F1 News, Views and Reviews


Ferrari Reshuffle Top Staff Following Abu Dhabi Failure

Ferrari have reshuffled their senior engineering team following a series of failures that saw them lose the 2010 Formula One World Championship at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

One of the most senior Ferrari members called Fernando Alonso into the pits too early, forcing him to be stuck well down the field and handing Sebastian Vettel the title.

Chris Dyer, who worked with both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen during their championship years has been ousted from the pit wall.  His new role is as yet undefined.

Pat Fry steps into the team as head of race track engineering.  Fry formerly worked for McLaren.  Neil Martin also formerly of McLaren joins the team, working under chief designer Aldo Costa.

“The mistake was, in terms of magnitude, huge – and it produced devastating effects. But in a normal race it would have been a normal error,” Team principal Stefano Domenicali told Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

“So you must not jettison everything, even the good things, because of that mistake. We will change things and officially announce things in the coming hours – and we will make sure that those who make delicate decisions are able to have all the tools they need not to be wrong again.”

He added: “I will personally try to help the team from a psychological point of view as well, because the hardest penalty in a shoot-out is the one coming after you missed one.”


Williams Denies Maldonado Is “Pay Driver”

Williams CEO Adam Parr has rubbished rumours that Pastor Maldonado is simply racing for the Williams team as a “pay driver”.

Maldonado has joined the British based team alongside Rubens Barrichello, ousting popular German rookie Nico Hulkenberg.  Speculation in the press had been that Maldonado could raise more sponsorship capital for the team and Hulkenberg, something Williams desperately needs as many of their main sponsorship deals come to an end in 2011.

“The guy just won the GP2 with a rookie team with more victories than anyone. The mere fact that we have to talk about it is absurd. It’s a shame, really,” Parr told motor21.com

Parr also had good words to say about former man Hulkenberg;

“I would like to see him at Williams again,” Parr explained.

“He has the dedication and the passion to be a great driver and I was so impressed with his maturity and professionalism.

“I hope he finds a position somewhere else but on the other hand I would like to maintain a relationship with him,” he added.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Yes, its December 25th and I bring you this pre written message, rather like the Queen does at 3pm every single year.

2010 has been an interesting one for F1.  We’ve had two new World Champions in Vettel and Red Bull, but beyond that we have had a highly gripping season of racing that has excelled that of the fun we saw in 2006, 2007 and 2008.  While 2009 may have been a Brawn GP washout, 2010 was anything but with the Abu Dhabi race to the wire having various twists and turns in it.  We had it all this season, close racing, great driving and some brilliant new aerodynamic advancements.

Formula One finally seems to have found a set of rules and regulations which work, and provide some spectacle for the fans.  Sadly, the FIA have decided to change the sport again and the rules being brought in for 2013 have me a little nervous.  I am waiting to see early designs for the cars, but the smaller capacity engines and changes in wings etc. does worry me somewhat.

In truth, on a day like today we shouldn’t be worrying about such things!  All that remains to be said, is that I hope you all enjoy your day – wherever in the world you may be, enjoy great food, drink and company.  Normal service will resume in the new year with Pre-Season testing to look forward to along with new car launches as F1 fans around the world count down to the start of another season.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Petrov Secures Seat For 2011 and 2012 at Lotus Backed Renault Team

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov, who had an up-and-down season with Renault in 2010 has cleared up all speculation about his future following an announcement that he has secured a two yar race seat deal with the Lotus Renault team.

He raced with Renault last season, and will continue alongside popular Polish driver Robert Kubica as we approach the new year.  Renault has been undergoing some changes recently, announcing a partnership with the Lotus Cars group meaning the team is now known as Lotus Renault.  They will be running in classic John Player Special style liveries next year.

“We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us for 2011 and 2012, in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign,” Team Principal Eric Boullier said.

“The entire team has been working flat-out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets.

“Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year.”

Team chairman Gerard Lopez said:

“Last season, he showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver,” Lopez said. “It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011.”

Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil  had been linked with the Renault seat.

D’Ambrosio Confirmed As Marussia Virgin Driver For 2011

Jerome D’Ambrosio has been confirmed as the second driver at the Marussia Virgin Racing team for the 2011 season.

The Belgian driver, who tested with both Virgin and Renault at the recent rookie tests in Abu Dhabi, will take over the race seat from ousted 2010 driver Lucas di Grassi.  D’Ambrosio clearly did enough to impress the team during the test and as expected takes the race seat.

Timo Glock will race alongside Jerome at the team, which is now receiving backing from Marussia a Russian sportscar manufacturer.

Speaking about the deal, D’Ambrosio said: “I’m thrilled to have achieved my goal of a Formula 1 race seat with Marussia Virgin Racing.

“When I came to the team in September this year it was everything I could hope for. I had a tough test to complete because there was a lot of competition for this seat, but at the same time I got on well with the team and felt that I had found my home.

“I feel very comfortable with them – they are extremely professional and ambitious people and it is exciting to think that I can be a part of shaping the team’s future.”


Toro Rosso Announce 2011 Launch Date

Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced that they will be launching their 2011 Formula One car on February 1st.

The launch will take place at the Valencia Circuit on the day that official pre-season testing starts.  Swiss based squad Sauber are also launching their new car at the circuit.

The Faenza based team will have Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi driving for them once again.

New Team Order Rules Won’t Change Anything – Webber

Mark Webber believes that the recent changes in the ruling on team orders, changing them from being banned to being allowed, will not change anything in the sport.

The team orders ban had been in force for some time, but following Ferrari’s flagrant disregard for the rule at Hockenheim in 2010, speculation was to be that the rule needed to either be enforced or dropped.

Webber, of Red Bull Racing, has been at the forefront of “second driver” following his teams clear desire to support team mate Sebastian Vettel.

“Like they [team orders] never went!” said Webber during an interview with BBC Radio Five Live.

“Look, it is something that has been around since the 1950s, 1960s. It’s always been there, when you have got two drivers driving for a team and you swing results around every now and again to help the team achieve a better result.

“It has been done in the past, done up and down the field. I’ve done it myself at times and been on the receiving end.

“I think people should not get too nervous, they won’t see it every weekend, nothing is going to change.”


FIA Announce 1.6l Four Cylinder Engines From 2013 – Team Orders Allowed From 2011

The FIA have today announced a range of new rules and regulations for the forthcoming seasons, the most notable of which being the new engine rules to take place from 2013.

The current 2.4l V8 engines, already disliked by fans, are being dropped in favour of 1.6l 4 cylinder engines with turbochargers.  Reduced fuel flow, a rev limit of 12,000rpms and compulsory energy recovery systems are being placed into the engines from the start of that season.  Formula One bosses have decided that being green and environmentally friendly is the most important thing, despite this being the one thing F1 fans said they did not care about in the most resent F1 fan survey.  Clearly those surveys are a total waste of time.

Allegedly the new engines are said to be able to reach high power outputs but some fans have already begun voicing their concerns over the move.  The cars will have a big boost pressure on the turbos to spool enough power, but the many are concerned that the engines will sound rubbish.

They are also limiting drivers to 5 engines per season, and gearboxes must last 5 races.  The pitlane is being shrunk in width, it can be shut by the race director at any time too.

From next season the team orders ban is being dropped following the Hockenheimring incident of last season.

The drivers will have significantly smaller engines from 2013

Lotus Takes Share Of Renault F1 Team – Lotus Renault GP Rebrand

Lotus, the car company have unveiled their plans to team up with the former Renault Formula One team for 2011, under the name of Lotus Renault GP.

Group Lotus had already expressed a desire to return to Formula One, and following the Renault car company selling its stake in the F1 team back to Genii Capital, it allowed Genii to sell it on to Lotus.

Now at this point, you are probably very confused as Lotus are already in F1.  Well, sort of.  The Lotus team we have seen racing this season have been running under a name that they bought, they are not in any way affiliated with the Lotus Group who run the car company.  This has led Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus to begin court proceedings on Tony Fernandes who runs Team Lotus.  Fernandes, the boss of Air Asia maintains that he will run his team in 2011 as Team Lotus, who will also be supplied with Renault engines.  And just to make it more confusing, both teams are planning to run with classic black and gold John Player liveries.  Excellent.

We aren’t going to get involved with who we think is right in this situation here on TheF1Fanatics Blog but we hope they sort it out as it is going to be mightly confusing next season for fans, commentators and drivers alike.

Dany Bahar told Autosport: “I can think of no better platform for automotive brand communications than motorsport and F1 is the very pinnacle of open-wheel racing.

“We’re well aware that there has been a lot of controversy around the usage of our brand in F1 and I’m delighted to be able to formally clarify our position once and for all: we are Lotus and we are back.”

Meanwhile, Gerard Lopez, chairman of Renault F1 Team and head of Genii Capital added: “We are delighted that we can now go public with the news that we will be racing as Lotus Renault GP in 2011.

“It is extremely exciting to begin a new era for the team in partnership with Group Lotus, and we will continue to enjoy a strong relationship with Renault over the coming seasons. It is a tribute to the excellent work this year by the team in Enstone that we have been able to attract both major sponsorship and new investment for a very bright future.”

Group Lotus have the rights to use their name with the Renault team until 2017.

Autosport have provided this mock-up of what the 2011 Lotus Renault GP car could look like.

Luca Badoer Resigns From Ferrari Test Role

Luca Badoer, the infamous Italian Ferrari test driver has resigned from his role with the team and will make a final appearance for the squad today.

Badoer became a household name in 2009, when he took over Ferrari race duties from Felipe Massa when the Brazilian recieved severe head injuries at the Hungarian Grand Prix.  He underperformed in both races he competed in, indeed finishing last at Spa a race which was won by team mate Kimi Raikkonen.  Following ridicule in the Italian press, he cancelled his come back and the role was given to Giancarlo Fisichella.

Badoer had been a tester alongside Fisichella and Marc Gene at the team, but will now leave after he shows off a 2009 Ferrari to the Bologna Motorshow.

Ferrari described the 13 year partnership with Badoer was “extraordinary”.