Daily Archives: January 13, 2010

Domenicali: Alonso can beat Schumacher

Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali (he’s popular today isn’t he?) has claimed that Fernando Alonso can beat Michael Schumacher, provided Ferrari can give him the car that he needs.

After the Schumacher domination years of 2000-2004, Alonso broke the German’s streak with back-to-back championship wins, which included the titanic battle between the two in 2006. Michael retired at the end of 2006, but he is finally back, and will put the challenge to Alonso.

“Everyone will look at Michael as very strong of course,” said Domenicali during Ferrari’s traditional winter ski event. “As Michael decided to address this challenge he is convinced he will have a car which can give him the possibility to show once again the driver that he is.

“Last year when we tackled the issue of substituting Felipe [Massa] we thought about him because we are convinced that Michael is an extraordinary, very strong driver. From this point of view, Fernando has all that is necessary to defeat him.

“But a driver can be the best in the world but without the best tools, even the best in the world will have problems winning. It will be up to us to give him the right car.”

Regarding the battle between team-mates Alonso and Felipe Massa, he said:

“If by explosive you mean a couple of drivers that are strong, aggressive, competitive and have the ambition to win, this is the minimum goal that Ferrari must have together with its drivers,” said Domenicali when asked about the potential for intra-team fireworks.

“Let’s not forget that our characteristic has always been putting the interest of the team at the core of everything, both Felipe and Fernando know what our context is, how they have to move and the rules of our team.

“When you have strong drivers you have to manage them, this is true, but what is most important is to give them a car which may be a winning car or a competitive car from the start, and they will be able as professional as they are to take it to the end of races in the best possible position.

“I tackle things calmly. The rules are very clear: whoever comes to Ferrari knows where they are working and they appreciate how we work.

“In the case of Felipe and Kimi [Raikkonen], in one year one driver was ahead of the other, in the second year the opposite happened, and so there was a form of respect.

“To be the fastest doesn’t only depend on oneself, it depends on the context, on races which come out in a specific way which allow you to tackle the championship or lead you to help your team-mate to win the championship. This is something that from the outside people try to generate competition within our team and to attack us on this front, but it is more rational and calm that what might appear from abroad and the outside.”

He believes the atmosphere has already improved within the team, saying: “It’s a sparkling environment. It’s like a gush of fresh air which brings new stimuli.” This may be construed as a shot against former driver Kimi Raikkonen.


Campos insists he will make it to the grid

Adrian Campos

Adrian Campos

The boss of the new team Campos Meta 1, Adrian Campos, has denied speculation concerning his team’s finances, and insists his team will make the grid in Bahrain.

In an interview with BBC Sport, he said that, while he was looking for more money, he would make it to the first race. Sources indicate that A1GP boss Tony Teixeira is interested in buying a stake in the team.

The Italian car constructor, Dallara, also confirmed that Campos was up to date with its payments.

“It is not true, not from our side at least [that Campos are behind on payments],” said Dallara chief executive officer Andrea Pontremoli. “We are still proceeding to build the car and it has passed its crash tests.”

Campos has also talked about his second driver decicion. The team appears to be expecting funds from this new driver, which indicates that they want a pay-driver. Two names that Campos admit they are in talks with are Vitaly Petrov and Pastor Maldonado. There appears to be a third driver in the mix, but Adrian would not say who he was.

The idea of Zoran Stefanovich buying out the team, to rename it Stefan GP, appears to have also been ruled out, with Campos saying:

“I don’t want to sell my part of the team and I will remain the team principal – the condition to be a shareholder is to accept all the existing contracts.”

Domenicali hints at further 2010 rule changes

Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has hinted at further changes to the F1 2010 rules, and possibly thr new points system.

Apart from this, he wants a cheaper KERS to return by 2011, downforce to be reduced once again, and possible compulsory pit stops.

He also believes the strongest teams in 2010 will be Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferarri. Below is the full interview:

A statement from Ferrari afterwards reads as follows:

“As far as the changes regarding the rules are concerned Domenicali said that the F1 Commission will meet on 1 February, ahead of the foreseen agenda, to give the world of F1 the time to assimilate the novelties, which will be discussed and made official. There will be further modifications of how the points in the Championship will be assigned and possible changes regarding the show’s improvement on the agenda. Asked about the safety level on the track with cars filled with petrol Stefano replied: “I don’t think that more petrol on board will be dangerous, but it will be the different number of pit stops and the consequential congestion of the pit lane, which will make the difference.”

Ferrari launch date confirmed, and Rossi to test again for Ferrari

Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has confirmed the launch of the Ferrari 2010 car will be on January 28th, at Maranello.

He also confirmed that Moto GP champion Valentino Rossi will test an older Ferrari F1 car, as a reward for winning another Moto Gp title. This test will be on January 20th and 21st.

Although the idea of Rossi racing for Ferrari is currently ruled out, Stefano believes that if 3-car-teams were introduced, he would have a good chance.

“A pilot such as Valentino, should he be interested, could be consistent with this type of project,” said Domenicali at the annual Wrooom event yesterday.

He also said that the door was open for Casey Stoner to test for Ferrari if he wished. The Ducati rider said that he was considering a car-racing career after Moto GP, but hinted that this may be in the Australian V8 supercar series.

Domenicali said: “I’ve heard that he will concentrate on the [MotoGP] season but that he would like to better understand the world of cars and Formula 1, so we will see.”

“Without entering into a path that is outside my competence, the main goal of Casey and Ducati is winning the championship this year. After that, we’ll see.”

Video: Behind the scenes at USF1

Many people, including myself, have voiced concerns at USF1’s ability to be ready in time for the 2010 season. While they have not fully answered those doubts, they have kept their promise of using social media to keep fans updated.

This time, they have released a video, split into 2 parts, which takes the fans through the factory, and explains the goings-on behind the scenes.

This is completely in contrast to teams like Campos, who reveal no details of how they are getting on. This may help to quell concerns over USF1’s future.

Nelson Piquet Jr to race in NASCAR

Nelson Piquet in his preferred driving style

Nelson Piquet in his preferred driving style

Nelson Piquet Jr has claimed, on his personal website, that he is moving to one of the NASCAR chanpionships this year. On his website, he stated:

“NASCAR is hugely challenging and nobody has ever come in as an outsider before and gone on to win it – it will be the ultimate challenge.”

However, it is unclear whether he will race in the elite Sprint cup, or in a lower level, such as the Nationwide series. He could move to an even lower league such as the smaller sanctioned series. A spokeperson said that this will be clarified within the next few weeks.

Piquet tested a NASCAR car last October, so he is already slightly familiar with the cars.

In my opinion, this is excellent news. Piquet can give the crowds what they watch NASCAR for- crashes, crashes and more crashes. Suits him very well.