Senna in Spa

The internet rumour mill has restarted after the break and all indications point to Bruno Senna replacing Nick Heidfeld for the rest of the season (Joe Saward and Eddie Jordan have both reported this). Starting this weekend in Spa the 27 year old Brazilian (Nephew of that other Senna you may of heard of) will race the Lotus Renault (As in the enstone team who are called Renault but owned by Genii Capital) alongside Vitaly Petrov.

While the replacement of Heidfeld has been mooted for sometime it was widley expected to be by Romain Grosjean once he wrapped up the GP2 title (which he could do this weekend). It will be interesting to see what happens to the Frenchman now.

It is thought that Bruno Senna has brought several million to the table in sponsorship for his driver for the rest of the season, whereas Heidfeld was a salaried driver. It will add fuel to the fire that the team are short on cash.

However good luck to Bruno and hope he does better than his team mate Chandok with a mid-season drive, and his first track up is the mighty mighty spa – gulp!


So far so good? So What? (Welcome back)

So after a little summer break the world of racing is getting going again with Moto GP kicking back into life with a great race yesterday at Brno, with Stoner winning and Simoncelli finally reaching the podium. It seems the cavalier Italian is calming down and learning when to attack and when to hold back – he could be a real threat next year if Honda provide him with the full fire breating 1000cc bike from the get go as all riders will be reset slightly. Rossi had a better weekend on the Ducati dueling with Spies most of the race, however Nicky Hayden wasn’t miles behind so it remains to be seen how much improvement has really been made. Today is the test for next years 1000cc bikes with no word yet from Suzuki if they will enter a challenger at all after only racing one bike this year.

As for F1 nothing much has been going on as everyone is away on holiday during the enforced shut down so I thought it was time for the inevitable mid-term report. Which we will look at in a reverse Constructors Championship order, for those of you that wonder why sometimes we talk so much about the Constructors table is because it is what decides the teams prize money.

12. Marussia Virgin Racing – Cosworth (0)

The newly cristened Russian team (aka Manor racing from Sheffield) haven’t had the second season they’d been dreaming of, once again finding themselves at the bottom of the standings. The team however have some things to look forward to with the all CFD approach being binned and Pat Symmonds coming on board to lead the technical team. All of this was enough to keep Timo Glock on their books for a few more years. In the other car Jerome D’Ambrosio hasn’t made an impression at all, regulary getting beaten by the HRT’s and his team mate it could be another partner for Timo next year.

11. HRT-Cosworth (0)

HRT are having a funny year, after a shambolic start to the season (again) the car rolled off the blocks properly at the second race of the year where….. it actually wasn’t too bad and the team have managed to find themselves above Virgin racing (perhaps more on merit this year than last) with a decent technical team in place this time and new owners who seem to have a little more knowledge about what to do (providing some of those driver swaps prove false) we could see the team improve further next year with a properly designed car. The driver pairing the team has sort of lucked into by this point of the season could be the reason the team could nick something out of this year.

10. Team Lotus – Renault (0)

At the start of this year if you offered Tony Fernandes 4 points off Williams he would of bitten your hand off for it, however not like this. With so much promise this year with a new engine and world championship winning gearbox we really expected more from Team Lotus, but signs are good with yet more money from General Electric and some really solid backing and great drivers they really seem stable. The team have had to work hard to re-invent their power steering after Trulli found it far too dull to drive. An odd outing for Karun in Germany has been the only slight eyebrow raising moment, with Hekki placing the car in Q2 a few times but still no points.

9. Williams – Cosworth (4)

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. It really has been a torrid year for the Grove team, their worst ever start to the season and still a paltry 4 points at the halfway stage. Their have been casualties with Sam Michael and some of the other technical team heads rolling. Mike Coughlan (yes the one of the Ferrari esponiage fame) is designing next years car with a return to Renault power, with Michael seeing out the season. The drivers however have been a pleasant surprise with Maldonado really being on the pace (cruely robbed of points by dicing with Hamilton late on – although he did turn in on him)  when many expected him to be another pay driver.

8. Scuderia Torro Rosso – Ferrari (22)

On the face of it STR are again sitting down the bottom of the table in 8th place, however both drivers have really been on their game recently (at least in the race) and a really tight battle in the midfield for 6th place in the championship. They really just have a headache now of 3 drivers who could really be deserving of a place next year.

7. Force India – Mercedes (26)

The team have had a shakey ish start but have just started to really unlock some speed in their car just in time for their traditional stomping ground of Spa & Monza. Both drivers really now seem on it with Sutil back up to speed in qualifying and Paul smoothing out his style and recording some great results. Sauber will be looking behind them more than ahead….

6. Sauber – Ferrari (35)

A great year for Sauber after a torrid first half last year. Mostly due to its race pace and looking after its tires rather than outright speed the team from Hinwill have been quietly collecting points with their young line up of Kobayashi & Perez, both of whom are staying for next year. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to see one of them in a Ferrari in 2013 to make way for Jules Bianchi. The do have to fend off renewed challenge from Force India in the second half of the season to hold onto a lot of cash for next year.

5. Renault (66)

Renault or erm Lotus Renault or erm Lotus Genii Capital – Renault or whoever the hell owns them have had an odd season. After loosing Robert Kubica to a rally accident per-season “Quick Nick” Heidfeld was drafted in to partner Vitaly Petrov who opened his campaign with a podium, and Nick quickly responded with his own the next race. Since then the team has slowly tailed off with a steady stream of staff leaving through the door marked “exit”. They’ve really started to fall back off Mercedes and the cars catch fire – never a good sign. Wobbly.

4. Mercedes (80)

A team with a lot of attention and not so much in the way of results. Again the German national team haven’t impressed although they’ve slowly improved and really seem to have the measure of Renault (ie Lotus Genii Capital – Reanult or whatever – GAH!) but are a long way off the top 3. Schumacher has had some improved performances but it remains to be seen how good Nico Rosberg is or how much the old Meister’s talents have faded.

3. Ferrari (215)

Looking at the points gap between 3rd and 4th place you can see how far ahead the big 3 are. Ferrari had a bit of a false start with a wind tunnel issue (the team went from 50% to 60% models in the Maranello wind tunnel), but with Pat Fry in for Alberto Costa the Prancing Horse has been galloping once again. Fernando hasn’t been off the podium in the last 4 races and with a ever improving car looks dangerous for the rest of the season, but he is going to need all the help he can get to beat Vettel. Massa on the other hand has been really off the pace this year and it would be madness to put him in a seat next year…

2. McLaren –  Mercedes (280)

Well McLaren have done it again in record time. By that I mean produce a dire car and then fix it, there has been one consistant challenger to the mighty bull this year and its been the Brits. Fielding their British all star team again, one driver is always there or there abouts. Not too bad but they really really need to get on the pace at the start of the year.

1. Red Bull – Renault (383)

A dominant campaign from Red Bull with Sebastian Vettel all but having the season sown up and the constructors won. Mark Webber has floundered to the point of people questioning his seat, he’s failed to win in the fastest car and now the others have caught up its only going to get harder. A few wins for Mark in the back half of the season should see everyone in the team happy, happy days right?