NEWS ARCHIVE

28 FEBRUARY 2009

MOVEMENT IN BRACKLEY

The last few days have seen movement going on at Honda Racing F1 with eight mortgages being paid off by the holding company of the team and the registration of various web domains for Brawn Racing, in the name of Caroline McGrory, who happens to be the team's legal counsel.

27 FEBRUARY 2009

FIA MOVES ON NEW F1 TEAMS

The FIA says that it is going to propose radical changes to safeguard the future of Formula 1.

DRIVERS PAY-UP BUT REMAIN DISGRUNTLED

The F1 drivers seem to have decided to pay their superlicence fees, faced by an FIA that is clearly not going to negotiate. The drivers may not be happy about the fees but they seem to have now understood that now is not the time to force the issue. The hikes in price last year were impressive but the FIA argument is that the drivers are well-rewarded and so should contribute to safety.

HONDA MANAGEMENT BUYOUT TO GO AHEAD

Multiple sources are confirming our reports that the management buyout of Honda Racing F1 has now been agreed and that Ross Brawn and Nick Fry will run the team, using Honda money - plus the money that comes from TV income, plus whatever sponsorship can be found.

25 FEBRUARY 2009

WILLIAMS NEEDS A NEW SPONSOR IN 2011

The Royal Bank of Scotland says it will be ending its alliance with Williams F1 at the end of 2010. This is no surprise given that the bank has lost billions and is now 70%-owned by the British government.

F1X RUNS INTO TROUBLE

Reports from the Middle East suggest that F1-X, the Formula 1 theme park in Dubai, has been postponed by developer Union Properties. It seems that the project has run out of money.

24 FEBRUARY 2009

IN A PERFECT WORLD

The expected announcement of a US-based Formula 1 team has led to much speculation about possible drivers. There has been some fairly obvious talk about Danica Patrick and a few other mutterings about open-wheeler drivers who have made some impression in Europe, such as Jonathan Summerton.

ALL TALK

Tony Teixeira is an unusual man. The Portuguese South African has a most colourful background, having started his career as a soldier and ended up parlaying these skills providing protection for mining operations and ultimately into controlling mines.

23 FEBRUARY 2009

THE END OF STEPNEYGATE

Italian justice is a curious thing that can drag on for years on end and it is thus intereresting to see that McLaren and the investigators in Modena appear to have reached an agreement to bring an end to Stepneygate, with a number of fines for McLaren personnel.

FUKUI TO RETIRE, HONDA F1 FUTURE UNCLEAR

Honda Motor Co has announced that Takeo Fukui is to retire as president and chief executive officer in June. He will be replaced by Takanobu Ito. The 55-year-old joined Honda in 1978 and worked in R&D for much of his career, heading Honda R&D in the Americas from 1998 onwards.

22 FEBRUARY 2009

A NEW JARAMA?

The Real Automovil Club de Espana (RACE) built the Jarama racing circuit near Madrid back in the mid-1960s in order to compete with Barcelona's Montjuic Park. The two tracks shared the Spanish GP for several years but then the race moved permanently to Jarama between 1976 and 1981, after which it disappeared.

RENAULT LOOKING TO INDIA FOR NEW SPONSORSHIP

Renault F1, which will lose title sponsor ING at the end of the season, is looking to India for a replacement. There are reports in the Indian media that a senior official in Renault India has confirmed a sponsorship approach to "a major Indian multinational".

20 FEBRUARY 2009

THE STATE OF F1 POLITICS AT THE MOMENT

It has been many years since the teams were truly a force in Formula 1 politics. They have been divided by the different demands on them and by the fact that some of them were given incentives to break away from the rest of the pack.

MELBOURNE OFFERING MORE VALUE FOR MONEY FOR FANS

The fans at the Australian Grand Prix at the end of March will get not only a Formula 1 Grand Prix but also the popular local V8 Supercars and a free concert by British rock legends The Who, featuring Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, the two surviving members of the original band.

A CLOUD OVER VALENCIA

Grands Prix are often closely linked to one individual and thus the news that Francisco Camps, the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, has been implicated in a corruption scandal needs to be taken seriously in F1 circles.

19 FEBRUARY 2009

GM SELLING OFF EUROPEAN BRANDS?

General Motors says it is looking at selling stakes in its Opel, Vauxhall and Saab brands. The company is also believed to be looking for buyers for its Hummer and Saturn brands in the US market.

SMALL GESTURES

Silverstone Circuit has donated $6400 raised from parking fines at the British Grand Prix to four local organisations. Parking regulations were implemented at the event to ensure that visitors adhered to the parking rules which, in turn, enabled the circuit to manage traffic flow in the most efficient way possible.

IS F1 A GOOD IDEA FOR VIRGIN?

Honda has now confirmed that it is talking to the Virgin Group about the possible purchase of its F1 team. With six weeks to go before the start of the new season, time is short but clearly the team must now be building parts that will fit the Honda chassis to the available Mercedes-Benz engines.

18 FEBRUARY 2009

A POWERFUL VOICE SPEAKS

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz does not say much about his Formula 1 involvement. He runs two of the 10 teams and thus has considerable power as his defection would do the sport considerable damage.

SILVERSTONE REVEALS NEW TRACK LAYOUT

Silverstone has unveiled provisional plans for the MotoGP circuit. The most significant addition will be a new section of track running from the approach at Abbey corner to a spectacular 'Arrowhead' at the inside of Becketts. The Arrowhead will then join up with the existing National Straight. There will be additional changes to the layout at Chapel and Club.

17 FEBRUARY 2009

US MOTORSPORTS SPONSORSHIP FALLING?

According to IEG Sponsorship Report, a leading authority on sponsorship, North American-based companies will spend an estimated $3.3bn in motorsport this year - but that will be a nearly six percen down on the $3.5bn spent last year.

16 FEBRUARY 2009

COULD IT BE VIRGIN?

There are rumours that the new bidder for Honda could be the Virgin Group, the venture capital firm that is headed by Sir Richard Branson. This specialises in travel, entertainment and lifestyle products. The company is estimated to be worth $8bn.

TWO BIDDERS FOR HONDA

It seems that the plans for a management buyout at Honda were almost completed when a new bidder arrived on the scene, which has thrown the whole process into some confusion.

ING OUT AT THE END OF THE YEAR

ING is to quit F1 at the end of the year. This will mean that Renault will need to find a new title sponsor.

14 FEBRUARY 2009

SAVING THE GERMAN GRAND PRIX

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Rhine-Neckar region of Germany, which represents the interests of more than 65.000 member companies, has written to its members urging them to buy tickets for the German Grand Prix in 2010, in order to save the race.

A SUMMARY OF TESTING

The F1 teams were busy last week with two tests sessions going on: one in Bahrain and the other at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. There were three teams in Bahrain and five in Jerez, leaving just Force India and Honda not testing, as neither currently has a car available.

13 FEBRUARY 2009

GETTING MOMENTUM BEHIND THE USF1 TEAM

There have been a lot of attempts in recent years to get an F1 team off the ground in the United States. None of them have been successful. It is, however, someting that F1 would like to see, and so people in power make encouraging remarks when such ideas pop up.

RENAULT LOSES ONE OF THE OLD GUARD

The French daily sports newspaper L'Equipe is reporting that Renault F1's chief engineer Denis Chevrier is to be dropped by the team. The stories can be trusted as Chevrier is married to L'Equipe F1 journalist Anne Giuntini.

12 FEBRUARY 2009

THE USF1 TEAM PLANS A LAUNCH

Peter Windsor says that the new USF1 team will be launched on Speed TV on February 24. The new team hopes that the announcement of the project will result in more backing arriving.

SENNA SIGNS FOR HONDA?

According to our sources Bruno Senna has now signed for the Honda Racing F1 team - and an announcement that the team will be going ahead will be made soon. The team is expected to use Mercedes-Benz engines and Senna will be partnered by Jenson Button.

MORE SAND STORMS IN BAHRAIN

The testing in Bahrain has turned into an expensive disaster for the Ferrari, Toyota and BMW Sauber teams with sandstorms making it impossible for the teams to achieve any running at all on Thursday.

11 FEBRUARY 2009

MOSLEY REPLIES TO THE DRIVERS

FIA President Max Mosley has written to the Grand Prix Drivers Association, responding to their press release of last week, which complained about the price of Formula 1 Super Licences.

NASCAR MEN EARNING AS WELL AS MOST F1 DRIVERS

Formula 1 drivers do not like to talk about their salaries - as FIA President Max Mosley discovered recently when he asked them to prove that they were suffering hardships because of his demand for higher licence fees.

AVOIDING BAD WEATHER

The Ferrari, Toyota and BMW Sauber teams went to Bahrain this week to try to avoid the bad weather that has been disrupting pre-season testing in Spain and Portugal in recent weeks.

BEATING UP DONINGTON PARK

The Formula 1 media seems to have it in for Donington Park, although it is really not clear why this would be. Silverstone has long been the home of the British Grand Prix and while people are used to going there, it is not THAT special a place. It is not as bad as some in F1 would have you believe, but nor is it a truly world class venue. It is just Silverstone. Part of life in modern F1.

10 FEBRUARY 2009

BERNIE AND THE GERMANS

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says that he will not be happy if the German Grand Prix follows France and drops off the F1 calendar in 2010. He is not the only one.

THREE DRIVERS HAVE APPLIED FOR SUPERLICENCES

Although the Grand Prix Drivers' Association is advising its members not to agree to the new Superlicence charges, the campaigning will be undermined somewhat by the suggestion that three drivers have already paid up and applied for their licences.

A DAY AT THE TEST TRACKS

At this time of year it is very dangerous to start prognosticating about which cars are fast and which are not. The drivers may already have an idea whether they have a car that is capable of doing well, but they have yet to run with the whole field and so no-one can really be sure.

CROFT AND THE BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Yorkshire's Croft racing circuit has been ordered to pay $1.2m after being found guilty of noise pollution. The ruling could result in the closure of the facility and could have knock-on effects on other racing circuits in Britain.

9 FEBRUARY 2009

RENAULT GETS FRENCH TAXPAYERS' MONEY

The French government has agreed to loan Renault and Peugeot $3.8bn apiece to help them through the credit crisis. The loan is being justified as a way of helping the two companies to finance the development of vehicles with zero or very low CO2 emissions.

THE NEW RED BULL RB5 IS UNVEILED

Red Bull Racing has unveiled its latest F1 challenger with the RB5 being shown to the world for the first time in Jerez. The car is the latest to be produced by Adrian Newey and his engineers at Milton Keynes and the team hopes that this will provide them with the chance to finally break into the big time in F1.

AND SO TO BAHRAIN

The Formula 1 testing restrictions were designed to keep costs down. The limited amount of available running means that every test has become vital, not least because there will be no testing once the season begins.

6 FEBRUARY 2009

THE THOUGHTS AND MOTIVATIONS OF PRESIDENT MAX

For much of the last year Max Mosley has stayed out of the limelight in Formula 1, after the bizarre sex scandal that threatened his position as FIA President in March last year. Mosley believes that the aim of that scandal was to remove him from office and says that he believes he knows who organised it.

DRIVERS MAKE UNWISE MOVE

The Formula 1 drivers has issued a statement trying to justify their claims that they are asked too much for their F1 superlicences. This is not a very smart move, given the economic hardships in the world and the vast salaries they are being paid. The drivers complain about the increases and that they were not consulted and say that the increases are "inherently unfair".

WHAT NOW FOR BRUNO SENNA?

With Scuderia Toro Rosso having announced a deal for Sebastien Bourdais and no word yet from the team formerly known as Honda Racing F1, the future of Bruno Senna remains undecided.

MCLAREN AND THE SCIENCE MUSEUM

The Science Museum in London is to open a new exhibition highlighting how F1 technology can be applied to other fields of research and innovation.

BOURDAIS STAYS WITH STR

As we predicted last week, Sebastien Bourdais will stay with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2009, partnering Sebastien Buemi. The announcement is entirely logical given that the team will benefit from Bourdais's experience and from a little technical stability.

5 FEBRUARY 2009

BRINGING DOWN THE F1 BUDGETS

The FIA says it is continuing with its efforts to bring down the budgets in Formula 1 to levels at which teams can survive with minimal sponsorship income. The aim is to reduce spending to around $65m a year.

4 FEBRUARY 2009

A CHALLENGING TIME AHEAD

The automobile industry has been waiting with some trepidation for the latest US car sales figures to see whether the trends in recent months are continuing, or whether there is some hope of a recovery. The news was not good.

THOUGHTS ON A US FORMULA 1 TEAM

The idea that there might be a US Formula 1 team is very attractive for the sport. The United States remains the world's biggest consumer market and the sponsors in F1 are keen to get a higher profile over there, something which F1 has consistently failed to do for them.

BAUGUR GOES INTO CHAPTER 11

Baugur, the heavily-indebted Icelandic company, that has been a major sponsor of the Williams team in recent years, has applied for court protection for its assets while it negotiates with creditors.

2 FEBRUARY 2009

BID FOR F1 PASSES!

Formula 1 fans are being given an unprecedented opportunity to experience a European Grand Prix of their choice from within the Formula 1 paddock as guests of one of the teams.

GASCOYNE AND FORCE INDIA GOING LEGAL

The relationship between Force India's top management last year was strained at best and it seems that Vijay Mallya is now going to have to pay for having not been able to find a way to keep his Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne happy.

FRENCH POLITICIANS QUIBBLE OVER FRENCH GP

The French Senate last week voted to fast-track the authorisation for construction of a new Formula 1 circuit at Flins, in the Seine Valley, to the west of Paris. The project, known as "Yvelines F1 - Automobile Valley" is part of a programme to relaunch the economy in the area, which has been badly affected in recent years by cutbacks in the automobile industry.

TESTING BAN TO BE MODIFIED?

The on-season testing ban agreement is about to be modified, according to test team personnel who attended the recent testing sessions in the Algarve.

1 FEBRUARY 2009

ECCLESTONE EYES PORTUGAL'S RETURN

Bernie Ecclestone is showing interest in getting the Portuguese Grand Prix back in the Formula One calendar, now that the country has a new, state-of-the-art circuit in Algarve.