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Mercedes has confirmed that Sam Bird will drive for the team at the Young Driver test days to be held at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 November.


British racer Sam, 23, drives for ART and will be competing in the final GP2 Series races in Abu Dhabi over the Formula One weekend. Sam is currently in fifth place in the GP2 standings with one win and four podiums this season, including the feature race victory, sprint race podium and both fastest laps at the penultimate race in Monza.



Williams have confirmed GP2 Champion Maldonado and Dean Stoneman will be testing, 20-year old Briton Stoneman won this year's Formula Two Championship which earned him the Williams test drive. Williams test driver Finn Valtteri Bottas will remain Williams test driver, but he will not participate in the young driver test days.


Ferrari will test 21-year old Brazilian Cesar Ramos, winner of the 2010 Italian Formula Three Championship, and also the numbers two and three in the championship, Stephane Richelmi and Andrea Caldarelli. The 20-year old Monegasque Richelmi is the son of former World Rally Championship driver Jean-Pierre Richelmi, and the also 20-year old Italian Caldarelli was active in the Eurocup Formula Renault series and the Formula Three Euroseries.


Belgium Jerome d'Ambrosio and Brazilian Liuz Razia will be testing for Virgin Racing, Sauber will test Mexicans Perez and Esteban Gutierrez, Red Bull will test their reserve driver Australian Daniel Ricciardo, and Toro Rosso will test Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne. Renault will run Renault World Series champion Russian Mikhail Aleshin, and perhaps Dutch-Chinese driver Ho-Pin Tung, McLaren hasn't released any names, but it is expected their reserve driver Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey will take the McLaren for a spin. Lotus and HRT haven so far not given any information about their test drivers.



Barrichello's seat also not secure at Williams


The latest rumour in Formula One is that Rubens Barrichello's longest-ever Grand Prix career could be set to end after the 2010 finale next month.

German rookie Nico Hulkenberg admitted in Korea that he was concerned about speculation linking the new GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado with his Williams race seat. 

But a report in Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the Oxfordshire based team actually does not intend to confirm either Hulkenberg or his current teammate, the Brazilian veteran Barrichello, until the winter period.



The reason for the delay is Williams' sponsor situation, with RBS departing at the end of the year. It has also been reported that Philips, AirAsia and McGregor could also leave the Grove-based team.

Maldonado carries a reported US $15 million in the sponsorship of state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, and the latest rumour is that Williams has not yet decided whether Hulkenberg or Barrichello is the most likely to potentially make room for the 25-year-old.

The rumour about 39-year-old Barrichello was triggered when Patrick Head, Williams' engineering boss and the team's second biggest shareholder, said Hulkenberg had done enough in 2010 to justify his seat.

"I think Nico has done enough, both before he entered F1 and since being in F1, to support the view that he is a justified driver," said the Briton.

Rubens Barrichello has revealed he hopes to stay with the Williams team in 2011.

His comments, in a Portuguese interview with the news agency Reuters, follow reports that the veteran Brazilian could be replaced next year by the Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado.

Previously, it was believed that Barrichello's rookie German teammate Nico Hulkenberg was the most likely to make way should the Oxfordshire based team decide to sign 25-year-old Maldonado and his sponsor.

"I've done a good job this year and I'm focused on the car for next year, so I'm hoping to stay," the Portuguese language report quoted Barrichello, 39, as saying.

Last month, the Brazilian said he was "100 per cent" sure he will be driving for Williams in 2011 even though the deal had not been confirmed on paper.

But when asked on Thursday if a deal is in place, Barrichello said: "That's something you will have to ask Williams."

And when discussing taking part in his 18th home Grand Prix next weekend, he added: "Our car is getting better and all I can hope for is a positive weekend.

"The start of the season was not so good, we thought we had a good car but it was hard for us to be in the top ten.

"But the rapport with the team was very good and we managed to improve," said Barrichello.

Globo also quotes him as saying: "I've been working on the car for next year. There are things arising from the regulations that we are only going to find out later, but the design is bold and 2011 is going to be better than this one."


D'Ambrosio close to 2011 Virgin race deal


Jerome d'Ambrosio is close to securing his Formula One race debut for 2011. That is the claim of Eric Boullier, who is in charge not only of the Renault team, but also Genii Capital's driver management arm Gravity.

Gravity negotiated Belgian d'Ambrosio's current Friday role with Virgin, and he is also set to race alongside Timo Glock next year, depending on his management's ability to compile the necessary budget.

"We have 95 per cent of the package together," Frenchman Boullier told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.

"For the remaining 5 per cent," he added, "it's just a matter of days. I would be pleased to have a signed contract in his pocket by the last race in Abu Dhabi."


Sutil rules out replacing Schumacher at Mercedes

Adrian Sutil has denied rumours he could be set to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes next year.

It has been suggested the 27-year-old German, who is currently contemplating his future at Force India, is first in line for the Mercedes race seat should Schumacher decide over the winter break to return to retirement.

"No, there is no truth in that," he told the Daily Mail in an interview.

"Michael is going to stay there for another year at least, and I think he has a three year contract, so that is how it is.

"Of course it would be great to drive for Mercedes in the future, but I think now is just too early, and they are just rumours," added Sutil.

He said he is expecting his own decision about the 2011 season to be made soon.

"I'm not sure at the moment, but it should happen pretty soon," said Sutil, who has also been linked with moves to Renault and Williams.

"I just want to make sure to do the right thing, but I can't say where I am going to be. It is too early for that.

"I was planning to make a decision four weeks ago, but it is difficult. Everyone is waiting, so I will try to make it as quick as possible."


Senna in talks for Lotus-Renault switch

Bruno Senna, the nephew of the great Ayrton Senna, is in talks to switch for 2011 from struggling HRT to F1's best new team Lotus.

That is the claim of Brazil's Globo Esporte, noting that the move would reinvoke the fabled Lotus/Renault/Senna combination of the 1980s.

Rookie Senna, who turned 27 earlier this month, has had a difficult debut season in 2010 at the wheel of the slowest and least developed car on the grid fielded by the Spanish newcomer Hispania.

"Bruno Senna is close to getting something better," said the Portuguese language report.

"He is in talks with Lotus and these talks are already well advanced," Globo added, nominating Jarno Trulli as the driver most likely to leave the Malaysian team in the event that Senna is signed.

The report cited sources "close to the driver" as insisting that Senna cannot finalise the deal until his sponsors agree, adding that these talks with "several companies" are also already taking place.

Globo Esporte also said Lotus' announcement of its Renault engine deal for 2011 will be made next weekend at Interlagos.


Amid Lotus seat uncertainty, Trulli travels to US

As drivers seemingly line up for his seat at Lotus, Jarno Trulli has been spotted in the US.

In recent days, rival drivers including Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov have been linked for 2011 with the Malaysian team, who are thought certain to renew Heikki Kovalainen's contract.

At the same time it has emerged that, immediately after the Korean Grand Prix, 36-year-old Italian veteran Trulli travelled to Miami.

He reportedly met up with his old friend Juan Pablo Montoya, and they dined on Thursday night at the Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano.

Last year, when his future beyond the withdrawing Toyota team was uncertain, Trulli also visited America, testing a NASCAR and visiting the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix.

Referring to the late 2009 test with Michael Waltrip Racing, he said his performance had been "very strong" and "on the pace of the best ones".




   King Fernando took a major step towards regaining his throne in Korea after both Red Rags drivers failed to finish a race that they should have dominated. Sebastian Vettel claimed another pole, this time just 74 thousandths of a second better than Mark Webber. The second row was made up by the other two major title contenders, Alonso and The Hoon with Button back in seventh place. In the end it was Alonso from The Hoon and the rest no-where to be seen.















  The rain in Korea was even more of a pain than in Japan two weeks ago as this time it fell on Sunday. All day. It rained. The start was delayed. It rained. They ran three laps behind the safety car. It rained. The race was red flagged. It rained. About an hour later they got back underway behind the safety car. It rained. They ran another fourteen laps behind the safety car. It still rained. They gave up on the safety car and the race began, seventeen laps after it started. At the end of lap eighteen the two Red Rags looked to be comfortably pulling away from King Fernando while Nico Rosberg had pinched fourth place off the Hoon. This was unfortunate for Nico because on lap nineteen, Mark made a whoopsie. Left rear on white curbs, a tad too much wellie, Red Rag meets wall and then embraces poor Nico. Both out on the spot. Safety car back out for another five laps to clean up the shattered crockery. And it still rains.

   On lap 24 they tried again and got in a whole eight laps of actual racing before Red Rag junior, Sebastien Buemi tried to mountTimo Glock’s Virgin at the end of the main straight, causing a flurry of pit stops and another safety car. During this period Vettel pulled away from King Fernando and the Hoon and it rained. But it was raining less now and most of the stops were to put on some intermediate tyres, which, if the rain didn’t increase would see out the race. Button, who had been taking some, well lets say interesting lines through corners, dropped four places on laps 26 and 27 and then pitted just as the aforementioned Virgin mounting took place. This meant that when they got back underway on lap 35 he was in twelfth place.

   But not for long. He was then mugged by Adrian Sutil, who probably didn’t do his Renault hopes much good, and was down to fifteenth. Jenson finished back in twelfth and out of the points. Sutil went on to have another accident with Kamikaze Kobayashi on lap 46. Mind you, Vitaly Petrov may have aided Adrian’s Renault aspirations as he had a prang himself. He has shown flashes of real pace this year, but he has needed to become more consistent in his bid to remain at Renault. He hasn’t. He may still stay but is also looking at a spot with some other teams. He should remain in F1 next year and not just because of his cash.

    So, the restarted restart restarted again and once more Vettel pulled away from King Fernando who in turn pulled away from the Hoon. But then on lap 44 Vettel was not pulling away any more. And on lap 45 he was not pulling away even more, in fact the Ferrari was closing in fast. And then the Red Rag’s Renault was pulling no more. It was in fact pushing. Pushing bits out through the side of the engine block that is, as a great plume of smoke and numerous bits of red hot metal were poring from the back of the Red Rag. So King Fernando cruised home to a comfortable, and very unexpected victory from the Hoon and Felipe Massa, who had a quiet, but reasonably good weekend.

   Others who had a good weekend were the Unter-ubermensch, who spent a whole afternoon not hitting anyone, although Rubens had a bit to say about his behaviour again on Saturday, and finished fourth, his best result of the year. Of course that would have been seventh without Webber, Rosberg and Vettel going out, but still. Also Vitantonio Liuzzi, who wasn’t hit by anyone else for a change and had his Force India stay in one piece claimed a fine sixth place and both Williams and Sauber drivers took the final four points places. Robert Kubica was an almost unnoticeable fifth after a very quiet weekend.

    For full results go to;


Sam Snape 



  Red Bull scored another one-two at Suzuka on Sunday with Vettel leading Webber home by under a second after a dramatic Japanese Grand Prix. The weekend had everything you could ask for and a bit more. A close fight for the lead. Start-line accidents. Courageous, if not crazy, overtaking moves, mostly by Kamikaze Kobayashi. Torrential rain on Saturday. And another fat slice of luck for championship leader, Mark Webber.












  Just consider the last five races. In Hungary Webber had a poor start and was stuck behind Alonso until a safety car was deployed due to debris on the track. Sure the pit call to leave him out was inspired but he was very lucky that Vettel copped a drive-through. Vettel deserved it of course, indeed if they didn’t nick him for falling back too far behind the safety car they should have for his crossing the white line when entering the pits. Still, a driver of Vettel’s talent making both these errors at once is rare and it gifted the race win to Webber. Then came Spa.

    Alonso had a shocker from the moment Barrichello drop kicked him off the road and he eventually stuck it into the fence. Meanwhile Vettel had another brain fade and harpooned Button, who was out on the spot, and earning himself yet another drive through. Three championship rivals out and Webber took second behind Hamilton who now led the championship by a few points.

   Monza, and guess what, Hamilton is out on lap one, having clumsily clouted into Felipe Massa’s Ferrari at the Rogia Chicane. His other three rivals finished in front of Webber but he was back in the title lead a few points up on the Hoon and almost an entire win ahead of Alonso and Vettel.

   Singapore. A poor qualifying means that Webber starts fifth but an early pace car gives him the chance to go off strategy and change tyres early. As the race unfolds he winds up in third behind Alonso and Vettel and ahead of Hamilton. The Hoon has a crack at Webber after another safety car period, the two touch and guess what? The Hoon is out on the spot but Webber can continue. Bridgestone technicians are amazed that Webbers tyre stayed on the wheel rim until the end as it had been forced off its mounting points by the collision.

   And now, Suzuka. Webber gets another ordinary start and is third behind Vettel and Kubica. The safety car comes out due to the start line carnage and for no particularly good reason, Kubica’s right rear wheel departs company with the Renault handing Webber second place. The Hoon, having pranged in practice and taken a grid penalty for changing his gearbox, has more gearbox problems in the race and drops to fifth at the finish. With another grid penalty in the wind for Korea the Hoon’s hopes are pretty much over. Meanwhile Webber, despite finishing behind his rivals for the last four races has managed to slowly regain, and then increase his lead.

   The weekend began on a bad note for the Hoon’s fading hope when he stuffed the McLaren into the barriers exiting Degna one. The damage was sufficient that, apart from a fairly sizable rebuild, a new gearbox was required. One new gearbox, one five place grid penalty. A storming lap in qualifying gave him the third fastest time which of course, became eighth on the grid. An equally storming start saw him behind Alonso in fifth place, shortly to become fourth courtesy of the Wenault’s wayward wheel. Fourth however was never going to be good enough to keep him right in the title race, but then he lost third gear in his brand new gearbox and he slowed slightly. Enough to be passed by team-mate Button and finish the race back in fifth place.

     Saturday was oddly entertaining, but not for the normal reasons. Only two drivers set flying lap times in the entire day due to torrential rain and qualifying was finally postponed until Sunday morning. Pit crews and commentators alike amused themselves, and the TV camera crews by creating ever more intricate model boats and sailing them down the pit lane. There WAS that much rain.












   Qualifying, when they finally got going on Sunday morning, went about as expected with the two Red Rags locking out the front row. The only real surprise was Jenson Button electing to qualify on the harder tyre, thereby running a longer first stint strategy than those around him. This might have worked had there not been a lengthy safety car period after the lap one contretemps. In the end he did not have the pace later in his stint to pull a gap while leading and he finally emerged behind his team-mate in fifth place. That was of course, before the Hoon lost third gear. Still, with his position in the championship it was a risk worth taking. Sometimes they even work.

  Button’s gamble was over within a second of the start with four drivers finding that they were not in ideal pieces of the track. Petrov moved across to his left to avoid, he claimed, Nick Heidfeld’s Sauber on the right, only to find that Hulkenberg was already there. Meanwhile, on another piece of track, Felipe Massa got everything entirely wrong, ending up on the grass on the inside and speared across the traffic and into into the increasingly unfortunate Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi. Four down before turn one to join Lucas di Grassi who had comprehensively stuffed the Virgin into the wall on the warm-up lap.

    Then Wobert’s Wenault’s wayward wight wear wheel wandered away. That’s much more fun when written with a lisp. After that the race was much as has already been mentioned apart from the antics of Kamikaze Kobayashi. Kami decided that he could replicate Kubica’s charge at Singapore and dive bombed numerous drivers at the Spoon bend. His strategy of starting the race on hard tyres and make as many laps as possible, and then near the end of the race when the car is light, chance to the softer tyres and make a sprint to the finish, again paid off unlike that of Jenson Button. But then again Jenson doesn’t make passing manoeuvres like Kami does. Nor for that matter does anyone else.

   With a bravery that would have seen Admiral Tojo weeping with pride Kami dive bombed Aljuersuari twice, Sutil once, Barrichello once and also got team-mate Nick Heidfeld who had the sense to just get out of the way. Seventh place was a just reward.

  Sauber team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn later commented, "The way he overtook several competitors was absolutely spectacular." Kubica was equally impressed, "What Kamui did with his car was super. Because I had to watch on television, he saved my day." And Kamikaze himself? He couldn't even remember how many cars he had overtaken, and calmly commented, "I only know that there were crashes all around me at the start, and later I made some contacts with my opponents. My car is rather damaged!" 

  Just seven lap from what would have been sixth place Nico Rosberg’s rear wheel did a Kubica and put Nico into the barriers very hard indeed gifting the place to the Unter-ubermensch who was having an almost competent day. And finally, barring miracles, Lotus has tied up the spot as best of the babies with Kovalainen finishing 12th ahead of Trulli in 13th two places higher that either Virgin or HRT have finished all season.

 For full results go to;


Sam Snape 


I'm baaaaaaaaaaaack 02-10-2003

Well it appears that I have gone from one country with no rain to another
country with no rain.

All my palm trees out the front are just about dead.


The last couple of days in
Egypt were interesting to say the least.

Went from
Luxor to Qena where we spent one night locked on the boat &
surrounded by compound & heavily armed soldiers to keep the troublesome
natives away. Hmmmm.

Next day went to the temple at Dendera in what can only be described as an
armored convoy. The busses were guarded by; 1 cop on a bike, one cop car, 2
armored trucks with about 10 soldiers in each all armed to the hilt with
AK47s (with double taped magazines) & an armored ute with a mounted 50
caliber heavy machine gun on the back.
Not entirely sure just how this was supposed to make us feel secure.
Anyway, didn't get shot at & made it back to the boat with some interesting
bits of pottery etc that they allow you to take from this site. There is so
much of it that after the professionals go through each area they just pile
what they don't want to keep in bloody great heaps so berks like me can walk
away with some little pieces. Better than the crap you can buy in the
souvenir shops.



And then the fun of coming home.

Left Cairo at 5.15 AM (that’s 3.15 AM London time) to Heathrow. Got to sit
around there all day until the 10;15 PM flight. (that’s 19 hours already).
13 hours to Singapore & a 2 hour stopover. (that’s 34 hours)
8 hours to Sydney. Arrive at 5.00 AM (that’s 42 hours)
To avoid jetlag as much as possible you have to try to stay awake until your
normal bedtime. Sacked out at about 9;30PM
(Grand Total with bugger all sleep - that’s right folks - 59 & a half hours)
Needless to say I didn't do much of anything once I woke up yesterday.
Still, feel OK today so it seems to have worked.

Grand total of 59 rolls of film were used. That will cost a bit to get
developed. Should have them back by Tuesday afternoon.
It will probably take me until Thursday to sort them all out (& throw out
the crap)

Anyway, that’s about it. With no job to waste my time on I will try to catch
up with most of you over the next couple of weeks.

ta ta