Formula One

Formula One’s rule is beating other teams. In McLaren Mercedes, British rookie Lewis Hamilton, with 70 points, leads the driver’s championship by two points against teammate two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. Inside the Scuderia team, there is a scorching rivalry between Felipe Massa with 59 points and Kimi Raikkonen with 52.

The McLaren and Ferrari battle is heightened by their driver’s close scores. In the Bavarian team, next to Nick Heidfeld with 36 points is Robert Kubica with 24. Giancarlo Fisichella flaunts 17 points while teammate Heikki Kovalainen garners 17. Teammates are their closest rivals.

The 22-year-old Briton is having some nose-to-nose clash of points with the 26-year-old Spaniard driver. An air of it is reflected in the new 60-second McLaren Mercedes promotional ad, which also featured the legendary driver of the team – Mika Häkkinen.

How blistering is the rivalry? With seven races remaining, Hamilton and Alonso are separated by only two points.

Despite the alleged espionage and the threat of a possible expulsion still hanging over McLaren, the team is positive this Formula One season would not just turn out to be phenomenal but blissful as well.

Currently, the team is getting ready for the Hungarian Grand Prix to dig a favorable finish. The drivers do not get too confident because they know they still have bigger fish to fry…


 Bernie Ecclestone

Formula One’s Bernie Ecclestone has made his position clear in the spying scandal even before the emergency World Motor Sport Council started. He said that the ‘nonsense’ issue is taking the attention away from the tracks. Following the FIA’s decision not to penalize McLaren for possessing Ferrari documents, and Ferrari’s warning of pressing charges against McLaren, Ecclestone has been reported to have urged the Italian Formula One team to stop the nonsense and do not appeal.

But Ecclestone also pointed out that Ferrari has the right to do what they think is right. “If Ferrari think the wrong decision has been made they have every right to appeal and I think they will,” he said.

It can be remembered that the FIA found McLaren guilty of possessing Ferrari documents which were allegedly passed on to McLaren’s now suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan by former Ferrari senior engineer Nigel Stepney. McLaren, on the other hand, maintains that only Coughlan has knowledge of the documents.

Ferrari’s team Principal Jean Todt is obviously furious at this ruling. Allegedly, Stepney sent an email to Coughlan detailing the ‘flexible floor’ plan for the Ferrari cars.

Ferrari announced that they are planning to file charges against Stepney, Coughlan, and McLaren. McLaren’s engine partner though is still supporting the team, German automaker Mercedes-Benz which produces automobiles and auto parts and it also supplies engines to the Formula One team. Mercedes-Benz’ competition chief, Norbert Haug, said: “I’m not worried. We’re cleaner than clean.”

 Ferrari Team

Ferrari is not satisfied that McLaren is not punished. The World Motor Sport Council called by the FIA found McLaren guilty of possessing technical data owned by Ferrari. This has angered Ferrari. Scuderia Ferrari’s chief executive Jean Todt is also furious at the ruling. He accused McLaren’s team principal Ron Dennis of signing an agreement of trust between the two teams while at the same time is aware that a spy is working inside Ferrari.

“I replied that I found it impossible to believe him because we had seen that certain commitments had always been disregarded by McLaren,” said Todt. “There was an exchange of views and, believing in their good faith, I agreed to sign this agreement on June 9. So, on the one hand, they had come to say ‘let us trust one another’ and, on the other, they were hiding serious facts but making no effort to inform us as would have been in the spirit and to the letter of our agreement.”

Todt pointed out that since McLaren was found guilty, they should be punished. “There is not even a sign of logic in this verdict. Either they are guilty or they aren’t. McLaren were found responsible of having violated the regulations of F1, of having behaved in a fraudulent manner, but they haven’t been punished,” he shared.

McLaren though was not found guilty of having used the Ferrari data on their cars which would have given them immense advantage over the Italian team. If the FIA punished McLaren that would either come in form of a monetary fine docking points from the team and drivers. Currently, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are leading the race to the championship.

David Coulthard of Red Bull

For nine races this season before the European Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing’s highest ever finish this season is a fifth place taken by British Formula One driver David Coulthard. But at the race in Nürburgring, the duo of Coulthard and Mark Webber collected more points than in the nine races combined.

Before the European Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing only has six points. But at the Euro Grand Prix, Webber finished third, his second career podium finish for six points while Coulthard finished fifth for four points. Webber and Coulthard even outpaced the pair of BMW Sauber and Renault. BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld finished sixth and Robert Kubica finished seventh. Obviously, Webber and Coulthard are pleased with their performance. Eventually though, Winkelhock would not finish the race as his car’s hydraulics malfunctioned.

“I am really happy about it – I was leading my home Grand Prix! Unfortunately then we had a hydraulic problem and I had to stop. The target for me was to finish, but I know that not getting there was not down to me, so I am really pleased with what I achieved,” said Winkelhock after the race.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton believes McLaren will be exonerated at next week’s hearing into the Formula One “spy” scandal, reports BBC Sport. Hamilton, teammate Fernando Alonso and the entire McLaren team face the prospect of having points docked or even ejected off the championship competition if they are found guilty of breaking the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile rules. McLaren boss Ron Dennis has unwaveringly maintained his and his team’s innocence in the whole affair since news broke of Coughlan’s suspension on 3 July. It was alleged by the Scuderia team that some of the members of McLaren, including Martin Whitmarsh, were aware of the Ferrari documents. “I know the team is working hard on it,” says Hamilton, who is struggling to overcome a ‘flu bug in time for Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Germany.

“I do feel they are one of the most honest teams out there,” says Hamilton. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s goal will be to get well for Sunday’s Nurburgring race.

Renaults Giancarlo Fisichella

BMW Sauber is currently third in the constructors’ championship standing behind McLaren and Ferrari. Renault is last year’s champion but is currently caught up in a contest with third place BMW Sauber.

At the Canadian and United States Grands Prix, the French contingent stepped up their game to catch up with BMW Sauber.

Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella is confident that his team has what it takes to overtake BMW Sauber in the constructors’ championship. The plan now is for Renault to catch up with and overtake BMW Sauber.

At the two recent races though, BMW Sauber increased its lead over the French team. The German-Swiss Formula One team now has a 25 point lead over Renault. Renault’s technical director Bob Bell is in agreement with Fisichella.

Felipe MassaRains showers limited the number of laps the drivers spent on the tracks. Ferrari’s Felipe Massa posted the fastest lap time on the second day of testing with a lap time of 1 minute and 46.698 seconds. Taking over test driving duties for McLaren, double world champion Fernando Alonso posted the second fastest lap time of the day. The team worked on adapting the car for dry and wet conditions.

The German Formula One driver started his run mid-morning after the weather postponed his run. Schumacher worked on various systems of his Formula One car like the car’s cooling system. Adrian Sutil completed the fastest five during the second day of testing. The German Formula One driver is driving for Spyker. The team’s chief race and test engineer Dominic Harlow has this to say about Sutil’s test session: “Adrian completed his initial setup work and tire evaluation before the familiar wet conditions set in over lunch”.

1. Massa – Ferrari – 1m21.506s
2. Webber – Red Bull Racing – 1m21.804s
3. Trulli – Toyota – 1m22.309s
4. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m22.378s
5. Alonso – McLaren – 1m22.579s
6. Kubica – BMW – 1m22.653s
7. Button – Honda – 1m22.765s
8. Davidson – Super Aguri – 1m23.027s
9. Speed – Toro Rosso – 1m23.713s
10. Albers – Spyker – 1m24.870s