Ferrari have become the first team to launch their 2011 Formula One car – named the F150.
Thw F150 name comes from the fact it is 150 years since Italian unification, the flag bearer for the nation decided it was important to increase exposure of the major event in the country’s long history. The cars rear wing features an Italian tricolore flag too to increase the patriotism of the famous team.
The car itself is not abnormal in colouring to previous Ferrari’s, the beautiful scarlet paintwork is retained. Sponsors look thin on the ground, but they are bigt and important. Bank Santander have increased their sponsorship of the team, as they begin to move away from former team McLaren. Philip Morris brand Marlboro are still a sponsor, but have no presence on the car any more following the banning on the bar code blank out design. A new Scuderia Ferrari logo instead dominates the engine box.
The car looks very similar to the 2010 beast that nearly won the world title. It does not have a shark fin rear wing, as the f-duct system is now banned. Aldo Costa the chief designer at the team said the car looks similar but underneath is a whole new package.
“The major aspects with the most impact on the project were connected to the aerodynamic development. The car will change a lot. The double diffuser, the F-duct, is gone.” Costa told Ferrari.com
“The rear wing will be movable, so that the driver can overtake the car in front of him and use it in the qualifying according to his needs. The KERS is back. Although we’ve improved its size, it’s still quite big.
“As far as the looks are concerned the rules keep them [the cars] quite unaltered. The cars look like the ones from last year, but from a technical point of view they will be really different.”
The boss of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo has stated a clear intention that this car has been built to win the world championship.
“This year we have to win and we will do our best to win,” di Montezemolo declared at the team’s Maranello headquarters.
“We have updated the team, we have made some improvements and we are awaiting the challenges against our first opponents.”
Meanwhile star driver Fernando Alonso – who shook the car down a few days ago – was buoyant and said this vehicle was much better than last seasons.
“There are no doubts that when I arrived in January 2010, I drove a car that had different characteristics to what I drove in previous years,” said Alonso at Ferrari’s launch in Maranello today.
“Now I will drive a car that is a continuity of what I drove in 2010. I think all the developments and the direction that you go with improvements in the car over one year has some kind of definition of your driving style.
“I think that helps the designer of the car and the technical people with next year’s car, so I think in 2011 there will be some kind of direction that we took in 2010 regarding my driving style.
“So I think I will feel more confident with this year’s car. I will feel more comfortable driving the car, it will be more predictable to me. And I know the team now – I know the people, I know the guys, I know the names of all my mechanics, something that was not the case in Bahrain last year. So that will also help.”
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.”
Fernando Alonso was the fastest man on the second and final day of the Pirelli tyre tests at Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard, who came close to winning the 2010 World Championship, set a fastest time of 1.40.529. That was around a tenth quicker than second placed man Michael Schumacher who has clearly taken to the Pirelli tyres better than team mate Nico Rosberg.
World Champion Sebastian Vettel was third, while McLaren testers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey were 6th and 7th.
Pastor Maldonado, linked heavily with a 2011 Williams drive, was out for Hispania once again and finished in 14th place just ahead of Virgin’s Timo Glock.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.529s 105 2. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m40.685s 74 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m40.825s 66 4. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m41.294s 100 5. Robert Kubica Renault 1m41.614s 91 6. Gary Paffett McLaren 1m41.622s 46 7. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1m41.740s 30 8. Paul di Resta Force India 1m41.869s 35 9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m42.110s 43 10. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m42.145s 97 11. Tonio Liuzzi Force India 1m42.416s 46 12. Sergio Perez Sauber 1m42.777s 46 13. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m44.521s 83 14. Pastor Maldonado Hispania 1m44.768s 65 15. Timo Glock Virgin 1m44.783s 82
Luca di Montezemolo, the head of the Ferrari Group, has reacted to criticisms that have been piled onto the team from many sources, but most vocally criticising those from the Italian Government.
Roberto Calderoni, of the Italian Northern league party called for Di Montezemolo, amongst other high ranking Ferrari officials, to resign from the company following what he called a “demented strategy” with regard to Fernando Alonso’s pit stop in yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver was on the verge of winning the World Championship for the Ferrari team, but following a bad pit stop call he ended up finishing just a handful of points behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel.
“For all of us it’s a difficult day, the night hasn’t lessened the bitter taste after the sad end to an extraordinary season,” di Montezemolo said on Monday.
“We’re sorry to see that there are some politicians on the outside who are ready to push for the guillotine when things go badly.
“We don’t understand anyone who revels in self-defeatism, who sinks into the culture of ‘everything’s gone wrong, we have to start all over again’. They are vices that are very Italian, that we must learn to shake off.”
“The hard law of sport requires just one winner, but we ended up fighting right up to the final race – including an exceptional fightback when the critics said we were beaten four months ago,” he said.
“We have always stayed united, acting as the people of Ferrari know how: gritting our teeth and never letting go.. We have returned Ferrari to where it should be – fighting for victory.
“In sport, we remember the margin between victory and defeat is always very slim. You have to know how to accept losing just as you have to enjoy your successes with restraint.”
At this afternoon’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bridgestone will officially say sayonara to Formula One. The Japanese tyre manufacturer has been working in the sport tirelessly (geddit?) since 1997, being the sole supplier of rubber since 2007.
They will have completed 242 Grand Prix by the time they have finished the race this afternoon.
“Abu Dhabi is likely to be an emotional weekend for everyone at Bridgestone Motorsport as this will be our final race” said Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport.
“I have been involved in Bridgestone’s motorsport operations since our very first limited entry in the 1976 and 1977 Japanese Grands Prix and pushed hard for our full time entry which finally came in 1997.
“In this time Bridgestone has grown enormously as a company, with Formula 1 showcasing our company’s strength and qualities on a world stage to an enormous audience.
“I have attended well over 200 races myself and have made so many good relationships with the participants in this wonderful sport. Next year will be very different for me and for all of my Bridgestone Motorsport colleagues.”
Bridgestone joined at the Australian Grand Prix of 1997, producing tyres for Prost, Lola, Stewart and Minardi.
“We entered the sport in 1997 against a very experienced competitor in Goodyear, who had contested so many races before, yet we were able to be competitive in our first season, even when most of the front-running teams were running on our rival’s products.” Hirohide Hamashima, head of tyre development said,
“We scored points in our first race and the first Bridgestone podium came in our second race. We even came very close to a win with Damon Hill in the Arrows Yamaha at Hungary so this was a very good debut for us.”
At the end of the season, Goodyear walked away from F1 and Bridgestone became the sole tyre supplier. They would remain in this position until 2001, when Michelin came into the sport.
“From 2001 to 2006 we battled hard with Michelin,” continued Hamashima.“Our engineers in Japan and at the track were dedicated to winning and we learnt so many things in this period.”
Many top teams left the supply of Bridgestone for Michelin who had percieved to have created better tyres. Ferrari stuck with the Japanese manufacturer and delivered drivers and constructors titles between 2000 and 2004 with Michael Schumacher at the wheel. In 2005 and 2006 however Fernando Alonso, Michelin and Renault would be the success story.
The tyre war saw increasing budgets and controversy. At the 2005 United States Grand Prix the tyre war came to a head. The cars on Michelin tyres all completed the parade lap of the race and returned to the garages leaving just 6 cars on the starting grid for the race. Nothing like this had been seen before, or thankfully since. Fans were outraged, Bernie Ecclestone too was fuming. The reason behind it was the Michelin tyre sidewalls were alleged to be not strong enough to cope with the banking at the Indianapolis circuit, so in order to keep within safety regulations they pulled out of the race.
At the end of 2006, Michelin walked away from F1 and Bridgestone once again became the sole tyre supplier. It was at this time, the soft/hard compound tyre rules came in and the white stripe was added to the grooved tyres to show which driver was on which compound. The move, designed to spark greater creativity in pit stop strategy and spice up the spectacle with fans remains with us today. At the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix, green stripes were added to the tyres in order to make greater awareness that Bridgestone were being a “green” and “carbon friendly” company.
For 2009, the big news was that grooved tyres were gone and slick tyres were returning. A big hit with the fans, the soft and hard tyre compounds have provided two seasons of classic racing and championships.
Pirelli are set to take over from the start of next season, so its farewell and thanks to the Bridgestone Tyre Company for all the time, money and effort they put into creating such a vital part of our sport.
Thanks, and goodbye Bridgestone!
Fernando Alonso has said he is looking for the “perfect” weekend in Abu Dhabi, to try and win the World Championship without the need for careful calculations.
The Spanish driver has had a mirculous turn around in his season, from the mid point where he was far behind the Red Bull’s and McLaren’s he declared he would win the world championship. Now as we head into the final round, he is in front – by a few points anyway – and is in the best position to win the championship on Sunday night.
Alonso says he is looking for a first or second place to keep it safe for the victory.
“The Interlagos result allows us to be in charge of our own destiny: with a win or a second place we won’t need any more calculations,” Alonso wrote in his blog for the official Ferrari website.
“Our approach hasn’t changed for this all-important race: we know that if we get everything perfectly right, then we will have the chance to reach the target that we set ourselves at the beginning of the season,” Alonso explained.
He did, however, acknowledge that the sheer speed of the Red Bull could be a tough obstacle to overcome.
“We can do it, even if we know our principal opponents are very strong: so far, perhaps apart from one race, theirs has been the best car on every type of circuit. That still doesn’t mean we expect to be beaten,” said Alonso.
If Alonso wins on Sunday, it would be his third world championship. He would also replicate Kimi Raikkonen, winning the title for Ferrari in his first season with the team.
Sebastian Vettel won the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, ahead of team mate Mark Webber. The pairs 1-2 means that Red Bull are now the constructors world champions.
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was 3rd, picking up more points as he looks to shore up the drivers championship.
We had a new pole sitter at the start of the race inn Nico Hulkenberg. However the glory was short lived for the German, who didn’t have a great start and was immediately over taken by Sebastian Vettel.
On the way down to turn 3, Webber took 2nd from the Williams driver while it took Fernando Alonso another lap to dispatch the former GP2 Champion. Alonso had managed to sneak past Lewis Hamilton for 4th, when the British driver made a mistake at the end of the straight into turn 3.
From then on, the Red Bull’s significantly pulled away and Fernando Alonso attempted to catch them up. Lewis Hamilton got stuck behind Hulkenberg, complaining of a poor amount of grip. He would eventually pit for harder tyres, set a few fastest laps and once again begin complaining of a lack of grip. This years McLaren seems to be struggling with the tyre degradation.
Further back, Michael Schumacher had a good start but got force onto the grass at turn 2, but got moved back to 10th when he rejoined. He slipped passed Jenson Button, but after his pit stop he got stranded behind Adrian Sutil.
Many drivers, including Jenson Button and Felipe Massa pitted for tyres early on to get out of the train that had formed behind Hulkenberg’s Williams. Both Massa and Barrichello had problems at their stops, no luck for the Brazilian’s today. Massa had to make a second stop, he seemingly had an issue with the front right tyre.
There was relatively little action in the middle half of the race, with the action coming from Webber trying to catch Vettel. Massa was making his way through the field, and Jenson Button too had thrown himself into contention.
On lap 51, Vitantonio Liuzzi got it all wrong into turns 1 and 2, had he slammed into the barriers by the pitlane. The safety car had to come out, and both McLaren drivers pitted for tyres as they had been complaining of a lack of grip. It left them with a lot of overtaking to do.
The safety car also threw Nico Rosberg into the pits, and a horrible pit stop where the front tyre changers appeared to have no idea which Bridgestone’s had been taken off the car and which ones were supposed to be going on. Nightmare stuff from the silver arrow mechanics. Rosberg pitted again a lap later changing his mind from harder prime tyres to super soft option tyres.
When the safety car returned to the pits, Vettel pulled away with the fastest lap of the race. Further back, drivers struggled to work their way through the traffic. Alonso was held up for far too long by Alguersuari, meanwhile the two McLaren’s couldn’t free themselves from a brace of fast cars in the midfield with their new tyres.
On lap 60, Massa went around the outside of Buemi at turn 3. The Swiss driver wasn’t happy so rammed Massa off the road. More bad luck for the Brazilian who is having oen of the worst seasons of his Ferrari career. Adrian Sutil also had contact with Buemi, but managed to get passed to secure 12th.
Nick Heidfeld was unlucky to be given a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags at the restart. In all honesty, everyone in that pack wasn’t concentrating on the flags – either penalise none or all.
From there on it was a relatively easy race, and Sebastian Vettel took the race win ahead of Mark Webber. Red Bull are now the constructors World Champions.
|1||S. Vettel||Red Bull Renault||22.214.171.1243|
|2||M. Webber||Red Bull Renault||+4.243|
|4||L. Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes||+14.634|
|5||J. Button||McLaren Mercedes||+15.593|
|8||N. Hulkenberg||Williams Cosworth||+ 1 lap|
|9||R. Kubica||Renault||+ 1 lap|
|10||K. Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|11||J. Alguersuari||Toro Rosso Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|12||A Sutil||Force India Mercedes||+ 1 lap|
|13||S. Buemi||Toro Rosso Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|14||F. Massa||Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|15||V. Petrov||Renault||+ 1 lap|
|16||R. Barrichello||Williams Cosworth||+ 1 lap|
|17||N. Heidfeld||Sauber Ferrari||+ 1 lap|
|18||H. Kovalainen||Lotus Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|19||J. Trulli||Lotus Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|20||T. Glock||Virgin Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|21||B. Senna||Hispania Cosworth||+ 2 laps|
|22||C. Klien||Hispania Cosworth||+ 6 laps|
|L. Di Grassi||Virgin Cosworth||63||Unknown|
|V. Liuzzi||Force India Mercedes||50||Accident|
Nico Hulkenberg took a surprise pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the German rookie’s first ever pole.
His Williams team were delighted with the performance, which marks their first pole position since 2005. Their last win came at this circuit in 2004, with Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya at the wheel.
Hulkenberg used the changing conditions to his advantage, slipping through into Q3 then using the slick bridgestone tyres to set a flawless lap time that was over 1 second faster than the nearest opponent.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will start 2nd and 3rd respectively, while the other two title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will start 4th and 5th.
Michael Schumacher will start only 8th, the German driver showed good pace at Interlagos today getting into Q3 unlike his team mate Nico Rosberg who will start only 13th tomorrow.
Rosberg isn’t the only big name to be low on the time screen’s today. Jenson Button, the 2009 World Champion starts only 11th and Adrian Sutil is down in 18th.
With changeable conditions, and a surprise man on pole we are certainly set for an exciting Brazilian Grand Prix tomorrow!
Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 1. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:20.050 1:19.144 1:14.470 2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:19.160 1:18.691 1:15.519 3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:19.025 1:18.516 1:15.637 4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.931 1:18.921 1:15.747 5. Alonso Ferrari 1:18.987 1:19.010 1:15.989 6. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:19.799 1:18.925 1:16.203 7. Kubica Renault 1:19.249 1:18.877 1:16.552 8. Schumacher Mercedes 1:19.879 1:18.923 1:16.925 9. Massa Ferrari 1:19.778 1:19.200 1:17.101 10. Petrov Renault 1:20.189 1:19.153 1:17.656 11. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.905 1:19.288 12. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:19.741 1:19.385 13. Rosberg Mercedes 1:20.153 1:19.486 14. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.158 1:19.581 15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.096 1:19.847 16. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1:20.174 1:19.899 17. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:20.592 1:20.357 18. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:20.830 19. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:22.130 20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:22.250 21. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:22.378 22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:22.810 23. Klien HRT-Cosworth 1:23.083 24. Senna HRT-Cosworth 1:23.796