Daily Archives: July 17, 2010

Durango confirms partnership with Villeneuve Racing

Durango, a GP2 team who have submitted an entry to the 2011 F1 World Championship, have announced that they are entering a partnership with another potential entrant, Villeneuve Racing. As the name suggests, this plan was started by 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.

The Italian Durango team had applied for a grid spot months ago, but there were large obstacles in their way. They didn’t even have enough money to stay afloat in GP2, and there have been many controversies about the team, who are currently under investigation for criminal tax evasion, and also badly and dangerously repaired their GP2 cars in 2006. (More in a separate article)

However, it is unclear what Villeneuve and his original plan will bring to the table. His manager, Rick Gorne, was one of the founders of BAR, and that seems about it. After looking for a drive with Stefan GP last year, it is possible that he could drive for Durango, provided they get the spot, as well as run it.

Little is known about this combined plan. Durango’s base will still be in Italy, and they have talked to Toyota about a technical partnership, like Stefan GP did last year. Also, Dallara could be a possibility for supplying the chassis.

Still, Durango looks like a dodgy choice for the 2011 spot. I’m currently writing a separate article on all of the new applicants, more on this story soon.

Ferrari were not given immediate order to allow Kubica through

In a complete contrast to Charlie Whiting’s evidence given a few days ago, it has emerged that Ferrari were not immediately ordered to instruct Fernando Alonso to allow Robert Kubica through at the British Grand Prix. Gazzetta Dello Sport has published the transcript of pit wall communications during the incident, which show that there was a long delay between the incident and Whiting advising Ferrari to let Kubica through.

Fernando Alonso battles with Robert Kubica, and cuts the next corner

Fernando Alonso battles with Robert Kubica, and cuts the next corner

According to Charlie Whiting, he immediately told Ferrari to let Kubica through. However, the radio transcript tells a different story:

13:31:05 The overtaking move takes place at Club and after one second Rivola calls Whiting, who replies after 11 seconds. Rivola asks: ‘Have you seen the pass? In our opinion there was no room to overtake.’

26 secs after the pass, Whiting asks to be given time to watch the TV footage.

13:33 Ferrari makes a second radio call – 1m55s after the pass. Alonso has completed another lap plus one sector, and is behind Nico Rosberg and Jaime Alguersuari, while Kubica drops further back.

Whiting tells Ferrari that the stewards think Alonso could give the position back. Rivola asks: ‘Is this the decision?’

Whiting replies: ‘No, but that’s how we see it.’

Rivola informs the team while Rosberg overtakes Alguersuari. On the GPS screen that shows the position of the cars, Ferrari sees Kubica dropping further back. Meanwhile, Alonso overtakes Alguersuari at Turn 2.

13:33:22 Ferrari makes a third radio call.

Rivola tells Whiting: ‘Alonso doesn’t have only Kubica behind. He would have to concede two positions now.’

While they discuss the matter Kubica is overtaken by Barrichello so Alonso would have to now give up three positions.

Whiting replies: ‘We have given you the chance to do it or not. Things being this way, the stewards will hear the drivers at the end of the race, but I understand your position.’

13:35:30 Kubica stops so Alonso can no longer give the position back.

13:45:31 The stewards investigate the Alonso/Kubica incident. The monitors then display ‘car number 8 under investigation’, 14m26s after the pass.

13:46:26 Just 55 seconds later the stewards decide that Alonso should have a drive-through penalty.

This shows that Whiting had a delay of two minutes of telling Ferrari to let Kubica through, not instantly like he had previously stated. Also, this would prove Ferrari’s claim that Kubica was dropping down the field too quickly to allow through, and it would have unfairly disadvantaged Alonso.

After a look at this evidence, I would have to question the drive-through penalty a little bit more. For sure, Fernando should have allowed Kubica through instantly, without his team telling him to, but it does seem strange that Charlie Whiting would have told the story incorrectly.

At the end of the day, while a drive-through penalty is still justifiable, the stewards’ time spent deliberating incidents must be looked at, as it had affected so many races this season.