Posts Tagged ‘Formula One’

Jack Brabham – in his own words

June 15, 2014

Alan Brinton was an excellent British journalist with whom Jack always had a great rapport. Alan ghosted Jack’s regular column in Motor Racing magazine – and often interviewed him at a time when “interviews” were not really fashionable. When I first came to England, in 1972, I complimented Alan on his work and very kindly he gave me a bundle of tapes he had made over the years. Amongst them was a conversation he had had with Sir Jack just prior to his last Grand Prix, in Mexico, 1970. You can listen to it now (below). And by means of a postscript to this interview, I once had a long chat with Jack in his office near Chessington, during which he took up the story of what happened after his retirement:


‘There is something fundamentally wrong’: F1 bosses worried about the future of the sport as costs continue to escalate

September 22, 2013

‘There is something fundamentally wrong’: F1 bosses worried about the future of the sport as costs continue to escalate


PUBLISHED: 05:34 EST, 21 September 2013 | UPDATED: 05:34 EST, 21 September 2013

Formula One team bosses say the rapidly escalating costs of the sport – set to climb even higher next season – mean there is something ‘fundamentally wrong’ with the sport which must be corrected. 

The switch to V6 turbo engines next season, along with the re-introduction of in-season testing, means already financially-stretched teams will face a significant increase in costs. 

‘Talks between teams to agree on cost-reduction methods have collapsed without any agreement, failing to bridge the gap between the smaller teams and the big four of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes, who were resistant to any restrictions,’ Caterham team founder and Air Asia chief Tony Fernandes said.

Escalating costs: F1 bosses are worried about the future of the sport as costs rise

Escalating costs: F1 bosses are worried about the future of the sport as costs rise


Switch: The sport will swap to V6 turbo engines next year which could prove prohibitive

Switch: The sport will swap to V6 turbo engines next year which could prove prohibitive

‘When I came into Formula One, people talked to me about cost coming down, but I don’t think there’s been a single year it’s come down. Next year will be the highest year, so there’s something fundamentally wrong. 

‘The teams lost out an opportunity to get costs under control. Self-interest overrode the sport and we are as much to blame for this problem as a (new) engine. We screwed it up. It’s as simple as that.’

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost voted against the reintroduction of in-season testing, which was originally axed as a cost-saving measure but brought back in 2014 at the behest of the big teams. 

‘The teams are stupid enough to do tests during the season,’ Tost said. ‘On the one had they’re complaining they don’t have money, on the other hand they throw it through the window. 

‘And who wants the tests? The rich teams. As usual.’

Missing out: Small teams will suffer, according to Torro Rosso boss Franz Tost

Missing out: Small teams will suffer, according to Torro Rosso boss Franz Tost


On the move: Kimi Raikkonen in action in practice 3

On the move: Kimi Raikkonen in action in practice three

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said costs had come down significantly since the manufacturer era of last decade when the likes of Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda had their own teams. 

However he still urged more talks between teams, governing body FIA and the commercial rights holder headed by Bernie Ecclestone, to stabilize regulations to reduce compliance costs. 

Bob Fearnley, deputy principal of Force India, agreed regulation needs to be imposed from the top as there is too much competition between the teams for them to ever reach an agreement. 

‘The teams have demonstrated that they are not capable of being able to agree a cost control, so the answer is to take it outside of the teams’ control. It’s up to the FIA to decide a formula, bring that in and implement it.’

Arrival: Lewis Hamilton arrives in the paddock ahead of qualifying

Arrival: Lewis Hamilton arrives in the paddock ahead of qualifying

Aside from cost reduction, another means of sustaining the teams is for more of the money earned by the commercial rights holder to be passed on to the teams. 

‘We may have missed an opportunity to just sit down with the commercial rights holder and re-negotiate something which could have been more in favor of the teams, but we failed,’ Boullier said. 

Tost said getting more money flowing from TV rights and sponsorships to funnel down to the teams was not the answer. 

‘It’s easy to say we should get more money, but give the engineers one million and they ask for two. Give them four million and they ask for eight.’ 

Pastor Maldonado

Boullier agreed, saying increased revenue must work in concert with tighter regulations to control spending. 

‘The more money you get, the more money we will spend if you don’t have any safeguards around you,’ Boullier said.

‘The more open the regulations are, the more we will spend money and waste money.’




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Red Bull Takes Constructor’s Title In Brazil

November 12, 2010

Bull after team F1 crown

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, Christian Horner and Mark Webber

The story of Red Bull’s constructors’ championship

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel believes the team’s first constructors’ title is testament to six years of hard work since their 2005 Formula 1 debut.

Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber’s one-two in the Brazilian Grand Prix sealed the crown with one race to go.

“When Red Bull entered Formula 1, I was a small boy. If I compare the place then to now, there is massive progress,” German Vettel said.

“It’s not always investing money, it is time, patience and a lot of passion.”

The Milton Keynes-based outfit has an unassailable 48 point lead over McLaren as the teams head for the season finale in Abu Dhabi next Sunday.


Although both Red Bull men are in the running to clinch the drivers’ title and their uneasy relationship has become increasingly public , Webber echoed Vettel, who is seven points behind him in the standings.

“The list of people back at base is incredible, we have some soldiers back there like you wouldn’t believe,” added Australian Webber, who is only eight points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

“I would like to be in the trenches with those guys, they do an incredible job for us.”

Red Bull's chief technical director Adrian Newey

Newey salutes Red Bull team in Milton Keynes

Chief technical officer Adrian Newey has designed constructor title-winning cars on seven other occasions – taking the crown five times with Williams and another two with McLaren.

He revelled in taking a team that emerged from previous Stewart and Jaguar incarnations after its purchase by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz to the top of the sport.

“This is amazing to have done it with this team,” Newey reflected.

“To have been there from the start and build it up from a midfield runner to champion is a great achievement from everyone in Milton Keynes.

“We didn’t have the infrastructure of the big teams, we had to build up and everyone in Milton Keynes has risen to that magnificently. It sounds corny, but trying to work as a cohesive unit is key.”

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BBC pundit David Coulthard was one of the team’s first drivers, taking fourth place in their debut race in Australia in 2005, and is still employed by the team.

“It just shows it is not about money it is about people it is about empowering and letting them rise to the top,” the Scot commented.

“I think it is a lovely story for Formula 1. But they have one race to enjoy it and then the battle begins all over again.”

Fernando Alonso wins Korean Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton

October 24, 2010

Fernando Alonso wins Korean Grand Prix from Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso of Ferrari drives during the Korean Formula One Grand Prix

Highlights – Korean Grand Prix

By Richard Rae

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso moved into the championship lead after winning a rain-affected Korean Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was second and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa came third, but Jenson Button finished 12th to all but end his hopes of retaining the title.

Alonso now leads by 11 points from Red Bull’s Mark Webber, who crashed early on, and 21 points from Hamilton.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel retired from the lead with an engine failure and is now 25 points behind Alonso.

With only two races remaining in the season, however, Alonso insisted nothing had really changed.

“We know with the new points system everything can change in one race – if you don’t score, you lose 25 points to your opponents,” said the Spaniard.

“Here it was bad luck for Mark and Sebastian. Anything can happen in the next two races. As we repeat many times, being consistent is very important, we cannot forget we need to be on the podium and fighting for the victory in the last two races.”

Korean GP top three drivers

Korean Grand Prix – Top three drivers

Hamilton said it was a great result for him.

“My tyres were shot at the end, so it was just about trying to get the car home,” he said.

Button, in contrast, said it had been an horrific day.

“I just didn’t have any grip, and at times I was the slowest person on the circuit. Also I was just destroying tyres. It’s been a sad Grand Prix.”

With rain falling, race director Charlie Whiting decided the start should take place behind the safety car.

Three laps in, with Alonso describing conditions as “the worst I have ever driven in”, the race was suspended and the cars returned to the grid.

After a 45 minute delay the rain had eased sufficiently for the race to be re-started, still under the safety car.

It was to be another 13 increasingly frustrating laps before the safety car finally came in at the end of lap 17.

The drama began almost immediately, as coming out of Turn 12, Webber ran wide and was unable to collect his car before spinning across the track, hitting the wall, spinning back and colliding with the unfortunate Nico Rosberg.

“Totally my fault, I got on the kerb,” said the Australian. “It’s frustrating, because I thought I could catch it. Conditions were fine.”

It meant more work for the safety car, and the pack closed in behind Vettel. Alonso was second, ahead of Hamilton, Massa and Button.

With conditions steadily improving, Button was the first of the leading pack to switch to intermediate tyres, with a shallower tread depth for drier conditions.

He re-emerged disastrously behind a train of five midfield runners, but when Sebastien Buemi crashed his Toro Rosso into the Virgin of Timo Glock it meant another safety car period.

Vettel still led, but there was bad news for Alonso when he came in for intermediates on lap 32. A wheel-nut problem on his front right delayed the Spaniard sufficiently for Hamilton to pass him for second.

Not for long. As soon as the race resumed Hamilton ran wide through Turn 1, enabling Alonso to retake the position.

Button, still bottled up down the field, was forced wide by Force India’s Adrian Sutil and lost more places on lap 36.

Up front Vettel was still in control, and Alonso responded as Hamilton began to close up.

McLaren's Lewis Hamilton

Title not out of reach – Hamilton

With 20 minutes left on the race clock, dusk was beginning to fall as Renault’s Vitaly Petrov crashed out at Turn 18.

At the front, Alonso began to close in on Vettel and the Red Bull driver predictably began to complain about the light, but he had a lot more to complain about on lap 46 when, with Alonso by now right behind him, his engine gave up in a cloud of smoke and oil.

Alonso still had Hamilton behind him but the McLaren dropped back as the Englishman’s tyres began to wear more than the Ferrari’s and as the darkness descended the Spaniard took both a remarkable win and the lead in the drivers’ world championship.

After the race, stewards announced that Buemi and Sutil would take five-place grid penalties in Brazil for their part in their crashes. Sutil also receives a $10,000 (£6,400) fine for driving in the way he did despite knowing he had a brake problem.

Copyright. 2010. BBC Sport. All Rights Reserved

Vettel steals pole in Korea’s inaugural Grand Prix

October 24, 2010
Racing series   F1
Date 2010-10-23

By Hannah Taylor –

It was a tight battle between the front-runners in today’s Formula One qualifying session, in preparation for the first Grand Prix in South Korea. Not for the first time this season though, the Red Bull team closed off the front row of the grid. Sebastian Vettel snatched pole from team mate, Mark Webber, to achieve his ninth pole position of the season, and making it the eighth time for the team to take the first two positions. Fernando Alonso took third place for Ferrari, and will line up alongside the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.
See large picture

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing. Photo by All Rights Reserved. 20

On his way to grabbing pole from Webber, the German set a final flying lap time of 1:35.585s. He was faster than his Australian team mate by seven hundreds of a second.

Vettel seems thrilled with the qualifying result, which means he will start from the clean side of the track unlike team mate, Webber.

“It was a small margin for pole, but it was enough and it was a good result as yesterday we didn’t have smooth running. We had a puncture in the practice, so I hadn’t done too many laps on the new track, which makes it harder to get into a rhythm. You have to take every race as it comes, Japan was a good result, but now in Korea all the focus is on tomorrow’s race. The car was quick today, no doubt, but you still need to get the job done and the most important thing is that you remain calm, which we all did as we knew what we had in us. So, we got the job done today, but let’s see for tomorrow.”

The session was not completely in the hands of Red Bull, as Hamilton did impress in Q1, and was faster than the other top five drivers fighting for the title. The 2008 World Champion topped the timesheets at that point, with a lap time of 1:37.113s. When Q3 got underway and it mattered, the Briton was eight tenths quicker than Webber, and temporarily took first, with the lead then changing to favour Alonso. The Spaniard was the first man to set a lap time in the 1:35s. However, Hamilton did get slightly out of shape on his entrance, back into the pits when he ran wide, but still managed by a whisker to keep it together.

Hamilton’s team mate, Jenson Button, seemed to continue the same run of luck as in practice yesterday. Throughout Q1 the defending World Champion was struggling, and finally found the pace once the tyres were up to temperature, but he then got held up in traffic, which meant he aborted his final lap in Q1. Button finished that part of qualifying in tenth position, to take him through to Q2. His performance did not improve once in Q2, and he was seven tenths down on his team mate’s time, which saw him drop to seventh position by the end of that stage. By the time Q3 was well underway, Button’s situation seemed to go from bad to worse. At Turn 14, he got slightly out of shape, and this hampered his lap time. As a result of the problems he faced with his tyres, Button will start from seventh place on the grid.

Although his Ferrari team mate outqualified him overall, Felipe Massa showed good form in the early stages of Q2. The Brazilian was the first of the front-runners to switch to the softer compound of tyres. This decision proved to have a positive outcome, as he was four tenths faster than his team mate, Alonso. Unfortunately, as the track conditions seemed to improve for the other top drivers, Massa was out of the running to secure a place in the first two rows. He will start just ahead of Button, in sixth position.

After an impressive start to the weekend in practice yesterday, Robert Kubica experienced a mixed qualifying session. During Q1 it appeared that Bruno Senna was on a hot lap, but Kubica was on his tail, and sadly the Polishman wasted a lap, and decided to return to the pits for a short while. Later on in Q1, Kubica got back out onto the track, and with the help of his prime tyres, got through to Q2 in sixth place. The rest of his session went along steadily, but with the top five title contenders about, Kubica will start the race from eighth position.

Vitaly Petrov in the sister Renault will not have the best start to his race tomorrow. In Q2 his tyres were letting him down, giving him very little grip on the track. The lap he was hoping to set was ruined when he spun, and this dropped him to 13th place at the time. His original qualifying position was 15th, but with the five-place grid penalty he incurred at Suzuka, he will now start from 20th position.

After completing yesterday’s practice in 13th and 16th place, the Williams drivers would have liked to improve in qualifying, when track position really counts. However, it just did not seem to be their day. Rubens Barrichello was again in close company with Michael Schumacher as in practice. The Brazilian driver appeared to be held up in Q2 by the seven time World Champion, who was just ahead in his Mercedes. Barrichello was less than impressed with Schumacher’s actions, and informed FIA Race Director, Charlie Whiting about the incident.

The race stewards have since announced that Schumacher will be reprimanded for impeding Barrichello. The FIA released a statement explaining the reason for the punishment. “The stewards note that irrespective of the team’s opinion that car 9 (Barrichello) was not on a “fast lap”, it is ultimately the drivers responsibility to be conscious of closing cars via the use of mirrors and blue flags/lights”

The two former Ferrari team mates, will at present, line up alongside each other for the race tomorrow. Schumacher managed to get the higher grid slot of the two, to take ninth place, which leaves Barrichello in the last top ten position.

Barrichello explained how the rest of his lap was slowed, because Schumacher seemed to get in his way.

“I’m a little bit sad because it’s only luck that I passed on to Q3 because he really slowed me down… I am a down-to-earth guy, a very cool guy, which means I have a lot of respect even for the slowest cars and to the quickest ones. So we all make mistakes and we are allowed to make a mistake and to apologise…I don’t want it to become very personal, we had problems in the past, we still have problems in some situations like in Hungary”.

Nico Hulkenberg in the sister Williams was out by the end of Q2. He had a coming together with an adverse camber on the track, which caused him to be a tenth of a second down on his team mate, Barrichello. As a result of the mishap, the German will line up just behind his team mate in 11th position.

The Sauber team left it quite late in Q2 to change for softer tyres, and the gamble did not seem to pay off by the end. Nick Heidfeld was eight tenths down on his Japanese team mate, Kamui Kobayashi. The roles then reversed, as Kobayashi was a second down on his German team mate. As the clock was ticking down for the final stages of Q2, Kobayashi had the upper hand, and will begin the race in 12th position, as Heidfeld trails him in 13th place.

It was a disappointing day for the Force India drivers. Both have done well performance wise, and in particular on race days, but qualifying did not quite go to plan for them today. At one stage it was looking like Adrian Sutil, may have been the one to bow out of Q1, but for the fourth time this season, his Italian team mate, Vitantonio Liuzzi dropped out of the session early. His exit as Q1 came to a close did mean that he would have started from 18th position, but with Petrov now 20th, Liuzzi will be one better in 17th position. Despite Sutil getting through to Q2, Sutil could not get himself into the final session. He is also out of the top ten and will line up in 14th place.

Other drivers to drop out after Q2, include the Toro Rosso drivers. Jaime Alguersuari managed to get ahead of his Swiss team mate, Sebastian Buemi. They secured 15th and 16th place respectively. Petrov would have been in Alguersuari’s position, but with the grid penalty he faces, it means that there is a minor adjustment in places.

With the continuing battle at the back of the grid, it seems that Lotus have shone over the other new teams in Formula One. Qualifying was no different today, and Jarno Trulli, will start ahead of Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock in 18th position.

Heikki Kovalainen managed to beat the other Virgin Racing car, of Lucas Di Grassi, to secure 21st place for the race tomorrow.

Both Hispania Racing cars will resume, what has usually been their position for qualifying, in the final row on the grid, and Sakon Yamamoto is ahead in 23rd place. His Brazilian team mate, Bruno Senna sits alongside him in 24th position. Even though he is in the final spot on the grid, Senna did mix with Kubica in Q1, who is in a more comfortable position near the front-runners.

Since some concerns were raised yesterday after practice, about the pit lane entry, as drivers would be going into it blind on race day. There were fears that if this remained, then there could be a high risk of an accident. The drivers have now been informed that they can ignore the usual ruling, where they have to remain within the white line, which directs the way to the pit lane.

This change means that drivers instead, will be able to cut into the pits using the racing line. It is also the case for the exit from the pits, where drivers can ignore the white line, due to the dust that surrounds the area there. The normal procedure for committing such acts, would result in a drive through penalty, but on this occasion with safety in mind, the normal race conduct for this has been waived.

There has been a further amendment to the circuit over night, with the safety of the drivers of paramount importance. At Turn 16, the kerb has been filled in, which now allows the drivers, to use the racing line, as they should do. The wall at the same place on the circuit has also been moved back to its original position, after concerns that it was also a hazard to drivers.

As the race gets underway tomorrow and the drivers go the distance, around the 3.5-mile Yeongam circuit, a lot of attention will be on polesitter and current Championship leader, Mark Webber. He will face close competition though, from the other drivers fighting for the title. They will be looking to pick up some extremely valuable points, to keep their own hopes alive. As well as their closest Championship rivals to battle against, the drivers may have the weather to contend with, which will inevitably change the track conditions, and impact on the handling of the cars.


Copyright. 2010. All Rights Reserved