Brawn car to be better in Germany

Ross Brawn expects his team’s BGP 001 to be faster at the next race at the Nurburgring in Germany. The team principal’s comments come after a drubbing by Red Bull at Silverstone in the last race, and rumours that Red Bull’s development might be outpacing that of the Brackley team.

But Brawn said Silverstone had been a one-off, more connected to a problem with certain tyres than to any long-term pace problem.

“With the confusion over the tyres, we didn’t run some new pieces we had because Friday (at Silverstone) was very difficult with the tyre temperature,” Brawn is quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

“We couldn’t determine how the new bits were working, so we decided to avoid confusion and went back to what we had in Turkey [ where Brawn themselves trounced the opposition],” said the ex-Ferrari man.

Ominously for the rest of the teams, Brawn’s development of the car has not let up either.

“So we’ve got those bits and we have some new improvements for the Nurburgring,” finished Brawn.

Jenson Button still comfortably leads the standings from team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Red Bull charger Sebastian Vettel, who is expected to derive a boost from the first time racing in a competitive car on home soil. Nigel Mansell once said home advantage was worth a tenth of a second per lap, and with the current margins between the teams so small, it could prove a factor.

Theissen: More room for cost-cutting

BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen concedes that restrictions on aerodynamic testing this year have not enabled the teams to cut costs as much as they had hoped.

A ban on testing was enforced this year, alongside restrictions on wind tunnel usage, to help reduce costs.

Theissen is happy with the progress made but accepts that more could be done in terms of limits on aerodynamic testing.

“In the area of cost-saving, I think the progress has pretty much met expectations,” said Theissen. “However, the aero restrictions we currently have are not as tight as we thought they would be, so I think we could do more.”

Reflecting on this year’s radical shake-up of the regulations, which have left BMW Sauber battling alongside McLaren and Ferrari in the midfield, Theissen added: “It has been very exciting for both the spectators and us, sometimes too exciting.

“You see almost every team going out on two sets of fresh option tyres, even in first knockout phase of qualifying, in order to make it into the second phase. That is a scenario no-one expected and we haven’t seen in the past 10 years.”

The main goal of the extensive rule changes is to make overtaking easier, thus providing the crowds in the grandstands and the TV audience even more exciting motor racing. According to Theissen, this goal has only partially been realised. “When it comes to overtaking maybe we had expected a bit more from the new regulations,” admits the German.

Spanish motorsport chief backs Mosley

The head of the Spanish motorsport federation Carlos Gracia has publicly backed Max Mosley’s allegation that FOTA showed disrespect to the FIA in recent days.

The Spaniard said that Luca di Montezemolo’s infamous snipe that Mosley was a ‘dictator’ were tantamount to insulting the democracy at work within the FIA.

Speaking to Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Gracia said: “I don’t support Max Mosley to the death, but I do support respecting institutions, and what Luca di Montezemolo has done was show a lack of respect to the FIA and the World Council.’

Gracia went on to say that this was more likely to harden Mosley to stand as a candidate for FIA President again.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if Max Mosley runs for re-election. The worst thing you can do with an animal is leave him wounded, and what Luca di Montezemolo has achieved is to re-activate Max. You can’t dance on someone’s grave before he’s dead.”

The Spaniard did not rule out a run for the presidency himself.

FOTA accuse FIA and Manor of ‘conflict of interest’

The well-publicised disagreements between the FIA and FOTA are moving to a different arena today. The FOTA teams are thought to be preparing a complaint that the acceptance of Manor Grand Prix onto the F1 grid in 2010 constitutes a conflict of interest from senior figures in the FIA.

The Guardian reports that certain teams are particularly unhappy with Manor’s inclusion. The alleged conflict of interest is thought to lie in the fact that FIA Chief Steward Alan Donnelly’s company Sovereign Strategy has an associate director named Jane Nottage. Coincidentally, allege the teams, Nottage is also involved with Manor, as she is their PR chief too.

Donnelly is also alleged to have shown a Manor executive round the paddock at the European Grand Prix next year. A source close to Donnelly apparently denies any direct link from the Chief Steward to Manor, and that the hospitality was nothing out of the ordinary. But the situation is compounded by Manor’s technical director post having been taken by Nick Wirth, an ex-Benetton engineer and close associate of Max Mosley in the past.

Donnelly has long been a target of the teams, as he is known as Max Mosley’s ‘enforcer’ in the paddock. The competition for places on the 2010 grid was very hot, and Manor was to some extent a surprise inclusion as teams such as Prodrive and Epsilon Euskadi were left out. Further intrigue might be added by the supposition of allegiance to FOTA from those teams, and perhaps to the FIA from Manor etc. However, it is likely that this latest spat is a side issue, and will not come to much. The main battle still drags on, as F1 waits to see whether Mosley’s strong words over the weekend will have an effect on FOTA.

Mosley lashes out at di Montezemolo

A furious Max Mosley is kicking up a storm in the aftermath of Wednesday’s World Motorsport Council hearing in which agreement was finally brokered between the FIA and the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) over the future of Formula One.

Using a letter to FIA club members, which was leaked to an online news service, the FIA President lashed out at the teams for misrepresenting the peace deal in the media.

Now he has launched a personal attack on FOTA President Luci Di Montezemolo after speaking to British national newspapers and revealing that he is under pressure to re-stand for election in October because of the affair.

“By going home to Italy and telling the Italian media that they had toppled the dictator, di Montezemolo has tried to make it sound like I sit here and just decide what’s going to happen. It’s absolutely not true,” Mosley told the Mail on Sunday.

“I can’t do anything unless the WMSC agree and there are 26 members, mostly presidents of important motorsport clubs from all over the world. All these rules that I am supposed to have dictated have been voted on by those people. To say that I run a dictatorship is nonsense.

“I don’t really expect Luca will apologies or withdraw in the way that he should. Yet, on the other hand, within the motor sport world nobody takes him seriously. He’s seen as what the Italians call a “bella figura”. He’s chairman of Fiat but the serious individual who runs it is Sergio Marchionne, and I don’t suppose he takes much notice of Luca.”

Mosley has alluded to strong support from within FIA should he choose to re-stand for the presidency in October.

“They (the teams) made the mistake of dancing on my grave before I was buried,” Mosely added. “It’s no good the teams getting a PR agency to claim I am dead and buried when I am standing here as large as life. I am under pressure now from all over the world to stand for re-election.

“I do genuinely want to stop. But if there is going to be a big conflict with the car industry, for example, with the FOTA teams, then I won’t stop. I will do whatever I have to do. It’s not in my nature to walk away from a fight.”

The battle for best of the rest

Posted in the Forum:

Its fair to say now, that Red Bull and Brawn are the only two teams left in the title hunt, as they are the only teams consistently at the top of the time sheets.

So that leaves the battle for best of the rest. Originally Toyota looked a fair bit ahead of the other teams, but lately, its turned into a three-way battle between Ferrari, Williams, and Toyota. BMW, Renault, and McLaren just don’t have the pace. Looking at the drivers championship, both Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa have been catching the Toyota drivers, both jumping Glock in the last race, and closing in on Truili.

So the question is, come the final race at Abu Dhabi, which of those 3 teams (Toyota, Williams or Ferrari) will sit best of the rest, and which of their drivers will be triumphant.

Join the debate HERE.



FOTA Press Conference Transcript

The full transcript of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) press conference held after Wednesday’s World Motorsport Council hearing in Paris. FIA President Max Mosley has subsequently accused the teams of misrepresenting the outcome of the peace deal brokered with the FIA and says he is under pressure to re-stand as president of the governing body in October.

Luca di Montezemolo (FOTA President): All of us have been really surprised by the enthusiasm that we have received from spectators, fans, in the FOTA side, the team side, the web side and in the press side from the public. I don t want to say anything because I have already spoken in Paris, but I like that all FOTA members starting from John Howett, vice-chairman, can say something to you and be ready to answer all your questions. As I said yesterday, I want to thank in a very deep way all the FOTA members, because they have been able to work together and today after less than one year, FOTA is an important association that has done a lot of work for the sport, for F1 starting from important cost reductions.

John Howett (FOTA Vice-President): I think from my side on behalf of all our members, I express our appreciation to our chairman who has taken a very active and positive role in the organisation and performance of FOTA, and I think has ensured the unity among the members. This has ultimately resulted in a victory for Formula 1. There should be no victor from either side, and now I think we have the possibility of a very stable, sustainable platform that will enable us to continue F1 with the best drivers, the best cars and the best circuits in the world. That is from my side all I would like to say.

Flavio Briatore (Renault): Absolutely I share the feelings of our chairman and John. What we achieved yesterday was very positive for the FIA, it was very positive for F1, it is very positive for us. We have been working together with FOTA in the last year, and a lot has happened.

What we want is a Formula 1, and we achieved what we want an F1 with the best drivers, with the best teams and we want to work to have a better show, entertaining better the people. We want to make sure the fans are with us, and make sure the fans are enjoying the fight between drivers. In the last six or seven months there was a lot of talk about politics and costs, and I don t believe this is the subject the fans like. The fans like a show, they like a race, and we need to talk about sport again. We are happy to achieve this situation, we are happy to work for that.

After many years with the presidency of Max Mosley, we want to say good luck for the retirement. Sometimes we are in different positions, and sometimes we have different opinion, but the common sense yesterday was winning and thank you to Luca too to negotiate. At this point we are looking for the future, and we are very close as well for an agreement on the commercial side, there are a few issues, but I hope in a few days we have an agreement for F1. I want to thank you for supporting us, I think is very different for the F1 and media supporting us.

Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren): Okay just to add to what has already been said, I think in the years I’ve been involved in Formula 1 I haven’t witnessed before the co-operation between the teams. There have been occasions in the history of Formula 1 when perhaps we haven’t spent enough time on the governance of our sport. We haven’t spent enough time co-operating to improve and build our sport and I see in the last few months, fantastic efforts through challenging times by all of the teams represented here and I think that is a very positive way in which we can go forward within our sport.

We have concentrated, as Flavio said, on too many negative issues in the last few months. I think there is a clear commitment from all of the teams here to work now on the show and the entertainment, on making sure we reflect the wishes of the fans who support us now I think we can make the sport better. And I hope that we yesterday reached a historic point for Formula 1, enabling perhaps to look outwards rather than continually looking in at the inner workings of our sport. It is an exciting moment for our sport and one that can only build it to be bigger and better.

Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber): Not much to add. I really thank Luca and John for the big effort they have put in. I think it has been a very, very strong year for all the teams, for the co-operation. It was really exceptional to be part of this process and yesterday in my view we have reached a breakthrough situation in the way that we have now a clear view of the future of the sport. It is a fantastic day for the sport, for the fans and definitely for us as teams as well. We have a clear view for the format of the series for the future and I think this is a very strong foundation now to come to an agreement and a conclusion on the commercial side as well. Which we will follow in the coming months.

Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing): I would just like to re-endorse what has been achieved especially under the chairmanship of Luca di Montezemolo whose represented FOTA so positively. I sit here with a duty of care not just to the fans but to our employees as well and I think that with what has taken place over the last 24 hours with the solutions that have been reached I think it is very, very positive for Formula 1. As Martin says we can now focus on the fans, on creating a better show, on creating an even better sport and I think that F1 this year the championship on-track has been a strong championship. Hopefully now focus can be turned back to the circuit and the important factor of going racing. It was great day for Formula 1.

Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari): For sure it is important that F1 will stay as a real F1, that was one of our priorities for the future. For sure we as a FOTA we will welcome the new teams that are coming to F1, but of course it is important to make sure that the value of this formula is to make sure that these companies are able top F1 not only for one year but also for the future. And this will give another input to this championship. We need to make sure the new ones, who are very welcome, are really part of this business, not because we need to have new in terms of numbers, but new in terms of fresh blood into the championship. This is a very important point that we need to make sure of for the benefit of what we have achieved in these last days.

Nick Fry (Brawn): Brawn GP, for a small private team stability is absolutely critical and from Ross and myself we are really pleased that the achievements of yesterday really do pave the way for a very bright future for Formula 1. I d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our competitors. It s very clear that without the support of Luca and Ferrari, without the support of Mercedes, without the support of McLaren we probably wouldn’t be here today. It s difficult to exaggerate the unity that you see in front of you. We ve all stuck together, Brawn GP has been supported very strongly by all of our competitors and I m very proud of that and we re proud to be here among this group so we re looking forward very much to a good future for Formula 1.

Franz Tost (Scuderia Toro Rosso): When FOTA was established there were a lot of issues on the table from the commercial side, from the governance and from the regulation side. Thanks to the chairman Luca di Montezemolo to the vice chairman John Howett and also Flavio Briatore we could sort out all of these issues from the commercial side as well as from the governance and that we also have stabilised regulations for the championship is quite important especially for a team like Toro Rosso. But from this, FOTA pushed very hard to come down with the costs which also helps a lot a team like Toro Rosso from the engines, from the gearbox and also from the aerodynamic side. I think that now we can concentrate on racing and we can concentrate to increase the show and come up with a good one.

Luca di Montezemolo (Ferrari): If there are some questions, we are pleased to answer them. Let me just summarise, because what is coming out from all of the colleagues around this table the very good team spirit inside FOTA. It s a big collaboration, everybody has worked a lot over the last two weeks, particularly John and Flavio have done a fantastic job and I m happy that all of the other members recognise this. So thank you very very much. I would like also to call your attention to the coherence of FOTA. We said since the beginning that we were looking for some priority points and I want to thank the FIA World Motor Sport Council for the very positive meeting yesterday and the very constructive attitude towards the interests of F1. We will keep the 2009 rules the same for everybody – this is extremely important. We will have stability in F1 at least until the end of 2012. It means no cost, because with stability you have no cost. We also have governance like in the previous years in which the rules come from clear procedure with the F1 Commission. And we will continue as teams, as car manufacturers, to work for important cost reductions as we have already done with success regarding engines and gearboxes.

Flavio will also be working with the commercial rights holder to improve the show and the interest in the sport. I m confident we can find a solution with CVC in the next days CVC is the company that owns the rights of F1. So our role is in two years, by the end of 2011, to achieve a cost basically like in the 1990s. It means that finally for small or big teams, it s important to think of the balance between cost and the revenues at the end of 2011. We are united in the interests of the sport and I think that yesterday was a very positive and constructive agreement. Again, as my colleagues have said before, mainly for the spectators because the spectators were pissed off with the continued changing of the rules, it was difficult to understand. I have to say that after a month of confrontations we are also pleased to thank the president of the FIA for his decision to leave the FIA in October, to thank him for the work that he has done – particularly for safety because this was and still is a big priority in Formula 1 and the sport. Formula 1 has done a huge, huge improvement in safety.

We want to thank the FIA and the World Council for the unanimous agreement yesterday to approve and accept FOTA’s proposals. Again, we hope to find an agreement in the next day with John Howett dealing together with Flavio Briatore.

Question and Answer Session:

Q. The objective of bringing F1 closer to the public and the fans has been talked about. How do you aim to achieve this within the existing framework with the FIA and the commercial rights holder?

Martin Whitmarsh: I think as you are aware, FOTA undertook a very interesting survey of fans trying to understand what they wanted. The initial work led us to some conclusions that were put before the FIA. Unfortunately, none of those suggestions and ideas, which we felt were positive, were accepted. We now have to continue that work. We have to be structured in the way that we speak to the audience, asking them what they expect from the sport, the format of the sport, how they understand it, how it’s presented, how we provide information. We have to continue the work. There is no singular point; I think it is listening to what the audience wants and making sure that we respond to it to improve the show, the spectacle and the information that’s provided.

Q. How will the new teams fit in with FOTA, and will Williams and Force India be allowed back in. These three new teams signed up under the old rules

John Howett: First of all I think we need to have some dialogue with these teams to establish whether they wish to join FOTA or not. FOTA is open, we believe dialogue is constructive and positive. Obviously before doing that there is the issue of reaching an understanding with them on their position, based on the new regulatory framework. It’s too soon to say, but our door is open and I guess in the next two to three weeks, as the total situation is stabilised, we will enter into discussion with them should they wish to meet.

Q. Are the positions between FOTA and Mr Mosley now clear? Do you have an idea who can succeed Mr Mosley as president of the FIA?

John Howett: I believe yesterday the confirmation was given to the World Motorsport Council on what was agreed, and they endorsed entirely that. So from our side there should be no ambiguity at all. Secondly, the federation is an independent body with its own constitution, and it will be their business who they elect as the future successor to their president. From the teams point of view, we would like to see somebody who actually is independent, if you like, perhaps independent from any of us currently or historically. The federation covers much more than just motorsport, it is in fact involved in worldwide touring and I think also from the position of manufacturers they would wish to have somebody that was also able to represent appropriately the requirements of worldwide motorists, as well as purely focusing on sport.

Luca di Montezemolo: Just one personal point because yesterday I was not only representing Ferrari, but also all the Formula 1 teams at my first meeting of the World Council. I saw a very positive atmosphere, very constructive from all the members of the World Council. We have achieved a clear agreement, an agreement that is important to re-establish good, personal relations, and this is important looking ahead. This is something I want to emphasise.

The other thing is I was there also representing the car manufacturers. The meeting we had in Brussels with ACEA, under the chairmanship of Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Renault, and with the chairman and CEO of all the car manufacturers – BMW, Ferrari, FIAT, Renault, Mercedes and Toyota – has been extremely useful because for the first time the top management of these companies have been directly involved in Formula 1. This is important for the future.

I want to say, one of the important agreements we achieved was an important commitment from manufacturers and big teams to race and continue to be in Formula One, at least until the end of 2012.

So in the past, if somebody was worried, maybe after Honda left or somebody else, not now. The car manufacturers and the big teams will remain in Formula 1, and this is the reason why yesterday’s agreement is important for us to work together for a better future for F1. F1 needs fresh air, needs ideas, needs improvement, working together to achieve this goal.

Q: What are going to be the precise technical and sporting regulations for next year, for example will the medal system be in place or not?

Flavio Briatore: The 2010 regulations will be what we are racing with now in 2009, we go back to the 2009 regulations and the Formula 1 Commission of 1998.

Ferrari to halt 09 development?

mass ferr bahr 2009 81Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo has given a strong indication that his team will abandon development of their 2009 challenger, the F60, in favour of next year’s car after a difficult start to the season.

By virtue of challenging McLaren-Mercedes right down to the wire in last year’s title race, Ferrari, like rivals McLaren, started the 2009 season on the back foot and found themselves at the mercy of the likes of Brawn GP who begun developing their car to suit the new rules much earlier in the season.

They also based the entire design of the F60 to accommodate a KERS device, something which the teams are now abandoning due to the extra weight.

The lack of performance has left Ferrari almost eighty points behind championship leaders Brawn, and now, it seems, the team is likely to adopt the path taken by the Brackley-based outfit last year by getting ahead start on their 2010 car.

“I am confident that we can improve our performance in the next races, but having said that it is quite difficult – if not impossible, really – to dramatically change the car during the season without tests,” said Luca di Montezemolo.

“Unfortunately we started the season with grey rules. “It is difficult to give a correct interpretation and the proof is that the three teams that have won the last F1 World Championships – like Ferrari, McLaren and Renault – have made the same interpretation of the rules and they are not as competitive as before.”

“This is one of the reasons in our battle – to have more stable, clear and transparent rules – we made the car with KERS; it means that more weight is on the car and a lot of other teams have not done KERS. So if the federation (FIA, governing body) wants to introduce KERS, it has to be the same for everybody. Now I think it is time to go back to clear rules.”

Donington gets the green light

doningtonparkplanoct08-lgDonington Park has been granted planning permission to begin its multi million pound redevelopment programme to host the British Grand Prix.

Donington won a 17-year contract to host the British Grand Prix from 2010, but fresh doubts were cast over the deal last week when Bernie Ecclestone said that the event could still return to Silverstone should the plans fall through.

With planning permission now secured, Donington can press on with its planned construction work, but it remains to be seen whether it will be completed in time.

Donington Ventures boss Simon Gillet told reporters: “It’s great to have cleared another hurdle and to see the hard work of the entire team at the circuit paying off.”

“There’s no denying that we still have a lot of hard work ahead but we’ll continue to remain positive and do everything that we can to deliver against the promises that we have been made.

“The construction work is obviously extremely important, but we’re also trying hard to ensure that it doesn’t compromise the experience that our visitors to forthcoming events have.”

Political wrangling far from over in F1

maxfia-290If you thought Wednesday’s breakthrough deal between the FIA and the Formula One teams heralded an end to the infighting engulfing Formula One, think again.

With agreement brokered between the two parties over next year’s rules and the threat of a breakaway series extinguished FIA President Max Mosley could have stepped down quietly with a half decent legacy too.

After all, as’s Hugh Podmore argues HERE, the bottom line is that he managed to get the teams to agree to cutting costs significantly something they weren t always prepared to do and to commit to the sport. He has got new teams independents into the sport to provide some balance were the manufacturers suddenly to withdraw. He also managed to elicit an unconditional recognition of the authority of the FIA by FOTA something that at Silverstone, with the heady smell of revolution in the air, seemed light years away.

But instead of going quietly, Mosley has chosen to re-ignite the turmoil by lashing out at the teams for relatively minor claims – in the context of the overall deal – over the future presidency of the FIA, and for doing something that he himself is guilty of, which was to present the best possible gloss to the media about the deal.

In doing so Mosley as also opened the possibility once again that he will re-stand for election for FIA President in October.

In a letter leaked to and Autosport, Mosley told FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo:

“Given your and FOTA’s deliberate attempt to mislead the media, I now consider my options open,” wrote Mosley in the letter. “At least until October, I am president of the FIA with the full authority of that office.

“After that it is the FIA member clubs, not you or FOTA, who will decide on the future leadership of the FIA.”

“We made a deal yesterday in Paris to end the recent difficulties in Formula 1,” explained Mosley. “A fundamental part of this was that we would both present a positive and truthful account to the media.

“I was therefore astonished to learn that FOTA has been briefing the press that Mr Boeri has taken charge of Formula 1, something which you know is completely untrue; that I had been forced out of office, also false; and, apparently, that I would have no role in the FIA after October, something which is plain nonsense, if only because of the FIA statutes.

“Furthermore, you have suggested to the media that I was a ‘dictator’, an accusation which is grossly insulting to the 26 members of the World Motor Sport Council who have discussed and voted all the rules and procedures of Formula 1 since the 1980s, not to mention the representatives of the FIA’s 122 countries who have democratically endorsed everything I and my World Motor Sport Council colleagues have done during the last 18 years.”

Mosley called on FOTA to make an apology at their own press conference on Thursday, but with no such admittance coming from the teams, the row between him and the teams association is far from other.

Luca di Montezemolo responded to Mosely calling for an end to the internal bickering that has plagued Formula One for the past few months.

He said of Wednesday’s deal: “I am very pleased for the agreement, [and] I was not surprised because I understand the spectators, they are pissed off with all these polemics – the press releases, unclear rules, rules that change every six months.

“We need stability. We need peace. We need transparency. We love F1; we want a F1 as always extreme – extreme in terms of technology and competition. The best drivers, the best teams, the best cars, this is what we try to achieve.

“I am very pleased for this result and also for the very good atmosphere that I found in Paris with the World Council, the FIA. So I think together with the FIA we have done a good agreement looking ahead.

“Now, stop with all the polemics, because we love F1. We don’t want to contribute to…take off the big charm and the unique elements of F1.”