Monthly Archives: April 2015

Sutil ‘still working’ with Sauber to resolve issues

 

formula-1-grand-prix-seat-fitting-adrian-sutil-sauber_3062833Reports have surfaced this week that former Sauber driver and Williams’ current reserve driver Adrian Sutil and his management are still working with the Sauber team to ‘resolve the problem’ regarding their driver line ups for this season.

Sutil and his former team mate Esteban Gutierrez were replaced this season in favour of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson despite signing both of them and also former test driver Gideo van der Garde for this season too.

While Gutierrez has signed for Ferrari as a reserve driver this season, van der Garde took legal action against the Sauber team in an Australian Supreme Court in March which he won but later decided to give up legally ‘for the good of the team.’

This week has saw van der Garde stating that he is not interested in F1 anymore despite being approached by Manor F1 for a drive and instead wants to concentrate on driving in DTM or LMP1 for 2016.

Meanwhile, Sutil has signed for Williams as a test driver this season and taking over the role ironically from Nasr. But it would seem that Sutil still wants his case to be sorted using the proper and right legal channels and out of the public spotlight.

And you can understand why after everything with van der Garde why Sutil believes this approach is the best one for him. Despite my thoughts on him as a driver; it is clear that Sutil has a legal case with Sauber and I hope he receives the best possible outcome as a result.

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Lotus completes filming day in Brands Hatch

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On Monday, the Lotus F1 team conducted a filming day with the E23 Hybrid and an array of other cars at Brands Hatch that was attended by many fans of the sport.

Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, the reigning GP2 champion, all took turns at driving the E23 throughout the day.

The team also rolled out the Lotus 72E, which won eight races between 1973 and 1974 in the hands of Emerson Fittipaldi and Ronnie Peterson and a number of Lotus road cars from previous years.

The iconic Kent circuit has not hosted a Formula One race since Nigel Mansell won the 1986 British Grand Prix and fans were able to attend the event free of charge, where they could see the cars and drivers up close and personal when the pit lane opened at lunch.

This fantastic event offered fans a rare opportunity to see modern F1 cars on a track associated with the sport’s history.

F1 regulations state teams can complete two promotional events on track during the course of the year, with each limited to 100km.

As we know, The Lotus Twitter account is one of the most active and engaging in the sport and the team wasted no opportunity broadcasting the event to its followers which was fantastic to see and F1 needs to be embracing opportunities like this rather than dismissing them.

Because it is clear for all to see that the event  on Monday with the Lotus F1 Team was successful and will always be remembered by the vast amount of fans who attended and will be an experience that they never will forget and should be offered to every fan of the sport as regularly as possible.

2016 season will start in Melbourne in April

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It was announced yesterday that the 2016 Formula 1 Championship will get off to the latest start since 1988 as the Australian GP has been scheduled for April 3.

In recent years, the Melbourne street race has taken place in March, however, next season it will be pushed back. The move is believed to based on F1’s attempts to reduce costs by condensing the season.

In his interview with the media yesterday, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott has welcomed the move and stated the following:-

‘It’s fantastic that Melbourne will again play host to the opening round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship,. Over the past 20 years Melbourne has become synonymous with the start of a new Formula 1 season, and we look forward to again welcoming all the teams and drivers to our great city in 2016.

‘The new date will see an earlier start time, and fans can expect the same great on-track action and off-track entertainment across the four days.’

Even though Westacott is happy with the move for next season’s GP in Melbourne, many fans have taken to social media such as Twitter and have been debating why this has been the case. As we all know, the rising costs of the sport have been debated a lot over the past few months and this step from the FIA and FOM feel that this will help matters,

I am unsure if that will help the rising costs that are needed to compete in the sport and I feel at present that the FIA and FOM need to look at a lot more issues that are affecting F1 at the moment in order to find viable solutions for this. But as for the new start date of the season, I am not really concerned about it as I know that we will still get a year’s worth of great racing, even if we have to start later.

But the April date that has been given to Melbourne for the 2016 season means that this is the latest start to a Championship since 1988 when the Brazilian GP at Rio was the season-opener. But no matter when the season starts, you can be sure that Melbourne will once again provide us with a great race as it so often does.

 

Van der Garde ‘not interested’ in Manor

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In an interview with the media yesterday, despite revealing that Manor have contacted Giedo van der Garde, his manager says that is “not something” they are working towards.

Earlier this month, there have been reports circulating that backmarkers Manor were keen on signing van der Garde as they need someone with experience to help develop the car.

It was suggested that the Dutchman, who parted ways with Sauber at the Australian GP, could start with the team at the Monaco Grand Prix.

However, his manager Jan Paul ten Hoopen has downplayed the prospect, revealing in his interview with the media yesterday that van der Garde is instead focused on securing a 2016 DTM drive.

Ten Hoopen stated the following:-

‘We are aware that Manor are looking for an experienced driver. They have contacted us, but this is not something we are working on.

‘We are fully focused on 2016. We are looking at DTM and LMP1 and will be visiting the DTM next week.’

Overall it is clear that van der Garde is not interested in joining the Manor F1 team this season and is fully focused on securing an DTM or LMP1 drive for next season.

Even though van der Garde does have an option to be in Formula One with Manor; you could say that he is not interested in the opportunity because of where the team currently are and how much work would be needed to get them up to speed, wants to be in a competitive drive in another series that will allow him to win or maybe the fact that he is just simply disillusioned with the sport.

And you cannot blame him after everything that has happened with the Sauber team a few months ago. But no matter where he races; I hope that he is successful and that he gets the success he wants; even if it’s in F1 with Manor or not.

And the chances are is that it’s the latter of the two and will either be in DTM or LMP1 for 2016 and is now firmly that focus of Gideo and his management team.

Volkswagen chief Piech quits company

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Over the weekend, it was announced that Volkswagen chief Ferdinand Peich has stepped down from his role in the company.

This weekend saw him stand down from his role after a power struggle with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn. The company backed WInterkorn’s bid of board chairman; therefore ending the texture that Peich has held since 1993 with immediate effect.

Over recent years, it has been reported that Peich has not wanted to the company to enter Formula One. This is believed to be due to his own personal feud with Bernie Ecclestone which has stopped VW entering the sport.

During his eight years with the company, Winterkorn has raised the profile of VW’s prescence in other forms of Motorsport such as World Rally Championships which they have been very successful in and have won the last two championships.

Even though they have been successful there, the VW group believed that due to the way F1 was governed under Ecclestone; they would not enter the sport.

But there is no guarantees that Peich’s departure will help them get into the sport in the near future. But a change in the boardroom could consider this a possibility.

There are rumours circulating that the VW Group could be linked to the Red Bull team after their relationship with Renault is currently under strain. But even if that was the case, they couldn’t work together until 2017 when their current contract with Renault runs out.

Hamilton set for cameo role in Zoolander 2 movie

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It has been announced this weekend that just days after winning his third race of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton has been in Rome doing exactly that on the set of Zoolander 2.

The world champion was pictured sitting next to actress Olivia Munn during a scene which sees Zoolander (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson) strut their stuff on a catwalk in the sequel to the 2001 hit film of the same name.

It is no secret Hamilton has an interest in getting involved in the music industry but this will be his first appearance in film. It is unknown whether Hamilton will have a speaking role.

With a slated February 2016 release date it remains to be seen whether the film-makers can bill Hamilton’s cameo as that of a two- or three-time Formula One world champion.

Williams report substantial financial loss from last season

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Today, the Martini Williams F1 Team has reported that they have lost £42.5million last year, as its entire group lost £34.3million.

Although the team enjoyed its best season for years in 2014, finishing third in the constructors’ championship, increased costs in F1 and its poor results from ’13 meant its financial performance suffered.

However, with increased sponsorship income on the back of that successful 2014 campaign, plus more commercial rights revenue, the team remains upbeat about the future.

In an interview with the media today, Williams group Chief Executive Officer Mike O’Driscoll –

‘The decision to invest in the team has been more than validated, with a third place finish in the 2014 constructors’ championship, up from ninth in 2013. Mid-way through 2013 we set out on an ambitious turnaround strategy to reinvigorate the Formula 1 team, create a strong and profitable Advanced Engineering business, and divest non-core activities.

‘In 2014 we made very good progress against those objectives, investing significantly in people, facilities, and technology which we believe will provide a solid foundation for the future.’

Williams was adamant last year that it needed to invest heavily in its F1 operation if it was to improve on track – even though that would very likely lead to increased losses for that year.

While Williams’s F1 team lost money in 2014, its advanced engineering business and its now-sold hybrid arm both made a profit which in light of what has been announced today is a very good thing.

Even thought the team have made a loss, it is clear that the loss has helped them move further up in the Constructors Championship last year as a result of their performances on the track. By investing in the team and also their personnel, this will only help them as the team move forward for the future and build on what they have achieved last season.

But the future is looking very bright for the Williams team and I hope that they can do it especially as they have everything in place to do so.