F1 News, Views and Reviews

Toyota

Former Toyota F1 Team Satisfied With Life Outside The Sport

The team behind the former Toyota F1 Team – Toyota Motorsport GmbH have said they are verys atisfied with life outside of Formula One, and are happy with the way new projects are progressing.

The German base of the team was no shut down when the team left the sport at the end of last season, and was instead turned into a manufacturing group for advanced motorsport projects.  Thus far they have worked with Pirelli on the new tyre for F1, providing an F1 car based on their TF109 chassis, along with other projects including electric racing cars.

“This has been a breakthrough year for us,” said Jens Marquardt, TMG’s general manager business development in the company’s annual review.

“We faced many challenges in November 2009 when our F1 participation ended but we met them with courage and optimism. Now our hard work is delivering results, so we can look back with satisfaction on the last 12 months.”

 


Toyota Claim F1 Is Too Elitist

Former Toyota F1 Team principal Tadashi Yamashina has claimed that Formula One has become far too elitist for its own good.

The man formerly charged with leading Toyota’s bid in F1, says that the sport did not allow the fans to get close enough to it for it to be a viable advertising option for a manufacturer.  He cited this as one of the many reasons why the Japanese manufacturer, who have recently had serious struggles with their road cars, to be one of the reasons why Toyota pulled out of F1 at the end of last season.

“There is a big gap between Formula 1 and Toyota’s actual car users,” Yamashina told Automotive News. “F1 remains the pinnacle of auto racing, but its image grew too elitist.

“At races such as Nurburgring [24 Hours], fans can get right into [the] pitlane, mingle with the teams and touch the cars. They can soak up the atmosphere and feel part of the event. By contrast, average fans have no hope of strolling the paddock at an F1 race. For the fortunate few who can afford to do that, it’s fine.

“I think the best kind of races are those in which people can get in close to the race.”

Toyota officials will be at a round of the WTCC to continue rumours that they will be entering some form of touring car championship soon.   DTM is also set to be courted as Lexus may enter in 2011 under the new Super GT rules which the series is likely to follow.  Former F1 team BMW have confirmed they will be competing in the German race series also.


Stefan GP NOT Given Entry As Official 2010 Entry List Announced

Stefan GP have not been granted an entry into the 2010 Formula One season, and will not be allowed to compete unitl potentially 2011 as the FIA consider opening up entries fo the next season of racing to newcomers.

Stefan have already got a car and sent equipment to Bahrain, and despite USF1 not competing this season the Serbian outfit cannot take their place.

“Having considered the various options, the FIA confirms that it is not possible for a replacement team to be entered for the Championship at this late stage,” the FIA said.

“In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the start of the 2011 season.”

USF1 are listed as deferring their entry until 2011 on the list, and Sauber retain the BMW moniker at the start of the name while Campos become HRT as mentioned yesterday.

Official 2010 Entry List

1  Jenson BUTTON (GBR)        VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (GB)
2  Lewis HAMILTON (GBR)       VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (GB)

3  Michael SCHUMACHER (D)     MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM
4  Nico ROSBERG (D)           MERCEDES GP PETRONAS FORMULA ONE TEAM

5  Sebastian VETTEL (D)     RED BULL RACING (AUT)
6  Mark WEBBER (AUS)          RED BULL RACING (AUT)

7  Felipe MASSA (BRA)         SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (I)
8  Fernando ALONSO (ESP)      SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (I)

9  Rubens BARRICHELLO (BRA)   AT&T WILLIAMS (GB)
10 Nico HÜLKENBERG (D)        AT&T WILLIAMS (GB)

11 Robert KUBICA (POL)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)
12 Vitaly PETROV (RUS)        RENAULT F1 TEAM (FRA)

14 Adrian SUTIL (D)           FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)
15 Vitantonio LIUZZI (I)      FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (IND)

16 Sébastien BUEMI (CH)       SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (I)
17 Jaime ALGUERSUARI (ESP)    SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (I)

18 Jarno TRULLI (I)           LOTUS RACING (MAL)
19 Heikki KOVALAINEN (FIN)    LOTUS RACING (MAL)

20 TBA                        HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)
21 Bruno SENNA (BRA)          HRT F1 TEAM (ESP)

22 Pedro DE LA ROSA (ESP)     BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (CH)
23 Kamui KOBAYASHI (J)        BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (CH)

24 Timo GLOCK (D)           VIRGIN RACING (GB)
25 Luca DI GRASSI (BRA)       VIRGIN RACING (GB)

Teams are up, no Stefan though...


Jerez Testing Round 2 Day 1: Vettel Quickest

Sebastian Vettel made the most of the poor conditions, slotting the new Red Bull Rb6 onto the top of the timesheets on the second part of the Jerez test, day 1.

The Red Bull Racing favourite slipped ahead of Lewis Hamilton in 2nd, and Felipe Massa in 3rd both drivers making good times given the conditions.

Pedro de La Rosa was 5th, lamenting the conditions but still ended ahead of Michael Schumacher.  Paul di Resta got his first taste of testing, gaining 8th place in the Force India as he shared the cockpit with Adrian Sutil.

Lotus made their debut with the T127 and Malaysian driver Fairuz Fauzy getting behind the wheel with a solid day of testing, and Lotus declaring themselves pleased.  Virgin looked to be struggling a little still, not finding their feet as quickly as Lotus.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:22.593   99
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:23.017   72
 3.  Massa         Ferrari              (B)  1:23.204   72
 4.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:23.322   79
 5.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber           (B)  1:23.367   76
 6.  M.Schumacher  Mercedes GP          (B)  1:23.803  111
 7.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:24.272   28
 8.  di Resta      Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:25.088   74
 9.  Petrov        Renault              (B)  1:26.237   55
10.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth    (B)  1:27.320  109
11.  Fauzy         Lotus-Cosworth       (B)  1:31.848   76
12.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth      (B)  1:32.417   10

V


Jerez Test Day 3: Washout Continues But Alguersuari Fastest

The third day of the second test at Jerez was another washout, with Jaime Alguersuari coming out fastest after a scorching lap early on in the day in the cooler damp conditions.

Many of the drivers elected to do long runs on extreme wet tyres, with Rubens Barrichello clocking a massive 120 laps today.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa did some long runs, as did Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton who was low down the times.

Lucas di Grassi got his first taste of the Virgin, which kept its wing on today, and also kept itself stuck to the bottom of the timesheets.

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time     Laps
 1.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:19.919   76
 2.  de la Rosa    BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:20.736   58
 3.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.428   48
 4.  Massa         Ferrari               (B)  1:21.603   72
 5.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:21.783   59
 6.  Petrov        Renault               (B)  1:22.000   68
 7.  Rosberg       Mercedes GP           (B)  1:22.820   53
 8.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth     (B)  1:23.217  120
 9.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:23.985   68
10.  di Grassi     Virgin-Cosworth       (B)  1:37.107    8

alg


Toyota Cut 500 Jobs In Cologne

Toyota have cut 500 jobs at their Cologne racing headquaters.

The factory in Germany was used mainly as their Formula One headquaters, and now the team have pulled out of F1 job cuts were expected.

Andy Fuchs of Toyota told DPA last night that the staff had to go but 150 would be kept on for sports tuning and non F1 projects.  The staff laid off will be paid some salary and given a good redundancy package.

Toyota announced they would not be selling their F1 programme as a package earlier this week, allowing Sauber to take the final available grid slot.


Toyota Not Selling F1 Entry, Paving Way For Sauber’s Return

The Toyota F1 Team are NOT selling their F1 entry, claiming they have already given it back to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.

This news will come as a crushing blow for Stefan GP who were hopng to purchase the former team based in Cologne. However it will be a champagne moment for Peter Sauber, whose team look to be set on the path back to Formula One.

A Toyota source said they are also working on a reduced penalty fine for leaving F1 having signed up to the 2012 Concorde Agreement with Bernie Ecclestone.

The source said: “We have returned our entry to the FIA and have no intention or wish to influence or interfere in the allocation process. That is a matter for the Federation.

“We are discussing a settlement with Bernie on the basis of goodwill and what is acceptable to all parties.”

They are going to sell their initial 2010 car model however, and there has been some interest – Stefan Gp’s name was banded around, although without a grid slot the reasoning behind their purchase would be confusing.  Allegedly, the source says, Kamui Kobayashi is being offered as part of the deal!


Toyota’s F1 History In Photos

On the day Toyota bowed out of Formula One, we take a look back at some of their high and low points in photos to remember the great Japanese manufacturers time at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Toyota spent 2001 testing around the world

Then the real launch came in 2002, with much promise and funding

Things looked good too, as Mika Salo scored the team's first point in their maiden GP

But things went downhill from there, and 2002 was summed up by Allan McNish's 200mph horror crash at Suzuka

Things looked up for 2003 with Olivier Panis getting 4th place in Qualifying early in the season

Cristiano da Matta went on better and led for a part of the 2003 British Grand Prix

However their luck slumped again in 2004, with both drivers being disqualified at the Canadian Grand Prix

Before Da Matta left and was replaced by Ricardo Zonta

2005 saw Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli put the team to their best ever finish

Trulli got their first podium, a 2nd place at the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix

However 2006/7 were poor seasons, leading to expensive Ralf Schumacher being dropped at the end of the season

For 2008 promising star Timo Glock was brought in, and is the team's most successful driver by points with an average of just under 2 per race

For 2009 the car was quick, but they were embroiled in the "illegal" diffuser row

Good results were few and far between, and Glock's season ended with a massive shunt in Japan

Before Kamui Kobayashi, the promising youngster, delivered Toyota's final points in their final race at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix


Official: Toyota Pull Out Of F1

The news I broke yesterday on the blog has turned out to be true, the Toyota F1 Team are pulling out of the sport and will not be present on the grid at the first race of the season in 2010.

There had been rumours of a move out of F1, when the company saw its first ever loss in profits.  Also signs when Fuji Speedway, their circuit, was dropped from the calendar.  Although signing up to the concorde agreement stating they would be present until 2012, no-one really thought it would be true, and the team would be pulling out at the end of 2010 after operating the season with a reduced budget.

Where the team goes from here is unknown, it could turn into a satellite operation, an independent team via management buy out, or even possibly become the new Sauber team.

The long official statement from Toyota’s Chief Executive’s read:

“Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula 1 world championship at the end of the 2009 season,”

“TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year.

“However, when considering TMC’s motorsports actitives next year and beyond from a comprehensive mid-term viewpoint reflecting the current severe economic realities, TMC decided to withdraw from F1″

“TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team’s achievements possible,” said the statement.

“TMC intends to do its best to find a solution for those parties who will be affected by any inconvenience this decision may cause.”

“In motorsports, [Toyota] will not only race in various categories, but will also actively contribute to further development of motorsports by supporting grassroots races and planning events in which it is easy for people to participate.”

Toyota Team Profile

Debut Race 2002 Australian Grand Prix
Final Race 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Races Completed 139
Championships 0
Race Wins 0
Pole Positions 3
Notable Drivers Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, Mika Salo, Olivier Panis, Cristiano Da Matta

 

Season Points
2002 2
2003 16
2004 9
2005 88
2006 35
2007 13
2008 56
2009 54.5

 



BREAKING NEWS: Toyota Leave F1?

Breaking News:  Reports on a Japanese newspaper’s website says that the Toyota Formula One team are pulling out of the sport with immediate effect.

The downbeat report by The Mancini Newspaper states that Japan is now without a Formula One Team, hanks to the recession and the millions of dollars to which it takes to run a team.  The decision seems to have come from the board of directors, as opposed to John Howett the team boss.

An article in Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport released today said that there would be a new announcement on November 8, but if this new article is to be believed then that decision has already been taken.

However there is a glimmer of hope, the article states they may try and run 2010 as a satellite style operation, similar to the Hayate rnu Kawasaki in MotoGP, where the funds and development are limited but staff and technical help is still available.

If not, the place is likely to be awarded to the Sauber team.  For Kobayashi, possibly the most promising newcomer to F1, he could try and join a new team but if unsuccessful the Japanese was worried he would have to abandon racing and go back to working in his father’s Sushi bar!

MORE NEWS WHEN IT COMES – STAY TUNED!


Barrichello and Glock To Confirm 2010 Drives Soon

Rubens Barrichello, Timo Glock and newly crowned World Champion Jenson Button will all be confirming their 2010 race seats within the next few weeks if paddock rumour at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi is to be believed.

Barrichello looks to be heading out of Brawn GP and off to Williams, a move almost confirmed by Michael Schumacher’s manager Wili Weber earlier in the week.  He will be partnering Nico Hulkenberg at the Grove based squad, which he described as one of the best teams in F1 a  matter of days ago.

“In one week we will know more for sure,” the Brazilian said, clarifying that the plans of his Brawn team-mate Jenson Button will have no bearing on his own.

“At the moment there are more important things than the announcement of my contract for the coming year,” added Barrichello.

Timo Glock on the other hand has said he has no contract with Toyota for 2010, where Jarno Trulli, Kaumi Kobayashi and possibly Kimi Raikkonen are all fighting for seats at, with the rumour being that the German is heading to partner Robert Kubica at Renault.

“Nothing has been signed,” the German’s manager Hans Bernd Kamps insisted. “For 2010 it looks good and perhaps next week we will have something surprising to announce.”

Barrichello and Glock look set to be leaving their respective 2009 teams


Timo Glock Looks Set To Make Race Return In Abu Dhabi

Timo Glock looks set to make a racing return in Abu Dhabi for the final round of the 2009 Season after injuring himself in a ualifying horror shunt at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Glock stuffed his TF109 into the barriers just before the main straight at the legendary Suzuka circuit, missing the Grand Prix before being substituted for the Brazilian race by Kamui Kobayashi.

However Glock is hopeful he will join the team again, and his doctor has told F1-Live that he has a “90% chance of racing”.

An official announcement will be made tomorrow.


Belgian GP 2009: Kimi Raikkonen Takes Ferrari’s First Win Of Season!

Kimi Raikkonen delivered an emphatic first win of the season for Ferrari this afternoon after a highly exciting Belgian Grand Prix.

Suprise pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella came in 2nd place, Force India’s first ever points and thus podium, while Sebastian Vettel kept his championship hopes alive while others around him faltered with 3rd place.

Race Review

The getaway from the line was mostly noted for Rubens Barrichello’s anti-stall kick in, forcing Kimi Raikkonen around his outside and bunching everyone up into La Source hairpin.

Raikkonen dived onto the astroturf around the outside of the turn and raced down to Eau Rouge with Fisichella in the lead and the BMW’s far up the pack.  Further back in the field various cars including Fernando Alonso, Jaime Alguersuari, Adrian Sutil, Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton were all tangling with bits of bodywork flying everywhere.

The cars were bunched as they headed down the straight to Les Combes, where Romain Grosjean tagged Jenson Button forcing him into a spin.  Jaime Alguersuari tried to miss Button and ended up ramming Lewis Hamilton forcing them both out as well as Button and Grosjean.  This left us with a Safety Car situation with all these cars hanging off the track.

Some drivers including Rubens Barrichello decided to pit in.

When the safety car finally returned to the pits, Kimi Raikkonen using his KERS system to full effect managed to get ahead of Fisichella and that is where he would stay for the rest of the race.  The gap between the two was not very large, and the pitstops [all on the same laps for the pair] didn’t yield a position change.  Had Raikkonen not being using the KERS system then he would almost certainly have lost the place to Fisichella, whose Force India car looked frighteningly quick.

Sebastian Vettel had a very quiet drive to 3rd place, managingto make use of accidents and retirements.

Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld managed to get a great result for their BMW team, with 4th and 5th places.  They stayed out of trouble throughout the race, but were almost certianly helped along by faster rivals being knocked out in the first corner accident.

7th place finisher Rubens Barrichello never looked like troubling those at the front after his poor start.  He did well to end up in the points, but in all honesty was lucky to finish with his Brawn GP car pluming smoke for the final 3 laps.  The Brazilian’s car then set on fire as he returned to the pitlane after the race!

Just finishing ahead of Rubens was Heikki Kovalainen, the sole finishing McLaren using good strategy to make the position from a poor qualifying start.  8th was Rosberg picking up vital points, but Mark Webber really should have been there but he had a pitlane incident where he was released into the path of Heidfeld, focing the German to nearly crash and got given a drive-through penalty for it.

Timo Glock should also have finished higher than 10th, but a fuel rig failure ruined his chances of points from early good running.

Sutil, Buemi and Nakajima came next in the classifications with fairly average races, and Luca Badoer brings up the rear of the field [again] in what is likely to be his last Ferrari race.

Fernando Alonso retired with a broken front left wheel and suspension, while we do not know Jarno Trulli’s problem possibly a fuel pressure issue.

Classified Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1.23.50.995
2 G. Fisichella Force India Mercedes +0.939
3 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +3.875
4 R. Kubica BMW Sauber +9.966
5 N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber +11.276
6 H. Kovalainen McLaren Mercedes +32.763
7 R. Barrichello Brawn Mercedes +35.461
8 N. Rosberg Williams Toyota +36.208
9 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +36.959
10 T. Glock Toyota +41.490
11 A. Sutil Force India Mercedes +42.636
12 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +46.106
13 K. Nakajima Williams Toyota +54.241
14 L. Badoer Ferrari +1.38.177

Fastest Lap: S. Vettel (Red Bull) 1.47.263

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
F. Alonso Renault 27 Tyre/Suspension
J. Trulli Toyota 21 Fuel Pressure (Poss.)
J. Button Brawn Mercedes 1 Accident
R. Grosjean Renault 1 Accident
L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1 Accident
J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 1 Accident

KR


Belgian GP 2009: Fisichella Takes Shock Pole Position

Force India’s Giancarlo Fisichella has delivered the small team it’s first ever pole position after a stunning qualifying session in Belgium, where the form book really was turned on it’s head.

Fisichella the flambouyant Italian was amazingly fast throughout the session in the heavily revised Force India car, and the investment has paid dividends to its owner Vijay Mallya.

Although likely to be light on fuel, this must signal the first points of the season for the team based in Silverstone.  If not that, it signals to Ferrari that Giancarlo Fisichella could deliver something for them, unlike Luca Badoer who did not help his cause by qualifying last and ending Q1 in the wall.

Jarno Trulli made second place in the significantly faster Toyota, and Nick Heidfeld made a shock return to the top with 3rd position.

Rubens Barrichello will start 4th, the highest qualifying Brawn after Jenson Button faltered and did not get out of Q2. He will start in 14th tomorrow, a big harm to his world championship chances.

Kimi Raikkonen did much better than Badoer and will start 6th, those around him must be concerned about his KERS system.

Vettel and Webber made 8th and 9th for Red Bull, so should make valuable ground tomorrow.

The improving McLaren’s have struggled in Spa this afternoon, with Hamilton making just 12th place and Kovalainen 15th.  Another big name between them is Fernando Alonso in 13th.

We thought the Toro Rosso’s looked good, but neither managed to get out of Q1 with Buemi starting 16th and Alguersuari 17th.

Romain Grosjean lines up alongside Badoer at the back, after the young French/Swiss made progress.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3      
 1.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:45.102  1:44.667  1:46.308
 2.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:45.140  1:44.503  1:46.395
 3.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:45.566  1:44.709  1:46.500
 4.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:45.237  1:44.834  1:46.513
 5.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:45.655  1:44.557  1:46.586
 6.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:45.579  1:44.953  1:46.633
 7.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:45.450  1:44.877  1:46.677
 8.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:45.372  1:44.592  1:46.761
 9.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:45.350  1:44.924  1:46.788
10.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:45.486  1:45.047  1:47.362
11.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:45.486  1:45.119
12.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:45.239  1:45.122
13.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:45.767  1:45.136
14.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:45.707  1:45.251
15.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:45.761  1:45.259
16.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:45.705
17.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:45.951
18.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:46.032
19.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:46.307
20.  Badoer       Ferrari               (B)  1:46.359


Belgian GP 2009: Hamilton Fastest In Frantic FP2

Weather conditions changed for the better in Fp2 at Spa this afternoon.  This led to frantic activity as teams and drivers tried to make up for time lost in the rainy morning session.

Hamilton was fastest, just hundredths of a second ahead of Timo Glock and Kimi Raikkonen.

Raikkonen’s team mate Luca Badoer stuck in last place, and Ferrari seem incredibly disappointed with his performance.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:47.201           29
 2.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:47.217  + 0.016  29
 3.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:47.285  + 0.084  26
 4.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:47.329  + 0.128  31
 5.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:47.333  + 0.132  34
 6.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:47.506  + 0.305  27
 7.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:47.559  + 0.358  33
 8.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:47.578  + 0.377  33
 9.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:47.579  + 0.378  36
10.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:47.602  + 0.401  25
11.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:47.702  + 0.501  38
12.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:47.743  + 0.542  33
13.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:47.790  + 0.589  29
14.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:47.862  + 0.661  30
15.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:47.961  + 0.760  32
16.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:48.017  + 0.816  30
17.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:48.125  + 0.924  34
18.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:48.130  + 0.929  37
19.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:48.360  + 1.159  29
20.  Badoer       Ferrari               (B)  1:49.211  + 2.010  30

FP


Belgian GP 2009: Trulli Fastest In Rain Affected FP1

Jarno Trulli set the fastest time in what was a mostly rain affected first session at Spa Francorchamps for the Belgian Grand Prix.

A lot of cars did slow wet runs, and Lewis Hamilton + Sebastian Vettel failed to set times.  That means Luca Badoer isn’t last!

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:49.675            13
 2.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:50.283  + 0.608   18
 3.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:50.368  + 0.693   13
 4.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:51.045  + 1.370   20
 5.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:51.529  + 1.854   24
 6.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:52.321  + 2.646   18
 7.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:52.930  + 3.255   16
 8.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:53.383  + 3.708   11
 9.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:53.650  + 3.975   12
10.  Badoer       Ferrari               (B)  1:55.068  + 5.393   20
11.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  2:03.972  + 14.297  11
12.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  2:04.505  + 14.830  13
13.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  2:05.513  + 15.838  13
14.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  2:05.614  + 15.939  14
15.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  2:05.705  + 16.030  15
16.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  2:05.839  + 16.164  10
17.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  2:06.181  + 16.506   6
18.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  2:06.331  + 16.656  15
19.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)                       1
20.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)                       4

a


European GP 2009: Barrichello Takes Emotional Victory

Rubens Barrichello took a highly emotional victory in this afternoon’s European Grand Prix, winning his first race for 5 years – his last victory was at the 2004 Chinese Grand Prix with Ferrari.

It puts Barrichello right back into title contention.  Lewis Hamilton will be aggrieved  not to have won, having led most of the way he was let down by a pit crew failure. Kimi Raikkonen stormed through to finish in 3rd position.

Race Review

Both McLaren’s made a good start off the grid, as did Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button.  Button tried to go down the inside of Vettel who made a slow start, but the German forced the Briton into the pitlane exit area where he let off the throttle.  The resulting masses of space and the KERS system allowed Raikkonen to easily sweep around the outside and into 4th position.

Button lost multiple places further back, and was forced to rescinde a place to Australian Mark Webber after cutting  a corner following Fernando Alonso who at the time was defending against Webber.

Sebastien Buemi was cut up in the first few turns and lost his front wing, having to crawl back to the pit for a new one.  He was joined by Romain Grosjean who lost his wing when Timo Glock made a very late overtaking dive at the inexperienced Frecnhamn turned into the Toyota.

These position changes allowed those at the back, including Luca Badoer to make up a few places.

The top order remained relatively unchanged as the drivers hit their pitstops.  Lewis Hamilton was pulling out a good lead with fastest lap times.

The next action was when Sebastian Vettel’s engine blew for the second time this weekend.  Vettel was angered post race, and indeed we’re pretty sure any continuation of the RBR/Renault deal is now off the cards and the team could be switching to either Ferrari again or perhaps Mercedes Benz.

The Force India’s got themselves in the mix today too, along with the BMW’s but only Robert Kubica would come away with a point.

As the drivers hit their second stops, it was evident that Barrichello was trying to catch Hamilton.  The Brit had a good lead and all was good until he pulled into his pitbox and the tyre men were not ready with new tyres.  This led to pantomime scenes and lost Hamilton many seconds of time, allowing Rubens through and pretty much ended his chance of winning.  Hamilton’s Father was nonchalant smacking his fists together in he back of the garage.

Kimi Raikkonen also made an unseen overtake on Heikki Kovalainen securing the Iceman a quality 3rd position.

The only other DNF of the race was Sebastien Buemi whose brakes gave up late on and led to a huge spin incident.

Kazuki Nakajima suffered a puncture and a delamination of the tyre half way around the lap very late on too.  Luca Badoer and Romain Grosjean had pitlane comedy when Badoer was released, he let Grosjean through, side by side, but then as he put the power down Badoer went over the white line and got himself ANOTHER pitlane penalty.  Throw in a huge spin for the Italian driver and it has left many questioning whether he will ever race a Ferrari again. (I’m free next weekend if you need me Ferrari?!).

And that was that, another pretty lacklustre European Grand Prix in Valencia, made interesting by pitlane comedy and Luca Badoer.  It is good to see Rubens Barrichello win again, and by his tears of joy in the car and parc ferme we know how much it means to him.  Wonderful dedication to Felipe Massa at the end also.  Could Rubens be the World Champion?

Classified Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 R. Barrichello Brawn Mercedes 1.35.51.289
2 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +2.358
3 K. Raikkonen Ferrari +15.994
4 H. Kovalainen McLaren Mercedes +20.023
5 N. Rosberg Williams Toyota +20.870
6 F. Alonso Renault +27.744
7 J. Button Brawn Mercedes +34.913
8 R. Kubica BMW Sauber +36.667
9 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +44.910
10 A. Sutil Force India Merc +47.935
11 N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber +48.822
12 G. Fisichella Force India Merc +1.03.614
13 J. Trulli Toyota +1.04.527
14 T. Glock Toyota +1.26.519
15 R. Grosjean Renault +1.31.774
16 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari + 1 lap
17 L. Badoer Ferrari +1 lap
18 K. Nakajima Williams + 3 laps

Fastest Lap: T. Glock (Toyota) 1.38.683

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 42 Brake Failure
S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 24 Engine

RB


European GP 2009: Hamilton Takes Pole In Valencia

Lewis Hamilton slotted his updated McLaren Mp4-24 onto pole position for tomorrow’s European Grand Prix in Valencia.

His team mate Heikki Kovalainen will line up alongside the World Champion, and Rubens Barrichello is just behind in 3rd.

Championship challenger Sebastian Vettel is 4th despite blowing his engine in Free Practice 3.  Jenson Button is back in 5th and should be worried about the KERS powered Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen alongside in 6th.

Kubica and Heidfeld had a better performance in the BMW’s dropping into 10th and 11th.  Amazing how the car improves when you’re jobs are on the line?!

New boy Romain Grosjean will line up 13th after a tidy qualifying.  Not so good for Luca Badoer, he is so far off the pace it is actually beyond laughable.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3     
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:38.649  1:38.182  1:39.498
 2.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:38.816  1:38.230  1:39.532
 3.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:39.019  1:38.076  1:39.563
 4.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:39.295  1:38.273  1:39.789
 5.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:38.531  1:38.601  1:39.821
 6.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:38.843  1:38.782  1:40.144
 7.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:39.039  1:38.346  1:40.185
 8.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:39.155  1:38.717  1:40.236
 9.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:38.983  1:38.625  1:40.239
10.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:38.806  1:38.747  1:40.512
11.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:39.032  1:38.826
12.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:39.145  1:38.846
13.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:39.459  1:38.991
14.  Grosjean     Renault               (B)  1:39.322  1:39.040
15.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:38.912  1:39.514
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:39.531
17.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:39.795
18.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:39.807
19.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:39.925
20.  Badoer       Ferrari               (B)  1:41.413

LH


European GP 2009: Alonso Tops Sheets In FP2

Fernando Alonso gave the rather small crowd something to cheer about in FP2 when he put his Renault at the top of the timesheets.

Earlier in the session the Spaniard had been involved in an accident with Nick Heidfeld.

Luca Badoer bettered his time by over 1.5 seconds from session 1 while Lewis Hamilton completed just 3 laps after damaging his car right at the start of the session.

Pos Driver        Team                      Time             Laps
 1. Alonso        Renault              (B)  1:39.404           33
 2. Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:40.178  +0.774   33
 3. Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:40.209  +0.805   34
 4. Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:40.385  +0.981   39
 5. Nakajima      Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:40.503  +1.099   35
 6. Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:40.596  +1.192   23
 7. Kubica        BMW Sauber           (B)  1:40.643  +1.239   34
 8. Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:40.681  +1.277   31
 9. Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:40.723  +1.319   33
10. Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:40.738  +1.334   31
11. Raikkonen     Ferrari              (B)  1:40.739  +1.335   39
12. Trulli        Toyota               (B)  1:40.770  +1.366   32
13. Grosjean      Renault              (B)  1:40.787  +1.383   35
14. Webber        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:40.956  +1.552   37
15. Glock         Toyota               (B)  1:40.985  +1.581   30
16. Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:41.156  +1.752   34
17. Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           (B)  1:41.350  +1.946   29
18. Badoer        Ferrari              (B)  1:42.017  +2.613   37
19. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:42.089  +2.685   34
20. Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:43.214  +3.810    3


FA


European GP 2009: Barrichello Fastest In FP1

Rubens Barrichello was the fastest man in the first practice session at the Valencia street-circuit this morning.

He was ahead of the usual top suspects of team mate Jenson Button and the McLaren’s.  Adrian Sutil made a good effort into 6th for Force India.

New boys Romain Grosjean and Luca Badoer did not fare to well, Grosjean was 17th and Badoer was a lowly 20th some 3 seconds off the pace of the leader.

Pos Driver        Team                      Time             Laps
 1. Barrichello   Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:42.460           19
 2. Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:42.636  +0.176   16
 3. Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     (B)  1:42.654  +0.194   18
 4. Button        Brawn GP-Mercedes    (B)  1:43.074  +0.614   19
 5. Vettel        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:43.088  +0.628   17
 6. Sutil         Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:43.209  +0.749   13
 7. Nakajima      Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:43.225  +0.765   25
 8. Webber        Red Bull-Renault     (B)  1:43.243  +0.783   19
 9. Alonso        Renault              (B)  1:43.345  +0.885   18
10. Raikkonen     Ferrari              (B)  1:43.384  +0.924   23
11. Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:43.389  +0.929   30
12. Kubica        BMW Sauber           (B)  1:43.419  +0.959   20
13. Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari   (B)  1:43.637  +1.177   30
14. Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      (B)  1:43.746  +1.286   22
15. Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           (B)  1:44.040  +1.580   23
16. Fisichella    Force India-Mercedes (B)  1:44.126  +1.666   17
17. Grosjean      Renault              (B)  1:44.356  +1.896   23
18. Trulli        Toyota               (B)  1:44.638  +2.178   26
19. Glock         Toyota               (B)  1:44.732  +2.272   28
20. Badoer        Ferrari              (B)  1:45.840  +3.380   25

RB


Hungarian GP 2009: Hamilton Takes First Win Of Season

The reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has taken his first win of the season in a tables turned Grand Prix in Hungary.

Race Review

Fernando Alonso led from the start, having a good getaway from pole position and pulling away from the pack on his light fuel load which would see him pit on lap 12.

Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton had good getaway’s with their KERS enabled cars, squeezing 4 cars abreast the main straight.  Sebastian Vettel was one of the drivers swallowed up by the fatser cars.  Raikkonen forced Hamilton into Vettel as the cars squeezed into turn 1.  There was a lot of positional swapping, but Hamilton made a move around the outside of Mark Webber stick for 2nd place.

During this move, Webber came towards Raikkonen who lost the backend of the Ferrari sliding into Vettel causing damage to the Red Bull car which later led to the German’s retirement although both would continue.  Raikkonen is under investigation for the incident.

Alonso pitted on lap 12, and there was a problem – his wheel mechanic on the front right failed to secure the over aerodynamic rim.  As such the wheel cover came lose, spun around and pulled the nut out of the centre of the tyre causing it to fly off half way around the lap.  Alonso crawled back to the pits with 3 wheels, did another lap but it was clear that there was some terminal damage to the Renault.

Hamilton then dominated the rest of the race, failing to lose his position at the front.  When Raikkonen and Webber pitted, a problem for the Red Bull crew mated to pulling Webber out into the path of Kimi allowed the Ferrari driver in front, into 2nd position.  It looked as though the Finn might catch Hamilton in the McLaren but it never came to fruition and Webber stuck in for 3 place too.

With Nico Rosberg making 4th place, and a valiant effort from Kazuki Nakajima the Williams team showed improvements too.  Unlike Brawn, Barrichello ended up in 18th position off the start, and Jenson Button never really looked like troubling the top guys with an oversteering Brawn he kept continually complaining about.  It doesn’t seem like the monster car that took him to the top of the points table.  His only salvation would be that Vettel retired half way through the race with a suspension problem.

Jaime Alguersuari completed an uneventful first GP, just cruising around out of trouble managing though to beat his team mate Sebastien Buemi who spun late on into the race.

Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 1.38.23.876
2 K. Raikkonen Ferrari +11.529
3 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +16.886
4 N. Rosberg Williams Toyota +26.967
5 H. Kovalainen McLaren Mercedes +34.392
6 T. Glock Toyota +35.237
7 J. Button Brawn Mercedes +55.088
8 J. Trulli Toyota +1.08.172
9 K. Nakajima Williams Toyota +1.08.774
10 R. Barrichello Brawn Mercedes +1.09.256
11 N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber +1.10.612
12 N. Piquet Renault +1.11.512
13 R. Kubica BMW Sauber +1.14.046
14 G. Fisichella Force India Merc +1 lap
15 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap
16 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap

Fastest Lap: M Webber, Red Bull – 1.21.931

Retirements

Driver Team Lap Reason
S. Vettel Red Bull Renault 30 Suspension
F. Alonso Renault 16 Tyre Failure
A. Sutil Force India Merc 2 Water Pressure
F. Massa Ferrari DNS QLF Accident

LH


Hungarian GP 2009: Alonso Takes Pole As Massa Hits Wall In Horror Crash

Fernando Alonso has taken pole position in a highly chaotic qualifying session, which saw Felipe Massa taken away in a medical helicopter and the FOM lose timing screens.

Alonso outqualified everyone in a Renault car which looked unbeliveable, reminding us that the French team based in Enstone could make race winning cars.  He will be alongside Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber just behind in 3rd for tomorrow’s race.

A better McLaren car this weekend has seen improvements from both drivers with Lewis Hamilton starting in 4th, Kovalainen 6th split by Nico Rosberg of the Williams team.

Raikkonen will start the race 7th, his team mate Felipe Massa had a horror crash at the end of Q2.  He was racing around when he was hit on the helmet (in a similar fashion to Henry Surtees) by a piece of Rubens Barrichello’s suspension.  It knocked him out and his Ferrari went straight into the wall.  He managed to brake a little bit, but still smashed into the tyres with enough force to light up the emergency G-Light.  He has been airlifted to hospital and is said to be in a stable condition – more news when we have it.

Rubens Barrichello got knocked out in Q2, and will only start 13th behind Sebastien Buemi who did a marvellous performance to 12th.  Toyota looked disappointing again, just scraping in.  Not as disappointing as their German based counterparts BMW Sauber who failed to get out of Q1.  Heads will be rolling at Munich for sure.

Jaime Alguersuari will start last after a good Q1, he attempted to better his time but the Toro Rosso car broke down on his out lap.  Harsh luckl for the 19 year old who wasn’t too downbeat.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3     
 1.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:21.313  1:20.826  1:21.569
 2.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:21.178  1:20.604  1:21.607
 3.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:20.964  1:20.358  1:21.741
 4.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:20.842  1:20.465  1:21.839
 5.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:20.793  1:20.862  1:21.890
 6.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:21.659  1:20.807  1:22.095
 7.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:21.500  1:20.647  1:22.468
 8.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:21.471  1:20.707  1:22.511
 9.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:21.407  1:20.570  1:22.835
10.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:21.420  1:20.823
11.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:21.571  1:21.002
12.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:21.416  1:21.082
13.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:21.558  1:21.222
14.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:21.584  1:21.242
15.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:21.278  1:21.389
16.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:21.738
17.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.807
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:21.868
19.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:21.901
20.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:22.359


Hungarian GP 2009: McLaren Stun Pack With Top 2 In FP2

McLaren stunned the Formula One field today with a 1-2 finish in Free Practice 2 at the Hungaoring.  With Kovalainen on top in FP1 aswell, fans of the silver arrows would be forgiven for thinking a front row start could be on the cards.

Williams remained strong, and Sebastian Vettel picked up the pace for Red Bull.  Felipe Massa crashed down the timesheets, and Jaime Alguersuari bettered his morning time, but remained in last place after his first day of being an F1 driver.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:22.079            36
 2.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:22.126  + 0.047   36
 3.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:22.154  + 0.075   47
 4.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:22.369  + 0.290   29
 5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:22.426  + 0.347   40
 6.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:22.550  + 0.471   30
 7.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:22.641  + 0.562   38
 8.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:22.663  + 0.584   28
 9.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:22.690  + 0.611   43
10.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:22.751  + 0.672   45
11.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:22.763  + 0.684   38
12.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:22.793  + 0.714   37
13.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:22.806  + 0.727   42
14.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:22.870  + 0.791   36
15.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:22.927  + 0.848   36
16.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:22.978  + 0.899   28
17.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:23.029  + 0.950   39
18.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:23.156  + 1.077   32
19.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:23.176  + 1.097   45
20.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:23.942  + 1.863   40


LH


Hungarian GP 2009: Kovalainen Fastest For McLaren In FP1

Last year’s race winner Heikki Kovalainen was fastest in FP1, slipping ahead of Mark Webber who had led until 6 minutes remaining. A valiant effort from McLaren saw Lewis Hamilton in 3rd.

Williams too looked impressive with 2nd and 5th, Ferrari down in 7th and 8th and Jaime Alguersuari was last on his debut run with the Toro Rosso.

Pos  Driver       Team                       Time              Laps
 1.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:22.278            21
 2.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:22.337  + 0.059   27
 3.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:22.554  + 0.276   20
 4.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:22.615  + 0.337   21
 5.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:22.619  + 0.341   25
 6.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:22.705  + 0.427   17
 7.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:22.796  + 0.518   23
 8.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:22.855  + 0.577   25
 9.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:23.001  + 0.723   28
10.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:23.130  + 0.852   25
11.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:23.146  + 0.868   24
12.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:23.154  + 0.876   23
13.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:23.209  + 0.931   24
14.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:23.234  + 0.956   30
15.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:23.283  + 1.005   25
16.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:23.484  + 1.206   20
17.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:23.678  + 1.400   22
18.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:23.845  + 1.567   18
19.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:23.998  + 1.720   37
20.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:24.228  + 1.950   42


Kova


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