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F1 World Championship 2011 Thread

  

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enigma-penguin    17

A new "Flying lap is up" http://smibs.tv/the-flying-lap/booth-courtney-rinland it's an interesting one too, Jerome D'Ambrosio, John Booth and Timo Glock show up and talks about the current testing with the VR (that's kinda lolsie, they just kinda appear). Once again the show was fairly technical and about drivers experiences, I can see the show being rather good for heavily interested fans. If you haven't seen it before check out some previous shows, he's managed some decent guests over the past few weeks..

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+Frank B.    7,149

Barrichello on top as Jerez test ends

Rubens Barrichello took Williams to the top of the timesheets on the final day of this week's Jerez test, setting the fastest lap of the week with a 1m19.832s.

The Brazilian's best time came on the last of a series of eight-lap runs that he embarked on early in the day, as he got plenty of mileage following Williams's delays earlier in the test.

There was a 1.3-second drop-off immediately after his benchmark 1m19.8s, though his times only faded by 1.2s over the rest of the stint.

Barrichello later produced the longest stint of the test so far in the afternoon, completing 25 laps that started in high 1m26s for 16 laps before slipping away to low 1m29s by the end. The Williams caused one of several red flags by stopping on the backstraight during the final hours.

Second-placed Kamui Kobayashi was another to trigger a stoppage when he put his Sauber into the gravel in the morning. His 1m20.601s best was something of a one-off, as his short morning runs tended to be in the 1m22s region. The afternoon saw some consistent long stints from Kobayashi, presumably on the harder Pirellis as his times dropped off by less than a second after 15 laps.

Crowd favourite Fernando Alonso placed the Ferrari third. This time also came during a short morning run before he switched to long, heavy-fuel stints for the afternoon. He did three runs of between 16 and 20 laps, with a pace drop-off of around two seconds from start to finish.

Sebastien Buemi kept Toro Rosso near the front in fourth, as he also followed the pattern of morning sprints followed by an afternoon on heavier fuel.

He was just ahead of Renault reserve Bruno Senna, who was 1.5s off the pace in fifth on his first day in the car. The Brazilian was being given development mileage for experience rather than as an evaluation for Robert Kubica's vacant seat, which seems certain to go to Saturday pacesetter Nick Heidfeld.

Despite losing some time with a water leak, Lotus again set an attention-grabbing time with sixth for Heikki Kovalainen. He did mostly short stints in 1m21s and 1m22s, eventually beating his Saturday best by a tenth.

Nico Rosberg did not repeat team-mate Michael Schumacher's pace for Mercedes. He was seventh, having had a long delay in the pits as his car received a precautionary engine change after stopping on track in the morning.

The Red Bull RB7 continued on its path under the radar, with Sebastian Vettel setting just the eighth-fastest time today. But that time came early this morning and he spent the rest of the day doing long runs, seemingly with a lot of fuel in the car. His longest run was of 19 laps, holding steady in the 1m25s and 26s.

McLaren too showed no signs of chasing lap-times as Jenson Button worked mainly on long stints, lapping in the 1m25s for the vast majority of a 19-lap run this afternoon.

Virgin did not do much before Jerome D'Ambrosio stopped on track this morning. The team said it was going to replace an oil sensor but it turned out to be a four-hour delay with a more serious issue before the Belgian returned for a short outing late on.

Paul di Resta was at the foot of the times for Force India. The Scot went off at Dry Sack with just under half an hour remaining due to a front suspension problem that pitched him into the gravel.

While the car was being recovered, grey clouds rolled in and a light rain began.

By the time the track went green again, those that ventured back out - Buemi, Barrichello, Alonso and Rosberg - did so on intermediate tyres.

Buemi was consistently the quicker of the quartet, mostly in the 1m36s, but the session concluded before any meaningful wet running could be done or crossover data gathered.

Testing resumes for a further four days at Catalunya on Friday.

Pos  Driver              Car                   Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m19.832s            103
 2.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m20.601s  + 0.769s  86
 3.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m21.074s  + 1.242s  115
 4.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m21.213s  + 1.381s  90
 5.  Bruno Senna         Renault               1m21.400s  + 1.568s  68
 6.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m21.632s  + 1.800s  43
 7.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m22.103s  + 2.271s  45
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m22.222s  + 2.39 s  90
 9.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m22.278s  + 2.446s  70
10.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m22.985s  + 3.153s  45
11.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m23.111s  + 3.279s  99

All timing unofficial

Source: Autosport

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san.W10    6

Alonso: Passing just as hard in 2011

Fernando Alonso thinks overtaking in Formula 1 is going to be just as hard in 2011 as it was in previous seasons - despite the introduction of the moveable rear wing.

F1 teams have been experimenting with the new wing in early pre-season testing, although how much of a difference it will make to the spectacle is unlikely to be realised until the first race of the campaign in Bahrain.

As AUTOSPORT exclusively revealed earlier this month, drivers will only be able to use the wing in a 600-metre zone at the end of a track's main straight if they have got within one second of the car ahead of them at a set point on the track.

The FIA is open to lengthening or shortening the overtaking zone to ensure that that overtaking is possible, without it being too easy.

Alonso believes, however, that irrespective of the length of that overtaking zone, the competitiveness of cars at the front of the field is still not going to make things easy for drivers.

"If the car ahead of you runs only one tenth slower than you, then the moveable wing is not enough," Alonso told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It can be useful to overtake a car that is one or two seconds slower. Maybe the rule's objective is to favour an overtaking move when a race gets ruined by the impossibility of passing a much slower car, as happened to me with [Vitaly] Petrov in Abu Dhabi. Overtaking between front runners will be difficult in 2011 too."

Alonso's world championship chances last year were scuppered when he got stuck behind Petrov at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and could not find a way past.

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes that the 600-metre zone limit will make life hard for drivers ? although he thought it was right to approach the situation from a conservative starting point.

"I don't think it [the 600 metre distance] will be very effective," said Michael. "It has to be much longer than that.

"For it to be effective, you have to have it for the entire straight. But it depends what you want to do. If you want to have an overtaking move that is just impossible now, to just about possible, than that will do it. I don't think you'll ever get to the position where people just drive past; it's just not strong enough to do that."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89479

FIA conducts Indian GP circuit inspection

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Mr. Gibs    3,865

Ford suing Ferrari over F150 name[/size]

American car maker Ford is suing Ferrari for a trademark infringement over the use of the F150 name for its latest Formula 1 car.

According to Ford, Ferrari has used the name "in order to capitalise on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark".

Substantial goodwill lol wut? I didn't know making a car using ancient components and cheap parts was considered "goodwill"

And yeh I'm sure Ferrari designed the F-150 to capitalize on profits, because you know they plan to sell one of these to everyone on the streets :rolleyes:

Ford said its pick-up's logo (pictured, below) bears striking resemblance to that of Ferrari's car (pictured, above).

LOL yes, because there's just so many dam ways to make a logo saying F-150

The American car maker is seeking unspecified damages and wants Ferrari to be blocked from using the trademark in the US.

Well too bad there isn't formula 1 in the US then?

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+Frank B.    7,149

Heidfeld confirmed at Renault

The Renault team has confirmed that Nick Heidfeld will be Robert Kubica's replacement this season, starting from this week's test at Barcelona.

Heidfeld was expected to land the drive after impressing the outfit during his test at the Jerez circuit last week.

The 33-year-old will be working as an official Renault driver starting at this week's test at Barcelona, the German driving on Saturday and Monday.

"I would have liked to come back to Formula 1 in different circumstances, but I'm proud to have been given this chance," said Heidfeld. "Everything has happened so quickly, but I've been very impressed by what I have seen so far in terms of the facilities and the dedication of the people at Enstone.

"I really enjoyed the test last week in Jerez and I've already settled in well with the guys at the track. I have a good feeling for the car, which is quite innovative. I'm extremely motivated and can't wait for the season to begin."

Heidfeld will race alongside Russian Vitaly Petrov while Kubica recovers from his injuries following his accident during a rally.

"The team has been through a very difficult couple of weeks and we had to react quickly," said team boss Eric Boullier. "We gave Nick a chance in Jerez last week and he really impressed us. He's quick, experienced and is very strong technically with his feedback and understanding of the car.

"We always said the priority was to have an experienced driver in the car and we feel he is the ideal man for the job. We are pleased to welcome Nick to the team and look forward to a strong start to the season with him and Vitaly in Bahrain."

Source: Autosport

Thread poll modified accordingly.

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+Frank B.    7,149

Vettel tops opening day at Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel snatched the fastest time from Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of day one of the latest winter test at Barcelona's Catalunya circuit.

On what may have been the hardest-to-read session of the winter so far, it took until lunchtime for the track to fully dry following Thursday's heavy rain.

That meant the majority of drivers' fastest times were set during short exploratory runs late in the morning just as the circuit was at the tipping point of being ready for slick tyres, before teams switched to longer runs in the afternoon.

Alonso's 1m25.485s in the Ferrari during this period looked set to stand as the day's best, as the Spaniard switched to mid-range stints in the afternoon, covering between eight and 17 laps at a time, with a pace generally starting in 1m27s then fading to 1m29s by the end of his run.

Vettel completed relatively little running until the closing stages of the day, when he started a pair of short runs, lapping mostly in the 1m26s during the first outing before re-emerging from the pits to blast in a 1m24.374s with nine minutes to go.

That pace deposed Alonso by a full second, although it seemed Red Bull might have been using super soft tyres, as Vettel's times dropped off by 1-2s for the remainder of his seven-lap run.

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi again set good times during relatively short runs to put themselves third and fourth. Both also caused red flags during the day - the Sauber running dry during a fuel consumption evaluation, and Alguersuari going into the Turn 4 gravel.

McLaren had another fairly quiet day, with Jenson Button sitting out much of the afternoon and taking fifth.

Paul di Resta was not able to get the Force India on track until the final few hours, though when he did so he was able to swiftly move up to sixth despite only managing 24 laps all day.

There were more glitches at Williams, where Rubens Barrichello - the first to get good pace out of slicks in the morning - caused a red flag just before the lunch break and then was sidelined for nearly the whole afternoon while the team made a precautionary engine change. That left him seventh.

Eighth-placed Michael Schumacher spent his afternoon doing a race simulation in the Mercedes, covering a full grand prix distance broken up by quick pitstops. His pace tended to start in the 1m29s/1m30s region before going up by 2-3s over the course of his 13-15 lap stints.

His final total for the day was 89 laps, beaten only by Narain Karthikeyan in the 2010 Hispania (114 laps) and Jerome D'Ambrosio's Virgin (115). The latter pair were ninth and 11th, split by Lotus driver Heikki Kovalainen, who lost some track time with a water leak.

It was a difficult day for Renault. Its intention had been to let Vitaly Petrov have most of the session after Nick Heidfeld had completed some pitstop practice, but after the German's early appearance, Petrov had to wait until late afternoon before he could join in, as a KERS software glitch kept the car in the garage.

Pos  Driver              Car/team              Time       Gap        Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1m24.374s             37
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1m25.485s  + 1.111s   101
 3.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m25.638s  + 1.264s   57
 4.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1m25.641s  + 1.267s   78
 5.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m26.365s  + 1.991s   77
 6.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1m26.575s  + 2.201s   26
 7.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m26.912s  + 2.538s   52
 8.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1m27.512s  + 3.138s   90
 9.  Narain Karthikeyan  HRT-Cosworth          1m28.393s  + 4.019s   116
10.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m30.065s  + 5.691s   54
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1m30.950s  + 6.576s   116
12.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m35.174s  + 10.800s  20
13.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1m44.324s  + 19.950s  27

All timing unofficial

Source: Autosport

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+Frank B.    7,149

Vettel still quickest in Barcelona test

Sebastian Vettel was fastest again on day two of the Barcelona test, as Red Bull went for shorter runs for the first time and gave a hint of its potential.

The world champion went for a string of qualifying-style one and two-lap runs late in the morning, during which he quickly went to the top of the times, and then repeatedly improved his pace until he reached the 1m23.315s that stood as the day's best.

In a very productive day for Red Bull, the team also got through a large number of pitstop simulations, though its attempt to get through a race distance in the afternoon was interrupted by first a red flag, then a problem with Vettel's car that caused a long pause in the garage.

Toro Rosso's good form continued as Jaime Alguersuari took second place. After some short runs in the 1m24s/1m25s region in the morning and then a longer stint through the middle of the day, the Spaniard's best time came on the first lap of a three-lap stint late on. He ended up 0.2 seconds slower than Vettel.

Ferrari's so-far excellent reliability took a slight downturn today, with an electrical problem stranding Fernando Alonso on an out-lap this morning. That was quickly rectified, but further mechanical problems kept Alonso in the garage for a while in the middle of the day.

Once repaired, the Ferrari was fast again, doing some very respectable long runs and then jumping to third with a 1m23.978s in the final half hour.

Another man to improve in the closing stages was Williams's Rubens Barrichello. He produced a string of low-1m24s at the start of 10-lap runs, and with 116 trouble-free laps completed, this was the team's best day of the winter so far in reliability terms.

Renault split the day between Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov as the latter had lost a lot of running to KERS issues yesterday. Petrov was 11th after 61 laps this morning, while Heidfeld did just 41 laps but made a late move into fifth place.

Sauber started the day with long runs for Kamui Kobayashi, before a five-lap stint this afternoon saw him set the 1m24.243s that would give him sixth place.

Nico Rosberg was seventh. He also started the day with some lengthy stints, as Mercedes showed better consistency over a run than of late, though it still appeared slightly lacking in outright pace compared to its main rivals. His best time of the day was on a qualifying-style one-lap dash.

McLaren had a troubled start to the day as hydraulic problems kept Jenson Button off-track for most of the morning. He only managed 54 laps during the day as he took eighth.

Paul di Resta was competitive in the morning with Force India but lost some afternoon running after going off at Turn 1. He was ninth ahead of Lotus's Heikki Kovalainen, who lost a bit of time to a few mechanical issues during the day.

Lotus also gave Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira 26 laps as the Formula 2 graduate pushes for a test position. He was 8.3s off the pace and slowest.

Another new sight today was Tonio Liuzzi in the Hispania. He had 70 laps to get used to the car and was 3.7s off the pace in 12th, ahead of Timo Glock. Virgin spent the whole morning during systems and aero checks, before picking up pace this afternoon once new parts had arrived.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver       Team                  Time                 Laps
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1m23.315s             104
 2.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m23.519s   + 0.204   97
 3.  Alonso       Ferrari               1m23.978s   + 0.663   90
 4.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1m24.008s   + 0.693   118
 5.  Heidfeld     Renault               1m24.242s   + 0.927   41
 6.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1m24.243s   + 0.928   125
 7.  Rosberg      Mercedes              1m24.730s   + 1.415   131
 8.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1m24.923s   + 1.608   54
 9.  Di Resta     Force India-Mercedes  1m25.194s   + 1.879   80
10.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1m26.421s   + 3.106   58
11.  Petrov       Renault               1m26.884s   + 3.569   61
12.  Liuzzi       HRT-Coswrorth         1m27.044s   + 3.729   70
13.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       1m27.242s   + 3.927   66
14.  Teixeira     Lotus-Renault         1m31.584s   + 8.269   26

All Timing Unofficial

Source: Autosport

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+Frank B.    7,149

Rosberg tops Barcelona day three

Nico Rosberg put Mercedes on top with a rapid late lap in a Barcelona testing session that began wet before later drying.

A shower at the start of the morning and a combination of high humidity and low temperatures meant it was not until the eve of the lunchbreak that drivers were able to try slick tyres, and even then conditions remained treacherous, with lap times five seconds off yesterday's fully-dry pace even on slicks.

But by the afternoon only a few off-line damp patches remained, and Rosberg made the most of the clear running to go quickest with a 1m23.168s on a single-lap, qualifying-style, run with a quarter of an hour to go. He had earlier done a 15-lap stint mostly in the 1m29s/1m30s region.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov took second, 0.295 seconds slower than Rosberg. He had missed much of the wet early running, but a busy afternoon meant he still accumulated over 90 laps through the day. Like Rosberg, his best times came on some short one, two and three-lap runs in the closing stages.

McLaren suffered further reliability problems in the morning, forcing Lewis Hamilton to repeatedly abandon planned stints and return the garage after single laps.

Once the car was running, Hamilton was quick - setting some of the best slick-tyre times in the closing stages of the morning and then going third in the dry. His best laps were also from short qualifying-type bursts, with his pace nearer 1m29s, 1m30s when on longer runs, though this was clouded by the McLaren backing off to get aero data on occasion.

Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Sergio Perez (Sauber) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) all caused red flag stoppages by spinning in the wet - twice in Massa's case. While the Sauber and the Ferrari were soon cleaned and sent back out, Maldonado lost further time with an alternator problem, though he made up for it by taking fourth in the end - his 1m24.815s coming on the first tour of a five-lap run.

Mark Webber caused the final red flag, bringing the session to an end two minutes ahead of schedule as he stopped his Red Bull on the circuit. He was fifth in the order, his session-best 1m24.995s coming on his first lap out of the pits following a tyre change during an afternoon race simulation, and at the start of a 17-lap stint before his next stop.

Water leaks again hampered Lotus, but the car showed good pace as Jarno Trulli took sixth ahead of Perez and Force India's Adrian Sutil.

Toro Rosso running was shared between test driver Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastien Buemi. Ricciardo was a star of the morning, setting a very impressive pace on slicks during the changeover in conditions. He was only narrowly beaten by Hamilton as the lunchbreak began, leaving him 13th in the end-of-day times having not run in fully dry conditions. Buemi was ninth after his 31 laps.

Hispania also split its running between two drivers. Narain Karthikeyan was well up among the established teams in the mixed wet/drying conditions of late morning, though he was last in the order in the end having sat out the afternoon so that Giorgio Mondini - a former Midland test driver - could make a Formula 1 return.

The Swiss driver covered 39 laps and did a respectable job considering his long absence from the F1 cockpit. He was 5s off the outright pace and within 1.6s of Timo Glock's Virgin.

Pos  Driver              Team/car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m23.168s            92
 2.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m23.463s  + 0.295s  93
 3.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m23.858s  + 0.690s  93
 4.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m24.815s  + 1.647s  60
 5.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m24.995s  + 1.827s  139
 6.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m25.454s  + 2.286s  48
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m25.557s  + 2.389s  115
 8.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m25.720s  + 2.552s  102
 9.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m26.155s  + 2.987s  31
10.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m26.508s  + 3.340s  123
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m26.598s  + 3.430s  97
12.  Giorgio Mondini     Hispania-Cosworth     1m28.178s  + 5.010s  39
13.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.329s  + 5.161s  42
14.  Narain Karthikeyan  Hispania-Cosworth     1m30.722s  + 7.554s  32

All timing unofficial

Source: Autosport

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Subject Delta    108

I still believe McLaren are on course speed wise, however I seriously hope they're able to resolve these reliability issues.

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+Frank B.    7,149

Massa leads the way at Barcelona

Felipe Massa put Ferrari on top of the times on the final day of testing at the Barcelona circuit on Monday.

The Ferrari driver posted a best time of 1m22.625s to go over eight tenths of a second faster than Red Bull rival Mark Webber, second today.

Massa, who had another very productive day with 121 laps covered, posted his best time over a two-lap stint, the same as Webber.

Sebastien Buemi continued with Toro Rosso's impressive pre-season by posting the third quickest time of the day, set over a three-lap run.

Despite having a KERS problem that cut his running short in the morning, Nick Heidfeld ended as fourth fastest in the Renault, the German managing 95 laps in the end.

Lewis Hamilton finally got some decent running in the McLaren, finishing in fifth after 107 laps, ahead of Williams's Pastor Maldonado, who caused one of the red flags of the day when he stopped on track in the afternoon.

Michael Schumacher caused the final red flag of the day with some 20 minutes of the session left when his Mercedes stopped at Turn 10.

The German still enjoyed a productive session, covering over 100 laps, but he finish over four seconds off the pace.

Jerome D'Ambrosio posted the ninth quickest time with the Virgin, the Belgian losing a lot of track time following a problem in the morning.

D'Ambrosio stopped on track at around 11am with a car problem and was only able to return to action with some 90 minutes of the session left.

It was a very short day for the Lotus team, which was forced to end the test early after Jarno Trulli crashed his car in the morning. The team said the accident had been caused by an unspecified car problem and, not having enough parts to rebuild it, has to pack up early.

Before his crash, Trulli had managed just 18 laps on his way to the slowest time of the day.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team                   Time               Laps
 1.  Massa         Ferrari                1m22.625s           121
 2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault       1m23.442s  + 0.817   69
 3.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m23.550s  + 0.925   90
 4.  Heidfeld      Renault                1m23.657s  + 1.032   95
 5.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes       1m24.003s  + 1.378  107
 6.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth      1m24.057s  + 1.432  121
 7.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes   1m24.177s  + 1.552   64
 8.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari         1m24.515s  + 1.890   74
 9.  D'Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth        1m26.501s  + 3.876   50
10.  Schumacher    Mercedes               1m27.079s  + 4.454  114
11.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault          1m29.992s  + 7.367   18

All Timing Unofficial

Source: Autosport

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simonlang    530

i think its easy to say after these testing days that vettel should still be the favourite for the title but i have a certain feeling that felipe massa will be the surprise of the year, he is quoted to "i cant believe how perfectly the pirelli tires are suiting me."

if thats any indication, also schumacher and hamilton should be looking pretty strong if their car allows it. :cool:

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+Frank B.    7,149

Williams livery:

williams_fw33_02.jpg

As a comparison: The Rothmans livery used by Williams from 1994 - 1997:

villeneuve97williams2.JPG

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brentaal    404

i think its easy to say after these testing days that vettel should still be the favourite for the title

Based on what?

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simonlang    530

Based on what?

based on tons and tons of testing times, analysis written by quality newspapers and ontrack spectators.

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san.W10    6

Infiniti becomes major RBR backer

Japanese car maker Infiniti is to enter Formula 1 as a major sponsor of the Red Bull Racing team in 2011, although the move will not extend to a rebranding of the outfit's Renault engines.

Infiniti, which is the luxury car brand of long-term Renault partner Nissan, has embarked on the move to increase its brand awareness as part of a major push to raise sales worldwide.

The initial two-year deal, which will also act as a precursor to technical collaboration between the company and Red Bull Racing, will see Infiniti's name and logos feature on team clothing and prominent parts of the car - including the rear wing and nose.

Infiniti's presence will be alongside, and not instead of, the continued major presence of the Renault brand at the championship-winning team. The French car manufacturer remains the team's official engine supplier and its logos will continue to feature heavily on the car.

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said: "Red Bull has always taken a different approach, so when the Infiniti executives outlined their innovative plan to us we were very open to working with them. Coming off the back of our 2010 drivers' and constructors' world championships, we feel even more excited to be starting the 2011 season with a new and committed partner like Infiniti."

Andy Palmer, senior vice president of Infiniti, said: "Over the mid-term, Infiniti will be simultaneously expanding its global presence and broadening its product range. Given these twin ambitions, it is clear that F1 offers us an unrivalled global communications platform."

Horner believes that the arrival of Infiniti into F1 is great news for the sport - at a time when it is attracting fresh manufacturer interest following the arrival of Lotus, Lada and Marussia in the last two years.

"From a Red Bull perspective and from an F1 perspective, it is positive news that we have got Nissan and Infiniti coming into the sport - and picking the sport because of the exposure that it is generating globally," he told AUTOSPORT. "It is not only a fantastic news story for us, but as manufacturers have been leaving in their droves over the last few years, for a Japanese manufacturer to be coming back in is great news."

Infiniti's decision to enter F1 has also been welcomed by Renault, which believes the collaboration is a big boost to both car brands.

Bernard Rey, president of Renault Sport F1, said: "While Renault is rightfully very proud of our achievements within F1, we know the future is about collaboration.

"To have a talented and committed Alliance partner like Infiniti is very welcome as we set out on the current and future challenges in Formula 1.

"So it is with great pleasure that I would like to welcome Andy Palmer and his entire team in our F1 adventure, and I look forward to starting the 2011 season together as Alliance partners."

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/89675

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ahmz    28

Bernie Ecclestone is living in the clouds.

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+Frank B.    7,149

Pirelli backs artificial wet races

Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has backed Bernie Ecclestone's idea of introducing artificial wet races in a bid to increase excitement in the sport.

Ecclestone put forward his radical idea this week, suggesting that the suspense created by using sprinklers to wet a circuit mid-race would be a much better way of improving the show than having moveable rear wings.

"There are race tracks that you can make artificially wet and it would be easy to have such systems at a number of tracks," Ecclestone told the official F1 website.

"Why not let it 'rain' in the middle of a race? For 20 minutes or the last ten laps? Maybe with a two-minute warning ahead of it. Suspense would be guaranteed and it would be the same for all."

Ecclestone's idea may have divided opinions among fans, but tyre manufacturer Pirelli believes that such a move would be great for F1.

"I thought Bernie Ecclestone's comments were quite interesting," Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery told AUTOSPORT.

"Straight after our recent successful [wet-weather] Abu Dhabi test I saw him and said, 'why don't we do an artificial wet race?' The technology is such that you can wet a circuit with a sprinkler system, so the idea is not as daft as it sounds.

"Having seen what it was like in Abu Dhabi, certainly with a wet element it would look spectacular - and visibility shouldn't be a problem because there would be no clouds.

"From a tyre makers' point of view, there is no difficulty in making suitable tyres. We have seen great races in the past when you have had an extra variable like the weather, so why not?"

Although the introduction of artificial wet races could be viewed by some as too much of a gimmick for F1, Hembery believes that the sport should be looking at avenues where it can increase entertainment - and he thinks there are other gimmicks that have become accepted as the norm.

"At the end of the day you want people to watch what you are offering," he said. "F1 ultimately competes for entertainment space with other sports - so people need to see something that is interesting.

"From that point of view, an artificial wet race would add to the show - and you want something people will watch.

"A good example of a radical idea in the sport that have been accepted is the Singapore Grand Prix. You could argue that running at night under lights is a gimmick. But it has turned out to be one of the most spectacular races of the season. It is stunning.

"Couldn't you in fact argue that a street circuit itself is gimmicky? After all, you have created a circuit out of normal roads."

He added: "I would agree that something fake like throwing in safety cars frequently to close the field up if they got too spread out would be going too far, but in terms of throwing something of a new challenge, like an artificial wet race, at drivers, tacticians and engineers, it would be great."

Pirelli conducted several days of wet weather night running at Abu Dhabi earlier this year to simulate the kind of conditions they could encounter in the early-season Asian races.

The Italian tyre manufacturer soaked the circuit itself to simulate rainy conditions.

Source: Autosport

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HSoft    400

I would like to see Bernie's ideas implemented. The best races last year were the wet ones.

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MightyJordan    7,318

Hmm, as soon as I saw the title, I was thinking "WTF??? :blink: ", but after reading the article, I like the idea. :) The two minute warning goes off, MAD DASH TO THE PITS!!! :p

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