Further to below

Bernie Ecclestone’s proposed calendar:

  1. 18 March Australian GP
  2. 25 March Malaysian GP
  3. 8 April Chinese GP
  4. 22 April Indian GP
  5. 13 May Spanish GP
  6. 27 May Monaco GP
  7. 10 June Canada GP
  8. 24 June European GP
  9. 8 July British GP
  10. 22 July German GP
  11. 29 July Hungarian GP
  12. 2 September Belgian GP
  13. 9 September Italian GP
  14. 23 September Singapore GP
  15.  7 October Japanese GP
  16. 14 October Korean GP
  17. 28 October Abu Dhabi GP
  18.  4 November Bahrain GP
  19.  18 November US GP 2
  20. 5 November Brazilian GP

Hamilton topped this mornings FP1 with Mark Webber going wide at turn 9 and removing the front wing on the barriers

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The Big Squeeze puts F1 in a Thinned Down Broadcast Schedule

BBC have a announced this morning that from next year they will only be showing 1/2 the races live with Sky Sports showing the whole season. Bernie has stated that is “wasn’t his decision” and obviously all the rumours about the BBC trying to reduce the cost of broadcasting the sport.

The BBC will show the British Grand Prix, Monaco and the season finale along with the qualifying sessions from the races they broadcast. Radio 5 live and sports extra will still be broadcasting all sessions all season long.There will also be extended highlights of the races that the BBC aren’t broadcasting live.

Theres been no word from Sky on how it will broadcast, RE adverts etc. The new qualifying format suits advertising very well but how they will deal with the race is unsure. It also raises an interesting point of races putting pressure on the BBC to broadcast their shiney tilke drome over another.

Furthermore the revised 2012 calendar details have emerged with Australia openening the season and more back to back races (Abu Dhabi / Bahrain , US / Brazil, Australia/Malaysia) and no Turkey meaning as expected there will be 20 races next year. Losing Turkey is a shame because its a great track (best of the modern Tilke tracks) but attendances were beyond poor.

Testing Times

So the teams are discussing a return to testing in season (albeit without an increase initially in total number of days) with a test possibly at Mugello before the European season begins. Testing was curtailed in 2009 because of the huge expense of having a race team and test team. However with 21 races on the Calendar next year we could see teams having to adopt 2 teams of personel anyway, but according to Sam Michael the real cost was engine mileage. Teams were using an extreme amount of engines (which are now limited to 8 per season per driver/car, plus i believe one for testing) before this regulation teams were using 30/40/50 engines per driver a season!

However I think the most logical thing would be to allow teams to run a driver different to their race drivers and provide them an extra engine per season and a set of each compound per race. Therefore due to the limited running that is done in practice session due to the limits on tires could be alievated. This would force teams to run an extra driver to gain the use of extra tires and if time got too tight in the session extend FP1 to 2 hours.

While the test engine would be the main cost, the teams would not have to bring another car and it would be done at the race track. I think this is the best option for running more drivers in F1 cars and increase running for those attending on Friday. It would also be an incentive for fans to attend Friday sessions as you would get to see additional drivers (and I would imagine teams running national drivers in some GP’s – IE running someone like Danika Patrick in Friday practice next year in the states would be immense).

The rules might have to be tweaked to allow the teams to hold onto their tires for longer (say FP2 for regular drivers) as they have to hand back a certain amount of tires at the end of Free Practice sessions to force the teams to run and not save tires.

Thoughts?

Its not over yet as Vettels streak comes to an end at home!

Another race weekend another great exiciting race, with great overtaking down the field. And another win for Vettel while Hamilton heads into the barriers/back of someone…. except everyone at McLaren and Ferrari didn’t read the script for the youngest world champions homecoming.

Lewis Hamilton won the race ahead of Alonso and Webber who looked more than a match for “baby schumi” this weekend. While not blowing the race wide open Ferrari in particular seem to now have the measure of Red Bull and Alonso now sets his sights on chasing down Vettels huge lead. Still the German had an “off” weekend and finished 4th which is still no disaster despite being his worst finish this season, but with the top three teams now very equal this could really be a scrap for the rest of the season. Vettel looked ordinary in the pack and failed to get past Massa until the last lap pit stop duel between the two teams put the German out ahead of the Brazilian.

Jenson Button topped a miserable weekend retiring with Hydrolics issues after qualifying 7th, however Adrian Sutil drove a stormer in the Force India to 6th place ahead of the two Merecedes in 7th and 8th. Force India, who have been working on their race pace aim to chase down Sauber in the constructors championship with more strong points finishes.

At the back of the grid while Ricciardo moved forward and showed improved pace, including running ahead a Virgin car for a long time Chandok did himself no favours by finishing dead last and a lap down on the HRT cars. Despite a decent qualifying this surely was not the performance he was looking for and could be the nail in the coffin for the Indian, although I reckon a drive in India may not be out of the question.

Chandhok Returns as New Rules for 2014 Finalised

This weekend will see Karun Chandhok return to racing in Formula 1 taking the place of Jarno Trulli at Team Lotus this weekend. Team Lotus have outlined this is a one-off and they are negoiating Trulli’s contract for next year.

Also today the FIA has published the new 2014 rules for the 1.6 Litre V6 era.

The highlights include smaller front wings and a removal of extra wings and appendiges and running only on electric in the pits. The full rules can be read on the FIA website

Musical Chairs Again at HRT??

HRT who have yet to run any driver for an entire season (fielding 4 drivers last year and recently swopping out Karthikeyan for Red  Bull backed Daniel Ricciardo) look like they could be changing their line up again. New owners Thesan Capital are apparently keen to place Spaniard Javier Villa into Friday practices ahead of making a debut start sometime this year.

Villa is a well backed spansih driver with a wide variety of sponsors and on paper seems to be a good fit for the team. However his single seater career is somewhat patchy with a best finish of 10th in GP2, he is currently competing in the World Touring Car Championship.

Is the second Ferrari spot under discussion?

Despite Ferrari coming forward and saying that Massa is under contract for next year the Brazilians lack lusture performances since his return from that horrific accident in 2009 have done little to quash rumours he will be replaced. He’s been outright trounced by Alonso and is very much the no.2 driver in Ferrari.

Jules Bianci and Sergio Perez will face off against each other in a 2009 Ferrari in September, which will be interesting to see the outcome of that.