowhere near the same performance so shouldn’t he be concentrating on his own business rather than ours?”
Oh the “Silly-Season” goes on, and its name becomes ever more apt.
Red Bull Racing are still hoping to beat Williams Toyota in the Constructors standings.
Milton-Keynes based Red Bull are currently just 4 points behind, with 1 race remaining.
The Red Bull drivers have had good qualifications for the past 2 races but then appalling races, Coulthard only getting 1 point in China, even though he started in 5th place.
Fabrice Lom, the engineer in charge of the Renault V8 engines used by Red Bull, believes the Milton Keynes-based squad should be ahead of Williams.
“I’ve got mixed feelings [about the past 2 races],” said Lom.
“On the one hand the car has really made a step forward in terms of performance in the past few weeks. We saw that step in our last test session at Jerez, and it was confirmed each time we ran in dry conditions at the races.
“Unfortunately, we have only collected a pretty meagre points haul even though good results were achievable each time. We’re still behind Williams in the championship when really we should be in front of them by now.”
Lom, however, is adamant Red Bull will not give up until the season is over.
“We haven’t given up in our battle with Williams,” he added. “We have to score four points more than them in Brazil and that’s not an impossible task.”
Cockpit safety is to be improved for the 2008 season following some accidents, most prolifically the one in Australia at the start of the season.
In the crash mentioned above, David Coulthard’s Red Bull was launched across the top of Alexander Wurz’s Williams, just centimeters away from the Austrian’s head.
Coulthard said in the immediate aftermath of the incident: “Inevitably in these situations it is when it is brought home how easy it would be to have a serious incident, then it moves up the importance list.
“When I spoke to Patrick Head after the event, he suggested it was a couple of years away before they might look at doing something.
“But maybe now it could be possible to have an improved cockpit protection for next season already, so this is something to be discussed and agreed and we, as the GPDA , can only encourage them to do that and see what the result is.”
It is likely that rules will be implemented to raise the sides of the cockpit even more.
GPDA director Mark Webber told autosport.com: “It will be great for us. If you look at someone like Tonio Liuzzi, he is not getting the support that he needs, and I am borderline as well. There are a few guys that don’t get the protection.
“Both the guys involved in that nasty accident in Australia, Alex and David, were the two guys pushing it very hard. David obviously felt something had to be done after sliding across the car, and Alex felt the same after having an F1 car pass his visor.”
More safety is good, especially if it prevents people getting hurt.