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Category Archives: International News

Mercedes and Pirelli to appear before tribunal

F1 testingUp before the ‘beak’

Mercedes and Pirelli are to appear before an international tribunal constituted by the FIA to answer questions relating to allegations of illegal tyre testing in Barcelona after the Spanish Grand Prix. Repports say that the test was performed with the current Mercedes F1 car and drivers, in contravention of the rules.

Initially Ferrari were also called upon to explain tests carried out by the Scuderia and the tyre supplier in Barcelona after the Bahrain Grand Prix, but the FIA has now conceded those tests were within the rules as they were conducted with a two-year-okd car, not the current model, and using only reserve driver pedro de la Rosa.

The question is, why would Pirelli, Ross Brawn, Toto Wolf and Mercedes have conducted tests on a recognised track, open to public scrutiny, knowing they were breaking the rules? Among the rumours circulating is one that suggests Mercedes was actually given permission to test the 2013 car by FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting. If that is true, what will the tribunal do?

The FIA Statement, issued on Wednesday night, said, “The FIA requested clarifications from Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1… The FIA also asked questions to Scuderia Ferrari Team, which took part in a tyre-testing with Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013.

“The FIA requested all the other F1 teams to provide the FIA with information they may have regarding any tests carried out by Pirelli during the 2013 season.

“In the light of all the replies received and in view of the information gathered the president of the FIA, acting as the FIA prosecuting body, has decided: “To close the case as regard to Scuderia Ferrari team considering that its participation in a tyre testing organised by Pirelli in Barcelona on 23-24 April 2013 using for this purpose a 2011 car is not deemed to contravene the applicable FIA rules.

“To bring the case concerning the tyre-testing session carried out by Pirelli and Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 in Barcelona on 15-17 May 2013 before the FIA international tribunal because it results from the inquiry that the conditions of this testing may constitute a breach of the applicable FIA rules.

“The FIA international tribunal is called upon to make a decision in compliance with the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules.”


International Engine of the Year 2013

Ford EcoBoost

Ford EcoBoost

Engine excellence

Ford, Fiat… as well as Ferrari and Porsche! The results of this year’s International Engine of the Year Award are an interesting mix of frugality and performance.

First-off, the overall winner, for the second year in a row, is Ford’s 1,0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the unit powering the Fiesta in Accelerate magazine’s June ‘Triple threat’ face-off. Turn to page 32 of this month’s issue to see how we found it in real-world conditions.

Among the other repeat winners in their segments are VW Group’s 1,4-litre TSI petrol (1,0- to 1,4-litre category); BMW and PSA Group’s 1,6-litre turbo petrol (1,4-litre to 1,8-litre category); BMW’s 2,0-litre turbo petrol (1,8-litre to 2,0-litre division) and Audi’s 2,5-litre turbo inline five-cylinder (2,0-litre to 2,5-litre section).

A new contender that went all the way this year is Fiat’s 0,8-litre two-cylinder turbocharged CNG engine, which got the Green Engine of the Year Award. GM’s 1,4-litre range extender, which won the category last year, had a dramatic fall from grace, dropping to 6th for 2013.

Best Performance Engine this year is Ferrari’s 6,3-litre V12, as used in the F12. The same unit displaced another Ferrari unit, the 458 V8, to take the honours for best engine over 4,0 litres.

Another winner this year was the Porsche Cayman/Boxster 2,7-litre flat-six, which displaced BMW to take the 2,5 to 3,0-litre class. McLaren’s 3,8-litre V8 won the 3,0 to 4,0-litre category, again displacing a BMW unit.

Ferrari V12

Ferrari V12

Porsche Boxster flat-6

Porsche Boxster flat-6

Scirocco-R Cup – SA’s got talent!

SciroccoSA youngsters shine at Spielberg

Kelvin van der Linde claimed a double-victory at the RedBull Ring, near Spielberg in Austria this weekend. Fellow South African, Jordan Pepper, claimed third place in race one and fifth overall (second in the Junior category) in the second race of the weekend.

Van der Linde started race one on Saturday from pole thanks to posting the fastest qualifying time of one minute and 46.686 seconds on the 4.3 km long circuit. The chequered flag here saw him claim his first of two victories on the weekend. The second victory was achieved from an eighth place start on Sunday.

“My start in race one was not good and I was put under immense pressure right from the start,” says Van der Linde. “I tried to save my push-to-pass for the second half of the race and that worked well. I’m extremely happy with my first victory.”

“Overall it was a good race weekend, we faced tough conditions but made the most of them to win both races,” says Van der Linde. “We’re off to a new track next (Norisring) and our focus shifts to secure points in an effort to win the championship. I have to thank Volkswagen and everyone in South Africa for the great support.”

These two young South Africans, both from the local single-make Engen Volkswagen Cup championship, are attracting a great deal of attention with their European motorsport efforts. At round one at Hockenheim, Van der Linde was fourth and Pepper claimed seventh.

After the first two rounds, Van der Linde leads the championship while Pepper holds fourth overall and is also leading the Junior Championship in this series. Their performance is made all the more noteworthy as they get virtually no practise time before each race – and every event takes place on a circuit they have not raced before.

“The performance of these two young South African motorsport talents shows our racers can compete successfully on an international level,” says Mike Rowe, head of Volkswagen Motorsport. “Both competed in the extremely challenging Engen Volkswagen Cup series last year, a series known as being one of the toughest in the country. The series builds both character and racecraft, the performance both are giving in Germany this year is definite proof of this.”

The next round of the Scirocco R-Cup takes place at the Norisring on 12 and 13 July.

Toyota 86 goes racing

0602 Toyota 86 GT4 1

Pictured here is the Toyota 86 GT4 racecar, which will begin its testing programme soon ahead of its entry into the European GT4 champiuonship, which starts in May. The car has been built by specialists GPRM and features a specially developed version of the standard car’s 2,0-litre boxer-four motor.

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Ecclestone to buy the ‘Ring?

We recently brought you news on the Nürburgring filing for bankruptcy, and now it seems one of the richest and most influential men in motorsport may be the track’s saving grace. A recent report suggests that the motorsport mogul is looking into buying the embattled circuit.

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De Villota accident “not Marussia’s fault”

The Marussia Formula One team has indicated that Maria de Villota’s crash during testing, which led to her losing her right eye, was not owed to a failure of the car in any way, but instead to a “chain of unfortunate circumstances and mistakes”. The Spaniard is still in hospital recovering from her serious head and facial injuries.

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Nürburgring broke

In sad news for the motoring world, the Nürburgring public racetrack has been denied a bailout equal to around R130 million, which would have secured the track’s future for at least six months. The Green Hell, as it is known, will now file for bankruptcy.

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