I haven’t seen any official news yet. There are however 2 blogs at least reporting the story that Bernie brokered a deal to move McLaren away from the wrong end of the pitlane towards the front.
You can see more at F1-To Go and F1Fanatic.
Interesting. I like the picture F1-To Go has with the article
After raking up some mileage for Honda back in 2007 part of this winter, not exactly perfect test in Jerez in Januray and then missing out on several previous F1 tests, the financially troubled Super Aguri finally made it to the track again. Takuma Sato did 90 laps in Jerez yesterday in SA07B interim car and the team seems to be satisfied with the way the test went. The SA07B was less than 3 tenths slower than Barrichello’s new Honda RA108.
On the same day however the team also announced postponing their new car launch (originally planned for February 19, 2008). Instead the team boss Aguri Suzuki and technical director Mark Preston will be at the circuit to answer media questions. Their new car is still due to run for the first time in Barcelona next week but withoit the official launch. That means no confirmation on the drivers line up, no new livery yet. It looks like we may have to wait perhaps until he season opener in Australia to see how the Super Aguri new car, the SA08, will look like and who will be driving it.
Now this may mean bad news (no deal in sight) or good news (ongoing talks looking good) for the team. One thing is obvious – no sponsorship or investment deals have been finalized yet.
Several current as well as hopeful Formula 1 tracks made the news these few days, here is a recap:
Bahrain – The organizers rubbished the reports they are planning to stage the GP as a night race in the future. One wonders where these reports came from. Why would they need to run the race in the night with only 2 (or 3? ) hours time difference from most of the European tracks ?
Sepang – The Malaysian organizers however confirmed they are considering night race – Dato Mokhzani Mahatir, chairman of the Sepang circuit:
“We have actually been talking aboug a night race with Bernie Ecclestone since September 2006. Since then he has spoken with Singapore and Melbourne as he’d like to see the F1 broadcast from here in Europe at a more decent hour. Having a race in Asia at night makes sense for that. Singapore and Melbourne are temporary street circuits whereas we are a permanent facility. Putting up lighting systems would allow us to hire the circuit out more.”
Melbourne – Here it looks unlikely the night race will happen, although Mark Webber has been quoted saying this to Adelaide’s Sunday Mail:
“We should try to make night work. It could be exactly what the event needs — who knows? We should fight to have a night race.”
and on Bernie Ecclestone hard line attitude:
“You can’t constantly keep having the same toys in the sand pit. He’s (Ecclestone) certainly got his head screwed on and he will do what is best for the sport.”
In the meantime there has been slight change in the time schedule for the 2008 Australian GP – The race in Melbourne will start at 3:30pm local time.
Silverstone – This is a week old news already… Although the development plans seem to be on the right track, the negotiations over new contract with CVC and Bernie Ecclestone will not be easy. Ecclestone (in his own words) will not hesitate to cut the British GP off the F1 calendar …
St. Petersburg – While slamming Melbourne (and Sydney) and Silverstone, Bernie Ecclestone is on his way to Russia to yet again discuss possible Russian Grand Prix, this time in St. Petersburg.
Algarve – Meanwhile in Portugal … A new F1 style track is nearing completion in the south of the country. The reports say that one team has already booked the facility for testing next January. The ultimate goal however is to return Formula 1 race back to Portugal. The last one was held in Estoril back in 1996 and won by Jacques Villeneuve.
Alcaniz – Amid all the bad publicity Spain received in past week or so, there are reports about another Spanish F1 venue springing up. Barcelona (Montmelo) and Valencia (street track) will host the F1 races this year. The permanent circuits in Valencia and Jerez are popular venues for F1 test. “La Ciudad del Motor de Alcaniz” is to become yet another test facility. It is designed by Hermann Tilke with advice from Pedro de la Rosa and due for completion in 2009.
A1 Ring – The attempts to revive former F1 track in Austria seem to have come to end. The track held its last GP in 2003. It was later bought by Red Bull and set for major redevelopment. The protests from ever present Austrian enviromentalists and failed talks with local authorities lead Dietrich Mateschitz to stop the project aimed at winning back the Austrian GP.
Williams – No, this is not another city but the Williams F1 team … Williams have announced plans to establish a permanent base for its test team in Spain. This is where all the Spanish (and Portuguese) test tracks may come handy .
Continue below to see La Ciudad del Motor de Alcaniz video.
Check out this F1GPSG fan site, and their cool links page. The design is awesome and the selection absolutely fabulous, especially the number 1 link
(click on the image to see the full page screenshot)
Thanks guys !
Two quotes from Bernie Ecclestone appeared in the news this weekend and after reading I began to wonder what did the Australians do to him …
Quote 1 – On the reports that Sydney may fill the gap if Melbourne looses the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix (in the interview for the Herald Sun)
“There is nothing in Sydney – they haven’t even got a circuit. “
Quote 2 – On his planned trip to St. Petersburg and discussions about staging Formula 1 race in Russia (reported by Daily Mirror):
“Nothing is done yet. But this could be an interesting development for the sport. We’d like to get it in the calendar as soon as we can but that depends on them. It’s down to how long it takes them to get the circuit ready.”
I am not saying that Sydney is a feasible option. It may or may not be, it is not upon me to say. I do not even know whether the city would be interested. But that is not the point … What strikes me is The Formula 1 Supremo dismissing the possibility of the race in Sydney outright with such an argument. All the new races (current and future) – Singapore, Valencia, Abu Dhabi, Seoul, India only began to build the race tracks after Bernie signed them up. Russia, as it is obvious from his remarks, would be the same case.
Sydney would stand no chance though, because like all the others who got the new races it does not have a race track …
It is just about a month to go and I am going to be silly enough to predict the team’s pecking order for 2008 season . The prediction comes with a preview of all 2008 liveries, as we know them now. Super Aguri is yet to display anything on or off the track…
1) Ferrari – Kimi is having a blast
2) McLaren – They are up there, but they do not have Kimi
3) Renault – The six tenths guy will make a difference
4) BMW – May be closer to Ferrari and McLaren on performance but Renault will re-enter the picture
5) Williams – More competitive than in 2007 but so will be others
Above is the winter livery. Williams will only reveal their racing one before the Aussie GP, but here is a sneak peak.
6) Red Bull – Solid midfielders with a shot at the podium once or twice
7) Toyota – The best of the Japanese brands on the grid (Bridgestone does not count )
8 ) Honda – Will start a further down but will gain few places during the season
9) Toro Rosso – They may have few decent finishes, but their points will not be good for better than 9th
10) Force India – They will be much more competitive than Spyker last year, but 10th will about as much as they can hope for. They would however score some points.
11) Super Aguri – They will probably survive the season despite Mosley’s worries, but at the back of the order and likely without any points.
Feel free to disagree and leave your order in the comments . And do not forget to join the 2008 Prediction Game !
The Wolf is back with the articles and posts from the webs and blogs.
Force India launched their VJM01 in grand ceremony in Mumbai. F1 Chronicles feels there were too many actresses and too few fans present. I think that Mr Mallya could have shown a bit more respect to his drivers by learning how to pronounce their names. You may watch the launch video on Force India web, it is still there. Mallya also revealed that EADS and Airbus help with Force India car development. Let’s hope they do not forget that the wings on F1 car serve different purpose than the aircraft wings .
The Singapore night race has its fans and its opposition. Here is a view from a blogger from Singapore, himself a regular F1Wolf reader and commentator.
The “Barcelona Hamilton Affair” continues to be discussed. Bloggers keep expressing their views, while one of the monkey dressed people explains he is not a racist.
Luca Baldisserri, Ferrari’s sporting director thinks that Lewis Hamilton is a bit heavy and hard on the rear tyres without the driving aids. I am not sure if that is the case, but this video (after the Alonso chants early on ) shows Lewis sliding quite a bit.
Super Aguri made it to the news again. Their car passed the crash test and received the OK from FIA. And it would not be a proper F1 week without a new speculation on Super Aguri buyers / investors.
In the US the Champ Car and Indy Racing League seem to be headed for a merger. What implications it may have on F1 in the USA ?
And an idea of MustCommentMonday came from Sidepodast. So if you never ever comment on blogs, try to make our days, make it a habit and do comment on Mondays at least .
Here is the collection of current F1 team logos. Some teams still might change them before the season kicks off, some perhaps should …
What do you think about them ?
I just finished watching the webcast from the Force India car launch. Mr. Mallya had some difficulties pronouncing the names of his F1 drivers right but the event was more about the car.
From what I could see from the small screen web video on the excellent Force India website, the colour scheme is different from the interim livery the team has been using so far this winter. In Vijay Mallya’s words the 2008 car, VJM01, is white and tungsten (gold) with touches of red. The Kingfisher logo can’t be missed. I will post the photos here once they become available.
Fernando Alonso casted some fresh doubts over his long term commitment to Renault in an interview for Motorsport Aktuell. This is what he said when asked whether he can guarantee he will still be at the same seat next season:
“No. My decision will depend on a combination of three factors: the competitiveness of the car, the atmosphere and the financial element.”
So let’s look at these 3 factors:
a) Competitivness of the car
“The title is more a medium-term goal. It is going to be very difficult to fight with the fast ones; the objective is to fight for the podium.”
This is what Fernando Alonso said in the same interview. So, does he consider a car that fights for a podium but does not have much chance to get involved in a title fight to be competitive ?
b) The atmosphere
This one I can understand. Even myself I would not want to get in the same situation Alonso found himself in (or got himself into ? ) last year again. But when exactly atmosphere becomes unacceptable for Fernando Alonso ? When Piquet beats him ? Or when he outqualifies him ? Or when Flavio tells him off and refuses a card game in the motorhome because of a headache ? I bet the guys in Renault wish they knew …
c) The financial element.
OK, money talks… He would not be the first nor the last one to move where bigger buck is available. But as he showed this year, the quality of the car is more important for him than money. That’s why he moved to Renault and not to Toyota. So where would they be able to offer him more money and a better car ? As the things are right now only in McLaren , Ferrari or perhaps BMW Sauber. I am kind of sure, that if Ferrari came calling, Alonso would not hesitate for long ( and so would not any other driver).
So what does he think about Ferrari’s current form (also for Motorsport Aktuell):
“At the moment they have the best car and that is why everyone wants to be in the places of Kimi and Massa.”
Well, who would not… Even David Coulthard admitted (despite Red Bull topping the time sheets on last day in Barcelona) that Ferrari and McLaren “have an advantage, yes, a big advantage”.
It is a pity we did not have chance to compare the pace of Ferrari with McLaren last weekend in Barcelona. Ferrari chose to test in Bahrain this week and along with them came Toyota.
Without comparison with other teams it is difficult to judge where these 2 teams stand. But the gap between Ferrari and Toyota on day 1 and day 2 of the Bahrain test is scary …
Bahrain – Day 1, February 4, 2008
1) K. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 01:32.079
2) L. Badoer – Ferrari – 01:33.323
3) T. Glock – Toyota – 01:33.418
4) K. Kobayashi – Toyota – 01:33.656
Gap Raikkonen to Glock + 1:339s
Bahrain – Day 2, February 5, 2008
1) K. Raikkonen – Ferrari – 01:30.595
2) L. Badoer – Ferrari – 01:32.230
3) T. Glock – Toyota – 01:32.889
4) J. Trulli – Toyota – 01:33.379
Gap Raikkonen to Glock + 2:294s
Yes, I am comparing Ferrari and Toyota and F1 champion with GP2 champion. Also both teams may be on totally different test programs. But still, almost 2.3 second gap is either sign of seriously slow Toyota or very formidable F2008 …
For comparison, the gap between fastest Mark Webber and slowest Jenson Button on Sunday in Barcelona was 1:423 second (on about 10 sec a lap shorter track).
While Ferrari are clearly set for another year at the sharp end of the grid, Toyota seems to be heading in Honda’s direction …
The time passes so fast… I can’t believe 60 days has already passed since the launch of these countdown posts. Well, we are 40 days from Melbourne and things are slowly starting to shape up.
Max Mosley aired his concerns about the future of Super Aguri. At the same time news of an Indian consortium lead by Spice Group CEO Andaleeb Sehgal talking to Super Aguri also surfaced. Investment in return for a seat for Narain Karthikeyan was the message that Super Aguri’s elder cousins at Honda did not like that much … Takuma Sato at last revealed some car and testing related information today:
“We were supposed to go to Valencia last week with the SA07B with some upgrades, but that was cancelled. Next week we’ll go to Jerez and then after that we should have two consecutive three-day tests at Barcelona, so that will be a total of nine days testing. We’ll be using an interim car to start with, and we probably won’t have the fully updated car until the last Barcelona test. Then I hope we can bring along the whole new package to Melbourne for the first race, the Australian Grand Prix.”
Singapore GP schedule has been released and as all the F1 sessions are in the late afternoon and evening on all 3 days, the program is set – beach in the morning, grandstands in the afternoons, party time in the night. Can’t wait
Honda had their 2008 car launch in Brackley. The livery looks better than in 2007, the car, despite being completely new, seems to a complete dog of a car again, at least at this stage of the development. The initial optimism quickly disapeared after the Barcelona test…
Renault also held their launch in Paris. Their livery, unlike Honda, does not look better than in 2007. The car however, unlike Honda, does seem to be progressing quite well, maybe we are seeing the famous 6 tenths from Fernando Alonso in action again
Eight teams spent their weekend in Barcelona testing and Red Bull cars were given a fin. Some people spent the weekend abusing Lewis Hamilton and should have had their backsides kicked hard.
With the Australian GP getting closer, Bernie Ecclestone sent strong message down under, that F1 may not want to go to Australia in the future.
Christian Klien and Marko Asmer were hired as testers by BMW Sauber, Sakon Yamamoto by Renault.
The 2008 Formula 1 Season Countdown will be back in 10 days.