Monthly Archives: December 2009

Renault stays in F1 for 2010, and reaffirms Red Bull engine link

Renault F1 Team

Renault F1 Team

Renault have confirmed that they are to stay in Formula 1 for the 2010, and they are to sell a large stake of the team to Genii Capital.

The team will continue to run under the name Renault, and will keep its current engines. The Red Bull team will also continue to use Renault engines next year.

As part of a statement, Renault said: A statement issued by Renault said: “After 35 years in the sport, Renault announces a new phase for its F1 programme, consistent with Formula One’s drive for cost efficiencies. Formula One remains one of the biggest sporting spectacles in terms of annual television audiences and media exposure. Renault therefore believes that the impact of Formula One in terms of image, and brand awareness worldwide, particularly in new, emerging markets, will continue to play a key role in fulfilling the company’s growth objectives in years ahead.”

“With the anticipated sale of a stake in its F1 operational base in the United Kingdom to Genii Capital, Renault achieves another step that will definitely bring F1 participation to an affordable level for the Group. In addition, the new partnership will contribute to procuring the team the resources to compete sustainably at the highest level, and creates a great opportunity to modernise its governance.”

The team has already confirmed Robert Kubica as one of its drivers for next season.

Lucas di Grassi to join Virgin Racing for 2010

Lucas di Grassi, at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

Lucas di Grassi, at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix

Virgin Racing has announced its takeover of the Manor team, and also confirmed Lucas di Grassi as its second driver alongside Timo Glock. Alvaro Parente will be the team’s test driver.

Di Grassi was runner up in the 2007 GP2 championship, and 3rd in 2009. He was formerly the test driver for Renault, and participated in the Jerez young driver test earlier this month.

“I could never have imagined a debut as perfect as this one,” said di Grassi. “And I believe I am ready for F1. I have worked a lot over the years to get here and I believe it happened just in time. Being here with them makes more sense to me than to be with a veteran organisation. We will debut together, and that detail makes for a special bond too. I am ready to work 24/7 and I am sure I will be able to contribute to the team’s efforts in every stage of our evolution in 2010.”

Virgin Racing have also launched their website:

Trulli and Kovalainen at Lotus for 2010

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, Malaysian Grand Prix 2008

Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, Malaysian Grand Prix 2008

Lotus have confirmed that Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be their drivers for 2010, with Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy getting the test driver slot.

This was confirmed in an announcement made by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak, in Kuala Lumpur. Lotus boss Tony Fernandes was also present, along with the two new drivers.

Trulli said: “It is a privilege for me to sign for the new Lotus F1 Racing team. I have been impressed by the long-term vision of the team management and technical staff. Tony has set out very ambitious plans and I am ready to help the team achieve these high targets. I am also pleased to be back working alongside (team technical boss) Mike Gascoyne, someone with whom I have enjoyed previous success at other teams. I get on very well with him and I respect his working style. Lotus is a truly iconic and inspirational brand and it is great that the name is back in Formula 1. We will be hoping to draw inspiration from the heritage of Lotus for our team.”

“I am also delighted to be racing alongside Heikki, someone who I have enjoyed racing against since 2007, and someone else, like me, who brings valuable experience from his time with two of Formula One’s most established teams. I believe that together, we are among the most competitive pairings on the grid, and we will be determined to bring success to Lotus F1 Racing to repay the faith that Tony and the team have shown in us.”

Kovalainen said: “It’s fantastic to be joining Lotus F1 Racing and I am excited about the challenges that lie ahead. I recently visited our factory in Norfolk, UK, and was so impressed by seeing how far the team has come in such a short time since it was launched in September, and by how determined everyone is to meet Tony’s ambitious targets. I knew immediately it would be a fantastic opportunity to help them achieve their goals.”

“I believe that appointing two drivers with the experience Jarno and I have shows how determined the team is to go racing in a truly competitive way, and our pairing sends out a very strong message to our competitors.”

No Lotus drive for Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato

Takuma Sato’s managment has revealed that the Japanese driver will not have a drive with the Lotus team next year.

Lotus will announce its driver line-up tomorrow, and it is increasingly likely that Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen will be announced as their 2010 drivers. Sato will continue looking for a drive, but it is doubtful that he will find a drive for next year. His manager, Matthew Winter, said:

“We haven’t given up. There are still a few seats open and we are trying to hunt them down. His options are running out so we don’t know if he is going to be in Formula 1 next year.”

Sato has been without a drive since the collapse of the Super Aguri team in April 2008.

Abu Dhabi to host 2010 finale

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

After the meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council today, it was decided that the 2010 calendar was to be changed, with Abu Dhabi now taking the final race of the season instead of Brazil.

The Brazilian Grand Prix will now be moved to the 7th November, with Abu Dhabi on the 14th. Korea’s race (yet to be homolgated) is scheduled for the 24th October, the third last race.

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar
14 March – Bahrain
28 March – Australia
4 April – Malaysia
18 April – China
9 May – Spain
16 May – Monaco
30 May – Turkey
13 June – Canada
27 June – Europe (Valencia)
11 July – Great Britain
25 July – Germany
1 August – Hungary
29 August – Belgium
12 September – Italy
26 September – Singapore
10 October – Japan
24 October – Korea*
7 November – Brazil
14 November – Abu Dhabi

*Subject to the homologation of the circuit.

Note: The races in Australia and Abu Dhabi will start at 1700 local time, in Malaysia at 1600 local time, in Canada at 1200 local time, in Singapore at 2000 local time, and in Japan at 1500 local time.

New points system confirmed for 2010

FIA Flag

FIA Flag

The new system of points has been ratified and confirmed by the FIA World Motor Sport Council today.

Under this new system, the winner will take 25 points, second will take 20, third will take 15. Then, 10,8,6,5,3,2, and 1 points will be handed out respectively.

There were many other topics of F1 discussed at the WMSC meeting, which can be found at their press release site:

F1 teams planning joint launch in January

Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Valencia)

Circuit Ricardo Tormo (Valencia)

It has been revealed that all Formula 1 teams, in a meeting of all team principals, have agreed to launch their 2010 cars in one large event, in Valencia. This will be in late January, to coincide with the first F1 testing of 2010 a few days later, again in Valencia.

Mercedes Benz GP CEO nick Fry said: “I don’t want to go into too much detail about what the plans actually are, but we have agreed between all the teams to do a joint launch and we do wish to turn it into a proper event.”

“We are getting a lot of help from the venue and investment in communication and marketing to do that. I think I am going from here to a meeting this afternoon to discuss the subject.

“I wouldn’t wish to spill the beans on what we are going to do, but it is going to be hugely innovative. It is going to be a clear demonstration of how we are going to be working together. We are not all going off and doing our own individual launches, so we can do something that is a lot more customer friendly.”

The team boss of Lotus, Tony Fernandes, said that it may be too early for their car to  be ready. However, if this is the case, Fernandes and Lotus may still attend, even if it means bringing “matchbox car”.

Martin Whitmarsh to become new FOTA chairman

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal of McLaren Mercedes

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal of McLaren Mercedes

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has been voted in to succeed Luca di Montezemolo as the chairman of the Formula 1 Teams Association.

After a meeting of the F1 Commission (see article on new points system) in Monaco today, the team principals then met to discuss plans for next year. This included the positions of senior officials.

Whitmarsh will take over from Luca di Montezemelo later this month. Also, Christian Horner has been made chairman of the FOTA Sporting Working Group. Ross Brawn will remain head of the Technical Working Group.

Also, in this meeting, an agreement was reached as to the launching of the teams’ new cars in January. Details of this will be in my next article, which will be published tonight.

New points system expected for 2010

FIA Flag

FIA Flag

The points system for Formula 1 is set to change, as the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) seeks to give points to the top ten finishers in the race.

In a meeting of the F1 Commission, chaired by Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president JeanTodt, a new points scoring system was put forward, which was mainly influenced by the fact that there would be a 26-car grid next year.

Under this points system, first place would get 25 points, second would get 20 and third would get 15. The next 7 finishers would score 10, 8, 6, 5, 3, 2 and 1 point respectively.This amendment will be submitted by the F1 Commission to the WMSC tomorrow, and a decision will be made on the day.

The F1 Commission is made up of key championship stakeholders from F1 teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors. Their next meeting will be on the 10th March in Bahrain, a few days before the Grand Prix.

In the same meeting, the Commission agreed to change the name of Brawn to Mercedes. Also, the Commission stated that: “The team will continue to receive payments based on its historical performance. This has been granted on a one-off exceptional basis due to Mercedes-Benz’s long-term involvement and commitment to Formula One.”

An opinion article on this will be written soon, after the decision tomorrow.

Silverstone plans revised circuit

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone has announced its intention to use a new circuit layout for 2010. The first half of the circuit will remain the same, but the high-speed Bridge corner will be removed.

This new circuit has already been approved by FIM, the Moto GP governing body, but it will take a while for the FIA to make a decicion.

As shown in the picture, the circuit will now take a right hand turn just before Abbey corner, a sharp left, then two small straights will bring the cars back to the Brooklands corner. This means that Bridge, Abbey and Priory will now be missed by the new layout.

If the new layout for 2010 is used and found unsuccessful, the old layout may be used again at the next race onwards.

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010