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Monday, October 1, 2007

Hamilton reigns supreme in rain-swept Fuji thriller

Championship lead grows to 12 points as Alonso crashes out

It started as possibly the worst race of the season, in treacherous wet conditions, but ended as arguably the best - so long as you were Lewis Hamilton, that is, or a fan of motor racing. For behind the Englishman, who took his fourth win of the season in brilliant style, Heikki Kovalainen held off Kimi Raikkonen by a whisker for second place as they duelled wheel to wheel.

And further back Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa rubbed wheels, pushed each wide and passed and repassed in a spirited sprint to the line for sixth reminiscent of Dijon 1979 and the battle between Gilles Villeneuve and Rene Arnoux. Massa got the verdict by a hair.

If you were Fernando Alonso, however, it was a day of disaster. Blown off by Hamilton, he slipped way back after his first pit stop, had several off-course excursions, collided with Toro Rosso’s Sebastian Vettel at one stage, and then did the job properly by crashing heavily in Turn Six.

Hamilton thus leads the title chase with 107 points to Alonso’s static 95, while Raikkonen is now up to 90 points. Massa, on 80, is now officially out of the title chase with two races remaining.

This was a strange one, for sure, running under the safety car for the first 19 laps as the heavy rain refused to abate. But after that slow start it erupted into a humdinger. Both Ferraris had to make early stops after starting on standard wet tyres against official rulings that everyone should go to the line on extreme wets. Jean Todt claimed they weren’t informed, but everyone else knew.

Thus it was fast-starting Sebastian Vettel who chased the McLarens initially, with Mark Webber’s Red Bull right behind his Toro Rosso. Both the German and the Australian (laps 29 to 31 and 32 to 35 respectively) had turns leading the race after the initial pit stops, but after Alonso’s crash on lap 41 the safety car came out again and Vettel ran into the back of Webber and took them both out.

That left the way open for Kovalainen to push up to second in Hamilton’s wake, and to drive the race of his life to keep the spirited Raikkonen at bay. Behind them, David Coulthard took a strong fourth for Red Bull, having kept Raikkonen at bay for many laps. In the second Renault Giancarlo Fisichella drove unobtrusively to fifth, ahead of the scrapping Massa and Kubica, who both benefited when Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber stopped right at the end.

That retirement also opened the door for Tonio Liuzzi to score Toro Rosso’s first point of 2007. The Italian started from the pit lane in the spare car after his dry settings gamble in qualifying backfired spectacularly, exploited the team’s solid strategy, and, as a key, made up no fewer than four places as the race restarted after the second safety car period. He had a couple of offs trying to pass Spyker’s Adrian Sutil, but finally made it stick after a worthy drive.

Sutil was ninth after a decent run, while Rubens Barrichello inherited tenth from Honda team mate Jenson Button, whose car stopped on the final lap after the Briton had pitted early on to replace a nosecone damaged in a brush with Heidfeld at the start. The final finishes were Sakon Yamamoto in the second Spyker, and Jarno Trulli for Toyota.

The other retirements were Williams’ Alex Wurz who spun in Turn One and got clobbered by Massa, the Super Aguris of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson, and Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota.

Now everyone heads immediately to Shanghai for the penultimate race, and more than ever it seems that the title will be heading Hamilton’s way.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hamilton steals pole from Alonso in Japan

Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix in a rain-hit Fuji qualifying session on Saturday.

The championship leader punched the air in delight after denying Fernando Alonso with a thrilling final lap and took pole for the fourth time of his stellar rookie season.

Hamilton, who leads his McLaren team-mate by two points with three races left, bagged top spot right at the end of the session by just 0.070 seconds, as he defied the greasy conditions with a time of one minute 25.368 seconds.

Rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa will line up on the second row of the grid.

Hamilton, 22, said: "I'm feeling relaxed and with the way this weekend has gone, I am even more relaxed.

"I know I have got two guys breathing down my neck, but I am not bothered. But it is going to be a very close, tough race and the key will be getting to the first corner first.

"I knew it was my last chance at pole and I was delighted when I got it. That's why I punched the air.

"We have not had much practice in the wet conditions and it was difficult. But it was good fun out there and I am sure if the conditions are changing during the race it will be exciting."

Double world champion Alonso said: "It would have been better to be on pole, but I am on the front row, which is important. It is very close between the top four drivers."

Raikkonen, 13 points behind Hamilton and needing to win Sunday's race to keep his title hopes alive, finished just a tenth of a second back.

The Finn said: "I had a small problem with the gearbox but hopefully that will be fixed for tomorrow. It was a sensor problem which cost us some time.

"But the car felt pretty OK in the last session and I was happy. I think I am in a good position for the race."

Germany's Nick Heidfeld was fifth fastest for BMW, just ahead of his countryman Nico Rosberg, driving for Williams, who will start 10 places further back after suffering a penalty for changing his race engine earlier in the weekend.

It looked for a time that Hamilton would fail to qualify from the first timed session as he got caught behind two slower cars, but he eventually made it through with just 17 seconds to spare.

Britain's Jenson Button, who gave the home crowd something to cheer about after finishing seventh fastest for Japanese giants Honda, will now start sixth after Rosberg's penalty.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Formula One: Belgium Grand Prix Review

Kim Räikkönen became a three-time winner at Spa leading Ferrari to a one-two victory as McLaren were thrashed into a distant third and fourth on Sunday.
The 18 championship points also secured Ferrari the Constructors’ Championship following McLaren’s disqualification in the manufacturers title race.
It was a dominant performance by Ferrari, who had the measure of the beleaguered McLaren team for the entire race and never once looked to be under any threat.
Räikkönen confessed Spa was definitely his favourite circuits on the F1 calendar.
“For sure it’s my favourite circuit, it was even before I came into Formula One, so it’s nothing to do with if I win or lose here. I just like it here, but I think that’s the reason that I have won here. It’s just a good circuit,” he told reporters in the post race press briefing.
Runner-up Felipe Massa, who set the fastest lap, said he was delighted for Ferrari. "It was a good race. I am very happy for the team as we really wanted this one-two! Now, the situation in the championship is a bit better and we will continue to fight to the end, believe it!"
Jean Todt was impressed with the team’s performance and with the numbers. "Seventh win, the fourth with Kimi and the third one-two of the year. These are the numbers after a fantastic weekend and they come courtesy of all the work of a great team, which is working as one, united and motivated, while the drivers also did a great job,” he stressed.
“There are three races to go and we will tackle them in the same spirit with the same approach as always, which means to say, with determination, passion and team spirit."
Third placed Fernando Alonso conceded Ferrari were simply too quick for them this time.
“I think they were too quick for us. I tried quite hard in the first stint to keep pace with Felipe, just hoping around the pit stop time to make up a position but slowly they were disappearing and after the first stop, for sure, we didn’t see them anymore,” he said.
“We lack a little bit of pace in the race. We were quite OK in qualifying but for sure in the race we were off the pace by a couple of tenths.”
Ferrari were so dominant in a two-horse race that uncharacteristically the Belgium Grand Prix proved to be a rather staid affair with the only true drama coming in the opening lap when Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth, ran side-by-side through turns three and four, eventually Hamilton was forced wide and conceded the place to his team-mate.
The championship leader was incensed by Alonso’s tactics saying: "For someone that's always complaining about people doing unfair manoeuvres, and wanting to be fair, and someone I look up to...he has gone and swiped me and pushed me as wide as he could. I was just really lucky there was a run-off area so I could take that."
BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld consolidated his position as the best of the rest with another fifth place finish whilst Williams’ Nico Rosberg secured his second consecutive sixth place.
Mark Webber grabbed his first points since the European Grand Prix with seventh whilst Heikki Kovalainen took the last of the points in eighth for Renault.
Further down the finishing table the only driver to stand out by some margin was a vastly improved Adrian Sutil and the B-spec Spyker car, who, for much of the race was running in 12th place until his second stop.
Team principal Colin Kolles was delighted with his team’s performance saying:
”I am very pleased to see that we are now making real progress and are able to compete with the cars around us. Adrian had an excellent race to 14th position. I think we can now look forward to the last three races of the year.”
Not so happy were Fisichella, who ran wide damaging his suspension on the opening lap, Sebastian Vettel who had a steering problem, David Coulthard and Jenson Button who both retired with a hydraulics failure and finally Alex Wurz, who once again had a miserable weekend spinning in the opening few laps before eventually suffering a fuel pressure failure.
Kimi Räikkönen’s victory closes the gap to Hamilton to 13 points, whilst Alonso has taken yet another point of his team-mate to lag just two points with three races remaining.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fernando Alonso wins The Italian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, the reigning world champion, wins again at the Italian Grand Prix. He won it quite comfortably leading from start to the finish. The second place went to Lewis Hamilton, who had to work hard to fight off Kimmi Raikonnen of Ferrari who came third.Fernando Alonso had been fluent all weekend and today was no exception. No one troubled him except for Lewis Hamilton in the very first corner and for a next few laps. Lewis actually had a very bad start and almost gave away the place to Filipe Massa, but Lewis wasn't giving up and with extra late breaking almost even caught Alonso off guard, but there was a small contact and Lewis went flying staright missing the chicane.
Safety car was brought in after David Coulthard went staright to the tire walls, with front wing problem. The laps under safety cars became crucial later as this allowed many drivers even Kimmi Raikkonen for a one stop stragedy. Filipe Massa was the next casualty, he didn't have any accidents but retired with suspension failure.
The one stop stragedy nearly paid off for Raikonnen. He came ahead of Lewis Hamilton after Lewis's second pit stop. But Lewis wasn't going to make that happen and with Raikonnen struggling with the car and his own heath(neck problem after the horrendous accident during practice), Lewis overtook the struggling Ferrari in the circuit's first corner, and with a move only he could manage.
Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica took fourth and fifth places for BMW Sauber, the German driving his customary impeccable race, the Pole driving a stormer to recover from a fudged first pit stop, when his car appeared to fall from its jacks. He passed another race hero, Nico Rosberg, for fifth place on the 46th lap. The young German drove superbly in an initial fight with Jenson Button, who scored the final point for Honda in the wake of Heikki Kovalainen, who flew for Renault. The Briton was also in feisty form with a halfway decent car beneath him, but could not hold the Williams at bay.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Honda’s Rubens Barrichello duelled throughout, chased to the line by Jarno Trulli who lost many places on the opening lap in his Toyota. A dismal day left Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella lapped in 12th place ahead of Williams’ Alex Wurz, Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson and Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher. Super Aguri’s Takuma Sato recovered from troubles on the opening lap for 16th, to head home the Toro Rossos of Tonio Liuzzi and Sebastian Vettel, and the Spykers of Adrian Sutil and Sakon Yamamoto.
In the driver title stakes, Alonso is now only three points behind Hamilton, with four races left. In the constructors’ championship, McLaren extended their advantage over Ferrari to 23 points.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Turkish Delight

Ferrari's Felipe Massa won his second consecutive Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday, beating teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Two-time defending Formula One champion Fernando Alonso of McLaren was third.

Overall leader Lewis Hamilton of McLaren had been in third place but dropped to fifth after shredding a tire on the 43rd lap. Nick Heidfeld was fourth.

At the end of the 58-lap race, Massa was 2.2 seconds ahead of Raikkonen, with Alonso 26 seconds back. Hamilton was 45 seconds behind Massa.

With five races left, Alonso gained on his teammate after being as low as sixth in the early stages of the race.

In the overall standings, Hamilton's lead was cut to five points over Alonso, 84-79. Massa is third with 69 points and Raikkonen is next with 68.

The Ferraris and McLarens continue to divide the races. In the 12 races so far, Alonso, Hamilton Massa and Raikkonen have won three each.

Massa made a reversal after his last race. He finished 13th in the Hungarian GP on Aug. 5 after a disappointing qualifying run that made him start from the back of the grid.

"Three Grands Prix here, two wins. Can't be better," Massa said. "Starting from pole, good car, difficult race. I managed to keep my concentration."

At the start Sunday, the two Ferrari drivers went to the top positions with Hamilton third. Alonso was beaten to the first turn by the two BMW-Sauber drivers and was sixth after the first lap. After five laps, he was more than seven seconds from first and, more important, almost five behind Hamilton.

"If someone told me on lap two you would be on the podium ... I would be very happy," Alonso said. "At the end, the final result is the best thing of the weekend."

Alonso was penalized five spots on the starting grid for the Hungarian GP after delaying his teammate in the pits in the final minutes of qualifying, although Hamilton refused to let Alonso pass him earlier, contrary to McLaren team orders. Hamilton won and Alonso was fourth.

At 10 laps Sunday it was still the two Ferraris ahead of Hamilton, with Alonso about 10 seconds back. Alonso was able to move into fourth past Heidfeld and Robert Kubica at the first pit stop, but he was still losing time.

Raikkonen closed to within a second.

"I made a small, small mistake and Kimi closed the gap," Massa said. "Just a small mistake made my life difficult."

Raikkonen said the result was predictable after Saturday when Massa was first, two places ahead of the Finnish driver.

"In Formula One these days the race is pretty much decided after qualifying," Raikkonen said.

Things changed on the 43rd lap when Hamilton was flapping rubber from his shredded front tire while in third place. Hamilton managed to make it to the pits to change the tire but Alonso moved into third and Heidfeld was fourth.

"I saw some bits fly off the tire," Hamilton said. "It was lucky I didn't put the car in the gravel and managed to control it back to the pits as this meant that in the end I only lost two places."

Hamilton said the tire cost him a place on the podium.

"I was pushing obviously. Without a doubt we would have finished third. I still had six laps more fuel than the Ferraris. I was hoping in those six laps I could get Kimi," Hamilton said.

"Then the tire went."

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen was sixth, followed by Nico Rosberg of Williams and Kubica.

The next race is the Italian Grand Prix on Sept. 9, followed by the Belgian Grand Prix a week later.

2007 Turkish Grand Prix Results

Driver Team
Time/Retired Grid Pts
Felipe Massa Ferrari
1:26:42.161 1 10
Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari
+2.2 secs 3 8
Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes
+26.1 secs 4 6
Nick Heidfeld BMW
+39.6 secs 6 5
Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
+45.0 secs 2 4
Heikki Kovalainen Renault
+46.1 secs 7 3
Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota
+55.7 secs 8 2
Robert Kubica BMW
+56.7 secs 5 1
Giancarlo Fisichella Renault
+59.4 secs 10
David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault
+71.0 secs 13
Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota
+79.6 secs 14
Ralf Schumacher Toyota
+1 Lap 16
Jenson Button Honda
+1 Lap 21
Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda
+1 Lap 11
Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari
+1 Lap 15
Jarno Trulli Toyota
+1 Lap 9
Rubens Barrichello Honda
+1 Lap 22
Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda
+1 Lap 17
Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari
+1 Lap 18
Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari
+2 Laps 20
Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari
Fuel pressure 19
Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
Hydraulics 12

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Driver's Standings

Pos Driver Nationality Team Points
1 Lewis Hamilton British McLaren-Mercedes 84
2 Fernando Alonso Spanish McLaren-Mercedes 79
3 Felipe Massa Brazilian Ferrari 69
4 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish Ferrari 68
5 Nick Heidfeld German BMW 47
6 Robert Kubica Polish BMW 29
7 Heikki Kovalainen Finnish Renault 19
8 Giancarlo Fisichella Italian Renault 17
9 Alexander Wurz Austrian Williams-Toyota 13
10 Nico Rosberg German Williams-Toyota 9
11 Mark Webber Australian Red Bull-Renault 8
11= David Coulthard British Red Bull-Renault 8
13 Jarno Trulli Italian Toyota 7
14 Ralf Schumacher German Toyota 5
15 Takuma Sato Japanese Super Aguri-Honda 4
16 Jenson Button British Honda 1
16= Sebastian Vettel German STR-Ferrari 1
18 Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Honda 0
18= Scott Speed USA STR-Ferrari 0
18= Anthony Davidson British Super Aguri-Honda 0
18= Adrian Sutil German Spyker-Ferrari 0
18= Christijan Albers Dutch Spyker-Ferrari 0
18= Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian STR-Ferrari 0
18= Markus Winkelhock German Spyker-Ferrari 0
18= Sakon Yamamoto Japanese Spyker-Ferrari 0

Teams Standings
Pos Team Points
1 McLaren-Mercedes 148
2 Ferrari 137
3 BMW 77
4 Renault 36
5 Williams-Toyota 22
6 Red Bull-Renault 16
7 Toyota 12
8 Super Aguri-Honda 4
9 Honda 1
10 STR-Ferrari 0
10= Spyker-Ferrari 0

Saturday, August 25, 2007

2007 FORMULA 1™ Petrol Ofisi Turkish Grand Prix

Ferrari's Felipe Massa loves Istanbul Park. After taking his first pole and his first win here last year, he grabbed pole again on Saturday afternoon by a hair from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, and their respective team mates were third and fourth.

After the switch to medium tyres and minimal fuel loads, it was Hamilton who set the final pace with 1m 27.373s, but just as McLaren were celebrating, Massa came barrelling out of the last turn to depose him with 1m 27.329s.

Pos No Driver Team

Q3 Laps
1 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari

1:27.329 18
2 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes

1:27.373 17
3 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari

1:27.546 18
4 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes

1:27.574 17
5 10 Robert Kubica BMW

1:27.722 17
6 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW

1:28.037 17
7 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault

1:28.491 24
8 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota

1:28.501 20
9 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota

1:28.740 24
10 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault

1:29.322 24
11 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda

12 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault

13 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault

14 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda

15 7 Jenson Button Honda

16 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota

17 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari

18 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota

19 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda

20 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari

21 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari

22 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Karthikeyan hopeful of Williams drive

Narain Karthikeyan remains hopeful of securing a race-seat with Williams next season. The Indian driver is currently testing for the British team, a role which he has filled for the last two years.

And the 30-year-old revealed that he still has designs on replacing either Alex Wurz or Nico Rosberg in the Williams cockpit.

However, the former Jordan driver has a seat lined up in A1 racing should this fail to materialise.

"I have got a contract with Williams for next year and am hoping to get behind the wheels as a driver," he told The Hindustan Times.

"If it doesn't materialise though, I have got a commitment with the A1 Grand Prix and would race in it."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Expert Opinion

Former world champion Mika Hakkinen believes Fernando Alonso is struggling to come to terms with being beaten by a rookie. Lewis Hamilton leads the title race by seven points from bitter McLaren rival Alonso following a contentious Hungarian Grand Prix.

The team-mates are no longer on speaking terms following their row after qualifying when Alonso was adjudged to have deliberately impeded Hamilton in the pit lane.

Alonso was subsequently demoted from pole to sixth on the grid, leaving Hamilton to claim the third win of his debut season and take a step nearer world title glory.

Hakkinen, who won the championship in 1998 and 1999 with McLaren, said: "Fernando is the double world champion while Lewis has just started his career.

"But he has already caused him a number of worries, something that Fernando is struggling to accept.

"McLaren treat both drivers equally but Alonso just can't accept such strong competition from a novice."

Hakkinen is confident embattled team boss Ron Dennis will be able to resolve the furore.

Speaking in Caracas, Venezuela, promoting a campaign warning against the dangers of drinking and flying, Hakkinen added: "For Ron the situation is troublesome but he is absolutely the right person to be able to deal with it."

Singapore eyes street circuit work

Singapore will begin road works on its street circuit next month before hosting its debut Formula One Grand Prix event next year, the government and the promoter said.

They said the 5.05-kilometre (3.13-mile) street route would offer "a number of overtaking opportunities, fast turns and technically challenging sections."

More than 70 percent of the circuit is made up of the city-state's existing road network.

The world motorsport's governing body FIA in July set the date for the Singapore Grand Prix for September 28 next year.

The design of the paddock, which will house the control tower, garages for the teams, hospitality lounges, the press room and other facilities, is also being finalised, it said.

"We are confident that both the circuit and paddock building will be officially endorsed very soon," said tourism board chief executive Lim Neo Chian, who chair's the event's working committee.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said the Singapore race may be held at night in a bid to boost global TV ratings, although there are still safety issues that needed to be resolved.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lewis Hamilton wins Hungary GP

Lewis Hamilton somehow blocked out the twin distractions of a qualifying controversy and in-fighting at his McLaren team to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton started from pole position after his teammate Fernando Alonso was demoted five grid positions for obstructing the rookie Englishman in qualifying.

Alonso had seemingly snatched pole with a last-gasp flying lap but the race stewards judged that he had acted improperly in delaying Hamilton and denying him a chance to respond.

Hamilton took full advantage of his improved grid position, driving a mistake-free race to hold Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen to second and claim a victory that extends his driver's championship lead to seven points.

If history is anything to go by Hamilton will now go on to win the driver's title, only twice in the last 15 years has a driver leading the championship at this stage been beaten to the crown.

The 22-year-old was understandably delighted on the podium; his third grand prix win was undoubtedly his most important so far.

Nick Heidfeld of BMW was third with Alonso fourth just ahead of Poland's Robert Kubica in the other BMW.

The final point-scorers were German Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher in sixth, Nico Rosberg of Williams in seventh and Heikki Kovalainen of Renault in eighth.

Felipe Massa, currently fourth in the championship, had an unhappy weekend, finishing 13th.

The race started in bright sunshine and Hamilton made a clean getaway ahead of normally fast-starting Heidfeld.

On this occasion Heidfeld struggled off the grid and was immediately passed by Raikkonen who slotted in behind the leader.

Back in sixth Alonso made a poor start, soon finding himself back in eighth place when Robert Kubica and Red Bull's Mark Webber forced past him in the opening lap.

Alonso fought back but was soon stuck behind Ralf Schumacher who defended his fifth place expertly.

Meanwhile Sakon Yamamoto was the first man to drop out of the race. The Japanese Spyker driver lost control at turn 11, prematurely ending his first grand prix appearance of the season.

After 15 of the 70 laps Hamilton had established a lead of nearly five seconds from Raikkonen.

The leaders made their first pit stops five laps later with Raikkonen making up over a second on the McLaren man.

Perhaps spurred on by a strong Finnish contingent in the grandstands, Raikkonen continued to gain on Hamilton and the gap was down to one second by the halfway point.

Honda's Jenson Button, winner of this race a year ago, struggled towards the back of the field on this occasion.

But the Briton will still have been bitterly disappointed when he had to retire from the race after a mechanical failure at the halfway point.

Raikkonen made his second and final stop on his 47th lap, moving to the super-soft option tyres.

Hamilton stayed out for another three laps and the strategy paid off, he eventually emerged from the pits with a four-second lead.

Behind the front two Alonso had finally edged past Schumacher but he could not quite manage to pass Heidfeld and had to settle for fourth.

Raikkonen put Hamilton under intense pressure throughout the closing stages of the race but the 22-year-old showed great maturity to hang on and win by just over a second.

It was McLaren's 154th grand prix win and their sixth of the season. However the English team's joy will be tinged by the reality that, unless they win an appeal against the action the FIA has taken against them for the qualifying debacle, they will not be awarded any constructor's championship points from the race.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A McLaren front row in Hungary as Ferrari fall short

Fernando Alonso will start Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position, after beating McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at the Hungaroring.

BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was third fastest, ahead of the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Felipe Massa will start 14th after he failed to make it into Q3 following a problem with his F2007. Full results...

FORMULA 1™ Magyar Nagydíj 2007

Pos No Driver Team

Q3 Laps
1 1 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes

1:19.674 17
2 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes

1:19.781 17
3 9 Nick Heidfeld BMW

1:20.259 22
4 6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari

1:20.410 19
5 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota

1:20.632 22
6 11 Ralf Schumacher Toyota

1:20.714 24
7 10 Robert Kubica BMW

1:20.876 23
8 3 Giancarlo Fisichella Renault

1:21.079 25
9 12 Jarno Trulli Toyota

1:21.206 20
10 15 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault

1:21.256 22
11 14 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault

12 4 Heikki Kovalainen Renault

13 17 Alexander Wurz Williams-Toyota

14 5 Felipe Massa Ferrari

15 23 Anthony Davidson Super Aguri-Honda

16 18 Vitantonio Liuzzi STR-Ferrari

17 7 Jenson Button Honda

18 8 Rubens Barrichello Honda

19 22 Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda

20 19 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari

21 20 Adrian Sutil Spyker-Ferrari

22 21 Sakon Yamamoto Spyker-Ferrari


Friday, August 3, 2007

Raikkonen stays out of F1 spy row

Kimi Raikkonen has distanced himself from his Ferrari team's ongoing row with McLaren, saying the championship has to be decided on the track.

Ferrari are furious that McLaren escaped punishment over the recent spy row, before claiming the Italians' car was illegal in the first race of 2007.

But Raikkonen told BBC Sport: "I have not followed any of this and it is for other people, not me, to get involved.

"It would be great if things were just decided on the circuit to be honest."

McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, who has since been suspended by the team, was found to have nearly 800 pages of Ferrari documents in his house last month and the FIA world motorsport council (WMSC) found McLaren guilty of possessing confidential Ferrari information.

However, it went on to say there was "insufficient evidence" that the team had used it to their benefit and McLaren were not punished, though FIA president Max Mosley has now sent the verdict to its court of appeal.

And the row was further ignited when McLaren team boss Ron Dennis wrote an open letter to the FIA claiming that Ferrari's car in the first race of the season was illegal.

Raikkonen won that race in Australia, but said: "For everything there is a reason but it is for other people to make the decisions.

"Myself and Felipe (Massa) are just going to push as hard as we can to win races and fight to gain as many points as possible.

"That is the only way we know how to race. We're not waiting to gain an advantage in any other way, we're doing our job on the track.

"As for Mr Dennis's letter about race one, I guess we would have been disqualified if that was true so I guess he was not right."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Super Aguri
With just the one season under their belt, Super Aguri has a lot to prove. Their driver line-up of Takuma Sato and Anthon Davidson isn't the best on the track, but they are still in the development stages of their car. In fact, it is thanks to Super Aguri that Takuma Sato is still in Formula 1 racing!

The team almost missed the 2006 season because it could not produce a necessary financial bond of $48 million on time. Thereafter, there were hurdles caused by the erstwhile Jordan team who cited reduced TV revenues as a reason for blocking their entry. In the end, it all worked out and Super Aguri was granted entry into F1 just a month before the season.

Their first season had its set of teething troubles but Super Aguri has managed to get past those. Development on the car has been satisfactory and in the last race of 2006, they finished in 10th place, their best finish. Driver troubles, though, continued to plague them through 2006 with Yuji Ide, Sato's original team-mate having his Super License revoked. The FIA said he needed more experience outside the F1 circuit.

Franck Montagny replaced Ide for seven races while the final seven races of the season were completed by Sakon Yamamoto. Neither car could score any points as the team finished at the bottom of the group.

Things have obviously improved at Super Aguri since their debut season. Takuma Sato also exudes a quiet confidence that emanates from a team that knows it's past the initial troubles. "We are now in a very different situation compared with this time last year. This project was launched by only a few people a year ago, but there are more than 150 people working at SAF1 Team now," he says.

It will be good if another team can rise to challenge the big four of Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault. And Super Aguri has the expertise. All it needs is some experience.

Team Boss: Aguri Suzuki

Races: 28

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Honda V8 RA806E

Chassis: SA05 - Super Aguri F1

Suspension: Ohlins

Brakes: AP Racing Hitco Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Semi-auto 7 speeds

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed semi automatic electro hydraulically controlled
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4666mm x 1800mm x 950mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Designer: Peter McCool
Chief engineer: --
Drivers: Takuma Sato (Japan), Anthony Davidson (Great Britain)
Test driver: Sakon Yamamoto

Toro Rosso
Former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart claims that he had as many as 41 offers to sell Minardi, but he chose Red Bull since he thought they would take it further the way he could not.

He was also insistent on retaining the Italian link for the team and hence the "Scuderia" in the name of a team now owned by an Austrian brand. Another part of this deal is that the team would be based out of Italy for the 2007 season before having the option of relocating. Although fans of the fledgling Minardi team were upset by this, commercial decisions overrode their demands of retaining the Minardi name.

2006 - The first season for the team under its new colours was rather difficult and although the car was reliable, it was hardly ever competitive to seriously challenge for points. The best finish for the season was an 8th place in the US GP to Liuzzi.

While the team were powered by Cosworth engines last season - they will take on Ferrari's V8 engine this season and race with an un-changed driver line-up of American racer Scott Speed and former F3000 Champion Tonio Liuzzi.

Team Boss: Franz Tost

Races: 28

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Ferrari V8 056

Chassis: STR-02 - Toro Rosso

Suspension: Sachs

Brakes: Brembo Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Semi-auto 7 speeds

Engine power:
GearBox: 7-speed unit + reverse
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: --
Valves: -
Total displacement: -

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Designer: -
Chief engineer: -
Drivers: Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed
Test driver: -


BMW Sauber BMW Sauber

Ferrari Ferrari
Honda Honda

McLaren McLaren
Red Bull Red Bull

Renault Renault
Spyker Spyker

Super Aguri Super Aguri
Toro Rosso Toro Rosso

Toyota Toyota
Williams Williams

Founded in 1929, Scuderia Ferrari is the oldest and most successful of all Formula 1 teams. Founded by Enzo Ferrari, a race driver himself, the original avatar of Scuderia Ferrari was to be a sponsor for amateur drivers for various races. But as time went on, Ferrari became a full-fledged team. In the initial days, Ferrari would race mostly for Alfa Romeo but eventually, he moved on to set up his own establishment.

Ferrari had been in readiness to enter Formula 1 racing on their own, but World War II put a hold on these plans. Eventually, in 1948, they debuted as a racing team at the Italian GP and their first win came with Giuseppe Farina. Though they participated in Formula 1's first season in 1950; they were not as good as the Alfa Romeo cars and had to wait until 1952 for their first taste of success. Changes in regulations helped them and they won the Drivers' championship that year. Repeating their success three more times in the decade (1953, 56 and 58) and establishing themselves as a top notch team.

More success in the 1960s and 1970s including five Drivers' titles and six Constructors' titles kept them at the helm of the sport. But after early success in the 1980s (two Driver's titles in 1982 and 1983), they faded away. In the early part of the 1990s, Ferrari enjoyed minor successes with Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, but these were short-lived. After a change of affairs at the helm forced by the signing of Michael Schumacher in 1996, the team saw a brief period of rise that included many wins and a realistic challenge for the title in 1997, but they could not complete the job.

The new millennium brought about a huge change in fortunes as Michael Schumacher won the title in 2000, Ferrari's first since 1979 and started an era of domination that would end with a fifth successive title for the driver in 2004. During this period, Ferrari would be virtually unbeatable as a constructor too winning the title on all five occasions. The team of Schumacher and Barrichello has been one of the most dominant in motorsport for a long time. There was some criticism levelled at them, though, for insisting that Schumacher be the winning driver while Barrichello was always the bridesmaid!

Over the last two years, Ferrari's results have not been as good and Schumacher announced his retirement after his second unsuccessful year in 2006. The 2007 season holds much hope for Ferrari and the F2007 car has been impressive in testing. In Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, the scarlet team does have an experienced set of drivers, and all the signs point to a return to the top for the Scuderia.

Team Boss: Jean Todt

Races: 751

Race Wins: 197

Constructor's Championships: 14

Engine: Ferrari V8 056

Chassis: F2007 - Ferrari

Suspension: Sachs

Brakes: Brembo Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Semi-auto 7 speeds

Engine power: Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed unit + reverse
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4545 mm x 1796 mm x 959 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager: Jean Todt
Designer: Aldo Costa
Chief engineer: Gilles Simon
Drivers: Kimi Raikkönen (Finland), Felipe Massa (Brazil)
Test driver: Luca Badoer, Marc Gene

With just three race wins to their credit, Honda doesn't exactly have a glittering Formula 1 history... However, they are clearly not new to Formula 1, having initially made their debut in 1963.

In the early days, they surprised everyone by deciding to construct their own engine and chassis. But this decision proved good when they showed early success in the mid-1960s. Thereafter, however, the going got tough and Honda had little or no success for a while forcing them to quit F1.

As the company grew, so did their interest in F1 and in 1983, they returned to Formula 1 as an engine supplier. Although they did not have a team, their involvement as engine manufacturer saw them win six constructors' titles and five drivers' championships. Once again, though, at the end of 1992, they quit the sport. They were involved in F1 from 1993 to 1999 mainly through their associates Mugen Motorsports as engine suppliers to Ligier, Prost and Jordan. But in 2000, they entered the Formula 1 circuit again and this time, as partners with BAR.

By 2005, they had bought out the majority stake in BAR and were the sole owners of the team. After restrictions on tobacco advertising in Formula 1, British-American Tobacco, the original title sponsors have withdrawn support and since 2006, the team has raced under the name of Honda Racing F1 Team.

In 2006, the V8 Honda engine was touted as the most powerful on the grid, but after a pole position in Australia - they could not keep up with the expectations. Reliability and pit-stop issues were the main reasons! Rubens Barrichello, after a long stint at Ferrari, was still getting used to the new car and its behaviour while Jenson Button was generally off the boil in the initial part of the season. But the win at Hungary proved to be just the shot in the arm they needed as their performances peaked.

Button finished 2006 in 6th place with 56 points while Barrichello finished 7th with 30 points. Honda finished 4th in the Constructors' race and 2007 certainly promises to be a good year for the Japanese Manufacturer.

Team Boss: Nick Fry

Races: 63

Race Wins: 3

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Honda V8 RA807E

Chassis: RA107 - Honda

Suspension: Showa

Brakes: Alcon Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: 7-speed unit + reverse

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed Honda, sequential, semi-automatic, hydraulic activation
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4675mm x 1800mm x 950 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:

Chief engineer:
Drivers: Rubens Barrichello (Brazil), Jenson Button (Great Britain)
Test driver: Christian Klien, James Rossiter

Toyota has been around in motorsport since 1957 but their entry to Formula 1 is as recent as 2002. After partnering with various smaller teams in other motorsport disciplines, Toyota decided to enter F1 on their own without partnering any specialist constructor. Toyota also set-up their base in Germany unlike most other teams that seemed to prefer Britain.

Allan McNish and Mika Salo were their drivers for the debut season. Driving the TF102, built out of the biggest F1 budget, neither could make an impression and the team languished at the back, competing only with the Minardi and beating Arrows! Despite replacing both drivers for the 2003 season, Toyota could not do much better. They scored 16 points and finished more races, but their overall standing as constructor improved to only 8th.

Toyota retained da Matta and Panis but the results did not improve. There was a serious blot on the reputation during this season when both Toyotas were disqualified in Canada for running illegal parts.

By 2005, the team had matured and the line-up had changed again. Jarno Trulli, who had come aboard in 2004 retained his place, but his partner from 2004, Ricardo Zonta lost his seat to Ralf Schumacher. Toyota was also supplying engines to Jordan that year; a sign that things were coming together for them. 2005 was, by far, Toyota's most successful year and they finished all but two races that season. With 88 points, they finished 4th and were looking ahead with hope.

2006 came and went and Toyota did not make much headway. Too many retirements raised doubts about the car's reliability and as a result, they slipped from a 4th place in 2005 to 6th in 2006. Nonetheless, their development seemed on track and for 2007, they have unveiled a new car, the TF107. The drivers line-up remains unchanged with R.Schumacher and Trulli seeming comfortable with the team and setup.

Team Boss: Tsutomu Tomita

Races: 98

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Toyota V8 RVX-07

Chassis: TF107 - Toyota

Suspension: Penske/Toyota

Brakes: Brembo Carbon

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: 7-speed unit + reverse

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed Toyota semi-automatic shift via driver-controlled electro-hydraulic actuation
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4530 mm x 1800 mm x 950 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Chief engineer: Luca Marmorini
Drivers: Jarno Trulli (Italy), Ralf Schumacher (Germany)
Test driver: Franck Montagny

Red Bull
Red Bull Racing bought the Jaguar team at the end of the 2004 season, after it was put up for sale by Ford following several dismal seasons in the sport... And what a turn-around they achieved!!!

The energy-drinks company, completed an impressive debut season with the help of David Coulthard and two other contracted drivers - Christian Klien, and Vitantonio Liuzzi. They gained a handful of points to finish ahead of Sauber, Jordan and Minardi.

Coulthard also seems to have played a significant role off the track, and is reported to have played an integral role in convincing design guru Adrian Newey to leave McLaren and head to RBR.

In 2006, Red Bull decided to move away from the Cosworth engines they were using as a legacy of their deal with Jaguar. They signed a deal with Ferrari but despite Coulthard's praises, the car did face initial troubles and Red Bull could not make an early impact. Furthermore, Klien ended up moving out for the last three races, replaced by Robert Doornbos but the results did not come. Although the RB2 (the 2006 car) had a similar engine to the Ferrari (V8 specification regulations made this mandatory), they could not compete with the major teams.

Red Bull has reworked their strategy for 2007 and these changes include an engine from Renault, Bridgestone tyres and Mark Webber as the second driver. Despite high hopes, though, Red Bull is in danger of falling short of the targets they are setting themselves. A slightly pessimistic Coulthard said after two practice sessions at Sakhir, "At the moment we're not going to achieve the goals I had for the year. But we've some more time to develop and hopefully, once we've done that, we can try and achieve them."

Whether they have enough time or not is debatable, but Red Bull does have some high hopes. Even if they don't achieve it all this season, there's always next. After all, they have signed the Concorde agreement and are going nowhere!

Team Boss: Christian Horner

Races: 47

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Renault

Chassis: RB2 Carbon Aramid produced by Red Bull

Suspension: -

Brakes: AP Racing Calipers, Carbone Industries carbon-fibre

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: 7-speed unit + reverse

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed unit + reverse
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: --
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager: --
Designer: Robert Taylor
Chief engineer: --
Driver: David Coulthard (Great Britain), Mark Webber (Australia)
Test driver: --

With a penchant for innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, Sir Frank Williams created the 'Williams Grand Prix Engineering Team' in 1977. Since their debut in the 1978 Argentine Grand Prix, Williams has won 9 Constructors' Championships and 7 Drivers' titles. With over 100 GP wins, they are clearly amongst the big boys of Formula 1.

Williams has a history of recruiting some outstanding talent and Patrick Head, the designer, was hired when the team was in its early days. His efforts coupled with Frank Williams' expertise are often referred to the 'Williams-Head' partnership that is now legendary.

Unlike other teams that took a while to make a mark on the F1 circuit, Williams tasted almost instant success. In just their first season, they had a podium finish and by the end of their third season in 1980, they had their hands around both the drivers' and constructors' titles. This helped in attracting some fine talent their way and the results continued to be impressive.

Amongst some of the major names to have raced with Williams are Finland's Keke Rosberg, Britain's Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, France's Alain Prost and Brazil's Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. Williams' toughest hour came in 1994 when Ayrton Senna died in an accident in a Williams. Frank Williams, Patrick Head and designer Adrian Newey, were all subsequently accused of manslaughter but when the trial ended in 2005, they were all cleared of any wrongdoing.

Over the years, Williams has had many engine suppliers, but their best results have been with the Honda and Renault engines. They have won two constructors' championships with Honda and five with Renault. However, the downslide for Williams began with Renault's withdrawal from the sport in 1997.

2006 saw Williams compile their worst tally of points since debut and a lot of work remains to be done. Rebuilding the team is underway but the results aren't expected to be forthcoming. In 2007, their brand new FW29 will be powered by Toyota and while Nico Rosberg retained his race-drive - last season's test driver, Alex Wurz makes a full-time race comeback replacing the Red Bull bound, Mark Webber.

Team Boss: Frank Williams

Races: 497

Race Wins: 113

Constructor's Championships: 9

Engine: Toyota V8 RVX-07

Chassis: FW29 - Williams

Suspension: Double wishbones by WilliamsF1

Brakes: AP Racing Calipers, Carbone Industries carbon-fibre

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: 7-speed unit + reverse

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed WilliamsF1
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: --
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Designer: Ed Wood
Chief engineer: --
Drivers: Alexander Wurz (Austria), Nico Rosberg (Germany)
Test driver: Narain Karthikeyan, Kazuki Nakajima

Amid rumours that had been doing the rounds of the F1 circuit, Spyker confirmed their buyout of Midland F1 (which not long ago was called Jordan F1) halfway through the 2006 season. At time of Spker's announcement of the buyout, Michiel Mol, the Director of F1 Racing, Spyker, had assured that Spyker was not in F1 for the sake of it. "We are in F1 to win," he had stated emphatically.

At the time of the buyout, Midland employed Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro. While Albers has retained his place, Monteiro had to move out. He will be replaced by Adrian Sutil of Germany for the 2007 season. It was also recently announced that previous team boss of Midland, Colin Kolles, would continue as the team principal through 2007.

Spyker has made some technical changes to the Midland set up it bought. They will be replacing the Toyota engines with Ferrari ones and also use the Dutch flag and colours on the car livery.

Spyker is a very new player not only in F1, but also in car manufacturing and they will take some time to settle down. But they are one of many new and inexperienced teams on the circuit this season and the race at the back of the pack is sure to get interesting.

Team Boss: Michiel Mol

Races: 28

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: Ferrari V8 056

Chassis: F8 VII - SpykerF1

Suspension: SpykerF1

Brakes: Carbon discs

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Semi-auto 7 speeds

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed + reverse longitudinal gearbox with electrohydraulic sequential gear change
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: Approx. 5000 mm x 1800mm x 950 mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager: --
Designer: John McQuilliam
Chief engineer: --
Drivers: Adrian Sutil (Portugal), Christijan Albers (Netherlands)
Test driver: Giedo Van der Garde, Fairuz Fauzy, Markus Winkelhock, Adrian Valles

BMW Sauber
Sauber had a horrid season in 2005 after a rather respectable campaign the year before. Peter Sauber had always resisted colaborating with a big manufacturer ever since he formed the team in 1993. However, the need for financial muscle was inevetible - both on and off the track and the Swiss finally had to give-in to a buy-out offer from BMW.

In their first season as a full team, BMW had employed Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve with Robert Kubica as the test driver. It wasn't the best season, but for a debut year, 36 points and fifth in the Constructors' championship was not too bad either. Having Villeneuve on the team paid off when he scored the teams first points in Malaysia. In the same race, the team a radical aerodynamic attachment that has since been dubbed the 'twin towers' as homage to the Petronas Towers (Petronas are the team's principal sponsors) in Kuala Lumpur. The attachment has since been banned by the FIA as it could prove to be obstructive to drivers.

While there were initial troubles in the first half of the season, they performed substantially better in the second half. Heidfeld and Kubica both managed a podium finish and allowed a strong end to the year. Kubica was racing thanks to Villeneuve not being fit after an accident in Germany.

For 2007, Heidfeld and Kubica will be the main drivers for BMW with Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock as the test drivers. The car's reliability that was one of the main issues going into winter testing, seems to have been ironed out.

Whatever the case, BMW has done well enough to keep fans and competition interested in how they shape up. And at a time when F1 needs someone to challenge the four dominant teams, BMW Sauber could well be the team.

Team Boss: Mario Theissen

Races: 246

Race Wins: 0

Constructor's Championships: 0

Engine: BMW P86 (V8)

Chassis: F1.06 Carbon-fibre monocoque

Suspension: Upper and lower wishbones (front and rear), inboard springs and dampers, actuated by pushrods

Brakes: Six-piston callipers (Brembo), carbon pads and discs

Tyres: Bridgestone

Transmission: Longitudinally mounted 7-speed transmission, carbon-fibre clutch

Engine power:
Over 18,500 rpm
GearBox: 7-speed BMW Sauber, semi-automatic, longitudinally mounted, carbon casing
Weight: 605 kgs (including driver, camera and ballast)
Dimensions: 4610mm x 1800 mm x 1000mm
Valves: 4 valves per cylinder; pneumatic valve system
Total displacement: 2.4 litres

Team Personnel:
Team manager:
Designer: Jorg Zander
Chief engineer: -
Drivers: Nick Heidfeld (Germany), Robert Kubica (Poland)
Test driver: Sebastian Vettel, Timo Glock