Daily Archives: January 8, 2010

Button downplays Hamilton advantage

Jenson Button

Jenson Button

Jenson Button has downplayed the advantage that Lewis Hamilton over him this year, but admits it will take time for him to adapt into his new team.

In an interview with Reuters: He said: “”I’m not going to say he (Hamilton) starts with a big advantage. I will say that it is all new to me with this team.”

“Maybe if I stayed where I was it would have been harder to get a second title. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so motivated. But moving to where I am now I think it has really motivated me,” he said.

“It is something that really excites me and something I am going to work really hard on achieving with the team this year.”

When asked about racing against Michael Schumacher again, he said: ”

“I think it is amazing for the sport,” he added “I think having four world champions racing, and one of them who has achieved more than anyone else in the sport, is great.”

“It’s an unusual decision by Michael but he’s obviously got his reasons… you’ve got to say fair play to Ross [Brawn] for getting him on board. It’s great having him back on the grid and I look forward to the challenge this year with him.”

Kovalainen “a better driver” after McLaren

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

Heikki Kovalainen, with Tony Fernandes and Jarno Trulli

Heikki Kovalainen says that, even after 2 difficult seasons at McLaren, he has still come out of it a better driver.

In an interview with Autosport, he said: “I am a better race driver. I can drive the car quicker than when I drove the Renault (2007). I have learned many things – how to work with a team, how to set-up a car, how to go racing. I think I am better in every area.”

Kovalainen was released from McLaren after the 2009 season ended. After negotiations with many teams, he has moved to the new Lotus team, alongside Jarno Trulli. He also said that he believes it was a better option than moving to an established team.

“I just felt that this was the most stable option available to me,” he said. “The other teams were still wondering who was going to own the team, who was going to sponsor the team and who was going to pay the bills.”

“Funnily enough, for a new team I was convinced after I met Tony [Fernandes] and Mike [Gascoyne]. First of all, they have the budget in place. They have the people coming to the team eventually – they will be current people and not people who have been out of the paddock for one or two years.”

When asked about his prospects for 2010, he said: “”I think it will be very tough. Sometimes when I talk to Tony he is very excited and it seems like we are going to win the first race. But, I am being more realistic and I don’t want to build too big expectations.”

When he was with McLaren in 2008, he was outscored on points by Lewis Hamilton with 98 points to 53, although Heikki took his first win. In 2009, he was outscored again, by 49 points to 22, and not even getting on the podium once.

Reorganised BMW Sauber positions announced

BMW Sauber F1 Team

BMW Sauber F1 Team

The reorganisation of  the BMW Sauber F1 team has been announced, with Peter Sauber taking the role of President. However, he will not have a role at the team’s Hinwil base in Germany.

His son, Alex, is now in charge of the marketing department.

Willy Rampf remains as the team ‘s technical director, which he has occupied since the BMW takeover years ago. The positions announced are:

Peter Sauber – President of the Board of Directors
Monisha Kaltenborn – Managing Director
Alex Sauber – Marketing
Willy Rampf – Technical Director
Urs Jampen – Finance Director
Jürg Flach – Director of Operations (production)

USF1 to test F1 car in Alabama

The bottom hairpin of the Barber Motorsport Park

The bottom hairpin of the Barber Motorsport Park

USF1 have announced that they are to test their F1 car in the Barber Motorsport Park in Alabama early next month. This circuit has been revealed as the circuit the FIA nominated for them.

The team will spend 3 test sessions there, before ending the cars off to Spain for the final tests.

The Barber Motorsport Park is 400 miles from the team’s base in Charlotte. Although it is shorter (3.7km) than F1 tracks, it features a lot more gradient, and 17 turns. As a method of comparison, the current lap record was set by Will Power in an IRL car, at 1’09.455.

Despite the fact that they still have not signed any drivers for 2010, Peter Windsor still believes that USF1 will definitely be on the grid in Bahrain. He also described the rumours against them as “ludicrous”.

Regarding his drivers, he said: “We are very close to announcing our drivers. We’ve been talking to some great racing drivers over the last couple of months, and it is very difficult to choose between the good drivers that are around. I think there are still a lot on offer and the difficult thing will be to choose only two out of the ten that are available.”

Track layout of Barber Motorsport Park

Track layout of Barber Motorsport Park