Archive for January 18th, 2008

Robert Kubica

Testing continued today for the BMW Sauber squad in Valencia. In the morning the team lost some time due to a mechanical problem with the power steering on Nick Heidfeld’s car.However, later on he continued with set-up work on the F1.08 and was able to cover 91 laps. Team-mate Robert Kubica completed 42 laps in the F1.07. “Apart from this morning we had no noteworthy reliability problems during the four days,” explained Technical Director Willy Rampf. “We were able to complete many laps with the new car and managed to collect a lot of valuable data.”“We have a base line for determining the programme for next week’s test.

We are only just starting out and have a fair amount of work to do to find the ideal settings for the new car,” he added.
BMW Sauber will be testing again in Valencia from Tuesday to Thursday next week.

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McLaren Mercedes has today extended Lewis Hamilton’s contract with the team for a further five years. The new agreement, which starts for 2008, will run up to and including the 2012 season.

Ron Dennis, McLaren Group CEO said

“We are pleased to announce that we have extended our contract with Lewis, which will now run for a further five years until 2012.
Following our initial Formula 1 agreement with Lewis, which we announced in November 2006, he went on to exceed all expectations for a rookie in Formula 1, even those of us in the team who have known him for over a decade. Given Lewis’s performances over the course of the 2007 season, it is clear that improved financial terms were fully deserved and this formed part of the friendly negotiations with Lewis’s manager Anthony Hamilton. Today’s announcement will take the length of our relationship with Lewis to a total of 15 years, which we believe is among the longest running associations
between a sportsman and a team in the history of sport, particularly motorsport.”
“This is a great achievement for everyone involved, including Anthony. Lewis is an exceptional human being, on both a personal and professional level,
and will continue to be a credit to this team. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is looking forward to the new season, and we all expect that, with Heikki coming on board to partner Lewis, we will have a very competitive year.”

Lewis Hamilton said

“It’s fantastic for me that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has extended my contract until 2012.  Whilst last year was my first year with the team in Formula 1, I have been connected to McLaren and Mercedes-Benz since 1998 and feel that I could
easily drive for this team for the whole of my Formula 1 career. I am with the right team to compete for race wins and both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships in the future.” “We will have a lot of challenges ahead, but I am 100% positive I am with the people to take them on. The first of those challenges is the 2008 season. I am enjoying working closely with Heikki, Pedro, Gary and the team as we push hard with the development of the MP4-23. We have 57 days to go until the lights go out on the grid at Albert Park and we are motivated to make the most of this time and arrive in Melbourne with a competitive car.”

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Christain Klien

After missing out on the vacant Force India race cockpit for 2008, Christian Klien has been summoned by the Austrian army to do six months of mandatory military service this year.

According to reports in the former Jaguar, Red Bull and Honda test driver’s native country, the 24-year-old was on Thursday ordered to report for duty at Vorarlberg, the western province that houses his home town Hohenems.

Klien, however, lives across the border in Switzerland, so he to write to Austrian authorities asking for an exemption from the army summons. The Austrian army refused his request, confirming that he should report to the Vorarlberg barracks in March.

Klien was this week testing Mercedes-Benz’s works DTM car in Portugal, the Austrian broadcaster ORF said.

Some reports said Klien’s mandatory duty could be postponed if he secures a full time ride.

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Pedro de la Rosa says the departure of his countryman from the McLaren driver line-up in 2008 is a loss to the British team. The Spanish test driver has made it clear that the disagreement involving Fernando Alonso, the former double world champion, and team colleagues Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis last year, did not also involve himself.
“I personally miss him,” de la Rosa explained to the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.
“Fernando is always a great contributor to a team, it is better to have him with you than to have him somewhere else. But we will get used to working without him,” the Spaniard added.

De la Rosa tested McLaren’s new MP4-23 earlier this week at Jerez.
“For now it resembles the car of last year,” he revealed. “It’s easy to drive but there is still much room for improvement. At the moment we are working on the reliability rather than seeking lap times. And so far there have not been any problems,” he said.

De la Rosa also admitted that, with his chances of ever returning to the Grand Prix grid are very slim now, he is beginning to contemplate a return to racing elsewhere.
Asked if Le Mans might be an option after losing the 2008 seat to Heikki Kovalainen, he admitted: “After what happened, my chances of racing for McLaren are small.
“Looking ahead, yes, I am thinking about some other series. I am eager to return to racing.”

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Max Mosley 

F1 drivers will not be penalised for their first unscheduled engine change in 2008, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed in a letter to team bosses.
The new rule, ensures that each driver will not lose ten grid places or be sent to the back of the grid for his first engine change of the season, it was apparently agreed at the team principals’ recent meeting with Mosley in Paris.
It must now be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, but this is imminently likely. 
“It was agreed that each team could have one engine failure per car without penalty during the 2008 season,” Mosley wrote in a letter seen by some media outlets.
“This would be the first engine failure suffered by each car,” he clarified.

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Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen says he is happy with his new team. Heikki said he can already feel the performance difference between his new car and his old Renault R27.

“I can already feel the difference to my old Renault,” Kovalainen said. “There aren’t any single big differences, just little bits everywhere, but you can definitely feel it add up over a lap. I’m feeling positive about the car, but it’s too early to say how good it will be,” he added. “Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming to me and I probably haven’t been happier in my life.”

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