2006 Malaysian Grand Prix - Race 2/18

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fuz said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/4839966.stm

Bye Suzuka... and welcome to another Tilke-butchered go kart track

There are rumours kicking about of Suzuka hosting a Pacific GP in April next year. Will go and try to find the story.

Oh and if you think Fuji is a art track, go look for the layout of TI Aida. That really was a kart track, or should that be cart track? :p
 

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I never actually minded Aida when it last hosted a few races (94-95 I think?)... but then it didn't replace an absolute legend of a circuit. I can only think Toyota were pushing to get one up over Honda, and hope that Suzuka is back soon.
 
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Dennis reveals truth about Alonso capture

Ron Dennis has finally revealed the details behind McLaren's shock capture of Fernando Alonso.

According to Dennis, despite frantic efforts to contact Flavio Briatore, it took six weeks before Alonso was able to inform the Renault team that he had signed a deal with McLaren. With a face-to-face meeting "impossible" to arrange, contact was eventually only made via the telephone.

The apparent breakdown in communications between the pair, formerly depicted as having enjoyed a 'father and son relationship', hints at one crucial factor in Alonso's shock defection.

Speaking to F1-Racing magazine, Dennis remained coy on the events leading up to Alonso putting pen to paper on a long-term deal with his team. He refused to say who instigated the talks between the two parties, or when first contact took place.

However, from Dennis' admission that the triumphant press release of 19 December which announced Alonso's capture was issued - against Briatore's wishes - immediately after the Spaniard had spoken to the Renault boss it can be assumed that negotiations were completed in the first week of November.

Briatore has strenuously denied having any role in Alonso's transfer and according to Dennis the driver was represented by "his manager Luis Garcia Abad, his lawyers and family. On our side it involved one key director, which was Martin [Whitmarsh], plus Nobert [Haug] and some other Mercedes-Benz board members. And, after Fernando had signed, but still prior to any public announcement, it also involved a few of our sponsors' senior board members. So, within 24 hours of him having inked his signature, I'd say roughly 25 people knew."

Remarkably, despite the obvious dangers of a leak, the story was kept quiet for the six weeks in which Fernando then failed to make contact with Briatore.

"They all understood the commitment I'd made to Fernando that his signing would have to remain confidential until he'd had the opportunity to inform Flavio," Dennis told the magazine. "Equally, it was understood that, as soon as he'd informed Flavio, I'd inform our drivers - because, obviously, I wanted them to hear it from me, and, equally obviously, one way or another, it would leak. And then, after I'd told our drivers, there would be a press release.

"But four weeks went by, and, owing to factors outside Fernando's control, he couldn't manage to meet Flavio to tell him the news. He tried quite a few times, but a meeting proved impossible to arrange. In the end, after six weeks of trying, and being very keen to inform Flavio before the news was leaked, Fernando had to inform him by telephone."

There's no explanation for why Fernando and Flavio were unable to meet, although the apparent breakdown in their relationship will be inevitably regarded as a partial explanation for Fernando's shock decision to leave Renault.

Once Briatore had been informed, Dennis moved into news-management mode. First to be told of the news were his drivers, Kimi Raikkonen and Juan-Pablo Montoya.

"It was late in the evening when Fernando advised me that'd he broken the news to Flavio. Despite the late hour, I decided that I should telephone our drivers immediately. That was particularly hard on Kimi, because he was in Finland and therefore three hours ahead of UK time. But he took it fine, as it happens."

Kimi's sanguine reaction will no doubt be seized upon by those in the paddock who are already convinced that the Finn has opted to leave McLaren at the end of the season for Ferrari.

The Colombian, on the other hand, appears to have responded with a fiery burst of that famed Latin temper.

"His reaction was, well predictable. His initial reaction was curt - maybe he thought his 2007 seat had just disappeared. But that isn't necessarily the case, of course."

Yet Montoya's disappointment must have paled alongside that of Briatore's.

"Flavio telephoned me and asked me to delay the press release by a week, but I was in an impossible position," says Dennis. "By that time, a large number of people knew. Keeping it secret was no longer realistic. I didn't want the news to go public via a leak. So the next day we sent out a press release."
 
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New front wing for Aguri in Australia

Super Aguri will have a new front wing for the Australian Grand Prix, as they bid to bring both cars to the finish of their third Formula One race.

The new Japanese team has made a formidable F1 debut, with Takuma Sato finishing both Grands Prix, at Bahrain and Malaysia. Teammate Yuji Ide, on the other hand, has retired from both rounds with an engine failure.

Super Aguri are racing with four-year-old Arrow chassis, and Sato said they will feature new updates on the car at Melbourne.

"The team will have a new aero update for this race, and I think that our car will be better suited to this meandering street circuit," the Japanese said.

"After the opening back-to-back races, the team has now had a chance to take a short break and we have also had time to evaluate our performance from the initial races and hopefully make a step forward for the coming Grands Prix."

Team owner Aguri Suzuki added: "[We] will bring a further front wing development to Australia, so we shall hopefully see an improvement in our performance.

"I hope that we will be able to move up a position on the grid and see cars #22 and #23 both finishing the race."
 
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Chief designer Zander leaves Williams

Williams chief designer Jorg Zander has left the team with immediate effect for personal reasons.

Zander joined WilliamsF1 in September 2005 after two years as BAR's chief engineer of mechanics and transmission.

Zander's departure is said to be unrelated at all to his work performance, and Williams said they would not be seeking an immediate replacement for the German.

"Unfortunately Jorg had to leave for personal reasons, and we wish him and his family well in the future," a team spokeswoman told autosport.com.

"We firmly believe that the technical structure we have in place in our design office is strong enough to withstand Jorg's departure, and it will not affect the development of the FW28 this year, or the design of the FW29 for 2007."
 
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<Prof Farnsworth>
Good news everyone!
</Prof>

Monza mayor: noise agreement reached
The mayor of Monza and residents of the Italian town have reached an agreement that will allow motor racing to continue visiting the historic circuit.

According to Monza mayor Michele Faglia, a meeting between the local authorities and the families who complained against the track's noise levels has ended on a positive note, with a written agreement in place that will be submitted to the district court.

A Milan court ruled last November that all competitions will be temporarily banned at Monza unless a suitable system to reduce the noise levels will be implemented. Earlier this month, an Italian civil court magistrate upheld the ban.

However, attempts have been made to reach an out-of-court settlement between the circuit and local officials, and the complaining residents.

According to Faglia, the Monza authorities and residents have "agreed on two points: to study an action plan that will allow the autodrome to carry out its activity with limitations applied to events with high acoustic impact, and to mitigate acoustic pollution with noise-absorbing barriers built by specialized companies."

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport reports today that the document will be submitted to judge Marco Manunta with a request to revoke the court ban.

The next court hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 30th.
 
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Big HUGE news...

GPMA teams submit entry for 2008

All five manufacturer-backed Formula One teams have submitted their entries to the 2008 Formula One world championship.

BMW, Honda, McLaren (Mercedes-Benz) and Toyota submitted their application for 2008 last week, with Renault following suit earlier today.

"The five teams united through the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association have submitted their entry forms for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship," the GPMA said in a statement.

There had been fears that the FIA's decision to open a limited 'window of opportunity' from March 24th to March 31st, on the back of plans to freeze engine development from 2008, could act as a catalyst for the manufacturers to press ahead with their rebel plans.

FIA president Max Mosley warned the carmakers that only those teams that lodged applications before the March 31st deadline would be allowed to have an input into future rules.

In a letter he wrote to the teams earlier this month detailing the deadline, he said: "unless the FIA and the Competing Teams are persuaded that extenuating circumstances apply, even where such a late entry is accepted by the FIA prior to 30 June, late entering teams will not be invited to join in any discussions regarding the finalisation of the Sporting Regulations and entry will only be possible on the basis that the team accepts the Sporting Regulations as finally adopted and published prior to 30 June."

If the manufacturer-backed teams had been excluded from the talks, then it would almost certainly have forced them to go ahead with their breakaway plans - even though they are believed to be on the verge of a commercial settlement with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

And although the GPMA members' decision to lodge entries for 2008 does not mean that the breakaway plans are completely finished - because they are not bound to stay in F1 until that date - it does lessen the chances of the rebel series going ahead.

"The teams look forward to the FIA's acceptances, and to beginning discussions with the FIA in order to finalise the regulations for 2008," the GPMA statement added.

"The GPMA members are united and remain committed to improve the sport for the benefit of all stakeholders.

"Significant progress has been made in the negotiations between the GPMA and the commercial rights holder, and discussions are ongoing."

The FIA declined to comment on the entries, stating the full entry list will only be published on April 28th.

An FIA spokesman said: "It would be inappropriate for the FIA to comment on press speculation that all of the GPMA members have already submitted entries for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship."

Sources have revealed that interest for the 2008 championship has exceeded expectations, with a number of independent teams opting to try and gain an entry to the championship.

It is understood that more than the maximum number of 12 teams have lodged entries, although the identities of the new teams has not been revealed. Recent speculation has linked David Richards, Eddie Jordan and Roger Penske with possible F1 plans.
 
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FIA reveals details of Maranello meeting

The FIA has released details of its meeting with representatives of Renault, Ferrari and Cosworth, where the parties discussed proposals for engine homologation for the 2008 Formula One regulations.

FIA president Max Mosley met in Maranello with Ferrari's team boss Jean Todt, technical director Ross Brawn, engine chiefs Paolo Martinelli and Gilles Simon, as well as Renault's boss Flavio Briatore, engineering head Pat Symonds and engine technical director Rob White.

There were also two representatives from engine supplier Cosworth.

The FIA said the parties have agreed to a five-year freeze to engine development, although some parts will be allowed to be modified on an annual basis.

The governing body said no changes to improve performance will be allowed.



The proposed rules state:

On March 24, the FIA held an informal meeting with Formula One engine experts from Cosworth, Ferrari and Renault.

The purpose of the meeting was to formulate proposals to modify and extend the new (2008) rules for engine homologation so as to encourage research into engine efficiency and the more effective use of available energy.

The meeting agreed on the following proposals (which should be read in conjunction with Article 86(e) and Appendix 6 of the 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations):

1. The engine will be homologated for 5 years, being 2008-2012 inclusive.

2. Each year modifications to the engine can be homologated. Details will be delivered to the FIA before January 1st of the year in question, and a complete engine delivered before the first of February of that year.

3. The elements of the engine which can be changed in this way on an annual basis, are:

- ports;
- combustion chamber shape;
- valve size, shape, and angle;
- piston crown (the weight of the piston must remain the same, as must piston ring position and compression height);
- camshaft profiles and valve actuation kinematics;
- intake manifolds;
- injector nozzles (not injector actuator);
- spark plugs;
- changes to the cylinder head consequential upon and limited to those resulting from the above;

4. Changes to the engine on the "fair and equitable" principle will be limited to those that the FIA is satisfied are carried out and necessary for cost reduction or reliability. No modification will be permitted which, in the opinion of the FIA, may result in a performance gain. These changes will be published by the FIA.

5. For 2007, those present will endeavour to secure changes to the 2007 Sporting Regulations to incorporate the 2008 engine homologation regulations (Article 86(e) and Appendix 6) into the 2007 Regulations, including a limitation of engine speed.
 
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Briatore insists on qualifying tweak

Formula One's new knockout qualifying needs further modifications to improve the show, says Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.

"I think the knockout system is very good, and spectacular for the spectators," he said in a team preview for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, the third race of the season. "But I am still not happy with the first part of Q3.

"At the moment, we are going round for no reason, and it doesn't make sense for the people or for our image with the environment," added the Italian.

"I think the final session should be 15 minutes long and you fuel beforehand. You then qualify, and whatever load you finish the session with, then you...start the race like that.

"What we are doing now doesn't make sense for the show."

Under the current format, introduced this year after previous systems were criticised for being too long and boring, qualifying is divided into three parts with the final 20-minutes session involving 10 cars fighting for pole position.

However, because those 10 cars are allowed to refuel afterwards only to the level they started the session with, drivers spend much of the time burning off fuel before putting in their quickest times at the end.
 
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Prodrive's factory plans face opposition

Prodrive's plans to build a Formula One-spec factory in Warwickshire, England, are facing opposition from a campaign group that fears it would destroy the local countryside.

The company, which is run by former BAR boss David Richards, announced the plans to build its 'Fulcrum' facility earlier this month in a move that was seen as a first step to entering F1.

But the size of the Honiley complex, which could employ more than 1,000 staff, has sparked outcry from local residents who have set up the Fulcrum Prodrive Action Group (FPAG) to oppose the plans.

Although they have no opposition to Prodrive's current use of the facility, which acts as a vehicle proving ground, they worry about the impact of the development plans that have been lodged with Warwick District Council. They hope to persuade the council to reject the plans.

Local resident Sonya Mills told the Kenilworth Weekly News: "We are generally in favour of promoting and improving the area; boosting the economy and providing jobs.

"But there are detrimental effects, and we decided to form a group to make people aware of the wider implications."

She added: "There is a wooded area within Prodrive that houses muntjac deer and barn owls. In fact, a study conducted for Prodrive showed the existence of bats, badgers and great crested newts - all of which are protected.

"The construction will also involve significant felling of trees, which provide a natural habitat for the wildlife.

"It seems ridiculous that this could appear in the middle of the countryside."
 
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Mosley lauds Briatore, chides his rivals

FIA president Max Mosley has praised Renault team chief Flavio Briatore, saying the Italian should be a role model to F1 team management.

Writing in his monthly column for F1 Racing magazine, Mosley was highly complimentary towards Briatore - but equally acidic in his references to other team bosses, which the president refrained from naming but has left enough hints for identification.

"It must be utterly galling to work long hours, employing hundreds of staff and a meetings matrix, in a massive facility, spending huge sums, only to be blown away by a glamorous Italian playboy who doesn't even seem to be trying - especially when he does it all on a smaller budget than yours," Mosley wrote.

"I believe [Briatore's] major talent is being able to distinguish between what matters and what doesn't.

"No rambling on at great length, explaining in detail things everyone already knows, to the point where you wonder whether you're more bored than confused or more confused than bored. Flavio comes crisply to the point.

"It's a pity we don't have a few more like him; it would make the F1 paddock more fun and far more interesting to the public. Oh, and the teams' side of the business would be better run and significantly more profitable."
 
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Testing Limits Hurt Smaller Teams

Limits on F1 track testing are a disadvantage for smaller teams, according to Williams' co-owner Patrick Head.

The 60-year-old, doubling as an engineering director, agrees that doing less test miles - such as via the current 36-day voluntary agreement - does cut costs.

However, with the FIA looking to regulate test mileage into the future, Head warned that it could escalate the divide between F1's haves and have-nots if not accompanying rules to nullify huge spending in other areas.

''As testing gets limited more,'' the Briton said, ''it puts more emphasis onto simulation tools, and some of those are pretty expensive.''

After the loss of works partner BMW, Sir Frank Williams' Grove based squad should be seen as an independent in the same mould as Red Bull, Midland and Super Aguri.

As an example, Head explained that the FW28's new seamless gearbox had to be 'de-bugged' on the test track because the team no longer has access to sophisticated dynamometers.
 

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Flibster said:
Tonight....

Prepare for a raft of bad Aussie jokes.. :D

Late arrivals at the BBQ.... ;)

Simon/~Flibster

Have you been to both the Melbourne and the Adelaide Grand Prix? If you went to both of them what one did you like better?
Do you think it should have stayed at Adelaide?
 
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F1 - the pinnacle of technology?

The FIA has given details of a meeting that took place on Friday at Maranello with Cosworth, Ferrari and Renault. The purpose of the meeting was "to formulate proposals to modify and extend the new (2008) rules for engine homologation so as to encourage research into engine efficiency and the more effective use of available energy". It was agreed that engines will be homologated for five years but that each year there can be modifications if details are given to the FIA before January 1 of the year in question. Complete new engines must be shown to the FIA before February 1. There are elements which can be changed including ports, combustion chamber shape, valve size, shape, and angle, the piston crown (although the weight of the piston must remain the same, as must piston ring position and compression height), camshaft profiles and valve actuation kinematics, intake manifolds, injector nozzles (but not injector actuator), spark plugs and changes to the cylinder head consequential upon and limited to those resulting from the above.

This sounds fine but it is worth noting that changes to the engine will be limited "to those that the FIA is satisfied are carried out and necessary for cost reduction or reliability. No modification will be permitted which, in the opinion of the FIA, may result in a performance gain". However this stipulation is not as concrete as it sounds and it would be applied in a "fair and equitable" fashion. This legal terminology effectively means that performance can be negotiated with the FIA and has presumably been included in the rules to make sure that the federation is covered against any legal claims about restrictive practices.

This means that engine manufacturers who are lagging behind the others should be allowed to catch up but not get ahead.

This all sounds rather complicated but in effect the FIA is trying to limit engine development so that everyone has the same horsepower. Whether this is a good idea is another matter as some would argue that cars with the same horsepower tend to circulate around behind one another.

The other question is a philosophical one, based on the fact that in the FIA survey last year the respondents voted overwhelmingly (80%) that it is advanced technology that sets F1 apart from the other forms of motor sport. With common ECUs, frozen engines, standard tyres and gearboxes that must last for four races, one might argue that it is getting to the point at which technology is now being completed suffocated by the rule-makers.
 
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Are there any more details on the engine freeze? For example I assume they would be able to redesign a part that was causing the engine to fail, as long as it didn't increase performance at the same time?
 
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Deathwish said:
Are there any more details on the engine freeze? For example I assume they would be able to redesign a part that was causing the engine to fail, as long as it didn't increase performance at the same time?


Pretty much.

They can improve reliability and fuel efficiency I think...but no increase performance...

But - if an engine manafacturer has an obvious performance deficit then they may be allowed to increase to the same levels as the other engines...

Simon/~Flibster
 
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