Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Formula Abarth

Hannes in Wonderland: They say practice makes perfect. And that’s what Hannes van Asseldonk, the Boy from Boekel, in the Netherlands, plan to do during the off-season. No sooner had the Formula BMW Europe season ended Hannes hopped in a Formula Abarth car of Prema Junior team at Vallelunga and recorded very quick times.

He was fastest in first free practice and qualified on the second row in fourth place for his debut in Formula Abarth Championship past weekend.

Photo: Formula Abarth

More surprise was in store for the competition. Still only in his first full year of racing and competing against a field of over 30 drivers, including son of ex-F1 driver Eddie Cheever, Hannes recorded the fastest lap of the race on his way to the maiden win of his young racing career.

In the recently concluded Formula BMW Europe series, Hannes drove for Josef Kaufmann Racing of Germany. His teammates were fellow Dutchman Robin Frijns, who went on to win the championship in the final race of the season at Monza, and Finnish karting star Petri Suvanto.

Hannes will have his hands full when he competes in 2011 in the yet-to-be –determined series due to the demise of Formula BMW Europe at the end of this season, but given his impressive pace and fierce determination, the future for this young 18-year old Dutch driver is ‘starry, starry bright.’

–         Nasir Hameed


F1weekly podcast # 460

Alonso sails to second successive win at Marina Bay and turns the championship tide. It’s moon over Oviedo and Maranello.

Fernando Alonso won the season opener in Bahrain. But that was Sebastian Vettel’s race before he ran into mechanical issues.

Alonso won again at Hockenheim in Germany. But that was teammate Massa’s race before he ran into ‘Alonso is faster than you’ mental issues, not of his own making but a polite ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ with (team) orders which invited a $100,000 fine from the FIA.

From Monza to Marina Bay on Sunday, there were no ifs and buts about the Spaniard’s sensational drives. Capitalizing on Lewis Hamilton’s self inflicted retirement before the opening lap was not even half over, Alonso took care of the second McLaren at Monza in the pits; thrilling the Tifosis who packed Parco Monza every September for their beloved red machines from Maranello.

Red Five

Singapore Grand Prix started the final five fly-away races which will decide the 2010 World Championship. No less than five drivers are in with a chance. Interestingly, it is the Red Bull drivers, with the most dominant cars through most of the season, who are looking for their first title.

Pre-and-early season favorite Sebastian Vettel appears to have become his own worst enemy, failing to score after clashing with teammate Webber and then with Button in previous rounds.

Sunday Vettel chased Alonso all race long, and despite deployment of safety car on more than one occasion, was not able to make a Hamilton-style all-or-nothing assault on Alonso to grab the lead.

Vettel can write his name in history books again if he is to become world champion this year; he will replace Lewis Hamilton as the youngest ever.

Red Bull’s other charge, Mark Webber, is still hanging on to his championship lead, albeit with only nine points over “Nando.” The points he lost when he took to the air in Valencia after running into the back of Kovalainen’s Lotus are now hurting him.

Webber could have lost more ground on Sunday but was lucky his collision with Hamilton only took the McLaren driver out. His second successive dnf, the fact that Alonso took maximum 50 points from the same two races will be very much on Hamilton’s mind at the next round at Suzuka.

Webber’s podium finish in third place in Singapore could be crucial in his quest to become the first Australian world champion since equally gritty and determined Alan Jones in 1980.

The inaugural Korean Grand Prix next month appears to be sinking in deep ‘kimchi’ and even the F1 Supremo, the “Big E” is now expressing his doubts. In F1 they say He knows what will happen before it happen. If the race does become a Korean barbeque and flames out, this could turn out to be a Happy Meal for Mark Webber. He will have to protect his nine-point lead in only three more races.

The other protagonists, Alonso, Button, Hamilton and Vettel will fight out for wins in the remaining races and that may allow cruise-and-collect mode for Webber to make his Mark!

Button finished fourth in Singapore but like teammate Hamilton had nothing for Red Bull and the Ferrari of Alonso.

In the last five races Alonso has out-scored all other challengers. Few weeks ago the season looked lost for Scuderia, now the focus is to clip the wings of Red Bull drivers and re-live the remaining races like the 2007 season, where championship was snatched from the jaws of both McLaren drivers. Ironically, Sunday’s winner in Singapore was one of the victims back then.

The Oviedo Express

It’s full steam ahead for Alonso and Scuderia Ferrari. Massa may prove to be a key signal man and take away important points from the challengers.

Photo: Reuters

In the post race interview Alonso was asked if the smart money should be on him winning his third world title.

He replied, “I think it remains very tight. All five contenders still have the same possibilities. Mark has a little bit more with still some margin to have a bad weekend not putting at risk the contention of the championship. For the others we need to keep catching if we can.

“We will do our best. We do not know if it will be enough to become champion in Abu Dhabi. But we will give 100 per cent. Hopefully it is enough but people can be sure we will fight until the end.

Many a belly will be turning and dancing as the Arabian night falls and so does curtain on the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Abu Dhabi.

— Nasir Hameed



NANDO IN THE NIGHT: Title and pole favorite Red Bull team got their wings clipped in Q3 for qualifying for Sunday’s SingTel Singapore Grand Prix. After being called in to the pits to fix an issue on the car, Fernando Alonso put on a championship charge performance to deny Sebastian Vettel his eighth pole of the season.

The “numero uno” and two-time world Champion Ferrari pilot also won pole, and the race, in the previous round at Monza. Alonso’s time of 1:45.390s was 0.067s ahead of the German wunderkind.

The five protagonists for this year’s title posted the top five times.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start in third place, on the “clean side of the track” as he stated in post-qualifying press conference. The 2008 World Champion made a costly mistake on the opening lap of the Italian GP, and is looking to re-take the championship lead from Red Bull’s self-proclaimed “not bad for a number two driver” Mark Webber.

The Australian will start fifth as Jenson Button, the defending champion, will share the second row with his McLaren teammate.

Rubens Barrichello qualified sixth in his Williams.

Nico Rosberg, the star of Mercedes team this year, again out-qualified his fellow countryman and teammate, the 7-time world champion Michael Schumacher. Rosberg starts seventh and Schumacher ninth after advancing to Q3 for the first time since the British GP.

Robert Kubica is eighth and Kamui Kobayashi 10th on the grid.

While the Ferrari of Alonso starts from pole, his teammate Felipe Massa will start from the last spot after being stranded on the track in Q1. An engine problem is suspected.

CK is OK. Sakon Yamamoto is recovering from food poisoning and his place has been taken by Christian Klien. The Austrian, who earlier commented this could be his last chance to shine and claim a seat for next season, out-qualified the team’s regular driver, Bruno Senna by a margin of 0.772s.

SingTel Tones: In a story on the pole-sitter claims critics are too harsh on drivers. According to the Spaniard the intense competition of the season is the real reason why errors are more common.

“I think when you have a car that is better than all the rest, your approach or the way you do races is very different,” Alsonso told Jonathan Noble of Autosport.

The man sharing the front row with Alonso also shares the same view claiming that the tight nature of the season is making the margins between success and failure much smaller. Both Vettel and Alonso have made costly mistakes during the season, just like Webber and Hamilton.

Jenson, the smooth operator, seems to be pushing the right buttons and has a fighting chance to retain his title.

E-Trade: Bernie Ecclestone, a visionary who can see a grand prix taking place from Kabinda to Kazakhstan where oil wells dig deep, is so elated at the three-year old event in Singapore that he has expressed his desire to see the night race remain the same for 20 years.

“The race is a jewel in F1’s crown and keeps getting polished,” said the F1 Supremo.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Singapore night moves regards.

F1weekly podcast # 459

Jerome D’Ambrosio: Le Professionnel

Photo: Gravity Sport Management

Feature Interview: Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Belgium, land of Spa and Chimay, Ickx and Gendebien. Then there was Thierry Boutsen, now brokering planes in Monte-Carlo. He once famously held off Ayrton Senna lap after lap to win in Budapest.

Meet Jerome D’Ambrosio.

World Karting Champion in 2002. Racing in Boutsen’s team, Jerome won the 2003 Belgian Formula Renault Championship. And raced in the Italian, French and European version of the series the following two seasons.

His next championship success came in the 2007 International Formula Master with five race victories. As part of Renault Driver Development program he was entered in the 2008 GP2 series with French DAMS team, the “A” is for ex-Renault and Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux who is no longer affiliated with the team.

Jerome’s best finish in the main series in 2008 was second on home soil at Spa and in the streets of Valencia. He was 11th in the championship.

In the 2008-’09 Asian variant of the series, Jerome, with four podium appearances, was runner-up in the championship behind teammate Kamui Kobayashi.

In the 2009 GP2 Championship Jerome scored six top-five finishes and was 9th in the standings.

Photo: Gravity Sport Management

The glitz and glamour capital of racing world, Monte-Carlo, was the venue for Jerome’s first win in the series earlier this year. He was also on the podium at Monza.

Bright lights will be shining on him as he takes his Virgin F1 machine out on the streets of Singapore this weekend.

F1Weekly is pleased to present an exclusive conversation with Jerome D’Ambrosio on Podcast # 459. The talented Belgian was interviewed at Hockenheim last July during the German Grand Prix weekend. His musical taste ranges from Ella Fitzgerald to Ennio Morricone.

For more information on his career please visit

— Nasir Hameed


Motorsports Mondial

Photo: WorldAutoMotoSport

DTM 2010 – 19th September, 2010

Di Resta and Spengler score a 1-2 for Mercedes-Benz

Oschersleben. Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-Benz) celebrated his second win in a row in the
eighth DTM season round at the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. After 50 laps at the
3.696 kilometres long track in the region around Magdeburg, he crossed the finish line
in first place with his AMG Mercedes C-Class. Bruno Spengler (Mercedes-Benz)
completed the 1-2 for the manufacturer from Stuttgart.

Mattias Ekström (Audi) secured the final podium slot at Oschersleben by finishing third. In fourth place, Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz) only just missed out on a podium finish. The best-placed driver
of a 2008-spec car was Mike Rockenfeller (Audi), who ended up fifth ahead of his fellow
Audi driver Alexandre Prémat. Jamie Green (Mercedes-Benz) and Martin Tomczyk
(Audi) also scored points in seventh and eighth place respectively.

Motorsports Mondial

Formula 3 Euro Series 2010

Valtteri Bottas wins, Edoardo Mortara new champion

Edoardo Mortara
is the new Formula 3 Euro Series’ champion.
For the 23-year old Italian, sixth place at Oschersleben was enough, as his
only remaining rival Marco Wittmann (Signature) only finished one place
behind Mortara. The Signature driver claimed the maiden drivers’ title in the
Formula 3 Euro Series for his engine partner Volkswagen. Victory at the
3.696 kilomtres long Motorsport Arena Oschersleben was claimed by
Valtteri Bottas (ART Grand Prix) from Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix) and
António Félix da Costa (Motopark Academy).

For Bottas, who dominated the race and won with a margin of 22.141 seconds, it
was the first win in a Saturday race of the Formula 3 Euro Series. With his third
place, Félix da Costa scored the first Saturday podium finish for his team in the
home round of his Motopark Academy squad. Before that, the leader in the rookie
standings, who himself scored his first-ever top three result on a Saturday, won
three Sunday races in a row.

Valtteri Bottas (ART Grand Prix): “On Saturday, I have been second so many
times and now, I finally have my first win. Therefore, this success is a very special
one for me. Today, my car was really good. I think that tracks where more
downforce is needed, just suit our car better.”

Alexander Sims (ART Grand Prix): “On lap four, I came next to the track and I
damaged my tyre. After that, second place was all I could do.”

António Félix da Costa (Motopark Academy): “I know the track at
Oschersleben very well and I like to race here. We were able to improve and we
are getting closer and closer to the front-runners. Scoring a podium finish on
Saturday was my goal and I have achieved that.”

Edoardo Mortara: “It is great that I am the new champion. I was
already very happy with my victory at Macau last year, but this success is one
step higher as it is not just one race. Throughout the year, we have been able to
win races and claim pole positions.”