Daily Archives: February 2, 2010

Stefan GP to launch on 25th, and test 2 drivers

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Zoran Stefanovich with Mike Coughlan

Despite still having no entry for the 2010 world championship, Stefan GP have now announced that they are to test their new car at Portimao, Portugal, on the 25th February.

The car will be launched a few days before this test. I talked earlier today about them sending equipment to Bahrain, now they have moved forward with the news that they will spend 3 days testing in Portimao.

Stefan GP have also said that they are to test two drivers at this 3-day test. If they get a place on the 2010 grid, these two will probably become the team’s drivers. It is understood that Kazuki Nakajima will be one of the drivers.

The car, called the Stefan S01, has been developed by the team, but with technical support from Toyota, ever since Stefan GP bought their data, parts, and chassis. The engine, to be called the Stefan RG-01, has also been serviced by Toyota.

Clearly, the team are very confident, but will it pay off? It is understood that Zoran Stefanovich, the team owner, believes that two teams (probably Campos and USF1) are in trouble financially. He and the team believe that at least one of these teams will not make it to Bahrain, so Stefan will be ready to take their place. That is, if the FIA give them the place.

After all this effort, Stefan should be given a chance, but not while there’s 13 other teams on the grid. I’m getting a bit tired of all the rumours of the new teams struggling, so a stable new team would be a welcome sight.

February 2nd: Testing results

Felipe Massa has finished top of the timesheets again in Valencia, as the second day of F1 testing concluded.

His best lap of 1m11.722 was faster than Kamui Kobayashi (1m12.056) and Lewis Hamilton (1m12.256). Kubica was much faster today than yesterday, his fastest lap being 2.5 seconds quicker than yesterday’s best. Nico Rosberg was 5th, followed by Rubens Barrichello and Sebastien Buemi. There is no news yet as to if Toro Rosso are still having downforce problems.

Robert Kubica stopped out on track, after just setting his two fastest laps. The red flag was out, and the session did not restart after that. This happened at around 16:00.

Robert Kubica after stopping out on track

Robert Kubica after stopping out on track

Another interesting thing to note is that both Kubica and Buemi put on different helmets today, to test aerodynamic efficiency.

We also saw McLaren’s secret new diffuser, without the use of spy cameras. This picture is included in the photo section.

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1.11.722
2. K. Kobayashi BMW Sauber C29 1.12.056 +0.334
3. L. Hamilton McLaren MP4-25 1.12.256 +0.534
4. R. Kubica Renault R30 1.12.426 +0.704
5. N. Rosberg Mercedes W01 1.12.899 +1.177
6. R. Barrichello Williams FW32 1.13.377 +1.655
7. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1.13.823 +2.101

Photos from today’s test:

New rule changes approved by F1 commission

The new rule changes to F1, such as the new points system, the top ten finishers keeping their tyres into the race, less tyres per weekend, and a ban on double-decker diffusers, have been accepted by the F1 commission.

The most important rule change is that to the points system. The new layout is as follows:

1st – 25 points
2nd – 18 points
3rd – 15 points
4th – 12 points
5th – 10 points
6th – 8 points
7th – 6 points
8th – 4 points
9th – 2 points
10th – 1 point

The main change is that to the difference between 1st and 2nd. There is now 7 points between them, instead of 5. This is to encourage drivers to try to go for the lead more. It seems to be a good change, compared to the old one.

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Another change is that to the Q3 qualifyers’ tyres. Now, the top ten qualifyers will be forced to keep their tyres into the race. This means that there will be a mix of drivers on the hard and soft tyres in the top ten.

I have said already that this is a bad decicion. We were about to see pure qualifying, for the first time in a long while, but that’s out the window now. You can read more about this on my older post.

Next up is the reduction in the use of tyres over a weekend. Last year, each car was allocated 14 sets of slick tyres to use over the entire weekend. This year, there will only be 11 sets of tyres per driver.

Not only that, but 1 set will have to be returned to the FIA on first Friday practice, and 2 sets on second Friday practice. This will leave 8 sets for Saturday practice, qualifying, and the race. This rule is intended to encourage more running in the Friday practice sessions.

Not a bad idea this one, as it will bring more racing on Fridays. Not only this, but Bridgestone will have their costs hugely reduced. Maybe this is an idea to keep them in F1 after 2010.

Overall, apart from the Q3 tyre rule, these seem to be good changes. Hopefully it can bring better racing without ruining the sport itself.

The full statement from the FIA is available here.

The “most exhaustive” F1 survey ever

FOTA, who are organising the survey

FOTA, who are organising the survey

FOTA have launched what they have called the “most exhaustive” F1 survey ever.

The survey is to find out what every type of person feels about Formula 1, even if they rarely watch it. The survey definitely deserves it title, it covers everything. There are questions about how they feel about racing technology, overtaking, changing race structure, the drivers and teams, safety, and broadcasting.

Even if you aren’t interested in Formula 1, I’d encourage you to take the survey anyway. These results will probably be used by FOTA to push for a new F1 in the future.

Have your voice heard – take the survey here.

Oh, and make sure you say you’re over 18 ;) They won’t let you take the survey if you say you aren’t!

Di Resta is Force India test driver

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

Paul Di Resta testing for Force India last December

As I had earlier predicted, Paul di Resta has been announced as the third driver for Force India in 2010. As part of this, it has been announced that he will take part in Friday practice sessions with the team.

This raises the predictions that he will drive for the team in 2011. Di Resta was said to be “ecstatic”, saying:

“I think this programme is a perfect way to prepare fully and be ready to go if and when the chance of a race seat comes. I hope this will be the start of a long-term future with Force India.”

Paul di Resta is sponsored by Whyte & Mackey, who also happen to sponsor Force India this year. He also drove for the team at the December young driver test last year. He has been racing in DTM for the last 3 years. Before that, he won the Formula 3 Euroseries in 2006.

Stefan GP heading to Bahrain

Despite not being on the entry list for the 2010 championship, Stefan GP will still turn up at the Bahrain GP in expextation of racing.

A statement on their site read:

“SGP becomes the first team in F1 history who [sent] a 40 foot container full of equipment to the race in Bahrain without having entry for 2010 season!”

Just a few days ago, we found out that Stefan GP had acquired Toyota’s technical data and parts. With their chassis, they certainly have potential.

Still though, it’s very risky (and quite arrogant) to announce this so early. I’m not sure the FIA would approve these actions. Anyway, the only way Stefan GP would get on the entry list is if one of the current teams drops out. Clearly, Zoran Stefanovich believes that either Campos or USF1 doesn’t have the drive to get to the grid.

Or, even if they aren’t allowed to race, they could always do a Hans Heyer

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