SourceBridgestone scrap compound 'gap' policy
Bridgestone has scrapped its policy of leaving a gap between the two types of tyre compounds. At the remaining rounds of the season following next Sunday's German Grand Prix, the sport's official tyre supplier will instead revert to supplying consecutive compounds.
Fernando Alonso had hit out at the situation earlier this year, slamming the policy as in the interests of a false spectacle while making the drivers look ?ridiculous?.
"We have made the change to the tyre allocation concept based on the data we have collected from races so far this year combined with our knowledge of the tracks we visit for these (next) races," director of tyre development Hirohide Hamashima said.
He said continuing the 'gap' policy would have caused problems at the next five races, including the twisty Hungary and Valencia, cool Spa Francorchamps and Monza in Italy.
?The cars of 2009 are very different to those used last year so we have learnt a lot so far this year, and they do use their tyres differently from before,? Hamashima added.
Tyre disparity to be reduced at four GPs
By Matt Beer Wednesday, July 1st 2009, 09:09 GMT
Bridgestone has announced that there will be a smaller than usual gap between its tyre compounds in the Hungarian, European, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.
Normally this year Bridgestone has tried to make the two compounds that must be used in each grand prix 'two steps' apart - for instance super soft and medium tyres rather than super soft and soft. This system, which was requested by the Formula 1 teams, was designed to create greater variation between cars' performances at different stages, and to encourage better racing.
But the company's motorsport boss Hirohide Hamashima said Bridgestone had decided it would not be practical to have a big tyre disparity at the Hungaroring, Valencia, Spa or Monza, so would use compounds just one step apart at those four tracks.
"Hungary is a circuit where the characteristics demand our softest tyres," he explained. "This is also true for street courses, and we used the softest allocation earlier in the year at Monaco, and will again in Valencia.
"In Spa the weather temperatures can be quite cool, so the hard compound could have caused difficulties, and the super soft would have been too soft for this track, so that means the allocation of medium and soft is obvious.
"In Monza the hard compound would have given too big a difference between it and the soft, so we will bring the soft and the medium."
The only time Bridgestone had previously used two similar tyre compounds so far this year was in the Monaco GP.
How neutral was the 2010 team selection process?
The F1 world was stunned when Manor, Campos and USF1 were recently revealed to be the three new teams which would join the F1 grid next year. However, according to the Guardian, one man in the FIA seemed to have a good idea as to the identity of one of those teams several weeks before its selection was announced.
Alan Donnelly, the official representative of FIA president Max Mosley, has already been criticised for his consultancy firm, Sovereign Strategy, allegedly doing public relations work for the Manor team. However, if true, this conflict of interest would be nothing compared to what has come to light today.
The Guardian reports that on 29 May, two weeks before the FIA announced the identity of the three successful bidders for a place on the 2010 grid, Donnelly sent a sponsorship and investment agreement about Manor to a certain 'Royal Highness' who he hoped to meet in Saudi Arabia.
The email (complete with spelling mistakes), which is allegedly from Donnelly, says "I attach both the investment and sponsorship agreement for your consideration. Virgin have signed to be investment partners with a share holding of around 20%. I will be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Saturday evening and look forward to seeing you at our planned meeting at 3pm on Sunday, with representatives of Manor and Virgin. However if you woud like a pre- meeting with me privately on Sunday then please let me know, I will ofcourse be available."
If Donnelly really was touting around investment opportunities in the team before it got to the grid it raises huge conflict of interest issues.
By selling stakes in Manor, Donnelly would have been helping the team get investment which thereby improved its financial position. Clearly, no one connected to the FIA should have been favouring any prospective teams and particularly one which also has the involvement of Nick Wirth, who was one of Max Mosley's business partners in the 1990s before he launched the Simtek F1 team.
Furthermore, one has to wonder whether Donnelly would have bothered brokering deals for a team which didn't get to the grid. Then again, how could Donnelly possibly have known that it would?
According to the Guardian, Donnelly was in Saudi Arabia on official FIA business, holding meetings with its sports ministry, potential investors in new circuits and the Saudi Motorsport Federation. "I also met potential investors in Formula One," he said. "It would be odd for an FIA representative to refuse to assist in any of these projects."
That may be so but there is a big difference between assisting with a team and brokering the sale of a stake in it.
If Donnelly's response in the Guardian is anything to go by, it doesn't look as if he is denying that the email really was from him which in itself seems to raise a further question about his competence.
The email is signed off 'God Bless' which certainly does not seem to be an appropriate way to address anyone in the Arab world. After last year's revelations about Mosley's private life, the FIA surely doesn't need more embarrassment heaped on it by blunders like this.
The clean-cut Richard Branson must be cringing on reading this and it is hard to imagine how he got sucked into this crazy scheme in the first place. It could well be argued that sponsors should stick to what they do best, which is sponsoring not owning teams. Having been in F1 for less than a year Virgin is not exactly experienced in F1's eccentricities and it could soon pay the price following this latest revelation. If the email is accurate, Virgin will have gone from sponsoring the likely world champions Brawn to owning a stake in a team which, assuming it does make it to the 2010 grid, is unlikely to be regularly challenging for points far less wins.
Pitpass hears that FOTA is to demand that the team selection process is not just reviewed but started from scratch. With this latest development that seems a sensible move.
Ask the Expert - Williams' Kazuki Nakajima
In what record-breaking time did Usain Bolt complete the 100m run at last year?s Olympics? Who won the 2007 GP2 championship and how many points did he score? How many colleges are there at the famous Oxford University? And what is Japan?s best-selling pop song? These are just some of the questions we thought Williams? Kazuki Nakajima would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia test, ?Ask the Expert?...
Q: Frank Williams? racing achievements are well documented, but in which sport did he excel at school?
Kazuki Nakajima: I know that he did enjoy running in marathons but I don?t know if he took part in them when he was at school.
Incorrect - Williams actually excelled at rugby and represented the Scottish Schoolboy U15s.
Q: You finished the 2007 GP2 championship in fifth with a score of 44. Who won the series that year and how many points - to the nearest five - did he score?
KN: The winner was Timo Glock and I think he scored 92 points.
Correct - it was Timo Glock, but he scored 88 points.
Q: At what race did your father Satoru score his first Formula One points?
KN: It was in his second race at the 1987 San Marino Grand Prix.
Q: The Williams factory is based at Grove in Oxfordshire. What controversial building is located nearby?
KN: No idea. The many pubs?
Incorrect - it?s Didcot Power Station, which has been the target of several environmental protests.
Q: You replaced Alexander Wurz at Williams. Wurz won this year?s Le Mans 24-hour race, alongside co-drivers Ferrari tester Marc Gene and Grand Prix veteran David Brabham. When did Wurz last win the event?
Q: You are a fan of runner Usain Bolt. But in what time did he complete the 100m run at last year?s Olympics?
Close, but incorrect- it was 9.69s.
Q: You live in Oxford. How many colleges are there at the famous Oxford University?
KN: Way over 30?36 or 38?
Correct - there are 38 colleges and six permanent private halls.
Q: During his motorsport career, your team mate Nico Rosberg has won two single-seater championships. In which series?
KN: German Formula BMW and GP2.
Correct - Rosberg won the German Formula BMW series in 2002 and the GP2 Series in 2005.
Q: You like the clothes of Paul Smith. As a child, what was Smith?s dream job?
KN: I have no idea.
Incorrect - he wanted to be a racing cyclist.
Q: Your father runs the successful Nakajima Racing team. How many times has the team won the Formula Nippon championship? Can you name the successful drivers?
KN: Three times. Once with Tom Coronel, once with Toro Takagi and once with Ralph Firman.
Correct - Tom Coronel in 1999, Toranosuke Takagi in 2000, and Ralph Firman in 2002.
Q: Although it was released back in 1975, what remains the best-selling Japanese pop song?
KN: I am sure I know the song. What is it? Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun - I?m sure I know that one.
He might know it, but no points for Nakajima - it?s Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun by Masato Shimon.
Q: You are obviously a famous Aichi export. But can you name two others?
KN: Toyota? They have their headquarters there as well as Denso.
Incorrect - we were actually looking for fireworks and hatcho miso, a dark soybean paste used in miso soup and other Japanese dishes.
Q: You are a fan of baseball. Which team won Japan?s 2008 Central League?
KN: Yomiuri Giants...my favourite team!
Q: How many races, drivers? titles and constructors? titles have Williams won?
KN: They've won the drivers? championship seven times and the constructors? championship nine times. And they've won many, many, many races - way over 100.
Correct - they have won 113 races, seven drivers? championships and nine constructors? championships.
Q: What was your father?s best Formula One performance?
KN: Fourth at the 1987 British Grand Prix and he had the same result in 1989 in Adelaide.
Q: You finished seventh in the 2006 Formula Three Euroseries. Which two other current F1 stars were you up against that year and where did they finish?
KN: Sebastian Vettel was second and Sebastien Buemi was 11th or 12th.
Correct - Sebastian Vettel was indeed second and Sebastien Buemi finished in 12th.
Q: Toyota test driver Kamui Kobayashi is one of your colleagues on the Toyota Young Drivers Programme. Which prefecture (ken in Japanese) in Japan does he come from and how many races did he win on his way to this year?s GP2 Asia title?
KN: The prefecture is Hyogo and his wins?three?
One point, not two - he is from Hyogo prefecture, but he clinched two wins in Dubai and Bahrain.
Q: Only two Japanese drivers have set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix. One was your father, can you name the other?
KN: Takuma Sato?
Incorrect - it was actually Masahiro Hasemi, for the Kojima team at the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix.
Q: At which race and with which team did your father set his fastest lap?
KN: It was in 1989 at the Australian race in Adelaide in a Lotus.
Q: Your home country, Japan, is famous for sushi (raw fish with rice) and your adopted home country, England, is famous for fish and chips. Can you tell us what the best-selling type of fish is in England?s fish and chip restaurants?
Final score: 24 points from a possible 33
Ask the Expert rating: 73%
Current leader board:
1. Heikki Kovalainen - 86%
2. Mark Webber - 84%
3. Kazuki Nakajima - 73%
4. Sebastien Buemi - 72%
5. Robert Kubica - 70%
6. Jenson Button - 69%
7. Giancarlo Fisichella - 68%
8. Nico Rosberg - 66%
9= Sebastian Vettel - 64%
9= Rubens Barrichello - 64%
11. Jarno Trulli - 58%
12. Nick Heidfeld - 57%
13. Adrian Sutil - 54%
More drivers coming soon.
Wow, Kubica may be in a spot of bother there.It just seems to me that now the teams have commited to F1, the FIA will do nothing and keep up their bullshit...
EDIT: This is interesting, engine and chassis usage for the season so far:
Wow, Kubica's #5 engine would barely have warmed up.It just seems to me that now the teams have commited to F1, the FIA will do nothing and keep up their bullshit...
EDIT: This is interesting, engine and chassis usage for the season so far:
Albert Speer reckoned the theird reich was woefully inefficent and reckons a democratic system would of been a more efficent system.Ecclestone: "Hitler got things done"
Why oh why can't this idiot just go away already. The teams got rid of Max, they shouldn't have stopped there.
Oh well... it's a 21-year-old car, so something had to break. And the weakest point of the MP4/4 was always the gearbox. Also, kinda sums up Hamilton's season, doesn't it?Hamilton misses chance to drive Senna car
By Jonathan Noble Saturday, July 4th 2009, 20:35 GMT
Lewis Hamilton will have to wait a bit more to get behind the wheel of one of childhood hero Ayrton Senna's cars, after being robbed of the chance to demonstrate one of the Brazilian's machines at Goodwood on Sunday through a mechanical failure.
The reigning world champion had been scheduled to give Senna's 1988 title-winning MP4/4 car a run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Sunday, but the machine has been sidelined after its gearbox broke on Saturday during a demonstration run by Bruno Senna.
Although deeply upset about missing out on an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Senna, Hamilton told AUTOSPORT on Saturday night that he is equally unhappy for the fans attending tomorrow's event.
"I'm really disappointed not to be driving the McLaren MP4/4 up the Goodwood hill tomorrow - not only for myself and for the guys at McLaren who worked so hard to prepare it but also, and most importantly, for the Goodwood spectators," explained Hamilton, who will now demonstrate his title-winning 2008 MP4-23, plus a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
"There's something a bit special about Goodwood - and there's something a bit special about any ex-Senna Formula 1 car, too. So I'm sure the Goodwood spectators were really looking forward to watching it in action just as much as I was looking forward to driving it.
"Having said that, I'll still be doing two runs in the McLaren MP4-23, the car I won the world championship in last year. It'll be a nice feeling to get back into it because it was and is a truly fantastic car.
"I'll also be doing a run in a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren - which, with 627bhp, is an extremely quick road car."
Although Hamilton is upset that he has missed out on the chance to get behind the wheel of the car driven by his hero, he does take some consolation from the fact that the Brazilian's nephew Bruno did manage to show it off to fans on Saturday.
"I'm really sorry I won't be able to show the Goodwood spectators just what I could have done in a McLaren MP4/4," he explained. "As I say, I was really looking forward to driving it. But it's an old car - and, although Bruno [Senna] managed three runs in it at Goodwood this year already, its gearbox failed on his fourth run.
"At least Bruno got a chance to drive it, and to show it off to the Goodwood spectators, so that's the main thing I guess."