2006 Spanish Grand Prix - Race 6/18

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Driver of Quali: M.Schumi - soo much more fuel then anyone else around him.

Drive of the race: Alonso, some stunning laps when fully loaded - awesome drive :)
 
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Zip said:
Where is webber heading next year?
I doubt he will stay with williams after all the troubles hes had with them this year

He's said that he wants to stay with them - tbh - I don't blame him.

Williams are one of the few teams that can pull it round.
 
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GPMA confirm: all members have signed

All five members of the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association have now signed a memorandum of understanding that will see them commit to Formula One until the end of 2012.

In a statement issued at Barcelona, the GPMA said its members now await the commercial rights holder to sign the MOU as well.

CVC's managing partner Donald McKenzie is expected to arrive at Barcelona today and sign the deal agreed.

"Today's MOU constitutes a comprehensive solution to the future of the sport," BMW's executive board member Burkhard Goeschel said, on behalf of the GPMA.

"We can build on this result and look forward to jointly grow F1 and make it an even bigger sporting spectacle than ever before."

Autosport.com understands the breakthrough in the negotiations between the manufacturers and sport's commercial rights holder came when the GPMA agreed to compromise on the share of the revenues given to the teams.

The GPMA demanded 60% of Formula One's revenues, but eventually the sides agreed the teams will receive a smaller share than that - presumed to be more than 50%, which will be paid back from 2006, rather than from 2008.
 
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Q & A with Alain Dassas on Renault's deal

Renault F1 president Alain Dassas talks about his team's commitment to Formula One, the new GPMA deal, their search for a top-line driver and new sponsors, and Flavio Briatore's long-term decision.

Q: Flavio Briatore has said for several weeks that Renault were ready to sign a commercial agreement with Bernie Ecclestone. How happy are you that the five GPMA teams have now signed it?

Alain Dassas: "Well, we finally reached an agreement and have agreed to sign an agreement very soon. It is a question of details.

"We have an agreement with Bernie and have been working with the other manufacturers very closely, the GPMA members, we have made progress together and we have reached a level where everybody should feel happy.

"As we wanted to go ahead rapidly, it is clear that we decided to go ahead today. Flavio has been telling you that for several weeks. We need to sign this accord as soon as possible, but now that the agreement is done then fine, it is going to be done.

"Why did we need to have this agreement? Clearly for a couple of reasons. To show that Renault has the willingness to pursue its presence in Formula One. It is a 2008 to 2012 agreement. So the team is committed to be there. We show the market, we show the other teams, and we show the sponsors that we are there to continue.

"The fact is that it is a good commercial agreement. Why is it a good commercial agreement? Well, because the breakdown of the Formula One income is more balanced than it used to be. It is a significant increase compared to what we had before.

"We don't release exact figures because we prefer to keep it confidential, but it is a significant increase and also it is not only an increase which is going to take place in 2008, but it is going to be applied as soon as 2006. So for 2006 and 2007. That is a very positive point.

"So now that we are there, now that this agreement will be behind us, we can now concentrate on other tasks - and the other task is finding a good driver and finding sponsors. For as long as we demonstrated that we were not there for a long period of time, people were hesitating, so that is why it was important for us to reach this agreement.

"We are now, at this stage, looking for drivers and looking for sponsors. We are also working on the technical regulations; you know that all the manufacturers and the organisation are trying to set up new technical regulations to limit this inflation in terms of costs.

"So we are working on that and we will hope to reach agreement on that also in the near future, because if we want to have Formula One be a long-term sport for everybody, then you have to control costs somewhere. You have to stop this race - and I think most of the manufacturers are in agreement with that, so we should be able to reach good regulations."

Q: Has the commitment to reducing costs been crucial? I get the impression that is very important to Renault, but less important to Honda - they seem to want free technology and just to throw money at it?

Dassas: "You have differences between the manufacturers. That is true. I think a vast majority of them realise that we must cut costs."

Q: At the beginning of the negotiations, there was a proposal on the table for 60 percent of the income, beginning in 2008. When you compare these two proposals, is there not much difference in money? Why did you go for the 50 percent?

Dassas: "I did not say we went for the 50 percent. I did not mention a figure. But we went for less [than 60%] because it is a matter of negotiation. We went for less, but we get it from the start of 2006. And the agreement is not just the 50 percent, 60 percent something like this - it is the rest. There are a set of clauses that are constraining so we feel it is a good agreement."

Q: Was Renault's decision to sign done in full co-ordination with the rest of the manufacturers?

Dassas: "We have been working closely with the rest of the manufacturers. All the improvements we have obtained in these negotiations have been obtained together with the other manufacturers. We have decided today to go ahead, to agree with that, and I hope the other manufacturers will do that.

Q: Flavio Briatore has said this weekend in the Italian press that he has a contract on his desk that he has not signed for four weeks. Was that due to the uncertainty over this? Do you expect that contract to be signed?

Dassas: I expect Flavio to take his decision as quickly as possible, but the fact that we are committed for a long period of time, the fact is that we have stated clearly that we want to have a driver who is ready to give top performance.

"What interests Flavio, but you should ask him, is that he wants to be at the top of the races. So if we give him the means to be at the top, I think he will be happy to sign. But, again, I am not Flavio, so you should ask him."

Q: Was there ever a point where Renault would have signed the agreement even if the other four members of the GPMA refused?

Dassas: "I would prefer not to answer that. We wished to stay with them as a GPMA member, but at a certain moment in time you have to take your own responsibility, so that is why we prefer to stay as a group and hopefully we will stay as a group."

Q: Ron Dennis said this morning that there was one aspect not agreed yet with CVC, but that Donald McKenzie was coming to resolve that. Could you give any more information on that?

Dassas: "No, I cannot give you any more details. I just know that Donald McKenzie was not there and could not come (to the meetings held so far this weekend). It is not a major concern."

Q: Do you think if you had this commitment half a year ago that you could have kept Fernando Alonso?

Dassas: "I was not there half a year ago, but I guess Alonso has left the team for a couple of reasons or several reasons. Maybe that is one of them. I am sure it is not the only one. Maybe it is one of them, but I am not sure that even if we would have committed that Alonso would have stayed."

Q: Any more thoughts on who might replace Fernando?

Dassas: "Of course I have some thoughts about what can be done, and you all have some thoughts about what can be done. That is Flavio Briatore's responsibility, and he will make proposals, and he will make selections, and we will see. We are ready, as Renault is a shareholder of this, to do what is necessary to have a good driver."

Q: The increase in income from Formula One will surely be of assistance in paying for a top-line driver?

Dassas: "Yes, it will help."

Q: Have you talked to any drivers?

Dassas: "In F1, everybody talks to everybody. I am sure Flavio has had serious talks with a lot of people."

Q: Are there any guarantees that you will stay in Formula One as Renault, or will you use another brand?

Dassas: "We will stay. F1 will stay. All the manufacturers have teams and the teams are committed and we will see what they do. It is Renault's intent and Renault's interest to continue."

Q: With which brand?

Dassas: "We have several brands in the group, is that what you mean?"

Q: Yes...

Dassas: "That is a good question. We have several brands within the group, but for the moment we will stay with Renault. We have a lot of brands, and whether we use them or not is too early to say. It is not for the immediate future, but it is an idea."

Q: In the discussions about engines there are two proposals on the table. There is the Maranello document with the full homologation, while the GPMA members propose part homologation but a limited amount of engines over the year. Which one do you favour?

Dassas: "I really want to leave that to the experts. There is a technical group that is working on that with all the engine experts and they will come up with solutions. That is their speciality and we will see what they come up with.

What is a reasonable budget for a season?

Dassas: "We don't have a specific figure in mind, but it is certainly a decrease compared to what the budget is [now]. You know that the budgets are variable from one team to another. I am sure we are not one of the most expensive ones, but we still need to have a significant decrease in net costs, taking into account an increased income from the FIA and hopefully some good sponsors."

Q: Were there any compromises necessary to get the commercial agreement that will affect the engine rules?

Dassas: "No. They are completely separate discussions."

Q: How will it look if you paid a lot of money for a driver for the next two or three years, having let Alonso go? Renault's philosophy has always been to grow your own talent from within.

Dassas: "It is true that we like to grow our own talent from within, but it is also true that we are there to have top performances. We need a top driver to do that. Alonso is not replaced easily, so we need to a top driver. We need a young talent and we need a top driver."

Q: Does Giancarlo Fisichella constitute the top driver?

Dassas: "I cannot answer this question. He is a top driver..."

Q: Do you have a master plan in place in case Flavio Briatore decides to retire?

Dassas: "Let's say it like this: we don't want to envision that for the moment."

Q: Had there not been this commitment to reduce costs, would Renault have definitely pulled out of F1?

Dassas: "It is maybe tough to say. We would maybe have been looking for a way of getting out, but not abandon like this. We would have been looking at it, and that is why all our efforts were there to see what conditions we can live.

"We can live with a better Concorde Agreement. We can live with sponsors, and we can live with better technical regulations. We are working on this, and so far, so good."
 
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Renault ready to pay for a top-line driver

Renault have openly admitted that they are ready to pay out 'whatever is necessary' in the bid to land a top-line driver to replace Fernando Alonso next year.

With a new commercial agreement now almost in place that will boost the French car manufacturers' budget for 2007, Renault F1 president Alain Dassas has made it clear that the way is now clear for them to open their chequebook to secure a top driver.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday about his thoughts on who should replace Alonso, who is moving to McLaren, Dassas said: "Of course I have some thoughts about what can be done...but that is Flavio Briatore's responsibility and he will make proposals, make selections, and we will see.

"We are ready, as Renault is a shareholder of this, to do what is necessary to have a good driver."

Although Renault have previously held the stance that they would rather groom their own talent than pay out for big name stars elsewhere, Dassas admitted that the team also had the necessity to be competitive. Renault test driver Heikki Kovalainen remains favourite to be promoted to a race seat in 2007.

"It is true that we like to grow our own talent from within, but it is also true that we are there to have top performances," continued Dassas. "We need a top driver to do that. Alonso is not replaced easily, so we need to a top driver. We need a young talent and we need a top driver."

Dassas' comments would appear to suggest that Giancarlo Fisichella is not being considered to lead the Renault team in 2007.

When asked whether he considered Fisichella the 'top driver' that he was earlier referring to, Dassas hesitated before responding: "I cannot answer this question. He is a top driver..."

The most obvious target for Renault is Kimi Raikkonen, whose contact with McLaren expires at the end of this season.

It is understood that Raikkonen held a meeting with Renault boss Flavio Briatore at last weekend's European Grand Prix and the team's current competitiveness, allied to the possibility of a high pay packet, would be attractive to the Finn.

The news of Renault's push to land a big name star next year has come on the same day that McLaren boss Ron Dennis indicated that his team were moving towards making a final decision on drivers.

In a response to a question about the latest situation on the driver front, amid the Raikkonen rumours, Dennis said: "First of all, we have a very firm plan now, we know exactly what we are doing as a team.

"We will start to implement the plan, and it provides for all contingencies. We think now we are in a phase with the team that we will start to take decisions, and they will unfold over the next two or three weeks."

When asked if there were any further details, Dennis said: "No. We are a Grand Prix team. Norbert [Haug, Mercedes director] and I are people who have to make recommendations to people who support the programme.

"Sometimes you are following the necessity to be courteous to sponsors, etc; sometimes there are other shareholders or board members, and they have to be supportive of your plans, and we have a firm plan on how we will move forward, and this will unfold over the next two or three weeks."

Dennis's remarks would tend to suggest that he now knows one way or another whether Raikkonen will be staying with his team or not.

McLaren have previously made no secret of the fact that Raikkonen was their preferred candidate to drive alongside Alonso next year, and only last week the team's F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said they would wait as long as they could for the Finn to make up his mind.
 
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I think it's now fairly safe to say that if you don't like the way Formula 1 has become (tactical and technological), then F1 is no longer for you. We just have to now accept that instead of wheel to wheel bashing, races will be won by the fastest package on race day. The race technology has become so knife edge, it seems very unlikely to have two cars totally matched. Even two cars in the same team rarely match each other.

I don't know if this could be fixed by the regulations without removing the cutting edge tech from F1.


(As always, the above is only my opinion and just the way I currently see it)
 

Zip

Zip

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Memphis said:
I think it's now fairly safe to say that if you don't like the way Formula 1 has become (tactical and technological), then F1 is no longer for you. We just have to now accept that instead of wheel to wheel bashing, races will be won by the fastest package on race day. The race technology has become so knife edge, it seems very unlikely to have two cars totally matched. Even two cars in the same team rarely match each other.

I don't know if this could be fixed by the regulations without removing the cutting edge tech from F1.


(As always, the above is only my opinion and just the way I currently see it)

Thats why i like the WRC. There is always atleast one car that gets a bit to close to a ditch or the side of the road :D
Its always got some excitment in it :)
 
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Spanish GP: Race notes - WilliamsF1

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1: "It's obviously a pretty disappointing result to finish outside of the points. Both cars finished which is good, but we will go away from here and make sure we have significantly better performance in Monaco. Mark and Nico had good starts but we lost out on the first lap and from that point on spent most of the race in slower traffic, which is pretty difficult to recover from at Barcelona."

Mark Webber: "Our strategy today was similar to a lot of other people but we weren't quick enough here. Barcelona has been a tough venue for us all winter as well as the build up to this event and the race itself has been no different. Finishing one lap down isn't good, but everyone at Williams will be looking for a much more promising showing in Monte Carlo."

Nico Rosberg: "Formula One is different to GP2 where you could always have a fight where-ever you were in the race and quite often you might earn some points. But in Formula One it is different and sometimes you have races where you don't get any points, like today. The race didn't go too badly in overall terms as I improved from 13th on the grid to 11th at the finish. Unfortunately, there was a mistake in my second stop, so I fell behind Trulli, which cost time in the final stint. I couldn't get by him despite trying. I also had my first experience of being lapped in my career today and it is not a pleasant feeling! However, the positive thing is that both Mark and I finished the race and now I am looking forward to Monaco, where we will have a fresh engine and where we should be strong. I was third there last year in GP2, and this is a good omen for me."

Sean O'Mahony, Principal Engineer - F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth Ltd: "It was a frustrating day for us as both cars were obviously quick when not held up. On the other hand, it was good to see both Series 4 engines get to the end of their second race. We had no real concerns about the engines during the race apart from some high oil temperatures at the start due to the hotter than predicated ambient temperature."
 
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Spanish GP: Race notes - Toro Rosso

Tonio Liuzzi: I think it was a mistake to start the race on used tyres, as we could not match the others on pace. The second stint was a lot better and I made up some positions after the pit stops. Our pace was good and the car was handling well, but on the last lap I had to stop with a hydraulic problem with the steering. It's *poo* to go 65 laps in a 66 lap race.

Scott Speed: My engine started to let go halfway through the second stint, which is a shame because I think I had an awesome start. I made an aggressive move on Rosberg and it paid off and I was running eleventh. So I thought maybe a point could have been possible. We'll come back strong in Monaco.

Gerhard Berger: It's the first time we did not get a single car across the finish line. That's racing. Scott had an engine failure and Tonio had a hydraulic problem. In terms of race pace, once again we are in what seems to be our usual position.
 
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Spanish GP: Race notes - Super Aguri

Super Aguri driver Takuma Sato brought home his SA05 to finish today's Spanish Grand Prix in 17th position. It was a disappointing end to Franck Montagny's weekend as a drive shaft failure ended his race prematurely on lap 10.

Takuma Sato: It was good to finish a race again – our first since we have come back to Europe. I had a difficult start; I was side-by-side with Monteiro when he forced me to run wide in the dirt and I lost a lot of momentum. Into turn one I regained position under braking and overtook a few cars, but by turn three, because the tyres were covered in dust and in a bad condition, I lost it into turn four. After that I was struggling with oversteer and I was just following the car in front when I lost it again. After we made an adjustment at the first pitstop the car felt much better and I was able to do a good run for the rest of the race.

Franck Montagny: Obviously it is bad that we did not finish the race and stopped after 10 laps, but I made quite a good start and I could overtake Taku and the two Midlands so it is getting better. We had a little bit of fighting after one or two laps and after that I had a little bit of space and my lap time was ok. I am quite happy because after three days we have finally found a good set-up for the car. We still have to work on the new tyres and gearbox because it appears that we need to focus a little bit more on the details and if we do that I think that it will get better and better. We have something positive to take away from this weekend and for me it was a good feeling to be in front of my team-mate for a few laps!

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: It was a busy race for us and Taku did a great job, so I am pleased that he passed the chequered flag. Franck did very well at the start and showed a good performance until he had to retire due to a drive shaft problem. I hope that we will be able to provide a better car for him as soon as possible. We wanted both cars to finish the race today so it is little disappointing, but we have learned a lot from this race and are confident that we are continuing to improve this car for the coming races. All in all, I am glad that our car finished the race today and we look forward to heading to Monaco.
 
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Spanish GP: Race notes - Red Bull

David Coulthard: That was a bit of a long, lonely race. I had a problem with the brakes when driving to the grid and locked up about three or four times. That wasn't very confidence inspiring and I wasn't able to attack the corners for the entire race. For me, not a very good 200th grand prix.

Christian Klien: My start was not so good and I lost two places to the Toro Rosso guys. I was behind Tonio (Liuzzi) but, as the overall pace of the car was actually not too bad, I was able to overtake him and get closer to Rosberg. After my first stop it was more difficult to keep the same pace, as there were so many blue flags and I lost the gap between myself and Rosberg. But, at least we finished the race with both cars, that's a good thing.

Christian Horner: It's the first time since Bahrain that we've got two cars to the finish. Christian's pace in the first sector of the race was respectable, but with no new tyres available for his second and third stint, he dropped away from Rosberg who he'd been closing in on at the start. Starting from the back of the grid, David was always in for a long afternoon, although he had a good first lap to clear both the Midlands and Super Aguris. As a team, we now need to build on today's race finishes and work on the general pace of the car to start moving forward from here.
 
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Spanish GP: Race notes - Renault

The Renault F1 Team scored its second double podium finish of the 2006 season this afternoon, as Fernando Alonso won the Spanish Grand Prix from pole position, while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella finished third.

The result marks Fernando's first ever win at his home Grand Prix, and delighted the 130,000 strong crowd that packed the Circuit de Catalunya this afternoon.

The Spanish Grand Prix was always going to be a race about tyres. After proving their first lap performance in yesterday's qualifying session, the Michelin tyres in fact revealed their strongest suit to be consistency in race conditions, as Fernando Alonso made the most of the speed of the R26 to beat Ferrari on pure pace. Team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella struggled with inconsistent handling in the opening stint, and lost ground to his team-mate, but drove strongly after the stops to take the final podium position.

The Renault F1 Team's total of 16 points from this race extends the Constructors' Championship lead over Ferrari to 19 points. Fernando Alonso now leads the Drivers' Championship by 15 points on a total of 54 from six races, while Giancarlo Fisichella took his score to 24 points, and is now just 3 points behind Kimi Raikkonen in third place. This victory also marked Renault's 100th Grand Prix victory with Elf, a series begun back in 1979 at the French Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso: This has been a day of so many emotions for me, and I think I will remember every moment. The first highlight was my drive with the King around the circuit in a Renault Megane this morning, then the start, the first laps when I could see we had the pace, around the pit-stops with the crowd jumping in the stands when Michael came out behind me, the final laps with so much emotion in the car. And finally the in-lap, soaking up the amazing atmosphere made by these brilliant supporters, my people. The R26 was perfect today – we only made one small change for the balance, but I could push all the way through the race. I didn't get a good start and Fisico reacted better than me, but after that, everything was perfect. I expected Ferrari to be stronger in the race, but today, I think we got the maximum from the Renault-Michelin package. Thank you to everybody at the team, this is another dream come true.

Giancarlo Fisichella: We arrived in Spain looking to get on the podium and we did exactly that, even though Ferrari were strong this weekend. I got a fantastic start and things were close with Fernando into the first corner, but he had the advantage and I let him go. After that, the balance of the car was not perfect, and so even though I was pulling away from Michael in the stint, it was not enough to stay ahead at the stops. We made some changes to give less oversteer and so when I came out behind him, I was pushing hard, and made a small mistake which put me in the gravel at Turn 3. But I didn't lose a position, and then just pushed hard to keep Massa behind in the second stops. We had a good pace in that stint, and I kept third quite easily, then looked after everything to the finish. This was a good race for me, and a strong way to bounce back from the last races. I am very optimistic for Monaco, one of my favourite circuits.

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director: Renault scored an incredible team result this afternoon. Fernando and Giancarlo were perfect, we made the right choices with the strategy and beat Ferrari fair and square. Apart from Renault and Ferrari, the other teams just didn't seem to have the pace to stay with us today. This is a fantastic day for all of Renault, to win in Spain with Fernando, and to have both our drivers on the podium: it is a real team win. We must thank Michelin as well. I had been a bit pessimistic coming here, but this race showed they are pushing hard to win the championship, which is what we need through the summer. Congratulations to Elf also on their hundredth victory with Renault. We know there are many more still to come.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: To be perfectly honest, I was not too optimistic about our chances before this afternoon's race, as Ferrari had looked extremely competitive on their long runs in practice. This afternoon's double podium was all about the pace of our car and drivers, not strategy. Fernando drove faultlessly today. We knew the Michelin tyres had strong first lap performance, but we had only had one new set left to use with Fernando, and therefore the victory would be dictated by the consistency of the tyres. They held up fantastically, and allowed us to beat Ferrari on outright speed. Giancarlo also put in an excellent performance, and backed up Fernando perfectly during the race. He was driving on the limit throughout and apart from one excursion after his first pit-stop, he was faultless. This result is a great credit to our drivers, and to the whole team both here at the track, and back at Enstone and Viry.
 
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