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.

Schumacher To Make F1 Return…

Last weekend we watched one of Formula One s all time greats retire at the top of his game, leaving many pondering the future of F1 post-Schumacher. However, F1 may not lose the valuable input Michael Schumacher made during his sixteen years of racing at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Today at a press conference at the time-honoured end of season celebrations in Monza, Jean Todt announced that Michael Schumacher would have a role to play within Ferrari next year. According to Todt, Michael was responsible for selecting Massa and Räikkönen for 2007, and amongst other things, he will continue to manage future driver line-ups.
“Michael has always been interested in following young drivers,” said Todt, recently promoted to Ferrari CEO as well as interim MD of their racing division.

“I have one of them next to me, I remember Michael talking to me about Felipe when he still was in lesser series. He also talked to me about Kimi before he entered F1 so he has a unique eye, and it will be important to allow us to make choices on the drivers of the future and also to follow the current drivers.”

“Michael is one of the greatest drivers in the history of motor racing. He has a unique knowledge of racing, so we’ll try to take advantage of his knowledge in the best way to take choices for the team at a sporting and technical level.”

“He will be very close to us while he won’t have any particular obligation to be present neither in the factory nor at the races nor at private tests. He will be an indispensable interface in the process of taking decisions for the future of Ferrari’s sporting arm.”

“Finally, as he’s done up to now, he will make his contribution on the definition of the road cars”, referring to his work developing the latest fleet of Ferrari s, including the 430, Enzo and FXX.

“The choice of Kimi was taken together with Michael. He was always informed on a daily basis of the discussions we had. He knew before and during the meetings, and knew of the decision. So it wasn’t a decision taken suddenly without informing him and he’s always agreed with this choice.”

“I read many things about his role within the team. What is certain is that we’ve taken many decisions together with Michael and that’s one of the reasons why we’re very thankful to him for carrying on giving his experience in Ferrari’s sporting future.”

However, unlike Todt, Schumacher is keeping his cards very close to his chest with regard to his new role within the team.

“I don’t think right now there is any need to specify in concrete terms exactly how and what, Jean has just said what I’m interested in and where Ferrari feel I could be helpful. I’m very happy to be involved in this way but I look forward first of all to get some rest for a few months and then I’ll have a much clearer view on what I’d like to have.”

“I’m so happy that Ferrari gave me this opportunity. As it’s always been, Ferrari gave me the confidence but also gave me the freedom to reach decisions and come to terms in common agreement. That’s something very unique and now I need a couple of months to get myself clear.”

The president of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo, shed further light upon Michael s expected contribution in 2007, describing the seven times World Champion as a super-assistant .

“I’m very happy that Michael will continue to work with us and to share our choices and contributing to them and this is important. Even if he won’t be inside the cockpit, his experience and his professionalism will be very useful for the future of Ferrari. Michael will be Todt’s de-facto super-assistant for certain things.”

DC and Schu at it again…

It seems like only yesterday that Michael Schumacher stormed through the soggy pits of Spa to consult DC on his driving abilities, and here we are eight years later and those two are still at it!

In a recent interview with F1 Racing Magazine, David Coulthard said that the now retired seven times World Champion would forever have two black marks against his racing career following his on-track antics against Villeneuve and Hill. The Scot believes F1 fans wouldn t understand the German s motives, and that an apology would help him to be remembered for his skill, ambition and dedication, alongside the considerable work he s done in improving track safety.

“At Monza I told a journalist, on the record, that I think Michael is a great champion but there will always be a question mark over some of the things he s done, but that was me, as an F1 fan, making an observation…not me, as a fellow F1 driver, launching a Jacques Villeneuve-style attack on Michael,” said the 35 year old.

“I have great respect for Michael s on-track achievements, just as I have great appreciation for the way he and I have been able to work together, off-track, within the GPDA, for the good of the sport. That said, there s no question that it must be very difficult for the public to understand some of the things Michael has done on track, and to forgive him for not apologising for having done them, and that s two black marks, isn t it?” pondered the Redbull Driver. “The first for what he s done, and the second for not saying sorry for doing it. And a sorry would be nice. Or perhaps he genuinely believes he s never done anything wrong, which is even more worrying.”

Nice to see some things never change…