Off-track events of the season

From the Vanderbilt Cup to the next Grand Prix, the cars, drives, teams and politics.

Off-track events of the season

Postby meteorite » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:58 pm

There will be three new names of the Formula One grids next season, the FIA willing. They won't be new teams, though, just old ones renamed.

The long-running dispute between Team Lotus and Team Lotus Renault has now been resolved, with Team Lotus Renault becoming simply Team Lotus, while the former Team Lotus now becomes Team Caterham. This conflict dragged on all through the 2011 season with lawsuits back and forth, and how it was resolved - that is who paid (or ceded) what to whom - is not a matter for comment on the public record. My guess is that money moved from France to Malaysia, but that is a guess with no documentation to back it up.

Meanwhile the Marussia auto company, builder of the eponymous Russian sports car and owner of the Virgin team, wants its own corporate name as the team name, with Virgin simply being the sponsoring advertiser. It is reported that both parties are agreeable to this and are awaiting the FIA's imprimatur. What rearrangement of the decals on the cars will occur remains to be seen when the equipment is announced for next season.

We've had the first announced case of a team running out of engines this year. Seems the gearbox failure that took Pastor Maldonado's Williams out of the Indian Grand Prix fibbled their last engine as well (of the eight allowed for the season) so he will have to take a ten-place grid penalty at the start of the Abu Dabi race. No word on subsequent races.

And while there are 20 races on the calendar for 2012, someone pushed Bernie Ecclestone recently into admitting that they were still not fully satisfied that Bahrein is sufficiently stable politically to allow a race to be held, and he is getting reports of dodgy finances that could derail Korea. There are also rumours of conflict among the principals of the Grand Prix of the United States in Austin, Texas making that dubious.

More to follow when it's known, meanwhile, stay tuned.

Late news: the FIA has approved the team name changes and will make it official at a meeting Dec. 7th.

Meanwhile, up-and-coming Canadian driver Rob Wickens has impressed enough people with his performances in Europe that he has been chosen as the Marussia young driver to pilot their car in the Friday open practice at Abu Dabhi next week - a real F1 car in real race trim on a real F1 track. Good and, it seems, well deserved break for him.
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