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Selasa, 30 Juni 2009

Brawn: Progress needed to fight RBR


Source : www.autosport.com
By Jonathan Noble

Ross Brawn thinks his team will need to deliver a step forward in performance at the German Grand Prix to fight off the renewed challenge from Red Bull Racing, even though tyre temperatures were a key factor in his team's defeat at Silverstone.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's 1-2 finish in the British Grand Prix re-ignited Red Bull Racing's world championship hopes, as Brawn duo Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button struggled to get their tyres operating properly.

Although both teams are adamant that the Silverstone result did owe a lot to the lower than expected temperatures, Brawn's team chief still reckons that his outfit cannot just count on its current package to keep it ahead of the opposition.

"Red Bull have been pretty close all year, so I think we have got to find some performance because they made a good step at Silverstone," said Brawn about the implications of the recent result.

"With the confusion over the tyres, we didn't run some new pieces we had because Friday [at Silverstone] was very difficult with the tyre temperature. We couldn't determine how the new bits were working, so we decided to avoid confusion and went back to what we had in Turkey.

"So we've got those bits and we have some new improvements for the Nurburgring."

When asked if he felt his team really had a fight on its hands now, he said: "Yes, we always said there would be!"

Although determined to keep pushing with car development, Brawn is sure that the progress made by Red Bull at Silverstone was flattered by the tyre temperature issues his team suffered.

"It has always been a strong car aerodynamically and at Silverstone in the slow medium speed stuff, we didn't take the return we normally could because the tyres were cold," he said. "So when we got to the complex there wasn't enough temperature in the tyres for our normal advantages to come through in that area.

"But we probably need to see a bit more in normal conditions to really judge it - a race where we are comfortable we are performing how we should be.

"With all due respect we were racing Williams and Ferrari at Silverstone, and we don't normally do that. I don't think they made a step, I think we struggled a bit."

Sabtu, 27 Juni 2009

Zander leaves Brawn team


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jonathan Noble

Brawn's deputy technical director Joerg Zander has left the team.

The German joined the outfit, when it was Honda, in July 2007, having had spells at BAR, Williams and BMW-Sauber.

Zander helped play a role in creating Brawn's successful BGP 001, which has won six of the first eight races of the season.

A Brawn GP spokeswoman confirmed Zander had left last Friday.

"Joerg contributed significantly to our success so far this season for which we thank him and wish him all the best for the future," she said.

Kamis, 25 Juni 2009

FOTA teams call off breakaway series


Source :www.autosport.com
By Edd Straw and Jonathan Noble

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) will officially call off its plans for a rival championship tomorrow after reaching a breakthrough deal with the FIA.

Following last-ditch talks between FIA president Max Mosley, FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, an agreement was reached that commits the teams to the sport until 2012.

FOTA members had been set to press ahead with breakaway plans in the meeting in Bologna tomorrow, but following its victory in getting the FIA and Ecclestone to agree to terms that keeps its eight members in F1, it will now rubber stamp final cost-cutting regulations for 2010 and call off its breakaway instead.

The deal between the FIA and FOTA was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon, when the FIA announced that its planned budget cap for 2010 had been scrapped, and instead FOTA-proposed cost-cutting regulations will be introduced.

In a bid to help new teams, technical assistance will be offered to Campos Meta, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1 by major outfits.

The FIA statement said: "As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the championship to the level of the early 1990s.

"The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance."

As part of the deal with FOTA, the teams' association has agreed to recognise the FIA's position as the sport's governing body, adding that a new Concorde Agreement has been agreed in principle to keep all of the teams in F1 to 2012 and, upon re-negotiation, it is hoped beyond.

"The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport's governing body," added the statement. "They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.

"All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement."

Furthermore, with it clear that FOTA is not trying to usurp the FIA's authority, FIA president Max Mosley has agreed to not stand for re-election in October.

Di Montezemolo hails Mosley contribution


Source : www.autosport.com
By Edd Straw

Formula One Teams' Association chairman Luca di Montezemolo has taken a conciliatory line after an agreement with the FIA averted the threat of a breakaway series, paying tribute to Max Mosley's contribution.

"He has done a very good fix of the problem," said di Montezemolo. "When you have reached an agreement, everyone has to help in the same way."

The 61-year-old Ferrari president also called for the sport to put politics behind it and to focus on the reconciliation between the FIA and FOTA as a chance to improve F1.

"Polemics is not good for F1 and particularly for the public because F1 is a fantastic sport that has to be relaunched, not only protected," he said.

Mosley said that he did not consider the agreement to be a defeat for him, underlining that he has managed to fulfill his objectives of drawing in new teams and cutting costs.

"They've got the rules they want and the stability; we've got the new teams in and the cost reduction," said Mosley. "So that's very helpful."

Mosley added that he fully expected not to continue as FIA president beyond the end of his current term. He confirmed today that he would not be seeking re-election in October as part of the deal to prevent the breakaway series.

"As far as I'm concerned, the teams were always going to get rid of me in October," said Mosley. "Well they still are. Whether the person who succeeds me will be more to their liking remains to be seen."

Howett pleased with FIA resolution


Source : www.autosport.com
By Edd Straw and Dieter Rencken

Formula One Teams' Association vice chairman John Howett is delighted that the FIA has adopted his organisation's proposals for the sport, averting the threat of a breakaway series.

Howett, president of the Toyota team, has been a major player in the negotiations between FOTA and the FIA and is upbeat about F1's future.

"I am pleased that FOTA's proposals have been endorsed and approved by the WMSC today," said Howett. "This will ensure that we move forward on the basis of stable, proper governance and this will ensure an outcome which is very good news for all of F1's many stakeholders.

"This has been a challenging period but thanks to the unity of the FOTA teams and the foresight of the World Motor Sport Council members, we have achieved the right result for F1.

"We look forward to working with the FIA Senate to achieve a prosperous and exciting future for F1 and its millions of fans around the world."

FOTA will meet tomorrow in Bologna to finalise the framework for the cost reduction regulations that will be introduced in 2010.

Spirit of Formula One




Dominasi Jenson belakangan ini membuatku hampir kehabisan kata (tapi bukan bosan dengan kemenangan Jenson karena sebagai fans aku malah berharap Jenson bisa menang sebanyak-banyaknya sampai ia berhasil mengamankan gelar dunia pertamanya seperti Michael Schumacher), tapi ternyata hasil p6 Jenson di kandangnya sendiri lebih membuatku tak bisa berkata-kata. Bukan hanya karena ia tak berhasil mengulangi kesuksesan Lewis tahun lalu yang berhasil meraih kemenangan di hadapan publiknya sendiri. Dan yang lebih lagi membuatku kehilangan kata-kata karena yang berhasil meraih kemenangan itu adalah Sebastian Vettel, pembalap Jerman yang tahun lalu membuatku tersenyum ketika lagu kebangsaan Jerman dan Italia berkumandang, membuatku terkenang pada Michael Schumacher ... lagi. Kemenangan pertama Vettel di atas lintasan kering karena pada dua kemenangan sebelumnya (GP Italia, Monza tahun lalu dan Shanghai musim ini) diraihnya saat hujan membasahi sirkuit. Vettel memang sudah menjadi target yang akan kujagokan berikutnya tapi aku tak berharap melihat Vettel mempermalukan Jenson di kandangnya sendiri.

Tahun lalu, aku memang sudah suka dengan penampilan Vettel bukan hanya karena ia pembalap Jerman yang juga dimanageri oleh Willi Weber, yang juga dikenal sebagai manager Schumacher’s brother. Tapi aku suka dengan ekspresi yang ditunjukkan Vettel saat meraih kemenangan itu. Setelah Schumi pensiun, aku rasanya tak pernah lagi melihat pembalap yang meluapkan kegembiraannya setelah meraih kemenangan begitu ekspresif seperti Schumi. Kemenangan Jenson yang pertama di Hungaria 2006 bagiku jauh lebih ekspresif dibanding ketika ia mendominasi pada musim ini. Mungkin karena Vettel dan Schumi sama-sama orang Jerman, meski dari seorang kenalanku yang pernah sekolah di Jerman bilang kalau orang Jerman itu kaku, tapi nyatanya cara mereka berdua meluapkan kegembiraan mereka di podium jauh lebih menarik dibanding pembalap formula 1 belakangan ini. Salah satu hal yang kusuka dari Schumi adalah ketika ia melompat di podium sambil mengepalkan tangannya ke udara seolah mengatakan, “Yes, we can do it again!” yang sebenarnya bukan hanya merupakan kegembiraannya seorang tapi juga team. Berapa kali pun Michael menang, ia selalu menampilkan victory leap-nya itu yang menunjukkan bahwa ia senantiasa haus kemenangan. Dan passion yang ditampilkannya itu ternyata menular juga bagi timnya yang ingin bekerja jauh lebih baik lagi agar kemenangan itu selalu dapat kembali mereka raih. Jadi kurasa, tak seharusnya seorang pembalap sok cool dengan bersikap seakan kemenangannya cuma sekadar bagian terbaik dalam salah satu moment terindah dalam hidupnya.

Setelah sekian lama tak melihat victory leap ala Schumi, pada GP Inggris kemarin akhirnya aku bisa melihat kembali victory leap itu ketika Vettel melompat di podium. Ia pantas bersuka hati. Dan tim Red Bull pantas berbangga dengan keberhasilan yang telah mereka petik. Dan mereka layak mengungkapkan ekspresi kegembiraan mereka itu. Tak peduli bahwa victory leap begitu melekat dengan Schumi karena ia yang sering melakukan lompatan itu di podium tapi kurasa setiap pembalap pasti ada keinginan untuk melompat di podium seraya mengacungkan tangannya ke udara seperti yang dilakukan Schumi jadi kenapa harus malu untuk melompat di podium(toh Schumi juga takkan minta kompensasi bila ada pembalap yang melompat di podium untuk mengungkapkan kegembiraannya meraih kemenangan)? Untungnya Vettel tak malu mengungkapkan ekspresinya itu.

Namun begitu tetap saja hatiku terasa sedikit kecewa juga karena Button tak berhasil memperlihatkan kepiawaiannya seperti yang diperlihatkannya pada awal-awal musim. Apalagi kegagalam Button meraih podium terjadi di hadapan para rekan senegaranya. Greget rasanya melihat start Jenson berantakan dan untungnya ia masih berhasil meraih p6. Lumayan juga dapat tambahan tiga poin di klasemen. Sayang, seribu sayang rasanya ketika pada lap-lap akhir menjelang finish, tunggangan JB sebenarnya dapat meraih posisi yang jauh lebih baik tapi sayangnya lap yang tersisa hanya tinggal sedikit dan hingga finish ia tak berhasil menyalip Rosberg yang ada di depannya.

Yang juga menarik dari GP Inggris kemarin adalah issue tentang balapan tandingan f1 yang dimotori oleh tim-tim pabrikan karena tak juga mencapai kata sepakat dengan Max Mosley, presiden FIA.

Menurutku pabrikan memang penting bagi Formula One tapi bukan berarti pabrikan bisa seenaknya menghancurkan Formula One begitu saja. Memang kedegilan hati Max Mosley juga menyebalkan tapi apa ini solusi terbaik dari orang-orang yang katanya mencintai Formula One? Kesal rasanya melihat para ‘politikus’ f1 itu seenaknya saja menghancurkan f1 tanpa memikirkan kepentingan para fans yang sangat setia menanti tiap balapan Formula One yang digelar bahkan sampai bela-belain tetap melek hingga tengah malam hanya untuk menonton siaran tunda qualifying f1 (tak bisa protes juga pada stasiun televisi karena biar bagaimanapun masih bagus ada stasiun televisi yang mau menayangkannya).

Balap tandingan para pabrikan mungkin lebih menarik karena diisi tim-tim papan atas dan para pembalap bintang tapi bagaimana dengan nilai balapan itu sendiri karena regulasi yang selama ini dibuat oleh FIA (sebagai regulator Formula One) kini dibuat oleh para tim pabrikan itu sendiri dan dilakukan oleh mereka sendiri. Aneh, menurutku. Dan bagaimana pula dengan Formula One yang kini hanya diisi tim-tim privateer kecil dan hanya tim Williams saja yang sepertinya merupakan tim yang memiliki sejarah dan nama di dunia Formula One.

Aku selalu beranggapan bahwa Sir Frank Williams adalah orang yang memiliki hati lebih tulus dan sungguh-sungguh mencintai dunia Formula One. Ketika ia masuk ke Formula One, ia bahkan tak tahu apa-apa tentang engineering dan seringkali timnya menelan kekalahan dan hanya jadi bulan-bulanan penghuni paddock f1 bahkan julukan Wanker (sampah) dilekatkan padanya (kubaca hal ini dari f1 racing entah terbitan kapan) hingga suatu hari seorang Colin Chapman, bos Lotus (kalau tak salah) berbaik hati mengajari Williams bagaimana membuat mobil Formula One yang bukan hanya sekadar berbentuk mobil tapi juga memiliki fungsi sebenarnya dari sebuah tunggangan Formula One. Dan perlahan setelah Frank bertemu Patrick Head (sang guru besar yang telah menghasilkan technical director handal seperti Ross Brawn dan Adrian Newey) tim Williams memperlihatkan hasil seperti yang diharapkan Sir Frank ketika mendirikan timnya. Hingga kini pun aku tetap menghargai Sir Frank dan aku yakin Sir Frank memiliki alasan kuat yang bisa dipertanggung jawabkannya pada hati nuraninya sendiri dengan memilih tetap berada di bawah FIA dan tak ikut-ikutan dengan tim-tim pabrikan . Dan kurasa Frank Williams bukan seorang penjilat apalagi anjing Mosley tapi ia sangat mencintai Formula One dan ia berharap Formula One yang dicintainya ini tidak dihancurkan oleh ego segelintir orang tidak juga oleh egonya sendiri!


Hidup tanpa ambisi memang terasa hampa karena ambisi membuat seseorang merasa hidup dan ambisi seringkali menjadi dorongan utama bagi seseorang untuk mencapai sesuatu yang membuat hidupnya jadi bernilai dan berarti. Tapi amibisi tak selayaknya diumbar dengan pemikiran picik dan sempit yang pada akhirnya menghancurkan mimpinya sendiri. Dan itulah yang terjadi pada segelintir orang yang membuat Formula One di ambang kehancuran seperti sekarang ini.

Seharusnya tim-tim pabrikan itu juga menyadari bahwa Formula One berdiri bukan hanya untuk mengutamakan kepentingan para pabrikan itu sendiri.

Beberapa tahun lalu hal yang sama juga pernah terjadi di Formula One, bukan? Ketika itu para tim pabrikan meminta pembagian jatah yang lebih besar dari iklan televisi dari Bernie Ecclestone, yang telah membuat Formula One menjadi seperti sekarang ini. Mereka kala itu mengancam akan membuat balapan tandingan tapi pada akhirnya mereka takluk pada kepiawaian Bernie. Dan sepertinya pabrikan merupakan semacam bisul bagi Formula One yang setiap saat siap meletus bila mereka tak puas pada sesuatu hal dan ujung-ujungnya selalu mengancam akan memboikot Formula One dengan membuat balapan tandingan. Benar-benar buah simalakama bagi Formula One itu sendiri. Formula one membutuhkan pabrikan untuk memperkuat Formula One sebagai ajang jet darat paling mutakhir tapi di sisi lain kehadiran para pabrikan ternyata seringkali menjadi duri dalam daging di tubuh Formula One atau lebih tepatnya FIA sebagai regulator F1 yang seringkali memiliki pandangan bersebrangan dengan tim-tim pabrikan itu.

Mungkin penting bagi para petinggi-petinggi di Formula One itu saling menekan ego masing-masing dan bertanya kembali pada diri mereka masing-masing, apa tujuan utama mereka masuk ke dalam Formula One ini? Jika tim pabrikan masuk Formula One hanya untuk menjadi ajang promosi bagi mobil-mobil jalanan produksi pabrik mereka, maka cepat atau lambat Formula One memang akan mati sendiri bukan karena adanya balapan tandingan tapi Formula One akan hancur dengan sendirinya bila tim-tim pabrikan itu tak mendapatkan hasil penjualan seperti yang mereka inginkan (seperti Honda dan Ford yang diwakili oleh kehadiran tim Jaguar di Formula One) yang lalu mengundurkan diri dari Formula One.

Dan penting bagi para ‘politikus’ f1 itu untuk mengenyampingkan segala intrik-intrik politik yang memuakkan para fans berat Formula One yang ingin melihat kelangsungan Formula One agar roh-roh para pembalap yang telah mengorbankan nyawa mereka demi kecintaan mereka pada Formula One itu senantiasa abadi.

Mungkin Mosley dan para tetua di tim-tim Formula One yang berseteru itu bertanya kembali pada hati mereka masing-masing, sebesar apakah cinta mereka pada Formula One? Apakah mereka bahagia bila melihat Formula One akhirnya hancur karena kedegilan hati mereka? Demi ego mereka masing-masing?

Alberto Ascari, Wolfgang von Trap, Jim Clark, Ronnie Petterson, Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna, dan sekian banyak para pembalap, penonton, dan para marshall yang tewas demi olahraga yang mereka cintai ini pasti takkan rela bila olahraga yang mereka cintai ini dengan segenap jiwa raga mereka hancur seperti ini. Tidakkah para petinggi Formula One itu bersedia sedikit saja berusaha menurunkan ego mereka demi para pembalap hebat itu yang jiwanya selalu abadi di hati para pecinta Formula One ini jika mereka tak bersedia melakukannya demi para fans Formula One yang sudah kadung cinta pada olahraga otomotif yang satu ini? Pada merekalah, para pembalap, penonton, dan marshall yang tewas demi memberi jiwa abadi pada olahraga otomotif ini, para petinggi Formula One itu berhutang dan seyogyanya mereka bukan hanya memaksakan apa yang ada di dalam kepala mereka tanpa mau melihat pada kedalaman hati mereka masing-masing.

Aku tak terlalu hirau dengan masalah budget cap yang telah membuat Formula One terpecah seperti ini. Aku hanya berharap Formula One yang kucintai ini tetap pada nilai sejatinya. Tapi di musim krisis seperti ini, selayaknyalah para ‘politikus’ f1 itu bersikap arif dalam menyikapi hal ini. Formula one memang sekarat tapi bukan berarti Formula One harus mati mengenaskan hanya karena ego para ‘politisi’ yang dipercayakan para pecinta Formula One untuk mengurus Formula One tapi ternyata malah menghancurkan olahraga ini! Dan semoga saja masih ada di antara para politisi itu yang masih memiliki jiwa yang murni yang memiliki keinginan untuk mengembalikan spirit of Formula One ke dalam olahraga yang lebih banyak dipenuhi intrik politik daripada nilai-nilai murni dari olahraga itu sendiri .

Entah siapa yang akhirnya memiliki kebesaran jiwa untuk kembali menyatukan Formula One kembali pada spiritnya. Spirit yang senantiasa memukau para pecinta Formula One di seluruh dunia. Spirit of Formula One!

Rabu, 24 Juni 2009

Schumacher frustrated by F1 politics


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jonathan Noble

Former world champion Michael Schumacher says he has grown tired of the political wrangling that is overshadowing Formula 1 - but believes a breakaway championship is becoming a realistic proposition.

Schumacher hopes that the current controversy caused by a split between F1 teams and the FIA comes to an end soon, as he thinks it is damaging for the sport.

"I find it extremely unfortunate that in Formula 1 recently there is so much talk about politics and so little about sport," Schumacher wrote on his own website."

"I really hope those political games will soon be ended - they were already getting on my nerves during all my career. Because in the end doesn't it all come down to one simple fact: Motorsport is a great sport, Formula 1 has always been the best of it and has to remain the pinnacle."

"Formula 1 has always been the platform for the best drivers and the best teams. This is what is admired all over the world; this is what everybody wants to see. But if this is constantly put into question due to permanent uncertainty of rules it is maybe better to really defend that value, leave and establish it somewhere else in a reasonable way."

Schumacher says he is baffled by the fact that the teams and the FIA could not agree on rule changes that would have secured the long term future of the sport.

"It is simply not understandable that all teams share their view on how to approach the reforms and the governing body still wants to implement something else," he said.

"Of course this seems unimaginable in the first moment, but this time all big teams stick together. This makes a new championship much more realistic. It is starting to be a real alternative to me. As a motorsport fan I want to watch the best show which is where the best drivers and the best teams compete with each other."

Montoya: Split would 'kill' F1


Source: www.autosport.com

By Diego Mejia

Juan Pablo Montoya believes a breakaway series would "kill" Formula 1, following FOTA's announcement that it plans to start its own championship in 2010 after failing to reach an agreement with the FIA.

Although the former Williams and McLaren driver believes FOTA starting its own series is a possible scenario, he says that would be the end of F1 as he knows it.
Montoya suggested that the only way forward for FOTA to remain aligned with the FIA would be a change governance in the ruling body.

"Making another series? Yeah - they would kill Formula 1," said Montoya. "If they (FOTA) go, then they would kill Formula 1, but I don't really care. All the manufacturers and everybody is there, you know what I mean?

"I think if they can get Max Mosley out of there, they'd probably stay."

The Colombian believes that all the political battling in Formula 1 can only make other series stronger, as happened in the United States with the Indycar split back in 1996.

He says the current crisis between FOTA and the FIA could end up being beneficial to NASCAR.

"I think if anything it will help NASCAR and bring more attention to NASCAR like when the Indycars split," said Montoya. "If anybody hasn't seen this live then they should come and watch it because it gets really exciting."

Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who has been a fan of F1 for years, does not see how a split could be good for either FOTA or the FIA, and said he cannot imagine the world championship being run without the traditional outfits.

"I don't see how you have a Formula 1 series without a Ferrari in it," said Gordon. "I can't imagine the series out there without Ferrari or McLaren or Renault."

"They have so few teams as it is now, I would be very, very disappointed to see that happen. I really hope they get it straightened out. I've never seen that work for any sport out there and my fingers are crossed that they're going to get together."


Alonso ready to follow teams out of F1


Source: www.autosport.com

By Simon Strang

Double world champion Fernando Alonso says he would be prepared to walk away from Formula 1 if it did not feature the best teams and drivers in the world next year.

The 27-year-old Spaniard told reporters at Silverstone that he hoped the FIA and the Formula One Team's Association could resolve their differences over the 2010 regulations.

But he added that he would rather race for a FOTA-organised breakaway series or another category altogether, than compete in what he perceived to be a dilapidated F1, if they couldn't.

"I'm always optimistic and I really hope they find a solution, but I know that it is difficult times," he said. "It is a critical position and moment for Formula 1 and we have to be ready for tomorrow."

"We will see, I really hope tomorrow there is good news," he added. "In my opinion, I support the FOTA teams, they did a great job in the last couple of years, when there is something very big for Formula 1."

"We have contracts with our teams so we will go close to them until the end."

Alonso said that he was not ready to retire from competition and that his top priority was to race in the world's most competitive and technologically advanced series - whatever it may be called."

"At least for me it is not attractive at all the new Formula 1, with the small teams and no drivers," he said.

"We want to compete with the best teams in the world, with the maximum technology, we all want to compete with the best drivers, and this is what F1 and competition is all about. So if this is not what Formula 1 is about next year, then for sure it will be another category with that."

"I will not retire, I will drive for another championship," he said. "If it is not a new series, I will not join the new Formula 1 as I said with there small teams. Because for me this is not technology, this is not F1, this is not the category we loved for the last 60 years."

"So, there are more categories and hopefully I will find an attractive one outside F1, or outside Europe, and I will keep racing. I am 27-years-old only."

Alonso reiterated, however, that the ideal scenario would be for FOTA and the FIA to agree a deal tomorrow: "I am not closing any doors but as I said hopefully tomorrow there will be good news and all these things will not matter anymore."

Rosberg: Split makes 2010 choice tough


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jonathan Noble and Simon Strang

Nico Rosberg says his future plans have been thrown into chaos by the plans by Formula 1 teams to launch a breakaway series.

The German driver has been evaluating his options for 2010 - having most recently been strongly linked with a switch to BMW Sauber.

However, with his Williams team one of only two current teams that has lodged unconditional entries to next year's championship, Rosberg now faces an extra dilemma in terms of needing to choose which category he wants to compete in.

"It makes it rather complex," admitted Rosberg about his future plans. I don't know what the situation is. I mean they don't have a second series yet. They have just made a decision not to race in the FIA F1 world championship. It is a bit of a mess really at the moment and it makes it very difficult. We will have to wait and see."

Rosberg believes that the split between the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and the FIA has turned the sport into a 'big mess.'

"It's a pity I guess," he explained. "It's really quite a disastrous situation for the whole sport at the moment. I can't believe it has come to that actually. It's very strange."

"I think that the FOTA teams have now decided 'we are going, it is now in the hands of the FIA, either they make a change or we are gone'. So now it is up to the FIA to see if they just stick to what they want and have F1 without any of the FOTA teams next year."

"I have even heard that they may sue the teams, so it is just a big mess really. I wish in some way they might find a way together so that we can continue racing like this year which has been fantastic. But it is looking quite unlikely to be honest and that is a pity."

Button says he must return to winning


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jonathan Noble

Jenson Button thinks his Brawn team can, and must, get back to winning ways in the next race in Germany after seeing title rivals Red Bull Racing dominate at his home British Grand Prix.

The world championship leader had no answer to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's upgraded RB5 at Silverstone, coming home in sixth place having struggled most of the weekend to get his tyres into their right operating window.

And with Red Bull's performance having opened up the title battle, Button is well aware that his team has to respond from the front - rather than think it can take things easy because of his lead in the championship points' standings.

"I lost three points to Rubens here, so I have got a 23 points lead to Rubens – which is still quite a lot to be fair," Button said as he reflected on the result of the British Grand Prix."

"Rubens is driving the same car as me, so I can try and keep him in check. Vettel is the one where you don't really know where their performance is going to be, so it is important for us to be fighting for wins."

"We cannot settle for third or fourth place. I need to be fighting for wins, and they are challengers. I had a 32 point lead coming here – and you can never be comfortable enough to think that we can just cruise home."

"They were very quick here, and I am sure they are going to be competitive at other races; I just don't think they will have the advantage that they had here."

Button is convinced that the mixture of the high-speed characteristics of Silverstone plus the cooler temperatures were the reasons why Red Bull's advantage looked so big.

"They were much quicker than us and it is because it is absolutely freezing this weekend," he said. "The sun did not come out until after the race which is nice – thanks British weather!"

"So they have made a big improvement for sure Red Bull. They have got a lot of new parts on the car and they are obviously working for them. But there were other things that worked for them. This is a circuit that is very high speed, probably not our best part of the car."

"Also it is cold, and we cannot get the tyres in the working range, so we are losing out there. And when you go to hot circuits, we don't just get them working but Red Bull struggles with the tyre which helps us as well. And there is hardly any braking here."

"I don't know if you watched the last few laps when I was behind [Nico] Rosberg, but the braking on our car is the strongest point at the moment. We are stronger than the Red Bulls under braking, but there is no braking here. You never hit the pedal that hard here, and that is another reason why we cannot get tyre temperature."

"So there were lots of reasons why we were not competitive. I am not going to go away from here that disappointed. I've lost seven points to Vettel, which is disappointing, but then again I gained 10 points when he put it in the wall in Monaco."

"So, we could have come away with a worse result here. We finished up with three points. I know their package is good, but I am not upset. I know that it will turn around and there are lots of reasons why we were not on the pace that we can turn around at the Nurburgring."

Q & A with Jenson Button


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jonathan Noble

AUTOSPORT brings you Jenson Button's reflections on the British Grand Prix weekend.

Q. You said on Thursday that the worst that could happen was that you would leave Silverstone with a 16-point lead, you have 23. Do you still feel disappointed not to be on the podium?

Jenson Button: Of course. Obviously I would like a good result for the crowd, but I would also have liked a good result for myself and the team. I struggled all weekend with tyre temperatures. From sixth place on the grid I was hoping to make up a couple of places, but I got a really good start and Trulli didn't - which is quite normal – and I couldn't go anywhere.

I tried to go to the inside and he blocked, and in Turn 1, I was stuck on the dirty inside and people just flew around the outside, some of them off the circuit, so I dropped back to ninth at the start. From there I was behind two cars, that I don't know if they were running KERS, but they seemed to be very strong (the Ferraris). On corner exits they seemed to be very strong on to the straights. I had no chance of getting past them.

Lucky enough I pushed Massa and he made a mistake and ran wide. And then I was just really sitting behind Trulli hoping he would make a mistake but he didn't. I backed off a little bit just to see what my pace was and then speeded up – and I was about a second quicker than him. So I was screwed and I was fuelled to lap 19, as was Rubens, and obviously he was in front and he, as he should, got lap 19. I stopped a lap early, as did Trulli.

We knew we wouldn't get him in the stops so we fuelled it long. I had a lot of fuel on board, the most I've had all year, on the prime tyre. That tyre just did not work at all. I had such little grip, and Rubens struggled with it as well even though he can work the tyre more. And he had Massa and Rosberg right up his arse, and I was just trying to stay with Trulli and Raikkonen, because I thought if I can stay close enough I'm stopping three laps later I should be able to get them.

For most of that stint the car was pretty hard to drive, because I never had any tyre heat in the fronts. So I would get to Turn 1 and there was nothing, so I was down to fifth gear through T1 instead of being in seventh. And then when Trulli pitted, on low fuel I could get a little bit of heat in the tyres and it was good. I was reasonably happy, and put some good laps in, and I came in front of him and Raikkonen. And then I had about eight/ten laps to the end of the race and pushed hard on the soft tyre.

With low fuel we got the tyres working in the right working range and I was a 1.5s quicker than the two cars in front. Rosberg and the Ferrari, which is sort of where you would expect. I closed them down but I had no chance of overtaking them, but in those ten laps I pulled 22s on Trulli. It just shows that if you are behind you can't do anything about it. And it was all screwed, a bit by yesterday, but by the start really. Going so far back at the start I was stuck.

If Rubens wasn't there I could have gone a lap longer and got past Trulli and maybe could have got past Rosberg and Massa in the second stop, but that was not the way it is and Rubens was in front of me on the circuit, so that is fair enough.

Q. Is there any danger that the balance of power is changing, or is this just a one-off where this track suited their car but did not suit yours?

JB: Driving up to the grid in Turkey everybody thought that the Red Bulls were going to destroy us there, and they didn't – we were quicker by about four tenths per lap. Here, they were much quicker than us and it is because it is absolutely freezing this weekend. The sun did not come out until after the race which is nice – thanks British weather!

So they have made a big improvement for sure Red Bull. They have got a lot of new parts on the car and they are obviously working for them. But there were other things that worked for them. This is a circuit that is very high speed, probably not our best part of the car. Also it is cold, and we cannot get the tyres in the working range, so we are losing out there. And when you go to hot circuits, we don't just get them working but Red Bull struggles with the tyre which helps us as well. And there is hardly any braking here.

I don't know if you watched the last few laps when I was behind [Nico] Rosberg, but the braking on our car is the strongest point at the moment. We are stronger than the Red Bulls under braking, but there is no braking here. You never hit the pedal that hard here, and that is another reason why we cannot get tyre temperature.

So there were lots of reasons why we were not competitive. I am not going to go away from here that disappointed. I've lost seven points to Vettel, which is disappointing, but then again I gained 10 points when he put it in the wall in Monaco. So, we could have come away with a worse result here. We finished up with three points. I know their package is good, but I am not upset. I know that it will turn around and there are lots of reasons why we were not on the pace that we can turn around at the Nurburgring.

Q. And the Nurburgring has got some good braking zones, hasn't it?

JB: Yes, it is one of the heaviest braking circuits. You have got four heavy braking zones, and Hungary is heavy braking zones. It will be hot hopefully, so they will not have the advantage that they had here. I think it will be fantastic. We won't have the advantage either, but hopefully we will be racing each other and we can put on a good performance from both teams, put on a good show and see what we come away with. It is exciting in a way for me. It is not going to be easy for sure. They beat Rubens by 45 seconds here; they beat me by 50 seconds. I don't know what I would have done if I was in third place...

Q. But you have not been fighting Ferrari and Williams all season?

JB: Exactly. The last stint showed that when we do get the tyres working in their range, the car works. I am sure the Red Bulls would have been quicker than us still, but Vettel's quickest lap of the race was in his first stint and he was pushing then – and was four tenths quicker than me. In the first stint this year it has always been the quickest, in the last stint I did a 21.1s, which was four tenths off. If you come away from here and say you are four tenths off the Red Bulls, it is not too bad. It is not too bad a position to be in. When we go to Germany, a slower speed circuit, there is only one high speed corner where they will gain a lot of time. Hopefully we will get something closer to Turkey than we saw in the British GP.

Q. You said in Turkey that at some point you knew your run had to come to an end. How heartbreaking is it that it happened at home?

JB: I would love to win the British GP, but it didn't happen. I came away with three points, which is not great. But, I am not massively disappointed. I go to the Nurburgring positive and thinking that we can take the fight to Red Bull there.

Q. Do you feel any more in a championship fight against Red Bull now, compared to how you felt before this weekend?

JB: I lost three points to Rubens here, so I have got a 23 points lead to Rubens – which is still quite a lot to be fair. Rubens is driving the same car as me, so I can try and keep him in check. Vettel is the one where you don't really know where their performance is going to be, so it is important for us to be fighting for wins.
We cannot settle for third or fourth place. I need to be fighting for wins, and they are challengers. I had a 32 point lead coming here – and you can never be comfortable enough to think that we can just cruise home. They were very quick here, and I am sure they are going to be competitive at other races; I just don't think they will have the advantage that they had here.

But is Schu really the Stig?


Source: www.planet-f1.com

Michael Schumacher is The Stig.

At least that's according to the latest episode of the BBC's car fanatics favourite, Top Gear.

In a segment of the show, broadcast on Sunday night on BBC Two, a driver put in laps of the Top Gear track in a Ferrari FXX and promptly slashed the previous record, set by a Gumpert Apollo, by almost seven seconds as he crossed the finishing line in 1:10.7.

Introducing the driver, Jeremy Clarkson, one of the show's presenters, said: "Some say that he invented the curtain, and that he recently submitted a £20,000 expenses claim for some gravel for his moat... All we know is: He's called The Stig.

"He's been fed up with newspapers speculating that he's a photocopier salesman from Bolton, or lives in a pebble-dashed house in Bristol."

And with that the helmet was removed...

To reveal Michael Schumacher.

Clarkson, though, later threw doubt on the whether the seven-time F1 Champion really is The Stig, saying: "You know what? I don't think that Michael Schumacher is The Stig."

As for the BBC, an insider told The Mirror that it was "a joke" while a spokesman said: "We never reveal who or what The Stig is."

Senin, 22 Juni 2009

Schumi: Extremely unfortunate


Source: www.planet-f1.com

Michael Schumacher believes it's "extremely unfortunate" what is happening to Formula One at present as the sport faces its darkest days.

With the FOTA eight - Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Toyota, BMW, Red Bull, Brawn GP and Toro Rosso - planning to start their own series, F1 is facing a time of unheavily that could lead to the demise of the sport.

But while some believe this is the only way to do, seven-time World Champion Schumacher is saddened by the sport's politics.

"I find it extremely unfortunate that in Formula 1 recently there is so much talk about politics and so little about sport," he told his website.

"I really hope those political games will soon be ended - they were already getting on my nerves during all my career. Because in the end doesn't it all come down to one simple fact: Motorsport is a great sport, Formula 1 has always been the best of it and has to remain the pinnacle.

"Formula 1 has always been the platform for the best drivers and the best teams. This is what is admired all over the world; this is what everybody wants to see. But if this is constantly put into question due to permanent uncertainty of rules it is maybe better to really defend that value, leave and establish it somewhere else in a reasonable way."

Frustrated Button rues 'terrible' start


Source: www.autosport.com

By Jamie O'Leary

Championship leader Jenson Button blamed a bad start for limiting him to sixth place in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The Brawn driver dropped to ninth place on the first lap after starting from the third row, and could only recover back to his starting spot by the end of the 60-lap race.

"I got a terrible start," said Button. "Jarno Trulli, in front of me, got a really slow getaway, as they [the Toyotas] normally do, and I had nowhere to go.

"I tried to go to the inside, but that wasn't there, and I tried to go to the outside and that was full, and then everyone shot by me on the outside."

Button, who, like his Brawn team-mate Rubens Barrichello, adopted the unusual strategy of using hard tyres for his middle stint, was unable to make the most of his car's outright pace in the cool temperatures.
He said his car was transformed when he took soft rubber for the final stint. By that point though, the podium was out of reach.

"Behind Trulli in the first stint, I slowed up behind him to give myself some clear air and see what times I could do, and I was eight tenths to a second quicker," Button said. "There's just nowhere to pass on this circuit [because the corners are of such high speed].

"Then on the hard tyres the car just didn't work and I couldn't get any tyre temperature. That's the way our car is in cooler temperatures.

"On the soft rubber near the end I was able to close in on Nico Rosberg and Felipe Massa like they were standing still, but you still can't pass around here."

Button's result means that his championship lead has been cut from 26 points to 23 with half the season remaining.

www.grandprix.com

Saturday Team Quote – British GP
Jenson Button (6th, 1:20.289):
"Whilst qualifying in sixth is by no means a bad result of course I'm hugely disappointed not to be starting my home Grand Prix from further up the grid. We knew that we would find it difficult here as our car doesn't work so well at low temperatures and I really struggled to get the tyres into their working range. I struggled massively with understeer in the high speed corners and then had oversteer at low speed so it wasn't the best balance for such a competitive qualifying session. My aim as always in the race will be to score as many points as possible and I hope that we can put on a great show for the thousands of fans who will be here to enjoy the race at this fantastic circuit."

Sunday Team Quote – British GP
Jenson Button (6th):
"All points are important at this stage of the season and to come away with three from this weekend is therefore ok but it's been a very frustrating home Grand Prix for us. I had a bad start as Trulli was slow off the line in front of me which left nowhere to go. I tried the inside and then the outside but everyone shot by me. From ninth place it was never going to be an easy race. I was stuck behind Trulli for the first stint which was really frustrating as the car felt good on the softer tyre and I was much quicker than him but couldn't overtake. We then had a long middle stint on the harder tyre and both Rubens and I struggled to get the tyres into their working range in the cool conditions with a heavy fuel load. On the softer rubber at the end of the race, I was able to close right up to Rosberg and Massa very easily so the pace of the car was actually pretty good but it is so difficult to overtake that I couldn't make any improvement on sixth position with only a few laps left. We need to understand why our car doesn't work so well at low temperatures and hope for warmer races to come."

Rabu, 17 Juni 2009

Mosley offers deal but deadline stands


Source : www.autosport.com
By Jonathan Noble

FIA president Max Mosley says there will be no backing down on his insistence that Formula 1 teams lift the conditions attached to their entries within 48 hours, but has hinted that a compromise could now be on the cards.

Following a letter from the Formula One Teams' Association to Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, viewed as a last ditch effort to avert teams walking away from the sport, the FIA laid out the terms by which it would accept a deal.

Although rejecting suggestions that the deadline for the matter be delayed from this Friday to July 1, and that standard engine supplier Cosworth be forced to detune its engines, the FIA says it would be willing to talk about governance changes and revisions to the cost cap.

In the letter, a copy of which has been seen by AUTOSPORT, Mosley said there was no chance of a revised Concorde Agreement being sorted before Friday - so the 1998 version would have to be used as an interim.

"If we start to modify the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement, a lengthy discussion will begin," he wrote. "There is no time left for this because we must answer the remaining applicants for 2010 no later than Friday."

He added: "Our proposal is therefore that all parties agree to accept the 1998 governance provisions by means of an exchange of letters. We can then negotiate a new 2009 Concorde Agreement under the protection of the 1998 arrangement.

"After all, we lived with these for ten years; a few more weeks or months should not cause any difficulty."

Regarding FOTA’s suggestions that independent accountants be appointed to oversee compliance with a budget cap, Mosley said that such an idea had already been suggested by the governing body.

Furthermore, he wants the teams to accept the £40 million limit for now, prior to further discussions that could see it changed in the next few weeks.

"A fundamental problem with the FOTA proposal was the absence of a clear figure," wrote Mosley. "The teams need to know what the constraints are, so do we.

"We therefore propose that you accept the 2010 rules, as published, which we agreed with you last year. If necessary, these can be revised with the above governance procedures in due course."

Mosley confirmed that there would be no two-tier regulations in 2010, which had been one of the biggest complaints of FOTA.

However, he said that Cosworth would be allowed to run to 2006 regulations because it had "neither the time nor the resources to return for 2010."

And in a bid to get the matter sorted in the next day or so, Mosley said he would write to the teams to ask them to accept the FIA’s offer so they could drop the conditions attached to their entries before Friday's deadline.

"We will shortly send a letter for signature to each team. If signed and returned, the letter will make the above proposals legally binding and the relevant team's entry unconditional," he said.

Button fired up for home grand prix


Source : www.autosport.com
By Pablo Elizalde

Jenson Button is looking forward to his home British Grand Prix this weekend, as the Brawn driver looks to extend his superb run of victories.

The Briton has won six of the first seven races of the season and will arrive at Silverstone as the clear championship favourite for the first time in his career.

"The British Grand Prix is always an amazing weekend and I can't wait to race at Silverstone in front of our home fans on Sunday," said Button in a team preview.

"To be leading the championship going into my home grand prix is something that I've never experienced before and it puts a smile on my face every time I think about it.

"I've raced at Silverstone from some fairly tough positions in the past but the fans have always been so supportive and I'd love to give them a performance that they can really enjoy this weekend.

"We took a good step forward with the balance of our car in Turkey but know that our closest competitors are going to be good in the high-speed corners so it will be an interesting weekend. If we come away with a good result, I'll be so happy on Sunday!"

Button admitted, however, that he is sorry it will be his last race at Silverstone, which will make way for Donington from next year.

"It's strange to think that this might be our last race at Silverstone and I can't imagine not having a British Grand Prix so we'll be going all out to put on a fantastic show."

Team-mate Rubens Barrichello is also fired up for the British race, the Brazilian a big fan of the Silverstone circuit.

"Silverstone is one of my all-time favourite circuits and I absolutely love racing there," he said. "The track is fantastic as it is one of the few remaining on the calendar that are high-speed, fast-flowing and really allow you to let the car go through the quick corners.

"My win here in 2003 was really special and it's fantastic to be returning this year with a car that has the potential to compete for the victory.

"There's a lot of expectation going into the weekend as our team's home grand prix but we will remain calm and just focus on doing the best job that we possibly can."

Keabadian ...



Aku menyeru – tapi tidak satu suara
membalas, hanya mati di beku udara
Dalam diriku terbujur keinginan,
juga tidak bernyawa
Mimpi yang penghabisan minta tenaga,
Patah kapak, sia-sia berdaya,
Dalam cekikan hatiku

Terdampar … Menginyam abu dan debu
Dari tinggalannya suatu lagu
Ingatan pada Ajal yang menghantu
Dan demam yang nanti membikin kaku …
……………………………………………
Pena dan penyair keduanya mati,
Berpalingan!

“Nocturno (fragment)” karya: Chairil Anwar

Aku selalu ngeri dengan segala hal yang berbau kematian. Bagiku kematian menggambarkan betapa tak berdayanya manusia. Kematian selalu menyisakan kehampaan. Kadang bila kebetulan di jalan ada mobil jenazah yang melintas, disadari atau tidak, aku selalu memalingkan wajahku. Mungkin aku takut dengan aroma kematian itu atau aku benci dengan kesunyian yang diciptakan oleh kematian itu.

Ketika aku mengatakan pada temanku bahwa aku ingin menulis tentang hal ini, ia yang merupakan penggemar berat Chairil Anwar (di samping Kimi Raikkonen yang mungkin tak senyeleneh Chairil tapi sama-sama merupakan orang muda yang berpengaruh di bidang mereka masing-masing) langsung mengusulkan puisi Chairil untuk kukutip.

Meski aku sebenarnya bukan penggemar berat Chairil tapi ya aku mengagumi karya-karyanya yang sarat dengan permenungan hidup (menurut pendapatku) dan menjelang saat-saat akhirnya, puisinya terdengar kelam seolah ia tahu kematian itu sudah di ambang pintu, menyapanya.

“Kematian tersenyum pada setiap orang dan kita seharusnya membalas senyumnya,” begitu kira-kira kalimat yang diucapkan Maximus yang diperankan oleh Russell Crowe dalam Gladiator.

Aku kerap membayangkan bagaimana rupa kematian itu. Apakah sungguh setampan Brad Pitt seperti perannya sebagai malaikat maut dalam Meet Joe Black ataukah sedingin tokoh The Reaper seperti yang beberapa kali muncul dalam drama seri televisi “Supernatural” yang dibintangi Jensen Ackles dan Jared Padalecki, dua orang kakak beradik yang memiliki profesi sebagai pemburu hantu (tapi bukan seperti ghostbusters) meneruskan profesi ayah mereka, John Winchester yang diperankan oleh Jeffrey Dean Morgan (yang juga pernah bermain di Grey’s Anatomy).

Tapi kupikir bagaimana pun rupa kematian itu tetap saja kematian mengerikan bagiku. Dan kupikir sulit untuk tersenyum pada kematian kala ia menjemput. Aku jadi teringat salah satu episode The X-Files di mana Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) menutup matanya ketika kematian menatapnya sehingga ia terlepas dari kematian itu. Aku sendiri tak yakin apakah dengan menutup mata bila waktunya sudah tiba maka kematian itu akan berlalu dariku. Rasanya tak mungkin tapi sepertinya itulah alasan mengapa aku selalu memalingkan wajahku bila berpapasan dengan mobil jenazah karena aku selalu berpikir malaikat kematian itu mungkin saja masih berada di sekitar jenazah itu dan mungkin saja Sang Maut itu tengah menatapku. Pemikiran yang aneh tapi entahlah, begitu yang selalu kurasakan.

Tapi mungkin hidup itu jauh lebih menakutkan dari kematian seperti yang dikatakan Commodus dalam film Gladiator, “It’s a dream. It’s a frightful dream. That’s a life.”

Kematian memang masih merupakan misteri tapi hidup pun tak memberikan kepastian yang absolut. Sekali waktu kita merasa memiliki segalanya tapi hanya dalam sekejap saja tiba-tiba kita bisa kehilangan segalanya. Kepercayaan, sahabat, atau bahkan keluarga. Sesaat kita merasa sebagai orang paling bahagia sedunia tapi tiba-tiba saja kita merasa kehampaan. Merasa sendirian dalam hidup (meski tak sedramatis Tom Hanks yang terdampar sendirian di sebuah pulau dalam Cast Away).

Betapapun tak menentunya hidup itu tapi aku tetap menganggap hidup masih jauh lebih baik daripada kematian. Betapapun bengisnya hidup itu namun hidup senantiasa menawarkan harapan. Dan bukankah harapan untuk sesuatu yang baik pula yang membuat kita bangun tiap pagi? Harapan pula yang membuat hidup jadi tak terlalu berat untuk dijalani, bukan? Seperti sebait puisi Chairil dalam Perjurit Jaga Malam yang berbunyi seperti ini:

“Aku suka pada mereka yang berani hidup
Aku suka pada mereka yang masuk menemu malam
Malam yang berwangi mimpi, berlucut debu …
Waktu jalan. Aku tidak tahu apa nasib waktu.”

Betapapun hidup penuh ketidakpastian. Betapapun hidup dihantui nasib waktu tapi mimpi senantiasa terukir untuk diwujudkan dalam sebuah realita. Berkat mimpi Thomas Alfa Edison pula kita merasa malam tak lagi sepekat malam itu sendiri.

Benar kiranya ungkapan yang mengatakan bahwa bukan seberapa lama kita hidup tapi seberapa banyak kita memaknai hidup itu sendiri. Aku selalu gemetar bila membaca kisah-kisah perjuangan orang-orang yang demi meraih mimpinya sampai rela kehilangan nyawanya seperti beberapa pembalap Formula One di masa ketika masalah safety tak terlalu dikedepankan. Mereka hidup di masa Formula One masih merupakan olahraga yang senantiasa mengundang malaikat maut hadir di tengah-tengah mereka.

Wolfgang Von Trips mungkin tak pernah menyangka bahwa tabrakannya dengan Jim Clark di tikungan Parabolica saat gelaran GP Italia di Monza pada tahun 1961 bukan hanya merenggut hidupnya tapi juga sebelas penonton. Entah apa yang ada di pikiran Von Trips ketika bangun pagi hari itu. Mungkin pagi itu ia bangun dengan semangat tinggi untuk menyonsong GP Italia dan merasa gelar dunia sudah begitu dekat dengan dirinya mengingat ia saat itu tengah unggul enam poin dalam klasemen. Tapi seperti kata para filsuf, kematian adalah misteri Ilahi, Von Trips tak menyangka bahwa hari itu ternyata hari terakhirnya menghirup udara kehidupan. Dan bukan hanya ia tak berhasil merebut gelar dunia tapi ia juga malah membawa sebelas orang penonton mengiringinya ke lembah kematian abadi.

Jim Clark (juara dunia dua kali bersama Lotus) yang bertabrakan dengan Von Trips selamat dari kecelakaan di Monza saat itu tapi tujuh tahun kemudian nyawanya tak berhasil diselamatkan saat ia mengalami kecelakaan ketika ia tengah mengikuti ajang F2 di Hockenheim pada tahun 1968.

Namun kematian bahkan tak bisa merenggut gelar dunia dari tangan Jochen Rindt. Pembalap Lotus ini sudah mengantungi lima kemenangan saat mengalami kecelakaan di Monza pada tahun 1970 sementara musim itu masih menyisakan tiga balapan. Namun hingga musim berakhir para pembalap lainnya yang masih hidup setelah kematian Rindt tak mampu mengejar perolehan poin Rindt sehingga ia menjadi satu-satunya pembalap yang meraih gelar dunia saat ajal sudah menjemputnya. Ironis.

Yang tak kalah tragis adalah kematian Ronnie Peterson. Lelah menjadi pembalap kedua Lotus di bawah bayang-bayang Mario Andretti akhirnya Ronnie berhasil mendapatkan kontrak McLaren sebagai pembalap pertama untuk musim balap 1979. Dengan semangat baru Ronnie datang ke Monza untuk mengikuti GP Italia dan menyelesaikan musim balap itu bersama Lotus sebelum hijrah ke McLaren tahun berikutnya. Ia bahkan sudah melihat mobil barunya sebelum datang ke GP Italia dan ia cukup puas dengan apa yang menantinya di tahun yang akan datang. Namun selepas start, Lotus 78 Ronnie melintir, menabrak barrier dengan keras. Mobilnya terbakar sementara Ronnie terjebak di dalamnya. James Hunt, Clay Reggazoni, dan Patrick Depailler berusaha mengeluarkan Ronnie dari mobilnya yang terbakar itu. Akhirnya Ronnie berhasil keluar tapi kakinya terluka parah. Ronnie segera dilarikan ke rumah sakit. Tapi malamnya ketika kakinya dibedah, terjadi penggumpalan darah dan esok paginya kematian Ronnie pun diumumkan.

Buntut dari kejadian ini, Ricardo Patresse yang dijadikan kambing hitam (Formula One selalu mencari kambing hitam untuk disalahkan setiap kali kecelakaan fatal terjadi) dianggap sebagai pihak yang mengakibatkan kecelakaan mengerikan itu dan ia pun dihukum tak boleh tampil di 1 GP yaitu GP USA di Watkins Glen.

Patrick Depailler yang membantu mengeluarkan Ronnie Peterson dari mobilnya yang terbakar itu juga tewas saat GP Jerman di Hockenheim dan James Hunt, salah satu pembalap flamboyan yang pernah dimiliki Formula One berhasil meraih gelar dunia semata wayangnya di GP Jepang 1976. Hunt meninggal karena serangan jantung setelah pensiun dari dunia Formula One.

Sebelumnya, pada tahun 1971, ketika gelaran GP Inggris dilangsungkan di Brands Hatch, Jo Siffert tewas setelah pada lap pertama BRM-nya bertabrakan dengan Ronnie Peterson. Seperti yang dialami Ronnie Peterson, BRM Siffert pun terbakar dan ia terkurung dalam mobilnya. Siffert berhasil dikeluarkan tapi nyawanya tak dapat ditolong. Siffert dikabarkan tewas karena kehabisan oksigen. Pemakaman Siffert di Swiss dihadiri oleh 50.000 orang.

GP Monaco 1967 juga menyisakan kenangan tragis atas kematian Lorenzo Bandini yang terkurung dalam mobilnya yang terbakar. Bandini kehilangan kendali di Chicane Nouvell kemudian ia menabrak pembatas yang terbuat dari jerami. Mobilnya terguling dan tangki bahan bakarnya terkoyak. Bandini terjebak dalam mobilnya sementara api mulai menjilati tunggangannya. Ketika akhirnya Bandini berhasil dikeluarkan ia sudah tak sadarkan diri. Tiga hari kemudian Bandini tewas akibat luka bakar yang parah. Sejak itu, dikeluarkan peraturan yang melarang penggunaan jerami sebagai pembatas.

Kematian Gilles Villeneuve (ayah Jacques Villeneuve) juga bisa dibilang tragis. Gilles tengah dalam keadaan penuh dendam kesumat pada rekan setimnya, Didier Pironi yang mengabaikan perintah team order dan “merebut” kemenangannya di GP Italia, Monza. Gilles pantas merasa geram karena ia merasa telah cukup berkorban demi tim ketika ia merelakan gelar dunia dan membantu Jody Sheckter merebut gelar dunia pada tahun 1979. Pembalap Kanada yang imut ini berharap rekan setimnya akan membalasnya pada tahun berikutnya. Tapi tahun 1980 adalah mimpi buruk bagi Ferrari. Si kuda jingkrak lebih banyak tertunduk lesu dihantam rival-rivalnya. Sheckter pensiun dan posisinya digantikan pembalap muda dari Perancis, Didier Pironi yang dikenal sangat kencang dan ambisius. Pironi yang ambisius tak seperti Villeneuve yang sentimentil dan ia memilih untuk mengabaikan perintah team order dan meninggalkan Gilles yang menatapnya geram. Bahkan ia tak terlalu mempedulikan sikap Villeneuve yang tak bersedia ikut merayakan kemenangannya di podium. Ia mengangkat trophy sambil tersenyum lebar sebagaimana seorang juara yang berhasil meraih kemenangan.

Perseteruan antar rekan setim ini berakhir ketika Villeneuve tewas dalam kecelakaan saat sesi latihan di GP Belgia yang saat itu dilangsungkan di Zolder pada tanggal 8 Mei 1982.

Entah karena karma atau memang seperti itulah siklus kehidupan dan kematian. Didier Pironi pun mengalami nasib yang tak kalah tragis dari rekan setimnya itu. Beberapa minggu setelah kecelakaan yang merenggut nyawa Gilles, Pironi mengalami kecelakaan saat latihan di GP Jerman. Kaki Pironi hancur akibat kecelakaan itu dan karirnya di Formula One pun berakhir. Pironi masih ingin sekali membalap tapi keadaan kakinya tak memungkinkan tim balap manapun di Formula One merekrutnya betapapun ia sangat berbakat. Pada tanggal 23 Agustus 1987, Pironi turun dalam balapan power boat. Balapan terakhirnya. Pironi dan seluruh penumpangnya tewas setelah kapalnya terbalik.

Mungkin yang juga tak bisa dilupakan para pecinta Formula One adalah kematian Ayrton Senna, salah satu pembalap terhebat yang pernah dimiliki olahraga ini. Senna yang saat itu tengah terancam dengan kehadiran pembalap muda dari Jerman, Michael Schumacher yang memimpin klasemen musim itu. Di GP Italia 1994 yang kala itu dilangsungkan di Imola, Williams Senna sebenarnya ada di depan Benetton Schumi ketika tiba-tiba saja Senna kehilangan kendali saat memasuki tikungan Tamburello. Senna berhasil dilarikan ke rumah sakit tapi nyawanya tak tertolong. Pembalap besar ini pun meninggal dunia. Sebuah kehilangan besar untuk Formula One. Bukan hanya para sahabatnya yang merasa kehilangan. Prost yang kerap dianggap sebagai saingan terberat Senna pun mengatakan bahwa ia tak bisa melepaskan perasaan hampa yang dirasakannya setelah kematian Senna yang pernah menjadi rekan setimnya. Dan Schumi, si pembalap muda berbakat yang sempat membuat Senna ketar ketir dengan kehadirannya pun merasakan kehilangan atas kematian Senna. Schumi yang dianggap publik dan media sebagai seorang yang arogan dan tak berperasaan ini mengunjungi makam Senna bersama istrinya tanpa gembar gembor pada media.

Yang tak kalah hebat bagiku adalah perjuangan Gunnar Nilson, pembalap Lotus yang meraih kemenangan tunggalnya di GP Belgia 1977. Ia bukan hanya berjuang meraih podium tapi juga berjuang melawan penyakit kanker testikel yang dideritanya. Musim balap 1978 Nilson hijrah ke tim Arrows. Namun seiring dengan berakhirnya musim balap itu perjuangan Nilson melawan kanker pun usai. Hanya sebulan sebelum ulang tahunnya yang ketiga puluh, Gunnar Nilson menutup mata bukan dalam arena pertarungan merebut gelar juara Formula One tapi dalam pertempuran melawan penyakitnya. Sebuah perjuangan yang heroik, menurutku. Perjuangan tanpa akhir yang luar biasa dan tak kalah luar biasanya dengan rekan-rekan pembalapnya yang berjuang meraih gelar dunia.

Perjuangan mereka bagiku sungguh luar biasa. Darah yang mengalir di tubuh memang suatu waktu akan berhenti mengalir. Jantung dalam tubuh fana ini memang suatu saat akan berhenti berdetak. Tapi kurasa apa yang telah mereka lakukan dalam hidup takkan pernah mati. Kisah mereka akan terus dituturkan dalam generasi ke generasi. Dan mimpi serta perjuangan mereka akan diteruskan oleh jiwa-jiwa baru yang hadir menghias dunia fana ini. Meski hidup ini tak abadi tapi kenangan dan spirit yang mereka tunjukkan rasanya selamanya akan abadi dalam hati-hati para pecintanya dan semua orang yang bisa menghargai hidup itu sendiri.

“What we do when we alive echoes in eternity”, begitu dialog yang diucapkan Russel Crowe dalam Gladiator. Dan mereka, para pahlawan Formula One itu telah menunjukkan apa arti keabadian itu.

Akhir kata aku ingin menutup tulisanku dengan puisi Chairil Anwar bukan karena penyair ini merupakan idola temanku tapi karena Chairil pun tak kalah luar biasa dengan para jagoan Formula One di atas. Chairil terlalu muda untuk mati tapi karyanya selamanya abadi bahkan jauh lebih abadi dari penyair-penyair Indonesia lainnya yang memiliki kesempatan hidup jauh lebih lama darinya.

“Kelam dan angin lalu mempesiang diriku,
menggigir juga ruang di mana dia yang kuingin,
malam tambah merasuk, rimba jadi semati tugu

di Karet, di Karet (daerahku y.a.d.) sampai juga deru
dingin

aku berbenah dalam kamar, dalam diriku jika kau
datang
dan aku bisa lagi lepaskan kisah baru padamu;
tapi kini hanya tangan yang bergerak lantang

tubuhku diam dan sendiri, cerita dan peristiwa
berlalu beku.”

-Yang terampas dan Yang Putus- karya: Chairil Anwar

Mansell: Button is 'best in the business'


Source : www.autosport.com

By Simon Strang
Wednesday, June 17th 2009

Former Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell has hailed Jenson Button as the 'best in the business' on the eve of this weekend's final British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Mansell said that Button - who starts this weekend's event seeking to make it seven out of eight victories so far this season - is already a dead cert to take this year's drivers' title.

"It's his championship, there is no way that anybody can come back at him," said Mansell. "The only thing that can go wrong now is they have a really bad run of reliability, but I don't see that happening.

"He is the best in the business now and that car looks just amazing. I mean the balance of that car... I was watching it at Monaco and I said to my son Greg, 'there are some awesome cars I have driven in the past, but I think that is one that goes into the history books as straight-out-of-the-box magical'."

Mansell enjoyed enormous success on home soil, scoring his first F1 victory at the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1985. He won the British GP, again at the Kent circuit, in 1986 and continued the success story on at Silverstone in 1987.

The Briton, who became a household name through his inspiring performances at home and added another two wins in 1991 and '92 to his Silverstone tally, believes Jenson Button is primed to add his name to a list of home winners that includes Damon Hill, David Coulthard and most recently Lewis Hamilton, who dominated in the rain last year.

Mansell added that there are parallels between his and Button's career as both took several years to get themselves in race-winning equipment and emerge as genuine front-runners.

"The great thing is that he [Button] had served a very long apprenticeship and now it's coming together," said Mansell, who added that Button seemed determined to capitalise on his situation. "The thing that is really good for him, and I congratulate him on, is that he is not letting this go, he is staying focused.

"In fact he is more focused than I have ever seen him and better than ever as well."

Schumi warns Mosley: You can't change world in one day


Source: www.crash.net

Record-breaking Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher has warned Max Mosley against forcing through his controversial and unpopular budget cap in the top flight in 2010, urging that the FIA President 'cannot expect drastic changes to be accepted by such important manufacturers' – and stressing that 'you cannot turn the world around in one day'.

With just two days now remaining before the governing body publishes the list of the 13 successful applicants to have gained a place on the starting grid next season, the stand-off between the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) remains unresolved – with both sides resolutely refusing to make any further concessions or compromises. As things stand, only two of the 2009 incumbents – Williams and Force India – have lodged unconditional entries for next year.

Mosley's argument is that in the absence of his radical cost-cutting initiative, no new competitors would be willing to make the graduation and F1 would not ultimately survive with the global economic climate as it is – but on the teams' side, BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen has underlined that 'in one go you cannot just evaporate by three', alluding to the fact that many of the current outfits regularly spend three times' the new £40 million stipulated limit if not even more, making it unviable for them to reduce their expenditure so dramatically in such a short space of time.

That is a view with which Schumacher clearly agrees, echoing the belief that whilst Mosley's proposals go in the right direction, they are too much, too soon – and insisting that such changes cannot be made overnight, as they would likely damage the image of what is at present the pinnacle of international motor racing.

Along with Renault, Toyota and Red Bull, Ferrari – with whom the 91-time grand prix-winning German claimed five of his seven drivers' crowns between 2000 and 2004 – has vowed to walk away from the sport after six decades of uninterrupted participation as its longest-standing and most loyal entrant should the cap not be shelved for 2010 and an alternative solution be found that is mutually acceptable to all.

“It is not a very exciting situation that we are facing,” the 40-year-old told the Ferrari website, “especially [being] the sport that I have participated in for most of my life and that I really love. To see what is going on there, it is not very great.

“At the end of the day, if you think Ferrari, the name is so important, it is so big in this sport. It became big due to the sport, but it actually grew the sport at the same time. Considering what Ferrari means for Formula 1, you can't seriously imagine that they can exist without each other – or [without] the other manufacturers who have participated for so long. I really believe that somehow they must find a solution – and the solution can only be that it suits those teams that have built up F1 to the state that it is now.

“You cannot expect drastic changes to be accepted by such important manufacturers. Yes, you have a target, yes, you want to reduce costs, but you have to do it step-by-step. You have to sit down together and find a compromise — and I believe that they can find this compromise. You can't expect those big top teams to adhere to rules which overturn everything from one day to another. Change has to be a process, not a heave-ho action. You cannot turn the world around in one day – that is impossible.”

Schumacher and Vettel to defend Race of Champions crown


Source: www.crash.net

It has been confirmed that Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel will head to Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium in November to defend Germany's Nations' Cup glory in the annual Race of Champions (ROC), the end-of-season spectacular that pitches the biggest stars from all disciplines of motorsport against each other in identical machinery.

Immediately after the final Formula 1 race of the year in Abu Dhabi, the seven-time world champion and Red Bull Racing grand prix winner will both fly to China, where they will work as a team in the ROC Nations' Cup on 3 November before battling it out for individual glory in the Race of Champions just a day later, competing around a specially-constructed parallel tarmac circuit built inside the stadium made famous by the 2008 Summer Olympics.

“The Race of Champions is always big fun to compete in,” remarked Schumacher. “It's the perfect combination of fighting on-track and at the same time having fun together, and this comes across to the audience. The spectators feel this special atmosphere and ultimately enjoy themselves as much as we do.

“I'm really looking forward to joining in again this year, and am curious to see how the Chinese spectators will react to our crazy show on the track in the famous and beautiful Olympic Stadium. I'm sure they will love an event that has been entertaining European motorsport crowds for over 20 years.

"What's also important to me is that the ROC helps raise money and awareness for ICM, the Institute for advanced research on Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders, which is under construction in Paris and that I have been a supporter of for several years.

“Sebastian and I are geared up to defend our title again – and of course I will push also in the drivers' category and will try to win there too!”

The duo will enter the ROC Nations' Cup as favourites, having won the event for the past two years at Wembley Stadium. In the Race of Champions itself, Schumacher has twice reached the final – in 2004 and 2007 – whilst Vettel is hopeful of improving on his form from last year.

“I'm really looking forward to this year's Race of Champions in Beijing,” enthused the man who achieved RBR's maiden F1 victory in the Chinese Grand Prix back in April. “The event is always a lot of fun, and to compete in the Bird's Nest is going to be amazing. I think everyone still has the image of this fantastic stadium in their memories from the Olympic Games last year.

“I look forward to trying to take our third title for Germany in the ROC Nations' Cup together with Michael, and personally I'm also aiming to win the individual Race of Champions after the disappointment last year when I was knocked out in the quarter-finals.”

The two German drivers will join Team Monaco's Clivio Piccione and Emmanuele Pirro, who won their places in the event by triumphing in the Race of Champions' first regional final, ROC South Europe in Portugal, last weekend.

Kamis, 11 Juni 2009

'Silverstone hasn't been approached'


source : www.planet-f1.com

Thursday 11th June 2009

With talk of a breakaway Championship hanging in the air, Damon Hill has revealed that Silverstone has not be approached about the possibility of hosting a race.
Silverstone is holding its final British Grand Prix this season, with the Northamptonshire track having lost out to Donington Park after years of strife and criticism from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The track's loss of the Formula One race, though, could potential put it in the line to host a round of a breakaway series should the FOTA members not be accepted into next year's F1 World Championship and start their own racing league.

However, Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers' Club who own the Silverstone circuit, says as yet the topic has not come up.

"No, I don't know anything of the sort," he told Autosport when asked if talks had been held regarding Silverstone playing a role in a breakaway series.

"Clearly, it has occurred to everyone that there may be a need for venues if there is going to be another Championship.

"But we value our relationship with F1 since 1950 and we want that tradition to continue. But we're a business too so if something came along then clearly there would have to be discussion.

"From our point of view, the circuit has to survive so we might be placed in that position. But I'm a traditionalist. I believe in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and going back to 1950 that is the thing with the continuity to it."

'Breakaway could cost both series their fan-base'


source : www.planet-f1.com

Thursday 11th June 2009

Damon Hill has warned both FIA and the FOTA that should the latter start their own Championship it could damage the popularity of both series.

On Friday, the FIA will announce the teams competing in next year's F1 World Championship but with FOTA having signed a conditional entry, it remains to be seen whether those eight teams will be accepted. The eight FOTA teams include F1's big name manufacturers such as Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, BMW and McLaren-Mercedes.

Should they not be accepted, or should the FIA refuse to back down on its proposed budget cap, the FOTA teams could start their own breakaway Championship.
Hill, though, believes this would damage both Championships' reputations, much in the same way it did when the IRL IndyCar Series split from the CART-run Champ Car series.

"You only have to look over the pond to see what happens when you split a Championship," Hill told Autosport.

"It's difficult enough to draw people into one particular sport, so what will they make of two separate Championships? It would just dilute it."
But even without a breakaway series, Hill reckons the on-going politics in Formula one is already starting to turn fans away.

"Yes - and it has been getting worse over the last few years on that front," he added.

"The last few years have been really appalling and lots of people have asked questions about the administration of the sport.

"That's what the issue is all about. It's entertaining in the same way that the Jerry Springer Show is - not for the right reasons - so it's a turn-off as well."

Brawn not taking anything for granted


source : www.autosport.com
By Jonathan Noble and Mark Glendenning

Brawn may now be clear favourites for the world championship, but team principal Ross Brawn is adamant his team cannot afford to start thinking the title is in the bag just yet.

Although Jenson Button now has a 26-point advantage at the head of the championship standings after winning six of the first seven races of the season, Brawn's near misses with Ferrari in the past have left him paranoid that things can still go wrong.

When asked in the wake of Button's Turkey triumph if it was hard not to start thinking about the championship, Brawn said: "It's not difficult not to start thinking about it."

He added: "You never do. You never engage in those thoughts, because you know that just around the corner something can happen. It can be a retirement, or it can be some other factor.

"And having had three seasons at Ferrari where we didn't do it, and we got very close to doing it, then I know you simply don't engage in those thoughts until they're done."

Brawn has also vowed to maintain a hands-off approach to handling the battle between his drivers - claiming it could lead to a more satisfactory title than when he operated a clear number one policy with Michael Schumacher at Benetton and Ferrari.

"I've been lucky enough to win world championships now, and perhaps winning it in a certain way is more important to me," he said.

"I think there's phases. I think there's phases early in the season where you can't identify one driver one way or the other, and I think you should let the season run.

"Undoubtedly you may reach a phase towards the end where you have to make decisions, and we'll make those decisions if we have to. But at this stage there's no need and no wish to make those decisions."

When asked what advice he would give Button now he said: "The advice, quite honestly, is to just keep doing what you're doing. One of the guys asked me on Sunday what they should do in the first corner, and I said that as soon as we get that into their thoughts, we have a problem. So all you can do is leave them.

"If they've made mistakes, you sit down and work out what you need to do. But otherwise you just leave them alone. He's driving so well that there's nothing I can add to his performance."

Button: It's payback time at Silverstone


source: www.planet-f1.com

For the first time in his decade of competing in F1, Jenson Button heads to his home grand prix leading the World Championship, saying it's time to pay back the support of the British public.

Immediately after Button's emphatic victory in the Turkish GP, which saw him become only the fifth driver in Formula One history to win six of the opening seven races in a Championship, the Brawn GP driver's attentions are already turning to Silverstone.

A sell-out crowd of 100,000 is expected at Silverstone's final F1 grand prix before the historic venue makes way for the Donington Park in 2010.
And Button intends being the last man to win at the Northamptonshire track, as this year, he reckons, it's time to give something back to his fans.

"Every year I've been to Silverstone to race in Formula One it's quite amazing the support you get, even when you're not driving a competitive car and when you can't get a result you still get a lot of support which is fantastic," said the 29-year-old.

"The British public has always been behind their drivers. Going there this year is obviously a different situation: I'm leading the Championship. In previous years, when the car has been difficult to drive and we haven't had any results, in a way you're a little bit embarrassed because you've got so much support.

"You've got so much support but you can't give them anything back but to arrive there leading the Championship, I feel that, in a way, it's giving them something to really get a hold of and sink their teeth into and really enjoy.

"Yeah, so arriving at Silverstone I'm going to be very excited and looking forward to the weekend but when you get into the car you're a hundred percent focused. In a way it's another race while you're actually in the car.

"Before and after it's very different, for sure, but the great thing is, a lot of people that work in Formula One are British, we have a lot of fans in the United Kingdom, so hopefully we will put on a good show for them and we will have a sell-out crowd and this will help us in the future have a grand prix in the UK."

Aside from the British GP, the big picture is winning the World title, a feat that many believe Button already has in the bag. But while the Brawn driver concedes his 26-point lead at the top of the standings is "out of this world", he knows the situation could yet change.

"My lead is out of this world but I'm not going to lift off," he said.

"I want to do the best that I can at every race I go to and I'm still going to make every move that I possibly can to win every race.

"But I also know that it's not going to be easy. I will have a bad race this year and I will get beaten and it's being ready for that situation I suppose.

"I would love to win every single race this year but I've got another 19 guys on the circuit who want to stop me doing that. I'm in a good position, for sure.

"You would say that the situation at the moment is perfect but it could very easily go the wrong way.

"These guys (Red Bull) can suddenly bolt something on that will bring them to our pace or even quicker, so you can't take it for granted and you've got to keep pushing. You can't lift off and hope for the best or try and take it easy. You still have to keep pushing."

Q & A with Ross Brawn


Source: www.autosport.com
By Mark Glendenning

Q. Is Jenson Button as good a driver as you've ever had?

Ross Brawn: I've been very fortunate, obviously, in working with Michael, and I don't want to make comparisons. But he is quite exceptional - very fit, very dedicated, he's got a very nice approach to things. He's a really enjoyable person to work with. And he's incredibly quick. So there's not much else I can add to that.

Q. So he is around Michael's sort of level, without putting them in that order?

RB: I mean, they're not driving together in the same cars, so you can't compare them. But he is quite an exceptional driver, and certainly what he is doing now he deserves, and it's down to his ability.

Q. This car compared with 2004 Ferrari – is this car comparatively superior to the other cars on the grid?

RB: Again, they are very difficult comparisons. But you know when you've got a good car. The thing I am very encouraged by is that the incremental changes we're making are improving the car. This weekend we had a different front wing, changes to the suspension, changes to the wheel covers at the front, and they all seem to have added that little bit of performance that clearly we needed.

So that's very encouraging. And it's a car which is receptive to set-up ... we went the wrong way on Friday with Jenson, but we understand what we did. But it is a very, very good car – it responds well, is entirely predictable, and touch wood, reliable.

Q. You do everything perfect at every race, but Red Bull seem not to be able to deliver when they have the opportunity . Is it slightly disappointing for you that they are not able to take you on?

RB: I don't want to comment on other people's performance. All I know is that it is very fickle, very fine, and when you've got the confidence and when you've got the impetus behind you, you can make it look easy. But it's not. Equally, when it goes wrong, it goes wrong for the smallest reasons. They're trying to catch up, and I know, I've been in their position – when you want to catch someone up, you tend to push the boundaries a bit more.

You can't afford to be conservative; you've got to maybe take a few more risks. Certainly I have been in that position. But when you do that, you do tend to perhaps have more problems than you'd hoped. So it's very fickle, the difference between the sort of performance that we have and perhaps the performance that they had today.

Q. Tonight it must be difficult not to start thinking about the championship?

RB: It's not difficult not to start thinking about it.

Q. You have been in this situation many times – you must instinctively be feeling it?

RB: But you never do. You never engage in those thoughts, because you know that just around the corner something can happen. It can be a retirement, or it can be some other factor. And having had three seasons at Ferrari where we didn't do it, and we got very close to doing it, then I know you simply don't engage in those thoughts until they're done.

Q. What do you think of Red Bull's decision not to favour one driver?

RB: I think it's … I mean, I sat down with Rubens and Jenson today, and we all agreed that they'd be racing each other today. Whichever way it went they'd be racing each other, and I think it's a nice phase of Formula 1 that we've got two drivers that are prepared to do that. So if Rubens had been in front, he'd have finished in front.

Q. Does that go against the way you have always gone about the sport?

RB: Well, I've been lucky enough to win world championships now, and perhaps winning it in a certain way is more important to me.

Q. Are you going to give Jenson any advice?

RB: The advice, quite honestly, is to just keep doing what you're doing. One of they guys asked me today what they should do in the first corner, and I said that as soon as we get that into their thoughts, we have a problem. So all you can do is leave them. If they've made mistakes, you sit down and work out, a bad mistake, and what you need to do. But otherwise you just leave them alone. He's driving so well that there's nothing I can add to his performance.

Q. Would you rather end the season having lost because you gave both drivers a fair chance?

RB: I think there's phases. I think there's phases early in the season where you can't identify one driver one way or the other, and I think you should let the season run. Undoubtedly you may reach a phase towards the end where you have to make decisions, and we'll make those decisions if we have to. But at this stage there's no need and no wish to make those decisions.

Barrichello 'cool' on Button's momentum


source : www.autosport.com
By Mark Glendenning and Pablo Elizalde

Rubens Barrichello says he is staying cool despite team-mate Jenson Button's momentum continuing at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend.

The British driver took his sixth win in seven races while Barrichello failed to score after a troubled event.

The Brazilian is now 26 points behind Button in the standings.

Barrichello, however, is adamant things can change very fast and finally go his way.

"It takes one second. It takes really one second," said Barrichello when asked how to stop Button's momentum. "With all my experience I'm very cool.

"Basically right now I'm pissed off with the situation but tomorrow is another day and Silverstone is a great track for me and I will go there and try to win the race."

Barrichello admitted he was very disappointed with the result of his Turkish Grand Prix, after being hit by a clutch problem at the start.

"It's very disappointing," he said. "All the talk today was how Jenson could recover from losing the position to me at the start, because basically the evidence said that I could overtake him because I had more grip on my side.

"And having the anti-stall at the start, something I can't do anything about, and then not be able to use all the strength of the car is extremely disappointing."

The Brawn driver reckons next week's British Grand Prix will provide him with a great chance to open his wins accounts for the season.

"Yeah, I love the place, I love the track," he added. "I just don't want to do the race. I want the hat trick. I want everything. I want fastest lap, pole position...

"I have to look ahead. Jenson is very illuminated at this point. He's taking all the opportunities, sort of in a Michael (Schumacher) kind of way, because things are opening right in front of him without much of a problem. At one point there will be a drop and I want to be there to conquer.

"I cannot see him winning all the races of the season. So whenever he doesn't win, it's time for me to conquer."

Brawn: Button just keeps getting better


source : www.autosport.com
By Jonathan Noble and Mark Glendenning

Brawn chief Ross Brawn has no doubts that Jenson Button is getting better with each race, after hailing his drive to victory in the Turkish Grand Prix as the best he has seen from the runaway title leader.

Button was dominant throughout the Istanbul race to take his sixth victory from seven races this year and open up a 26-point lead in the world championship standings.

And although he faced a stronger than normal challenge from the three-stopping Red Bull Racing car of Sebastian Vettel, Button put in a faultless performance that has left Brawn in no doubts about how good it was.

"Well, I think he had the perfect drive," said Brawn. "I mean, that was a really, really impressive drive.

"He pushed when he needed to, he looked after the tyres, he looked after the engine, he'd gained a little bit of fuel at different parts of the race where he had to look after the fuel consumption to make the laps.

"So I think it's probably the best performance - not necessarily the most dramatic - but probably the best performance that I've seen from him. He just seems to be getting better."

Although Vettel's hopes of victory were effectively dashed when the German ran wide on the opening lap of the race while in the lead, Brawn does not believe that his team's main rival had a chance of triumphing without that incident.

"If we'd stayed with him and been right on his tail, then I think we could have beaten a three-stop in a straight fight," he said. "But I don't know what his pace would have been like in subsequent sessions. So it's difficult to judge.

"Our calculations, at least here, showed that a three-stop wasn't the preferred strategy. Although it might have been the strategy to give you some free air to run if you were held up."

In contrast to Button's smooth ride to what is looking increasingly like a world championship, Brawn's second driver Rubens Barrichello suffered a nightmare in Turkey.

He nearly stalled at the start and then collided with several cars as he tried to recover through the field before eventually retiring with gearbox problems.

Brawn said he was unsure whether the stall at the start was the result of a driver error or car problem.

"It can be both," he said. "It can be a driver error, or it can be the fact that the optimisation that the driver is looking for is too sharp; it's too difficult to find.

"What they do is, they hold the revs and then they drop the clutch in a progressive way, and they have to try to have the right throttle pedal held, and those two things are too acute, and it's very difficult to do.

"He had a difficult start off the grid and made a few adjustments, but obviously they didn't work. "

Webber: Button on another planet


source : www.autosport.com
By Pablo Elizalde

Mark Webber said there was nothing he or team-mate Sebastian Vettel could have done to stop Jenson Button at the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Although Vettel started from pole position, Button took the lead early on and went on to dominate the race, taking his sixth win in seven grands prix.

Webber, starting from fourth, made good use of a two-stop strategy to beat Vettel to second place, the German having stopped three times.

The Australian was pleased with his result, although he conceded Button was in a league of his own.

"I knew I had to hang in there for as long as possible in the first stint," said Webber. "It worked out pretty well and I managed to go a lap longer and save fuel, which helped me gain some time. I knew Sebastian's strategy and that I was in with a sniff of getting a podium finish.

"Both Sebastian and I knew that first place was gone and it was about who would finish behind Jenson - he was on another planet.

"The second stint was therefore crucial, I had to push really hard. When you're on a different strategy, the other guy is almost invisible until after the pitstops, but it turned out well for us and my engineer kept me updated with what was happening.

"I did enough in the middle stint to be able to jump Sebastian at the pitstops. Then, at the end we turned the engine down and brought the car home."

Schumacher, Vettel confirmed for RoC


source : www.autosport.com
By Matt Beer
Wednesday, June 10th 2009

Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have become the first big names to sign up for this year's Race of Champions, which moves to Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium for 2009.

The seven times Formula 1 world champion and his race-winning compatriot will pair up for Team Germany again in an attempt to win the Nations Cup element of the competition for a third successive year, before taking part in the individual competition as well.

"The Race of Champions is always big fun to compete in," said Schumacher, who has twice reached the individual RoC final but is yet to win the end-of-season event.

"It's the perfect combination of fighting on track and at the same time having fun together, and this comes across to the audience. The spectators feel this special atmosphere and ultimately enjoy themselves as much as we do.

"I'm really looking forward to joining in again this year, and am curious to see how the Chinese spectators will react to our crazy show on the track in the famous and beautiful Olympic Stadium. I'm sure they will love an event that has been entertaining European motorsport crowds for over 20 years.

"What's also important to me is that ROC helps raise money and awareness for ICM, the Institute for advanced research on Brain and Spinal Cord Disorders, which is under construction in Paris and that I have been a supporter of for several years."

Red Bull driver Vettel, who reached the quarter finals of last year's competition, added: "The event is always a lot of fun and to compete in the Bird's Nest is going to be amazing. I think everyone still has the image of this fantastic stadium in their memories from the Olympic Games last year."

The 2009 RoC takes place on 3-4 November, two days after the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and has moved to Beijing this year after two seasons at Wembley.

Schumacher and Vettel join Clivio Piccione and Emmanuele Pirro in the RoC line-up, the latter pair having earned their places by winning last weekend's South Europe regional final in Portugal for Team Monaco.