Barcelona F1 test Day 1

February 28, 2013

Barcelona test 2013, a set on Flickr.

Some photos from day one of the 2nd Barcelona F1 test


Hispania Racing announce Liuzzi as their 2nd driver

March 9, 2011

Barcelona, 09 March 2011

Hispania Racing is pleased to announce that Vitantonio Liuzzi will take part in the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship as its second driver. With this appointment, the Spanish team’s line-up is complete for the upcoming season with the Italian driver joining Narain Karthikeyan behind the wheel of the F111.

The Italian driver started making a name for himself in the late nineties, emerging as one of the brightest talents in world karting. Evidence of this showed in 2001 when he claimed the prestigious FIA/CIK World Karting Championships. Alongside this title, Tonio finished in a remarkable second position in the 2001 German Formula Renault Championships.

In 2004, Liuzzi stepped up to F3000 where he stormed to the championship in a season that included seven wins out of ten races. This impressed Red Bull Racing who signed him up as its test and reserve driver for the 2005 season. He got his first taste of competitive Formula One that same year when he replaced Klien for the San Marino, Spanish and Monaco Grand Prix. Tonio showed his potential by scoring his maiden point (8th place) on his debut at San Marino.

In 2006 and 2007, the Italian raced for Toro Rosso achieving his highest ever placing: 6th at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix. Liuzzi moved on to Force India where he stayed from 2008 to 2010. With the Indian team, Liuzzi equalled his best finish of 6th at the 2010 Korean Grand Prix and ended the 2010 championship in 15th scoring 21 points, a career best.

After testing for Hispania Racing in Barcelona in February, Liuzzi will again be at the helm of the F111 in March’s Barcelona tests and will make his debut for the team at the Australian Grand Prix later this month.

Colin Kolles, Hispania Racing Team Principal: “I have known Tonio for many years as he raced with me in lower categories. He is a very professional driver who will bring a lot of benefits to the Team. I am convinced about his skills to develop a car and his speed. He has shown this in the past having contributed to a large extend developing and moving a back grid car to the front. I had the pleasure of working with him and I am very happy and proud to have him racing with Hispania Racing.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Hispania Racing driver: “I am really happy to have signed this agreement with Hispania Racing. I never lost hope to be in Formula One as I knew I have the experience and the right attributes for a young and ambitious team. I face a new challenge now and this excites me. I also face a lot of hard work in guiding Hispania Racing through the development of our new car. I am extremely grateful to José Ramon Carabante and to Colin Kolles for giving me such an opportunity”.


It’s holiday time

August 4, 2010

Now that everyone is back from Budapest it’s time for the annual F1 summer break. Even the factories have a 2 week total shutdown ‘forced’ on them and it’s not a moment too soon. The easy part of the season is finished and now the really hard work begins. After Spa and Monza there are 5 flyways to deal with and this is where little things like airline lounge access make a huge difference and almost keep you sane. There is nothing worse than leaving a track and arriving at the airport and not being able to have a shower before yet another 7+ hour flight, apart from arriving home and being sent to the spare bed because you smell really bad! So to the airlines and cabin crew that have to deal with over the next few months can I say thank you in advance and sorry for how bad some of us smell if we haven’t given you our loyalty.


Lotus announce new sponsor

July 10, 2010

AirAsia X officially announced a partnership with Lotus Racing, during the world famous British Grand Prix held at the home of British Motor Racing, Silverstone from 9 – 11 July.

AirAsia X CEO, Azran Osman-Rani and Lotus Racing CEO, Riad Asmat were on hand for the photo call at the Lotus Racing garage along with drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. Next to them was the Lotus Racing T127 displaying the freshly placed AirAsia logos on the car.

This announcement is very timely, given that AirAsia X flies directly to a number of destinations where races take place in the current Formula 1™ calendar such as the UK (via Stansted), Melbourne, Malaysia and Shanghai (via Hangzhou). Soon, Korea and Japan can be added to the list as the destinations are soon to be a part of the airline’s rapid growth.

Commenting on the partnership, Azran states, “Teaming up with Lotus Racing is an exciting step for AirAsia X. We admire Lotus Racing as a team which always strives for excellence, a trait similar to that of AirAsia X. Furthermore, as we expand our route network, it is essential that we build our global platform, and a great way to do so is via involvement in Formula One™. Particularly in our upcoming markets of Korea and Japan later this year, and France in early 2011, all of which host legs on the Formula One™ calendar.

“There were people who once doubted AirAsia X’s low cost long haul model, questioning whether it could survive in the current global travel market. We proved them wrong by becoming one of the best in the world! Lotus Racing too had their fair share of skepticism. No one thought the team could even make it to the grid in such a short period of time, let alone be worthy contenders on the track. But they silenced the critics not only by producing the cars on time for the race season, but also by becoming serious contenders in the competition. There’s a lot that we can learn from each other, and we look forward to this relationship with Lotus Racing, taking AirAsia X further into the realms of sports sponsorship,” Azran said.

Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing CEO, added his thoughts, saying: “We are extremely proud to welcome AirAsia X into the Lotus Racing family and are very excited about working together in partnership over the coming seasons. We are both growing fast, and the natural synergies between our two companies will provide us with many very exciting opportunities for Lotus Racing fans and AirAsia X passengers alike – frankly, we can’t wait to get started!”

Partnerships such as with the UK British MotoGP in June (the inaugural AirAsia British Grand Prix), also held at Silverstone, is another example of how powerful sports sponsorships can be as both branding and commercial tools for AirAsia.

AirAsia X’s relationship with sports sponsorship began in 2009 with the announcement of being ‘Proud Sponsors’ of the Oakland Raiders, one of the most prolific teams in the National Football League (NFL) in the United States. The airline also sponsors the Gold Coast Airport Marathon which took place earlier this month, with CEO Azran leading a team of 20 staff runners, as well as providing sponsorship to two runners from Cambodia and Singapore in a bid to enhance the accessibility of Australia to all ASEAN communities through use of their sister airline, low-cost short-haul AirAsia.

Sports sponsorship is very important to AirAsia and AirAsia X, being the most homogeneous mass market which unites countless communities. Through sports sponsorship, AirAsia and AirAsia X is able to not only fulfill the larger vision of the airline by making dreams come true, but also to establish its brand’s equity value – a significant part of its branding effort, enabling AirAsia to become a household brand.

About AirAsia and AirAsia X

AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, services the most extensive network with approximately 132 routes covering destinations in Asia, Australia and Europe. Within 8 years of operations, AirAsia has carried more than 92 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to approximately 96. The airline today is proud to be a truly Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) airline with established operations based in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, servicing a network stretching across all Asean countries, China, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Australia. This is further complemented by AirAsia X, its low-cost long-haul affiliate carrier that currently flies to destinations in China, Australia, Taipei and the UK. AirAsia is the regional carrier with the largest destination network and highest flight frequencies. AirAsia was named World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for two consecutive years in 2009 and 2010.


I hate Renault

July 8, 2010

Or rather why I hate the Renault UK dealer network.

Not really F1 related this post, but it’s my blog and it’s about the manufacturer behind the F1 team, so i’m writing it anyway.

Just over 5 years ago I brought a Renault Grand Scenic with everything added from a Renault Dealer which unfortunately no longer exists. The car has been great for almost all of its 90,000 miles. I’d recommend it to anyone, in fact a few weeks ago I ordered a new one. However due to the incompetence and ignorance of the Renault dealer nearest to where I now live, I have just cancelled the order and will now be looking at competing makes.

Recently a few things have started to go wrong with the car – keyless entry is intermittent and a few other niggling things. However the biggest fault is the air conditioning sprung a leak. Not through a seal, but one of the pipes split. So 4 days ago I booked the car into CrossRoads Renault in Oxford to have it fixed. They knew the parts needed to be ordered, hence the four day lead time.

This morning having reorganised my day I took the car to the dealer only to be told that when they tried to order the parts yesterday they found they were out of stock at Renault UK and wouldn’t be available for a couple of days. Did they bother to call to let me know, obviously not. They say they left me a message on my mobile, neat trick that one – I don’t have voicemail. Their attitude? Couldn’t give a toss. In fact the monkey behind the desk said ‘what do you want us to do about it. We can’t make the f***ing part’. Well monkey boy, I got on the phone and immediately cancelled the order for the new car. Clearly you didn’t read the memo which told you that the car industry in the UK is still fucked and needs people to buy new cars. You just lost a £24,000 cash sale as I can’t trust your dealership (CrossRoads Renault in Oxford) to do it’s job properly as the staff are incompetent liars.

Clearly I won’t be getting CrossRoads to fix the air conditioning, and unless I can find somewhere else to sort it out today or tomorrow it won’t get done before the German F1 race in 2 weeks as the car is going to be away with me on holiday until then. That’ll mean i’ve got to hire a very expensive ‘cross border’ hire car.

Renault I hate you and your dealer network!


Chinese torture

April 12, 2010

The most complicated race on the calendar to date is China. The amount of red tape everybody has to wade through is incredible and unique to this race. As a photographer I’m categorised as a journalist and the Chinese government do not like ‘western’ journalists. A few weeks before the race the FIA give the Chinese a list of people who wish to attend, we then have to goto the visa issuers (not the embassy in the UK) and be interviewed. About a week later, if we are lucky, we will be granted a visa. As an apparent policy a large percentage of us will be refused for no reason.
So last week on the day I got back from Malaysia I headed into London to hand over a pile of paper and my passport. I’m in the very fortunate position of having dual nationality, if I didn’t there is no way I’d ever get a visa. Due to ‘non-naughty’ reasons I’m persona non gratia on my British passport especially as a journalist.
So I ‘passed’ my interview and waited for my visa which I was due to collect today. I made the trek back to holborn only to find my passport hasn’t come back from the embassy and the visa isn’t showing up on the system. I’m meant to be on a plane tomorrow morning, but not any longer. I’ve been told that the Chinese do not officially refuse visas, what they do is issue them, but too late to be used. It looks like that’s the position I’m now in.
All of this means that I’m not going to china for the race. So I’ll be watching the tellybox with the rest of you. For those that don’t already know there will be no Twitter updates from china due the ‘great firewall of china’ so it’s going to be a quiet race.


The BMW Political Roundel Attachment Tag

April 1, 2010

* 01.04.2010

Soon Great Britain will be in the grip of election fever and as the public goes to the polls BMW has created a unique way for customers to personalise their cars depending on their political leanings. BMW’s innovative Political Roundel Attachment Tag (PRAT) is a highly stylised limited edition accessory of the BMW product portfolio and comes available in the colours of all major UK parties.

Uwe Beanhadde, Head of Made-up Technology at BMW’s renowned Forschungs und Innovationszentrum in Munich, said: “We have been working on this innovation for a number of years and see it as a niche with potentially wide appeal. One of the most popular features, sure to strike a cord with the floating voter, is that the roundel can be replaced in a matter of seconds should the opposition suddenly seem more appealing”.

News of the PRAT accessory comes swiftly after boffins at BMW offered other award winning innovations such as Canine Repellant Alloy Protection that stopped dogs relieving themselves on customers’ wheels, Magnetic Tow Technology, the ultimate in tailgating tech, and BMW Instant Messaging which let owners know what they really thought of other road users.

Further details on PRAT can be found by contacting 0800 561 0080 or emailing Uwe.Beanhadde@bmw.co.uk


The rear of Buemis Toro Rosso after the turn 6 shunt

March 28, 2010

The rear of Buemis Toro Rosso after the turn 6 shunt, originally uploaded by f1photos.org.

The first lap incident which took out Nico Hulkenberg, Kamui Kobayashi & Sebastien Buemi was caused by Kobayashis front wing falling off, he then ploughed into the back of the Toro Rosso ripping off the rear wind and engine cover.


Melbourne race weather (13:20 local)

March 28, 2010

Melbourne weather radar, originally uploaded by f1photos.org.

I’ve just received the latest weather update from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology which includes the current rain radar images. By my maths that large dark blue blob on the left of the image should hit us here in about 3 hours, just before the track opens prior to the race. Now might be the time to get a bet on Schumacher who had quite long odds last time I looked.


On my way to Melbourne

March 23, 2010

So I’m sitting in the Emirates lounge at heathrow once again about to head off for 24 hours in an oversized tin can. Several extra spicy bloody marys help to bring on an early sleep aided by my little boy who woke me up just after 5 this morning to say ‘I love you daddy and I miss you when you’re at the aye ayes”. I can forgive him for the alarm call after that (the aye ayes are so named because of the Moby bumpers used by ITV during their F1 coverage.

Back to the upcoming race. The forecast is for some showers over the weekend so the race might actually be interesting, but I’m not holding my breath. We should get a couple of safety car periods which might also spice things up.

Hopefully I will have a better Internet connection than I had in Bahrain so I’ll be able to get tweets and photos out.

Enjoy the race however you are following it.