December 14, 2007

McLaren Completes Driver Lineup

As expected, Heikki Koveleinininnie has been named by McLaren to be their second driver for the 2008 season.  Recently booted from Renault so they could have HWMNBN and Junior Piquet, Heikki beat out Pete Rose (aka Pedro de la Rosa), McLaren's test driver in 2007.

Hm.  Think that Pete's involvement in the Stepneygate mess had anything to do with him not getting the drive?  Myself, I think not: he's not as good as the Finnish 'ninnie.  De la Rosa is a good driver, though, and if he doesn't stay on as the test driver, I'd be shocked if he didn't get a drive somewhere.

McLaren's driver lineup of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Koveleinininnie is one that's pretty impressive for a couple of reasons.  First, of course, is their ability: Hamilton led the DC until the last race weekend, and Heikki, after a bad start to the season, came back strong and pretty much left his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella in the dust.

Second, though, is their age: Heikki is 26, Hamilton is about to turn 23.  That's probably going to be the youngest driver lineup on the grid in 2008 (David Coulthard, the oldest current driver, will turn 37 in March).

Still no word on Farce Force India's lineup... we wait with baited breath.

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December 10, 2007

HWMNBN Gets A Drive

As long speculated, Renault announced that HWMNBN and Nelson Piquet Jr will be their drivers for the 2008 season.  This means that both Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Koveleinininnie are looking for drives, though it's likely that the young Finn will wind up teaming with Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, and Fisichella is likely headed to Farce Force India.

HWMNBN, after his scorched-earth season at McLaren, will be reunited with Flavio Briatore, whom he teamed with in his Driver's Championship seasons of 2005-06.  He'll be expected to bring the team back into the championship hunt.  For his reported three-year, seventy-million Pound contract, he'd best also make the coffee and paint the white grooves in the tires.  Piquet, son of three-time Champion Nelson Piquet, is an up-and-coming driver who was Renault's test driver last season, and finished 2nd in championship points in GP2 in 2006... finishing behind Lewis Hamilton.  Many think him as talented as Hamilton... at least potentially.

So I guess the Silly Season has really begun in earnest now, huh?

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December 06, 2007

Wait... WHAT?!?!?!

A ruling has been handed down by the World MotorSports Council in the Renault spy case.  Their public statement is as follows:

"An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Monaco on December 6, 2007.  The World Council found Renault F1 to be in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code but imposed no penalty.  Detailed reasons for this decision will be issued on December 7, 2007, and a transcript of the proceedings will be published as soon as possible thereafter."

Let's put this in plain English: Renault is guilty of spying, but the FIA isn't going to do anything about it.  On the other hand, McLaren was fined $100million and excluded from the Constructor's Championship because of unproven allegations.

I can't wait to read their "detailed reasons", to see exactly how they justify this decision.  I'll admit that I just don't see how they can, but it'll be good for a laugh, if nothing else.  As a F1 fan, I now feel like the ruling body of the sport has just proven that they can't steward the sport fairly.

To repeat:  Renault ADMITTED they were spying, and the FIA isn't even going to slap them on the wrist.  Nothing at all.  I'm speechless at the level of disregard for the rules... from the people in charge of them, no less!

More info as it becomes available.

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December 05, 2007

Renault's Day In Court

Thursday is the day Renault is hauled in front of the World MotorSports Council.  They stand accused of espionage in 2006 and 2007, essentially stealing the complete plans for McLaren's F1 chassis in those years.

It will be interesting to see what the WMSC does.  There's substantial (as opposed to circumstantial) evidence against Renault, and the FIA has shown what they think espionage is worth, penalty-wise ($100million, exclusion from the constructor's championship). 

If Renault is found guilty and doesn't get hit with a similar penalty, one might expect McLaren to go slightly batsh*t insane.  I'm thinking that Renault will be found guilty, but won't have anywhere NEAR the "McLaren Penalty" levied against them, because I have no confidence in the FIA to actually be consistent.

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