McLaren Win Prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise

McLaren Electronic Systems (MESL), part of the McLaren Group, have won the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for achievement in international trade.

The company previously won a Queen’s Award in 2009, then a recognition for its innovation in, and development of, leading-edge control and data systems.

MESL is best known as the Official ECU (engine control unit) Supplier to the FIA Formula One World Championship, NASCAR Sprint Cup and IZOD IndyCar series. However, with growing sales (increasing 60% since 2008), they’re quickly moving into other areas which include hybrid and powertrain technologies, FAA approved aircraft controls and, even, data and monitoring technologies for mass transit systems.

On receiving the award, Dr Peter van Manen, MD of McLaren Electronic Systems said “We are delighted to have been recognised in the Queen’s Awards for the growth of our international trade. We are proud that our technology is at the heart of international motor racing and that are able to translate it into other important markets. This is a wonderful endorsement for the reputation of McLaren and British development and manufacturing and will help energise our strategy even further to develop the business further in new markets and sectors.”

Marussia’s María de Villota loses eye following F1 testing crash

The Banbury (UK) based team confirmed in a media statement that the 32-year-old was in surgery between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning to address “serious head and facial injuries”.

“Maria remains in a critical but stable condition,” said the team.

Boss John Booth said: “It is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye.”

He added that Marussia is conducting a “very comprehensive” investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

Source: GMM

Marussia’s María de Villota injured during F1 high-speed test at Duxford

Marussia’s test-driver Maria de Villota is said to have ‘life threatening injuries’ following an accident during testing at Duxford Aerodrome. The 32 year old is said to have crashed into the ramp of a team-trailer at 9:15am this morning. She had just completed her installation lap in preparation for the two day test at the Cambridgeshire venue.

Chris Mann, a correspondent for BBC Cambridgeshire witnessed the crash. “The car suddenly accelerated into the big truck and there was a sort of board down, like a loading board, and the car went careering into the side of that, probably only 20 to 30 mph at that point…they called, as I understand, for an air ambulance to come in, but there is obviously the site ambulance here”. He later added, “from where I was standing it looked like the helmet took the brunt of the impact”.

In a statement the East of England Ambulance Service said, “a woman has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following an earlier road traffic collision this morning, Tuesday, July 3.”

“The East of England Ambulance Service were alerted to Duxford Imperial Museum at 9.17am. An ambulance, a duty mamager and MAGPAS attended the scene.”

A spokesman for the Ambulance Service, Gary Sanderson, said: “A woman has sustained life threatening injuries and following treatment at the scene by paramedics, she has been taken to Addenbrookes Hospital for further care.”

At 10:45am the Marussia F1 Team issued the following statement:

“At approximately 09.15hrs BST this morning, the Marussia F1 Team’s Test Driver Maria De Villota had an accident in the team’s MR-01 race car at Duxford Airfield where she was testing the car for the first time. The accident happened at the end of her first installation run and involved an impact with the team’s support truck.”

“Maria has been transferred to hospital. Once her medical condition has been assessed a further statement will be issued.”

According to the BBC, the Emergency medical charity Magpas who treated and transported Villota to Addenbrookes for treatment, have said she sustained  “facial and head injuries” but was in a stable condition on arrival to hospital.

Duxford Aerodrome is a former World War Two base, now home of the Imperial War Museum, and used by modern day F1 teams to conduct high-speed testing using it’s longer 1,503m runway.

We’ll continue to update this article as we learn more. Meanwhile, all our thoughts are with Maria and we wish her a full and speedy recovery.

Forum discussion –
East of England Ambulance Service – Statement
Statement from Marussia F1 Team
BBC’s Chris Mann on accident


Last updated – 13:03pm 03/07/2012

Berger: Webber “took out Rosberg”

Gerhard Berger, former F1 driver and team co-owner, has made some astonishing remarks regarding Mark Webbers retirement from last weekend’s Korean Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was unable to finish the weather disrupted race at the new Yeongam circuit after running wide at turn 12 on lap 17, losing control of his car and subsequently veering into the opposite crash barrier. Following the initial impact, the Australian’s car rolled back across the track, collecting Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg. The damage to Rosberg’s car was severe enough to also warrant his retirement.

Berger believes that Webber’s car should not have continued across the track. “He could have hit the brakes and stopped the car,” he told Austrian television station Servus TV.

Gerhard went on to suggest that Webber’s intentions may have been sinister. “He took out Rosberg, but it was the wrong one. I think in his mind he would have preferred Alonso or Hamilton. It’s very obvious – you can see his wheels aren’t locked up. Perhaps he had a brake problem but I don’t think so.”

Immediately following the race Nico Rosberg tweeted on his Twitter account that he also felt Webber could have avoided him. “Sucks!Don’t understand why webber didn’t hit the brakes.Was crazy(evidently)2 roll back over the track.”

GB Quotes from ESPN

Webber Positive After Friday Practice

Mark Webber is optimistic about his chances of adding another win to his tally this weekend, after setting the fastest time in Friday Practice at the new Korean International Circuit. Coincidentally, his lap time of 1:37.942 was two-tenths faster than that of his nearest rival in the championship, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, whose time of 1:38.132 was enough to see the Spaniard finish second at the close of the session.

Webber’s review of first day on the Yeongam circuit was enough to quell many onlooker’s concerns, with the track only passing its final inspection just eleven days ago. “It was a positive day and car ran well,” said the Australian. “There was a lot of information to gather and we’ve done that pretty successfully.” It was also a positive day for the race organisers, with Webber speaking highly of the circuit. “It’s enjoyable to drive here; there are a couple of unique sections…the pit entry and exit is a bit marginal to get on and off the track but, apart from that, they’ve done a remarkable job and I’m clutching at straws to criticise anything.”

The issue of the pit entry and exit was one expressed by few drivers, with most teams more concerned with coming to grips with the new circuit, quite literally. Hamilton (3rd 1:38.279) expressed his original concerns of a slippery track, but dramatic track evolution soon laid enough rubber to get the track times flowing, and add a bit more grip to the circuit.

Alonso expressed his concern of rapid tire wear for this grand prix. “At the moment there is nothing particularly to flag up, apart from the fact that the tyres wear rapidly, as in fact one could predict on a completely new track surface. It’s not worth worrying about it, because the situation will have improved by Sunday and also, we are more or less all in the same situation.”

Kubica and his Renault were fourth quickest, with the Pole confessing that his team were aiming to “try and extract a bit more from the car.” Button finished fifth, despite experiencing overheating issues with his car, which cost him some time. Felipe Massa tested both a standard and a blown rear wing during his session, admitting that the blown rear wing was a necessity for use on Yeongam’s straights. The Brazillian finished a comfortable sixth, with a lap time of 1:38.820.

The other Red Bull driver, Sebastian Vettel, could only finish 7th in a session marred with a puncture early in P2. He also expressed concern with the pit entry and exits. Petrov and Rosberg were 8th and 9th respectively, with Kobayashi rounding out the top 10.

Germans Heidfeld and Schumacher were 11th and 12th respectively, with the latter admitting he was pleasantly surprised with the circuit.” Barrichello was 14th, with the two Force Indias of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Adrian Sutil following immediately behind.

Hulkenberg was 16th the young German claiming he had a better set up in the first session, although he was still happy with his performance. The rest of the order had no surprises, with Alguersuari and Buemi next following. Kovalainen was faster than his team-mate, with Trulli coming in 20th despite issues with his gearbox. Glock, Di Grassi, and Yamamoto followed. Bruno Senna completed the order with a lap-time over 8.7 seconds behind Webber, with the Brazilian Driver experiencing some technical glitches which he hopes will soon be rectified.

All in all, it was a positive day for Mark Webber, who might have just asserted himself a little, after recognising that he needs to win one more race in order to put one hand on the trophy. The race organisers and fans are left feeling relieved and excited about the prospect of a fantastic Grand Prix later this weekend….

Kimi Raikkonen Scores First WRC Points

After a slow start to his WRC campaign, 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen collected his first points of the season in Jordan.

The Finn, who made the surprise move to the world of rallying this year, finished in eighth position after successfully piloting his Red Bull sponsored Citroen C4 WRC car across Jordan’s barren gravel stages. Raikkonen, alongside navigator Kaj Lindstrom, completed all 21 stages and finished just twelve minutes off the time of rally winner Sebastien Loeb.

Speaking of his first WRC points haul, the Citroen Junior Team driver said: “From the beginning my goal was to get to the end of the rally and I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to do that, even though the conditions were difficult. As the stages went on I’ve learned more and more, and my confidence has grown bigger as well.”

“We came to Jordan with very little experience of the car on gravel and now we’ve practically doubled it. I’m getting to know the car better now, but the important thing as well is that I’ve really enjoyed these three days. We’re making progress, which is why we are here, and hopefully this will continue onto the next round in Turkey.”

You can read Kimi’s blog from the Jordan rally here:
Day 1
Day 2

You can read more about Raikkonen’s foray into WRC at the links below:

Will Rosberg’s gamble pay off?

williams toyota fw31 01The casinos of Monte Carlo would appear to have rubbed off on Monegasque youngster Nico Rosberg.

The Williams driver won a televised poker tournament in Italy last month seeing off competition from Formula One’s established card players Robert Kubica, Giancarlo Fisichella, Adrian Sutil and former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine.

Rosberg’s success at the poker table may just give him the courage he needs to pull off the biggest gamble of his career: a long-term commitment to the Williams F1 team. The German driver has long been touted as one of the great stars of the future having stunned the paddock with his raw speed on more than one occasion. His podium successes in Melbourne and Singapore last year were notable highlights. However Rosberg’s talent has been marred by a car that has generally underperformed as each season has progressed, largely due to Williams’ considerably smaller budget.

Rosberg has admitted to this frustration and has seemingly laid his cards on the table by declaring: “I hope that I am going to have the car to have good success this year, it’s very possible. If not, then I need to see because by 2010 at the latest I really want to be in a top car.”

This is a definite signal from Rosberg that his problems last year lay with the car rather than his own driving ability. Both Rosberg and indeed Williams may approach this season wanting to gamble everything they have in the win or die casino that is modern day Formula One. Rosberg will be wanting to secure his first win and push the Williams FW31 to its limit both to prove his ability to the team and indeed other watching manufacturers.

Williams meanwhile will be keen to use the sweeping rule changes in 2009 to develop a car that keeps Rosberg within the team.

Indeed, team boss Frank Williams is adamant that his team will be closer to the front-runners this year. Williams are among a handful of teams to have thrown the bulk of their resources behind their new car early on in 2008 to get a jump on the new rules governing car design.

“This could be our most important season for a decade,” said Williams ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time. “The rule changes give Williams F1 a chance to re-establish itself.”

Already the newly formed Brawn GP, who turned their attention to this year s car even earlier than Williams, have gained an early advantage setting a searing pace in pre-season testing, while the 2008 title contenders McLaren and Ferrari, who were forced to develop their 2008 cars right down to the wire in Brazil, appear to be struggling. The former have uncovered problems with their new car after running a new aerodynamic package, while Ferrari have been hampered by a string of mechanical gremlins.

This could provide teams such as Williams an opportunity to leap up the grid in 2009. Indeed, while Frank Williams is refusing to predict where his team will be in Melbourne, he is confident that his drivers, Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima, will be right up there.

“It s impossible to say where we ll be in Melbourne,” he adds, “but I m cautiously optimistic that we ll make a step-up in performance this year. To be close to the top three would be a big step forward in year one.”

Nico Rosberg is adamant that sacrificing performance in the latter half of last year to focus on the FW31 will pay dividends.

“The last upgrade on the FW30 was for the German Grand Prix,” said the German. “It made it tough at the latter races of the season, knowing that we were going to find it hard to be competitive, but we had to do what was right for the long-term interests of the team.”

2009 may well be a make or break year for Rosberg’s long term future at Williams. He has sentimental reasons for staying at Williams; his father Keke Rosberg won the 1982 championship with Williams. However the ambitious Nico knows that what matters is that Keke became champion, not that he did so with Williams. Unless Rosberg scores both highly and consistently this season he may find that 2009 is his biggest gamble yet.

Fantasy Formula One

For the 2009 season, are offering our users a rare opportunity to prove they have what it takes to run a successful F1 team in the Fantasy League Formula 1 competition. With £20,000 available in prizes, this competition will appeal to anyone whose ever considered a life in F1 or ever questioned a team decision – would you have switched the Toyotas onto wets during the final few laps of the 2008 season?

As team boss of aFantasy League Formula 1 team, you will select a combination of six drivers and one constructor, within a budget cap of $60m. Your team will then score points based upon performances in the 17 races of the 2009 Formula 1 season.

Enter before 29th March and you stand a chance of walking away with a Garmin Nuvi Satnav unit and £250 in cash in the two-race Warm-Up Championship! However, there are many more prizes available, including a VIP trip to the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, a track day for you and four friends, F1 team jackets and caps, and cash for both seasonal (£5,000/£1,000/£500) and race-by-race winners (17 x £100).

Plus, set up a Friends & Enemies League and make things personal in your own private competition. Get six people into your League and the winner will receive an exclusive trophy to mark their glorious victory!

So, what are you waiting for? Dare you pair Lewis Hamilton with Fernando Alonso? Or will you go for a flying Finnish with Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen in tandem? Could Adrian Sutil or Giancarlo Fisichella be the Force behind your team? Or will you pin your hopes on the rest of the field talking a load of Red Bull?

There’s only one way to find out, click here and sign up now. Be sure to check back soon and visit our exclusive new ‘Fantasy Formula 1’ discussion area on the forums at in time for the start of the 2009 F1 season.

Nissan Create New Series…

Nissan has been heavily involved in motorsport since the 1960s, but more recently through their dedicated NISMO (Nissan Motorsport International Limited) division. Despite their participation in a number of series including JTCC, JSPC, Formula Nippon, Le Mans 24 Hours and Super GT, Nissan has so far avoided the World of Formula One – partly due to their unique alliance with Renault. However, not to be outdone, Japan’s third largest car manufacturer has been seemingly dragged kicking and screaming into a whole new motorsport series!

The new series, named after and starring the Qashqai car model, has been featured in numerous internet virals and describes itself as “the sport where anything can happen”. The audacious stunts featuring the 2009 model are hardly going to cause Bernie Ecclestone sleepless nights, but should serve as a reminder to the FIA that a sport doesn’t require slick tyres, ridiculous wings and overpaid drivers to be enjoyable…

To find out more, see the ‘Spanner League’ website here.