Sunday, 14 June 2009

BTCC Croft - Turkington Takes Pole

Colin Turkington of Team RAC has taken pole position at Croft. Jason Plato qualified second on the grid with Turkington's team mate Stephen Jelley third. Jelley is certainly much improved this season compared to last year.

Jones, fourth, was the only non BMW/Chevrolet qualifier in the top six. The two Chevrolets of Mat Jackson and Harry Vaulkhard were fifth and sixth fastest respectively.

VXR team mates Jordan and Neal are seventh and eighth whilst current Champion Giovanardi is way back in thirteenth. Jordan is certainly holding his own against his vastly more experienced team mates.

The top ten is rounded out by James Thompson ninth and Rob Collard in tenth.

With a fair wind, this weekend could see Turkington take the lead in the driver's Championship.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

FIA Announce New Teams for 2010

The long awaited list of entrants for the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship has been announced today but as the budget cap row continues to simmer (or should that be boil?) nothing can be said to be cut and dried by a long chalk.


The ten current F1 teams have been granted spots on the 2010 grid.

HOWEVER...... five of those teams have been given a week to drop their conditions or lose their slots. A further three are objecting to being entered!

Of the current teams, only Williams and Force India appear to be 100% confirmed for 2010 as they broke away from FOTA and submitted unconditional entries before the May deadline.

Red Bull, Ferrari and Toro Rosso are the three teams objecting to their entry but the FIA insists they are contractually committed to compete in 2010.

Ferrari has already intimated they may challenge this in the courts and again stated they will not participate in the Championship next year unless their conditions are met.

Brawn, McLaren, Renault, Toyota and BMW Sauber have been granted provisional entries on the basis they drop their conditions by the 19th June. If they fail to do so they face being excluded from the grid.

Due to the proposed FIA budget cap, numerous new teams including Lola, Prodrive, Team Lotus etc are waiting in the wings to fill any vacancies.


The FIA has announced the three news teams competing next year will be -

Campos Grand Prix

This team is owned by Spaniard Adrian Campos, a former Minardi driver who later became manager to one Fernando Alonso. Campos currently run in GP 2 and were crowned champions in 2008.

Their car will be designed by Dallara and powered by Cosworth who are making a return to Formula 1.

It would appear that Ecclestone wants to keep the F1 interest in Spain alive now that Alonso is no longer in a front running car.

This can be the only reason a team like this got in ahead of teams with the racing pedigree of Lola or Prodrive.

Click here to view the team web site

Team US F1

This team was hotly tipped to join the series as it is known that Ecclestone is desparate to get a foothold in the USA and was heavily backing their bid.

The team will be run by Ken Anderson (ex Ligier) and Peter Windsor (ex Williams) and based in North Carolina. The car will be powered by Cosworth.

Team US F1 have stated they will run at least one American driver but L2F thinks it is likely to be an all American set up.

Several driver names have been put in the frame including Danica Patrick and Scott Speed.

Landing a (potentially) front running female driver like Patrick would be an excellent marketing opportunity and may also help in their stated goal of popularising F1 in the States.

Scott Speed, although undoubtedly cheaper than Danica Patrick, would probably be a liability given his form and team problems at Red Bull.

Manor GP (Manor Motorsports)

This was the surprise of the bunch.

Manor Motorsports , owned by John Booth is a successful team in the F3 Euroseries based in Sheffield.

The car will also run a Cosworth engine.

Why they have been included over more prestigious contenders remains to be seen. They obviously must have said the right things to Ecclestone!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Litespeed & Lotus Group in F1 Squabble

As previously reported in this blog, British F3 team Litespeed have submitted an entry for the 2010 FIA F1 World Championship.

Should their F1 bid be successful, they have been given permission by the rights holder to use the Team Lotus name, resurrecting it for the first time since 1994.

Could be a return of the famous racing green and yellow livery.

Following this announcement by Litespeed, the Lotus Group have issued the following statement......

"Group Lotus PLC and its subsidiary Lotus Cars Limited, the manufacturer of the legendary Lotus Elise and global high technology engineering consultancy, are not connected or affiliated to, nor in any other way associated with the newly-announced ‘Team Lotus’ that has submitted an entry 2010 Formula 1 championship,” ........ “Group Lotus PLC will take all necessary steps to protect its name, reputation and brand image.”

Both sides may be being a bit premature considering the fact that the FIA has not yet confirmed the winning bidders for the 2010 grid.

Lotus Group could be missing a trick here.

If Litespeed/Team Lotus do win a spot on the grid for 2010 and it is a well run outfit, as it should be with the likes of Mike Gascoigne on board, the Lotus Group will indirectly benefit from massive worldwide television exposure equivalent to millions of pounds of marketing spend.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

BTCC - Colin Turkington to be Replaced at Team RAC?

Watch out Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley!

L2F Junior has been honing his racecraft and we are pleased to report that the laps times have started to tumble. He is eyeing up a spot on the grid for BTCC 2024.

Button Wins Again in Turkey - Is the Season Over Already?

Jenson Button continued his winning streak at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend making it six wins out of seven.

The race was effectively done and dusted before the first lap had been completed.

Vettel who had qualified on pole went wide whilst pushing hard enabling Button to slip through.

From then on it was game over. Nobody had the pace to keep up with Button. His team mate Barrichello who had in qualified third, suffered clutch problems and had a terrible start off the line dropping more or less to the back of the field before eventually retiring from the race. This was Brawn GP's first retirement of the season.

It was a dissapointing race for Vettel in the end. He finished on the third step of the podium behind his team mate Webber.

Webber had driven very well throughout the race to a highly deserved second place. He is now fourth place in the drivers Championship only 1.5 points behind Vettel. The two Brawn GP drivers, however, are pole apart. Button is now leading the Championship over Barrichello by a massive 26 points.

Whilst I would dearly love to have a British F1 World Champion again at the end of this season, I would like to see Jenson closely challenged as Hamilton was last year.

Unless the other teams step up to the plate in the next couple of races it will be fait accomplit.

I am still sticking to my prediction that Barrichello will show some form at Silverstone and finally make some inroads into Button's seemingly unassailable lead.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Turkish GP - Vettel Takes Pole

Red Bull Racing's 21 year old wunderkind Sebastian Vettel has snatched pole position for tomorrow's F1 Turkish Grand Prix in the dying seconds of Q3 (as predicted in this blog!).
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello of Brawn GP had to settle for second and third on the grid respectively.
Vettel's team mate Mark Webber has qualified fourth and, in a much improved performance for Toyota, Jarno Trulli was fifth fastest.
The two Ferraris of Raikkonen and Massa are sixth and seventh, Fernando Alonso (Renault) is eighth, Rosberg (Williams) ninth and Robert Kubica of BMW tenth.
The BMW's are showing some improvement in form compared to recent Grand Prix with Heidfeld one spot behind Kubica in eleventh.
McLaren are having (yet) another dismal weekend. Lewis Hamilton was dumped out of Q1 and qualified a terrible sixteenth. His team mate Kovalainen, despite topping the time sheets in second practice on Friday, fared little better with fourteenth spot on the grid. McLaren are hoping to rush through new parts in time for Silverstone but whether that will make a lot of difference remains to be seen.
Force India driver Adrian Sutil qualified a very creditable fifteenth.
The top seven runners were separated by barely half a second and with a tricky circuit to navigate (practically every driver has had an off this weekend so far), it promises to be an exciting race tomorrow.
Our podium prediction - Vettel to win, Button second, Massa third.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Mosley Tells FOTA Teams to Form Their Own Championship

The Formula 1 2010 budget cap row continues to rumble on before this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix.

As reported previously in this blog nine of the ten FOTA member teams submitted conditional applications for the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship by the 29th May deadline.

Williams broke ranks from the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and submitted a full entry to the Championship in line with their commercial and contractural obligations. They were later suspended from membership of FOTA.

Subsequently, Force India have also submitted a full entry and face suspension, like Williams, from FOTA.

Following the announcement of the proposed budget cap from 2010 onwards, many new entrants have been persuaded to submit entry applications and as the total number of teams that can enter is limited to thirteen (26 cars), places on the grid are not guaranteed for all of the current established F1 participants.

Perhaps emboldened by the level of new applicants to the sport, Mosley has effectively told the eight FOTA teams lead by Ferrari that have submitted only conditional entries for 2010 to put up or shut up.

Mosley has stated that if they are not happy with the rules set by the FIA they should consider running their own Championship and then they are free to do what they like.

This is certainly a high stakes game for all concerned.

Should the likes of Ferrari and McLaren do as is suggested by Mosley and go their own way Ecclestone will find himself in hot water with the television networks and advertisers.

On the other hand, some of the FOTA teams could find themselves in court for breach of contract. It is said that Ferrari could be sued for as much as £ 500 million.

The FOTA teams would also have enormous expenditure to get a breakaway series up and running.

Ecclestone has exclusivity arrangements with all the circuits currently used by F1 and numerous major television deals. The FOTA teams would have to negotiate venues and television coverage from scratch.

Some of the teams (Toyota ? Renault ?) may use these shenanigans as a convenient excuse to bow out completely in view of the losses they are currently incurring in their production car business.

Hopefully everyone will see sense at some point before too much irreversible damage is done.

F1 Turkish Grand Prix - Kovalainen Fastest in 2nd Practice

McLaren driver Heiki Kovalainen has topped the time sheets in the second Friday practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix pipping Fernando Alonso by a wafer this margin of six thousandths of a second!

Robert Kubica took third fastest in a seemingly improved BMW while Williams driver Nakajima was fourth fastest ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg (seventh). Despite an earlier engine failure, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull was fifth fastest followed by Jarno Trulli in sixth. Toyota are looking to make up for their dismal showing in Monaco.

What of the two Championship leading Brawns? Barrichello was eighth fastest with Jenson Button lagging behind in twelfth. Some more work to be done before qualifying tomorrow.

The top ten was rounded out with Webber in ninth and Nelson Piquet in tenth.

Massa (eleventh), Hamilton (thirteenth) and Raikkonen (fifteenth) found themselves outside the top ten.

Who will be on pole tomorrow? My guess, maybe Alonso or Vettel. We will see.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Alex Wurz Confirms 2010 Superfund F1 Entry Bid

Former Benetton, McLaren and Williams driver Alex Wurz is the figurehead for a new Formula 1 project in association with investment company Superfund.

Wurz confirmed that he and Superfund founder Christian Baha had submitted an entry for the 2010 World Championship and were optimistic about their chances of getting one of three open places on the grid.

They had decided, after being interested for many years , that the cost of running a team in 2010 was going to come down to a level where it would become economically viable.

Wurz has confirmed the team has already been in discussions with a current F1 outfit regarding a technical partnership and a provisional agreement had been signed.

The Austrian retired from F1 in 2008 but continues to race occasionally in sportscars and will be competing with the Peugeot team in the Le Mans 24 Hours.