Archive for March, 2008

A new rule is being imposed for the qualifying session in Bahrain next weekend.
F1’s governing body said the change was necessary after slow-moving cars that were saving fuel got in the way of runners on their final flying laps at the end of Q3 in Malaysia.

“Our clarification to the teams and drivers will be that cars returning to the pits having completed their flying lap or laps will be required to do so within a time that we will set,” an FIA spokesman confirmed.
“This could be approximately 120 percent of the normal time as we do to prevent drivers going very slowly to the grid to save fuel,” he added.

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Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has decided to have a short break in Thailand, on the island of Koh Samui, before the next race in Bahrain
Lewis has gone with F1 mate Adrian Sutil, and his trainer Adam Costanzo
He said after the race “Last year Ferrari were on top in Australia and we struck back in Malaysia, this time it was the other way around, but Bahrain will see us improve again.
Reliability was fantastic. We can improve in certain areas, but we are still going there leading the championship.
I wasn’t surprised by the Ferraris as they are going to keep pushing. I’m not down. I’m not as happy as if I’d won the race, but I still feel very, very optimistic.
We are going off for a few days. It’s a chance to recharge, have some good food and do some good training.”

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Malaysia Podium

Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen was back on form when he won the Malaysian Grand Prix
The one-two finish the team had hoped for was wrecked when Felipe Massa spun off while running second.
It was also Raikkonen’s seventh win for Ferrari and his second win in Malaysia.

Robert Kubica finished second and almost 20 seconds behind Raikkonen
It was Robert Kubica’s best formula 1 career result

Lewis Hamilton, who won in Australia, had a problem with his first pit-stop, when the front right wheel took a while to remove, and for most of the race was stuck behind Webber.
So Hamilton ended up finishing 5th despite a last minute charge for Trulli’s 4th spot

Raikkonen has now cut Hamilton’s lead at the top to just three points

David Coulthard and Jenson Button finished 9th and 10th

1. K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:31:18.555
2. R. Kubica BMW Sauber + 19.570
3. H. Kovalainen McLaren + 38.450
4. J. Trulli Toyota + 45.832
5. L. Hamilton McLaren + 46.548
6. N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber + 49.833
7. M. Webber Red Bull Racing + 1:08.130
8. F. Alonso Renault + 1:10.041
9. D. Coulthard Red Bull Racing + 1:16.220
10. J. Button Honda + 1:26.214
11. N. Piquet Jr. Renault + 1:32.202
12. G. Fisichella Force India + 1 Lap
13. R. Barrichello Honda + 1 Lap
14. N. Rosberg Williams + 1 Lap
15. A. Davidson Super Aguri F1 + 1 Lap
16. T. Sato Super Aguri F1 + 2 Laps
17. K. Nakajima Williams + 2 Laps
Non Finishers
18. S. Vettel Toro Rosso Unknown
19. F. Massa Ferrari Spin
20. A. Sutil Force India Unknown
21. T. Glock Toyota Collision
22. S. Bourdais Toro Rosso Spin

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Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have each been given a 5 grid place penalty
Both drivers were being investigated by the stewards after qualifying, because Heidfeld & Alonso complained to stewards about being blocked by both drivers on their final hot laps
Following several hours of deliberation by the stewards about whether or not the McLaren pair had done anything wrong, it was eventually decided that the duo should be punished.

A McLaren spokesman confirmed that the two drivers had been moved back five places each.
The Mclaren team have also confirmed they will not be appealling the stewards decision.

Hamilton was penalised for blocking Heidfeld, and Kovalainen got penalised for blocking both drivers

The Revised Grid Places :

 1.  Massa         
 2.  Raikkonen          
 3.  Trulli         
 4.  Kubica       
 5.  Heidfeld        
 6.  Webber
 7.  Alonso         
 8.  Kovalainen *
 9.  Hamilton *
10.  Glock           
11.  Button            
12.  Coulthard 
13.  Piquet           
14.  Barrichello           
15.  Vettel
16.  Rosberg  
17.  Fisichella
18.  Bourdais
19.  Sato
20.  Sutil
21.  Davidson
22.  Nakajima **

*  Penalised for blocking
** Penalised for last weeks crash with Kubica

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 Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa has claimed pole position for the Malaysian grand prix
The ferrari team dominated qualifying leaving Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton second best on the second row of the grid.

Kovalainen beat Hamilton by a tenth of a second and starts 3rd

Heidfeld was put in a dangerous situation as he did his final hot laps, as many of the other drivers were on slowing down laps to save fuel

Alonso was 9th and team-mate Nelson Piquet was 13th.

Jenson Button came close to making it into the final round of qualifying in his Honda, but ended up 11th with team-mate Rubens Barrichello finishing 14th.

Williams driver Nakajima was awarded a 10 place grid penalty for his collision last week with Robert Kubica in Australia

1. F. Massa Ferrari 1:35.748   17
2. K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:36.230 +0.482 13
3. H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:36.613 +0.865 12
4. L. Hamilton McLaren 1:36.709 +0.961 18
5. J. Trulli Toyota 1:36.711 +0.963 18
6. R. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:36.727 +0.979 13
7. N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:36.753 +1.005 13
8. M. Webber Red Bull Racing 1:37.009 +1.261 18
9. F. Alonso Renault 1:38.450 +2.702 18
10. T. Glock Toyota 1:39.656 +3.908 20
11. J. Button Honda 1:35.208 -0.540 15
12. D. Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1:35.408 -0.340 12
13. N. Piquet Jr. Renault 1:35.562 -0.186 12
14. R. Barrichello Honda 1:35.622 -0.126 15
15. S. Vettel Toro Rosso 1:35.648 -0.100 15
16. N. Rosberg Williams 1:35.670 -0.078 13
17. G. Fisichella Force India 1:36.240 +0.492 9
18. K. Nakajima Williams 1:36.388 +0.640 9
19. S. Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:36.677 +0.929 8
20. T. Sato Super Aguri F1 1:37.087 +1.339 9
21. A. Sutil Force India 1:37.101 +1.353 10
22. A. Davidson Super Aguri F1 1:37.481 +1.733 9

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Lewis Hamilton 

Lewis Hamilton has once again ended Friday practice fastest, just like in Australia 1 week ago.

The ferrari’s were quickest until 10 minutes left of the final practice, when Hamilton put in his quick lap. Sebastian Bourdais suffered engine problems, so took no part in the session. Jenson Button ended up 4th fastest, although its believed he simulated a low fuel qualifying lap. Alonso finished 14th, he had a gearbox problem half way through the session. David Coulthard has a front suspension failure in morning practice, so the team decided not to send him out in the afternoon session, while they investigated what caused his suspension to fail.

Final Practice Times :

 Pos Driver Team Time Difference Laps
1. L. Hamilton McLaren 1:35.055   32
2. F. Massa Ferrari 1:35.206 +0.151 33
3. K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.428 +0.373 36
4. J. Button Honda 1:36.037 +0.982 40
5. S. Vettel Toro Rosso 1:36.474 +1.419 35
6. J. Trulli Toyota 1:36.493 +1.438 38
7. H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:36.512 +1.457 30
8. R. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:36.671 +1.616 33
9. G. Fisichella Force India 1:36.756 +1.701 37
10. K. Nakajima Williams 1:36.838 +1.783 34
11. R. Barrichello Honda 1:36.879 +1.824 38
12. N. Rosberg Williams 1:36.908 +1.853 36
13. N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:37.106 +2.051 35
14. F. Alonso Renault 1:37.328 +2.273 23
15. N. Piquet Jr. Renault 1:37.331 +2.276 42
16. M. Webber Red Bull Racing 1:37.346 +2.291 37
17. T. Glock Toyota 1:37.512 +2.457 35
18. A. Sutil Force India 1:37.614 +2.559 35
19. T. Sato Super Aguri F1 1:39.021 +3.966 27
20. A. Davidson Super Aguri F1 1:39.361 +4.306 30
21. D. Coulthard Red Bull Racing no time   0
22. S. Bourdais Toro Rosso no time   1

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Massa & Coulthard

Michael Schumacher has said that the 2 Ferrari drivers contributed to the teams disasterous start to the season

Schumacher told Auto Motor und Sport that Felipe Massa’s first corner crash, and collision with David Coulthard, were both driver errors.
Schumacher said data shows that Massa was in too low a gear when he spun into the barriers on lap one at Albert Park.
“At the moment we do not know why,” he said, “but now without traction control, and on cold tyres, the car in that moment becomes very critical.”
Schumacher also said that, while Coulthard should shoulder some of the responsibility, Massa was to blame for the crash later in the race. 
“You have to say that David could have been a little cleverer about it,” he said, “but there is no question that Felipe was the cause.”

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Formula One will change TV channel for the start of the 2009 F1 season
The BBC will take over from ITV who are currently showing the F1 races
The deal is rumoured to be for 5 years.
“We were delighted when Bernie Ecclestone approached us about the return of F1 to the BBC,” said Dominic Coles, BBC’s Director of Sport Rights. 
This will put an end to TV adverts during qualifying and the race.

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Dietrich Mateschitz 

Dietrich Mateschitz and Gerhard Berger have confirmed that the Torro Rosso team is for sale.

They will not be selling it during the current 2008 season, but they want to find a buyer by the end of the 2009 season.

Mateschitz said he cannot continue running the Torro Rosso team beyond 2009 because new rules mean from the 2010 season customer engines will not be allowed.

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Stewards at the Australian grand prix have disqualified Rubens Barrichello from his sixth position because he ran the red lights at the pit lane exit.
This now means that Kimi Raikkonen, moves into the points, as he was provisionally classified 9th.
Barrichello’s problems occurred after he served a pit lane penalty for illegally pitting for fuel in safety car conditions, he also managed to knock over a couple of his pit members when he pulled away before the fuel hose was removed, which was due to the lollypop being raised to early

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Australia Podium 

Lewis Hamilton has won the 1st race of the new 2008 season

It was a very eventful race, the safety car was bought out 3 times during the race

Lewis Hamilton finished ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg to claim his 1st win of the season
Defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen was among 15 cars which failed to finish.
By starting from pole position Hamilton was able to avoid two incidents which occurred in a frantic first corner of the race.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was forced to pit after he damaged his car trying to pass McLaren’s Heikki Kovalainen. There was also a pile-up at the back of the pack which saw Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson retire from the race
Raikkonen benefited from the action, which saw him go from 16th on the grid up to eighth place. But when the safety car pitted Raikkonen found it hard to get past Rubens Barrichello in the Honda.
But because many of the cars in front of him stopped for fuel Raikkonen was able to close the gap to Hamilton who was in the lead.
The Briton was finding it hard to build a significant advantage as the safety car kept bringing him back to the rest of the pack.
Midway through the race Raikkonen was in third place, behind the two McLaren’s, but his day ended early when he attempted to overtake Kovalainen which saw him go into the gravel trap

Kovalainen could have finished second but for bad luck with another safety car, that bumped him down the field and he battled with Renault’s Fernando Alonso for fourth place.
Kovalainen nearly got the better of the double world champion but a mistake on the pit straight by pressing the wrong button on his steering wheel handed the place to Alonso.

Despite Raikkonen not finishing the race, he picked up one point for finishing eighth as Barrichello was disqualified after the race for jumping a red light in the pit lane, during a fuel stop

But the day belonged to Hamilton who managed to avoid the many incidents to complete the fifth victory of his career and gave himself the best start to his 2008 title challenge.

Pos  Driver  Team  Time  Status 
1.  Lewis Hamilton  McLaren 1:34:50.616   
2.  Nick Heidfeld  BMW Sauber 5.478   
3.  Nico Rosberg  Williams 8.163   
4.  Fernando Alonso  Renault  17.181   
5.  Heikki Kovalainen  McLaren  18.014   
6.  Kazuki Nakajima  Williams -1 lap   
8.  Sebastien Bourdais  Toro Rosso  -3 laps   
8.  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari  -5 laps  Engine 
DNF  Robert Kubica  BMW Sauber on lap 50  Accident 
DNF  Timo Glock  Toyota  on lap 44  Accident 
DNF  Takuma Sato  Super Aguri on lap 33  Transmission 
DNF  Nelson A. Piquet  Renault  on lap 31  Accident
DNF  Felipe Massa  Ferrari  on lap 30  Engine 
DNF  David Coulthard  Red Bull on lap 26  Accident 
DNF  Jarno Trulli  Toyota  on lap 20  Electrical 
DNF  Adrian Sutil  Force India on lap 9  Hydraulics 
DNF  Mark Webber  Red Bull on lap 1  Accident 
DNF  Jenson Button  Honda  on lap 1  Accident 
DNF  Anthony Davidson  Super Aguri on lap 1  Accident 
DNF  Sebastian Vettel  Toro Rosso on lap 1  Accident 
DNF  Giancarlo Fisichella  Force India on lap 1  Accident 
DSQ  Rubens Barrichello  Honda     

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Australia Qualifying

Australia Qualifying Press Conference 

Lewis Hamilton has claimed Pole Position for the 1st race in Australia

Although Lewis was very lucky because Robert Kubica would have claimed Pole Position had he not had a slight off on turn 12. At that point Kubica was faster than Hamilton.

Tomorrow should be a great race if they both have similar fuel stratergies, and similar speed.

Button and Barrichello were also very pleased with their qualifying positions, considering their winter test times were not very good.

Timo Glock will have a 5 place grid position penalty for changing his gearbox

Final Qualifying Times :

1. L. Hamilton McLaren 1:26.714  
2. R. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:26.869 +0.155
3. H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:27.079 +0.365
4. F. Massa Ferrari 1:27.178 +0.464
5. N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:27.236 +0.522
6. J. Trulli Toyota 1:28.527 +1.813
7. N. Rosberg Williams 1:28.687 +1.973
8. D. Coulthard Red Bull Racing 1:29.041 +2.327
9. T. Glock Toyota 1:29.593 +2.879
10. S. Vettel Toro Rosso NO TIME SET
Qualifying 2
11. R. Barrichello Honda 1:26.173 -0.541
12. F. Alonso Renault 1:26.188 -0.526
13. J. Button Honda 1:26.259 -0.455
14. K. Nakajima Williams 1:26.413 -0.301
15. M. Webber Red Bull Racing NO TIME SET
16. K. Räikkönen Ferrari NO TIME SET
Qualifying 1
17. G. Fisichella Force India 1:27.207 +0.493
18. S. Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:27.446 +0.732
19. A. Sutil Force India 1:27.859 +1.145
20. T. Sato Super Aguri F1 1:28.208 +1.494
21. N. Piquet Jr. Renault 1:28.330 +1.616
22. A. Davidson Super Aguri F1 1:29.059 +2.345

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Well the new season is now underway.

Current World champion Raikkonen set the fastest time in the morning session.
But Hamilton was on top in the afternoon, with Raikkonen sixth.
Ferrari’s Felipe Massa was third in both sessions, with Fernando Alonso sixth and 13th in his Renault. And Hamilton’s team-mate Heikki Kovalainen was fourth fastest in both sessions.

Australian Mark Webber was second fastest in the afternoon session and fifth fastest in the morning, while team mate Coulthard was fifth fastest in the afternoon.

Hamilton said: “It’s great to be back racing and being here in Melbourne where I started my Formula 1 career only a year ago.
“It’s always a special feeling to go out of the garage for the first time in practice at the start of a new season.
“There was some good progress with the car, and we made the best use of the ever-improving track conditions.
“Ferrari look strong, but it’s still too early to tell exactly where we are in comparison. All in all, a good start to the Australian Grand Prix and the season.”

Jenson Button was 11th fastest in both sessions, which suprised a few people, as their winter test times were a lot worse than this.
The struggling team said they had continued progress from an encouraging final test of the winter at the Spanish Jerez track two weeks ago, when they introduced new parts to improve the car’s aerodynamics.
Button said “It has been a good day for us, We focused mainly on tyre work and getting the best out of the car in the very hot conditions. Everything went smoothly and the car feels much as it did at the Jerez test, which is pleasing.”

 Final Times For Friday

Pos Driver Team Time Diff  Laps
1. L. Hamilton McLaren 1:26.559   33
2. M. Webber Red Bull 1:27.473 +0.914 27
3. F. Massa Ferrari 1:27.640 +1.081 29
4. H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:27.683 +1.124 29
5. D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:28.037 +1.478 26
6. K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:28.208 +1.649 28
7. J. Trulli Toyota 1:28.292 +1.733 22
8. N. Rosberg Williams 1:28.352 +1.793 31
9. G. Fisichella Force India 1:28.469 +1.910 32
10. T. Glock Toyota 1:28.582 +2.023 28
11. J. Button Honda 1:28.632 +2.073 30
12. N. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:28.731 +2.172 33
13. F. Alonso Renault 1:28.779 +2.220 37
14. R. Barrichello Honda 1:28.849 +2.290 28
15. R. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:28.860 +2.301 35
16. K. Nakajima Williams 1:29.077 +2.518 33
17. A. Sutil Force India 1:29.161 +2.602 32
18. S. Vettel Toro Rosso 1:29.193 +2.634 40
19. N. Piquet Jr. Renault 1:29.518 +2.959 14
20. S. Bourdais Toro Rosso 1:29.605 +3.046 11
21. T. Sato Super Aguri 1:30.663 +4.104 16
22. A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:31.527 +4.968 8

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 Ron Dennis & Martin Whitmarsh

Ron Dennis will be staying as boss of the Mclaren F1 team. He has now flown to Australia for the 1st race this weekend

Before he left for Australia, he told all the staff at the Woking factory, that he will be staying as their boss for the whole of the 2008 season

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The 2008 F1 season will have a few new rules, which you can see below

 Engine Change :

Drivers are allowed one ’free’ engine change to their car without the normal 10-place penalty on the starting grid.
This must be a competitor’s first change of the season and it must be a result of genuine engine failure rather than for tactical reasons.
Engines still have to last for two successive races. Any unscheduled change, other than the first, will incur a 10-place penalty as before.

Spare Cars :

Each team is allowed no more than two cars available for use at any one time at a grand prix. The rule effectively means there will no longer be spare cars in the garages.

Gearboxes :

Gearboxes must now last a driver for four Grand Prix weekends. They can be changed for subsequent events, however, if a car does not finish a race, while gear ratios and dog rings may be changed if “there is evident physical damage to the parts in questions”. Any unscheduled changes will incur a five-place grid penalty.

Qualifying – Fuel :

Fuel may not be added or removed from a car that takes part in Q3 of qualifying between the start of Q3 and the start of the race. This should, in theory, led to shorter first stints for the top ten cars and end any need to queue in pit lane for the beginning of the final stint as any fuel used will not be replaced for the race.

Qualifying – Format :

The first part of qualifying will now run for 20 minutes after which the slowest seven cars will be eliminated from the session. Q2 will last 15 minutes, with the final shootout between the top ten cars now lasting just ten minutes, which gets rid of the controversial fuel burning laps of last season.

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Silverstone have unveiled some new computer generated images of what the new Pit and Paddock complex may look like in the future

The pit complex will be moved from its current location between Woodcote and Copse corners to a new location between Club and Abbey.
The new design will also include new garages, a race control building, media centre, hospitality and VIP spectator zones and a primary paddock.
The proposals also involve creating a new pit straight, with reorganised entry and exit points, a reconfiguration of Club Corner and a new Abbey section.
Damon Hill, president of the BRDC, said:
“Silverstone is a great track with a great history. These images are the vision of the future for Silverstone, and one we fervently hope will be realised, in order to provide a venue where all forms of motor sport can be celebrated in style, for the benefit of the competitor and spectator alike.
“This new facility, and the redevelopment at large, will help attract more business to Northamptonshire and create more jobs for local communities.
“The British Grand Prix alone contributes over £30 million a year to the local area and it is vital that we do everything we can to maintain this income as well as the UK’s world-class expertise in high-tech engineering and R&D.
“Also, it should go without saying by now, that in order to retain the British Grand Prix we need a venue of this kind of stature, and the Grand Prix is a key element in the whole project.”

The new plans will be discussed at a South Northamptonshire Council meeting later this month with a full planning application due to be submitted soon.

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The New FW30 

The Williams Toyota FW30, was unveiled today with its new livery for this year’s Formula One Championship.

“With four years of regulation stability, we have a good basis to be progressive about the development of this season’s car,” the team’s Technical Director, Sam Michael, explained
“With a good reliability record last year, we have been able to build on this quality while also turning some of our attention to clear performance objectives.”
“Our focus has been on performance as well as refining our packaging and weight distribution. 
 We are designing a tidier car with a higher standard of build quality.
The FW30 should represent a good step forward when all of the many small areas of attention and improvement are brought together in the overall package,” added Michael.

With good times in winter testing, it looks like podium finishes may happen this season

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Patrick Head 

Patrick Head has revealed that the williams team could have been the one to uncover Lewis Hamilton’s talent
But they let Hamilton slip through their fingers while he was still in F3.
Head confirmed that Hamilton had been offered to Williams in 2004, following an apparent bust-up with McLaren

“They rang up and said can we come and see you? Ron Dennis has dropped us’,”
“We were with BMW at the time and I think Frank rang Mario Theissen and said ‘this guy looks as if he could be pretty good.
“I think Mario said they weren’t prepared to provide any support, and we weren’t in a position financially where we could finance Hamilton’s racing
So to Frank’s annoyance, he could have had Lewis in a Williams”

The Hamiltons subsequently overcame their differences with Dennis and McLaren, brought about by the team’s desire to keep Lewis in F3 for a second season,
and went on to complete a ten-year relationship that eventually led to him becoming Formula One’s first black driver – and nearly champion – in 2007.
McLaren has since inked a long-term extension with the 23-year old, tying him to Woking for the next five years.
Hamilton has been quoted as saying that he does not think about driving for any other team in the top flight.

Head insists that, while wondering what might have been, there was no point in regretting how the Hamilton approach worked out.

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Menorca Test Runway

The F1 teams have now finished their test sessions, in preparation for the first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne in 2 weeks time.
But 2 teams have scheduled a final straight line test session at Menorca.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team is travelling to Menorca on Thursday 6 March, the McLaren Mercedes team will also conduct some final straight line aerodynamic work in Menorca.
Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Honda will also conduct one final shakedown before travelling to Australia
Luca Badoer will be on track at Fiorano on 6 March where he will shakedown the cars that will be used in the Australian Grand Prix.
Toro Rosso will work at the same track 3 days earlier for their shakedown.

Honda has scheduled a private three-day test session at the Circuit of Jerez from 4-6 March before travelling to Melbourne.

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