F1 and Domestic Politics - Should it Matter?

I originally wrote this piece on the day of the Bahrain GP for the International Political Forum - check it out here!

The F1 world exists in a bubble of its own. Although highly political, its politics are usually internal, and as such the domestic politics of the host nation rarely rates a mention. Granted, (by and large, with exceptions of course) most of the races are in stable states, and so voicing of political concern is either verbal or doesn’t make the international news.

That is why the case of today’s race in Bahrain is very interesting indeed.

Just briefly – the Bahraini race was the result of the work of King’s son, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, who thought it would be a great way to put Bahrain on the international radar. It worked wonderfully in doing so, and its first race in 2004 was a huge success (according to the BBC at any rate), both domestically and internationally.

The problems only really started appearing in early 2011, when the island nation got swept with Arab Spring fever, and the Shia majority began protesting in earnest against the ruling Sunni minority. Their main issue is with the human rights record of the government (which, as the Bassiouni report showed, is a spotty record indeed).

The race was cancelled that year. A brief roundup of those events by the BBC can be found here.

So where does that leave Bahrain and Formula 1 now?

Well, media stories are filled with visual depictions of angry protestors holding anti-F1 signs and chanting slogans such as “Your race is a crime,” and “No, no to the blood Formula.”


Bahraini leaders are downplaying the unrest, with the Crown Prince insisting the event will be safe for teams and spectators. However, MP’s within the government requested that the event again be cancelled. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Democracy in Bahrain said: “We request you cancel the Grand Prix. It is likely to attract as much negative publicity as last year.”

The world motorsport’s governing body the FIA and the promoters Formula One Management (FOM), caught in the middle, have simply said the event will go ahead.

CEO of FOM, the infamous Bernie Ecclestone, wants to keep the sport as far away from the politics as possible, saying to the BBC: “We don’t want to see trouble. We don’t want to see people arguing and fighting about things we don’t understand, because we really don’t understand. Some people feel it’s our fault there are problems.”

“We’re not here, or we don’t go anywhere, to judge how a country is run”, although he did also mention that he thought the government was “stupid” to put the race on, as people will use it [emphasis added] as a platform for protesting.

Bernie is right in a way; trying to figure out which side is right or wrong never ends well. There are too many shades of grey.

What the true question is about though, is how much of a role as Formula 1 plays in domestic and global politics. Much of the media focus has been around the protests, whether Formula One as an event should be in Bahrain, trying to figure out if there is a “morally” correct side to be on.


The sad fact of the matter is if Formula 1 hadn’t come to Bahrain, the country wouldn’t rate a mention in any international paper. It certainly doesn’t appear to have done so, especially not alongside the even more unfortunate tragedies of Egypt and Syria.

Formula 1 is both a sport, and a business. From a business sense, no, it isn’t desirable to be associated with or seen to be friends with a government that is denying its citizens human rights. But sport is a common language. Like music, sport has an uncanny ability to transcend politics and bring people together. Granted, this isn’t the Football World Cup, but it is a huge international event, with lots of focus on a nation where the battles are usually forgotten.

It is understandable that protestors are upset that the Formula 1 circus is coming to town – they are likely to be upset at many of the ruling party’s initiatives. But the race can be seen as an opportunity for their nation to bring their issues to the attention of the international media. Not that this is what Bernie Ecclestone wants, but  Formula 1 doesn’t have to find the answers. It is only a sporting event after all, not the mediation arm of the United Nations.

No, Formula 1 doesn’t have all the answers. What it does have is an amazing capacity to draw the attention of millions of people towards various places, and in doing so, highlight the goings on in that state.

It is that opportunity, that captive audience, that international focus. That is the power of Formula 1.

Some might see sport as a frivolity, but it has an important role to play – in its own unique way – in the journey of every nation.

After all, the Formula 1 coming to town is one the main reasons we are all talking about the plight today anyway, isn’t it?

OPINION: It’s time Moss checked the facts…

This piece originally appeared on Richard's F1...you can see the original piece here!

Has Sir Stirling Moss forgotten that he competed against the first ever female F1 driver?

Sometimes a public figure will say something that makes you want to check your hearing just in case you didn’t hear it right the first time.

“I think women have the [physical] strength,” former Grand Prix winner Sir Stirling Moss said to BBC Radio 5 Live, of female F1 drivers.

“…but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.”

He goes on: “The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. We’ve got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win. I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.”

Well, well, well…

To be honest, my first reaction was a very diva-like “Oh no, he didn’t!”, with the side-to-side head movement to boot!

On further thought, however, there unfortunately is a little more to it than just that, as it has clearly started a conversation on the prospects of women competing alongside men on the F1 grid.

Firstly, we have to remember what era Moss hails from. The 1950s and ’60s, during which he raced and probably formed his opinions on such matters, weren’t exactly the most egalitarian.

When you put it in context, given the fact that women were only really allowed to vote only thirty or so years before, that attitude (unfortunately) makes a little more sense.

At that time, women weren’t even allowed to run in the Boston Marathon! The first lady to do so only officially competed in 1967.  Check out the video of what happened when she ran:

Fast forward a few decades, and the first female fighter pilot in the US Airforce was only accepted in 1993.  Two decades ago only…?!

There have always traditionally been ‘male domains’ and ‘women’s domains’, and it is only really in the last few decades is that starting to change.  It’s slow going though…and traditionally technical areas, like my field of engineering, still have less than 10% (9.6% in Australia!) female representation.

It is true though that Formula 1, and motorsport in general is one of the few sports where men and women compete head to head and not in separate series. That in itself, is a strange type of egalitarianism, but that isn’t enough.

There is no question of whether women can be Formula 1 drivers – they have already proven they can.  The first woman competed in the 1958 Monaco GP, Maria Teresa De Filippis, in Moss’ era (has he forgotten being snapped with her, pictured above?):

While she never achieved a points finish in F1, Maria Teresa de Filippis’ very presence on the grid in 1958 was a victory for women’s participation in motorsport.

The last woman to compete was Giovanna Amati, in 1992, although she failed to qualify on each of her three outings in a Brabham.

Sure, females only have half a point combined between all five of them, but that is beside the point. Clearly, women do have the capacity to compete in the sport, whether Moss likes it or not.

Outside F1, there are a heap of awesome women who race and they are all inspiring.

Danica Patrick in undoubtedly the most high-profile. She became the only woman (to-date) to win an IndyCar Series race in 2008 before making a full-time switch to NASCAR racing last year.

Finally given a competitive engine and team in which to race, Simona de Silvestro has proven herself to be a frontrunner in the IndyCar Series.

Take the case of Venezuelan Milka Duno, the former IndyCar racer who has shown excellent pace in the Daytona endurance scene. She’s more than just a racer, however. Duno is a qualified naval engineer with four master’s degrees and has published a book for young children on the impact of an education.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Maria Teresa de Filippis Lella Lombardi Divina Galica Desire Wilson Giovanna Amati
F1’s Famous 5 Females (L-R): De Filippis, Lombardi, Galica, Wilson and Amati

But the true issue underpinning Moss’ comments is that this highlights the strongly held belief one of the most respected men in Formula 1, and ‘kind-of, sort-of’ backed by Bernie Ecclestone himself, who said he could not see a woman racing for a top team in the near future.

“There’s no reason why a woman shouldn’t be able to compete with a man,” he said recently, when asked about women’s roles in F1 in the wake of Danica Patrick claiming a historic pole position in the season-opening NASCAR race.

“Unfortunately, the way things are, I don’t imagine a lady will ever get the chance to drive a Red Bull or a Ferrari.”

If the top men in the sport (a sport where support is paramount to success) can’t even fathom women competing on the same level, how is it ever going to happen?

“Regretfully, the problem is that many ladies who could compete probably as well as the guys won’t get chance.” Ecclestone added.

Desire Wilson, 1980

Why won’t they get the chance? Is it because the movers and shakers won’t give them a chance?

The problem with comments like this is that they back up sexist views that do nothing to help women that do want to get involved in motorsport and are interested in racing, engineering and all manner of technical things.

If the guys at the very top aren’t even giving the idea a chance, no matter how archaic or old school they are, people subconsciously take it in.  It isn’t about affirmative action or making allowances, it is about being open to the idea.

Is it fear of change? Possibly.

Is change going to happen anyway? Probably.

There was once a time when men didn’t think women could run, and that it was bad for their health.

There was also once a time when men didn’t think women could compete in Formula 1…and win.

I can’t wait until the day we can joke about the ludicrousness of such a statement!

Youth Without Borders


Richard's F1 Post - V8s: A tribute for a fallen hero

I wrote this piece for Richard's F1, and you can find the original piece here!  It's a fabulous site for keeping up to date with the latest in motorsport and I am honoured to be part of the team.


The V8 Supercars Championship will honour the late Jason Richards with a trophy in his name at this weekend's Pukekohe Raceway round

The late and much loved Kiwi driver Jason Richards will be honoured this weekend at the V8 Supercar’s  ITM 400 Auckland with a trophy in his name.

The James Richards Memorial Trophy, designed by the artist Frank Watson, has been commissioned by the V8 Supercars Championship and will be presented at the newly upgraded South Auckland circuit at this weekend’s third round of the 2013 championship season.

The one-off award and trophy will be presented to the driver with the most combined points over the four races of the Pukekohe weekend.

"We believe this is an appropriate way for us to recognise Jason’s contribution to our sport and our championship. He was a fierce competitor but at the same time was a true gentleman and a fan favourite," said V8 Supercars chief executive David Malone.

Richards was only 35 when he lost his battle with cancer in December 2011 and was mourned by thousands after his passing.

The popular driver and proud New Zealander had joined the Brad Jones Racing team in 2009, and was seen as one of the up and coming stars of the series, going on to do even bigger and better things.

He also drove for a variety of outfits before BJR, including Team Kiwi Racing, Team Dynamik and Tasman Motorsport.  Richards raced in the V8s for eleven seasons and was a three-time podium winner at the Bathurst 1000.

Richards’ widow, Charlotte and his two children will present the trophy with their blessings.

"While Jason raced mostly in Australia, there was no more proud New Zealander," Mrs Richards said.

Jason Richards, 2010 Bathurst 1000"To have the trophy named in his honour and to have it presented for the first time in the 50th anniversary of his favourite New Zealand race track is special.

"I hope this trophy not only recognises what he achieved in the sport and how he went about it but also inspires other young Kiwis that with big dreams and hard work, you can achieve anything."

On his passing, V8 SuperCars boss of the time Tony Cochrane also paid very high respects to the driver.

"Jason Richards was, and will always be remembered, as a highly respected race car driver and champion on and off the race track. Jason will be remembered for his great grin and his love and loyalty to his family. Both of which made him an immensely admired figure in pit lane," Cochrane said in a statement.

It is fantastic to see Jason commemorated in this way, and the team at RichardsF1.comagain, pays their respects.

Youth Without Borders

Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Yassmin Abdel-Magied
RichardsF1.com Journalist
[Images via AAP and Motorsport.com]


V8s: Tasmania Microsoft 365 wrap up on Richard's F1!

So it was a good weekend for the V8s and particularly Brad Jones Racing's Fabian Coulthard who won two out of the weekend's three races! I've written wrap ups of race two and three on the trusty Richard's F1 site: you can find the link to race review two here (Bright's Drought Over), but here is what I wrote for the final...

Fabian Coulthard has become the first two-time winner of the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship season

Kiwi driver Fabian Coulthard sealed the deal at the Symmons Plains track yesterday taking advantage of a late safety car appearance, chalking up his second V8 win at the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365 in race three for the weekend.

 The Lockwood Racing Holden driver also won the 60/60 Super Sprint race on Saturday and, coming off fine form over the Albert Park weekend, converted the speed into Championship points.

Coulthard pipped Ford driver Mark Winterbottom three laps from the finish followed by James Courtney in the HRT Holden. The Drivers’ Championship lead is still in Jamie Whincup’s hands however, who came in fifth under the rear wing of Jason Bright in the BJR Holden. Will Davison, Jonathon Webb, Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander rounded out the top ten places.

Coulthard was naturally pretty stoked to claim his first two official wins this weekend.

“We got three fake ones at the Australian Grand Prix and it’s great to get one under the belt,” the New Zealander said. “We came in confident after the performance at the Grand Prix. You can’t ask for much more and the team did such a great job today.”

It was a well fought race, with lots of action for viewers.  It almost ended tragically in fact, with the young Scott Pye crashing head-on into the wall in the final stages of the race.

It has been reported an issue with the brakes (i.e. they failed!), but fortunately Pye is fine and amazingly walked away with only sore joints. The Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport rookie said there was no warning before the brakes went.

“I’d been pumping (the brake pedal)… but I pumped it and it went to the floor, so there was nothing I could do… My eyes were dragged to that Armco wall and I knew I was going in.

“I saw the Armco wall took some of that impact and got pushed back. It’s a freak accident; it’s one of those things,” he lamented.

Pye slams into the barriers after his brakes failPye will be out of contention for the Auckland race this weekend, but the team are hopeful they will be back for Perth.

“A big hit like that puts such a shockwave of force through the chassis that I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s stuff that’s damaged at the back of it,” team owner Lucas said afterwards.

“Until we have it back to an absolute shell we’re not going to know the extent of the damage.

“New Zealand is definitely out of the question but touch wood we’ll have it back for Perth.”

Subsequently, the race was temporarily halted behind the safety car and restarted with only a few laps to go. It was the race’s second restart after the full course yellows were brought out earlier in the race to clear the rear diffuser of Tim Slade’s Mercedes on the track.

Various cars took damage throughout the race that they will have to carry over or repair in the next few days before they head off across the seas to the New Zealand meet. Todd Kelly battled issues throughout the race and stopped quite early on Lap 20 with another engine failure in his Nissan Altima.

Lowndes, who was hoping to break the record for all-time wins, didn’t have a spectacular weekend and finished in eleventh place.

Jonny Reid from Wilson Security Dick John Racing, praised the format of the race nonetheless.

“The race format was really good and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it. The racing was absolutely crazy in the early laps of both legs with cars running door to door and some big dust clouds where cars were spearing off.”

We wish all the drivers and their teams the best of luck in getting their gear across for the next meet in only a few days! Stay tuned for more V8 news from RichardsF1.com!

Photos via V8Supercars Media.

V8s Re-post: 2013 Tasmania 365 Preview

It's that time of year again, V8's season! I've been writing for the awesome website, Richard's F1, and here is re-post one of the most recent articles - a preview of this weekend's Championship round, the Tasmania 365.


2013 Tasmania 365 Preview

Not too far from the picturesque town of Launceston, Tasmania lies the scene of the next V8 Supercar series showdown, the Symmons Plains Raceway. The short racetrack will be hosting Race 3, 4 and 5 of the Championship, the Tasmania Microsoft Office 365.

This weekend will be the first time the series will host the new 60/60 Super Sprint race format, which is designed for more exciting racing – perhaps V8′s version of 20/20 cricket.

It could also prove to be a historic race for Craig Lowndes, who if he wins, will break Mark Skaife’s all time record of 91 race wins. Skaife has in fact asked permission from Channel 7 to leave the commentary box early and be the first to congratulate the driver if he does manage the feat.

Let’s hope for a big weekend of exciting racing then! Don’t know what to expect? Continue reading below…

The Circuit

2013 TASMANIA MICROSOFT OFFICE 365  Symmons Plains Raceway Circuit Map

Date: 5-7 April 2013
Venue: Symmons Plains Raceway, near Launceston, Tasmania
Lap Length: 2.410km
Race Lap Record: 51.4713s, Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VE) – 2009
Event Schedule: Free Practice Session 1 (lower 50% in points table) Fri 11:00-11:30
Free Practice Session 2 (all drivers) Fri 12:15-12:45
Free Practice Session 3 (all drivers) Fri 13:30-14:00
Free Practice Session 4  (all drivers) Sat 09:35-10:05
Race 1 Qualifying Sat 11:50-12:10
Race 1 Heat 1 (25 laps, 60km) Sat 14:45-15:15
Race 1 Heat 2 (25 laps, 60km) Sat 15:40-16:10
Race 2 Qualifying Sun 10:10-10:25
Race 2 Qualifying Top-10 Shootout Sun 10:35-10:50
Race 2 (42 laps, 100km) Sun 14:05-14:50
Race 3 (42 laps, 100km) Sun 16:30-17:15
Past Winners: Will Davison (Ford Falcon FG) 2012 (Race 1)
Jamie Whincup (Holden Commodore VE) 2012 (Race 2)

The Symmons Plains circuit is a short and narrow strip at 2.41km, on which drivers will be clocking an average speed of 167km/h. The top speed is usually around the 270km/h mark, however the fast track is quite hard on brakes and we will see a lot of middle pedal action over the weekend.

The best overtaking spots are the notoriously slow and tight hairpin at turn four, known as Brambles hairpin, as well as the left turn at the end of the back straight. As one of the slowest turns (if not the slowest), it is proving a concern for a few of the series newcomers, including Nissan, as explained below.

Rewinding to 2012

The 2012 event was run in a two-race format, and the Ford Performance Racing duo of Will Davison and Mark Winterbottom claimed a team 1-2 after a late-race scrap for the lead in Saturday’s 59-lap race.

Polesitter Winterbottom had been shuffled down to third place in the opening laps, and used the compulsory pit stop to leapfrog ahead of second-placed Jamie Whincup in the TeamVodafone Holden.

Winterbottom then set about chasing down his teammate, who started to lose pace as a right-leg cramp set in, but he was ultimately unable to find a way past. The pair crossed the finish line 0.6 seconds apart, while Whincup fended off a late-race challenge from Shane van Gisbergen in the Stone Brothers Ford.

Sunday’s race was staged over 84 laps, and Whincup merrily won is despite suffering a dramatic spin in the early stages of the race.

Teammate and polesitter Craig Lowndes led the early proceedings before the first round of pit stops, but he suffered a rare blunder shortly after, tagging new leader Davison at the hairpin and breaking his front-left suspension.

Davison struggled with the handling of his car thereafter, and surrendered the lead to Winterbottom and Whincup, who head recovered from his earlier spin and was now chasing down the Ford.

A new racing format

The new and exciting Super Sprint format, debuting at Tasmania the Saturday, consists of two separate 60km halves, with a 15 min half time break. Sunday’s schedule includes two 100km races (all with no refuelling).

With the Super Sprint format, the grid position during the first half will be decided by qualifying, while the position on the second half depends on the car’s position at half time.

The field will have to tackle side-by-side restarts this weekend...The second half of the race will also see a side by side rolling start, and points and podium results will be awarded after this race.

With the short length of this track and the high risk of small mistakes sending drivers to the middle or back of the pack, this format will definitely spice things up and hopefully provide some interesting racing and results.

The format has been a talking point among the drivers for some time now.

“I’m not sure how the double file re-starts will go, especially at Symmons Plains where the front straight is like one big corner and not a whole lot of room to manoeuvre into Turn 1 and 2. That could provide some action, but hopefully we’re in front of that,” James Moffat, driver for Team Norton Nissan said.

“The format is going to be interesting,” added Ford Performance Racing driver Mark Winterbottom.

“The fact we stop mid-race on Saturday and then do the rolling re-start poses a lot of unknowns. It will be trial and error for everyone and there has been a lot of talk around the new 60/60 Super Sprint so until we do it we can’t really judge how it changes the racing.”

Facts, Stats & Predictions

It must be said that Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, given their form in the previous two races and their history on this track are sure favourites to take out this weekend’s podium. Given the track though and the new style of racing on Saturday however, anything is possible.

The Symmons Plain’s meet should also provide an opportunity for a few of the manufacturers to either consolidate or improve their position. Ford Performance Racing for example, need to better their performance of the season so far, with Will Davison frustrated at his team for only having one place in the top 14 in the table. The Nissan Altimas, having done well in the first two races, are concerned about the effect of the Symmond Plains hairpin (the slowest corner on the calendar) on their capacity to race well.

How will the field cope on the slowest corner on the V8 Supercars calendar?“The thing that is probably worrying me the most is the hairpin at Symmons Plains,” confirmed Nissan Motorsport team co-owner, technical director and driver Todd Kelly.

V8 Supercars reports that Kelly even suggested the perfect lap in qualifying would struggle to net a top 10 time for the new Altimas because the Nissan VK56DE V8 engine is lacking the meaty torque curve of its Ford and Chev push-rod rivals.

The horsepower deficit in general is likely to hurt both newcomers, with the track consisting of a number of long straights and requiring all and any extra power. The underpowered Nissan and Erebus AMGs are likely to take some pain…

Another issue of note includes the possibility of carnage with the second half of the Super Sprint’s rolling start. This is even more of an issue this week with the back to back races across the seas as explained in our previous story. If a car is too damaged over this weekend, it might be more than just one race the team will have to forgo…

In all, it looks set to be an action-packed and intriguing weekend in Tasmania – make sure you keep visiting RichardsF1.com for all of the latest news and analysis from Tasmania!

Youth Without Borders

V8s: Chevrolet could race in Texas

I wrote this post originally for Richard's F1 - check it out here!


Exciting times for the V8 Supercars! Following the unveiling of the Austin 400’s race format of Ultimate Sprints on Wednesday, there is now talk of Chevrolet joining the fray as an unofficial manufacturer over the May event!


A spokesperson for Holden Motorsport said that: “A firm decision on its marketing plans with Chevrolet for Texas is yet to be made and that nothing is currently being ruled out.”

The Chevrolet link can be made a number of ways and has been done before by the parent company, General Motors. It is particularly timely as well, considering that the Holden VF commodore will soon be available in the United States, under the Chevrolet SS badge.

Previous cases of rebadging include Todd Kelly’s Commodore VE in Bahrain as the Chevrolet Lumina, and Rick Kelly’s rebadging as a Buick a couple of years earlier in 2005 when the series made its brief foray to China.

Rebadging makes business sense, as the cars are then marketed as exports in that nation. This is likely part of the campaign to introduce Holden to the States, after the rebadged Aussie sedan debuted in at the NASCAR Daytona Speedway earlier this year. Shipments of the Commodore to the US are penned to begin in November.

The Car Of The Future Holden Commodore has already been sent to the southern states of America to market the race, and is already dressed up in Chevy bodywork.

The 28 cars will compete over a weekend in four races of 100km each, two on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The reported crowd estimate is 87,000; however with no major local star looking likely to compete, as well as the NASCAR All-Star weekend and the Indianapolis 500 qualifying action all over the same few days, it might be a tougher sell than expected.

For comparison, last year’s debut Formula 1 race drew crowds of 265,000 over the three days – meaning around 88,000 a day. However a recent two day Grand-Am meet just garnered 27,000.  The V8s will likely fall somewhere in between.

Interestingly for the Australians, this might be a way past the 2016 manufacturing deadline.  Mark Reuss, head of GM in North America, has indicated Holden could keep building the new VF Commodore beyond 2016 if US demand takes off.

“That’s a champagne problem to have. I’m sure the guys at Holden can find a way to keep building it if they had to. General Motors and the guys at Holden can be very resourceful,” he said

Commodore fans will be hoping the Americans love their V8 beast more than ever!

Youth Without Borders

Motorsport News @ Richard's F1!

A few new articles have been published on Richard's F1 in prep for the big weekend season opener...Head on over and check the news out!

V8s: In-season testing slashed

V8s: A new championship title up for grabs!

V8s: New sponsorship for D’Alberto

V8s: Another 2013 calendar tweak

A calendar bungle has forced Sydney Olympic Park to request a rescheduling of the Sydney 500 finale

Hope you're excited! :)

V8s: Drumroll Please…Nissan and Kelly Racing reveal the 2013 car!

This was originally posted on Richard’s F1…check it out here! Ladies and Gentlemen, in announcement in Melbourne yesterday something special was revealed.

It was the car that you have all been curious about…The 2013 V8 Supercar in the form of a Nissan Altima!

Nissan Australia Unveils 2013 Altima V8 Supercar

In an event yesterday, Kelly Racing co-owners Rick and Todd Kelly and Nissan Australia Managing Director William F Peffer Jr unveiled the modified Nissan Altima that will make its first appearance on the track in Adelaide’s Clipsal 500 in 2013.

The car has been built to the “Car of the Future” regulations, including 18” wheels, a 100kg weight reduction, independent rear suspension and a transaxle gearbox.  The engine is a modified Nissan's VK56DE engine, a 5.6-liter V8 that is said to be slotted into the 2013 Nissan Patrol SUV.

V8 Supercars CEO David Malone remarked on the exciting time this was for fans and indicated this was the beginning of a new era for the series.

"New manufacturers joining the series will mean heightened competition and new technology racing on circuits around Australia and the world.” he said.

"2013 is a revolutionary year for V8 Supercars and the unveiling of the Nissan Altima is just the beginning. I congratulate Kelly Racing and Nissan for their hard work and look forward to seeing the cars' debut."


Todd Kelly was also, quite rightly, proud of the achievement.

"This is the proudest day in the relatively short history of our team, as well as one of the most significant days in recent times for the sport of V8 Supercars," Kelly said.

"Our team has done a tremendous job to design and build an all-new V8 Supercar, including a new engine, in roughly nine months."

What a job they have done! It will be interesting to see how the newcomers perform on track come 2013; this is the first time a non Ford/Holden vehicle will grace the series since 1995.

Come 2013, the Altima will be sporting the Jack Daniel’s Livery, so that will be something to watch out for as well.

Until then…the cards are on the table.  What will Mercedes show? Exciting times indeed!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

V8s: Davison and Salo end TeamVodafone’s winning streak

This was originally posted here on Richard’s F1!

Will Davison and Mika Salo took out race 2 today at the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600, ending Team Vodafone’s 11 race winning streak and giving Ford Performance Racing its first win since May.

The duo’s off sequence strategy with an early pit stop due to a flat spot worked out in their favour and eventually won them the race.

The TeamVodafone pair in Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais came in second and Winterbottom and Power bookended the podium for FPR in third.

Davison came back from a prematurely ending run yesterday to complete an accident-free run to the top of the podium.  Things weren’t boding well for Davison initially, with the Falcon locking up on only the third lap, but the run was salvaged when the car pitted during the safety car’s appearance during lap 13.  Subsequently, Will’s co-driver Mika Salo completed a longer run than most – 56 laps – but that, and taking advantage of the safety car worked in FPR’s favour.  Davison was pleased with the result:

“It is fantastic to get another win as it feels like so long since my last one. I actually had to fight much harder than I thought as Tim (Slade) came out in front of me after the last stop which I hadn’t thought of. Once I got past him I had to press on but also try and conserve my tyres which thankfully I had the car to do it with really easily.

"We were under a lot of pressure and Mika did such an amazing job so I am really happy for him that we finally got our win here. I let us down yesterday but we made up for it today.”

Mika Salo echoed his co-driver’s comments.

“It’s great. I got a surfboard last year so now we’ve got the first place one to take home too. Yesterday was bad luck, it was good to bounce back today.

Getting some airtime on the Goldie...Whincup's performance was quite similar to last year where the pair also collected a win and a second place after two pole positions.  Co-driver Bourdais was awarded the Dan Wheldon memorial trophy again this year for his efforts.

In fourth place came the Lucky 7 Racing Ford of Tim Slade and David Brabham who competed solidly throughout the race.  Their early pitting saw them take the lead with a fifth of the race to go however their pace wasn’t quite enough to hold the more competitive rivals off.  A good result regardless for the pair.

"We lead for quite a few laps and really that was all to do with the strategy that Wes (McDougall, engineer) and Luke came up with and Brabs' performance that put me in that position. All I had to do was pretty much drive it to the end”

“Overall I'm really happy and I think we were third overall on points for the weekend. Fourth and fifth is great especially on a weekend like this where there are so many elements thrown at you." said Slade.

Garth Tander and Ryan Briscoe finished in 5th, in the same position as on Saturday, but coming up from 12th on the grid.

There were 5 safety car periods in this debris-ridden weekend however after the sensational starts on Saturday the internationals did well to not have any major issues getting off the line.  20 of the 25 starters finished.

Whincup now leads the Championship with an even greater margin, making it difficult for FPR rival Winterbottom in the next few rounds. Winterbottom is now over 200 points behind the leader in the Championship.

Ford Performance Racing fans and team members loving it.

Check out a video of the whole hot weekend here!

2012 V8 Supercars ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 – Race 2 Results (102 laps):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Will Davison / Mika Salo Ford Ford Performance Racing 2:16:06.9161
2. Jamie Whincup / Sébastien Bourdais Holden Triple 8 Racing + 0.5023
3. Mark Winterbottom / Will Power Ford Ford Performance Racing + 2.1931
4. Tim Slade / David Brabham Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 4.7583
5. Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe Holden Holden Racing Team + 6.7205
6. Craig Lowndes / Richard Lyons Holden Triple 8 Racing + 9.9402
7. Russell Ingall / Peter Dumbreck Holden Walkinshaw Racing + 11.4888
8. Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 11.6066
9. Shane van Gisbergen / Jeroen Bleekemolen Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 12.6979
10. Fabian Coulthard / Nicolas Minassian Holden Brad Jones Racing + 12.8490
11. Rick Kelly / Graham Rahal Holden Kelly Racing + 13.8741
12. Steven Johnson / Max Papis Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 13.9017
13. David Reynolds / Nick Heidfeld Ford Ford Performance Racing + 14.5725
14. Jonathon Webb / Marc Lieb Holden Tekno Autosports + 17.0130
15. David Wall / Jamie Campbell-Walter Holden Brad Jones Racing + 18.0038
16. Taz Douglas / Mike Conway. Holden Dumbrell Motorsport + 21.3784
17. James Courtney / Darren Turner Holden Holden Racing Team + 1:15.4242
18. Steve Owen / Boris Said Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 1 lap
19. Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 11 laps
20. Greg Murphy / Justin Wilson Holden Kelly Racing + 14 laps
DNF. Tim Blanchard / Marco Andretti Holden Kelly Racing 69 laps
DNF. Michael Caruso / James Hinchcliffe Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport 34 laps
DNF. Jason Bright / Stephane Sarrazin Holden Brad Jones Racing 18 laps
DNF. James Moffat / Peter Kox Ford Dick Johnson Racing 0 laps
DNS. Michael Patrizi / Lucas di Grassi Holden Tekno Autosports Withdrew
WD. Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi Ford Tony D’Alberto Racing Withdrew
WD. Karl Reindler / Franck Montagny Holden Kelly Racing Withdrew
WD. Greg Ritter / Ricky Taylor Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport Withdrew

A double-billing of F1 and V8s at Abu Dhabi!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

V8s: 3 Race Starts at GC600…Yet Whincup Wins Again


This was originally posted on Richard’s F1…check it out here!

On a hot and sticky day at the Gold Coast, the dynamic duo of Jamie Whincup and Sebastien Bourdais took the top spot on the podium today after an action filled race at the ArmorAll Gold Coast 600.  The TeamVodafone pair were joined by Jonathon Webb and the German Marc Leib for Tekno Autosports and Mark Winterbottom and Will Power for FPR in third.

The race took some time to start though, with the internationals having a little drama getting underway...requiring 2 restarts and a fair while to clean up, the concrete canyon lived up to its name!

James Hinchcliffe was a little slow off the mark for Garry Rogers Motorsport and was subsequently hit by Luizzi’s Irwin Ford which lead to Ricky Taylor’s Fujitsu Holden flip onto it’s head! Simon Pagenaud for Stone Brothers Racing also being involved meant that four cars were out before a single lap had been started. But that wasn’t all…

The restart saw Nicolas Minassian in the Holden Brad Jones Racing stall and Franck Montagny hitting the rear of the car.  Again, the red flags were given some unwanted air time.

The race finally got underway 50 minutes behind schedule, meaning the race was then timed to finish at one lap after 4.15pm, for a total of 79 laps.

The race was fought hard and fast with a number of different leaders throughout the afternoon.  FPR’s Mika Salo was the early leader however once Whincup swapped in, he lead the bright orange from the front for the last 44 laps.  Jamie talked after the race:

“What a crazy start to that race. I thought we’d never get into it and get the race going. We fought on and the Webb car was hooked up and hard to keep at bay.”

Indeed, Webb nipped at Whincup’s heels for about 20 laps, applying pressure to Jamie all the way to the end of the race.

Only 18 of the 28 starters finished, and there were three different safety car outings.  Mika Salo and Will Davison weren’t able to capitalise on Salo’s early lead after contact with a wall lost them their edge.

Mark Winterbottom, who came in third and is focusing on his bid for the Championship, praised his co-driver, local Will Power but will be looking to push for a win on Sunday.

“It was a good fight back and a tough race. Will (Power, co-driver), did a great job and I could attack at the end. We were coming but we needed a few more laps so we were just a bit short.”

Full results are below.

Let the racing continue!

2012 V8 Supercars ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 – Race 1 Results (79 laps*):

Driver Entry / Team Result
1. Jamie Whincup / Sébastien Bourdais Holden Triple 8 Racing 1:45:10.0919
2. Jonathon Webb / Marc Lieb Holden Tekno Autosports + 0.4647
3. Mark Winterbottom / Will Power Ford Ford Performance Racing + 1.0893
4. Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe Holden Holden Racing Team + 12.2211
5. Tim Slade / David Brabham Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 12.9548
6. Craig Lowndes / Richard Lyons Holden Triple 8 Racing + 14.6256
7. James Courtney / Darren Turner Holden Holden Racing Team + 17.1494
8. Rick Kelly / Graham Rahal Holden Kelly Racing + 21.5720
9. Russell Ingall / Peter Dumbreck Holden Walkinshaw Racing + 22.0760
10. Shane van Gisbergen / Jeroen Bleekemolen Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 22.5905
11. Michael Patrizi / Lucas di Grassi Holden Tekno Autosports + 23.7514
12. Jason Bright / Stephane Sarrazin Holden Brad Jones Racing + 23.9662
13. Greg Murphy / Justin Wilson Holden Kelly Racing + 25.1239
14. Taz Douglas / Mike Conway. Holden Dumbrell Motorsport + 25.4685
15. David Wall / Jamie Campbell-Walter Holden Brad Jones Racing + 55.0786
16. Steven Johnson / Max Papis Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 1 lap
17. Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli Ford Dick Johnson Racing + 2 laps
18. Will Davison / Mika Salo Ford Ford Performance Racing + 16 laps
DNF. David Reynolds / Nick Heidfeld Ford Ford Performance Racing 66 laps
DNF. Steve Owen / Boris Said Ford Dick Johnson Racing 40 laps
DNF. Tim Blanchard / Marco Andretti Holden Kelly Racing 19 laps
DNF. James Moffat / Peter Tox Ford Dick Johnson Racing 18 laps
DNS. Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud Ford Stone Brothers Racing 0 laps
DNS. Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi Ford Tony D’Alberto Racing 0 laps
DNS. Fabian Coulthard / Nicolas Minassian Holden Brad Jones Racing 0 laps
DNS. Michael Caruso / James Hinchcliffe Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport 0 laps
DNS. Karl Reindler / Franck Montagny Holden Kelly Racing 0 laps
DNS. Greg Ritter / Ricky Taylor Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport 0 laps

* Following the two separate startline accidents, the race distance was reduced from its scheduled 102 laps and instead time-limited to a one-hour, 45-minute minute race

A double-billing of F1 and V8s at Abu Dhabi!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

V8s: Whincup on Pole for GC600


This was originally posted on Richard’s F1…check it out here!

Jamie Whincup kept the momentum of his Bathurst win going, qualifying on pole for Saturday’s ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 race today. 

The last endurance weekend of the series saw Whincup, who is partnering with Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais clock in a fastest lap time of one minute and 11.8730 seconds.

The pair are joined on the front row by the Will Davison / Mika Salo duo for FPR.

Mark Winterbottom found himself frustratingly qualifying in sixth place, next to Jonathon Webb and the German Marc Lieb who was quick in the practice runs earlier. 

Reynolds, Tander and Lowndes are among the names that missed the top ten shootout and find themselves starting a little lower on the list.  The full results are below.

2012 V8 Supercars ArmorAll Gold Coast 600 – Race 1 Qualifying Result:

Driver Entry / Team Top-10 Result
1. Jamie Whincup / Sébastien Bourdais Holden Triple 8 Racing 1:11.6478
2. Will Davison / Mika Salo Ford Ford Performance Racing + 0.2252
3. Rick Kelly / Graham Rahal Holden Kelly Racing + 0.2363
4. Michael Caruso / James Hinchcliffe Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport + 0.3103
5. Jonathon Webb / Marc Lieb Holden Tekno Autosports + 0.3104
6. Mark Winterbottom / Will Power Ford Ford Performance Racing + 0.3345
7. Fabian Coulthard / Nicolas Minassian Holden Brad Jones Racing + 0.5422
8. Tony D’Alberto / Vitantonio Liuzzi Ford Tony D’Alberto Racing + 0.5775
9. James Courtney / Darren Turner Holden Holden Racing Team + 0.7883
10. Shane van Gisbergen / Jeroen Bleekemolen Ford Stone Brothers Racing + 15.4123
Driver Entry / Team Q1 Result
11. Tim Slade / David Brabham Ford Stone Brothers Racing 1:11.8249
12. David Reynolds / Nick Heidfeld Ford Ford Performance Racing 1:11.8434
13. Craig Lowndes / Richard Lyons Holden Triple 8 Racing 1:11.8748
14. Steve Owen / Boris Said Ford Dick Johnson Racing 1:11.8761
15. Russell Ingall / Peter Dumbreck Holden Walkinshaw Racing 1:11.9226
16. Lee Holdsworth / Simon Pagenaud Ford Stone Brothers Racing 1:12.0095
17. James Moffat / Peter Tox Ford Dick Johnson Racing 1:12.0436
18. Steven Johnson / Max Papis Ford Dick Johnson Racing 1:12.0519
19. Michael Patrizi / Lucas di Grassi Holden Tekno Autosports 1:12.0682
20. Greg Ritter / Ricky Taylor Holden Garry Rogers Motorsport 1:12.1432
21. Jason Bright / Stephane Sarrazin Holden Brad Jones Racing 1:12.1475
22. Greg Murphy / Justin Wilson Holden Kelly Racing 1:12.2718
23. Karl Reindler / Franck Montagny Holden Kelly Racing 1:12.2786
24. Garth Tander / Ryan Briscoe Holden Holden Racing Team 1:12.3608
25. Tim Blanchard / Marco Andretti Holden Kelly Racing 1:12.4528
26. Taz Douglas / Mike Conway Holden Dumbrell Motorsport 1:12.7148
27. Dean Fiore / Gianni Morbidelli Ford Dick Johnson Racing 1:12.7304
28. David Wall / Jamie Campbell-Walter Holden Brad Jones Racing 1:12.8859

A double-billing of F1 and V8s at Abu Dhabi!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

V8s: Whincup and Dumbrell’s epic Bathurst Victory

Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell drivers of the #1 Team Vodafone Holden celebrate after winning the Bathurst 1000.

This was originally posted on Richard’s F1…check it out here!

Paul Dumbrell put it perfectly:  “You would not get a better motor race. You couldn’t have written it like this”…and what a great race it was!

A gruelling 30 last laps lead to a photo finish with Jamie Whincup crossing the line a mere 0.3s in front of rival David Reynolds to win the 50th Bathurst 1000 in a magnificent finale. 

In front of a record breaking 57,939 strong crowd (bringing the cumulative crowd for the four days to 207,205), Whincup took his fourth win at Bathurst for the TeamVodafone Holden Commodore with his co-driver Paul Dumbrell taking his first win, in disbelief. 

“I honestly didn’t think we were getting home,” Dumbrell admitted after the race.

But get home they did.  Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff finished off the podium for Team Vodafone after they fought from the middle of the pack due to the claim third. 

James Courtney and Cameron McConville came in fourth, followed by Michael Caruso and Greg Ritter for Fujitsu Racing who put in a solid performance.

There was the usual Bathurst drama, with Steve Owen crashing the VIP Petfoods car on Lap 55, smashing into the barriers but coming out unhurt, and a total of six safety car interventions. 

Unfortunately for pole sitter Will Davison, his name is among those who didn’t make the 161 laps; Davison and McIntyre broke a watt’s linkage and finished their day on lap 131.  Davison’s wasn’t the only big name to crash out, with defending champions Garth Tander and Nick Percat crashing out early on lap 38 and ultimately coming 25th.

Whincup crossing the line

Other non finishers included Johnny Reid’s Tekno Commodore (broken gearbox), Team iSelect’s Taz Douglas and Scott Pye (due to engine problems) and Team Hiflex Racing’s Tony D’Alberto and Dale Wood (for steering arm issues). 

It was definitely a race to be remembered, with nothing certain until the cars crossed the finish line.  Whincup said as much:

“It wasn’t over until the last corner of the last lap. I was trying to juggle tyres, petrol and conserve over the top – it was crazy stuff.” said Jamie, after his win.

David Reynolds, with Dean Canto in P2 (The Bottle-O Falcon) was a little more subdued, blaming his nerves for his [still amazing] finish, although the up and coming driver definitely did display his maturity and potential. 

"This could be life changing this race. If we had won it would have been life changing. It was close but I was not brave enough on the last lap.

"It is not just me for Dean as well. I said if I was going to get on the podium it would be a good one, so second at Bathurst was not too bad."

Whincup’s teammate Craig Lowndes, praised the TeamVodafone crew:

"There's no doubt TeamVodafone have the right car and driver and team behind them. This was what Jamie said that it is all about a team effort.

Mark Winterbottom, who qualified in P3 for Ford Performance Racing, only managed P11 in a rough race for the Winterbottom/Richard’s duo.

“It’s a shocker today. You can’t do much different though. The tyres just kept letting go. You were always copping the punches. The last tyre set let go in 10 laps. It’s frustrating but that’s Bathurst.

The pole sitter Will Davison, coming in 24th, had no words for what was a nightmare on the track for the FPR Falcon.  

“I’m speechless. I can’t believe how bad today went. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. It started so well but it just wasn’t our day.

“The car was good in the first stint. To top it off, I had the wildest ride of my life.  I had zero brakes. I was nursing a damaged tyre and I came onto Conrod and I felt a big bang. The anti-roll bar broke, I ran over it and it cut the brake lines and I touched the brakes into the Chase and I aimed for the gravel and I was sure it was going to roll.”

Ah, how Bathurst bites.

Some interesting Bathurst facts about this race (Courtesy of V8Supercars)

*    The youngest-ever combination in the race – 20-year-old Jesse Dixon and 18-year-old Cameron Waters – finished a creditable 20th in the Shannons carsales.com.au Commodore, three laps down on the winners.

*    A total of 19 cars finished on the lead lap at the end of 161 laps, equaling the record set in the last two years in 2010 and 2011.

*    There were nine different cars that led laps in yesterday’s race, though none more than winners Whincup and Dumbrell. Their #1 Commodore led 102 of the 161 laps, the most by a winning car since Whincup paired with Craig Lowndes to win in 2008.

*    The fastest lap of the race was 2m09.5962s on lap 139 set by Shane van Gisbergen, who ultimately finished 12th.

Next on the calendar…the GC600! Stay tuned for all the Goldcoast V8 happenings on Richard’s F1!

Bathurst 2012

Yassmin Abdel-Magied