And it is about time of the season!
GO MASSA GO!!!
GO KIMI GO!!!
GO FERRARI GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
11 Days to the first Race of the season!
8 DAYS to the first Practise in Austrailia!
Jean Todt leaves Ferrari!!!
Former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt has resigned from the Ferrari board of directors and from the various positions he still held with the Italian firm. Todt was a key figure in Ferrari’s recent Formula One success, winning championships with Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.
Announcing the news on Tuesday, Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo paid tribute to the contribution made by Frenchman Todt since he joined the company in 1993.
"Jean Todt has been one of the leading protagonists of the Ferrari story of the last 15 years," declared Montezemolo. "Skill and passion have always characterised his work and have won him my persona respect and affection, the one of the Company as a whole and of the Prancing Horse enthusiasts everywhere.
“I would like to wish him the very best for the future which I hope will prove extremely satisfying both personally and professionally. All of these years we've spent together - victories and tough times included - have forged a link between Jean Todt and Ferrari that will never be broken."
The Ross Brawn saga - is the best yet to come?
The FIA finally made it official on Tuesday. A team bearing the name of Ross Brawn will contest the world championship in 2009. It marks the start of another intriguing chapter in what has been an extraordinary Formula One career - a career which, based on his team’s performance to date, may not have yet reached its peak.
Although it’s the kind of praise usually reserved for drivers, it would be difficult to imagine Formula One racing without Ross Brawn. From Williams to Arrows, Benetton, Ferrari and Honda, and from aerodynamicist to technical director and team principal, Brawn has been an (almost) constant fixture in the paddock since the late seventies.
Brawn’s career began with a lengthy apprenticeship at the British Atomic Energy Research Establishment, after which he gave in to the racing bug and moved to March Engineering in 1976. Employed as a machinist, he was promptly promoted to a mechanic role for the March Formula Three team, before he moved to the newly-formed Williams team in 1978.
Quickly working his way up through the ranks, Brawn gleaned invaluable experience as both a technician and aerodynamicist and ended up as the team’s head of research and development. He quit in 1984 for a brief spell with Carl Haas's FORCE/Beatrice squad before becoming Arrows’ technical director late in 1986.
The team went on to finish fifth in the 1988 world championship, before Brawn broadened his experience with a highly-successful stint in Jaguar’s sports car division. The lure of Formula One racing, however, lingered and Brawn returned to the paddock late in 1991 as Benetton’s technical director, a post he would keep for the next six years.
The move to Benetton would also mark the starting point for one of the most successful partnerships in F1 history, as he joined forces with Michael Schumacher (then just starting out on his Formula One career) and Benetton’s chief designer Rory Byrne. Together, the trio won back-to-back drivers’ championships in 1994 and 1995, and the all-important constructors’ title in 1995.
A year later Schumacher headed to pastures new at Ferrari, and Brawn and Byrne soon followed. It was a brave move for all three - the team hadn’t won a drivers’ championship since 1979 and had finished the ’95 season third, 64 points adrift of Benetton. This did little to dent the three men’s belief that they could breathe new life into the Italian sleeping giant and return it to its winning ways.
Their confidence was swiftly justified. The number of Ferrari victories steadily increased in ’97 and ’98 and in both seasons the team finished second in the standings. The rest is history. Ferrari dominated Formula One racing for the next six years. They took successive constructors’ titles from 1999 to 2004, with Schumacher commencing a run of five consecutive drivers’ crowns in 2000.
But at the end of the 2006 season Schumacher decided to hang up his F1 overalls for good. And soon after, Brawn announced that he too was to exit the sport to spend more time with his family. However after a year of relaxation (and fishing), he was ready for a new challenge and signed up for his first team principal role, with Honda, for the 2008 season.
Honda had endured a troubled ’07 season, beset by aerodynamic and reliability problems, finishing the year with just six points. Faced with such a challenge, Brawn, who said the decision to join the Japanese team had been an easy one, was in his element. Nobody doubted than if any man could resurrect Honda it was Brawn, though it was already too late for his technical expertise to have much influence on the squad’s 2008 car. Performance did improve marginally - 14 points rather than six - but they still slipped to ninth in the standings.
Early on in 2008, however, Brawn had already set his sights on 2009 and a car - the team’s first designed completely on the Englishman’s watch - able to capitalise on the forthcoming radical regulation changes. But by then the economic climate was deteriorating, and in November came a bitter blow for the Brackley factory - Honda announced they were to withdraw from Formula One racing with immediate effect.
A winter of rumour and speculation followed concerning the team’s future. That speculation finally ended with confirmation earlier this month of a Brawn-led management buy-out. And with a new Mercedes engine agreement in place the BGP 001 hit the track soon after, with drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello setting some stunning times in the new team’s first two test sessions.
Those times were quick enough for rivals to predict that Brawn GP will be serious contenders in 2009, at least in the opening races. It seems Ross Brawn could yet do for Honda what he previously did for Ferrari, only this time with his own name on the cars. It would be fitting testimony to a man who has dedicated so much of his life to the sport and who has already played an instrumental in some of its defining moments.
Ross Brawn, he is a force to be reckoned with. I am very impressed with the performance of the new car.
New rules absurd and dangerous, says Ferrari boss
ROME: Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has branded Formula One's new scoring system as "absurd" and "dangerous" ahead of next weekend's season opener in Australia.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has made a number of sweeping changes this season including guaranteeing the winner of the most races the title, rather than deciding the championship on a straight points basis.
"I find it really absurd, serious and dangerous that one week before the start of the season we have created a situation of this nature which is very negative for our credibility, the teams, the constructors, the supporters, the journalists and the sponsors," said Montezemolo on Thursday.
"I would like this climate to become more responsible, the teams have already reduced their costs by 50 per cent.
"It's important to create a more serene climate and to avoid continuously changing the rules, things that provoke trouble and worries for those doing the work."
If the new scoring system had been in place last season Ferrari's Felipe Massa would have been crowned world champion instead of Britain's Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton and former seven-time world champion Michael Shumacher have both spoken out against the changes to the points system. - AFP/de
Winning names for Singapore F1 Marina Bay Circuit
SINGAPORE: The names "Sheares", "Memorial" and "Singapore Sling" will be on the tip of Formula 1 fans' tongues in Singapore and around the world come September, at the second Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix.
Turn 1 of the Marina Bay street circuit after the start-finish straight has been named Sheares, after the Benjamin Sheares Bridge which runs over it.
Turn 7, the scene of many a thrilling overtaking manoeuvre near the War Memorial, will now be known as Memorial.
And the tricky 10th corner has been christened Singapore Sling.
The response to the 'It's Your Turn' at the Singapore Grand Prix contest, a joint effort by race organisers Singapore GP and TODAY, was overwhelming. Readers and Formula 1 fans from around the globe were invited to submit their suggested names, and we saw entries coming in from as far away as Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Canada.
Only those who adhered to the rules and conditions made the final round of judging, with contestants' reasons for the names they suggested taken into account. The panel of six judges met on Wednesday to pick the three best names to christen Turns 1, 7 and 10 and had to sift through a pool of 1,440 entries.
After a blind vote, the three winners came from Singapore. The top prize of two grandstand tickets, a pit lane walk and a two-night stay at a trackside hotel during the Formula 1 2009 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix from September 25 to 27 went to wedding card designer Arthur Lim.
Lim's suggestion for Turn 1, a nod to Singapore's second President Benjamin Sheares, the bridge named after him, and the fact that the name hints of "speed and smoothness", won the judges over.
Memorial, suggested by Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturer Chan Kwan Yew, proved a winning entry because of its simplicity, ease of pronunciation and its ties to the past. "It is a significant site, honouring the victims of the Second World War," Chan noted of the corner near the War Memorial.
The most talked about and challenging corner of the Marina Bay circuit last September was Turn 10. Fittingly, the judges spent the most time deliberating that turn.
Most entries zeroed in on the fact that the old Parliament House and the former Supreme Court overlook the tricky chicane, with Judgment Day, Justice Trap, Supremo and the Court among the better suggestions. But the judges considered the difficulty of negotiating the first of three twists and decided on Singapore Sling, submitted by Foo Say Boon.
Simon Rock, managing director of Performance Motors and one of the judges, said the first two turns were Singapore-centric and offered an opportunity to tell the world something about the country.
"Singapore Sling, on the other hand, is known internationally and fans everywhere can relate to it instantly," explained the Briton.
"It says more about the turn. Drivers have to be careful here, but it can serve as a slingshot if they tackle it well."
Rock's fellow judge Colin Syn, deputy chairman of Singapore GP, said he was impressed by the quality and creativity of the entries. He said: "Throughout the intensely engaging judging process, the panel deliberated for over three hours to arrive at an acceptable shortlist.
"Getting to the eventual winners was a tough task, but in the end, the panel was in accord on the final winners."
The other judges on the panel were TODAY Sports Editor Leonard Thomas, Singapore Motor Sports Association president Tan Teng Lip, STPB F1 project director Leong Yue Kheong and former racer Lee Chiu San.
How will it sound on TV?
When contacted on Wednesday, Lim could not contain his excitement when he learnt he had won the top prize. He told TODAY he had rehearsed in front of his wife several times before submitting his entry for Turn 1.
"I wanted to make sure it would come off nicely from the tongue of a TV commentator and that it will be easy on the ear," said the 37-year-old father of two.
"Sheares is also an historic name because it is the name of our second President, but it can easily be used to describe cars cutting through the turns."
Chan and Foo, the other two winners, each won a pair of grandstand tickets and a pit lane walk for the Singapore Grand Prix. All winners will be contacted by Singapore GP on how to collect their prizes. - TODAY
Singapore GP to offer early bird ticket packages
SINGAPORE: In a bid to woo Formula 1 fans despite the current economic downturn, organisers Singapore GP is launching early bird ticket packages at a discount.
Tickets for this year's SingTel Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix (GP) race, which will be held from September 25 to 27, will be released in two phases.
The first phase will be on April 9 and will include all sections except the Bay Grandstand and walkabout tickets, and discounts here will be as much as 14 per cent.
The next phase, with discounts up to 17 per cent, will be released on April 20 for the Bay Grandstand and walkabout tickets.
In total, 72,000 tickets will be released to the public and more will be added if there is demand, but only 50 per cent of the grandstand and walkabout tickets will be allocated for the early bird packages and will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The lowest-priced ticket for early birds is for the Friday walkabout at S$28, while a Pit Grandstand seat tips the scales at S$1,288.
There were no discounts at last year's inaugural race and the cheapest price was S$38 for a Friday walkabout, while the Pit Grandstand ticket fetched S$1,388.
There are 12 categories of tickets compared to last year's 13, and eight of them will see an increase of between S$10 and S$200 if purchased without the early bird discounts.
Explaining the increase, Singapore GP executive director Michael Roche said: "When planning for the ticket launch last year, there was a degree of assumption when we were laying out the circuit park.
"However, with the data and knowledge that we now have on hand, this gives us a better understanding of the best race views and the experience offered at each grandstand and the entertainment in the vicinity to price the individual categories fairly."
The biggest price increase is for tickets at the Connaught Grandstand, opposite the Esplanade, which is now being sold for S$898, compared to S$698 last year. The old price has been incorporated into the early bird package.
Roche said the early bird prices will be an incentive for fans to pick up cheaper tickets in six categories.
"It seems only right to reward those fans who make their commitment early, with the best seats at the best price," he said.
"We will be adding value to this year's event by making improvements in basic amenities, providing more variety in the food and beverage offerings, as well as implementing an enhanced entertainment programme."
Visit www.singaporegp.sg for more details.