McLaren and Ferrari are saying all the
hopeful wintertime things about how
much more competitive they will be
this year, but one of the biggest
obstacles to their return to F1
greatness – Red Bull Racing’s resident
engineering genius Adrian Newey
– has some bad news for them: He
doesn’t think his team has reached its
peak, despite Sebastien Vettel’s
crushing domination of 2011.
“We still had some areas that could
be improved upon,” Newey reckons,
“but as always it is going to be the
development race through the winter.
We have got some regulation changes
– primarily the restriction of exhaust
exit position and mapping – which
means that the exhaust effect is
almost zero now. So, everybody will be
working to try and recover that lost
downforce, and whoever comes up
with the best solutions will probably
be the winners next year.”
Anyone ready to bet against his
solutions being the best ones?
NEWEY: NO LETUP
FROM RED BULL
Red Bull design ace sees
2012 shaping up like ‘ 11
“STEWART WOULD DO
WHATEVER IT TOOK TO
SUCCEED IN EVERYTHING”
Tony Stewart would have excelled
in any form of motorsports. When
the opportunity arises and his
NASCAR commitments allow, he
still does, whether it’s sprint
cars, midgets or late models. Had
he stayed in IndyCars, who
knows what he might have
achieved? After all, we’re talking
about a guy who took pole for the
Indy 500 when the IRL’s ex-CART
cars had huge amounts of
horsepower, and won the title
when the series’ first wave of
normally aspirated cars came with
poor, rear-heavy handling.
In short, Stewart would have
done whatever it took to succeed
in anything and everything he
turned his hand to. Little wonder
that his hero is A.J. Foyt. But who,
after the first 26 races of the 2011
season, would have put money
on him proving to be the most
winning and the most consistent
driver in the Chase for the Sprint
Cup? For the inside story on how
Stewart took his third NASCAR
title, and what his priorities are
for 2012, turn to page 18.
Another 2011 champion, but
one who was less of a surprise,
was Dario Franchitti. With his
fourth title in five seasons – four
from four, if you ignore his
ill-fated foray into NASCAR in
Stewart was an excellent Indy car driver, and started from pole in the ’96 Indy 500.
’08 – he’s underlined his name in
the IndyCar Series record books.
Dario says he doesn’t feel
comfortable being ranked with
some of the legends of the sport,
but his 30 wins (ninth in the all-time list) put him up there. If he’s
as competitive for the next three
years as he was the past three, he
may pass his former boss Michael
Andretti for third in career wins.
Michael, of course, racked up
the majority of his wins driving
for Newman/Haas Racing, and
it is with great sadness we heard
the news that this truly great
team was withdrawing from the
IZOD IndyCar Series. Robin
Miller pays tribute from page 30.
As one team leaves, another
returns, full time. But how will
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
handle the balance of duties
between refiring the IndyCar
branch of the team and
retaining the American Le Mans
Series titles they won with BMW?
Turn to page 40 to find out.
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FERRARI TO F1: EUROPE’S STILL KEY Sport can’t cut its roots, di Montezemolo warns The push for more Formula 1 races outside grand prix racing’s traditional venues may be good for the bottom line, but Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo worries that something vital may be lost in the process. Only eight of the 20 races on the 2012 calendar will be held in Europe, which as a percentage is the lowest in the history of the World Championship. F1 commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that the number could dwindle to just five in the future. Di Montezemolo, however, insists that if the sport fails to preserve its races in Europe, it could weaken F1. “Maintaining the importance of Europe in Formula 1 is very important,” he said. “It’s good to see F1 in India, in Russia, in Korea, in the Middle East and, of course, in the United States, but we must not lose our tradition and history in Europe – particularly when we see that some of the new circuits are not as good as Spa, for example. We have to be careful not to dilute the image of F1.”
The F1 fan base may be taking on an increasingly
multi-cultural makeup, but Ferrari is concerned
about the sport straying too far from its roots.