Friday, June 19, 2009

Formula 1: FOTA vs FIA

The latest news to come out of Formula 1 circles is that no agreement or late compromise has been reached by the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) and the International Motoring Federation (FIA), the governing body of motorsports.

The FIA, headed by a son of a former union fascist, Max Mosely as President and commercial rights endorser Bernie Ecclestone, have insisted on a $65-million annual budget for team and car development in 2010 (NASCAR-like) from the existing $245-million to over $300-million budget this year.

The budget, personally, is ridiculous if you look at it closely. That’s half of the staggering cost of Cristiano Ronaldo who was bought by Real Madrid from Manchester United at a staggering $130 million! And a team that races and travels around the world certainly deserves a bigger budget, according to Red Bull driver and drivers’ association president Mark Webber in his blog.

FOTA has criticized the FIA of its decision to go ahead with the proposed budget for the 2010 calendar insisting that such an amount is impossible for manufacturing teams to be competitive. While the association agrees that costs have to be cut down due to unstable market values, it should be done in a timely manner.

Today FOTA, having had enough of Mosley, has decided to finally create a breakaway series of their own come 2010.

The teams’ association headed by Ferrari, includes Renault, BMW Sauber, McLaren, Toyota, Brawn GP, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, having suspended Williams and Force India for displaying selfish behavior by submitting unconditional entries to the FIA for 2010 to compete with newbies Campos GP, Manor GP and Team US F1.

Perhaps looking to bring back old glory is Williams and looking forward to bring glory is Force India if the rest of the teams under FOTA do not submit entries.

Who needs has-been Williams and bottom-dweller Force India?

Lines have been drawn and I agree with Petrol head Steve Slater that it looks like Jenson Button is going to be the last Formula 1 champion after all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Formula 1: Silverstone

The Santander British Grand Prix. In what could be Formula 1’s final visit, the Silverstone Circuit near the small village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England hosts this year’s round 8 of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship as Donnington Park gets ready to take over as racing hosts starting 2010.

A former airfield built to accommodate racing fanatics back in the 50s, this 5.141-km track is the oldest in Formula 1 today and was the first to host the World Championship. With an emphasis for adrenaline rush, Silverstone is a high speed circuit with a maximum speed attained going into turn 7 at 301 kph (roughly 187 mph), gravitational force of up to 4Gs, and slow corners of around 154 kph.

The climate, too, is especially tricky. Wind gusts play a large part of the car set-up for aerodynamics, downforce and driver skill.

Last year, in what was Lewis Hamilton’s greatest moment racing in home country, the British driver splashed his way to victory in a drenched British Grand Prix while Ferrari driver Felipe Massa helplessly spun countless times in the wet, a testament to his inability to drive through puddles of water in the rain-soaked weekend.

This year, another British driver is expected to drive his way home to victory as Jenson Button of Brawn GP leads contenders to this race. Cushioned by a 26-point lead in the Driver’s category against the nearest competitor teammate Rubens Barrichello, and more than half of the points total against Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, the Button Man hopes to be the second British driver to win 5 straight races since Jim Clark in the 60s.

However, if on Qualifying and Race Day clouds start to gather and rains pour, Vettel and his Red Bull Renault is expected to dominate over powerhouse Brawn. The German driver was dominant in his RB5 in the showering race that was the Chinese Grand Prix last April.

Will Michael Schumacher’s lap record of 1.18 sec in 2004 during the V10 era still hold against the technically advanced cars of today?

Records up for grab this week.