BBC BLOGS - F1 Mole

Archives for May 2009

F1 gossip column

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F1 Mole | 12:22 UK time, Tuesday, 26 May 2009

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The Mole has waved a dozy au revoir to Monaco, its Grand Prix, gin palaces, glamour girls and, um, Geri Halliwell.

But the hangover from Jenson Button's win in Monte Carlo - his fifth victory of the season - is still reverberating through Formula 1.

Did Jens celebrate in style as his stock continues to rise? How did world champion Lewis Hamilton dispel his disappointment? Which Grand Prix wants to rejoin the circus? It's all here in the best of the post-race gossip.

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BBC F1's fuel-adjusted Monaco GP grid

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F1 Mole | 18:55 UK time, Saturday, 23 May 2009

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It's official - Jenson Button was the fastest man around Monaco on Saturday regardless of fuel load.

The Englishman was on pole position for the fourth time in six races this year, and he was also the fastest man once the weight of fuel on board the cars is taken into account.

The cars in the top-10 shoot-out are not allowed to refuel between qualifying and race, so they go into qualifying with differing fuel loads depending on how long their first stint in the race is going to be.

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Backstage at F1's most fashionable party

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F1 Mole | 09:51 UK time, Saturday, 23 May 2009

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The Mole tunnelled backstage at the Amber Fashion show in Monaco on Friday to catch a glimpse of Formula 1 at its most glamorous.

F1 and fashion went hand-in-hand as the drivers swapped the grid for the catwalk to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Championship leader Jenson Button, Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, Nelson Piquet of Renault, Williams's Nico Rosberg, Force India's Adrian Sutil and their reserve driver Tonio Liuzzi were joined by BBC pundit David Coulthard.

They snuggled up in sweaters and long coats to model Petra (daughter of F1 boss Bernie) Ecclestone's winter collection.

Brawn GP driver Jenson Button and former Red Bull driver David Coulthard

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The Mole gives you... Lee McKenzie's guest blog!

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F1 Mole | 11:31 UK time, Friday, 22 May 2009

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The Mole is delighted to welcome BBC Sport's F1 reporter Lee McKenzie onto the blog, to give an insight into her life charting the ups and downs of sport's ultimate speed merchants:

"Hi, you may have encountered me on our TV coverage already this season - but I thought it was time I introduced myself on the blog and let you know what I get up to on a race weekend...

My job is really to get the best out of the drivers in interviews and bring you all the information you need - so even if you're relaxed on your couch after a full Sunday lunch, you have the same knowledge as me and you can hear from the drivers as much as possible.

But as well as speaking to the drivers on a race weekend, I also come up with features and ideas to speak to the drivers away from the track.

In motorsport you can't see the joy on a driver's face as he crosses the line first or the anguish when he crashes out. These masked heroes remain mostly faceless for many people - I want us to find out who they are, what they like and how they relax.

Toyota driver Jarno Trulli and BBC F1 reporter Lee McKenzie

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Rebel three seek breakaway support

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F1 Mole | 15:42 UK time, Thursday, 21 May 2009

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Super-rich Monaco might not be the obvious place for a revolution but there is unrest in the air in the Principality.

Talk in the paddock along the harbour front here is focused on the ongoing row over the £40m cost cap and two-tier championship that governing body the FIA has proposed for next year.

FIA president Max Mosley and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone emerged from a crisis meeting with team bosses in London last Friday saying that they had all agreed to abandon the idea of two sets of rules and that the teams had said they would go away and try to come up with a more palatable way of saving money than Mosley's cost-cap idea.

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Davidson targets closer Brawn involvement

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F1 Mole | 10:58 UK time, Thursday, 21 May 2009

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When he is not behind the microphone analysing for BBC 5 Live, Anthony Davidson can usually be found popping in and out of Brawn GP's hospitality - but just what is he up to?

Well, F1's pacesetting team say he is not just there for the bottomless biscuit barrel and have confirmed the former Super Aguri driver's position with them.

They have been pretty cagey about Davidson's exact role but now say he is, "assisting Brawn GP with simulation and vehicle evaluation activities".

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A day at Heathrow as F1 seeks to end crisis

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F1 Mole | 12:09 UK time, Saturday, 16 May 2009

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An interesting day spent at a Heathrow airport hotel for The Mole, as the Grand Prix powerbrokers met to save Formula 1 as we know it.

The team bosses present were: McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh, Force India's Vijay Mallya, Brawn's Ross Brawn, John Howett and Tadashi Yamashina of Toyota, Williams's Adam Parr, Toro Rosso's Franz Tost, Red Bull's Christian Horner, Flavio Briatore of Renault, BMW's Mario Theissen and Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali.

They arrived at around 1000, with none saying anything apart from Williams's Parr, who muttered something about "time running out", which made everyone listening that bit more tense.

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Button to test brawn

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F1 Mole | 16:04 UK time, Thursday, 14 May 2009

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Jenson Button will ditch engine power and rely on his own resources to get himself to the finish line for a change this summer.

The Englishman will test his mettle in the London Triathlon on 1 August to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Button has been cycling, swimming and running in triathlons as part of his F1 fitness training for the last couple of seasons but this time the championship leader is aiming for a decent finish too.

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F1 gossip column

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F1 Mole | 10:46 UK time, Tuesday, 12 May 2009

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Hola chicas y chicos, it's your favourite furry friend on the inside of all things F1 here.

Following another splendid weekend's racing in Spain - and another victory for Brawn GP's Frome Flyer Jenson Button - I've been digging around for all the latest and greatest gossip from on and off the track ahead of the next Grand Prix in Monaco.

I'm talking Donington, budget caps, team orders, team ambitions and an 11,000-strong workforce sweating like mad under the Abu Dhabi sun hoping to get the Yas Marina circuit completed in time for the season send-off on 1 November.

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Bank on Alonso for Ferrari move

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F1 Mole | 10:16 UK time, Sunday, 10 May 2009

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McLaren are not having a happy Spanish Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton saying new parts on his car have failed to make any difference to its performance, and events on the track bearing him out.

But the Mole has heard a whisper that could make it an even worse weekend for the embattled team.

The Mole has heard from an insider at the Spanish bank Santander, one of McLaren's major sponsors, that the company is getting ready to announce at the Italian Grand Prix in September that it will be switching to McLaren's rivals Ferrari in 2010.

A Ferrari-Santander link-up has long been rumoured within F1, related as it is to another long-standing rumour - that Fernando Alonso is also on his way to the Italian team.

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BBC F1's fuel-adjusted Spanish GP grid

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F1 Mole | 17:52 UK time, Saturday, 9 May 2009

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Jenson Button grabbed all the headlines in qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix when he grabbed pole with his scintillating last-gasp lap - but it was Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel who was actually the fastest man in the field.

The drivers in the top 10 shoot-out are not allowed to refuel between qualifying and race, so their performance is dictated to some extent by the amount of fuel they have on board.

And once the weights of the cars are published it is possible to work out who has done the best job in qualifying.

It turns out that Vettel, who qualified second, is carrying 5.5kg more fuel than Button - enough for him to be able to do two more laps before his pit stop - and that once the weights of the cars are taken into account, he was fastest by 0.059 seconds.

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Battle rages over F1 future

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F1 Mole | 12:37 UK time, Saturday, 9 May 2009

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As the battle for the 2009 Formula 1 championship hots up on the track, team principals are being distracted by the pressing concerns of 2010 and beyond.

The Formula One Teams' Assocation (Fota) met twice this week - once in London and once when members arrived in Barcelona - to consider their next move in the cat-and-mouse negotiations with the sport's governing body, the FIA, over the proposed £40m budget cap.

The FIA wants teams to limit their spending to £40m as part of its long-term commitment to cost-cutting.

Instead of announcing a mandatory cap, which would have been impossible to impose under the sporting regulations, FIA president Max Mosley has strengthened his hand by offering teams something of a Hobson's choice.

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Who will be the next star of Formula 1?

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F1 Mole | 10:05 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

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Is a future world champion driving in a formula far, far away or are they already moving within F1's inner circle?

The launch of the 2009 GP2 Series on the eve of the season-opening races at the Circuit de Catalunya could provide a few clues.

In its four-year history, the feeder competition has seen seven of its drivers graduate to F1, including reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton - but who's next?

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Raikkonen hits London shops

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F1 Mole | 15:19 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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There are just two days until first practice for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix but even a Formula 1 driver can still find time to squeeze in a little shopping.

Kimi Raikkonen flew in from Zurich on Wednesday morning to open Britain's first Ferrari store in central London.

A procession of new and classic Ferraris drove past the Regent Street shop before the 2007 world champion himself - wearing the obligatory shades - turned up to snip the Ferrari red ribbon.

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Who will reign in Spain?

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F1 Mole | 07:48 UK time, Wednesday, 6 May 2009

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The Formula 1 season is nearly a quarter over but this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix will be like a new beginning.

After four races in the long-haul destinations of Australia, Malaysia, China and Bahrain, the sport hits Europe for the first time this year and all the leading teams will be fielding modified cars.

The developments introduced in Spain are likely to define the order for much of the rest of the season - and they could also change the balance of competitiveness between the teams.

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