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Minggu, 30 Agustus 2009

Ferrari reiterate desire to put Schumi in third car


Ferrari have reiterated their desire to have three cars instead of two per team next season - and to put Michael Schumacher in the third car.

Schumacher came close to coming out of retirement in the build-up to the Valencia GP after Ferrari announced that he would replace the injured Felipe Massa.

However, an injury of his own forced Schumacher to call off his comeback, leaving many fans as well as current drivers disappointed.

Ferrari, though, are still keen for the German to return to racing, pushing for the FIA to change the rules to allow teams to each run three cars.

"It is correct to say that, if everything is fine, why not see him (Schumacher) in one of our cars?" Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the Times newspaper.

"It is true we are pushing (for three cars instead of two). We feel it is for the benefit of Formula One and it is better to make sure the biggest teams have three cars because that's what people want."

"With all respect to the smaller teams, the value of Formula One is to have good drivers, great personalities, in good cars and with a great brand."

Q & A with Jenson Button


By Jonathan Noble

Q. So can you give us a reading on that? It doesn't look like good news?
Jenson Button: It wasn't a good qualifying. I struggled on the option tyre and I haven't felt very confident on it all weekend. Most people are running it, so we thought we should be running it. I just had a loose rear end, but I still had a lot of understeer in the car. I didn't have any grip, which was my problem in qualifying - especially in mid-speed corners. Even with understeer in the car the rear is sliding, and it doesn't feel very good. That was it really - I just wasn't very quick.

Q. And nothing from the technical debrief gives you any extra insight?
JB: There are a few places I am losing, and I ran a little bit wide on one corner – but it is not just one corner. I just could not find the pace with the soft tyre. With the prime tyre it wasn't too bad and maybe we should have stayed on that.

Q. How will tomorrow go?
JB: Tomorrow will be a tough day. Starting 14th nothing matters except points for me. We have to do something that will help me get points, because I think the race pace is okay. We will try and do something a bit different to everybody else. It is not sort of hang back and hope for the best – we have to be aggressive.

Q. If you look at the last few races, Rubens has been closer than he was earlier in the season or even ahead?
JB: Yeah, especially the last two. The races before when it was cold, often one person was quicker or it was the other, but in the last two races he has been quicker for sure and happy with the car. For me I have an instability issue at the rear end and it is something I didn't have when the car was good earlier in the year. That is my biggest problem.

Q. What do you think about the Red Bulls being at the back end of the top ten?
JB: I don't know what fuel they are on, but I am guessing they are going quite long. In Q2 they were quite quick, but my team-mate is my main rival if the Red Bulls are not performing. Rubens is up in fourth and is doing a good job, so that's it.

Q. Has anything changed in the last few races with the car to make it not to your liking?
JB: No. We change things on the car at every race we go to, aerodynamically, but it is the same on both cars.

Q. Do you keep saying to yourself, 'I'm 18 points clear, I've still got a huge advantage?' and keep smiling?
JB: No, because it is not a huge advantage. I lost eight points to Rubens at the last race, which was frustrating even though it wasn't down to the pace. Here I don't have the pace, and he is starting fourth and I am starting outside the top ten. Even if the positions stay as they are, he is going to gain a lot of points for me this race. It is a lead that is going to disappear very quickly if we start having bad weekends, but at the moment I cannot do anything about it.

Q. But you still back your own ability to pull things out of the bag when the car lets you?
JB: Yeah, for sure. I've won six races this season and the only person to have won more than two. So, yes. But, at the moment, I cannot get the pace out of the car. It is something we need to look at. We have a couple of weeks before Monza and hopefully we can find out the reasons. The car doesn't feel to me like it did earlier in the season. We had a couple of cold races but since it has been warmer, I still can't find a good balance.

Q. This is a circuit you like though...
JB: Yeah, that is why it is frustrating I am so far back. But that is the way it is – it doesn't matter where it is. I am starting 14th on the grid and getting points is going to be very difficult. It is a strange situation this weekend because there are a lot of cars at the front that you would not expect to be at the front. You would expect the Red Bulls to be on pole by three or four tenths but they are not.

If you look at it, it looks like the cars who are quick are the cars who have been doing a lot of low fuel running this weekend. They have found their performance by doing set-up changes on low fuel and they have come through qualifying. I don't know what their race pace is going to be, but I am sure that a lot of the cars at the front, their race pace will not be as good as the Red Bulls. The problem for me is that I am so far back.

Q. How much is your frustration growing now?
JB: Well, it is obviously not a good position to be in. I am leading by quite a bit but with a couple of bad races that will be it. So, it is frustrating but there is also no use in thinking about it too much. You have to concentrate on trying to improve the situation, and that is exactly what I am going to be trying to do.

Q. Does Rubens have a different set-up to you?
JB: We have a different set-up but it is not that different. If you look at Q2, he was four tenths quicker than me. I made a mistake which cost me a few tenths but still I am not on his pace. He has a different set-up, but it is not all set-up for sure.

Belgian GP - Saturday - Team Quotes
Jenson Button (14th, 1:45.251):
"I didn't expect to qualify in 14th position today but we really struggled with grip levels, particularly on the softer tyre. The car hasn't felt quite right all weekend and unfortunately I wasn't able to get any more out of it today. Rubens and I are usually very closely matched but he was quick on the option and I wasn't so we need to look into the reasons for that. I just couldn't find any grip on the softer rubber so the rear end felt unstable and I had no confidence under braking, particularly in the middle sector. It's strange as our set-ups are different but not by much. It's going to be very tough in the race from here but at least we have more time to choose our strategy. We need to get it right and see if we can score some points tomorrow."

Sabtu, 29 Agustus 2009

Q & A with Jenson Button


By Jonathan Noble

Q. How has practice been, and how are the tyre temperatures?
Jenson Button: We definitely don't have a tyre temperature issue here. We are actually quite warm here. It's quite an abrasive asphalt, so we don't have any issues.

This morning was a little bit frustrating with the conditions, but it was good to get some wet running. The car is looking pretty good in the wet, which I'm happy about.

This afternoon was mostly being set-up work and comparison work with certain things we have brought here that are new. And everything ran okay, although I'm not 100 per cent happy with the car at the moment, but I think - I hope - there are things we can solve tomorrow. But as I said we don't have the temperature issues we had earlier this year.

Q. That's great then, that's put a smile on your face?
JB:: It's good, but there is still a lot of work to do before we are competitive. We're not on the pace of the Red Bulls, especially over one lap, but in long runs we're okay.

But a lot of people are struggling here with the long runs with overheating, more than the tyres being too cool. Our long runs are okay, but it is the one lap we need to work on.

Q. Is the temperature issue something that you have to accept?
JB:: The tyres are working here. I'm sure some of the things we have done to the car have helped the tyre temp. But everyone is very hot here, so maybe we should go back on a few of those changes.

We've still a session tomorrow, and there's a lot of work we need to do tonight to help us tomorrow because over one lap we're not competitive with the Red Bulls and some of the other teams. That is the area we need to work on. The long run work I did today I am reasonably happy with.

Q. Do you think you got mugged at the start of the race in Valencia, and how will you change things this weekend?
JB:: It is a very difficult situation. You cannot do anything in that situation because I went to the inside at the start, and Vettel came across. I had no room so I had to lift, and lost a bit of time. It is one of those things and I will try not to be in that situation again because it obviously cost me a lot of places at the start and a lot of places at the end of the race.

Q. What are the features of the circuit that generate track temperature?
JB:: The surface here is very abrasive, the asphalt. So that put heats into the tyre. There are a lot of high speed corners here, but also the high speed braking. Silverstone lacks the heavy braking, and Nurburgring lacks the high-speed corners, so this circuit has got a bit of everything to help the tyre temperature. You saw a lot of people out there who were struggling to keep the tyres in good conditions because they were overheating. We don't have a tyre temperature issue here.

Q. What was your programme today?
JB:: This morning we got a couple of laps before it rained, which was useful for the second session this afternoon. In the wet we tried a few different things with downforce levels and things, and the car seemed quite competitive, and this afternoon we tried different downforce levels, some aero updates to see if they are better around this type of circuit - and I don't know if you saw but I had a funny looking sail fin on the engine cover.
That is basically it. We did tyre comparisons, and we found we definitely don't have tyre temperature issues, that they're not too cold. People are struggling with them being too hot, so it is something to watch out for here.

Q. How do you feel you are set for the weekend then?
JB:: Okay. Looking at today our long-run pace is reasonably competitive, but we still have to work on our qualifying pace because compared to the quick cars we're not that strong over one lap. That is an area we need to work on.

Q. Are you worried about the low temperatures here?
JB:: I don't think we need to do anything. This circuit is putting a lot more heat into the tyres. It is very abrasive, it is high speed corners, and heavy breaking. A lot of people here are struggling with the tyres being too hot, so we are not in a bad position for tyre temperatures. But the balance of the car is still not great, so we have a lot of work to do.

Q. We saw Red Bull Racing have some problems in the last few races. Do you think you can just finish fifth or sixth and still win the championship?
JB:: The Red Bulls are going to be quick. This is the perfect circuit for a Red Bull car, so we have to hope we can be as close as possible and maybe have the chance of nibbling some more points off them.

Q. And do you feel worried about the results of the last few races?
JB:: No, the last race the car was quick. I am happy with the way the car is and also my pace. The three races before that were a lot cooler and we struggled with the tyre temperatures, but we don't have tyre temperature issues here. For sure this is not the best circuit for our car, but we will do the best job with what we have.

Belgian GP - Friday - Team Quotes
Jenson Button (17th, 1:48.125): "It was a tough session this morning as we weren't able to get much done apart from some wet running at the end. However that experience is good here just in case it rains over the weekend which is always possible at Spa. The second session this afternoon was much more useful. We worked through a few aero and downforce comparisons as well as looking at the tyres. We collected a lot of information but obviously at the moment we're not as quick as we would like to be. There are a few areas that we do need to improve on with the balance but the potential is there to do that ahead of qualifying."

Senin, 24 Agustus 2009

Button positive on championship lead


By Jonathan Noble

Jenson Button said he was still taking away the positives of seeing his world championship advantage over his Red Bull Racing rivals increase at the European Grand Prix, despite a disappointing result.

The Brawn GP driver could manage no better than seventh after a difficult afternoon that saw team-mate Rubens Barrichello end a five-year victory drought.

But despite only taking two points, Button was able to increase his advantage over rivals Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel as neither Red Bull driver finished in the points.

Reflecting on the weekend, Button said: "Yeah, it is very unusual for your team-mate to take eight points out of you in one race. Rubens did a fantastic job this weekend.

"He has been very quick all weekend and I have struggled to be on his pace. But in qualifying I screwed up, which cost me time. I double shifted out of Turn 5, and hopefully we can rectify that problem as I did it in the race as well.

"Starting fifth I thought we could have a good race, but Vettel came across at the start and if I had stayed flat I would have ripped my front wing off. So, being back in the pack - although I know fifth is not back in the pack – but it is a bit crazy.

"In a way, I got two points and I was lucky to get those points. I was down in ninth at one point, behind Webber, and with Sebastian up in fifth.

"In the end neither of them got points and I got two points, so it is a positive day. But it is also a day where our car was strong and, as my team-mate proved, there were a lot more points on offer and it just didn't go my way. "

Button reckons that if he had not lifted when Vettel squeezed him on the run to Turn 1 then the pair would have collided.

"The most important thing for Vettel is to beat me, and he came across and I had to lift," he explained. "It is always a difficult one, because if I didn't lift then I would have probably broken my front wing and damaged my tyre probably, or his sidepod, but I had to lift.

"The problem is as soon as you lift there, everyone is just building speed and you are not, and there is a massive difference in speed. That is why I dropped so much ground there.

"I thought I had picked up a couple of places at Turn 2, but Alonso went wide and came back across on me, and I had to lift. Then Webber at Turn 4, I thought it was a bit harsh that I had to let Webber past because I went across the chicane as I couldn't get around the corner as he went all the way to the edge of the circuit sideways and I could not get around, so I had to go straight.

"It was a bit harsh, and that is what cost me quite a few points as I could not challenge the people who were stopping earlier in front of me."

Button thinks that race control should have consulted him about the chicane-cutting incident before telling him to relinquish position: "The thing is they didn't speak to me about it, and that is the thing.

"You have to get both views as well. It is down to the stewards, but you need both drivers' views and no-one asked me the question."

Button: Q and start reason for Valencia woe


Jenson Button has said that his failure to qualify higher than fifth and his poor start was what cost him a place on the podium on Sunday during the European Grand Prix at Valencia in Spain.

Button, who still comfortably leads the race for the 2009 F1 drivers' championship - now 18 points up on his team-mate, Rubens Barrichello, who won the race, once again failed to score 'big' points.

It was the fourth race on the trot that the Englishman hasn't really impressed at and it all went wrong right from the start when he got caught behind Sebastian Vettel and consequently dropped from fifth to eighth.

He was then forced to concede a place to Mark Webber after missing a chicane and it wasn't until his second stop that he finally managed to jump the Red Bull man and move up to seventh.

Speaking at the finish, Button tried to look on the bright side, but there is no doubt he will need to up his game if he is to hang onto P1 in the drivers' standings and become the 2009 F1 World champion.

"Rubens did a great job this weekend and he deserves the victory," Button reflected. "It's been a long time so I'm happy for him although of course I would rather be on top of the podium.

"The small mistake in qualifying and a difficult start caught behind Vettel really cost me today as I got caught in traffic and it's really tough to overtake around this circuit. Still we did what we came for this weekend and beat the Red Bulls, our main title rivals, so I'm not too disappointed with seventh position. We'll go to the next race in Spa positive and ready to have a good race."

Ross Brawn meanwhile agreed that perhaps the team should have gone for a different strategy on Saturday in qualifying.

"Unfortunately it wasn't such a good afternoon for Jenson who had a quick car but was caught in traffic which prevented him from achieving the result that he could have done. In hindsight perhaps we should have been more aggressive in qualifying," Brawn pondered.

"But his two points today are valuable and we have increased our lead in both Championships."

European GP - Sunday - Team Quotes

Jenson Button (7th): "Rubens did a great job this weekend and he deserves the victory. It's been a long time so I'm happy for him although of course I would rather be on top of the podium. The small mistake in qualifying and a difficult start caught behind Vettel really cost me today as I got caught in traffic and it's really tough to overtake around this circuit. Still we did what we came for this weekend and beat the Red Bulls, our main title rivals, so I'm not too disappointed with seventh position. We'll go to the next race in Spa positive and ready to have a good race."

Rabu, 12 Agustus 2009

Schumi, Sang Polaris

Berbeda dengan antusiasme ketika mendengar Michael Schumacher akan kembali ke kokpit F1 bersama Ferrari yang telah memberikannya tahun-tahun keemasannya, menggantikan Felipe Massa, ex rekan setimnya di tahun 2006, kekecewaan meliputi seluruh fansnya dan mungkin dunia ketika mendengar berita bahwa Schumi batal turun membela F1 di GP yang akan datang (entah untuk GP-GP berikutnya) yang jelas berita ini tentunya menyedihkan seluruh pendukung setia Schumi yang telah menanti-nantikan comeback-nya Schumi ke Formula one, meski menurut Schumi kehadirannya kembali ke F1 hanya untuk menggantikan Massa yang mengalami cedera pada sesi kualifikasi di GP Hungaria musim ini dan walau Schumi mengatakan bahwa history-nya di F1 sudah berakhir yang berarti kehadirannya kali ini bukanlah untuk memperebutkan gelar dunia kecuali untuk membantu posisi Ferrari di klasemen konstruktor namun tak sedikit orang yang beranggapan bahwa kehadiran kembali Schumi bukan hanya sekadar untuk mendongkrak performa tim kuda jingkrak ini yang memble sepanjang musim ini. Bagi sebagian besar penggemar Schumi tentunya berharap kehadiran juara dunia tujuh kali ini bukan hanya sekadar pembalap pelapis untuk mengamankan bahkan menaikkan posisi Ferrari di klasemen konstruktor tapi tentunya para penggemar Schumi berharap sang maestro ini akan menorehkan catatan-catatan rekor baru dan siapa tahu tambahan satu lagi gelar dunia berhasil disabetnya (mungkin di tahun depan).

Seorang Michael Schumacher sepertinya memang terlahir untuk menjadi seorang pembalap. Mungkin membalap bukan hanya sekadar profesi atau hobi baginya. Race is my blood, begitu mungkin motto pembalap yang telah memberikan nuansa baru bagi F1 modern dan membawa F1 ke tingkat yang berbeda dengan pembalap-pembalap F1 sebelumnya.

Usai memutuskan pensiun dari F1, ternyata Schumi yang memang pekerja keras ini tak betah menganggur di rumah. Darahnya kembali bergejolak membayangkan aspal sirkuit berpadu dengan ban, riuhnya pendukung dan adrenalinya yang berpacu seirama dengan putaran mesin tunggangannya. Schumi pun mulai memikirkan untuk turun balapan kembali dan ia yang memang sudah menyukai motor sejak lama berniat menjajal skill membalapnya di ajang balap roda dua ini. Meski ia belum berhasil menorehkan rekor-rekor spektakuler seperti yang dibuatnya di dunia balap roda empat (Formula one), namun kehadirannya toh telah memberikan nuansa baru bagi ajang balap superbike tersebut dan bagi dirinya sendiri tentunya.

Balapan motor tentunya berbeda dengan F1. Tak lama memang Schumi menekuni hobi barunya ini tapi ternyata cedera yang dialaminya di superbike itu telah memberikan dampak yang cukup serius baginya. Cedera leher yang dideritanya dari ajang balap roda dua ini pula yang rupanya telah memupus harapannya dan harapan seluruh dunia untuk menyaksikan kembalinya the master yang satu ini ke habitatnya (Formula one, maksudnya).

Ketika Sabina Kehm, jubirnya mengumumkan mengenai cedera leher yang dialami jagoanku ini, aku sudah mengira bahwa harapanku untuk melihat kembali pesona Schumi -yang telah menyihirku dan seluruh dunia pastinya- kembali menjadi impian manis bagiku dan segenap penggemar Schumi. Meski begitu aku tetap berharap dan berdoa semoga hasil test kesehatan yang dilakukan Schumi akan mengatakan bahwa ia baik-baik saja dan bisa kembali balapan tapi ternyata hasilnya cedera Schumi yang justru didapatnya dari balapan motor dan bukannya F1 yang telah digelutinya selama lima belas tahun itu telah memupuskan harapan seluruh penggemarnya. Menarik sebenarnya menunggu kejutan-kejutan baru dari Michael yang kini harus membalap tanpa didukung pendekar-pendekarnya seperti Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, dan Jean Todt yang selama ini senantiasa mendampinginya dalam merebut tujuh gelar dunianya. Tapi apa mau dikata, cedera leher Schumi memupuskan semua bayangan tersebut.

Ketika kuungkapkan kekecewaanku itu pada kawanku, Selvia, ia dengan arifnya berkata bahwa bukankah kesehatannya jauh lebih baik daripada melihatnya membalap tapi pada akhirnya malah berdampak buruk baginya seperti, amit-amit, kecelakaan lalu tewas seperti Senna? Aku pun menyadari bahwa betapa sebagai seorang fans aku tak memikirkan yang terbaik bagi idolaku itu dan hanya tenggelam dalam euforia masa lalu, membayangkan dapat melihat lagi aksi brilian Schumi melibas setiap trek, melihat bagaimana ia membawa mobilnya menari di atas lintasan basah dan yang paling utama melihatnya kembali tersenyum lebar di atas podium dan mungkin pada akhirnya ia berhasil menambah lagi satu atau dua gelar pada deretan gelar dunia yang telah direbutnya sebelumnya.

Ternyata bukan hanya para penggemar Schumi yang kecewa dengan batalnya Legend of German yang satu ini kembali ajang jet darat, sang bos Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo pun tak urung merasakan kekecewaan itu. Bahkan sang bos menjanjikan bahwa ia akan menempatkan Schumi di deretan list pembalap Ferrari musim depan sebagai pembalap ketiga tim merah dari Maranello itu bila usulan menurunkan tiga pembalap dalam satu tim musim depan disetujui.

Sejujurnya aku tak menyukai Montezemolo karena bukankah sang bos ini pulalah yang telah “menekan” Schumi dengan memutuskan mengontrak Kimi Raikkonen sebagai pembalap Ferrari untuk musim 2007 sehingga juara dunia tujuh kali itu memutuskan pensiun di akhir musim? Tapi rupanya sang bos itu ternyata mulai merindukan sentuhan ajaib pembalapnya yang luar biasa itu terutama kala tim besarnya belakangan ini dirundung petaka. Meski Ferrari bersama Kimi berhasil meraih gelar dunia pada tahun 2007 selepas Schumi beserta seluruh pemain kuncinya mundur namun itu karena saingan berat mereka, McLaren didiskualifikasi akibat tindakan tim Woking itu dalam kasus spionase F1 tingkat tinggi yang pada waktu itu sangat menghebohkan dunia.

Terlebih dengan penampilan Ferrari musim ini yang menyedihkan tentunya membuat sang bos besar berharap tim sebesar Ferrari tak menjadi bulan-bulanan para lawannya terlebih mantan race director-nya (yang juga menjadi three musketeer-nya Schumi dalam merebut tujuh gelar dunianya), Ross Brawn bersama timnya sendiri yang bertajuk seperti namanya sendiri itu membuat gebrakan di awal musim ini dan berhasil bertengger di posisi puncak klasemen konstruktor dan pembalap lewat Jenson Button berkat penampilan gemilang Jenson yang berhasil menyabet podium utama di enam balapan musim ini.

Memang manusia berencana namun Tuhan pula pada akhirnya yang menentukan. Walau Schumi akhirnya batal membalap namun antusiasme yang diperlihatkan Schumi ketika keputusannya untuk memperkuat kembali tim lamanya itu menunjukkan kualitasnya sebagai seorang juara dunia sejati. Schumi kembali memperlihatkan dalam meraih sesuatu tak dapat setengah-setengah. Ia langsung melakukan serangkaian latihan dan test yang telah membuat berat badannya turun empat kilo. Walau pada akhirnya ia batal turun membalap tapi pastinya ia takkan menyesal dengan seluruh latihan yang dilakukannya itu untuk menunjang penampilannya kembali ke dunia balap yang dicintainya ini.

Totalitas Michael pun diperlihatkan ketika ia mencoba bidang baru. Meski ia mendapat kenang-kenangan berupa cedera leher dari ajang superbike yang hanya digelutinya sebentar saja itu namun Schumi menunjukkan kualitasnya sebagai seorang juara yang selalu total memberikan segenap kemampuannya dan mengerahkan seluruh bakat istimewanya yang dianugrahkan oleh Sang Maha Kuasa yang pastinya tak menyesal telah memberi sebuah talenta luar biasa itu pada seorang yang istimewa seperti Michael Schumacher.

Sebagai seorang penggemar sejati Schumi, aku cukup bahagia dengan antusiasme yang diperlihatkan Schumi itu yang menunjukkan bahwa kecintaannya pada balapan tak pernah luntur. Walau batal melihat comeback-nya Schumi tapi aku merasa tak salah dengan perasaanku ketika melihat Schumi pertama kali (yang waktu itu berita F1 hanya kulihat lewat Kompas karena saat itu belum ada satupun stasiun televisi menayangkan ajang balapan paling spektakuler sedunia ini) pada Schumi bahwa pembalap yang satu ini memang istimewa. Seperti matahari yang pastinya akan kembali bersinar ketika awan mendung beranjak, kuyakin harapanku untuk melihat kembali aksi sang juara dunia, idolaku ini bukanlah sebuah mimpi. Kuyakin dengan darah balap Schumi yang senantiasa menggelegak dalam nadinya, ia pasti juga rindu merasakan kembali euforia itu. Bagiku Schumi tetaplah bintang yang senantiasa bersinar meski jaman akan berlalu, namun ia akan tetap menjadi polaris bagi para pembalap muda. Meminjam sebuah slogan minuman aku ingin mengatakan, Schumi memang layak jadi bintang.

Ask the Expert - Brawn GP’s Jenson Button

Source :
pic taken from:

Which other Formula One driver’s father is a former Rallycross competitor? What is Rubens Barrichello’s golf handicap? With which team did James Hunt end his racing career? And what was the first record to be released by Richard Branson’s Virgin
label? These are just some of the questions we thought Brawn GP’s Jenson Button would take in his stride after he agreed to be the latest participant in our personal trivia-testing ‘Ask the Expert’ series...

Q: Your team mate Rubens Barrichello is a fan of golf. What is his handicap?
Jenson Button: Ah, I know this one because I have watched him play and I’ve heard him telling me many times that he is very good. He is just in double digits - I think he has 10.
Correct - it is indeed an impressive 10.

Q: Your girlfriend Jessica Michibata is half Japanese. Can you tell us what her Japanese surname means in English?
JB: I know this one as I always take the piss out of her: ‘side walk’ or ‘side of the road’.

Q: You’re a fan of John Travolta, but in which film did he play a character called Vincent Vega?
JB: Pulp Fiction. Every knows that one!

Q: Your father John is a former Rallycross driver, but the dad of which other of your F1 contemporaries was also a Rallycross racer?
JB: Wurzi!
Correct - lame nickname maybe, but it is former Button’s long-time team mate Alexander Wurz.

Q: Your boss Ross Brawn is a Formula One stalwart. But when, and with what team, did his F1 career start?
JB: It was with Williams - but the year? Must have been in the mid seventies. As an engineer? That’s my best guess…
One point for the team, half for the year - Brawn actually started as a machinist at Williams in 1976.

Q: You were born in the Somerset town of Frome. One of the town’s most famous landmarks is the Grade 1 listed Blue House, which has two distinctive statues on its facade. What are they of?
JB: I didn’t even know that. Never heard of it!
Incorrect - The front of the building is adorned by two statues, one of a man, known locally as ‘Billy Ball’, and one a woman called ‘Nancy Guy’, indicating the building's dual role as an almshouse for widows and a school for boys.

Q: You won the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, which recognises young driving talent, in 1998. But who won it last year?
JB: I should know that, but I don’t know. Whoever it was,well done!
Incorrect - Weren’t you in attendance at that awards’ ceremony Jenson? The recipient was Formula Renault UK runner-up Alexander Sims.

Q: On your official website, you reveal that you enjoyed reading The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. But which two famous psychiatrists are featured in the book?
JB: I can’t believe that. Is that on my website? It is Freud, but I don’t know who the other one is.
One out of two - it was Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

Q: In Monaco in 2007, Barrichello tried out a new helmet design but ended up regretting the decision? Why?
JB: No idea!
Incorrect - Rubens tried out a new helmet during qualifying. A special coating covered the helmet. Although black in colour, it was meant to reveal his usual livery as the temperature rose. But conditions were cool and it stayed black throughout almost the whole session.

Q: One of your favourite films had the tagline ‘Log on. Hack in. Go anywhere. Steal everything’. Which one?
JB: Swordfish - of course. With Travolta!

Q: James Hunt continued to race for McLaren for a further two seasons after winning the 1976 title. But with which team did he end his Formula One career?
JB: Wolf. I know a lot about James Hunt’s career as I read his books.

Q: You took part in last year’s Royal Windsor Triathlon, but can you remember how far you swam, cycled and ran?
JB: Believe me I can remember! It was 1.5km swim, a 42km cycle and a 10km run.
Correct - in the River Thames, through the surrounding Berkshire villages and across Windsor’s Great Park.

Q: Brawn GP’s sponsor Virgin is a brand that comprises over 360 companies. But what record was the first to be released by Richard Branson’s Virgin label?
JB: I really wouldn’t have a clue.
Incorrect - it was Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells

Q: Brawn GP’s head of aerodynamics Loic Bigois lists just one hobby on the team’s website. Can you name it?
JB: He has a hobby? His job is wind tunnel, but that he has a hobby would be new to me.
Correct (albeit unintentionally) - dedicated team player Bigois does indeed list his hobby as ‘wind tunnel testing’.

Q: How many times has Rubens finished runner-up in the drivers’ championship, and in which year or years?
JB: Ah, 2004 I remember because I finished third. First time must have been in 2002.
Correct - two out of two.

Q: Last season Barrichello became the most experienced driver of all time. But how many races has he started?
JB: Must be something around 270?
Correct - 270 prior to the 2009 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Q: Returning to the Japanese theme, who was the first Japanese driver to score a world championship point?
JB: Must have been Nakajima.
Correct - Satoru, father of Kazuki.

Q: You scored your first world championship points with Williams, but which driver scored Williams’ first world championship points?
JB: I wouldn’t know - I don’t live life in the past and it was before I was born. Who was it?
Incorrect - it was Frenchman Jacques Laffite, who took second place at the 1975 German Grand Prix.

Q: In 1998 you won the famous Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. Who is the only other driver on the current F1 grid to have won the event, and in which year did he win?
JB: It was Webber - and it was before me. 1996?
Correct, a well-deserved two points

Q: You live in Monaco, but can you tell us what motto is included on the Principality’s coat of arms?
JB: I didn’t know that there was a motto. I know that the flag is red and white. I must have a look next time…
Incorrect - the motto is ‘Deo Juvante’, or in English, ‘With God’s help’.

Schumacher in line for 'third' Ferrari?

Source :

Despite being denied the opportunity to return to Formula One at next weekend's European Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher would be given a chance to resurrect his career should Ferrari - and its rivals - be allowed to run three cars in future seasons.

That is the claim of Scuderia president Luca di Montezemolo who, after admitting his disappointment at losing the German's services for the forthcoming race in Valencia, revealed that he was still pushing to change the rules for 2010, so that he could enter a third car to help bolster grid numbers.

While the F1 field looks healthier than of late thanks to the addition of three new teams - Campos Meta, Manor Grand Prix and Team US F1 - for 2010, the loss of BMW Sauber last week continues to cast doubt on the long-term sustainability of numbers. Although work continues to try and find either a buyer or replacement for the Munich/Hinwil operation, fears remain over the health of other manufacturer-backed teams - notably Renault and Toyota - and di Montezemolo reveals that he would rather see three cars from the big teams than additional, uncompetitive, runners making up the numbers.

And, should a third car from Maranello be permitted, the president - who also oversees the work of teams' association FOTA - insists that Schumacher would be given a chance to return to the top flight, despite a lingering neck injury forcing him to can next weekend's comeback.

"We're continuing to fight until every team has the right to start with three cars in the next season," di Montezemolo confirmed in an interview with Italy's La Stampa newspaper, "I'd prefer three Ferraris, McLarens and Renaults to three 'whatevers', and one I'd have handed over to Michael with pleasure. With BMW gone, there's not much to say, but lots to do."

In contrast to many of its rivals, Ferrari does not appear to have a young charger waiting for the opportunity to graduate to the top flight. Although reigning Italian F3 champion Mirko Bortolotti impressed during a prize-drive test session late last year - breaking the lap record at Fiorano - development driver Luca Badoer has been handed the chance to replace Schumacher as Felipe Massa's stand-in at the European GP.

Scuderia Toro Rosso recently called on Jaime Alguersuari to take over from Sebastien Bourdais from Budapest onwards, while Romain Grosjean is expected to be named as Nelson Piquet Jr's replacement at Renault should the team be allowed to compete in Valencia, but di Montezemolo insisted that he would have no question about offering an extra seat to seven-time world champion Schumacher.

"Well, we're talking about Michael Schumacher," he explained, "He is 40 years old, but he's still from another planet. I prefer the champion, even if matured, to the mediocre driver, even if he's young. He answered my request [to replace Massa] with such enthusiasm - the enthusiasm of a boy and not of a retired champion."

Taking a breather - summer holidays, Formula One style

Source :

Since the season got underway back in March, the Formula One fraternity has jetted between continents, seen the midfielders beat the frontrunners, cheered four different race victors, and contended with a healthy dose of controversy. So with 10 of 17 races complete, the sport is more than ready for its traditional summer holiday.

Of course, ‘holiday’ means different things to different people. Jenson Button completed a triathlon last weekend, Kimi Raikkonen competed in Rally Finland and Jaime Alguersuari was busy winning in the World Series by Renault. Others were enjoying more relaxing pursuits. We discovered a few of their plans…

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull:
"I haven’t planned anything so far. I am rather spontaneous and don’t book my vacations in January. I like the mountains and as I live in Switzerland you will probably find me up there, maybe for one week. And, of course, I will spend time in my hometown Heppenheim."

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber:
"I am looking forward to a real family vacation: (wife) Patrizia, the kids and I will head for a Greek Island. Shush! Which island is a secret! We will build sandcastles, have picnics on the beach, do all those things that other parents do with their youngsters."

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber:
"I will stay at home during the summer break. I will relax a little bit. I will go karting and work out a bit. That’s all. Doesn’t read very fancy, does it?"

Jenson Button, Brawn GP:
"After the London Triathlon at the weekend I will relax a bit in the South of France before getting into gear again for the European Grand Prix."

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren:
"I will head to New Delhi for a Vodafone promotional event and as I am already far out east, maybe I will find myself a beach retreat for a week. But honestly, nothing definite is planned yet."

Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren:
"After going back to the factory for a debrief, I’ll head off for two weeks into the sunset. Where? That’s my secret."

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari:
"After Rally Finland I will relax with friends, maybe a bit motor biking in Finland and then I’ll head to the beach for a bit. That’s the vague plan for the moment."

Adrian Sutil, Force India: "I will spend a week at home in Switzerland before flying to Bali for a holiday with my family. Bali is one of my favourite destinations. It’s a charming place. Then I will return to Switzerland again, before heading for Valencia for the European Grand Prix."

Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India:
"I will spend time with my family and friends on board my boat, the Fizzy. The plan is to sail in the waters around Sardinia and Corsica and have a good time."

Sebastian Buemi, Toro Rosso:
"I will spend a couple of days at my parents’ home in Switzerland, then go down to Malaga for one week with my physio for a workout. And for a little extra treat I’m going to fly to New York for four days to inhale a bit of metropolis life."

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso:
"The weekend after Budapest I am racing in Portimao. After that I will head for Ibiza to work on my fitness - and of course have a little fun!"

Luca Badoer: it’s a dream come true

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The news that Michael Schumacher won’t return to Formula One racing at the forthcoming European Grand Prix has disappointed many fans around the world. But for test driver Luca Badoer, the man tasked by Ferrari with taking over Felipe Massa's cockpit in Valencia, Schumacher’s decision to pull out of his planned comeback in light of an aggravated neck injury, is a mixed blessing.

"Since I've been a child I always wanted to race for Ferrari and now I've got the possibility to make this desire come true,” the Italian told Ferrari’s official website. "I'm really sorry for Michael, because I know how much he wanted to return: I'm saying that as his friend and his fan.

"We've been in contact during the last days and we drove karts together at Lonato last week. So I followed him very closely in this attempt. He called me a couple of minutes after team principal Stefano Domenicali had told me the news and I know that he'll always be ready to give me some advice and he will shout for me."

Although Badoer is Ferrari’s principal test driver, in light of this season’s restrictions, he hasn’t yet sampled the F60 on track. He has, however, familiarised himself with the car’s controls and believes that he is fit enough to withstand the physical demands of a Grand Prix.

"Although this year's rules foresee a drastically reduced mileage for us test drivers, I have prepared myself to be ready under any circumstances, just as I've been doing the last years too," he explained. "I've been in this business for quite a while. After Felipe's accident I intensified my programme and I'm sure that I won't have any problems from this point of view."

While the 38 year-old, who has tested for the team since 1998, was keen to thank Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and Domenicali for having enough faith in his experience to honour him with the drive, he was also quick to wish Massa a speedy recovery.

"My first thought goes to Felipe,” he concluded. “I was shocked about his accident and I'm so glad that the situation is getting better so quickly. I wish him all the best and to get back on the track as soon as possible. I also want to thank Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali for the faith they put in me and for the honour that they are handing the car over to me.

"I will give it my best for them and for all the Ferrari fans, who - and I'm sure about that - will give me their support."

Badoer will sample the F60 for the first time on Friday August 21, when first practice gets underway in Valencia. The Italian made the last of his previous 48 Grand Prix starts back in 1999, with Minardi in Japan.

Selasa, 11 Agustus 2009

Schumacher abandons F1 comeback


Michael Schumacher has decided against making a return to Formula One just over a week before he was due to rejoin Ferrari at the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The seven-time world champion has cited lingering doubts over a neck injury as the reason for his decision.

Schumacher had been due to test for a further two days at Mugello in preparation for his return, but called time on his plans on the eve of his return to the cockpit of the 2007-spec Ferrari, which he had been running on GP2 slicks in a bid to get to grips with one of the areas of technology that have changed since his 2006 retirement. A bid to run a full 2009-spec machine, with its heavily revised aerodynamic package was denied by Williams and Red Bull last week.

Schumacher's neck injury is the result of a spill from a superbike in February, as he pursued his new-found love of bike racing in retirement from F1. The 40-year old suffered some discomfort after testing for the first time at Mugello ten days ago, but had hoped to be able to recover with treatment and fitness training between outings. However, lingering pain forced him to seek a second opinion on Monday [10 August] and, heeding advice from doctors, the German took the hard decision to end his comeback bid.

"Unfortunately, we did not manage to get a grip on the pain, which occurred after the private test day at Mugello," Schumacher revealed on his personal website, "As there were no improvements after the day at Mugello, I decided at short notice on Sunday to get a thorough examination on Monday.

"Unfortunately, the consequences of the injuries caused by the bike accident in February - fractures in the area of head and neck - turned out to be too severe for my neck to withstand the extreme stresses caused by F1. These are the clear results of the examinations we did in the course of the past two weeks and the final examination on Monday afternoon."

Schumacher's return, in place of Felipe Massa who was injured in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix two weekends ago, had been expected to swell the crowd at the second European GP in Valencia next Sunday [23 August], and had led to many of his potential rivals - some, like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who had yet to race against him - to express their delight at his return.

"I am disappointed to the core," Schumacher admitted, "I am awfully sorry for the guys at Ferrari, and for all the fans which crossed fingers for me, but I can only repeat that I tried everything that was within my power. All I can do now is to keep my fingers crossed for the whole team for the coming races."

Ferrari has yet to reveal any candidates to replace Schumacher as Massa's stand-in.

Kamis, 06 Agustus 2009

Brawn not ruling out Schumacher win

Source :
By Pablo Elizalde

Ross Brawn says he is convinced Michael Schumacher could win a race this season if the Ferrari is competitive enough.

The seven-time world champion is set to return to racing action at the European Grand Prix later this month, when he will replace the injured Felipe Massa for at least that race.

Schumacher has not driven this year's F60 car and he hasn't raced at the Valencia street circuit before.

But Brawn, who masterminded Schumacher's titles at Ferrari before the German retired, is sure the former champion will be competitive.

"I'm convinced he will be [strong]," Brawn told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I still remember the great race he did in Brazil in 2006.

"Of course it's obvious that he has to familiarise himself with the car, but I'm sure that if he doesn't win one of the remaining races of the season it will not be his fault, but because Ferrari is not in a winning position."

He added: "For him, after Massa's terrible accident, it was natural to say yes given the state of need of his old team. In my opinion there is also another aspect to consider: the fact that this is for a limited time.

"I mean, Michael returns with his usual determination and seriousness, but above all with the intention of having fun. Personally, I admit I'm excited and can't wait to see him at work."

Brawn reckons the slick tyres should be the biggest unknown for Schumacher, but the team boss believes not even that will pose a big problem for the German driver.

"Formula 1 has not changed much in terms of driving," Brawn said. "The biggest thing Michael will face is the slick tyres. But this is not a disadvantage because these tyres make the behaviour of the car more predictable.

"It's true he doesn't know Valencia, but the simulator will have helped him."

Button sets personal best in triathlon

Source :
By Pablo Elizalde

Championship leader Jenson Button recorded a personal best at the London triathlon on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Briton set a time of two hours, seven minutes and two seconds over the Olympic distance, which included a 1.5-km swim, 40km on a bike, and 10km running.

"I had to wake up at 4am to get here this morning and I loved it - it has been my best ever Sunday morning," said Button.

"I enjoyed it today, it's such an amazing event, it's so big and it's great that triathlon is doing so well in the UK. I hope that its growth continues."

Button was joined by 125cc rider Bradley Smith, who finished some six minutes behind the Formula 1 driver.

"He did very well, he's a fit lad and so am I and it's great to show that at events like this," Smith said of Button.

"Our performance demonstrates that we do have to train hard to be an F1 driver or a MotoGP rider and that when we aren't racing, we aren't just at home sitting around and that we do have to be very fit in order to race at the level we do."

Over £3 million was raised for charity in the event, in which nearly 10,000 people took place.

Elegi Malam

Hampa hati merindu surga
kala litani keagungan-Nya
menghias langit malam
melantunkan nada-nada surgawi
menghembus jiwa-jiwa nan sepi
mengalun di antara angin sepoi
hati berbisik dalam lirih
rindu jiwa bersatu dalam kalbu-Mu,
ya Tuhan ...
di batas elegi malam sunyi ....

Doubts linger over Schumacher fitness

Source :
By Simon Strang

Michael Schumacher's return to Formula 1 in Valencia later this month remains subject to a medical clearance after his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm revealed that concerns linger over the strength of his neck.

The seven-time world champion was injured in a motorcycle testing accident earlier this year, and Kehm admitted that until he had been given the all-clear there was still a possibility that he may not race in the European Grand Prix on August 23.

"It is not sure yet the neck will hold and the comeback can be started," Kehm said on Wednesday.

"It depends on medical investigations. Only after those will it be clear whether he will be able to drive."

Schumacher has already spent a day testing a two-year-old F2007 Ferrari F1 car at Mugello, using GP2 slicks, and claims to have lost 3kg in training as he prepares to stand in for the injured Felipe Massa in Spain.

The 40-year-old continued his build up today by going karting with Ferrari's regular test driver Luca Badoer.

"Karting has a very good training effect, that is why today I just jumped into a testing day of the Tony Kart Team in Lonato," he told his website. "There is nothing better for my preparations at the moment - in terms of steering wheel forces for example Karting is even more difficult than F1.

"And the fact that it has been boiling hot here is simulating the temparatures expected for Valencia. Luca is with me, and together we found again today that karting is just an awful lot of fun."

Kehm added that it was always going to be the case that Schumacher would only race if he was deemed fit enough to do so: "From the very beginning it was made clear Michael would require medical checks. It is normal.

"Michael is fully geared up, and fully on it. He has been for a week now. But he is a human being, and we have to make sure everything is fine."

Ecclestone sure Schumacher will shine

Source :
By Pablo Elizalde

Michael Schumacher will give driving lessons to some of his rivals when he returns to action in Spain, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

"I think he's going to give one or two of them a driving lesson," Ecclestone was quoted as saying by Reuters during a press conference on Tuesday.

"He obviously wouldn't have decided to come back unless he thought he was going to be competitive and Michael is a competitive guy.

"He's always been super popular even though he won too many races and people said he was boring. He was never boring and he won't be boring now."

The seven-time world champion will race for Ferrari at the European Grand Prix, replacing the injured Felipe Massa.

It will be the first F1 race for 40-year-old Schumacher since retired at the end of the 2006 season.

Ecclestone admitted Schumacher's return caught him by surprise.

"I think I was just as surprised as Willi Weber - his manager - he didn't know he was coming back (either)," he added.

"I think it was (Ferrari president) Luca di Montezemolo that convinced him."

Ferrari slates Williams over test block

Source :
By Pablo Elizalde

The Ferrari team has hit out at rival Williams over its decision not to allow Michael Schumacher to test this year's car ahead of his return to action at the European Grand Prix.

Ferrari asked all Formula 1 teams for permission to have a one-day test for Schumacher ahead of the Valencia race, where the German will replace the injured Felipe Massa.

On Tuesday, Ferrari published an item on its website, which suggested that the Williams team had demonstrated a lack of spirit of fair play. The text referred to Ferrari's rival as "a team that hasn't won anything for years."

Ferrari also revealed it had given Toro Rosso its approval to test rookie Jaime Alguersuari ahead of his debut in Hungary.

"Guess who opposed the test with the F60? A team that hasn't won anything for years and yet didn't pass over the opportunity to demonstrate once more a lack of spirit of fair play," Ferrari wrote in its official website under the title 'Indiscretion'.

"Just for the record, the Scuderia Ferrari had given its approval to let Alguersuari test, but it seems even in this instance someone decided to stick to the precise wording of the regulations."

Team boss Frank Williams said on Monday that he welcomed Schumacher back in F1, but that his team would not allow him to test.

"While we welcome Michael Schumacher back to Formula 1, the fact is that any form of in-season circuit testing is strictly prohibited; a regulation clearly laid out by the FIA and adhered to by all of the teams," Williams said.

"It was for this reason that Alguersuari, who drove an F1 car for the very first time in Hungary, did not have the opportunity to familiarise himself with the Toro Rosso before he made his race debut.

"Williams sees no distinction between Alguersuari's situation and Schumacher's and feels that any deviation from the rule would create a precedent for the future.

"In a similar situation, Williams would unhesitatingly use its current test driver. For the sake of consistency and fairness, therefore, we oppose Ferrari's proposal to test ahead of the European Grand Prix."

Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz also said yesterday that his teams were opposing the test.

A Williams spokesperson told AUTOSPORT the team was not planning a response.

"I don't think we would wish to dignify Ferrari's statement with a reply," he said.

Schumi begins fitness drive, loses three kilos


Ferrari super-sub Michael Schumacher has revealed that he has already lost weight as he prepares to make his F1 comeback at the European Grand Prix later this month.

The German, who will stand-in for the injured Felipe Massa, added, however, that his neck has been giving him a few problems, although it is believed that this will not be a major issue at Valencia.

"I'm currently in the midst of my preparations for the upcoming race," the 40-year-old told his personal website. "I've already lost three kilograms even if it is also important to me to build up muscle."

"So all in all, the practice works pretty well. I only have to admit that my neck pinches a bit. We have to get a grip on that as health has priority - that's the clear arrangement made with Ferrari and, by the way, with my wife, too."

"It's on! I accepted the challenge. And as you all know, I really love challenges. It seems as if my fans would love them, too."

"I really would like to thank all my fans for all the positive feedback. It's incredible how much support I get from all over the world in these days."

"It almost feels like as if a flush of positive energy is coming over me. Compliments to all of you!"

Schumacher has already resumed testing and ran in a 2007 spec car at Mugello last week. However he won't get to run in the new F60 prior to the European Grand Prix, as in-season testing is banned and the Scuderia's request to get him some track time has been blocked by Red Bull and Williams.