Bernie Ecclestone has taken the step of suggesting that the two tier technical regulations, the main problem manufacturers have with the budget caps will be abolished and one set of rules printed.
The idea was that those under the cap would have greater technical freedom. Toyota’s John Howett believed teams in the cap could gain 3-5 seconds per lap on those out of it.
Manufacturers and big spenders were not impressed with this idea, and Bernie has finally agreed.
“I think the most important thing that upset everybody is the two-tier technical system, and I think it’s been agreed that we shouldn’t have that, we should just have one set of regulations,” he said.
“I think everybody is more or less happy with the budget cap, it’s just a case of how much. I don’t know if that means it will be higher or lower, it’s a case of sorting that out.”
It does beg the question though. If there aren’t 2 levels of technical regulation, why would you opt into the cap? There appears to be no other advantage?! Maybe its just Bernie rebuilding the bridges Max Mosley keeps burning.
It doesn’t seem to matter what Ferrari do at the moment, their chances seem to be going from bad to worse. To say Enzo Ferrari would be turning in his grave is an understatement.
What would the master say if he saw the absolute disarray his team were in? I can imagine heads would certainly be rolling.
Felipe Massa has told reporters after practice that the Ferrari F60 is indeed no worse than before at the loss of KERS. Ferrari removed the device in the hope of better reliability, but it seems the Scuderia has literally no pace, and without a fancy diffuser system they are lagging towards the back.
“Here we are also running without KERS and as a result, we are losing even more performance, in addition to not having as much aerodynamic downforce as the best cars,” Massa told Autosport.
“Our fight for the championship is ever more compromised.
“We must try and push as hard as possible on the development of the car, but we know it will be very hard to catch up. The only recipe for getting out of this difficulty is to work.”
Felipe Massa, one of last seasons main title contenders, has claimed it is not too late for a Ferrari fightback despite one of the worst starts for the Scuderia in years.
The last time the team failed to score any points in the first two rounds of the F1 season was back in 1992, when Ferrari were stuck in their slump of form which had nearly destroyed them through the 1980′s. Back then it was Jean Alesi, Nicola Larini and Ivan Capelli driving the number 27 and 28 Ferrari FA92A’s on goodyear tyres.
The slump they had ended when Michael Schumacher joined the team in 1996, and title successes came between 2000 and 2004. Kimi Raikkonen hit the big time in 2007, but with the new regulations Ferrari have lost their edge. This week’s ruling in favour of the two tier diffusers will not help the Italian’s charge.
“For sure it won’t be easy,” said Massa in China. “We need to work very hard, we have some teams which have a different car. It won’t be so easy to catch them but I think it can be possible.
“I hope it won’t be so late. I hope it will be in good time to fight for the championship still or to win some races. But anyway we will not give up. We work very hard and I believe we can improve the car a lot.”
Expectations are high, Italian newspapers and magazines are screaming for blood. A management reshuffle is just the tip of the iceberg for this teams problems right now.
Robert Kubica has declared he is going to try out the Kinetic Energy Recovery System – KERS – in his BMW Sauber during th firday practice sessions as an evaluation to performance gains.
The Polish driver has so far declined to use the system this season as he feels with his height and weight it would prove too much of a disadvantage.
Team mate Nick Heidfeld has been running the system, with some success. KERS has recieved widespread criticism from the drivers and teams that have been running it.
“We will have to test and see,” said Kubica in Shanghai on Thursday. “For sure we have seen this from our view, especially in Malaysia but also in Australia, it was an advantage.
“Of course running on my car there are some disadvantages that are bigger than for the other [drivers], but I hope still the advantage will be bigger than the disadvantage, but we will see.”
Scuderia Ferrari have also announced that they will be dropping the use of the KERS system in Shanghai after major reliability scares during the Malaysian GP weekend.
The Italian team are still looking to score their first points of the 2009 campaign.
The Spy-Gate saga which rocked F1 throughout the 2007 season where it was discovered that McLaren Mercedes designers and staff had conspired to steal information from rivals Ferrari has finally ended in a court room in Italy.
Mike Coughlan, Nigel Stepney and many others were involved in the case which recieved front page headlines around the world and damaged the image of some of the best designers in F1. Stepney had been in the Ferrari family and suffered a lot from Italian’s who saw him as a traitor. It was Coughlan’s fault that the world found out when he sent his wife to a photocopying shop with thousands of pages of material marked “Confidential, Ferrari”.
The court had a ‘nolo-condere’ (no contest) between the lawyers, and a judge ordered fines to be handed out. Mike Coughlan must pay 180,000Euros, whereas others must pay 150,000Euros.
A McLaren spokesman said: “The proceedings in Italy were merely the officialising of what had been proposed long before, namely the ‘nolo contendere’ agreement. A line has finally been drawn under this matter.”
Scuderia Ferrari have reported that they have modified their exhaust design in the wake of other teams criticising and claiming that they contravened rules.
The 2009 season sees the regulations dramatically changed, and it was alleged that the Ferrari tailpipes were slightly too long and protruded out of the bodywork too far.
Toyota, Williams and McLaren all believed the design to be illegal and took their concerns up with the FIA. Toyota and Williams themselves are now in ‘hot water’ over their rear diffuser design.
A Maranello source claimed that the pipes were now muich more flush with the body, and that the team were certain nothing else on the car contravened any regulations.
Bernie Ecclestone has spoken of a major plan he may implement in the wake of teams such as Honda pulling out of F1.
The F1 ruler Ecclestone is contractually bound to have a field of at least 18 cars, a position we now find ourselves in. With the world financial crisis setting in, more independent teams such as Williams in danger of going out of business; it could leave the entireity of F1 in jepoardy.
Thus, Ecclestone wants the big teams who are financially stable, such as Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber to field 3 cars to ‘make up the numbers’.
“If the manufacturers supply engines to other people, they can run three cars themselves.” Ecclestone told DPA
“It is better to have 20 cars on the grid, whether they are in the hands of manufacturers or in private hands, that doesn’t make any difference,” he added.
Bernie Ecclestone has made shock claims in the wake of Honda’s decision to leave F1.
The old man of F1 claims that the only team he, and indeed the sport would miss is Ferrari. Ferrari are the only team that remain in F1 that have been there right from the start (1950 Monaco GP), and have competed in every single season since then.
It will fuel the fire that the FIA favour Ferrari, especially after Toyota have made claims that the F60 has illegal exhaust pipes – we await judgement on that statement.
“It’s bad for me to say this,” Ecclestone told the Financial Times,
“But the only team we would really say we would miss is Ferrari.”
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro have become the first team of 2009 to launch their new car, named the F60.
The car is completly different to their 2008 challenger thanks to the swathes of new rules and regulations brought in for the new season.
The car has a wide front wing, with sculpted tops. It also has fancy inward facing end plates. The car also features interesting wing mirror mountings on aerodynamic sidepieces, which are bolted into the main floor. The car is also dominated by a very narrow rear with which maintains the sloping back endplates.
Ferrari hope the new car can bring them 2009 title success.
“As you can see the car is not an evolution of last year’s car,” said technical director Aldo Costa.
“It’s a completely new car, starting from a white piece of paper. Fundamentally the biggest changes come from the new rules from an aerodynamic point of view and the introduction of new technology, which is the KERS system.
“Because of that we had to start work pretty early and to review the main concept of the car, so it was a very very intense and long job.”
Scuderia Ferrari chiefs have admitted that they are preparing a B-Spec 2009 car for the possibility that their Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) will not be ready for the new season opener in Melbourne.
The Italian team have made no excuse they they are late starting work with their system. McLaren, BMW Sauber and Honda had all taken to the track with systems, but these are highly unlikely to be final editions.
Ferrari’s technical director Aldo Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport: “The objective is to arrive at the first race with a functioning and competitive KERS, but we also have a B plan: not a different car but a version without KERS.”
Engine chief Gilles Simon added: “We are late with the KERS. We prepared a hybrid F1 car to test it, but the system isn’t ready. In February we’ll understand how to go to the first grand prix.”
Kimi Raikkonen has admited he is making no predicitons to who will win the 2009 F1 title.
The Finn believes that with the wrath of technical alterations and introductions, such as the flattening of wings, wider front wings and narrow rear wings, slick tyres and KERS, it has become almost impossible to decipher who will be champion.
“There are many more question marks compared to last year, everything is very different,” he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If you do everything well you can have some advantages, while if you do things wrong it can cost you a lot. But this is no time for speculation.”
Meanwhile he has admitted that he has a few reservations on the slick tyres, but believes they will come good in the end. He reckons that by the end grooved tyres weren’t as bad as everyone made them out to be.
“I think in the end the tyres will work well, but it takes time to get used to them,” he said. “In general I prefer slick tyres, but if I think back at the grooved tyres, thanks to the competition between Michelin and Bridgestone they became very good.
“When we moved to a single supplier, the push from competition ended. So it’s better to wait and see.”
Adrian Sutil took Force India to the top of the timesheets in FP1 at Monza, which was pretty much deemed pointless thanks to heavy persistent rain fall.
Many drivers didn’t even bother setting a time, and those that did admitted they were not competitive. Felipe Massa pushed hard in the Ferrari to find its limits claiming he wasn’t interested in an overall time.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has pretty much confirmed that Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen will be making up the Scuderia Ferrari line-up for 2009.
The Italian was talking to presses at Monza, and when asked if Raikkonen would partner Massa for 2009 he replied; “Assolutamente si (absolutely yes).”
“I have heard the criticisms of Kimi but a few bad races does not mean you are in crisis,” he insisted.
Montezemolo agreed that Massa’s form indicates he is “ripe for the title,” but refuses to write off the most highly-paid Ferrari driver.
“No one should forget who is the World Champion, after he (Raikkonen) did what not many predicted, triumph in his first year (2007) with Ferrari.”
“Kimi is motivated and we must work hard to help him qualify higher, especially on all these new circuits that I do not like, and that are bad for F1: you cannot overtake, and nine times out of ten the winner is he who gets pole,” Montezemolo said.
On Fernando Alonso, Montezemolo claimed: “I feel bad to see a great champion like him not among the top ten at Valencia. But as for Ferarri, he can relax.”
American company Moog are to build Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team a state of the art Formula One simulation device.
The Italian team want one to teach their drivers new tracks, and give them a realistic driving experience when testing is banned. The team also want a new simulator to upstage the state of the art one being used by arch rivals McLaren.
It would be useful in learning new tracks before a race is held, like Valencia this coming weekend or Singapore.
“The dynamic driving simulator is a new step for us in developing virtual tests that give drivers the true feel of a real environment and direct feedback on their actions,” Ferrari’s head of car performance Marco Fainello confirmed.
However, the simulator is not a hit with reigning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen
“To be honest, that’s something I don’t like,” the Finn admitted. “I’ve always been able to get to know a new race track very fast.”
Former F1 world champion Damon Hill has told British tabloid The Sun, that after tehe Hungarian Grand Prix he would be on current world champion Kimi Raikkonen to lift the crown.
Openly before the race, the 1996 champion told viewers on ITV with whom he was the guest commentator that Lewis Hamilton would win the championship.
However, after a resurgent race Raikkonen seems to be the title winner in his eyes.
“If you had asked me before Sunday who I’d put my money on, I would have said Lewis.” Hill commented
“But I would want my bet back now. I’d be saying, ‘Wait a moment, that Ferrari looks strong’. I’d put my money on Raikkonen.”
Scuderia Ferrari were trialliang a new part in the last race weekend, something relatively unknown but it has given them significantly more balance and traction.
The change is with the rear diffuser, with vertical slats being cut into the splitter. These slats force air through, and this gives greater pressure which in-turn gives better traction.
The part is likely to stay on the car for the rest of the season, and looked to help with their problems that were faced in Germany 2 weeks before and close the race to McLaren.
Italian newspapers have begun to put pressure on Kimi Raikkonen after a series of lacklustre performances.
The Finnish driver has not won a race since the Spanish Grand Prix, and after spending most of the race behind Fernando Alonso in Hungary, he could only manage 3rd.
Many are wondering why he can be so good at times, in the final section of the Hungarian GP he was setting fastest lap after fastest lap, but why he seems unable to string a decent qualifying lap together.
With La Gazetta heaping praise on Felipe Massa, and Fernando Alonso hot on the heels of a Ferrari seat, is there still room for the World Champion?
“He seems a pale imitation of the driver of the past,” Tuttosport, an Italian national sports newspaper commented today
“This Raikkonen is not the driver that Ferrari needs. He needs to ask himself whether he really still has the desire to race.”
Scuderia Ferrari have announced that they are re-focussing their attentions on reliability, and tyres in the wake of handing over the Hungarian Grand Prix victory to McLaren through an engine failure.
Brazilian driver Felipe Massa had a storming race, and looked certain for the win, something the ferrari boys needed after a bad run of late, but 3 laps from the finish his engine gave way in un-ferrari fashion.
Kimi Raikkonen had been struggling with the Bridgestone tyres all weekend, and a long stint on the super-soft option proved the car wasn’t as good as expected as they were almost on the canvas at the end of the race.
When Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team bos was asked whether the main focus would be reliability or the tyre issues that are proving so costly in terms of grid positions, he said: “I think both, although not only these two points.
“But for sure reliability, because we cannot accept to have these kind of problems, even if it was only 10 kilometres from the end. We cannot have this problem of reliability because we are paying too much of a price for it.
“On the other hand, qualifying is crucial and the difference today was really the fact that on one side we were able to jump in front and do our race as we were able to do, and on the other hand, in the first part in the middle of the field, knowing that it was really impossible to do something, in spite of having the right pace.”
He added: “What we need to improve is looking ahead, above all, at the next Grand Prix where maybe there will be tricky conditions in terms of temperature, in terms of the situation, weather, something like that. For sure we need to prepare our cars and tyre set-up maybe in a different way, because we saw what we suffered, for example, in Germany.”
According to popular German magazine Sport Bild, it would seem that Spanish bank Santander would be moving from sponsoring McLaren to become one of Ferrari’s top sponsors from 2009 onwards.
The big bank would have their adverts on the front and rear wings, alongside lettering on the drivers overalls.
Ferrari have been touting for a new top sponsor since cigarette advertisers were not allowed in many countries, Marlboro being the major backer for many years. With a contract with Marlboro still in place, hash markings would still be on the cars.
For the Scuderia though, Santander have said the major condition of their deal is that former World Champion Fernando Alonso would drive for the team. He won’t confirm his future, and will not comment until September.
Sport Bild and AS claim that Alonso would race alongside Kimi Raikkonen.
“I don’t know if the rumours are true,” Ferrari test driver Marc Gene told sport.es, “but I don’t see there would be a problem having Kimi with Alonso.”
It would certainly be interesting to see how two world champions worked together at a team, would they create the ultimate car and be 1st and 2nd every week, or would there be a fall out on a Hamilton scale proportion. Its a risk, but I think it could pay off for the team.
Anthony Davidson has not held back in his criticism of Ferrari driver Felipe Massa for his performance at the British Grand Prix, moreover his blatent disregard for Blue flags.
The former Super Aguri driver understands these blue flags well from spending a lot of time at the back, and since the team went bankrupt he has been an occassional pundit.
He told the Daily Record that Massa’s driving with the Blue flags was a disgrace, and that he is normally the one complaining about drivers not getting out of the way but this time he just wouldn’t budge for some drivers.
Massa was lapped 2 times by race winner Lewis Hamilton, a highly embarrassing feat. Matching that to more spins than most, once again the critics return to saying he isn’t good enough.
“He’s always the first to stand up in a drivers’ meeting and complain about what people like me are doing when we get lapped,” Davidson quoted as having said by the Daily Record.
“That’s what you get, mate – there’s a bit of blue flag action for you.
“You’re rubbish. You are useless at it.”
Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo has called upon the Ferrari team, telling them that if they are to win the world titles this season they need to stop making stupid mistakes.
Another mistake was made at last weekend’s British Grand Prix, when at his first pitstop Kimi Raikkonen was left on the same intermediate tyres, which led to him losing 5-8 seconds per lap from Lewis Hamilton. Only a sterling drive meant he finished 4th.
Many other mistakes have been made, including Kimi Raikkonen’s exhaust falling off in France; signalling a change from the super smooth years of Schumacher/Brawn.
Montezemolo is scared that if the mistakes continue, Ferrari will not secure their 8th title in 10 years.
“I hope we’ll manage to win our eighth title in ten years,” he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“We will (manage it) if we don’t carry on doing stupid things.
“Obviously I wasn’t pleased with what I saw yesterday, but I hope it’s a useful lesson. Knowing my men, I’m certain it is.”
“We’re at the half way point of the season and in the lead of the championship,” he added.
“But we’ve lost too many opportunities, so in the second half of the season we must not lose any more.”