Bernie Ecclestone has expressed concern over the number of driver penalties metered out at Grands Prix. “We must be careful we don’t punish every little thing, otherwise the drivers will lose the confidence to fight,” said Ecclestone after the Japanese GP, where Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Sébastien Bourdais all fell foul of the stewards.
Following the exclusion of Canada (see left) from the 2009 calendar website Manipe F1 and Powerlynx Motorsports Management Inc have started a petition opposing the decision. It’s hoped that if enough people sign, it will sway the minds of the FIA and FOM. To view and sign the petition visit www.manipef1.com/petition
Ferrari has admitted that it has not yet tested its KERS Energy Recovery System. “I cannot deny we are lagging behind,” said technical director Aldo Costa. Force India has started to look elsewhere for an engine supplier as Ferrari, which has supplied engines throughout 2008, remains noncommittal for ’09.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will face an inquiry over the controversy in 1997 when Bernie Ecclestone donated £1m to the Labour Party shortly before the government ruled that tobacco sponsorship could continue to be allowed in F1. Blair has always denied the donation influenced the decision.
Honda tester Alex Wurz was seconded to drive the medical car in Singapore as regular pilot Jacques Troppenat was unavailable. After Nelson Piquet’s crash Wurz overtook both the safety car and Fernando Alonso and raced flat out to the scene, egged on by F1 doctor Gary Hartstein. It was too much for the nervous local doctor in the back seat, who was reunited with his lunch…
Bridgestone was allowed to run green bands in the grooves of its tyres in Japan as part of the FIA’s Make Cars Green initiative. The green bands had a useful side effect of giving an indication of tyre wear over a race stint.