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yallaf1 22.02.2012

HOT TOPICS TRULLI OUT PETROV IN BARCELONA FORMULA 1 MAGAZINE & NEWS DIGEST BAHRAIN RB8 SECRETS LOTUS TROUBLES MOSS ON FANGIO & VETTEL & OTHERS

MERCEDES AMG W03 SCHUMI’S HOT RIDE

EXCLUSIVE A MECHANIC’S TALE MARC PRIESTLEY


IN THIS ISSUE

FIRSTFRAME WORD FIRST 22 February 2012

MERCEDES AMG W03 BREAKS COVER LOTUS IN TROUBLE BARCELONA TESTING BEGINS VETTE TOPS IN SPAIN CATERHAM GIVE A LIFELINE TO PETROV TRULLI AXED RED BULL RB8 SECRETS STIRLING MOSS ON VETTEL, FANGIO, HAMILTON, BUTTON CHAT WITH MARC PRIESTLEY EX-MCLAREN CHIEF MECHANIC TRULLI’S GREATEST WEEKEND IN PICTURES AND MUCH MORE...

22.02.2012

F1 descended on Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, with Mercedes getting things going by unveiling the W03 on the morning of the first day in Spain. Michael Schumacher was on duty first and made all the right sound bites after his day in the car. Will the new Silver Arrow help the seven times world champion return to the top step of the podium? Time will tell, and that time apparently will be in Melbourne - qualifying... Meanwhile, Lotus, the team that was the talk of Jerez with what appeared to be a very nifty E20 chassis (for returning Kimi Raikkonen) dropped a bombshell in the evening after the first day in Barcelona - in a nutshell the second chassis was faulty and their test was over. No much needed mileage for Kimi and general confusion all around. How serious can the E20’s flaw be? Also in this issue we say ‘arrivederci’ to Jarno Trulli while welcoming Vitaly Petrov’s lifeline at Caterham and report on the first day in Barcelona. We also have Stirling Moss dishing out his opinions on the modern F1 scene, we report on the most expensive pay drive ever and best of all an in depth exclusive chat with former McLaren chief mechanic Marc Priestley. Content & Credits • All content sourced from YallaF1.com • Content providers: PVM, GMM, Reuters, FIA, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes, Force india, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Marussia, Caterham, HRT, Pirelli, Cosworth, Renault and other F1 related organisations. • Main Photography by Sutton Images • Additional photography services provided by F1 teams including Getty Images, LAT, Hoch Zwei, Ercole Colombo • eMagazine production by YallaF1.com • Contact: info@yallaf1.com 4


2012 PRE-SEASON: FERRARI SPECIAL WROOOM WITH A VIEW AND FORTY YEARS OF HEROES

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REPORT MERCEDES AMG W03 UNVEILED

MERCEDES AMG LAUNCH

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REPORT MERCEDES AMG W03 UNVEILED

Mercedes-Benz, unveiled the 2012 Silver Arrow, the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W03, on Tuesday morning before the start of testing at Circuit de catalunya in Barcelona. 22.02.2012

The new Silver Arrow, the F1 W03, has undergone an intensive programme of simulation testing at the team’s technical bases in Brackley and Brixworth. This was followed by a filming day limited to 10


100 kms at Silverstone on 16 February, and a private test day in Barcelona on 19 February, during which the car ran for 354 km. Michael and Nico shared driving duties on both days.

The new car concept is based on a largely stable set of technical regulations, which nevertheless include two significant changes: revision of the maximum bodywork height at the front of the 11

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REPORT MERCEDES AMG W03 UNVEILED car, which encouraged the distinctive stepped-nose design; and new restrictions concerning the positioning of the exhausts, designed to prevent the aerodynamic benefit gained from exhaust gases during 2011, the so-called ‘blown diffuser’. The F1 W03 project was begun in May 2011 and is the first full car produced by a technical team that was strengthened last year with recruitments at every level of the organisation. The new car, which is composed of some 4500 parts compared to 4300 parts in 2011, has nevertheless achieved a lower core weight than its predecessor, is better packaged and more efficient. All mandatory FIA crash tests had been successfully completed at the first attempt by the end of the first week of January 2012. “The F1 W03 is a car that I believe, and hope, our team can be proud of, and which will deliver the on-track results that everybody has worked so hard to achieve,” commented Team Principal Ross Brawn. “Notwithstanding the distinctive nose design, which is certainly an acquired taste, the F1 W03 is an elegant interpretation of the current regulations, and a clear step forward over its predecessor in terms of detail design and sophistication. Last year, we produced a very bold car and, although its more radical elements didn’t always deliver the results we had hoped for, the experience we gained has been invaluable to the design of the 2012 car. The F1 W03 is also a more integrated package, which reflects the everstrengthening ties between our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth, and demonstrates that our Silver Arrows works team is taking the next step forward in terms of on-track performance.” 22.02.2012

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REPORT MERCEDES AMG W03 UNVEILED Nico, who drove the first laps in the F1 W03 on 16 February in Silverstone, commented: “We have had a good start to our 2012 testing programme, and it was a great feeling to drive the first laps in the new F1 W03. The car looks good, and is very nicely packaged under the bodywork – all the parts are in harmony, which reflects how well the different departments of our team are working together. From the beginning of our running, we have been able to focus on understanding the car and making good progress with our test programme. It will be very interesting to learn more about where we stand in the next few weeks.” Michael, who will complete the first full day of official testing with the new car today in Barcelona, commented: “I have done quite a few roll-outs and launches of new cars, but even after all these years, I must say it still feels special. Days like this are precious moments, as they are always filled with hope and anticipation. Already last week, when we were driving the F1 W03 for the very first time, it instantly gave us good feedback and sensations. We will only see over the next couple of weeks how big the step is that we have made, but I can say already that the guys and girls back in the factories at Brackley and Brixworth were brilliant in putting in so much effort, and we can only say a big thank you them. I know which reward they would like, and we will definitely try to deliver it. For my part, I am eager to fight again, looking forward to the new season, and I can’t wait for it to begin.” 22.02.2012

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REPORT LOTUS STATEMENT

LOTUS FORCED TO PULL BARCELONA TESTING AF

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otus F1 Team will not run for the remainder of the second test at Barcelona, scheduled to run until Friday. During initial runs this morning with Romain Grosjean at the wheel, the team identified an issue with the chassis. After investigation at Enstone, initial plans to bring out chassis E20-01 to Barcelona have been put on hold in order to give the team enough time to rectify the situation. James Allison, Technical Director: “Before we were due to fly chassis E20-01 out to Barcelona in replacement of chassis E2002 damaged this morning – we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today. As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work. It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week’s test. We’ll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week.” Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel that our choice is the right one. On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution. We will be present at next week’s test in Barcelona. We draw faith from the fact that the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there. We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge.” 22.02.2012

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OUT OF FTER FIRST DAY

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REPORT BARCELONA TESTING

CRISIS? WHAT CRISI? ARE LOTUS IN SERIOUS T

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otus is grappling with a major flaw on their E20 chassis with less than one month before the start of the 2012 Formula 1 world championship season. The former Renault team has sensationally abandoned this week’s Barcelona test and returned to its Enstone headquarters, after an unspecified chassis fault was detected on the new E20 car on Tuesday. “We’ll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week,” said technical director James Allison. But Gary Anderson, formerly the designer of Jordan and Jaguar cars, believes Lotus is playing down the problem. “You would have thought they could have fixed it overnight – chassis are made of carbon fibre composite so you’d be looking to bond new strengthening parts on,” he told the BBC. “In my experience, if you can’t do it in 24 hours, I don’t think you can do it at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if this meant they needed a new chassis, which would make it touch and go for the first race.” Auto Motor und Sport thinks Lotus did not experience the fundamental problem at Jerez last week because the Circuit de Catalunya is a much more demanding circuit. Kimi Raikkonen, who was set to take over the E20 for the final two days in Barcelona, will now miss out on much needed track time after his two years out of F1. 22.02.2012

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TROUBLE?

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REPORT BARCELONA TEST

SEBASTIAN VETTEL SETS THE EARLY PACE IN

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ouble world champion Sebastian Vettel topped the timing sheets at the end of the first day Formula 1 testing at Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, but the real drama was that Lotus packed up their E20 with what appears to be a flaw with the chassis, which a couple of weeks earlier - in jerez - was the pick of the bunch. At the wheel of the Adrian Newey penned Red Bull RB8, Vettel did 79 laps and posted a best time of 1 minute 23.265 seconds around the Spanish Grand Prix venue.

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REPORT BARCELONA TEST On track, the world champion set his time late in the day on a set of Pirelli hard tyres, after also topping the timing screens in the morning session – a time set on the soft tyre. “It’s clear that the cars have less grip than last year, but we try to come back from that slowly. It’s difficult to judge where we are compared with the others right now. It’s all based on feeling and the feeling I have inside the car at the moment is fine. I think we had a good day today, with no trouble. We had a long lunch break when we made some changes, but not because anything broke down. All in all, it was a good day,” said Vettel. Next up, 0.175 seconds down on the top time, was fellow German Nico Hulkenberg who ended the day just shy of 100 laps and quickest of the Mercedes powered brigade in the Force India VJM05. He had been quickest for most of the morning, before Vettel topped his time before lunch. Hulkenberg summed up his day, “Once gain it’s good to do so many laps and I’m pleased with how things went today. It was only my second day in the car and I’m still bedding in and getting used to things, but after each run I felt a bit more comfortable. We started with some aero runs and more data gathering this morning, and then moved to longer runs in the afternoon. The car feels consistent and the drivability is good so I feel positive.” 22.02.2012

Vettel: It’s clear that the cars have l 26


less grip than last year

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REPORT BARCELONA TEST Hulkenberg: I’m still bedding in and getting used to things

Unlike Vettel few drivers improved their times in the afternoon session, which was substantially warmer and arguably not ideal to target fast laps. Most drivers opted for longer runs during the second half of the day. Third quickest was Lewis Hamilton 22.02.2012

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in the McLaren MP4-27, the 2008 world champion was sampling the various Pirelli options on offer and appeared focused on long runs during the course of the day. He tallied up 114 laps. Once again very much at the sharp end of the times was Daniel Ricciardo in


the Toro Rosso STR7 which is proving to be a handy piece of kit straight out the box. Fourth fastest at the end of the day, he was also the last of the four drivers to break into the 63 seconds zone around the Catalan circuit. Behind the Ferrari powered Toro

Rosso was Maranello’s finest, Fernando Alonso on duty in the F2012 concentrating on medium length runs at a pretty handy pace. With 75 laps on the board he ended the day fifth fastest. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but isn’t that what we are here for?” said 29

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REPORT BARCELONA TEST Alonso. “I don’t think we will see anything different over the coming days, because before we can see what this car is really capable of, we must piece together all the pieces in the jigsaw. I know there is much expectation from the outside, but we are totally focussed on ourselves, without giving a thought to what is going on around us. We will only start to properly understand the situation in Melbourne.” After taking the wraps off the Mercedes AMG W03 earlier in the morning, seven times world champion Michael Schumacher was first in the cockpit, racking up 51 hassle free laps in the new Silver Arrow. “My initial feelings with our new car are certainly good. I’m happy with the different evaluations that we have done over the last week, but obviously with the rule changes, we won’t know more until later. It’s certainly an improvement and we have worked hard on the areas we had defined last year. The aerodynamics figures look good so I’m not worried about the shape of the nose! Even though we had the hydraulic problem today, I’m pleased with all the mileage we have achieved so far with the new car,” Schumacher eported after his first full day in the new car. The only other driver within one second of Vettel’s best was Sergio Perez in the Sauber C31 with 66 laps to his credit and the 22.02.2012

Hamilton did 117 lasp on the openin 30


ng day in Barcelona

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REPORT BARCELONA TEST seventh best time of the day which was 0.954 seconds down on the top time. The team experienced some technical niggles that affected their programme negatively. Bruno Senna’s programme was used to maximise the Brazilian’s track time, as he would only have one day behind the wheel, in the Williams FW34, and accomplishing the task with 97 laps on his board and the eighth best time. . With less than a dozen laps into the day, Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham CT01 suffered a rear track rod failure which curtailed their programme. The Finn eventually got going to complete 31 laps and set the ninth best time. Lotus were the biggest ‘losers’ on the day as Romain Grosjean only completed 7 laps before parking the Lotus E20-02 with an issue which the Frenchman explained: “I was very quickly aware that the car wasn’t responding as it should.” The problems escalated to the point that the team was forced to withdraw from the test and terminate their test prematurely, which meant that Kimi raikkonen would be missing out on much needed and valuable track time. (See separate story) Last on the timing sheets but with the most laps to his credit was rookie Charles Pic at the wheel of last year’s Marussia MVR02. Although six seconds off the pace he will be glad to have notched up 121 laps experience in an F1 car, albeit last year’s model.

Barcelona Testing Day 1 Results – Tuesday, 21 February 2012 P 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Drivers Vettel Hulkenberg Hamilton Ricciardo Alonso Schumacher Perez Senna Kovalainen Grosjean Pic

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Teams Red Bull RB8 Force India VJM05 McLaren MP4-27 Toro Rosso STR07 Ferrari F2012 Mercedes AMG W03 Sauber C31 Williams FW34 Caterham CT01 Lotus E20 Marussia MVR02 32

Times 1.23.265 1.23.440 +0.175 1.23.590 +0.325 1.23.618 +0.353 1.24.100 +0.835 1.24.150 +0.885 1.24.219 +0.954 1.25.711 +2.446 1.26.035 +2.770 1.26.809 +3.554 1.29.248 +5.983

Laps 79 97 114 76 75 51 66 97 31 7 121


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FOR THE RECORD CATERHAM

VITALY PETROV REPLACES JARNO TRULLI AT CATERHAM

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aterham F1 Team has announced on 17 February that Vitaly Petrov joined the team as race driver, replacing Jarno Trulli with immediate effect. The Russian was at the Anglo-Malaysian team’s factory in Hingham on the same day for a seat fitting ahead of his first run with the team at the second preseason test in Barcelona, 21st to 24th February. Team Principal Tony Fernandes: “We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come. When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead. 22.02.2012

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FOR THE RECORD CATERHAM “I also want to take this opportunity to thank Jarno for the absolutely pivotal role he played in the formation and progression of our team since he joined us in December 2009. Jarno knew that when he joined us it would be a very different environment to where he had been before, and when we gave him the package he wanted he absolutely shone. With that in mind it was not an easy decision to bring Vitaly in to replace Jarno, but it was one we made to ensure that we give fresh impetus across the whole team and with a realistic eye on the global economic market. Jarno has an incredible natural talent behind the wheel, and his winning record and longevity in the sport will bear testament to that talent in the Formula 1 annals forever, but now it is time to open a new chapter in our team’s story, and Vitaly is the right person to help us do that. “We have reached agreement with Jarno to bring an end to our partnership with him, but he will always be part of our family. Now we want to integrate Vitaly as quickly as possible into the team, and we will do everything we can to welcome him in, give him a car he can use to showcase his skills, and keep up the rate of development that has seen us go from an empty factory with just four employees to a fully established Formula 1 team in just over two years.” 22.02.2012

Petrov: I would like to take this cha 38


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ance to thank all my fans and partners


FOR THE RECORD CATERHAM Vitaly Petrov:“This is a very exciting day for me. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to join a team that made its F1 debut at the same time as me, and has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours. The passion and spirit that Tony and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious, and I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come. “I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work. From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011 and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona. I would also like to take this chance to thank all my fans and partners for their support and their patience.” Jarno Trulli: “I want to take this chance to thank Tony, Kamarudin, SM Nasarudin, Riad, Mike and everyone in the team for the two seasons we had together. From zero we built up and established a solid F1 team. I’m really proud to have been part of it. I understand the decision the team has made and I want to wish to the whole team the very best of luck for the season ahead.” 22.02.2012

Trulli: I understand the decision the 40


team has made

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REPORT RED BULL

CHRISTIAN HORNER: THE SECRET IS IN THE D

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eam principal Christian Horner has admitted Red Bull is keeping its cards close to its chest ahead of the 2012 season, but reveals that the RB8 does have a performance secret or two… 22.02.2012

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Under the glare of the F1 world’s eyes, the title-defending RB8 has been in action for four days at Jerez recently. But when the Adrian Neweypenned car was officially launched,


DETAIL

the team refused to host a traditional unveiling ceremony, instead releasing a short animated video. “We didn’t want it photographed at the first opportunity from every side

by our competition,” admitted team boss Horner to Auto Motor und Sport. Amid Red Bull’s meteoric recent success, rival teams have copied the blown diffuser and flexible wing 45

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REPORT RED BULL concepts, and this year’s ‘step’ noses are all the result of yet another Newey design philosophy beneath the chassis. “At last year’s launch at Valencia there were 100 photographers all doing their shots from the roof of the pits,” Briton Horner exclaimed. “In no time at all, everyone knew every dimension of our car.” So, in 2012, some mysteries about the RB8 continue to exist — one is the real or secondary function of the letterbox-style nose slot, and another is an unlaunched development of the exhaust layout. “Last year we had to have the blown diffuser out early,” explained Horner, “because we had to find out how the exhaust gases affected the tyres. “ This time, the secret is in the detail, and you don’t want to give your competition too much of a helping hand,” he smiled while speaking to media. 22.02.2012

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REPORT STIRLING MOSS

STIRLING MOSS ON: VETTEL, FANGIO, HAMILTON, BUTTON, AND UGLY F1 CARS

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ed Bull’s double world champion Sebastian Vettel reminds Stirling Moss of Juan Manuel Fangio, the Argentine all-time great who denied the Briton a Formula One title with his dominance in the 1950s. Speaking to reporters at a Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame event, the ‘greatest driver never to win the Formula One crown’ poured praise on the freshfaced 24-year-old German with the mischievous grin. “Vettel is a modern Fangio, really, in Formula One. I can’t see, other than his natural ability, how he is that good, how he can be that good,” said the 82-yearold Briton, his walking stick poised by his side. “I think Vettel is quite outstanding, but then he has got the best car, which is fair enough because normally the best driver gets the best car. Fangio went around and took what he wanted and one took whatever was left.

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REPORT STIRLING MOSS “Where we’re lucky is that Vettel has a great sense of humour. He is a damn good world champion. I can think of a lot of other people who get to that position and they don’t give back as much as they get out, but he really does.” Moss was runner-up in the Formula One championship four times while Fangio, regarded by many as the greatest driver of all time and the Englishman’s team mate at Mercedes in 1955, won five titles. Vettel dominated last season, taking his second successive crown with four races to spare and chalking up 11 wins from 19 races. McLaren’s British duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, both champions, will be among the German’s main rivals when the new season starts in Australia on March 18, and Moss felt that he would rather ‘put his money’ on the former. “ Their problem is that they’re up against a better outfit. The Red Bull is so good, it’s enormously difficult to be as good as that is and I don’t think they are yet,” said the octogenarian who survived a three-storey plunge down a lift shaft in 2010 and only formally retired from racing last June. “Vettel is outstanding. They (the McLaren drivers) are up there, but not as far as he is. Lewis does funny things, so one can’t be sure,” he said. “I would put my money on 22.02.2012

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Jenson. Yes I would. Lewis is terrific, he really is exceptionally quick, but Jenson thinks about certain things better than Lewis will,” said Moss, who was always a real racer living life to the full. “Like when it’s raining and whether 22.02.2012

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or not to go in for a change of tyres. For all those sorts of things he has a better understanding of it, and experience is a lot of it.” In a year of ‘ugly’ new cars, Moss – looking forward to a vacation cruise


that ever won anything?,” he mused. “There’s the saying that if it looks right it probably is. That’s what worries me about the Ferrari because it doesn’t look very nice, but maybe it’s particularly effective.” 55

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from Hong Kong to Dubai on a liner that he hastened to quip was not Italian – said the Ferrari was ‘hideous’ and hoped it had a facelift over the course of the campaign. “Can you think of an ugly car


REPORT PAY DRIVER

PASTOR MALDONADO THE 46 MILLION DOLLAR

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t has emerged in documents leaked through the internet that Pastor Maldonado’s backers, Venzuelean government oil company PDVSA, paid over $46 million to Williams for a seat in the team for 2012. A copy of an invoice from Williams to PDVSA (Petroleos de Venezuela SA) of £29.4 million ($46.29 million) which was due to be paid on 31 October 2011. This has come to light in the aftermath of allegations, in Venezuelan political circles late last year, that the deal was illegal. Venezuelan congressman Carlos Ramos led the protest, against President Hugo Chavez, demanding that the contract details between PDVSA and Williams be made public as per requirements of the law in that country. However the government has ignored the demands, but the invoice has appeared online on several websites, along with excerpts of the contract. Payment for the invoice apparently secures Maldonado’s race seat with the team for 2012. According to the contract, the amount escalates annually until the end of 2015 when the team will be raking in £40 million ($63 million) for Maldonado’s seat. According to leaked portions of the contract, between PDVSA and Williams, the deal appears to favour the team more so than the government organisation. For example, article 5.3 states: “Once a candidate has been nominated and appointed by Williams, his appointment may be terminated only by Williams.” The contract stipulates that the contract runs until 31 December 2015. Thus Maldonado is easily the highest paying driver in Formula 1 history. This coupled to a huge chunk of money reportedly being brought in by Bruno Senna and his backers, ensures that the Williams team is in the pounds seat for the forthcoming season. Unless, of course, the deal goes sour with PDVSA, which could well happen as public discord mounts in the oil rich South American nation at the amount being paid for Maldonado to be in Formula 1. 22.02.2012

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R MAN

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REPORT NICO HULKENBERG

NICO HULKENBERG: I HAVE TO GET INTO THA

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ico Hulkenberg spent too much time, for his own liking, sitting on the pit gantry in 2011. This year he is back where he wants to be; in the Force India cockpit doing the business on track as he did in his rookie year with Williams back in 2010. Speaking to the media after the Jerez test sessions, Hulkenberg admited that he needs to get back into the racing frame of mind after the year spent on the sidelines, “Obviously I went through that process in 2010 and I still have memories of it. Since his debut at the 2010 Bahrain GP, the 24 year old German has competed in 19 F1 races and concedes, “It’s not a situation like the beginning of 2010 when I was a complete rookie and completely new to everything. I’ve gone through it before and I know what to expect and what is coming up.” “It’s not a bad situation, but not having been on the grid for a year means it might take some time and some adjustments before I’m fully up there and back in my race rhythm,” added Hulkenberg. The Force India VJM05 was one of the standout packages during the first pre-season tests at Jerez de la Frontera, which will allow the 2009 GP2 champion to focus on his race weekend pace. “I just have to get back in the groove, get some mileage, get the F1 feeling back, and just prepare,” said Hulkenberg. “The important thing is to do a qualifying and race simulation as well, at the latest by the last Barcelona test. It’s what you would do usually, but maybe this time it’s a bit more for myself to prepare,” he concluded. 22.02.2012

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AT F1 GROOVE AGAIN

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REPORT BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX

2012 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX TICKETS GO ON SALE

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ahrain International Circuit (BIC), The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East, alongside national carriers Gulf Air, announced this week the programme of events for the upcoming 2012 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. A press release by the organisers stated: The long awaited race weekend, which is loved by hundreds of thousands of racing fans from across the region, will be the eighth running of the event. It is scheduled to take place between April 20 and 22 as the fourth round of a record-breaking 20-race calendar that makes up this year’s FIA Formula One World Championship. The 60-day countdown to the Grand Prix weekend begins tomorrow (Monday, February 20), and as the event nears, excitement and anticipation [is mounting] All-new details of the Formula One event were revealed at today’s Press conference, held at BIC’s Paddock Club Lounge Six. In attendance were Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive at BIC, and Samer Majali, Chief Executive at Gulf Air. Together they revealed this year’s 22.02.2012

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slogan for the race: ‘UniF1ed – One Nation in Celebration’. This mantra reflects the unifying spirit of true Formula One fans, who share a passion for the sport and who long to see the very best of motor racing take place in the Kingdom.


extremely privileged to be part of an exclusive club of only a handful of countries who can say that they are a host of a Grand Prix and are a part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Our race is a source of pride! “Based on the success of past 65

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Shaikh Salman commented: “Sport brings people together, especially the truest and most dedicated of fans. Be it in football, tennis, golf or motor racing, there is something special about sport that makes it a great unifier. “We in Bahrain should feel


REPORT BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX

grands prix, we are all together looking forward to staging yet another spectacular Formula One weekend. We are excited about making Bahrain proud and for the whole world to see that we are indeed One Nation in Celebration.” Samer Majali confirmed: “As Bahrain’s 22.02.2012

national carrier, we are looking forward to welcoming the return of the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix. “We have already seen an increase in bookings for these three days as excitement builds. Gulf Air has been the title sponsor of the Bahrain Grand Prix 66


since it made history in April 2004 as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East.� Just as it had been in years past, the 2012 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix will boast a line-up of three of the very best international support

series that will complement all the Formula One action. These supporting categories are headlined by the GP2 Series and Porsche Mobil1 Supercup. Also set to feature the WGA Supercars Championship Middle East. 67

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY

A CONVERSATION WITH MARC PRIESTLEY FORMER MCLAREN CHIEF MECHANIC

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arc Priestley was a mechanic with McLaren for nine years, he and many like him are the unsung heroes of Formula 1 – one of the guys who we seldom see on TV but also one of the guys crucial to any world championship campaign and as such, one of the guys that sees things we don’t ordinarily see. Marc made his way to the summit of the sport through a long and arduous route from the ‘minor leagues’ to one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport – enjoying great triumphs and hard times along the way. We are fortunate to have him reminisce about his days with the Woking team. But before we move on here is a brief overview of his impressive motorsport credentials obtained after he left Kent College with a BTEC National Diploma in Motor Vehicle Engineering back in 1995. 1995-1996 1996-1997 1997-1999 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2006 2007 2008 2009 2009 2010 22.02.2012

Tangent Motorsport mechanic Ratrace Motorsport mechanic Chas Berger Motorsport mechanic Speedsport Formula 3 Number 1 mechanic & Orbit Motorsport Formula 3000 senior mechanic McLaren test team Number 2 mechanic McLaren race team Number 2 mechanic McLaren race team Number 1 mechanic McLaren race team chief mechanic McLaren Project leader and Co-ordinator Joined Motor Sport Vision as Race Team Co-ordinator & Team Manager until now in various roles including consultancy, public speaking and GP2 mechanic 70


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY Marc, impressive CV especially the McLaren years – immediate question is why did you leave them? Marc Priestley: The decision to leave McLaren after so long was very difficult. Working as part of an F1 race team is much more than just a job, it really is a way of life. It’s easy to become totally immersed in the Formula One ‘bubble’ , a fast paced world of pretentiousness and fairytale finances, and lose touch, ever so slightly, with reality. You spend so much time with the guys you work with, time away from home, that it almost becomes family-like and in the end that was one of the main reasons for calling it a day. I have my own family and with the calendar moving towards more and more races and with more and more of those being long haul, I wanted to be able to spend more time at home with them. The other reason was a professional one. I felt as though my career had gone about as far as it could go with the race team and at the time there were no suitable positions in the areas I wished to go at the McLaren factory, so after much debate and soul searching, I took a leap of faith and moved into a big management role at the FIA Formula Two Championship. Highlights of your decade with the team? I’ll never ever forget the day I got the job, first and foremost. I was a huge McLaren fan and so when I got the phone call it was like a dream come true! I remember phoning everyone I knew to tell them in excitement. 22.02.2012

Anyone who’s ever been part of any sports team, I’m sure will appreciate that it’s an emotional roller coaster. Highs and lows can be only moments apart, but the highs are what keep you going and I was lucky enough to be with a top team, winning races and even championships. Victories with Mika, DC, Kimi, Juan Pablo, Fernando and Lewis were all great, each in different ways. I’m trying to pick one favourite here, but just can’t as there are a handful of ‘ extra special’ race wins that took us all to the very top of that roller coaster and formed some of the highlights of my career. I will say, that my time working with Kimi was brilliant. We had a particularly close knit car crew and I include him in that, and every success we shared meant an awful lot to us all. We knew how to celebrate too! When Kimi won the 2005 Japan GP, overtaking Fisichella on the very last lap and having started from 17th place, we went crazy and a somewhat excessive 3 day party duly ensued. Lowlights and orgettable moments? For many race fans the 2011 season will be remembered as being a little on the boring side due to Seb’s dominance of most races. Having said that, Seb and his Red Bull team mates will see it differently. I know I would have happily forgone all the reliability issues and DNF’s that plagued our championship challenges and taken a comfortable race win at every event in a season! I know its a bit of a cliché, but everyone at each team, from the 72


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY drivers to the factory cleaners, work so hard to even get their two cars on to the grid on a Sunday afternoon, that to see all that work become fruitless with a collision at turn 1 or a car failure, can be soul destroying. Memorable ‘on track’ lows for me include Mika’s last lap clutch failure when leading the Spanish GP in 2001 and Kimi’s last lap suspension failure at the European GP 2005, also whilst leading the race. There’s nothing worse than being less than a lap from victory when it happens! Off track, a particular low for the whole team was the ‘spygate’ affair of 2007. Lewis and Fernando squabbling with each other created a large split down the middle of our garage and in a year where the constructors championship was ours for the taking, to have it taken away by the FIA because of the stupidity of certain people, really hurt. For many team members, particularly all of the guys back at the factory, the constructors title is the one which means the most and the chance to win it doesn’t come around too often! There’s no way I can talk about lowlights without mentioning, unquestionably the lowest point of my entire motor racing career. Deaths in motor racing these days are fortunately few and far between, but sadly I was working at Brands Hatch in 2009 when Henry Surtees, son of former F1 world champion John, was killed racing a Formula Two car. Nothing can ever prepare you for something like that, it instantly and cruelly brings into perspective what we all do and as a team manager I had to try and offer some kind of support 22.02.2012

to the mechanics who had earlier strapped their driver into the car as normal, wished him luck as they left the grid for the race start, only for him never to return. What was it like working for Ron Dennis? Ron is a unique character. Quirky, imposing, fascinating, terrifying, frustrating, clever, demanding, particular and brilliant. The whole McLaren Group of companies is built around his way of thinking and to his incredibly high and exacting standards and things run his way or no way at all. To work for Ron you need to be a certain type of person. Many have come and gone, not being able to understand why things need to be a certain way, why everything ‘McLaren’ has to be spotlessly clean and not only work, but look immaculate too. You can look at it on one level and say, “If the car’s quick, surely that’s all that matters?”, but Ron would think that’s shallow and short sighted, as he has a far greater vision. He sees a much larger picture which incorporates, and places paramount importance on, the company’s image to the outside world and how that directly effects marketing, sponsorship and therefore income to produce, not only next year’s car, but fast cars for the next ten years. It can be a real pain in the arse at times working for him, but for me it wasn’t really until I left and looked back from outside, that I appreciated what he does. The values he’s instilled will remain with me and even though 74


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY his presence around the team has lessened, McLaren will continue down the same path which has made it so successful, largely because of him. Any lesser known Dennis moments you would care to share? For all Ron’s hard and often cold exterior persona, there’s definitely a small soft spot in there somewhere. I found myself staying a little too long at a Saturday night party in Singapore once, I didn’t realise it but Ron was there too. With time running out to make it back to my hotel in time to go to work and the queue for taxis stretching back further than I could even see, Ron appeared from nowhere and asked what the hell I was still doing there. Quivering slightly, I explained that I had been desperately trying to get home for hours but there were just no taxis. I have absolutely no doubt that he didn’t believe a word, but watched in amazement as he summonsed his driver and then asked me to send the black Mercedes back for him once I’d got home! What was it like working with Lewis Hamilton? It was really interesting to see Lewis come into the sport in such a blaze of glory and media hype. We had all followed his progress in GP2 on the garage monitors at GP’s and he often used to pop in to have a look around our cars. At that time he was almost in awe of what we did, fascinated and wanting to learn more and more. Just after the announcement of his McLaren race seat, he joined us for a 22.02.2012

week at the Finnish Olympic Institute where we were taking part in various physical assessments and team building exercises. He was so excited and enthusiastic, even perhaps a little shy. Over the next few months, and now years, it was fascinating, if not slightly disturbing, to watch this kid being transformed and moulded into the ultimate McLaren marketing product. Lewis is an incredible driver, but there’s been a definite shift in his personality since his meteoric rise to World Champion, perhaps unavoidably in the circumstances. He came into this sport and was given the best car on the grid and the best possible support for two years in a row, where he duly and deservedly won the world title. As a very young man, all of a sudden he had people doing everything for him. He had whatever he wanted, along with the adoration and worship of millions of fans around the world and I suspect there’s very few people who can remain unchanged after all that. 2011 was a bad year for Lewis, in many areas of his life. He didn’t quite have everything his way, events looked to be conspiring against him and, at times, he didn’t handle it at all well. He lost a lot of love last year and it will be really interesting to see how he comes back in 2012. Don’t forget, although he’s been world champ already, Lewis Hamilton still has many things to experience in life and in racing, and you sometimes have to go through the bad times to really appreciate the 76


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY good ones.

restart. A race restart is somehow always a Did you know he was going to be so slightly chaotic procedure, but we’d good so quickly? got the car back into position, cleaned The quick answer is no, no one really it up and checked it over and were knew how he would do. He did pretty ready to go. With around 6 minutes to well in pre season testing, although the go, I asked our gearbox technician to car wasn’t anywhere near quick enough just have a quick check to make sure out of the box and until we reached no gravel had got into the tube at the Australia, we didn’t have a clear idea back of the car where we insert the of how we compared to other teams. starter motor to fire up the engine. He His race craft in a GP2 car was great, bent down to have a look and then but it’s an enormous step up to F1 for turned back to me with his face as a youngster and when you combine white as a sheet. that with everything else that he had to The tube, about 25mm diameter and contend with, it was a bit of a gamble on half a meter long, was jammed full Ron’s part. of gravel! Using whatever makeshift We thought he’d use 2007 to learn tooling we could get sent over the from Fernando and if he could pit wall to the grid, we frantically consistently bring it home, we’d all managed to extract most of the be happy. As it turned out, he pushed stones, but two remained buried all the then current world champion the way down. We had less than two from early on and I always remember minutes to go and no way of starting the race at Monaco where we were the car! With only 90 seconds until the 1-2, with Lewis behind, comfortably restart of the race and with the engine quicker than everyone else and he reaching critically low temperatures, was pushing like mad, eager to risk using a combination of long rods everything to try and get past. He got and sticky tape, we managed to pull very frustrated at being told to “hold out the last stone, engage the starter position” to see the race out as he motor and fire up the car. Throughout thought he could have won! the whole frenetic 10 minutes, with people running to and from the car, Any lesser known Hamilton moments scrambling around the back end and you would care to share? coming so close to not being able to At the 2007 European Grand Prix I was race, Lewis remained serenely calm, in charge of Lewis’ car when severe focusing on his launch and run down rain and numerous crashes brought to turn one. out red flags during the race. We were beached in a gravel trap, but Lewis had Tell us about the 2008 world title win kept the engine running and marshals and your involvement…. craned him out, back onto the track Brazil 2008 will, I’m sure, always go and he limped back to the grid for the down as one of the most dramatic 22.02.2012

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY conclusions to a world championship ever and it was great to be part of that. By then I was no longer directly working on either car, but remained part of the pit stop crew and therefore actively involved in the race itself. As a team, most of us had been in the situation of going into the last race as championship contenders before, so I don’t think pressure was an issue for us, but on too many occasions we had come away on Sunday night as runners up. I don’t remember too much about the race, other than that amazing last lap to be honest. The atmosphere in the garage was electric and the tension almost unbearable as the title appeared to be yo-yoing in and out of his grasp all the way round the lap, as the cars literally skated around through the torrential rain. Everyone held their breath, fists clenched tight, half off chairs and just the occasional shout of encouragement punctuating the silence as we all fixated on the screens. With 3 or 4 turns to go we saw the whole season slipping away as Lewis struggled to keep the car on the track, only for seconds later and with one corner to go, see him gain the one place he needed and the garage erupted into uncontrolled euphoria! What do you make of the F1 scene nowadays? F1 has changed so much during my time, regulations, both sporting and technical, drive the sport in different directions in attempts to cut costs, improve safety, develop different technologies or improve the show. The current format, as 22.02.2012

with every derivative, has its critics and supporters. Engineering ‘eureka’ moments are now few and far between because the latest technical regs are so restrictive, that’s a real shame for me as I always felt that was a big part of the F1 challenge. The current trend for overtaking aids has perhaps made racing more interesting, but as Kimi said this week, “Is it really overtaking?”. Vettel? One of the nicest GP drivers around. Awesomely quick and still learning! Button? Super experienced and really pleased he’s finally found success on track. Quietly giving Lewis plenty to think about. Alonso? Very, very good in the car. Lost a little respect for him as a man when he was with us in 2007 (Spygate) Hamilton these days? Big test this year. We’ll see how good he really is after the turmoil of 2011. Great drivers don’t lose talent overnight, but getting the psychological side right is key. I think he’ll do well. As we speak team launches happening, testing about to start – give us some insight into what is going on right now in a top team? Very very busy. There have been many late nights working at the factory over the past few weeks as deadlines approach. At the top teams, parts are being updated even before they ever reach a car. Nowadays 90% of 80


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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW MARC PRIESTLEY development is carried out in a wind tunnel or in the simulator, so car build has to wait until the last possible moment to ensure the most up to date parts are available. Even between ‘finishing’ the car at the factory, loading it into the transporter and it arriving in Jerez, a whole batch of new parts will be shipped and waiting for the mechanics to fit when they arrive. I have had years when the front wing has been in its 13th incarnation by the first race! Do you miss Formula 1? There’s lots I miss, as I said earlier, it’s a way of life. I have many good friends up and down the pit lane and the thrill of qualifying on pole or winning a race, can never be replaced. Having said that, I’m really enjoying the flexibility of what I do now and seeing my four beautiful kids growing up. I spent years giving up a huge part of my life for McLaren, as the current guys are now, they won’t get much sleep or time at home now until they return from Malaysia at the end of March. I don’t miss that! What are your personal plans for the future? I would like to move more towards the media side of the sport. I feel quite strongly that F1 still doesn’t portray itself well enough to the fans and viewing public. Having worked on the inside, I watch a grand prix now and appreciate everything that’s going on behind the scenes to make the more visible things happen. The frantic calculations in strategy, the constant radio traffic between pitwall, drivers, garage and mission control back in the UK, discussions during a race with Charlie Whiting and so much more. I think the complicated nature of Formula One’s regulations often prevent the layman from being able to understand, in real time, what’s really going on during a race and I’d love to be able to help improve that. I’m also busy right now writing a book about my own experiences at McLaren and F1 in general, so look out for it. Marc’s just joined Twitter @f1elvis 22.02.2012

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22.02.2012

YallaF1 Mag 22 February 2012 (Ver.2)  

Digest of the past week's news and happenings in the world of Formula 1. Including: interviews, features, results and great photos

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