Monthly Archives: January 2010

Kobayashi will keep aggressive driving style

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi

New BMW Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi has said that he does not plan to change his very aggressive driving style.

The Japanese driver impressed last year, even though he only drove in 2 races, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. His extreme driving style won him many instant fans, including myself. To put it this way, in only his second race, he got past the newly crowned world champion, Jenson Button.

Because he needed to perform well to get a seat for 2010, many people feared that he would become less aggressive. However, Kamui disagrees, saying:

“I don’t think it is something special for me, it’s just my style. I will keep like this, of course without crashing. It is my style and I won’t change.”

He also feels that he is better prepared this season:

“We come in to this season having enough time to prepare for it,” Kobayashi said. “The last two races [last year] I had no testing, so it was really difficult, but now I have so many tests and we can work with the car from the beginning of the season.”

Kobayashi said that he was unwilling to make predictions for 2010 before testing, but said:

“I will try to be the first Japanese driver to win, this is my ultimate goal. But at the moment it is too far away to think about that and I am just focused on my tests now.”

My analysis of his driving style staying is short and sweet: Yay!

BMW Sauber C29 released

The new BMW Sauber C29

The new BMW Sauber C29

The BMW Sauber C29 was released today in Valencia.

The car, at the moment, has no sponsors. However, it is known that Scalp-D, a Japanese shampoo (ooh, exclusive!), and watch brand Certina have been confirmed as main sponsors. The logos were not ready to be put on the car in time, it is believed.

The livery itself just looks stupid. The white is not even slightly changed, the black is just boring, and the blue stripe on the nose is just a free ad for BMW.  Then, the front and rear wings are just plain black, with absolutely no imagination. Even the small red stripe, which featured on last year’s BMW Sauber, hasn’t changed.

To make matters even worse, there is absolutely no colour whatsoever in the driver overalls. Just look at it, it’s plain white. How bloody mind-numbing are these designers? I’m just hoping that this is just a temporary livery design.

The car has been significantly changed, however. The front and rear wings have been completely redesigned (note the 2009 McLaren-style rear wing endplate lift). The nose cone is 2009 Ferrari style – very long and slightly narrow.  Also, the car features a McLaren style engine intake support. The shark fin engine cover has also been retained.

Comparison photos are available here.

Just to add to current woes, the diffuser has yet again been covered over. I can’t help but feel another huge argument brewing because of this. I’ll write more about this later.

Specifications of the car have also been released:

Chassis: Carbon-fibre monocoque
Suspension: Upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and dampers, actuated by pushrods (Sachs Race Engineering)
Brakes: Six-piston brake callipers (Brembo), carbon pads and discs (Brembo, Carbon Industries)
Transmission: Ferrari Seven-speed quick shift gearbox, carbon, longitudinally mounted, carbon-fibre clutch
Chassis electronics: MES
Steering wheel: BMW Sauber F1 Team
Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza
Wheels: OZ
Length: 4,940 mm
Width: 1,800 mm
Height: 1,000 mm
Track width, front: 1,495 mm
Track width, rear: 1,410 mm
Weight: 620 kg (including driver, tank empty)

Willy Rampf said this about the C29:

“The increased length of the fuel tank means the car has grown longer overall. And because they are slimmer, the front tyres will be more heavily worked, requiring weight to be shifted further towards the rear of the car.”

“An eye-catching feature of the C29 is its highly intricate raised nose. Also very distinctive is an extremely long undercut at the transition from chassis into underbody. These and other aerodynamic measures also help to ensure optimum airflow to the double diffuser. Further changes were required to integrate the Ferrari engine and, in particular, the Ferrari gearbox.”

Ther are no videos available yet, but if there is I will upload it in due course.

Pictures from the launch:

Renault R30 launched, Kubica’s new helmet, Petrov, Tung and D’Ambrosio confirmed

The new Renault R30

The new Renault R30

The Renault R30 has been released in Valencia today.

Since ING and Mutua Madrilena pulled out after the crash-gate scandal in Singapore, Renault were free to go back to their old 1980’s livery, just as many anticipated. Personally, I think it looks great. Reminds me of the Jordan “Buzzing Hornets” design of 1999/2000! The only problem is the red endplates on the car are still red.

Comparison pictures of this and last year’s cars are available here.

Now, on to the car. The nose cone is a bit different to the other cars, lower and thinner. The “coke bottle” rear end design has been only partially implemented, and the front wing has been remodelled. The rear wing looks similar to the last one.

Also, Vitaly Petrov, Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio have been confirmed as Renault’s second and reserve drivers respectively.Petrov has raced in GP2 for the last 3 and a half years (read more about him here). Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome D’Ambrosio are only drivers because they are part of Eric Boullier’s driver managment agency.

In more Renault news, Robert Kubica has revealed his new helmet that he will be using with Renault this year. Also, Petrov has revealed his new design.

Only one bad piece of news. My fears about another diffuser row have been heightened, because now Renault’s diffuser has been blocked away as well.

Also, the Renault team’s new website has been published. You can view it here.

You can view the team’s studio video here:

Kubica and Petrov’s team photos:

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Vitaly Petrov and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Robert Kubica and his new helmet

Pictures from the launch:

Renault set to unveil Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov

Renault are ready to reveal Russian Vitaly Petrov as their second driver, alongside Robert Kubica, for the 2010 season.

He apparently had his seat fitting in Enstone yesterday, and signed his contract today.

The Russian is known to have around €10m in backing from sponsors such as Gazprom and the Russian government, who are keen to have their first Russian in Formula 1.

It seems, however, that there was more than sponsor backing that may have helped this deal. Gazprom, his main sponsor, is owned (50%) by the Russian government. It is understood that there was a deal between Gazprom, the Russian government, and Petrov, regarding the Renault seat. To give you an idea of how powerful Gazprom is when it comes to these negotiations, their little-known chairman from 2000 to 2008 was Dmitry Medvedev, who then became president of Russia. Why Gazprom is so interested in Petrov, I don’t know. However, it is rumoured that the Russian government and Bernie Ecclestone were (supposedly) looking for a Russian Grand Prix in the future.

But back to Petrov. He finished 2nd in the GP2 championship last year, behind Nico Hulkenberg. He may be good, but he certainly is nowhere near as good as Hulkenberg, in my opinion. Having said this, it’s good to see him given a chance. Kubica will almost certainly beat him, but that’s not the point, as it will be his first year, and it’s only an indicator of how good he will be in the future.

Also, I hear that he will be a great addition to the paddock. Unlike so many other PR robots in F1, Petrov speaks his mind and has a wicked sense of humour.

Petrov will probably be unveiled tomorrow, at Renault’s launch of their 2010 R30 car in Valencia.

Valencia testing line-up

Formula 1 testing last year

Formula 1 testing last year

The schedule for February testing is close to completion. The 4 tests will take place in Valencia and Jerez, and the drivers taking part are nearly fully announced.

The first Valencia test will be as follows:

McLaren-Mercedes

Monday: Gary PAFFETT
Tuesday: Lewis HAMILTON
Wednesday: Jenson BUTTON

Mercedes GP

Monday: Nico ROSBERG (morning) & Michael SCHUMACHER (afternoon)
Tuesday: Nico ROSBERG
Wednesday: Michael SCHUMACHER

Ferrari

Monday: Felipe MASSA
Tuesday: Fernando ALONSO
Wednesday: Fernando ALONSO

Sauber-Ferrari

Monday: Pedro DE LA ROSA
Tuesday: Kamui KOBAYASHI
Wednesday: Pedro DE LA ROSA

Williams-Cosworth

Monday: Rubens BARRICHELLO
Tuesday: Rubens BARRICHELLO
Wednesday: Nico: HÜLKENBERG

Renault

Monday: Robert KUBICA
Tuesday: TBC
Wednesday: TBC

Toro Rosso-Ferrari

Monday: Sébastien BUEMI
Tuesday: Sébastien BUEMI
Wednesday: Jaime ALGUERSUARI

Not attending:

- Campos-Cosworth
– Force India-Mercedes
– Lotus-Cosworth
– Red Bull-Renault
– US F1-Cosworth
– Virgin-Cosworth

New spy shots of Williams FW32

New footage of Williams’ new FW32 has been released.The team were at Silverstone today, to film a promotional video.

It was described as “secret undercover spy shots”, meaning, two blokes with a camcorder.

Nico Hulkenberg was at the wheel of the car at the time.

Ferrari already designing B-Spec car because of diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

After McLaren’s controversial diffuser, there are rumours that Ferrari are already working on a “B-spec” version of their car, because of its lack of an “extreme” diffuser.

When McLaren released their MP4-25 last week, their diffuser was blocked away from view. Paddy Lowe described their diffuser as “extreme”.

Ferrari were already doubtful about their car, with Fernando Alonso saying he did not expect titles immidiately. Now though, the Italian media are reporting that the Scuderia have already started redesigning the entire rear package of their car, to improve their diffuser.

Ferrari are hoping that the FIA declare McLaren’s diffuser illegal (even though nobody has even seen it!), while Mclaren feel that there is no need for an argument, even though they believe they have pushed the rules to the limit.

Suddenly, this might make February testing literally pointless for many teams. If McLaren’s diffuser is as good as they say it will be, the other teams will be playing catch-up for weeks.

Yet another diffuser row?

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

The prospect of another diffuser row boiling up again appears to have come back, with many teams pursuing “extreme” solutions.

At the launch of the McLaren MP4-25 today, McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe said the team had had pushed the diffuser regulations as far as possible. Not only this, but he believes that other teams will go for extreme solutions. He said:

“This is the first car in which we have had a clean sheet of paper to really exploit the interpretation [of diffusers] that was developed last year for a design of floors,” said Lowe.

“You will see we have produced a fairly extreme incarnation of that but we won’t be alone in that. We believe you will see some pretty extreme solutions on our competitors’ cars as well.”

The writing on the wall comes from the fact that, when the MP4-25 was launched today, the diffuser was blocked from view with black boards. However, Lowe believes there is no rule infringement, saying:

“We think the interpretation is very clear,” he said. “In certain aspects we have sought guidance from the FIA and they have come out with very clear interpretation, understanding and guidance – and we think that has been made available to all the teams.”

“We are hoping for a much cleaner start to the season then we had a year ago in terms of the teams’ collective understanding of the basis from which we go racing.”

Ferrari, however, say differently. Aldo Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport:

“We were and still are convinced that the double diffuser concept was illegal. We feel there may still be interpretation over this, as the rules leave the door open to many possibilities. It’s up to the FIA to supervise, but we are rather worried.”

This sort of thing coming up again would just be a disaster. The double-decker diffuser row last year put so much doubt into people’s minds and, as Fernando Alonso predicted, decided the outcome of the championship. Hopefuly, the FIA have learnt their lessons from last year, and hopefully the teams won’t have been too radical with this year’s design.

Stefan GP have deal with Toyota

Toyota's technical data may go to Stefan GP

Toyota's technical data may go to Stefan GP

Stefan GP have claimed that they are on course to enter Formula 1, as they have agreed a deal with Toyota.

A statement on the Stefan Gp site said:

“Stefan GP has just come to a basic agreement with Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) that Stefan GP will receive technical supports from TMG.”

It’s good to see that Toyota’s technical data hasn’t been wasted. Martin Whitmarsh said earlier today that it was odd that nobody had yet aquired Toyota’s technical information.

Toyota had already started on their Tf110, so it is obvious that Stefan GP was planning to race that car as their S-01 for 2010. This is because they claim they have already passed the mandatory FIA crash tests, and was being sent for further testing.

At the moment, there are already 13 teams on the grid, and some teams (ie. Williams and nobody else, surprise surprise!) do not want 14 teams on the grid. So, at the moment, the only way for Stefan GP to get in is if another team drops out. Campos, USF1 or maybe Renault in a year’s time would be the only chances.

However, there is little to no chance of them getting to the grid for 2010 grid. However, another opportunity arises here, as that means that Stefan GP can offer unlimited testing to as many young drivers as they want, for an entire year. Not only would this be a brilliant opportunity for many young drivers, but it would give huge amounts of technical data to the team. Toyota did this in 2001, where they decided to stay out of entering F1 for an extra year, and do more testing.

Virgin VR-01 to launch online on Wednesday

Virgin Racing

Virgin Racing

Virgin Racing have announced that they are to launch their car online, on their team website, on Wednesday 3rd February.

The car, to be called the VR-01, will make its track debut at the second Valencia test.

Virgin have called it an “all-digital” launch, to coincide with the fact that they are only using Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as opposed to normal wind tunnels.

The car will be launched at 10:00 GMT. Hopefully they have more server capabilities than Ferrari, whose site was overrun when they launched their F10 last Wednesday.

I have added this to my list of launches on the F1 2010 page.

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