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8 July 2008

plus MotoGP

BMW’s recipe for success ahead of The GerMan Gp

Formula 1™

Pedrosa, Rossi and Stoner too close to call

GP2 Asia calendar confirmed

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Inside News

F1 championship closer than ever
Two points separate top four drivers after Hamilton wins wet British Grand Prix
McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton overcame heavy rain and tough tyre choices to win the British Grand Prix and is now tied with Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen at the top of the championship. Rain before and during the event made for the most incident-filled race of the season so far. As Hamilton drove his wet tyres faultlessly through the standing water, his title rivals Massa and Räikkönen of Ferrari, along with BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica struggled, with only Räikkönen scoring points in fourth. BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld took his third podium of the year with second while Rubens Barrichello came in third, delivering Honda’s first top three finish since 2006. The Brazilian was the only man on extreme wets in the third and fourth stints, lapping up to 30 seconds faster than anyone else. After the high speed challenges of Silverstone, balancing downforce and mechanical grip with tyre preservation will be the name of the game at Hockenheim, a circuit that Bridgestone’s Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima, described as very severe for tyres. “This is a compromise circuit,” explained Hirohide Hamashima. “High speed for much of the track, but with a lower speed section at the end of the lap. Mechanical grip is used here and graining is likely. Teams have to work to ensure their set-ups do not overuse the tyres in this section, while still getting maximum performance.”

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his first British Grand Prix win


The rapid rise of BMW in F1 - page 5

Pantano top after record Silverstone win
Italian Giorgio Pantano held on to his lead in the GP2 drivers’ title with a double podium at the British round of the series. The Racing Engineering driver became the first man this year to record back-to-back feature race wins after fighting his way up from fifth on the grid to lead home Barwa Campos driver Lucas di Grassi by four seconds and Karun Chandhok of iSport International by 10. A fouryear veteran of GP2, Pantano now holds the record for the most wins in the series, with eight. Having slipped from pole to finish sixth in race one, Bruno Senna kept the pressure on Pantano by winning Sunday’s sprint race ahead of di Grassi, again in second, and Pantano himself in third. Durango driver Davide Valsecchi snatched the final points-paying position of the weekend, finishing sixth in his first race back following a spinal injury. Pantano now takes an 11 point lead to the next round of racing at Hockenheim on July 19 and 20 with Senna in second ahead of Sebastien Buemi, who is a fan of the German track. “I’ve always done really well at Hockenheim,” explained the Arden driver. “But funnily enough I was constantly second there until finally winning twice last year in F3. It’s going to be great to go back and drive it in a GP2 car.” Having raced there in ‘05 and ‘06, GP2 returns to Hockenheim after a season away from the circuit.

Giorgio Pantano has now won three GP2 feature races this season


GP2 Asia calendar confirmed
The second season of GP2 Asia will open on October 18 and 19 by making its debut at China’s Shanghai circuit. The feature and sprint events will form part of a twelve race calendar that takes the series’ number of Formula 1 support events from two to three. Confirmed during the Silverstone race weekend, the new calendar will give teams a seven week break between Shanghai and Dubai’s first GP2 Asia meeting on December 5 and 6. After the Christmas break, the championship will resume at the end of January in Bahrain, before travelling back to Dubai on February 27 and 28. A second, Shanghai event follows on April 4 and 5, coinciding with the F1 weekend, before a final visit to Bahrain on April 18 and 19 brings the season to a close. “I am delighted to present this new calendar,” said GP2 Series Organiser Bruno Michel. “The GP2 Asia Series is back not only with a new circuit – Shanghai - but also with an added event, and as promised, three of the events will coincide with a Formula 1 race weekend.” With two days of testing booked at the Shanghai circuit on October 8 and 9, the teams will have a matter of weeks between the end of the GP2 Series season on September 14 and the start of GP2 Asia 2008/09.

Reigning GP2 Asia champion Romain Grosjean at the Sepang circuit earlier this year

Stoner riding his luck
Ducati rider Casey Stoner believes that his luck has turned following back-to-back wins at the British and Dutch Grands Prix. Stoner’s title rival and fellow Bridgestone rider Valentino Rossi crashed out on turn one of the Assen circuit. The Italian fought back to 11th place and picked up five points but Stoner’s dominant win allowed him to close the gap to Rossi by 20 points. Speaking after the Dutch TT race, Stoner said: “I’m sorry Valentino crashed because this isn’t necessarily the way I wanted to recover points on him, but at the end of the day we’ve had our fair share of bad luck this year, and racing is unpredictable. Now it seems fortune is favouring us.” After a low point in France where Stoner finished 16th, the Australian’s race pace has steadily improved, bringing him two

The British Grand Prix will be moving from Silverstone to Donington Park in two years’ time. According to an announcement by Donington Ventures Leisure Limited, who now owns the circuit, a contract has been signed with Formula One Management Limited. The venue has staged only one Formula 1 event in its 77-year history, hosting the European Grand Prix in 1993 at a time when Bridgestone was not involved in the sport.
Ryan Hunter-Reay in action at Watkins Glen

wins and four podiums in the last four outings. Stoner finished second in Italy and third in Barcelona, and since the two day test after the Catalunya race he has proved unbeatable, winning back-to-back races at Donington Park and Assen. The next stop for the MotoGP field is the German GP at Sachsenring on July 13. One of only three MotoGP circuits to run anticlockwise it presents unique challenges. Bridgestone’s Motorcycle Race Tyre Development Manager, Tohru Ubukata explained: “Sachsenring’s anti-clockwise direction and asymmetrical track layout produces a dominance of left-hand corners, which have proven to be one of our biggest hurdles in recent years.”


MotoGP’s title hopefuls – page 4

Rahal Letterman driver Ryan Hunter-Reay took his first IndyCar Series win this weekend at Watkins Glen International Raceway. Hunter-Reay won by 2.4s over Foyt’s Darren Manning while Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green in third. Scott Dixon still leads the championship, 48 points clear of Helio Castroneves.

Casey Stoner has closed the gap on series leader Dani Pedrosa to 29 points


Inside Analysis

MotoGP 2008: Still anyone’s title
As the MotoGP season reaches its halfway mark we review the story so far for the title chasers and look at where the championship might be won or lost
The second half of the 2008 MotoGP season starts at the Sachsenring and with Casey Stoner winning back-toback events at Donington Park and Assen, the title race is finely poised. Just 29 points separate Stoner in third from overall leader Dani Pedrosa. He in turn is just four points clear of Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, but who holds what cards for the second half of the season… Dani Pedrosa, Honda The Repsol Honda rider is no stranger to the sharp end of MotoGP. At 22 he is already in his third year of top class racing, and after 44 GP starts he can boast six wins, 10 pole positions and a precocious 24 podium finishes. Pedrosa finished second to Stoner in 2007, overhauling Rossi on the final weekend of the season with a win at the short, complex Valencia circuit. His talent for winning on MotoGP’s more technical tracks has already delivered him wins at Catalunya, Donington, Valencia, China and Saschenring. Expect him to be a force at this weekend’s German Grand Prix. The Spaniard is also particularly strong in his home races and has three MotoGP wins on Spanish asphalt. Certain to be a favourite for the last round of this year’s championship at Valencia, Pedrosa’s third home race of the season could well become the venue for his first MotoGP title. Valentino Rossi, Yamaha A five-time premier class champion, Rossi is seen by many as Mr MotoGP. When he retired from last year’s Valencia GP, ending the season in third place overall, it was his worst ever MotoGP title finish. Over the winter he switched to Bridgestone rubber, and now the only man on a Bridgestoneshod Yamaha is back to his best. Consecutive wins in China, France and Italy stamped Rossi’s authority on the ‘08 title race before a fall in turn one at Assen left him 11th in the Dutch TT race. Despite the poor points haul, the Doctor sent a strong

How the season has shaped up for MotoGP’s top three


message to his title rivals by fighting back from 14th to pick up five points, showing he still matches the hunger of his younger rivals. One source of optimism for Pedrosa and Stoner is that the only two venues where Rossi has raced a MotoGP bike and failed to win are still to come on the ‘08 calendar. The 29-year-old’s best finish at Laguna Seca was third in 2005, while his first outing at San Marino last year ended in retirement. But Bridgestone-shod bikes won both races in 2007 – taking a 1-2-3 in Misano – and his new rubber could yet give Rossi the edge at these two venues. Casey Stoner, Ducati In 2007, the Aussie became the first man ever to win a top class motorcycle title on Bridgestone tyres. This year, his title defence got off to a perfect start with victory at round one in Qatar, but Stoner faded to 11th, 6th and 16th in Spain, Portugal and France. Typically though, the 22-year-old has come back fighting. He has recorded four consecutive podiums since the French GP and after making some adjustments during testing at Catalunya he has been unbeatable in the last two outings at Donington and Assen. Fourth in the standings after the French GP, Stoner has clawed his way back into a title battle that could well take the remaining nine races to resolve.

Casey Stoner leads Rossi and Pedrosa on track. The order is reversed in the overall standings


The continuing rise of BMW
In three years BMW Sauber has gone from F1 newboy to title contender. But how has it happened and what will it take to win a constructors’ championship
This year’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim is the tenth race of the 2008 Formula 1 season. While many would have predicted a German manufacturer challenging Ferrari at the top of the table at this stage, fewer would have anticipated the challenge would be coming from BMW Sauber. Huge improvements In F1 terms, BMW’s rise to championship challenger has been meteoric. Just six months before the start of the 2006 season, BMW made the decision to take a majority stake in the Sauber team. The impact was immediate. In 2005, Sauber finished 8th in the constructors’ championship on 20 points. Skip to the end of the 2006 season and BMW Sauber was already raising eyebrows in the paddock, placing fifth in the constructors’ championship with 36 points, picking up 15 points finishes and two podiums along the way (Nick Heidfeld’s third in Hungary and Kubica’s repeat in Italy). Showing promise This pace of improvement continued in 2007. After finishing 50 points behind fourth place in 2006, the team emerged from the 2007 season as the third strongest manufacturer with 101 points, while the 23-year-old Kubica came to prominence as one of the most promising talents in F1 along the way. But as BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explains, the team

Robert Kubica become BMW’s first race winner at this year’s Canadian Grand Prix

was not about to rest on this success and settle for third best: “We exceeded our own targets in 2007 and were proud of it. But, the fact that on paper we ended up second in the [constructors’] championship following the penalty imposed on McLaren-Mercedes, did not disguise that there were four cars on the grid which were markedly faster than ours.”
BMW In ForMulA 1

44 races 219 points

11 front row starts

10 rAceS led
GP2 Series
Driver (Team)

The next step BMW’s drive to overhaul Ferrari and McLaren in 2008 has taken the form of the new BMW Sauber F1.08 car, which Technical Director Willy Rampf describes as a “radical evolution”. “Our aim was to build a car with an impressive aerodynamic efficiency, but which also boasted a very stable aero balance,” explains Rampf. “Which means that it hardly loses any downforce when the wheels are turned in, and thus gives the driver a lot of confidence.” This approach has already paid dividends, with Kubica securing BMW’s first win as a constructor in this year’s Canadian Grand Prix. A repeat at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim on July 20 would be another landmark in what could yet be a championship season for BMW.


Formula One
Driver (Team) 1 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) 2 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 3 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 4 Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber) 5 Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) 6 Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) July 20 August 4 Pts 48 48 48 46 36 24

MotoGP * Bridgestone riders in red
Rider (Team) 1 Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 2 Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) 3 Casey Stoner (Ducati Corse) 4 Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) 5 Colin Edwards (Tech3 Yamaha) 6 Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot) July 13 July 20 Pts 171 167 142 114 98 79

IndyCar Series

Driver (Team) 1 Scott Dixon (Ganassi) 2 Helio Castroneves (Penske) 3 Dan Wheldon (Ganassi) 4 Tony Kanaan (Andretti-Green) 5 Danica Patrick (Andretti-Green) 6 Hideki Mutoh (Andretti-Green) July 12 July 20

Pts 370 322 311 304 241 238

1 Giorgio Pantano (Racing Eng.) 2 Bruno Senna (iSport) 3 Sebastien Buemi (Trust Arden) 4 Lucas Di Grassi (Barwa Campos) 5 Romain Grosjean (ART Grand Prix) 6 Vitaly Petrov (Barwa Campos) July 19-20 August 3-4

50 39 25 24 23 20

Hockenheim, Germany Hungaroring, Hungary

Sachsenring, Germany Laguna Seca, USA

Hockenheim, Germany Hungaroring, Hungary

Nashville, USA Ohio, USA