Tag Archives: F1 2011

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.

Petrov extends contract with Renault

Petrov will stay with Renault until 2012

Petrov will stay with Renault until 2012

Vitaly Petrov will remain with the Lotus-Renault team for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. This removes any speculation that Vitaly was under pressure to keep the second race seat next year.

This was announced by Petrov at a press conference he organised in Moscow today. While he struggled at times in 2010, he impressed on several occasions, and with his impressive financial backing, was the favourite to retain his race seat for next year. With Kubica also on a long-term contract, this means that Renault will retain both drivers until at least the end of the 2012 season.

Vitaly said today:

"I learned a lot about the sport, the circuits and the car this 
year. That will help me improve even more in the future. I am 
very excited about working with this great team once more, and 
I’m confident that I will deliver."

"In many ways, 2010 was about learning. 2011 will be about 
performing. Today, I feel I am ready to rise to this challenge."

Gerard Lopez, chairman of Renault, added:

"We’re delighted to have Vitaly on board for another two years. 
Last season, he showed on several occasions that he clearly has 
the potential to deliver. It was just a matter of putting 
everything together during the same weekend, race after race, 
and this will be his target for 2011."

"Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to 
Formula 1. Over the past few months, we’ve established close 
links with this country and with some of its strongest companies.
We’re looking forward to building on this special relationship
and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next 
two seasons."

Despite the fact that money certainly was a factor in this move, I’m still happy with this decision. Petrov struggled at times, but also showed great potential, particularly when holding back Fernando Alonso in Turkey and Abu Dhabi. Kubica completely out-performed him, but hopefully he can improve for next year.

Renault have also issued the following Q&A with Petrov:

Vitaly, how does it feel to be confirmed at Lotus Renault GP?
It feels great. I learned so much this year and I know that I can come back stronger in 2011. I’m extremely proud to be part of this team and I’m determined to repay the faith they have shown in me.

Looking back on your rookie season, what did you enjoy the most?
There were a lot of special moments. The race in Shanghai is something that I will always remember when I overtook Schumacher and Webber to score my first points. Then, the first time I made Q3 in Turkey was an important step for me. And, of course, the race in Hungary was probably my best weekend when everything came together for me.

How has your life change since you became an F1 driver?
There’s a lot more travelling and not a lot of time for myself, but I will never complain because I love what I’m doing. I still feel like a boy at Christmas every time I get in the car. Life is not as easy as people think, of course, and there’s a lot more to F1 than driving the car, but it’s an amazing experience and I know I’m lucky to be one of just 24 drivers on the grid.

Do you feel at home at Lotus Renault GP?
Yes, definitely. Previous drivers have always said that there is a special atmosphere here and I have to say I agree with them. The team is very warm, friendly and open, and I get on really well with the guys.

Can you feel the growing support for F1 from Russia?
Definitely. I get more support from my country every week. In fact, recently one of the major lifestyle magazines included me in their top ten most attractive single men of Russia! You can feel that the sport is becoming more popular and soon we will have our own Grand Prix, which will create ore interest. Even our prime minister, Mr Putin, got a taste of F1 when he tried a Renault F1 car earlier this year.

What will be the main challenges of 2011?
There are quite a few changes that we have to adapt to as a team: new tyres, moveable rear wings and KERS, which I’ve never used before. There’s even a new race in India. So there are some things to adapt to, but they should improve the show and make for better racing. I’ve already seen the new car in the wind tunnel and it looks very promising. I also love our new colours and can’t wait to get back in the car and go racing.

What do you hope to achieve in your second season?
My objective is to continue improving as a driver and to become more consistent. There were times this year when I made mistakes and lost points, and I know this is where I can improve. I think I showed that I have the speed, but I need to be consistent over the whole weekend and get the maximum from every session.

What is your plan over the next couple of months before testing begins in February?
I was thinking about spending a few days in Maranello this winter, but I have been told it probably wasn’t the best idea… Seriously, after a busy year I’m taking the time to go back home and see my family and friends. It’s also the time to recharge my batteries so that I can come back fresh next year. I’m already working hard on my fitness and doing lots of training to be ready for the start of the season. Then, in January, I will be at the factory to see my engineers and for my seat-fit in the new car.

 

Jerome d’Ambrosio lands Virgin drive for 2011

Jerome d'Ambrosio will drive for Virgin in 2011

Jerome d'Ambrosio will drive for Virgin in 2011

Virgin Racing have signed Jerome d’Ambrosio to take the second race seat, alongside Timo Glock for the 2011 season. This means that 2010 driver Lucas di Grassi has been ousted from the team, after a disappointing first year with the squad.

D’Ambrosio drove in several Friday Practice sessions for Virgin near the end of the season. He impressed the team with his pace, and now replaces Lucas di Grassi, who constantly fell behind his rivals this year.

This year, Jerome has been racing in the GP2 Asia Series, and finished 12th. Oddly enough, Virgin test driver Luiz Razia finished ahead of him, in 11th, but has been passed over for the second race seat. D’Ambrosio took  his first race win this year since 2007. He previously won the 2007 International Formula Master Championship, and the 2003 Belgian Formula 3 1.6 Series.

Team Principal John Booth explained their decision:

"Jerome had been on our radar for quite some time as a driver 
we should seriously consider for a 2011 race seat. We had 
followed his progress in GP2 closely and it was clear he was 
‘one to watch’, but when we put him in the car for the four 
race weekends and the Abu Dhabi test he surpassed even our 
own expectations.

He slotted into the team perfectly and everyone took a shine 
to him, including our partners and the media. Apart from his 
obvious skill at the wheel of a Formula One car, he is an 
immensely personable young guy who is a pleasure to have around. 
He has secured this seat absolutely on merit and I think coupled 
with Timo we have the perfect blend of youth, experience, speed 
and potential and we can’t wait to see what they can achieve 
together next season."

From what I’ve heard, this move is certainly not made with financial backing in mind. D’Ambrosio does not appear to have much of a sponsorship package behind him, so Virgin must be signing him based on talent alone, which is great to see. While his results do not appear good on paper, you must remember that the last driver who went from poor results with DAMS (GP2 team) to an F1 team was Kamui Kobayashi.

Di Resta To Force India?

Paul di Resta has been linked to a race seat at Force India

Paul di Resta has been linked to a race seat at Force India

Paul di Resta is expected to have a meeting with Force India this week to discuss his role with the team for 2011.

The new DTM champion worked with the Silverstone based outfit’s reserve and Friday driver in 2010, and is a contender for a race seat next year. But also the ousted Williams rookie Nico Hulkenberg is in running for the seat, with team owner’s fellow countryman Karun Chandhok getting the rumors limelight fr the same seat, while Adrian Sutil is expected to be retained, and Vitantonio Liuzzi also has a firm contract for 2011.

Di Resta’s manager, Anthony Hamilton, father of Lewis Hamilton, is confident:

"There hasn't been one bit of negative information from the 
team about Paul. He has done a great job, the team love him."

"He's a champion and a leader. "

"Nothing has changed; he is still a contender for a race 
seat. We are very positive."

It is believed Sutil will have one seat in 2011, while the other will be occupied by either di Resta or German Hulkenberg. Otherwise, it may be Karun Chandhok, after Liuzzi’s contract is bought out.

Team orders ban lifted for 2011

Ferrari's team orders in Germany are now considered legal

Ferrari's team orders in Germany are now considered legal

The ban on team orders, listed under Article 39.1 on the FIA regulations, has been scrapped from 2011 onwards. This means that team orders, such as the one Ferrari employed at the German Grand Prix this year, can now be legally made without punishment by the stewards or FIA.

The FIA’s statement for this move reads as follows:

The article forbidding team orders (39.1) is deleted.

Teams will be reminded that any actions liable to bring the 
sport into disrepute are dealt with under Article 151c of 
the International Sporting Code and any other relevant 
provisions.

While the stewards handed Ferrari a $100,000 fine after the German GP, they failed to dock or switch the points gained by Fernando Alonso, who was allowed past by Felipe Massa.

In my opinion, this isn’t actually as bad a move as it could be. While I’m completely against team orders that deliberately disadvantage one driver, team orders are used all the time these days, just in different wording.

Now that the ban has been lifted, we can see more clearly how each team operates its strategies. While I’m sure that a driver would let their team-mate past to assist the team’s race strategy for both cars, very few of them would move aside simply for the other driver to directly gain from the order.

Team orders to assist race strategies have been used plenty of times with little controversy, such as Kovalainen and Hamilton in Germany 2008, or Heidfeld and Kubica in Canada. In the situation where one car needs to be released to make the most out of their strategies, I’d say that team orders are fine.

5-race gearboxes introduced as part of new rules

A raft of changes have been announced for 2011 and 2012

A raft of changes have been announced for 2011 and 2012

The FIA has announced a new series of rules for the 2011 season, and some to be introduced in 2012, the most important of which being that gearboxes now have to last 5 races.

This improves upon last year’s restrictions of 4 races on the same gearbox. As the 2011 F1 calendar contains 20 races, this means that most teams will be looking to use only 4 gearboxes for the entire season.

2011

Steward penalties have been revised relating for the rules on “driving and driver conduct”. Race Director Charlie Whiting also has the option to close the pit lane during the race, for safety reasons, if he deems necessary.

The rules will be clarified as to when cars can overtake the safety car, following the controversy at the Valencian GP. Shallow wet tyres (behind the full wets), are now reclassified as intermediates, but that’s what most of us have been saying anyways.

A penalty can be awarded to any driver who fails to use both specifications of tyres during the race. The cars will be modified to allow “anti-intrusion panels” to protect the driver’s legs in case of an accident. On the technical side, the definitions of the “reference plane, and reinforcement of bodywork deflection tests, especially at the front of the reference plane” have all been changed.

2012

For the 2012 season, all team radio communications will be available to F1 broadcasters. The intention of this is to allow more transmissions to be displayed to the audience.

Fuel compounds will be produced from biomass, but no further detail is available at the moment. The number of suspension uprights will also be limited.

The long-awaited 2013 engine rules have been announced, as well as a statement on team orders, and these will be dealt with in separate articles.

Petrov likely to stay with Lotus-Renault

This is the second article from new writer Murai Kadam:

Vitaly Petrov is well set to secure his seat next year

Vitaly Petrov is well set to secure his seat next year

The 26-year-old Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov is likely to stay with Lotus-Renault for next year. Petrov has been financed by his personal backers, including Vyborg Shipyard, Flagman vodka, and the carmaker Lada.

The Malaysian news agancy Bernama said that Proton will also benefit by gaining access to Russia’s automotive market, and automotive technologies owned by Genii.

With Renault having previously been sponsored by Petrov’s backers, Vitaly seems all set to be secured his F1 seat for next year. Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar admitted that Petrov is well placed to keep his seat in 2011:

.

.

 "Our preferred choice is Vitaly Petrov, but I hope that the 
team will be able to announce by the end of the year our 
final lineup."
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