Daily Archives: February 1, 2010

Fisichella to join Le Mans Series

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo Fisichella

It has been announced that Giancarlo Fisichella will race in the Le Mans Series this year, effectively ending his F1 career.

After spending last year with Force India, Fisi got the team its first ever podium. He moved to Ferrari to replace Luca Badoer for the last few races, but failed to score a point. Ferrari announced that Giancarlo was to be their reserve driver for 2010, but Fisichella did not want this, so he has moved on.

It is unknown what category he will be racing in. However, Maserati, Ferrari’s sister team, races in GT2 and GT1 respectively.

I’ll be honest, I’m really sad to see him go. His reputation was damaged after 2 poor years with Renault in 2005 and 2006, but I’ll always remember him as the hero who drove the terrible Jordan EJ13 to victory, in horrible weather, in Brazil 2003. Also, his well deserved 2nd place in Belgium last year was something special.

Since joining Formula 1 in 1996, he has always had a reputation of being brilliant in terrible cars, and poor in great cars. However, it’s bad to just look at the Renault years here. As well as Jordan and Force India, he endured many poor years at Benneton, and one at Minardi.

I’ll write more on this tomorrow.

February 1st: Testing results

The first day of testing concluded in Valencia today.

We saw the launches of the Williams, Mercedes and Toro Rosso cars. Then, 7 of the teams headed out for testing at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit. Temperatures were around 12 degrees Celcius.

Felipe Massa finished top of the timesheets today, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Michael Schumacher. Massa completed the most laps (102) and set the fastest lap at 1:12.574. Mercedes were the onlt team to run both of its drivers, with Schumacher 3rd (1:12.947) while Rosberg was 4th (1:13.543). Robet Kubica was last, driving for Renault, lapping in a 1:15.000 as a fastest lap, 2.5 seconds slower than Massa.

The only red flag was for Rubens Barrichello, who spun while out on track at around 4.45 pm. Toro Rosso only got 18 laps in with Sebastien Buemi, because of a gearbox problem.

Full testing results:

Driver Team Car Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1. F. Massa Ferrari F10 1:12.574 102
2. P. de la Rosa BMW Sauber C25 1:12.784 +0.210 74
3. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP W01 1:12.947 +0.373 40
4. N. Rosberg Mercedes GP W01 1:13.543 +0.969 39
5. G. Paffett McLaren MP4-25 1:13.846 +1.272 86
6. R.Barrichello Williams FW32 1:14.449 +1.875 75
7. S. Buemi Toro Rosso STR5 1:14.762 +2.188 18
8. R. Kubica Renault R30 1:15.000 +2.426 69

More photos of testing today (more photos in the individual car launches):

Toro Rosso STR5 launched

The Toro Rosso STR5 was released today in Valencia.

For me, this was the best moment of the day, because this year’s car was built by Toro Rosso on their own, and not with assistance from Red Bull, as has been the case in the last few years. Giorgio Ascanelli explains this:

“At the end of March 2009 we got the green light as to what actually constituted being an F1 Constructor; that was the starting point for building up our operation in such a way that we could actually design a car which was achievable in engineering terms, working in a different way to the methods we had adopted in the past.”

“Being recognised as a Constructor involves owning the intellectual property rights to what are defined as the listed parts: these are effectively the monocoque, the safety structures that are subject to homologation and crash testing, which means the rear and front structures, primary and secondary roll-over structures and the complete aerodynamic package, the suspension, fuel and cooling systems.”

The livery has also been done over, albeit not too much. The back and middle are pretty much the same, but the nose has been done over, and is now flaunting much more red than blue and gold. It looks much better, even if it was a subtle change.

The car itself has a few modifications. Toro Rosso have fully intergrated the Red Bull style nose, and front wing additions. The wing mirror/turning vane has been heightened, so it now nearly reaches the floor of the car. The bargeboards have also been lowered.

However, it wasn’t all good news. First of all Sebastien Buemi said that htere was a noticable lack of grip compared to last year’s car. At first most people put this down to the narrower front tyres, but then Toro Rosso admitted that they have difficulties with a lack of downforce. I know it’s only the first day of testing, but things could be much better than they are.

Pictures from the launch:

Williams FW32 released

The Williams FW32 was released in Valencia today.

There was much less hype about this car, because practically everyone had seen the “spy shot” video released a few days ago.

Most of the livery has now been filled in with sponsors. There is still areas of black on the front wing, so I’m assuming that there will be more sponsors there later.

Now that we can see the car properly, I can definitely see changes from last year’s car. The nose is higher than last year, the front wing has been revised, and there are new sidepods. There aren’t much photos out yet, so I can’t confirm if they have covered up their diffuser like everyone else has.

The most interesting new feature seems to be a new type of engine air intake, one smaller one behind the other. I’ll upload pictures of this soon.

Pictures from the launch:

Mercedes W01 launched

The new Mercedes W01 car has been launched in Valencia.

The livery was revealed a week ago, in the Mercedes museum in Stuttgart. It’s good, but not great, I feel.

The car itself appears to look quite similar to last year’s Brawn. The main change is the revised nose cone, which is quite lower than other teams. The engine air intake has a very different shape. Also, the car sports last year’s Red Bull raised nose, as copied by Ferrari with their F10.

Otherwise, I’m actually struggling to find differences to last year’s Brawn. Hopefully underneath there are many changes, because at the moment I’m not convinced.

Nico Rosberg drove the car in the morning, before handing it over to Michael Schumacher for the afternoon.

Photos from the launch:

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