8 SEPTEMBER 28 2011 motorsport-news.co.uk
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F1 ROUND UP
Rubens not rattled Formula One veteran Rubens Barrichello says he is not concerned about Kimi Räikkönen’s recent visit to the Williams factory, prompting speculation about the Finn’s immediate future. Williams has not confirmed the exact reason for the former champion’s visit, but Barrichello said: “Right now is a big time for rumours and there is no point [in talking about it],” said the veteran.
‘NEED A LIFT, CLINT?...’
NASCAR man Bowyer left with a long walk home after running out of fuel
Caterham is go It appears that Team Lotus will be able to change its name to Caterham next season, ending the long, drawn out and frankly boring saga with the Lotus Renault team. Team Lotus boss and new QPR owner Tony Fernandes is unlikely to face opposition from the majority of rival teams, whose agreement he needs to make the switch. Whether the 2012 car’s aerodynamics will resemble that of a brick is unknown.
Engine tie-up The team that will be known as Team Lotus (or Team Loftus or QPR or Caterham, delete as applicable) has agreed an extension of its Renault engine deal up until the end of 2013. It has also confirmed that it will continue to use Red Bull gearboxes, and will also use KERS for the first time in 2012.
Kerb the issue Track workers at Singapore were forced to work overnight to tweak the circuit after a number of kerbs worked loose during a support race practice session. The offending items at two corners were removed and kerbing was painted on instead – surely a simpler solution in the first place…?
Michael’s exit Departing Williams technical director SamMichael says he hopes to be able to take up his new post with McLaren before the end of the season. His contract says he was due to be on gardening leave until March 1, but he is hoping for a change of heart from his employers.
It’s just all fine Renault was fined 7500 euros (£6500) after the Singapore GP for wrongly informing Bruno Senna that he was racing Sergio Perez for position immediately after the mid-race safety car period. Senna was a full lap behind the Sauber at the time, but was directly behind him on the track.
Stewart (l) gained from Bowyer’s loss
DI RESTA WAITS ON 2012 DRIVE Scot in limbo over Force India plans despite superb Singapore run
ByMatt James Singapore Grand Prix sensation Paul di Resta faces a long wait to find out if he will stay with Force India next year, despite enjoying what he described as his best race of the season on Sunday.
probably mybest race of the season but it’s the result of all the hard work behind the scenes. We came here with an upgrade package that has allowed us to gain performance in the race and gain tyre life, and we saw the benefits of that.”
The Scot raced to sixth position on the streets of the city and it marked the most competitive of his five pointsscoring finishes in F1 to date. His points and those of eighth-placed team-mate Adrian Sutil have helped the team consolidate sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship standings. Despite that, the Silverstone-based team has said it will not determine its 2012 driver line up until December, leading to speculation about both drivers’ futures. Di Resta said: “My first Singapore Grand Prix was a lot of fun and I’m very happy with the outcome. The pace was strong. It’s
Scot wa its on 2012
Force India has said that it is prepared to wait to firm up its drivers for 2012, and that could mean that di Resta and Sutil are in limbo. Di Resta had been linked to a seat at Mercedes, but it seems that Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will be retained for next season, leaving top-flight options looking limited.
Sutil rubbished rumours that he visited Williams recently, but the German said that he thinks both he and di Resta will keep their places in the team. “The team is very good here; it is doing a good performance. I know the team for a long time, so whatever I do I have to think twice if it is a good next step.”
Tyre picks got di Resta sixth spot
Arai is Japanese rallying hero
Rally star to try out tin-tops with Chevy Two-time Production world rally champion Toshi Arai will make his circuit racing debut when he lines up in a fourth works Chevrolet for the next rounds of the World Touring Car Championship at Suzuka in Japan.
The 45-year-old has already tested the car at Pembrey in south Wales ahead of the double-header with the team onOctober 23. He will line up alongside the team’s regular racers Rob Huff, Alain Menu and YvanMuller.
The Intercontinental Rally Challenge competitor said hewas happy to bemaking his bow in front of home fans.
“I was extremely pleased with the test,” said Arai. “The Cruze is pleasant to drive and very responsive, and the team is extremely professional.
“I amdelighted to have the opportunity to race myhome WTCCevent and to do it with Chevrolet. This will be a new experience for me, but the philosophy of WTCCandWRC Production cars is the same and I hope I can adapt quickly.”
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“Kevin Magnussen mastered the wet”
“Kevin Magnussen mastered the wet” British F3 drama, p22
NASCARaceTony Stewart claimed victory in Sunday’s race at NewHampshire Motor Speedway, but only after Clint Bowyer (pictured left) ran out of fuel three laps from the finish.
It marked a dramatic reversal of fortune for Stewart, whowas leading the event in 2010 when he ran out of gas on the last lap and Bowyer inherited the victory.
Stewart has moved to the top of the Chase for the Sprint Cup after winning the first two events of the tenrace play-off, but felt sympathy for his rival.
“I know exactly how [Bowyer] feels right now,” Stewart said. “I saw him slow down going down the back, and I thought, ‘oh, no, you’re kidding me’. That’s not the way you want to win, but we’re in the Chase now, and we’ve got to get everything we can get.”
The next round of the Chase is at Dover Downs on Sunday.
Calado to get first taste of GP2 power British GP3 star James Calado’s hopes of landing a GP2 seat for 2012 have been boosted after sealing a test for Ocean Racing Technology at Jerez in Spain this week.
The Racing Steps Foundation driver, runner-up to Valtteri Bottas in GP3 this year, will also sample an ARTmachine during the two-day test. Ocean Racing boss Tiago Monteiro said that the results of the test could have a bearing on the team’s likely line-up for the F1 support category in 2012. Calado will test alongside three others.
Calado, 22, said: “I will be on the track for two days and so I will have the time I need to adapt to the power and braking,” said Calado. “My objective is to be fast throughout the tests, but my priority is to learn the car and figure out its behaviour. It”s definitely a very different car from the GP3 Series car.” ●British F3 International Series race winner Rupert Svensden-Cook will also get an outing for Spanish squad Racing Engineering.
SCHU GETS CRASH RAP
Michael Schumacher has said that his spectacular airborne exit from the Singapore Grand Prix was as a result of amisunderstanding, but that didn’t stop the Mercedes driver being reprimanded.
Schumacher was trying to pass Sergio Perez on lap 28 of the race when the front of his W02machine clipped the rear of the Sauber. The seven-time world champion was launched high into the air and went straight into a concrete retaining wall, while Perez continued to finish in the points.
The stewards, who included Schumacher’s former Mercedes sportscar team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen, warned him about his behaviour after the crash.
The German said he was caught out when his rival backed off: “What happened was what I would call amisunderstanding between Sergio Perez and myself. Hewas about to go inside and lifted, and I was not expecting him to do that so early, and therefore hit him.
“It’s one of those incidents which look more impressive from outside than from inside, as I am totally OK and my impact in the end was not too heavy.”
Schumacher is still eighth in the points.
Schumacher’s race ended with spectacular accident
F1 teams’ concern at Ecclestone’s railroading of 20-race calendar
Leading F1 teams have expressed concerns about the proposed 2012 Formula One calendar, saying that they didn’t have time to rubber stamp it before the provisional schedule was issued.
Teams says that they have to give approval if the schedule contains more than 17 races and if more than half take place outside of Europe, but this process wasn’t completed. The teams have written to the commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone to clear up the matter. Renault’s Eric Boullier, the vice president of the teams association FOTA, said: “There is a process for the validation of the calendar, especially with more flyaways, and we will be involved in this because there is a cost issue. There are different proposals at the moment, but it is not so easy to move one date.”
Ecclestone said that if the teams didn’t agree with the calendar then they could skip the races. He said: “They don’t have to go if they don’t want to,” he said. “They are lucky we have got races. Otherwise they would all go out of business.”
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Julien Jousse and Emmanuel Collard sealed the Le Mans Series title for LMP1 drivers by winning the six-hour race at Estoril in Portugal last weekend. The pair, who were joined by Christophe Tinseau, took their Pescarolo to a narrow win ahead of Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion’s Rebellion Lola. Tom Kimber-Smith topped the LMP2 class in the Greaves Motorsport car shared with Olivier Lombard and Karim Ojjeh. Brits James Walker and Rob Bell won the GTE Pro division in the JMW Ferrari …
James Walker and Rob Bell won the GTE Pro class at Estoril
Christian Menzel won both of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia races that supported the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend…The Chinese round of the World Touring Car Championship has been moved for a third time. The race, which is the penultimate round of the series and is due to take place on November 6, will now be hosted at Shanghai… In more WTCC news, Portuguese ace Andre Couto has confirmed that he will race a SUNRED Seat Leon in the final rounds of the series at Macau on November 19/20… The Dreyer and Reinbold IndyCar team has confirmed that American Townsend Bell will deputise for regular racer Justin Wilson for the final two rounds of the season as the Sheffield-born racer continues his recovery from fractured vertebrae. The last two rounds are at Kentucky on October 2 and Las Vegas on October 16… Colin Turkington has ended the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship fifth in the points after the final two rounds at Mantorp Park in Sweden last weekend. He took his Flash Engineering BMW 320si to 12th and sixth places in the double-header…
motorsport-news.co.uk SEPTEMBER 28 2011 9
THE VOICE OF MOTORSPORT
SIMON ARRON“Alesiinsists doing Indy is sensible”
MJean Alesi’s last F1 event was in Japan in 2001
odern protocol demands that leading F1 drivers may be interviewed only when a phalanx of press attachés decrees the moment is apt.
Exceptions exist, but as a rule their schedules are tightly mapped out and separated into technical briefings, sponsorship engagements and, occasionally, driving. If you think they are elusive, though, you should try pinning down some of their forebears. Take Jean Alesi. It’s not that the Franco-Sicilian is awkward – far from it – but almost everybody in F1 wants to talk to him and he is eager to reciprocate. His was a career fuelled by passion rather than logic and almost exactly ten years after his last F1 start, his popularity hasn’t dwindled. Former colleagues seem bemused, though, that he has decided to commit to next year’s Indianapolis 500 – the first single-seater race he will have contested since the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix.
Fact: Jean Alesi is 47. Once he’s finished hugging people in the Singapore paddock, Alesi suggests we should go “to his place” to sit down for a chat. I head towards Renault, where he acts as an ambassador for sponsor Group Lotus, which is supporting his Indy drive and supplying engines, but stop when I notice Jean has grabbed a table at Ferrari, his home from 1991 to 1995. Alesi has dabbled in the DTM and sportscars since retiring from F1, and insists doing Indy is more sensible than everyone else seems to think.
“When I began developing the T125, Group Lotus’s track-day single-seater,” he says, “all the old feelings came back and I thought, ‘I’d love to race something like this again’. I’m too old to go back to F3 or whatever, but wondered what I could do that would be both serious and competitive. When Lotus suggested Indy, I took a long, hard look – and the more I looked, the more I liked the idea.”
The decision was taken in August and Alesi has since been following an F1-style fitness regime. “The physical side won’t be a problem,” he says. “I have spent time in Dallara’s simulator and I’m not planning to do any preparatory races. All ovals are different and I just want get used to Indy.
“My kids will give me all sorts of shit if I’m not competitive, so that’s a motivation. My wife has been very supportive. If I’m honest, though, I don’t think she knows too much about Indy...”