Daily Archives: January 19, 2010

USF1 promises innovative car design

USF1

USF1

The USF1 team has promised an innovative car design for 2010, as it comes closer to the testing schedule in February.

On the team’s website, they said:

“When we started this car, we started with nothing but fundamentals,” explained one of the team’s senior designers, Scott Bennett, in his official blog. “The majority of a modern F1 car is tightly defined by the rules, so there isn’t scope these days to come out with a Lotus 88 or Tyrrell P34. But there is still a daunting set of basic parameters that you have to define before you can even start designing anything – things like wheelbase, drive-train configuration, suspension layout, weight distribution.”

“And when you’re doing it for the first time, you don’t have an in-built knowledge of what’s worked in the past. Throw in some major rules changes in each of the last two off-seasons, and there are even more unknowns. On the other hand, knowing that you’re facing a lot of unknowns also means you don’t think you already know everything.”

“We’ll know whether they were the right or wrong answers soon enough, but our car certainly won’t be a clone of anything else out there. And did you know that we’re the only one of the four new teams designing our own gearbox?”

Bennett is also delighted by the privilage of getting to work on USF1′s car. He said:

“In less than a year we’ve built a very capable shop, put together the smartest and most talented group of people I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, and designed what should be a fast, reliable, safe, drivable, and yes, beautiful car.”

“This team means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for me it’s literally a dream come true. When those lights go out at the start of our first race, it will be both the end of a long road, and the start of a new one. I can’t wait.”

Inside the USF1 factory:

Campos car passes final crash test

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos Meta logo

The Campos F1 car, which will make its debut next month, has passed its final mandatory FIA crash test.

The team’s 2010 car is being designed by Italian firm Dallara, and is technically nearly finished before the testing begins next month.

Team boss Adrian Campos has said:

“The car is now homologated and we are still working very, very hard. We are very confident about our position, and we are close to a deal with an investor that will help us even more.”

Campos will probably make their debut on the second Jerez test,on the 17th-20th February. They will also announce the team-mate to Bruno Senna within the next fortnight.

Piquet had F1 offer for 2010

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that he had a firm offer of a drive in F1 for 2010.

The Brazilian, who has not raced in F1 since the crash-gate scandal last year, has announced that he is to race in a NASCAR series, having previously tested a Toyota Tundra truck.

Piquet claims that he left F1 because of all the politics. He said:

“I could’ve been there (Formula 1) if I wanted to. A team offered me to be there.”

“I just thought I was sick and tired of all of the stuff over there. I just took a decision of starting a new step in my career and a new challenge in coming to NASCAR.”

“For a lot of people who are outside of America, it’s a downgrade. But for people that really understand – maybe it’s a downgrade in technology of the car — but in terms of career, of how big the sport is in a lot of ways it’s even a tougher step than F1.”

“For me, I compare it side by side. It’s just two different types of cars. The level of competition and the seriousness and the business of both series are very, very high. I was just sick and tired of things over there. I got a very, very good opportunity over here to start my career here and I’m here.”

It is not known which team made the offer, but Piquet was heavily linked earlier with the new Campos team, having already signed fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna.

Even if he had taken the offer, he never would have survived in F1. Very few people will forgive him for what he did, and I doubt I ever will. Anyways, he would have crashed.

De la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

BMW Sauber have announced that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team this year, alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

The 38-year-old has been the McLaren test driver since 2003. He has competed in 71 Grands Prix since 1999.  He started his F1 career with a point in Melbourne with Arrows. He spent 2 years with them, until he moved to Jaguar in 2001. After 2 years there, he became the McLaren test driver. His last Grand Prix was at Interlagos 2006, when he was substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.

It is believed that De la Rosa was signed so as to bring experience to the team and his team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who has only raced in 2 Grands Prix so far.

Also, it appears that he has backing from Universia, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This orginisation is itself heavily supported by the bank Santander, who have a sponsorship deal regarding fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.”

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa said: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro back, as he certainly deserves a good drive after many faithful years of testing. The fact that he got the fastest lap in Brazil 2006 (only raced 8 races that season, and not since) proves that he has lost little of his expertise.

However, I am now much more concerned about Nick Heidfeld. The German is now left with very few drives available: Renault, Campos or USF1. I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a seat for 2010, as his experience and dependability are surely valuable for many teams.

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