The 2012 News Review - Part Two 21 Dec 2012
HRT promote engineer Toni Cuquerella to the role of technical director. The position had been vacant since Geoff Willis left for Mercedes back in September 2011.
The role of technical director implies a great amount of responsibility in terms of coordination and decision making, says Cuquerella. Thats why Im very proud that the management considers me to be the most adequate person to carry it out.
Williams sign DTM driver Susie Wolff as development driver. If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that she is very intelligent, comments Bernie Ecclestone. I am really looking forward to having her in Formula One.
After two races of speculation over its legality, Mercedes so-called double-DRS rear wing becomes the subject of an official protest at the Chinese Grand Prix. The protest is lodged by Lotus and comes after Mercedes F1 W03 car is cleared by the scrutineers, just as it was in the previous two rounds in Australia and Malaysia.
Mercedes rear wing has holes in its endplates which become exposed when the DRS is activated. Airflow entering the holes is then channelled through the chassis to the front wing, where it is released to stall the wing, cutting downforce and boosting top speed in much the same way as the DRS itself does for the rear wing.
Lotus alleges that the innovative device contravenes Article 3.15 of the technical regulations, which outlaws driver-operated aerodynamic devices. However, the stewards unanimously dismiss the protest leaving Lotus to consider whether to adopt a similar system themselves.
We are at the point of making estimates of how big the gain might be and assessing the difficulty in actually realising that gain, Lotus technical director James Allison says.
In other news, with his win in China Nico Rosberg becomes the third son of an Formula One race winner to win a Grand Prix himself (after Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve), while Sauber announce a ground-breaking new partnership with British Premier League football club Chelsea FC.
The month begins with all teams bar HRT decamping to the picturesque Mugello track in Italy for the first proper in-season test since 2008. Although wet weather blights much of the running, Ferraris Fernando Alonso is delighted to have the opportunity to drive at the Tuscan circuit:I can only say that, for me, it was a pleasure to be driving at this track again: the first and only other time was back in 2001, when I was testing for Minardi. Its a spectacular track and it would be nice to be able to race on it!
Meanwhile, while his cohorts are dodging the showers in Mugello, McLarens Jenson Button is enjoying the sunshine in Budapest as he put on a demonstration run in front of thousands of spectators.
Theres more on-track action in Italy later in the month, albeit with a more historic flavour as Jacques Villeneuve gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari 312 T4 at Fiorano to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of his father, Gilles.
Ferraris 2012 line-up, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, president Luca di Montezemolo, vice president Piero Ferrari, managing director Amadeo Felisa and former technical director Mauro Forghieri are all in attendance to watch the 1997 drivers champion take to the track in his father's car.
The big news in the middle of the month concerns the aftermath of the dramatic fire that broke out in the Williams garage following Pastor Maldonados win in Spain. Several members of the Williams team are hospitalised as a result of the incident, one with burns.
Everyone at Williams is extremely relieved that this event was contained as quickly as it was and the damage which occurred was, relatively speaking, limited in its nature, the team says. While the incident was unexpected and definitely most undesirable, it has demonstrated the genuine cohesiveness, camaraderie and spirit of co-operation that exists within the Formula One paddock. The astonishing response from the teams and other paddock personnel was immediate, unconditional and overwhelming.
In other news, Sauber team principal Peter Sauber transfers a third of the stake in the Sauber Group to CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, while Ferrari announce that they will be holding an online auction in aid of those affected by the two earthquakes which rocked Northern Italys Emilia-Romagna region.
The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) announces three names from Formula One racing - Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, Williams test driver Susie Wolff and Marussia counterpart Maria de Villota - amongst its first official Ambassadors. It becomes their task to represent the Commission globally as it continues to promote and encourage women into the sport.
Formula One racings governing body, the FIA, confirms it is in talks with teams over potential changes to the sports technical regulations aimed at further reducing the cost of competing in the sport. Following a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Paris, the FIA says the intention is to help all teams participate in the Championship in a fair and equal manner.
Marussias Timo Glock is forced to miss the European Grand Prix after taking doctors advice that he has not fully recovered from the stomach bug that caused him to miss qualifying. However, he recovers fully before Julys British round at Silverstone.
Elsewhere, Santander, sponsors of the 2012 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix, release a spectacular concept film exploring how an F1 race in London might look.
The CGI film, with an imagined 5.156-kilometre circuit taking in some of the UK capitals most famous landmarks, was produced following a detailed feasibility study for such a race by expert project architects Populous, who consulted McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on the tracks design.
It features a starting grid on The Mall, a near-200mph Santander straight in the run up to Buckingham Palace, and perhaps one of the most audacious corners seen on an F1 track, as 24 cars steer their way from Trafalgar Square into Admiralty Arch.
Having been immersed in this project, having helped to shape this track, it feels as real to me as anywhere Ive raced, says Hamilton. Jenson and I have worked in the simulator to provide some useful feedback to inform the circuit design, so this is far more than whimsical thinking out loud.
I have to say, this is an utterly epic track and would produce the most stunning and compelling Formula One race.
At the end of the month many of the teams take advantage of a race-free weekend to attend the UKs Goodwood Festival of Speed. Button and Hamilton are two of the drivers present, wowing the crowds with demonstrations of McLarens MP4-12C road car as well as driving the 2011 McLaren MP4-26. Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel makes his Goodwood debut while Mercedes, Caterham, Lotus and Ferrari are also in attendance.
Continued in Part Three
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