At least Vitaly Petrov’s problems are adorable, right? His Renault teammate Bruno Senna was one of the three drivers penalized for blocking race leader Lewis Hamilton as he lapped them. Senna believes the rules were applied very inconsistently throughout the race: he wants to speak to race director Charlie Whiting about them.
Pastor Maldonado and Jaime Alguersuari were also penalized (Maldonado was penalized twice, actually) and all around the three agreed that it’s not fair for them to lose 4-5 seconds slowing down for someone when they are still in the race, battling other cars around for position.
Once again, Bernie Ecclestone is claiming the Austin race is on the line, with some less than stellar sources reporting a five week deadline for the promoters to get it together. Considering India was even on the line two weeks prior to the event, it doesn’t seem very fair to single out Austin, does it? Just a note out there to take ANY stories about progress at the Circuit of the Americas and things like this with a grain of salt, no matter who it is.
Driver lineup rumors are of course big right now – it is after all 4 months to the start of next season. Remember that a contract really doesn’t mean much of anything in Formula 1, just ask Nick Heidfeld! Let’s see what there is:
- of course there’s still Kimi Raikkonen over Rubens Barrichello at Williams. Barrichello believes he proved his worth at the race with his 12th place finish, but many in the paddock think Williams would be insane not to sign Raikkonen.
- there’s talk about Team Lotus (that’s Caterham next year) replacing Jarno Trulli with Jerome D’Ambrosio (who is of course, rumored to not be back with Virgin Marussia anyway), Daniel Ricciardo, or Jean-Eric Vergne. Ricciardo of course is still with Red Bull, but obviously there is no spot with the team for him at this time. Red Bull will be providing the team with the KERS system next year so there’s no way that it’s not a possibility.
- Lotus Renault may be looking at Romain Grosjean as Vitaly Petrov’s teammate next season in the event Robert Kubica is not ready for the start of it. There is always the possibility Kubica may not be able to fully return to Formula 1, and Lotus cannot afford to just wait idly at this point.
- And there is still nothing on the Force India front, although Vijay Mallya has promised a decision sooner than later.
Finally, although this blog focuses on Formula 1, it’s still one of the many series under the umbrella of the FIA. And the FIA has really goofed.
The FIA announced their World Endurance Championship calendar yesterday, something that has been called the ILMC in Le Mans racing this year. It featured 6 races from the United States to Silverstone to China. The WEC schedule eliminates one of those American races, Petit Le Mans, and replaces it with a 6 hour race in Bahrain…on the same exact weekend.
Bahrain is hardly even a solid option for Formula 1 come April – there are still serious problems in the country. There has never been an event like this in Le Mans type endurance racing in the Middle East before, and to replace a wildly popular race DOWN TO THE DAY with something new and unlikely to go over well just screams two things.
One: we’re only in it for the money….as if that wasn’t ever obvious. It’s no secret that Bahrain keeps getting these races because they have money. Everyone outside of the Bahraini government and the people who get to participate in the races know that watching a race on their circuit is as exciting as watching paint dry. I can barely make it through an F1 race, I can’t imagine putting up with it for 6 hours.
Two: the FIA doesn’t care much for the American Le Mans series. Although Petit Le Mans is so popular, the draw has definitely been the big European teams coming in. While I can’t claim an alliance to either Audi or Peugeot, I wouldn’t even enjoy the race that much without them there. It would not even be an exaggeration to claim that this could effectively kill the American series. It is highly disappointing that they snubbed Petit to begin with, but it absolutely enrages me that they put this Bahrain race on the same date.
ALMS promises its fans that they are going to do everything they can to make next year’s Petit Le Mans better than this year…I hope they do so!