Whos Got The Money Leading Into Monza

Most of the news and rumours recently have been team related and their ownership. First up the Team Lotus Renault / Lotus Renault saga could finally be at an end with Tony Fernandes getting a chunk of Malaysia’s national air carrier and will concentrate it on the upper end of the market leaving his Air Asia brand to compete in the budget sector. This deal however is said to include him handing over the Team Lotus rights, which it makes very little sense for Fernandes to continue with. Group Lotus the car company need the heritage to promote their cars, the Lotus brand is great in F1 but it’s not the real Team Lotus after all.

However Fernandes is going to call his F1 team Team Caterham which has a nice synergy to it as Caterham cars came from Lotus originally and the F1 enthusiast market is the exact sector the small performance company aims at. This will leave the Renault team to re-name their chassis Lotus and still confuse everyone how Lotus shot up to the front of the grid. This has all been apparent for a while since the Team Lotus cars feature massive Caterham branding on their side and practically no Lotus branding what so ever.

Scuderia Torro Rosso have recived substantial investment from the UAE (you may have seen nova chemicals on their which they own part of) and their spanish owned oil arm will emblazen the cars this year. There has been conflicting reports about the team being bought out and becoming Team UAE with a development base at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina island circuit. But the team are in the process of moving into an expensive new facility in Italy complete with wind tunnel and have made no hints that the team will be renamed. But if the team has been sold it does explain why Red Bull went looking for another development seat at HRT for Ricciardo rather than using their own development team.

HRT have been very quiet since being bought out by Thesan Capital other than dropping the Hispania tag for the rest of the year. I really hope they rename themselves to something other than Hormone Replacement Therapy because its a hilariously unfortunate name for a racing team in the English-speaking world. I’d expect the team to move to a permanent base in Spain (at least announce a move) and probably rename the team in the close season, but I reckon they’d do well to hold onto their driver line-up for next year if the funds are there. Furthermore they may need to find a new technical partner as Williams are moving to Renault power from next year but they may be able to use the Williams 2011 rear end package until the 2014 engine switch.

Marussia Virgin (who are possibly another team looking to re-brand the chassis) are introducing a large update this weekend at Monza which will be the first overseen in part by Pat Symonds. Its a comprehensive update for the team who have had little development since the team split with Nick Wirth due to poor results. Initially the update was discarded but once Symonds became familiar with the car and CFD it has been updated and produced. “It is engine cover, sidepods, exhaust, and rear floor. Obviously there will be a Monza wing as well, but this bodywork package will be on for the rest of the year. It will pull the whole back of the car in much tighter. ” – John Booth, Team Principle

Williams continue their slide into obscurity with the rumour that they are weighing up taking on a second pay driver instead of experienced Reubens Barrichello next season. And their number 2 paying driver has been going so well this year……

 

Next season there are very few seats available as Sauber, Team Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Merecedes are all expected to keep their driver line-ups intact. But the 10 big names looking for a drive next year are:

  1. Nico Hulkenberg – He should get a drive if there is a god but a lack of sponsorship from a German heavy grid could hold him back
  2. Romain Grosjean – Destroyed GP2 this year and has now won everything in the junior categories, he has attoned well for his failed attempt back in 2009
  3. Bruno Senna – Doing the same as Romain and sitting in for the second half of the season at Renault. However he already has 1 season under his belt and has secured a lot of Brazilian Reals to support his drive. So far so good after one weekend behind the wheel too
  4. Karun Chandok – The other doomed HRT driver has had one trip out in the Team Lotus car this year, which was a disaster. We expect to see him in India for the race but he better put in a better performance than last time.
  5. Giedo Van de Garde – A distant second to Grosjean but likely to take another season in GP2 with the reserve spot at Sauber held down
  6. Jules Bianchi – The Ferrari development driver hasn’t shone as much as the Scuderia would of probably liked. Has a face off with Sergio Perez soon in a 2009 Ferrari.
  7. Charles Pic – An abundance of Frenchmen this year on the grid and a decent campaign from Pic should put him in the spot for at least some form of reserve roll next year.
  8. Nick Heidfeld – Probably has had too many chances and there are rumours that his development work does not suit most other drivers. But if someone needs experience theres few others to turn to
  9. Esteban GutiĆ©rrez – Pick of the rookies in GP2 this year with a win in Valencia, one for the Future one would assume
  10. Sam Bird – Mercedes supported Britian has a battle on his hands with so many top pilots queing up for the Silver Arrows
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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

Trulli signals for a maneuver while engines stall

First up, after all the noise about the “new formula” enginge for 2013 and certain teams dissatisfaction with them they have been delayed to 2014 and will see V6 turbos rather than the V4’s originally mooted. With the exception of Ferrari who rightly said that 4 cylinder engines are not relevant to them, I do think its because of the lack of time for development. Renault were the most keen to introduce the 2013 rules have agreed to this revised format, although a move to 6 cylinders is probably not a massive headache for the French manufacturer. The teams were also keen to appease Cosworth who, if rumours are to be believed still unsure about producing an engine for the new rules. It is believed that french independant P.U.R.E will still be producing engines for F1 and the other manufactuers shall stay.

The new units will feature a much enhanced KERS units.

Secondly Jarno Trulli has made noises about being fustrated at Team Lotus, I beleive he took the pain last year hoping the team would take a much bigger step this year. He is a top class driver who has won races, but it’d be unclear where he’d go. A move to Ferrari for the Italian would work very well in my opinion and is probably his best/only option for fighting for podiums.

So close but yet so far (no sir I wasn’t copying – see)

Details have emerged that the DRS straight will be the pit straight again in Sepang (note the most expensive tickets) but with back to back drags it will be interesting to really see how much difference it makes this weekend.

Second up is the details of the differences in the cars, with Renault and Red Bull using 10% more fuel to make their diffusers effective, which goes someway to explain their one lap pace compared to their race pace. The other teams have got blown diffusers that do not use extra fuel and McLaren especially seem quite close.

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Dumb Removable System? and oh dear Karun

Well i’ve just finished watching FP1 and 2 from austrailia (I was out late last night so I wasn’t for watching it live).

But first up Karun Chandhok managed 3 corners before applying too much power and meeting a wall. However the lotus’s in the hand seemed to spend most of the two practice sessions exploring the gravel traps. The Drage Reduction System (DRS) / Moveable Rear Wing (MRW) got a run out in race mode for a bit but read on after the break for a summary of the new overtaking assist

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