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I think it makes more sense w Kimi staying next year with the progress Ferrari has made this year, if the team was still struggling like last couple of years, I dont think he still would be around

Plus this means better driver possibilities for my new team, Haas F1 :)

Bart

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Another season ahead, will it be better than the last? I'm certainly hoping there will be less politics involved but that's just wishful thinking! Perhaps I will post less on such issues moving forwa

Bernie's really damaging the sport. He's so far behind the times it's impossible to listen to anything he has to say. Just looking at the way other sports leagues have grown over the past 20 years com

I disagree Massa only had one line to of the pits Hulkenburg saw him and could have avoided the contact and still passed Massa as he was on cold tyres. Good race though

Christian Bale set to play Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann film

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Former Batman star Christian Bale has reportedly agreed to play Enzo Ferrari in the biopic of the Italian racing legend’s rise to fame, directed by Michael Mann.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the as-yet-unnamed feature film – one of two Ferrari movies in the pipeline – is scheduled to commence filming next summer.
Miami Vice TV show director Mann, whose impressive film credits include Last of the Mohicans, Collateral and Heat, has previously worked with Welsh-born actor Bale on Public Enemies.
Bale played Batman three times, but received most critical acclaim for his performances in American Psycho, The Fighter, American Hustle and The Machinist.
Mann’s film is to be based on the Brock Yates book, Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races. The project was originally led by the late Sydney Pollack, with Al Pacino set for the lead.
This film is not to be confused with the other Ferrari film in production, which is set to star Robert De Niro.
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Do you remember… the massive Belgian Grand Prix pile-up

The 1998 Belgian Grand Prix is rightly remembered as one of the most dramatic and incident filled races in F1 history - but arguably its most infamous moment occurred mere seconds after the start…

“I have to admit, it was a bit scary. I had no brakes, no steering, nothing was working. I was just sitting there hurtling down the track with wheels hitting me on the head and cars going all over the place. There was nothing I could do except sit there and think ‘S**t, where is this taking me?’ It was not pleasant…”
Eddie Irvine’s harrowing recollection of the first-lap accident that struck just moments into the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps offers a vivid insight into the scale and ferocity of what remains one of the most notorious F1 pile-ups.
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Eddie Irvine (GBR), Ferrari F300. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 30 August 1998
In total the incident lasted barely 15 seconds, but by the time it was over no fewer than 13 of the 22 machines that took the start had bitten the dust and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage had been accrued.
Never before had so many cars been destroyed in so little time, but just what had caused such unbridled carnage?
The chief culprit, as is so often the case at Spa, was the weather. The race got underway amid a characteristically torrential Ardennes downpour, meaning the field arrived at the circuit’s excruciatingly tight first corner, La Source, bunched together and shrouded in spray.
Somewhat amazingly the entire grid managed to negotiate the right-hander without incident, but as McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen led the pack down the hill towards Eau Rouge, the Finn’s team mate David Coulthard - sitting in fourth - lost control after running over a drain cover.
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David Coulthard (GBR), McLaren MP4-13, DNF Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 30 August 1998
In an instant the Scot’s silver MP4-13 speared sideways out of the gloom and smashed violently into the inside retaining wall, the force of the impact spitting the car back across the circuit and into the path of the onrushing pack.
The scale of devastation that followed was unprecedented.
Detached tyres and shards of carbon fibre bodywork filled the air as cars lost control and ricocheted into one another at will, one brutal impact following another. Then, just as the chaos seemed to be waning, along came the unsighted tail-enders, cannoning helplessly into the wreckage.
After what must have felt like an eternity to those caught up in the mayhem, the collisions eventually abated and the race was red-flagged. The drivers involved, all of whom escaped largely unscathed, raced back to the pits to collect spare cars for the re-start, but they needn’t have rushed - such was the scale of the accident that it took nearly an hour to clear the circuit of debris.
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The wrecks are towed away after the first corner accident Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 30 August 1998
When the race was eventually re-started, only 18 cars made it to the grid, with Stewart, Prost, Arrows and Tyrrell all left with just one unshunted machine at their disposal. Of the 11 teams, only Jordan escaped the melee with both cars intact, thanks in part to the quick thinking of drivers Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher, who’d both been behind Coulthard when he’d lost control.
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Michael Schumacher (GER), Ferrari F300 returns to the pits after running into the back of David Coulthard (GBR) McLaren.
"It was quite funny,” Ralf later reflected, “because I just spotted a McLaren sideways in front of me and then I saw the mess going on all around me. So I moved my car left, parked it in neutral and waited, just in time to see an Arrows suddenly missing me by about ten centimetres. Then when everything had settled, I just engaged a gear and went through."
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An overjoyed Eddie Jordan (centre) is hoisted aloft by his first Jordan race winner Damon Hill (GBR) (left) and second place finisher Ralf Schumacher (GER) (right).
But that wouldn’t be the end of Jordan’s luck. In the re-started race, with rain still falling heavily, the damage tally climbed to an incredible 23 cars as drivers continued to fall off the road and crash into each other. The most notable casualty? Race leader Michael Schumacher, whose unfortunate demise - via another memorable shunt with Coulthard - promoted Hill and Ralf Schumacher into an unlikely one-two and paved the way for a memorable maiden victory for the popular Irish team.
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SPA FP1: ROSBERG FASTEST DESPITE PROBLEMS

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg started the second half of the Formula 1 season in the best way possible by claiming top spot on the timing screens, ahead of title rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton in first free practice session of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
This despite the German suffering from a power unit problem early on and only got going halfway into the 90 minutes session at the daunting Spa-Francorchamps. Nevertheless Rosberg with a best time of 1:51.082 ended up a quarter of a second quicker than Hamilton in second.
Last year’s winner in Belgium, Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in the Red Bull, ahead of the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
The session was interrupted when Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado crashed exiting the Les Combes chicane, he got on the gas too early causing the Lotus to slam the inside barrier.
The impact caused damage to the front and rear of the Lotus, which prompted the red flag as marshals cleared the wreck.
Report in progress..
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ALONSO: NOT AS MUCH POWER AS I HAVE READ ABOUT

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Fernando Alonso has admitted he will start Belgian grand prix from the back of the grid, while downplaying the power boost expected by Honda’s updated power unit.
That is because of a double engine change as McLaren’s struggling partner Honda introduces a key update at Spa-Francorchamps.
But after boss Yasuhisa Arai suggested Honda will now be on par with Ferrari and targeting Mercedes next, Alonso said rumoured figures of a 50-100 horse power boost are wide of the mark.
“I do not think it will be as much power as I have read about,” Alonso said in Belgium, “but we are moving in the right direction. That is what is important.”
The Spaniard also suggested that the double engine change and penalties for himself and teammate Jenson Button are not a big deal.
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“We will start at the back but, as I always say, this is a year of testing for us,” he is quoted by Spain’s El Confidencial.
“All these updates and improvements are with an eye on 2016, so hopefully it will be a good test this weekend,” Alonso added.
“There are some races where we need to sacrifice and this is definitely one of them,” he is also quoted by Brazil’s UOL. “We may not be very competitive at this track, it’s not the best layout for us, so I think it’s the best place to suffer some punishment.
“We also need to know that it’s probably not the last punishment this year. We need to make sure that we are improving the engine and the car for next year.”
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MALDONADO: I HAVE A CONTRACT FOR NEXT SEASON

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Pastor Maldonado has played down speculation that he would be ousted if Renault completes its rumoured takeover of the Lotus team and revealed that he has a contract for next season with the Enstone based outfit.
His current teammate Romain Grosjean, on the other hand, is barracking hard for the buyout.
“It would be great news for formula one, for the team, for myself,” he told RMC Sport at Spa-Francorchamps.
“Being a French driver in a French team is something quite extraordinary. We know that there are discussions, but the final decision has not been taken,” added Grosjean.
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It has been argued that Grosjean would need a new teammate for 2016, because the branding of Maldonado’s powerful sponsor PDVSA would not fit as Renault takes up full works team status.
That is because Renault’s prominent oil company partner is Total, whose visibility would increase significantly if the Enstone team is taken over.
But Venezuelan Maldonado insists he has a solid contract for 2016, “I think for me it would not change anything. I wish the team all the best.”
“It is difficult times now, but this is a very professional team with a passion for racing. I have a contract for next season,” Maldonado revealed. “At the moment it looks good, but in Formula 1 it’s true you never know what is going to happen.”
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MERCEDES UNVEIL UNIQUE SPOON REAR WING

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Although clearly the quickest team in Formula 1, championship pace setters Mercedes is still pushing hard to improve its 2015 machine.
Sebastian Vettel broke through for Ferrari’s second win of the season in Hungary, ramping up suggestions he might still be an outside chance for the title.
“Well, as long as it is mathematically possible, then why not?” the German said at Spa-Francorchamps.
“Of course, I also know that the gap to Mercedes is still there, but it is also important to seize opportunities when they come, and I think there have been two so far.”
Marc Surer, a former F1 driver, said it is not realistic for Ferrari to be targeting the 2015 title.
“I always have the feeling that Mercedes has reserves when someone comes closer to them,” said the Swiss, who commentates for the German broadcaster Sky.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo agrees: “They (Ferrari) are in the situation we were in a year ago. The gap to Mercedes is still too big.
“On the tight and twisty tracks, Ferrari seems to be a little closer to them, but I think this weekend it will be a walkover for Mercedes,” said the Australian.
Nonetheless, Mercedes is still pushing hard to develop its W06 car, as pitlane observers noted a revolutionary rear wing waiting to be raced this weekend.
Autosprint says the notably curved main plane resembles a silver “spoon”.
“Our rear wing is basically not new,” insisted Nico Rosberg, smiling: “But the curved element looks quick!”
MIKA: Look out, Christian Horner and Helmut Marko will surely complain about it's illegality! rolleyes.gif
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VETTEL HELMET TWEAK FOR SPA IS LEGAL CLAIMS PAINTER

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Sebastian Vettel’s helmet livery tweak for the Belgian Grand Prix conforms with the regulations.
That is the claim of the German’s helmet painter Jens Munser, as the Ferrari driver prepares to mark his 150th career grand prix at Spa-Francorchamps.
Vettel, famous for using dozens of different liveries throughout his successful career so far, has been a critic of the new-for-2015 rule requiring every driver to field an identical design at each grand prix.
Now, his white helmet is turning chrome for Spa, Munser revealed to f1-insider.
He said: “What is important is that the design is not changed from the front, so that the recognisability is the same.”
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ALONSO AND BUTTON DEMOTED BEYOND THE BACK OF THE GRID

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McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will start last in Sunday’s Belgian Formula One Grand Prix after being hit with heavy grid penalties for changes to their Honda power units.
Spaniard Alonso was given a drop of 30 grid positions, despite only 20 cars being entered for the race, while British team mate Button collected a marginally less draconian 25-place penalty.
They could add to the meaningless, if eye-catching, tally if as expected their team takes advantage of a rule change by swapping out the power units again on Saturday.
Previously, any untaken grid drops were translated into time penalties during the race but the rules have been amended to ensure that the maximum sanction is to be sent to the back of the field.
That means McLaren could give themselves two penalty-free units for future races if they switch the undamaged ones again over the weekend for new ones after already incurring the maximum drop.
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The race stewards issued statements containing a long list of components that had been changed in breach of the regulations.
In Alonso’s case, the double world champion picked up a 10-place penalty for using his seventh internal combustion engine of the season.
There were four five-place penalties for replacing other elements of the power unit. Honda have been allowed a maximum of five power units per driver this season, one more than other teams because they are new manufacturers.
“We’ve used seven or eight engines…and we are in the 11th race so definitely our position is not great in terms of reliability,” said Alonso.
“If we had more of a penalty than starting last, we would accept it because this weekend is just a test for us.”
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Button collected a 10-place hit for using an eighth turbocharger and three five-place penalties for exceeding his allocation of other parts.
The penalties were expected by both McLaren drivers, who have endured a nightmare start to their team’s new partnership with Honda, even if Alonso’s punishment was greater than anything they had so far experienced.
In Austria in June, before the rules were changed, both drivers were given 25-place drops for engine and gearbox failures.
Honda had promised McLaren an improved engine for Belgium but the team recognised the upgrades would incur penalties. The stewards said the FIA had been notified of the changes on Tuesday.
“I am confident that our reliability problems are now behind us, which means we can turn our attention to increasing power,” said Honda motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai earlier this month.
McLaren, the second most successful constructor in the sport’s history after Ferrari, are currently ninth of 10 teams.
MIKA: This is the stupidity of the FIA - Seriously, ok, drop them to the back but to drop them any more than the total amount of cars on the grid is plain stupidity. Reminds me when I hear about a criminal being given a life sentence of 300 years, seriously, it's impossible! Trivial and impossible.
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SPA FP2: ROSBERG SURVIVES HIGH SPEED CRASH TO END DAY ON TOP

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Nico Rosberg continued to set the pace in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix, despite a tyre blowout that brought his afternoon session to an early end.
The Mercedes driver, who went fastest in first practice, set a time of 1:49.385s during the afternoon period’s qualifying simulations on the soft tyre to run three tenths clear of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo took third place, with an option tyre time of 1:50.136 that was just over seven tenths down on Rosberg.
However, with approximately half an hour to, Rosberg’s rear right tyre exploded spectacularly on the run towards the fast Blanchimont corner and the German was pitched into a lurid spin. Ha managed to avoid the tyre barriers in the run-off area, however, and Rosberg emerged from the crash unscathed.
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“It was not a nice experience. A 360 degree spin at 200mph is not something you expect at all,” said Rosberg afterwards. “Luckily I did not hit the wall. I didn’t feel anything before, there was no warning. There will be a big analysis. I was feeling quick before then, comfortable,”
The incident brought out the red flags due to the amount of debris on the track but 10 minutes later the action resumed. It didn’t last long, however, as Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was soon off the track as well. The Swede ran wide at the exit of Pouhon, lost control and hit the barriers hard.
There was a further delay as the Sauber was recovered and when the green light came on again there was little time for anyone to conduct any meaningful running. A stream of cars took to the track in a last-ditch search for data but there was little to learn in the final few minutes of congested running.
On the timesheet, Daniil Kvyat confirmed Red Bull’s good form in first practice by finishing in fourth spot with a best time of 1:50.399s to end the session one second down on Rosberg and 0.25s behind his team-mate.
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Four-time Belgian Grand Prix winner Kimi Räikkönen was fifth fastest ahead of Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Romain Grosjean, who sat out first practice as Jolyon Palmer tested the Lotus, looked good as he claimed seventh place with a time over a second adrift of the lead Mercedes.
The upgraded Saubers of Ericsson and Felipe Nasr were eighth and ninth respectively, and the final top ten place was taken by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
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FERRARI: WE CAN DO A STEP FORWARD

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Scuderia Ferrari ended the second free practice session in Belgium with its drivers in fifth and tenth places courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen (1.50.461) and Sebastian Vettel (1.50.940) respectively.
Fastest was Nico Rosberg, who posted a 1.49.385 in his Mercedes. The team focused on an evaluation of the Soft compound tyre and on finding the best set-up for tomorrow’s qualifying, while also keeping the race in mind.
Temperatures are much higher than usual at this track, therefore the data acquired will be particularly useful.
Kimi Raikkonen: “The day was not too bad, even if our programme was a bit affected by the red flags, but then it was the same for everybody. In the end we were able to do all the work we had planned. Regarding the tires we had had a little bit of blistering in the front, which obviously was not ideal, but not a disaster either, there are many things we can do for this. Tomorrow we’ll try our best and see what we can do for Sunday.”
Sebastian Vettel: “It’s obviously nice to come here after the last race and a great result, but we need to keep our feet on the ground. It’s a different circuit, different conditions again, so we’ll try to do our best as usual. Today it was not the best day for us, it was a bit difficult to find the rhythm, but for tomorrow I think we can do a step forward: we have to do so, because we don’t want to be tenth. I’m quite confident that we can tune up the car, because today I was not entirely happy with it: tomorrow it should be a better day.”
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LOTUS: NOT THE MOST STRAIGHT-FORWARD FIRST DAY BACK ON TRACK

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Lotus F1 Team opened their Belgian Grand Prix weekend with a strong top ten time from Romain to underlie the team’s potential after an eventful and challenging first day back on track.

Pastor was one of three drivers to cause a red flag during the day, with an off in the second half of FP1. He returned to the track to end the day as fifteenth fastest. Jolyon completed evaluations of the team’s new front wing in the morning session.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director – Technical programme notes

  • Pastor’s FP1 was curtailed mid-session after an off and contact with the barriers damaged his car and caused a brief red flag period. He was evaluating a new top rear wing today.
  • Jolyon conducted a front wing evaluation programme as well as other set-up work.
  • The twice interrupted second session saw tyre evaluation and longer runs, with Pastor and Romain in action.
  • Romain continued the front wing evaluation and his car stopped on track at the end of the session, requiring recovery back to the garage.
  • Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the morning session, the medium and soft (yellow) in the afternoon.

What we learned today: The E23 Hybrid has shown good pace today.

Jolyon Palmer, E23-04

  • Free practice 1: P17, 1:53.799, 23 laps

Jolyon: “It was productive session for me and it was good to get the first taste on track of the new front wing which felt pretty promising from where I was sat. It’s always difficult at Spa to find the best balance because it’s a compromise between having aero and having straight line speed with the nature of the track. We tried something different across the two cars and we had a new front wing to try as well, which was good to test.”

Romain Grosjean, E23-04

  • Free practice 2: P7, 1:50.489, 21 laps

Romain: “That was a good session for me. My first runs weren’t great and it was clear we had to make some changes to the car’s set-up. Once we did that the car felt a lot better and I felt that the car was a lot more how I wanted it with the soft tyres. We have a few other niggles to rectify but it’s lovely to drive Spa with wonderful warm weather. If we can find a little more pace from the car I think we can have a pretty good weekend here.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03

  • Free practice 1: P11, 1:52.539, 15 laps
  • Free practice 2: P15, 1:51.317, 16 laps

Pastor: “Today wasn’t the start to the Grand Prix weekend that we wanted. I lost the rear end in FP1 and unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the car off the barriers. My crew did a great job to get everything back together for FP2, but then there were a couple of red flags to interrupt that session too. I think we can have a good weekend from now, there’s good potential in the car and we know what we need for a strong result.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “This wasn’t the most straight-forward first day back on track for us after the summer shutdown. Pastor unfortunately had an off in FP1 in which his car sustained a reasonable amount of damage. The repair work continued into FP2 meaning his day was pretty compromised. On the other side of the garage, Jolyon completed a good tally of laps in the morning to assist with our assessment of our latest front wing, whilst Romain was able to continue with set-up work in the afternoon and made good progress and looked competitive finishing FP2 in P7.”

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FORCE INDIA: WE’RE IN A GOOD PLACE SO FAR

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Sahara Force India returned to action after the summer break with a positive day of practice in Spa-Francorchamps.
Nico Hülkenberg, VJM08-01: “The car felt pretty good and I am fairly happy with the baseline set-up. Obviously, we will need to keep working, fine-tuning the balance and trying to find the last few tenths of performance, but I think we’re in a good place going into the weekend. The red flags in the afternoon meant we didn’t get all the long-run data and we will head into the race without the best knowledge of how the tyres will behave, but that’s the same for everyone.”
Sergio Perez, VJM08-02: “It was a really productive day despite the disruption that the red flags brought towards the end of FP2. We were able to get some good information, perhaps not as much as we would have wanted on the long runs, but overall I am happy with the day. We took two very different set-up directions with the two cars, which means we have plenty of data to analyse tonight, but I am confident for tomorrow.”
Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal
“We are satisfied with our first day of work here in Spa. This is a unique track when it comes to car balance: there aren’t many low-speed corners so the majority of our work focussed on finding the optimal balance for the medium and high-speed corners, and I believe we made some good progress. We continued evaluating the b-spec evolutions in the morning session and the drivers were pretty happy with the balance of the car straight away. The afternoon was a bit more complicated with the red flags: the first half went according to plan and we were able to evaluate some solutions to respond to the high track temperatures. Our long run data was compromised by the red flags but we expect a lot of people to be in the same boat. There’s a lot of work still to be done but we’re in a good place so far.”
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SAUBER: WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK AHEAD OF US

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Positive practice sessions ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix for the Sauber F1 Team in terms of pace, finishing with both cars in the top ten in FP2.

However, the team could not work through the race preparation programme properly due to a red flag at the end of the second free practice.

Marcus Ericsson made a mistake in the high-speed Pouhon corner. Because of that, the Swede hit the wall, but luckily he is uninjured.

Marcus Ericsson

  • 1st practice: 15th / 1:53.426 min (16 laps)
  • 2nd practice: 8th / 1:50.709 min (18 laps)

“In FP1 we tried different set-ups on the car. In the afternoon we then continued to build on FP1, doing short and long-runs on the soft and medium tyres. Especially on soft tyres, I was satisfied with the balance of the car. Unfortunately, at the end of the session I made a mistake in Pouhon. I touched the grass, the car snapped and I hit the wall. I want to apologise to the team for this incident, which has given them a lot of extra work. It is racing, sometimes it happens, but when it happens it is, for sure, frustrating. Before the accident it had been a good day for us, and some of the outcomes from what we were doing were positive.”

Felipe Nasr

  • 1st practice: 13th / 1:52.640 min (16 laps)
  • 2nd practice: 9th / 1:50.928 min (24 laps)

“I had two good practice sessions today. I am satisfied with the overall balance of the car, which gives us a good direction for the weekend. In the morning the temperatures were cooler, so we knew there was room for improvement. For FP2 we then made the right changes to the car. I still have some small margin for improvement on soft tyres, as I was stuck in traffic on my best lap.

Overall I am quite pleased that the engine specification is a benefit for us here in Spa. It is a good start to the weekend, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

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TORO ROSSO: WE KNEW THIS TRACK DOESN’T SUIT OUR CAR

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Toro Rosso team and drivers report from day one of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Carlos Sainz

  • First Practice Session Best lap: 1:52.421, pos. 8th, 26 laps
  • Second Practice Session Best lap: 1:51.037, pos. 12th, 24 laps

“It’s great to be back in the car and to do so at such an exciting track like Spa makes it an even better feeling. I enjoyed my first couple of laps in an F1 car for the first time here, it felt pretty special as this is the fastest I’ve ever driven around my favourite circuit! It was a positive day today. We know that it’s not going to be the easiest of race weekends for us as this track doesn’t suit our car very well, but we had a clean Friday. We managed to complete most of our run plan and, even though there were a bit too many red flags which means we are lacking a bit of information regarding the long run, I’m happy with today.”

Max Verstappen

  • First Practice Session Best lap: 1:52.158, pos. 7th, 27 laps
  • Second Practice Session Best lap 1:51.117, pos. 13th, 25 laps

“It was a good day today. I always enjoy driving at this great circuit and I’m happy to be back. Today it was my first time here at the wheel of an F1 car and it was a lot more challenging than with an F3 car. In general I’m happy with how the day went. Of course there’s still a few things to improve balance wise, but it was not bad at all. I slowly built my confidence up in FP1 and by the end of the session I was feeling great. In FP2 I didn’t manage to have a lot of free laps, but I’m happy with the behaviour of the car and I think our pace can keep on improving, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Phil Charles (Chief Race Engineer): “It was a very interesting day for us and everything looked okay. We arrived here knowing that this track doesn’t suit our car that well, but after a good FP1, our FP2 was slightly underwhelming, so we’ve got a little bit of homework to do tonight. We also need to understand the use of the Option tyre in the race, because we didn’t get a perfect run due to the stop-start red-flag nature of the session, which affected the rest of the teams in the same way as us. This has made things interesting and looking forward to Sunday there are still quite a few unanswered questions, so we are all going into the race a little more blind than normal, but ultimately I think we will be okay. After going through the data tonight, we will hopefully be able to find a little bit of short-run performance. As for the race, we will need to understand the tyres well and work on a good strategy, especially for Max now, as he will have to pick-up a grid penalty for changing his engine. It’s a pity, being this his home Grand Prix, but this is racing and we’re looking forward to the challenge!”

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WILLIAMS: ON HIGHER FUEL LOADS WE LOOK QUITE COMPETITIVE

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Williams team and drivers report from day one of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.
Objectives: aero evaluations, set-up and tyre work.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We have had a decent Friday. We had set ourselves an ambitious programme to complete and although the red flags hampered this slightly we are very well prepared for the weekend. We focused on rear and front wing development during the morning and this afternoon was all about tyres. We still have a bit of time to find on the low fuel, but we know where to find this. On the higher fuel loads we look quite competitive. There are lots of small areas where we can find performance, so everyone needs to ensure that they have done their job to be ready for FP3.”
Valtteri Bottas: “It was nice to be back in the car after the break. Today our main focus was on aero testing, including the rear wing configuration and we also looked at the tyres as you would expect from a Friday. We collected plenty of data throughout the day so we know that today’s times are not too representative, and we will continue to strengthen our performance throughout the weekend.”
Felipe Massa: “It was a typical Friday for Williams, we don’t go out trying to top the time sheets. We completed a lot of the work we had set ourselves, only held back by the red flags which were unexpected. This has meant my long run pace isn’t as clear as I would have hoped, but we should be able to be competitive tomorrow and build as the weekend progresses.”
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RED BULL: TWO SESSIONS WHERE THE CAR FELT GOOD

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Red Bull drivers report from day one of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Round 11 of the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Daniel Ricciardo

  • First Practice Session: Position: 3, Best Time: 1:51.373, Laps: 18
  • Second Practice Session: Position: 3, Best Time: 1:50.136, Laps: 15

“Generally I think if we can stay third and fourth at this track it would be good. It will probably be closer tomorrow as the gap from behind will close up a lot more, but let’s wait and see. Hopefully we can maintain these positions for tomorrow. It would be good to find some more time on the Option tyre, so we’ll do our homework tonight, like every team will. I had a bit of a moment at Eau Rouge, when it was on the edge, but it keeps it fun!”

Daniil Kvyat

  • First Practice Session: Position: 6, Best Time: 1:51.960, Laps: 18
  • Second Practice Session: Position: 4, Best Time: 1:50.399, Laps: 18

“The conditions were pretty unusual for Spa today, with the hot weather and we had two good sessions. As a priority, we need to find some time in sector two. As always, we will do our homework tonight and try to improve the package we have for tomorrow, but the car felt good so far.”

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Rosberg: It was quite a shock

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Nico Rosberg concedes it was "luck" and not skill that kept him off the barriers when his rear-right tyre blew at high-speed at Spa on Friday.
The German had a great start to second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix as he was quickest on the both the medium and the soft Pirellis.
However, his afternoon's running was cut short when his rear-right tyre blew, pitching him into a spin as he approached Blanchimont.
Despite travelling at over 300kph he managed to avoid the barriers.
"We don't know [the reason for the failure] yet and it would not make sense to speculate about it," he explained.
"It was quite a shock in the first moment because you don't expect it.
"Suddenly at 306kph or 190mph to just lose control completely because something failed at the right rear is not good.
"It wasn't down to my skill, it was just luck that I stayed away from the wall, but that was good."
Prior to the blow-out, Rosberg had clocked a 1:49.385 on the soft Pirellis which meant he completed the day quickest of all, 0.302s up on his team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
"It's going well for now," Rosberg said. "It's been a good start to the weekend. I'm feeling comfortable.
"At the moment I'm still one step ahead of Lewis and that means tonight he is more likely to take over my set-up than vice versa.
"That's usually the tendency, so it's always better to start the weekend like that."
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No complaints from Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes could be in for a closely-fought contest in Belgium as Ferrari and Red Bull look to have closed the gap.
Although Mercedes claimed the 1-2 in both Friday practices, they by no means destroyed the field.
In FP1 both Red Bull and Ferrari drivers were within a second of Nico Rosberg's P1 time while in FP2, on the soft tyres, Daniel Ricciardo was only four-tenths slower than Hamilton.
As such the Brit concedes he has his work cut out for him, not only closing the gap to Rosberg, but also in keeping the chasing pack at bay.
"Today was generally a good day - no problems with my car, great weather and a lot of fun out on track," Hamilton stated.
"It's not often it stays dry here and that makes it even more enjoyable with the way the track flows through great corners like Eau Rouge.
"It was great to be back out there. The car felt good and it felt very natural to be straight back to business which is a positive sign.
"Nico is very quick so I have some work to do tonight to see where I can find some time.
"Ferrari and Red Bull also look closer here than they have at past weekends, so it'll be a close run thing and we'll need to be up for the fight."
As for his team-mate's tyre blow-out in FP2, Hamilton insists it won't dent his confidence when he climbs back into the cockpit on Saturday.
"What happened towards the end of P2 with Nico obviously wasn't good but luckily he's unhurt and of course the team will be looking into it with Pirelli.
"I have no concerns, though. You have to have trust in the car and in the tyres to go out there and push, so it's not something you think about."
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Lotus facing threat of F1 cars being impounded following Belgian GP

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Lotus is embroiled in a legal battle with former reserve driver Charles Pic that could result in its cars being unable to leave Spa following Sunday's Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT has learned.
Former Marussia and Caterham driver Pic was signed early last year by Lotus as back up to regulars Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, and subsequently released at the end of the season.
The 25-year-old Frenchman, however, opted to take Lotus to court, believing the Enstone-based team reneged on its deal to provide him with a certain number of days behind the wheel of its E22.
Lotus encountered major issues early last season with Renault's power unit following the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged systems.
Once subsequently up to speed the team then took the decision to allow Grosjean and Maldonado the time required to become accustomed to the car and power unit.
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An aggrieved Pic, however, has sought legal redress, and the matter is currently in the hands of an arbitration court.
In trying to expedite matters, Pic yesterday managed to acquire an attachment order from a Belgian court that effectively prevents Lotus' cars and equipment from leaving the circuit come the conclusion of the grand prix.
It is understood Lotus believe the 'conservatory impounding' to be invalid as the matter is presently in the hands of the arbitration court.
Lawyers from both parties are currently locked in discussions designed to find a solution.
Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Lotus co-owner Gerard Lopez said he is confident the issue will be resolved ahead of the race.
"We are having our legal department look at it. This will be solved, and solved in a manner that is adequate," said Lopez.
"We know there is a difference in the number of the days [Pic should have driven], but I know we'll find an amicable solution, and the show goes on.
"I think the cars will leave as planned. I don't envisage there being an issue. I know there will be a resolution."
CURFEW BREAK CLEARED
The situation was further complicated for Lotus on Thursday as three members of its personnel - team manager, technical director and team co-ordinator - remained behind to 'guard' the cars and equipment beyond F1's 11pm curfew.
As the trio were deemed to be 'associated with the operation of the car', they were forced to explain their presence to the stewards on Friday morning.
Due to what has been described as "extraneous circumstances" by the stewards they decided the "incident will not be considered as one of the two [curfew] exceptions" allowed under the sporting regulations.
A statement added: "The reason is this matter was neither sporting nor technical in nature, and involved no work being performed by the team."
Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldo told AUTOSPORT: "There is an order that took place last night related to one of our third drivers, that has not been resolved and has been going on for some time now.
"The lawyers are talking and we're trying to find a solution for this weekend.
"We are hopeful of doing that, of trying to find a balanced agreement."
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Bernie Ecclestone hopes BBC agrees new Formula 1 UK TV deal

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Bernie Ecclestone is hoping the BBC does not walk away from Formula 1 once the corporation's contract expires at the end of 2017.
F1 commercial rights holder Ecclestone on Friday confirmed German free-to-air broadcaster RTL had signed a new two-year extension to its deal to cover F1 for 2016 and '17.
Although there has been a swing from Ecclestone in recent times towards pay-per-view broadcast deals, the 84-year-old still recognises the value of free-to-air providers such as RTL and the BBC.
Ecclestone is therefore eager for the BBC to remain on board, in tandem with Sky Sports, from 2018 and beyond.
Under the current agreement with Sky, the BBC is allowed to screen half of a season's races live, and the remainder via a highlights package.
Asked whether he was anxious to keep free to air UK coverage with the BBC, Ecclestone replied: "Absolutely. I hope they continue."
Whether the BBC could afford to continue coverage remains to be seen, but Ecclestone added: "We're not interested in the money.
"We're interested in entertaining the public and doing a service. That's what we are there for.
"The continuation of the Sky/BBC deal would be good.
"It works at the moment so there is no reason why we should change.
"Sky has done a super job. They have lifted the level, and they have lifted the BBC."
As to whether there is potential interest in F1 from BT Sport, which has started to rival Sky when it comes to the acquistion of prime-time sports and events, Ecclestone said: "Let's see.
"They've not been in to see me, but then even if they had I wouldn't tell you."
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Red Bull and Kvyat penalised for unsafe Belgian GP pitlane release

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Daniil Kvyat has been accused of paying insufficient attention and Red Bull fined €10,000 following an unsafe pitlane release during the second practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Kvyat has also been handed his second reprimand of the year by the stewards, after being found guilty of an unsafe release from his pitbox at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, into the path of Sauber's Felipe Nasr.
It leaves the young Russian one further reprimand away from being handed an automatic 10-place grid penalty should he offend again this season.
In punishing Red Bull and Kvyat in Belgium the stewards noted: "Car 26 [Kvyat] was released as car 12 [Nasr] was approaching. In addition the driver did not pay sufficient attention."
On the positive side for Kvyat and Red Bull, he and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and third respectively on the timsheets.
Ricciardo was three quarters of a second behind pacesetter Nico Rosberg in his Mercedes, with Kvyat a further quarter of a second adrift.
Given engine supplier Renault has previously struggled for power, it would appear the French manufacturer has made some gains, especially after Kvyat and Ricciardo finished second and third in Hungary last time out.
Assessing his pace, Kvyat said: "Anything you see is more or less genuine, for today at least.
"Tomorrow you never know, so we'll try to do our homework well, to improve our package, our driveability, and see what we can do.
"I'm obviously hoping for back-to-back podiums. Looking at today I wouldn't mind at all, but you never know what can happen on a Sunday, and with our engine situation we have to compromise a lot."
Reigning champion in Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has suggested Red Bull could be more of a threat this weekend.
Kvyat added: "It's good he feels some threat from someone else other than his team-mate finally.
"We'll see, but history has shown us they [Mercedes] often find a bit more pace."
As to whether Red Bull may have turned a corner, Kvyat replied: "Hopefully. The last few events have been better for us and we are starting to climb this steep hill."
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Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen gets engine penalty

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Max Verstappen is set for a 10-place grid penalty for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix after his Toro Rosso Formula 1 team changed his Renault engine.
A series of Renault power unit failures this season meant Verstappen has exceeded his allocation of four engines and is now onto his sixth.
"We will need to understand the tyres well and work on a good strategy, especially for Max now, as he will have to pick up a grid penalty for changing his engine," said Toro Rosso chief race engineer Phil Charles.
"It's a pity, this being his home grand prix, but this is racing and we're looking forward to the challenge."
Verstappen is the third driver to switch to a sixth engine this season, with McLaren's Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso doing so at the last race in Hungary.
The Dutchman, who scored a career-best fourth in Hungary, finished second practice at Spa 13th, 1.7 seconds off the pace and a tenth adrift of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.
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ALONSO AND BUTTON DEMOTED BEYOND THE BACK OF THE GRID

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McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will start last in Sunday’s Belgian Formula One Grand Prix after being hit with heavy grid penalties for changes to their Honda power units.
Spaniard Alonso was given a drop of 30 grid positions, despite only 20 cars being entered for the race, while British team mate Button collected a marginally less draconian 25-place penalty.
They could add to the meaningless, if eye-catching, tally if as expected their team takes advantage of a rule change by swapping out the power units again on Saturday.
Previously, any untaken grid drops were translated into time penalties during the race but the rules have been amended to ensure that the maximum sanction is to be sent to the back of the field.
That means McLaren could give themselves two penalty-free units for future races if they switch the undamaged ones again over the weekend for new ones after already incurring the maximum drop.
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The race stewards issued statements containing a long list of components that had been changed in breach of the regulations.
In Alonso’s case, the double world champion picked up a 10-place penalty for using his seventh internal combustion engine of the season.
There were four five-place penalties for replacing other elements of the power unit. Honda have been allowed a maximum of five power units per driver this season, one more than other teams because they are new manufacturers.
“We’ve used seven or eight engines…and we are in the 11th race so definitely our position is not great in terms of reliability,” said Alonso.
“If we had more of a penalty than starting last, we would accept it because this weekend is just a test for us.”
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Button collected a 10-place hit for using an eighth turbocharger and three five-place penalties for exceeding his allocation of other parts.
The penalties were expected by both McLaren drivers, who have endured a nightmare start to their team’s new partnership with Honda, even if Alonso’s punishment was greater than anything they had so far experienced.
In Austria in June, before the rules were changed, both drivers were given 25-place drops for engine and gearbox failures.
Honda had promised McLaren an improved engine for Belgium but the team recognised the upgrades would incur penalties. The stewards said the FIA had been notified of the changes on Tuesday.
“I am confident that our reliability problems are now behind us, which means we can turn our attention to increasing power,” said Honda motorsport head Yasuhisa Arai earlier this month.
McLaren, the second most successful constructor in the sport’s history after Ferrari, are currently ninth of 10 teams.
MIKA: This is the stupidity of the FIA - Seriously, ok, drop them to the back but to drop them any more than the total amount of cars on the grid is plain stupidity. Reminds me when I hear about a criminal being given a life sentence of 300 years, seriously, it's impossible! Trivial and impossible.

Here's hoping that they take advantage of the loophole and do a double engine switch, before that loophole is closed,

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