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Posts Tagged ‘williams’

Williams suspended from Teams Association

May 28th, 2009 No comments

Patrick Head and Sir Frank WilliamsTen months.  That is how long the unprecedented unity among the teams in Formula One lasted.

A series of meetings in Monaco over the weekend culminated in a letter from FOTA to FIA president Max Mosley asking for the new 2010 regulations to be revoked.

The letter claimed all the teams were unified in asked for the existing rules to be retained and for the teams to work on further cost reductions next year, as Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali explained:

What we have asked is basically to go back to the rules of this year, the 2009 rules, and then see together what we can do in order to make changes for next year.

Then on Monday morning, Williams announced that they had lodged their application with the FIA to race in the 2010 Championship.

On Wednesday, the Teams Association decided temporarily to suspend Williams F1 from membership of FOTA.

It’s not really surprising that Williams has decided to commit to 2010.  Unlike teams such as Renault and BMW, Williams is a true independent racing team.  Formula One is their whole reason for existence.  They aren’t bank rolled by a billionaire like Force India or Red Bull / Toro Rosso, either.

Team boss, Sir Frank Williams:

As a racing team and a company whose only business is Formula One, with obligations to our partners and our employees, submitting our entry to next year’s championship was unquestionable.

Sir Frank also highlighted a contractual obligation which seems to be what Bernie Ecclestone was hinting at when he said he expected Ferrari to honour their contract:

In addition, we are legally obliged under our contract with FOM and the FIA to participate in the world championship until the end of 2012.

The deadline for applications to be received for the 2010 Championship is Friday with the FIA due to release details of the entry list on June 12.

So far only Williams, USF1 and Campos Racing, to be known as Campos Meta 1, have lodged applications for 2010 but it is starting to look likely that a compromise deal will be done where a budget cap of €100m will be introduced in 2010, falling to €45m in 2011.

Image: Williams

Categories: Teams Tags: , ,

FIA says diffusers are legal

April 15th, 2009 No comments

Williams FW31 diffuserBrawn GP, Williams and Toyota are free to continue using their controversial double-decker diffusers after the FIA International Court of Appeal decided to deny the appeals of Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault.

The legality of the diffusers had been challenged at the Australian Grand Prix in March but the race stewards declared them legal at the time.

Since then, it has been uncertain whether the results of the first two Grands Prix would stand but Wednesday’s ruling means Jenson Button will keep his wins and Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams will keep their constructors points.

In a statement issued by the FIA, the International Court of Appeal said:

The FIA International Court of Appeal has decided to deny the appeals submitted against decisions numbered 16 to 24 taken by the Panel of the Stewards on 26 March at the 2009 Grand Prix of Australia and counting towards the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the Court has concluded that the Stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations.

Full reasons for this decision will be provided in due course.

It will be interesting to see the full reasons ‘in due course’ but whatever they are this is a good decision by the FIA.  The worst outcome would have been the stripping of points from the first two races, something that with recent events I wouldn’t have been surprised to see.  Instead, the FIA have agreed with the race stewards (and Max Mosley, and Charlie Whiting) and rewarded those teams that were clever enough to find and exploit a loophole in the rules.

Now it is up to the other teams to develop their own double-decker diffusers (at not insignificant cost) and for the ‘diffuser three’ to make the most of their temporary advantage.  No doubt all the teams have at least started work on new diffusers and Renault may even be in a position to run one in Shanghai this weekend.

Jenson Button will be hoping for a hat trick on Sunday but as soon as BMW and Red Bull get their diffusers fitted he won’t find things so easy.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Rosberg goes fastest in practice

March 27th, 2009 No comments

Nico RosbergThe three teams running controversial diffusers dominated practice for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Friday.  Williams driver Nico Rosberg finished the second session on top with a time of 1.26.053, followed by Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

Australian Mark Webber managed to get his Red Bull up to fourth with a time of 1:26.370 but the RB5 struggled with technical issues and team mate Sebastian Vettel only managed 8th ahead of the Force India of Adrian Sutil.

As expected, the McLarens of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton were well off the pace finishing 17th and 18th respectively.  What was not so expected was the poor performance of BMW.  Nick Heidfeld only managed 14th with 1:27.802 and his team mate Robert Kubica was just behind him.  In radio transmissions, Kubica complained of lack of grip saying:

I don’t recognise this car. It’s not the same. It is very, very difficult to drive.

Poor Nelson Piquet struggled and finished the day in 19th place.  He’s going to have to do better than that if he wants to avoid more insults from boss Flavio Briatore.

It’s great to see the timesheets turned on their head like this and it must be encouraging for Nico Rosberg to finally have what seems like a decent car under him.  After the clear dominance of the ‘double-decker’ diffusers in practice will we see some pieces of carbon fibre hastily bolted on to the other cars?  It would be a bit awkward for those teams who have lodged protests to then copy their design and in the case of BMW, Mario Theissen has already said that their gearbox won’t work with a different diffuser.

Here are the times from both practice sessions:

First Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.687 19
2. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.736 + 0.049 21
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.750 + 0.063 24
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:27.226 + 0.539 21
5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.453 + 0.766 15
6. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:27.467 + 0.780 12
7. Massa Ferrari 1:27.642 + 0.955 24
8. Glock Toyota 1:27.710 + 1.023 24
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:27.993 + 1.306 20
10. Alonso Renault 1:28.123 + 1.436 16
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:28.137 + 1.450 20
12. Trulli Toyota 1:28.142 + 1.455 21
13. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:28.511 + 1.824 22
14. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:28.603 + 1.916 16
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.785 + 2.098 27
16. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:29.042 + 2.355 18
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:29.081 + 2.394 7
18. Piquet Renault 1:29.461 + 2.774 25
19. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.499 + 2.812 21
20. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:32.784 + 6.097 4

Second Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.053 36
2. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.157 + 0.104 38
3. Trulli Toyota 1:26.350 + 0.297 42
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.370 + 0.317 30
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.374 + 0.321 38
6. Glock Toyota 1:26.443 + 0.390 42
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.560 + 0.507 33
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:26.740 + 0.687 19
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:27.040 + 0.987 29
10. Massa Ferrari 1:27.064 + 1.011 35
11. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.204 + 1.151 32
12. Alonso Renault 1:27.232 + 1.179 28
13. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:27.282 + 1.229 32
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:27.317 + 1.264 34
15. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:27.398 + 1.345 36
16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.479 + 1.426 36
17. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.802 + 1.749 35
18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.813 + 1.760 31
19. Piquet Renault 1:27.828 + 1.775 35
20. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.076 + 2.023 33
Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , , ,

Teams’ fancy diffusers are legal (for now)

March 26th, 2009 No comments

Toyota's diffuser after an engine failureThe controversial diffusers on the Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota cars have been declared legal by race stewards after a formal protest was lodged by Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault.  BMW had also planned to join the protest but didn’t get their complaint submitted in time.

This means there will be 20 cars on the grid for Sunday’s race in Melbourne but it is not the end of the story.  As soon as the verdict was announced the protesting teams said they would lodge an appeal against the stewards’ decision and the way these things work means this will not be heard at the FIA International Court of Appeal until after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Frank Williams, whose car is one of those under complaint, thinks the Brawn BGP 001 could win the Australian Grand Prix:

It is no accident that their new car is absurdly superior – they are making the rest of us look like amateurs. In Australia they will disappear on the basis of what we have seen in testing. I just hope we can be up there, too.

Ross Brawn has always said his car was legal and thinks those who are protesting are just mad because they didn’t spot the loophole themselves:

The accusations are coming from teams who did not come up with the idea and now they are getting angry.  For anyone who has read the rules it was quite obvious. Ferrari have only woken up because someone has driven faster than them.

I think it’s a shame that the teams have chosen to appeal the decision as it means that should Brawn GP score points or even a podium on Sunday the result will be uncertain until the teams’ complaint is heard in court. We don’t need another situation like Spa last year when Lewis Hamilton’s win was taken away after the race had finished.

Formula One has a long history of teams finding and exploiting loopholes in the rulebook and I don’t think these three teams should be punished for doing just that.  The other thing to bear in mind is that Ross Brawn is the chairman of the FOTA Technical Working Group so you would assume he has a pretty good understanding of the rules.

It will be interesting to see, now that the stewards have declared it legal, if McLaren or any other teams fit a new diffuser to their car for Saturday.  McLaren might feel that if they don’t have a chance at points anyway they won’t have much to lose.

The number 0

March 23rd, 2009 No comments

Williams FW16, Damon HillEvery racing car in the Formula One World Championship has a number painted on it.  These are assigned depending on the team’s final standing in the previous year’s Constructors’ Championship.  The team whose driver won the Drivers’ Championship gets the numbers 1 and 2 while the rest of the numbers are assigned in the teams’ finishing order.  Within the team the senior driver generally has the lower number.

The teams’ numbers also denote their pit garage position with the lower numbers having access to the biggest garages and those at the back of the grid having to make do with much smaller facilities.

On Monday the FIA released a revised drivers list for the 2009 Championship with driver number changes affecting three teams.  Honda has now been officially renamed as Brawn GP and, as befits their ‘new team’ status, will be given the final two numbers and the last garage in the pits.  Sebastien Bourdais becomes the senior driver at Toro Rosso and so takes over the number 11 leaving number 12 to his rookie team mate Sebastien Buemi.  Over at Ferrari Felipe Massa, who outperformed Kimi Raikkonen last year, swaps places with him and gets the number 3.

You may have noticed in the video I posted the other week that Damon Hill was driving a Williams with the number 0 on it.  How did that happen?

When Nigel Mansell, the reigning World Champion, left Formula One to race in the US CART series in 1993 Williams promoted Damon Hill from test driver to a race seat alongside Alain Prost and, as Mansell was not racing in Formula One, Williams were assigned the numbers 0 and 2.  Prost, the senior driver, took number 2 and so Hill became only the second man in Formula One history to race with the number 0; the first was Jody Scheckter in 1973.

Here is the full list of constructors and drivers for the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship.  You will notice there is no number 13, for obvious superstitious reasons.

Update: 2009-03-26: The FIA have revised the numbers yet again.  It seems Force India were annoyed they had taken all their promotional pictures with their expected numbers of 20 and 21 so they will keep them this year and Brawn GP will get 22 and 23.  There will be no 18 or 19 cars.

DRIVER TEAM CONSTRUCTOR
1 Lewis HAMILTON (GB) VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
2 Heikki KOVALAINEN (FIN) VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
3 Felipe MASSA (BRA) * SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI
4 Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (FIN) * SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI
5 Robert KUBICA (PL) BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM BMW SAUBER
6 Nick HEIDFELD (D) BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM BMW SAUBER
7 Fernando ALONSO (E) ING RENAULT F1 TEAM RENAULT
8 Nelson PIQUET (BR) ING RENAULT F1 TEAM RENAULT
9 Jarno TRULLI (I) PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING TOYOTA
10 Timo GLOCK (D) PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING TOYOTA
11 Sébastien BOURDAIS (F) * SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO STR FERRARI
12 Sébastien BUEMI (CH) * SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO STR FERRARI
14 Mark WEBBER (AUS) RED BULL RACING RBR RENAULT
15 Sebastian VETTEL (D) RED BULL RACING RBR RENAULT
16 Nico ROSBERG (D) AT&T WILLIAMS WILLIAMS TOYOTA
17 Kazuki NAKAJIMA (J) AT&T WILLIAMS WILLIAMS TOYOTA
20 Adrian SUTIL (D) FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
21 Giancarlo FISICHELLA (I) FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
22 Jenson BUTTON (GB) BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM BRAWN MERCEDES
23 Rubens BARRICHELLO (BR) BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM BRAWN MERCEDES

* Driver number change requested by the team and approved by the FIA.

Categories: Drivers Tags: ,
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