Once upon a time the F1 silly season was just that – silly. Lots of absurd rumours of driver a going to team b who would be using engine c and tyres d. Whose dramatic testing time was down to running 200 kg under-weight or what bizarre plan Bernie had to spice up the show. Remember scrapping points and awarding Olympic style medals any-one?


  Of course every now and then one of these proved to be true. A six wheel Tyrrell, or March, or Williams? Keke Who? will drive the six wheel Williams??? Emerson Fittipaldi is quitting McLaren to drive the Copersucar? Ferrari are singing up that pay driver Lauda?? Brabham are switching to Pirelli? Alesi’s Prost broke the Catalunya record by how much? Oh that’s right – about 50kg.


  This year how-ever most of the driver moves were known before last season ended as were the chassis/engine combinations and just a few drivers were chasing a rapidly diminishing number of seats. So there was no fun to be had there. Most of the rumours were based on which team needed the most cash from the remaining list of available talent. Kimi after all, still hadn’t been paid by Lotus for 2013 when they signed Pastor for 2014. And his PDVSA millions. Lotus’ talks with potential backers, Quantum Motorsports drag on and on seemingly without the horizon in sight leaving the ultra talented Nico Huklenberg one of those fighting for the scraps instead of a possible championship. But this has all unfolded now so a list of who is where later.


  As for Bernie’s bizarre ideas? Well allocating double points to the season finale in Abu Dhabi seemed like just another head-line grabber during the quiet winter months. But then it got officially accepted by the powers that be and so a dull race on a dull circuit that no-one goes to watch is now more important than the likes of Monaco, Monza, Spa or Suzuka. God give us strength (or a bullet) in a tight championship someones conservative run to third place in Abu Dhabi will count for more than winning at Silverstone, or Austin, or anywhere else for that matter. All to solve a problem that no-one else thinks exists. To quote Pink Floyd, it “fills me with the urge to defecate”.


  As for Bernie, we may not have to put up with this nonsense much longer as the courts in Munich have decided that he has a case to answer regarding bribery claims relating to his sale of the sport to CVC in 2006. One would think that as the chap who accepted the alleged bribe, Gerard Gribkowsky, has already confessed and been sentenced to jail that Bernie might be struggling to convince the judges that it was not a bribe, but a blackmail payment as he has claimed. He may have a lot of clout in the paddock but I wouldn’t expect there to be much carry-over to the less fawning Munich judiciary. In the interim, Bernie will continue to run the day-to-day aspects of the sport but has had to stand down as a member of the CVC board. There is more speculation as to who will ultimately replace Bernie than any of the drivers….



  As most of you are aware former champion Michael Schumacher had a skiing accident on December 29, striking his head on a large rock. He was still conscious when medical help arrived, although not very coherent, but by the time he was being airlifted to the local hospital he lost consciousness and was flown straight to the neurological unit at Grenoble where he underwent an emergency operation to relieve the swelling on his brain. He was placed in an induced coma and underwent further surgery a week or so later and remains in a stable but critical condition. Much has been written about this by well meaning press and other medical specialists but not by anyone who has any direct connection with his medical team so it is mostly just speculation. My only thought on the medical side is that as it has now been four weeks with no announcement of any improvement then his recovery, if it occurs, will be a long and difficult one. You will probable all know my feelings about his driving standards, but this is not something that we would wish on anyone and our thoughts are with Michael and especially his family as they face an uncertain future.


  Condolences also go to the family of Jenson Button, whose father John, passed away aged 70 from a suspected heart attack at his home in Southern France on January 12. Not only was he a widely popular figure in the F1 paddock as he supported the efforts of Jenson but had a fairly successful career as a rally-cross driver in the mid seventies.

He will be missed by many.


  As previously mentioned all the driver positions have been filled and barring another Luiz Razia type situation the full list of championship entries that will take to the grid in Melbourne is as follows;



1 Sebastian Vettel                                 Red Bull RB10 Revault V6 Turbo

3 Daniel Ricciardo                                Red Bull RB10 Revault V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Sebastien Buemi                                   Red Bull RB10 Revault V6 Turbo



  6 Nico Rosberg                                  Mercedes W05            Mercedes V6 Turbo

44 Lewis Hamilton                                Mercedes W05            Mercedes V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Paul di Resta                                        Mercedes W05            Mercedes V6 Turbo



  7 Kimi Raikkonen                               Ferrari F14T                Ferrari V6 Turbo

14 Fernando Alonso                             Ferrari F14T                Ferrari V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Pedro de la Rosa                                  Ferrari F14T                Ferrari V6 Turbo



  8 Romain Grosjean                             Lotus E22                    Renault V6 Turbo

13 Pastor Maldonado                           Lotus E22                    Renault V6 Turbo



20 Kevin Magnussen                            McLaren MP4/29        Mercedes V6 Turbo

22 Jenson Button                                  McLaren MP4/29        Mercedes V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Stoffel Vandoorne                                 McLaren MP4/29        Mercedes V6 Turbo

Gary Paffett                                          McLaren MP4/29        Mercedes V6 Turbo

Oliver Turvey                                       McLaren MP4/29        Mercedes V6 Turbo



11 Sergio Perez                                    Force India VJM07      Mercedes V6 Turbo

27 Nico Hulkenberg                             Force India VJM07      Mercedes V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Daniel Juncadella                                  Force India VJM07      Mercedes V6 Turbo



21 Esteban Gutierrez                            Sauber C33                  Ferrari V6 Turbo

99 Adrian Sutil                         Sauber C33                  Ferrari V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver

Guido van der Garde                            Sauber C33                  Ferrari V6 Turbo



25 Jean-Eric Vergne                             Toro Rosso STR9        Renault V6 Turbo

26 Daniil Kvyat                                    Toro Rosso STR9        Renault V6 Turbo



19 Felipe Massa                                   Williams FW36            Mercedes V6 Turbo

77 Valtteri Bottas                                 Williams FW36            Mercedes V6 Turbo



  4 Max Chilton                                    Marussia MR03           Ferrari V6 Turbo

17 Jules Bianchi                                    Marussia MR03           Ferrari V6 Turbo



  9 Marcus Ericsson                            Caterham CT05           Renault V6 Turbo

10 Kamui Kobayashi                          Caterham CT05           Renault V6 Turbo

Test & Reserve Driver 

Robin Frijns                                     Caterham CT05           Renault V6 Turbo

Alexander Rossi                               Caterham CT05           Renault V6 Turbo


Welcome back Kamui.

Testing starts in Jerez tomorrow.

Does anyone else think the McLaren looks a bit like the Batmobile from front on? Bruce Wayne on the Melbourne grid?



Sam Snape





Students from two schools, 3000 kilometres apart, proved that distance is no barrier to success in the F1 in Schools™World Finals 2013. A1 Racing, an in-country collaboration F1 in Schools team, beat 37 student teams today to lift the Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools World Champions trophy above their heads as the anthem,  ‘Rule the world’  reverberated through the room, confetti showered the winners and the Australian flag was raised behind them as they celebrated their success. 

 Australia - World F1 in Schools champions again

A1 Racing, a team of six students from Pine Rivers State High School, Queensland and Phoenix P-12 Community College, Ballarat, Victoria, worked hard to achieve their dream of taking the F1 in Schools World Champions title. They had earned their place at the event after success in the Australian National Finals earlier this year and as well as claiming victory were presented with the Fastest Car Award. Joining A1 Racing on the podium this evening were the runners-up from USA, Allegiance Racing from SoutheastHigh School, and Unlimited Acceleration from Lessing-Gymnasium Winnenden, in Germany, stood in third place.


Taking the World Champions title was a proud moment for A1 Racing with Jacqueline Cunninghame, Team Manager saying, “We can’t believe we won, it’s just amazing. There were so many good teams, it was really tough, so we’re really happy to have won this. It means everything to us.”


For one team member, Dylan Sexton, celebrations had to be put on hold as he was forced to return to his hotel room to sit a Business Management exam minutes after the team received the trophy. “I’m already 12 minutes late,” said the 17 year old student, “so I’ll have to celebrate later”.


F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team which is commissioned to design, manufacture  and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model designed using 3D solid modelling software and machined from a block of balsa wood, incorporating 3D print technology in its front and rear wings. The F1 in Schools World Champions not only win the glass Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy but also coveted Motorsport and Automotive Engineering Scholarships for City University London.


At the World Finals each team brought along a pit display, their cars and portfolio, as well as having prepared a verbal presentation for the judges. The cars were raced on a 20 metre track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second, a speed barrier which is yet to be broken by any student team since it was set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland at the 2007 World Finals with a time of 1.020 seconds.

Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools said of this year’s World Finals, “I’m always blown away by the professionalism, innovation, engineering capabilities and overall dedication shown by the World Finals teams. This year there was an incredibly high standard of work and it made it very difficult to judge. A1 Racing shone out from their rivals and deserved all their success and the World Champions title.”


“But it is not only the academic excellence that we have seen at the World Finals,” adds Denford. “F1 in Schools changes lives around the world and these boys and girls will have formed friendships which will last a lifetime. I know that they will all have learned life skills which will be invaluable throughout their careers and I’m very proud to have been able to give these great students this opportunity.”


A1 Racing’s Ben Marshall is an example of just how life-changing F1 in Schools can be. The 17 year old is a lifelong sufferer of High Function Autism Asperger’s Syndrome , he says, “I couldn’t really talk to people, approach people or introduce myself to people, but being  in the competition and learning all the new skills, it has given me so much confidence – I just want to talk to everyone, it has just changed my life, I love my life now.”


In addition to the crowning of the F1 in Schools World Champion 2013, 20 awards were presented in a variety of categories.


Full list of awards:

World Champions supported by Formula One Management and City University London

A1 Racing, PineRiversStateHigh School & Phoenix P-12 Community College, Australia


2nd Place supported by Circuit of The Americas

ALLEGIANCE RACING, Southeast High School, USA


3rd Place supported by The IET

Unlimited Acceleration, Lessing-Gymnasium Winnenden, Germany


FIA Women in Motorsport Award supported by FIA Women in Motorsport Commission

Alyssa Cote & Merritt Kendzior from ALLEGIANCE RACING, Southeast High School, USA


Verbal Presentation Award supported by Williams

Vector One, Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School, Canada


Innovative Thinking Award supported by Lotus F1 Team

Safire Blue Bullets Racing, GermanInternationalSchool, Dubai, Greece & UAE


Fastest Car Award supported by Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

A1 Racing, PineRiversStateHigh School & Phoenix P-12 Community College, Australia


Team Identity Award supported by Ferrari

Lone Star Racing, Akins High School & Granbury High School, USA


The Best International Collaboration Team Award supported by Shell

Odyssey, Brighton Secondary School & Donabate Community College, Australia & Ireland


Outstanding Sportsmanship Award supported by Sahara Force India

ALLEGIANCE RACING, Southeast High School, USA


Best Engineered Car Award supported by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Bardahl Racing, St. David's Holy Faith Secondary School, Ireland


Chair of Judges Recognition of Achievement Award supported by Infiniti Red Bull Racing

X-Shift, Raffles Girls' School & WilmingtonGrammar School for Boys, Singapore & UK


Best  Newcomer Award supported by Sauber F1

Team Bolt, Amity International School, India


Pit Display Award supported by Toro Rosso

Motion Racing, Engadine High School, Australia


Team Sponsorship & Marketing Award supported by Marussia F1 Team

Petronas Tritan Racing, SMS Hulu Selangor, Malaysia


Portfolio Award supported by F1 Racing

Odyssey, Brighton Secondary School & Donabate Community College, Australia & Ireland


Research and Development Award supported by Pirelli

Surge, Mönchsee-Gymnasium & Colégio de S. Miguel, Germany & Portugal


Social Media Award supported by Caterham F1 Team

Adroit Infinitum, The IndianHigh School, Dubai, UAE


Team Website Award supported by Autodesk

Speed Deamons, Ellinogermaniki Agogi, Greece


The Crofty & Gary Pressure Challenge Award supported by Crofty & Gary

Safire Blue Bullets Racing, GermanInternationalSchool, Dubai, Greece & UAE


The F1 in Schools World Finals 2013 took place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters including Circuit of The Americas, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, City University London, Autodesk and Austin Independent Schools District.


Article courtesy of Alison Hill ID PR & Marketing Ltd/FIA


Raikkonen out, Valsecchi in. Valsecchi out Kovalainen in. Perez out, Magnussen in. Maldonado out, Massa in. These are the changes that have occoured in just the last three days as the silly season manouvering for F1 rides in 2014 ramps up. This will leave an embarressment of riches for some of the medium to small teams to choose from over the next month or so.

 The sun sets on Kimi's Lotus career

  The most immediate is that Kimi Raikkonen has driven his last race for Lotus. The official line is that he is undergoing minor back surgery in Salzburg, Austria this week instead of flying to Austin for the US Grand Prix. The long term back injury, which almost saw him pull out of the Singapore Grand Prix has reportedly reared it's ugly head again and the recovery period is approximately four weeks, which rules him out of the season finale in Brazil as well. Just how much this has to do with his sciatic nerve as apposed to his hip pocket nerve is up to your imagination but as he was still in dispute with Lotus regarding the fact that he has not been paid this year leaves us thinking "hmmmmm" regarding the timing of it all. However as one who has had the dubious pleasure of dodgy discs I do know just how much it can hurt I can only which Kimi a speedy recovery & look forward to his radio chatter with his big red bosses next year. Initially it was expected that current reserve driver and 2012 GP2 series champion Davide Valsecchi would make his F1 debut this weekend. With his pedigree Davide is seemingly a vastly more deserving debutant than some of the recent announcements although it would have been difficult for his to impress with bugger-all testing mileage and running on circuits he has never before visited. Last minute reports are however that Caterham reserve driver and former Renault, McLaren and Lotus (the other one) driver Heikki Kovalainen will be in the seat. Still waiting for the email from Lotus to confirm that but the word is they wanted someone with experience who should be able to bring home some points as they are still hoping to be able to beat Ferrari and Mercedes in the Constructors Championship. A long shot perhaps but an understandable desire. With all the talent in the world it would have been tough for Davide. Mind you, not knowing the car it may also be tough for Heikki, but it’s nice to see him get a second chance and possibly resurrect his stalling career. It has also been rumoured that Nico Hulkenberg and (God Forbid) Michael Schumacher had been sounded out about the drive.


  In the latest batch of signings for 2014 Felipe Massa has been confirmed on a "multi-year" deal to join Williams alongside Valtteri Bottas bringing a raft of Brazilian sponsers to replace the slightly eratic, but occassionally very rapid Pastor Maldonado and his Venezuelan petro-dollars. Needless to say PDVSA will not be Williams title sponser next year but you can be sure that they will show up some-where. Both team and driver have spouted the usual complimentary remarks that come at the beginning of any relationship but whether either of them can return to their former glories remains to be seen. In both cases I hope so. In Felipe's case it should be remembered that before he got sconed by Barrichello's errant damper spring he was, in 2008, World Champion for about 20 seconds. And who knows, if Team Willi can get some sort of stability going it has everything it needs to return to the ways of it's glorious past. Hopefully Pat Symonds can engineer this as he takes control of the technical department. He may even be joined by old pal Ross Brawn who will be departing from Williams new engine supplier Mercedes fairly shortly. It may be that he gets Toto Wolfe's Williams shares as part of his pay-out from Merc, Wolfe having been Williams CEO for a short time before moving to the Silver Slings. Just a thought. It would be just a little weird, Williams being run by the same guys that were once their main enemy at Benetton. So long as they don't bring Flav back………….


  Not officially confirmed (although not officially denied) is that Sergio Perez will not be at McLaren next year. Team Brittania has decided to take a punt on Kevin Magnussen, the Formula Renault 3.5 champion this year. Magnussen has been part of the McLaren young driver scheme and was very impressive in winning that title this year. McLaren were looking to place both him and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne at smaller teams for 2014 with a view of promoting them to the team once they had gotten some experience. Despite their obvious talent it was proving a bit tricky getting both of them a drive so poor old Sergio has been given the heave-ho. Mind you, it has been said that you should never believe anything until it HAS been officially denied so…… watch this space. McLaren however have let be known that their title sponsership announcement, previously set down for December 2 has now been put off until the launch of the new car, which may or may not have anything to do with not getting lots of Mexican Pesos now that Sergio is searching for a new home.


 So who's going where?


Here's the current list


Red Bull (Renault)

Sebastian Vettel & Daniel Ricciardo



Nico Rosberg & Lewis Hamilton



Fernando Alonso & Kimi Raikkonen


Lotus (Renault)

Romain Grosjean & (almost certainly) Nico Hulkenberg


McLaren (Mercedes)

Jenson Button & Kevin Magnussen


Force India (Mercedes)



Sauber (Ferrari)

????????????????? (although Sergey Sirotkin has been named - pending gaining a super-licence)


Toro Rosso (Renault)

Jean Eric Vergne & Daniil Kvyat


Williams (Mercedes)

Valtteri Bottas & Felipe Massa


Marussia (Ferrari)

Jules Bianchi & ???????????


Caterham (Renault)



Which all leaves Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde, Davide Valsecchi, Heikki Kovalainen, Stoffel Vandoorne and GP2 champion Fabio Leimer as the prime candidates for the remaining six or possibly seven drives. Twelve into six means that the remaining teams now take their time and select the best pairing for their own needs and that (unfortunately) may not have much to do with the available talent as much as the available cash.


The late press is from Sergio’s twitter account and that he has confirmed that he is leaving McLaren so you can forget that bit about it not being officially denied. More on that later perhaps, it will be very difficult for Sergio to find a decent drive for 2014 but he does still have all those Telmex Pesos behind him. His shit load of pace won’t hurt either, but………



Sam Snape





  When the word got out early in the season that Mark Webber was departing F1 for The Porsche sports-car squad there were three drivers being discussed as potential replacements.  Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen and the Toro Rosso pair, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo.

  Then there were two, as just a few weeks ago Vergne got the news that he would be staying with Toro Rosso as Red Bull didn’t think he was quite ready for the step up to the senior team. Then, at the Hungaroring there were three again as King Fernando’s minions were seen in deep discussions with Christian Horner and everyone put two and two together to get the mythical Forty-Two.

  Within a day or so it was back to two but the talk was that Kimi wanted to stay at Lotus if they could give him a potentially title winning car next year. No surprise here as Kimi has never particularly enjoyed the media and sponsorship work part of all F1 contracts and Lotus has been giving him very light duties in this regard. He would not have gotten off so lightly at Red Bull who’s entire existence is as an advertising platform for their drinkie.

  Now, a little birdie tells me, there is only one, and at Spa this weekend Daniel Ricciardo will be announced as Sebastian Vettel’s team-mate for 2014.  This has also just been reported in the German magazine Sport Bild so I can’t claim that you read it here first, but I think I may have beaten Autosport so I’m happy.  When Sport Bild queried Helmut Marko he didn’t deny the story but said "We won't say anything before Spa, that's all I can say,"

  Daniel would be only the second Red Bull junior driver to ascend to the premier squad after Vettel in 2009 and has impressed the team with his pace at Toro Rosso and his feedback during the few testing opportunities with Red Bull. Has he got the pace and ability to win? Everyone thinks so but don’t expect Vettel to allow that to happen too often. After Malaysia and Mark’s departure it is even more the German’s team than ever and he will use every trick in the book to keep the quick young Aussie in his place as the team’s number two. Let’s hope he’s “not bad for a number two.”


Sam Snape




 The word hero is much over-used these days. It is used to describe people who are just survivors, kids that can call emergency services or sports stars. None of which actually do anything even slightly heroic so the word loses its true meaning.

Tony Gaze War hero Fighter ace DFC and 2 bars

  Tony Gaze, however, was a hero in the literal sense of the word. Not because he reached the premier series in motorsport, Grand Prix racing or raced at Le Mans. Not even because he was instrumental in the birth of the utterly wonderful Goodwood Motor Circuit, although millions are indebted to him for that alone. But because as a young man studying at Cambridge, he volunteered for the RAF as war erupted in Europe and rose through the ranks to the level of Squadron Leader and with fourteen confirmed enemy aircraft to his credit and was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) on three occasions. One of just 48 Allied airmen who achieved that honour.

  During the war Tony mainly flew the iconic Spitfire but eventually became the first Australian pilot to fly a jet powered fighter, the Gloster Meteor. This was just one of many “firsts” he achieved. Amongst them being the first Australian pilot to destroy an enemy jet fighter (Messerschmitt 262) and jet powered bomber (Arado Ar234). He was also the first Allied pilot to land in a liberated part of Europe after the D-Day landings, putting down at St Croix-Sur-Mer, France on June 10, 1944.

  Despite his racing success after the war his most lasting achievement was probably to convince Freddie March, at the time the Duke of Richmond and head of the Royal Automobile Club (R.A.C.) that the perimeter track of his old wartime airfield (RAF-Westhampnett, which was on some of Freddie’s land) would make a good replacement for the destroyed Brooklands circuit. He and his fellow pilots had spent many hours blasting around it while not defending Britain from the Luftwaffe. Although Goodwood never hosted a World Championship Grand Prix it became one of the fastest and most beloved circuits in the UK, if not the world. All the greats raced there from Fangio and Farina in the early days via Moss to Hill and Clark before it closed for racing in 1965. Now that the circuit has been reopened and holds the stunning annual Goodwood Revival historic race meeting, Tony’s involvement in it’s creation has been honoured by the press centre being named the “Tony gaze Building:.


  Although his top line racing career was brief, he entered just four World Championship Grand Prixs in his privately run HWM-Alta during 1952, he was yet again the first Australian to start a World Championship race. His four Grand Prixs yielded a solitary finish, 15th in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, two retirements at Silverstone and the Nurburgring and a non-qualification at Monza.

Tony Gaze in his Ferrari 500

  In late 1953 Tony returned to Australia and would compete in local open wheel races here and in New Zealand taking third place in the 1954 New Zealand Grand Prix in his HWM and repeating the result the following year in his ex-Ascari Ferrari 500. His final New Zealand campaign before retirement saw him finish second to Stirling Moss in the New Zealand Grand Prix before rounding out the series with second at Wigram, a win at Dunedin and another second at Ryal Bush. He would then turn his attention back to the skies and went on to represent Australia at the World Gliding Championship in 1960.

  I had met Tony on several occasions over the last decade and although I wouldn’t claim to know him well (apart from close family and friends who really “knows” anyone?), I always found him to be a modest and dignified man, generous with his time and able to tell some marvelous tales of post war racing and other adventures with remarkable clarity and wit. I had plans at one point to talk to him about writing his storey but was beaten to the punch by Stewart Wilson with his excellent biography “Almost Unknown”, which is well worth a read.

Tony at the launch of the Lex Davison biography  Squadron Leader Frederick Anthony Owen “Tony Gaze” OAM DFC and 2 Bars, was a true gentleman who was very easy, not just to like, but admire and respect and although he was relatively unknown in his home country, that nation, Australia, is a poorer place with his passing. A hero in every sense of the word.


  For a more detailed look at his remarkable life, either pick up his biography – Almost Unknown - or check out http://www.tonygaze.com/

 Sam Snape