And another 10 days gone, we are now only 2 months from the start of the 2008 Formula 1 season. Since the 70 days mark 4 teams launched their 2008 cars. First came Ferrari followed by McLaren only a day later. Toyota did not wait too long and introduced another boring red and white car. The last ones so far to unveil the 2008 challenger were BMW Sauber. They also announced their new partner – T-Systems.
Super Aguri did not launch yet but will do so on February 19, at least that is what they say. What car will it be remains to be seen.
The driver’s line up is close to being complete. Giancarlo Fisichella was confirmed by Force India on January 10. Vitantonio Liuzzi is staying in F1 but as a third driver only. The only team that has not officially confirmed the drivers is Super Aguri.
There are still some test drivers jobs available. Villa and Asmer are tipped for BMW Sauber, Kiwi A1 driver Jonny Reid says he is close the a testing deal in F1.
Prodrive team announced they are shelving their F1 plans for now. Who knows where the 12th team will come from …
Williams team will be commemorating their several anniversaries with 6 different interim liveries during the winter testing season – the company’s 30th year of racing, its 500th entry in a Formula One Grand Prix (2008 Turkish Grand Prix). Williams team will also record its 50,000 racing lap during the 2008 season. On top of it some Frank Williams personal specials – The Monaco Grand Prix will be his 600th Formula One Grand Prix as a F1 entrant, and he will become F1’s longest serving entrant with 39 years in F1. Williams may also be celebrating a new investor with Icelandic money reportedly on the way.
Jenson Button aims for the title, but in 2009. Martin Blundell thinks Massa will win it, and he has a support of one of the competitors in the F1Wolf.com Prediction Game too. Yes, there is first vote for a driver other than Raikkonen or Hamilton.
Ben Evans thinks 2008 will be Ferrari landslide. Kimi Raikkonen said that drivers who think F1 is too dangerous probably shouldn’t be in the sport.
Michael Schumacher said he will attend some races in Europe and he also finally found his place in the Ferrari team. He will be developing and testing the cars. Anthony Hamilton will go to all the races.
The teams are calling for budget cap (and probably already looking for ways how to get around it ). The engine freeze period was cut from 10 to 5 years.
The first official test got underway in Jerez, and at the time of the writing (I am now on the plane somewhere over the Pacific ) it was all about Ferrari…
The countdown will return in 10 days.
The launch season continues, BMW unveiled their 2008 challenger F1.08. The team hopes that this car will close the gap to Ferrari and McLaren and will enter the fight for some race wins. The car itself is an evolution of their 2007 car. The low triple-plane front wing is closer to McLaren design than to Ferrari and Toyota. But BMW Sauber seems to be following in the steps of Ferrari (and Toyota) – the F1.08 features the wheel fairings.
The livery already sports the logo of BMW Sauber’s newest partner – T-Systems.
Here is the list of the main new developments on new BMW Sauber:
Friday, April 28, 2006 – FIA president Max Mosley:
“Prodrive have the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motorsport experience. The team are well known to the FIA through their participation in the World Rally Championship and Richards has experience as a Formula One team principal.”
Fast forward to January 10, 2008 – Dave Richards:
“F1’s new commercial agreement means that Prodrive will not enter the sport in the near future.”
Two years ago there were 22 subjects bidding for the presence on Formula 1 grid. Eleven came from then existing Formula 1 teams, another eleven from F1 wannabies that included among others Prodrive, Direxiv, Eddie Jordan, Paul Stoddart, Carlin Motorsport, Craig Pollock. All the existing teams, including Super Aguri that was yet to make their own F1 debut were granted the entry to 2008 season. The only spot for a new team went to Prodrive.
There is no doubt that such an overwhelming interest in F1 entry was a result of new customer car rules advertised by FIA at that time. The new rules did not materialize, Prodrive had no plan B and so 2001 is still the last season we had full 12 teams / 24 cars F1 grid.
With 2 months to go before the 2008 season kicks off in Melbourne let’s have a look at some early winners and loosers.
Looser – McLaren – Loosing Fernando Alonso (although they are probably happy they got rid of him)
Winner – Honda – Signing Ross Brawn as a team principal and Alex Wurz as the test driver – probably the best people around for these positions.
Looser – Ralf Schumacher – After being so sure he will be on the grid in 2008 he had to face the reality and admit his F1 racing is very likely over.
Winner – Renault – They have got Alonso back. He may be pain in the butt but he still is one hell of a driver.
Looser – Christian Klien – After loosing out the race for the Force India drive to Fisi and declaring no further interest in testing roles he is on the way out of F1.
Winner – Giancarlo Fisichella – He won the hottest contest for a 2008 race drive
Looser – Prodrive – They did not make it and they have given up
Winner – Williams – They still have Nico Rosberg
Looser – McLaren again – They will occupy the last garage in the pitlane
Winner – Heikki Kovalainen – Not wanted by Renault landed race seat with McLaren
Looser – Nelson Piquet Jr. – So far the only obvious No. 2 driver on the 2008 grid
What would you add to this list ?
The Force India confirmed today the expected drivers line up for the 2008 season. Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil will lead the team for its debut 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship campaign. Vitantonio Liuzzi will fulfill a test and reserve driver role for Force India.
“I am looking forward to joining Force India for the coming season. At the test in Jerez, I was very impressed with the team’s professionalism and commitment to move forward and I hope that my experience will help them achieve these goals. Contrary to what people may think, this was not my only opportunity, it was the best one: with new owners and a competitive budget, I really think we can shake things up next year. I feel motivated and ready to help Force India get points on a regular basis.”
… it is the same boring red and white monster . The 2008 F1 car launch season continued with the Toyota launch in Cologne, Germany. The Panasonic Toyota Racing team hopes that the new TF108 will move them closer to its long-term aim of winning races and fighting for the World Championship. As with the Ferrari and McLaren the continuing aero development will mean that the car they will bring to Melbourne may have entirely different look. Here are some photos of the TF108:
The latest media buzz suggest that the scenario that appeared here at F1Wolf earlier may materialize.
It is rumoured that as expected Giancarlo Fisichella will be announced as a Force India race drivers alongside Adrian Sutil. Vitantonio Liuzzi is set to join the team as a 3rd driver. Liuzzi said earlier that he would be happy with test driver role in Force India for 2008, unlike Christian Klien. This Liuzzi’s attitude may be what may save his F1 career…
We may not have to wait for too long to find out what the selection really will be. Force India announcement is expected this week, perhaps on January 11.
The Super Aguri team announced on Tuesday they are to launch their new car next month at the Barcelona circuit. They will unveil their car on February 19, 2008.
It will be interesting to see what car they will actually unveil. Will it be carbon copy of new Honda or will it be re-painted 2007 Honda ? Or will the outcome of the customer car arbitration force Super Aguri to revert to their Arrows 2002 based car …
After Ferrari yesterday today was McLaren’s day. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes presented the MP4-23, the team’s 2008 Formula 1 car, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
Following today’s unveiling the car will be transported to the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain, where on Wednesday 9th January Heikki Kovalainen and Pedro de la Rosa will start the test programme with two MP4-23 chassis at a private test. The team will remain at the circuit for five track days, excluding the weekend. Lewis Hamilton will drive the 2008 car for the first time on Thursday 10th January alongside Heikki.
More photos in the article…
One short quote from the World Champion, that probably is also a reaction on the recent “safety issues” talk from some drivers.
“Now traction control is not going to help you but for me it will be a lot more fun. I think there will be an easier chance to overtake as people will make more mistakes. The sport is dangerous anyway. It doesn’t matter if you have traction control or not. If you think it is too dangerous you probably shouldn’t be in the sport. It is more tricky for sure, you need to be awake more of the time.”
This is kind of talk I would expect from Formula 1 driver, this is why I like Kimi.
The 2008 launch season kicked off with Ferrari unveiling their 2008 challenger – F2008. The new car has been designed by the team around Ferrari’s technical director Aldo Costa. The car will get its first taste of the track action tomorrow with Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel of the No. 1 car at Fiorano. Especially when viewed from the top it looks like one mean machine… The car is still under development and it is very likely that the aero parts will look totally different when the winter testing season is over.
And we are only 70 days from the start of the Australian GP and the 2008 Formula 1 season, my plane bookings for Melbourne are done. We are already in the year 2008 and even F1 Wolf made the plans for the year ahead public . Since the 80 days mark we learned the numbers on the cars of all the teams. But despite having the 2008 F1 FIA entry list, we are still no smarter on the drivers line up than we were 10 days ago. Force India haven’t announced Fisi or anybody else yet. Super Aguri announced there is no contract yet. Fisi said he does not pay for the drive, he gets paid to drive.
The tweaks to qualifying format were made public, F1 will be burning less fuel . Ralf Schumacher is officially out of F1 and no one seems be missing him. Williams decided not to hold an official car launch. The former boss of the Shanghai F1 track was jailed for 4 years, for corruption and embezzlement of course.
Our F1 prima donnas made it loud and clear they are afraid they may slide in the wet without traction control. Nick Heidfeld is excited about the new street tracks and expects the atmosphere in Singapore to be phenomenal.
Franck Montagny became yet another F1 driver to give up waiting and quit to look for a drive elsewhere.
And we are only 1 day away from seeing Kimi’s new No. 1 Ferrari F1 car…
The Season Countdown will be back in 10 days, stay tuned !