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Red Bull confirm Coulthard and Webber line-up in 2007

Published by on Aug 8th, 2006, No Comments

Red Bull Racing has confirmed today that David Coulthard will continue to drive for the team in 2007 and that his team-mate will be Mark Webber.

Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner
I’m very pleased to be able to confirm our driver line up for next year. David has continued to lead the team well and demonstrate the form he showed during 2005. This season he achieved the team’s first podium in Monaco and has shown commitment, determination and motivation to deliver at the highest level in Formula One. It was therefore an easy decision from both sides to extend the relationship for 2007. He’s still one of the best drivers on the grid and we’re delighted to have him in the team.

Looking to Mark, we chose him for a number of straightforward reasons. One, he obviously has undoubted speed and ability, and two, he appears to have the determination and motivation needed to succeed. We’re entering an exciting new phase in the short history of Red Bull Racing and Mark was an obvious candidate for us. He’s got a good track record in F1 and we’re delighted to have secured his services for next year. We believe that together he and David will form a very solid partnership, which will give us one of the strongest driver line-ups in the field.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christian Klien for all his hard efforts for the team over the last two seasons. He will remain a Red Bull Racing driver until the end of the 2006 season, and we will continue to give him all the support that we can during that time.”

David Coulthard
I’m delighted to continue with Red Bull Racing for a third season.
I can feel that the team is really beginning to gel as a group. I’m looking forward to raising the performance of the team and the car and to see Red Bull Racing become a regular points scorer, in with a good shout for achieving podiums and wins.

Mark Webber
It’s fantastic to be joining Red Bull Racing. It’s clear that the team is very hungry for long- term success, it has a very talented group of personnel and there seems to be a real sense of team spirit and unity. I believe I’m joining the team at exactly the right time for success in the future.

After I left Jaguar Racing at the end of the 2004 season and discovered that Mr. Mateschitz was taking over the team, I said that I felt the team had been placed in very good hands and had an assured future. As a team, it seems to be very realistic and knows the challenge that lies ahead. I hope to bring good experience to the team and to assist it by being a fast and consistent driver and scoring as many points as possible.

I hope that with Red Bull Racing I can have my best F1 season to date and believe that we can be very, very strong together. I’m looking forward to some great times with David and the rest of the Red Bull Racing team.

Press release
Red Bull Racing

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Villeneuve out of F1

Published by on Aug 8th, 2006, No Comments

Jacques Villeneuve is officially out of a race seat after a joint agreement between himself and BMW for his contract to be cancelled, effective immediately.

Jacques Villeneuve

JV will hand his race seat over to Robert Kubica for the remainder of this season. The team has not yet officially announced its official line-up for 2007 onwards.

BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, said, “Jacques has performed well for us this year, scoring the Team’s first grand prix points in Malaysia, He has made a significant contribution to developing the newly formed BMW Sauber F1 Team and the performance of the car. However, after Jacques’ accident in the Hockenheim race the team decided to review its options for next year, including assessing Robert Kubica in a race environment. Our decision to look towards evaluating our driver line up has naturally impacted Jacques’ position for the remainder of this season. We fully understand that it is difficult for Jacques to maintain his natural level of commitment in circumstances of uncertainty. We respect his position and wish him well for the future.

Jacques made a statement as follows: “Last week, the Team informed us of its decision to review its options for next year, including assessing Robert Kubica in a race environment at Hungary without offering me any assurance about my race seat beyond Hungary. Therefore, the Team and I agreed to part ways with immediate effect. This is really disapointing as I was looking forward to working with BMW on longer terms – going into next season capitalizing on our common experiences. I will now have more time to concentrate on future projects. Finally, I would like to thank the Team, especially my engineers and the Team’s sponsors with whom I have had real pleasure working with in the last year.

Jacques is expected to comment on his future some time during the course of next week.

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Renault allowed to use 'mass dampers'!

Published by on Aug 1st, 2006, No Comments

After the FIA banned the use of ‘mass damper’ systems for the Hockenheim GP, Renault have been given a reprieve until the official hearing by the appeal court.

Renault's Mass Damper system

Even though Renault have been using this particular ‘mass damper’ system since August last year, it was suddenly decided by Charlie Whiting that they were against regulation, even though the race stewards thought otherwise.

In order to prevent possible penalties, Renault had the system removed before racing in Hockenheim last weekend. After the race, they announced that although removal of the system had no direct affect on pace, it did affect the tyres, causing major blistering, resulting in Alonso and Fisichella finishing 5th and 6th respectively and dropping the Drivers Championship points gap to only 11. The Constructors Championship points gap is only sitting at 10.

Renault are keen to reintroduce the system, in an effort to prevent Ferrari from taking any more points away from their lead but their continued use of the dampers is not entirely risk-free however as Whiting said that he could only ‘recommend‘ to the court, which is an independent body, against taking any action.

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Kimi still undecided…

Published by on Jul 28th, 2006, No Comments

Kimi Raikkonen has come out to say that he still hasn’t decided what the future holds for him.

Kimi Raikkonen

With rumours of pre-signed contracts with Ferrari, stories of movement to Renault and tales of sticking with McLaren, Kimi’s career seems to be up in the air and his decision will likely be the news event that the entire paddock is waiting to hear.

When I know exactly I will tell, but so far there is nothing to tell,” Raikkonen told reporters.

Everybody thinks that they know what I’m doing because one week I’m going to Ferrari, next week Renault and then staying here.

It’s funny to read in the newspapers what everybody comes up with but I’m in a good position.

Kimi added that his priorities are not just financial but also that he wants to race for a winning team.
This sheds a little light on the fact that he will likely move away from McLaren, due to the poor reliability of the car over the last 2 seasons.

Of course, I want to have a car that’s winning but it’s not just that,” he said.

There’s also many things which might not sound big for someone else but for me it makes a difference in the end.

Whatever my decision, hopefully it will be the right one.

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

FIA ban BMW's "twin towers" body

Published by on Jul 27th, 2006, No Comments

The FIA (Formula 1’s governing body) have banned those horrid eyesores that BMW used on their cars in Magny Cours during the last race.

BMW Twin Towers

Looking like two hideous monoliths, the aptly named “twin towers” were banned by the FIA after it was agreed that it contravened Article 2.3 of the Technical Regulations, which relates to features that could compromise safety.

It was decided that the monstrosities, aside from being visually painful to the viewers, also interfered with the vision of the driver, impeding his ability to view the entire track efficiently (especially during cornering).

A recent note to all teams, written by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting, warns that front bodywork may no longer be fitted higher than the top of the cockpit.

BMW are taking the ban in their stride, commenting that, “We respect the FIA’s decision to ban such elements,” but added that the FIA had been consulted even before the wings were even tested.

I, for one, am ecstatic with this particular development….

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Alonso's departure not the end of Renault

Published by on Jul 25th, 2006, No Comments

To the surprise of many people (including manager Briatore), Alonso announced that he would be leaving Renault for rivals McLaren. This immediately after winning his first World Championship with Renault.

Fernando Alonso

After much deliberation, Flavio has finally come out to say, “I think it is normal that he wanted to leave at some point, he needs a new challenge on a sporting level, to win with somebody else.”

“He is a young guy, he has grown up with us, it is time for him to leave home.”

For some time, rumours (including here on Carblog) have been going around that Alonso may stick with Renault next year. Fernando squashed that rumour yesterday with the statement that “…the French like their rumours…”

So the record has finally been set straight. Fernando will indeed be moving to McLaren as of next year.
But according to Flavio Briatore, this will not be the end of Renault.
“People talk about cycles of success and we will finish a phase when Fernando leaves Renault this year.”
“But no team revolves around one person and I think that without change, you can get trapped. We want to carry on winning next year, to show we can beat McLaren and Fernando.”

I think my favourite comment (and one that sums it up nicely) is the following:

“…at Renault, we have built a team with Fernando, not for him or around him. That team will continue, and we will try 100% to win with him until the final race – and then 100% to beat him after that.”

Possible McLaren 'B' Team for 2008

Published by on Jul 23rd, 2006, No Comments

Prodrive boss David Richards, who won the contest to become the 12th entry on the 2008 F1 grid, is currently in talks with McLaren to turn his F1 team into a parallel team for the factory outfit.

David Richards

Unlike other ‘B’ teams (like Toro Rosso), Prodrive will have access to the latest specification McLaren chassis and Mercedes engines. Although current regulations stipulate that all teams must develop their own independent chassis, the 2008 rule changes will allow for the sharing of a single chassis design between 2 or more teams.

Autosport reports Richards as saying, “One of the things I am trying to do with Prodrive F1 is bring in fresh ideas and fresh thinking.”

“We have an opportunity to do things in a new way, a much less labour-intensive way, and in a manner that we believe will shatter some of the entrenched beliefs about how a Formula 1 team has to be structured.”

Fabian E Schoonraad
Kheiron
Kheiron@carblog.co.za

Honda Break Formula 1 Land Speed Record

Published by on Jul 20th, 2006, No Comments

Honda have set a new land speed record for a Formula One car.

Honda F1

Driver Alan van der Merwe clocked an aggregate best of 355 kph (just over 250 mph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats on Monday. Now the team are hoping to go further and achieve their declared target of 400 kph by the end of the week.

Click to read more…

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