News Round-up: McLaren, Renault, Rules & Alonso

News Round-up: McLaren, Renault, Rules & Alonso

FIA Transporter - 2007 Brazilian Grand PrixWhat a busy few days it has been, eh? I knew they would be busy, but I honestly didn’t expect this much news to be flying around, particularly when it is the off-season and most teams were also in Spain attending the test session at Jerez. Anyway, what with everything being a little hectic I thought I would take a few moment just to punch out a few of the headlines and also chat briefly about the news that didn’t quite make into BlogF1 this week.

Renault Hearing

On Thursday, the World Motor Sport Council met to discuss McLren’s claims that Renault had in their possession confidential data about their cars, componants and systems. The WMSC found the team guilty, but chose to not punish them, much to the delight of Flavio Briatore. Read more…

McLaren Hearing

Following on from Stepneygate earlier in the year, the FIA wanted to ensure that no part of the information they came to have was integrated in to their 2008 challenger. Representatives of the FIA inspected and examined parts and drawings at the teams headquarters in Woking, Surrey and met in Monaco to discuss the findings. The decision as to whether or the MP4-23 will be allowed to race has been postponed until February next year. Read more…

Silverstone Gets A New Wall

British Grand Prix venue Silverstone is to get a new pit wall in order to fully comply with the FIA’s latest safety regulations. The wall should be able to withstand impacts of up to 250kph and includes 1000 cubic metres of concrete, 10km of steel reinforcing bars and 330 metres of debris fencing.

Alonso Update

Now that Renault have escaped penalty from their spy saga, it is expected that Fernando Alonso will make an announcement soon as to where he will be driving in 2008 (or announce a sabbatical should the case be so). The three teams that are still cropping up in the rumour mill, Honda, Red Bull Racing and Renault each spoke to the press this week about the situation.

I expect to see Fernando most likely in a Renault after the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing. There has been a lot of rumours and speculations but we confirmed our drivers some time ago in the summer. There has never been any intention to change that line-up for next year. Christian Horner, Red Bull Racing.

The first thing I can say is that there is no truth in the rumour that he has been to our factory for a seat fit. We are intrigued as to where the rumour came from. I think Alonso is a fantastic driver but he has to go to a team which is ready for him, that means with the ability to give him a car that he can potentially win the championship with. I think the problem maybe Fernando has at the moment is that some of the offers he is getting don’t give him exactly what he wants. I think Renault is a very logical place for him to go but I guess the question I will ask you is: can Renault afford him and give him a car to beat McLaren or Ferrari, who are probably still going to be the top contenders? I think the time is taken for him to make a decision within the case that he has reservations as well. Nick Fry, Honda.

I think everyone knows that we have been talking to him. There are things to be done, as always. The announcement, whether positive or negative, will come in time. That time is not far now. We or he will soon be announcing something. Pat Symonds, Renault.

While Nick Fry is probably correct in that Renault will have to work incredibly hard to give him a championship winning car, it really is the best team to go for given the circumstances. Pat Symonds’s comment is the giveaway there, in case there was any doubt. Symonds said that, “we or he will soon be announcing something.” If Alonso wasn’t Renault-bound, why would Pat commit either his team or Fernando to announcing something. It’s not like Renault are going to hold a press conference just to say ‘Alonso isn’t driving for us next season’.

The FIA May Be Suing The Sunday Times

Good luck. No, seriously, good luck. Read more…

Engines Get Frozen Until 2017, Wind Tunnel Usage Is Limited, Team Personnel Attending Races Capped

Hopefully between now and then Max Mosley will step down, cease control and this can be reversed. Freezing engines is one way to prevent the rampant development of power surges in the sport, but there really are better ways if you are willing to put your mind to it.

Wind tunnel usage: According the FIA, a team can only use one during the season and they cannot be used continuously. I see how wealthy teams would use their wind tunnel non-stop, thus gaining advantage over poorer teams, but how are they going to police this, exactly?

And finally, personnel at races: I suppose that if Ferrari took 300 staff to a race and something happened to a car, then it could be mended pretty sharpish, as opposed to say Force India who may only take 150 staff to a race and therefore be on the back foot when it comes to this sort of thing. Plus, it cuts down on emissions and thus Mosley can be rewarded for doing his bit to help save the planet. But in all honesty, this seems a bit silly. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just that I think Max should be focusing his mind on more pressing matters that would make a real, positive difference.

Looking Slick

During the Jerez test this week each team were supplied with some 2009 spec slick tyres to try out. Each team were given two sets and reported their findings to Formula One’s sole tyre supplier, Bridgestone. Slicks were meant to make a comeback in 2008, but this was deferred to 2009. The test is important as it was the first time Formula One cars drove on them en masse since 1997. From a non-professional I-didn’t-get-to-see-any-real-data point of view, the results were mixed, but generally positive. Read more…

Ralf Snubs Force India

The following day, he admitted that getting a drive for next year is proving difficult and would probably be spending more time at home in 2008. Read more…

BlogF1 Updates

BlogF1 is going to experience a few updates over the winter, but it should be lickety-spit by the time March rolls around. In the mean time, if something doesn’t appear to be working, please don’t worry, I’m usually aware of it and it will be mended before the lights go out in Australia. I’m updating all the team and drivers bios, fixing a few problematic bugs and generally sharpening a few bits and bobs up. The calendar page is up and the Almanac is up to date, although the styling still needs addressing (a minor point). The circuits pages are getting there and I’ve introduced a proper archives page for all those who like to read my old and poorly written work!

If there is something that has bugged you about BlogF1 over the past year please send me an email via the contact form and I’ll take your thoughts into consideration; after all, BlogF1 is here for you. Or if there is something you would like to see added or removed, just let me know.

I think that’s enough for now. The links at the end of some of the sections above take you to longer articles written during the week on BlogF1, so if you need a slightly more in-depth understanding of a particular story, head on over and take a grander-gander. As always, comments are open and I really enjoy reading what you have to say, so feel free to take a couple of minutes and put your thoughts down.

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