Motorsports Mondial

Birth of a new series in Barcelona: The baby GP2 series, hatched by the usual suspects, B’s of the motor racing world, Bernie, Briatore and Bruno, as in Michel, will make its competition debut as support race to the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix in May at Montmelo.

The car, like its bigger GP2 sibling, is built by Parma-based Italian manufacturer, Dallara. Power is supplied by a turbo-charged 280hp Renault engine. The French manufacturer also powers the GP2 field.

Hewland of England supplies the six-speed sequential gearbox.

Pirelli is the surprise choice for tires while another Italian outfit, Brembo, puts the brakes on. Absence of Hitco and Carbon Industries confirm Peter Windsor was not involved in decision making, but then again, he has been very busy on his run away project………..

The budget for the series was reported to be around $800 plus, that’s “cost-effective” in racing parlance. However, the world wide financial slippery slope has forced some teams to offer seats at much discounted rates.

Ten teams were awarded entry into the new series, with each team operating three cars per event. Bruno Michel, the series organizer, “The entry selection process has been thought off very carefully and we have only selected teams that proved to be most successful in their categories.”

ART Grand Prix team, famous for winning championships in GP2 and F3 Euro Series, is the pre-season favorite to provide the championship winning driver. Roster of the Frederic Vasseur and Nicolas Todt led team, include American Alexander Rossi and Monterrey, Mexico’s Esteban Gutierrez. The duo dueled in their rookie season of Formula BMW USA in 2007. Both had impressive wins and finished one-two in the rookie standings, Esteban edging the Nevada City Californian for the rookie championship title.

Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber has teamed up with team manager, Christian Horner, in establishing MW Arden team. Their star driver is Denmark’s Michael Christensen, a karting champion who successfully raced in Formula BMW Europe past two seasons.

Spanish karting champion Miki Monras is Mark’s first driver, and finished in the top five in the 2009 Formula Renault Euro Cup.

At Status Racing, Ireland’s Gary Anderson, who designed Eddie Jordan’s first F1 car, is the Technical Consultant and Canadian Teddy Yip is one of the team owners. His father ran the Theodore Racing team in Formula 1.

The team is reported to be in discussion with a couple of North American drivers, named should be revealed when the testing begins on March 4 at Paul Ricard.

Second pre-season test will also take place at Paul Ricard at the end of this month. Final pre-season test will commence on April 13 at Circuit de Catalunya, venue of the first race in May.

The eight round series will be staged in conjunction with F1 events except for the Portuguese event in June at the Portimao circuit in Algarve.

The Contenders.

American Express. Alexander Rossi. The California kid made worldwide headlines at the end of 2008 when he became the first American to win the prestigious Formula BMW World Finals in Mexico City. This was followed by three victories and rookie of the year honors in the 2009 Formula Master International. Currently competing in GP2 Asia series, Rossi is regarded by racing insiders, “those who know” as the real deal and America’s next best hope in Formula 1.

Mexican Machismo. Esteban Gutierrez. Monster mash from Monterrey is already under the wings of Peter Sauber, the man who brought little Kimi to F1. Immensely talented and considered by ex-team owner Josef Kaufmann as quick as Hulkenberg, Gutierrez won the 2008 Formula BMW Europe championship with seven victories, six of those in a row. A season in cut throat world of F3 Euro Series has prepared him well for GP3 this year. Currently resides in Paris.

Toronto Pronto. Robert Wickens. Now out of Red Bull steam the talented Canadian is a winner in every series he competes in. Formula BMW, Atlantic, A1GP and F2, Wickens was wicked quick from the beginning in each series. He won both the opening races of the re-launched Formula 2 championship last year. Mechanical problems cost him the title and the Red Bull support. He is now charging ahead to find funding for a seat. In GP3 he just may spray Canadian Mist on the competition.

— Nasir Hameed

Racing regards from California.

F1weekly podcast # 410

F1weekly podcast number 410 .

Fernando Alonso confident Ferrari F10 is ready for Bahrain.

Nico Hulkenberg tops the time sheets in Barca.

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.

Today’s times:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps

1. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth (B) 1:20.614 99
2. Alonso Ferrari (B) 1:20.637 134
3. de la Rosa BMW-Sauber (B) 1:20.973 114
4. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:21.056 90
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:21.258 125
6. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.571 104
7. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP (B) 1:21.689 85
8. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.152 93
9. Kubica Renault (B) 1:24.912 53
10. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth (B) 1:25.524 70
11. Glock Virgin-Cosworth (B) 1:25.942 52


Speedy Suvanto

The Finn is finished with karting and will compete in 2010 Formula BMW Europe with Josef Kaufmann Racing. In this digital dialogue he talks about his young racing career so far and what the future expectations are.

Q: Petri, please tell us how old were you when you caught the racing bug?

A: It was autumn of 1997 and I was only 4 years old. My dad bought me a kart as a surprise for a reason that still remains as a mystery. That was the time when Mika Häkkinen started to score results and Formula 1’s popularity grew in Finland so I guess there’s a connection. There’s a funny story regarding my first run in a kart: My dad decided to tie a rope around the rear spoiler of my go-kart as he wanted to keep me from going too fast at the beginning. After 20 meters of running behind me he had to give up and let go as I was shouting at him to let me go faster – after that racing has always been the most important thing in my life.

Q: Did you start in karting as a hobby only or were you serious about racing from the beginning?

A: I started doing races on 1998 when I was 5. It started as a hobby and we were only doing regional club races. My childhood idol Mika Häkkinen and his success had a big impact on me when I was a child and because of that becoming Formula 1 World Champion has been my dream since a very young age.

Racing has become more serious step by step and at some point my family had to make a big decision whether to pursue our common dream. My parents have made big sacrifices and without that support I wouldn’t have this chance.

Q: On your Facebook page WSK Lonato 2008 is listed as “best race of my life”, please tell us why this win is so important to you?

A: All the most talented young karters are racing in WSK series so if you win a WSK race you’re beating all the best young karters of the world. What makes it so special though is the fact that the weekend started very badly and nothing seemed to work. We overcame problems step by step with dedication and teamwork.

I was starting from the middle of the grid for pre-final. I was overtaking drivers every few laps until there were only 4 laps to go and I was second and leader was quite far away, I managed to do few perfect laps and got closer. On the second last lap I made a risky diving move from quite a distance (it worked) and maintained the lead until finish. For actual final track conditions had changed a lot and already after the first lap I knew that it would be a long and difficult race but I really wanted that win with all my heart! So, I was driving totally on the limit through every lap of the race – and I got what I wanted.

Q: There is also a photo of you upside down in your kart, “blew my dream of becoming youngest ever JICA Finnish Champion”, how big of a disappointment was this – and, did you cry?

A: This happened in 2005. I was leading the championship by quite some points before this race and it was second last race weekend of the series. I lost so many points compared to other driver that it made it hard to regain the championship lead and I ended up 3rd in the final standings. It was a big disappointment and I did cry (yes, Finnish people can cry as well!) but I got over it quickly. As a result I became much stronger mentally.

Q: What have you learned most from karting that will help you in single-seater racing?

A: First of all the basic skills – everything from mastering the rain to racing itself and so on. I strongly believe that it is important to learn as much as you can from karting and the best way to do so is doing international karting. It is often a mistake to move up to single-seaters too early.

Most importantly I’ve become mentally much more prepared for the challenges of the future. Going through some tough times in karting has made me hungrier and more committed to achieve my goals in racing.

Q: Who is managing your career at this important stage of your racing life?

A: Gravity Sport Management.

Q: Why did you choose Formula BMW over Formula Renault as a starting point after karting?

A: During last summer I was in a situation where financial side was still open and I wasn’t under the wings of Gravity Sport Management yet. I was attracted to the Scholarship program of Formula BMW and it seemed like a great opportunity for me.  I did some tests to prepare myself for Formula BMW Scholarship Course and as a result I was selected as one of the four Formula BMW Juniors. After that Gravity Sport Management came into picture and together we thought it was a natural way to go in my situation. Besides, I already had a great relationship with Josef Kaufmann Racing, which made the decision easier.

Q: How many other teams did you test with before selecting Kaufmann Racing?

A: The best way to compare teams is to do tests. We selected to test with the teams where we saw the biggest potential and besides Kaufmanns I tested with a few other teams. Josef Kaufmann Racing seemed like the best option for my situation and I’m really looking forward to working with them.

Q: Robin Frijns is one of your teammates and was Rookie of the Year in 2009, have you raced against him in karting and are you looking towards him for guidance in your rookie season?

A: First time I raced against Robin was in 2006. The most memorable battle between us was in 2008 KF2 European Championship in Braga (Portugal) where we were both fighting for medals. I had some problems in the beginning of the final so I had to fight my way back to the front but I ran out laps – I finished 4th just behind Robin who was 3rd. So, with few more laps anything could have been possible.

It will be interesting to race against him this year. I am sure it’s good for a rookie like me to have someone like Robin as a team mate. Hopefully we can push each other forward and set the name Josef Kaufmann Racing on the top of the result sheets.

Q: What is your goal for the 2010 season?

A: This being my first ever season racing single seaters I want to give myself some time too see where I am. Therefore my main goal is to learn as much as I possibly can. But to be honest every time engines are switched on I’m racing to win, that’s what this is all about in the end.

So, my goal for 2010 is to improve myself as a racing driver – the skills in the car as well as the skills out of the car, which means everything from media skills to fitness and technical understanding and so on.

Q: Finally, please tell our listeners about Petri Suvanto, the young man from Seinäjoki? Like your taste in music, food and other activities in free time?

A: I’m not living a life of a normal Finnish teenager, which means I often have to make compromises. I’m a high school student with one more year to go until graduation, which is not an easy task but I’m planning to do it with good grades – I just need to work hard.

My musical taste is from a very broad field. One day I might be listening to Classic Rock from good old times but next day I’m listening to Hip Hop. Basically I’m listening to certain kind of music for certain kind of situation. I’m a big fan of Italian cuisine but everything goes, I enjoy experimenting different food cultures.

When I have free time I enjoy spending time with my friends. I’m a big sports fan and I like most of the sports but especially I’m into motorsport, soccer and ice hockey.

Thank you very much, Petri

F1 weekly would like to wish Petri all the best in his racing career. His F1 journey begin in Montmelo in May, as a support race to the Spanish Grand Prix. We invite you to visit his website www.suvanto.inf

And the You Tube link below:

— Nasir Hameed

Motorsports Mondial

The Chenard collection

Making 3D out of 2D …

The Lotus 49 was another of a long line of brilliant Colin Chapman (and Maurice Phillipe) designs, being the first Formula 1 racecar to successfully use the motor as a stress-bearing structural member.

Jim Clark won 4 races in 1967 driving the Lotus 49, and the first race of the 1968 season before being tragically killed in an F2 race in Hockenheim.

I decided to illustrate a “faux” 1967 Silverstone poster, done in the old mid ’60s British style.

In the sketch, Clark leads 2nd place finisher Denny Hulme in his Brabham BT24, followed by 3rd place Chris Amon in his Ferrari 312 F1.

As an experiment, I wanted to render a normally 2D sketch into 3D. To create the 3D illusion, I had to illustrate the cars in parts, and then assemble the parts onto the illustrated background.

For example, the Clark Lotus 49 is built from 9 separate illustrations, cut out, and assembled in layers to create a “trompe l’oeil”. The 3 cars are done like that, and positioned into their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd race finishing order. The “Silverstone” text is also cut out paper…

— Paul Chenard

Our friend Paul is based in Nova Scotia, north of the border (nice weather, eh).

A passionate fan of motor racing, we invite you to visit his work at:


Will you buy a US(ed) F1 car from this man?

Boy, does he have a deal for you? Especially if you are a young American driver. “Shame on Formula One for not nurturing your talents”, he lambasted the system that brought you Senna, Schumacher, Clark and Fangio.

He will give you all the bells and whistles. Live TV-cameras to witness the creation of your Grand Prix gizmo. Best of all, he is going to do it “differently” than Ferrari and McLaren.

So differently he plans to have Danica perform the ’93 Donington miracle and Kyle Busch-whack Vettel.

The down payment on your deal is only $8m. Call your country’s tourism board for a journey into the far away la-la land. Sands of time are moving fast towards the Middle East for the season opener. The desert Kingdom of Bahrain has a paucity of precipitation, but this time it just might rain on his parade.

He did all the talk with his grid walk, now his silence is deafening, just like the oft-quoted “Skunk Works”. If the smell of rumors is true, the operation is Hurley-ing towards a no show and his F1 entry may be Balkanized to accommodate a Serbian entry.

Toast, but no extra shrimp on the barbie!

— Nasir Hameed