Renault name will stay in F1
Renault has decided to stay in Formula One and form a strategic partnership with Gerard Lopez’ Genii Capital, a Luxemburg based firm specialized in new technologies, brand management and motor sport. Renault will sell a large stake of the team to Genii and both partners will operate the team together. The letter of intent signed by the two companies should be concluded in early 2010.
The team will retain the Renault name in 2010. The sister company in Viry-Châtillon will supply the engines to the Renault team as well as to Red Bull Racing for the 2010 season.
Ten days have passed since the 100 days mark, it is time for another 2010 season countdown post. Here is a summary where F1 stands with 90 days to go.
The final 2010 Formula 1 calendar has been published – see here. The only yet to be finalized race is the inaugural Korean GP that is still subject to the circuit homologation. The season opener will move from Melbourne to Bahrain, the finale will remain at Abu Dhabi after the late reshuffle of 2010 season ending races.
McLaren launched their 2007 contender in Valencia
Lots of talk about the great things we can or should expect from F1 in near (or distant) future is coming out of Monaco these days. One of the great ideas is to be a common car launch of 2010 Formula 1 cars planned by all the teams. The proposed event already has a date (late January) and a place (Valencia).
Neither Toyota nor Sauber on the list, yet
While the talk continues on the future of Sauber team FIA came up with yet another version of 2010 entry list. It is rather confusing reading. On one hand it lists Manor as Virgin Racing (witout any official announcement from either Manor or Virgin), on the other hand the Mercedes GP still features as Brawn GP (with a remark that the team has indicated its intention to change its team name to Mercedes Grand Prix prior to the start of the 2010 season). If the rest of the list is to be believed then Red Bull will retain Renault and Toro Rosso Ferrari engines. Despite some claims from Jaime Alguerusuari that his deal with Toro Rosso has been renewed a while ago there is still a TBA where his name should be…
There are only 12 teams on the entry list. There is an interesting remark regarding Toyota:
Toyota Motorsport GmbH remains formally bound by the Concorde Agreement to put forward a team for participation, though it has indicated that it will not be in a position to do so. An announcement will be made regarding this entry in due course.
Will they stay or will they go ?
Only day after Bridgestone announced their future plans do not include F1 and on the same day Toyota ended their 8 year long winless F1 adventure the story is emerging that Renault may be the next one to quit. An emergency board meeting is on today in Paris. The French car company is to discuss its F1 future. The options for Renault are to stay on with their own team, to continue as an engine supplier only or to follow the examples of Honda, BMW nad Toyota and pull the plug on F1 programme completely.
On Thursday, Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said:
“You will have to be patient. We will make an announcement on our participation in Formula 1 before the end of the year.”
What must be going on in Robert Kubica’s head following his move from ex-BMW team to Renault …
Photo: Bridgestone Motorsport
Kimi, Fisi and Heikki
The Abu Dhabi GP is the last race of 2009 Formula One season. It is also the last race we will see in F1 … Here is the list:
The ban on refueling will come to effect in 2010 season and so the Abu Dhabi is the last chance (for a while at least) to watch the refueling pit stops, strategies based on fuel loads as well as race fuel qualifying (in Q3). Well, and this will be the last time waiting for FIA to publish the post qualifying weights.
KERS only arrived this season but it will not return in 2010. The technology is likely to make comeback in not too distant future but for a time being Abu Dhabi GP is the last F1 race featuring KERS.
3) Drivers in their current teams
The Abu Dhabi GP will be the last opportunity (unless the drivers return in the future) to see Kimi Raikkonen in Ferrari, Fernando Alonso in Renault, Robert Kubica in the team currently known as BMW Sauber.
While nothing has been confirmed yet it is also possible (and in some cases very likely) that we will not see again Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima in Williams, Jarno Trulli or Timo Glock (will not be racing in Abu Dhabi) or both in Toyota, Rubens Barrichello in Brawn GP, Romain Grosjean in Renault, Heikki Kovalainen in McLaren…
4) Drivers racing
Giancarlo Fisichella may have a contract with Ferrari for next year and beyond but only as a test driver. So unless he is called in to stand in for the regular drivers Abu Dhabi may be Fisi’s farewell F1 race. He may be joined by some other drivers who are on the way out of their current teams …
BMW has decided to end its involvement in Formula One, Abu Dhabi GP will be the farewell F1 race for the Munich based manufacturer. And as the team currently has no place on 2010 grid it is also possible that this will be the last appearance of the Hinwil based F1 operation …
6) Engine deals
BMW engines will disappear following the BMWs withdrawal from F1. Williams has ended the deal with Toyota, this will be the last race of Toyota powered Williams car. (There has also been talk about Red Bull switching from Renault to someone else but nothing has been confirmed yet.)
7) 20 cars grid
Following the change of the regulations and entry of several new teams – Manor, Campos Meta, USF1, Lotus (provided they all show up in Bahrain next March) – the Abu Dhabi GP may be the last one for a while featuring only 10 teams and 20 cars.
As expected Renault F1 team has confirmed that Robert Kubica will replace Fernando Alonso and will drive for the team from the 2010 season onwards. There has been no information about the length of Kubica’s contract with Renault. Kubica tested for Renault back in 2005 following his World Series by Renault title. There has been no word on the team’s second driver.
When I returned from Singapore to Hong Kong I spotted Nico Rosberg at the Hong Kong airport. Then I saw him waiting for his luggage at the same belt as me and it became sort of obvious he would be spending some time between Singapore and Japanese GPs here in Hong Kong. I found a video interview he did last week for South China Morning Post. Big part of the interviews focuses on Nelson Piquet’s crash last year in Singapore. Funny how he compares individuals doing stupid things in F1 and in banking world . He also spoke about his future (without giving too much away) and about his Macau GP experience that includes a crash with Lewis Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso moves to Ferrari
What has been rumoured for months was confirmed today. Fernando Alonso has signed three year deal with Ferrari starting in 2010. Felipe Massa stays on.
“We are very proud to welcome to our team another winning driver, who has demonstrated his amazing talent by winning two world championships in his career to date. Of course, we wish to thank Kimi for everything he has done during his time with Ferrari. In his first year with us, he managed to win the drivers’ title, thus making his contribution to Ferrari’s history and he played a vital role in our taking of the constructors’ title in 2007 and 2008. Even during a difficult season like this one, he has demonstrated his great talent, with several good results, including a great win in Spa and we are sure that we can share more good times together in the final three races of this season.” – Stefano Domenicali.
Hamilton, Glock and Alonso on Singapore podium
Lewis Hamilton won the 2009 Singapore GP ahead of Timo Glock and Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel finished 4th after serving drive through penalty for speeding. Jenson Button recovered from poor qualifying and claimed 5th place ahead of his team mate Rubens Barrichello.
Nico Rosberg wasted his best chance of podium this season. He went over the kerbs and the white line after his pit stop and had to serve drive through penalty. As that coincided with safety car period following Sutil-Heidfeld crash Rosberg dropped way back and out of the points. Heidfeld’s crash means his run of 41 race finishes is over …
Formula One making headlines
Bingo, it is possible to get Formula One on the front page of major daily paper. This is what you need to do:
Step 1 – You ask your driver to crash the car deliberately
Step 2 – You fire the driver 9 months later
Step 3 – The driver tells on you and scandal (or “gate”) is born
Step 4 – A year after the original crash the new guy who replaced the fired driver, manages to crash in similar fashion on the same track at the same spot
ING ended its deal with Renault with immediate effect
The bad news for Renault continue. What appears to be direct consequence of the race fixing scandal two major backers of the ING Renault F1 team ended yesterday their deals with the team with immediate effect.
First came the news from Mutua Madrilena. Apparently Renault’s “substantial breach of FIA rules and regulations” has led the Spanish insurance company to terminate its contract.
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