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Pal Varhaug.


Pål Varhaug

Racing his way from Norway

By Nasir Hameed


Nordic nations have produced great racing drivers and champions over the years. It was Jo Bonnier from Sweden who gave BRM their first Grand Prix victory in the dunes of Zandvoort in 1959. His compatriot Ronnie Peterson, The Super Swede, dazzled the competition and racing fans with his tremendous speed and beautiful car control.

The Finns have fine tuned the art of rallying and since the 80s the nation of five million people has provided three F1 world champions. Ranging in style from the abrasive and out-spoken Keke Rosberg to the less-said-the-better policy embraced and exhibited so eloquently by both Mika Hakkinen and their latest champion, Kimi Raikkonen, now melting away as Ice Cream Man.

There have been great Danes on the track, too. Jan Magnussen won more races in British F3 than Ayrton Senna, and Tom Kristensen cannot find a way to lose at Le Mans.

Norwegian Wood

Humming his way up the racing ladder and set to fly in five years in the top tier of motor racing is a racer who was born in Stavanger, Norway.

Meet Pål Varhaug.

The 18-year old chipped his way though karting for many years and after winning the 2008 Formula Renault Italia Championship, he now embarks in his first season of International Formula Master which gets under way this month through the streets of legendary Pau in the Pyrennes. is pleased to present our digital dialogue with this talented teenager and wish him all the best in building his house of success.

Q: Please tell us how you got interested in motor racing?

A: “When I was a little kid my father was karting, and then my brother and I started to drive, and I just loved the speed and all the adrenalin, and after that I could not hold my hands away from it!”

Q: You started in karting at the age of five, what is the most important thing you learn in karting that helps in single-seater racing?

A: “In karting the most important things I learned was the driving lines and overtaking moves, I learned also to work with a team.”

Q: What has been the highlight of your racing career so far?

A: “My highlight was when I could drive the Italian championship in Formula Renault and win it!”



Q: In 2008, you were Italian Formula Renault Champion, what were the highs and lows of the season?

A: “Highlight was in Budapest at Hungaroring when I won both qualification sessions and both races. And the low was at Misano when I jumped the start from pole position and lost the race.”

Q: This year you will be competing in International Formula Master Championship, what made you decide on this series?

A: “I thing it is a good and competitive series, and have a lot of television with the Euro sport, and I really like to drive this car.”

Q: What are your expectations this season?

A: “This season I expect to learn as much as I can and see where the results go. And always try to win of course!”

Q: Pre-season testing just finished in Budapest, what is more fun to drive Formula Renault or Formula Master car? And what are the main differences?

A: “I like more to drive the Formula Master car, it has a lot more grip so I can carry a lot more speed in the corners, it has gear shifts on the steering wheel and mainly the car is just a lot more fun to drive.”

Q: Who is guiding your career?

A: “Now me and my father are guiding my career with a lot of friends, and people around me at home are working with different things. So thanks to all!”

Q: Do Norwegian companies and motorsport federation help young talented drivers like you with sponsorship?

A: “No, in Norway it is very difficult to get money, and we don’t have federations to help young talented drivers, I wish there was something like this, then it would be a lot easier!”

Q: Your website says your favorite food is Taco, how many Mexican restaurants in Norway?

A: “Hehe, well, don’t know how many Mexican restaurants in Norway!”

Q: Where would you like to see your career go in five years?

A: “In five years I will be in a Formula 1 team fighting for the world championship title!”

Q: Do you follow major American series like Indy Cars and Nascar?

A: “No, not really, but if I see some on television I don’t change the channel! Hehe.”

Q: Please tell our listeners about Pål Varhaug, the young man and not the racing driver?

A: “At home I like to be with friends and do different sports and have fun. Listen to music like pop, rock and trance. And just chill out.”

Please visit Varhaug’s website at:


The 2009 International Formula Master season starts in southern France on May 16th through the streets of Pau. F1 weekly podcast will continue in 2009 to bring you news, views and information from the world of motor racing.



Heart to heart: Two giants of motor racing legend embrace each other. Ayrton Senna is congratulated by the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio, in winning what turned out to be his final success on home soil in 1993. Three races into the following season and after scoring three pole positions, Senna perished while leading the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. The tall tale of his tremendous talent is only a click away at:




Unfortunately, tragedy had arrived a day earlier at Imola. In Saturday’s qualifying session Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger lost his life after crashing his Simtek.

His memorial website is

F1weekly podcast # 343




Jules of French racing

Pre-season favorite to lift the 2009 F3 Euro series Championship, the 19-year old
racer from Brignoles talks to F1 weekly about his career and goals.

By Nasir Hameed
Hameed: Two wins and two poles in your rookie year in 2008, what is your strategy for 2009? Be aggressive and win many races or cruise and collect to win the championship?

Bianchi: “My strategy will be aggressive in race one; I’ll do my best to win. Then, my aim will be to score points in race two.”

Hameed: How special was the feeling to score first win over teammate Nico Hulkenberg in the F3 Masters at Zolder?

Bianchi: “After the finish line I was crying in my helmet! For me it was really special to win in Zolder because of my family background, and because to beat Nico fairly was a really good thing for me.”

Hameed: What was your best and worst moment from last season?

Bianchi: “The best one was for sure Zolder and the worst one, Brands Hatch! At Brands Hatch, I was leading the feature race and everything was going well until I arrive in a yellow flagged corner. I slowed down but not enough for the marshals who gave me a drive through penalty.

“That ruined my race, and my week-end. It had been a very hard moment for me as it killed my possibility to fight for the championship. That’s also the price to pay when you lack racing experience as it was only my second year of open wheel.”

Hameed: You have three rookies as teammates, what advice will you give them apart from staying behind you?

Bianchi: “The first year in F3 Euro series is never easy but I have to say that my teammates are really very quick. They have to be calm in the first races and think about finishing in the points which is already a good thing as a rookie.”

Hameed: Who is guiding and managing your career

Bianchi: “Nicolas Todt is managing my career and he is like my “race father”! He has really been doing a lot for me and he’s always available for advice. Then, Olivier Maernhout is taking care of my daily needs and comes with me to every race. I would say that he is like a brother to me!”

Hameed: Who will be your main challengers for the championship?

Bianchi: “I will have many challengers. I think Brendon Hartley will be a good challenger and also Atte Mustonen.”

Hameed: Your favorite track?

Banchi: “My favorite tracks are Macau and Hockenheim.”

Hameed: Your grandfather Mauro raced at Le Mans, is that something you would like to do in the future?

Bianchi: “Yes, of course, I would like to do it but my father doesn’t really want me to do Le Mans because we lost my uncle, and my grand father had a really big crash there.”

Hameed: You raced at Macau last year, how was that experience and do you prefer street racing to traditional tracks like Spa or Dijon-Prenois?

Bianchi: “I really like street circuits because you need to be more concentrated than on normal tracks but my pleasure is the same when I’m in the car. I just love to drive.”

Hameed: Any interest in becoming the first French driver in modern era to win the Indy 500?

Bianchi: “Why not? But that’s not my aim for the moment.”

Hameed: When you move to GP2, would you prefer to stay with ART or try another team?

Bianchi: “Of course I would like to be with ART Grand Prix! That’s such a great team with great people. We will see in the future. But I will do every thing to be in this team if I go in GP2.”

Hameed: Finally, please describe Jules Bianchi, the young man, not the driver?

Bianchi: “When I’m at home, I train a lot and I also do some karting because my father runs a track! So it’s easy for me to take a go kart and drive. Then I also go-kart races with my little brother to help him. My favorite food is Italian food, it’s the best one! Then I like house music and I like to play to sport game on the playstation.

“Thank you, it was a pleasure…See you.”
For more information on Jules’ accomplishments please visit

Photo: DPPI





 The pursuit is relentless

Suspension suspended: A lenient decision by the FIA World Motor Sport Council has prevented Vodafone McLaren team from being disconnected from this year’s championship. Many had feared the perpetrators of lie-gate were headed to the waste-gate following the audacity of star driver and current world Champion, Lewis Hamilton, and team’s sporting director, Davey Ryan, to continue to lie to FIA stewards despite their contradictory statements from radio communication and statements to press.

The Woking based team were handed a suspended three-race ban for bringing the sport into disrepute following the council’s meeting on Wednesday in Paris. The FIA statement read:

"Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr. Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC and the change in culture which he made clear has taken place in his organisation, the WMSC decided to suspend the application of the penalty it deems appropriate.

"That penalty is a suspension of the team from three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship. This will only be applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of article 151c of the International Sporting Code."

Now let’s go motor racing in Montmelo. The Spanish Grand Prix is next on May 10th.


Post card from Bahrain.

 Post card from Bahrain


Welcome aboard. F1 had a busy schedule to start the 2009 season. The Gulf Air Grand Prix of Bahrain was round 4. Five races in four weeks. Time for some serious in-flight service on way to Europe.


Mark Weber was steaming like a Red Bull. The driver from down under got screwed by Sutil in qualifying.


Motivation in Manama. Jean Alesi. French flair with Sicilian blood and temper. The Ace of Avignon once drove for Ferrari, and once upon a time won his only Grand Prix race in Canada on his birthday.


Robert Kubica. In the ultimate fuming machine. The BMW Sauber is a sorry sight these days. The Pole and his teammate were the last classified cars on Sunday.


Jenson Button, man who was Hungary for a win for over hundred races. Now he has three wins and a second from four races in 2009. He will return to the sands of Arabia for the November season finale in Abu Dhabi.



My name is Luca. I live on every floor. El Jefe of Ferrari is scratching his head over his team’s worst start to a season since the constructors’ championship was started in 1958.




F1weekly podcast # 342

The Sand Piper



English driver Jenson Button, driving a Mercedes-Benz powered Brawn GP car, wins the Gulf Air 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix, his third victory in four starts in five weeks this season. Last week’s Chinese Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel of Germany was second in his Renault-powered Red Bull. Italian Jarno Trulli, who started from pole-position, was third for Toyota.

Lewis Hamilton was fourth for McLaren and now awaits Wednesday’s ruling on the lie-gate by the FIA. There are concerns that if McLaren is suspended for the season key sponsors and engine supplier, Mercedes-Benz, may also plug the plug on their involvement with the once proud and mega-successful Woking-based British team.
Rubens Barrichello was fifth in the second Brawn GP car. Kimi Raikkonen gave Ferrari their first championship points by finishing sixth. Timo Glock, who shared the front with teammate Trulli, was seventh and Fernando Alonso fetched the final point for Renault.
The European season starts with the Spanish Grand Prix in May at Montmelo

The Shadow of his smile
Jenson Button leads the championship with 31 points. Teammate Rubens Barrichello, winless since leaving Ferrari, is second on 19, only a point behind is Sebastian Vettel. The 2008 title contender, Felipe Massa, has yet to open his account this season.
In the constructors’ championship, Brawn GP is cleaning up the competition and has a hefty lead, 50 to 27.5, over Red Bull. Last year’s champion, Ferrari, is dead last among teams scoring points with three, all scored on Sunday in Bahrain. invites you to download our podcasts on Itunes or to your computer. We cover all major motor racing series from around the world.

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Podcast number 342

Clark and Steve with the race highlights.

Toyota bad strategy cost them their first win.

BMW frantic to turn around nightmare season.

Renault must find improvements for the next race, Fernando.

Ferrari to introduce several updates in Barcelona.