Great shame…

Statement by the Chairman regarding Monisha Kaltenborn:

“Longbow Finance SA regrets to announce that, by mutual consent and due to diverging views of the future of the company, Monisha Kaltenborn will leave her positions with the Sauber Group effective immediately. We thank her for many years of strong leadership, great passion for the Sauber F1 Team and wish her the very best for the future. Her successor will be announced shortly; in the meantime we wish the team the best of luck in Azerbaijan.”

Pascal Picci
Chairman of the Board
Sauber Holding AG

As above, the 46-year-old, Formula 1’s first and only female team boss, was in disagreement with the team’s owners over the running of Sauber.

Obituary: Nicholas Patrick Hayden

 

Don’t usually cover those who compete bravely in the Superbike World Championship but the passing of Nicky Hayden on 22 May made me incredibly sad, so thought I’d wait until Monaco and the Indy 500 was over before reminding everyone of the great talent we’ve lost, and of course one of the nicest guys on the circuit.

Born into a large extended Catholic family in Owensboro, Kentucky, Nicky was the middle child of Earl and Rose Hayden, with two brothers and two sisters. The entire family loved motorcycles, and shortly after he could walk, Nicky declared that his dream was to be a world champion. Although life on a farm meant that animals – horses, pot-belly pigs, even llamas – were a part of every day, for Nicky they were just novelties, and while he was a natural athlete, childhood sports leagues were little more than a lark.

Racing – for the whole family, but especially for Nicky – was everything. Apart from an annual spring break jaunt to Panama City, Florida, family trips were to racetracks, first around the Midwest, then the Eastern US and eventually the entire country.

For Nicky, a distinguished amateur dirt track and road racing career transitioned into a successful stint in the AMA Grand National Championship and AMA Superbike series, in which he earned the 1999 AMA Supersport and 2002 AMA Superbike crowns with American Honda. He was promoted to the FIM MotoGP series with Repsol Honda, for whom he achieved his dream of earning the World Championship in 2006. Nicky also rode for Ducati and Aspar Racing in MotoGP, and last year he transitioned to the FIM Superbike World Championship with the Ten Kate squad.

Along the way, his charisma earned him legions of fans the world over, while his dedication and professionalism earned the respect and admiration of his teams, teammates and competitors.

Among those who knew him best, Nicky was cherished for his generosity, kindness, and mischievous sense of humour. His famous grin was never far from his lips, and he invariably had time to engage with others, even strangers. The life of any party, Nicky loved to dance, wear funny costumes, and pull pranks, often with a microphone in hand.

Throughout it all, family was Nicky’s anchor. Many Americans who race internationally opt to relocate overseas, but Nicky always preferred to return home between events. Well into his professional career, he resided in an apartment above his parents’ garage, and even after purchasing his own home nearby, he religiously showed up for his mother’s 6 o’clock dinners when he wasn’t travelling.

Several years ago, he purchased and refurbished an old building on an Owensboro lake, and what he dubbed Victory Lane Lodge became the family’s preferred location for functions of all types, from Sunday get-togethers to weddings. He loved children and was a model uncle, and friends and family say he was never happier than after meeting girlfriend Jackie, with whom he became engaged last year.

One more decent egg and a great racer who’ll be sorely missed.

Lola founder Eric Broadley dies at 88

 

In post-war Britain a whole generation of young engineers were growing up as racers, building their own racing machinery from kits or from parts of old cars. It was do-it-yourself motor racing.

The 500cc Club and the 750 Motor Club both played an important role in this, although it was the 750 Motor Club which had access to the basic Austin Seven which the enthusiasts treated “as a grown-up Meccano set” with which to create racing and rally cars.

The popularity of the car clubs created commercial opportunities for those with the skills and the vision. As the sport grew so did the need for car constructors, component manufacturers, engine tuners and other businesses. As they were set up by racing enthusiasts with specific aims they tended to be dedicated to motorsport and so had to be competitive to survive. They didn’t have any spare cash to fall back on. When engineers came along who felt they could do better than what was available they were often proved right.

Colin Chapman was a leading member of the 750 Motor Club with Austin Seven-based cars. Eric Broadley was another 750 Motor Club graduate who began building his own cars in the late 1950s. The result was Lola Cars which would become one of the biggest racing car production companies in the world. He too would recruit from among his friends in the 750 Motor Club, notably Len Bailey, the designer of the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Ford GT40.

So how will Eric Broadley be remembered?

Says one F1 commentator: “Those who knew and worked with him will remember him fondly and with affection. His vision and dedication to Lola deserves the same respect rightly afforded to Chapman, Williams, McLaren, Dennis and Brabham, because the influence he had on the UK motorsport industry was so vital.”

Broadley was a true engineer’s engineer.

Indy 500: Alonso so close but Sato clinches it

 

Well, what a race. It was certainly heartbreaking stuff at Indianapolis when Fernando Alonso retired from the race on lap 179 out of 200, and having led the race for 27 laps. Former Jordan FI driver Takuma Sato – who raced in F1 between 2002 and 2008 before switching to the American series – clinched the win, edging out three-time victor Helio Castroneves in an exciting conclusion.

Fellow former F1 driver Max Chilton of Britain also had a superb race, leading for several laps before coming home in an eventual fourth place. Dubai-born British driver Ed Jones took an impressive third place on his Indy 500 debut.

Said Alonso: “Obviously it’s disappointing not to finish the race because every race you compete, you want to be at the chequered flag. But today that was not possible.

“The last two weeks have been a great experience. I came here basically to prove myself and to challenge myself. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar.

“It was nice to have this competitive feeling – even leading the Indy 500. I was passing, watching the tower, and saw the 29 on top of it. I was thinking at that moment if Zak or someone from the team was taking a picture, because I want that picture at home!

“Thanks to IndyCar, thanks to Indianapolis, and thanks to the fans. I felt at home. I’m not American, but I felt really proud to race here.

“Finally, congratulations to Sato San and to Andretti. We have been sharing the last two weeks and Takuma was a lot of help, in coming from F1. I’m extremely happy for the final result.”

Ferrari 1-2 at Monaco; Hamilton fights back to seventh

 

A historic win at a historic race: Sebastian Vettel took the victory ahead of Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari triumphed in Monaco. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third. Lewis Hamilton battled from P13 on the grid to claim seventh at the chequered flag.

This was the Scuderia’s 227th world championship win, and the 44th of Vettel’s career. He now leads the championship on 129 points.

As always in Monaco, so much is at stake in the few seconds it takes to get off the grid and run down to the braking zone at Sainte-Devote. However, when you have both your cars on the front row, you in fact have the most normal of starts.

Raikkonen got away well from pole on the right side of the track, pulling Vettel along behind him, who was fighting off the Mercedes. The two SF70Hs soon pulled out a bit of a lead over Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo. However, the hot conditions made it difficult to follow another car too closely as there was a risk of overheating. Vettel was running around 1’14” behind Raikkonen at this point, but the Ferraris began to up the pace, lapping in the low 1m 17s.

The basic strategy was quite straightforward: just one tyre stop shortly before half distance, switching from the Ultra to the Superset – therefore it was best to try and build up a small lead right away. A sixth of the way through, there was just a little more than two seconds splitting the Ferraris, while Bottas was dropping back. Things livened up on lap 15 with Vettel posted a fastest lap of 1’16”197.

Next time round, Hulkenberg’s Renault began smoking at the back in the run down to Mirabeau. The engineers started planning for a safety car scenario, but only yellow flags were required.

By lap 26, the backmarkers were already on the agenda and Raikkonen lost time getting by Button and Wehrlein who were scrapping between themselves. Vettel also got past but Bottas had made up 4 seconds and therefore the two Ferrari men responded immediately. On lap 32 Verstappen’s Red Bull kicked off the run of pit stops and next time round it was Bottas’ turn. Immediately Ferrari moved to protect its position and, as planned, brought Raikkonen in first for his stop.

Vettel thus found himself leading from Ricciardo who was pushing very hard, trading fastest sector times with Seb. Vettel’s best lap, a 1’15”587, gave a good idea of the Ferrari’s potential. Ricciardo pitted at half-distance and Vettel continued to push in anticipation of his stop at the end of lap 39. Would that be enough to get him ahead of Raikkonen? Yes, the move worked.

In Monaco, it usually takes some major incident for things to change at the front. Vettel continued to push, while Raikkonen held off Ricciardo. And then came that major incident: with just 18 laps to go, Wehrlein was hit by Button and his Sauber was tipped on its side against the barrier at Portier.

The Safety Car came out and the gaps were wiped out, including the leader’s 12 seconds over Raikkonen. Vettel asked about Pascal over the radio and was told he was okay. The Safety Car stayed out for a long time, coming in with 12 laps to go. The race was on again with the two Ferrari’s getting away well. Behind them there were some battles and Vandoorne went off at Sainte-Devote.

Lewis Hamilton

“The strategists said P10 was probably the maximum today, so it feels great to have beaten that target. To score six points, considering where I was on the grid after a disastrous day on Saturday is a good recovery.

“Today it was impossible to overtake and I tried everything to get past Carlos (Sainz) at the end. I’m just grateful to have ended up in P7. I went on the radio at the end there to make sure the team know that this battle isn’t over. We’ll be sure to push those red cars hard next time out in Canada. We’ve got a real fight on our hands, but there are still 14 races to go.”

Kimi on pole

Ferrari has secured a front row lock-out in Monaco. Kimi Raikkonen edged out team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.043 seconds, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas 0.002secs further back in third.

It’s the most famous and challenging track on the calendar, the one which calls for maximum performance from both the car and the driver. Securing pole position here is more of a reward than anywhere else; locking out the front row is a synonym for sensational team work.

At Monaco today, Scuderia Ferrari did it. The last one-two for the team on the grid in the Principality dates back to 2008. A perfect lap crowned Raikkonen’s performance through the weekend so far, giving him his 17th pole position in Formula One. Vettel’s lap was only slightly less perfect, with a gap of just over four hundredths of a second to his team-mate at the finish line.

Jenson Button will start from the back after qualifying ninth on his return to F1 because of a grid penalty. But perhaps amazingly, Lewis Hamilton starts in 14th as he struggled for grip throughout the session and was eliminated in Q2 – after being unable to complete a lap that would have put him into Q3 owing to yellow flags for a crashed car.

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