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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Massa puts Ferrari on pole as Alonso hits trouble

Ferrari's Felipe Massa will start Sunday's French Grand Prix from pole position, with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton alongside him and team mate Kimi Raikkonen right behind.

World champion Fernando Alonso, however, is only tenth on the provisional grid after his car was struck down with gearbox problems early in the final phase of qualifying, preventing him from setting a time.

With the Spaniard out of the running, what looked set to be an epic climax to the fight between silver and red ultimately failed to materialise - Massa, Hamilton and Raikkonen were all unable to improve their positions after their first Q3 runs.

Thus Massa retained pole, with a lap of 1m 15.034s, while Hamilton shaved down from 1m 15.185s to 1m 15.104s, which was not sufficient to affect his front row position after he lost a little momentum in Turn 15, and Raikkonen remained third on 1m 15.257s.

Behind them, Giancarlo Fisichella bumped Robert Kubica from fourth with a lap of 1m 15.674s for Renault, only to have the BMW Sauber driver retake the position with 1m 15.493s in the two teams’ war over third place in the constructors’ championship.

Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen once again backed team mate Fisichella strongly with sixth place on 1m 15.826s, pipping Nick Heidfeld who was sufficiently recovered from Friday’s back problems to lap his BMW Sauber in 1m 15.900s. Jarno Trulli was Toyota’s only runner to make Q3, and will start eighth on 1m 15.935s, and Nico Rosberg once again got his Williams through for ninth place and 1m 16.328s.

Ralf Schumacher celebrated his birthday with 11th place on 1m 15.534s, albeit as the first not to get through to Q3, and will have former BMW Williams team mate Jenson Button for company on row six, the Englishman lapping his Honda in 1m 15.584s. Button’s team mate Rubens Barrichello was 13th on 1m 15.761s, ahead of Red Bull’s Mark Webber on 1m 15.806s. Toro Rosso’s Scott Speed (1m 16.049s) and David Coulthard (no time, after not running in Q2 due to gearbox problems) were 15th and 16th.

Tonio Liuzzi was the first faller in Q1, lapping his Toro Rosso in 1m 16.142s to lose out to Barrichello by two-thousands of a second. Alex Wurz was 18th for Williams on 1m 16.241s, followed by Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson for Super Aguri (1m 16.244s and 1m 16.366s respectively) and the Spykers of Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil (1m 17.826s and 1m 17.915s before his car rolled to a halt in Turn 9).

Driver quotes after Friday Practice at Magny-Cours

Ferrari topped the lap times during Friday’s Free Practice at Magny-Cours but perhaps the biggest surprise was the Toro Rossos of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi, who posted the third and fifth quickest times.

Felipe Massa: "Today we were quick and we have found a good balance right from the first few laps in this morning's session. I think the work which culminated in the test session at Silverstone is beginning to produce results. We were competitive and I think that can continue for the rest of the weekend. The harder tyre seems more consistent in terms of performance, while the softer one seems to give more grip, which will be useful for qualifying."

Kimi Räikkönen: "I would say that this was quite a positive day. We worked well and I think we can be competitive this weekend. The car went well right from the morning, but there is still room for improvement. However, as usual on a Friday, it is hard to say what the real pecking order is in the field. The performance of the two types of tyre we have here is pretty similar, even if I never managed to get a clean run with the softer on and so it's hard for me to say which is quicker."

Scott Speed: “I am not sure exactly where we stand, as you don't know what the others are doing in terms of fuel load. Certainly we were on the low side when I did my quickest lap. The gearbox is definitely a step forward and the car was not bad today. We struggled a bit from understeer. This afternoon, I had a few problems, including one with the steering wheel, that prevented us from getting through all our programme, apart from looking at the tyre comparison and even that was not so conclusive as I had a problem on the warm-up lap for my last run. Generally, we look more competitive than we have in past races. Now we just need to work hard, keep our heads down and try not to make any mistakes for the rest of the weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton: “This morning was a little frustrating as I missed some track time when the engine protection system came in as a result of the engine running too cool and I stopped on track. Luckily the car was returned with about 45 minutes of the session still to run so I still managed to get quite a few laps in and completed our planned programme in the afternoon session.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi: “Maybe the quick times look nicer than they are in reality. We still have to work on improving the balance of the car, as the handling is not perfect yet. Even so, it is nice to see our names near the top of the order, at least on paper. Now we need to work on improving our traction and front end grip. For sure we are more competitive as the car has made a big step forward, mainly with the new seamless shift gearbox, which makes for much quicker changes. However, the other teams have probably also improved in other areas. Tomorrow, we will work on generally improving the set up, but we can look to the rest of the weekend in a positive frame of mind.”

David Coulthard: “A normal Friday session today, evaluating tyres, chasing balance and getting the car set ahead of tomorrow. The times were promising, but I don’t really get too excited about them on a Friday, as qualifying is the important thing.”

Nico Rosberg: “I didn't feel very good about my first runs out on the track but we managed to improve the set-up quite a lot today. We discovered some interesting things and tyre-wise we found some good results as well. As is usual this season, it's not immediately obvious how we'll work the two tyres, but we will go through that this evening. It's a lot of fun to drive on this track because of the new tarmac which gives it a lot more grip. My general feeling today is positive even if there are still some things we need to improve for tomorrow.”

Fernando Alonso: “We managed to complete our programme, and we have a good understanding of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres characteristics in these cooler than expected temperatures. We could have been faster today, and there is still a little bit of work to do tomorrow on the set-up. However I think we will be stronger over the weekend than we appear today and so I am not too worried about the results so far.”

Anthony Davidson: “I am happy with our day's work. We found a good balance for the new tyres close to the end of the day and I'm obviously pleased to be so high up on the timesheets. We found some quite big differences between the tyre options and I think that every team will find them a challenge for the rest of the weekend.”

Ralf Schumacher: “That was a reasonable day’s work. The car was reliable in both sessions so we did quite a lot of work on different set-ups, as well as getting information on the different tyre compounds. There seems to be quite a bit of difference between the medium and the soft tyres so we will have to look at the data and see what we do in terms of strategy. Track temperature was lower than usual here because of the cooler weather but that didn’t cause any problems and it is the same for everyone anyway. The car definitely improved during the two sessions so I am optimistic for the weekend but the battle in the midfield is very tight so it is difficult to say exactly where we are this weekend. Our target for tomorrow is clearly to get into Q3, I was very close to that in Indianapolis and I hope to achieve it this time.”

Giancarlo Fisichella: “I had a pretty good day. We did lots of laps and completed the programme, which is always the first objective. The changes we made to the set-up were good, and I felt really comfortable out on track. The times and handling balance were quite consistent on the long runs, which is an important factor for the race, and I don't think the position will look too bad once we have completed our analysis. There's still more progress to come from our work overnight, but I think we have a good starting point to work from.”

Robert Kubica: “After starting the day with some steering problems, which meant missing the first hour of running, everything went smoothly this afternoon. We have nearly completed our programme with quite a lot of set-up work. I am happy to be back in the car, we have to work for tomorrow, but generally the car’s balance is not too bad.”

Alexander Wurz: “We had a very interesting Friday session and ran through the programme according to plan, the only shame is that there were some yellow flags out when I was on my quickest lap. Now we have to go through the information to improve our set-up and make the correct tyre choice. The circuit was okay today, but just a little slippery. That's like every other venue on a Friday though and it provided a good foundation for consistent work.”

Jarno Trulli: “We went through some set-up work and also looked at tyre performance so it was a productive day and now we understand more about the direction we should take with the car. We suffered from a bit of understeer in some places during the day but in general the car seems quite good. Now we will have to work hard with the information we have and try to make more improvements before qualifying. We will have to wait and see where we stand in terms of performance because it is hard to judge on a Friday. We had a great race in the US with my sixth place but every race is a different challenge and it depends a lot on many variables, things like the weather, how the car is suited to the circuit and so on. For tomorrow I aim to qualify in the top 10 again so I can fight for more points in the race.”

Jenson Button: "It was a typical Friday practice for us today as we focused on evaluating the tyres and finding the best set-up on the car. Most of the runs went fairly smoothly with Rubens and myself covering a lot of laps, giving us plenty of data to work with overnight. It was pretty windy out there today which will make the data comparisons more tricky, but the conditions are the same for everyone."

Mark Webber: “I’d just started a long run in the second session and the car suffered a transmission problem, so I had to stop. The second session on a Friday is important, so it’s a shame that we couldn’t run for all of the time, but we’ll get information on the problem tonight and look into it ready for tomorrow.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “The car balance isn't quite where I want it to be at the moment, and that was costing me time today - especially as I also had some traffic on my last timed laps on new tyres. But that is something we can tune overnight, to be honest. The important thing was to do the programme, make some good set-up changes, and give ourselves a platform for tomorrow. I think we managed that successfully, and we know the direction we need to go overnight. There is still work to be done, and some time to be found in the car, but I think we will look better tomorrow, than the timesheets suggest right now.”

Rubens Barrichello: "I thought the car was a little more competitive today, although that isn't necessarily represented by our position on the time sheets. We struggled a little with the balance of the car during the morning session, particularly with the rear end, but it improved over the course of the day. Unfortunately I didn't get my last run on the new tyres this afternoon due to the yellow flags after a car went off the track. That would have improved my lap time a little for sure. Still, we have a lot of information to look over this evening to try to improve for qualifying tomorrow."

Nick Heidfeld: “The practice sessions have been okay so far and, anyway, I like driving on this circuit. I stopped early because I wanted to save my back. Last week at the Silverstone test I had some problems. I can still feel it and as a precaution I want to have it checked today.”

Takuma Sato: “The day was quite interesting because the two tyre options behaved differently, so we need to analyze the large amount of data we were able to collect today. We also ran some new aero developments and there were a few good points from them. The car ran reliably and with no problems, so I think that it was a positive day.”

Adrian Sutil: “I am not happy with today, I cannot find a balance I am happy with on the car. With one set-up I have a lot of understeer and with another I have oversteer; it is difficult to find a middle ground. We have a lot of work to do and we have to check all the data and see what we can do for tomorrow.”

Christijan Albers: “In the first session I was actually pretty happy with the car and I think we were making some good progress, but in the second session I touched the kerb on the exit of turn 12 and went straight ahead. Unfortunately this damaged the car and I couldn't continue. I am disappointed as we still had two new sets of tyres to use and we could have improved the time. We did make some steps though and we will have to see what will happen tomorrow.”

Friday, June 29, 2007

Kubica fit to race in French GP

BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica has passed a medical following his massive crash in the Canadian Grand Prix and will return this weekend in France.

"I''m 100% fit," said the 22-year-old driver, who missed the US Grand Prix after the 180mph crash on 10 June.

"I''m looking forward to this race and happy that I missed only Indianapolis."

Kubica was replaced at Indianapolis by 19-year-old German Sebastian Vettel, who scored a point on his debut, but now reverts to test and reserve driver.

Kubica suffered mild concussion and a sprained ankle when his car ploughed head-on into a wall in Canada.

He was lucky to escape without further injury, especially as his feet could be seen through the sheared off front end of the vehicle.

Kubica added: "Although I wasn''t allowed to test (at Silverstone last week), I''ve used the time to focus intensively on preparing for the next race.

"Now I can''t wait to get back into the car."

Räikkönen admits season not gone to plan

Kimi Räikkönen admitted the first half the Formula One season has not gone according to plan.

The Ferrari driver is currently 26 points adrift from championship leader Lewis Hamilton and has not won a race since his debut for the Italian squad in Australia.

“For sure we don’t expect to be in this position but that’s racing and I think we just try to improve, try to get things how we like and try to start winning races and that’s our main goal,” he told reporters on the eve of the French Grand Prix.

“I think I expect better results but there are certain things that haven’t been right and we try to improve those and then hopefully at some point we will get it right and we can get the results that we want and I can drive how I want,” he revealed. “This seems to take a bit of a longer time.”

Despite a positive test last week’s at Silverstone, the Finnish driver was cautious for this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

“You can always see the results from testing but you don’t know what the other teams are doing,” he said.

“I think we have improved the car, for sure. The car felt very good at Silverstone but this a different circuit, a different place. We need to wait until the race, until the qualifying to see how it goes, but we have a positive feeling about it.”

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hamilton 'could save British GP'

Lewis Hamilton's success in Formula One could help Silverstone retain the British Grand Prix, according to the British Racing Drivers' Club.
Silverstone, which is owned by the BRDC, could lose the right to host the event after its contract runs out in 2009 unless the venue is modernised.

"Members like Lewis are only helping us," said BRDC chairman Robert Brooks.

"The Hamilton factor is very positive and helpful in keeping the British Grand Prix."

Silverstone has the contract to host the event until 2009 but F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has expressed his desire to see facilities improved at the ageing track.

The BRDC are working on a plan to redevelop the site and secure the future of the Grand Prix.

"We are in the advanced stages of applying for planning permission for Silverstone, then we will look to agree a new contract with Formula One," added Brooks.

"We will do all we can to retain the British Grand Prix."

Hamilton has had a superb start to his F1 career and currently leads the drivers' championship after claiming successive victories in Canada and at the US Grand Prix.

And Brooks says he is looking forward to the 22-year-old returning to Silverstone for the British GP on 8 July.

"It's the first time for many years we've had a British driver who looks favourite to win the race," added Brooks.

"Silverstone is home for Lewis Hamilton. He is a member of the BRDC and it has been the site of many of his great races.

"It is also where Lewis made one of the most spectacular overtaking manoeuvres and he knows it like the back of his hand.

"It is great for British motorsport."

Hamilton insists overtaking is possible

Lewis Hamilton insists that contrary to rumours Magny-Cours does offer some possibility for overtaking.

Traditionally the French Grand Prix - which will be moved from next season - is a dour affair where the only overtaking is reserved for the pitlane.

However the Formula One sensation, who currently leads the Drivers’ table by ten points, knows from experience that there is another way.

"The French round of the GP2 championship last year was not my best weekend, I had a coming together in the first race and therefore started race two in 19th,” he explained.

“I did make my way up through the field to fifth to score some points, so it is possible to overtake here,” he revealed.

“Although you always want to be on pole, you can pass at Magny Cours and there is a short pit lane that means there are more strategy options, as it is not as much of a penalty when you stop for tyres and fuel. The pit lane is slightly longer than it used to be but it is still very quick.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Räikkönen Confident

Kimi Räikkönen is said to be feeling “very confident” for the upcoming French Grand Prix, following a successful test at Silverstone.

"Last week was a perfect week," said the Finnish driver. "We had a very good test in Silverstone: the car was much better than at the races in North America. So I'm really very confident of the race in Magny-Cours.

“We have new components, above all in the section of aerodynamics; and we have taken a step forward as far as the performance is concerned: if it is enough, we'll only know in France, when we go on the track under the same conditions as our competitors.

“This is the question mark you always carry with you after the tests. What we know for sure is that we think that we are competitive."

Räikkönen insisted he was growing in confidence with the Ferrari car and now has to convert that confidence into a race victory.

“I'm more and more confident with the F2007: we found a good setup, what you could already see in the race at Indianapolis. Now we have to transfer what we've seen at Silverstone to the next two Grand Prixs."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Honda looking forward to France

Honda drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are both looking forward to this weekend’s French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, where the team are expecting to “make a small step forward in performance”.

"The Circuit de Nevers is quite a tricky circuit to get your lap absolutely right however it is a lot of fun to drive and very fast,” exclaimed Button.

“The start is particularly important, regardless of what side of the grid you are on, and you have to position yourself well for the first two corners to get a good run down the straight to the Adelaide hairpin. This is really the only place on the circuit where you can have a real chance of overtaking.”

The track’s technical challenge is one reason why many of the drivers enjoy competing at Magny-Cours, including Barrichello.

"I really enjoy racing at Magny-Cours and it is a really flowing circuits which the drivers generally enjoy,” he explained.

“The track has a mixture of high and slow speed turns, and although the track surface is smooth, it can be hard on the rear tyres. The high speed changes of direction between turns four and five, and also turns seven and eight, are particularly challenging.”

Saturday, June 23, 2007

F1 in India, can u believe it???

Well well well seems like we don't have to go far to watch f1, in India by 2009, thats a very ambitious plan. Me not an Indian but India is not far away from here, Nepal that is. And I am stunned by the progress India is making.
Well as far as I am know, its going to be a street circuit they say, but there is also plans for a complete circuit, don't think they will manage that by 2009. Well the f1 races are becoming crazier and crazier, you can do with street circuit, and even night races, well are they going to put head lights on the car too for that? well these cars change every few years and that too may be possible, lets see.

Hello f1 crazee people

Heyyy here you are in my f1 blog, me myself a great mclaren faaan, and if you are a ferrari fan beware, you are going to be crushed. Don't worry though my brother here is a ferrai fan and hopefully he'll write too. Think it'll be great fun writing for you guys.