Spanish GP this weekend
Catalunya Circuit, Spain
So should we pray for rain again? It
seems that rain is the savior of F1, so yes, on the knees
and ask for celestial sprinkles.
This is the fifth GP in the 2010 series,
and there are certainly no firm favorites at this time.
Young Vettel in the Red Bull can be blisteringly fast, but
has only one win. Nico Rosberg is currently in second place.
By virtue of keeping his nose (and front wing) out of
Spain has a long history in GP racing,
and the Catalunya circuit (aka Montmelo) was built just 20
km from Barcelona. It was actually the fourth circuit in, or
near, Barcelona, which has some claim to being Spain’s
capital of motor racing.
The Circuit Catalunya was opened in 1991,
the 5 km circuit was quick and had both a wide range of
corners and excellent facilities and viewing points. A
temporary chicane was built at ‘Nissan’ (a very shallow
curve) in 1994, but for 1995, ‘Nissan’ was straightened
reducing the length of a lap to the 5 km length.
The race will be at 7 p.m. our time and I
will be watching from my usual perch at Jameson’s Irish Pub
(Soi AR, next to Nova Park). Join us at the carvery
beforehand and then settle down for what we all pray is a
rain affected race!
models from Ferrari by 2013
GoAuto reports that Ferrari has revealed
that a replacement for its Enzo supercar (I refuse to use
the term ‘hypercar’ which this report had used) will be
among six new Ferrari models to be produced within the next
Spider and Scuderia versions of the new
458, plus replacements for the 612 Scaglietti and 599 GTB
Fiorano are also listed within the latest restructuring
plan, announced in Europe.
While Ferrari unveiled the
long-anticipated GTO version of its 599 in Beijing, the
Italian supercar brand’s next new model will be an all-new
version of Ferrari’s range-topping, V12-powered 612
Scaglietti in the first half of next year.
Ferrari says the 612 replacement is being
developed under the codename of F151, but the model’s
production nameplate is as yet unknown.
Also now officially confirmed for release
in 2011 - albeit in the second half, at least in Europe - is
an open-top Spider variant of the upcoming 458 coupe.
After that, a redesigned version of
Ferrari’s Enzo flagship, just 400 examples of which were
produced between 2002 and 2004, is locked in for 2012. The
top-shelf Ferrari is again expected to emerge with V12
power, but will remain a left-hand drive-only proposition
for Europe and the US.
The same year, Ferrari will replace the
599 GTB with a model codenamed F152, before a face-lifted
version of the California convertible is launched in 2013 -
the same year Ferrari will release a lighter-weight
hard-core version of the 458, which has been confirmed to go
by the Scuderia name of its 430 predecessor.
As with this year’s limited-edition 599
GTO and the new Enzo in 2012, Ferrari says the following
year’s 458 Scuderia will specifically target high-end
There has been no formal confirmation of
Ferrari’s first production hybrid model, which was previewed
by the 599 HY-KERS concept at last month’s Geneva motor show
but is more likely to be based on the next-generation 612
Apart from committing to launching a new
Ferrari model every year to “sustain turnover and reinforce
brand”, the 2010-2014 Ferrari product plan and roadmap
announced by Fiat at last week’s investor conference in
Turin also includes the introduction of a face-lifted ‘M’
version of each new model four years after its launch, which
will continue for a further four years to “ensure a
sustainable product life cycle”.
With the Enzo not counted as part of its
full-time model range, Ferrari says it plans to broaden its
customer base by increasing the differentiation between its
current sportscar and grand tourer model line-up, which it
says will continue to include just four core models: the
“extreme” 458 and 599 supercars and the “versatile” 612 and
What’s coming from Ferrari:
612 replacement first half 2011
458 Spider second half 2011
Enzo replacement 2012
599 replacement 2012
California facelift 2013
458 Scuderia 2013
612 hybrid 2015
So start saving your pennies - you’ll
need a lot of them.
Last week I asked which driver, who set a
world land speed record was addicted to Fair Isle pullovers?
It was John Parry-Thomas, who was killed on the Pendine
Sands driving the chain-drive car he called Babs. The car
was buried in the sands, but in 1969 Owen Wyn Owen, an
engineering lecturer from Bangor Technical College, sought
and received permission to excavate Babs. Over the next 15
years he restored the car, which is now housed in the Museum
of Speed in Pendine village. Museum Opening Times: Easter -
30th September: 10.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. - 5.00
p.m. with last entry at 4.55 p.m.
So to this week. What was different about
the pre-1926 Buick and Dodge gearshift gates?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be
the first correct answer to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Maserati has launched a new trainer that
is ideal for both driving and general use, with a
wrap-around design that provides the best driving position
and a profile that makes them equally comfortable for
Like Maserati cars, they are
leather-lined for comfort, have best quality rubber for grip
and high quality materials such as TPU and EVA to define
their style and technology.
Not only do the new Maserati trainers
sport the legendary Maserati Trident logo, they even have
three matching side air vents like the Maserati Quattroporte,
GranTurismo and GranCabrio. Finished in black, the only
colour on the show is, of course, red, subtly placed on the
sole of the shoe in the form of a red Maserati Trident and
the initials, MC, of the Maserati motorsport division,
The new Maserati Trainers have a
recommended retail price of $305 and they are available from
(I don’t think the queue will be very
Natter Nosh and Noggin
The monthly car enthusiasts meeting will
be at Jameson’s Irish Pub on Soi AR next to the Nova Park
development. The car (and bike) enthusiasts meet on the
second Monday of the month, so this time it is Monday (May
10) at Jameson’s at 7 p.m. This is a totally informal
meeting of like-minded souls to discuss their pet motoring
(and motorcycling) loves and hates. Many interesting debates
come from these evenings. Come along and meet guys who have
a common interest in cars and bikes, and enjoy the Jameson’s
specials, washed down with a few beers.
Circuit race calendar
I have been asked for a calendar of the
local races at the Bira Circuit. The dates below are
correct, as far as I know; however, things are subject to
change without notice!
May 29/30 3K races (includes the Retro
June 19/20 Honda
July 24/25 Pro races
July 31/1 Aug 3K (and Retro)
Aug 14/15 Super Club
Aug 21/22 SuperCar
Aug 28/29 Honda
we learn from the GP in China a couple of weeks ago?
Well, we learned that the F1 circus by
itself cannot produce a ‘spectacle’, but the rain can, along
with some well timed safety car periods. At some stages
there were four cars abreast down the straight, and some
wonderful overlapping passing (Hamilton on Sutil and Vettel).
MS in the rain at Shanghai
We also learned that the intermediate
rain tyres have an off-the-shelf life of around five laps,
after which they turn into slicks giving as much traction as
a dog chasing a cat on linoleum.
Did Button ‘luck’ into it? No, it was his
call as to stay out on the slicks or come in for the
intermediates. Both he and Nico Rosberg in the Mercedes GP
opted to continue and pulled out such an advantage that the
others couldn’t catch them. Well driven by both of them.
Former ‘rainmeister’ Michael Schumacher
in the other Mercedes GP double guessed the weather
incorrectly every time and had a dreadful grand prix, always
on the ‘wrong’ tyres, adding to the woes of being (again)
soundly beaten by his younger team mate. Am I ready to write
off Michael Schumacher? No I am not. I expect him to be much
closer to the ‘old’ Michael Schumacher by half way through
the series. After only the first four GP’s this is far too
early to make final decisions. He had not raced for three
This last GP saw Russia’s favorite ‘pay
driver’ Vitaly Petrov doing a sterling job (or should that
be ‘ruble’) in the Lada Renault, fighting with and even
passing Schumacher to claim ninth place and a couple of
points, while his mother (it’s not his girlfriend) egged him
on from the pits. Check the size of the diamond on her hand
if you are wondering where the money comes from.
Not only was the Virgin GP car built
without wind tunnels, but apparently designer Nick Wirth
also thought it didn’t need wheels either, Glock being left
on the grid with the front on stands, and no front wheels.
However, since Ferrari managed to do that a few years ago,
perhaps we can forgive the Branson-backed team. Since they
are never going to win anything with these cars, I am
surprised Branson hasn’t replaced the pit crew with some of
his trolley dollies in the skies. At least they would get
some TV coverage.
The other new teams are a total waste of
space, shaking hands with themselves if they actually are
still running at the end, finishing laps in arrears. I’m
sorry, send them all home and tell them to turn up next year
with competitive machinery.
With the volcanic ash problems keeping
the race cars in Shanghai for a week, there will undoubtedly
be clones of the McLarens and Red Bulls available from some
backyard dealership in China so you’ll be able to get a
Rotus, HLT or a Wirgin. At least they will be cheaper than
attempting to buy this year’s F1 cars.