Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen has outperformed his team mate and shattered the pace of the McLarens this afternoon as he cruised to a fine win in the Ardennes forest. Felipe Massa brought home his Ferrari in second place, and the Scuderia have now officially sealed the 2007 constructors championship following McLarenâ€™s exclusion. The loosing of the point over his team mate now means that Massa is unlikely to be pushed ahead for the title. Instead, Jean Todt will have to put the majority of resources behind todays winner as the season progresses away from Europe and into Asia.
The start of the Belgian Grand Prix was always going to be watched closely as the circuit tends to narrow going down into the impossibly tight La Source hairpin. The remodeled corner though has a slightly wider exit, and more importantly perhaps, is the large flat run-off area, penalising less if you overcook it. And it was this new area that saw some action on lap one after McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton attempted to prove their worth to each other. As the red lights faded, Alonso moved across from third to defend his position from Hamilton. The pair went into La Source very close to one another, Lewis on the outside and Alonso on the regular line. As the pair squeezed the throttle Alonso moved towards the outside and just kept moving. Hamilton was forced off the circuit and onto the run-off area. Not one to shy away though, Hamilton kept his foot in it and came back down alongside Alonso. They went into the fast Eau Rouge corner together, but as Alonso was on the inside, Lewis backed off and conceded the position.
From here on in, the Belgian Grand Prix simply became a tour and ultimately, proved to be very boring. Perhaps the lack of changeable weather (something we have come to expect from this spontaneous track) took the edge off the race. Perhaps it was the sheer dominant pace of the Ferrariâ€™s that led to the race becoming dull, and although there were many other battles down through the field, we really wanted to see a battle between the top four.
A two week interval now allows the teams to ship every thing over to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix at the end of the month.
Results after the jump (more…)
Following the nine hour hearing at the FIA headquarters in Paris, the World Motor Sport Council have changed their original verdict and now find McLaren guilty of the charges of industrial espionage. The Working-based team have had their points stripped away and excluded from the 2007 campaign, and they have also been fined an unprecedented $100m (the largest ever imposed in motor sport history). The news comes as a shock to Formula One fans the world over, and of course also means that Ferrari have just about become the 2007 constructors champions, even though four races are still to run.
The WMSC has stripped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of all constructor points in the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship and the team can score no points for the remainder of the season.
Furthermore, the team will pay a fine equal to $100m, less the FOM income lost as a result of the points deduction.
However, due to the exceptional circumstances in which the FIA gave the teamâ€™s drivers an immunity in return for providing evidence, there is no penalty in regard to driversâ€™ points.
Italian law enforcement authorities paid an unannounced visit to the McLaren pits on Saturday, as the team prepared for the Italian Grand Prix the following day. They informed McLaren team manager Ron Dennis that he was under investigation and also informed six other members of the McLaren team that they were being investigated. The investigation centers on Team McLarenâ€™s possession of 780 pages of confidential documents stolen from Ferrari. (more…)
The world champion stamped his authority on the race from the off and was never challenged en route to his first win at the historic venue and his fourth victory of 2007.
Hamilton was unable to match Alonsoâ€™s pace but protected his points lead by putting a bold pass on Kimi Raikkonen after the Ferrari driver used a one-stop strategy to leapfrog the rookie following his second pit visit.
The 1-2 result was the best possible tonic for the beleaguered McLaren team on a traumatic weekend in which the latest developments in the spying controversy threatened to reduce the race to a mere sideshow. Results after the jump..
This was another great F1 race on Sunday, unfortunately not a good outcome for the Mclaren team, finishing on third and fifth place. The Scuderia team took places one and two right at the beginning and never really looked back at the trailing Hamilton, which ended up on fifth place after an incident with his tire, but fortunately Alonso was able to capture that last podium place with a bit of skill and a lot of luck.
The start: For the fifth time this year, Lewis and Fernando had qualified second and fourth respectively. At the start, Lewis dropped to third behind the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen whilst Fernando was sixth at the end of the opening lap.
The race: Fernando got stuck behind Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber). When Heidfeldâ€™s team mate Robert Kubica pitted on lap 12 Fernando improved to fifth. On lap 17, also Heidfeld came in and Fernando was fourth.
Fernando made his first routine stop on lap 18 (9.1sec) together with RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen, whilst Massa came in on lap 19 and Lewis on lap 20 (9.4sec). After that, Massa went back into the lead ahead of RÃ¤ikkÃ¶nen and Lewis; Fernando passed both BMW Saubers during his pitstop and was fourth.
I originally posted this on my Thought Leader blog
I just got word that Car magazine has obtained the first official sketches of the so-called Mini-killer, the Audi A1. They write that these sketches have been â€œsmuggled out of Audiâ€™s design HQâ€. The sketches show Audiâ€™s tiny hatch in three-door trim, though a five-door, coupÃ© and convertible are also planned.
After jealously eyeing five years of BMW success with the pricey Mini, Audi is undoubtedly interested in entering the B-premium segment (or super-Mini), a segment that has grown in appeal since the reincarnation of the Mini. The A1 aims to be a classy hatchback, with Audiâ€™s typical design style and all of the â€œvorsprung durch technikâ€ rhetoric.
Besides the A1 featuring the all-new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the sporty hatch will also be all-wheel drive, which was also engineered for an offroad version (the Q1) and for use by the S1 (in the first sketch), which could be a rival for the Cooper-S.
Audi has set very ambitious sales objectives, starting at 100 000 units in 2010 and ramping up to 190 000 units once the open-top and Q1 versions are in production. Reason for this is the price is a tad lower than a comparably equipped Mini, with the Audi retailing for $22 000 (about R160 000). No word on the official South African price or when it will hit our shores.
It is being reported that Alonso and Hamilton are in some kind of a feud, after a couple incidents that caused, the already bitter rivals, to stop talking to each other. No doubt that it was not just the work of yesterdayâ€™s incident, but a long standing problem between Alonso and Hamilton. What yesterday and on Saturday happened was very childish and irresponsible by both of the Mclaren Mercedes drivers. In Saturdayâ€™s qualifying, Alonso was found guilty of blocking or hindering Hamilton in the pit lane from doing another run at Alonsoâ€™s best time. Alonso was thereafter penalized for his actions and pushed back to the sixth starting position, losing his pole position he actually qualified for.
Hamilton has said that he respects Alonso, but it seems to him that after the race in Hungary, Alonso has stopped talking to him.
Another potential reason for Alonsoâ€™s frustration is that he has not been guaranteed the number 1 title in the Mclaren team, thanks to Ron Dennisâ€™ principal of equality.
The rumors are that Alonso may leave the Mclaren team and go back to his daddy – Flavio. I think he is just a sore loser and canâ€™t handle the fact that a newcomer and his teammate may take his title away.
Dogged by dismal performances, Jenson Button has announced that he may quit F1 if his Honda outfit doesnâ€™t get its act together. Button has denied rumors that he is looking to join another team.
Hondaâ€™s latest RA 107 has earned just one point in nine races. That must hurt this talented racer, given the fact that he finished third in world driversâ€™ championship in 2004 and beat every driver in the field in the last six races of 2006.
This year hasnâ€™t gone well for button. He has been able to start inside the top ten only once, and has a single point with eighth place in Magny-Cours. Definitely not the way Button had expected his racing career to go.
There will come a time when I get bored of finishing eighth. Iâ€™m in this sport to win and I wonâ€™t want to keep on finishing eighth at best, which is what Iâ€™ve achieved this season with Honda. To be honest, Iâ€™d find it too tough to handle. If this continues then maybe in a couple of years Iâ€™ll just call it a day and go and find something else to do.
His Japanese outfit is trying to set things right and has apparently sprung into action. Honda has intensified its recruitment drive. After taking aerodynamicist Loic Bigois from the Williams camp, Honda has also lured Jorg Zander back into the team as deputy technical director.
Hopefully, Honda will be able to solve this problem and send Button back to the top. Itâ€™s a treat to watch button on the track. I donâ€™t want to see him go, and Iâ€™m sure many people will support me on this.