Mark Webber crash at European GP

Mark Webber crashed his Red Bull RB6 at the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus and landed upside down. Webber felt Kovalainen’s defence of his position was pointless against a car that was so much faster.

Crash

“I’m happy. I was just having a shower and thinking, ‘Mate, you’re lucky to be in one piece.’ “It was a nasty incident. I was surprised by what happened. I’m a little bit tender here and there but the car did a great job.” said Webber

New teams are too slow with respect to established powerhouses like Red Bull, Mclaren, Ferrari and Renault. Teams have been critical of their slow paces with Ferrari most vocal of the lot.

2009 F1 Season Review Montages

BBC

RTLGP

One

Withdrawal symptoms!

This week started with the news that Bridgestone will withdraw from the sport after 2010 and yesterday Toyota kissed wait or bye?F1 goodbye and now there is news that Renault held a meeting to discuss their future in the motorsport.

Were Renault to pull out, it will be an extraordinary year of the exit of major manufacturer teams in F1. Honda and BMW exit is not even a year old by now. Only remaining manufacturer involvement will be Mercedes and Ferrari.

Toyota’s reason to leave sport is due to falling sales of their cars. For the first time in their history since 1937 they lost money in a fiscal year. They lost $4.74b in 2008 and are expected to lose $8.3b in 2009. This is compounded by Toyota’s F1 programme’s high costs and failure to live up-to its expectations. In last 8 years of their involvement Toyota was on podium only for 8 times. Although Toyota signed concorde agreement to remain in the sport till 2012 but the numbers have played a huge part in their decision to quit.

Renault always looked like first time to leave the sport. They are already indebted by bail out package from their goverment. Along with that Carlos Ghosn isn’t F1 friendly. Numbers can play a part there too. Recently, Renault also had to suffer from ignominy of Piquet-gate. F1 is famous across the world and such incidents really tarnish the image of the whole company. Although Renault have fired the culprits but still this disgrace will be languishing at the back of their minds and can act as another factor on why they want to withdraw.

Renault can remain as a engine supplier much like 90s when they formed a formidable champion car with Williams.

The situation never looked good for manufacturers to remain in the sport in the current climate. The economic meltdown in the past 2 years have taken a toll on manufacturers and when the core business suffers, other things are bound to suffer.  F1 is all about cycles and in the current phase the number of manufacturer entries will be low.

Max Mosley already envisaged such a scenario and he was pushing for low costs but his methods were too radical and this led to famous FIA-FOTA war. His bad mouthing in the press might have already made F1 a less attractive place for manufacturers who were considering a breakaway series.

I would be upset to see Renault leave the sport. It is my second team because of Fernando Alonso. Also, a hugely talented driver in Robert Kubica’s future will be in disarray again after similar thing happened in BMW.

Hamilton rides home a win

Lewis Hamilton of Mclaren Mercedes won Hungarian GP ahead of second placed Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and third place Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing.

Hamilton got to a strong start using his KERS to get ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.  Mark Webber though passed him again but Hamilton regained the position later. Hamilton took the race lead at lap 13 after front right tight came off Fernando Alonso’s car after latter’s pitstop. Renault have been suspended from next GP at Valencia because of the incident. Hamilton then never lost the race lead. The win is an effort of all the team and hats off to team Mclaren for proving once again that class is permanent and form is only temporary.

Raikkonen had an equally good start but was investigated for the event surrounding his contact with Vettel at the start. He pushed his KERS enough to get ahead of Vettel after turn 1. But Vettel had to retire soon after damaging his suspension!

Jenson Button finished seventh and blamed tyre issues for the late foes in the championship. Button is still 18.5 points ahead of Webber in WDC.

Drivers of F1

2009 season of the FIA F1 championship has been a revelation to me and it is not because of the loathsome F1 politics!

The current season saw the rule changes unprecedented since 1984 and this led to a reshuffle of the racing field. The once Ferrari and Mclaren dominated grid now saw Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing leading the pack. Ferrari and Mclaren found themselves languishing at the back when the season started and now only after half the season is gone are starting to show some signs of recovery. Even now their gap with Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing is huge.

But what has surprised me?

With a fan growing up in the era of Schumacher’s Ferrari, I had a feeling that their exists a huge difference between the driving capability of drivers in the lesser cars. This era in which i became huge fan of the sport included drivers like Button and Webber. But after witnessing events of this season with Button having a cushion of 21 points on WDC to his nearest rival and Webber claiming his first win after being a 130 races veteran, I am first to claim that I was wrong.  There might be a few drivers who can’t cut it out at this stage of racing (Seb Bourdais anyone?) but most of the drivers in F1 today (or any given year) can win races and even challenge for driver’s championship given a right kind of machinery. It is a driver with his machine and his team only to win a race or title.

We see in current grid drivers like Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso as also-rans, who are all previous champions. Also, we see also-rans of previous years like Jenson Button and Mark Webber ready to make their mark on the sport.

I totally believe that with a right car Jarno Trulli  can be a WDC champion, or Adrian Sutil who came so close 3 times to be in points with his Force India car or Sebastian Buemi or Robert Kubica……

My respect for F1 drivers has now increased many folds.

News update

FIA’s slap in the face for troubled Ferrari

Mosley even quotes an interview given by di Montezemolo’s own colleague, Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne, six months ago in which he said: “It may be painful. It may be ugly. But if we want to do the right thing for this industry let’s do it now… Maybe I am completely wrong, but today my gut instinct is to be truly Draconian.”

With McLaren already humbled, and with a three-race suspended sentence hanging over them as a result of their lying to race stewards this season, the FIA have taken on Ferrari as they attempt to reclaim control of the teams.

Letter from Montezemolo to Mosley

Montezemolo’s point is that under the Concorde Agreement the FIA “cannot pass or amend any regulation without it being approved by the F1 commission.”

When Ferrari did its secret deal and signed up to 2012, it demanded and was granted “all rights under the previous Concorde Agreement will continue to apply until 31 December 2010, exactly as if the Agreement itself remained in place.”

Understanding the power plays in Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone has said that he will cut the payments being made to the Formula 1 teams, in order to help the Grand Prix circuits survive.

At the moment there are three players in the F1 political game: the Formula One group, the F1 teams and the FIA. The alliance between Formula One and the FIA means that the teams have traditionally been in a weak position and it has not helped that they have often been divided. There is a fourth group that should have a voice, but the race promoters have always been hopelessly divided and have followed Ecclestone slavishly for fear of losing their events. In most sports it is the owner of the venue who has ultimate control over the broadcasting activities. They may license people to do that on his behalf. Thus to avoid troubles Bernie Ecclestone might start to buy poverty-stricken venues. However, if the promoters had a strong leader and could club together to establish their own organisation, they would become a political force in the sport. It would be a political challenge to get so many competing bodies to work together but the teams have achieved that (for the moment) and the promoters could as well. If they were then to ally with the F1 teams the power of Ecclestone and the FIA would be seriously undermined. Ecclestone seems to be confident that this will not happen and that the teams will not walk away and start their own championship. This belief is presumably based on the fact that starting a new series in a complex business and would be too much hassle and too much cost for those involved, most of whom have more important things to worry about, either running a team or trying to sell cars in a credit-less world.

The FIA would have difficulty putting together a credible Formula 1 World Championship without the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, particularly if the traditional circuits of Monaco, Spa, Silverstone and so on also decided to jump ship. The drivers would follow the money, as they always do. The media, the fans and the sponsors would go to whichever series had the most credibility – or they would walk away. The credibility would be based on the entry and the circuits involved. It would be a similar situation that that which British soccer went through in 1991 when the top teams broke away from the Football League to establish their own Premier League, which the Football Association then supported.

The FIA would have difficulty putting together a credible Formula 1 World Championship without the likes of Ferrari and McLaren, particularly if the traditional circuits of Monaco, Spa, Silverstone and so on also decided to jump ship. The drivers would follow the money, as they always do. The media, the fans and the sponsors would go to whichever series had the most credibility – or they would walk away. The credibility would be based on the entry and the circuits involved. It would be a similar situation that that which British soccer went through in 1991 when the top teams broke away from the Football League to establish their own Premier League, which the Football Association then supported.

FIA aims to get all teams to cap budgets using one-sided regulations

The publication of the new rules today strongly suggests Mosley intends to make the alternative to the budget cap too unappealing for anyone to consider

FIA confirms £40 million budget cap for F1

“From 2010, all teams will have the option to compete with cars built and operated within a stringent cost cap.
The cost cap for 2010 will be £40m per annum*. This figure will cover all team expenditure except:

– Marketing and hospitality;
– Remuneration for test or race drivers, including any young driver programmes;
– Fines or penalties imposed by the FIA;
– Engine costs (for 2010 only);
– Any expenditure which the team can demonstrate has no influence on its performance in the Championship
– Dividends (including any tax thereon) paid from profits relating to participation in the Championship.”

McLaren given suspended race ban

The penalty will only be enforced upon Lewis Hamilton’s team if “further facts emerge” about this incident or if there is a “further breach” of the rules.

Button wins Bahrain GP as focus shifts to McLaren

A delayed post!jenson-button-1_1391756c

Jenson Button wins third win in the initial four races at Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing was second. The difference between the two was that latter was stuck for most of race behind Toyota. Also, it seems like Ross Brawn has given Jenson Button has given a lot of confidence this year apart from a fast car. It now talk of every town whether Jenson Button can bring home the championship at the end of the season.

Kimi Raikkonen brought home Ferrari’s first points of the season.  Also called by Montezemolo, the morale boosting points!

Lewis Hamilton came fourth with a strong race and an impressive pace. He started using KERS optimally to go as high as second. The new found pace has made the team believe that they can win races this year and its not too late.

All the focus now shift on the verdict FIA will be giving to McLaren during mid-week!

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