The Formula One Times: 10th November UPDATE: Force India Signs Mercedes Deal!

The Formula One TimesCorrespondent INovember 10, 2008

Welcome to the much awaited new-look " Formula One Times." Although the layout has changed, and the list of contributors has been added too, the content will remain the same high quality that you have come to expect.

The Formula One Times is now a joint effort between creator, Paul Heffernan, previous contributor, Adam Poole, Bleacher Report veteran and Senior Writer LJ Burgess and F1 Co-Community Leader, Saraswathi Sirigina. Hopefully, with the talents of the above mentioned writers, we will be able to produce something worth reading.

The Formula One Times will be released on a daily basis, Monday to Friday, with special "Race Weekend" editions which will include a full race report on the Sunday. So, without further a do, let's get the first issue on the move...

Force India Hitch With Mercedes

Late last week Force India announced it's split from engine supplier, Ferrari. Today, they have announced the long awaited, and much rumored, merge with Mercedes- the same supplier used by McLaren.

The VJM02 chassis will be powered by a Mercedes V8 engine, and will use McLaren's gearbox, hydraulics and KERS systems, in what is described as a "long-term" deal. A statement from Force India added that the team would "have access to the McLaren Group's network of bespoke suppliers" and that McLaren "will provide operational support to ensure Force India functions at its highest possible level."

Billionaire owner, Vijay Mallya, has expressed his delight on the deal saying, "McLaren and Mercedes-Benz are two of the most famous names in motorsport history, having achieved great success in grand prix racing over many years, and most recently, a superb victory in probably the most dramatic world championship Formula 1 has seen."

Mallya is hoping that his Force India team, who failed to score a single point last season, will be challenging for the front row in time for his home Grand-Prix in India.

FOTA Agree to Cut Engine Cost by 15million Euros

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) have unanimously agreed to reduce engine costs by more than €15-million. Ferrari boss, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, recently presided over a meeting of the new Formula One Teams' Association and said at Ferrari's end-of-season celebration:

"We are working with all the teams to reduce costs even more for 2010 and 2011. We unanimously decided that by 2011 an engine would cost €5-million (R64-million) compared to the more than €20-million (R255-million) they used to cost."

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, recently announced it was moving forward with plans to have a sole engine and transmission supplier beginning in 2010, prompting Ferrari to threaten pulling out of the sport. Ferrari believes the move would eliminate the essence of a sport based on competition and technological development.. Montezemolo said:

"It's unthinkable that constructors such as Ferrari, Toyota, Mercedes, Honda, Renault and BMW would accept putting their label on a machine with an engine made by someone else."

Schumacher: I didn't want Todt's Job

It has been revealed that seven-time World Champion, Michael Shuchmacher, turned down the chance to be the boss of Ferrari's Formula 1 team saying, "I didn't fancy Todt's job."

Schumacher chose to stay at Ferrari as an adviser after he retired from racing at the end of 2006, but says he could have had a much bigger job had he wished. "I had a possibility to do what Jean Todt was doing, to become director of Ferrari for the racing part," he told the International Herald Tribune.

"When I saw how much passion and dedication that he put into his job—similar to what I did in my job—he was simply just sitting in Maranello, day by day, even on weekends, late into night, I said: 'Do I need this? Simply not.'"

As a result of Schumacher turning the job down, it was second choice, Stefano Domenicali, who ultimately succeeded Todt as Ferrari team boss.

Ecclestone Attempts to Make Peace with Lewis

In a somewhat embarrassing move by the Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone has attempted to clear up any "mis-understandings" over recent comments where by the billionaire businessman had suggested that the racist attacks suffered by Hamilton were a "joke."

Following the original comments by Ecclestone, many anti-racism campaigners suggested that he should resign and Hamilton himself released a statement in which he said, "I don't particularly look at it as a joke. It's something that's happened but it's in the past and you've got to look forward."

Bernie has now explained to the BBC, "I meant they [the racists] were a joke, clowns." Ecclestone then added, "I've spoken with Lewis's dad, Anthony, and he understands, everything's fine. People should remember I was the one who pulled F1 out of South Africa because of apartheid, so no one can say I am against black people."

A1 GP Starts Bigger Names than Hamilton and Alonso

Mention Formula 1 to a French race fan and one name stands above all others, Prost. This week there will be great interest in the French team at the A1GP race, as another Prost tries to make a name for himself. His name is Nicolas Prost, he is the son of French great Alain Prost five time F1 World Champion.

Ahead of his first start in the series the young man said, “I’m very happy to be part of A1 Team France’s Chinese adventure this weekend," said Prost. "I’m determined to give my all, as the team’s currently sharing the lead with Malaysia. I felt at home straight away in the new car, and I set competitive times in my first test behind the wheel. So I’m tackling this meeting with confidence, and I’ll take things step by step,"


Across the pond there will be close interest in another famous name, that of sensation Marco Andretti. Marco is grandson of one of the true greats of American racing, Mario and son of Michael. If there is one name in American racing that will draw American fans it is that of Andretti.

Team America has been taken over by Michael, who is the owner of the hugely successful Indy team Andretti Green Racing. Marco has had two test for Honda F1 and his second test in the rain, was less than a second slower than that of Alonso on the McLaren. It is interesting to note that after only one race with the new Ferrari engines, that such famous names will start at the Chinese GP.

No Man is an Island

Formula 1's living legend, Michael Schumacher built a career racing cars. His wealth from this career, has catapulted him into another stratosphere of income.

Now he has a new challenge, the creation of Michael Schumacher Island. It is to be located in The World Islands in Dubai. With it's 300 man-made islands The World is one of the worlds most exclusive destinations. Michael Schumacher Island will be shaped like a deep-sea shell, it is understood that he is not just lending his name but his taking an active role in the project!

Hamilton Praises "Big Man" Alonso

Lewis Hamilton has today praised former team mate, Fernando Alonso, for finding him after the Brazilian Grand-Prix and congratulating him for becoming the youngest World Drivers Champion in history

Alonso, who had a very public falling out with McLaren management and Hamilton last season, had said previously that he would prefer any team other than McLaren to win the title. However, Fernando Alonso took the time to go down to the McLaren garage after the final race of the season and congratulate Hamilton and the team on their triumph.

"It was great to see him in the garage," said Hamilton of the double champion. "He came over as I saw my team, I turned round and he was there, just to wish me congratulations. Then he said congratulations to the rest of the team. I had a huge amount of respect for him already, but it took a big man to come and do that so I was very thankful to him."

I am Better than Lewis

Jenson Button wants the world to know that he is better than fellow countryman, and current World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. In an interview with The People Button told the world "If had Lewis' car then I'd have been world champion too. Lewis is a worthy world champion but he wouldn't have done as well as me in my Honda."I mean, the guy has never been in a bad car.

I think you learn from it and become a better driver trying to work with a bad car," he said. With Honda promising a better car and new blood, it is rumored that Honda will be giving Marco Andretti a third test in the coming months. Jenson on the other hand wants to keep Rubens as his team mate, that however is unlikely.

A Quick Apology...

Unfortunately, due to other commitments, Saraswathi Sirigina, was unable to contribute in this issue, however in normal circumstances Saraswathi would bring you all the latest on the business side of F1. The bits that we, as fans, sometimes fail to see. Keep your eyes open for Saraswathi's contributions to The Formula One Times coming real soon...

A Bleacher Tradition

In my travels around the boards, I see lots of people trying to find new angles on how to get more reads, to get noticed. At B/R F1 we have just concluded our second B/R F1 Community Awards (first carried out on the B/R FIFA Football page), hosted by the F1 community's number one rated writer, Michael Griffin. Well it seems as others now think this is a great idea they have started their own Community Awards.

Our sister site, NASCAR, have started their own Community Awards, take the time to give it a look, if you know anything about the great sport of NASCAR, I encourage you to vote. Tomorrow I will introduce a writer that I find exciting, take the time to read some of their articles, maybe it will inspire you to be a better writer or improve your writing skills.

Look at the Sunday love we get on B/R!

We are in the middle of the NFL season, the climax of College Football, NHL & NBA have just started, College Hoops soon to come...the Phillies are still making headlines; Today, four out of five of B/R's front page stories are from the Auto Racing section...NASCAR, Formula 1...'mazing.

The first, by Mark Eckhart Jr., is a continuance of the Writer's Award polling begun in the FIFA section, picked up by the Formula 1 pages and now being organized on the NASCAR pages.

Up next was Kara Martin's shout out to her sister NASCAR writers and a few additional lady writing stars on B/R

Adam Poole offered a comparison of the new British World Champion with the last, a Damon Hill and Lewis Hamilton run off;

Saving the best for last, we have two stories that spent time on the front page; Anne Doe's "Pages Burnt in the F1 Record Book" that updates some interesting records that fell during this past F1 season and new writer Duncan Scott's translation of NASCAR for the European open wheel fan.

I'll be scouring the web for interesting works that pertain to F1 and the health of motorsports in general throughout the off season so watch here for the strange, weird and oddball bits and pieces you may have missed.

Wings for Life Appeal

Although not everything has been given the "OK" by Bleacher Report and by the "Wings of Life" foundation, that doesn't stop us giving you a little insight into who "Wings for Life" are what they do.

The Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation is a privately funded non-profit organization which follows the principal aim of promoting research worldwide in order to expedite scientific and clinical progress towards a putative cure for Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Paralysis.

Here at The Formula One Times we are jumping on board with David Coulthard, Gerhard Berger, and Max Mosely, as well as countless other famous faces, to support the foundation. We are aiming to bring in a button that will take you directly to the charity's website and allow you to donate on-line, all through our articles. Neat eh? We are hoping to have the go-ahead from both parties by the end of the week.

The Formula One Times is proud to be in partnership with Countdown to Formula One 2009 by Billy Sexton. Make sure you don't miss his weekly countdown every Sunday.


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