We have survived the first week of the official Formula 1 off season, here is brief summary of what has happened:
It looks like ages ago now, but it has been only a week since Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 F1 driver’s title, the first for McLaren since Mika Hakkinen’s title back in 1999. The constructors title went to Ferrari, the 8th constructors title for Ferrari in last 10 seasons.
Only 2 days later the “Lewis Hamilton 2008 World Championship die cast presentation” was announced. These guys are quick .
As expected Fernando Alonso will stay with Renault, perhaps not so expected was the decision of Renault to stay with Nelson Piquet.
Honda is looking around for possible replacement for Rubens Barrichello. Jenson Button hopes the team will keep Barrichello, Honda however confirmed they will test other Brazilians Lucas di Grassi and Bruno Senna.
The other vacancies are in Toro Rosso. There has not been much said about Takuma Sato since his test two months ago, he will however be back behind the Toro Rosso wheel next weekend.
The FIA World Motor Sport Council convened in Paris last week. The wise people came up with yet another version of 2009 Formula 1 Calendar. They also decided the engines will have to last for 3 races from next season and the stewards will let us know more about who they are, what they are doing and why .
Bernie Ecclestone made some remarks on the racism in F1, remarks that not everyone liked although David Coulthard came out in defence of Ecclestone. Ecclestone later clarified what exaclty he meant. That was fine. But he also remarked that it was him who pulled the plug on South African GP because of the apartheid. Well, many believe that the reason for that was the money …
Big news came out of Force India. Ferrari engines, Colin Kolles and Mike Gascoyne are all gone. Vijay Mallya, the team owner, plans to run the team as well. That would explain the departure of Colin Kolles. But why would a team that plans to move higher up the grid let go as important asset as Mike Gascoyne ? Is that a sign that Force India is ready to go ahead with a customer chassis supplied by McLaren ? We will see. The details of the Force India’s arrangements with McLaren and Mercedes are to be announced on Monday.
Several F1 teams tried to get an agreement to pospone introduction of KERS by one year, BMW Sauber were not in favour of such arrangement and so KERS is a go. Toyota does not plan to introduce KERS until mid-2009 and they may not be alone. From what has been written about the KERS progress so far it looks like BMW Sauber and Honda may be ahead of the game in this area. Mark Webber is worried that KERS may disadvantage heavier drivers.
And when we talk about 2009 F1 cars, Alfonso Martinez, head of the Spanish arm of the technology consulting firm Altran, working closely on the design of 2009 Renault car – the R29 – says that we are in for a shock when we see the first 2009 Formula 1 cars. To get some hints about what to expect check these 2 older posts – sneak peak and the main differences.
The calendar of 2009 F1 car launches is now on the sidebar and will be updated as more teams make their plans known.
And finally, Christian Klien has found another area where the F1 costs can be cut:
“Take Jenson Button: he uses 18 helmets per season and every one costs 6,000 euros before the paint, I ask myself if this is necessary ?”