Alexander Rossi to test for Lotus in Abu Dhabi

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Alexander Rossi will drive for Lotus in the young drivers’ test in Abu Dhabi.

Pick your favourite F1 drivers and teams

On Saturday I’ll be taking a look at who are the most popular drivers and teams on F1 Fanatic.

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Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Rossi to test for Team Lotus in Abu Dhabi (Lotus)

“Alexander Rossi will have a busy end to the 2011 season, competing for Caterham Team AirAsia in the forthcoming GP2 finale in Abu Dhabi and then taking part in the F1 young driver test for the GP2 team’s senior counterparts Team Lotus.”

Former Renault boss Briatore backs Button at last (Daily Mirror)

“Disgraced former Renault boss Flavio Briatore admitted yesterday ‘I didn’t realise [Jenson Button]was so good.'”

Renault appoints new team manager (Autosport)

“Renault has appointed stalwart Paul Seaby as its new team manager, following the recent departure of John Wickham.”

Mark Webber column (BBC)

“F1 is getting into a bit of a road-car culture with penalties. The attitude seems to be that someone must be to blame when there is an incident.”

McLaren celebrates 25 years of Neil Oatley (McLaren)

“He had proved himself with the design of the 1989 McLaren-Honda MP4/5, which had the unenviable task of living up to the success of the MP4/4. It honoured that legacy despite significantly hotter competition, as Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost won 12 of the 16 races. Prost regained his world championship crown from Senna, as McLaren retained its Constructors’ title.”

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Comment of the day

Mark’s view on penalties in F1 and other sports:

In every sport some decisions by ‘referees’ will go ‘the wrong way’ but I think in F1 the standard and consistency of decisions is generally far better than in many sports – football for instance has far more cases of botched decisions.

Over the course of a season or a career you would expect these to even out. So I think Hamilton has little to complain about. The vast majority of the decisions against him have been fair and he deserved what he’s got.

If he keeps picking up penalties for incidents while other drivers don’t – and it ends up with his results being harmed – then really the onus is on him to examine what he is doing and what he can do to avoid the incidents.

Or he can decide to ignore it and carry on, in which case he should expect that he will continue to pick up penalties and those penalties are likely to escalate. And consequently he can probably look forward to never being world champion again (how many drivers win the world championship while picking up significant numbers of penalties?).

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Toyota announced they were abandoning F1 two years ago today. They already had a car for the 2010 season under construction, but it never raced.

The team recently announced a return to endurance racing in the World Endurance Championship next year:

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Alexander Rossi to test for Lotus in Abu Dhabi”

  1. I’m sure Jenson Button will be sleeping better at night now, knowing that he finally has Briatore’s approval.

    1. Briatore told Brundle he never should have fired him either, because “I never realise how good Michael was.” Seems like Briatore isn’t actually very good at recognising talent at all.

  2. (how many drivers win the world championship while picking up significant numbers of penalties?).

    Lewis Hamilton – 2008 ?

    1. Michael Schumacher – 1994 ?

  3. <blockquote.“Disgraced former Renault boss Flavio Briatore admitted yesterday ‘I didn’t realise [Jenson Button] was so good.’”

    “Damn! I could have had a second World Champion in my pocket! That way, I would have two in a sport where the team prncipals and driver managers are the big stars, so I would have been the biggest!”

    1. That is pretty much how I read it as well.

      1. at the time he had the choice of fernando or jenson…..I think he got it right.

        Yes button long term has been better than jarno but jarno had a 2yr contract. Also remember Button was still under contract at the time with williams.

  4. Agree with Webber about the penalties.

      1. +infinity I don’t want to watch a series where drivers are to scared of penaltys to try to overtake been peein me off all year.

        1. +1 agree. They need to be allowed to race.

          It appears they feel like they have to blame someone everytime. and in the case of last weekend they couldnt even get it right.

          When on that occasion both their races being heavily damaged was punishment enough.

          1. Yes but as many people believe that Massa was entirely at fault, a punishment was fair to appease Hamilton. Drivers can’t turn in on each other after leaving the door open and not be punished, that just opens the door to more incidents.

          2. door wasnt open. he was on racing line.

            try overtaking at that corner on the game…ok its not real but i bet you will be caught out by the second part of the bend if you try to go on the line lewis took.

            its old news and probably 50/50 really. but the point is correct that their are far to many pens in F1.

          3. @Q85 it was possible for Lewis to take that corner, braking where he did, Massa had the option to brake at that point and go through the corner alongside Massa or brake later and pull in front of LH and try to make the corner, he chose instead to drive into LH so neither car could make the corner, that is why he got a well deserved penalty.

        1. Matt90, See what your saying but the problem on this one, also a lot of respected people believe Hamilton was in the wrong so whatever anyone’s opinion it isn’t straight forward. If isn’t then surely as Webber said just call it a racing incident.

          Keith, is there anyway of getting a time stamp on comments like the old system?

          1. I long for the day when Keith chooses a “+1” as comment of the day!

          2. I think the site would have to be a bit short of comments on a given day for that to happen…

  5. Great to see that Rossi will be testing a Formula 1 car again. That kid has A LOT of talent. If he’s not the next American F1 driver, then, well… I don’t really know, but it would be a shame if he didn’t get a race seat in 2013 (assuming he does even better in WSR next year or does well in GP2).

    1. I assume Lotus are backing him so much that he’ll be in GP2 next year at the wheel of the Caterham AirAsia team (Lotus’ sister team). GP2 is a better preparation for F1, and he has already shown his skills in FR3.5, but this way he can’t challenge for the win of FR3.5 nor GP2 in 2012, as he needs some time to adapt to the car.

  6. The Button/Briatore thing has always intrigued me. Particularly laughed when Button took pole in Monaco in 2009. He was almost flat through the swimming pool section, and I seem to remember him saying he was “aiming for Flavio’s” boat.


    Says it all about Flavio that its taken him this long to swallow his pride…

    1. As much as I love JB, I think he came into the sport too soon. He got too wrapped up in the idea of being a Formula 1 driver to actually drive. It wasn’t until he went to BAR/Honda that he really started to show his worth; he was, after all, third (the highest-placed non-Ferrari driver) in 2004. So in some respects, Briatore was right to drop him – Button just wasn’t mature enough from 2000 to 2003.

      1. think he came into the sport too soon

        He qualified 3rd at Spa in his first try…

        1. But his off-track behaviour wasn’t the greatest. He went on a spending spree and through dozens of girlfriends. He got caught up in the lifestyle.

          1. Err – okay about the spending spree – but as far as I know there was only Louise Griffiths 2000-2004 / 5.

          2. I don’t think it was “too soon” for Button (just look at Vettel, or even Alguersuari), it might be rather a case of the wrong support team making him walk on clouds a bit, instead of grounding him solidly onto earth.

            I even think that we see a little bit of the same with Hamilton in the past year (after splitting with his father for management), kids growing up.

          3. He had a rude awakening in 2001 when Fisi blew his doors off, and not just slightly.

          4. I agree with @BasCB. It was just poor management.

          5. One name, James Hunt.

  7. Alonso v Button in 2005 is certainly one of F1’s lost What If? scenarios.

    1. Not sure if Button would have been tough enough to shine in that one (but maybe with Briatore supporting him?)

      1. hmmm cant of seen JB doing any different to fisi.

        JB couldnt keep up with fisi as it was.

        button has come along way since them days.

  8. I never took to Button after He renigged on a whole load of contracts, the where or what now doesnt concern me, it was the ability to jump ship without a buy nor leave that made me worry.

  9. Keith, can Briatore get quote of the day on the subject of Massa and Hamilton

    “They make me laugh,” he said. “They are like Laurel and Hardy.”

    Watching this scene…maybe he has a point…that push at 9:01 reminds me of a certain post race interview confrontation…..

    1. That’s priceless. I had missed it. Thanks for pointing it out.

    2. @mach1 What a brilliant video!

  10. On Saturday I’ll be taking a look at who are the most popular drivers and teams on F1 Fanatic.

    To pick yours, log in and go to My Account > Profile > Edit > F1 teams and drivers. You can also select the year you started watching F1.


    Any chance we could add sprint cars (winged, non-winged) and general dirt track racing to the list? Perhaps Grand-Am?

  11. Shame,Toyota’s 2010 car looked promising they could have continue for another season.

  12. Woohoo! I’m sure they won’t be replacing Trulli with Rossi next season, but still, WOOHOO! More hope that F1 will have another American driver in the near future :D

    1. That kid has a lot of talent. He should have a ride in 2013 for sure. As an American, I’m looking forward to being able to cheer for more than 1 driver.

      1. A lot of Rossi’s future in the sport depends on how he goes in GP2 next year (assuming he is signed up). He ran in GP2 Asia in the 2009-10 season, and he didn’t exactly set the world alight. And while he was okay in GP3, he was inconsistent. He’s had a better season in Formula Renault 3.5, but if he wants to make the transition to Formula 1, he really needs to lift his game. He’s got a lot of talent, but does he have enough?

        1. Haha nice name change, PM. Were your comments taking forever to be reviewed by the moderator as well? Anyway, you have to keep in mind that the kid is barely 20, and when he competed in GP2 before, he was eighteen. While he didn’t set the world on fire, he was certainly very competitive in a not so competitive team. He also hasn’t ever stayed in a series for more than a season, so his results of 3rd, 4th etc. overall in his rookie season is very impressive. If he gets 5th or higher next season in GP2 (or wins WSR), I’d say he’d be in for a drive somewhere.

    2. I’m not an American but I’ve seen Rossi a lot in WsbR and I believe he has a tremendous potential so hopefully Lotus, that is, Caterham will give him a race seat in the middle of 2012 (Trulli’s current status in the team is a bit unclear) or in 2013.

      1. a one off for the USGP?

        1. @bascb An interesting idea, I hadn’t thought about that. But I think it’s rather not gonna happen because Caterham probably won’t want to do an ‘HRT’ by putting an unexperienced driver in the car for just one race. They didn’t swap the drivers in India, too. And I’ve got an impression that Americans don’t care too much about having their own driver on the grid. Well if he could fight for the win then maybe but I don’t remember seeing a big Scottmania in the USA when Scott Speed was driving for Toro Rosso.

          I guess Rossi could rather become Caterham’s ‘Ricciardo’ in 2012.

          1. I think that realistically he might get a job of doing several FP1 sessions in the second half of the season (if he impresses).

            Don’t forget the USGP will be the last before the season final next year, so it might depend a bit on where Caterham stand this time next year.

          2. I wasn’t following F1 yet when Speed was at STR, so I can’t say. But I know I’ve been eager to have someone/something to cheer for from the US. I’m hardly patriotic, but with something international like F1 it’s nice to be able to say “that’s OUR guy/team!”

    3. I think he’ll be replacing Karun as reserve/test driver. And Karun I think might try to find a place as reserve at Williams or Force India.

  13. That’s a good column from Webber. The one benefit that the stewards have is to not have to make split second decisions. It begs the question, just how beneficial is it having a former Grand Prix driver on the panel?

    1. I think it’s beneficial and necessary to have a former F1 driver on the panel but not in the way they are doing it at present.

      What I mean is if they are using a former F1 driver for one weekend with a 5 minute briefing they need to be more selective. An example is one weekend having Alan Jones who will basically see nearly everything as a racing accident(my kind of steward!) and another weekend having Derek Daly who is the opposite and will want to punish anything and everything.

      Some even suggested that Vettel did his homework on the driver steward at the weekend he drove Button of the track at the start because he knew Alan Jones wouldn’t want to punish anything but the worst. There are 2 or 3 other stewards their but it is thought the driver on the panel has by far the biggest influence in the decision making.

      Another problem is getting drivers who have known strong past or present connections either good or bad of other drivers on the grid. Getting Damon Hill or Frenzen to judge on a Michael Schumacher incident is beyond a joke not just because people might think they will be harsh but they might then over compensate the other way & be two lenient.

      Example Damon being involved in the extremely harsh Silverstone penalty for Schumacher then according to Peter Sauber Frenzen helping let off Schumi for an incident.

      1. i personally cant see Frentzen helping michael…..

        1. @Q85

          What remember Peter Sauber saying was Frentzen wouldn’t want to penalize Schumacher at all because then everyone would accuse him of doing it because it was Schumacher.

          1. ah fair enough. thought you meant he would help him cos they are mates or something.

            i do agree that driver/team loyalty can cause an issue. Even if it doesnt cause an issue, others may accuse you of such

      2. @snowman Yea, it’s about consistency. We can’t expect consistency from the stewards if there is no consistency WITH the stewards.

        I’m not sure whether I buy into the argument about stewards basing their decision on past regressions between themselves and the party in question on the circuit. Of course, there will always be an element of rivalry, sometimes between era’s, but i’d like to think that personal and professional reasons are mutually exclusive. I fully expect they might not be but just because Hill sits on the panel for a race that Schumacher is partaking in, I don’t initially expect Schumacher will be instantly penalised for the silliest of situations.

        Unfortunately it’s not something we, or anyone else can prove.

        1. I’m not saying and don’t believe for a moment Hill was harsh on the Schumi incident because it was Schumi, it’s just that he is in an aqward position where it would be easy to start thinking about public perception rather than what a penalty warrants.

          A better example would be take some former driver who is saying in the press about Hamilton is too aggressive and then he is called to judge on a Hamilton incident.

  14. In every sport some decisions by ‘referees’ will go ‘the wrong way’ but I think in F1 the standard and consistency of decisions is generally far better than in many sports – football for instance has far more cases of botched decisions.

    Perhaps football is the obvious comparison but they do not use video replays, radio transmissions or the multitude of camera angles the F1 stewards have. I’d rather compare the consistency to cricket – since the technology has been introduced and the ‘third umpire’ can offer more information in addition to those at the wicket and hardly any ‘botched’ decisions are not made. When you do that, it is clear there is still work to be done to either clarify the sporting regs (be ahead of the game, not just react to incidents like Spa ’08 or the 1 move rule) or improve the stewarding. Things are a lot better these days though that is for sure.

    On the football note, could drivers not get yellow cards if they make an infringement and then a 1 race ban should they misbehave at the next couple of races? At the moment no-one seems to be clear on what a reprimand really means (well I’m not at least) and whether they are carried to the next season.

    1. Just ignore me. Of course we have the three strikes and you’re penalised policy on the reprimands now.

      I seem to remember DC saying that Hamilton had actually got off lightly with the 3-place grid drop and not a reprimand because he was on his third strike.

  15. Couldn’t agree more with Mark Webber, the penalty culture in Formula 1 is becoming a real turn-off. In racing, incidents happen – its the nature of the beast. Penalties should be saved for any deliberate foul play – not every little thing that goes wrong.

    Its becoming less of a sport and more a fortnightly exercise in bureaucracy.

    1. Agreed!

      Although where a penalty has to be applied I really hope they can apply it during the race, not post-race or even worse, a penalty at the following race

    2. @Bookoi

      But they’ve got to see out the season with consistency. I’ve been saying it a lot lately; the rule book needs a re-writing and an overhaul. But they can’t do it mid-season. I hope they start anew for 2012, and if they plan on giving out so many penalties, at least provide the public with some form of explanation.

    3. deliberate foul play or gross negligence.

  16. It’s great to see Alexander Rossi getting a chance to test. It would be nice to see an American driver in F1 because with there being two circuits in the coming years, an American backed driver and maybe a few American sponsors now that F1 is heading back to the USA. If F1 doesn’t pick up in Ameirca again, I think it would be time for F1 to leave there because with there being two/three major motorsports there above F1 it will be difficult to move them.
    I like Webbers blog because it gives an incite on what the drivers think obviously, he states a good fact that someone has to be blame and to be honest, racing incidents are common but always someone gets the blame.

  17. Very excited to see Rossi in a GP2 and F1 car. I really wish they would put the test on TV in the states because of A.Rossi.

    My main driver on GT5 is named after him :)

    1. Love the avatar! :D

  18. Disgraced former Renault boss Flavio Briatore admitted yesterday ‘I didn’t realise [Jenson Button]was so good’.

    Then why’d you hire him in the first place?

  19. i think button is far better now than then…

    briatore seems to think there is a fixed amount of talent in a driver.. and its not.. they have ups and downs…

  20. Looking at the prison terms for the Pakistani cricketers involved in spot fixing last year, it really makes me think how lucky Piquet was to get away with no formal penalties for his Singapore 2008 actions. Even Briatore and Symonds didn’t face any criminal charges, and their actions accounted to match fixing more than spot fixing.

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