BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson

Archives for January 2012

Kubica comeback far from certain

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Andrew Benson | 22:05 UK time, Monday, 30 January 2012

Much will be made this season of the incredible strength in depth of the Formula 1 field in 2012, with six world champions all taking part, each one of them with a justifiable claim to being an all-time great.

But when the season kicks off in Melbourne on 18 March, there will be a man sitting at home in Europe who could make that line-up even stronger.

Robert Kubica might well have been starting this year's Australian Grand Prix grid in a Ferrari had he not suffered the horrendous rallying accident that prevented him racing for Renault in 2011.

As it is, he is in a no-man's land, not knowing whether he will ever be able to drive an F1 car in anger again.

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Formula One gets ready for another enthralling season

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Andrew Benson | 13:37 UK time, Monday, 30 January 2012

Formula 1 2012 effectively starts now. The first race is not until 18 March, but by the end of this week the world will have seen two of the cars expected to be competing at the front - and one of them will have had its first run on the track.

The McLaren breaks cover first, with a launch at the team’s base in Woking, Surrey, before Ferrari reveal their new challenger in Maranello on Friday.

Ferrari plan, weather permitting, to run the car briefly at their Fiorano test track on Saturday ahead of the start of pre-season testing in Jerez, Spain, on 7 February.

On Sunday, the new Lotus (formerly Renault) will be unveiled on the internet – and F1 designers and engineers across Europe will be losing sleep about what they will see when the new Red Bull breaks cover in the same fashion on Monday.

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How good is Bruno Senna?

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Andrew Benson | 08:57 UK time, Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bruno Senna describes sealing a drive at Williams in 2012 as "the start of my Formula 1 career for real". It is a date that could have come three years previously, had events turned out slightly differently.

In the winter of 2008-9, the nephew of the Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna was on the verge of being signed by the Honda team after impressing in a test alongside Jenson Button.

But then Honda pulled out of F1, team principal Ross Brawn was forced to spend the winter desperately trying to save the team, and when he did so at the 11th hour, he thought it better, given the circumstances, to stick with the experience of Rubens Barrichello rather than the promise he had seen in the younger Brazilian.

Now the wheel has turned full circle, and it is Senna who has deprived Barrichello of a seat in F1. But it has been a long time coming.

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Protests raise fresh concerns over Bahrain GP

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Andrew Benson | 17:14 UK time, Monday, 9 January 2012

Fresh doubts have emerged about the viability of this year's Bahrain Grand Prix after a human rights group in the Gulf kingdom called on the Formula 1 teams to boycott the race in the wake of continuing civil unrest.

It is the first public intervention by an interested party on the subject of the wisdom of holding the race since F1's governing body the FIA confirmed Bahrain's place on the 2012 calendar last month.

Bahrain's inclusion on the official schedule raised eyebrows. That's because unrest continues there, despite pledges by the ruling royal family to increase human rights and democratic representation in an attempt to move on from the disturbances that led to the cancellation of last year's race.

The call for a boycott - by the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) - became public two days after police were accused of beating a leading opposition activist on the back, neck and head at a rally on Friday.

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Barrichello back in Williams frame

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Andrew Benson | 12:58 UK time, Monday, 2 January 2012

Formula 1 always goes a little quiet over Christmas, but one team that has been making waves - both publicly and behind the scenes - are Williams.

The team that dominated F1 for much of the 1980s and 1990s are one of only two outfits still with an obvious vacancy in their driver line-up - the other being back-of-the-grid HRT.

And it seems that Rubens Barrichello, the veteran who has driven for the team for the last two seasons, is back in with a chance of staying with them for 2012.

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