#F1 News: Abu Dhabi denies new F1 delay rumours 07/05/2009 6:06am
    2009 May 06
    Branding Images for WIlliams F1 from the Malaysian GP Image © Williams - 12th Apr 2009 -

    2009: Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica - Catalunya - F1 - 2009 - Catalunya - Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica

    #F1 News: Mosley cancels trip to Spanish GP

    The 68-year-old was scheduled to appear at the Circuit de Catalunya for round five of the Formula One World Championship, but is now to remain in Britain to be with his family. On Wednesday the sport's governing body confirmed reports that 39-year-old Dr Alexander Mosley, Mosley's eldest of two sons, has died.

    The 68-year-old was scheduled to appear at the Circuit de Catalunya for round five of the Formula One World Championship, but is now to remain in Britain to be with his family.

    On Wednesday the sport's governing body confirmed reports that 39-year-old Dr Alexander Mosley, Mosley's eldest of two sons, has died.

    Use the form below to navigate the entire site. This covers ALL articles by ALL contributors...
    OFFICIAL #F1 Report: Force India F1 - Spanish GP Preview 06/05/2009 12:12pm

    OFFICIAL #F1 Report: Force India F1 - Spanish GP Preview

    May 6th 2009

    Teams will now return to a standard one race per fortnight format, shorter travel distances and the comfort of personalised hospitality units at familiar tracks. With a solid start to the year and further modifications to its VJM02 cars to come, the Force India Formula One Team is eagerly anticipating this next stage of the championship.

    Team Q&A

    Dr Vijay Mallya, chairman and team principal The Spanish Grand Prix marks the start of the European season, where teams traditionally introduce the next stage of developments. Will the VJM02 cars have further upgrades this weekend? I was very pleased to see the clear improvement we demonstrated in Bahrain as a result of the new diffuser and aero upgrades. To get both cars fitted with the modified floor in such a short time was a major undertaking, particularly from a team with such a limited workforce and budget as Force India. This of course was only the first stage in development and for Barcelona we'll have yet more upgrades coming through based on the information we gained in Bahrain. We'll be running a driver-adjustable front wing flap and a further modification for the front wing. This is just part of our ongoing development cycle and there will be further upgrades at most of the forthcoming races. Will the team be running KERS in Barcelona as originally planned? No, we will not be running KERS in Spain. At the beginning of the year, it was our provisional plan to introduce the system for the start of the European season, but we have decided to put the emphasis on aero development where we feel the greater gains can be found. As we've seen many other teams are not running KERS so we do not feel we are at a disadvantage. We still plan to use it later in the season, but this will be reviewed after each race in line with the other work we have going on in the background. You have said in the past that the European season will be where Force India starts to race. Do you stand by this? We always said that the first four flyaway races would be extended test sessions and we have indeed used them wisely. We've accustomed ourselves to the new systems, new personnel and new ways of working and introduced some very worthwhile upgrades. We are already racing but we can always improve. We've achieved more than I thought so in this respect I can't stand by the earlier comments - I want more now!

    Driver Q&A

    Adrian Sutil (car 20, VJM02/03) How would you review the first four races? Bahrain was, overall, a good weekend. Qualifying was our best performance yet and in the race both Giancarlo and myself could put in consistent times. The team should be really happy with that weekend. For me personally I am pleased with my start to the season. In the past I have not started well and it's taken some time to get into the season, but straightaway this year we were racing and I've finished three out of the four races. As a team we've been very consistent, the car has felt good and well balanced and we have made some steps forward. There is so much more to get out of the VJM02 and for Spain we will get another upgrade, which hopefully will be enough to stay and race the other cars and maybe even reach second qualifying. What are your thoughts on the Spanish Grand Prix and the Circuit de Catalunya? Barcelona is a track we all know really well from the laps we do over the winter. This year I did nearly 1,000km there! This means you can go to the circuit with a set-up that's pretty much ready to go. I like the circuit, it flows quite well, apart from the chicane at the end though, of course. The crowd is always huge as well - it gives you a buzz when you drive round. What will your objectives for Spain be? Let's see how the upgrades go. The modifications in Bahrain worked better than we thought and gave us about four tenths a lap, but we have to keep introducing more new parts to just stay with the others. Last time we were racing, but everyone else is moving forward as well so we need to stay focussed and get the most out of what we have.

    Giancarlo Fisichella (car 21, VJM02/04) Giancarlo, the Spanish Grand Prix has been a relatively successful race for you in the past. Is it an event you look forward to? I enjoy going to Barcelona as it's good to get back to Europe, with the tracks we know very well. I also posted two fastest race laps there in 1997 and 2005, so I feel comfortable on the circuit. Barcelona is itself a nice track. We know it very well as we do a lot of days there in winter testing. There are a couple of interesting corners such as one and two and a few quick corners like turns three and nine. There's a hairpin in first or second gear at turn 10 and at the exit there is quite a lot of wheelspin, which makes it very difficult for the tyres. Unfortunately the new chicane at 14 and 15 disturbs the rhythm of the lap, so it's not as exciting as it was a couple of years ago when the last two corners were very difficult. It's always good to get back to Europe though - a good result there sets you up for the start of the European season. What would be a good result for you in Spain? In Bahrain we showed we had a much better car than in previous races but we still need another couple of steps and then we will be able to challenge for points. Last year we had a good race and finished 10th but as we've seen reliability with everyone has been very good so we shouldn't make too many predictions. It's not going to be easy as the others are improving as well, but I think a good result would be top 12.

    Force India Spanish GP points of note: Giancarlo Fisichella has scored two fastest race laps in his career. Both were secured at the Circuit de Catalunya, the first in 1997 with Jordan and the second in 2005 with Renault. He has also finished on the podium once in 2006, again with Renault Back to the motorhomes: Force India will be using the same motorhome as last season - the three-storey steel and glass structure. Standing 11m wide by 11m long and 9.5m tall, it uses 260 panels of glass and weighs 40 tonnes. It takes ten people three days to erect Force India brings five trucks to European races, three of which are 'pump up' style double-decker trucks. The first pump up is a mobile gearbox, hydraulics, sub assembly and electronics workspace, the second a spares truck and office space and the third houses IT servers and engineers' offices. The final two trucks take the cars and set-up equipment Tonio Liuzzi participated in the A1GP championship finale at Brands Hatch on 3 May. The Italian raced his A1 Team Italy car to 10th position in the Sprint race and 9th in the Feature

    About the Spanish Grand Prix The Spanish Grand Prix has changed venues several times over its long history. It was held four times at the Montjuich Park street circuit but safety concerns after the disastrous 1975 event led to its demise, and thereafter the race was held at Jarama and Jerez. The flowing 4.655km Circuit de Catalunya track just outside Barcelona has been the venue since 1991. It was seen as an important part of Barcelona's build-up to the following year's Olympic Games. The circuit is typical of a high downforce F1 circuit, featuring a mixture of corner speeds and types, but has been neutered somewhat since the last race in 2006 by the addition of a chicane. Now, instead of defined turns 14 and 15, two of the fastest corners on the calendar, there's a new complex that slows the rhythm of the lap. Nevertheless, the chicane still presents its own challenge with a blind entry and perhaps a better chance to overtake on the following straight. As a result, the circuit is now quite hard on brakes and remains tough on tyres. Read More...

    OFFICIAL #F1 Report: Toyota F1 - Spanish GP Preview - Jens Marquardt

    May 6th 2009

    What tasks do you face now you are Team Manager? Basically my job is to ensure all practical operational aspects of the team run smoothly whilst also liaising with the FIA on sporting and logistical matters. At Grands Prix I am responsible for operations at the track so I am involved in every element of the team's work, from pit stops to driver's schedules to catering - everything. I need a complete overview of the whole team's tasks so I can make sure they have the best possible working environment, and the team members are working in the most appropriate manner. When it comes to the FIA, my task is to ensure the team complies with the regulations as well as discussing any sporting or logistical issues that arise.

    That sounds like a lot of work - is it a daunting challenge? It certainly is a challenge but I would say I am more excited than daunted by my new job. It's busy, that's for sure, and there are a lot of demands on my time but it's a great opportunity and in the end it's very satisfying. I enjoy my job; I enjoy having a new day ahead of me where I can work at the cutting edge of automotive development. That's great motivation.

    Your first races as Team Manager included two back-to-back weekends and the longest trip of the whole season, was that a difficult start? It would have been easier coordinating the short drive to Spa or the Nurburgring but variety is what makes working in Formula 1 so interesting. Even though I am new to this particular job, the team has plenty of experience dealing with the logistics of moving cars, equipment and people from one track to another in only a few days. It requires good planning and a lot of hard work from the guys at the track but it all went very smoothly.

    Is it easier to prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix as we are now racing in Europe again? Generally the European races are easier because we have the motorhome and the technical trucks. This means we can be sure the working space is exactly what is required and the environment is more familiar and comfortable for all team members. But the first European race of the season is obviously the first race of the year with these facilities so I'm sure there will be one or two teething troubles; this is inevitable. No two races or tracks are the same so I have to be ready for anything!

    Is there anything special about this season's Spanish Grand Prix? Well, we all hope the result will be special on Sunday but we'll have to wait and see. Aside from that, it's the start of the GP2 Series and our third driver Kamui Kobayashi is racing. He has just won the GP2 Asia championship so we will all be supporting him during the weekend. Also, it is the 300th Grand Prix for our team doctor, Riccardo Ceccarelli, who looks after everyone in the team. He has been team doctor since the start of our Formula 1 participation so he's a familiar face and I'm sure we'll find a way to celebrate.

    How do you feel now your first season as Team Manager has started? It was a great honour to be given this responsibility by the team and I am really enjoying the challenge. It has been a busy time in pre-season for everyone in the team and for me personally because there is a lot of information to learn, processes to become familiar with, that kind of thing. The start of the season is always particularly busy, and even more so for me as Team Manager in the opening races of this year, but things are calmer now and it has been very satisfying to come home from those first four races with three podium trophies. Our team spirit is great and the guys have done a really good job so they deserve a few more cups this year.

    Have you always been a motorsport fan? Actually when I was growing up I was more interested in planes and I studied aerospace at university. My brother became a pilot and as kids we used to go to airfields and watch the planes taking off and landing - I am still impressed now by how so many tonnes of metal can fly! So I'm not a typical petrolhead with a vintage car at home but I have spent my entire career in the car industry.

    Can you give some information on your career to date? I started my professional career in production cars, working as an engineer on exhausts, catalysts and, later, direct injection. But after two years or so I had the opportunity to move into motorsport and this has always been a passion of mine so it was an easy decision to take. I worked at Ilmor as a development engineer for their F1 and CART programmes and from 1999 to 2000 I worked in the US giving trackside support to the CART teams running our Ilmor engines. That was a great experience but I had the chance to move back to Germany and become involved in Formula 1 with Toyota, at the very start of that project. It was fantastic to be part of the group that developed Toyota's first Formula 1 engine. It was also very satisfying to be involved in establishing our engine supply to Williams and developing the relationship as Manager Engine Customer Supply. I have enjoyed my experiences at Toyota so far because I feel I have grown and developed with the team. Read More...

    OFFICIAL #F1 Report: Renault F1 - Spanish GP Preview

    May 6th 2009

    Fernando Alonso: "Hopefully we can qualify well and score some big points in the race" Fernando you had a physically draining race in Bahrain, but you still came away with a point... Yes, my drink pump failed and so it was a tough race and I was a bit dehydrated when I got out of the car. It was good to score a point, but we were hoping for more after all our hard work over the last couple of weeks. I didn't make a good start and lost ground which decided my race because all the cars around me were running similar strategies. I think it's fair to say that we were the eighth fastest car and so finishing eighth is representative of our performance at the moment. This weekend it's your home Grand Prix in Barcelona. How special is it to race in front of your home crowd? It's always very special to race in Spain and I'm lucky to have two races at home this year in Barcelona and Valencia. Seeing the support of the fans always gives me a boost and I just hope that I can make them happy and have a strong weekend. It will be difficult to fight for the podium, but hopefully we can qualify well and score some big points in the race. Tell us about the Barcelona circuit and how you expect the R29 to perform there? All the teams know the track well as we do so much testing there in the winter. We tested there in February, but obviously we have developed the car a lot since then so we will need to work on the set-up during free practice. We are still missing some performance at the moment but the team has really improved the car already this season so we are certainly moving in the right direction. Hopefully we can take another step forward this weekend.

    Nelson Piquet: "I'm feeling a lot more positive after Bahrain" Nelson, we're a quarter of the way into the season. Sum up your feelings as we return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix... It has been a difficult start to the year for me, but I feel I've learnt a lot from the first four races. The wet races in Malaysia and China were quite frustrating and we couldn't really judge the performance of the car, but I'm feeling a lot more positive after Bahrain where I raced with the new diffuser. It would have been great to finish in the points, but all the cars are very competitive and reliable this year so to finish tenth was probably the best result that was possible on the day. Barcelona is probably the track where you've driven the most. Do you enjoy racing there? It's the circuit that I know the best, but it's not one of my favourites because it's not especially challenging for the drivers. It's all about having a good aero package and a well balanced car to cope with the high-speed corners. It's therefore difficult to overtake, so you need to qualify well to be able to choose a sensible strategy for the race. Barcelona is also really demanding for the tyres and so we need to see how the different compounds perform during long runs on Friday. How much has the R29 improved since the start of the year? We've definitely improved the car by fitting the new diffuser and the team did a great job to react quickly and adapt the car. We also had an update to the front wing in Bahrain and the car is now much easier to drive than it was at the beginning of the year. I know the whole team is working really hard to find more performance and now that we are back in Europe it will be easier to bring new developments to the races.

    Pat Symonds: "We can expect a reasonable step in performance for Barcelona" Pat, after four races, what's your verdict on the team's start to the year? I'm disappointed with our start to the season. We're all well aware of the difficulties of trying to assess competitiveness through winter testing, but when we arrived in Melbourne we did feel we were higher up the pecking order than the performance we actually delivered. However, what has impressed me is how the whole team has responded to the need to become more competitive, particularly following the clarification of the diffuser regulations as we managed to get the new-style diffuser onto one of the cars in China, which is a credit to the whole team. So it has been a disappointing start, but we've definitely moved up the order in the last four races and there's a lot more to come. Do you feel the drivers are getting the most from the R29? I think they are, especially now that we've introduced the twin diffuser because the car was quite sensitive and difficult to set-up with the more conventional diffuser. The car used to have a very small sweet spot in terms of set-up, which made it difficult for Fernando and Nelson to get the most from the car. I do believe that this has improved since we've fitted the new diffuser, but it's still difficult to judge because we have been so limited with the amount of running we've done, especially in dry conditions. So we still have a lot to learn about the R29, but I do feel it's becoming easier for us to get the most from the car. Can you update us on the team's development programme as the European season begins? The whole team is still pushing hard with development and the diffuser and floor that we brought to China was very much a first attempt and over the course of the year we will see several more versions, the first of which we hope to have in Barcelona. In addition, we've got new wheel fairings this weekend with quite a major design change to give us an increase in downforce and a new rear wing. On top of that we've got a few small aerodynamic tweaks that we will introduce on a race-by-race basis. Overall we can expect a reasonable step in performance for Barcelona. Have you been surprised by the relative competitiveness of all the teams this year? Yes, I've been very surprised by just how close the racing has been in the first four races. Normally you expect stability of rules to lead to close racing and change of rules to move things apart, but that hasn't been the case this year, although the new rules have certainly shaken up the order of the grid. I don't have an explanation as to why things are so close, but I can speculate that one of the reasons is that the aerodynamic performance of the cars is probably a bit closer this year. With much simpler aero regulations, the advantage that some teams were getting from winglets, deflectors and vortex generators may have been lost. The aero domain has therefore been neutralised to an extent and the relative aero performance of the cars is perhaps a bit closer. The second reason might be to do with tyres as I wonder whether the formula is becoming tyre-dominated. The fact that we are all using a Bridgestone control tyre that is relatively conservative is probably another factor that has led to the closing up of the field. How do you expect the R29 to perform in Barcelona, which is renowned as the definitive aero circuit? We weren't particularly satisfied with our performance in Barcelona during winter testing and I think that was probably because our aero performance was significantly below that of the cars with twin diffusers. Now that we have hopefully improved our performance with our own new-style diffuser, we certainly hope that Barcelona will be a bit more favourable for us. Barcelona: Tech File The Grand Prix circuit near Barcelona is one that every F1 team knows well from the hundreds of kilometres of testing carried out there over the winter. Few venues offer such a variety of medium and high-speed corners and it is widely acknowledged as the definitive aero circuit that provides a stern test of an F1 car. With few big braking zones and so many high-speed corners, overtaking remains extremely difficult and a good qualifying performance and sensible strategy are paramount for a successful weekend.

    Aerodynamics Aerodynamic efficiency is always a key factor at Barcelona, although the introduction of the chicane at the end of the lap in recent years has replaced on of the most critical high-speed parts of the lap and means the track is not as demanding as it once was. Even so, the circuit remains the ultimate test of a car's aero package and teams will run with high downforce levels to ensure competitiveness over the whole lap. Fernando: "There are lots of high-speed corners where good aero performance is critical. A good example is turn 9, a fast right hand corner taken in fifth gear at about 230km/h. You have to be very precise with the car as there is there is no room for error on the exit and it's important to carry good speed onto the back straight."

    Suspension With the suspension we have to find the best compromise to give the drivers a well balanced and responsive car. This means we will use relatively stiff settings at the front of the car to get a good change of direction, while the rear will be slightly softer in order to get the best possible traction out of the slower corners, such as turns 14 and 15, as Nelson explains: "The end of the lap used to be fast and flowing, but the introduction of the chicane a couple of years ago means it is now a low-speed section where you need good mechanical grip and traction. Getting a good exit out of turn 15 is especially important as it leads immediately into the final corner and onto the kilometer long straight. Lose speed in 15 and you will be under pressure and vulnerable to attack down the front straight." Ride height is also an important parameter to consider as generally we can run the car quite low in order to gain maximum aerodynamic performance.

    Engine Performance Barcelona is not generally thought of as an 'engine circuit' as the engine is not under particular stress as any point and only 61% of the lap is spent on full throttle. There are relatively few hard acceleration zones from low revs as the engine spends most of the lap accelerating from the middle of the rev range. As such, the priority is for the power delivery to be progressive and driveable in order to maintain the best handling balance, and limit tyre wear.

    Tyres Barcelona is well known for being demanding on tyre wear because it includes so many long, high-speed corners and has a fairly abrasive track surface. The most demanding corner is perhaps turn 3 as Fernando explains: "Turn 3 is a very demanding corner: we spend two or three seconds at 250kph, and it's hard work for the neck muscles. The key to getting the corner right is finding the correct line as there is no margin for error on corner entry. If you get it right, then you can get all the way through this long corner with a good level of grip in the car, and it's not too difficult. But if you miss the entry by even just a little bit, you will be fighting understeer then oversteer, hurting the tyres and losing time all the way round the corner." The tyres are therefore under high loadings, particularly the front left which has to work hard through turn 3 as well as turn 9. As a result Bridgestone will supply the hard and soft compounds this weekend, and the team will need to pay close attention to the wear and degradation during free practice to determine which compound to use for the majority of the race. Read More...

    #F1 News: Suzuki admits hopes for Super Aguri return


    May 6th 2009

    With Honda backing, the former Japanese F1 driver fielded his Super Aguri entry in 2006 and 2007, then succumbed to financial problems after just four races last year. But Suzuki, 48, could now be among numerous parties interested in the sport's budget-capped future beginning in 2010. "If it's physically possible I would certainly like to (return to F1)," the veteran of 88 grands prix told Wednesday's edition of the Sankei Sports newspaper. An emotional Suzuki said during an emotional press conference last May that he saw the F1 world as a "piranha club and I kind of feel that I don't want to stick my fingers back in". He added: "If someone wants to take part in F1, I'm going to advise them that he better not." Read More...