Typically with the off-season, little-to-no real news happens for a week and then we’re bombarded all at once with stories about upcoming test sessions, cautious approaches to next season, more Hamilton-stalking and drivers strutting their stuff on TV. What was that about real news…?
The BMW Master Plan
BMW have been speaking lots this week, be it the announcement of drivers who will take part in the December test at Jerez, or their drivers remaining cautious about the 2008 campaign. Following a steady growth over the past two years, the Swiss-German team are surely on the brink of winning a couple of races next year, but lead driver Nick Heidfeld is trying not to get carried away.
Looking ahead to the coming season you have to admit that the time gap still is a rather big one. We always held the position behind the two top teams while remaining ahead of the others. This was fantastic for 2007, but catching up half a second in 2008 won’t be a walk in the park. We are positive about being able to realise the goals we have set ourselves. Nick Heidfeld.
The already spoken plan from Hinwil is to win races in 2008 before mounting a serious challenge for the title in 2009. And providing BMW can continue with their current pace of development, I wouldn’t bet against them doing just that.
Glock, Asmer & Villa
Continuing with BMW, they have allowed Timo Glock to be released from his contract early in order for him to test with his new team Toyota, before Christmas. The German had signed a deal with the Japanese squad while still under contract with BMW, but after the CRB got involved, Glock was allowed to leave at the end of the year. However, the young GP2 champion will be able to get some mileage under his belt earlier than expected thanks to the kind heart of those at the German marque’s helm. Glock will not be able to take part in any media related events though, and will wear unbranded overalls and helmet in Spain next week, much like Fernando Alonso did with McLaren last year.
Glock will drive on all four days of the test while new Toyota test driver Kamui Kobayashi will share the time with expected full-time driver Jarno Trulli.
Also, BMW have announced that they will run British F3 champion Marco Asmer and GP2 competitor Javier Villa in Jerez next week. Both youngsters will drive on the first day and Marco will return on the final day in a bid to secure the role of test driver for the squad.
I’m A Celebrity Racing Driver, Get Me Out Of Here…
Reality US TV show Dancing With The Stars has been won by Brazilian driver Helio Castroneves. The Indy Car driver beat British pop singer Melanie Brown to the title, and the finale was broadcast to 22.8 million viewers. However, despite winning the Mirror Ball Trophy, Castroneves hasn’t had the best of weeks when rumours were finally confirmed that his engagement to Miami-based business executive Aliette Vazquez had been called off. Helio and Aliette had been together for six years.
Also due to make a TV appearance is British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. The young McLaren charger will chat with Jeremy Clarkson on the ever-popular Top Gear show, due to be broadcast on Sunday evening at 8pm GMT. Although Hamilton missed out on the 2007 title, he will attempt to drive the Suzuki Liani around the Dunsfold test track in the fastest time, hopefully beating previous attempts by Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Mark Webber. And of course, the benchmark time of 1m44.4s set by The Stig.
Felipe Gets Hitched
And lastly, but by no means least, Ferrari pilot Felipe Massa has married his partner Rafaela Bassi in Brazil. Massa, who is five years Bassi’s junior, was married in front of 800 guests at Igreja Nossa Senhora do Brasil church in Sao Paulo. Rubens Barrichello and Antonio Pizzonia were present, as were a few Ferrari employees as well, including Jean Todt, Luca Baldisserri, Mario Almondo, Stefano Domenicali, Luca Colajanni and Aldo Costa. Son of Jean Todt and manager of Felipe, Nicolas Todt was also in attendance.
Congratulations to Felipe and Rafaela.