Red Bull confirm 2007 engine plans

Red Bull have confirmed their engine strategy for the 2007 season. Red Bull racing will be powered by Renault units and the Scuderia Toro Rosso will be powered by Ferrari units.

Red Bull racing were already in the first of a two year deal with Ferrari however the Italians were reluctant to change the deal to supply the Toro Rosso team. The Ferrari team have now agreed to the change and Toro Rosso, who used Cosworth V10 engines last season, will now be powered by the Ferrari V8 engines for the next two seasons with an option to extend this by one further season.

Ferrari C.E.O. Jean Todt said “We are pleased to be embarking on a new long-term relationship with Scuderia Toro Rosso. It will allow us to strengthen our ties with the world of Italian motorsport and also to work a team run by Gerhard Berger, our former driver and friend of Ferrari”.

Schumacher says his final farewell to Senna

In the lead up to the Brazilian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher attended the grave of the late great Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian died in a fatal crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix whilst defending the lead from the German.

According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Schumacher “visits Senna’s grave most years”. The news agency went on speculate that he “was also looking to close that chapter in his racing career before saying his farewell [to Formula 1].”

Ayrton is buried at the Cemitério do Morumbi in his hometown of São Paulo.

Klien to return to F1 in 2007?

Christian Klien looks set to continue his F1 career in 2007. The Austrian, who was dropped by Red Bull Racing following a disagreement with team management after the Italian Grand Prix, travelled to the Brazil to discuss the possibility of an F1 drive with several teams.

The 23 year-old has already been linked to a racing seat with Spyker and a testing role at Honda, after already turning down an offer to drive a Red Bull sponsored car in the Champ Car series next season.

“It was a good weekend and I had very useful meetings with teams which clearly recognised that I can bring the speed and experience necessary to contribute to their success,” boasted Christian.

“There is a lot of rumour and speculation about the driving opportunities for 2007, so it’s useful to know what the teams really want and to understand what my role is in their plans. I am excited by the things they have told me, and I’m going to be working hard to finalise the best opportunity in the coming weeks.”

“Of course it was frustrating not to be racing at Interlagos which is a challenging circuit and again produced a great race, but it has confirmed my determination to be in Formula One next season.”

Senna to join F1?

Bruno Senna, nephew of the late great Ayrton Senna, has expressed his wish to join Formula 1 in the next few seasons. The 23 year old Brazilian driver will probably join the GP2 series next season as preparation for Formula 1.

“I hope I will be racing in Formula 1 in one or two years. It depends how it will go next year. I have a few contacts already in Formula 1”, he explained to German magazine Bild. One of these contacts is Gerhard Berger who as well as being a good friend of Ayrton Senna, also owns 50% of the Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso.

On Schumacher, Bruno has stated he does not believe that he would have won so many titles had his uncle Ayrton still been alive. “If my uncle didn’t crash I think Michael would have one or two titles less behind his name. Michael has not been always racing at the limit. It would have been different if Ayrton was there to challenge him I think. Ayrton was always racing at the limit but Schumacher won races by a good team strategy.”

Bruce McLaren

A true Leo, Bruce Leslie McLaren, was born to parents Les and Ruth on August 30th 1937, in Auckland, New Zealand.

From the start, driving was in his blood. Pop McLaren drove petrol tankers for a living, before buying a service station in Remuera. The young Bruce soon became a bit of a menace locally as he spun round corners using only two wheels of his tricycle.

Disaster struck when, at the age of nine, Bruce was diagnosed with a hip problem (probably caused by an earlier fall) and spent the next two years at a residential school walking with the aid of a frame.

However, he returned to the family (mum, dad and sisters Pat and Jan) on crutches in 1949, and by 1951 had discarded all walking aids and embarked on an engineering course.

“Motor racing was in my blood,” he said. “My dad had always shown great achievements in his motor cycle racing days and now was becoming very interested in car racing.”

Fuelled by his father’s enthusiasm, the pair spent months reassembling an Austin Ulster, lovingly restoring the engine on the kitchen table, much to his mum’s exasperation. Bruce quoted her as saying: “If I gave them dry bread and water they wouldn’t have noticed”.

At 15 Bruce got his official driving licence and immediately began to enter competitive events like local sprint meetings.

What he described as his “early and wonderful” days took a turn for the better when his dad allowed him to race his Austin Healey before graduating to a Bobtail Cooper.

It was at this crucial point in Bruce’s development as a racing driver that Jack Brabham came on the scene. Bruce later referred to him fondly as his “godfather”. Australian Brabham was already well-known on the track (he was later to become World F1 Drivers’ Champion for 1966) and under his guidance, Bruce shortly found himself on his way to England to drive for John Cooper of Cooper Cars as his “new boy”.

This was in 1958 and by ’59 Bruce was racing as No. 2 in the Cooper team. The only sign of his old hip problem appeared to be his restriction to one ski when water skiing.

And it was not only his career that was taking off. Bruce got engaged to a friend of his sisters, Patricia Broad, whom he married in 1961. Four years later they had a daughter, Amanda.

Meanwhile there was another birth in the family. Bruce McLaren Motors was founded when Bruce decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps and buy a service station in Auckland. But Bruce continued in his pursuit of the perfect Formula One car.

By 1966 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd had fielded its first F1 car at the Monaco Grand Prix. In 1968 Bruce himself drove his Ford McLaren to the team’s first victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. He was 31 years old.

Bruce McLaren never saw 33. He died on June 2,1970, while testing a Can-Am Car at Goodwood in England.

He lives on, however, not only in the cars he lived and died for, but in the school, road and park named in his honour in his native New Zealand. He was, after all, a local hero.

Forum Discussion:

What will Schumi do next?

After retiring from Formula 1, Schumacher took time out to visit a Swiss Shell petrol station to play some practical jokes on the customers.

Using your loyalty card sometimes gives unexpected gifts:

Schumacher tries his hand at being a pit-stop mechanic:

There’s a very life-like doll in the petrol station!:

Carlos Sainz drives Renault’s R25

This weekend Carlos Sainz, two-time World Rally Champion, took the reins of Renault’s F1 car at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain during Renault’s World Series. The event attracted nearly 80,000 visitors across three days.

Sainz took out the R25 which was running in the maximum downforce configuration of Monaco. After a few circuits, he commented “the acceleration, the braking, the grip, everything is amazing in this car. I have just been testing in Tunisia for the Dakar rally, so going from desert driving to a Formula 1 car is a pretty big change! They are totally different, light years apart. In Formula 1, you need to be a top athlete because the whole body is under duress. It is a unique experience, almost impossible to describe, and unlike anything I have felt before. I have been in a fighter plane, I have ridden a 500cc GP bike, but this is something else again. Renault has given me one of the best experiences of my life.”

Minardi in Champ Car?

Paul Stoddart, ex-Minardi F1 team owner, put in an appearance at the Surfers Paradise Champ Car race over the weekend. Whilst at the race, he expressed an interest in making a racing comeback in the series, particularly as the 2007 season will see everyone using the new Panoz chassis meaning all teams will start on a level playing field – something which is particularly appealing for new teams. Stoddart still owns the Minardi name so could we be seeing the return of Minardi to racing?

Nissan to enter F1 in 2008?

Nissan are to enter F1 in 2008 according to the broadsheet Le Journal du Dimanche . The French newspaper suggested that the Japanese car maker would like to enter the sport and compete against arch-rivals Honda and Toyota.

Alain Prost, former World Champion and bankrupted team owner, has also met with Nissan and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn to discuss the venture (Renault bought into Nissan in 1999).

The newspaper quoted Simon Sproule, vice-president of Nissan, as describing F1 as an option .

“Right now we are involved in regional championships in Japan, the US and in Africa. We have studied the possibility to invest in a worldwide competition,” he added.

Sproule also revealed that senior management had attended several F1 events to ‘observe, learn and understand the discipline’s finer details’. It remains to be seen whether the World Champions Renault would simply rebrand as Nissan, or if a completely new team would be founded under the management of Alain Prost.

Hero’s Welcome for Double World Champion

Fernando Alonso received a hero s welcome on his return to his home town of Oviedo in Spain today. The 25 year old secured his second world championship in São Paulo last weekend, and this was his first opportunity to celebrate with his countrymen.

Speaking during the rapturous reception, the Spaniard thanked the crowd from a balcony in the city s square, “I can say that I’ve got the best fans in the world, that’s for sure.”

“In football and other sports there are fans like this, who sing songs and give their unconditional support, but in motorsport it s very rare to see fans like this, and I feel very privileged.”

Alonso now faces an upward battle to win a third consecutive championship with McLaren in 2007, a team that failed to secure a single victory last season, despite the best efforts of Kimi Räikkönen.