Category Archives: Motorsport Mondial

F1weekly podcast # 406

F1weekly podcast number 406.

Fernando Alonso takes Ferrari to the top of the times sheets.

Mercedes Grand Prix team has confirmed Nick Heidfeld as reserve driver.

Bernie wants Stefan GP and Ralf Schumacher on the grid in Bahrain.

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.



Kaufmann Kids

The Josef Kaufmann Academy of Success continues to graduate top

racing talents.

The Emmerich Emperor. Nico Hülkenberg. Little Nico came to Kaufmann Racing at the age of 17 in 2005 for his rookie year in Formula BMW Germany after championship winning karting career. The 20-race season saw Nico knock out the competition by capturing 14 podium finishes, which included 8 wins and 9 pole positions.

The prestigious Formula BMW World Finals at season end took place at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain. Nico nailed this too. But his success quickly turned into quicksand and he was demoted to third. The race stewards gave him 10-seconds penalty for “irrational exuberance”, claiming he brake-tested drivers behind him while the race was under a yellow flag.

The young driver shed a few tears and moved on to greater heights and glory in the following years.

The next three years, 2006-’08, were spent in the dog eat dog pound of Formula 3. Winning races and pole positions in his rookie year in every series he competes in has become “Hulk’s” hallmark.

In 2006, he also represented Germany in the now defunct A1GP series. A dominating performance saw Nico nab 9 wins and 14 podium finishes from 20 events, including a sensational Senna-like performance in the rain at Sepang.

In the 2007 F3 Euro Series he finished third in the championship with four victories and eight podium finishes. Highlight of the year was his victory in the Masters of F3 at Zolder

In 2008, Nico connected with AT&T Williams as test driver and would ring up more success in his second season of F3 Euro Series. Seven wins and eight podium appearances would give him the title, and in the Masters of F3 he was placed second after starting from pole position.

His GP2 career started in typical “Hulk”-style, from pole position. In the 2008-’09 GP2 Asia Series he would race only two weekends, victory and two podium finishes from four races would give him enough points to be classified sixth in the championship.

In the main series last season, against a field of more experienced and several GP2 race winning drivers, Nico captured the championship by appearing on the podium in half the races, winning five of the 20 events.

This year he will be Willi Weber’s latest find on the F1 grid along with his greatest.

Racer and Mentor. Josef Kaufmann. German F3 and Super V driver Josef Kaufmann started his racing team in 1982, while also competing as a driver in the German F3 Championship. Two wins and five podium finishes would give him fourth place in the championship. Finishing just ahead of him in third place was his young Austrian charge by the name of Gerhard Berger.

Kaufmann team has trained and guided many young racing drivers who have gone on to become championship winners in different categories. The list, apart from Berger and Hülkenberg, includes two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, Le Mans winner Frank Biela, DTM champion Timo Scheider, Formula BMW Europe champion from Mexico, Esteban Gurierrez and current Grand Prix driver Sebastian Buemi.

“They don’t have the time”, responded Kaufmann when asked what is the most common mistake young drivers make, referring to the tendency to not take time and learn the business and art of being a racing driver.

And the racing ladder per Kaufmann’s game plan, “Out of experience a good preparation is of course participation in national and international karting series for about 5 – 6 years. A usual career path to Formula 1 would be like: two years in Formula BMW, two years in Formula 3/GP3, one to two years in GP2, and then hopefully the step into Formula 1. So overall in about 6 years a very good driver can make it up to Formula 1.”

Kaufmann’s current crop of future stars includes young Dutch talent Robin Frijns, Rookie of the Year last year in the Formula BMW Europe series. The team is confident he will bring home their second driver’s title in three years. Making their single-seater debut will be Frijns fellow Dutchman Hannes van Asseldonk, a former Benelux Rotax Max Senior champion.

Finland’s Petri Suvanto will fill the third seat. His credentials include success in KF2 & KF3 series. He was also the 2006 Finnish Junior champion.

Mexican Hat Dance. Esteban Gutierrez. Since Pedro Rodriguez it has been a long siesta for Mexican racing fans to cheer a competitive driver from their nation in Formula Uno. Esteban Gutierrez is the “hombre” likely to change that. Esteban first made waves in racing circles in the United States, winning Rookie of Year honors in the 2007 Formula BMW USA, making his motor racing debut with two pole positions in the first two races of his career. Four wins and 8 podium finishes would secure him Rookie of the Year title and second place in the championship.

Gutierrez crossed the Atlantic and sailed to championship victory with Josef Kaufmann Racing in the 2008 Formula BMW Europe Championship. A dominating season saw him win seven races, six in a row, and 12 podium finishes from 16 races.

Kaufmann rates him as quick as Hülkenberg. The 18-year old Mexican from Monterey is one of the pre-season favorites in the inaugural season of GP3 Championship this year

Champ Chris. The Winning Vietoris. The now 20-year old German, Christian Vietoris, started his winning ways after joining Kaufmann Racing for the 2006 Formula BMW Germany Championship. While his first season with another team was winless and he finished outside the top 15 in the championship, the 2006 season was a championship winning story. He won half of the 18 races with 16 podium finishes.

The team and the driver saved the best for last.

In the prestigious Formula BMW World Finals, Vietoris won every heat and the finals from pole position. Their winning ways continued in the ATS German F3 Cup in 2007. Two wins, seven podium finishes and four pole positions were the highlight of the season, resulting in top five finish in the championship.

Vietoris is now competing in GP2 Asia where he scored a win in only his second start.

Swiss Timing. Sebastien Buemi. After winning the European and Italian karting championships, Buemi arrived at the Kaufmann stable to compete in the 2004 Formula BMW Germany championship. He finished the season third in the standings, with 10 podium finishes and two pole positions and two fastest laps.

Buemi, now in F1 with Toro Rosso team, comes from a racing family. His grand father Georges raced at Le Mans and his cousin is female racer Natasha Gachnang.

No time for blues and Braun. Lars Kaufmann. Like his father Lars has serious passion for motor racing and is razor sharp in team management and training young talented drivers as they learn the ropes of single seater racing.

On race weekends he is data engineer and also manages the task of keeping young drivers focused on the job on hand. Not surprisingly he considers Nürburgring and Spa as the two most challenging tracks to find the right set up.

What is the best advice he can give to new comers from karting to single seater  racing?

Lars explains, “Actually the age of the drivers is very important, so kart drivers shouldn´t move into car racing at a too early stage. It’s very important that a young driver is mentally grown up enough. Furthermore it’s very important that a new driver takes his time to develop himself properly during the switch from karting into car racing. They have to learn everything step by step and absolutely not in a hurry. It takes time to understand the whole functionality of a racing car. Those are the two most important advices for drivers who want to make the set up from karting into car racing.”

The 2010 Formula BMW Europe will commence in May as a support race to the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona. F1weekly will bring you all the results and interviews with stars of the future from this important entry level series.

For more information on Kaufmann Racing please visit

— Nasir Hameed


Mercedes-Benz GP unveil its W01 in the Valencia pit lane on Monday morning.

Rosberg will be given the honour of turning the first laps in the car during the morning session at Valencia, with Schumacher taking over during the afternoon.

Toro Rosso has launched its 2010 F1 car ahead of the start of  testing in Valencia.

“2010 is a landmark year for Scuderia Toro Rosso as the new regulations demand that we go it alone in terms of designing and building our car in-house. After four years of working in collaboration with Red Bull Technology, the STR5 is the first car that is 100 per cent down to our own endeavours.

Renault R30

Renault F1 Team presents the R30 in Valencia

The Renault F1 Team took the covers off its 2010 challenger, the R30, today in front of
assembled media at the Valencia circuit in Spain.
Renault F1 Team driver Robert Kubica was on hand to unveil the car and reveal the exciting
new black and yellow livery – the iconic colours made famous by Renault in the 1980s. The
team also presented Vitaly Petrov as Robert’s teammate for the 2010 season. The 25-year-old
finished as runner-up in the GP2 Series last year and becomes the first Russian driver to race in
Formula One.
After unveiling the R30, Team Principal, Eric Boullier, joined Robert and Vitaly for a photo call in
front of the car, along with the team’s Third Driver, Ho-Pin Tung, and Reserve Driver, Jérôme
d’Ambrosio. Czech driver Jan Charouz will also be a Reserve Driver for the team this year but
was unable to attend the presentation.
With stable aero regulations the R30 is a mixture of evolution and revolution, and is much more
svelte and attractive than its predecessor. In particular the rear of the car has been considerably
reworked to allow the car to make the most of the ‘double-decker’ diffusers that were first seen
last year. Changes have also been made to the architecture of the chassis to adapt to the
refuelling ban, which has required the installation of a much larger fuel tank.
Speaking at the presentation, Eric Boullier praised the team’s efforts in delivering the new car in
time for the first test: “We’ve been working flat-out during the winter to ensure that we begin the
new season in the best shape possible. The R30 should be a competitive, strong and reliable
car, and we’ve opted for an aggressive development strategy throughout the season. Now we’re
here ready for the first test and we’re all excited to see if the car performs as we think it will.”
Both Robert and Vitaly were thrilled to see their new car and spoke of their hopes for the season
ahead: “The team has been working on the new car for a long time and it’s clear that we are
moving in the right direction,” said Robert. “Now we need to maximise the winter tests to keep up
this momentum and continue improving the car. Our priority is to make the car easy to drive
because the new rules favour cars that are not too sensitive – we need a car that behaves
consistently in a wide range of conditions.”
Vitaly Petrov added: “The new car looks stunning and the colours remind everybody of Renault’s
great history in the sport. I can’t wait to drive the car for the first time and start working with the
The Renault F1 Team will remain in Valencia until Wednesday evening to complete the first preseason
test session.

F1weekly podcast # 405

BMW Sauber present their new challenger for the 2010 F1 season the C29.

“The last few months have been very intense for us. First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong set-up in place for the future.”

“The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil. We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it’s an approach that has brought us a lot of success.”

The McLaren MP4-25 is unveiled in Newbury at Vodaphone’ UK headquarters.

“As team principal I am honoured to represent this great team, but I am one small part of a group of dedicated and fantastic people.

“A great team and a competitive car can only succeed with the best drivers. Neither of our drivers need much of an introduction because between them they have won the past two world championships. We are thrilled this year to have Lewis and Jenson represent the team on track. Both drivers are winners and they want to win this year.

F1weekly podcast number 405.

Ferrari the first Formula 1 team to unveil its new car for the 2010 season.

“This championship will be very important for us,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali. “The last championship, for different reasons, was not very positive, that is why we are dealing with this one looking to be competitive – and this is what Ferrari deserves to have.”

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed.



José María López

Man from Argentina leads Formula One team of America

Where’s the beef? Tons of it can be found in the land of Pampas – Argentina.

That’s where one of the principals of USF1, Peter Windsor, traveled to for a “Fistful of Dollars” in return for a seat at their Charlotte, NC based Formula 1 team.

So what happened to what Ken Anderson called last year “talented Americans racing in Europe?” Then there is Jonathan Summerton. His name was linked from day one and who remains the only driver to give Team USA victory in A1GP competition.

USF1, according to Peter Windsor, was looking at all the talent that was available in the “more industrious” United States. From Danica Patrick to Kyle Busch. The answer is simple racing reality. Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?

In José María López they have their “Speedy Gonzalez”.


Jose Maria López, aka “Pechito”, may not be the next Senna but he is also no slouch. In the footsteps of the great “Maestro” Juan Manuel Fangio and the moody “Lole” Carlos Reutemann, he traveled to Europe seeking success in the cut throat world of single-seater racing across the pond. And almost made it.

He was born in Rio Tercero on April 26, 1983 in the Argentine province of Córdoba.

López landed in the 2001 Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Cup driving for the Italian Lucidi team, and qualified an impressive 5th at Monza for his first race and finished 11th. At Nurburgring he scored his first pole position and achieved season high finish of 6th in the final race at Estoril.

In 2002, he tackled both the Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Cup and the Italian series. He started the Euro Cup season with victory in the opening round at Jarama. Other podium finishes were 2nd at Spa and 3rd at Estoril. In the championship he finished 4th despite missing four events.

On the Italian front López was on fire from round three of the championship. Winning four of the last five races, Monza, Varano, Misano and Mugello. Other podium finishes at Pergusa, Spa and Magione helped him seal the championship over Robert Kubica, 205 to 188 points.

In 2003, Lopez moved up to the Renault V6 Euro Cup with the French DAMS team. The “A” is for one time Renault and Ferrari F1 driver Rene Arnoux who is no longer involved with the DAMS team.

López had a strong season and won the championship over Swiss driver Neel Jani with eight poles, fives wins, and 12 podium finishes from 18 starts.

The team and driver combination took up the challenge of Formula 3000 International in 2004. Third place podium finishes were achieved in Monte Carlo and Spa. López was sixth in the championship.

The season also saw him join the Renault Driver Development programme, where fortunes were determined as much by performance as by the driver’s relationship with Flavio Briatore.

López was on his way to be the next Lole.

The Final Frontier

In 2005, the Formula 3000 International was replaced by the new Bernie and Briatore hatched and promoted GP2 series, the official feeder series to the promised land of fame and fortune, Formula One.

Make a winning impression here and entry is granted, like Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

The season started on a high note for López, who remained loyal to DAMS team for the third straight season in a different series. He qualified on the second row at Imola and finished second to race winner Heikki Kovalainen in the first ever GP2 race.

In the second race of the second round in Barcelona Lopez grabbed his first GP2 victory. This, however, would remain his only success in the series. His only other podium finish was second in the feature race at Magny Cours.

Failure to finish in seven races hurt his championship chances and he was classified 9th in the final standings with 36 points, compared to 67.5 points for third place man Scott Speed and 120 points for the inaugural series champion Nico Rosberg.

López’s last stand in Europe was in 2006 with the Norfolk-based English team Super Nova, headed by veteran racer David Sears, for a second make-or-break season in GP2. He was also signed on as test driver for the Renault F1 team.

Three podium finishes, at Nurburgring, Magny Cours and Hockenheim, and a solitary pole position looked impressive but the career was clouded by a high number of dnf’s, 10 from 21 starts. Hardly the stuff that would impress managers at Minardi or Fondmetal let alone Ferrari.

While Lewis Hamilton set new standards in rookie performance and won the championship over Nelsinho Piquet, 114 points to 102, López was languishing in 10th place in the final standings with 30 points.

His European expedition was over when he was dropped from the Renault Driver Development programme.

Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina

It may have been a painful journey back to Buenos Aires but has been very fruitful. López has been racing in local touring car scene since returning to his native land and has been very successful.

Past two seasons he has been competing in two different series, TC2000 and Turismo Carretera, each year. He captured the 2008 championship in the TC2000 series after finishing 5th the previous season despite missing three events.

During the 2009 season López raced in no less than three championships. Winning the TC2000 with three wins and six poles from 12 starts. He also triumphed as champion of the Top Race V6 series with five wins and eight poles. He was runner-up in the Turismo Carretera Argentina with two wins and five poles.

Charlotte to Córdoba. Drivers Wanted. Cash preferred.

The announcement of a new American team was greeted with great enthusiasm both at home and abroad. Bold claims of rejecting experienced F1 drivers flashing millions of dollars for a seat gave a much needed ray of hope to young American drivers who prefer to make right and left turns for success in racing.

Chad Hurley, co-founder of You Tube, was introduced as a major investor which gave the impression America’s Team had deep pockets, especially now that You Tube is part of the Google Empire.

First sign of back tracking on home grown talent in the cockpit came with the concern over no American drivers available with super license. Jonathan Summerton’s name was high on the list as one of the few American drivers with race winning credentials in major overseas racing series, from A1GP in Shanghai to F3 Euro Series at Hockenheim. It is hard to believe that an effort was not made to provide him the necessary seat-time to qualify for a super license. And Yuji Ide can make it to the Grand Prix grid!

With López on board USF1 team the car will reportedly feature advertising from Argentine beef and tourism industry, the same consortium which suported “Lole” when he landed in Europe in the 70s. The same “Lole” who once had Peter Windsor as his manager and now holds government office in his native state, Santa Fe.

Back to the future.

Let’s hope there is some for young American drivers soon at USF1.

— Nasir Hameed