1986 Mexican GP F1 win for Pirelli tyres (Berger, Benetton-BMW)
Pirelli will return to F1 next season for the first time since 1991. The Milan-based firm will supply all the Formula One teams from 2011-2013 with six types of tyre: four for dry weather, one for rain and one intermediate tyre. Pirelli – which has supplied tyres exclusively for the GP3 championship this year – will also supply the GP2 championship from 2011, becoming the sole provider of tyres for the most prestigious single-seater championships in global motorsport.
Here is the full text of Pirelli press release on F1 and GP2: (more…)
Earlier this year, at the height of the Mosleygate came a surprising piece of news from FIA – plans to revive the Formula 2 series. Thanks to the timing of the announcement it was almost immediately considered to be just another shot fired in the Bernie vs. Max war. Thanks to the planned low budget (£195,000 per car) it was also almost immediately branded as impossible. Things have however moved ahead. Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSport Vision has been selected to run the series and the plans for 2009 season were announced last weekend including the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship calendar (see the bottom of this post).
Many people are a bit confused with this Formula 2 thing especially when there already exists rather successful Formula 1 feeder series – GP2. So what are the differences between current GP2 series and the planned Formula 2 championship ?
The FIA announced the winner of the Formula Two chassis and engine supplier tender – MotorSport Vision (MSV):
MotorSport Vision (MSV) has won the tender to supply chassis and engines for the new FIA Formula Two Championship, following a fax vote of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. As part of the winning tender it has been agreed that MSV will be the promoter of the Championship as well as the operating entity for all of the cars.
MSV has commissioned WilliamsF1 to design the car, which will incorporate a turbocharged 1.8 litre Audi engine and be built to Formula One-level safety standards. The first prototype car is on schedule for its testing debut in November 2008, with the Championship due to start in May 2009 and comprising 16 races over eight events. Performance levels will be between Formula Three and Formula One and the cost per competing driver will be less than €250,000.
The only confirmed 2009 F1 vacancy is at the moment at Toro Rosso. Sebastian Vettel signed with Red Bull from next year and his current seat is up for grabs. With Sebastien Bourdais struggling and having no contract for next season, the contest is pretty much on for both seats in the former Minardi team. That makes Toro Rosso the most likely route to F1 for the lucky one or lucky pair of Formula 1 newcomers. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a string of young drivers has already been linked with the Faenza based team.
It has been a bit quiet on the rumour front since the third edition but but still not a total radio silence. And surprise surprise, Sato has been talked about again.
This time not in connection with the “future Honda North America Team” but an existing one – Force India. The rumour has it, as Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell reports, Force India F1 may be thinking about changing their engine supplier. Some meetings are reported to have taken place in Montreal between Force India and Honda. While Force India have a contract with Ferrari at the moment, the sweetener that allegedly makes Honda deal more attractive is inclusion of Honda’s KERS system in the package. After collapse of Super Aguri Honda currently do not not supply customer engines to another F1 team. The Honda engine / KERS package would come at a discount (the rumoured sum is EUR10 mil a year less than what Force India pays to Ferrari) under condition that Force India would also take care of Honda’s headache and give a race seat to ex-Jordan/Honda, ex-BAR/Honda and ex-Super Aguri/Honda driver Takuma Sato. Sounds to me like pay driver deal on offer … I do not know why but this does not feel like a deal Mallya would do …
The other rumour connects Bruno Senna (currently 2nd in GP2) with BMW Sauber. (more…)
Mike Conway did not do himself any harm by winning his first GP2 in Monaco last weekend. The tabloid talk about Conway and F1 has already begun. Does he have realistic chance to race in Formula 1 anytime soon ?
Conway’s current F1 connection is with Honda. He is part of the Honda Young Driver programme, he tested Honda F1 car last year and he does not seem to be unhappy there:
“Honda is a good place to be. They are starting to get results and next year they will be even stronger.”
But can Honda be his ticket to F1 racing ? Anthony Davidson has been part of Honda programme for quite some time. All he got out of it was 1 year and 4 races with Honda funded Super Aguri team (and 1 lap in Sepang standing in for sick Takuma Sato). What will happen with Rubens Barrichello’s seat next year remains to be seen, but it looks very likely that Jenson Button will stay with Honda. Even if there is vacancy next to Button, would Honda fill it up with another British driver ? (The last time I remember 2 drivers from same country in one team were Albers and Doornbos with Minardi, but both of them as paid drivers.) If Button signs new contract with Honda it will probably be for few years so the chances for another British driver to get a race drive with Honda anytime soon are not that good it seems. And unlike Toyota, Honda does not supply customer engines to anybody anymore … He may probably have to look elsewhere. But he is not alone among the current GP drivers with an eye on F1 and as we all know, there are not too many seats in F1 to go round …
2008 will be the third year in a row when a feeder series champion makes the step up to Formula 1 – In 2005 Vitantonio Liuzzi (2004 F3000 champion) raced few races for Red Bull (alternating with Christian Klien). Frank Williams signed 2005 GP2 champion Nico Rosberg from the 2006 season. The 2006 GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton raced for McLaren in 2007 F1 season. Timo Glock will return to F1 in 2008 after winning the GP2 championship in 2007.
Lewis Hamilton wasted a glorious opportunity to become the first ever champion of one of the F1 feeder series to win the F1 title. Yes, no Formula 2, Formula 3000 or GP2 champion ever won Formula 1 title. Almost all of them however raced in Formula 1. The only four without F1 start are Jörg Müller, Bruno Junqueira, Björn Wirdheim and Sébastien Bourdais.
Several of them will be on the grid in 2008 F1 season – Nick Heidfeld, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Sébastien Bourdais are confirmed. Vitantonio Liuzzi’s chances for 2008 drive are slim, but his F1 career may not be over yet. Will any of this guys be the first one to break the pattern ?
Here is the list of all Formula 2 (from 1967), Formula 3000 and GP2 title winners, with their F1 achievements:
The f1fanatic.co.uk runs an interesting series of articles on up and coming racing drivers called “Meet The Rookies”. I think this is a great idea. And if you do not want to be surprised in the future again with an “unknown” guy making a big impact on F1 as Hamilton is making this year I would recommend to go and read the articles in the “Meet The Rookies” series of f1fanatic website.
I add a bit myself to promote the young guns with this little photo gallery from GP2 race in Monaco 2007. I also make all these photos available for download in high resolution at the bottom of the article. The photos feature the following GP2 drivers – B.Senna, Chandhok, Conway, Garcia, Maldonado, Negrao, Petrov, Pizzonia, Rodriguez, Tahinci and Zaugg. Enjoy !
Jean Eric VERGNE
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