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VITALY PETROV SUPPORTS DTM PREMIERE IN RUSSIA-

Wiesbaden. Former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov supports DTM in his homeland Russia. During the appearance of the most popular international touring car series this weekend in the Moscow City Racing event, Petrov will drive a DTM Race Taxi. And he also will be on site when DTM will contest the sixth round of its season at the Moscow Raceway (02nd to 04th August). There, Petrov will – inter alia – once again drive a Race Taxi. 

In the meanwhile traditional Moscow City Racing, a spectacular two-day motor-racing event held right in front of the Kremlin walls, just two weeks before the maiden DTM race ion Russian soil, the series will be represented by big names: DTM Championship leader Mike Rockenfeller (Audi), Andy Priaulx (BMW) and former DTM driver Ralf Schumacher (Mercedes-Benz), who is extremely popular in Russia, will not only join Petrov at a press conference to answer all the questions of the Russian media representatives around DTM but also will be available for the fans during autographing sessions. 

The highlights, however, definitely will be the demonstration runs on Saturday and Sunday with an Audi RS 5 DTM, a BMW M3 DTM and a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé on the 3.7-kilometre track. On Sunday, Petrov will replace Schumacher at the wheel of the DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé, thus becoming the first Russian to drive a DTM car. “I’m thrilled by my cooperation with DTM,” said Petrov, to then address the Russian fans: “You definitely should attend the race from 02nd to 04th August. And who knows if you won’t be one of the lucky ones to win a lap with me on the Moscow Raceway.” Petrov was the first Russian Formula 1 driver and contested a total of 57 GP, from 2010 to 2012. 

In the past years, the Moscow City Racing event has become a kind of tradition, in the Russian Capital. The sixth edition, in 2012, attracted and thrilled 300,000 visitors. The visitors will have the chance of getting very close to the DTM cars and witnessing them in action – and the same applies to numerous other racing cars, such as several Formula 1 cars and the mighty Kamaz race trucks used in the Dakar Rally. Having completed a first stint on Saturday, the DTM cars will be out on the track even three times, on Sunday.

Formula 1

Cyril Abiteboul Promoted to Team Principal of Caterham F1 Team…

Caterham F1 Team has today confirmed that Cyril Abiteboul has been promoted to the role of Team Principal with immediate effect. He will combine that role with his current responsibilities as CEO, a post he took up in September 2012.
 
Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group Chairman: “Having launched our partnership with Renault in Paris on Monday the plan Kamarudin and I formed over three years ago for our automotive interests has come to fruition. The strategy for the establishment and growth of Caterham Group has now reached the stage where we can step back from the day to day running of the F1 team in favour of Cyril who will be able to dedicate himself full time to the role and work closely with Riad to help take our automotive interests into the next stage of their growth.
 
“Cyril is going to be an excellent Team Principal. He has extensive experience in F1, he is extremely well respected and he shares our vision for what we want our team to achieve. He takes over during a season when we have not yet fulfilled our potential, but at a time when we have everything in place to help us do so. One day we will earn our seat at the top table of Formula 1 and he is the right person to take us there.
 
“This decision allows Kamarudin and I to focus on AirAsia and gives Riad the structure he needs to allow the various Caterham Group businesses to flourish under his leadership. Kamarudin and I will continue as Co-Chairman of Caterham Group and we now have the best possible team in place to take our dream into its next phase. Kamarudin and I will still have an active interest in our various Caterham companies, but we have now reached the point in the growth of the business where it makes most sense to step back.
 
“We have taken Caterham Group from nothing just three years ago to today, where Caterham Cars has the platform with Renault to take it from a niche brand into an innovative participant in the global automotive market. Caterham Technology is also integrally involved in the Renault partnership, working with Renault on the design and development of our road cars, as well as currently working with a number of other blue-chip companies including Airbus, and they are fast being recognised as a leading player in the technology and innovation fields. Caterham Composites is also in rude health, working with CTI on the Airbus project in addition to a variety of other cutting-edge programs that will soon see the light of day. In summary, Riad is now leading a group of businesses that put the Caterham name at the forefront of the technological and innovation fields across a wide range of industries.”
 
Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal Caterham F1 Team: “I am honoured to take over as Team Principal, now combining that role with the CEO post I took up in September 2012, and I would like to thank Tony and Kamarudin for the chance to lead this team into the next phase of its growth. We have big challenges ahead of us but the shareholders are committed and behind us to help us take significant steps forward over the coming years, and one day challenge for the highest honours in F1. We have an incredible spirit within the team and that has been created by Tony and Kamarudin. This spirit, allied to a strategic vision that gives us a clear path to success, is what will keep driving us forwards and we all look forward to the day we can make the dreams our shareholders had several years ago come true.”

Formula 1

F1 DRIVERS ON THE UPCOMING INDIAN GRAND PRIX

Mark Webber: “It’s a challenging venue and I really enjoy the track, it’s a nice circuit to drive. There was a massive crowd there last year and it was a good atmosphere. The track is similar to Korea with mainly long straights in sector 1 followed by a very busy sector 2 and 3, so we need to get the balance right between downforce and top speed. It should be reasonably straightforward weather-wise and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Sebastian Vettel: “I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235kph, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza. There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as 8% downhill and up to 10% uphill; it’s like a roller coaster! It really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers.”

Pastor Maldonado: India is enjoyable because it’s so different and the track is one of my favourites. It’s still a new track but it has a good combination of medium and high speed corners, chicanes and good changes in direction. Coming to the final few races, making the most of our cars potential is going to be important, so hopefully we can score points here and put ourselves in a strong position for the final three races.

Bruno Senna: I’m looking forward to this weekend because India has a different atmosphere to many other Grand Prix and it’s always a unique place to visit. As a new track the surface is very smooth and the layout is fast and flows well with some high speed corners which will suit our car. We should therefore be looking to improve on our performance in Korea.

NICO HULKENBERG REFLECTS ON HIS PERFORMANCE IN KOREA AND LOOKS AHEAD TO THE INDIAN GRAND PRIX.

 

Nico, after two strong results in Japan and Korea, you must be feeling pretty confident coming into the team’s home race…

The last two races were a lot of fun and probably two of my best races of the year. Korea was pretty much a perfect weekend. I said at the start of the weekend that we needed things to be perfect and that’s what we had: no mistakes, a smooth qualifying and a clean race

Since the summer break you’ve scored 26 points – it seems you’ve found the sweet spot with the VJM05…

I feel comfortable and confident in the car and the team is doing a good job. We’ve just got a good rhythm and momentum, and that’s so important in Formula One. I’ve still had some tough weekends, like Monza and Singapore, but on the whole things have been going well. We just need to make sure we can repeat what we did in Korea during the final four races. We really need to stretch ourselves to get everything we can from the remaining races.

This is your first Indian Grand Prix and you’re driving an Indian car – how excited are you ahead of the weekend?

I was at the first Indian race last year, but obviously I didn’t get a chance to drive. I’ve been around the track in a road car and tried it on the simulator, but I still have a bit to learn on Friday. As a race it’s as big as they come for this team. We will be in Delhi at the start of the week to meet the local media and fans and they always show lots of enthusiasm for us. I hope that we will see their support at the track with lots of fans cheering us on.

PAUL DI RESTA LOOKS AHEAD TO THE TEAM’S HOME RACE.

Paul, tell us your thoughts heading into such an important weekend for the team…

It’s obviously our home Grand Prix and a special weekend. There’s pressure on us to perform and clearly we need to go there ready to keep the momentum going. It’s a busy week for everyone involved with the team and there’s a lot going on in terms of media work and extra events, but it won’t distract from our focus to come away with the best result we can.

What targets do you have in mind?

We’ve got to go there and qualify in the top ten. That will get us in contention and allow us to concentrate on the race. All year we’ve shown that we have a car capable of reaching Q3, but the grid is very close and we don’t have any margin so we need everything to come together perfectly. Also, based on our performance last year, we looked quite competitive at this track so you’ve got to hope that will carry over for this year.

What are your thoughts on the Buddh International Circuit?

It’s one of those new-style Herman Tilke circuits so there’s a good mixture of corners, plenty of run-off and a few areas where overtaking is possible. We found last year that the grip built up quite quickly and the track was exciting to drive with some satisfying corners. I remember that tyre wear was quite high last year and I had to stop three times during the race, so understanding the tyres on Friday will be the priority.

 

Giedo van der Garde (driving FP1 in Heikki Kovalainen’s car): “With each session I’m doing I’m getting more comfortable with the car and the team and the feedback I’m getting from the engineers is good, so India’s another chance to build on that. It’s another new track for me but one that looks cool on my simulator, and the other drivers have told me it’s better than quite a few of the stop / start type of tracks so I’m looking forward to getting back out on track.

“I’m also really looking forward to going to India. I’ve never been before and I’ve always wanted to go to India, plus I’m a big fan of spicy food so it’ll be a chance to have a completely new experience, on and off track.”

Heikki Kovalainen,: “It’s our second time racing in India and I’m excited about getting back there. Last year I think we were all impressed with what they did with the circuit – the layout was really good, an interesting mix of elevation changes and different types of corners, not what we’ve seen at a lot of the newer circuits so one I think we all enjoyed.

“Performance-wise I think we’re all realistic about what we can do in India, but that doesn’t mean we’re not working as hard as we can to keep progressing. The guys behind us are putting up a good fight and, while we have clear air between us on track, we need to make sure we keep that gap, and, where possible, take advantage of anything that happens ahead.”

Vitaly Petrov,: “The Indian track is one of the good ones. It’s pretty smooth, nice and wide, so you can take different lines into some of the corners, and it has a couple of really good corners like the double left turns five and six which you come into quickly, and then braking for the chicane through seven, eight and nine. The track surface itself is pretty similar to Korea. It will evolve a lot over the weekend and you’ll see times coming down as the grip levels improve but, as with the whole year, managing the tyres is going to be really important. In Korea we didn’t have as much track time in the practice sessions as we’d have liked, so one of the main objectives will be making sure we get as many laps done as possible so we go into Sunday knowing as much as we can about the tyre behaviour over a race distance.”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

Caterham F1 Team Rodolfo Gonzalez, Vitaly Petrov & Heikki Kovalainen for Mugello T04

Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that Rodolfo Gonzalez will be joining race drivers Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen at the fourth official test of the 2012 F1 season, taking place at Mugello, Italy from 1st to 3rd May 2012.

Gonzalez, currently competing with Caterham Racing in the 2012 GP2 series, will be in the car on 1st May. Vitaly Petrov will take over on 2nd May and Heikki Kovalainen on 3rd May.

Rodolfo Gonzalez: “I am very excited about getting back into an F1 car at the Mugello test, and want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this opportunity. It will be my third time in an F1 car with this team and it will be another good chance for me to further my experience at the top level of global motorsport. I took part in the young driver tests in 2010 and 2011 with the team, so to be able to help their development programme mid-season is another good step in my career and something that I can take lessons from back into my GP2 season with Caterham Racing.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham Group Chief Executive Officer: “Rodolfo is developing well and we are very pleased we are playing an active role in his growth as a driver. He did a good job for us when he took part in the young driver tests, and we expect him to work to the plans he is given, deliver what we ask him to on track, and provide the engineers with the sort of feedback someone with his experience should. His day with the F1 team in Mugello will also help his ongoing development in GP2 and that will be good news for Caterham Racing, so for everyone involved this is good news.”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

Caterham F1 Team has today announced that Vitaly Petrov has joined the team as race driver, replacing Jarno Trulli with immediate effect.

The Russian was at the Anglo-Malaysian team’s factory in Hingham on Friday 17th February for a seat fitting ahead of his first run with the team at the second pre-season test in Barcelona, 21st to 24th February.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes: “We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come. When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Jarno for the absolutely pivotal role he played in the formation and progression of our team since he joined us in December 2009. Jarno knew that when he joined us it would be a very different environment to where he had been before, and when we gave him the package he wanted he absolutely shone. With that in mind it was not an easy decision to bring Vitaly in to replace Jarno, but it was one we made to ensure that we give fresh impetus across the whole team and with a realistic eye on the global economic market. Jarno has an incredible natural talent behind the wheel, and his winning record and longevity in the sport will bear testament to that talent in the Formula 1 annals forever, but now it is time to open a new chapter in our team’s story, and Vitaly is the right person to help us do that.

“We have reached agreement with Jarno to bring an end to our partnership with him, but he will always be part of our family. Now we want to integrate Vitaly as quickly as possible into the team, and we will do everything we can to welcome him in, give him a car he can use to showcase his skills, and keep up the rate of development that has seen us go from an empty factory with just four employees to a fully established Formula 1 team in just over two years.”

Vitaly Petrov: “This is a very exciting day for me. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to join a team that made its F1 debut at the same time as me, and has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours. The passion and spirit that Tony and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious, and I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come.

“I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work. From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011 and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona. I would also like to take this chance to thank all my fans and partners for their support and their patience.”

Jarno Trulli: “I want to take this chance to thank Tony, Kamarudin, SM Nasarudin, Riad, Mike and everyone in the team for the two seasons we had together. From zero we built up and established a solid F1 team. I’m really proud to have been part of it. I understand the decision the team has made and I want to wish to the whole team the very best of luck for the season ahead.”`

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: Lotusrenaultgp.com

Barcelona Test, Day 3: Wet and dry running for Vitaly

A damp start in Barcelona turned to sunshine in the afternoon as Vitaly got back behind the wheel of the R31. Nick will be in the car for the final day of testing tomorrow.

Driver: Vitaly

Chassis: R31-01

Fastest Lap: 1:23.463

Position: P2

Total laps: 93

What we learned today:

– We gathered some useful data on the intermediates Pirelli tyres as Vitaly and the team completed its first significant mileage on them

– The R31 was fitted with a different spec of exhaust tail pipe. Aero data was collected to assess its effect on car performance.

Vitaly: “We used the intermediates to begin with and it was one of our first opportunities to do a lot of laps with them. The only issue we had was warming them up because it was very cold early on. The plan was to do a race distance in the morning and we managed quite a lot of long runs while the track was wet. Then, we put the slicks on just before lunch and started improving the set-up. We learned a lot of new things and I’m starting to understand the tyres more and how to get the most from this car.”

Alan Permane’s technical programme notes

– It was a slow start to the day with the wet conditions, but we did some long runs on the intermediates. However we were interrupted by several red flags.

– For the afternoon, Vitaly started a set-up programme, and we made some good progress with the suspension changes at the front and rear. We also did some work with tyre pressures and found some more improvements. Overall the car has responded well to the changes today and Vitaly has been much happier.”

Did You Know?

During the average day of testing, the drivers will change gear around 2,500 times.

Pos  Driver              Team/car              Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1m23.168s            92
 2.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1m23.463s  + 0.295s  93
 3.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1m23.858s  + 0.690s  93
 4.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1m24.815s  + 1.647s  60
 5.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1m24.995s  + 1.827s  139
 6.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1m25.454s  + 2.286s  48
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1m25.557s  + 2.389s  115
 8.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1m25.720s  + 2.552s  102
 9.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m26.155s  + 2.987s  31
10.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1m26.508s  + 3.340s  123
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1m26.598s  + 3.430s  97
12.  Giorgio Mondini     Hispania-Cosworth     1m28.178s  + 5.010s  39
13.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m28.329s  + 5.161s  42
14.  Narain Karthikeyan  Hispania-Cosworth     1m30.722s  + 7.554s  32