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Vettel Grabs Last-Minute Pole At Spa

It was a very exciting Q3 this Saturday at Spa, where current world champion Sebastian Vettel managed to grab the pole position in the dying moments of the qualifying session, beating Lewis Hamilton’s time only by a little . Vettel did his fastest lap in 1m 48.298s while Hamilton came in second with 1m 48.730s, followed by Mark Webber that managed to complete a lap in 1m 49.376s.

The big surprise of this qualifying session was Felipe Massa how will start tomorrow at Spa from the fourth place of the grid, thanks to its fastest lap in Q3 of 1m 50.256s. In fifth place we shall see Nico Rosberg that did a lap in 1m 50.552s, while right behind him is Jaime Alguersuari with his time of 1m 50.773s.

On the 7th place of the grid tomorrow will start Bruno Senna who did a lap of the track in 1m 51.121s while Fernando Alonso from Ferrari only managed a very disappointing 8th place with a time of 1m 51.251s.

Here are the full results of the qualifying session for the Belgium Grand Prix held at Spa- Francorchamps:

1. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1:48.298
2. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:48.730
3. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:49.376
4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:50.256
5. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes GP 1:50.552
6. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:50.773
7. Bruno Senna Brazil Renault 1:51.121
8. Fernando Alonso Spain Ferrari 1:51.251
9. Sergio Perez Mexico Sauber-Ferrari 1:51.374
10. Vitaly Petrov Russia Renault 1:52.303

11. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 2:04.692
12. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 2:04.757
13. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 2:05.150
14. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Williams-Cosworth 2:07.349
15. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 2:07.777
16. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Cosworth 2:08.106
17. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Lotus-Renault 2:08.354

18. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 2:07.758
19. Jarno Trulli Italy Lotus-Renault 2:08.773
20. Timo Glock Germany Virgin-Cosworth 2:09.566
21. Jerome d’Ambrosio Belgium Virgin-Cosworth 2:11.601
22. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy HRT-Cosworth 2:11.616
23. Daniel Ricciardo Australia HRT-Cosworth 2:13.077
24. Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes GP No Time

Sebastian Vettel Wins F1 Malaysian GP

After grabbing the pole position yesterday, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel had no problems maintaining his lead today during the 2nd race of the season. He lost the lead only when he had to change his tires at the pitstop and thanks to its 3-stop strategy he managed to be 3.2 seconds faster than Jenson Button.

Despite the fact that before the race and during the beginning of it there was a rain forecast, that didn’t happen and the teams were able to maintain their strategies throughout the entire race. After the first 10 laps of the race, Vettel pulled a 10 seconds lead, before stopping for soft tires on laps 14 and 26, and finishing the last 17 laps on hard tires. His only problem was with the car’s KERS system, which he wasn’t able to use during the middle of the race.


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Schumacher explains the changes on the Mercedes MGP W02

Who is more entitled to talk about the changes on the Mercedes MGP W02 that Michael Schumacher? From the KERS system to the adjustable rear wing, Schumi explains the tech behind Mercedes’s Formula One racing car, that he’ll be driving for hours on end this year. We can’t wait for all the fun in this year’s Formula 1 season! We hope that Schumacher delivers a better performance than last year. I miss him on the podium.

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Via Mercedes Petronas.

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate – F1 Medical Car At Australian GP

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate F1 Medical Car

The 2011 Formula 1 season kicks off this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. For this occasion, the German automaker Mercedes will debut its updated 2012 C63 AMG Estate Official F1 Medical Car. This model has been used in this competition for the last three seasons, but this year it will appear in its facelifted shape with an updated design and revised technology that includes the AMG SpeedShift MCT seven-speed gearbox.

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate F1 Medical Car

In addition, the car has been fitted with an aluminum hood that has modified powerdomes, a new radiator grille, headlamps, along with an AMG rear apron and an updated front apron that sports larger intake apertures and side air vents.

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate F1 Medical Car

The car has a powerful V8 6.3-liter engine that benefits from the AMG Performance Pacakge, offering 487 hp @ 6,800 rpm, good enough for a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.5 seconds, not fast enough for keeping up with the F1 cars, but quick enough to get on time whenever there is a problem. Other goodies of this AMG package include the high-performance braking system with internally ventilated composite brake discs for the front axle, and the variable intake manifold painted in titanium grey. The car will roll on 19-inch rims, wrapped around in 235/35 R19 rubber for the front wheels and 255/30 R19 for the ones in the back.

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate F1 Medical Car

The Medical Car will sport the F1 logos, the stroboscopic flashing LED lights (front & rear), a roof light bar, along with the number plate that will be illuminated with LEDs and displaying the words “Medical Car”.

As far as the cabin is concerned, the C63 AMG Estate will benefit from four sports bucket seats with 6-point seat belts. In addition, there are going to be two monitors integrated into the center console for monitoring the race, plus a radio set for communicating with the F1 Race Control.

2012 Mercedes C63 AMG Estate F1 Medical Car

The safety car for the 2011 Formula One season is going to be the beautiful Mercedes SLS AMG, which will be exactly the same as the one used for the 2010 season.

Expect a full coverage of the 2011 Formula One season.

Source: Carscoop

Vettel Has Extended His Contract With Red Bull

There were plenty of rumors regarding a possible departure from RBR as far as Sebastian Vettel is concerned. Some said that he will move to Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz GP in the years to come, but now those rumors are dead, at least for a couple of years, as the current world champion has extended his contract with Red Bull until the end of 2014.

Sebastian Vettel is the youngest driver ever to win a F1 grand prix and he is also the youngest champion. He signed with Red Bull back in 1998 for his driver development program and in 2007 he got behind the wheel of the Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 car, managing to win his first race a year later. In 2009 he moved up to the Red Bull starting line-up and grabbed the F1 title last year.

It seems that Adrian Newey, along with other senior personnel have had their contracts extended, but there is no word regarding Webber’s contract, which will end after the 2011 season.

Source: Red Bull Racing

Ferrari’s F1 Car Renamed, Again

Ferrari F150° Italia

About a month ago, we’ve talked about the fact that Ferrari changed the name of its F1 car because Ford was not happy with the “F-150” designation which they use for their pickup truck. To avoid all of these issues, the Italian automaker changed the car’s name to “F-150 Italia”. Ford was happy with Ferrari’s decision and the problem was over. However, Ferrari has now renamed its F1 car to “F150° Italia”. The added symbol is the Italian equivalent of the English “th” suffix.

As a reminder, the 2011 Formula One season starts this month on the 27th. The first race of the year will be held in Melbourne, Australia on the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit. Ferrari has plenty of time to change the name of the car again :)


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Bahrain GP Cancelled

You all know what happened in Egypt and Tunisia over the last few weeks. The protestors invaded the streets across the Middle East in an effort to get rid of the corrupt regimes. Unfortunately, this has affected the world of racing as the Bahrain GP will not be held. The Gulf state is the home to the Sakhir circuit that hosts this GP, and the organizers said “We felt it was important for the country to focus on immediate issues of national interest.”

This weekend, the GP2 Asia Series race was supposed to take place here, but not anymore. The F1 season would have started with the Bahrain GP on March 13th, but we will have to wait until March 27, when the 2011 F1 season kicks off in Australia at the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne.

Source: BBC


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Ford Not Happy With Ferrari’s F-150 F1 Car Name

Ferrari named the F1 car for this season “F150” in order to commemorate 150 years that have passed since the unification of Italy. However, Ford had a problem with Ferrari’s choice for the F1 car name as they said that it is similar to the Blue Oval’s F-150 nameplate, which as a consequence causes “irreparable harm” to the trademark.

Ford initiated a lawsuit against Ferrari which also included the www.ferrarif150.com website, accusing the Italian automaker of trademark infringement and cyber theft.

The Blue Oval aimed to prevent Ferrari from using the F150 name in the US, and expected the Italian manufacturer to give up any profits or revenues earned through the usage of the nameplate in the United States.

In addition, Ford wanted $100,000 in damages under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act that protects against trademark infringement due to the use of confusing Internet domain names.

I for one was very surprised to find out that Ferrari gave up without a fight and they changed the car’s name to “F150th Italia”, a name that was first used in a routine F1 test report posted on the company’s official website.

I’m really disappointed with both of the parties. First of all, I don’t think that Ford would have suffered if Ferrari used this trademark for their F1 car – they’ve exaggerated more than a bit. Second, I don’t understand why Ferrari simply gave up and changed the car’s name.

Source: CarScoop

2011 Formula One Season Preview – The Cars

Yesterday we talked about the team & drivers, calendar and rule changes. Today we are going to conclude the 2011 F1 preview series by talking a little bit about the cars. One of the first teams to roll out the 2011 F1 car was Ferrari with their F150 model. This new model is the team’s 57 single-seater F1 racer and like the rest of the cars from the 2011 lineup, it will come with a bundle of innovative aspects that were mostly dictated by the new regulations imposed by FIA.

Ferrari F150

The F150 will be powered by a 2398 cm3 V8 cast aluminum Type 056 engine that has a curb weight of only 95 kg. The power is sent to the rear wheels with the help of the longitudinal, semiautomatic, sequentially electronically-controlled gearbox with 7 speeds. The car is built on a carbon-fiber & honeycomb composite structure and features an independent suspension. To stop the car, the engineers at Ferrari fitted their new F1 racer with carbon-fiber disc brakes. The F150 rolls on 13-inch BBS rims. The car will be driven this year by the same pilots as before: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Lotus Renault R31

On the last day of January, Lotus Renault GP launched their R31 2011 F1 car in the presence of Vitaly Petrov, Robert Kubica and Eric Boullier. In addition to the launch of the car, the team announced that Bruno Senna will be the third driver for the team this year.

Mercedes GP W02

After a very disappointing 2010 season, Mercedes GP hopes that their new W02 car will be more successful in the upcoming Formula One season. The official sponsor of the team will be Petronas. In comparison with last year’s car, the W02 has a higher nose design which you will also see on the Ferrari F150 and the Lotus car. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher will be driving the car this year.

Lotus T128

The second Lotus team of 2011 will be the UK-based Team Lotus. Their T128 car is powered by a V8 RS27-2011 engine borrowed from Renault and is built on a carbon fiber chassis with a carbon fiber body. Basically, almost the entire car is made out of carbon, including the front & rear suspension. The engine is mated to a Red Bull Technologies transmission. The 128 has Penske & Multimatic dampers, an ATL fuel cell and an AP racing clutch and calipers. Behind the wheel of the car this year we will see Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen.

Williams FW33

On February 1st, the Williams Cosworth Formula F1 team released their FW33 car that will come with the smallest 7-speed gearbox ever produced by Williams F1, which will work in conjunction with the all-new pull-rod rear suspension. The car will have a curb weight of only 640 kg, which is 20kg more in comparison with the 2010 model; weight distribution will be 46:54. The car will be driven by Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado.

Sauber C30

Also on the first of this month Sauber launched their C30 2011 F1 car which will be powered by a Ferrari-sourced 2,398 cc naturally-aspirated V8 engine, mated to Ferrari’s 7-speed quick-shift carbon gearbox. Similar with other F1 cars, the C30 features a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis. The car measures 4,935 mm in length, 1,800 mm in width, and 1,000 mm in height and has a curb weight of 640 kg, including the driver and with the tank empty. In comparison with the 2010 model, it has a raised front, a compact rear, a slender waist and a new rollhoop. The C30 will be driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Red Bull RB7

Red Bull launched their RB7 F1 car at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, located near Valencia, Spain. Similar with all the other cars, the new model features a high nose, a new rear wing and the KERS system. The livery for this car is just about the same as the one you saw last year. The RB7 will be driven by the current world champion Sebastian Vettel and his teammate, Mark Webber.

Toro Rosso STR6

Another car that will feature a Ferrari engine will be Torro Rosso’s STR6. The car will use a V8 Type 056 engine borrowed from the Italian manufacturer which will be mated to a 7-speed hydraulic transmission. To stop the car, the team’s engineers fitted the SRT6 with Brembo brakes. This year, the car will be driven by Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.

McLaren MP4-26

Yesterday in Berlin, McLaren unveiled the MP4-26 F1 car which will be driven by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. The car comes with the KERS system which has been installed inside the safety cell, under the fuel tank. It also has a new air intake on the engine cover that takes care of the hydraulics and the transmission.

Next week we will update this article after Virgin will release the MVR-02 F1 racer (on Feb 7th) and Force India their VJM04 car (on Feb 8th). Hispania will probably launch their F111 car sometime next week.


Marussia Virgin MVR-02

As promised, here are the most important details about the MVR-02 F1 car launched by Marussia Virgin Racing. Like all the other F1 cars, it is built on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and features a carbon and titanium suspension system with Penske dampers.

The car is powered by a 2,400 cc V8 Cosworth engine with a max rev range of 18,000 rpm. The power unit has a curb weight of about 95 kg and is fueled by a FT5 safety specification fuel cell with a 220-liters capacity.

The MVR-02 packs AP Racing 4 pot brake calipers with Hitcho carbon fiber discs and pads. In addition, it has an electronically controlled hydraulic differential as well as an AP Racing clutch.

All of these specifications look good on paper but I doubt that they will make more than 5-10 points this upcoming season.


Hispania F111

Today, Hispania unveiled its F111 car that was developed by a group of engineers led by Geoff Willis and chief designer Paul White. Their car has a rather unusual nose in comparison with the other cars that we’ve seen before and we can’t tell if you if they decided to equip the F111 with the famous KERS system.

The officials of the team said that the car will undergo several updates throughout the season, but this isn’t really news as all the teams will update their cars.

The car will be driven this year by Narain Karthikeyan and another driver yet to be decided.


Force India VJM04

The last team that revealed the car for the upcoming F1 season was Force India. The VJM04 will be raced by Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, who was the third driver of the team last year. This year, the third driver will be ex-Williams pilot Nico Hulkenberg.

Andrew Green, technical director of the team, said that “the most obvious visual change is that we’ve gone away from a conventional roll-hoop to a blade.” He added that this offers a small packaging improvement when compared to a more conventional style. The engine cover of the VJM04 F1 car is different, in-line with the F-duct system banning.

2011 Formula One Season Preview – The Rule Changes

As the 2011 season approaches, we thought to bring you up to speed with the latest rule changes in F1. You are probably used to it by know that every season brings a few changes, some important while other just minor.

First of all, the 107% rule in qualifying will be returning this year. For those of you that haven’t heard about it, here is the scoop: any driver that doesn’t set a time within 107% of the fastest lap in the Q1 will not be able to take part in the racing. This rule does not apply to Q2 and Q3. Here is an example to give you a better image: if Schumacher sets a time of 1 minute 40 seconds, all of the other drivers must set a time faster than 1 minute 47 seconds in order to make it onto the grid.

Bridgestone said “goodbye” to F1 after the end of last season and in June, 2010, the FIA World Motor Sport Council announced that for the 2011 F1 season, the Italian manufacturer Pirelli will be the sole tire supplier. All of the teams moved to establish a friendly alliance with Pirelli in order to prevent any individual team gaining an unfair advantage, through the sharing of all tire information.  In addition, intermediate tires will be introduced this year.

Another change this year regards to the fact that FIA increased the maximum allowable penalty which the racing stewards can issue to the F1 teams, from $100,000 to a whopping $250,000. This decision was taken after the 2010 German GP when Ferrari was fined $100,000 for permitting team orders (Massa slowed down, letting Alonso pass).  However, team orders are now possible.

Here are the technical rule changes applicable for this upcoming F1 season:

a)      The maximum allowed height of the diffuser will be 4.9 inches, in comparison with last year’s 6.9 inches. Introduced in 2009, the double diffuser designs are now prohibited. In addition, teams will not be able to use double exhaust-blow diffusers. However, they will still be able to install single blown diffusers;

b)      Developed originally by McLaren, the “F-duct” system cannot be used anymore;

c)       The cars can now be fitted with an adjustable rear wing system which will be used instead of the aforementioned “F-duct” system. Similar with the KERS system used two seasons ago, this adjustable rear wing will only be used under specific conditions. Basically, the drivers will be allowed to use it when they are within one second of the car in front of them. However, they cannot use it during the first two laps of the race, except if there is an early safety car. More than that, drivers will only be allowed to use the system on certain parts of the tracks which will be decided by Charlie Whiting. With this system, the cars will benefit from an additional 9.3 mph when passing and it will deactivate once the driver touches the brakes;

d)      For this upcoming season, the number of the wheel tethers will be doubled. The wheel tethers are the load-bearing cables that connect the wheel hubs to the bodywork. This decision was taken after several accidents that have occurred due to the reason that the wheels have been torn free of their mountings. In 2009 at Brands Hatch, the Formula Two driver Henry Surtees died because of this problem;

e)      Some of the smaller aerodynamic devices that we’ve seen last year will be prohibited for 2011. These include the “shark fins” developed by Mercedes, the flexible front splitters which were designed in order to lower the front ride height, the aerodynamic wheel spokes as well as the changes brought to the monocoque to create a “V”-shaped channel running the length of the car’s nose;

f)       The KERS system we’ve mentioned before will be optional during this season. In 2010 it was banned after the teams agreed not to use it;

g)      One important change is that the teams will have to use a gearbox for five races. Last year they were allowed to change it after only four GPs. The teams will be able to change an additional gearbox without getting penalized for the purpose of finishing a race;

h)      One change that I don’t agree with is that FIA has tightened the driving standards. What this means is that we won’t be seeing anymore overly-aggressive driving. In addition, drivers will be furthermore penalized if they go beyond the track’s boundaries in order to obtain an advantage;

i)        The latest change brought to the 2011 is the implementation of a curfew. This means that the personnel of the teams will not be able to access the track between the hours of midnight and 6 AM.

A very welcomed edition to this upcoming season is the HD broadcasting. The Formula One Management – FOM has announced that all of the races will be broadcasted in native HD starting with this year. In 2009 they experimented with this format at the Abu Dhabi GP. BBC and Germany’s Sky have already confirmed that they will broadcast the F1 season in high definition.

In 2012 we will see some other changes, including the use of biomass-derived fuels and more strict suspension regulations. One of the major changes will occur in 2013 when all the teams will have to use a new engine formula, replacing the current V8 2.4-litre with a 4-cylinder 1.6-litre unit.

2011 Formula One Season Preview – The Calendar

The 2011 F1 season is only one month away and we thought to keep you up to date about the latest changes regarding the calendar. In September last year, after the reunion of the governing body’s World Motor Sport Council – WMSC in Paris, they finalized the calendar, making the upcoming season the longest, featuring 20 races.

The season will debut on March 13th in Bahrain and will end very late in Brazil, at the end of November, which is two weeks later in comparison to the 2010 season. The reason behind this decision was that they had to introduce the Indian Grand Prix which will be held on October 30th for the very first time.

Here is the complete calendar of the upcoming 2011 Formula One season:

March 13 Bahrain Grand Prix Sakhir
March 27 Australian Grand Prix Melbourne
April 10 Malaysian Grand Prix Sepang
April 17 Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai
May 8 Turkish Grand Prix Istanbul
May 22 Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona
May 29 Monaco Grand Prix Monte Carlo
June 12 Canadian Grand Prix Montreal
June 26 European Grand Prix Valencia
July 10 British Grand Prix Silverstone
July 24 German Grand Prix Nürburgring
July 31 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungaroring
August 28 Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps
September 11 Italian Grand Prix Monza
September 25 Singapore Grand Prix Marina Bay
October 9 Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka
October 16 Korean Grand Prix Yeongam
October 30 Indian Grand Prix New Delhi
November 13 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina
November 27 Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos

It is very possible that in 2012 we will have another race on the calendar, organized on the streets of Rome. This new race is programmed to run in addition to the Italian Grand Prix, which is still organized at Monza on September 11th. The last time when Italy was the host of two GPs was back in 2006 when besides Monza, the F1 calendar featured the San Marino GP at Imola.

Ferrari F150 Launched

Ferrari F150

Ferrari is hoping that with the help of their new F150 racer they will grab the title in the upcoming Formula One season which should be the most interesting in its long and exciting history. The new car is the company’s 57 single-seater F1 racer and features a bundle of innovative characteristics, most of them due to the new season regulations imposed by FIA.

This new F150 model features a different dimension fuel cell, the KERS system and a new hydraulically controlled adjustable rear wing. The power is provided by the V8 2398 cm3 cast aluminum Type 056 engine with electronic injection and ignition. With a weight of less than 100 kg, the engine will send the power to the rear wheels of the F150 with the help of a longitudinal semiautomatic, sequential electronically controlled transmission with 7 gears + reverse. In addition, the car has a limited slip differential. The weight of the F1 car is only 640 kg.

Ferrari F150

The Ferrari F150 is built on a very light carbon fiber and honeycomb structure and features an independent suspension system that has push-rod activated torsion springs. To stop the car, the engineers at the company installed carbon-fiber disc brakes developed by Brembo. The F150 rides on 13-inch BBS rims.

Alonso hopes that this new F1 racer will bring him the third title in his career. We’ll have to wait and see if he can beat the Red Bulls this year.

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F1 Vs GT3

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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps located in Belgium is one of the most popular in the world, the home of many racing events, ranging from touring car competitions and ending with the most important one – Formula One. If you go on the course using a production car, you might feel that you are Michael Schumacher and that there is nobody else faster than you. The video here is the living proof that you are wrong.

Although this isn’t something new to most of us, it is very interesting to see how much faster is a Formula One car around a series of highs-speed turns. This video was made by someone at VWVortex’s Car Lounge who decided to do an overlay of two videos of the same corner, and although these two don’t line up as you might have hoped, you get the idea.

For those of you that didn’t consider Formula One the mother of all racing competitions out there, this should convince you as you can easily see that these cars are blazing fast in comparison to any other vehicle out there, no wonder teams invest millions and millions of dollars for every drop of performance, the result is what you see in this video.


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Lotus – A Racing Legend

Ayrton Senna's 1985 Lotus JPS

The question: “Who is Lotus?” has several answers of equal importance. Lotus is without any doubt one of the most famous sports cars manufacturers in the world and also a successful Formula 1 team that managed to win 73 races in its history with famous drivers like Mario Andretti and Jim Clark.

The origins of the company go back to 1952 when the late Colin Chapman opened a company named “Lotus Engineering Ltd”. In its first years, Lotus competed in sports car categories and by 1958 the company diversified and entered the F1 championship. Team Lotus was created as a separate company from Lotus engineering and went on to dominate the championship. Chapman became famous as an innovator, both in the car design and business as he was the one that introduced the concept of aerodynamics and sponsorship to the sport. Team Lotus won seven constructor’s championships, six drivers’ titles, 73 GP wins as well as over 100 pole-positions.

After the death of Chapman, the Lotus Company during the 80s and 90s wasn’t very successful but the team still was responsible for introducing some of the best drivers, like Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen, both future world champions. In 1985, Team Lotus provided legend Ayrton Senna with his very first racing winning car. All of these successes were not enough for the company which eventually folded in 1994 due to the high debts that new owner David Hunt wasn’t able to pay off.

The Lotus name in Formula One was revived by Tony Fernandez who formed a team named 1Malaysia Racing which he wanted to race in the 2010 F1 championship. He wanted to attract some big names and asked Lotus to use the name for the team. Dany Bahar, Lotus Car boss agreed to Tony’s request as he always wanted on returning the Lotus name to F1. He was a formed brand manager for Ferrari and he immediately recognized the marketing potential of the sport and was hoping to market Lotus just like Ferrari. This method would involve Lotus purchasing a team and rely on television and press coverage to advertise the Lotus Company to the entire world, something Bahar thinks to be more effective than traditional poster and television campaigns.

Tony’s tactic paid off as he managed to attract respected designers like Mark Smith and Mike Gasgoyne plus racing winning drivers like Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. This team went on becoming the best of the newcomers in 2010 and allowed Fernandez to think about a more promising 2011. With the support of Red Bull’s hydraulic package and gearbox, 2011 looks like a very interesting year for Lotus in F1.

Fans of Lotus think that the strong performances of Fernandez’s team are the continuation of Chapman’s team established 50 years ago. In order to emphasize this connection, Fernandez organized several events, including the 50th anniversary of the company’s first F1 success. At the event, many of the members of the old team Lotus participated to celebrate the anniversary. Fernandez also tried to acquire the rights of the “Team Lotus” name for the next year from David Hunt. This name was the original one of the team which Hunt still owned and he claims that because “Lotus Cars” and “Team Lotus” had always operated as separate firms, Fernandez would not need the permission of Lotus Cars to call his team “Lotus” and as a consequence, wouldn’t be a subject to the Bahar’s demands.

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However, Dany didn’t agree to this as he believes that his firm owns the “Group Lotus” and claims that the “Team Lotus” is equally a part as “Lotus Cars”. To sustain his opinion, he took legal actions against Tony Fernandez in order to stop him using the “Team Lotus” name. At the same time, Bahar still was wishing for F1 participation and purchased a stake in the ART Racing group. ART has teams in both GP2 and GP3 competitions and plans on entering F1 somewhere in the upcoming future. Due to lack of funding, the company wasn’t able to participate in the 2010 season but with the help of Bahar, it will most likely enter F1 in 2013 as Lotus ART. 2013 will be the year when there will be massive regulation changes, giving them enough time to prepare for the new restrictions and regulations.

It wasn’t long before Bahar started to doubt regarding if his legal actions will be a success or not and started searching for a possibility to enter Lotus Cars in F1 in 2011. Bahar was aware of the fact that Fernandez doesn’t have any options to stop him naming another team Lotus and he hoped that Fernandez will then realize that it wouldn’t be beneficial for either of the parties to have two teams wearing the same name and as a consequence would sell eventually the “Team Lotus” name to Bahar.

The latter was lucky because Renault was looking at altering the company’s strategy and planned selling 25% of its share in the Formula 1 team and instead begin supplying engines to a couple of teams. It is stated that Bahar wanted to buy Renault’s stake of the F1 team and supply majority shareholder Genni Capital with extra $30 million annually to run the team, using the Lotus Renault name.

This provided Bahar with access to the negotiations and sources say that he requested that Renault stipulate in the contract that Fernandez could only get Renault power units if he agreed to drop the Lotus name. The latter gave up on the Lotus name and Renault announced that it will be supplying engines to 1Malaysia Racing Team.

Fernandez did not give up and he announced that he will be using a black & gold livery on the Lotus cars for the 2011 season. Without any doubt, there will be a Lotus team in F1, but we don’t know if it will be the old Renault team or Fernandez’s team. Either way, it will be more competitive.

Source: FOFF.com