F1 Fanatic round-up: 5/2/2010

Today round three of the GP2 Asia championship takes place at Abu Dhabi – three months after rounds one and two which took place at the same venue supporting the F1 Grand Prix.

British fans can watch live coverage on Eurosport at 2pm, and there will be a report up on F1 Fanatic afterwards. There’s a lot of promising future F1 talent in the field, especially because this year’s GP2 main series will have its season finale at the Yas Island circuit.

Charles Pic is on pole position but will likely come under serious pressure from the iSport duo Oliver Turvey and Davide Valsecchi, who start behind him. Jules Bianchi, who is backed by Ferrari, and American Alexander Rossi are also worth keeping an eye on.

In case you hadn’t guessed, yes, I am rather looking forward to watching my first race of 2010! Here’s the Friday round-up:

Links

Le Mans 24 Hours 2010 entry list (ACO)

Some interesting names on the entry list for this year’s 24 Hour classic including Nigel Mansell. The 1992 world champion first tried to enter the race in the early eighties but was advised not to by his Lotus boss Colin Chapman.

Who’s up for some Le Mans 24 Hour live blogging this year?

Comment of the day

Quite a few people are disappointed that Nick Heidfeld won’t be racing this year after signing for Mercedes as their third driver. Steph90 offers some thoughts on why it’s not such a bad deal for him:

I can’t really blame him for going for a third driver role with Merc. Schumi is a driving master but he’s 41, retired once and the FIA may have given him the all clear with his neck but doubts will still linger. A three year contract is quite a long one and it looks like the grid will be extremely competitive so Michael could get frustrated. It’s a long shot but it is a shot. Nick clearly wants a go at a big team after so long in F1 and settling for a smaller team would confirm his career is in decline, Renault are unsteady and have a bad few years so maybe this was worth the risk.
Steph90

Noticeboard

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Site updates

There was a brief period of downtime yesterday due to a glitch with the new server which has been fixed.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Giorgio Pantano turns 31 today. The Italian looks likely to remain the only GP2 champion not to move up to F1, though of course he did previously start races for Jordan in 2004.

Pantano won the GP2 title in 2008 having spent many years competing at that level. None of the F1 teams were interested in signing him for 2009.

But all the top three drivers from last year’s GP2 season have F1 seats this year – Nico H?â??lkenberg, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi – plus 16th-placed Kamui Kobayashi. Romain Grosjean placed fourth last year despite cutting his season short to race for Renault in F1.

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37 comments on F1 Fanatic round-up: 5/2/2010

  1. Classic can the sauber car get any better?

    (Taken from F1 new site)

    Peter Sauber has revealed that the VW motor group have made inquiries about taking a major shareholding in his team. This would make it the BMW-Sauber Audi Ferrari.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 5th February 2010, 0:53

      Well, VW have said they might be interested in a future F1 program …

    • There have been so many rumours regarding the Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft in F1, that I’ve come to say, I’ll believe it when I’ll see it.

      However, Sauber is a mighty interesting partner, even though the team is based in Switzerland.

      • GeeMac said on 5th February 2010, 8:29

        The name of the team is a shocker at present, so why don’t they just go the whole hog and change the name of the team to “BMW Sauber Audi Ferrari VW Seat Skoda Lamborghini”!

        I know they entered as BMW Sauber initially and then BMW pulled out, but Virgin entered as Manor Cosworth and they aren’t Manor Virgin Cosworth! I know there are issues with the rights the team is entitled to by keeping the BMW Sauber name, but sanity should prevail and the team should go by the name “Sauber Ferrari” until such time as VW come on board, in which case the team should be allowed to change its name accordingly.

        • Rob A said on 5th February 2010, 8:42

          The thing wtih Manor changing name to Virgin is that they had no prize/TV money to lose by doing so, either way they’re a new entrant. Technically if BMW Sauber change name to Sauber they are a new entrant too and lose the BMW Sauber prize/TV money – hence the confusion. Hopefully a deal will be done and sanity will indeed prevail!

          BTW I am well up for some Le Mans 24hr blogging! I do hope it’s covered on ITV4 (or similar freeview-available channel) again this year??

          • GeeMac said on 5th February 2010, 9:29

            Can the team not enter as “BMW Sauber F1 Team” and run under the name “Sauber Ferrari”?

          • ajokay said on 5th February 2010, 10:20

            I don’t care what this year’s entry sheet says they’re called, I shall be calling them ‘Sauber Ferrari’, because thats what thay are.

        • Peter said on 5th February 2010, 13:20

          They could just call it Bugatti.

  2. Ratboy said on 5th February 2010, 0:41

    Not just “our Nige” but a whole yeam of them?
    I wonder if they’ll have matching moustaches?

    • That would be a cool gimmick. And maybe the car can have a mustache, too, like Chick Hicks from Cars. :D

      • Hairs said on 5th February 2010, 8:23

        The Mansell Team, driven by Mansell, Mansell and Mansell. Odds on Mansell taking two goes and leaving one of his kids on the sidelines? “Competitive Dad” from the Fast Show… I’ll give you 11-4.

        “That’s 27 of the Queen’s Runs”.

  3. ElliottB said on 5th February 2010, 1:06

    I’d love to get into live blogging, especially the 24 hours of Le Mans

  4. There´s only one car manufacturer i would like to see in F1 and that is Volvo!
    If the Sauber car proves to be good this year, i am sure they´ll have offers to buy it, but some sucess of the car till the moment may be due to the Ferrari motor they have in the car. Sometimes it may get a little confusing Sauber-BMW = Ferrari, hummm

  5. Atanu (@ilovevettel) said on 5th February 2010, 7:45

    A bit off topic… Where is the forum threads currently.. I was out of touch with the site for a month due to my relocations and wedding etc :) Now I cant find the forum links :(

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th February 2010, 10:05

      Forum’s been down since the server move because of some technical problems. I’m doing some work on it today actually.

    • Wesley said on 5th February 2010, 22:34

      Congratulations!…..did you marry Vettel?:)

      I agree with Steph.Heidfeld is better off waiting for Schumacher to pull out early because of neck problems or whatever,rather than trolling around at the back of the pack at one of the new teams.

  6. spark said on 5th February 2010, 8:33

    I think I read somewhere that Sauber might only be able to change their name once. They are probably waiting for a decent sponsor!

  7. fanmercedesgp said on 5th February 2010, 8:57

    It is really an unfortunate situation for Quick Nick. He is one of those drivers who should be an automatic choice for any active driver seat. But as all the top teams like Mclaren & ferrari got the cream of the drivers and mercedes getting michael schumacher back, the only probable choice for Nick Heidfeld was Renault Seat. But the kind of issues renault has faced in the last few years must have turned him negative. I agree with steph90 about the approximate tenure of Schumi in Formula1 which can provide a real opportunity for Nick to probably fight for championship with mercedes in coming years. Don’t worry Nick I Know the kind of caliber you have as formula 1 driver we will definitely going to see you on grid very soon. All the best Quick Nick. You will come back with bang.

  8. Invoke said on 5th February 2010, 10:11

    I was hoping for some GP2 coverage, nice to know its on Eurosport. Thanks for the heads up Keith!

  9. ajokay said on 5th February 2010, 10:27

    I’d love to write a guest article one day, if I can get my opinions straight and eloquence in gear. Just what to write about, though.

  10. Alexander Rossi is indeed worth keeping an eye on, and I hope US F1 think so too, but he’s been demoted to the back of the grid after qualifying fifth.

  11. Invoke said on 5th February 2010, 10:35

    As there are no forums at the moment I hope its ok to plonk this here…

    Just looking through my rss feeds this morning I found Joe Saward had some interesting comments about Stefan GP to make:

    “I was simply trying to suggest that Stefan GP is being used to keep someone else out of the sport”

    “I cannot prove a word of it! And those involved might get upset at the suggestion. But there you have it. That is what I think”

    I’ve been intrigued by the Stefan GP story so far, I know you have run a couple of articles on them Keith, what does everyone make of it all?

  12. Peter said on 5th February 2010, 12:30

    I see the Lamborgini Murcielago is back on the Le Mans grid. Last year I was sitting right in front of the pit box and it did 1 lap that took about 45 minutes. That was the end of it. Maybe someone can explain to the Japanase squad what 24h racing means?

  13. jose arellano said on 5th February 2010, 19:07

    keith. what happened to the forum ??

  14. Ilanin said on 5th February 2010, 19:31

    Does anybody other than me find it strange how statements commenting on Kobayashi’s performance in GP2 are always framed as Keith has above, “Nico Hülkenberg, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi – plus 16th-placed Kamui Kobayashi.”, and not “Nico Hülkenberg, Vitaly Petrov and Lucas di Grassi – plus GP2 Asia champion Kamui Kobayashi.” ?

  15. Wow, Nigel Mansell in Le Mans…

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