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Saturday, April 29, 2006

April 30,2006

Webber’s 2007 plansOn their current form Renault F1 would be one team every driver on the grid would dream to drive for, but not Webber, who wants to continue with Williams F1 team. Given the fact that Williams is not backed by a works engine and Cosworth don’t have enough resources to work on issues like manufacturer team like Renault or a BMW, this is a bold move. Webber is one person who is made of  different mould and hence stands out on grid. Opportunism is the mantra of grid,recent Buttongate and Alonso Jump incidents are still fresh in minds of Racing fans and this one example really is exceptional example. But then that’s the way Mark Webber is. If people remember Nürbürgring 2005 Race, Webber made contact with Montoya in first corner incident, and he was honest to accept it which is another  rarity in F1. Talking of Nürbürgring in 2004 edition Montoya Punted out his then team-mate Ralf Schumacher and was quite cool about it, maintaining it was not his mistake  

JV on new qualifying format
Confusing for driver’s puts drivers and engineers in Dilemma when to let the drivers on track. These views do echo the questions in minds of fans as well. While many a drivers wait in first two parts to go on track for last five minutes ,can’t recover if they commit a mistake or get caught up traffic or are victims of other drivers mistakes. In case of JV he was innocent victim of his team-mate’s error on final corner at Imola.
I

Thursday, April 27, 2006

April 28, 2006

The making of another ‘Superteam’
First we had JPM-Räikkönen as most strong driver lineup on the grid start of season 2005 , then before giving them proper logistics , Ron Greedy Dennis jumped gun to buy ‘off the shelf’ Champion. We have this news been circulated in latest edition of Schumacher-Kimi-JPM Soap Opera. Only substantial information that comes out of this news is Marlboro brand’s long-term commitment to the Italian team through to the end of 2011. We were seriously under impression that with heavy regulations on tobacco companies sponsoring sports team, like their competition Phillip Morris is also on their way out of F1 end of 2006 season.
Second aspect of this story is if indeed Kimi moves to Ferrari on side of Schumacher, Juan Pablo has better prospects to remain in Mclaren team, but given the reputation of unreliable Mercedes engine and fact that some of the brilliant technical staff like Adrian Newey, Nicholas Tombazis and Peter Prodromou have left Mclaren, will Mclaren be the same force to reckon starting 2007
     Is there any chance Red Bull racing moving to Renault as their engine suppliers??

Is Christian Klien being shunted!?
In two of their recent tests Red Bull racing team got their B team driver Luizzi to help the team in testing, this is interesting development, especially when we know the team owner Dietrich Mateschitz  had some interesting observations in what he expects his team drivers to deliver  punt

V8 faster than V10 at Silverstone
Montoya endorses views of most of his rivals that lap times have not gone down as compared to those done by car equipped with V10 engines. Personally even I was not much happy to see V10 being replaced by V8 engines, but having seen the cars on race day, I too agree that things have not changed in F1 with respect to speed.

Mosley excusitis
After hounding the GPMA teams that all his whims are to make F1 more cost effective & make the playing field leveled for Privateers, Then the claim was this will enable more teams to join F1 , Hype was created that Fans were expecting to see 25-30 cars racing on race day, now all of sudden Mr. Mosley gives excuse that most of the circuits are not equipped to accommodate more number of teams on grid , in terms of logistics. Well this was the first stupid argument we had posed as fans, but then we were given false dreams by FIA

Sour grapes case
Honda does what it can do the best , whine and whine. Just when we thought ferrari rear wing issue was closed by end of Sepang weekend, Honda is trying to bring stale stew to boil. Will nick fry , button and company realize that they really have lots of ground to cover before they can seriously think about challenging for race wins, Championships are much later milestone. That doesn’t stop Nick Fry from issuing customary statement about how Jenson Button is motivated more than ever. Pounding miles after miles in testing is meaningless unless fans really see a move in positive direction.  On a separate note , Agur-San had mentioned few weeks back that Super Aguri Personnel were moved to senior Honda team, the fiasco in  pit stops at Imola certainly confirmed those claims J

Interesting Quote:
“I told my nephew that if he wanted to get on in motor racing, the first thing he should do was master English. Thank goodness he now speaks it.” - Juan Manuel Fangio
Wish Kimi had received words of wisdom from some wise uncle :P

Latest Updates:
Prodrive led by Dave Richards have got the 12th spot on 2008 Grid. So now we have 24 cars on the grid.
Some observations:
  • All current team got entry , while the new teams had to show more competencies, to get the their proposal accepted, likes of Super Aguri & MidlandF1 ,which are really struggling to keep pace with developments introduced by their rivals should have been culled from the grid and more deserving teams with credibility in other Open wheel racing racing series got a not ,reference here is to Carlin Motorsport and Spanish GP2 team race engineering

  • Talking about open wheel racing experience , Prodrive has none their team is involved in World Rally Championship.
FIA has stuck to its tradition of taking arbitrary decisions.
FIA vision statement: “Let’s give them something to talk about

I

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

April 27,2006

Paddock Pulse - Ted Kravitz@Imola
Ted has mentioned about two drivers ,who are not the first choice drivers of their team and their race in Imola. In case of Mclaren, if assessment of their engine is correct, car setup is critical factor, for the team to have a fair shot at title and given this into account JPM’s Imola race needed applaud from the team bosses.If only someone tell both the Mclaren and Sauber BMW team management the maxim "Correction does much, but encouragement does more."

Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s richest of them all
This is important news as I have always considered Ex Minardi Boss to be more of racers heart than that of businessman, of course his drivers had to pay for their own seats, but his was friendlier affair in paddock with barbecue, than the glossy catered stuff dished out by the other team. This is clear indicator of the amount of monies Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz paid to acquire Minardi

Interesting Quote
"Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines" -- Enzo Ferrari
Is Norbert Haug listening??

I

April 26, 2006

Wurz talks of Montoya’s Future
Alex Wurz is a very much respected F1 test driver and while some may feel its bit of big mouth talk for a person who can’t get himself a race drive to talk about a popular race driver’s future on the grid. But the guy has made a sensible assessment of Montoya’s situation.
Juan may continue to race for a lower string team, but to have a decent crack at World championship he needs to be in either a Mclaren or Renault
If indeed Juan fails to find race seat with top team and walks out of sport F1 would be poorer sport to miss out on talented racer like Juan Pablo. It would be really great disappointment if Driver with so much potential would leave the sport without winning the ultimate crown.
All we can say “Juan this is the Moment! And Now is your time”

Cosworth or Toyota that is the question
Sir Frank Williams thought Cosworth would be a perfect stop gap arrangement when engine maker BMW pulled plug on WilliamsF1 venture in middle of last season. First engine manufacturer Williams approached was indeed Toyota, and deal didn’t go thru , Cosworth which came in last moment in picture was never expected to be great option ( though many racing fans knew given Cosworth’s pedigree they would be ahead of the competition in V8 development) ,Toyota would be anxious anyways to close Williams deal so that they can a) plan ahead b) their Midland engagement is not in good shape with customer not meeting payment milestones on time so far
I am sure Nico Rosberg’s fastest lap in Bahrain has put Williams Boss in interesting situation. Personally would love to see long term future for Cosworth with Williams in F1

One puzzle solved
With Jorg Zander who split with Williamsf1 making his plans known. The second piece of puzzle still remains, Mike Gascoyne and his plans, that Toyota has paid him severance till November, if the terms mean that he can’t join rival teams needs to be seen , & even if there is such a clause ,we always have contract management expert like Jenson Button in F1, so Mike can always get professional advice :-P

Mclaren-B?
In recent years Mclaren like Redbull has been supporting young drivers like Lewis Hamilton & Gary Pafett, it would be a good opportunity for these guys to prove their potential in B team. But given the recent history of corporate Mclaren bosses jilting their drivers, one can’t really tell whether or not the young talents will get a drive in the new team. While it has been widely believed that the 12th spot on the grid has gone to prodrive racing headed by Ex-BAR boss Dave Richards, this may just be a rumor. If either of these indeed get a chance to field team on grid ,it may well mean no chance to see Minardi & Paul Stoddart in the paddock

Daily routine
News for Where Will Schumi Go Club J

I

Sunday, April 23, 2006

April 23, 2006

Smile returns to Tifosi

Stunner of Qualifier by Schumacher and smart thinking by Ferrari strategists saw emotional Michael to conduct Inno Di Mameli to the joy of Tifosi Fans.

While rivals had hoped that 1:22.795 second laps which saw Michael grab pole was maybe result from running light in qualifier, Michael drove for 20 laps before his first pit stop (Jenson button who was P2 in qualifiers with 1:22.988 pitted on 12th lap) showed that Schumi had done good job in qualifier. First pitstop however proved to be Ferrari’s undoing , with the new tyres graining for Ferrari, hopes for Renault revived with Alonso cutting into Michael’s lead at rate of near a second per lap. Then came the key moment when Renault strategists decided to pit Fernando for his final stop earlier than planned on lap 41 and get him ahead of Ferrari in pit this would have proved to be masterstroke ,but that was not to be, Ferrari thought on their feet got Michael in for a quick pitstop while Alonso was still making his outlap. Result was with 20 laps to go Alonso found himself behind Michael. In repeat of 2005,,however with roles reversed  and two smalls mistakes by Alonso when he  ran wide meant Michael saw the checkered flag 2.096 seconds ahead of Alonso.

Gainers: Montoya who couldn’t use his car in Final free practice and had to switch to T car did a good job to qualify at P7 drove sensibly and won his first podium of season ahead of team-mate Räikkönen  who ended fifth starting 8th on grid.
Webber was another gainer who made most on the race start to get past Kimi and drove strong race to get 3 points for Williamsf1 team
Massa did a good job in first stint of race when he held the field for Michael ,but one yellow flag and surprising lackluster performance of Ferrari in first stint meant team-mate couldn’t make most of help from Massa.

Losers: Honda Duo Button and Barichello couldn’t capitalize of qualifying at sharp end of grid , while Alonso and Massa jumped Barichello on 1st lap. Button and pit crew messed with his second stop when Button raced out with his fuel rig still in car. Reminds me of number of similar screw ups the pit crew did with Sato in 2005 season.

Toyota Duo of Ralf Schumacher & Trulli : While Trulli retired on 5th lap with steering column failure,Ralf couldn’t make much of his P5 qualifier and ended race on 9th position. Best thing that the duo did was not holding a train of cars behind them for which they had become specialists of sorts in last season.

Eighteen month drought is finally over for the Maranello team, question now in minds of fans and rivals will be,is this a mirage or have Ferrari finally found the oasis after  going around for more than a season

Times01 M. Schumacher Ferrari 1:31:06.486
02 F. Alonso Renault + 2.096
03 JP. Montoya McLaren + 15.868
04 F. Massa Ferrari + 17.096
05 K. Räikkönen McLaren + 17.524
06 M. Webber Williams + 37.739
07 J. Button Honda + 39.635
08 G. Fisichella Renault + 40.200
09 R. Schumacher Toyota + 45.511
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1:17.851
11 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:19.675
12 J. Villeneuve BMW + 1:22.370
13 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1 laps
14 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
15 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
16 T. Monteiro Midland F1 + 2 laps
Did not finish
17 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 15 laps
18 T. Sato Super Aguri + 18 laps
19 C. Klien Red Bull + 22 laps
20 Y. Ide Super Aguri + 39 laps
21 J. Trulli Toyota + 57 laps
22 C. Albers Midland F1 + 62 laps

I

Saturday, April 22, 2006

April 22, 2006


Imola Qualifiers

Michael Schumacher takes 66th Career pole to break late Ayrton Senna’s record of 65 career poles. With stunning time of 1:22.795 Michael starts tomorrow’s race on front row.
Honda who have fared well at this circuit in recent years did well in qualifiers.Just when we thought Rubens Barichello got better of team-mate Button for his first season at Honda ,Jenson pipped Rubens to take P2 in final seconds of final qualifying session.

Toyota drivers gave impression that they have finally sized up the circuit, they ended up with Ralf Schumacher at P6 and Trulli at P9.Renault & Mclaren surprisingly seemed listless in the qualifiers. Montoya’s started Saturday on bad note with team having to switch his engine from Melbourne GP to spare car as his regular car  got a problem with the petrol supply, the fuel pressure. He was still to take P7 ahead of team-mate Räikkönen.

Question for tomorrow is whether Ferrari and Honda are light on fuel  that put them on top grid positions. What is the strategy of Renault and Mclaren for the race or Will Ferrari finally end the 18 month winning run of Renault & Mclaren in front of Tifosi Fans.

01 M. Schumacher Ferrari 1:22.795
02 J. Button Honda 1:22.988
03 R. Barrichello Honda 1:23.242
04 F. Massa Ferrari 1:24.884
05 F. Alonso Renault 1:23.709
06 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:23.772
07 JP. Montoya McLaren 1:24.021
08 K. Räikkönen McLaren 1:24.158
09 J. Trulli Toyota 1:24.172
10 M. Webber Williams 1:24.795
11 G. Fisichella Renault 1:23.771
12 J. Villeneuve BMW 1:23.887
13 N. Rosberg Williams 1:23.966
14 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:24.101
15 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:24.129
16 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:24.520
17 C. Klien Red Bull 1:25.410
18 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:25.437
19 T. Monteiro Midland F1 1:26.820
20 C. Albers Midland F1 1:27.088
21 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:27.609
22 Y. Ide Super Aguri 1:29.282

I

Thursday, April 20, 2006

April 21, 2006

Renault to stay in F1
That is the inclination we get from interview given by the new Renault team president Alain Dassas. Dassas replaced Patrick Faure who stepped down from F1 duties after 1st race of the season. Recent cost cutting measures which target to reduce budgets of the participating teams, seems to have been decisive factor here. While the latest interview may sound promising, it must be remembered that when the top boss Carlos Ghosn took over the reins of Renault organization last year, he has specifically mentioned that Renault F1 program will be monitored closely on performance (results) and cost-Vs-benefit criterion .With major sponsors Mild Seven and Telefonica planning to pull out of the partnership, Renault still needs sponsors to pump in monies. Of this mild seven withdrawal is certainty ( anti-tobacco regulations around the globe),Spanish company Telefonica is reviewing its options with Alonso moving to Mclaren & possibility of Spanish team entering F1. With all these factors its still a long way for any conclusions, but then Heiki Kova can pull in new sponsors from Finland/ Iceland .They say to fight fire you need fire , to give a spirited fight to Scotch whisky backed Mclaren , Finlandia or Reyka Vodka would be a good choice J

Renault to renew Flavio’s contract
In same interview Mr. Dassas mentioned that renewing Briatore’s contract  is top priority thing for the team. For someone whose technical knowledge is as limited to F1 car needs four tyres and runs in direction of nose cone, Flavio has enjoyed fair amount of success, then some of his more knowledgeable rivals. One thing that stands out in this success is his eye to spot opportunity, talent & man management skills. Jarno Trulli for one can surely bet for the man management skills part ,given his Renault experience of 2004 season J

Alonso tips Ferrari Weekend
Championship leader Alonso expects Ferrari to have a good weekend at Imola and also mentions a second place would be good result for him. First we had Michael & now the baton is passed to Alonso. Racer minus Balls = World Champion driver!? Is this the current trend we wonder. Last season there were two  instances when Alonso let Montoya overtake him & now to the Champion speak of just working to maintain his lead cushion for another Title ,rather than winning races    L

One for the Road
On the Spirited fight story.. Kimi Räikkönen’s colorful nightlife gets Ron Dennis all embarrassed as it is not good for corporate image of the team. Agreed Ron, but what if the kid gets totally disoriented after raising too many a toast promoting your main sponsor and next thing you know the lap dance session starts J


I

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 20, 2006

Typical F1 Haug-wash
While open and honest communication is not  in fashion in these times , F1 has its own shares of stories that suggest that the pinnacle of motorsport is pretty much in lines with ways of world. Mclaren Engine Boss Norbert Haug’s latest interview is just another Hog wash . Best is the statement about team driver Kimi Raikonnen already signing Ferrari deal “And I can hardly imagine that such a decision would be taken behind our back". This statement comes from management man, who first poached a world champion driver to their camp and only after that bothered to share the decision with their current driver as has already been confirmed by the other team boss some time back

I

April 19, 2006

San Marino GP Preview




The Imola circuit that hosts the San Marino Grand Prix, is a challenging circuit for all the teams. There are few quick corners, many short straights, a relatively smooth track surface and, of course, the famous kerbs that are an integral part of the racing line. In Imola kerbs are going to be the decisive factor when teams setup their cars for the weekend.

Suspension: Most of the teams have been focusing on front suspension in their recent tests.
Engine: 73% of the lap is spent at full throttle, which is among the highest values of the season. However, the longest period spent at full throttle is relatively short, which relieves the pressure on engine pistons; to compensate this, though the generally cool temperatures in this time of year at Imola results in high air density, meaning the engine develops more power and is under greater strain. The average engine speed at this circuit is relatively high, but the main danger for the engine comes from potentially over-revving when the car is launched over the kerbs and the driven wheels lose contact with the ground.
Reliability: The violent use of the kerbs around the lap puts the cars under particular strain, and Imola often sees a high
retirement rate.
Tyres: Imola is not a particularly abrasive circuit, meaning the levels of degradation are generally lower.
Overtaking: The short straights mean overtaking is difficult. So the qualifying would be a key ingredient. In new qualifying format, a red flag here or there can jeopardize the qualifying prospects of the entire field ( Note: This is another new track for Yuji Ide and the Dinosaur of Super Aguri car)
Favorites: On current form Renault is the team to beat. But when it comes to past winners, having won 30 per cent of the races held at Imola, the WilliamsF1 Team is the most successful Formula One team in Imola since the inaugural race in 1981. In recent past Honda have done well in Imola. Never to discount the Mclaren team which have finished 1-2 on three occasions.

Imola preview can’t be complete without Mention of Late
Ayrton Senna who is associated with Imola for the saddest of reasons. But don't forget that he also holds a remarkable record at the circuit: he started Imola races from pole position an incredible eight times and seven of those were in succession

Ref: f1-fact, FIA site.

I

Sunday, April 16, 2006

April 17, 2006

Future Ferrari Line-up
The drama surrounding where Kimi will drive in 2007, whether Schumacher will continue in F1 as driver and for whom he will drive is getting, interesting than on track events that happens over 18-19 weekends every year. While idea of Kimi & Schummi driving for Ferrari will be of interest not only to Tifosi fans but to general F1 audience. Given history of Ferrari which has had strict pecking order, about number 1 and number 2 drivers in team, and that Schummi has enjoyed the preferential treatment in Ferrari, whether Kimi will be happy to drive next to Michael.
About the other half of story where Flavio Briatore is trying to allure Michael to Renault, sounds very logical possibility, the logic being, with departure of Fernando Alonso major Spanish sponsor Telefonica is in two minds whether to continue its association with Champions Renault. It would really require some name like Michael Schumacher to hold them back or get another big sponsor. With tobacco manufacturers exiting F1 end of 2006 there is a flux on sponsorship front & lots of big names in drivers being wooed is just another spin-off of this.
As much as I may blame Mclaren Bosses for being blue blooded corporate than red blooded racers ,at the moment they are sitting pretty with a World champion driver ready to drive their car and big sponsors like Johnny Walker ,Emirates Air & Vodafone to fund their future in racing world.

Schumacher assures Tifosi
     Speculations aside about his future in F1,Michael appears confident to put on better results in front of Italian fans at Imola coming weekend. The Ferrari detractors are claiming that the form in season opener race in Bahrain was more a result of extensive winter testing team did on Sakhir circuit, the next race at Sepang the Ferrari suffered with engine reliability issues and Melbourne was a big bad dream for the team. Will Imola mark the return of Ferrari we all will find out this time next week.

RBR3 how will it be?
The star designer shares his vision of what is on offer from his side to Red Bull Racing team. And if one goes by the MP421 car that was his parting gift to Mclaren team, Newey fans can be assured that given his talents and Red Bull funds ,we should expect to see another beauty running on the F1 circuit. Question remains how much reliable will be the Ferrari powered customer engines, for the team to hope to build upon the solid foundation that they built since last season

I

Thursday, April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006

Montoya confirmed at RBR !?
Going by David Coulthard’s irritated reaction looks like the deal is already signed. Also read elsewhere Redbull Boss Dietrich Mateschitz quote
"If we invest say 50 million dollars ­into a wind tunnel, into Ferrari engines and to get Adrian Newey, and the benefit of all this makes the car one second quicker, it simply cannot be that a driver loses that second in comparison with the other. So the logical consequence will be that we need the quickest driver we can lay hands on for 2007, when we shall run with the first car under the guidance of Adrian Newey".
While the prospect of Juan Pablo driving Adrian Newey car will really stir up interests of the race goers, by dumping its ‘young driver’ program in favor of commercial gains ..Alas red bull will be reduced to likes of the corporate minded Ferrari & Mclaren if this happens

More Monies for the Kimi
With latest rounds of talks that Michael Schumacher is renewing his Ferrari contract. That leaves Kimi in interesting and Ferrari in awkward situation. I am not sure how the contract is worded (hope Ferrari lawyers are on top of their job). From Ferrari perspective it should be ‘If Ferrari as not able to give race seat to Kimi starting 2007 they have to pay Kimi Multimillion dollars as severance amount’
Else they can dump Massa and give 2nd Ferrari seat to Kimi, question is what does the contract say if Kimi is not party to this offer that will be a really interesting affair on the way..

Monza Cleared by local authorities
The  race is a go , given a choice between Imola and Monza for Italian GP latter is the one I like reason being nice high speed circuit , good overtaking & above all one circuit where my favorite Driver Juan Pablo has a good run on this circuit J

I

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

Cruel world of F1
As per the latest paddock talk making rounds Michael Schumacher will be renewing his Ferrari contract. So if this happens, what does that mean to the drivers market which is already buzz thanks to Ron Dennis’s scoop. On other side Renault boss has thrown his weight behind his test driver Heikki Kovalainen to replace Fernando Alonso who is moving to Mclaren end of season. With Schummi staying put at Ferrari ..mean one ex champ car is going to be out of race seat end of season ( two in case BMW dumps another) and we have current Champ car series Champion Sebastien Bourdais makes no secret that he still wants to drive in F1 as race driver. My heart goes out to the man, “F1 is a cruel world Sebastien, work ethics, and talent is not necessarily the complete secret to make it big in F1”

Midland Interested in Mike Gascoyne
If this story indeed materializes it would be adding first element of glamour to the otherwise dull Midland outfit. Of course I had met a couple from Japan at Sepang who were actually carrying a small ‘Go Tiago’ poster on them ( at the speed he drives Tiago might have spotted it as well). One caveat is like most of the things in MF1 will management expect Gascoyne to Pay for his services. Of course the talks about MF1 being on sale is still strongly making rounds.

I

Sunday, April 09, 2006

April 10, 2006

Montoya oozes confidence
“For the first time since I have been at Mclaren I could attack in the car. For the first time I have driven the car rather than the car driving me.” This sounds more like Montoya at his best .As a biggest JPM fan; I hope we get to see Montoya backing his words with great races in remaining races of the season.
Playing Devil’s advocate: I’d like to know how Monty explains his sterling performances at Silverstone, Monza & Interlagos in 2005, and not to mention his drive to second place finish at hockenheim starting from back of the grid


Super Aguri express disapproval on Ides’ performance
To be fair to Yuji Ide, the first time the man got decent miles under him was in Bahrain race. Further Bahrain & Malaysia are not narrow tracks like Albert park not to mention the cold condition ,which gave tough time to seasoned drivers like Montoya, Massa, Schumacher & Button their share of embarrassments. Under light of these events, the Super Aguri is asking too much from the 31 year old rookie. While Sato was infamous for incidents on track till last season, it’s his performance from the dinosaur of a F1 car has become the baseline and if Ide doesn’t get his act together in Imola there is a strong possibility that he may be replaced by Satoshi Motoyama. Satoshi did one of Friday drive for the then Jordan team in 2004

Button Joins Nico Fan Club
First place this club wouldn’t have been in place and Nico would have been driving GP2 car for another year and possibly doing some testing. Thanks to generous contribution of Button in form of his buying out his Williams contract we have Nico getting a race seat. Being a Williams fan all I hope is privateer WilliamsF1 outperform corporate HondaF1 this season and Button left to rue on what should have been what could have been if he was racing Cosworth powered Williams FW28

I

April 09, 2006

Most of the teams are busy testing for the forthcoming European leg of F1 championship. This break between Oz GP and Imola would probably be the biggest apart from three week summer break that the teams  get to enjoy. Not much happening around and most of the F1 related sites are still posting Toyota-Gascoyne Spilt and Schumacher cutting short his vacation to resume testing.

Two news pieces that catch my eyes are related to incumbent world champion Fernando Alonso .Alonso has been nominated for the prestigious annual Laureus award. The other sportsmen nominated include Ronaldinho (soccer), Roger Federer (tennis), Lance Armstrong (cycling), Tiger Woods (golf) and Valentino Rossi (MotoGP).Each of the names in the list have really excelled in their sports in their own way, while Ronaldinho & Federer are playing surreal, everything they do seem to have magic in it. Tiger woods has been on path of redemption, trying to reach the high standards that he had once set for himself. One person of the list is to one whom Fernando would hate losing , yes I am talking about Valentino Rossi. If someone has noted the Fernando and his reactions on Rossi related questions, while other drivers are always politically correct in their reaction about Rossi in F1, Fernando has been one person who has made no bones that Rossi wouldn’t reach those heights instantly that a F1 driver trains himself, work for becoming one .If you have seen him in new season, he is aping the Doctor especially in his post race celebrations. He is trying to act funny, being funny looks so natural on Rossi, while somehow in case of Alonso his antics seem Sooo very artificial.

I think his signing Mclaren is on same lines when Valentino split with Honda as World Champion and joined rivals Yamaha and continued his winning ways with them. The way the season has started, on current form Alonso stands a good chance as joining Mclaren as incumbent champion.

The other part of equation though only time will tell yes whether Fernando has it in him to make Mclaren rally around him (something like Valentino and Michael Schumacher in F1) and take them to the top of game.

Will the current Mclaren drivers get their act together and make Mr. Alonso’s entry to Mclaren a hollow one ..we will all know by this time next year

I

Friday, April 07, 2006

April 07, 2006

Schummi to Renault -True or False?
Taking jab at rivals ,seems to be the mood of the moment after Montoya firing a salvo at Kimi , Now sites PF1 and ITV are at it the above news on ITV-F1 has been countered by PFI . So what is the reality...Well who cares lets focus on task at hand the 2006 season

Mclaren on Task at Paul Ricard
While the times put by test drivers may not exactly convert into race points (Honda & Toyota drivers can agree). But nevertheless is comforting to the race drivers. Talking about testing, Jenson Button has been busting his butt on the Vallelunga track since Wednesday, while I admire the work ethic shown by the Brit, till he shows some balls on the track, GP win will remain a distant dream for him

Schumacher believes that Ferrari competent
Just when there are doubts being raised that the podium finish at the Bahrain season opener was all due to the exhaustive testing the team had done on the circuit in winter .Ferrari Ace firmly believes in capability Ferrari 248F1 car to deliver good results. Which makes a 3 way battle at top between Renault, Mclaren & Ferrari, this is good for competition. While Ferrari claims could have been dismissed as PR talk or ones to keep the team morale high, his Rival and incumbent champion Alonso, firmly puts Michael on top of his rival brigade and categorically maintains that the seven time champion is still on top of his game. With European leg to commence in two weeks time we will know the truth in the claim

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

April 06, 2006

Adrian Burgess Shown Midland F1 door
Trevor Carlin was dumped unceremoniously in middle of 2005 season, now its turn of Adrian Burgess. If team owner Alex Schneider is really serious that most dull team on grid has better showing, another person to let go is the team principal Kolles. This person has the divisive traits that will not see MF1 do better. I see Super Aguri whooping their A$$ in this season

Interesting part of story is the customary let go statement from team "We wish him every success as he leaves to pursue other challenges, and we fully expect to see him back in the F1 paddock before too long." Is he going back to where he started, Mclaren I mean. With so much experience staff leaving they can always use experienced resource

Schumie Fumie enters wrong roomy
I had to blog on this hilarious incident myself, It was amusing to see all wound up Michael enter Toyota Garage .. I was yelling ‘Way to go Michael ..cya next year in Toyota with your bro


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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

April 5, 2006

Mike Gascoyne parts ways with Toyota
News of this high profile designer parting ways with Panasonic Toyota racing will be causing waves around the paddock as we know for sure one big ticket shopper (Mclaren) and one top racing team(Williams) have recently lost resources of same expertise as Mike. So the question is where is mike headed to, those who have watched Oz GP 2006 will recollect Midland F1 racing cars indirectly helped Alonso during last three restarts of the race. One person whose prospects were directly hurt was Mclaren Driver Kimi, who could have overtaken Alonso , if Midland duo had not taken the racing line. The reason I am pointing to this incident , was after first two instances , Mike Gasgoyne left Toyota Pitwall and was seen rebuking the Midland pitwall about. So are you heading to Mclaren Mr. Gasgoyne :-?

Ferrari resume testing
Putting the Oz GP failure behind them the team goes back to testing. Starting Bahrain 2005 there has hardly been a day when Ferrari has not tested either at their factory track, or solo testing. For some mysterious reasons all that test effort has not converted into Race results. In recent past season opener at Bahrain was only respite for the Ferrari team. But that probably was their exhaustive test efforts at the Sakhir circuit during the Winter test. At this point of time Renault team is really having dream run,whatever they do is simply falling in place while Ferrari who had been having similar run for past 6 years suddenly seem to be falling apart

JPM takes a rip at team-mate
Though the issue is right Juan, firstly the timing of you mentioning is wrong and secondly in spite of being your loyal fan , I feel its none of your business.

Kimi going for his improving his personal record (fasterst race lap) is not a new thing.He has been doing that throughout his career. While it would be ok to do so in pre 2005 regulations,its kind of stupid of Kimi to stress his engine needlessly. I have talked about this regularly in 2005 season as well, one reason why Kimi gets all those engine penalties as compared to Juan ,is needless bravado he shows by putting in fastest laps in end of race (when race results are almost settled), it is understandable if he is on hot pursuit for position or if he is being chased by other driver. But two instances I remember in last season when JPM won the race, at Silverstone(1.20.502,Lap 60) and Monza (1.21.504, Lap 51), Kimi had resorted to same trick of putting fastest race lap on concluding lap, and then next weekend he had engine penalty.

JPM while the issue is correct ,its for Ron Dennis and Mclaren management to talk to Kimi about it. At the moment all you need is to see whats on your plate ,and make most out of it ,else we have the same scenario in Williams Paddock in 2003


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Monday, April 03, 2006

April 4,2006


DC turns 500
With all the crashes and after race investigations one thing that went unnoticed was David Coulthard scoring his 500th GP point. The circumstances under which the point was scored are bit dodgy, as Scott speed of STR finished race 8th , but was given 25 sec penalty for overtaking DC under yellow, and DC made it to the Solitary point. DC has something to celebrate after embarrassment, when his pitwall was yelling at him “You have to overtake the Toro Rosso David” while the whole world was listening to the team radio. Now that he has bagged the 500th point in pinnacle of motor sport, question remains “Is there enough left in the tank for another GP win?” DC

Back Cribbing
The likes have Midland & Super Aguri have raised concerns about the validity of STR contesting 2006 on rev limited V10 engines. The rival teams are attributing to good showing by STR cars on 2nd march

Jordan competes with Minardi for F1 spot
“Once F1 bug bites you can get your system out of F1 but cannot get F1 out of your system” This quote is true for Fans and Paddock fraternity alike. With his ex rivals Paul Stoddart and Dave Richards applying for the 12th spot on 2008 line-up , the playboy from Ireland ,Eddie Jordan has also applied for the F1 entry for his team , So lets wait and watch if its Minardi or Jordan fans who get to see their team on the grid. Personally for me more the field , better. But not sure what is the threshold from logistical point of view, as lots of variables come into picture, and many not in control of FOM, some points that come immediately to mind are track facilities (pitlane,garages for all teams),already FOM is raising hue and cry on older tracks like Silverstone,SPA for lack of facilities.

The More the Merrier
While we are discussing Jordan-Vs- Minardi clash to re-enter the F1 fraternity, we have two Spanish teams in contention for the coveted twelfth spot. I hope FIA does fair evaluation of the application before arriving at conclusion. What if scenario:The newer applicants show better preparedness and capacity ,from resources point, better factory, test facilities, wind tunnels, designers, work force than any of the existing teams like Midland, Super Aguri

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Drive of a champion

This was one race which “could” have been a classic, had the back markers not messed it up, and had Alonso not been in prime form, for as it turned out, Alonso was unstoppable. He drove a brilliantly controlled race, and made it look like cakewalk, when the Kimis and Juans and Buttons were battling it out amongst themselves. Towards the end of the race Alonso said something like “I am relaxed” on the team radio, which goes to show how very well he controlled the race and how easy it was for him to literally cost towards the end. Ron Dennis might want to think Kimi had a shot at winning the race, but that’s was never a possibility of that ever happening.

This was a race of attritions and the team, which suffered the most, was Williams, because Mark Webber did look to be in a position with a shot at the podium. Ferrari lost both the cars but those were mainly due to driver errors. Montoya had several moments and eleven laps from the end of the race he crashed out on the last corner, in the same fashion as MS did albeit JPM controlled the car from hitting the barriers, but the anti stall mechanism kicked in and stalled the car. That was the end of McLarens challenge for a second podium.

Fisico… oh Fisico, two seconds a lap slower than Alonso and the world knows it, thanks to his race engineer. Why they chose to air it is beyond me, but I think this is not the best way to go about motivating your driver, and this is certainly not the “team-is-behind-Fisi” approach.

BMW Sauber had a strong showing, and the ever consistent and quick Nick scored some big points today. I some times feel that this guy is ignored way too much, and his performances never bring about the reaction from the media or fans, which a Kimis of Schumacher’s would. JV drove well, and made the most of his one stop strategy with a well-deserved points finish.
Toyota were on podium, and Ralf drove a fine race with a three stopper, plus a drive thru to earn a well deserved podium.

Special mention of the Super Aguri Team for bringing both the cars in, especially Taku San who kept the factory Honda of Rubens Barrichello behind him for what looked like a lifetime. This guys knows how to elk out the last bit of performance from his car. Way to go Taku San!

DC got a rude reminder from Honer to overtake Scott Speed who was ahead of him during the last stages. Whether MR. Honer thought that DC was having a job ride in Albert Park is anybodies guess, but reminding an experienced pilot that he needs to OVERTAKE a pilot who has an F1 experience of 3 races is IMHO very stupid if not tactless.

Well as things stand now, Renault and Alonso are repeating what happened last year, and this year that have a stronger package and unless the upgrades from Woking flow in thick and fast McLaren will have to settle with being the number two team yet again.

My Moments of the race:
1. JPM crashing out
2. Sato holding a string of multi-million dollar budget cars behind him.
3. Fisico & DC being reminded by their pit’s to turn it on.
PS: DC was awarded the 8th palace because Speed overtook him under yellows.


Race Results:
Pos. Driver Team Time Points
1 F. Alonso Renault 1:34:27.870 10
2 K. Räikkönen McLaren + 1.829 8
3 R. Schumacher Toyota + 24.824 6
4 N. Heidfeld BMW + 31.032 5
5 G. Fisichella Renault + 38.421 4
6 J. Villeneuve BMW + 49.554 3
7 R. Barrichello Honda + 51.904 2
8 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 53.817 1
9 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 53.983
10 J. Button Honda + 1 laps
11 C. Albers Midland F1 + 1 laps
12 T. Sato Super Aguri + 2 laps
13 Y. Ide Super Aguri + 3 laps

Did not finish
14 JP. Montoya McLaren + 11 laps
15 T. Monteiro Midland F1 + 17 laps
16 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 20 laps
17 M. Schumacher Ferrari + 25 laps
18 M. Webber Williams + 34 laps
19 C. Klien Red Bull + 53 laps
20 J. Trulli Toyota + 57 laps
21 N. Rosberg Williams + 57 laps
22 F. Massa Ferrari + 57 laps

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Saturday Qualifier – Aussie GP 2006.


Local showers, uncertain weather, constantly changing wind directions & track conditions, Red flag, confusion, drama all ingredients for a thriller were present in Aussie 2006 Qualifiers. The results are as

Jenson Button claims first Honda Pole in 2006
With this podium in Aussie GP, JB has potentially first GP win. Overtaking opportunities are less on this track and last two races here Pole sitter has won the race. Can Renault or Mclaren spoil Jenson’s party by some smart work on strategy …

If Jenson Button is looking forward to make most of his qualifying results, his team-mate Barichello, is left to make most of his ruined qualifier. Thanks to one Yuji-San, who initially created red flag( marshals kept it yellow till late which screwed up other drivers) by locking his car on track (poor fellow didn’t know how to reverse his car, until his pit crew gave him directions on team radio he was struggling on track) this messed up session one for rest of the field. Well story of Yuji-San didn’t end there, after the red flag was done with, he went on track again and this time ended up ahead of Barichello, with circuit like Albert park, Barichello was all done in Session One of qualifiers.

Ferrari eliminated in Session two

Massa lost rear of his car out at Turn 9 when he lost control of his car. This caused red flag in Session two. With 5.28 minutes remaining, all cars queued up to exit pit lane ,Michael lost hose like stuff from his car. Schummacher ended 11th on grid

Renault-Vs- Mclaren

Montoya put provisional pole with 1.26 and raised the bar,both Alonso and Fisico stepped up the plate to beat that time. Montoya spun on his next lap, while Button sat on pole, Kimi was his usual self though didn’t set the track on fire on anything like he used to do in Single lap qualifiers. From look of it Mclaren were seriously trying to go for top spot on grid, Montoya even attempted to beat Button’s time on his last lap, but could manage only P5. JPM sounded pretty
irritated with car spun ,while Ron Dennis put on brave face and attributed it to fuel load JPM was carrying might have been one reason. If Indeed Mclaren duo are able do go longer on track than their rivals and make use of some clean air in first stint Mclaren have a good race prospects.

Williams – Vs – BMW

BMW put on better show here. Nico lost in second sting in confusion around Massa Red flag , while Webber tried to do everything he could in final session, but judgment error in entering Turn 9 which saw him going in run off area may have hurt his bridgestones and barely any time remaining left him at P9. Heidfield and JV managed P8 and P10,but JV has engine penalty which mean he starts with 10 position below

Australian Grand Prix grid
1. BUTTON Honda

2. FISICHELLA Renault
3. ALONSO Renault
4. RAIKKONEN McLaren
5. MONTOYA McLaren
6. R.SCHUMACHER Toyota
7. WEBBER Williams
8. HEIDFELD BMW Sauber
9. TRULLI Toyota
10. M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari

11. COULTHARD Red Bull
12. LIUZZI Toro Rosso
13. KLIEN Red Bull
14. ROSBERG Williams
15. MASSA Ferrari
16. BARRICHELLO Honda
17. ALBERS Midland
18. SPEED Toro Rosso

19. VILLENEUVE BMW Sauber
20. MONTEIRO Midland
21. SATO Super Aguri
22. IDE Super Aguri


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