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McLaren has announced the signing of the reigning World Champion Jenson Button to a multi-year deal.
He will be partnered by 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who will be embarking on his fourth consecutive season as a McLaren Mercedes driver.
This unique partnership will mark:
The first time in Formula 1 history that a team has started the new season with a line-up featuring the most recent two successive World Champions
The first pairing of two British World Champions since Graham Hill [1962, 1968] partnered Jim Clark [1963, 1965] at Lotus in 1968
Jenson Button:
“It’s always a difficult decision to leave a team when you’ve been there for so long. But life is all about challenges – and, most important of all, it’s about challenging yourself. So, although I won the World Championship with Brawn GP last year, and I’ll never forget that, I was always adamant that I wanted to continue to set myself fresh challenges.
“So that’s why I’ve decided to join Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. You can’t help but be affected by this team’s phenomenal history. McLaren is one of the greats of world sport, and its achievements and list of past champions read like a Who’s Who of Formula 1 – Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and of course my new team-mate Lewis Hamilton. I’ve followed the McLaren team ever since I was a small boy, and it feels unbelievable to finally be a part of it.
“When I visited the McLaren Technology Centre earlier this month, it wasn’t simply the technical resources and the incredible standards of excellence that impressed me. No, I was equally struck by the ambition, the motivation and the winning spirit that flow through everybody there. And then there’s the team’s epic history: put it this way, the trophy cabinets seem to stretch for miles.
“From a personal point of view, it’s also a great pleasure to be joining a fellow British World Champion. Lewis has achieved an incredible level of success in a very short period of time, and he’s a wonderfully gifted driver who has earned the respect of every Formula 1 driver. I’m sure there’s plenty that we can learn from each other, and I’m really looking forward to using our combined knowledge to push the team forward.
“Also, I think it’s fantastic that we’ll be forming an all-British line-up. I know that we both fly the flag with pride, and I sincerely hope we can make the whole of the United Kingdom, as well as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes fans across the world, proud. Nothing means more to me than to be able to represent my country, and I’m looking forward to both of us painting Formula 1’s circuits red, white and blue for many years to come.
“While I’m fully aware that there’s a tremendous amount of hard work ahead, I’m absolutely certain that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be able to deliver where it matters: on track. I’m already looking forward to starting work with the engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre as we begin our preparations for the 2010 season – and the defence of my world championship. This is a team that always goes racing to win, and I’m looking forward to being part of that.
“Last but very far from least, I want to say that the 2009 season will always have a special place in my memory, and I’m absolutely sure that everybody at Brawn GP who worked so hard to achieve our World Championship successes feels exactly the same way about it. Equally, I want to thank the guys at Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, without whom we’d never have been as competitive as we were. I’m so pleased that I’ll still be using their engines in 2010 and beyond.
“So I wish all my old Brawn GP mates well in their new Mercedes Grand Prix adventure, just as I hope they’ll wish me well in my new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes adventure.”
Lewis Hamilton:
“It’s fantastic news that Jenson has decided to join Vodafone McLaren Mercedes – and I’m looking forward to working with him and our engineers to make sure we kick off the 2010 season with a car that’s competitive enough to win the World Championship – but I want to send my best wishes for the future to my 2008-09 team-mate and now good friend Heikki Kovalainen, who is one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met.
“I already know Jenson, and we get on very well together. We both really want our team to succeed. Although we’ll be pushing each other hard, I’m sure we’ll very quickly establish a great working relationship. He’s an exceptional driver: very controlled and very smooth, and he has a real depth of knowledge and experience. I think we’ll complement each other very well, and our collaboration will make the team stronger as a result. Also, I’m delighted to be racing alongside a fellow British World Champion, and I believe we can pull together to make Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the best team on the grid.
“I’m sure Jenson has already started to appreciate our team’s unique culture and the special family atmosphere that makes it such an incredible place to live and work. We really are like one big family – and I’m sure Jenson will feel the warmth of that welcome from day one.
“Obviously, as a British driver, I’m also thrilled that we’ll be flying the flag for the United Kingdom, and I think today’s announcement is fantastic news for all British sports fans. I hope they’ll be giving us their full support when the season kicks off next March. I’m already looking forward to Silverstone – it’ll be massive!
“Looking ahead, I think the results from the second half of 2009 speak for themselves, and I’m convinced we can carry that momentum through the winter and into the new season. I’ve been closely following the development of our 2010 challenger, the MP4-25, and I think it’s going to be a state-of-the-art car that will enable both of us to consistently fight for victories.”
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Jenson to our team. It has always been our policy to employ the two very best possible drivers – and, in Jenson and Lewis, we feel we not only have the fastest pairing on the 2010 grid, but also the two most complete, professional and dedicated drivers in Formula 1.
“Moreover, I’m confident that we’ll be able to successfully balance and harness Jenson’s and Lewis’s complementary skill-sets. Our engineers are already looking forward to working with Jenson, and I’m convinced that such a strong and dynamic driver line-up will make us an even more complete and competitive operation. Now we have to provide Jenson and Lewis with race-winning machinery.
“I want to make clear that Jenson’s decision to join us was in no way motivated by money. We’ll be paying him no more than he could be getting elsewhere, and that fact is a reflection of not only Jenson’s belief in Vodafone McLaren Mercedes but also his desire and ambition to build on the phenomenal results he achieved during the 2009 season.
“I also want to thank Heikki for his selfless contribution over the past two years. As well as being very quick, Heikki was and remains a great character whom we’ll all miss considerably. It goes without saying that we wish him all the best for next season, and would be very pleased if he were to secure a good drive for 2010.
“We’re ambitious, we’re motivated and we’re hungrier than ever. We make no secret of our ambition for next year: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes wants to win both World Championships – and, with Jenson and Lewis, we believe we’re better equipped than any other team in the pitlane to do exactly that.”

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massa-bahrain.gif

 hamilton-crash.gif

Massa has ended up fastest in both practice sessions. The ferrari’s are once again very quick , just like in Malaysia 2 weeks ago.

Hamilton had a very big off into the wall during 2nd Practice.

Bahrain Grand Prix Free Practice Session 1 Times :

1.  MASSA         Ferrari     1m32.233s
2.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari     1m32.350s
3.  ROSBERG       Williams    1m32.415s
4.  HAMILTON      McLaren     1m32.705s
5.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren     1m32.868s
6.  NAKAJIMA      Williams    1m33.121s
7.  KUBICA        BMW         1m33.333s
8.  TRULLI        Toyota      1m33.539s
9.  COULTHARD     Red Bull    1m33.788s
10. ALONSO        Renault     1m33.815s
11. GLOCK         Toyota      1m33.929s
12. WEBBER        Red Bull    1m33.950s
13. PIQUET        Renault     1m33.981s
14. HEIDFELD      BMW         1m34.106s
15. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso  1m34.235s
16. VETTEL        Toro Rosso  1m34.321s
17. FISICHELLA    Force India 1m34.892s
18. BUTTON        Honda       1m34.915s
19. BARRICHELLO   Honda       1m35.174s
20. SUTIL         Force India 1m35.429s
21. DAVIDSON      Super Aguri 1m36.145s
22. SATO          Super Aguri 1m36.536s

Bahrain Grand Prix Free Practice Session 2 Times :

1.  MASSA         Ferrari     1m31.412s
2.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari     1m32.327s
3.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren     1m32.752s
4.  HAMILTON      McLaren     1m32.847s
5.  KUBICA        BMW         1m32.915s
6.  ROSBERG       Williams    1m33.022s
7.  COULTHARD     Red Bull    1m33.048s
8.  NAKAJIMA      Williams    1m33.098s
9.  BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso  1m33.197s
10. PIQUET        Renault     1m33.247s
11. BUTTON        Honda       1m33.710s
12. ALONSO        Renault     1m33.755s
13. WEBBER        Red Bull    1m33.782s
14. TRULLI        Toyota      1m33.822s
15. GLOCK         Toyota      1m33.856s
16. BARRICHELLO   Honda       1m33.966s
17. HEIDFELD      BMW         1m34.023s
18. FISICHELLA    Force India 1m34.388s
19. SUTIL         Force India 1m34.405s
20. VETTEL        Toro Rosso  1m34.787s
21. SATO          Super Aguri 1m35.288s
22. DAVIDSON      Super Aguri 1m35.712s

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McLaren have been moved to the very end of the pitlane ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
As yet , no reason has been given for this quick change
As Mclaren finished last in the 2007 constructors championship due to the espionage situation, it meant they would have to occupy the last garages on the pitlane
But before the season began, Bernie Ecclestone agreed to let Mclaren use the 5th set of garages, as they have a large hospitality headquarters at the grand prix’s.
Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix revealed on Sunday that Formula One Management has ordered the promoters to arrange for McLaren to be housed next to Force India, the local newspaper Gulf Daily News said.
“Originally it was planned that the team would take its place in the fifth set of garages, as it did for the Malaysian and Australian Grands Prix.”
“We understand that it is in line with the rules and regulations of the sport for McLaren, which scored no points in the 2007 constructors’ championship, to take the final set of garages,” said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Operating Officer of the BIC.
“However in Bahrain we do our upmost to ensure that fans of each team get to sit opposite their favourite team’s pit garages to see the action unfold. Sadly on this occasion we must apologise to McLaren fans and accept that this is force majeure,” he added.

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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

 POS DRIVER TEAM RESULT
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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