Renault F1 Team becomes Lotus Renault GP, Renault creates Renault Sport F1

Lotus Renault GP Livery

Lotus Renault GP 2011 Livery

So, Group Lotus became the equity partner in Renault F1 team after Renault sold its remaining shares to Genii Capital. Renault becomes the engine supplier and technological partner. For obvious historical and financial reasons Renault remains the name of the chassis. The official name of the team however changes to Lotus Renault GP.

Lotus Renault GP already released the artist impression of their 2011 livery – the black on gold one reminiscent of the Team Lotus in JPS era.

Lotus Renault GP logo

Lotus Renault GP logo

All fine and well except there will be another Lotus team, the Team Lotus (known as Lotus Racing in 2010) on the grid next year. Team Lotus will be powered by Renault engines and is listed on the 2011 FIA entry list as Lotus-Renault. Team Lotus (powered by Renault) also plans to run next year in black and gold livery (selected from designs submitted by fans).

So, after having no Lotus cars on grid for 15 years, it does seem there will be four of them in 2011 …

Renault in the meantime announced the creation of Renault Sport F1, the sporting division that will be responsible for Renault’s involvement in Formula 1™ racing as a supplier of engines and technology for the 2011 season and beyond. Renault Sport F1 will supply three teams in 2011, which equates to 25% of the grid.

Renault will be supplying engines to three of the teams on the grid in 2011:

- Lotus Renault GP: Renault will be supplying engines and technological support to Lotus Renault GP, the team that previously competed under the name of Renault F1 Team and with which it won two
world championships in 2005 and 2006.

- Red Bull Racing Renault: the 2010 world champion has been using Renault engines for four
seasons. Demonstrating its confidence in Renault, it has extended the partnership for a further two
years.

- 1 Malaysia Racing Team (UK) Ltd (aka Team Lotus): a new customer for Renault in 2011. This team made its F1 debut in 2010. It has a sound technological base with the Renault engine and Red Bull Technology transmission

With this decision to supply engines to three teams next season, Renault is returning to its core expertise in engine manufacturing and getting ready to meet the challenges of the future, particularly the new engine regulations to be introduced over the next few years.
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Friday Thoughts – Are the New Teams Welcome?

Branson and Fernandes

Branson, Fernandes and the flight attendant uniform

If I am to participate in the Thursday Thoughts adventure it seems the only way is to convert it to Friday ones. Blame the time difference.

Anyway, here is the topic for this week, Thursday of Friday:

The three new teams made quite an impression on F1 this year. What do you think they brought to the sport? How would the year have been without them? Better or worse?

Maybe the question should be rephrased – Are the new teams welcome and is it OK to have on the grid teams several seconds off the pace ?

And few more questions to follow up – Was F1 better with Toyota after the car maker joined the sport in 2002 ? Were we better off with Minardi and Jordan on the grid (not Eddie himself but the team) or without them after the former was turned into Toro Rosso by Red Bull and the latter metamorphosed to Midland, Spyker and finally Force India ? Was F1 better with or without Super Aguri ?

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Last time an F1 team raced with two Latin American drivers…

Pizzonia Montoya 2004

Antonio Pizzonia and Juan Pablo Montoya

Yesterday Williams announced signing of Pastor Maldonado, a Venezuelan driver, to partner Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian. As a result, Williams will contest the 2011 F1 season with two Latin American drivers. There have been many drivers from Latin America in F1 and Argentina and Brazil also gave the world some World Champions. But having both drivers from that part of the world hasn’t been that common. Here is brief look back to the recent F1 history.

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2011 Formula 1 Drivers – Williams – Maldonado joins Barrichello

Pastor Maldonado Williams

Pastor Maldonado - 2011 Williams F1 Driver

Williams F1 today confirmed that 2010 GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will race for the AT&T Williams team in 2011 season. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for next year following confirmation of Rubens Barrichello last month.

“Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.” – AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams

“I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.” – Pastor Maldonado

2011 Formula One Entry List (30/11/10 Version)

FIA logo

FIA logo

FIA issued 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list. Six teams have both drivers listed including Lotus (staying with Trulli and Kovalainen). Renault and Williams still haven’t confirmed team mates for Kubica and Barrichello, while no drivers have been officially confirmed by Force India, Virgin, HRT and surprisingly also Toro Rosso.

Team formerly known as Lotus Racing is listed as Team Lotus with Renault engines, BMW is no longer part of the name of the Sauber team. Here is the November 2010 version of 2011 F1 entry list:
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2011 Formula 1 Drivers – Williams – Barrichello stays, Hulkenberg out

Barrichello Hulkenberg Williams

Team mates no more ...

Right on the first day of the off-season Williams announced some decisions on the their 2011 drivers line up. Rubens Barrichello will stay on with team, Nico Hulkenberg however will not. The team will confirm their second driver before the end of the year. Current GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado has been connected with the team.

The AT&T Williams team today announced that Rubens Barrichello will continue to drive for the team in 2011. The team’s second driver will be confirmed before the end of the year.

Rubens Barrichello enjoyed a successful first season with Williams, and his 18th in the sport. The Brazilian drove his FW32 into the qualifying top ten a total of 13 times and claimed 10 points scoring finishes over the year, all of which helped the team move forward to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team can also confirm that Nico Hulkenberg will not contest the 2011 FIA World Championship with AT&T Williams. Nico joined the squad as a rookie at the start of the season, following a dominating career in Formula 3 and GP2 supported by Williams. Convincing performances in his debut year in Formula One culminated in 14th place in the Drivers’ Championship and an undoubtedly bright future in the sport. The team wishes to thank Nico for his dedication and team work over the past year, and for delivering a memorable first pole position in five seasons for the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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2010 Abu Dhabi GP – Race result – Sebastian Vettel – the new F1 champion

Sebastian Vettel Abu Dhabi champagne

Sebastian Vettel - 2010 F1 Champion

Sebastian Vettel won the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP and became the youngest ever Formula One champion. Lewis Hamilton finished the race in second place ahead of Jenson Button.

Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber became victims of their strategies. Both dropped down to the midfield after their pitstops and spent better part of race behind Vitaly Petrov (who pitted on lap one during safety car period).

2010 Abu Dhabi GP – Race result

1. Vettel
2. Hamilton +10.1
3. Button +11.0
4. Rosberg +30.7
5. Kubica +39.0
6. Petrov +43.5
7. Alonso +43.7
8. Webber +44.2
9. Alguersuari +50.2
10. Massa +50.8
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Farewell to Bridgestone Tyres

Bridgestone Formula One Tyres

Bridgestone Formula One Tyres

The upcoming 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is not only the drivers title deciding race but also for the foreseeable future the last F1 race for Bridgestone tyres. The Pirelli era (and not only in F1) will begin. Here is a brief look back at Bridgestone in F1.

Bridgestone tyres appeared in F1 for the first time in 1976. The first and for almost 20 years the only driver to use Bridgestones in F1 was Kazuyoshi Hoshino (Heros Racing). He entered only 2 races – 1976 and 1977 Japanese GPs. He retired from the first one because he ran out of tyres.

The proper entry into Formula One came in 1997 ending five years of Goodyear monopoly. Bridgestone supplied 5 teams in their first year in F1 – Arrows, Prost, Minardi, Stewart and Lola (although the MasterCard Lola team never really made it).

“We scored points in our first race and the first Bridgestone podium came in our second race. We even came very close to a win with Damon Hill in the Arrows Yamaha at Hungary so this was a very good debut for us.” – Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima

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Poll: What do you think about Red Bull’s “no team orders” policy ?

Red Bull 2010 Constructor Champions

Red Bull Racing - 2010 Constructor Champions

Red Bull Racing allowed Sebastian Vettel to win the Brazilian GP ahead of Mark Webber. As a result Mark Webber goes to the final race of the season 8 points behind Fernando Alonso instead of what could have been only 1 point gap. On the other hand this decision keeps Sebastian Vettel within 15 points – a gap that is definitely easier to close in one race than 22 points would be. The Red Bull story however did not end there. Dietrich Mateschitz came out on record ruling out team orders for Abu Dhabi and effectively leaving it to drivers to fight it out on track, even if that means loosing the drivers title to Alonso (or still remotely possible to Hamilton).

“To interfere with the drivers was never a possibility for us. The whole world condemned Ferrari after what they did in Hockenheim, but we have turned out as idiots because we did not act in this way. We never even thought about it as long as both our drivers remain in the hunt for the championship. It is not assured that Alonso will always be the lucky one. Abu Dhabi will be incredibly exciting and provide highest tension.

Sunday night we will know if we clinched the other 50 percent and have been successful or not. A second place under correct circumstances might be better than a win on grounds of orders and confirmations.”

What are the reactions ? Red Bull are either branded as insane fools or this position is taken as a proof that they simply only want the drivers title if it is won by Sebastian Vettel, better Alonso than Webber …

There do not seem to be too many people out there who actually accept the idea of a team owner not keen on winning the title if that means manipulating the outcome of the race.

So, what do you think about Red Bull and the way they are approaching the season finale ? Here is a little poll (RSS readers may have to visit the website to see the poll):

What do you think about Red Bull's "no team orders" policy ?

  • The team wants Vettel not Webber to win the title (51%, 59 Votes)
  • They are doing the right thing leaving it to drivers to fight it out on track (26%, 30 Votes)
  • They are insane fools (21%, 24 Votes)
  • I have no idea (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 115

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If the poll options are not enough, you can always leave a comment.

The F1 Firefighters – Heikki is no longer alone

Car on fire next to concrete wall… When there are no marshals on hand the drivers have to do the job. First there was Heikki Kovalainen in Singapore …

Heikki Kovalainen The Firefighter

Heikki Kovalainen - The Firefighter

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From Bahrain to Abu Dhabi – The 2010 Vettel Helmets Collection

F1 drivers do come up with special helmet designs from time to time, quite often for Monaco GP (see 2008 and 2010), for home GPs (see Piquet’s and Barrichello’s specials for 2008 Brazilian GP) or to pay a tribute to another driver (see David Coulthard for Colin McRae for example). Sebastian Vettel however seems to be coming up with new helmet design for almost every race … Here is the collection of Vettel’s lid designs in 2010 (now updated with Vettel’s helmets used during Korean, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi GPs):

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images.
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2010 Singapore GP – Race result – Two in a row for Alonso

Alonso Singapore Podium

Fernando Alonso on Singapore podium

Fernando Alonso won the eventful 2010 Singapore GP only 2 tenths ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber’s early pit stop gamble (behind safety car) paid off, he finished third just ahead of Jenson Button. Lewis Hamilton crashed out for the second time in as many races.

2010 Singapore GP Race result (updated twice):

1. Alonso
2. Vettel +0.2
3. Webber +29.1
4. Button +30.3
5. Rosberg +49.3
6. Barrichello +56.1
7. Kubica +1:26.5
8. Massa +1:53.1
9. Sutil +1:52.3 (+20 sec penalty)
10. Hulkenberg +1:52.6 (+20 sec penalty)
11. Petrov + 1 lap
12. Alguesuari + 1 lap
13. Schumacher + 1 lap
14. Buemi + 1 lap
15. di Grassi + 2 laps
16. Kovalainen + 3 laps

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2014 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
Sebastian VETTEL
Daniel RICCIARDO
Ferrari
Fernando ALONSO
Kimi RAIKKONEN
McLaren
Jenson BUTTON
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Lotus
Romain GROSJEAN
Pastor MALDONADO
Mercedes
Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
Adrian SUTIL
Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
Nico HULKENBERG
Sergio PEREZ
Williams
Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
Daniil KVYAT
Jean Eric VERGNE
Caterham
Marcus ERICSSON
Kamui KOBAYASHI
Marussia
Jules BIANCHI
Max CHILTON

2014 F1 Calendar

14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi

Archives

2010 Mercedes GP F1 Merchandise
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