Di Grassi plays down Pirelli test role rumours

F1 Fanatic round-up

Former Virgin driver Lucas di Grassi has played down rumours he will take over from Pedro de la Rosa as Pirelli’s test driver.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Lucas di Grassi on Twitter

“The news about Pirelli test driver role are just speculation at this stage but sure it would be interesting to understand the tyre better.”

Via the Live F1 Twitter app

Trouble ahead for Force India (Joe Saward)
Liuzzi: Shoulda Woulda Coulda? (Who Are You, Anyway?)

Two very different perspectives on Vitantonio Liuzzi’s departure from Force India. You can read my view from June last year here:

Hulkenberg eyes race seat for 2012 (Autosport)

“Well, of course I’d rather be a race driver, but the most important is that I stay within the F1 circus.”

A Look At The 2011 Sundance Film Festival (NPR)

I’m really interested to read views on the “Senna” movie from non-F1 fans so if you spot any do share them with me via the usual means:

“Another film I want to just jump in here with and I think listeners would probably do well to keep an eye out for it, there’s a movie called “Senna.” It’s a story of the Brazilian racecar driver Ayrton Senna, and I knew nothing about Formula One racing coming in. The movie is so gripping, you can’t help but be moved by it by the time it’s all over. And I think that movie is going to get a nice commercial release.”

A commentator’s nightmare reborn: Interview with Mark Blundell & Martin Brundle (The Times Leader)

Interview by F1 Fanatic contributor Gerard Hetman.

‘It’s the pits': F1 legend Nikki [sic] Lauda complains over Austrian version of Strictly which featuring ‘gay dancing’ numbers (Daily Mail)

“Formula One legend Niki Lauda has caused a storm in his native Austria after demanding that the man who inspired the comedy character Bruno be prevented from ‘gay dancing’ on state TV.”

Ridley Scott behind TV racing drama series (Adam Cooper)

“The series is based on the book, Shelby: The Man, The Cars, the Legend written by Cobra/GT40 expert Wallace A Wyss, and according to FME ‘??tells the true story of wild young drivers from the US, Germany, France, Italy and Britain, friends and rivals, amateurs risking everything for a shot on the tracks.'”

Full interview: Damon Hill, 1996 F1 World Champ (3 news)

Short video interview with Damon Hill.

Laguna Seca on Google Streetview

Thanks to Ajokay for the tip

Will IndyCar be on UK Television in 2011?

“IndyCar?s contract with Sky Sports ran its course at the end of last year and a replacement deal has yet to be announced.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

As we head into the latter stages of Champion of Champions people are having to grapple with increasingly tough choices. Here’s how Melkurion worked it out yesterday:

I so much want to vote Lauda, so much respect for the man.

But I have to be honest, and no matter what my heart says, Prost was clearly the better driver, even though I strongly believed he was past his prime after 1990, and only won the ’93 title because of the car, and he still made hard work of that.

But missing out in ’83 and ’84 by such narrow margins?? no, Prost has to be the clear winner here

From the forum

The F1 Fanatic Rolling Trivia Quiz is about to become the first thread to hit 100 pages!

Site updates

Biographies for all the 2011 F1 drivers announced so far have been updated. The four new additions are here:

And you can find the rest via the links at the foot of the page as usual.

Happy birthday!

Two F1 Fanatic reader birthdays today – all the best to TNFOX and Shelley Lee!

On this day in F1

Rene Arnoux scored his first ever F1 win in the 1980 Brazilian Grand Prix. He won the last race on the old Interlagos circuit for Renault.

Image ?? Virgin Racing

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65 comments on Di Grassi plays down Pirelli test role rumours

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 27th January 2011, 0:04

    Just thought I’d show you this: one of the best racing car liveries I’ve seen in a long time – Grey Murphy’s new Pepsi Max Commodore for the V8 Supercars.


  2. Gridlock said on 27th January 2011, 0:11

    I’d like to say that rumours of my taking Gary Paffet’s role at McLaren are just speculation at this stage but it would be interesting to understand the car better.

  3. Hamish said on 27th January 2011, 0:21

    That is very nice. The first thing that will always come to my mind with Murphy is his horrific crash in a formula Atlantic at Manfield about 15 years ago. Long story short front straight, 260kph, stuck throttle pedal. Murphy clears the tyre/sponsor walls and his car is momentarily caught by some pine trees roughly 15m up, before succumbing to gravity. I was about 50m from the accident and was amazing that he was able to walk away from it given how brutal it was.

  4. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 0:33

    Niki Lauda is an antiquated relic who would do well to keep his mouth shut about topics he has no business speaking on. Homophobia, like racism, should not be tolerated in the 21st century.

    • Gridlock said on 27th January 2011, 0:37

      But your opinion should be heard?

      • Hamish said on 27th January 2011, 0:55

        Peter/The horse whisperer does have a valid point however.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 3:02

          Thank you? I’m not quite sure how I should take being compared to the horse whisperer… that’s a low blow.

          • Hamish said on 27th January 2011, 3:52

            Nah mate, don’t take offence. More to do with someone else telling lauda to shut his mouth in recent times.

          • US_Peter said on 27th January 2011, 23:15

            Oh, gotcha. I’d forgotten about that. In hindsight maybe he was right!

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 3:01

        But your opinion should be heard?

        My opinion’s not important, and Lauda’s entitled to his opinion just like the rest of us. It’s just disappointing when someone who’s supposed to act as a role model outs himself as a homophobe. I have lots of gay friends, and have very low tolerance for that kind of prejudice.

        • Dobin1000 said on 27th January 2011, 8:06

          I agree. It is disappointing, and yes everyone is entitled to their opinion but also everyone else is entitled to point out if their opinions make them a homophobe.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 8:17

          Fully agree. Sure, Niki can say what he wants and someone will air it or write about it as he is allways good for a quote.

          But hearing him tell us, how he is not homophobic and continuing with expressing his concerns …
          He even “has some in his airline” – what kind of species is he talking about? Certainly not the perfectly normal people on this planet who just happen to be gay?

          I do find some of those shows far to much of a celebrity show yourself, but that is not Niki’s worry.

          Boo Niki – will this still influence voting on the champion of champions round? At least we can show our feeling about this in the vote!

        • Dobin1000 said on 27th January 2011, 8:34

          Then again F1 is a sport which attracts many fans who don’t believe women as a sex are capable of being top drivers, so I’m not too surprised that someone involved in it displays lazy prejudices.

          • Feynman said on 27th January 2011, 10:18

            You’re not wrong mate … it can be a right depressing state of affairs.

            Lazy sexism, homophobia, racism, narrow nationalistic xenophobia all freely paraded to and from the peanut gallery; the extremes of crass baseless commercialism and empty soulless consumerism; races laid on for utterly unacceptable medieval regimes, with similar regimes bankrolling huge chunks of it; a corrupt sporting administration; and all for the service of CVC money-men and their Monte Carlo style, no added value, leveraged buyout.

            Sometimes wonder why we bother.

            Lauda has unfortunately outed himself as a daft old clown.
            These guys were paid to pedal, there’s a pretty good argument for them keeping it zipped after they are no longer required as such. They weren’t paid to pontificate, they’re “sports stars”.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 27th January 2011, 1:19

      Aren’t we all just little chicks squabbling in the nest of humanity?

      Ahhh, mankind, alas, where is your future..

      • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 27th January 2011, 8:26

        That’s great, but who did you vote for Prost or Lauda??

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 9:28

          Hm, I am now a bit disappointed to say it, but I did vote for Lauda. I would change now, though. Should have waited a bit before voting!

          Prost’s recent media comments aren’t hardly that bad (saying he does not believe Schumi can get to the level he had at his prime), more a bit of stating the obvious. Although he can judge from his own experience more than most of us onlookers.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 18:14

            I think they should all be voted on for their merits. That said though, being an ambassador for the sport is part of being a champion, and we are voting on who made the best champion…

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 18:15

            Whoops. Put that in the wrong spot. That was in response to BasCB’s comment above.^

    • Niki Lauda can be as homophobic as he likes – just as long as he does it in the privacy of his own home without hurting anyone, not in the media where I have to explain it to my children.

  5. James said on 27th January 2011, 1:37

    A very interesting post by Joe Saward. Depending on how water tight and all encompassing Liuzzi’s contract is/was, I wonder if we have seen the end of this. Contracts in big money sports are not really tangable objects any more. Top levels of football, such as the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga show this. Big money and big players transfered like trading cards – F1 isnt too different.

    Morally, yes, it’s unfair and wrong that Liuzzi has been shoved – but businessmen dont often think about morals, just ask the bankers taking big bonuses in the UK this month…

    • Hamish said on 27th January 2011, 1:55

      I usually give Joe the benefit of the doubt on his reporting. He does offer an interesting insight and the majority of his stories are the first of which they have been reported in the public arena.

      His justification behind Liuzzi is past ridiculous however. Hes stuck up for him since day one and now he puts it down to ethics. I’m sorry mate but to have spygate, liegate, crashgate, pantsaroundankleswithsixhookers-gate and only now to raise the issue of ethics in F1……

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 3:07

        Agreed. If he’s that big a supporter for Liuzzi he should just admit it instead of trying to claim it’s down to the ethics of how he’s being fired. What I find a bit odd is that for all we know Liuzzi has already been paid off or lined up to race for HRT. Maybe Saward has some inside knowledge that he hasn’t been compensated. I imagine we’ll probably hear something one way or the other fairly soon.

        • Saward still argues that tonio was as fast if not faster than sutil when his car was okay…

          Can you really believe that rubbish!!

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 8:19

          Might still be that Mallya did not want to pay what Kolles is asking for the seat so there was no agreement (yet?).

          Certainly Joe is right in saying, that Mallya is not the best guy for keeping to contracts, see post by Vicky Chandhok and several others from India in the comments to the article yesterday.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 27th January 2011, 8:45

            Having checked with him it seems the comment was from someone pretending to be him. Have taken it down.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 8:56

            thanks for the feedback Keith. A shame people keep pretending to be known people instead of just stating their own opinion under their own name.

      • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 27th January 2011, 7:18

        Must say I was very disappointed at Joe in his replies to people who commented (yet again). He called someone’s opinion “garbage” and is just waaaay too defensive.

        He’s quite obviously a sycophant to Liuzzi for some unknown reason, which isn’t a problem, but when he’s called up on it, he gets rather scatty. I verged on removing his blog from my favourites list after reading some of the replies.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 9:01

          But Saward does get deep into details of who does what, look at this post http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/meanwhile-in-germany/
          where he gets into some detail of what HRT (actually mostly Kolles) are doing right now. Seems he was in touch with Kolles on the phone (see one of his reactions to comments).

          I do get almost the feeling as if he is trying to do his own part, possibly rallying to put a bit of pressure on Mallya to “do the decent thing” and help Liuzi into the HRT seat.
          But why not, it could be a fun team with raving Tonio, Narain the fanfriendly and a freak design by the guy who did graphics desing for movies like TRON3D!

    • Feynman said on 27th January 2011, 9:14

      Poor ol’ Joe … can’t get moving in his loft for boxes of brand new Liuzzi T-shirts and now this hammerblow, he’ll be lumbered with the lot.

  6. Haplo (@) said on 27th January 2011, 2:08

    Here’s one review of the Senna documentary…

    best regards!

  7. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 27th January 2011, 2:13

    That’s the best Hulk can make from 2011 season, I am sure there will be someone who will grab him in 2012.

  8. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 27th January 2011, 3:20

    Keith, what’s happened to the tag buttons above the comment box? Were those nixed in the server move? Looks like the recent comments feed on the community page has gone as well…

  9. Argent (@argent) said on 27th January 2011, 3:35


    I fail to see what Lauda’s opinion of a same-sex dancing show has to do with motorsport—it’s much more of a socio-political issue, and a divisive, polarizing one at that.

    Hopefully IndyCar will stick around for you all on the other side of the pond. The series will definitely be getting much more intriguing in the coming years what with the new engine and aero regulations. There are already more road and street courses on the calendar than ovals, so Indy is heading in the right direction for a global racing series; it would be a shame to have reduced exposure.

    • no Lauda’s comment don’t have anything to do with motorsport. But Lauda is still an F1 personality, so I can completely understand why news about him makes it onto this site. News about any F1 personality gets on here.

      Sir Stirling’s fall down an elevator shaft had nothing to do with motorsport – it’s much more of an engineering issue. But, rightly, it made the news roundup.

    • Adam Tate said on 27th January 2011, 8:07

      Living in Texas, F1 coverage is not very widespread, as you would expect, but I am fortunate to live near Texas Motor Speedway and have attended several Indycar races. I sure hope you guys can catch the next Indy season over there across the pond, and especially the 2012 season. I think it may be a good predictor for how F1’s own massive rule changes will go down the following year.

  10. matt90 (@matt90) said on 27th January 2011, 3:51


    This is one of the most amazing, ridiculous, vulgar and awesome things I’ve ever seen.

  11. Keith:

    Do you know when the testing begins? which teams are expected to run new cars? which drivers are gonna take part in testing?

  12. BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th January 2011, 8:25


  13. Zindon said on 27th January 2011, 14:45


    Any news on the mobile version of the site? I much preferred it when using my phone.

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