Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Sauberf1

Sauber F1 Team launches C31 in Jerez

Hinwil/Jerez de la Frontera – Today, Monday, the Sauber F1 Team launches its new car for the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship. Drivers Kamui Kobayashi (25) and Sergio Pérez (22) unveil the Sauber C31-Ferrari at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit in Spain, where on Tuesday official Formula One pre-season testing will get underway. For filming purposes the C31 will cover its initial laps today.

The Sauber F1 Team will enter its 20th season in the FIA Formula One World Championship spearheaded by an unchanged driver line-up. With Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio Pérez and reserve driver Esteban Gutiérrez piloting the new Sauber C31-Ferrari, the Swiss outfit will be looking to further improve in 2012. “We’re aiming to start the new season as strongly as we did in 2011, but then also to maintain this level of performance throughout the year,” explains Team Principal Peter Sauber. “Our goal is to finish regularly in the points so as to put ourselves in a significantly better position in the World Championship.”

Only three of their rivals on this year’s grid have been in Formula One longer than Peter Sauber’s team. After an excellent start to 2011, the team’s form fell away mid-way through the season following the decision to cease development of a controversial technology. “The Sauber C31-Ferrari boasts a large number of promising new developments, but in other areas it is a systematic further development of last year’s car,” says Sauber.

“We are looking forward to another season working with our young and talented drivers,” adds the Team Principal. “Kamui will be competing in his third full season in F1. Last year we asked him to take on leadership responsibilities within the team and he has grown into the role. With his rookie season behind him Sergio is now approaching his second season, which is often the most difficult in a driver’s Formula One career. Both drivers have huge potential and will work with the same race engineers as in 2011 to continue developing that promise. Esteban will be competing full-time in GP2 in his second season in the category and has shown – most recently in the November test – that he could also step into the car for a Grand Prix, if required.”

Young & quick

The personable Kamui Kobayashi (25) became an instant favourite of Formula One fans on his arrival in the sport, not least with his daring but fair overtaking moves. “2012 will be not only my third season in Formula One, but also my third with the same team,” says the young Japanese. “We’ve been through a lot together and can benefit from our shared experiences. In my first year with the team we had a bad start but a good second half to the season. The second year was the exact reverse. In our third year together we should be a reliable bet to finish consistently in the points. I’m really looking forward to the new season with the Sauber F1 Team.

In 2012 Sergio Pérez (22) is setting out to put the lessons from a turbulent but impressive rookie season in 2011 into practice. “My first year in Formula One felt like three years, there were so many new things to take in,” admits the Mexican. “But now I feel like I’ve arrived in Formula One and I’m determined to take a step up in 2012 and achieve better results for the team on a regular basis.”

20-year-old Esteban Gutiérrez will be focusing on the races in the GP2 Series. “At the same time,” says the team’s other Mexican driver, “I’m looking forward to working more with the Sauber F1 Team. I’m learning a lot by being able to experience and analyse the professionalism and intensity of the team’s work from the inside. It’s good preparation for me.”

F1Weekly podcast # 549

 Garth Tander


                                                                                                                   Photo. HRT

Wonder Down Under. American racing fans were treated to a great and thrilling finish to the Bathurst 1000 last year, shown live for the first time by SpeedTV.

Winning “The Great Race” for the third time was Garth Tander, one of the top names in Australian V8 Super Car Championship.

Born on March 31, 1977 in Perth, Western Australia, Tander currently resides in Melbourne with wife Leanne and new addition to the family, Miss Scarlett.

Tander’s racing resume shows multiple karting championships, Australian Formula Ford Championship in 1977 and V8 Super Car Championship in 2007. His victory on Mt Panorama was 50th of his career. He also won this event in 2000 and ’09.

With great thanks we are pleased to present our conversation with Garth Tander on a special edition of F1Weekly podcast.

Thanks also to Richard King of DSEG in making this possible.


— Nasir Hameed

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Motorsports Mondial

Confirmed as an official driver for HRT F1 Team for 2012, the Indian driver shares his views on the upcoming season.

Q: It has finally been revealed that you will occupy the last seat available as an official driver, how are you facing this new challenge in Formula 1?

NK: It all really started after the Indian GP, where we had a good performance which led to the belief that I am still competitive to drive in Formula 1. It is no secret how difficult it is to stay in F1 at this time, but I ensured that I was physically and mentally ready for any opportunity that arose. So I can’t wait to get back in the car and return to action once again.

Q: The uncertainty you’ve faced in the period spanning from the end of last season until the moment you’ve been confirmed can’t have been easy to handle. What have you done to keep yourself occupied?

NK: Well, there were more ups and downs than I can remember, positive and negative days – sometimes I just gave up but it was quickly followed by yet another glimmer of hope. It was exhausting mentally, but like the adage goes, all’s well that ends well.

There was plenty to keep me occupied during the winter though, like I said earlier I trained as hard as I would have if my drive was confirmed last season; fitness is critical in F1 and racing in general. Then there were lots of discussions, which meant a lot of travelling – flights, hotel stays and those sorts of things. So I didn’t have a whole lot of time to sit and mull over things, to be honest.

Q: This will be your third season in Formula 1, what targets have you set yourself?

NK: As far as results go, it largely depends on the development of the car, although I must say that things are looking promising. Otherwise, I have no doubts in my ability, I am extremely confident as last year and after the first few races, I drove better than ever. So I’ll be pushing hard no doubt about that.

A lot of things change this year even though it is the same team, and I am sure it’ll be for the better. The new management is wholly focused on all-round improvement and from what I have seen – they will do so.

Q: Practically the whole structure is new with respect to 2011, what sensations have the new directors given you?

NK: The team has some very capable and experienced people on-board now, like the new Team Principal Luis Pérez-Sala and my teammate Pedro de la Rosa. So things are definitely changing for the better ever since the new owners have taken over. Saul (Ruiz de Marco, HRT F1 CEO) has a very good approach to what F1 should be, by applying his entrepreneurship experience to the team and I’m sure that it will lead to better things. Everyone knows it is impossible to change things in F1 overnight but we have certainly taken strides in the right direction.

Q: How would you define yourself as a driver?

NK: One thing’s for sure – I never give up. I’m here, against all odds and expectations, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I have worked incredibly hard, I believe in my ability and know that I am as quick as anyone else out there.

Q: What do you know about and what would you highlight about your teammate Pedro de la Rosa?

NK: My first ever test was with Jaguar in 2001 and I remember Pedro was the team driver at the time. Even though I don’t know him very well, I know that he’s very experienced and from what I’ve seen, has a pleasant personality. We should be getting on well – it is not about trying to beat each other but working harmoniously to help the team progress as a whole. Healthy competition will collectively allow us to get the maximum out of the car and fast-forward the development process.

He has a vast amount of developmental experience with a front-running team – so it’ll count a lot for the team in terms of approaching things and making the most out of our resources.

Q: What do you think you can contribute to the team this year?

NK: I am going to push as hard as possible, both inside and outside the cockpit and do whatever it takes to help the team progress in its rejuvenated form. Continuity is important in Formula 1 so I’m sure we’ll hit the ground running this year starting with some actual pre-season testing unlike last season where I first drove the new car on the opening race weekend in Australia. So there is all the incentive for me to ensure that I carry the team forward by delivering results and ensuring that nothing is left on the table as far as performance is concerned.

Q: Coming from a country with not much motorsport tradition, what led you to pursue the dream of making it to Formula 1?

NK: Ever since I started my racing career, I had just one goal in mind – Formula 1. It was definitely an unconventional dream to have, considering we had very little by the way of motorsport in India. Understandably, at the time I failed to realise what an uphill task it was. A more concrete picture emerged when I started racing in Europe, and it was during that time I came to terms with the harsh realities in earnest. We didn’t know the right steps to get to F1, but several setbacks made my resolve only stronger and my perseverance ultimately paid off when I made my debut in 2005.  

Q: Last year you made history by becoming the first Indian driver ever to race at the Indian GP. What dreams do you have left to fulfill?

NK: For me, Formula 1 is a continued dream, it is always ultra-competitive and competing at the pinnacle of the sport is what I love. So I am very happy to have the opportunity to continue living my dream and I have every intention to make the best out of it.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: forceindiaf1

Sahara Force India unveils the VJM05 at Silverstone

Sahara Force India unveiled its 2012 challenger today as Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg pulled the covers off the VJM05 at Silverstone. They were joined by reserve driver, Jules Bianchi, as the team’s new car was presented for the first time

The VJM05 is the second car to be created under the watch of Technical Director, Andrew Green, as the team seeks to build on its on its sixth place finish in the constructors’ championship and take the fight to the teams that lie ahead.

“We have set our sights on challenging for fifth place,” explained Team Principal and Managing Director, Dr. Vijay Mallya. “To do so we will need to begin the new campaign by delivering the kind of form we showed in the second half of 2011. I believe this is a realistic goal and that we have the talent and determination to realise these ambitions.”

Chief Operating Officer, Otmar Szafnauer, echoed those sentiments as he praised the team’s efforts to develop the VJM05: “The new car has come together nicely over the winter. We don’t know what our competitors have done, but we’ve made some gains over the winter and believe we’re in reasonable shape. It’s going to be difficult in the midfield, but our focus is on starting strongly and improving our position from last season.”

Summing up the approach to 2012, Andrew Green added: “The car looks more refined; a lot racier and a lot more purposeful. You can start to see the aerodynamic concepts coming through now. It looks quite a bit different to the previous years, and so far the performance in the tunnel has been encouraging.”

The drivers were delighted to get their first glimpse of the new car and set out their hopes for the season ahead:

Paul Di Resta: “Seeing the new car built and complete for the first time is always an exciting moment. It’s when you realise that all the waiting is finally over and the season is beginning for real. I’ve had a good winter and I’ve recharged my batteries, but now I’m fully focussed on 2012 and looking forward to the start of testing. There’s a really positive feeling in the team, good stability and hopefully we can pick up where we left off at the end of last year.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “I saw the new car in the wind tunnel a few times and followed its progress during the winter. It looks aggressive and fast, but we won’t know where we stand until we get out there and compete against the others. Preparations for the new season have been full-on with simulator sessions and lots of fitness training. I feel ready to get back to racing and I’m excited to find out what the new car feels like next week.”

F1Weekly podcast # 548

Jenson – The Cry Baby! Joining Lewis Hamilton’s den was no issue immediately after winning the world championship in 2009. Getting disqualified from a karting event was too much to handle for Button. As today, father John was in his corner. The “Pink” shirt-on-race-day tradition would not start till 2006 in Budapest.

Podcast number 548 special interview with…

F1weekly listener from Australia, Balraj Dhaliwal.

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Motorsports Mondial

Photo: carracingnews


With over 50 years in motorsports – as a driver and team owner – American A. J. Foyt’s remarkable career has seen him make his mark nationally and abroad in at least four countries: Canada, Great Britain, France and New Zealand.  His race record includes: winning the Indianapolis 500 four times in 35 consecutive tries; Les 24 Heures du Mans (1967); and the Rolex 24 At Daytona (1983, ’85).  He’s won 12 national titles with a total of 172 major race wins in Indy Cars, NASCAR, USAC stock cars, midgets, sprints and sports cars.

When people ask Foyt what it is like to be a national hero he simply replies:  “I’m not a national hero as far as I’m concerned.  I’ve had fun through the years of racing but as far as me being a hero, I’m just still A. J.  I’m really happy with the racing I did here in this country, and I was fortunate enough to win races in everything I competed in.”

Comparing his wins of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Les 24 Heures du Mans, Foyt explained:  “These two races are totally different because they are run on different types of tracks.  They are both difficult tracks to race so you have to stay on your toes around the clock.  Today every team has three or four drivers, but back in my day it was just two drivers at Le Mans and three drivers at Daytona.  Dan Gurney had raced at Le Mans before he and I were teammates, so he gave me some tips on what to do and what not to do, as well as what time of the night you had to be real careful, so that’s what helped my success at Le Mans.  What he told me was to be careful between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m., of the fog at those hours and smoke coming from the fans’ campfires.  It is that time of night when most of the accidents occur so being aware of these points made a not so easy time a little bit easier, having a partner like Gurney made it a lot easier.  Back then the Le Mans track was a lot faster than it is today because the Mulsanne Straight didn’t have a chicane in it.  The race is held on regular roads that are narrow – it’s not a closed circuit like Daytona.  As for Daytona, it was very challenging, especially when it rained.  There was no resting, you had to stay alert.  You had the high banking and then you’d come off that onto the road course in the middle which was flat, so when it rained the high banking  was easy but there was nothing easy about the flat section.”

Foyt explained that Daytona was particularly special for him because Bill France personally telephoned to invite him to race there:  “My Daddy was dying of cancer in the hospital but he told me ‘There’s no sense you just sitting here, go have some fun this weekend.’  I didn’t want to go but when Mr. France phoned me again my father said ‘Get outta here, there’s nothing you can do here.’  So to be fortunate enough to bring back the trophy to him made it very special.”

In motorsports, fathers and sons often work together on a team and in some cases compete against each other on track.  Foyt’s father played a major role in his racing career and now his son Larry is Team Director at A. J. Foyt Racing Ltd.  “Larry is playing a major role with my team and it gives me a lot of pleasure seeing him doing that end of the business instead of driving,” said Foyt.  “He was a pretty good race car driver but I’m glad to see him take such an interest in managing the team.  When he got hurt at Indy I didn’t care to see him race anymore.  I felt like he would be more important in the family business and I’m glad he finally agreed with me.”

There comes a time in every great race car driver’s career when it is time to hang up the racing shoes.  For A. J. Foyt that time came at the 1993 Indianapolis 500. “I knew my career was coming to an end because I wasn’t as healthy as I needed to be to race and I couldn’t perform liked I used to,” said Foyt.  “When I won the Indy 500 in 1961, Mr. Hulman, who owned the Indianapolis Speedway, sent me and Ray Harroun (who won the first Indy 500 in 1911) to New York to appear on the television program What’s My Line.  I remember asking Mr. Harroun, ‘When do you know when to quit?’ He said ‘It will probably come to you all of a sudden and you’ll just know.’  I think that’s what happened to me that day at Indy in 1993.  I got word that Robby Gordon, who was driving one of my cars, crashed for the second or third time and I just said I’m through; I can’t concentrate on running cars with young drivers and then try to drive them too.  I just knew it was my time to quit.”


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