F1 News: Lotus Racing Looking Stronger for Spain GP [video]

After an understandably slow start to the season, Lotus Racing appears to be discovering some added pace during testing prior to this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix thanks to the Lotus Cosworth T127’s updated aerodynamics package. Jarno Trulli pumped in 26 practice laps and was 19th fastest during his second session, while Heikki Kovalainen completed 17 laps and ranked 18th during the first practice session.

After testing Trulli stated, “First day back in the car in Europe and I’m really happy with how we have progressed with the car. Obviously it’s still too early to assess it properly, but as soon as I got out on track I could feel that we had taken a major step forward. We have solved a number of the issues we had and we’re definitely in the right direction, so I’m really pleased for everyone in the team as they’ve put in a great effort to get us here. This afternoon we continued with the program and everything went really smoothly, on both the hard and the soft tyres. I must admit that I’ve been really pleased with the speed gain we’ve seen in the car and, again, that’s down to the work the team have put in with the car – all I need now is a little bit of luck, and a trouble free weekend!”

Kovalainen added, “I’ve been really looking forward to being back in Europe and particularly here in Barcelona. It’s been great to see the grandstands already busy, and I’ve seen a load of Finnish flags out there. On track, this morning was a really good session and I’m very encouraged by the updates – they’re immediately working like we’d hoped. The car feels better to drive, the high-speed stability especially is better, and that’s what you get when the aerodynamics of the car improve.”

Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne reported: “Basically it was a good day’s work. The drivers have been very happy with the updates and we’ve been making adjustment to the improvements on the cars throughout the day to help us fine tune the updates. There’s a fair bit more time to come from the new package, and everyone in the team has worked very hard to get us to this point, so it’s great to hear such positive feedback from the drivers. Now we’re looking forward to building on this performance tomorrow and seeing where we are in qualifying.”

Of course practice lap times don’t always reflect the true pace of the car in  Formula 1, but it’s encouraging to see Lotus making progress and we look forward to seeing how the aero updates translate during qualifying and the race during this weekend’s Gran Premio de Espana Telefonica 2010. Meanwhile, for you Lotus fans out there, the video after the jump may help to get you pumped up before this weekend’s action.

[Source: Lotus Racing]

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News that Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ, directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan, was being considered as a potential site for a 2012 U.S. GP emerged yesterday, but Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy announced today that the  Formula 1 proposal was no longer being considered.

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Front Wheels Simultaneously Fly Off Toro Rosso F1 Car During Chinese GP Testing

During testing for the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, Torro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi was involved in a bizarre crash that just has to be seen. While under hard breaking down the main straight heading into Turn 14, both front wheels and tires came flying off his race car, leaving him without steering or much braking.

Since the incident Torros Rosso has examined the car and found the fault to be with the front suspension, which essentially collapsed, snapping the wheels loose. The part in question is part of a new design introduced on the car for the Chinese GP. Buemi was unhurt and should be ready for qualifying tomorrow for Sunday’s race.

[Source: Jalopnik and Formula1]

See more video of the crash after the jump:

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Lotus Unveils T127 Formula One Race Car for 2010 Season: With Video
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While 2009 was a tumultuous year for automakers, the worldwide economic crisis pushed the auto industry into the mainstream automotive media’s spotlight, making big automotive news stories even bigger. And while new products continued to be introduced, they garnered possibly even more attention that ever before. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the Top 10 biggest stories of 2009 for an automaker that didn’t recoil, but continued on, unveiling an all-new version of one of its most important models, delivering a new exotic car to market, promising an electric car in the future… and making some big changes in its motorsports program. That automaker is Mercedes-Benz.

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Report: Lotus Exige S Type 72 Celebrates British Brand's Return to Formula One

To help celebrate the brand’s return to the pinnacle of motorsports, iconic British sports car maker Lotus has just announced the release of the Exige S Type 72. As the name suggests, it’s inspired by the Type 72 F1 car, which was driven by drivers like Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ronnie Peterson and Jacky Ickx, who took it to 20 victories between 1970 and 75, with two Driver’s World Championships (in ’70 and ’72) and three Constructors’ Championships (in 1970, ’72 and ’73).

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Breaking: Michael Schumacher Will Race for Mercedes-Benz in 2010

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Report: Lotus F1 Racing Signs Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen for 2010 Season

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Video: Racing in Super Slow Motion II Compilation Released

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Report: Mercedes Dumps McLaren, Buys Brawn

As rumored, Mercedes-Benz has decided to part ways with McLaren after 15 years as partners in Formula 1, opting instead to buy a majority stake in the Brawn GP team. The new team, named Mercedes Grand Prix, will run in the 2010 F1 season, keeping much of the Brawn team, including team principal Ross Brawn.

The Brawn GP team entered the 2009 Formula One World Championship as serious underdogs, using the underperforming Honda cars. And yet, the team managed to clinch both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ World Championships.

“We look back on 15 successful years of great collaboration with McLaren; in that time, we won four world-championship titles and finished ten times as runner-up in the drivers’ and constructors’ rankings,” siad Norbert Haug, VP of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Since the first victory in the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, the modern Silver Arrows have achieved a total of 60 victories in 223 races to ensure that our brand symbol, the star, stands for the greatest successes in Formula 1. We thank our partner and will continue to work with McLaren based on an excellent partnership.”

Daimler AG boss Dr. Dieter Zetsche thanked McLaren stating that, “For the benefit of both Mercedes and McLaren, we will continue our partnership cooperation in future. We will be rivals on-track but, off-track, we will cooperate with McLaren and the other teams in order to create the best possible product for spectators worldwide.”

The partnership between the two companies is much more strained than that, however, as Mercedes has also announced it will let McLaren buy back the 40 percent stake it now holds. That transaction should be completed by 2011, fully dissolving the Mercedes McLaren business relationship.

Official release after the jump:

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Official: Toyota to Quit Formula 1

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The decision comes a day before the Japanese manufacturer is expected to announce its worst ever financial results.

“Based on the current economic environment, we realize we have no choice but to withdraw from Formula One,” said Toyota president Akio Toyoda at a news conference. “This has been a very painful decision for the company.”

Since entering the F1 racing in 2002, Toyota has earned 13 podium finishes but no wins.

Toyota follows Honda and BMW in pulling out of F1. Earlier this week, tire manufacturer Bridgestone also announced it will cease being the series’ sole tire provider following the 2010 season. Toyota’s decision also comes three weeks after the end of an engine supply partnership with Williams F1, a move requested by Williams.

Toyota’s withdrawal opens a spot for the BMW-less Sauber team which was given a “reserved” spot in September, for such a contingency.

[Source: CNN, Formula 1]

Official release after the jump:

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Report: Lotus Unveils F1 Wind Tunnel Test Car, Announces Plans for 2010 Season

Lotus is set to return to Formula 1 next year and with a dedicated group of followers and the media circus that surrounds any British F1 team, the company has released some of its plans and ambitions for the 2010 season, along with the first full-sized wind tunnel model.

Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne said in an interview-style statement that while the team as huge challenges ahead of it with such a short preparation time, it hopes to have a full vehicle ready for February testing.

As for the car, Gascoyne says the Lotus team is working with Fondtech for the aerodynamics, Xtrac for the gearbox and a deal with Cosworth has been arranged for the engine company to supply engines. Gascoyne also comments that the team is working with technical experts in Malaysia. In fact, the Malaysian connection is a big part of the Lotus team with financing coming from both the country’s private sector as well as through the Malaysian government. In return, Malaysia intends to use the team as a marketing expert to help promote the country on the world stage. In addition, Lotus has a long term plan to set up an engineering center at the country’s Sepang race circuit.

With a long and storied history in motorsports and Formula 1 there are a lot of expectations behind the Lotus team, but Gascoyne says they have to be realistic. “We are a new team and we are starting our development late,” he said, “so it will be an achievement just to get two cars on the Bahrain grid. I hope by the middle of the season we will have established ourselves as the best of the rookie teams and then continue to make forward progress for the rest of the year.”

As for the driver’s Lotus is entertaining several offers and no doubt trying to poach some experts from other teams. One of the leading candidates is rumored to be long-time Toyota driver Jarno Trulli.

Official release after the jump:

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