Monthly Archives: January 2010

My new blog – STR

My new blog- STR

My new blog- STR

I’d just like to let you know about a new blog I have started, called STR- Scuderia Toro Rosso.

It’s a blog where my personal slant on Toro Rosso will be written about, and may also have a few pieces about Red Bull.

The link to the blog is available here. Also, you can follow the blog on Twitter.As I write this, the first posts have not been published yet, but these should be on tomorrow. When they are on, have a look and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Lopez reportedly signed for USF1

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Jose Maria Lopez, when he was part of the Renault squad

Reuters is reporting that Jose Maria Lopez has been signed for USF1, with an announcement due on Monday.

His manager, Miguel Mattos, confirmed the announcement, saying to Reuters that the 26-year-old Argentinian would be with USF1 for 2010. He stated:

“Everything has been agreed (with the US F1 team) and the official announcement will be made on Monday.”

In 2006, Lopez was a GP2 driver for Super Nova, and also the Renault F1 test driver. However, he was dropped from the renault young driver programme. In 2007, due to a lack of funding, he raced in TC2000, the Argentine Touring Car Championship. He claimed the titles for this championship in 2008 and 2009.

The USF1 team are also hinting towards this, saying, on their Facebook page, a big announcement is due next week.

It is understood that this deal was assisted largely by Carlos Reutemann, a former F1 driver from 1972 to 1982. He is now a politician in Argentina and a close friencd of Peter Windsor. A certain amount of governement backing (because of Carlos’ influence as a politician) and some sponsors brought on board meant that Lopez now had the money to sign a deal.

Lopez was saying months ago that he had an offer, but had to get some money and sponsors first. Now, thanks to Reutemann, he has his chance.

Personlly, I don’t think that politics like this should play a part in F1, but money talks big around here. Let’s see how he does in USF1 first, before we make any rash decisions. If he’s good, then it’s well worth this political influence. If he isn’t, it’s just money down the drain.

Di Grassi: Virgin car will be black

Artwork of the possible Virgin F1 livery

Artwork of the possible Virgin F1 livery

The second driver for Virgin, Lucas di Grassi, has said that the Virgin 2010 F1 car will be primarily black.

He also said that this will enable him to use the same type of helmet that he has used since the age of 14.

The release of the 2010 Virgin car is currently unknown.

Heidfeld joins Mercedes as test driver

Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld

Former BMW Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld has joined Mercedes GP as a test driver. He joins the Germans of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.

Mercedes GP, already being referred to as “Team Germany”, will unveil Heidfeld on January 25th. His manager, Andre Theuerzeit, confirmed the move today to German magazine Bild, saying:

“Nick (Heidfeld) will fully concentrate on supporting the team’s main drivers as the team’s test and reserve driver. Nick focused on a seat with one of the top teams but unfortunately we were unable to sign him up.”

As relieved as I am to see him in F1, this is a waste of his talent. Test drivers will get practically no driving time this year thanks to the testing ban, and Nick could have moved to one of the newer teams or Renault instead.

I’m sure Mercedes will be delighted at having an all-German line-up, but it’s a hollow move, as a great talent has been wasted for too long.

Double-decker diffusers banned for 2011

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Williams' double-decker diffuser

The infamous double-decker diffusers, the centre of the contreversy at the start of the 2009 season, has been banned for the 2011 season.

This rule could not be implemented for the 2010 season, as it was too late and the F1 cars had been nearly completed. However, technical rule changes for the 2011 season have meant that the undertray slots, which allow double-decker diffusers to work, have been outlawed.

Artwork of Toyota's double-decker diffuser

Artwork of Toyota's double-decker diffuser

The F1 Technical Working Group has been the reason these rule changes could be implemented, as it is a meeting of all the F1 teams. However, Christian Horner, boss of Red Bull, believes the rule changes should be further beyond simple tweaks:

“I think the most important thing is to set clear objectives – as to what do the governing body and the promoters want F1 to be,” he told AUTOSPORT last weekend. “What do they want the F1 cars to be able to do?

“Then rather than cherry picking at bits and pieces, we can look at the package as a whole to encourage more overtaking, and to enable the cars to follow more closely.”

“I think looking at components in isolation is often quite dangerous, so I think it is important that the overall objective is clearly defined and then worked on by the various technical groups.”

It is expected that the effective outlawing of double-decker diffusers will slow the cars down in 2011 by up to 2 seconds per lap.

Alguersuari to remain at Toro Rosso

Jaime Alguersuari has been retained by Toro Rosso for the 2010 season.

The full article can be read on my STR blog here.

Also, this has been added to my F1 2010 driver list.

Santander sponsors De la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa (middle right), at a Santander event

Pedro de la Rosa (middle right), at a Santander event

On one of my posts yesterday, I said that Pedro de la Rosa, the new Sauber driver, had backing from Universita, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This, in turn, is sponsored by bank Santander.

So, Santander have today announced – surprise surprise – that they are to sponsor Pedro de la Rosa.

Santander is already an established bank in  Spain, and is now targeting the British market. They are the company behind Abbey, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley.

“Pedro is a friend and a very intelligent person who impressed us very much in our three years together,” said Santander’s Juan Manuel Cendoya, referring to de la Rosa’s former association with the Woking team as test driver. “We are going to support him personally but we are not going to be at Sauber with any of our brands.”

McLaren sign Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries

McLaren have announced that they have signed 14-year-old Nyck de Vries to their young driver programme.

The Dutch driver will be managed by Anthony Hamilton, Lewis’s father, and the Hamilton Management Group throughout his racing career in different categories.

“McLaren has a long-held commitment to assisting young talent – we believe it’s part of the responsibility of the motor racing community to encourage and nurture junior racers, and we are committed to doing just that,” said team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

“Nyck appears to be a very exciting prospect, and we are looking forward to assisting his junior career, providing him with the support and training he requires to succeed.”

Anthony Hamilton, his manager, said:

“Nyck is an extremely promising youngster. His father Hendrik has been fantastically supportive of Nyck’s career, and has been instrumental in raising him up to not just be a great young racing driver, but also a fine young man. Together, we both believe that, with the right level of support, we can take his career to the highest level.”

“We’ll be working very closely with Dino Chiesa, who will be running Nyck in Italy this year. Dino is an old friend, who previously ran Lewis and Nico (Rosberg) in Team MBM, so he knows everything about nurturing and developing young talent. We believe this is a very exciting and dynamic partnership.”

Nyck also paid a visit to the McLaren Technology Centre. Afterwards, he said:

“My visit to the McLaren Technology Centre has been a fantastic experience and I am very honoured and grateful for the support of McLaren in helping to develop my career.”

“The resources they have are incredible, and I believe they’ll be able to provide me with the perfect framework for improving my skills, my fitness and my motorsport experience.”

More details regarding McLaren’s driver development programme will be released later this month.

Williams team change tyres in less than 3 seconds

A Williams pit stop in 2009

A Williams pit stop in 2009

Because of the refuelling ban in place for 2010, incredibly fast pit stops are going to be in place. The Williams team appear to have set the standard, by changing all sets of tyres in less than 3 seconds.

On their official Twitter feed, Claire Williams, the team’s media manager, posted:

“More pit stop practice on the agenda today, the guys have made it into the sub-three second range to change a set of tyres!”

However, it wasn’t all practise. Nico Hulkenberg had a go at using the front jack, as part of the team’s pit stops.

The fastest F1 pit stop ever was set by Benneton on Ricardo Patrese’s car, at the 1993 Belgian Grand Prix- which was 3.2 seconds. Clearly, that record will be completely smashed this year.

Obviously, the other teams will be practising as well. It will be hugely interesting to see how quick the times can go this year.

Ferrari livery revealed? (updated)

First pictures of Ferrari's 2010 car

First pictures of Ferrari's 2010 car

The first images of Ferrari’s 2010 challenger have been released on the internet.

Spanish website and newspaper Marca claims to have the exclusive first pictures of the new car.

Also, Ferrari have released pictures of Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella in racing overalls. Both the car and overalls seem to have the same design, the usual red now with a revised Santander logo. Instead of white writing on a red background (which is the norm for Santander), it is the othe r way around.

Personally, I quite like the overalls, but I’m already starting to despise the car. The white front and rear wings are horrible, in my opinion. Ferrari really need to bring back the old red and black combination from the early 1990’s, it looked much better.

More photos of the new Ferrari and the drivers:

Update: The picture of Fernando Alonso driving the car was the F60 with the 2010 livery. It couldn’t have been the 2010 car, since testing this year’s cars are banned until February.

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