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Ferrari welcomes move to bring back team orders

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Stefano Domenicali

The FIA took a surprising decision recently placing back team orders into legal territory and quashing its earlier judgment classifying team orders as break of the sport’s law. One may recall that the laws were passed after Ferrari was slammed for using team orders in one infamous Austrian Grand Prix in 2002. Ferrari is the team most involved in the whole controversy over team rules (ok, maybe its McLaren, but Ferrari is more officially reported, atleast by the British press :D ).

Stefano Domenicali welcomed the FIA decision to lift the ban on team orders calling the ban pointless hypocrisy. A statement on  Ferrari’s media website read :

“Finally, we have said goodbye to this pointless hypocrisy,” said Domenicali to the waiting microphones of several TV companies that greeted him at the end of the meeting.

“For us, Formula 1 is a team sport and we have always maintained that viewpoint and it should be treated as such. The regulations already include points that prevent certain situations being managed in an extreme manner. The decision taken yesterday is very important.”

Interesting viewpoint there. I am not sure I fully agree, team sports doesn’t mean that you should manipulate finishing order.

Written by Formula One Addict

December 12th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Toyota terminates contract with Hispania HRT over non-payment

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Hispania HRT F1 Team

Got the following statement from Toyota’s Media Centre :

TOYOTA MOTORSPORT GmbH STATEMENT
Monday 15 November 2010

COLOGNE, Germany – Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) confirms that all cooperation with Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) has been terminated and will not resume.

TMG retains all intellectual property rights to its current F1 car and is completely free to pursue other projects and support new customers for its high-performance engineering services.

TMG regrets that HRT has not met its contractual payment obligations and will pursue all available options to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter.

Doesn’t look like Happy Days ahead for Hispania, no more HRT in 2011, so will Toyota be woo-ing other constructors with their engineering services ?

Image courtesy : Hispania HRT F1 Team Media

Written by Formula One Addict

November 15th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Lotus Racing’s name-change to Team Lotus gets them into a legal soup

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Last week I received a mail from Lotus’s PR department that Lotus Racing shall henceforth be known as Team Lotus. But now their plans have run into trouble with the owners of the brand Team Lotus saying that they have not permitted them to use the name Team Lotus.

The matter has now reached the London High Court who shall now decide whether the Malaysian company will indeed be allowed to use the brand Team Lotus from next season. After a meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir who is a representative of the Proton Group , Lotus has gone silent on the issue out of ‘respect’ for him since he has supported them since the start.

Earlier press release announcing the new name is below :

Lotus Racing has today confirmed that the team will be known as Team Lotus from 2011. The migration from Lotus Racing to Team Lotus will take place over the coming months and the renamed team will be the direct successor to the iconic previous incarnation of Team Lotus when they take to the track in the 2011 FIA Formula One™ World Championship and beyond. Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun’s Tune Group has acquired Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, the company led by David Hunt since Team Lotus was last on track, and through that agreement now has full ownership of the historic rights and goodwill of the Team Lotus brand and heritage.

Tony Fernandes, Lotus Racing Team Principal, is delighted that the hard work that has been going on behind the scenes to make this acquisition can now be announced, saying: “Kamarudin, Nasa and I are absolutely delighted to have completed this transaction – It’s difficult to express just what it means to us to now be able to say we are Team Lotus, one of the most iconic names in any form of sport worldwide, but we have been working very hard to make this dream come true, and today it has. My thanks go to David for looking after the Team Lotus brand so well over the period of his stewardship, and keeping the integrity of Team Lotus together. We are very excited about now taking over the brand and after our first year in Formula One™, we believe we are ready to do justice to the legacy we have inherited. These are heady days for Team Lotus, and it will be a very exciting process for the team we have in place to help us achieve our goals, on and off track.

“It was always important to us that Lotus Racing and Team Lotus could be brought together to unite the past and the present, and now we have done so. We have enjoyed a successful first year as Lotus Racing, and our thanks go to Proton, Group Lotus and all our partners for the parts they have played in our year as Lotus Racing. But now we move on to a new chapter, and as Team Lotus we will be an even more potent force, both on and off track. Everyone associated with the team is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead – even more so now we will be bringing back one of the most loved, revered and respected names in motor racing history. A new dream starts today – Team Lotus is back.”

David Hunt, who has overseen the negotiations with Tony and his team, has been Managing Director of Team Lotus since 1994. He revealed his feelings about returning Britain’s greatest motor racing name to Formula 1™, saying: “I’m delighted this day has finally arrived. In January 1995, when I had the simply awful task of making the loyal Team Lotus personnel redundant, I promised them, the fans and the media that somehow we would return Team Lotus to F1™ in good order and properly funded. We had no idea of the huge difficulties we would have to overcome when I made that statement.

“Nevertheless, I simply would not allow the legacy of Colin Chapman’s extraordinary achievements to die and I want publicly to thank the many loyal individuals who have worked to reach what sometimes seemed an impossible goal. The custodianship of the iconic brand and history now passes from me to Tony, Kamarudin and Nasa. In relinquishing this responsibility I am confident I am handing over to a team who have the financial resources, passion, energy, vision and long-term commitment to give Team Lotus the best possible chance of returning to the sharp end of the grid. I look forward to assisting the team towards scoring Team Lotus’ 80th Grand Prix win – that will be the day when all the effort of the past 15 years will finally seem worthwhile.”

In other news Mike Gascoyne will be with the Lotus team till 2015. So its kind of been a week full of highs and lows for the Lotus team.

Written by Formula One Addict

September 30th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Fernando Alonso calls European Grand Prix a fixed affair

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European Grand Prix 2010

In a sensational accusation Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has gone onto say that the result of this weekend’s European Grand Prix was fixed. He was ofcourse referring to the Lewis Hamilton incident with the safety car which saw the Brit illegally overtake the safety car to get a better position.

On lap 10 after pitting Hamilton came out from the pits just behind the Safety car which had been deployed after Mark Webber’s accident. Fernando Alonso was right behind. While Alonso respected the rules, Hamilton quickly overtook the safety car. the end result was that despite being a few meters from each other Lewis Hamilton came 2nd and Feranndo Alonso came 9th at the end of the race.

A drive through penalty was given to Lewis Hamilton, but with the super short pit-lane at Valencia it was in consequential to say the least.

Fernando’s outburst seems justified especially at the deliberate rule breakage by Lewis Hamilton, it seems he twisted the rule into his favour being well aware that a drive through penalty wouldnt affect him a lot if he was able to overtake the safety car. Also the penalty came too little too late according to most observers and in the end Hamilton was able to get mileage by breaking the rules and was able to finish in a better position.

‘All the kids in the stands know that you cannot pass the safety car. When the safety car came out I was one metre behind Hamilton. I finished ninth; he finished second. I respected the rule: he didn’t.’

‘I think 20 laps to see the replay is long.’

“But here, when you do the normal thing, which is respecting the rules, you finish ninth, and the one who doesn’t respect them finishes second.”

Lewis Hamilton put up a meek defence :

“As I was coming around turn one, literally as I got to the safety car line I saw the safety car was pretty much alongside me.”

“I thought that I’d passed it so I continued and that was it.”

Meanwhile Ferrari in a statement opined on the incident :

A scandal – that’s the opinion of so many fans and experts involved in the sport, who are all in agreement

Il Presidente Luca Cordero di Montezemolo alla presentazione della Ferrari California ai Dealers presso la logistica GES

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo released the following statement:

“The result of yesterday’s race was misrepresentative. Ferrari, which showed itself to be competitive in the European Grand Prix, paid a price that was too high for respecting the rules. Meanwhile those who didn’t follow the rules were penalised by the race officials in a way that was less severe than the damage suffered by those who did respect them.

That is a very serious and unacceptable event that creates dangerous precedents, throwing a shadow over the credibility of Formula One. We are sure that the FIA will fully analyse what happened, taking the consequent necessary decisions. Ferrari will watch this with interest.”

Written by Formula One Addict

June 29th, 2010 at 5:31 am

Stewards led by Damon Hill penalise Michael Schumacher, Mercedes to appeal

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Michael Schumacher overtakes Alonso 2010 Monaco Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher might be the most successful driver on Monaco, but from this weekend he would be getting another tag of probably being the most unlucky/controversial driver at the Monaco circuit. Fresh on the heels of the controversy that the British media generated about the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix incident.

In the latest incident Michael Schumacher was punished with a 20 seconds penalty which threw him out of the points for illegally overtaking Fernando Alonso. The point of contention here is if he was allowed to overtake Alonso when the safety car went in. The article 40.13 states :

If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

But the article should not be valid here as the race monitors said Safety car in this lap.

The rules state if the race ends under the safety car period, the order will remain the same, however Michael Schumacher and Mercedes GP contend that since an all clear was given to race the overtaking move on Fernando Alonso was legal and legitimate.

FIA Stewards José Abed (FIA Vice President), Dr. Christian Calmes (a representative of the Automobile Club de Monaco), Paul Gutjahr  announced the verdict alongwith Damon Hill. The text was :

 

Fernando Alonso Monaco Race

The appeal went to the stewards where Michael Schumacher’s old foe Damon Hill was the driver’s representative. A large number of press sources are blaming Hill for the verdict. Also British press sources are very happy about the penalty, totally ignoring another incident that happened in the race, Rubens Barrichello after retiring threw his steering wheel onto the track, but no action was taken.

Michael Schumacher Monaco Race

Schumacher in his defence said :

“The message was ‘safety car in, track clear,’ if that’s given then its racing,” said Schumacher.

 

Damon Hill meanwhile defended himself and was quoted as saying :

“Believe me my only concern was that the right thing was done.

“But there was a wry smile from Michael. Slightly ironic you could say.” said Damon Hill

Ross Brawn also came in defence of his driver Schumacher and was able to demonstrate dissimilar endings at Melbourne. He also mentions the marshalls had waved green flags, a symbol for normal racing to resume.

“We believed that the track had gone green and the race was not finishing under a safety car when article 40.13 clearly would have applied,” said Brawn. “The reason for the safety car had been removed, the FIA had announced ‘Safety Car in this lap’ early on lap 78 and the track had been declared clear by race control.

This was further endorsed when the marshals showed green flags and lights after safety car line one. On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a safety car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009.

On the last lap, we therefore advised our drivers that they should race to the line and Michael made his move on Fernando for sixth place. We have appealed the decision of the stewards.”

In a video he explains that at 15:51 – Safety car coming in was flashed

15:52 – Track Clear was flashed

15:53 – Chequered flag

The appeal looks very promising as the race doesn’t appear to have finished under the safety car as track clear was flashed before chequered flag.

The result of the appeal will be announced by the FIA court of appeals and the result of Monaco Grand Prix is at the moment provisional.