Super Aguri Withdraw From F1

The grid in Istanbul, and for the rest of season, will consist of twenty drivers, as Super Aguri announced their immediate withdrawal from the sport.

Super Aguri have been struggling for funds all season and it’s looked bleak since the proposed takeover by the Magma group broke down last month.

Team founder Aguri Suzuki said: “The loss of financial backing put the team into financial difficulties. With the help of Honda, we somehow managed to keep the team going, but we find it difficult to establish a way to continue the activities in the future.”

It now means Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson are without a drive, and they need another team to take them on as test drivers.

It makes you wonder if there’s too much money in Formula 1 thesedays. Will we see twenty cars again next season, or will another team try their arm?

Kimi And Felipe Score Ferrari 1-2

Photos Courtesy Of Formula One Administration

Ferrari scored their second 1-2 finish in a row, as Kimi Raikkonen secured victory in Spain to increase his lead at the top of the Championship to nine points. Not only that, the result promoted Ferrari above BMW in the Constructors Championship

The race started off with yet another first-lap incident for Sebastien Vettel, as he collided with Adrian Sutil (pic, bottom left). Fernando Alonso couldn’t hold on to second place, as he was quickly overtaken by Felipe Massa. Despite some impressive showings over the weekend, neither Renault managed to finish. Nelson Piquet collided with Sebastien Bourdais in the early stages and both drivers were out (pic, bottom right). Local hero Fernando Alonso also failed to finish in Barcelona for the first time in his career – his Renault gave up the ghost at the half way point. (pic, top right)

Lewis Hamilton rounded off the podium and picked up six championship points, but only one McLaren finished, as Heikki Kovalainen was taken to hospital following a high-speed crash. (pic, top left). Heikki had a failure of the left front tyre while travelling at around 140mph, and ploughed straight into the barrier. Heikki was described as “stable and conscious”, but taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

Robert Kubica picked up BMW’s points, as Nick Heidfeld could only manage ninth. Nick had made a pit stop while the pit lane was closed, following Kovalainen’s crash, and had to make a ten-second penalty.

Mark Webber drove well in the Red Bull to collect fifth place, but probably the happiest team were Honda, who collected their first points of the season, courtesy of Jenson Button.

Nico Rosberg fell foul of engine trouble in his Williams; the first Williams retirement this season. Team mate Kazuki Nakajima got his second set of points of the season.

McLaren need to get their ideas together in Istanbul in two weeks, to stop the Ferrari train escaping completely.

Race Results And Classification

1. K RAIKKONEN – 1:38:19.051
2. F Massa +3.2
3. L Hamilton +4.1
4. R Kubica +5.6
5. M Webber +35.9
6. J Button +53.0
7. K Nakajima +58.2
8. J Trulli +59.4
9. N Heidfeld +63.0
10. G Fisichella +1 Lap
11. T Glock +1 Lap
12. D Coulthard +1 Lap
13. T Sato +1 Lap

Not Classified
N Rosberg
F Alonso
R Barrichello
H Kovalainen
A Davidson
S Bourdais
N Piquet
A Sutil
S Vettel

Renault Find Form In Friday Practice

Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest time in the second Friday Practice session. The Renault pair of Nelson Piquet and Fernando Alonso provided the big performance with the second and third fastest times. The big surprise was Williams’ driver Kazuki Nakajima who managed to secure fourth fastest. McLaren were disappointing, and both cars were outpaced by both Force India cars. Heikki pulled off the track with a technical fault after setting his lap time.

K Raikkonen – 1:21.935
N Piquet – 1:22.019
F Alonso – 1:22.032
K Nakajima – 1:22.172
F Massa – 1:22.229
M Webber – 1:22.238
N Rosberg – 1:22.266
D Coulthard – 1:22.289
G Fisichella – 1:22.383
A Sutil – 1:22.548
L Hamilton – 1:22.685
R Kubica – 1:22.788
N Heidfeld – 1:23.130
J Trulli – 1:23.224
J Button – 1:23.263
H Kovalainen – 1:23.264
R Barrichello – 1:23.415
S Vettel – 1:23.661
S Bourdais – 1:23.684
T Glock – 1:23.883
T Sato – 1:25.110
A Davidson – 1:25.163

Webber: Mosley Is A Disgrace

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has said Max Mosley has dragged the sport into disrepute following the nazi sex scandal on Toro Bloggo, reported at the end of March.

Webber has slammed the FIA President, saying: “Whether we like it or not, all of us in F1 are role models, and F1 simply cannot have scandals of this type.”

And you know what? Webber is absolutely spot on. These people are ambassadors for the great sport of motor racing, from the drivers, to the pit crew, to the tea lady. As Webber himself says, Mosley is “in a very, very influential position.” Mosley’s future will be decided on June 3, following an Extraordinary General Meeting, and Webber would not comment on whether Mosley should resign or not.

This story looks set to trundle on, and it looks like it’ll do what Spygate did last year… it could overshadow a very exciting season, and as a result, turn people away from the sport. That’s the real disaster.

Bourdais Destroys New Toro Rosso

Photo courtesy of Formula One Administation

Sebastien Bourdais must have been told to test his top speed during testing in Spain – as the Frenchman threw his brand new Toro Rosso into the wall.

Toro Rosso were expected to launch STR3 at the Turkish Grand Prix, but in his first outing, Bourdais went “too fast”, according to team officials. Mechanical failure has been ruled out, but the main concern for Toro Rosso is that the new STR3 will not be ready for the planned launch date in Turkey.

Before the crash, the new Toro Rosso set the eighth fastest time at the Circuit de Catalunya. The car looks to be a step up from STR2B, but we might not see it in Turkey.


Super Aguri Takeover Abandoned

Back on March 10th, Toro Bloggo announced that Super Aguri were being taken over by the Magma Group.

However, the financial backers behind Magma – Dubai International Capital – are having second thoughts, and have pulled out of the proposed take over. A statement by the team said: “It is with deep regret that Aguri Suzuki is now forced to consider the future of the team.”

The team will not be testing in Barcelona this week, and a team spokesperson said they may not even have the money to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix. It throws back the doubts Super Aguri had at the start of the season about taking part. As it stands, it’s looking bleaker by the minute that Super Aguri will not reach the end of the season.

Honda Sign Young Brit Talent Stevens

The Honda F1 team have signed up a 16-year-old junior karter to their team on a long-term “driver support agreement”.

Will Stevens is one of the world’s leading karters, picking up four Championship titles in the last year, including the European Championship and the International Open Masters.

Stevens will continue to race through the ranks of junior motorsport, while Honda train him to become a Formula One driver at a later date. The training is similar to what Lewis Hamilton underwent at McLaren before his full-time contract began in 2007.

Will Stevens has commented on the matter, saying he is “extremely proud to be joining Honda”.

“This provides me with a great opportunity to progress my career towards my goal of reaching Formula One. I intend to do my very best to ensure that their [Honda's] belief in me is rewarded.”


Massa Takes Win In Bahrain GP

Photos courtesy of Formula One Administration

Massa couldn’t quite do it in qualifying, but his pace was just too much on raceday, as he comfortably led almost from the very off to collect his first win, and first points of the season (pic, bottom left). He was past Kubica after a couple of corners, and Robert then dropped down to third after Kimi Raikkonen overtook him. After the pit stops (pic, bottom right), it was smooth running for Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton’s race took a nosedive right from the beginning. He got off the grid badly, and dropped seven places. On Lap 2, he ran into the back of former team-mate Fernando Alonso (pic, top left). ITV immediately took Hamilton’s side, claiming that Alonso was “brake-testing” Hamilton, and that he intended to cause an incident. (Interestingly, on the ITV Website, they claim that only the “more cynical viewers” would assume such a thing) Either way, it didn’t get much better as Lewis coasted around Sakhir to finish in thirteenth place.

Lewis’ shunt with Alonso on Lap 2

It rounded off a bad day for McLaren, as Heikki Kovalainen could only manage fifth place behind Nick Heidfeld’s BMW in fourth. Jarno Trulli drove a solid race in the Toyota and finished in sixth. Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg rounded off the point finishers.

Only three drivers failed to finish. Sebastian Vettel failed to get to the end of lap one, while Jenson Button collided with David Coulthard at the back of the grid (pic, top right). Nelsinho Piquet’s Renault gave up the ghost towards the end of the race with a gearbox failure.

Felipe Massa’s first win of the 2007 season also came at Sakhir, and if you don’t remember, he followed it up with victory in Spain a couple of weeks later. Is he going to do it again, or will Kimi or Lewis mount more of a challenge?

1. F MASSA – 1:31:06.970
2. K Raikkonen +3.3
3. R Kubica +4.9
4. N Heidfeld +8.4
5. H Kovalainen +26.7
6. J Trulli +41.3
7. M Webber +45.4
8. N Rosberg +55.8
9. T Glock +1:09.5
10. F Alonso +1:17.1
11. R Barrichello +1:17.8
12. G Fisichella +1 Lap
13. L Hamilton +1 Lap
14. K Nakajima +1 Lap
15. S Bourdais +1 Lap
16. A Davidson +1 Lap
17. T Sato +1 Lap
18. D Coulthard +1 Lap
19. A Sutil +2 Laps

Not Classified
N Piquet
J Button
S Vettel

Pole Takes First Pole

Felipe Massa only had eyes on the pole – but didn’t take into consideration the other Pole.Kubica Takes Pole Position

BMW’s Polish driver Robert Kubica took the top grid spot in Sakhir by less than three hundredths of a second, to secure his, and BMW’s first ever pole position.

Lewis Hamilton managed to outqualify his teammate Heikki Kovalainen and they picked up third and fourth. Jarno Trulli once again impressed in the Toyota, grabbing seventh place behind Nick Heidfeld. Jenson Button is in a great position to pick up his first points of the season, qualifying in ninth place.

1. R Kubica – 1:33.096
2. F Massa – 1:33.123
3. L Hamilton – 1:33.292
4. K Raikkonen – 1:33.418
5. H Kovalainen – 1:33.488
6. N Heidfeld – 1:33.737
7. J Trulli – 1:33.994
8. N Rosberg – 1:34.015
9. J Button – 1:35.057
10. F Alonso – 1:35.115
11. M Webber – 1:32.371
12. R Barrichello – 1:32.508
13. T Glock – 1:32.5281
14. N Piquet – 1:32.790
15. S Bourdais – 1:32.915
16. K Nakajima – 1:32.943
17. D Coulthard – 1:33.433
18. G Fisichella – 1:33.501
19. S Vettel – 1:33.562
20. A Sutil – 1:33.845
21. A Davidson – 1:34.140
22. T Sato 1:35.725

Lewis Loses It As Ferrari Fly

sak-pra2.jpg Friday Practice 2 delivered the same as what the earlier session had promised – Ferrari dominance. Massa and Raikkonen once again topped the times table, finishing first and second respectively.

But, while pushing to dislodge Ferrari’s stranglehold at the top of the timing sheet, Lewis Hamilton lost control and slid at speed into the barrier. He was already running fourth fastest, just behind team-mate Kovalainen. Felipe Massa has yet to finish a race this season, but so far in Bahrain, he has proved himself as the man to beat. Ultimately though, it’s what they do in qualifying tomorrow what matters.


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