Monthly Archives: December 2009

Ecclestone tips Vettel for chamoionship

Bernie Ecclestone with Sebastian Vettel

Bernie Ecclestone with Sebastian Vettel

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has predicted that Sebastian Vettel will win next year’s world championship.

In an interview with German magazine Bild (they’re doing well for F1 news recently aren’t they?), he said that: “There are several – [Lewis] Hamilton, [Fernando] Alonso… But I will say this now: Vettel will be the next world champion.”

Also, he said that he was relishing the prospect of one generation against the next, as 41-year-old Schumacher faes the likes of 22-year-old Vettel. “Without a doubt, the young ones will want to beat him,” said Ecclestone. “He will make sure of that. That’s the appeal of all of this.”

Furthermore, he agrees with a lot of people -including me- when he predicts that F1 2010 will be an epic season. Although he’s wrong when it comes to Vettel, it’s going to be Alonso in my opinion!

Gene: Schumacher almost rejoined Ferrari

Ferrari test driver Marc Gene has revealed that Michael Schumacher had almost rejoined Ferrari, before deciding to move to Mercedes.
In his blog for Spanish newspaper El Mundo (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundodeporte/especiales/2009/03/f1/blogs/marcgene.html), Gene claims that Schumacher would have been the third driver for Ferrari for 2010.
It is understandable, in my view, to see why he opted to move to Mercedes. The Alonso-Massa combination was not going to change, and Michael was never going to be happy with a third driver slot. Therefore, moving back to Mercedes with Ross Brawn seemed the better option.
A few days ago, he thanked the tifosi for their support over the years, but will it remain after this move?

Joint car launch cancelled

The planned joint launch of all the 2010 F1 cars in Valencia in late January has been cancelled.

The teams had last week agreed to implement cost-cutting measures, which included the joint launch, but could not agree on the details of the launch. However, the idea will be looked at again for 2011.

There were concerns that only the main teams would get big coverage at the event, and sponsors would not be reported on enough. Many teams were also worried that they would not have their car finished on time.

Because of a lack of time to tackle these problems, this idea has been scrapped for 2010. However, FOTA is still looking at trying this launch again in 2011.

Its official: Schumacher joins Mercedes

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

Press releases from Michael Schumacher and Mercedes have confirmed what we all said last night: Michael Schumacher will come out of retirement to race for Mercedes next year.

Schumacher, who retired in 2006, will return aged 41, and will be seeking to improve upon his record of 91 wins, 68 pole positions, 76 fastest laps and 7 world championships.

Already, he has set his sights to winning the 2010 championship. “It [Mercedes GP] is a team that has won both championships this year,” he said. “With Mercedes Benz as a strong partner, our aim can only be to fight for the championship.”

Ross Brawn said: “I am delighted that we can confirm today that Michael will make his much-anticipated return to Formula One next year and drive for our Mercedes GP Petronas team. As seven-time world champion, Michael’s outstanding record in Formula One speaks for itself and I am looking forward to working with him again.”

This means that Mercedes will race with an all-German line up, having confirmed Nico Rosberg a few weeks ago.

Michael Schumacher signs for Mercedes for 2010

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

Michael Schumacher has signed for Mercedes for the 2010 season. This was first reported by the German newspaper Bild a few hours ago. Since this is a tabloid, doubts remained. However, about a half an hour ago, the BBC are also reporting this story. This move should be confirmed tomorrow.

Schumacher will partner Nico Rosberg, in the team formerly known as Brawn GP.

Bild is reporting the Michael has signed a one-year €7m contract with Mercedes for nect season. However his manager, Sabine Kehm, said she could not make any comment at this time.

This means that Schumacher will be reunited with Ross Brawn again, who has masterminded all 7 of Michael’s world titles. Two of these were at Benneton from 1994-1995, and 5 titles at Ferrari.

He was scheduled to return earlier this year, to deputise for the injured Felipe Massa after his Hungary crash. However, a neck injury sustained in February ruled him out. Since this has since healed, he is ready to go racing again.

We have had major comebacks like this in the past. Niki Lauda came out of a two-year retirement (compared to Schumacher’s 3) in 1982, and won the world title in 1984. Speaking of comebacks, we’re still waiting on Mika Hakkinen…

Petronas is Mercedes’ main sponsor for 2010

Mercedes GP Petronas Artwork

Mercedes GP Petronas Artwork

Malaysian oil company Petronas has announced a long-term agreement to be the main sponsor for Mercedes GP, starting next season. This means that the team’s official name is now Mercedes GP Petronas Formula 1 Team.

The team will make its track debut in its new livery in Valencia, on 1 February.

Team principal Ross Brawn said: “Our plans for the new season are progressing well, as is the development of our 2010 challenger, and we look forward to seeing the car run in the new Silver Arrows and Petronas livery at the Valencia test in February.”

The main picture here is an artwork concept, done by Mercedes GP. Combining the classic silver with Petronas turquoise will be a difficult job.

Rome has F1 race deal- Report

The Italian magazine Gazzetta dello Sport has claimed that there is a deal in place for a Rome Grand Prix from 2012 onwards.

It is reported that the organiser, Maurizio Flammini, has signed a provisional deal with Bernie Ecclestone. The first reports of this Grand Prix emerging were earlier this year.

This is continuing on Formula 1′s growth of new circuits: Valencia and Singapore in 2008, Abu Dhabi in 2009, South Korea for 2010 and India in 2011.

However, at time of writing this article, it must be noted that the circuit’s website (http://www.romaformulafuturo.com) has gone blank. Also, there is no info from their Twitter feed (thanks to F1Fanatic for this info).

Youtube link for the track is here:

Plans for joint F1 launch falter

The planned joint launch of all next years’ F1 cars in one location seems to have faltered.

The plan was to launch all of the cars at the end of January in Valencia. However, many teams are considering individual launches, like they have done in the past. This is mainly because of a concern for the smaller teams being ignored, and sponsors would get less coverage.

Also, some teams are concerned that they would not have had their cars ready in time.

Schumacher expected to join Mercedes

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

Michael Schumacher, as a Ferrari adviser in 2009

According to Luca di Montezemolo, Michael Schumacher is set to join Mercedes for next year. In an interview, he said:

“It seems he has a twin brother, identical in every way, who seems to have it in his head to go and race in Formula 1 with Mercedes. I don’t know him personally, but it seems we have nothing to offer him.”

His manager, Willi Webber, said that his client was in a “super-fit” state, which would indicate that he has recovered from the neck injuries he sustained earlier this year in a motorcycle accident.

Schumacher was actually set to sign a contract extension for Ferrari, which would have made this Mercedes move impossible.

Kobayashi confirmed at Sauber for 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi has been confirmed at the Sauber team for 2010.

Kobayashi made his F1 debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix this year, substituting for Timo Glock. He put in two excellent drives in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, which was enough to convince Sauber to give him a try.

He said: “Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula One. Now this dream has come true. I am very happy that my two races in 2009 have earned me a cockpit place. I will do my very best for Peter Sauber’s team and I am proud to be able to carry on flying the Japanese flag in Formula One.”

Peter Sauber said:  “I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui. In the final two Grand Prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it. Particularly in the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy. I am convinced he has a great deal of potential and will be able to make the most of it in our team.”

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