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Ferrari celebrates 60 years of F1

We mentioned last week that Formula One was celebrating its sixtieth birthday but a key fact escaped our attention - to mention that only one team has been there for all sixty seasons, and hence was also celebrating its sixtieth birthday. The Ferrari F1 Team made its debut in round two of the inaugural F1 Championship at the Monaco Grand Prix on May 21, 1950. A second place for Italian Alberto Ascari in the Ferrari 125 set the tone for the next six decades. To date the team has taken part in 799 Grands Prix, meaning that Istanbul next weekend will be the eight hundredth. To date, Ferrari’s race record shows 211 wins, 16 Constructors’ and 15 Drivers’ titles, which makes this team the most successful in mankind's most followed sport.  Read More

The 158 which won six Grands Prix from six starts in the initial season of Formula One

The world's premier television sport had a major birthday this week. On May 13, 1950, the first ever Formula One World Championship race was held at the UK’s Silverstone motor racing circuit with Alfa Romeo storming to an historic 1-2-3 podium lockout. Italian Giuseppe Farina, nephew of the founder of the influential automotive stylist Pininfarina, dominated proceedings in his 300 bhp Alfa Romeo 158 ('15' for 1,500cc and '8' for 8 cylinders), with the three Alfas two laps clear of the 21-strong field. F1's influence has grown over the last 60 years to the point where more than 600 million people watch each race - that is, one in every eleven human beings watches each F1 race.  Read More

The Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa was officially unveiled at the 2010 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'E...

Zagato is celebrating its long term links with Alfa Romeo during the marque’s centenary year by crafting a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa TZ and TZ2 racing cars of the 1960s. Like the originals, the cutting edge TZ3 is designed to minimize weight yet use the most powerful drive-train possible, so the 1960s aluminum tubular frame has been replaced by a carbon fiber monocoque with hand-crafted aluminum panels and in place of the original four cylinder engine is an 8C Competizone 4.2 liter V8. The final equation is 420 bhp pushing a curb weight of 850 kg for a 0-100 kmh in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 300 kmh… and good looks and wicked roadholding.  Read More

Raikkonen achieves polysport status

Despite being arguably one of the most well-rounded athletes in history, Michael Jordan's exploits on the baseball diamond didn't go close to matching the heights he achieved on the basketball court. Indeed, it's so uncommon to achieve world competitiveness in more than one sport, there's no word to describe (polysport?) such notables as Jim Thorpe, Lionel Conacher, Babe Didrikson, John Surtees and Denis Compton. World 2007 F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen is the latest to achieve international success in two sports, finishing eighth in the Jordan Round of the World Rally Championship this weekend, scoring world championship points in his second sport and just his third WRC rally.  Read More

New Formula 1 rules see cars changing dramatically

Formula One will be quite different in 2010 thanks to a number of changes to the rules. The Kinetic Energy Recovery System is gone, front tires will be narrower (from 270mm to 245mm) and most significantly, there will be no refueling during races which will mean fuel tanks will need to be roughly three times larger than 2009. The changes have bred a different size and shape of car, as was evidenced over the last two days when we saw the first of the serious contender’s cars – the 2010 McLaren MP4-25 of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and the Ferrari F10 of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso. Demonstrating the drawing power of the Prancing Horse, Ferrari attracted an audience of three million unique visitors to its web site for the launch. The season gets underway tomorrow when …  Read More

The Tajima Motor Corporation's EV Mini Sport - an electric vehicle that looks more at home...

To many motoring enthusiasts, Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima is to hill climbing what Michael Schumacher is to F1 or Valentino Rossi is MotoGP. It’s no wonder then that when Tajima launches an electric car the motoring world gets a little excited. Released recently at the first EV and HEV Drive System Technology Expo in Tokyo, the Tajima Motor Corporation’s (in conjunction with Natural Energy) EV Mini Sport is an open wheeler, single-seater car that looks very comfortable on the track.  Read More

Mercedes assembles Silver Arrows F1 dream team

The new Silver Arrows Formula One works team was presented in Stuttgart today and though there were no surprises, the line-up was nonetheless formidable. Take a world championship winning team (Brawn F1 2009), add to it substantial long term sponsorship from Petronas, the full weight of Mercedes Benz management, finances and engineering (with the emphasis on engine - the title engine of the last two years) and then slot in the winningest F1 driver in history, and you have a pretty impressive line-up. The most ominous aspect of it all though is that the pairing of Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher is back together. It won two titles at Benetton, reestablished the Ferrari dynasty then Brawn created his own history last year. The car remains under a shroud of secrecy until its track debut next week.  Read More

Valentino Rossi testing Ferrari F1 on January 21, 2010

It is interesting to note that the three biggest stories in Formula One right now concern a driver who competed in 2010 but not in 2009 (the Michael Schumacher comeback), a driver who competed in 2009 but not 2010 (Raikkonen loses his drive and goes WRC) and a driver who has never competed in F1 and quite possibly never will – Valentino Rossi. Indeed, Rossi has only ever driven an F1 car six times, but his status as one of motorcycling’s all-time greats and one of the most popular and media-savvy sportspeople of all time make the possibility an incredibly enticing prospect. For Ferrari, Rossi brings a global army of fans and the possibility of a rare Italian driver-car title combination that hasn’t happened since Alberto Ascari in 1953, despite 15 drivers titles and 16 constructors titles for the marque since then. This week Rossi tested in a Ferrari F1 car again, and was so fast that the possibility might now be approaching a probability.  Read More

Kimi in his new office environment

Just two years ago, Finn Kimi Raikkonen was the reigning (2007) World Champion in the world’s most prominent television sport, and the number one driver for the world’s most famous racing marque, Ferrari. Forbes rated him the 26th highest paid celebrity in the world, the fifth highest paid sportsperson and the highest paid driver in the world with a weekly pay cheque of US$1,000,000. Late last year he lost his job in the cutthroat game of musical chairs played by the top half dozen drivers in the world and decided to sit out 2010 by driving rally cars. This weekend he starts his new job in a town made famous by none other than Father Christmas – could there be a belated Christmas Gift in the offing?  Read More

Marc Gene drives the first few laps in the new simulator - obviously, there's no need to d...

Simulators have long been used to teach new skills that would otherwise involve great expense and/or great risk - like learning to fly a new aeroplane. Now Ferrari has built its own F1 simulator so it can develop its Formula One cars and train its drivers to use new technology and to race on new tracks without breaking F1 rules limiting testing in the real world. The simulator uses ten linked computers, 60 GB of RAM, five giant 3D video screens, a 3500 watt Dolby sound system, and weighs more than 200 tonnes. Even the 130 kW electrical power supply for the machine is a beast.  Read More

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