Diary of a season
05 – Renault Fl appoints Eric Boullier as its new team principal
12 – John Booth takes over from Alex Tai as Virgin’s team principal.
19 – Sauber announces that Pedro de la Rosa who hasn’t competed in Fl since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2006 will race alongside Kamui Kobayashi.
22 – It’s finally confirmed that 2009 rookie Jaime Alguersuari will stay with Toro Rosso for the 2010 season.
31 – Vitaly Petrov, the 2009 GP2 runner-up who is the first Russian ever to compete in Formula 1, is confirmed as a Renault driver.
01 – Teams test at Valencia where the Ferrari drivers fill the top two spots on the timesheets. Red Bull and Force India don’t go to Spain in order to have more time to develop their 2010 cars.
02 – 15 Force India signs Mercedes DIM driver (and Dario Franchiffi’s cousin) Paul di Resta as its third driver.
10 – Lotus and Virgin arrive to join the established teams at the Jerez test. The struggling Campos Meta and USF1 are both absent, however.
11 – Silverstone announces that it will use the new Arena layout of the circuit for the British Grand Prix on July 11.
11 – Mark Webber says that Red Bull should be “somewhere in the hunt” for the 2010 World Championship after driving the car at Jerez.
12 – The Lotus Racing team launches its 2010 challenger in London.
17 – The second Jerez pre-season test takes place. Jenson Button is fastest.
19 – Jose Ramon Carabante takes majority control of new team Campos Meta, while Colin Kolles is appointed as the team principal.
19 – Ken Anderson of USF1 asks the FIA whether it can miss the first four races of the season and start at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 9. That bodes well…
25 – Final pre-season test takes place at Barcelona. Lewis Hamilton is fastest ahead of Mark Webber.
02 – It is revealed that Lewis Hamilton will no longer be managed by his father Anthony. Applications for the position come flooding in.
02 – The USF1 operation is closed down, though boss Ken Anderson insists he still hasn’t given up on racing…
03 – Campos Meta Fl is rebranded as ‘HRT F1’ (Hispania Racing F1 Team).
03 – The FIA announces there are 12 teams on its 2010 entry list, meaning USF1 and Stefan GP will not compete.
04 – Karun Chandhok signs for HRT.
11 – The McLarens pass scrutineering despite Red Bull having expressed doubts about the legality of its rear wing.
14 – Bahrain Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso comes through from third on the grid to take his first win for Ferrari. He trails Vettel by up to five seconds, but the German slows with an engine issue. Team-mate Felipe Massa finishes second and Lewis Hamilton is third. Bruno Senna’s HRT runs for the first time ever in Friday practice and Karun Chandhok’s in qualifying both cars start the race from the pitlane. Alain Prost is the first driver steward and teams start the rush to design their own version of McLaren’s F-duct.
18 – McLaren buys back the majority of Mercedes-Benz’s stake in its F1 team.
19 – It is announced that Monza will retain the Italian GP until 2016 despite rumours of a street race in Rome.
26 – Virgin Racing is given permission to increase the size of its fuel tank after discovering that it was too small to finish some races. Oops…
28 – Australian Grand Prix: New McLaren signing Jenson Button wins after making a bold early switch to dry tyres and inheriting the lead from Sebastian Vette!, whose Red Bull loses the torque drive between the front left hub and wheel. Robert Kubica takes a brilliant second for Renault.
03 – Lotus makes it into Q2 for the first time as Heikki Kovalainen manages 15th on the Malaysia grid. McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are both eliminated in Q1 after waiting in the pits rather than recording a time when the team’s weather radar predicts dry running at the end of the session.
04 – A Malaysian Grand Prix: Vettel leads home a dominant Red Bull 1-2, while Mercedes takes its first podium of the year with Nico Rosberg finishing third. Jaime Alguersuari scores his first points in Fl after finishing ninth, and Virgin driver Lucas di Grassi finishes a Formula 1 race for the first time.
04 – The FIA faxes the teams to confirm that ride height devices are illegal following the claims that Red Bull was using such a system.
09 – Red Bull boss Christian Homer says that the ride height clarification has no impact on the RB6.
17 – Sakon Yamamoto is named as HRT test and reserve driver.
18 – Chinese Grand Prix: Jenson Button wins a chaotic race. The McLaren driver makes another good tyre choice when he opts to stay on slicks during an early safety car and manages a later safety car period to finish ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg. Button hails the race as his best win yet. Hamilton and Vettel are reprimanded after battling side-byside in the pitlane during the race.
26 – Santander announces a new one-year deal with Fernando Alonso, whose thumbs are now insured for a cool €10 million!
29 – Silverstone opens its new Arena layout ready for the British GP. Mark Webber says that it will suit the RB6.
06 – Michael Schumacher says that new upgrades on the Mercedes F1 car which include a longer wheelbase will suit him barter.
07 – Christian Klien returns to F1 as a test and reserve driver for HRT.
09 – Spanish Grand Prix: Mark Webber storms to victory ahead of Alonso and teammate Vette!. Webber is so dominant that his lead extends to 16 seconds by lap 49. Hamilton sets fastest lap of the race while chasing the Australian, but crashes on the penultimate lap when his car suffers a broken rim.
09 – During a FOTA meeting the teams agree to ban the F-duct in 2011.
15 – Fernando Alonso will have to start the Monaco Grand Prix from the pitlane after Ferrari struggles to repair damage from his accident in the third practice session.
16 – Monaco Grand Prix: Mark Webber takes the lead in the Drivers’ World Championship after cruising to an impressive victory around the streets of Monte Carlo. Team-mate Vettel finishes second, while Robert Kubica who qualified on the front row is third for Renault. Jenson Button, who led the championship before the race, drops out after only two laps when a cooling cover is left on his car’s left sidepod on the grid. Michael Schumacher is given a 20-second penalty for overtaking Fernando Alonso on the last corner of the race, immediately after the safety car leaves the circuit.
23 – Lewis Hamilton is given a fine for performing a burnout on a public road at the Australian Grand Prix.
23 – Red Bull changes Veffel’s chassis and discovers a fault in the one which was outpaced by Mark Webber in Spain and Monaco.
25 – It is announced that the United States Grand Prix will return to the calendar in 2012 at a purpose-built facility in Austin, Texas.
26 – Hispania Racing parts company with chassis builder Dallara.
30 – Turkish Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins a chaotic race in Turkey. The Red Bulls and McLarens are the class of the field, but despite trying on track and in the pitstops, McLaren can’t get past its rival. That is until Vettel tries to overtake Webber on lap 40 and collides with his team-mate, leaving Sebastian with a DNF and Mark in third place. Both blame each other for the crash, but Red Bull’s motor sport advisor Helmut Marko aggravates things when he sides with the young German…
03 – Red Bull releases an image of Webber and Veffel smiling and pretending all is well after their damaging clash in Turkey.
07 – Webber extends his contract for another year with Red Bull.
09 – Felipe Massa extends his Ferrari contract until the end of 2012.
13 – Canadian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton heads a McLaren 1-2 with Alonso third and the two Red Bulls, Vette! and Webber, in fourth and fifth respectively. The race is a busy one due to the high rate of tyre wear, especially with the softer of the two Bridgestone compounds, and there are so many pitstops that even Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi leads for a lap.
16 – Fernando Alonso pens a blog on Ferrari’s website condemning the fact that some people are writing off the team so early in the season.
21 – Alonso manages to sidestep the testing ban when he drives a heavilyupdated F10 at Maranello during a special ‘filming’ day.
23 – The World Motor Sport Council decides that teams will be able to use adjustable rear wings to aid overtaking in 2011, as opposed to the F-duct and adjustable front wings. It also confirms that Pirelli has been selected as the single tyre supplier for F1 for a three-year period, starting in 2011, and that any driver who fails to qualify within 107 per cent of the pole time will not be allowed to race. And it’s bad news for USF1 the WMSC reveals that the FIA has fined the team €309,000 and disqualified it from any FIA championship for failing to appear on the 2010 F1 grid.
27 – European Grand Prix: Vettel easily wins the race while teammate Webber escapes unhurt from a huge crash after vaulting over the back of Kovalainen’s Lotus. Ferrari’s day is spoilt by the subsequent safety car period, but the two McLarens fill the podium with Hamilton second and Button third. Kamui Kobayashi has a great race for BMW Sauber, pitting for soft rubber late on and passing Alonso and Buemi for seventh. Alonso is unimpressed after getting stuck behind the safety car, while Hamilton passes it and receives a drive-through but his race is not ruined.
28 – Luca di Montezemolo states on Ferrari’s website that the team “paid a price that was too high for respecting the rules” after Alonso stayed behind the safety car at Valencia.
07 – Robert Kubica and Renault announce that they have extended their partnership until the end of 2012.
07 – ART Grand Prix releases a statement which says it has withdrawn its F1 entry for the 2011 season because of economic circumstances.
08 – Williams confirms that Frank Williams has handed over control of the F1 team to Adam Parr.
08 – It emerges that HRT is dropping Bruno Senna for the British Grand Prix in favour of Sakon Yamamoto.
09 – HRT confirms that Senna is only being sidelined for the one race to give Yamamoto “a chance”.
10 – Red Bull reveals a new front wing then fuels favouritism stories by taking the part from Webber’s car and giving it to Vartel, after his wing breaks in third practice on Saturday morning.
11 – The FIA reveals minor changes to the safety car rules after the Valencia fiasco. They should ensure “no drivers are unnecessarily disadvantaged”.
11 – British Grand Prix: Webber wins the race, despite not having the ‘best’ front wing. After taking the chequered flag he comments on the team radio that his victory is “not bad for a number two driver…” Vette! has a puncture on the first lap but recovers to seventh, while Hamilton is second, Rosberg is third and Button fourth. Despite finishing the race in 14th and lying 47 points adrift of Hamilton in the standings, Alonso claims that he can still fight for the World Championship.
15 – Franz Tost announces that both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi will stay at Toro Rosso for 2011.
16 – HRT announces that Karun Chandhok will be replaced by Sakon Yamamoto at the German Grand Prix.
25 – German Grand Prix: Alonso, delayed by Vettel at the start, wins a controversial race after Ferrari gives erstwhile leader Massa a not-socoded message to move over for the Spaniard, with engineer Rob Smedley telling him, “Fernando is faster than you…” Massa dutifully moves across and shortly afterwards Smedley says, “I’m sorry, Felipe.” Poleman Vettel only manages third, while the McLarens of Hamilton and Button are fourth and fifth.
25 – Ferrari is fined $100,000 for using team orders at Hockenheim. The FIA says the World Motor Sport Council is considering further punishment.
25 – The FIA confirms that the highly controversial ‘flexible’ front wings of Ferrari and Red Bull are legal.
28 – A new deal is signed to guarantee the future of the Monaco Grand Prix for the next 10 years, despite Bernie Ecclestone claiming that F1 doesn’t need the jewel-in-the-crown race.
01 – Hungarian Grand Prix: Webber drives a superb race to take victory. The Australian drops to third from pole at the start, but stays out during an early safety car period and builds a big enough gap to Alonso to stay in front. Vettel is given a drive-through penalty for not staying within 10 car lengths of the safety car, but still manages to finish third. Schumacher receives a 10-place grid penalty at Spa for his blocking manoeuvre on Barrichello (above), as the Williams driver tries to pass him on the pit straight. Rubens nearly ends up in the pitwall; afterwards Michael comments that he is not “known to give presents on the track”.
17 – Nick Heidfeld is released by Mercedes so that he can test for Pirelli.
29 – Belgian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton wins at Spa after beating Webber off the line and managing two safety car periods plus the perils of heavy rain. Despite a brief trip into the gravel he maintains his lead to Webber and crosses the line 1.5 seconds ahead of the Red Bull. Vettel slams into the side of Button under braking at the Bus Stop chicane, putting the McLaren out on the spot, and Kubica finishes third for Renault.
04 – Karun Chandhok runs 14 laps of the new Korean track in a Red Bull. But the track still looks half-finished…
07 – Sauber says it will retain Japanese charger Kamui Kobayashi for 2011.
08 – The FIA says that none of the new entries for 2011 are up to standard, so the grid will stay at 24 cars. A new race in India puts the calendar up to 20 GPs.
08 – At a WMSC hearing in Paris it is decided that Ferrari will not be punished any further over the team orders controversy at Hockenheim.
12 – Italian Grand Prix: Alonso wins for Ferrari after passing Button in the pitstops. The McLaren driver is second with Massa third. Hamilton retires with broken steering on lap one after making contact with Massa. Vettel is fourth and Webber sixth.
12 – Lotus announces that it is to end its engine deal with Cosworth.
14 – Sauber confirms Nick Heidfeld will replace Pedro de la Rosa.
23 – Pirelli confirms that de la Rosa will join its testing programme.
24 – Lotus Racing announces that it will use the ‘Team Lotus’ name in 2011.
26 – Singapore Grand Prix: Alonso continues Ferrari’s run of form with victory on the streets of Singapore, ahead of Vette!, Webber and Button. Hamilton suffers another blow to his title hopes after colliding with Webber. Red Bull says Webber is “extremely lucky” to finish with a tyre almost off its rim.
27 – Proton, owner of Group Lotus, says Lotus Racing does not have the rights to use the name ‘Team Lotus’ and that it is pursuing legal action.
29 – Lotus Racing extends the contract of its chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne until the end of 2015.
30 – Richard Branson confirms he will continue to back the Virgin team in 2011.
04 – Sauber signs Sergio Perez to race alongside Kamui Kobayashi in 2011.
05 – Lotus Racing confirms that it will use Red Bull gearboxes and hydraulic systems in 2011.
06 – After weeks of speculation Kimi Raikkonen speaks out about alleged talks with Renault over a drive for 2011. The World Rally rookie says he is 100 per cent certain he will not join the team and return to F1 next season.
10 – Japanese Grand Prix: Qualifying is postponed until Sunday morning after heavy rain at Suzuka, but come the race no one can stop Sebastian Vettel from taking a commanding victory ahead of team-mate Webber. Alonso finishes third, while Hamilton loses third gear and has to yield fourth place to Button.
12 – After several weeks of delays and worry, the Korean Grand Prix is given the go-ahead following two days of inspections by the FIA.
24 – Korean Grand Prix: Fernando Alonso takes the lead in the drivers’ championship after a fortuitous first place in Korea. The start is delayed due to bad weather, and when the race does get under way 17 laps are completed behind the safety car. Webber drops it on the third racing lap and it looks like another commanding victory for Vettel is on the cards until his engine gives up just 10 laps from the finish, promoting Alonso into first place. Hamilton finishes second and Massa is third.
05 – Lotus Racing confirms that it will use Renault engines in 2011.
06 – Williams newcomer Nico Hulkenberg takes a shock pole by over a second in drying conditions at Brazil.
07 – Brazilian Grand Prix: Red Bull wins the Constructors’ World Championship after Vette! and Webber score a 1-2 finish at Interlagos, setting up a drivers’ title showdown in Abu Dhabi. Alonso finishes third, while Hamilton and Button are fourth and fifth respectively, leaving the 2009 champion out of the title running.
11 – Virgin Racing confirms that is has secured its F1 future offer receiving backing from the Russian sports car maker Marussia Motors.
14 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel becomes the youngest-ever World Champion after winning the final race in convincing fashion. Alonso’s chances of a third title are ruined when he pits early to cover Webber and gets stuck behind Vitaly Petrov, who chooses this race to drive the best he has all year for Renault. Alonso is furious as he crosses the line, but Vettel has no idea he’s won the title until his engineer Guillaume Rocquelin tells him on the slowing down lap.