Monday, 20 April 2009

Vettel Takes Red Bull's First GP Victory in China

Sebastian Vettel converted Red Bull's maiden pole position into it's first Grand Prix victory in China on Sunday.

Vettel drove an excellent race in appalling wet conditions and was followed home by his team mate Mark Webber - no doubt disappointed not to have been Red Bull's first GP winner himself.

Jenson Button claimed the third step on the podium cementing his lead at the top of the 2009 driver's championship.

For our full race report please visit the L2F web site now.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

VX Racing to Leave BTCC in 2010 / Thompson Returns - Shedden Out

L2F are saddened to hear the news that Vauxhall have pulled the plug on the British Touring Car Championship with effect from the 2010 season due to the current financial crisis at their parent company General Motors.

The BTCC will be left without any manufacturer teams in 2010 unless there are new entrants but this seems highly unlikely under current circumstances.

In separate news, former BTCC champion James Thompson will be returning to the series after several year's absence. He will be replacing Gordon Shedden at Team Dynamics.

There have apparently been some contractural issues with Shedden (reading between the lines - sponsor/funding problems??). It is hoped that Flash may be able to return to the team if suitable funding can be found to finance a third car.

We are pleased to see Thompson returning to the series but Shedden will be missed.

Shut Up Flav! Briatore Lays Into Brawn

Renault F1 team boss and aging perma-tanned lothario Flavio Briatore has once again been shooting his gargantuan mouth off.

He has publically lambasted the Brawn GP team following their blistering start to the 2009 F1 season, thanks, according to Briatore, solely to their diffuser.

At the same time he has reffered to Brawn GP's drivers as a slow coach (Jensen Button - err who he recently tried to sign to Renault....) and a pensioner (36 year old Rubens Barrichello).

He is clearly talking out of his arse - as usual!

In qualifying for today's Chinese Grand Prix there was not a single Brawn GP car to be found on the front row of the grid!

The pole position went to Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull Racing who's car does NOT use the contraversial diffuser used by Brawn GP.

Second on the grid is his own beloved Fernando Alonso..... using err ..... Renault's version of the contraversial diffuser he has been bellyaching about.

Don't suppose he complained about that.

Do us a favour Flav - keep it buttoned!!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Vettel Takes Red Bull Racing's First Ever Pole Position

Sebastian Vettel has taken Red Bull Racing's first ever pole position for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix and furthermore it was taken in impressive, dare we say it, Schumacheresque style.

Due to a driveshaft gremlin which had cropped up earlier in the day, Vettel was only able to make single runs during all three qualifying sessions and pulled the pole lap out of the bag despite being under extreme pressure.

L2F cannot help but be impressed by the way young Vettel has found his feet in F1 and believes he will be a serious contender for many years to come. Another Schumacher perhaps? He has the skill but fortunately not the arrogant streak.

Second place on the grid goes to a light fuelled Alonso (despite Briatore's bellyaching about diffusers....)

Third place to Vettel's team mate Mark Webber in the sister Red Bull. All in all a great performance for the team so far this weekend.

Barrichello and Button for Brawn GP will occupy fourth and fifth on the grid respectively with Toyota's Jarno Trulli in sixth.

For full details of the qualifying positions please visit the L2F web site!

Jensen Button Fastest at Chinese GP 2nd Free Practice Session

Jensen Button once again topped this time sheets at the final free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix narrowly edging out Williams Nico Rosberg by a miniscule 25 thousandths of a second.

Button's Brawn GP team mate Rubens Barrichello took third place in the standings followed by the two Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel.

The Ferraris of Massa and Raikonnen were 12th and14th fastest respectively. Ferrari has elected not to run with KERS this weekend. Only time will tell if the decision was wise.

Lewis Hamilton who had been second fastest in the first free practice session deteriorated down to a lowly 13th in the final session.

For full timings and positions of both free practice sessions please visit the L2F web site.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Chinese Grand Prix Pre Race Update

The main news today is the departure of Ron Dennis from the McLaren F1 team.
It would appear that Dennis may have fallen on his sword following the Lewis Hamilton "cheating" scandal at the season opening Australian GP last month.
Dennis who has been involved with Formula 1 for the last 43 years will now concentrate on McLaren's sports car business.
Diffuser Row - After the FIA ruling earlier this week in favour of Brawn Gp, Toyota and Williams, we understand that McLaren and Renault will be running revised diffusers on their cars in China this weekend. It remains to see how they will fare in qualifying and the race.
KERS - after experiencing unreliability problems in Australia and Malaysia, Ferrari have decided not to run with KERS at the Chinese GP.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

FIA Diffuser Row Settled in Favour of Brawn, Toyota & Williams

Following a prolonged hearing yesterday, the FIA International Court of Appeal has ruled that the diffusers used by the cars of the Brawn, Toyota and Williams teams are indeed legal.

A statement from the FIA read: "The FIA International Court of Appeal has decided to deny the appeals submitted against decisions taken by the Panel of the Stewards on March 26 at the Australian Grand Prix and counting towards the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship"

"Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the court concluded that the stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations".

The decision leaves Brawn, Toyota and Williams free to race in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, and Jensen Button leading the championship table after the first two races of the 2009 season.

The remaining teams will now have no option but to rapidly redesign their cars to keep up.

Greedy Ecclestone's Malaysian GP Fiasco

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's decision to delay the start time of the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite advice from the locals, was yet another example of how he runs the sport - like a private fiefdom with no regard to the fans and purely to further line his already bulging pockets.
The usual start time for the race was delayed allegedely to enable viewers in Europe to watch the Grand Prix whilst eating their breakfast on the Sunday morning rather than having to get up at an unearthly hour.
The true reason was so that Mr Ecclestone could sell more attractive television advertising slots and feed his greed once more.
As predicted by the locals, the race was rain affected and could not be completed due to failing light making it unsafe to continue.
I don't imagine Mr Ecclestone will consider reimbursing the Malaysian fans who had saved up their hard earned cash to see a full Grand Prix or those who spent thousands of pounds travelling from Europe or North America.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Motorbase Almost Do A Double At Brands Hatch BTCC Opener

The BTCC season opened with rounds 1 to 3 at Brands Hatch on 5th April and did not disappoint.

I was able to attend without Mrs L2F and junior in tow for a change! (They were off enjoying themselves at a third birthday party - I think I know who got the best deal!)

The weather was fine - Spring sunshine but with the usual chill wind that we know to expect at Brands Hatch this time of year.

I arrived there nice and early having had no problems with traffic. It seemed to me that the car parks were less full than on previous visits. Could be a sign of the times. Inside the circuit there were definitely fewer trade stands and not many freebies being given out.

I am pleased to report that the Pitstopper breakfast in the Hailwood Restaurant is still as good as ever and worth the money at £ 6.50. Having refuelled I headed trackside to watch the first race.

Matt Neal made a very poor start from pole position and the BMW's of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard drove immediately through to the front of the pack.

At the same time, further down the field Jelley in his second year in the BTCC was the villain of the piece taking out both Shedden and Adam.

Following a couple of periods behind the safety car, the Vauxhalls of Neal and his team mate Giovanardi eventually managed to overhaul Turkington and Collard. The third Vauxhall driven by Andrew Jordan retired with a mechanical gremlin but he had driven very well in his first outing with the VX-R team. Something for his more senior team mates to bear in mind later in the season.

The race ended - Neal (1st), Giovanardi (2nd), Turkington (3rd).

Race 2 saw a well deserved victory for Rob Collard in his Motorbase Airwaves BMW after a hard fought battle with Team RAC's Colin Turkington. Turks had lead virtually the whole race after again overhauling Neal at the start only to lose the lead to Collard a couple of laps from the finish.

Matt Neal finished the race with another podium while Jelley redeemed himself somewhat for his earlier misdemeanors by finishing fourth - his best showing to date in the BTCC.

The race ended - Collard (1st), Turkington (2nd), Neal (3rd)

I have made little mention of Jason Plato so far. Having finished in tenth place in race two, Plato was lucky enough to find himself on pole position for race three having benefited from the reverse grid draw.

He was overtaken, following a heavy shunt to the rear of his Chevrolet Lacetti, by the second Airwaves BMW of BTCC rookie Jonathan Adam who had started from P2 on the grid.
Adam lead all the way to the chequered flag whilst Plato, Neal, Turkington and Shedden squabbled over second, third and fourth places.
Alas, the dream debut for Adam and the double for the Motorbase team was not to be. The stewards handed Adam a time penalty for the havey handed pass on Plato dropping him to second and passing the victory to Plato.
The race ended - Plato (1st), Adam (2nd), Neal (3rd).
Looking forward to the next rounds at Thruxton later this month. Will be interesting to see if Plato will be there and if Matt Neal can continue his form.
For details of the 2009 BTCC calendar please clicke here

Saturday, 4 April 2009

McLaren - Another Spectacular Home Goal

It seems that McLaren have scored yet another spectacular home goal.
Following an enquiry after last weekends Australian GP it would appear the reason for Lewis Hamilton's subsequent disqualification was an instruction he received from a senior member of the McLaren team to withold information from the race stewards regarding the overtaking move on Jarno Trulli.
For the sake of ONE additional world championship point, McLaren now find themselves with NO points from the opening GP.
Add to this, Lewis Hamilton's reputation has been tarnished amid accusations in the press of him being a cheat and a liar.

A team of McLaren's experience should know better.

They should bear in mind that the FIA are already (in L2F's opinion) heavily biased against McLaren and therefore should know that they need to be squeaky clean at all times.

Is the only way to win the Formula 1 World Championship nowadays by cheating?

Could be. Michael Schumacher was a practicioner of the art and pulled more strokes than Jacqui Smith's hubbie over the years!

BTCC Brands Hatch - Matt Neal Takes Pole For Season Opener & Lap Record

Matt Neal has taken pole position in today's qualifying for the opening round of the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

At the same time he has broken the lap record set way back in April 2001 by Frenchman and Brands Hatch specialist Yvan Muller.

Neal pipped his team mate at VX Racing and current BTCC champion Fabrizio Giovanardi by two hundreds of a second.

Third place on the grid went to Airwaves BMW driver Rob Collard with fourth place spot taken by Team RAC's Colin Turkington. New VX Racing driver Andrew Jordan is in 5th and Jonathan Adam (on his BTCC debut) in an impressive sixth in the second Airwaves BMW.

The top ten rounds out as follows -

7th - Shedden (Team Dynamics - Honda Civic)
8th - Jelley (Team RAC - BMW)
9th - Plato (RML - Chevrolet Lacetti)
10th - Jones (Cartridge World - SEAT Leon)

The top ten are separated by only 0.754 secs so very close racing, as always, can be expected.

L2F's prediction - Race 1 winner - Giovanardi. Race 2 winner - Giovanardi ? Race 3 winner - Turkington

All will be revealed by tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Jason Plato Competing at Brands Hatch This Weekend

Despite parting company with the SEAT works team at the end of last season and it looking like he would be without a drive, it appears that Jason Plato has sniffed out a new opening for himself in the BTCC.
Plato has been signed up by RML to drive a Chevrolet Lacetti at Brands Hatch this coming weekend. RML run the Chevrolet works team in the WTCC.
In recent seasons of the BTCC, the Chevrolet has trailed at the back of the pack. In the experienced hands of Plato it should fair a little better and he may benefit occasionally from the reverse grid.
L2F will be at the season opener at Brands Hatch this weekend and will let you know if he manages to nose his way towards the front or whether it's business as usual with the Chevy.


I have just heard the news that Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from last week's Australian GP following a second steward's enquiry.

I had to check my calendar. No it isn't an April Fool's joke.

The only joke is the FIA. Yet another farce!

Imagine if you are a new viewer to Formula 1.

You see Jarno Trulli on the podium on Sunday celebrating a well earned, hard fought 3rd place result.

Then a few hours later you hear that he has been slapped with a 25 second penalty promoting Lewis Hamilton up to 3rd.

Now, following Lewis's disqualification, Jarno is back up to 3rd again after all!!

As a consequence of the disqualification, McLaren have no points from the Australian GP (Kovaleinen retired from the race) so they are "coincidentally" now all square on points with Ferrari........