Category Archives: 2010

Lotus protest DRS-duct

The Lotus F1 Team has lodged a formal protest with the Chinese Grand Prix stewards against the DRS-activated f-duct run by Mercedes so far this year.

The device, which reduces front wing drag when the DRS is deployed, results in higher straight-line speeds, but other teams have questioned it’s legality.

Article 3.15 of the technical regulations prohibits the driver from influencing the aerodynamics of the car, with the exception of activation the DRS system. Lotus argue that the DRS-duct is driver-activated, while Mercedes counter that it is a secondary effect of the Drag Reduction System.

The debate is crucial because with chassis homologated for the entire season, it may be impossible for some teams to implement their own version of the system – similar to the McLaren F-duct in 2010.

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Trouble for Lotus (and Lotus)

The Lotus F1 team has revealed that it has terminated it’s title sponsorship with Group Lotus, makers of the Lotus cars, due to financial uncertainty.

The team, formerly known as Renault, has had an agreement with the Malaysian company since 2010. It would have allowed them to buy a fifty per cent stake in the team, but that agreement has now been terminated.

Gerard Lopez, owner of the Lotus F1 team said:

“The sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated. There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now – that option was taken over by us. There was one, but we have taken it over now.

“We are happy to carry the Lotus name as we believe it is a good name for F1.”

Group Lotus have been flaunting the cash in recent years, sponsoring everything from GP3 to IndyCar, despite being burdened with debts. Parent company Proton has recently been bought by DRB-Hicom and due diligence is taking place over Group Lotus’ future.

This now means there will be a Lotus team on the grid with no formal link to the car company. This is ironically a similar situation to that of Tony Fernandes when he entered Formula One with his Lotus Racing team, before Group Lotus opted to throw their support behind the former Renault team.

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Picture Credits: Lotus F1 Team

Force India Hulk up

The Pitstraight revealed on Thursday that Force India were set to announce Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg as their drivers for the 2012 season:

Although the timing proved to be a little out, our sources proved correct and the team have since announced that this will be their line-up.

The decision means that Adrian Sutil will be leaving the team he joined in 2006, when it was known as Midland F1, as a reserve driver. Sutil was promoted to a race seat in 2007 when the team was rebranded as Spyker, and stayed with the team when Vijay Mallya bought it ahead of the 2008 season. His 9th place in 2011 secured a position as the ‘best-of-the-rest’, beaten only by the drivers at the top teams.

Year Points Championship Position
2007 1 19th
2008 0 20th
2009 5 17th
2010 47 11th
2011 42 9th

The way is now clear for Sutil to replace Rubens Barrichello at Williams for 2012.

Nico Hulkenberg was one of the rookie stars of the 2010 season, securing pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix for the Williams team, before being ousted in favour of Pastor Maldonado and his Venezuelan bolivars. Since then the young German has been the reserve driver for Force India, participating in Friday morning practice sessions for the teams.

Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: 

“I am delighted to present our line-up for the 2012 season. In Paul and Nico we have two extremely talented drivers with tremendous potential.

“I think Paul caught the eye of everybody in the pit lane during his rookie season. His speed, maturity and racecraft confirmed that we were right to believe in him and we look forward to working with him again next year.

“As for Nico, we identified him as a rising star at the end of 2010 and chose to evaluate him during the course of this season. Despite having only limited time in the car, he convinced us that he deserved a race seat for 2012.

“Our new line-up means we say ‘goodbye’ to Adrian Sutil, who has been with the team since we entered the sport. He has been an integral part of our success over the past four seasons and we wish him well for the future.”

Paul Di Resta:

“I’m really looking forward to my second season of Formula One and continuing to grow and develop with Sahara Force India. I’ve said all along that I love being part of this team: they are ambitious, hungry for success and we work well together. I’m really excited about 2012 and there is a real sense of belief that we can continue to push the top teams and take another step forward. I’d also like to thank the team for all their hard work this year and for all the support they’ve given me. I’ll take some time out over the next few weeks to recharge my batteries and hopefully come back even stronger in 2012.”

Nico Hulkenberg:

“I’m obviously delighted to be staying with Sahara Force India and to be given the chance to race next year. It wasn’t easy to watch from the sidelines this season, but I did my best to help the team and show what I was capable of. I’m extremely motivated for 2012 and would like to thank everyone for believing in me and giving me this chance. I’m keen to get down to work over the winter to develop our new car and help the team build on this year’s achievements. The first test in Jerez can’t come soon enough.”

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Picture Credits: Force India

Tuesday videos: Japan

As this weekend is the Japanese Grand Prix from Suzuka, this week’s Tuesday videos will have a Japanese theme. We’ll kick things off with a lap of Suzuka by Michael Schumacher last year:

Suzuka can always provide for exciting racing, especially when it rains. Here’s highlights of the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix to show you what I mean:

And for fans of classic F1, here’s the 1977 Japanese Grand Prix – including a rather unusual podium ceremony:

Finally, I know there’s fans out there that just watch for the crashes. I won’t disappoint – here’s Kimi Raikkonen and Jean Alesi colliding in 2001:

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Picture Credits: Neal Brown

A letter to the fans

This weekend the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) released the following letter for the sport’s fans.

Dear Formula 1 fans,

As some of you may remember, in early 2010 FOTA undertook a global research study together with our partners at F1 Racing and LG Electronics.

The study sought opinions and feedback from the global fan base, and was conducted to help us better understand our strengths and to prioritise our challenges for the future. The survey was exhaustive and took on average more than 35 minutes to complete, so we were very pleased and grateful to receive detailed feedback from more than 85,000 fans from more than 190 countries.

A year on from the announcement of the initial findings, we feel it is appropriate to share the work we have undertaken and the actions we have implemented over the past 12 months.

First, you provided FOTA with a very strong mandate (more than 80% support) to work to support the teams, to develop technological improvements and to enhance the reputation of F1 around the globe.

As fans you voiced your opinion that F1 needed to attract new followers by ensuring its position as the pinnacle of motorsport from both a technical perspective and driver perspective. More than 90% of you highlighted that more exciting racing and increased opportunities for overtaking represented the most important issues for us to address.

Through the FOTA Technical Regulations Working Group and in partnership with the FIA and our new tyre supplier, Pirelli, we put this issue at the top of our agenda. Writing as we are after the Spanish Grand Prix, five races into the 2011 season, we hope you feel that innovations such as the Drag Reduction System and the revised tyre compounds have made very positive contributions in this area.

Within the 2010 study we asked you about KERS Hybrid, and the feedback from fans was that you did not feel the technology had been given sufficient time to prove its benefits to the sport. So the rules have been amended, increasing the minimum weight, to allow its use again in 2011. In this way we hope that F1 can become an invaluable “laboratory” via which we may fast-track this technology to road car applications and thereby spread the benefits of F1 to society as a whole.

We also asked for your feedback on our proposed points system for 2010, and, while you were in favour of our plan to award points down to 10th place, you also stated a preference for a greater differential between points awarded for race wins and points awarded for lesser placings. We took that feedback on board and the points system was revised ahead of the 2010 World Championship, resulting in the closest F1 title battle for many years, with four drivers vying for the Drivers Championship at the final Grand Prix.

Thanks to FOM Productions, HD television broadcasts has been adopted from the start of the 2011 season and this is an important achievement that matches the expectations of many of you.

We are pleased with these achievements, but we are not complacent. We know that there is more work to be done, and we aim to continue to listen to our global fan base so that you may continue to guide our efforts to improve the sport we all love.

Finally, in the 2010 study, you asked for the opportunity to engage directly with the teams and drivers; we conducted a Fans Forum in London in 2010 and we are pleased to announce three further Fans Forums planned for this year in Canada, Great Britain and Italy. And while we will not be able to meet you all, rest assured that we will be listening and will be continuing to push for enhancements wherever and whenever possible.

Together with you, we now look forward to a fascinating and challenging race here in Monaco.

Yours faithfully,

Martin Whitmarsh Eric Boullier

Chairman and Vice Chairman, FOTA

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Picture Credit: Formula One Teams Association

New Issue: The Week in F1

The Pitstraight is proud to present the latest issue of The Week in F1, a free magazine to bring you up-to-date with this week’s Formula One news.

This week’s issue covers:

  • Williams performance review;
  • Team Lotus buys car company; and
  • Kubica talks about his recovery.

Check it out below:

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.


 

New Issue: The Week in F1

The Pitstraight is proud to present the first issue of The Week in F1, a free magazine to bring you up-to-date with this week’s Formula One news.

This week’s issue covers the Chinese Grand Prix. Check it out below:

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.