Archive for May, 2009

FOTA teams commit to 2010

May 29th, 2009 No comments

FOTA logoAll the current Formula One teams have submitted conditional entries to compete in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Ferrari and some other teams had previously threatened to pull out of Formula One if the new regulations were not changed.  On Monday Williams lodged their 2010 application, and in so doing were suspended from FOTA.

It seems the outcome of negotiations between FOTA and the FIA is that the current 2009 rules will continue in return for the teams signing a new Concorde Agreement to commit to racing until 2012.

In a press release on the FOTA website, the Teams Association said:

All FOTA Teams have today submitted conditional entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

FOTA confirms all its Members’ long-term commitment to be involved in the FIA Formula One World Championship and has unanimously agreed further and significant actions to substantially reduce the costs of competing in the Championship in the next three years, creating a mechanism that will preserve the technological competition and the sporting challenge and, at the same time, facilitate the entry in the F1 Championship for new Teams. These measures are in line with what has been already decided in 2009 within FOTA, achieving important savings on engines and gearboxes.

All FOTA teams have entered the 2010 championship on the basis that:

1) The Concorde Agreement is signed by all parties before 12th June 2009, after which all FOTA teams will commit to competing in Formula One until 2012. The renewal of the Concorde Agreement will provide security for the future of the sport by binding all parties in a formal relationship that will ensure stability via sound governance.

2) The basis of the 2010 regulations will be the current 2009 regulations, amended in accordance with proposals that FOTA has submitted to the FIA.

All FOTA teams’ entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship have been submitted today on the understanding that (a) all FOTA teams will be permitted to compete during the 2010 Formula One Season on an identical regulatory basis and (b) that they may only be accepted as a whole.

All FOTA teams now look forward with optimism to collaborating proactively and productively with the FIA, with a view to establishing a solid foundation on which the future of a healthy and successful Formula One can be built, providing lasting stability and sound governance.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Aston Martin to enter F1

May 29th, 2009 No comments

Aston Martin LMP1There are reports that David Richards’s Prodrive team will lodge an application today to race in the 2010 Formula One World Championship.

Initially racing as Prodrive, the team will become Aston Martin in 2012.  The last time Aston Martin competed in Formula One was in 1960 where the team raced the beautiful but uncompetitive DBR4.

The new team is expected to have close links with McLaren.  Prodrive had intended to compete in the 2008 World Championship using a chassis supplied by McLaren but a legal challenge from Williams which banned the use of customer cars meant their entry for 2008 was withdrawn.

With room for 26 cars on the grid in 2010, it looks like there will be more team applications than places available.  USF1 and Campos Racing have lodged applications already and a number of other teams are also expected to apply.  It will then be up to the FIA to decide which teams will compete next year.

The Prodrive application is a strong one, though.  They have funding from Middle East backers and Richards has previous experience as team principal of the Benetton and BAR Formula One teams.

Update: Prodrive have submitted their application.  In a press release on the team’s website, David Richards says:

We are very appreciative of the support we have been given in putting together our entry, not least by both the FIA and FOM. With the help of Dar Capital, in raising the finance, coupled with our understanding of the latest proposals to assist new teams, we now feel the conditions are right to formally request the FIA for an entry.

The level of next year’s cost cap has risen substantially since we originally considered entering. However everyone appears committed to major reductions in future years and when one takes into account the transition proposals for new teams we are confident that we now have the opportunity to be both commercially viable and competitive. As we have said all along, we don’t want to be in Formula One just to make up the numbers.

Categories: Teams Tags: ,

Williams suspended from Teams Association

May 28th, 2009 No comments

Patrick Head and Sir Frank WilliamsTen months.  That is how long the unprecedented unity among the teams in Formula One lasted.

A series of meetings in Monaco over the weekend culminated in a letter from FOTA to FIA president Max Mosley asking for the new 2010 regulations to be revoked.

The letter claimed all the teams were unified in asked for the existing rules to be retained and for the teams to work on further cost reductions next year, as Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali explained:

What we have asked is basically to go back to the rules of this year, the 2009 rules, and then see together what we can do in order to make changes for next year.

Then on Monday morning, Williams announced that they had lodged their application with the FIA to race in the 2010 Championship.

On Wednesday, the Teams Association decided temporarily to suspend Williams F1 from membership of FOTA.

It’s not really surprising that Williams has decided to commit to 2010.  Unlike teams such as Renault and BMW, Williams is a true independent racing team.  Formula One is their whole reason for existence.  They aren’t bank rolled by a billionaire like Force India or Red Bull / Toro Rosso, either.

Team boss, Sir Frank Williams:

As a racing team and a company whose only business is Formula One, with obligations to our partners and our employees, submitting our entry to next year’s championship was unquestionable.

Sir Frank also highlighted a contractual obligation which seems to be what Bernie Ecclestone was hinting at when he said he expected Ferrari to honour their contract:

In addition, we are legally obliged under our contract with FOM and the FIA to participate in the world championship until the end of 2012.

The deadline for applications to be received for the 2010 Championship is Friday with the FIA due to release details of the entry list on June 12.

So far only Williams, USF1 and Campos Racing, to be known as Campos Meta 1, have lodged applications for 2010 but it is starting to look likely that a compromise deal will be done where a budget cap of €100m will be introduced in 2010, falling to €45m in 2011.

Image: Williams

Categories: Teams Tags: , ,

Prediction game: Round 6 results

May 28th, 2009 No comments

Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen, Monaco, 2009It seems like you can’t go wrong with backing Brawn GP this year.  Everybody in the f1buzz prediction game expected either Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello to be on the podium in Monaco and that’s exactly what happened.

The biggest winner was Mark who correctly predicted a Button-Barrichello 1-2 and moves up to third place, but in the one race where Ferrari looked reasonable, nobody picked the Red Cars for anything.  Andrew maintains his 7 point lead in the standings.

It was a fairly unusual Monaco Grand Prix in that there were no safety car periods so the race was over quite quickly.  The sunny conditions and lack of any big accidents also had the effect of spreading the field out.  But there is still no other race like Monaco and I was lucky enough to be there this year.

If you are thinking of going, I can definitely recommend it.  No other track gets you so close to the cars and the atmosphere in Monte Carlo is fantastic.  I had tickets in grandstand K at Tabac and could see all the way from the tunnel to the swimming pool.  These tickets also gave access to the pit lane on Friday.

There are a few of my pictures in the Facebook group already and I’ll be adding more soon.

The next race is Turkey in 10 days time at the fatastic Istanbul Park.

Image: Brawn GP

Categories: Prediction Game Tags:

Unstoppable Button wins again in Monaco

May 24th, 2009 No comments

Rosberg passes Massa, Monaco, 2009Jenson Button has joined the ranks of Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Michael Schumacher by winning five out of the first six Grands Prix of the season when he drove to a flawless victory in Monaco on Sunday.

Even KERS couldn’t help Kimi Raikkonen to match the pace of the Brawn GP cars off the start and he dropped back to third behind Rubens Barrichello.

Ferrari must be encouraged by Kimi Raikkonen’s third place finish and Felipe Massa’s fourth, considering their woeful start to the season.  It gives them a nice haul of points and puts them fourth in the Constructors Championship.

Raikkonen might be happy for the team but he was disappointed not to finish higher:

Of course in the bigger picture I’m not happy with third place – I’m disappointed.  But, in this situation, for the team it’s a good result.

Despite the gains made by Ferrari the Brawn GP car just looks unstoppable now.  There doesn’t seem to be a circuit it is not suited to and Jenson Button’s driving is impressing even Ross Brawn:

I’m lost for words with him really. He’s exceeding everything I thought possible.

Button’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship is now 16 points over team mate Rubens Barrichello and 28 over Sebastian Vettel in third place.  Brawn GP lead the Constructor’s Championship by a massive 43.5 points, with more than twice as many points as Red Bull has in second place.

2009 Monaco Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1 1:40:44.282 10
2 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 3 1:40:51.948 8
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2 1:40:57.724 6
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 5 1:40:59.392 5
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 8 1:41:00.012 4
6 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 6 1:41:17.868 3
7 Fernando Alonso Renault 9 1:41:22.121 2
8 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 14 1:41:47.424 1
9 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 13 1:41:49.322 0
10 Timo Glock Toyota 19 lapped 0
11 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 16 lapped 0
12 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 20 lapped 0
13 Jarno Trulli Toyota 18 lapped 0
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 15 lapped 0
RET Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 10 crash, 76 laps 0
RET Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 7 crash, 51 laps 0
RET Robert Kubica BMW 17 retired, 28 laps 0
RET Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 4 crash, 15 laps 0
RET Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 12 retired, 10 laps 0
RET Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11 crash, 10 laps 0

Image: David Keen

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,