Mercedes GP F1 Team

March 23, 2010 by  
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The Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team made its re-launch debut at the 2010 F1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, with both of its drivers scoring points for the fledgling team. Nico Rosberg finished the race in fifth place, scoring 10 points, with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher hot on his heels in sixth place, scoring 8 points.

Having competed in Grand Prix motor racing in the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz first entered the F1 racing scene back in 1954. The team enjoyed a measure of success that season, as well as the following season, after which it withdrew from the sport, although Mercedes continued with part ownerships and supplied engines through the 1990s and into the new century.

The team is based in Brackley, Northamptonshire, UK. The CEO of the team is Nick Fry, with Ross Brawn (of former Brawn GP – winner of the 2009 Constructors championship) and Norbert Haug as team principals. The legendary Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are the team’s drivers, with Nick Heidfeld as test driver. Interestingly, all three drivers are German.

Certainly, with the wealth of talent in the team, and the excellence of the Mercedes product, there is plenty of excitement ahead for the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team as the Formula One Championships progress.

Virgin Racing

March 23, 2010 by  
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Virgin Racing made its F1 debut as one of the four new teams granted entry to the 2010 Formula One Championships. Originally granted entry as Manor Grand Prix on 12 June 2009, the team changed its name to reflect its title sponsor – Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – with the FIA releasing a revised entry list with the team’s new name on 30 November 2009.

Virgin Racing is based in Dinnington, South Yorkshire, England, with John Booth as the team principal and Nick Wirth as the technical director. The team’s drivers are Timo Glock of Germany, and Lucas di Grassi of Brazil, with test drivers being Luiz Razia (Brazil) and Andy Soucek (Spain). The team boasts cars designed entirely using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Its chassis is the VR-01 with Cosworth CA2010 engine and sporting Bridgestone tires. While the team is based in Dinnington, the development and production of the cars is handled by Wirth Research, based in Bicester. Virgin owns eighty percent of the team, with other sponsors being Lloyds Banking Group, Bridgestone, UST Global, Carbon Green, and CSC.

Both drivers were forced to retire from their debut race at the 2010 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. Nonetheless, the entire team has displayed a positive attitude noting that while they have some teething problems to overcome, the season is still young and there is plenty of opportunity to show that Virgin Racing has what it takes to compete in this demanding, and exciting, sport.

Lotus Racing

March 23, 2010 by  
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Lotus Racing made its F1 Championship debut at the 2010 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, with drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli finishing in fifteenth and seventeenth place respectively. The CEO of Lotus Racing is Riad Asmat, with Mike Gascoyne as the technical director. The team’s drivers are Italian Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen of Finland, with Malaysian Fairuz Fauzy as test driver. The Lotus T127 chassis is powered by a Cosworth CA2010 engine, with Bridgestone supplying the tires.

While the name Lotus may be a familiar one to racing enthusiasts, Lotus Racing is not a resurrection of the original Team Lotus that was so prominent on the F1 scene between 1954 and 1994. It is a new team that is an initiative of the Malaysian Government to promote national unity, and is backed by a consortium of Malaysian entrepreneurs, including Proton (the owner of Lotus Cars and the connection to the original team), Tune Group, Sepang International Circuit, Naza Motors, the Automobile Association of Malaysia, and the Motorsports Association of Malaysia.

Lotus Racing was a late entry into the 2010 F1 Championships, and pulled out all the stops to have its cars on the grid for the first race of the season. Having successfully completed their debut event, the future looks promising for this new team, with a legendary name.

Toyota F1 Team

February 9, 2009 by  
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Toyota has withdrawn from F1 racing, with its last race being the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Japanese vehicle manufacturer, Toyota, is based in Cologne (Germany) and runs the Formula One team, Toyota F1. The Toyota team is also known as Panasonic Toyota Racing. The racing life of the Toyota team started in 1972. Ove Anderson, a Swedish driver, represented Toyota in the RAC Rally of Great Britain. Their original name was Toyota Team Europe that would later become Toyota Motorsport. Together with drivers Didier Auriol and Carlos Sainz, Toyota Motorsport secured a few Drivers’ titles, but was banned from the FIA in 1995. They were banned due to running on illegal parts, and their struggle with rival teams started to increase. They failed twice, in winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, and decided to end their Rally efforts.

Toyota F1 then turned their attention to the Formula One circuit. Instead of teaming up with legendary outfits such as McLaren or Williams, Toyota F1 chose to build up their own team. They managed to secure a 12th entry in the Formula One Championship for the year 2002. In their debut season, Toyota F1, had drivers Mika Salo and Allan McNish but only managed to score two points throughout the year. Even though both drivers did outstanding jobs for the Toyota teams’ debut year, they were not offered positions for 2003. Instead, the Toyota team recruited Cristiano da Matta and Oliver Panis. During the 2003 season, Toyota did secure a few points finishes and managed to increase their two points, from the previous season, to sixteen. On the Constructors Championship, they ended in 8th position.

In 2004, Toyota was once again in trouble with the running of illegal parts, and was disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix race. Matta left the Toyota Team, after the German Grand Prix. Ricardo Zonta replaced Matta, but was replaced by Jarno Trulli after four rounds. Oliver Panis decided that it was time to retire from racing, and Zonta completed the final race of the season. More controversy hit the team, as it was accused of industrial espionage, after complaints that the Toyota TF04 was very similar to the Ferrari F2003-GA. Strangely enough, during investigations, Toyota refused to send information to Italy, in fear the Ferrari might take advantage of their data that they had mixed together with Ferrari’s data.

Jarno Trulli remained with the Toyota F1 team for the 2005 season, but Ralf Schumacher replaced Ricardo Zonta. Even though the season started well, Toyota soon saw themselves falling by the way side, unable to remain at the same pace, as the ever developing rivals. Despite the set backs, it still remained a successful year for the Toyota Team.

The Toyota F1 team changed from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres in 2006. It was thought that the early release of their new car would give them a head start on the rival teams, but the car did not perform as expected. They did still manage to secure thirty-five points and a 6th place position.

Both Jarno Trulli and Schumacher will remain with the Toyota team for the 2007 season. Toyota will also be supplying the William team with engines, replacing the Cosworth engines that the Williams team was running with in 2006.

Richard Childress Racing

February 9, 2009 by  
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Richard Childress Racing is a NASCAR team that fields various Chevrolets. Kevin Harvick drives #29, Jeff Burton drives #31, Clint Bowyer drives #33, John Wes Townley is in the #21, and Austin Dillon drives #3. Businessman Richard Childress, who was a former driver, owns the team.

Richard Childress Racing made its debut at the 1969 Talladega 500 with a 1968 Chevy, numbered 3. Childress drove and finished 23rd due to axle problems. Between 1972 until just before the end of the 1976 season, Childress competed for the team in fourteen races. He made eleven top-ten finishes and finished the year ranked eleventh. Then in 1981 Richard Childress ended his career and gave over the #3 ride to the defending Winston Cup champion, Dale Earnhardt.

With car #29 Earnhardt made six top-tens and then moved, with Ricky Rudd taking his place for the 1982 season. Rudd ended both 1982 and 1983 placed ninth in points and the next two years he won. When the season ended Rudd was replaced with former RCR driver Earnhardt. He had a successful two decades, winning six championships but later on his performance slowed down. On February 18, 2001, Earnhardt was on the finishing lap of the Daytona 500 when he crashed head-on into a wall, dying immediately.

Jeff Green was selected to drive the #07 car, which debuted at California Speedway, finishing 21 in total points. Green made pole position at the Sharpie 500, with six top-tens and finishing 17th the following year. Later Green was replaced with Steve Park but with not much potential he was not re-assigned. Jeff Burton later became available and was snapped up by Childress, finishing off the rest of the year. With Robby Gordon moving, Burton decided to leave, which meant that Childress had two spaces to fill. Jack Daniels took up sponsorship and by 2006 Clint Bowyer took over the car.

Childress used car #31 for research and development. Its debut was at North Carolina Speedway in 1988. The next time the car was seen was in 1993 with Neil Bonnett driving at Talladega Superspeedway. Three years later Mike Skinner made a return with the car but having suffered injuries during the 1998 season Morgan Shepherd and Mike Dillon, Childress’ son-in-law, took over. With the injuries Skinner was never able to excel and eventually Robby Gordon took over with a spectacular race in 2001, where he battled against Jeff Gordon near the closing-laps to win the season finale at New Hampshire International Speedway.

By the end of 2009, Richard Childress Racing had managed to rack up the following championships: 6 Sprint Cups, 5 Nationwide Series and 1 Camping World Truck Series.

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