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Motorsports Mondial.



A Motorsport Mondial Presentation.


Jorge Lorenzo jumps on the Le Mans podium and ahead in the championship. The young Spaniard dominated the wet-dry French GP from start to finish. Italian Marco Melandri was second on a privately entered Kawasaki. Pole-sitter from Spain Dani Pedrosa was third for Honda.

The Doctor, Valentino Rossi, had a bad day at the clinic enduring three pit stops, one fall and a ride through penalty. He now shares second place in the championship with Australian Casey Stoner. Race winner Lorenzo leads by a single point.


Black Gold. The 2009 F3 Euros Series kicked-off at Hockenheimring with two new faces at the top of the podium. Victory in race one went to 20-year old Stefano Coletti of Monaco in his Mercedes-powered Dallara. Roberto Merhi of Spain was second. Sunday’s race two saw another first time winner, Jean-Karl Vernay of France in his VW-powered Dallara. Local driver Cristian Vietoris was second ahead another French driver Jules Bianchi third.


De Silvestro disciplines boys. Swiss Miss Simona De Silvestro dominates round two of Formula Atlantic at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. She turned her first pole position into her second victory in this very competitive series. John Edwards, the Cincinnati Kid who won the opening round at Sebring, was second and retains the championship lead. This year a race win is worth $50k and the championship a cool $1m.


No static at all. Team owner and driver, Paris-born Brazilian Gil de Ferran, took victory for Acura in the American Le Mans Series event in Utah. His co-driver is ex-Champ Car driver from France Simon Pagenaud. Acura was also successful in the P2 category, victory in this class going to dos amigos from Mexico, Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz.


Master the moment. Pau, lovely little town in the Pyrennes, played host to the season opener of Formula Master series. Pre-season favorite Fabio Leimer from Switzerland swiftly won Saturday’s race while victory on Sunday went to 16-year old Italian Alessandro Kouzkin. Norwegian Pal Varhaug took rookie honors for the weekend by finishing third in both races.


Rossi rising. Northern California’s Alexander Rossi is the only American in the Formula Master series. He is driving for British team Hi-Tech Racing, both newcomers to the series. He was 10th in Saturday’s race and a very credible fourth in race two on Sunday. After big name flops and misguided adventures by American racing drivers on the other side of the pond, Rossi is serious world class talent which he very ably demonstrated last year in Mexico City by winning the Formula BMW World Finals.


Lady luck and blue skies shine on Le Mans legend. Tom Kristensen, winless in DTM since 2006, was the surprise winner in the season opener at Hockenheimring. Audi teammate Mattias Ekstrom dominated the race but the Swede had to make a pit stop after suffering a puncture on the penultimate lap. Timo Scheider was second and completing an Audi sweep of the podium was Oliver Jarvis.

Ralf Schumacher was 9th and Mathias Lauda 10th. Katherine Legge was 12th.
Canadian Bruno Spengler, only North American in the series, Susie Stoddard and Alexandre Premat all failed to finish.


Arrivederci Ferrari.


Arrivederci Ferrari

The mythical and magical name, the essence of Formula 1 and Motor
Racing, Scuderia Ferrari, is threatening to leave the big show.

By Nasir Hameed

Mention motor racing or red cars to any racing aficionado, or the prancing horse, it only means one thing – – Ferrari. The blood of Italy, and dream that flows in every young driver aspiring to be world champion. The legacy and legend left behind by a man who endured the triumphs and tragedies of the sport in his “terrible joys”.

Those were the days

Scuderia Ferrari takes pride in competing in the FIA world championship since the beginning, 1950. A little piercing of history books will show the prancing horse failed to gallop to the inaugural round at Silverstone that year.

But the history books will also reveal the success of this team is unmatched. When the curtain came down on the 1958 season in Casablanca, Ferrari had powered the first British world champion in Mike Hawthorn. Three years later it would take Phil Hill to the top of the world as the first American world champion. The second American world champion, Mario Andretti, drove a Lotus in his glory year, 1978, but seven years earlier his first taste of F1 victory came in a Ferrari at Kyalami.



Each and every round of the 1950 season, excluding the Indianapolis 500, was won by Enzo Ferrari’s ex-employer and then arch rival from Milano, Alfa Romeo.

In round five of the second season, July 14th. is the day that will remain in Ferrari-famy. It was “Pampas Bull” from Argentina, Jose Froilan Gonzales, who gave prancing horse its first Formula 1 victory in the 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

“That day I felt like I stabbed my own mother”, such was the impact of this victory on Enzo Ferrari. One has to wonder how he felt when his own fellow Italian, Alberto Ascari, gave him back to back championships in 1952 & ’53.

Fury & the future

The halls of FIA head office are not immune from financial meltdown the world is enduring these days. The sport’s governing body has decreed budget caps for next season, teams that comply with this will have greater technical freedom than those who wish to spend what they deem is necessary for their operation.

This two-tier Championship has shades of turbo and non-turbo cars era.

Luca di Montezemolo, man in charge of the most symbolic of F1 teams and history, has lashed out against new regulations and wasted no time in proclaiming Ferrari will leave Formula 1. He has the support of his team’s board of directors.
Piero Ferrari, Enzo’s flesh and blood, has also come out and spoken in support of his team’s decision to depart from the top league. He told the British newspaper The Guardian: “This is not a war of press releases”. The Scuderia maintains it’s not possible to control budget cap.
The younger Ferrari continued, “They’re not acceptable at all. Everybody on the grid has to start with the same rules, otherwise there’s no competition and it’s somebody else deciding who’s going to win."
Flavio Briatore, the colorful team boss at Renault, was very clear where he stood on the matter, “Our aim is to reduce costs while maintaining the high standards that make Formula One one of the most prestigious brands on the market.
"We want to achieve this in a co-coordinated manner with the regulatory and commercial bodies, and we refuse to accept unilateral governance handed out by the FIA”.
John Howett of Toyota and Red Bull billionaire, Dietrich Mateschitz has also taken a stand against Max Mosley’s idea of cost control. Their anger stem from Max’s modus operandi where the participants in the billion dollar show have no say in how the stage is set.

BMW’s Dr. Mario Theissen also feels FIA’s ruling is not healthy for the sport.

The missing link is the power behind the current world champion and championship leader, Mercedes-Benz. The Star of Stuttgart has been tarnished in the past two season by shenanigans by their F1 partner, McLaren and both only recently escaped multiple race ban following the
“lie-gate” episode in Australia.

McLaren’s silence may be golden for Max and his group. A united front from FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) members will force his hand to agree to their terms and conditions.


Will prancing horse leave the barn?

Bernie Ecclestone was right on the money, as he always is on such matters, when he said Ferrari and Formula 1 is a marriage made in heaven. Can anyone even imagine the separation of Vince Lombardi and NFL, Mohammed Ali and Boxing?

Ferrari enjoys the same stature when you hear the sound of racing engines.
It will be a sad, sad day when the sound of these magnificent machines from Maranello is no longer heard going into Parabolica at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, or dive into Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps.

Luca can look into sports car racing and re-visit the glory days of Le Mans 24-hour race. Then there is always the last hope, the lucrative American market where Tony George would give Luca a princely welcome to the pagoda.

Boys will be boys. Let’s hope they grow up by the May 29, 2009, the deadline for entering the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.


Ramez Azza.

 Ramez Azzam


Montreal Canadien finds Motorsports in Middle East.

By Nasir Hameed

Ramez Azzam is competing in this year’s Formula Renault WEC Championship.
He also raced against Jean Alesi and Johnny Herbert in Speed Car Series.

Hameed: Your racing career started in Middle East, what is the level of interest among local youngsters in motorsports?

Azzam: It is still relatively low. The number of youngsters in the national karting championship is always increasing. I think when the Formula 1 comes to Abu Dhabi there will be a lot more interest in motorsport for the younger generation which should hopefully encourage them to start karting.

Hameed: How long were you in karting?

Azzam: I didn’t do much serious karting at all. I started in rental karts in February 2005 and that’s pretty much all I did till the end of 2006. Then my dad bought me and my older brother racing karts and I participated in one round before going off to do Formula Campus.

Hameed: You attended Autosport Academy in France, what did that experience teach you in race craft?

Azzam: It was a good opportunity to do the Autosport Academy as a start into motorsport in Europe. I think I learnt a lot about competitiveness in this year and that you can never let a tenth go because it matters!

Hameed: Who is guiding and managing your career?

Azzam: The person who really got me into motorsport is David Terrien, an ex-karting world champion and he is currently managing the karting track in Dubai. He takes care of the driving side of things. For everything else my manager Marco Zecchi handles!

Hameed: You raced in Formula Renault in 2008, was the learning curve in a more competitive environment and new tracks wider than you expected?

Azzam: I was always going into the season as one of the most, if not the most inexperienced driver. I knew from the start it was going to be a tough season and it turned out to be even more competitive than I had expected!

Hameed: Where do you see the biggest improvement in you as a driver compared to your rookie year in single seaters?

Azzam: The biggest improvement is probably confidence within the car. When I jump into a single seater now I feel more in control of the car no matter what the weather conditions are like. In my rookie season in cars it was very difficult to adapt to different track and weather conditions as I live in the U.A.E where it was either dry or sandy!

Also being with a strong team helps my driving and confidence a lot. I have built a strong relationship with my engineers and mechanics and this helps a lot with confidence on track.


Hameed: You have started the 2009 season with a podium finish at Nogaro, what is your goal for this season?

Azzam: My goal for the season is to improve race by race and become more competitive. Podium finishes is a goal that I will aim for in the early part of the season before hopefully improving and starting to go for the top step


Hameed: Earlier in February you took part in the Speed Car race in Dubai, how did this deal come about and what was it like racing against ex-Grand Prix drivers?

Azzam: The deal came in unfortunate circumstances. A relative of the original driver Hasher Al Maktoum passed away, so he was unable to participate in race two. I had my dad waking me up on the Saturday morning telling me I was racing so it was a big surprise!

It was a real experience racing against the likes of Johnny Herbert and Jean Alesi, not many 17 year olds can say they raced against the greats of motorsport so I am proud of having that!

Hameed: What part of Canada are you from and where is home base during the racing season?

Azzam: I lived in Montreal in Canada. My home base during last season was in United Arab Emirates, but this year I am moving to Milton Keynes in the UK.

Hameed: How do you find drivers in junior category in terms of friendliness, are some already displaying cut-throat mentality that motor racing is famous for?

Azzam: A lot of us get on quite well as friends off the track, but on track it is a war whether you are teammates or in rival teams. Sometimes the arguments on track continue off the track but I like to mind my own business and do my talking on track!

Hameed: What is the Azzam Agenda for the next few years?

Azzam: Well we are still in the very early stages of the 2009 season, so we must see how the first half of this year goes before starting to plan the next two years. The next ideal step is a Formula 3 championship or possibly Formula Master.

Hameed: Any interest in Indy or Nascar racing in future?

Azzam: It’s a completely different type of racing but I wouldn’t rule it out in the future!

Spanish domination.



Lime away: A greasy win it may have been but Jenson Button is now looking well dressed for the 2009 World Championship. The British driver took win # 4 in round 5 at Barcelona on Sunday. Teammate Rubens Barrichello is feeling the squeeze after mid-race strategy change from three to two pit stops allowed Button to grab the lead while the Brazilian had to settle for second. Memories of Maranello at Montmelo!


Where have all the power gone? The Battle of Britons, Button vs Hamilton, is being fought with German power, Mercedes-Benz. While Button is having the season of his career, Hamilton, the defending world champion, finds himself diffused and confused. McLaren’s child prodigy is hopeful that he will have a competitive package by the time of his home Grand Prix—if there is one.


Running on empty: Scuderia Ferrari is an uneasy stable this season. In qualifying Kimi Raikkonen aired issues with the team and in the late stages of the race Felipe Massa, above, took his time in heeding to team’s instructions to “let it go” and finish the race as not enough fuel went into his car during his final pit stop.


Making his Mark: Exactly fifty years to the day after Jack Brabham became the first Australian to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, Mark Webber equaled his career best finish by taking the final podium spot in Montmelo. Finishing ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel must have given Webber a boomerang feeling


Car ahead and behind is a Toyota: The Trulli Train was de-railed on the opening lap. Teammate Timo Glock ran behind schedule and completed the journey pointless, a lap down in tenth. The Japanese giant is now threatening to pull out over FIA’s proposed new technical regulations.


Lion that roared: Local lad Fernando Alonso delighted fellow hombres when he passed the Ferrari of Felipe Massa late in the race to grab fifth place. Caught out by the new regulations like McLaren, days of thunder and podium prancing are now a painful and distant memory.



F1weekly podcast # 346



Podcast number 346 Clark and Steve give you the Barcelona review.

Brawn GP continue their domination of the 2009 season with Button taking the checkered flag.

Rubens Barrichello surprised to have not taken the victory in Barcelona.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber with great pit stop strategy takes the final podium position.

Ferrari telling Felipe to conserve fuel allows Vettel and Alonso through for fourth and fifth.

More trouble for Max Mosley as more teams join the budget cap protest.

Rubens Barrichello on Sunday made clear I’m not playing number two again.


The Spanish Grand Prix
Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain;
66 laps; 307.104km;


Pos Driver Team Time
1. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) 1h37:19.202
2. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) + 13.056
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 13.924
4. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 18.941
5. Alonso Renault (B) + 43.166
6. Massa Ferrari (B) + 50.827
7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 52.312
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 1:05.211
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 1 lap
10. Glock Toyota (B) + 1 lap
11. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 1 lap
12. Piquet Renault (B) + 1 lap
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 1 lap
14. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 1 lap

Fastest lap: Barrichello, 1:22.762

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 18
Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 8
Trulli Toyota (B) 1
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1
Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1
Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1