Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lotus reveal 2011 livery on R30

Lotus-Renault have shown their livery on last year's R30

Lotus-Renault have shown their livery on last year's R30

Lotus-Renault have given the world an indication of the livery they will be using for the 2011 season, by applying it to last year’s Renault R30.

As we already know, it is mainly black and gold, based off the JPS Lotus livery from the 1970′s and 1980′s. However, this new livery features no sponsors on the main chassis of the car, instead moving the logos to the nosecone, turning vanes, and the rear wing.

How the livery would look without red endplates (copyright unknown)

How the livery would look without red endplates (copyright unknown)

It was launched earlier today at the Autosport International show, by Vitaly Petrov, Eric Boullier, Jean Alesi (the team’s new racing ambassador) and Clive Chapman, the son of the legendary Colin Chapman. The Chapman family have recently pushed their support behind the Lotus-Renault group, rather than Tony Fernandes’ outfit, despite the fact that the 2010 Lotus team own the rights to the Lotus name.

Personally, the idea of the livery is good, but unfortunately the Total colours on the endplates and mirrors completely ruin the design.

Chandhok caught in legal battle with HRT

Colin Kolles has also revealed why Chandhok left the team

Colin Kolles has also revealed why Chandhok left the team

After being dropped from the Hispania team from the British Grand Prix onwards last year, Karun Chandhok is now facing a legal battle with his former team.

Team principal Colin Kolles explains that Karun “failed to fulfill the contract”:

"When he signed an agreement with us for the 2010 season, Karun made a lot 
of promises on paper. But, he failed to fulfill his obligations. We waited 
for some time, but we didn’t have any other choice than suspending him at 
the German GP. We, however, did everything diplomatically. We didn’t make it 
public. Since then, Karun was never in the team’s radar."

"His failed promises affected the team’s progress last year. We were 
planning to do certain upgrades on the car, but everything got disturbed."

That explanation sounds vague, and there’s a reason for that. What Kolles didn’t mention was that Chandhok was thrown out because he didn’t pay the team enough money. Before the season began, Karun promised the team (allegedly) €8m, but only paid one installment of €2m.

Presumably, his sponsors must have cut off their deal. When Chandhok was unable to pay up, the team promptly threw him out of the team.

It is uncertain what will happen to Karun now, but losing this legal battle could put his racing career in further jeopardy.

Hispania leaves FOTA

Hispania are now the only F1 team not a part of FOTA

Hispania are now the only F1 team not a part of FOTA

HRT have stated that they are to leave the Formula One Teams Association, claiming that the group only focuses on the leading teams. However, FOTA argue that financial troubles caused Hispania to drop out.

FOTA, which was set up in mid-2008, exists to give teams a voice when negotiating with the FIA and Formula One Group (Commercial owners of F1). At the moment, the teams are discussing a Resource Restriction Agreement, which should limit spending from the big teams, and aid the smaller ones. Previously, they played a crucial part in the 2008 Concorde Agreement.

However, despite this, HRT has left the group, claiming:

"The truth is we left because FOTA defends only the interests of the big 
teams"

"For example, it doesn't divide the extra points revenues in equal parts as 
planned. The difference in TV rights revenues seems excessive between 10th 
place, which gets $36 million, and 11th which gets $10 million. So why 
should the entry fee be equal for everyone?"

However, Simone Perillo, secretary general of FOTA, sees things differently:

"I can confirm that the Hispania Racing F1 Team did not fulfil its 2010 
FOTA membership fee obligations."

Despite this, Kolles insists the team were going to leave regardless, before they were suspended after their failure to pay.

Mclaren Denies Speculations Of Dropping Silver Livery

This black and red livery was rumoured by the media

This black and red livery was rumoured by the media

McLaren has denied all of the speculation and reports published by the media that it is set to drop its traditional silver livery for the 2011 season.

Reports linked the team’s launch of mainly black and red official clothing for this year with rumours suggesting that McLaren may want to differentiate itself from former partner Mercedes, who is now competing with a similarly silver-liveried car.

McLaren said via its official Twitter feed TheFifthDriver:

"Black livery? Er, no."

The Woking based team, still powered by Mercedes engines, added that the 2011 livery will be: “the same Rocket Red and chrome finish that you’ve grown to love since Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was born in 2007″.

“That’s official, btw (by the way),” McLaren confirmed.

HRT not keeping Senna for 2011

Senna will not be retained for the 2011 season

Senna will not be retained for the 2011 season

Hispania Racing have stated today that Bruno Senna will not be racing for them in 2011.

Narain Karthikeyan was confirmed yesterday as the first driver for the team for this upcoming season, but the second slot has yet to be filled.

Bruno Senna was tipped to remain with HRT, but team principal Colin Kolles has ruled this out:

"I can definitely say that Mr Bruno Senna is not going to race for HRT."

If HRT’s best performing driver from last year won’t be retained, then it’s safe to say that Karun Chandhok is out of luck as well, seeing as both of these two drivers lack sponsorship or backing.

The question now is: Who will take the second seat? It will probably be very difficult to guess, as financial backing may well dictate who gets taken on by Hispania.

Narain Karthikeyan signed by HRT for 2011

Karthikeyan is back in F1 after a 5-year break

Karthikeyan is back in F1 after a 5-year break

Narain Karthikeyan has been announced today as the first driver for Hispania Racing for the 2011 season.

The Indian has previously been racing in F1, having driven for the Jordan team back in 2005. Apart from a couple of 11th-placed finishes, his best drive was to 4th in the 6-car US Grand Prix. He then spent 3 years with Team India in A1 GP, and took part in 2 races in Superleague Formula in 2010.

Interestingly enough, when he was racing for Jordan in 2005, the team principal at the time was Colin Kolles, who happens to be managing HRT to this date.

In an interview with Autocar India, he said:

"I have worked really hard to come back to F1 and it will be a dream come
true to race in front of the home crowd in our country’s debut Grand Prix.
I hope that the Indian public will spur me on with their blessings and good
wishes."

(from Twitter): "Back in F1 in 2011. Signed a deal to race for HRT. I’ve
always maintained that my time in F1 was not over and now making good on
that promise."

However, he also hinted that sponsorship was a factor with his signing:

"Huge thanks to my long-time supporters in the Tata Group. Their support
has been instrumental."

This means that whatever happens to Karun Chandhok, there will be an Indian driver on the grid for the inaugural 2011 Indian Grand Prix. With seats at Force India in short supply, it looks like Chandhok has lost out.

Liuzzi stalling Force India’s driver line-up announcement?

Liuzzi's contract appears to be holding back Force india's newest line-up

Liuzzi's contract appears to be holding back Force india's newest line-up

Recent reports suggest that Force India have completed their driver line-up, with Adrian Sutil being partnered by Paul di Resta. Nico Hulkenberg is reported to have the test driver slot.

However, it is also understood that Vitantonio Liuzzi’s contract with the team still runs through the 2011 season. While the team have tried to cancel his contract, there are only two ways in which this can be done. The first is is Liuzzi’s performances were not up to scratch. Although his statistics portrayed him as underperforming, Force India have publicly admitted that he has not done a terrible job.

The second option would be to pay him out of the contract. The problem with this is that Liuzzi knows that he will never be hired by another team in the foreseeable future (a combination of his results, and no spaces for him tom join), so a buyout of his contract looks unlikely.

Despite this, many media sources are still reporting that Force India will announce their driver line-up in the next few days. While Hulkenberg almost certainly won’t get a race seat, it has been hinted that he will drive the car during Friday Practice sessions.

Changes made to Ferrari team for 2011

After huge criticism regarding their strategy fumble in Abu Dhabi which cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 world championship, Ferrari have announced several changes to the structure of the team.

The biggest switch made is that Chris Dyer, the head of race engineering, has been replaced with Pat Fry. Dyer has been described as the “master of all strategists”, having previously been the race engineer for both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He was also behind the famous 4-stop strategy that Schumacher utilised to win the French Grand Prix in 2004.

However, he appears to have been blamed for the disaster at Abu Dhabi, and his “role within the company will be redefinied within the next few days”. Fry, the man who replaces Dyer, moved to Ferrari from McLaren back in June 2009.

Also, Neil Martin, who has worked at McLaren, and more recently Red Bull, has been appointed as the head of the new operations research department. He will report directly to Aldo Costa, Ferrari’s technical director.

In related news, Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he almost quit the team after Abu Dhabi. In an interview with La Repubblica, he stated:

"After Abu Dhabi I raised the issue personally. I asked whether it was right 
or not that I stayed.

But I reached the conclusion that resigning would be a mistake. I know the 
team and I know that I am the right person to capitalise on all we have sown 
in these months."

 

Kimi Raikkonen considering career after father’s death

Kimi Raikkonen's career is in doubt

Kimi Raikkonen's career is in doubt

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 F1 world champion, has closed talks about his plans for the 2011 season after the death of his father Matti.

The major Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reports that the 31 year old, who was considering to switch teams for the next world rally championship, is even expected to call time on his racing career.

Raikkonen was very close with his father, who was a road builder and supported Kimi’s careers from an early age, and died suddenly at the age of 56, two days before Christmas.

“Since the death of Matti Raikkonen, all the plans of Kimi Raikkonen are on ice,” confirmed the Finn’s rally co- driver Kaj Lindstrom.

He added:

"Let's hope he stays in rallying. The chances of success are much better in 
the second year than the first, because you don't have to be learning all 
sorts of things all of the time."

Raikkonen moved to the WRC after disappointing 2008 and 2009 campaigns with Ferrari, after winning the 2007 title. He raced with the Citroen Junior Team this year, and was rumoured to be moving to either Monster World Rally Team or Mini for 2011.

Earlier in the year, he was in negotiations with Renault regarding taking Vitaly Petrov’s seat for 2011, but his wage demands were reported to be far too high for the team’s liking.

2010 was a year of practice for Schumacher – Lauda

3-time champion Lauda still trusts Schumacher to leap back to the top

3-time champion Lauda still trusts Schumacher to leap back to the top

The major German news agency SID conducted a survey and surprisingly, more than 70 per cent of those surveyed do not believe Michael Schumacher will win an eighth world title in 2011.

The most successful driver in F1 history had a difficult return to the sport in 2010 after 3 years of retirement, finishing ninth in the championship and 70 points behind his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda is certainly one who understands Schumacher’s troubles. The Austrian had won 2 titles before he retired in 1979, then returned after a 3-year absence. However, although he initially struggled, he won another championship in 1984. He told Spain’s El Pais newspaper:

"In my second phase in F1, the testing was not limited so I had plenty of 
mileage to prepare.

Michael has had trouble adjusting. Furthermore, he has been against a lot 
of young guys eager to prove they can beat him, including Rosberg who is 
really fast.

2010 was a year of practice for Schumacher. At first I thought he would 
not take more than four races to be back, and winning races has never been 
easy, but now it is harder than ever before.

Anyway, if anyone can do what he has to do, it's him."

Over to you: Do you think Schumacher can bounce back from his 2010 struggles?

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