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2010 Formula One Calendar

September 24th, 2009 No comments

Korea International CircuitAlong with the Renault verdict, the FIA also slipped out a couple of small but important pieces of information in a press release on Monday.

Firstly, the 2010 Formula One calendar has been announced.  And it’s big.  There will be 19 races next year!

As well as a welcome return to Canada in June, October will see the inaugural Korean Grand Prix to be held at the Korean International Circuit.  Located some 400 kilometres from Seoul and designed by Hermann Tilke (who else?) the semi-permanent track will be built partly along the harbourside.  Will it be another Monaco or Valencia?

Brazil takes over the final race again in November and Bahrain moves to the season opener on 14 March.  Here is the full calendar:

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

14/3
28/3
04/4
18/4
09/5
23/5
30/5
13/6
27/6
11/7
25/7
01/8
29/8
12/9
26/9
03/10
17/10
31/10
14/11
BRN
AUS
MAL
CN
E
MC
TR
CDN
E
GB
D
H
B
I
SGP
J
K
AE
BR
Bahrain
Australia
Malaysia
China
Spain
Monaco
Turkey
Canada*
Europe (Valencia)
Great Britain
Germany
Hungary
Belgium
Italy
Singapore
Japan
Korea
Abu Dhabi
Brazil

*Subject to the completion of contract negotiations with Formula One Management. If these are not completed then the Turkish Grand Prix will be moved to 6 June.

Note: The race in Australia will start at 1700 local time, in Malaysia at 1600 local time, in Singapore at 2000 local time, and in Abu Dhabi at 1700 local time.

The second little detail was the fact that teams will be permitted to modify engines to achieve performance parity — but only by detuning.  This seems a crazy idea that goes completely against the spirit of Formula One.

It would mean that Mercedes (who clearly have the best engine at the moment) would have to knock off 20-30hp of performance so that the Toyota and Cosworth (based on a 2006 design) engines could be competitive.

It will now be up to the teams to decide whether they want to go down this route.  The FIA have washed their hands of the matter:

Following suggestions that there is a differential between the performance of engines used in Formula One, the World Motor Sport Council has decided that should this be the case, and should the teams wish to eliminate this performance differential, they may be allowed to do so by reducing the performance of the more powerful engines. However, no engine upgrades will be allowed.

I would rather see the engines stay as they are than be purposely made to go slower.

Image: Wikipedia

Categories: News Tags: , ,

The Renault verdict: Briatore banned for life

September 21st, 2009 No comments

RenaultThe World Motor Sport Council met in Paris today to decide Renault’s punishment for asking Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

They got off pretty lightly, I think.

Even though the FIA thinks that “offences of this severity merit permanent disqualification from the FIA Formula One World Championship”, that penalty was suspended for two years.  All Renault had to do was admit it was wrong, say sorry and sack the people responsible.  Oh, and make a “significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.”

So, no fines, no loss of constructors points and no real ban for the team.  I suppose it is understandable.  After the loss of Honda and BMW, the FIA will do just about anything to prevent any more constructors pulling out of Formula One.  If Renault were to be forced out it would also negatively impact teams like Red Bull who are engine customers.

But if Renault as a team were let off lightly, the FIA really threw the book at Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds.

Briatore got, in effect, a lifetime ban from professional motor sport:

for an unlimited period, the FIA does not intend to sanction any International Event, Championship, Cup, Trophy, Challenge or Series involving Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever, or grant any license to any Team or other entity engaging Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever. It also hereby instructs all officials present at FIA-sanctioned events not to permit Mr. Briatore access to any areas under the FIA’s jurisdiction.  Furthermore, it does not intend to renew any Superlicence granted to any driver who is associated (through a management contract or otherwise) with Mr. Briatore, or any entity or individual associated with Mr. Briatore

So not only is he banned from all FIA events, he can no longer even manage drivers.  The WMSC have cast him out of the FIA paradise, utterly.

Pat Symonds gets it a little easier, but not much.  Due to him expressing his “eternal regret and shame” that he participated in the conspiracy, he gets a 5 year ban.

Fernando Alonso was cleared of any knowledge of the plot.

After the judgement, Renault F1 Team president Bernard Rey issued the following statement:

Today, we fully accept the decision of the Council. We apologize unreservedly to the F1 community in relation to this unacceptable behaviour. We sincerely hope that we can soon put this matter behind us and focus constructively on the future.

And what of Nelson Piquet Jr?  In a statement on his blog he said:

I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it.

Mr Briatore was my manager as well as the team boss, he had my future in his hands but he cared nothing for it. By the time of the Singapore GP he had isolated me and driven me to the lowest point I had ever reached in my life.

I feel sorry for Piquet.  Obviously he should have refused to crash his car but he was clearly under intense pressure and it didn’t help that his team boss and his manager was a total ass-hat.

Who knows what will happen to him now?  He has immunity from the FIA so in theory he could race again, something he clearly wants to do:

I have had to learn some very difficult lessons over the last 12 months and reconsider what is valuable in life. What has not changed is my love for Formula One and hunger to race again. I realise that I have to start my career from zero. I can only hope that a team will recognise how badly I was stifled at Renault and give me an opportunity to show what I promised in my career in F3 and GP2. What can be assured is that there will be no driver in Formula One as determined as me to prove myself.

The trouble is, there are so many talented drivers and so few seats in Formula One that if you screw up just once, that’s it.

Full WMSC statement.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Stop!! Who cares about this shit? What about the racing?

July 8th, 2009 No comments

Kazuki Nakajima, Monaco, 2009I couldn’t agree more with Mr Saward. In a great post on his blog (with an awesome URL, check it out), Joe Saward sums up the thoughts of Formula One fans everywhere.

This comes after the news that the rotting zombie corpse that is the FIA/FOTA war has broken through the coffin of the WMSC agreement of last month, clawed its way up through the earth and is now stumbling lopsided down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, hungry for brains.

Today the FIA issued a press release after the teams met at the Nürburgring to try to agree on a final set of regulations for 2010.  It starts off positively with the following:

All changes have now been agreed subject only to the maintenance of the minimum weight at 620 kg and the signing of a legally binding agreement between all the teams competing in 2010 to reduce costs to the level of the early 1990s within two years, as promised by the FOTA representative in Paris on 24 June.

Great!  But wait!  What’s this next paragraph?

The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010. Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting.

WTF?  Seriously, WTF!?!

FOTA subsequently issued their version of events.

During the course of this meeting, the team managers were informed by Mr Charlie Whiting of the FIA that, contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof.

This is just bizarre.

So the FOTA teams are not entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship?  Then what the hell was that list the FIA published on 24 June? This one here.  The one that says “The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship” and then goes on to list the 13 teams, including all FOTA teams.

I can’t say it any better than Joe.

Stop!! Who cares about this shit? What about the racing?

Image: Williams

Categories: Opinion Tags: , ,

Final 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list

June 24th, 2009 No comments

FIAAll is sweetness and light in the Formula One World again.

  • There will be no breakaway championship.
  • There will be no new rules.
  • The FIA will remain the sport’s governing body.
  • A new Concorde Agreement will be signed that will commit the teams until 2012.
  • The teams will have two years to reduce costs to 1990s levels.
  • Max Mosley will not stand for re-election in October.

Basically, FOTA won the war – or at least the battle.

Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on Wednesday the FIA have published a press release listing the 13 teams that will take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.  They are the same as before, except that this time there are no conditional entries.

Interestingly, Brawn and the two Red Bull teams still show their engine suppliers as ‘TBA’.

FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

All currently competing teams have committed to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

There will be no alternative series or championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009.

As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the championship to the level of the early 1990s. The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance.

The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport’s governing body. They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.

All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement.

The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.

TEAM
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM
RENAULT F1 TEAM
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO
RED BULL RACING
AT&T WILLIAMS
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM
CAMPOS META TEAM
MANOR GRAND PRIX
TEAM US F1
CONSTRUCTOR
FERRARI
McLAREN MERCEDES
BMW SAUBER
RENAULT
TOYOTA
STR TBA
RBR TBA
WILLIAMS TOYOTA
FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
BRAWN TBA
CAMPOS COSWORTH
MANOR COSWORTH
TEAM US F1 COSWORTH

In view of this new agreement and with the prospect of a stable future for Formula One, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed his decision not to stand for re-election in October this year.

Categories: News Tags: ,

Mosley: Now we have peace

June 24th, 2009 No comments

Max MosleyCommon sense seems to have finally prevailed.  It is being reported that an agreement has been reached between FOTA, who had threatened to form a breakaway championship, and the FIA, who had threatened to sue them if they did.

Apparently Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 commercial rights holder, and Luca di Montezemolo, the FOTA chairman, held a series of meetings last night and this morning before today’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.  These culminated in an agreement by the FOTA teams to not start a breakaway series and by FIA president, Max Mosley, to not stand for re-election in October.

After an initially hostile response to the FOTA breakaway announcement last Friday, where Mosley threatened to take legal action against the teams, he seemed to soften his stance during the British Grand Prix weekend when he realised FOTA wasn’t bluffing.  The signs in the grandstands supporting FOTA and calling for him and Bernie to go couldn’t have helped either.

There was a brief flash of defiance from Max on Tuesday when a letter he wrote to FIA member clubs was leaked:

This is an attack on the FIA’s right to regulate its Formula One World Championship but, worse, it is a wholly unjustified criticism of and direct challenge to the entire structure and purpose of the FIA.

No president of the FIA could allow this to go unanswered. I have therefore responded on your behalf (see attachments). We are also preparing legal proceedings in case these are needed to protect the FIA’s rights in its Championship and to discourage any dissident Formula One team from engaging in illegal acts.

In it, he also hinted he would stand for re-election again in October:

I must now reflect on whether my original decision not to stand for re-election was indeed the right one.

Now it seems he will stand down as FIA president as originally planned.  Mosley is quoted by the BBC as saying:

There will be no split. We have agreed to a reduction of costs. There will be one F1 championship but the objective is to get back to the spending levels of the early 90s within two years.

I will not be up for re-election, now we have peace.

Frankly, I’m a bit surprised.  Of course, a split would have been the worst of all possible outcomes but the way FOTA were talking it was starting to seem like a breakaway was inevitable.  I suppose that’s why Max eventually caved.

It is obvious that Bernie Ecclestone played a central role in this outcome.  As he said:

My marriage broke up because of Formula One, so I am sure as hell not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing.

Categories: News Tags: , ,
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