Daily Archives: January 11, 2010

Alonso makes first official appearance for Ferrari

Fernando Alonso has made his first official appearance as a Ferrari driver for the first time.

He appeared at the annual Vrooom media event, which is organised by Ferrari. It is also the first time he has been photographed wearing Ferrari clothes. Below are pictures of him with his new team.Fernando Alonso at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Felipe Massa at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Fernando Alonso at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Giancarlo Fisichella at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Felipe Massa at the Vrooom Ferrari event

Also, here is a video of Alonso’s first appearance for Ferrari:

New race engineers for McLaren

L-R: Andy Latham, Phil Prew and Jakob Andreasen

L-R: Andy Latham, Phil Prew and Jakob Andreasen

McLaren has reshuffled its race engineer crew, to get the best out of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton next year.

Hamilton’s former race engineer, Phil Prew, has been promoted to principal race engineer, and engineer crews will be built around each of the drivers.

Lewis’ new race engineer will be Andy Latham, while Jenson will get Jakob Andreason. Managing director Jonathan Neale explained the positions:

“He’ll travel to every race and will manage the set-up, development, and sharing of data and information between both race engineering teams.”

“The race engineering team on Lewis’s car will be headed by Andy Latham, with Mark Temple as his performance engineer. On Jenson’s side, Jakob Andreason – a very experienced engineer who has worked alongside Phil on Lewis’s car for the last few years – will be the race engineer. Dave Robson, who’s also very experienced, will be Jenson’s performance engineer. We’re giving both drivers a fresh engineering team, with Phil as the bridge between them both.”

“It’s primarily to ensure there’s total transfer in the learning of set-up development. It gives us a figurehead and a go-to person for the rest of the organisation across the race weekend, so they can ask Phil: ‘What’s happening with set-up? Which way are we going?”

“We can also better use the simulation team and the engineers back at the McLaren Technology Centre to say to Phil: ‘You might want to try this,’ and Phil can supervise that flow of information.”

Andy Latham has been with McLaren since 2000. He was assistant race engineer to Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, and then became test engineer for 2 seasons, before becoming Lewis’ new race engineer. Jakob Andreason has been with McLaren for 9 years, and has been an assistant race engineer since 2005.

Lotus set for mid-February debut

Mike Gascoyne, with Tony Fernandes

Mike Gascoyne, with Tony Fernandes

The chief technical officer for Lotus, Mike Gascoyne, has confirmed that the team are a week ahead of schedule on their building of their car, and still making excellent progress.

When asked how the team were faring, he said:

“We had been looking at firing up our engine for the first time on 12th February, but with the efforts everyone’s been putting in we have now been able to bring that forward to 5th February. This is obviously a great boost for everyone involved in the team, and shows how much hard work has already gone in since we had our entry confirmed on September 12th.

“With the engine fire-up date now in the diary, we are also in a position to confirm that we will be on track for the first time at the third official test at Jerez from 17th February, and then at Barcelona from 25th February. We are also aiming to run chassis two for the last two days of that Barcelona test.”

Also, he announced that there would be a mojor upgrade on the car at the Spanish Grand Prix in May. He also revealed that the team were planning to be in the midfield after the first few races of the season.

He stated: ““We have said we are aiming to be ahead of the new teams when we all reach Bahrain, but we would also like to be pretty close to the midfield teams after the first few races of the season.

“The update we have planned for Spain will see a boost in performance when we reach Barcelona which will give us the chance to start fighting with the slowest of the established teams which, given progress so far, has to be the next goal for us.”

Schumacher to test GP2 car this week

The Super Nova GP2 car that Schumacher will be testing

The Super Nova GP2 car that Schumacher will be testing

Michael Schumacher, who came out of retirement to driver for Mercedes for next season, will drive a GP2 car for 3 days this week to “develop new components” for the GP2 cars.

The private test will take place this week at the Jerez, from Tuesday to Thursday. This test has already been approved by the FIA, as testing is normally banned until February.

The components being developed are numerous suspension configurations, to define several new race set-ups. Also, there will be evaluation and validation of updated components, such as a new clutch, which will be introduced later this year. If these new components are successful, they will be added to the third generation GP2 car in Spring 2011.

“Today’s test marks a milestone for the GP2 Series,” said GP2 boss Bruno Michel. “It is an honour and a privilege for us to have seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher help us to develop our car. The goal of the GP2 Series is to prepare young drivers for Formula 1.

“This test will prove to be very important for the future of our GP2 drivers and will be a confirmation of the high-standards and competitiveness of our Series. Michael’s input and advice will be invaluable. I am confident that his knowledge and unparalleled driving skills will help us to develop a great car for next season.”

It is obvious that Schumacher sees this test as an opportunity to prepare himself for his F1 comeback. When he attempted to replace Felipe Massa after Hungary, he tested a Ferrari F2007, since the FIA prohibited him from testing the F60.

FIA to appeal Briatore verdict

FIA Flag

FIA Flag

The FIA has decided to appeal the decicion by a French court to overturn the lifetime ban imposed upon Flavio Briatore and the 5-year ban on Pat Symonds, for their involvment in the Crash-gate scandal.

Last week, Briatore succesfully got the courts to overturn his lifetime ban, as the judge stated the FIA did not have the authority or power to remove them from the sport.

Following meeting between FIA president Jean Todt and other representatives, they have elected to appeal the court’s verdict.

A statement from the FIA read as follows:

“The President of the FIA has consulted the FIA Senate and the FIA’s lawyers about the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris of 5 January. It was unanimously agreed that an appeal would be prepared.

“In his election campaign last summer, FIA President Jean Todt and his team announced that new measures for constructive change, including a disciplinary procedure, would be introduced. Work on this is well advanced. Once in place, this will address the issues in the Court’s judgement. Nonetheless, an appeal is merited.”

Also, the FIA were quick to point out that, while they are appealing the decicion, the original punishment still stands, meaning that Briatore and Symonds, for the time being, still cannot be involved in FIA-sanctioned sports.

In my last article on this, I mentioned that the FIA may choose to not give superlicences to drivers who use Briatore as their manager. However, this may not be done, pending the outcome of the FIA’s appeal.