Daily Archives: August 22, 2011

Heidfeld replaced by Senna? (Confirmed)

The BBC are reporting that Renault driver Nick Heidfeld has been dropped from the squad’s line-up, with Bruno Senna taking his seat for the rest of the year.

Heidfeld has endured a trying year with the Renault team, having failed to lead the team after the loss of Robert Kubica after a rally crash.

It has also been hinted that Renault are suffering from a lack of funding. While Nick demands several million euro in salary, Senna comes with substansial sponsorship money free of charge.

Romain Grosjean was rumoured to be lined up for a race seat, having performed exceptionally well in GP2  this year. He previously stood in for sacked Nelson Piquet Jr. in 2009.

While this story has been reported by a trusted source, the team are yet to confirm this story.

Heidfeld currently lies 8th in the drivers’ standings, 2 points ahead of teammate Vitaly Petrov.

Update: Renault have confirmed that Senna will race alongside Vitaly Petrov in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. A short statement was issued:

"Lotus Renault GP is pleased to announce that Bruno Senna will race alongside Vitaly 
Petrov at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Bruno will attend the Official FIA Press Conference tomorrow at 15.00.

A press release with further details on the matter will be issued tomorrow morning."

It is currently unknown is this switch for one race only, or for the rest of the season.

FIA bans DRS for Eau Rouge corner

After speculation earlier today, the FIA has announced that the Drag Reduction System will be banned for the Eau Rouge corner.

The DRS system will be blocked from after the La Source hairpin (Turn 1) all the way until the exit of Radillion (second half of Eau Rouge).

However, it has also emerged that this is not just a driver issue. Team engineers have noted that the open rear wing would not be able to close if a driver hit the brakes through Eau Rouge. This would apparently lead to the rear wing possibly becoming stuck open for the rest of the lap. This issue is believed to be because of Eau Rouge’s high downforce/speed/incline combination.

Also, going far too quickly through Eau Rouge can lead to massive crashes – see Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta in 1999 (both drivers had agreed to take the corner flat out before the qualifying session).

The DRS zone for the race will be placed after Radillion, and will continue on until the Les Combes complex.


Karthikeyan expects to replace Ricciardo for Indian GP

Narain Karthikeyan may be back racing in October

Narain Karthikeyan may be back racing in October

Narain Karthikeyan has said that he expects to be back in the Hispania car for the inaugral Indian Grand Prix in October.

Having returned to the sport after a 6-year absence, Karthikeyan was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo at the half-way marl this year.

However, after facing the media when unveiling tickets for the Grand Prix last Saturday, the Indian driver said that he expects to be racing in front of his home crowd:

"It was always a dream for me to race in Formula 1 and race in front of my home
crowd. And now thanks to the Jaypee Group that dream is going to be a reality."

However, fellow Indian Karun Chandhok is less hopeful of participating in the Grand Prix. While maintaining his belief that he has not paid his way into Lotus (and one-off drive at the German Grand Prix), Chandhok is still doubtful over driving in India:

"I've always maintained that racing in the German GP this year was a one-off. The
team seem to be pleased with my performance at the event so we will see what

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the Buddh International Circuit, which is hosting the Indian Grand Prix, will be inspected by the FIA in mid-September. If the track is approved, the circuit will be open to the media by the end of that month.

DRS ban for Eau Rouge?

Eau Rouge, an extremely steep corner on the Spa circuit

Eau Rouge, an extremely steep corner on the Spa circuit

The FIA is investigating whether the Drag Reduction System is suitable to be used at the Eau Rouge corner in Spa-Francorchamps.

DRS was banned earlier this year in the tunnel in Monaco, after several drivers noted that some might take unnecessary risks through the right-hand kink.

The same reasoning applies here. Eau Rouge is a famous high-incline corner, which is taken flat out in the dry conditions, like the Monaco tunnel. However, the risk of a crash here is also high, according to Rubens Barrichello:

"We’re going to see crashes going on, and that’s not the purpose.

"You’re going to gamble. I mean, last year we had to raise the knee to make it 
work [referring to F-duct system], and I went through Eau Rouge with one leg, and 
that’s not the purpose."

According to Mercedes, the DRS system may be used for up to 63% of the Spa circuit, second only to Monza.