Monday, January 25, 2010

Launch Season is Finally here!!

Arriving slightly later than usual the launch season finally got underway today with Mercedes GP. Probably one of the more eagerly anticipated launches I was delighted to finally get to see the first Mercedes F1 car in 55 years in its all new livery. A lot of talk has surrounded the drivers and there statuses within the team. Now its no secret the Schumacher is used to having the number 1 status within the team (Johnny Herbert and Rubens Barrichello will let you know how it feels to be playing second fiddle) and Rosberg has made no secret of his concern over whether the drivers will be equal and as far as the team personnel is concerned it seems that that is the way things will be. But Schumacher's desire to changed his number 4 to Rosberg's number 3 has raised a few eyebrows including my own. His official reason is that he feels odd numbers are lucky. (Me thinks not!!) This is a little game Schumi likes to play. "Mind Games". Something which he perfected during his 16 year career in F1. I often think if Schumacher was a football manager it would be quite a show seeing him "speak" it off with Alex Ferguson. But you do get the impression that Rosberg may be trying to take the game to Schumi with regards mind games. When questioned about Schumacher's return he laughed off any worries about favouritism or the number changing. He is quoted as saying: "When I win in Bahrain, we will care less about the number which is on my car and more about the driver who's inside it!" When I win in Bahrain??? Its natural for a driver to talk up his chances at the start of a season but surely there is a line you should refrain from crossing!! The guy is going up against arguably the best driver in the history of F1 not to mention a number of other past world champions without a victory to his name and he thinks victory in Round 1 is a given? Nico, I think you need to be a bit more careful in the way you handle the media as most of them don't take any prisoners should things go wrong. For all you nostalgic hardcore motor sport fans it was something special to see Schumacher back in Mercedes overalls. (Mercedes of course helped his career massively in the days before Formula 1 even helping him get a seat with Jordan) Of course it is important to note that it was only the livery that was unveiled today (displayed on the old Brawn Gp), its also worth pointing out that Schumacher is back with his old buddy Ross Brawn and we all know how much of a success that partnership is and I've no doubt that that success will not have diminished!!! We are going to have to wait another week before we can see the new car in all its glory. Next up will be the new Ferrari unveiled on Thursday. That will start the main group of launches happening over next weekend. You won't want to miss it!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New teams in 2010

With the new season just around the corner I want to cover a topic that has been talked about a lot over the last few weeks and that is the new teams that are coming into F1 this year.

Campos, Lotus, Virgin and USF1 will make there debut in Bahrain in March, or will they? There has been a lot of talk that Campos in particular won't make the season opener in Bahrain. With regards USF1 the doubts have surrounded around the silence of Peter Windsor towards the end of last year in relation to the F1 project. I think a lot of the criticism behind the team is unfounded and you get the impression that it’s because they are a new team based outside of Europe. Moving away from the rumours the news reports seems to suggest that the development of the new car is going well. They are the only team that we have seen real parts of the new car so for the time being they seem to be on track. (No pun intended!!) However they remain the only new team that hasn't signed a driver yet. Jose Maria Lopez has been rumoured to be in with a chance of securing a seat and is understood to have an agreement with USF1 in which he must secure a sponsorship deal in the region of 8 million dollars. Pedro De la Rosa and Alex Wurz have also been rumoured to be in contention for a place but De la Rosa appears to be staying as the McLaren test and reserve driver and Wurz has denied any desire to return to F1. There has been a number of different names mentioned but nothing concrete yet. One important thing to note is that if USF1 do well this season they might help in the attempt to bring F1 to America. There inclusion in the championship definitely can’t hurt the chances.

Campos is the second new team into the championship and as far as everyone is concerned this is the team that everyone thinks will fail. I'd hate to be Bruno Senna right now. A possible seat with Honda went out the door when they pulled out from the sport and now that he has landed a seat there is an uncertainty of them making the first race. With regards Campos their signing of Senna seems to be the only good news story to come out of the team so far. With all the talk of them not being able to find sponsors and looking for buyers they could well be the new "Simtek", or "Forti". The situation in my opinion got even more dire when Tony Teixeira was linked with a buy in to the team, he is the man who owns A1 GP or should that be "owned" A1 GP as it now seems no more thanks to financial problems. They have yet to sign a second driver but believe me whoever he is would want to have a lot of money!

Virgin and Lotus seem to be the more stable of the three. Richard Branson is a big supporter of the underdog so it was no surprise when he bought into the Manor Grand Prix team. They have Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi as there drivers and its a nice blend of F1 experience and young talent. Incidentally Di Grassi finished runner up to Glock in GP2 in 2007 so there is going to be a good rivalry between those to which could make for some good racing. They also seem to have a good sponsorship package including Lloyd's Banking Group. Lotus' entrance is funded by the Malaysian government and a group of Malaysian entrepreneurs but there is still very much a British feel to the team. In terms of drivers they have the strongest line up of the four teams in Jarno Trulli and Heiki Kovalainnen. The two combined have 271 Grand Prix under their belts. With a new team experience is what they need. They also have that in Technical director Mike Gasgoyne.

In summary I think its going to be between Lotus and Virgin as to who comes out on top. I think USF1 might spring a surprise and I really hope they do. An American team in the sport is important. With regards Campos we might not see them make the end of the season. Its sad to say but unless they secure a big sponsorship package the season will be more about survival. That’s it for now!! See you next week!!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Button V Hamilton

Hey everyone!!! Hope you enjoyed Christmas!! Its just over 2 months to the start of the new season and I wanted to start this blog by talking about the reigning world champion. Jenson Button surprised everyone when he signed for Mclaren (not least myself) but does he really stand a chance against Hamilton. Last year he had the edge over Barichello but compared to Hamilton he was an easier adversary. Hamilton went up against Alonso in his first season (the reigning world champion at the time) and ended up beating him in the championship. (Although I wouldn't see he was as strong against Alonso as Hamilton himself claims!!,18954,3213_5850810,00.html ) and the following year he trounced his team mate Kovailinen to become world champion. Now I don't want to sound too hard but I do feel that is was the car and not Button that played the biggest part in Button winning the world championship last year. I think the fact that after the Turkish Grand Prix he didn't win another race for the rest of the season shows this. The rest of the field had caught up with the Brawn in terms of development and pace and Button started falling down the field. Hamilton's performance last year in an off the pace car was quite impressive winning two races. He dragged everything out of that car and the improvements to the car really showed. Hamilton has a lot more experience and history with Mclaren than Button does and hopefully this won't hinder Button's introduction to the team. This year will be a real test for Button, he has so many obstacles to overcome Hamilton just being one of them. He is adjusting to a new team, he also comes into the season as defending champion, also he has a lot of criticisers who were very much against his move away from his championship winning team so it will be interesting to see how he handles it all. Personally I think Hamilton will have the edge over him. Hamilton loves a challenge and he has so many of them this season. He's got Schumacher coming back to the sport for the year and that is definitely something he will relish under. Whatever happens we will have a very exciting battle on our hands and who knows maybe Button will prove me wrong!!!