Monthly Archives: March 2013

Thank You And Good-Bye

I’m afraid Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog has met the end of the figurative road.

I’ve published a noble 326 articles in my year and three months activity which have earned me over 50,000 hits.

I’m extremely grateful to every single hit and every person who has wished me well or given me advice along the way.

Don’t worry though, I’m not leaving F1 behind – simply closing the blog in order to focus on my dream to become the first man to row around the world in nothing more than a bathtub.

I’ll still be available on my Twitter account – @BenSweeneyF1

So for now friends, Goodbye, Thank you and most importantly – April’s fools.

You can’t get rid of me that easily 😉


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Petrov Sets Sights On Formula One Return

Former Renault, Lotus and Caterham driver Vitaly Petrov has his sights set firmly on making a return to Formula One.

The Russian driver entered Formula One with Russian state funding in 2010, driving alongside Robert Kubica at Renault. In 2011, he stayed with the team which made the change to Lotus and partnered Nick Heidfeld who replaced the injured Kubica. He then moved back to Caterham for 2012 alongside Heikki Kovalainen – both of whom have been dropped for 2013.

But Vitaly hasn’t given up – despite splitting with his manager, Oskana Kosachenko who now works as Caterham’s commercial director.

In an interview with, the 28 year old said “Of course, I’ll try to find some outlets for negotiations with different teams. At first there was stress but now I’m more or less rested and set to work at looking for a place for 2014.”

“I will sort out who works with me and for whom I’ll be working next year. There will be some changes that I do not want to take about it but in the near future it will become clearer.”

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Pic Has No Regrets About Caterham Move

Charles Pic has told AUTOSPORT that he has no regrets surrounding his switch from Marussia to Caterham.

The Frenchman impressed during his debut F1 season where he drove alongside veteran Timo Glock at Marussia. Then last November he announced he would be moving to rivals Caterham to race in green for 2013.

Yet Marussia, who are now running KERS, seem to have the upper hand on the Malaysian team.

Charles Pic, however, claims he doesn’t regret his decision.

I had a great year with Marussia but now I am very happy to be with Caterham for this year and the future. It’s not frustrating at all. He told AUTOSPORT. “There are some areas where we need to progress and that’s it. It’s our job to fix issues and make steps forward.”

He admitted that Caterham can’t step up until they can develop and apply some new upgrades.

We have to wait a few races [for updates] but I have trust in the team so I’m sure we can have a good step forward. With the tyre temperature and degradation [it helps] but you cannot find one second with set-up.”

“Of course we are pushing hard with set-up and tyre management to optimise these things but at this time we wait for the updates.”


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VIDEO: Jordan F1’s Last Qualifying Lap

On Eddie Jordan’s Birthday, here’s Jordan’s last ever Qualifying lap at the hands of Narain Karthikeyan.

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March 30, 2013 · 5:24 pm

‘We Can Do It – If The Budget Allows Us’ – Grosjean

Lotus’ Romain Grosjean is certain that Lotus can win the World Championship but that they must have the budget to do so.

Kimi Raikkonen saw Lotus kick their 2013 challenge off to the best possible start when he won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 17th. The team then dropped back to finish 6th and 7th in Malaysia.

Yet they still remain second in the Constructors Championship while Raikkonen is second in the Drivers Championship.

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he thought Lotus could stay in the running, Grosjean said that they had the speed but was unsure of it’s financial ability.

“It depends on the money that we have. That is the key in F1,” he said. “We know we have good people, we know they are able to do a race winning car, we know that on development and on factory tools we are there. But then again everything is a question of what you can put into it.”

He added that the teams Aussie win will hopefully encourage more sponsorship for the Enstone based team.

Hopefully we get more sponsors, so more development and then more wins and then more sponsors,” he said. “It’s a cycle.

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Claire Williams appointed Williams Deputy Team Principal

The daughter of Williams F1 Team founder Sir Frank Williams, has been appointed as the team’s Deputy Team Principal.

She has assumed the position immediately which will see her working alongside her father and team principal Sir Frank in the day-to-day running of the team. It also means that should Sir Frank step down from his role in the team, she will become the second female team principal in F1’s history – the other being Monisha Kaltenborn who was promoted to team principal of Sauber last August.

Claire Williams’ previous roles in the team include Head of Communications, Director of Marketing and Communications and the Head of Investor Relations. Williams had planned to announce Claire as their deputy team principal before the 2013 season but the illness and passing of Lady Virginia Williams, wife of Frank, postponed the announcement.

Over the past decade Claire has worked tirelessly for Williams. Her knowledge of the sport and passion for the team is unquestionable… With Claire being appointed Deputy Team Principal, I know the future of Williams is in extremely safe hands.” Frank Williams said.

Claire Williams added “It will be a privilege to play a part in taking the team into what I hope will be a successful next chapter.

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Top 3 Grand Prix held on Easter Sunday

We’re JUST back from a very long winter but we’ve to wait another three weeks until our next slice of on track action. That’s because F1 is this year observing the Easter holiday and not holding a race around it.

In lieu of some live action, I’ve taken a look at all the Grand Prix held on Easter Sunday (Of which there are few) and selected the best three.

3. 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix

The drama began in the morning warm-up session when Enrique Bernoldi threw his Arrows too fast into the Senna S’s and hit the barriers. His Arrows, in flames, swiveled across the track and eventually came to a halt. The Medical Car was deployed to collect Bernoldi but as the driver, Alex Ribeiro opened the door, Nick Heidfeld came too fast into the section and took the door clean off the side of the Mercedes. Luckily for Ribeiro, he had not yet stepped out for he would have been killed.

For the race, Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya came together off the line. Through turn 1, the rivals were wheel to wheel with Schumacher eventually trumping the Columbian and pulling ahead. Montoya came back at him into turn 3 but Schumacher was having none of it and moved across which sent Montoya straight into the back of the Ferrari.

Montoya pitted while Schumacher allowed Barrichello to pass him as Schumacher had more fuel on-board. The laps rolled on and people began to believe that Schumacher was making the impossible, possible. He was going for a one-stop strategy to the shock of his rivals. Ralf Schumacher chased his brother down to failed to make a pass on the older German. Ralf stayed put, hoping against hope that Schumacher would make a mistake – but he didn’t.

Barrichello’s race came to a premature end when he suffered hydraulics issues and this allowed Michael to leap into the lead. After his sole pit stop, he kept the lead and there to take the chequered flag on Lap 71. Or at least he would have except when the Red Baron came over the crest in Interlagos, soccer star Pele who was supposed to be waving the flag, was caught snoozing and missed Michael. Sato in sixth, who was two laps down, was the first man to meet the flag, followed by Ralf Schumacher in 2nd, David Coulthard in 3rd, Jenson Button in 4th and Juan Pablo Montoya in 5th.

Final Standings:

1. Michael Schumacher
2. Ralf Schumacher
3. David Coulthard
4. Jenson Button
5. Juan-Pablo Montoya
6. Mika Salo
7. Eddie Irvine
8. Pedro De La Rosa
9. Takuma Sato
10. Jacques Villeneuve
11. Mark Webber
12. Kimi Raikkonen
13. Alex Yoong

Nick Heidfeld (Brakes)
Jarno Trulli (Engine)
Felipe Massa (Accident)
Allan McNish (Spin)
Olivier Panis (Gearbox)
Heinz-Harold Frentzen (Rear Track Rod)
Enrique Bernoldi (Rear Track Rod)
Rubens Barrichello (Hydraulics)
Giancarlo Fisichella (Engine)


2. 2003 San Marino Grand Prix

Michael and Ralf Schumacher arrived at the Imola circuit on Sunday morning with pain in their hearts. Their mother, Elisabeth, had passed away on Saturday evening in a hospital in Cologne. The brother’s had competed in qualifying, Michael on pole position and Ralf in 2nd, before flying to Cologne to be at their mother’s bedside. They then made their way back to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari for the race. Both raced with a black armband.

The race began with the brothers duelling down into the first corner and this battle continued for several laps until the first round of the pit-stops. The tifosi were delighted to see Ralf Schumacher duck into the pits while their hero, Michael Schumacher stayed out for two laps, allowing the ferrari duo to stay out for a 1-2 before the pits stops.

Ralf finished fourth, his hopes of joining Michael on the podium dashed when Barrichello muscled his way past at the end of lap 52, and left Imola immediately afterwards.

The Schumachers had dominated the San Marino Grand Prix for five years, with Michael leading a Ferrari one-two in 2002 and winning in 2000 and 1999.

David Coulthard was fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya followed by Jenson Button who collected the final point for BAR.

Michael was embraced by team mate Rubens Barrichello and kept his helmet on in the paddock. He made his way to the podium but no champagne was sprayed as a mark of respect for Elisabeth Schumacher. Jean Todt, The Ferrari team principal took Michael’s place in the post race press conference after the race as the two brothers flew straight home to Cologne.

Final Standings:

1. Michael Schumacher
2. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Rubens Barrichello
4. Ralf Schumacher
5. David Coulthard
6. Fernando Alonso
7. Juan Pablo Montoya
8. Jenson Button
9. Olivier Panis
10. Nick Heidfeld
11. Heinz Harold Frentzen
12. Cristiano da Matta
13. Jarno Trulli
14. Antonio Pizzonia
15.  Giancarlo Fisichella


Mark Webber (Driveshaft)
Ralph Firman (Oil Line)
Jos Verstappen (Electrical)
Justin Wilson (Fuel Rig)
Jacques Villeneuve (Engine)

1. 1993 European Grand Prix (Donnington)

Everyone remembers this race! One of the most famous F1 races in history. Ayrton Senna starting from 4th dropped to 5th and then showed superior driving skills coming from 5th to 1st in just a few corners.

The Williams were 1-2 in Qualifying with Alain Prost on pole ahead of Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Karl Wendlinger and Michael Andretti. At the start, it was damp and Schumacher blocked Senna. Both lost time and Wendlinger took third. Senna dropped to fifth but then passed Schumacher and Wendlinger quickly. Schumacher and Andretti tried to follow Senna past Wendlinger but Andretti hit Wendlinger sending both of them out of the race.

Senna went straight after Hill and took him into McLean’s Corner. Senna then raced after Prost and passed him at the Melbourne Hairpin. Going into the second lap, Senna led Prost, Hill, Barrichello (who had started 12th), Schumacher and Lehto.

The track began to dry and everyone pitted for dry tyres. Lehto was fifth, having started from the pit lane, but he retired with handling problems on lap 14. Berger took the place but he too retired with suspension problems six laps later. It rained again and the leaders now pitted for wets. Schumacher stayed out and was leading but spun off on lap 23 because he was on the wrong tires. The track began to dry and again, everyone pitted with Senna having a problem and losing 20 seconds. Prost now led Senna, Hill, Barrichello, Warwick and Herbert.

Trusting the British weather, it changed again and began to rain forcing the two Williams to stop for wets while Senna stayed out. It was the correct decision because it began to dry again. The Williams stopped, yet again for dries. Prost stalled in the pits during his final stop and when he rejoined, he was a lap behind and down in fourth. Barrichello was now second but it rained and then stopped again. He went to the pits twice and by now Hill was in second, a lap down. Barrichello in third, had trouble with his fuel pressure and retired, giving the place to Prost.

Final Standings:

1. Ayrton Senna
2. Damon Hill
3. Alain Prost
4. Johnny Herbert
5. Riccardo Patrese
6. Fabrizzio Barbazza
7. Christian Fittipaldi
8. Alessandro Zanardi
9. Erik Comas
10. Rubens Barrichello
11. Michele Alboreto


Derek Warwick (Gearbox)
Thierry Bousten (Throttle)
Andrea de Cesaris  (Gearbox)
Jean Alesi (Gearbox)
Aguri Suzuki (Gearbox)
Philippe Alliot (Collision)
Michael Schumacher (Spun-Off)
Mark Blundell (Spun-Off)
Gerhard Berger (Suspension)
Jyrki Jarvilehto (Handling)
Ukyo Katayama (Clutch)
Martin Brundle (Spun Off)
Karl Wendlinger (Collision)
Michael Andretti (Collision)

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