This is a new section and due to our present site software will only send out a ‘posted notification’ on the first post of the day. However, it will be updated throughout the day as stories break.
FIA swoop on F1 drivers with surprise drugs tests 17:21 GMT
Timing huh. I was chatting to a couple of well known twitter characters last night, following the Usher advertising a post I wrote in November about drug testing being a joke in F1. Today the FIA have demonstrated how speedily they can respond to a judgement. McLaren’s Sergio Perez received a very “early morning” visit and was requested to give a urine test before he had a day out in Geneva with big Ron.
Fernando Alonso too was woken from his sweet dreams at 06:42 to comply with the FIA’s new regime which finally complies with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s international standard.
“Got drug tested early hours this morning” tweeted Daniel Ricciardo. “All of a sudden pissing in your own home becomes difficult with someone staring over your shoulder.”
Limited testing has taken place previously but only at race weekends. The WADA standard includes drug testing ‘out of competition’ and for the drivers this is a new experience.
Back in 2005 Benigno Bartoletti (Ferrari doctor) claimed “There is a lot of cocaine in Formula One”. He quantified the problem, “as many as one third of the current field take the drug as a stimulant prior to Grand Prix”. Bartoletti explains the advantage is that for about 90 minutes cocaine’s effect boosts reaction time and a driver`s feeling of invincibility. However, he warned that when a race goes longer, “it could become dangerous.”
Now Bernie wants 22 races 17:38 GMT
The race calendar along with the 2013 driver appointments has been a mess this closed season and now Mr. Ecclestone appears to have forgotten what he said not too long ago. Speaking to The Times of India last September he said, “We really should be at 16 [races], to be honest, 20 is plenty, that’s the limit. No more. I’ve been able to squeeze in 20 but I wouldn’t want to increase it. There’ll be mayhem otherwise.”
There is agreement in the paddock on the limit of race weekends that are possible because of the demands it puts on personnel and teams both physically and financially. “We want to have these extra races because it’s good for Formula One, but it’s reaching a critical stage in terms of people being able to cope,” commented Ross Brawn.
Lewis Hamilton believes 20 races is too many. “A season of 19 races is too demanding from the point of sponsors and endorsements. We have promotional events, training, testing and upgrades. So it does put extra pressure and we need to manage our time more efficiently.”
Today we hear that Mr. E now wants 22 race calendar in 2014. “Having races in the right place is what matters” he told Christian Sylt. “The teams could probably deal with 22 races.” Bernie sees F1 retuirning to Africa, “I want to be in Cape Town, I have been offered Durban but I think we would be better off in Cape Town.”
So we have Russia coming in 2014 and possibly Mexico. Ecclestone has stated he wasnts to see Thailand on the calendar and now South Africa – and maybe still the stalled New York project. 1+1=2, 2+2=4, 19+Russia+Mexico+Cape Town+Thailand+New York = 24 NOT 22. Who will get the bullet?
Kubica to drive WRC
Robert Kubica will take the wheel of a Citroen and compete in the ‘2nd division’ of the WRC in 2013. Following his test in DTM it had been thought he may drive in the German series this year.
“I weighed up the different options before deciding on this programme,” said Kubica. “I’m really pleased now to be able to return to top level racing.”
Citroen has received special dispensation from the FIA to install a paddle shift for Robert to make changing gear less stressful for his injured arm – sustained in his terrible crash 2 years ago.
Team boss Yves Matton commented, “Robert’s determination is an example to us all and we are proud to associate Citroen’s image with such a resolutely positive individual.”
La Ferrari unveiled in Geneva
The wraps are finally off the La Ferrari. The Prancing Horse’s eagerly-anticipated limited-series special, of which just 499 will be built, made its world debut today at the Geneva International Motor Show.
“We chose to call this model LaFerrari,” declared Ferrari’s President, Luca di Montezemolo, “because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving. Aimed at our collectors, this is a truly extraordinary car which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry. LaFerrari is the finest expression of our company’s unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula 1.”