Farfus gets first taste of Formula 1

Augusto Farfus, World Touring Car Championship driver, is getting his first opportunity in Formula 1 today as BMW Sauber allowed him behind the wheel of one of their cars in Valencia.

The Brazilian has long hoped for an opportunity to drive an F1 car and BMW motor sport boss Marion Theissen was happy to give him that chance having watched the youngster s performance for the manufacturer in the WTCC. “In his first year, Augusto Farfus has settled extremely well in our BMW fold and is already a fully integrated member of Team Germany,” Theissen said.

“In recognition of Augusto’s achievements, we want to give him the chance to test our Formula One car for a few hours in the run-up to the Formula BMW World Final. It also underlines our philosophy of forging links between our motor sport projects: after Jorg Muller, Dirk Muller, Andy Priaulx and Alessandro Zanardi, Augusto Farfus will be the fifth touring car driver to get behind the wheel of one of our Formula One racers.”

Slick testing at Jerez

Slick tyres return to Formula 1 for the first time since 1997 when teams test on them at Jerez next month. Bridgestone will be supplying all 11 F1 teams with three sets of slick tyres to allow then to evaluate the new tyres. The tyre manufacturer claims that they have made up the slick tyres in response to team wishes as Formula One considers a return to slicks for the 2009 season.

“Bridgestone are supplying these tyres as a response to a request from the teams and the testing committee, as the teams want to gain data as they look to the 2009 season,” said a Bridgestone spokesman. “It is too early for Bridgestone to comment on our tyre range for 2009, however we are always available to discuss ideas with the teams and the FIA.”

Ecclestone: Government should fund Silverstone

Bernie Ecclestone has criticized the British Government for refusing to pay for improvements to Silverstone.

The British Grand Prix s future is in jeopardy unless the circuit owners, the BRDC, can find around £25 million to finance a master-plan to revamp the track. Earlier this month, Gerry Sutcliffe MP, the Minister for Sport, ruled out direct financial support for Silverstone.

Ecclestone has long been a critic of the track s facilities and he has stated that without Government funding, he believes that the British Grand Prix may be lost. “Britain is supposed to be the heart of Formula One racing and out circuit is bottom of the list,” he told a reporter from the BBC. With a tiny percentage of what the government are wasting on the Olympics, they could support Silverstone. It’s not for us to say where the money comes from but it’s strange because most of the events we have now are supported by governments.”

Ecclestone still has high hopes for holding a race on the streets of London and does not understand why there is little support for the idea. “Mayor Ken Livingstone was very helpful and we laid a plan out of what we could do,” he continued. “It would have happened, it was just a question of where the money was going to come from.

“It would cost a small amount compared to what they’re spending on the Olympics. If they look at it from a pure business point of view, all the revenue it would bring in, I just don’t understand why it isn’t happening.”

BMW announce F1.08 unveiling date

BMW have confirmed that they will be unveiling their 2008 challenger, the F1.08, in Munich on 14 January 2008

BMW are hoping that their new car will help them towards their first ever Formula 1 race win. Following the disqualification of McLaren from the 2007 constructors championship, BMW finished in second place behind Ferrari. This positive result has given the team a boost and they are hoping that 2008 will see them take a race win.

“It is natural that expectations increase the mort successful you become,” motor sport boss Mario Theissen said. “That brings pressure from the outside, of course, but also raises the standards we set ourselves. The end of this season has seen us wrapping up the development phase of the BMW Sauber F1 team.

“This phase has run according to plan and has seen us make it into the top three in a short space of time. Next year we will be looking to record our first win. We know that this will not happen automatically. The great progress we have made this year, in particular, has shown that we have got the direction of our development work and our working processes spot on. Motivation within the team is extremely high as a result.”

Theissen unhappy with new ECUs

Mario Theissen has added his voice to the growing number of F1 personnel believing that the standard ECU idea should be reconsidered.

From 2008 onwards, teams will be using a standard ECU. However many teams are finding it difficult to adapt to the new ECUs and Theiessen believes that in an age when costs are meant to be reduced in Formula 1, the new ECU units have not been cost-effective.

We have voiced various objections to the introduction of standard electronics,” Theissen began. “The process of converting cars, engines, gearboxes and, indeed, test rigs has generated considerable extra costs – and there is an even more important argument against the standard ECU going forward.

“Nowadays not just the car as a whole, but every single technical system is equipped with complex control electronics tailored specifically to the function of that particular system. The electronics represent the nerve centre, without which the system would only be capable of limited functionality or would not be able to function at all. Our aim is to make F1 a pioneer in drive technology for the series-produced road cars of the future.”

From 2009, the FIA are looking to introduce even more new rules including the use of hybrid devices to help the new energy-saving systems.

“Looking further ahead,” Theseen continued, “A system is under development which regenerates energy under braking, stores that energy and, when the driver accelerates, puts it back on tap alongside the power from the combustion engine. Highly sensitive control electronics are required to coordinate these processes efficiently and ensure riving safety under all circumstances so tailored electronics are essential if we really want to develop the potential of this system, for example.”

Toyota announce date for TF108 unveiling

Toyota have announced that their 2008 F1 car, the TF108, will be unveiled on January 10th 2008 at their factory in Cologne.

2007 was a disappointing year with the team finishing sixth in the standings. Since becoming a constructor in 2002, the Japanese team have yet to win a Grand Prix and are hoping that 2008 will be a better season all round.

After an announcement earlier this week, Toyota s driver line-up is already settled Jarno Trulli will continue with the team for a further season, whilst GP2 champion Timo Glock will replace Ralf Schumacher.

Briatore: 60% chance Alonso will return

Flavio Briatore has said that there is a 60% chance that Fernando Alonso will return to Renault for the 2008 season.

Alonso has recently split from McLaren and is currently a free agent, weighing up all his options before he chooses a race seat for 2008. Many teams have yet to announce their full 2008 line-up when Alonso has made his decision, the driver swaps will begin in earnest. Renault are the team that Alonso is rumoured to have the strongest links with, and Briatore has made no secret of the fact he would like the Spaniard back in the team.

Renault will certainly have different drivers next year,” Briatore explained. “There is a 60% chance Alonso will be with us. Toyota and Red Bull are also in the race we have an advantage because we know him.”

It is believed that the delay in reaching a decision over his future is partly down to espionage allegations currently hanging over the Renault team. Alonso will ore than likely wish to see the outcome of the World Motor Sport Council heading on 6th December when Renault will face charges of illegally possessing McLaren information before he decides whether to join the team or not.

Briatore is expecting to announce his driver line-up before then. “It will be decided between today and the day after tomorrow,” he claimed.

Teams want fuel rule clarification

After the Court of Appeal rejected McLaren s appeal against fuel irregularities in the last race of the 2007 season, several teams are calling for rule clarifications.

BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen was pleased with the ruling from the Court of Appeal however he believes that the rules regarding fuel need to be further clarified. “It has become quite clear that the regulations state a very precise difference of temperature of 10 degrees but they do not define precisely how and when the two reference points are taken,” he explained.

“That is the issue and in my view it should not have gone to the Court of Appeal but to the Technical Working Group in order for the technical directors to come up with a clear regulation on how to do it in the future.”

Article 6.5.5 of the Formula One technical rules state that, No fuel on board the car may be more than 10 degrees centigrade below ambient temperature.

McLaren are also hoping to have the rules clarified. CEO Martin Whitmarsh explained, “In the interests of rule clarification and rule consistency we lodged our appeal. We have not yet seen the text of the FIA International Court of Appeal decision and hope that clarification is provided.

“It’s important to stress that the FIA Stewards’ inquiry at the Brazilian Grand Prix was not triggered by any action from McLaren, but by a report written and made public by the FIA Technical Delegate, which drew the FIA Stewards’ attention to what we regarded as a clear regulation breach on the part of BMW-Sauber and Williams.

“Our appeal was merely a logical and procedural step in the process begun by the FIA Technical Delegate’s written report. We hope that this fuel temperature issue does not remain unresolved in Formula One next year, but we look forward to working with the FIA and the teams on clarifying matters to avoid a similar situation occurring again.”

Toyota confirm Glock

Current GP2 Champion Timo Glock has left BMW and will be racing for the Toyota team next season.

There was some confusion over the driver s contract BMW were intending for Glock to be their test and reserve driver for 2008, having performed the same duties during the 2007 season. Both teams had to await on a ruling from Formula One s contract recognition board after contracts clashed. The Board ruled that he was free to leave BMW and drive for Toyota.

Glock is no stranger to Formula 1 having completed in four races for Jordan during the 2004 season. His best finish was seventh in the Canadian Grand Prix where he picked up two points for the team.

“It’s a great feeling to be a Formula One race driver again and I am really looking forward to this new challenge,” Glock said. “I have worked hard over the past few years to get this opportunity and I must say I am grateful to Panasonic Toyota Racing for having faith in me.

“From what I have seen of the team at the track I am confident we will be able to work well together to move forward. Even though I have not raced in Formula One since 2004, I have tested quite regularly so I expect it will take very little time for me to get back in the groove.”

“I have been lucky enough to race and succeed in several different championships in my career but my goal has always been to become a full-time Formula One race driver. I believe this experience has made me stronger as a driver and as a person,” he continued.

“Of course, to return to Formula One racing as GP2 Series champion is a real honour and we’ve all seen how well Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton have performed as champions so that is very encouraging. I hope I can also make a strong impression next season. Now I have achieved my goal of returning to Formula One, my next target is to work towards making 2008 a successful season for myself and Panasonic Toyota Racing.”

Toyota team principal Tadashi Yamashina has confident in Glock s skills. “It is with great pleasure that we confirm Timo Glock will race for Panasonic Toyota Racing in 2008,” he explained. “I am convinced Timo has the potential to help this team move forward and achieve its aims.

“Timo has great experience of motorsport in several different categories and he reinforced his reputation by winning the highly competitive GP2 Series, which we have already seen is fantastic preparation for Formula One. He has demonstrated a fighting spirit and good race craft in GP2 so we believe he is the right man for the job.”

FIA reject McLaren appeal

McLaren s appeal against Brazilian F1 stewards decision not to punish BMW and Williams over fuel irregularities has been rejected by the FIA. The decision means that Kimi Raikkonen has been confirmed as 2007 world champion.

The FIA ruled that McLaren s appeal was in admissible. Four judges were in court in London on Thursday for a four hour hearing however their decision was not released until late on Friday afternoon.

“As I have said all along, Kimi deserved to win the 2007 world drivers championship and neither I nor anyone at McLaren had any desire to take it off him in court,” Hamilton commented.

“We hope this fuel temperature issue does not remain unresolved in Formula 1 next year,” McLaren s Martin Whitmarsh added. “We look forward to working with the FIA and the teams on clarifying matters to avoid a similar situation occurring again.”