Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome back, Formula 1

133 days have passed since we packed up in Abu Dhabi on 14th November 2010. In case you have been stuck in a cave somewhere, here are 133 things that have happened in F1 during the 'unusually and unbearably long' off-season period, which thankfully ends on 27th March 2011 in Australia. Enjoy!


1. McLaren launches MP4-26 in Berlin on 4th February 2011

2. Ferrari’s F150* makes it debut in Italy

3. Renault F1 (Fernando Alonso and Flavio Briatore’s old team) is now called Lotus-Renault and the new car is R31

4. Team Lotus retains its name (for now, pending the High Court hearing to decide whether or not both Lotus entries – Fernandes’ Team Lotus and Lotus Renault GP, formerly Renault F1 – should be permitted to use these names), and their car is T128

5. Virgin racing has new co-sponsor and is now called MarussiaVirgin Racing, 2011 car is the MVR-02

6. Force India’s team-name remains the same, but the new F1 car is called VJM04

7. Williams' new offering is the FW33

8. RB7 is the Red Bull 2011 car

9. Hispania Racing have returned in 2011 with the F111

10. Sauber finally get rid of 'BMW' and their car is called the C30

11. Mercedes GP's "MGP W02" easily wins the trophy for the longest F1 car name

12. Toro-Rosso return in 2011 with the STR6

Rule Changes

13. Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) makes a re-appearance this season

14. Adjustable rear-wings are now allowed

15. Double-diffusers are banned

16. Rear-wing slots, driver-operated F-Duct, Beam-Wing slots BANNED

17. New tyres: Bridgestone will no longer be used after 13 years in F1, Pirellis are the new tyre manufacturer and will have 6 different tyre options for F1 teams

18. Wheel Tethers: A second tether will be attached to each wheel to improve safety

19. Gearboxes have to last 5 races rather than 2010's four.

20. 107% rule now enforced: If a driver does not set a time within 107% of the fastest driver's time in the first Qualifying session, he will not be allowed to start the race

21. Team curfews come into effect: Team members are not permitted to work between 12 - 6am if practice starts at 10am (OR between 1 - 7am if practice starts at 11am)

22. The clause banning team orders has been removed i.e. Team Orders are now permitted

23. Stewards can now impose a wider range of penalties on drivers

24. Stricter floor load tests will be applied

Team mates

25. McLaren retains its driver line up of Lewis Hamilton (UK) and Jenson Button (UK)

26. Red Bull also keeps their 2010 line up i.e. Mark Webber (Australia) and Sebastian Vettel (Germany)

27. Michael Schmacher (Germany) has another go to show that his comeback is not a mistake with his Mercedes GP 2010 team mate Nico Rosberg (Germany)

28. Force India kick Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) out and replace him with Paul Di Resta (UK) whilst retaining Adrian Sutil (Germany)

29. Williams have let go of wonderkid Nico Hulkenberg in favour of sponsorship-backed Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela)

30. Toro Rosso keep their young’Uns Jamie Alguersuari (Spain) and Sebastien Buemi (Swiss)

31. Lotus-Renault had retained both Robert Kubica (Poland) and Vitaly Petrov (Russia) but Kubica had to be replaced due to his accident at Ronde de Andorra rally near the town of Testico, Italy

32. Sauber keep Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) and new entrant Sergio PĂ©rez (Mexico) replaces Pedro de la Rosa (Spain)

33. Virgin keeps Timo Glock (Germany), loses Luca Di Grassi (Brazil) and newbie Jerome D'Ambrosio (Belgium) joins the team

34. Hispania acquire a new driver Narain Karthikeyan whose team-mate was not announced till testing at Barcelona on March 10th 2011 to be Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy)

35. Team Lotus retain ‘veterans’ Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) and Jarno Trulli (Italy)

36. Ferrari return with Felipe Massa (Brazil) and Fernando Alonso (Spain)

Test and Reserve Drivers

37. McLaren retain Gary Paffett (UK) and have also named Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) as their reserve drivers

38. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) is Red Bull/Toro Rosso reserve driver

39. Mercedes "MGP W02" will be tested by GP2 front-runner Sam Bird

40. Sauber name Esteban Gutierrez (Mexico) as their reserve driver

41. Team Lotus have Davide Valsecchi, Luiz Razia and Ricardo Teixeira (First F1 driver from Angola) as test/reserve drivers.

42. Fairuz Fauzy (Malaysia) is signed up as tester for Lotus-Renault

43. Giorgio Mondini tested for HRT at Barcelona on 20th February 2011

44. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) remains a Ferrari test driver; Jules Bianchi is the reserve driver and Marc Gene stays on their books

45. Williams' test/reserve driver is Valtteri Bottas (Finland)

46. Force India acquire wonderkid Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) from Williams as their test driver

47. MarussiaVirgin announced that Yamamoto (Japan) will be their test driver on 23rd March (a few days before the Australian GP)

48. Karun Chandhok (India) has been named as the reserve driver for Team Lotus


49. Heikki Kovalainen at Race of Champions in an Audi R8, December 2010

50. Kubica injured during the Ronde de Andora rally near the town of Testico, Italy in Feb 2011. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) confirmed to replace Kubica at start of season

51. Bernie Ecclestone was attacked near his residence at Knightsbridge and showed his bruises in an advert campaign by Hublot

52. Timo Glock undergoes surgery for appendicitis

53. Jackie Stewart suffered a health scare recently during a return flight from Geneva motorshow - but he has since recovered.


54. Livery changes for Lotus-Renault: yellow and black replaced by black and gold to mark collaboration with the Lotus Group

55. Virgin Racing gets new sponsor Marussia and have changed their logo. The team is now called MarussiaVirgin Racing

56. Tabatha Valls is new Twitter commentator for MarussiaVirgin Racing,

57. *Ferrari has 'replaced' their car name with F150th - its 'initial' name of F150 is contested by Ford, who manufactures a truck called F150. Therefore to avoid any confusion, Ferrari’s 2011 car is now called the F150th Italia

58. BBC Commentators: Legard Out, Coulthard in

59. BBC 5Live commentator/report: Holly Samos Out, Natalie Pinkham in

60. Pat Fry moves from his role as design engineer at McLaren to join Ferrari


61. Lewis Hamilton has patched things up with his ex-manager, his dad, Anthony Hamilton. Hamilton Snr now manages Paul Di Resta of Force India.

62. Bernie Ecclestone is in favour of a woman leading the Formula 1 empire/organisation

63. There are rumours that the cancelled Bahrain race could be re-scheduled to later in the year, possibly close to the Abu Dhabi race

64. Webber rumoured to be earning half his RedBull team mate's salary of £10million. RedBull argue this pay difference is to avoid the current World Driver Champion being poached by other teams

65. Strong hints from Hamilton that he is open to other teams than McLaren; he is rumoured to have commented that he didn't want to have been in the sport for a decade but have only one WDC to his name.

66. Main rumour in the paddock is that McLaren will struggle this season due to lack of testing in the new MP4-26


67. Lewis Hamilton at the Brit Awards presenting an award for Best International Male Artist to Cee Lo Green

68. Jenson Button in a new Head and Shoulders advert

69. Lewis Hamilton in Reebok ZigTech advert

70. Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger leaving Harry's bar in London

71. McLaren’s Jenson Button drove on Australia’s iconic Mount Panorama circuit in a F1 race car on Tuesday 22 March.


72. Lewis Hamilton training in the hills of Switzerland with new Finnish trainer Antti Vierula

73. Jenson Button trains with Lance Armstrong in Hawaii in Jan 2011

74. Sauber drivers train at a special Sportzentrum Kerenzerberg fitness camp in Switzerland.


75. Goodwood Festival of Speed will be on 30th June 2011

76. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton will swap his car with Tony Stewart, and drive NASCAR in July 2011

77. F1 Rocks event at Bahrain to include David Guetta, Sugababes and headlined by Tinie Tempah, has had to be cancelled due to political unrest

78. Hamilton and Button film Red Nose Day video for Red Nose Day 2011 on March 18th 2011

79. Ayrton Senna movie premiered in Brazil on 3rd November 2010, UK Release expected by June 2011

Force Majeure (Earthquake, Political unrest etc)

80. Ex-HRT driver Yamamoto tweeted about the disastrous earthquake that hit Japan on Friday 11th March; saying "it was a sad day for the country"

81. An artist has put an oil painting of a 'combination of both McLaren drivers' up for auction to raise funds for the Japanese Earthquake relief effort

82. Jenson Button’s partner Jessica Michibata has set up a JustGiving page to raise money for Japan Earthquake survivors

83. Bahrain's protests have resulted in the cancellation of the GP2 race and also the 2011 F1 season opener in the Gulf state


84. Fernando Alonso rates former team-mate and great rival Lewis Hamilton as "a great driver and one of the fastest of the current Formula One grid"

85. Lewis Hamilton’s partner Nicole Scherzinger releases new single “Don’t Hold your breath” and performs on several UK shows

86.Polish church leaders hope that a drop of blood belonging to the late Pope John Paul II may help Robert Kubica return to Formula 1 before the end of the season.

87. BBC F1 Presenter Jake Humphrey has launched a campaign to #bringafriendtoF1 on Twitter

88. Martin Brundle finally joins Twitter and has predicted that the 'happy families' charade at McLaren will boil over into team-mate animosity this year

89. Jenson Button’s partner Jessica Michibata, releases new Workout DVD

90. Williams revealed the FW55 Livery at the end of February and announce a hospitality/catering partnership with Michael Caines, Michelin star chef

91. Bernie Ecclestone proposes 'artificial rain' idea to spice the races up.

92. McLaren drivers release a promo video about priority festivals' booking with Vodafone

93. McLaren ex-boss Ron Dennis is banned from driving after totting up 12 points in March 2011

94. Robert Kubica has several surgeries on his hand, elbow during the months of February and March 2011

95. Former Renault engineering director Pat Symonds, to return to Formula 1 in a consultancy role after agreeing a deal to help out the MarussiaVirgin Racing team.

96. Jenson Button discloses that he has never been in a team where team-mates have different parts on their cars, on BBC Sport website.

97. Mark Webber headed for Manchester to film 'Question of Sport'

98. Nicholas Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton's brother, joins Renault Clio Cup this year

99. Panda Security is named as new partners for HRT

100. Infiniti announce sponsorship of Red Bull , but won't re-brand their engine

101. Lewis Hamilton and Gary Paffett (McLaren reserve driver) thrill fans at German IT/Tech exhibition CeBit

102. Simon Fuller, manager for Andy Murray and David Beckham and friend to Ron Dennis has been announced as Lewis Hamilton's manager

103. Lewis Hamilton’s partner Nicole Scherzinger new single “Don’t Hold your breath” scored her a debut No 1 in the UK Charts on March 20th 2011, beating Adele off the No1 spot after 4 weeks on top.

104. Sebastian Vettel quells rumours of an imminent move to Ferrari by signing with RedBull till 2014

105. CNBC announce partnership of MarussiaVirgin racing team

106. Sauber announce a technical partnership with Mitsubishi Electric, a sister company of the Japanese carmakers

107. Mark Webber drives on Bolte Bridge in Melbourne

108. Sergio Perez has a demo run in his home country of Mexico on 26th Feb 2011

109. The F1 2010 videogame won a BAFTA award

110. Sauber the only F1 team with a Japanese driver (Kobayashi) will bear a message about the devastation in Japan on their C30 cars at the Australian GP.

111. Nico Rosberg will receive the Lorenzo Bandini trophy for 2011. The ceremony will be held on 5 June 2011 in Brisighella, Italy

112. McLaren's former chief engineer Pat Fry is to join Ferrari as their new assistant technical director. The experienced designer had been in charge of the MP4-26 (so Fry potentially has valuable information to take to Ferrari?)

113. Williams has floated its shares on the Frankfurt stock exchange


114. F1 Racing Magazine offers a trip to Abu Dhabi GP 2011 worth £5000

115. A facebook F1 Group has launched a Fantasy F1 2011 App

116. Autosport launch a Grand Prix Predictor competition

117. BadgerGP also has a predictor competition

118. Planet F1 Fantasy league costs £10 to enter, prizes include £5,000 in cash and a trip for two to the Spa GP in 2012 and £100 for each race winner

119. McLaren and Hugo Boss are giving fans the opportunity to design race suits for Hamilton and Button to mark 30-year partnership

120. Williams are offering fans a chance to win Pastor Maldonado's visor on their website

121. Zweeler and have also launched a F1 Fantasy game, entry fee is €7 and the top prize is €1600

122. F1 Losers League is a league for the Worst F1 drivers

123. F1 Fanatic blog has launched their 2011 Predictions Championship, with the chance to win 2012 Silverstone tickets

F1 Drivers in other 'roles'

124. Gary Paffett (McLaren F1 reserve and test driver) driving a DTM Car - AMG Mercedes-Benz C-Class

125. Anthony Davidson heads off to Sebring for his first race of the year in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup on Sat 19th with Alex Wurz & Marc Gene

126. Romain Grosjean, previously a driver for Renault F1 , is the new GP2 Asia champion

127. Karun Chandhok, who drove for HRT for part of 2010 season will join ESPNF1 website as a columnist.

128. Johnny Herbert will be the drivers' steward at the Australian GP


129. There is no change to Ferrari's team colour (red), but they now have the tricolore of the Italian flag on their car's rear wing

130. Lotus-Renault opt for black and gold livery (in homage to old Lotus)

131. HRT makes a departure from 2010 livery of grey and opt for a white, red and black livery with plenty of space for new sponsors

132.Red Bull retain their navy blue and red livery

133. No major changes to Mercedes, Team Lotus, Toro Rosso, McLaren, Force India, Sauber, Williams' cars.