See Ya ! Message Honda sent to Formula 1 today
This was very quick sequence of events. First less than 2 days ago Nick Fry announced there will be no posh lunch with media, then Shuhei Nakamoto (blamed by many for the uncompetitve 2007 car) left the team. Half a day later rumours about something serious going on at Honda surfaced. By late last night it was open secret that Honda is planning a pull out from Formula One. Now it is official, Honda is yet again leaving the sport.
Although surprising (there was not much talk about Honda considering departure from F1) this step is rather logical. Honda spent huge money on their Formula 1 program but they never really made it.
2006 European GP
This is the final part 7 of the European Grand Prix mini history series – years 2006 – 2007.
The 2006 season was all about the title fight between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher and the European GP was not too different. This was by no means a classic and in line with the usual practice the race win was decided in the pitlane. Fernando Alonso claimed the pole position ahead of Ferrari duo Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa. Alonso had better start and kept the lead. Behind them a little Liuzzi (Toro Rosso), Ralf (Toyota) and Coulthard (Red Bull) get together resulted in Safety Car. After the restart Alonso and Schumacher pulled away and from then on it was all between these two. Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) lead the race too for a while during the pit stop times but that was about it. After the first round of pit stops Alonso still had the lead. Then Alonso made his second stop on lap 38, Schumacher stayed out until lap 41. Those few flat out laps made all the difference and Schumacher rejoined the race in the lead. He went on to win what was to be his last F1 race at Nurburgring. Alonso finished second, Massa third, Raikkonen 4th.
To make it even more difficult to keep the engine statistics up-to-date Red Bull team has decided to keep David Coulthard on the same Renault engine for the third race in a row in Hungary this weekend. Well on paper it is third race in a row but his British GP barely lasted a lap . Here are the reasons behind the unusual decision – Fabrice Lom, Renault, in charge of Red Bull engine supply:
“This is the first time we have taken this decision. First of all his V8 has not done too much running. Plus, having our two drivers out of synch on the engine cycle means that we won’t be putting all our eggs in the same basket. This decision will also help us in the second half of the season in terms of the logistical challenge. And finally, it means that David will not have to use the same engine in Spa and Monza, which are two of the toughest challenges on the calendar.”
In the early days of two race rule there were worries the teams may choose deliberately not to finish the race to be able to run with fresh engine in next one. It actually happened in 2005 when BAR retired both cars (Button and Sato) on the final lap of Australian GP and again in Australia in 2006 when Button stopped his smoking car meters from the finish line. Now we have a team choosing to use the same engine for third time .
Photo: Red Bull/GEPA
After one year break German Grand Prix returns to the Formula 1 calendar. Well there was F1 race in Germany last year at Nurburgring – but called the European GP (called European due to the dispute over the German GP name ownership). This year the race is back at Hockenheim with its proper name.
The German GP kicks off the second half of 2008 F1 season. We have 3 drivers tied at the top at 48 points and 4th is only 2 points behind.
Testing at Hockenheim last week did not reveal much about what to expect from the teams coming weekend. Two more teams tried out the shark fin engine cover. Unlike their predecessors however neither Toyota nor McLaren plan to use it this weekend in Germany.
Two years ago the weather during the German GP weekend was extremely hot. This is something that Ferrari team would prefer again for this year. Quick check of weather forecasts for the area however suggests the weather to be cool, barely reaching 20 degrees Celsius. And yes, there are chances of rain again. These would be conditions that may favour McLaren and also may help BMW Sauber to close the gap to Ferrari. Both Massa and Raikkonen would probably want the clouds to stay away after their Silverstone experience.
Kimi Raikkonen is a special driver when it comes to racing in Germany. Out of his 9 races (Nurburgring and Hockenheim) he only finished 2 – both in 2006. The most spectacular retirement was probably his tyre failure back in 2005 (Nurburgring) on the last lap, while leading the race. But Ferrari finished 1-2 (Schumacher, Massa) in the last F1 race on Hockenheim track in 2006 ahead of … Kimi Raikkonen (see below).
The German GP is home race for 5 drivers – Nick Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil, Timo Glock, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg (see the last 2 in the preview video).
Hm, so Michael Schumacher decided to retire to save Felipe Massa’s job … I am not sure if this is true or not but that is what is in the news today:
“I stopped because I didn’t want my friend Felipe Massa to be unemployed. I would have had no problem going up against Kimi Raikkonen.”
Several F1 sites report that Schumi said this in interview with Swiss paper Blick. I tried to see if some webtranslator would do the trick and help me to locate the original article but I failed. It may be in Blick but I haven’t found it yet.
But if this really is true, should we now detest little Felipe or be grateful to him ?
There were some impressive performances in Monaco last weekend. Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel and Adrian Sutil in Formula 1, Mike Conway in GP2. Here are podiums from Macau GPs in 2005 and 2006.
Coincidence or do these guys really know how to handle cars on tight street tracks ?
After reading several of the lates news releases on this Renault case, visiting several forums to see what other make of it, in the process making fool of myself on one of them with my memory black out on the Stepneygate, I am trying to put some of the recent developments in a context.
The first information came out on September 11, 2007, just days before the WMSC hearing and McLaren verdict FIA confirmed to Autosport:
“We have noted the speculation and we can confirm that McLaren lawyers have recently brought to our attention certain matters regarding Renault F1. But we can also confirm that the team (Renault) does not form any part of our investigations into McLaren’s alleged breach of Article 151C of the International Sporting Code. The FIA has reminded McLaren that the World Council hearing in Paris on Thursday will focus solely on the new evidence in that investigation. To the extent required, any other matters will be dealt with as part of an entirely separate process. Renault F1 are aware of this and are happy to cooperate fully.”
Flavio Briatore then responed with his now famous quote:
“We told the FIA what we had, so there’s no problem. I don’t know what Dennis refers to, he’s throwing stones a bit everywhere. We are calm, no problem at all.”
Then came weeks of silence and all of a sudden 2 days ago news broke out that Renault were called to appear before WMSC to answer the allegations.
Renault as expected came up with a statement to the media:
Again we look back at colors of the F1 past. After the 2006 team liveries, here is look at what the race drivers of 2006 were wearing:
Alonso, Fisichella – Renault
Raikkonen, Montoya, De La Rosa – McLaren Mercedes
M. Schumacher, Massa – Ferrari
The 2007 season is close to its finale, it may be good time to see how the grid changed. Below are the liveries teams used in 2006. Some haven’t changed much, some are completely different
McLaren – Mercedes
Renault Tobacco Free
Renault Mild Seven
Yet again I refer to the f1fanatic website and his article “More street tracks good for F1?” and a bit to another article “Ten… Jobs for Ecclestone to do“.
One of the best street races is without doubt the Macau GP. There is no F1 race there, but the Formula 3 race on this track is one of the must for the racing fans to see. The current F1 cars would probably offer only a procession raceof Monaco style on this punishing track, but the F3 race is a different story.
This weekend a year ago we saw the last of Jacques Villeneuve in Formula 1. The German Grand Prix in Hockenheim on July 30, 2006 was his last race. He crashed out and it did not take long for BMW Sauber to sack him. It did not as much of a surprise as BMW seemed to be looking for a way to get rid of him since the moment they took over Sauber operation. He was not the most loved guy on the grid but he was a world champion and he made his mark on F1. His F1 career is well documented, so all I do here is very brief recap.
Around this time last year I travelled to Germany for the German GP. As we do not have neither Hockenheim nor German GP this year here are some of my photos from Hockenheim 2006. Screensaver and some of the photos are available for download and the Downloads section of this blog.