2007 Formula 1 Season

Devon

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The Season So Far - Part 1

The Season So Far - Part 1

This is a little review of the season so far from F1.com, it's a good read.

The story so far - the winners and losers of 2007

Eleven races into the 2007 season and already it's been a year of surprises for the teams on the lower half of the grid. Super Aguri are beating engine suppliers Honda; Scott Speed has made an unexpectedly swift exit from Toro Rosso; and Spyker have not only topped a practice session, but also led a Grand Prix!

In the first instalment of a two-part feature, we examine the 2007 fortunes of all the teams to date and consider what they can expect in the final third of the season?

Red Bull

If ever there were proof that a team requires more than brains and bucks to thrive, this season Red Bull would appear to be it. Despite the generous backing of the Austrian drinks company and the presence of uber-designer Adrian Newey, the RB3 has struggled. With nine retirements between them - many related to a troublesome seamless-shift gearbox - team mates David Coulthard and Mark Webber have found the going tough.

On the positive side, a revamp in May seemed to solve most of the car?s mechanical glitches and its pace has, at times, been impressive - particularly in Webber?s hands during qualifying. That pace has allowed the team to capitalise on unexpected events and secure a reasonable points haul. Webber?s third place at the rain-swept Nurburgring was perhaps the best example, bringing a much-needed end to what had seemed a rather long podium dry spell for team and driver alike.

In summary: with another upgrade expected for Turkey, surely the only way is up for Red Bull?

Toyota
Every year since their 2002 arrival, big budgets and experienced drivers have made Toyota?s prospects look good - on paper at least. 2007 has proved yet again that looks can be deceiving. Both TF107s finished a lap down at the season opener in Melbourne and getting a handle on the car has been a slow process. Ralf Schumacher in particular struggled to get to grips with it early on - to the point where many were predicting a premature exit for the German. The fact that customer team Williams have scored eight points more shows just how tough it?s been. Only the dwindling form of Japanese rivals Honda has spared Toyota?s blushes.

Things, however, are looking up. Jarno Trulli has been a Q3 regular all season and in recent races Ralf has joined him. Indeed, after trailing his team mate badly in the early rounds, Schumacher now seems to have the edge. However, both remain frustrated by their cars? hit and miss reliability and an inability to regularly translate qualifying speed into point-scoring performance come Sunday afternoon. They are getting closer all the time, but the consistency is not quite there yet.

In summary: if the recovery can last, Toyota could yet gain ground on the midfield.

Super Aguri
In only their second year Super Aguri were never expected to shine - just improve. They have exceeded expectations. A four-point tally may not seem like much to some, but for the close-knit Japanese team it means the world - especially as it?s three more than engine supplier Honda?s works team. No doubt, Super Aguri are one of the success stories of the season.

Their decision to run a modified version of Honda?s 2006 car led many to dismiss their chances, and others - notably rivals Spyker - to cry foul. Regardless of the legalities, it has proved an inspired move and as the season has progressed the squad have become genuine mid-field contenders. Principal points-scorer Takuma Sato has largely overshadowed team mate Anthony Davidson, but both have put in several noteworthy performances, including numerous Q2 appearances (Sato even made Q1 in Australia). Boss Aguri Suzuki freely admits the team have surpassed their own expectations. They have also silenced their critics and given their ever-growing army of fans something to cheer about.

In summary: assuming they emerge unscathed from the customer car row, the future looks even brighter for the grid?s youngest team.

Honda
Honda?s fall from grace this season has been well-documented. Having finished ?best of the rest? behind the big three in 2006, the Japanese team were hoping to take another step forward in ?07. They have, however, been sorely disappointed and currently languish near the foot of the table with one, solitary point. Warning signs concerning the RA107?s lacklustre pace surfaced in pre-season testing, and while the team?s innovative eco-friendly livery distracted the media for a while, once the racing began, the car?s inadequacies became clear for all to see.

Intensive and ongoing development has boosted the drivers? confidence in their steed - the RA107 was notoriously unstable under braking in the early rounds - but the programme seems to have had little impact on its pace. Last year Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were competing for points and podiums - in 2007 the duo has struggled to even make it into the top ten. To their credit, Honda have taken considerable steps to halt the decline, and with new technical signings joining all the time, there could yet be a silver lining to the team?s season - especially if suspicions of a badly-calibrated (but soon to be corrected) wind tunnel prove true.

In summary: Honda?s 2007 campaign may be a write-off, but with Button and Barrichello confirmed for next season, the remaining rounds could at least lay sturdy foundations for 2008.

Toro Rosso
As one of only two teams to have not earned a point from the first 11 races, Toro Rosso?s season hasn?t quite gone to plan. With an unchanged driver line-up, a Ferrari engine deal and an Adrian Newey-designed chassis, the team had high hopes for 2007, but reliability problems, driver disputes and sheer bad luck have left their season in a degree of disarray. The team have even been eclipsed by Super Aguri and lie a disappointing tenth in the standings.

In the opening ten races, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed rarely made it into the top-15, but shared an unenviable 14 retirements. Even the long-awaited arrival of a seamless-shift gearbox seemed only to compound the team?s strife. With such a torrid record, it was perhaps inevitable that people would start to apportion blame - be it driver on car, or team on driver - and it was Speed who bore the brunt of the fallout. After a rather public row at the European Grand Prix, the American was replaced by up-and-coming youngster Sebastian Vettel. And Liuzzi?s days are also numbered - he is to be replaced by multiple Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais for 2008. Though neither signing will make an instant impression, in the long term both are seen as steps in the right direction.

In summary: a tough second season for Red Bull?s junior squad with little sign of a swift remedy.

Spyker
After the trials and tribulations of 2006, this season was always going to be something of a settling-in period for Spyker. With what has generally been the slowest - and possibly least reliable - car on the grid, it has been a largely thankless task, though there have been highlights. Among them has been the arrival of highly-regarded rookie Adrian Sutil. The former Japanese F3 champion has extracted some unlikely speed from the F8-VII, most notably in Hungary - where he beat Honda?s Rubens Barrichello - and Monaco, where he topped a wet final practice session.

Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne has brought valuable design experience to the novice team, a fact that will hopefully become more apparent with the arrival of a B-spec car in Turkey. And Spyker even led a Grand Prix for the first time - courtesy of Markus Winkelhock at the rain-swept Nurburgring - bringing team sponsors some much-appreciated television airtime. Overall results, though, have been predictably lacklustre. Winkelhock?s one-off appearance followed the departure of Christijan Albers, whose difficult season came to an end following sponsorship difficulties. His permanent replacement, Sakon Yamamoto, has had to little time to shine, though the early signs are good.

In summary: with driver changes, reliability issues and financial concerns taking precedence, for now at least, Spyker remain firmly entrenched at the back of the grid.

Coming soon: McLaren, Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault, Williams.
Source
 

Red_Bull

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Date set for McLaren`s Hungarian appeal

McLaren's appeal against being banned from scoring Constructors' points at the Hungarian GP will be heard on September 19.

Following qualifying, which saw Fernando Alonso hold up his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the pits preventing from the rookie from challenging for pole position, Alonso was sent back five places on the grid.

McLaren's punishment, though, didn't stop there.

The team was also told they would not be scoring any Constructors' Championship points, which meant they lost out on 15 points as Hamilton won the grand prix and Alonso finished in fourth place.

And although McLaren initially said they would not be appealing the lost points, the Woking team later changed their tune and logged an appeal.

That appeal hearing is now set to take place September 19 in Paris.

"The International Court of Appeal will meet in Paris on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 to hear an appeal lodged by the Motor Sports Association on behalf of its licence-holder Vodafone McLaren Mercedes concerning a decision of the Panel of the Stewards of the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix," the FIA said in a statement.

In the interests of transparency the hearing will be open to members of the press and details of the accreditation procedure will be published closer to the time."

If McLaren's appeal is successful the Mercedes-powered team will increase their lead in the Constructors' race to 34 points over rivals Ferrari.
Source

September due to be a busy month for the Woking squad. It would be a severe injustice for them if they don't win their case.
 

HondaF1

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Shnadier would step in to save Spyker

Former team owner Alex Shnaider is confident Spyker will be able to fulfil its remaining payments to his Midland Group ? although he admits he would step in again to save the team if its troubles worsen.

Spyker?s long-term Formula 1 future was thrown in to doubt this week after its parent company Spyker Cars admitted it was considering selling the F1 outfit to help resolve cashflow problems.

The Dutch car maker was part of a consortium led by businessman Michiel Mol that bought the Silverstone-based squad from Midland last September, although Shnaider is still owed money from the deal.

Shnaider reveals he would step in to help the team out if it came to it ? as he did when he originally bought the outfit from Eddie Jordan ? but says he is not expecting it to come to that.

?We have a stake in the team, but not an active role in any aspect of its operations,? he said in an interview with F1?s official website.

?We agreed to allow Spyker to defer part of the payment under certain terms and conditions since we judged that to be in the best interests of the team and of Midland.

?I sold my interest in the team because I judged that it was in the best interests of all concerned, and I have no regrets about doing so,? he added.

?That said, Midland is a secured creditor.

?We have rescued the team in the past and we are capable of doing it again, if necessary.

?Not that it really matters, though, because we expect Spyker to fulfil their obligations.?

However the Russian-born Canadian tycoon does believe a change at the team is needed if it is to achieve its full potential.

He reckons the current owners must bring in a new commercial partner or sell the team outright if the team is to move forwards.

?Our first priority has always been to see the team passed to a safe pair of hands - an owner with a commercial brand to be promoted to the public, a person or company with the vision and resources to develop the potential within the team,? he said.

?I believe that Spyker or the Mol consortium will need to bring in a partner to achieve this, or alternatively, they will need to sell the team outright.

?I think our financial interest will be finally resolved, and I look forward to strolling the paddock with even more ease in the future.

?If we are forced to take the team back, then we will fund it in the short term while also looking for the kind of commercial partner I just described.?

Source

Come on EJ, buy them back, paint them yellow, get a good customer chassis and engine and make Jordan a winning team again. PLEASE!!
 

HondaF1

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Thought i'd post this cos it's very funny. It's from F1 Racing April 2007. Wheel to Wheel section. 1980 WC Alan Jones being asked some questions and being the dickhead he is, does very well....

What year was the last Adelaide GP held? (A: 1995)
AJ: 1986 - Hang on, no that was the last year I drove it. I'd probably say 1991.

Who won the first Australian GP? (A: Keke Rosberg)
AJ: It was 1985 and I think it was Berger. (Told Answer) Oh shit, that's right.

What's the name of the final corner on the Albert Park Circuit? (A: Prost)
AJ: Turn 15 (laughs), No it's after a driver, obviously, I would think it's Senna.

Who was on pole for the 2006 Australian GP? (A: Jenson Button)
AJ: I'll take a punt and say Schumacher's team-mate, er.... Felipo Massa. (what a knob!!)

And he used to be one of our presenters for the F1 coverage here in Australia!!
 

HondaF1

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I loved his first answer, the final Adelaide GP was in 1986 :lol:
 

pfrocker

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I know this is pretty random, but maybe Schumacher isn't who we think he is. :blink:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkssoY6hLfk
:rolleyes: what's funny is that commentator is English. I would expect this from an American, but not an English man. I mean two of the biggest things in England are football (sorry I refuse to call it soccer) and F1. Sorry I'm getting a little off topic.
 
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Devon

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The Season So Far - Part 2

The Season So Far - Part 2

The winners and losers of 2007 - Part two

Rarely have two leading teams provided so much action and intrigue in the space of 11 races. The championship battle between (and within) McLaren and Ferrari has been gripping, but it?s the teams? off-track dispute that has added an unexpected twist to proceedings.

Part two of our mid-season team review examines the fortunes of not just the title favourites, but also those of the blossoming BMW Sauber squad, defending champions Renault and former title holders Williams?

McLaren:
With the disappointments of 2006 firmly behind them, a new title sponsor, plus a world champion and a determined rookie in their ranks, McLaren were bursting with confidence as the ?07 season opened. Questions, however, remained. Would the MP4-22 prove as reliable as it was quick? Would Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton gel? Above all, could the team end their eight-year wait for a constructors? crown? So far the answers have been almost entirely positive.

Five pole positions, 17 podiums and six wins mean McLaren can already smell that elusive title. But it has been far from easy. Hamilton has proved sensational and more than capable of challenging Alonso. As a result the team mates? rivalry has brought untold strain to the squad?s dynamics, nowhere more so than in the Budapest pit lane. On top of this Ron Dennis has had to cope with the ongoing legal storm over his team?s possession of confidential Ferrari data. Their Italian rivals have been worthy adversaries, both on and off track, and it is still more than possible that McLaren could have the title whisked from under their noses by the Court of Appeal.

In summary: With a 19-point advantage, McLaren look capable of defending that lead. But in the season that brought us ?Stepney-gate?, things might not be that simple?

Ferrari
2007 was always going to be tough for Ferrari. Aside from Michael Schumacher?s departure, the Italian team also suffered something of a technical exodus, with engineering talent Ross Brawn amongst the big names to take a step back. However, with Jean Todt remaining at the helm, the transition has proved surprisingly hiccup-free. Incumbent Felipe Massa and new signing Kimi Raikkonen quickly showed off the F2007?s race-winning potential and have enjoyed two and three victories respectively.

Reliability, however, has been a constant, niggling concern and the team have admitted they were dealt a performance blow when the FIA tightened the regulations relating to ?moveable? floors. Nevertheless, the points tally has increased with steady momentum and, with six races to run and just 19 points in it, Ferrari are still in a more than strong enough position to challenge McLaren for both drivers? and constructors? titles.

In summary: a strong outside bet for the title, especially if McLaren lose out in forthcoming appeal hearings.

BMW Sauber
Despite an upswing in BMW Sauber?s performance late last year, many forecasters had pegged Honda as the midfield?s 2007 yardstick. Not so - as the Japanese team have struggled, their German-Swiss rivals have pressed on and defiantly led the chase for third in the standings. Although not yet fast enough to muscle in on the McLaren-Ferrari fight, BMW Sauber look certain to take the ?best of the rest? prize this season.

With the F1.07?s pre-season reliability problems solved pretty early on, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have had a quick and consistent car at their disposal and they?ve used it to good effect. In spite of missing a round after his huge accident in Montreal, Kubica continues to impress with solid performances, but it has been Heidfeld who has been the real revelation. The German, who many considered to have reached the twilight years of his career, has graced the podium twice and has enjoyed a further seven top-six finishes.

In summary: a season to be proud of. If Ferrari or McLaren slip up, expect to see more podium appearances.

Renault
Despite back-to-back championship doubles in 2005 and 2006, many predicted that Fernando Alonso?s defection to McLaren would have a serious impact on Renault?s 2007 performance. Whether the Spaniard?s departure was really the cause we will never know, but Renault have indeed plummeted down the order. It quickly became apparent they would not be title contenders and Flavio Briatore?s squad now look set for fourth place in the rankings, overshadowed not just by McLaren and Ferrari, but also by the ever-improving BMW Sauber.

The team have admitted that the enforced switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres hit them hard, but they have also struggled with the performance of the R27 in general. Giancarlo Fisichella was always going to have a tough time filling Alonso?s shoes and so it has proved, a fourth place at Monaco the highlight of his season so far. Great things were expected of rookie team mate Heikki Kovalainen, but after a difficult start to his campaign, only recently has he got on top of the car and started to show his true potential.

In summary: improving all the time, but probably a case of too little too late to secure any 2007 podiums.

Williams
After the disappointments of last year, Williams have bounced back with a renewed sense of purpose this season. The new engine deal with Toyota and a pre-season management reshuffle seem to have paid dividends and they?ve already scored almost twice as many points as in ?06. The squad have enjoyed several tangible results, including Alex Wurz?s podium finish in Canada, and are currently fifth in the standings - eight points ahead of the Toyota works team!

As for the drivers, question marks over Wurz?s ability to get the best out of the FW27 persist, especially in qualifying, where he has fallen far short of Nico Rosberg?s sparkling performances. Then again, Rosberg?s race pace has rarely matched his Saturday speed and it?s been Wurz who has scored the bulk of the points. Either way, it seems a better and brighter future awaits the team.

In summary: a great deal to take heart from, but a lot more work required if they are to return to anything like their race-winning form of old.
Source
 

HondaF1

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Coulthard is a legend.

Thursday Press Conference.

Coulthard: I also mentioned that how do we know that Ferrari didn't deliberately not put fuel in Felipe's car? Maybe that was a team decision to benefit Kimi. How do you forget to put fuel in the car? (Laughs, off-mike comments from Felipe.) No one said anything about that. I don't know, it didn't allow you to get out on the track.

Massa:
Yeah, but it wasn't on purpose. It was a misunderstanding.

Coulthard: Pretty fundamental misunderstanding. I think it's a conspiracy to favour Kimi. (Laughter). Good luck.
 

GraemeH

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In the last few years he has become more and more of an outspoken grumpy old man type, but in a mischievous and funny way. Full marks for stirring up that little kid Massa :)
 

Devon

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^^ What Coulthard is getting at is quite true though. Good on him.

Hamilton and Alonso kiss and make up??

News
McLaren drivers confirm truce
Friday, 24, August, 2007, 21:15


McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso say they have cleared the air following the breakdown in their relations over the Hungarian Grand Prix ?Pitlanegate? incident and have agreed to move on with no hard feelings on either side.

The team-mates fell out publicly in Budapest three weeks ago after Hamilton disregarded McLaren?s instructions in qualifying and Alonso then impeded him in the pit lane, denying him the chance of vying for pole position.

But the summer break has allowed tempers to cool and after separate discussions with team management in their hotel on Thursday the pair met privately to settle their differences.

McLaren issued a statement on Friday morning saying its drivers had ?found a constructive way forward?, a sentiment echoed by Hamilton and Alonso.

?Fernando and I met up yesterday and had a really constructive meeting,? Hamilton told reporters.

?He said he had no problems with me, and I said the same.

?We just agreed to look forward.

?We settled our differences, and obviously we analysed what went on [in Hungary], and just said this is the past, we have to figure out how we can move forward as a team to take on the championship.

?I apologised for everything that went on last week or the weekend before, and he said, ?Yes, the same for me, let?s just start with a clean slate and move along.??

Hamilton claimed the media had blown the incident out of proportion and exacerbated the tensions between him and Alonso.

?Things are looking better, a lot better than you would imagine after the last race,? he said.

?Everything looked as bad as it could ever be.

?A lot of that I think is from the press ? they are always writing stories about me and Fernando at war.

?It obviously sells a lot more papers, but we?re not at war.

?We?re both extremely competitive drivers, wanting to win the world championship, but that doesn?t deter us from the fact that we respect each other, and we get on.?

He added that the team had reassured him and Alonso that it treats them equally and will continue to do so.

?Obviously, we addressed our issues that we have with the team,? he said.

?We?ve been assured that it is equal, we have equal equipment and equal opportunities.

?For me and Fernando, we?re going to have to keep on pushing, but the war is not between me and him.

?We have to work together as a team to get the constructors? championship and the drivers? championship.

?If I win it?s great for the team, if he wins it?s great for the team. But we need to do it for the team and for us as well.?

Alonso likewise said Thursday?s meetings had been productive in drawing a line under what happened in Hungary.

?Everything is okay,? said the Spaniard.

?The past is the past and what happened in Hungary, it?s not the right time to think about it now.

?With six races to go we need to try and win the championship and we need to think about Turkey now.?

The Spaniard claimed the atmosphere in the team was now a ?normal? one of healthy competition and there was no residual bitterness between him and Hamilton.

?I have no problems with him at all and he has no problems with me at all,? he said.

?We talked about Hungary and we all agreed that what happened in Hungary should not be repeated any more and that we should concentrate to try to beat the Ferraris.?
Source

Alonso: I don't see anything given back
Friday, 24, August, 2007, 22:30

Fernando Alonso feels he has not received due recognition from McLaren for his role in the team?s success this year.

Even as he toed the party line that he and team-mate Lewis Hamilton have buried the hatchet after their public falling-out at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso was unwilling to let McLaren?s continued insistence on treating its two drivers equally pass without comment.

The world champion stressed his own contribution to the Woking team's resurgence this year after a 2006 season in which it was outperformed by both Ferrari and Renault.

?I think that is always very clear in every team, to have equal opportunities to everybody and to have an equal car to your team-mate,? Alonso said.

?What I think sometimes, and what I ask the team, is that I gave the team a lot when I arrived in December.

?I remember the car I drove; I remember the results they had in 2006.

?And now I brought to the team half a second, six-tenths or whatever, and I don?t see anything given me back. That?s the only thing.?

Alonso admitted earlier this year that his relationship with McLaren had not yet gelled in the way that he had hoped, and the Hungarian GP debacle put it under renewed strain ? even though Hamilton bore the brunt of the team?s public criticism for disobeying team orders.

The Spaniard is contracted to McLaren until the end of 2009, but many paddock insiders doubt that the team will be able to keep him and Hamilton together beyond this season.

In Hungary Alonso told the Spanish press that he was unsure whether he would see out the three years ? but in Turkey on Friday he played down such conjecture.

?I have a long-term contract with McLaren, and at the moment I have not any hurry to move or to do anything, especially now with the championship as it is, seven points behind the leader,? he said.

?So to think about the future is not the right time now.?
Source
 

HondaF1

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Oh well. At least they made up and can move on from it.
 

AnGuRuSO

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Man! What does Alonso want? Does he really think because he helped them develop their current car, that he should be the #1 driver?

Nigel Stepney helped more, maybe he should be their #1 driver.
 

Red_Bull

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Not given anything back... McLaren have delivered him a race winning car, and every opportunity in which to win races and score solid points. If anything, Alonso owes McLaren because he is being outclassed by a rookie driver, and has made stupid mistakes in Spain and Canada, which has thrown away several points.
 

AnGuRuSO

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Not given anything back... McLaren have delivered him a race winning car, and every opportunity in which to win races and score solid points. If anything, Alonso owes McLaren because he is being outclassed by a rookie driver, and has made stupid mistakes in Spain and Canada, which has thrown away several points.
Alonso seems like such a brat, McLaren even got him an inexperienced noob teammate. I can't believe he can blame anyone for his standing in the WDC.
 

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Mol makes joint bid for Spyker
Saturday, 01, September, 2007, 15:09

Spyker?s Formula 1 director Michiel Mol has made a joint 80 million euros (?54 million) bid alongside Indian businessman Vijay Mallya for the Silverstone-based squad.

Spyker Cars last month announced it was considering selling its F1 operation, with Mol confirming that he was interested in taking full control.

The Dutch sports car maker released its half-year results for 2007 on Friday evening and announced within the statement that a consortium made up of Mol?s investment arm and a firm owned by Mallya had tabled a bid for the F1 team and that it would now be entering into negotiations with it.

?These discussions, completed today, have resulted in an agreement to enter into an exclusive 30 day negotiation period with a consortium consisting of Strongwind, the Luxembourg based investment arm of the Mol family as well as Watson Limited, a company owned and controlled by Dr. Vijay Mallya, an Indian industrialist,? the statement said.

?This group has tabled an initial offer in the amount of EUR 80 million (USD 109 million) for the Spyker Formula One Racing Team subject to due diligence and the exact terms and conditions of the offer will be discussed over the coming 30 days.

?In September 2006 Spyker bought the Formula One Racing Team for USD 106.6 million.?

Spyker Cars announced it was considering the full or partial sale of its F1 operation in a bid to ease financial difficulties the company as a whole was facing.

It posted net losses of 29.9 million euros (?20.2m) for the first half of 2007 in its statement on Friday and confirmed the F1 team had made a 13 million euros loss (?8.8m).
Source
 
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