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Senin, 30 November 2009

Double Title for the Debutante


Balapan F1 tahun ini telah berakhir. Seperti roda yang berputar, begitu pun halnya dengan balapan F1 tahun ini. Banyak kejadian-kejadian tak terduga terjadi sejak balapan dimulai di Australia dan bersama matahari yang tenggelam di Abu Dhabi, sirkus F1 tahun ini pun berakhir. Dan aku sebagai seorang penggemar F1 ingin mencoba membuat sebuah review mengenai tim dan pembalap yang telah meramaikan panggung F1 setahun ini.

Brawn-Mercedes : 172 poin

pic taken from : www.topgear.com

Pencapaian Brawn GP sebagai debutan tahun ini memang bisa dibilang spektakuler. Padahal sebelum GP Australia dimulai, nasib tim ini masih tak menentu usai Honda, pemilik tim ini memutuskan mengundurkan diri dari F1 hingga akhirnya Ross Brawn, ex techincal director Ferrari yang sempat menyepi sejenak setelah keluar dari Ferrari membeli tim ini.

Setiap orang tahu siapa Ross Brawn, mekanik kesuksesan Michael Schumacher dalam merebut tujuh gelarnya dan salah satu pahlawan Ferrari yang turut membantu tim kuda jingkrak mereguk masa-masa keemasannya.

Kali ini Ross Brawn dengan namanya sendiri terpampang pada tim asuhannya kembali memperlihatkan kepiawaiannya dalam menciptakan bintang baru. Di tangannya, tim Honda yang pada awal kemunculannya di F1 ingin mengulang kesuksesan mereka merebut gelar dunia tapi hingga mereka pensiun, sukses yang mereka harapkan tak kunjung mereka dapatkan, justru setelah tim ini berganti nama tanpa embel-embel nama salah satu pabrikan mobil terbesar asal Jepang itu, malah berhasil meraih gelar ganda.
Tim Brawn memang debutan di F1 tapi tim ini sebelum berganti wajah menjadi Brawn GP sudah seperti lelucon di F1.

Awalnya, tim ini berdiri atas prakarsa Craig Pollock, manager Jacques Villeneuve, juara dunia 1997 dengan dukungan kuat dari dua pabrikan tembakau Inggris dan Amerika, BAT. Tim dengan berbiaya besar ini digadang-gadang merupakan tim Ferrarinya Jacques. Ya, Jacques memang ingin sekali memiliki tim yang sepenuhnya mendukungnya seperti Ferrari terhadap Schumi. Tapi bertahun-tahun, tim ini tak juga memperlihatkan hasil memuaskan sementara dana yang dikeluarkan sudah sangat banyak. Akhirnya, Pollock ditendang dan Jacques yang tak akur dengan David Richards, pengganti Pollock pun segera mengikuti jejak mantan managernya itu. Akibat peraturan anti rokok di F1 maka BAT pun cabut dan Honda yang sudah menyuplai tim ini sejak lama segera mengambil alih. Sayangnya nama besar Honda tak mampu membuat tim ini bersinar hingga akhirnya Honda pun memutuskan melepas tim ini dan kemudian Ross Brawn membeli tim ini dan membuat sejarah baru di F1.

From zero to hero. Begitulah suratan bagi tim debutan ini. Para kru tim yang hampir putus asa kehilangan pekerjaan ketika Honda memutuskan keluar dari F1 tapi di akhir musim ini, mereka berpesta merayakan kesuksesan mereka meraih gelar dunia konstruktor dan pembalap.

Berbekal diffuser ganda, tim ini mampu membelalakkan mata jutaan penggemar F1 di seluruh dunia dengan tampil mendominasi di race-race pada awal musim. Para pesaing mereka yang semula mengecam diffuser ganda mereka tapi kemudian berbalik mengadopsi diffuser ganda milik mereka setelah FIA melegalkannya. Di pertengahan musim keperkasaan mereka sedikit melemah seiring dengan kemajuan yang berhasil dibuat tim-tim lawan mereka yang memiliki budget lebih besar namun hal itu ternyata tak mampu menghalangi mereka mencatat sejarah baru. Di Brazil dengan menyisakan satu seri, mereka berhasil mengawinkan gelar dunia konstruktor dan pembalap.

1. Jenson Button : 95 poin
Fastest lap : GP Malaysia & Turki
Pole : 4 (Australia, Malaysia, Spanyol, & Monaco)


Akhirnya penantian Jenson terbayar sudah. Bertahun-tahun ia mengalami masa pasang surut sepanjang karirnya di F1, tapi tahun ini Jenson membuktikan bahwa ia bisa meraih gelar juara dunia. Dan ia pantas menyandang gelar juara dunia itu. Ia memang hanya memenangi enam GP tapi bukan berarti ia tak layak menjadi juara dunia. Ia memang sempat melemah di pertengahan musim tapi bukan berarti semangatnya untuk meraih juara dunia memudar. Ia tetap menjaga konsistensinya. Ia hanya sekali gagal finish yaitu di GP Belgia, di mana ia terpaksa mengakhiri balapannya lebih cepat setelah mengalami tabrakan dengan rookie dari Renault, Roman Grosjean dan juara dunia tahun lalu, Lewis Hamilton. Dua kali ia sempat gagal menembus Q2 yaitu di GP Belgia dan Brazil dan secara statistik penampilannya di kualifikasi memang kalah dari rekan setimnya tapi konsistensinya di balapan membuatnya lebih unggul dari rekan setimnya yang lebih senior itu.

Apapun ucapan orang, sikap skeptis mereka yang meragukan pembalap Inggris ini namun satu hal yang pasti, Jenson telah membuktikan kemampuannya. Dan jangan lupa pula, meski di pertengahan hingga akhir musim, lawan-lawannya melesat lebih kencang darinya, namun hanya ia yang berhasil meraih kemenangan terbanyak musim ini.
Tak dipungkiri, untuk menjadi juara dunia, skill seorang pembalap harus sangat mumpuni, namun jangan lupakan pula faktor keberuntungan dan konsistensi dari si pembalap. Dan terutama adalah konsistensi.

Sejak kemenangannya di Turki, memang penampilan Jenson Button sedikit melemah tapi ia tetap memperlihatkan konsistensinya. Ia terus berjuang meraih poin demi poin hingga di Brazil, dengan menyisakan satu seri, di usianya yang ke-29 tahun, di tahunnya yang kesembilan di F1, Jenson Button berhasil meraih gelar juara dunia pertamanya.

2. Rubens Barrichello : 77 poin
Fastest Lap : GP China & Spanyol
Pole : 1 (Brazil)
pic taken from : sport.in.msn.com

Malang memang nasib Rubens Barrichello. Bertahun-tahun ia hanya mampu menjadi pendamping Schumi meraih gelar dunia, dan ketika tahun ini ia menjadi kompetitor berat Jenson dalam merebut gelar dunia hingga di GP Brazil tapi strategi pitnya yang tak berjalan sempurna bukan hanya ia gagal menjegal jalan Button merebut mahkota juara tapi posisi keduanya pun akhirnya lepas di penghujung musim.

Tak sedikit yang berpendapat bahwa Rubens jauh lebih baik dari Jenson karena penampilan Jenson yang melempem di pertengahan musim. Hanya keberuntungan saja mungkin yang belum menghampiri pembalap veteran asal Brazil ini. Hingga menjelang GP Brazil, ia merupakan pesaing terdekat Jenson Button, rekan setimnya tapi di akhir race, ia yang hanya mampu finish di tempat kedelapan bukan hanya kehilangan kesempatan meraih gelar juara dunia tapi posisi keduanya pun terancam oleh Vettel, jagoan Red Bull, yang kemudian benar-benar berhasil merebut juara kedua dari tangan Rubens di GP Abu Dhabi.

Memang tak dapat ditampik, Rubens merupakan pembalap yang bagus. Bahkan seorang Michael Schumacher pun mengakui peran pembalap gaek Brazil ini dalam meraih lima gelar juara dunianya. Karena itu meski ia gagal meraih gelar juara dunia tahun ini, tak menghalangi seorang Frank Williams untuk merekrut pembalap tertua di F1 tahun ini untuk memperkuat skuad tim Willi ini tahun depan sekaligus berharap sang sepuh ini mampu menjadi mentor bagi bintang muda Williams asal Jerman, Nico Hulkenberg.

Sabtu, 28 November 2009

The Selfish City

         

   pic taken from here

Pertama harus kuungkapkan bahwa tulisanku ini memang merupakan refleksi kejengkelanku atas beberapa hal tapi aku merasa bahwa pangkal dari semuanya ini adalah karena pembangunan yang seringkali hanya memikirkan kelompok berada meski harus kutekankan bahwa tulisanku ini tanpa maksud untuk menghakimi atau mendiskreditkan kelompok ataupun pemda DKI yang berurusan dengan pembangunan di Jakarta.

Sudah hampir berbulan-bulan, aku dibuat jengkel oleh pembangunan jalan di daerah menuju kantorku. Kejengkelanku pertama karena akibat pembangunan itu, jalanan jadi terkesan semrawut, motor dan mobil seenaknya saja melintas di putaran dekat proyek pembangunan jalan yang bukan hanya bisa membahayakan si pengemudi itu sendiri tapi terutama nyawa orang lain terlebih pejalan kaki yang melintas jadi sulit sekali menyeberang jalan karena mobil atau motor yang melintas seenaknya itu.

Kedua, pembangunan jalan itu kuanggap diskriminatif karena hanya memikirkan jalan untuk para pengguna mobil sementara setapak jalan kecil yang semula masih ada untuk pejalan kaki ditiadakan demi memberikan space yang lebih luas bagi kendaraan-kendaraan bermotor. Ketiga, aku sangat prihatin melihat akibat pembangunan jalan itu, kelangsungan hidup eceng gondok di kali dekat jalan jadi terancam, bahkan kulihat banyak eceng gondok yang diangkat dari kali dan dibiarkan tergeletak di dekat jalan sehingga eceng godok itu mati.

Bukannya aku anti pembangunan. Aku juga suka melihat Jakarta menjadi cantik tapi aku lebih suka bila pembangunan yang dilakukan pemda DKI bukan hanya terlihat cantik seperti boneka Barbie yang cantik tapi tak berjiwa.

Entah apakah egois merupakan keharusan bagi sebuah kota untuk menjadi kota metropolitan dan Jakarta yang telah menjadi kota megapolitan terlihat cantik terlebih saat malam ketika lampu-lampu kota berkelap-kelip menghias kota namun kecantikan itu ternyata harus menumbalkan pihak lain. Seperti seorang wanita, aku tak bermaksud menyalahkan para wanita yang ingin tampil cantik, tapi ternyata demi memuaskan keinginan para wanita untuk tampil cantik, ternyata para produsen kosmetik kerap menggunakan binatang sebagai sarana untuk mengetes sifat-sifat kimiawi dalam kosmetik tersebut yang kerap meski tak membunuh binatang yang dijadikan bahan percobaan itu tapi akibat efek samping dari bahan-bahan kimiawi tersebut telah membuat binatang itu cacat atau mungkin merusak organ dalam si binatang tersebut. Lalu apakah artinya kecantikan itu? Mungkin berkat kosmetik itu kita menjadi pusat perhatian dan banyak orang yang mengagumi kecantikan kita, tapi kecantikan kita itu ternyata telah menyebabkan kematian makhluk hidup lainnya? Tidakkah nurani kita kemudian akan terusik ketika kita melihat cermin, mengagumi kecantikan kita tapi cermin itu malah menampilkan sosok pembunuh dalam diri kita?

Apa artinya kecantikan itu bila kemudian kita kehilangan nurani? Hanya demi terlihat modis dan berkelas dengan menenteng tas kulit sementara sepatu kulit makin memperlihatkan kaki indah kita, ditambah balutan mantel-mantel bulu membuat penampilan kita semakin wah, tapi tidakkah terpikir dalam benak kita, untuk membuat penampilan kita menjadi wah itu bahkan kita bukan hanya telah membunuh buaya, harimau, atau apapun yang kulitnya bisa digunakan untuk sepatu, tas atau mantel-mantel itu, tapi kita juga telah merusak ekosistem alam padahal Tuhan memberikan bumi ini bagi kita bukan untuk kita hancurkan.

Begitulah kecantikan kota Jakarta menurut pandanganku saat ini. Seperti kukatakan sebelumnya, bukannya aku anti pembangunan tapi bukankah arti pembangunan pada dasarnya adalah untuk kesejahteraan bersama? Tapi kenyataannya pembangunan di Jakarta sepertinya hanya mensejahterakan golongan tertentu saja. Lihat saja, betapa gencarnya pembangunan rumah-rumah mewah, apartemen, atau mal-mal sementara beberapa kelompok miskin kota berkutat dalam kemiskinannya di daerah-daerah kumuh yang boro-boro memikirkan tinggal di griya-griya mewah itu, untuk membayar rumah kontrakan sepetaknya yang hanya sebesar kamar mandi di apartemen mewah itu saja sudah cukup menyulitkan terutama bagi buruh borongan yang penghasilannya tak menentu, apalagi di tengah kondisi ekonomi yang sulit sekarang ini, seringkali karyawan borongan harus ngendon di rumah karena tak ada barang yang artinya, ia harus mencari akal untuk mendapatkan penghasilan untuk biaya hidup dan membayar kontrakannya. Jadi jelaslah pembangunan rumah-rumah mewah itu tak benar-benar mencakup setiap aspek masyarakat kota Jakarta.

Padahal banyak ahli yang memperkirakan bahwa Jakarta akan tenggelam suatu hari nanti, tapi kok ya pemda dalam hal ini (ya, sebenarnya sih aku tak bermaksud menyalahkan pemda tapi bukankah memang pemda yang memiliki kebijakan mengenai tata ruang dan pembangunan di ibukota republik ini?) sepertinya tak peduli. Bahkan kutahu, ada sebuah kompleks perumahan mewah yang dibangun di atas lahan hutan lindung. Kok bisa ya hutan lindung digunakan untuk membangun perumahan mewah begitu? Bukankah hutan lindung itu mestinya merupakan daerah yang dilindungi karena bukan hanya demi ekosistem di sekitar hutan lindung itu yang artinya bukan hanya melibatkan flora ataupun fauna di hutan lindung itu tapi juga manusia yang tinggal di sekitar hutan lindung itu. Buktinya begitu perumahan mewah itu dibangun, banjir tak henti-hentinya melanda rumah-rumah masyarakat menengah ke bawah yang tinggal di sekitar perumahan mewah yang dibangun di atas lahan hutan lindung itu. Kalau begitu, bagaimana pemda bisa melindungi masyarakatnya jika hutan lindungnya saja tak dapat dilindungi keberadaannya?

Di sisi lain pembangun jalan pun seringkali tak memperhatikan keberadaan para pejalan kaki. Seperti yang kukemukakan di atas demi menambah space bagi jalan yang akan dilintasi kendaraan bermotor sampai-sampai area pejalan kaki dibabat sehingga para pejalan kaki kesulitan. Padahal, ketika area pejalan kaki itu masih ada pun, para pejalan kaki seringkali dibuat jengkel dengan ulah pengemudi sepeda motor yang suka seenaknya merebut lahan yang diperuntukkan bagi pedestrian itu. Padahal, pengemudi sepeda motor sudah enak karena tak perlu menggunakan kakinya seperti para pedestrian tapi kok ya tega, membuat para pejalan kaki makin kesulitan?

Aku sendiri kadang suka berjalan di jalan setapak itu sebelum jalanan itu dibabat untuk pelebaran jalan, dan seringkali aku dibuat jengkel dengan sepeda motor yang tiba-tiba nyelonong saja, bahkan pernah aku hampir keserempet, dan ketika aku mendumal, si pengemudi sepeda motor itu malah memelototkan matanya. Bukan main panasnya hatiku bila melihat pengemudi motor yang egois seperti itu. Dan lebih kesalnya lagi ketika kuceritakan mengenai masalah ini kepada ibuku, beliau hanya tersenyum dan berkata, "ya, itulah Jakarta." Apakah maksudnya Jakarta itu setiap orang bisa bertindak seenaknya saja tanpa memikirkan kepentingan orang lain? Apakah untuk menjadi masyarakat teladan ibukota nusantara ini, kita harus menjadi pribadi yang egois begitu? Itukah artinya kalimat, 'ya, itulah Jakarta' itu?

Padahal, jika pemda benar-benar serius ingin menciptakan kota yang hijau, bersih, sehat, dan bermartabat itu, mestinya pemda lebih memperhatikan kawasan pedestrian dalam proyek pembangunan jalannya dan mestinya pemerintah lebih menggerakkan rakyatnya untuk melakukan gaya hidup sehat salah satunya dengan berjalan kaki bila jarak yang ingin ditempuh tak terlalu jauh dan terlalu mengandalkan kendaraan bermotornya yang meski nyaman dan tak melelahkan kaki tapi karbondioksida yang dikeluarkan kendaraannya itu telah berkontribusi dalam penghancuran bumi ini. Jika lebih banyak yang berjalan kaki, bukankah kota yang hijau, bersih, sehat, dan bermartabat itu dengan serta merta dapat terwujud.

Jakarta yang hijau, bersih, dan asri pastinya menjadi dambaan setiap warganya tapi kecantikan fisik Jakarta mestinya juga dibarengi dengan kecantikan jiwa para warganya. Sebagai warga ibukota republik ini mestinya masyarakat Jakarta lebih bermartabat dan tak seenaknya saja seolah keegoisan merupakan ciri masyarakat modern perkotaan. Mestinya pula pemerintah kota lebih arif dalam melakukan pembangunan kota agar kelangsungan kota ini tetap lestari dan pada akhirnya pembangunan dapat sungguh-sungguh dirasakan manfaatnya bagi semua kelompok di ibukota ini sehingga setiap warga Jakarta dapat sungguh-sungguh merasa bahwa kota ini benar-benar milik kita bersama. Jika sudah begitu, masih adakah yang bertanya, 'Jakarta siapa yang punya?'

pic taken from here


Senin, 16 November 2009

Button holds talks with McLaren in Woking


Source: www.planet-f1.com

McLaren have confirmed that Jenson Button was given a tour of their Woking factory on Friday, prompting fevered speculation that he is on the verge of leaving Brawn to become Lewis Hamilton's new team-mate.

According to The Guardian, Button and his manager Richard Goddard were shown around the facility by McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Friday afternoon and 'a contract could be signed as early as next week if terms can be finalised, creating the first team with two world champions competing alongside each other since Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were team-mates at McLaren in 1989.'

A spokesman for McLaren told the newspaper that "having just arrived at Heathrow, Jenson made a small detour to Woking to say hello" while The Daily Mail claims that talks between the two parties continued well past closing time for the factory and were described as "very positive."

Brawn GP, though, are not out of the loop as Goddard has also talking to the team about a new deal for 2010 but as yet nothing has been agreed.

Goddard added: "As I've said many times before, Jenson wants to drive a car which is capable of winning the next World Championship.

"We've been talking about possible terms for 2010 with Brawn for months and we're not being difficult or unreasonably expensive in our demands for Jenson.

"In fact we've given up quite a lot of negotiating ground in our discussions with them.

"I think it's also important that Jenson wants to feel valued in whatever situation he finds himself next season."

However, Button is not the only potential McLaren driver who has visited Woking in recent weeks. Early this week, Kimi Raikkonen's management team went to McLaren's Technology Centre as guests of team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Yet, according to The Guardian, 'It is understood that Button has moved to the top of McLaren's wish-list over the past couple of months, with Whitmarsh and his fellow directors impressed by his tenacity in regaining his form to round off the season with two outstanding drives in the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi grands prix.

'McLaren have made Raikkonen their second choice if the Button approach fails, with Nick Heidfeld third favourite.'

Czech Republic aims to join F1 fold


Source: www.planet-f1.com

The Czech Republic is the latest country to express an interest in Formula One, targeting Prague as a potential venue for a grand prix.

Plans are already underway for the new venue, which will be located outside Prague city centre. The design of the track has been drafted by F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke and will run through the streets of the city, including a 1.3-mile permanent section.

But before F1 hits the track, the venue could play host a round of the DTM series.

"F1 is the ambition," circuit promoter Toni Charouz told Autosport. "If we put on a good show with the DTM, then maybe we can have a grand prix, but we've got nothing on paper yet.

"This track will be very central in a city of 1.5million people. This type of track is the future of motor racing."

Charouz added that work on the track is expected to begin next year as planning is "90 per cent complete."

Kamis, 05 November 2009

Ferrari criticises Mosley, doubts F1 newcomers


Source : www.crash.net

Ferrari has accused Max Mosley of having all-but forced Toyota out of F1 by way of his 'war' against the sport's car manufacturers - and suggested the 2010 newcomers may be rather more style than substance

Ferrari has reacted in outspoken manner to the news that yet another major manufacturer has elected to walk away from F1, accusing the FIA of conducting 'a war' against the car makers and suggesting the new independent outfits set to join the fray in 2010 may not see out the season – if they even make it to the grid at all.

Toyota's departure – confirmed yesterday [see separate story – click here] – may not have taken the paddock by surprise in the way that the announcement by Honda did last December, or Bridgestone earlier this week, but Ferrari argues that it is just the latest costly indictment of the bitter FIA/FOTA dispute that made for a torrid summer in 2009.

Prior to the signing of the new commercial rights Concorde Agreement, the manufacturers and the governing body had disagreed on matters of importance – from cost-cutting measures to methods of leadership – to such an extent that the majority of the teams were threatening to launch their own 'breakaway series', free from Max Mosley's controversial jurisdiction.

Whilst barely concealing its conviction that rather than the global credit crunch it was indeed Mosley – who has since stepped down from the most powerful and influential post in international motor racing, in favour of former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt – who was 'the guilty person' whose actions forced Toyota out of the F1 exit door, the Scuderia cast doubt upon the calibre of newcomers Lotus, Campos Meta, Manor and USF1 who are due to swell the 2010 field.

'It seems like a parody of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians, published in England for the first time in the year 1939, but the reality is much more serious,' read the statement on Ferrari's official website. 'Formula 1 continues losing important parts; over the last twelve months Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and now Toyota have announced their retirements.

'In exchange, if one could call it that, Manor, Lotus (because of the team of Colin Chapman, Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna, to name a few, there is hardly more than the name), USF1 and Campos Meta arrived. You might say 'same-same', because it is enough if there are participants – but that's not entirely true, and then we've got to see if next year we'll be really as many in Bahrain for the first starting grid of the 2010 season and how many will make it to the end of the season.

'In reality, the steady trickle of desertion is more the result of a war against the big car manufacturers by those who managed the sport, than the effect of the economics that affected Formula 1 over the last years. In Christie's detective novel the guilty person is only discovered when everybody else is dead, one after the other. Do we want to wait until this happens, or should we write Formula 1's book with a different closing chapter?'

Renault muse following Toyota out of F1


Source : www.crash.net

Renault could be set to follow in the wheel tracks of Honda, BMW, Bridgestone and Toyota in pulling the plug on its F1 involvement, it is being speculated, following the calling of an emergency board meeting in Paris

On the same day as Toyota revealed its withdrawal from F1, and just a day after Bridgestone announced that it would not be renewing its tyre-supply contract post-2010, it has emerged that Renault too is deliberating its future in the sport – as an emergency board meeting has been called in Paris.

According to the BBC, the purpose of the hastily-convened reunion is to decide whether to honour Renault's commitment to the Concorde Agreement in staying put until at least 2012, remain involved but only as an engine-supplier or, most drastically of all, walk away completely – what many had surmised would happen even before the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal that dragged the French company's name so publicly and negatively through the mud.

Confirmation of the decision is not expected to come today (Wednesday), as president Carlos Ghosn is due to promote the car maker's zero-emissions policy during a special publicity event on Thursday, but should Renault F1 indeed cease to exist, it would become the fourth automotive manufacturer – and fifth major manufacturer in general, including Bridgestone – to pull out in the space of less than a year, after Honda suddenly and unexpectedly pulled the plug on what is now Brawn GP last December, and BMW and Toyota followed suit at the end of the recently-completed campaign.

The BBC states that whilst both acting team principal Bob Bell and managing director Jean-François Caubet will be present at the meeting, they will have no say in its outcome – following what has been the Enstone-based outfit's least competitive season at the highest level since 2001, finishing a lowly eighth in the final constructors' standings with a grand total of just 26 points, all scored by double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso.

The campaign has also been dogged by controversy and humiliation, with the loss of title sponsor ING and the departure in disgrace of former managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds, both of whom have since been banned from the sport entirely for having ordered Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix in order to enable team-mate Alonso to triumph in F1's inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid position following an engine failure in qualifying.

It is not known what would happen to Robert Kubica should Renault walk away, after the highly-rated BMW-Sauber refugee signed to replace the Ferrari-bound Alonso in 2010. The Pole's management is understood to have made contact with McLaren-Mercedes since the signing, with a view to replacing Heikki Kovalainen alongside 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton at Woking should the man from Kraków suddenly find himself without a drive.

Selasa, 03 November 2009

Sweet Sunset 2 Remember ....


pic taken from : www.zimbio.com

Sebagai balapan penutup, keindahan panorama sirkuit Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi memang sangat luar biasa. Pemandangan indah sinar keperakan matahari senja menerpa helm para pembalap yang menggeber tunggangan mereka melibas sirkuit bukanlah pemandangan umum di ajang GP lainnya. Tapi seperti kebanyakan karya Herman Tilke, arsitek favorit penyelenggara F1 di era millenium ini, seperti GP Malaysia, Shanghai, dan Bahrain, semua sirkuit itu memang terlihat indah tapi membosankan bagi pecinta formula one karena minimnya overtaking. Jujur saja, aku lebih suka sirkuit-sirkuit jaman dulu yang telah menorehkan banyak sejarah seperti sirkuit Enzo e Dinno Ferrari di San Marino ataupun sirkuit A1 Ring di Austria yang kini telah dicoret supremo F1, Bernie Ecclestone dari kalender F1.

Meski secara umum membosankan, pertarungan Jenson Button memperebutkan tempat kedua dengan Mark Webber, tak ayal membuatku dag dig dug juga. Walaupun gagal, tapi penampilan Jenson Button itu seharusnya menyadarkan publik antusiasme seorang Jenson Button yang walaupun telah berhasil meraih gelar juara dunianya di GP Brazil, dua minggu sebelumnya, namun ia tetap memperlihatkan semangat membaranya dalam membalap bukan hanya sekadar untuk meraih gelar dunia. Antusiasmenya itu seolah ingin memastikan bahwa ia akan terus berusaha mempertahankan gelar dunianya tahun depan.

Simpatiku yang terdalam kusampaikan bagi Rubens Barrichello yang gagal meraih tempat kedua di klasemen pembalap. Sayang memang, terlebih setelah Rubens memastikan bahwa musim depan ia akan bergabung dengan Williams. Namun, apapun keputusan Rubens Barrichello, ia pastinya telah mempertimbangkan segalanya. Seperti yang pernah kutulis, secara pribadi Rubens Barrichello adalah seorang yang menyenangkan meski menurutku Rubens sebenarnya juga sangat cerdik.

Membicarakan Rubens Barrichello, publik selamanya akan terkenang pada team order Ferrari di GP Austria 2004, di mana waktu itu tim memerintahkan Rubens memberikan tempatnya untuk Michael Schumacher, yang sepertinya dikutuk roh penunggu sirkuit A1 Ring ini karena ia tak pernah berhasil menaklukkan sirkuit ini. Sebenarnya team order bukanlah hal yang tabu di dunia F1, tapi Rubens menyadari bahwa publik sudah bosan dengan superioritas Michael dan kuyakin Rubens pun sebenarnya tak rela memberikan tempatnya begitu saja bagi rekan setimnya itu tapi ia tak bisa membantah perintah tim dan ia dengan cerdiknya, ia memberikan tempat itu pada Michael dengan cara yang amat kentara bahwa ia memberikannya karena perintah tim yang kemudian memicu emosi penonton yang sebenarnya memang sudah bosan dengan dominasi Michael dan bersimpati pada Rubens yang dianggap telah teraniaya. Tapi ini dari sudut pandangku sebagai penggemar berat Schumi yang waktu itu benar-benar sakit hati dengan tindakan Rubens yang mestinya bisa dengan lebih halus melaksanakan tim order itu karena toh tim order bukan barang haram di F1 dan lagi F1 merupakan olahraga tim yang membutuhkan kesatuan dari seluruh pihak yang terlibat di dalamnya. Aku emosi saat itu, karena publik terlalu membesar-besarkan dalam menjelek-jelekkan Schumi padahal ketika David Coulthard melakukan team order dan memberikan tempatnya pada Mika Hakkinen, publik tak sekejam itu pada pembalap Finlandia tersebut seperti yang terjadi pada Schumi.

Tapi Rubens Barrichello menurutku juga merupakan pembalap pembawa keberuntungan bagi rekan setimnya. Dua kali ia mengantar rekan setimnya menjadi juara dunia. Semua orang tahu bagaimana peranan Rubens bagi keberhasilan Michael Schumacher dalam meraih lima gelar dunianya bersama Ferrari. Bertahun-tahun Ferrari dan Michael mengalami depresi berkepanjangan dalam merebut gelar dunia setelah tahun 1997, Michael hampir berhasil meraih gelar dunia ketiganya namun yang pertama baginya bersama Ferrari, tapi kemudian ia didiskualifikasi usai insiden di GP Jerez dan gelar dunia pun hinggap ke tangan Jacques Villeneuve, putra pembalap legendaris Ferrari, Gilles Villeneuve. Tahun 1999, Schumi malah bernasib apes. Di GP Silverstone, ia malah mengalami kecelakaan parah yang bukan hanya nyaris mengandaskan karirnya di F1 tapi juga hampir merenggut nyawanya. Cuti selama setengah musim lebih, Schumi pun menyadari gelar dunia tahun itu pun bukanlah miliknya.

Musim 2000, Schumi mendapatkan tandem baru. Rubens Barrichello direkrut dari tim Steward milik juara dunia F1, Sir Jackie Steward. Semangat baru dan rekan setim baru ternyata memberikan aura positif bagi tim kuda jingkrak yang pada tahun 1999 berhasil merebut gelar dunia konstruktor dari musuh berat mereka, McLaren dan tahun 2000 waktunya mereka memberikan gelar dunia bagi pembalap istimewa mereka Michael Schumacher. Dan seperti yang sudah terukir dari sejarah. Bukan hanya tahun 2000 tapi juga tahun-tahun berikutnya sepanjang tahun 2000 hingga 2004, Ferrari bersama dua pembalap mereka, Schumi dan Barrichello berkali-kali merasakan manisnya buih-buih champagne kemenangan mereka.

Tahun 2005, Ferrari mengalami cobaan berat. Peraturan baru menyulitkan mereka. Kuda jingkrak tak seperkasa tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Tahun 2006 pun Rubens hijrah ke tim Honda yang kemudian tahun ini menjelma menjadi Brawn GP yang spektakuler.

Sebelum bermetamorfosis menjadi Brawn GP, tim ini mungkin sudah berkali-kali mengalami mati suri. Berawal dari ide Craig Pollock untuk menciptakan tim yang sepenuhnya menyuport Jacques Villeneuve seperti Ferrari untuk Michael Schumacher. Tapi tim ini berkali-kali malah seperti lelucon di F1. Pollock dan Villeneuve telah terlempar tapi prestasi yang didambakan tim ini tak jua memperlihatkan hasil. Tahun 2004, tim ini memancarkan sinar harapan ketika dipimpin David Richards yang berhasil memoles Jenson Button hingga dunia bisa melihat kehebatan pemuda dari Somerset ini. Tapi kemelut intern tim yang menghasilkan dua jilid buttongate itu membuat tim ini kembali terbenam sebelum akhirnya akhir tahun lalu, tim ini berada di titik nadir. Honda hengkang, nasib tim tak jelas. Ross Brawn datang sebagai dewa penyelamat. Ia membeli tim dan berhasil mengubah tim zero ini menjadi tim super hero. Gelar dunia ganda berhasil mereka rebut. Dan Rubens Barrichello merupakan bagian dari tim yang telah mengantar sukses tim ini.

Dari hasil kualifikasi memang terlihat Rubens berhasil mengalahkan rekan setimnya dengan angka 10-7. Tapi yang dipentingkan di F1 bukanlah hasil kualifikasi semata. Hasil akhir di race merupakan penentu bagi sejarah pembalap itu sendiri. Rubens memang berhasil menyusul Jenson di paruh kedua musim ini bahkan sempat menjadi pesaing berat Jenson dalam meraih gelar dunia. Namun Jenson berhasil mengatasi titik kritis dalam dirinya. Ia berhasil meraih gelar dunianya di GP Brazil dua minggu lalu sementara Rubens yang semula merupakan pesaing terdekat Jenson justru terjerumus dalam titik kritisnya.

Di GP Brazil, taktiknya gagal, gelar dunia yang hampir diraihnya sirna tapi tempat kedua baginya masih terbuka lebar. Namun lagi-lagi nasib buruk kembali menghampirinya. Di Abu Dhabi, GP penentu antara dirinya dan Vettel, mobilnya bersinggungan dengan Red Bull milik rekan setim saingannya. Serpihan dari nose mobilnya terlihat beterbangan. Ia pun terlihat kesulitan mengejar Mark Webber yang telah mengacaukan aerodinamika mobilnya, dengan pasrah ia membiarkan rekan setimnya menyalipnya. Di dalam mobilnya yang akhirnya finish di tempat keempat, ia hanya bisa pasrah merelakan tempat kedua dan bersyukur untuk tempat ketiga di klasemen pembalap seraya memikirkan musim depan. Mungkin saja tahun depan, nasib baik bermurah hati padanya, siapa tahu ia bisa merasakan gelar dunia pertamanya sebelum pensiun dari ajang jet darat ini atau mungkin rekan setimnya yang nanti akan merasakan keberuntungan pembalap gaek ini seperti dua pembalap sebelumnya, The Kerpen dan The Somerset. By the way, dengar-dengar rekan setimnya di Williams nanti merupakan the next German, juara dunia A1 GP yang dimanageri oleh orang yang sama dengan yang memanageri rekan setimnya di tim kuda jingkrak dulu.

Apapun yang terjadi musim depan yang jelas musim ini telah berlalu. Torehan sejarah dari Brawn GP dan Jenson Button telah tercipta. Meski Rubens di musim depan tak lagi bisa membela Brawn GP tapi bukan berarti Rubens tak bisa ikut berpesta bersama Brawn GP dan Jenson Button.

Namun di akhir pesta kuharap Brawn GP dan Jenson menyadari tugas berat yang menghadang mereka di depan. Kuharap mereka tak larut dalam euforia sukacita mereka saat ini. Lawan mereka di musim depan pastinya akan memberikan persaingan yang jauh lebih sengit. Dan seperti orang bilang, meraih kemenangan memang sulit tapi lebih sulit lagi mempertahankannya....

Matahari itu telah beranjak turun ke batas horizon. Musim 2009 telah berakhir tapi matahari itu akan kembali terbit esok hari untuk menciptakan sejarah-sejarah baru dan aku selalu berharap Jenson Button akan terus mengukir sejarah manisnya....

F1 champion Button admits to 'doubts and weaknesses'


Source : www.crash.net

Brawn GP star Jenson Button has confessed that despite his composed facade, he did suffer from stress, doubts and sleepless nights as he battled for the 2009 F1 World Championship

Recently-crowned 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button has for the first time admitted that he did suffer from stress, sleepless nights, doubts and weaknesses as he battled for the title this year – and at one stage even berated himself for producing a demonstration in 'how to lose a championship'.

Button finally sealed the deal in taking the chequered flag fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos just over a fortnight ago, following a feisty showing from a lowly 14th on the starting grid. However, since his last victory in the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul almost five months ago, the Brawn GP star has ascended the rostrum only twice, and has been routinely out-qualified and out-raced by team-mate Rubens Barrichello, causing some to question whether he was on a path of self-destruction as his advantage in the points table ebbed increasingly away.

Happily for the Briton – the tenth of his countrymen to lift the ultimate laurels – he pulled it all together again in time to fulfil his early-season promise, but he has now revealed that the composed public facade he maintained throughout his barren patch only served to conceal a man bedevilled by inner demons, fears, stress and doubts. He added that the unstinting faith displayed in him by team principal Ross Brawn had played a significant part in helping to guide him through his darkest days.

“You don't want to show that you're stressed,” Button told the News of the World. “It's a weakness, and you bottle it up inside you. The championship is over almost ten months, and that's a long time to be on the edge of your seat. You go to sleep thinking about it; you wake up thinking about it.

“You sleep less, and when you are going out for qualifying so much runs through your mind. When you start worrying about things, that's when you want people around you who understand who you are.

“I spent a lot of time with Ross. We'd discuss Michael [Schumacher]'s years of fighting for the championship. It was good to hear Ross' view. He knows it's never easy in F1, even if you have a superior car. You can be a very positive person, but you still have doubts and weaknesses.”

Button explained that the nadir of his season came after qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix night race, for which he lined up just eleventh on the grid after his nerves again got the better of him – blasting over the pit-car radio afterwards that 'this is how to lose a championship!'

“Qualifying in the first half of the season was fantastic for me,” acknowledged the 29-year-old. “I did some very special laps – probably better than I ever have done in F1 – but then towards the end, when really I just had to do an average lap to get into the top ten, I pushed really hard.

“You want to be in front of your team-mate, you want to be close to the front, but just one lock-up can cost you ten places – and that's exactly what happened a couple of times. Even after qualifying in Brazil, it was the same situation. I thought 'this shouldn't be this difficult!' There were times when I thought the title had gone, [but] I turned it all around in the race. Every time I needed to make a move, it happened.”

Now that he has clinched the coveted crown, Button's next goal is to hammer out a satisfactory new deal with Brawn for F1 2010, after talks between the two parties hit deadlock over the Frome-born ace's desire to see his erstwhile £8 million salary – most of which he forsook to help the Brackley-based outfit remain afloat in the wake of parent company Honda's sudden and shock departure late last year – re-instated. It is understood that Mercedes-Benz is looking to buy a 75 per cent stake in Brawn, thereby bringing to a close the Stuttgart manufacturer's long and successful relationship with McLaren, of which it currently controls 40 per cent.

Bridgestone to withdraw from F1 end of 2010


Source : www.planetf1.com

Bridgestone have announced that they are to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the 2010 season, citing the need to redirect resources.

Bridgestone entered F1 in 1997 and had been the sole supplier since Michelin withdrew at the end of the 2006 Championship. The Japanese manufacturer has claimed 156 wins in their 223 grands prix.

However, the company's association with Formula One will reach its conclusion next season with Bridgestone Motorsport director Hiroshi Yasukawa announcing their departure.

"It is with deep regret that Bridgestone Motorsport confirms that at 10.00am Sunday, the Bridgestone Corporation announced its decision to not enter into a new tyre supply contract with the FIA Formula One World Championship series," Yasukawa said in a statement.

"The current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2010 season. The decision made by the Board of Directors of Bridgestone comes after considerable and lengthy evaluations and has been based on the company's need to redirect its resources towards the further intensive development of innovative technologies and strategic products.

"While we understand and respect the reasons for this decision, it has nevertheless come as a great disappointment. Bridgestone's relationship with the FIA Formula One World Championship stretches beyond being a tyre supplier. Formula One has been of strategic importance to Bridgestone in developing its technologies, raising the company's brand awareness and providing its strategic business units around the globe with promotional and marketing tools that are intrinsically linked to our company's core products.

"It was a great honour for Bridgestone to be awarded the 2008-2010 contract as Official Tyre Supplier by the Fédération International de L'Automobile (FIA) to the pinnacle of single-seater racing and we would like to thank them for their continued support and for entrusting us with this privileged role which has seen us working at the heart of the Formula One community.

"Our sincere appreciation is also extended to Mr Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One Management, the Formula One teams with whom it has been an honour to have worked alongside, and the many Formula One fans who have followed our activities over the past 13 years.

"I would also like to thank the staff of the Bridgestone Motorsport team for their professionalism, dedication and hard work, and for their passion for excellence. It remains only to reiterate that Bridgestone continues to be wholly committed to the provision of safe tyres of the highest quality to the FIA Formula One World Championship in 2010 and to the running of its tyre servicing operation at the highest level."

Michael: Rubens will be Hulkenberg's teacher


Source : www.planetf1.com

Williams technical director Sam Michael believes Rubens Barrichello will offer Nico Hulkenberg both support and experience as the German tackles his first season in F1.

On Monday, Williams confirmed that they had signed Barrichello from Brawn GP for next year's Championship while also announcing that Hulkenberg would be making the step up from test driver to race driver.

The duo offering an interesting mix of experience and raw talent with Williams confident that Barrichello is the man to teach Hulkenberg everything he needs to know in F1.

"We wanted to put someone quite experienced and strong and a grand prix winner next to Hulkenberg so that he develops properly," Michael told Reuters.

"We didn't want him to come in as a rookie and not have that support.

"He (Hulkenberg) will... get to look at someone who is a multiple grand prix winner and look at how they work and how they blend the team around them and get the team to do the best job for them."

And although Hulkenberg has yet to take part in a single Formula One grand prix, Michael is already predicting that the 22-year-old German has the potential to one day win the Drivers' Championship title.

"Inside Williams we have a big spreadsheet which basically maps a driver's achievements from the age of eight and the reference in that spreadsheet has been Lewis Hamilton because of what he did from eight years old to get into F1," said Michael.

"Basically Nico Hulkenberg has been on exactly the same path, coming up obviously through different countries.

"There's no point in putting a rookie in the car unless you think he can be a World Champion."

Michael also revealed that the deals with Barrichello and Hulkenberg had been in the pipeline for quite a while as the team decided "long time ago" which route they wanted to take regarding their 2010 line-up.

"It was something we had on our target a long time ago and really it was pretty straightforward when those options came up," he said.

"We were pretty certain when we did it that it was the right thing and everything that has happened since has just reinforced our view more and more."

'Schumi will be fit for the RoC'


Source : www.planetf1.com

Michael Schumacher will be fit enough to compete in this year's Race of Champions, according to the event organisers.

After a brief stay at London's Wembley Stadium, the RoC moves to China this year with the competition running over two days.

The first day features the RoC Nations Cup where Schumacher will team up with Sebastian Vettel for Germany while Day Two is the individual knock-out competition where one driver will be crowned the Champion of all Champions.

There are some concerns, though, about Schumacher's fitness as the seven-time F1 World Champion was forced to cancel his F1 return due to a neck injury.

However, the RoC's organisers are confident he will compete.

"Michael is in very good shape and will be physically ready for the race," organisers told China Daily.

"He is practising and still has the ability to find top form before races. As long as there is a circuit, he is able to drive and win."

Todt: Place for Schumi at the FIA


Source : www.planet-F1.com

Newly-appointed FIA President Jean Todt has revealed close friend Michael Schumacher could enjoy a role within his new regime.

Todt was elected to replace Max Mosley and is now the most powerful man in motor sport following a landslide victory that saw him secure 135 votes to 49 over rival Ari Vatanen, with 12 abstentions or invalid votes.

Although former Ferrari team principal Todt already has his team in place, including deputy presidents and World Motor Sport Council members, the 63-year-old has hinted that Schumacher may yet play a role in some capacity.

Todt suggested the possibility of the German, who won five of his seven F1 titles working with the Frenchman at Ferrari, expanding his ambassadorial role with the FIA.

"He is like a son," said Todt. "There has always been a place for him next to me and there still will be."

Despite previous concerns about Todt's former allegiance to Ferrari, the Formula One Teams' Association have welcomed his appointment.

"I am convinced Jean's presidency represents an opportunity for all Formula One's stakeholders to unite under his leadership and work together to strengthen our sport," said FOTA vice-chairman John Howett.

"FOTA is looking forward to supporting him to broaden the appeal of our sport among fans and sponsors, while respecting Formula One's great heritage to which he has contributed enormously."

Senin, 02 November 2009

Abu Dhabi GP - Sunday - Press Conference


Source: www.grandprix.com

1 NOVEMBER 2009
3. Jenson BUTTON (Brawn), 1h34m21.881s

TV UNILATERALS

Q: Jenson, that battle from your perspective and also a battle again with Kamui Kobayashi.
Jenson BUTTON: It was a fun race. For me the prime tyre was not my favourite tyre in the race and I had a lot of understeer in the car. But when Kobayashi was on a one-stopper I came out and the first big stop is turn eight and when you have got that much fuel on board it is always very difficult to judge the braking point. I slightly outbraked myself and locked the rears and the fronts and ran a bit wide and he got past. In reality it didn't make a difference to my race as he was quicker than me at that point. Then I was struggling a little bit with the prime tyre but I tried to make the best out of it. After the second stop I found I had very good grip with the option tyre. I got back the front issues I had with the prime and had very good initial turn in which meant I could carry a lot of speed through. That's why I was able to close down Mark. The last couple of laps were a lot of fun. I couldn't make the move stick. I was very excited by the battle and I thought I could pull it off but Mark is always a very difficult person to overtake. We were clean but on the edge, so it was perfect. Disappointed not to get that second place but I really enjoyed the fight today and today for me has been a bonus after winning the championship in Brazil. I have really enjoyed driving this weekend a car that has been very competitive, so I need to thank everyone at Brawn and Mercedes Benz for all their hard work. After Brazil it would have been easy to say 'right, let's just enjoy ourselves and not concentrate on Abu Dhabi' but we did and we have come away with a podium which is a nice way to end the year and everyone should be very proud of themselves for what we have achieved. But lastly I would like to say congratulations to Seb. He did a sterling job today. They had the legs on us and we just couldn't challenge them which is a pity but all round I think the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a good one and I am looking forward to coming back.

Q: Jenson, no win to round off the season but obviously an upbeat ending for you.
Button: For sure. It is always nice to end on a high but it is the same for everyone out there. It is a very competitive field. It is not just one team at the front. All season it has been up and down for us and for these guys and also for McLaren and the Ferraris. It is a very competitive and challenging season for us all, so for all three of us to be up on the podium at the last race is very enjoyable and it is a great way to round out the year. Now I am going to enjoy myself and celebrate what I have achieved this season.

Vettel: I hear you are getting married.
Button: Are you proposing?

Vettel: I heard you will get married.
Button: You know, they write great things in the press. Thank you for that one Seb, but I am going to enjoy this as we often look too far into the future and I want to just enjoy this moment and then I will look to the future after that.

PRESS CONFERENCE
Q: Jenson, for you, interesting that you mentioned that the option was the better tyre. Do you think that if you did two stints on the option you might have been closer to Red Bull?
Button: Yeah, for sure but we didn't expect that to be the case. All weekend we've been running through our practices thinking that the prime was the better tyre. We've been using the prime like the option: for example, saving it for the end of practice two and practice three, so we could get a feel for it for qualifying. It was the best tyre for qualifying but in the race I was really struggling for a balance on the harder tyre. I had a lot of understeer in the car and the colder the circuit temperature got, the more difficult it was for me to get heat into the fronts. So I was suffering with that, especially in the second stint and I don't know if you could notice, but Rubens was quite close behind me at the start of the second stint, he was sitting right on my tail, but I was able to put a little bit of a gap on him before the second stop, and then when we put the soft tyre on, the car was transformed, it felt great. The lap times were reasonably good and I was able to pull Mark in. The big issue for me on the hard tyres was understeer, so putting the option on... suddenly I had this great front end that I could just carry so much more speed into the corners. I don't know if you saw on TV, but it was a little bit loose on exit but that's the way you have to drive the car round here. It was a great race, I really enjoyed it and as I said in the unilateral, this race is a bonus to me, because I got the championship in Brazil, so I came here to enjoy myself and that's exactly what I did. Qualifying wasn't perfect but the race was pretty much as good as we could have expected, I think. I had a good tussle with Mark on the last lap, a fair fight but obviously very close and enjoyed it a lot. I didn't make that move stick but I had a lot of fun. So I'm a little bit disappointed not to be second but I'm on the podium at the last race of the year, a year that's been exceptional and I'm very happy with what's happened this season and the way the team has performed. Probably when it's been toughest, I respect the team for the effort that they've put in then, so they should all be very proud of themselves and that's Brawn GP and Mercedes-Benz for what they've achieved. At the moment, I'm just going to enjoy this, this is big and I'm not going to concentrate on next year, I'm going to relax and enjoy this moment.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Anne Giuntini - L'Equipe) To all three of you: considering there is a long break before February, I suppose you won't be on holiday all the time. What is your working programme?
Vettel: Jenson's getting married, we heard. So he's busy.
Webber: And we're all invited as well.
Vettel: Yeah, everyone.
Button: Next question.

Webber: But Japan's a long way.
Vettel: Obviously I have a pretty stressful week, following up, stress and fun at the same time. We are going to Beijing, so I am looking forward to that. I'm trying to kick his (Jenson's) arse. And after that, some things to do back in Germany, yeah, and at the end of the month we will have a big party back in Milton Keynes, with all the team, so I'm looking forward to that. So November is a bit the time probably to be a bit lazy, but back in December and January obviously trying to focus on next year, on the new car. As I said, we will have time and meetings to discuss and obviously analyse what we can do better in the future and then we put our focus on next season. Obviously it's a long, long time without any testing, any driving for us, so I reckon I will do some karting, that's for sure, even though it's cold.

Webber: Yeah, similar to Sebastian. Next week is very busy. I'm going to Austria tomorrow, doing some work over there for Red Bull and then also some stuff for Renault next Thursday, so the next few weeks I've got some PR work which we've put on the backburner during the season, so a few photo-shoots here and there. Then I'm potentially going to drive the GP3 car, the new category car, do a bit in that, to see how that's going along. It's a very exciting championship next year which Christian (Horner) and I are involved in, so I might do a little bit of driving in that, but not much, just to get a little bit of press and a little bit of feeling for how it is. And then I think the third week of November I'm going to open my leg up again and get a bit more metal out, and then that's the end of that problem, so it will be a few weeks relaxing after that and then I go to Australia for Christmas, a few barbecues on the beach and go to the cricket as well, which is 100,000 Australians at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) which is a big highlight at the Boxing Day test match, so I've got a few good things to look forward to and then in January, come back to a European winter which is always a test, but anyway, we will do that and get ready for February.
Button: Wow, that's a lot.

Vettel: Wait until you start...
Button: I have got nothing planned this winter. I'm going to the RoC (Race of Champions) tomorrow which takes place Tuesday, Wednesday. If you're interested, head down to the Bird's Nest in Beijing. The only thing is that I am going to go and enjoy myself with the team tonight, so we will see how I perform on Tuesday and Wednesday. But I'm looking forward to that, it's always good fun. And then I'm heading to Japan to spend some time there with my girlfriend and then I will have a few more days off and then sort myself out and start thinking about next year. It's amazing how early it starts, 2010 comes up on you in a flash. I've got to sort myself out and focus on that. I'm looking forward to the new challenge, for sure, but it can wait a couple of weeks. Oh, I've got my 30th birthday in January as well. Thirty! Imagine that, Sebastian.

Vettel: It's a long way to go.
Button: Trust me, it goes by very quickly.

Q: (Chris Lines - Associated Press) Guys, you sit up there as two representatives of the two most dominant teams this season. If we go back a year ago, it was Ferrari and McLaren and they were nowhere in the early part of this year. How confident are you guys that you will be able to carry this form into next season and not pay a price for going all the way through developing the car?
Vettel: Well, I think we are a team, we are professional. You might read here and there that other teams stopped developing for this year, looking ahead to next year, but as I said earlier on, I think the regulations aren't changing too much. Obviously the biggest change is no refuelling but other than that the cars will remain similar, similar shapes. I think the people know what they are doing back in Milton Keynes. Obviously this year was a great chance for us and as Mark said, we were able to build quite a weapon. So I'm very confident. I think we can only get stronger. Obviously it was the first time that we were in that position for us, Mark, myself and the team that we were in that position and I think we handled it quite well. We made some mistakes here and there but that's what happens. We are not the only ones who made these mistakes and if you are fighting and trying to push and trying to get the last bit out of yourself, out of the team, out of the car, then sometimes you might step over the limit. I think it's totally natural to go through that progress, so we have definitely learned a lot and the important thing is, as I've said before, to do it much better next year.
Button: Ferrari and McLaren are going to be competitive next season. They have the resources, they have the expertise, they have competitive drivers. For sure they are going to be quick. They've had a different approach over the last few races. If you look at Ferrari, they've said that they've had no development which is unusual to hear that, as there's not much that changes for next season. But it seems that McLaren have thrown everything at the car and have been very competitive over the last couple of races. So going into next year, yeah, they're going to be quicker compared to the start of this season but I don't think they're suddenly going to be stronger than Red Bull and Brawn. I think there's going to be a big battle at the front which is going to be a new thing for all of us, because having four teams fighting it out at the front, that hasn't happened - could you just keep... 'scuse me, I'm just trying to talk - you might want to listen to this.

Webber: We're just talking about your wedding day, mate. We're just trying to clear our schedules.
Button: But with four teams at the front, eight drivers fighting out for wins, I think that's exciting, so, yeah.

Q: (Bob McKenzie - The Daily Express) What's the date for the wedding, Jenson?
Button: It's my birthday, did you say? By the way, I'm looking forward to my present, thank you very much, Bob. What did you call me before?

BMcK: The World Champion?
Button: That's the one, thank you. I'm not getting married this year.
Vettel: Why not? You don't love her?
Webber: Clear up January, clear it up.
Button: I think some things need to be kept private in your life and that's one of them. Thank you very much.

Abu Dhabi GP - Sunday - Team Quotes


Source: www.grandprix.com
Jenson Button (3rd): "It was a fun race today and to be on the podium for the last race of the year is fantastic. I've really enjoyed driving here at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend and Abu Dhabi has done a fantastic job for its first Grand Prix. We expected the prime tyre to be the better tyre in the race but I was struggling for balance especially as the track temperatures started to fall and it became more difficult to get heat into the front tyres. The car felt great when we switched to the soft tyre for the final stint. It really felt transformed and suddenly I had a great front end and could carry more speed into the corners. The last few laps were really exciting and I was giving everything to take second place from Mark. I couldn't quite make the moves stick and he's a very difficult guy to overtake but it was a good clean fight and we were really on the edge. I'm a little bit disappointed not to get second but it's still great to finish on the podium. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the team in Brackley and at Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines. It really has been a fantastic year and they should all be very proud of what we have achieved together. It's nice to end the year on a high after what has been a very competitive and challenging season."