The entire last week was about cost saving and testing. Fortunately Sunday night also provided some great fun.
Early last week rumours started to circulate that all four independent team plus Renault are to sign up for the budget Cosworth engine from 2010. There was a Thursday deadline for the teams to make up their minds. But after Friday’s WMSC meeting it seems that the deadline has been extended till December 20, 2008. Renault issued some careful statement refusing claims they are going against FOTA but failed to deny they are thinking about switching to Cosworth engines from 2010. For 2009 however they were allowed to rework their frozen Renault engine in order to catch up with the better rest.
While Honda F1 team members still lick the exit wounds the rest took to the test tracks last week. Toyota did some behind the close doors running in Bahrain, the others went to Jerez. I will prepare the December testing summary after this week testing is over but here are at least some brief notes:
1) Sebastien Buemi seems to be the quickest of the 3 Toro Rosso candidates. Sebastien Bourdais the slowest and with not so much money to bring to the team. It looks like Buemi Sato next year, unless of course Mr. Mateschitz decides to delay Barrichello’s retirement.
2) McLaren had their idea of 2009 front wing on display in Jerez. It does have some nice curves there and seems to better looking than BMW Sauber’s version. This view however may be skewed by the fact that we haven’t seen yet McLaren’s complete combination of 2009 front and rear wings.
3) Williams gave Dani Clos a day of running in F1 car on otherwise totally empty Jerez track. And while I do like Williams as a team I totally share the view of Pitpass on this wasteful exercise …
Staying with Williams – The team has renewed sponsorship deal with Oris, but it is about to loose some other backers. Red Bull signed up sponsorship deal with Trust, but even Trust will not make it on that exclusive Red Bull livery.
Both English F1 drivers are showing some great loyalty to their teams. Lewis Hamilton is ready to stay with McLaren for the rest of his F1 career (yes he said that before, but ooops, he said it again). Jenson Button is even more impressive – he decided not to explore other options but to stay on with Honda, hoping that the team will be on the grid next year.
Vijay Mallya did some funny talking last week. First on Thursday in an interview to BBC he backtracked on his earlier claims that Fisichella and Sutil have been confirmed for 2009, only to confirm them 3 days later. Strange …
Then there was the Prize Giving Gala in Monaco where the champions collected their trophies (photos here).
And here are the Gala highlights of 2008 F1 season:
The biggest news of the week however was the WMSC meeting in Monaco and the approval of the cost cutting measures proposed by FOTA to FIA. Here is what was agreed on for 2009 and 2010 and what was agreed on to be discussed in future. I also summarized what was not talked about. Max Mosley promises that as a result of these measures the F1 will remain the same, only cheaper. We will see, we will see …
And finally, on Sunday, came the Race of Champions. What a fun evening. Michael Schumacher was simply too good in the Race of Nations winning it (with Vettel’s assistance) for Germany. But then in the Race of Champions he failed to master the FIAT and dropped out in quarterfinal after loosing to NASCAR’s Carl Edwards. David Coulthard had no one to hit so he at least hit the barriers. He still made it to final. He took the fight all the way to the tie breaker but at the end the impressive Sebastien Loeb took the trophy. Loeb himself had a big off in round one and I still do not understand how on Earth he managed to beat Yvan Muller in that race .
The round ups will return as countdowns to the season, the 100 days mark is near (thanks for reminding me, you know who you are ).