Monthly Archives: January 2010

Button’s new helmet revealed?

Photo of Jenson Button's new helmet

Photo of Jenson Button's new helmet

Jenson Button’s helmet for 2010 may have been posted online on Twitter.

A tweeter called @honeybee85 won the chance to be a part in the McLaren photoshoot at the McLaren Technology Centre. She later posted a picture of Button’s picture online.

It appears to be quite like the old blue and red Union Jack design he used at Honda, before he changed it to the flourescent yellow to suit the Brawn GP livery.

Whether this is the new 2010 helmet, we will have to see.

Schumacher targeting both titles in 2010

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher has said that he and the Mercedes GP team are planning to win both world championships this year.

On his personal website, he wrote:

“The constellation we have here is pretty unique – with Ross and his world championship winning team, with the know-how of Mercedes, with the best engine at the moment and we want to use that. We have a clear aim: we want to win the championships. That’s what we will fight for from the beginning. That is my personal standard too.”

Also, he believes that, thanks to his 3-year break, he is stronger than ever before.

“After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy,” he explained. “I felt relieved and free. It was good for me to be quiet for those three years. It really feels as if my batteries have been fully recharged. My energy is back completely. I have really noticed how the prickle has returned and how motivated I am, because I am looking forward to this competition so much.”

Clearly, he is well motivated ahead of this season, but can he do it? The Mercedes car, as we know, has taken all technical information off Brawn, who had started on their 2010 challenger as early as Silverstone (July) 2009. I suppose this all boils down to whether he has the machinery for the job or not.

Kubica may start testing alone

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Eric Boullier with Robert Kubica

Renault team boss Eric Boullier has said that first driver Robert Kubica may start the testing season alone, if the team does not find a second driver in time.

The Renault R30 will be released on the 31st January, and will begin testing the next day. However, there are still many doubts regarding the second driver.

Boullier told Autosport:

“It’s not decided yet, very frankly.”

“We are still looking at several drivers available on the market. Two of them are experienced, two of them are rookies. We are now the last established team [without two drivers] and the situation is very different than in July, when you could discuss with everybody.”

There are many rumours that Nick Heidfeld would rejoin Kubica at Renault, having spent 2 years with him in BMW Sauber. Boullier refuses to deny these rumours, saying:

“It would be a lie to say ‘no’. Definitely it’s a different question because he has spent so many years with Robert; the question mark is if we want to put them together again or not – but he is on the list.”

Apart from this, it is known that Ho-Pin-Tung, who tested for Renault in December and is part of Boullier’s driver managment business, is also being considered for the seat.

However, in my opinion, it would be madness to throw away a talent like Heidfeld for someone who finished last at all 3 tests out of 11 drivers.Nick comes with years of experience, and is incredibly reliable as well. Yet, he continues to be ignored, even when he beats stars of the future like Kubica. It would be terible not to see him in F1 next year.

Schuamcher takes #3 from Rosberg

Michael Schumacher has taken Nico Rosberg’s #3 at Mercedes GP for the upcoming season.

Schumacher said to German newspaper Bild: “Ross [Brawn] knows that I like odd numbers.”

A spokesperson told Reuters: “Michael has a preference for odd numbers. He asked if he could be the odd number and we were happy to accept.”

Utter rubbish, in my opinion. This is Schumacher already trying his old tricks, trying to get a phsychological edge over Rosberg, before the season has even started.

The important thing here is for Nico to not respond to this. Ross Brawn already has shown that he will prefer Schumacher, and Rosberg must accept this.

USF1 promises innovative car design

USF1

USF1

The USF1 team has promised an innovative car design for 2010, as it comes closer to the testing schedule in February.

On the team’s website, they said:

“When we started this car, we started with nothing but fundamentals,” explained one of the team’s senior designers, Scott Bennett, in his official blog. “The majority of a modern F1 car is tightly defined by the rules, so there isn’t scope these days to come out with a Lotus 88 or Tyrrell P34. But there is still a daunting set of basic parameters that you have to define before you can even start designing anything – things like wheelbase, drive-train configuration, suspension layout, weight distribution.”

“And when you’re doing it for the first time, you don’t have an in-built knowledge of what’s worked in the past. Throw in some major rules changes in each of the last two off-seasons, and there are even more unknowns. On the other hand, knowing that you’re facing a lot of unknowns also means you don’t think you already know everything.”

“We’ll know whether they were the right or wrong answers soon enough, but our car certainly won’t be a clone of anything else out there. And did you know that we’re the only one of the four new teams designing our own gearbox?”

Bennett is also delighted by the privilage of getting to work on USF1′s car. He said:

“In less than a year we’ve built a very capable shop, put together the smartest and most talented group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, and designed what should be a fast, reliable, safe, drivable, and yes, beautiful car.”

“This team means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for me it’s literally a dream come true. When those lights go out at the start of our first race, it will be both the end of a long road, and the start of a new one. I can’t wait.”

Inside the USF1 factory:

Campos car passes final crash test

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos F1 car, which will make its debut next month, has passed its final mandatory FIA crash test.

The team’s 2010 car is being designed by Italian firm Dallara, and is technically nearly finished before the testing begins next month.

Team boss Adrian Campos has said:

“The car is now homologated and we are still working very, very hard. We are very confident about our position, and we are close to a deal with an investor that will help us even more.”

Campos will probably make their debut on the second Jerez test,on the 17th-20th February. They will also announce the team-mate to Bruno Senna within the next fortnight.

Piquet had F1 offer for 2010

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that he had a firm offer of a drive in F1 for 2010.

The Brazilian, who has not raced in F1 since the crash-gate scandal last year, has announced that he is to race in a NASCAR series, having previously tested a Toyota Tundra truck.

Piquet claims that he left F1 because of all the politics. He said:

“I could’ve been there (Formula 1) if I wanted to. A team offered me to be there.”

“I just thought I was sick and tired of all of the stuff over there. I just took a decision of starting a new step in my career and a new challenge in coming to NASCAR.”

“For a lot of people who are outside of America, it’s a downgrade. But for people that really understand – maybe it’s a downgrade in technology of the car — but in terms of career, of how big the sport is in a lot of ways it’s even a tougher step than F1.”

“For me, I compare it side by side. It’s just two different types of cars. The level of competition and the seriousness and the business of both series are very, very high. I was just sick and tired of things over there. I got a very, very good opportunity over here to start my career here and I’m here.”

It is not known which team made the offer, but Piquet was heavily linked earlier with the new Campos team, having already signed fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna.

Even if he had taken the offer, he never would have survived in F1. Very few people will forgive him for what he did, and I doubt I ever will. Anyways, he would have crashed.

De la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

BMW Sauber have announced that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team this year, alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

The 38-year-old has been the McLaren test driver since 2003. He has competed in 71 Grands Prix since 1999.  He started his F1 career with a point in Melbourne with Arrows. He spent 2 years with them, until he moved to Jaguar in 2001. After 2 years there, he became the McLaren test driver. His last Grand Prix was at Interlagos 2006, when he was substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.

It is believed that De la Rosa was signed so as to bring experience to the team and his team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who has only raced in 2 Grands Prix so far.

Also, it appears that he has backing from Universia, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This orginisation is itself heavily supported by the bank Santander, who have a sponsorship deal regarding fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.”

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa said: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro back, as he certainly deserves a good drive after many faithful years of testing. The fact that he got the fastest lap in Brazil 2006 (only raced 8 races that season, and not since) proves that he has lost little of his expertise.

However, I am now much more concerned about Nick Heidfeld. The German is now left with very few drives available: Renault, Campos or USF1. I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a seat for 2010, as his experience and dependability are surely valuable for many teams.

Fisichella may be Sauber driver for 2010

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella is reportedly on his way to getting a race seat with the Sauber team for this year.

The Italian, who is currently Ferrari’s test driver, flew up to the team’s base in Hinwil, Switzerland. He had already driven for the team before, in 2004, alongside Felipe Massa.

The 37-year-old now looks likely to be joining Kamui Kobayashi for the 2010 season. The team which was previously owned by BMW will be running with Ferrari engines in 2010, and the Italian team has already admitted that it will not prevent Fisichella from joining another team should he wish to do so.

Button: Title chances better at McLaren

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button at the Autosport International

Jenson Button has said that his early experiences at McLaren have convinced him that his title chances are better at McLaren than former team Brawn.

Button left Brawn at the end of 2009, after winning the driver championship with the team. He has joined McLaren to partner Lewis Hamilton for next season.

At the Autosport International show, he is convinced that he has done the right thing:

“If I was at Brawn still, I would go into the season positive, but not as positive as I am now.”

“I have spent some time at the factory in the simulator, with the engineers and it is going very well. The two guys I have got looking after me, who are working with me, have been great.”

“They know this is a difficult switch for me, a difficult change, but they have been very good. They are very hungry to succeed this year – which is exactly what I am. It is a good partnership.”

Button has also responded to critics who think that Lewis Hamilton will dominate him this season. He believes that the two can spur each other on to achieve great things:

“I don’t know who will build the best car this year, but we will work as hard as we can. I am really looking forward to the partnership with Lewis. That is the truth – from the bottom of my heart.”

“We can work very well together and we can, as a team, fight for the world championship together. And us two together is a much stronger team than us in separate teams.”

“When we get to the end of the year we will see [where we finished]. But, at the moment, we will work together and there is no reason to say I am going to beat him, or he is going to beat me.”

“I am sure everyone is opinionated about it, but nobody knows until the last race finishes. We are going to work together and we are hopefully going to do a good job for the British fans.”

He was then asked about how he felt about Michael Schuamcher returning. He replied:

“A few people have said he is 41 years old, is he too old to be racing in F1 and has he lost it? I don’t think so.”

“He has won more world championships than anyone. He will be competitive. He is not a silly guy. He won’t be coming back to F1 to be slow – he is going to be competitive and he will be ready for the first race. And I hope so. It will be great if Michael is fighting it out at the front.”

“It is really good for F1, and it will bring a few fans back that maybe left when Michael did. And it is made for the best season in F1 I think – ever. I really do think that. It is going to be such a competitive season.”

“You have got four world champions – one guy that missed out by one point and a few very, very talented people. It is exciting. New teams. New drivers. It is great.”

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