Formula One has certainly been in the news over the past couple of weeks, and while it hasn’t always been for the better of the sport, I’m pleased to say that a few little nuggets of joy have managed to hit the headlines since the Belgian Grand Prix. India is set to host a race in 2010, Spyker have new owners, the 2009 calendar has been revised a little and Honda have a new motor which debuted at the Jerez test last week.
2010 Indian Grand Prix
For a few years now Bernie Ecclestone has been trying his hardest to secure an Indian Grand Prix for Formula One. With the racing calendar moving into new, unchartered territory and markets, India was sure to be given the green light sooner or later. But various obstacles kept getting in the way, not least of which was a suitable site and circuit for race.
However, Bernie has managed to negotiate a draft contract with the Indian Olympic Association and it now appears that the F1 circus will be heading to New Dehli in a couple of years. Two sites have been proposed and famed circuit designer Hermann Tilke has inspected both, deeming them okay for the construction of a track. The first site is positioned in Dehli’s south-west in an industrial area called Sohna. The second is in a fast-developing zone to the capital’s east.
I met Mr. Ecclestone in London last week and I’m happy to say he told me it is a good report and that they have selected two sites for the F1 track. He also handed over to me the two draft contracts, for race promotion of the Grand Prix of India in the F1 world championship and the circuit rights agreement.
I’m happy to say the first race has been finalised for the year 2010. We’ll be signing the contract for 2010. The month is not finalised but it could be March, the first race, or after the Bahrain Grand Prix. IOA President, Suresh Kalmadi.
And remaining with India for just a little longer, Spyker have new owners in the form of a partnership between Michiel Mol and Vijay Mallya. Mallaya is a businessman hailing from India, and currently has various companies under his control including the UB group which deals with beer, spirits and airlines operations in the country.
Spyker sold the team primarily due to the parent company forecasting a loss for this year. Spyker produce two-seater sports cars that retail at around the €250k mark. The F1 operation only added to the loss and so it was decided to rid the team from its books. The team was sold for $123m, improving its value from $106.6m when it was purchased from Midland in 2006.
Amendments To 2008 Calendar
Formula One’s governing body has made some changes to the proposed 2008 racing calendar, originally published a couple of months ago. The changes only affect the Belgian and Italian events, and the Chinese and Japanese races. Essentially they have each swapped places.
|1.||March 16th||Australia||Albert Park|
|5.||May 11th||Turkey||Istanbul Park|
|6.||May 25th||Monaco||Monte Carlo|
|7.||June 8th||Canada||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve|
|8.||June 22nd||France||Magny Cours|
|9.||July 6th||Great Britain||Silverstone|
|13.||September 7th||Belgium||Spa Francorchamps|
All circuits listed are unofficial. The FIA have not stipulated which circuits the races will run, and while most of them are fairly obvious, some are not. An official announcement will be posted when the FIA release the full calendar.
Honda Have A New Car
Having been out-raced by their sister team Super Aguri in last years car, Honda have finally debuted a new car that should hopefully see the rest of the season out and give them a better start for 2008. The Japanese team have had a miserable season, with Jenson Button picking up only a couple of points. The 2006 car, on the other hand, has collected four points at the control of Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri team.
The revamped Honda has been downplayed by the team, but it should enable the team to better understand the issues they are having with the RA107. Both Button and Barrichello tested the updated model in Jerez last week and while the expectations from the squad are so far true, the team feel a little more buoyed over working with a more consistent car.
It’s really just understanding a different way of working with aerodynamics. We’re not expecting it to be any quicker. It might be more consistent and balance-wise it might be better, but you can’t expect the team to turn the team around that quickly. All of the work is going into next year and, in a way, I’m quite surprised that extra work is going into this season. Jenson Button.
It’s not a focus about finishing on a high but about testing concepts that will take us in the right direction. Concepts that we will have on the car next year and is a good correlation with the tunnel work and the track. We will compare the old bodywork but we want to do as much mileage as possible with the new aero kit to check that the new sensitivities we’ve measured are like we’ve seen in the tunnel. Jacky Eeckelaert.
According to some reports, Super Aguri might be designing their own chassis for next year. You can’t blame them though, who would want the 2007 Honda after it has been proved to be hopeless?