Heard the one about Jenson Button and the F1 London grand prix?

Jenson Button has backed the idea of a Formula One race on the streets of London – even though the 34-year-old former world champion would be retired in the unlikely event of it ever taking place.

Jenson Button

 The idea of London grand prix, taking in such sights as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, was first mooted in 2012. It was seen at the time as a publicity stunt by Santander, the sponsors of the British Grand Prix.
But the unlikely scenario moved a step closer on Thursday when the government announced a consultation on closed-road motor sportevents in mainland Britain.
Button said: "When I first saw the plans for a London grand prix I knew they were ambitious, but fantastic. The thought of a race through the capital's streets was only a dream when they initiated the project, but this week's [consultation announcement] brings the idea a step closer to reality.
"When you really picture what it would look like it's truly mind blowing. You could create such a unique grand prix through the streets of London – the roads are naturally very wide and long, so straight-line speeds would be high, and you could create a real blend of corners. When you combine all of that with the world-famous monuments that would feature in the backdrop you can see why it would be an awesome addition to the calendar. The dream has taken a step closer this week, and I'd love to see this amazing concept finally happen."
But the idea of the prime minister, David Cameron, or the London mayor, Boris Johnson, paying Bernie Ecclestone about £40m for the dubious privilege of closing down the city remains fanciful, even though Formula One's chief executive has an astonishing talent for persuading countries to build white elephant stadiums and fork out fortunes for events they do not really need.
The notion was put in perspective by Ben Taylor, director of development and communications at the Motor Sport Association (MSA), who told the Guardian on Thursday: "Silverstone's got a long-term contract to host the British Grand Prix. It's the home of British motor racing. It's invested heavily in its facilities and does a great job hosting the race, so there is no obvious opening in the F1 calendar.
"The logistical challenges of hosting Formula One on the streets of London would be significant. Given the right support in the right places it's not insurmountable, but it's not something that you take on lightly."
But Taylor emphasised that that was not the MSA's main aim. "The push from the MSA about getting this change in legislation is much more aimed at hill climbs, sprints and stage rallies around the country in less traffic-heavy routes than Park Lane and Horse Guards Parade."
Meanwhile, the MSA's acting chief executive, Rob Jones, said: "This is the news British motor sport has been waiting for. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the landscape of our sport, allowing local communities across the country to host motor sport events and enjoy all the excitement and economic benefit they bring.
"The government's enthusiasm for closed-road motor sport, and its launch of a public consultation, is the culmination of years of hard work behind the scenes. We now have to demonstrate the support that exists for closed-road motor sport around the country."
But London is likely to see Formula E, the new FIA-sanctioned series in which the cars are electrically powered. The ten-race championship is planned to end in the city in May or June next year.

Double points only awarded in final Formula 1 race after vote to extend fails

A motion to extend the double points system to the last three races of the Formula 1 calendar has failed, meaning that the ruling will only stand in the final race of the campaign.

The controversial system that will give the winner 50 points instead of 25 in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was announced before Christmas.

The idea of extending that system to the races in the USA and Brazil was supported by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, but the F1 Strategy Group voted against it, according to Sky Sports News.

The final race will take place at the Yas Marina circuit on November 23.
Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel drives around the Yas Marina circuit during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 4, 2012

Red Bull playing catch-up in Bahrain

Sakhir International Circuit, Bahrain - Formula One teams began their final pre-season test in Bahrain on Thursday with champion Red Bull and engine partner Renault still struggling as Mercedes-powered rivals racked up the laps.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel's new team mate at Red Bull, started off with a promising 32 laps in the morning but an attempt at a longer run in the afternoon was aborted.
He told reporters that the team were still playing catch-up after a difficult first two tests in Spain and Bahrain.
“We're definitely not where we'd like to be in terms of programme,” he said.
“It's clear we probably won't come out to Melbourne and dominate as the team did last year, but it's still very early to say. We're getting there. The morning was definitely better and we definitely made a step forward in terms of power.”
MERCEDES WELL AHEAD
With the season due to start in Australia on 16 March, the four Mercedes-powered teams - Mercedes, McLaren, Force India and Williams - have looked well ahead of the four using Renault engines.
The works Mercedes team of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg alone completed 3073km over the first eight days of testing in Spain and Bahrain while the four Renault teams together managed only 4019 km.
The Red Bull spent much of the afternoon in the garage before Ricciardo, who has replaced compatriot Mark Webber, managed seven more laps.
Red Bull race engineering coordinator Andy Damerum said the afternoon run had been cut short when the sensors reported some issues that turned out to be a problem with the exhaust.
Mercedes teams were the only ones to have carried out race simulations before the final test with four times world champion Vettel's Red Bull risking heading for Melbourne without having gone a full race distance in one stint.
PEREZ FASTEST
Mexican Sergio Perez, in a Mercedes-powered Force India, was quickest on Thursday with a time of 1min35.290, ahead of Valtteri Bottas in a Williams, also powered by the German unit.
Bottas laid down the most laps of the 5.412km circuit - 128 compared to Perez's 105 - with a race simulation in the afternoon as well as tyre work for Pirelli, without any issues.
McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen also had a productive day in his Mercedes-powered car with 109 laps, including a full race distance, and the sixth best time.
Ferrari had Kimi Raikkonen third on the timesheets, with 54 laps under his belt.
The Renault teams filled four of the bottom five places with a total of 145 laps between them compared to 431 for Mercedes rivals.
Japan's Kamui Kobayashi did the fewest (19) in the Caterham while Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who left Williams at the end of last year, managed only 31 for Lotus after being sidelined by problems with a new-specification exhaust.
Maldonado said: “It wasn't what we wanted today but we are all working very hard to make progress and I'm sure we'll have solutions quite soon as a team.
“It's clear we have good potential and the car is not bad.”
Renault F1 deputy managing director Rob White said after last week's test that the manufacturer had made progress but was some weeks behind where it wanted to be.
“We are not back on schedule but we are moving in the right direction,” he said, adding that the team at the Viry factory was “working night and day to solve our problems”.
Best times set in Thursday's two sessions:
1 Sergio Pérez (Mexico) Force India - 1min35.290
2 Valtteri Bottas (FinlandI) Williams - 1min36.184
3 Kimi Räikkönen (Finland) Ferrari - 1min36.432
4 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes - 1min36.624
5 Adrian Sutil (Germany) Sauber - 1min37.700
6 Kevin Magnussen (Denmark) McLaren - 1min37.825
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull - 1min37.908
8 Max Chilton (Britain) Marussia - 1min38.610
9 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Toro Rosso - 1min39.242
10 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus - 1min40.599
11 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Caterham - 1min42.285
Reuters

New Ferrari F14-T video is incredible

If you are into cars and love being teased and dazzled by images of exotic cars, Ferrari recently released one of their most enchanting car porn teasers ever to the F1crowd. There are no girls and no sex scenes even in it. Watch the unveiling of the all new Ferrari F14-T unveiled at the home of Ferrari at Maranello and Scuderia devotees are likely to bet you good money that if you are into hot cars, fast cars, or cool cars that if you press play to see the new video, you are more than likely about to get turned on. Even the car guys at the official F1 News page can't stop talking about the car company's latest and greatest racing masterpiece. On Feb. 26, they even released drawings of the car after trying to get a closer look at her undercarriage (those voyeuristic rascals).The tantalizing video filming appears to have taken place primarily inside the company's factory at Maranello [located in the heart of Italy]. All the engineers and development team are wearing uniforms in the traditional Scuderia Ferrari "Rosso Corso" red color -- a red that has a slight undertone of orange rather than blue, giving their fabrics a very distinct level of official "Ferrari-esqueness" (for lack of a better term that describes the color more easily).
Alluring photography is just one way the famous Italian exotic car brand marketers have sought to capture the mind, hearts, and various other sundry body parts of the viewing audience. Saying this year they need to have all the aces, they make reference to their team of engineers and auto mechanics, F1 drivers Kimi and Fernando, and then a simple phone call from an office to the company president makes the announcement.
The F14-T is ready. Oh yes, that is a statement that produces immediate anticipatory shivers.
[Would it be wrong for race fans to refer to Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso "fluffers" in this particular situation? Whatever you call them, they certainly raised the temperature of the video and appear to have lifted the factory worker's spirits quite effectively simply by showing up in the video, paying attention, and being willing to smile while actively participating.]
The president and the F1 race drivers arrive together at the factory where a sea of Italian auto workers parts like the red seas. Scuderia red to be more accurate -- a color everyone who knows and loves the brand marquis is proud to say their arteries already naturally bleed.
Formula One construction of the new F14-T is finally complete and present to the crowd as a truly orgasmic joy to see. Look closely -- she's a beauty. Much more subtle and refined in her prowess and mastery: elegant, commanding of presence, red hot and ready for man-handling.
Look closely and you will see the car sports logos for such famous auto racing sponsors as Fiat, Shell, UPS, Puma, Brembo, and Pirelli. There is even a decal on the car and a logo teaser at the end for TNT energy drink.
Autosport noted on Feb. 26, that, "Ferrari plans to bring the main upgrades to its 2014 Formula 1 car during the final pre-season test in Bahrain." [Gush.] The exotic car news fascination with this new F1 car is starting to get crazy.
So go ahead and watch the video if you dare. But word to the wise -- the recommendation is when you do finally see it, pull your shades drawn at home, turn down the lights, light a scented candle or two (preferably a mix of petrol and spice), then turn up your computer speakers to a gentle "whisper in your ear" level of volume.
Have no fear that the speakers are playing on a hushed tone. The video is in Italian but captioned in English. Just make sure you make the viewing screen big and wide.
Watch and have the opportunity to get up close and personal with images of one exotic car that truly does excite.
Red hot, sexy as hell, and ready to be manhandled, the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing team turned on race car fans worldwide with the launch of their new Ferrari F14-T in 2014.
Red hot, sexy as hell, and ready to be manhandled, the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing team turned on race car fans worldwide with the launch of their new Ferrari F14-T in 2014.
Red hot, sexy as hell, and ready to be manhandled, the Scuderia Ferrari F1 racing team turned on race car fans worldwide with the launch of their new Ferrari F14-T in 2014.

Sky Sports F1 to show a Race a Day for the whole 2014 season!

Sky Sports F1 has announced it will be providing motorsport fans with the essential fix of an F1 race a day throughout 2014 – and now it wants you to decide what races it should broadcast!
Every night from Friday March 7th until the end of the December, Sky Sports F1 will broadcast a classic race from the archives at 9pm. That means you’ll get a slice of retro-tastic Formula One before bedtime EVERY NIGHT of the 2014 season – brilliant!
All of the races will have taken place since 1981 and each broadcast will either be an all-encompassing highlights package or a full race re-run.
But before that all starts they’re kicking off F1 a Day with a bang, as the channel will be showing three “Races of the Century” chosen by the readers and viewers of Sky Sports F1 – with the first, at 9pm on Friday March 7th, the winner of their online poll.
The channel has compiled a list of arguably the most exciting races over the past 13 seasons – all the way back to the year 2000 – for you to decide on, and here are the nominees;
2000 German GP
Rubens Barrichello’s first F1 win, achieved from 18th on the grid in a dry-wet-dry classic which also featured a protestor running across the circuit mid-way through the race!
2000 Belgian GP
The definitive driver duel in the first decade of the new century? Yes, it’s that battle between Mika Hakkinen and arch-rival Michael Schumacher featuring that overtaking move to clinch an unforgettable victory.
2003 British GP
A race that had it all – another track invader, two Safety Car deployments, and a breathtaking overtake for victory. No wonder the Silverstone crowd were in raptures.
2005 Japanese GP
The comeback victory of the century so far? In an unforgettable finish, Kimi Raikkonen passes Giancarlo Fisichella on the final lap to prevail from 17th on the grid – and don’t forget about Fernando Alonso, complete with a pass around Michael Schumacher at 130R, claiming third from 16th!
2008 Brazilian GP
No explanation necessary – it’s the race of Felipe Massa’s heartbreak in front of his home support as Lewis Hamilton secures the title at the final corner.
2010 Abu Dhabi GP
F1′s only four-way title showdown culminates with Sebastian Vettel securing his first World Championship as Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso miss out.
2011 Chinese GP
In a topsy-turvy race, Lewis Hamilton clinches victory after a late charge from fourth to first sees him pass both Vettel and Jenson Button.
2011 Canadian GP
The most epic of epic races with the sting in the tale as Button passes Vettel on the final lap having been listed as last midway through the grand prix!
2012 European GP
Who said Valencia only served up dull races? In front of his home crowd, Alonso triumphs from 11th on the grid in an action-packed race, while Michael Schumacher finishes on the podium for the final time in his F1 career.
2012 Brazilian GP
The classic title showdown. Vettel spins at the first corner but fights back to claim the title ahead of Alonso, while Button is victorious in the race after Nico Hulkenberg collides with Hamilton.
originally on Skysports

Ricciardo says Red Bull still "not up to scratch"

Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull is still "not up to scratch" as the champion team's problems continued during the first day of the final pre-season Formula 1 test in Bahrain.
The Australian managed 39 laps -- only four fewer than he managed across the entirety of last week's test -- and set Red Bull's fastest time around the Sakhir circuit so far this year, but the team again curtailed its running early after encountering more cooling problems with the RB10.
Ricciardo said Red Bull was still playing "catch-up" as it battles to get ready for the first race in Australia in two weeks' time.
"Last week we were doing stuff that we would have liked to have done in Jerez and now we're trying to catch up on stuff from last week," he said when asked how far behind Red Bull was. "We're definitely not up to scratch with where we'd like to be in terms of program.
"From the outside, I guess it's just lap times and the amount of laps we're doing, but on the inside we know where we are with performance we're putting in the car and I think we're still confident that we can be up there. But it's hard to say.
"It's clear we probably won't come out to Melbourne and dominate as the team did last year, but it's still very early to say. We're getting there. The morning was definitely better, and we definitely made a step forward in terms of power.
"We just have to worry about ourselves for now and just get the laps in. We'd really like to do some long runs this week and come into Melbourne with some confidence for the race. I think we'd be pleased if we get that done, but there's still a long way to go for us."

Renault says engine deadline no worry

Renault insists Friday's Formula 1 engine homologation deadline poses no major worry, even though it has not yet fully solved all the problems with its new power unit.
While the French manufacturer is still working on efforts to cure the issues that have blighted its pre-season testing, it must submit its final V6 turbo engine designs to the FIA within the next 24 hours. But although that means engine designs are theoretically frozen, a clause in the regulations that allows changes to be made for "reliability, safety or cost saving reasons" means the situation is not too much of a concern.
Remi Taffin, Renault's head of trackside operations (LEFT), said: "I think as we have gone through the last six or seven years, when you go in to a season with a new engine, you know through the season you will have a few reliability issues that you will sort with the normal rules -- fair and equitable rules.
"If you look at the past six years, I think we finished with a V8 that had 95 percent parts changed from the beginning [of the rules cycle]. It will be the same story for us.
"We will be applying for our Melbourne spec tomorrow, and we will be delivering all the specs and all the documents that we need to. Obviously, if we have a few more issues to sort out we will do the same process as before."
PROGRESS BUT STILL MORE TO DO
Renault still needs to make big steps forward with its engine if it is to help its customer teams fight near the front at the Australian Grand Prix. Although the opening day of the final Bahrain test delivered more frustrations for its teams, Taffin reckons that progress had been made since last week.
"I think we made quite a step because we saw today we could run to a reasonable level of performance," he said. "As soon as you start running though, you discover some other problems. So we still have to go through this testing period.
"We are a bit late so we still have these problems, but we are facing them and sorting them out. It is not like the problems we had before, which were very difficult to fix in a period of time.
"Now, it is a matter of looking through the data day after day, and solving them. There is still a bit of work to do. It is still difficult, but we are getting there."

Former F1 driver: London would be more exciting than Monaco

Former F1 driver Mark Blundell has told ITV London's Simon Harris that a London Grand Prix would be more exciting than Monaco.Mark Blundell

F1 Race readiness still a concern, says Rosberg

Nico Rosberg says the problems that curtailed Mercedes' afternoon running shows just how on the limit preparations are for Formula 1's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The German managed 89 laps on what was his penultimate day of pre-season driving, but reliability issues brought his day to an early end.
Rosberg reckons such issues indicate just how tough every team is finding adapting to F1's new regulations, particularly as he acknowledged Mercedes is in better shape than some of its rivals."I managed to do a couple of good laps, but in the afternoon we had a few reliability problems," he explained. "It just shows everyone is fully on the limit.
"OK we're looking a little better on reliability than some others, but even we're on the limit and having problems. To get everything ready and bullet proof for Melbourne is really tough.
"I'm optimistic, but confident? Speed doesn't help if you don't get to the end of the race. Everything needs to fit together; we're not there yet and there's just a few days left. I hope we're ready for Melbourne; it's going to be close."
Rosberg conceded his day was "not fantastic," but said the team's problems arose because it has begun to delve into the detail work of testing.
"We had a lot of new things that took a while to get going," he said of day one.
Rosberg: Oz preparation on the limit
"We're going into the details now, which is a good thing, but when you do that you find new problems. Unfortunately, a problem stopped me running before the end of the day, but we're still going in the right direction.
"The heat [on day one] was more representative of the first couple of races too, and that allows you to discover problems maybe you wouldn't if it is a bit cooler.
"We're in a decent position starting off now, but I don't feel we're that far ahead. Everyone has problems and we do, too."

Dream of London F1 Grand Prix gathers speed

The dream of a motor racing Grand Prix on the streets of London was gathering speed today after the government appeared to back the idea.
Ministers launched a six-week public consultation, saying the plan could generate millions of pounds for local communities.Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone admitted a race would be expensive to stage but welcomed the proposal.
"It's going to bring a lot of business into not only London, into England.
Anywhere where we've had these races in the town it's brought a lot of people and it's been very very successful."
– BERNIE ECCLESTONE, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF FORMULA ONE MANAGEMENT
Former F1 driver Mark Blundell told ITV News the home of motorsport deserved a race to rival Monaco and Singapore.
"I've done Monaco and that's one of the best experiences any Formula One driver can have.
I think actually through the streets of London, especially if we're going to go around Buckingham Palace and places like that, I think it would match it."
– MARK BLUNDELL, FORMER F1 DRIVER
London mayor Boris Johnson gave his support to a race but called for detailed plans.
The Mayor thinks F1 is fantastic event which any city would feel privileged to host.
The question of air quality and noise impact would have to be looked at very carefully."
– CITY HALL SPOKESMAN
But enviromentalists gave the proposal a firm thumbs down.
"At a time when we need to be sending out a clear message that our streets should be safe for pedestrians and cyclists and more people-friendly, I think it sends out completely the wrong message."
– DARREN JOHNSON, LONDON ASSEMBLY GREEN PARTY SPOKESMAN
Spanish bank Santander released an F1 driver's point of view CGI film back in 2012 of an imagined 5.156-kilometre circuit around London.
The route takes in some of the Capital’s most famous landmarks and was produced after a detailed feasibility study for such a race was carried out.Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets last time London was visited by the Formula One travelling circus back in July 2004.
During the event former F1 World Champion Nigel Mansell threw his support behind the idea of a London race, saying that if it were to become a reality "it would be one of the best street circuit races in the world":

Wolff set to be first female F1 driver at race weekend since 1992 after Williams hand her role for British and German Grands Prix

British racer Susie Wolff will end the two-decade wait for a female driver to get behind the wheel at a Formula One race weekend when she takes to the track at this year's British Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old's new expanded role with Williams will see her participate in practice sessions at Silverstone and the German Grand Prix - both in July - as well as an in-season test for the British team.
It means Wolff, who joined the Grove-based outfit in 2012, will become the first female racer to take part in a grand prix weekend since Italian driver Giovanna Amati during qualifying for the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix.
'I'm grateful for the support and belief Williams continue to show in me and 2014 promises to be a very important milestone in my career,' said Wolff, who hails from Scotland and is married to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.
'My responsibilities within the team have steadily increased as I have proved myself, culminating in the opportunity to test the car at Silverstone and conduct straight line aero tests last season.
'Competing in two FP1 sessions, alongside an additional full test day this season will be a big step and I am looking forward to the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the FW36 on a Grand Prix weekend. 
'It's a challenge that I will relish and it will be a great chance for me to continue assisting the team.'

Sergio Perez, Force India top Day 1 of final F1 preseason test

As one of three drivers to log more than 100 laps today at Bahrain International Circuit, Force India’s Sergio Perez was quickest in the first day of the final Formula One preseason test with a time of 1:35.290 in the VJM07.
Perez’s lap was slower than the 1:33.283 that Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg put down at the end of last week’s first preseason test at Bahrain, but it was still a solid display of reliability that appears to have pleased his colleagues on the Silverstone-based outfit:

Today was also another strong day for Mercedes-powered teams as a whole. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was second-fastest but logged the most laps with 128, while McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen turned in 109 laps.
Only one Merc-powered driver, Rosberg, didn’t go over 100 laps – and he was still close to the mark with 89 circuits.
Meanwhile, the Renault-powered squads – led by four-time reigning World Champions Red Bull – continued to struggle mightily.
Things appeared to be looking up for Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo ran 32 laps early in the session. But they were kept out of much of the afternoon session as a reported overheating problem on the RB10 forced them inside the garage for a while.
As for the other Renault teams, an exhaust problem on Pastor Maldonado’s E22 caused Lotus to call it a day earlier than anticipated. Red Bull’s “brother” team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, managed to put together 56 laps with Daniil Kvyat at the controls, but Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi was only able to log 19 laps.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen came to a stop on the track during the final moments of today’s test, but not before posting the third-fastest time after an electrical problem had dogged the Scuderia for a bit in the morning.
THURSDAY TIMES FROM BAHRAIN:
1. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1m35.290s, 105 Laps
2. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes, 1m36.184s, 128
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m36.432s, 54
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m36.624s, 89
5. Adrian Sutil, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m37.700s, 89
6. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m37.825s, 109
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-Renault, 1m37.908s, 39
8. Max Chilton, Marussia-Ferrari, 1m38.610s, 44
9. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso-Renault, 1m39.242s, 55
10. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus-Renault, 1m40.599s, 31
11. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham-Renault, 1m42.285s, 19

Bahrain F1 test: Raikkonen targets race distance on final day

Kimi Raikkonen is targeting completing a race distance on his final day of Formula 1 testing on Saturday after a difficult first day in Bahrain.
The Finn managed only 54 laps today, ending the day third fastest, 1.142s off Sergio Perez's fastest time of the day.
He hands over to Fernando Alonso tomorrow but is scheduled to return for the penultimate day, which should be his last run in the car before Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix on March 14.The Finn has completed fewer laps than Alonso so far in pre-season testing, with the Spaniard having been able to do some longer runs.
"We will try to do the race distance, for sure," said Raikkonen when asked what the focus will be for his final day in the car. "
"I haven't even tried to do it yet. I think Fernando did it so that's something that we are hopefully going to do and just see where we are really.
"[Beyond that], just normal things, trying things, learning again and hopefully we will be ready for the first race of the year."
Ferrari trialled some aerodynamic upgradesRaikkonen also claimed he is not worried about Ferrari's reliability relative to other teams.
While Mercedes and McLaren have both covered more ground pre-season, with 3073km and 2687km respectively, but Ferrari has logged only 400 less, with a figure of 2665km.
"I'm sure if we wanted to do 100 laps today, we could do," said Raikkonen.
"We had to do other things and try different things and try to see which way which changes go and learn a little bit because when it comes to race weekends there is not so much time to change stuff.
"At least I will have some idea of which way to go. I'm not too worried." in Bahrain today, including a new front wing.
Although Raikkonen refused to draw any definitive conclusions, he is cautiously optimistic about progress.
"I am sure they were better otherwise we wouldn't have brought them," said Raikkonen.
"But there are still things to improve and things to try to put things together in the final moments [of testing].
"We will see where we are in the first race."

Sergio Perez, Force India top Day 1 of final F1 preseason test

As one of three drivers to log more than 100 laps today at Bahrain International Circuit, Force India’s Sergio Perez was quickest in the first day of the final Formula One preseason test with a time of 1:35.290 in the VJM07.
Perez’s lap was slower than the 1:33.283 that Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg put down at the end of last week’s first preseason test at Bahrain, but it was still a solid display of reliability that appears to have pleased his colleagues on the Silverstone-based outfit:
Today was also another strong day for Mercedes-powered teams as a whole. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was second-fastest but logged the most laps with 128, while McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen turned in 109 laps.
Only one Merc-powered driver, Rosberg, didn’t go over 100 laps – and he was still close to the mark with 89 circuits.
Meanwhile, the Renault-powered squads – led by four-time reigning World Champions Red Bull – continued to struggle mightily.
Things appeared to be looking up for Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo ran 32 laps early in the session. But they were kept out of much of the afternoon session as a reported overheating problem on the RB10 forced them inside the garage for a while.
As for the other Renault teams, an exhaust problem on Pastor Maldonado’s E22 caused Lotus to call it a day earlier than anticipated. Red Bull’s “brother” team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, managed to put together 56 laps with Daniil Kvyat at the controls, but Caterham’s Kamui Kobayashi was only able to log 19 laps.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen came to a stop on the track during the final moments of today’s test, but not before posting the third-fastest time after an electrical problem had dogged the Scuderia for a bit in the morning.
THURSDAY TIMES FROM BAHRAIN:
1. Sergio Perez, Force India-Mercedes, 1m35.290s, 105 Laps
2. Valtteri Bottas, Williams-Mercedes, 1m36.184s, 128
3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1m36.432s, 54
4. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1m36.624s, 89
5. Adrian Sutil, Sauber-Ferrari, 1m37.700s, 89
6. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Mercedes, 1m37.825s, 109
7. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull-Renault, 1m37.908s, 39
8. Max Chilton, Marussia-Ferrari, 1m38.610s, 44
9. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso-Renault, 1m39.242s, 55
10. Pastor Maldonado, Lotus-Renault, 1m40.599s, 31
11. Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham-Renault, 1m42.285s, 19

Jacques Villeneuve: Ex-F1 champion to race in Indy 500

Jacques Villeneuve is to race in the Indianapolis 500, nearly 20 years after he last entered the event.
The 1997 Formula 1 world champion will drive for the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team  at the historic 2.5-mile oval on 25 May.
Villeneuve, 42, has not raced in IndyCar since winning the Indy 500 and the CART championship in 1995.
"If you have to win one race in the whole of your career, the Indy 500 is the one," said the Canadian.
Villeneuve, who currently works as an F1 commentator and races in World Rallycross, said that watching the IndyCars series last year reignited his enthusiasm for racing in a single-seater car.
"The discussions happened at the right time," he said.
"I had been watching the IndyCars last year and it looked extremely exciting, to the point where I was angry and jealous that I wasn't racing."
Villeneuve will join full-time Schmidt IndyCar drivers Simon Pagenaud of France and Russia's Mikhail Aleshin for the race at Speedway, Indiana.
He is one of only three drivers, alongside Brazil's Emerson Fittipaldi and American Mario Andretti, to have won the CART Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the F1 World Championship.

Could door be opening on an F1 race in London?

The dream of a Formula One race on the streets of London may be in line for a boost.
Daniel Johnson of the UK’s Telegraph newspaper reports that the British government has announced a consultation that proposes a relaxation of certain rules which have an Act of Parliament as the necessary requirement to suspend national speed limits on closed roads for races.
Johnson reports that under the new plans, local authorities would have the ability to temporarily suspend dangerous driving laws in order to allow races to take place.
London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, has said that he’s open to the idea of a “London Grand Prix,” and other figures such as three-time World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart have endorsed the proposal.
Ditto for former World Champion Jenson Button, who told British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports that London’s wide roads would lend itself nicely for a “unique grand prix.”
“When you combine all of that with the world-famous monuments that would feature in the backdrop, you can see why it would be an awesome addition to the calendar,” Button added to Sky.
“The dream has taken a step closer this week, and I’d love to see this amazing concept finally happen.”
Per Sky, the consultation on closed-road motorsport events in mainland Britain would run for six weeks to April 10.
As you’d figure, there is also opposition to the idea of a race in London’s center. Darren Johnson, a member of the London Assembly Green Party, has urged Boris Johnson to nix any proposal for such an event as he believes it would set a bad example.
“This is definitely a decision for local representatives, rather than Parliament, but I hope the mayor will recognize that racing cars around central London would send out the wrong message at a time when road casualties amongst pedestrians and cyclists are on the rise,” Johnson said.
“A Formula 1 race along local high streets and past people’s homes is going to give a green light to a load of silly boy racers and others that these roads are safe for them to speed along. We need less speeding, not more, and this is one event the Mayor should firmly reject.”

A Step Closer To A London Grand Prix Race

The prospect of a Formula 1 grand prix race through the streets of London has edged a little closer to reality, as we hear the government is about to launch a consultation to “make it easier to hold races on public roads”.
ESPN explains that the consultation is aimed at changing road safety and speed limit laws. At the moment all the different boroughs have to agree to suspend speed limits and close roads for any race to take place, and it looks like the idea is to bring more unity to the process. It’s mainly for cycling and rallying, but that dream of a London grand prix just won’t die.
A bid to turn the Olympic Stadium into a racetrack was rejected in December 2012. Earlier that year, Santander raised the possibility of a London street race (handily, the announcement was timed just before the British Grand Prix – which Santander sponsors). But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said:
“The idea of an F1 street race in London is something I have had for many years. It would be magnificent.”
It would look magnificent, of course, but we’re not sure Londoners have an appetite for the days of road closures it would involve. Londonist’s resident F1 fans have also had a wee confab and agree that street races just aren’t that interesting. Narrow roads mean not much overtaking; the main reason Monaco is so gripping is the possibility someone might crash.
Santander produced a simulation of what a London race could look like – conceived as a night race, for some reason – and you can watch the video below.

London F1 race may get green light as government announces consultation

Jenson Button believes Formula One's "dream" of a grand prix around the streets of London could yet become reality. Twenty months ago plans for a race through the streets of the capital were aired by British Grand Prix sponsors Santander.
Using CGI technology, a 14-corner, 5.1km circuit was unveiled, incorporating notable landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.
Many believed it to be a publicity stunt, although F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone threw his weight firmly behind the idea, adamant it was "no joke".
The 83-year-old even suggested putting the money up, with estimates then it would likely cost in the region of £35m. Such an event would, however, pose enormous problems, although one of those could yet be removed at some point in the near future.
The government on Thursday announced a consultation on closed-roadmotor sport events on mainland Britain which is due to run for six weeks through to 10 April.
While the primary objective is to pave the way for events such as stage rallies, sprints and hill climbs to take place on a limited number of British roads, it may also prise the door open to F1 taking to the capital.
There would still be considerable logistical and environmental issues to contend with, and understandable objection from many campaigners. But Button, who along with former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton helped front the campaign in June 2012, is hoping something will eventually come to fruition.
"When I first saw the plans for a London Grand Prix I knew they were ambitious, but fantastic," said Button. "The thought of a race through the capital's streets was only a dream when they initiated the project, but this week's changes to the law bring the idea a step closer to reality.
"When you really picture what it would look like it's truly mind blowing. You could create such a unique grand prix through the streets of London – the roads are naturally very wide and long, so straightline speeds would be high, and you could create a real blend of corners.
"When you combine all of that with the world-famous monuments that would feature in the backdrop you can see why it would be an awesome addition to the calendar."
The new FIA-sanctioned series Formula E, with cars run via electric power, is due to take to the streets of Wembley and Stratford in June 2015 as the conclusion to the 10-race championship that commences in Beijing.
The Motor Sports Association (MSA) has campaigned long and hard for Britain to follow the lead taken by many overseas countries who have staged closed-road events for years.
The MSA acting chief executive Rob Jones said: "This is the news British motor sport has been waiting for. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the landscape of our sport, allowing local communities across the country to host motor sport events and enjoy all the excitement and economic benefit they bring.
"However, to make that vision a reality we need everybody involved in our sport, from competitors and volunteers to clubs and organisers, to respond positively to the government consultation before the 10 April deadline.
"The government's enthusiasm for closed-road motor sport, and its launch of a public consultation, is the culmination of years of hard work behind the scenes.
"We now have to demonstrate the support that exists for closed-road motor sport around the country."

Texas Speedway chief miffed at Formula One scheduling

The top executive at Texas Motor Speedway is frustrated over Formula One's decision to hold the United States Grand Prix at Austin on the same weekend that his track hosts all three of NASCAR's national series.
Speaking before Tuesday's celebration of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s victory in the Daytona 500, Eddie Gossage said the scheduling change was ''arrogant.''
''I absolutely think it's foolish,'' said Gossage, the track's president and general manager. ''It's a shot fired by Formula One at NASCAR. I can't say I was surprised because (F1 CEO) Bernie Ecclestone does a lot of foolish things. The thing he unfortunately doesn't recognize is there is an 800-pound gorilla when it comes to major American motor sports. The 800-pound gorilla is NASCAR.''
Texas Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR Sprint Cup's AAA Texas 500 on Nov. 2, the same day F1 will hold its only event in the United States this year.
Messages were left Tuesday night seeking comment from the Circuit of the Americas, where the F1 event will be held, and the FIA, the governing body for the sport.
''Any time you cut something into two pieces, whether it's 50-50, 60-40 or 99-1, it doesn't matter who's got the 99 and who's got the 1, it's less than 100 percent,'' Gossage said. ''It's just not smart. There's 52 weeks in the year. But that was the only weekend that Formula One could make it work in Austin, Texas. Give me a break.''
Gossage thinks a stronger stance by the management at Circuit of the Americas would have prevented the scheduling issue.
''It wouldn't have happened if they had the strength and the fortitude to stand up and say no,'' Gossage said.
Eddie Gossage

SIC will lobby for extension of F1 contract, says CEO

IC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said the F1 was relevant to the country due to its positive impact and there was no reason for the SIC to not organise the event, especially so when the government has been strongly backing the event since it was first staged in Sepang.
“The F1 is the third biggest event after the Olympics and World Cup. Since organising the F1 involves a huge cost, it needs the support of the government.      
“We need an event like the F1 to promote Malaysia. It not only promotes the country but gives a big impact to the economy of the country,” he told reporters during a Malaysian F1 Grand Prix promotion, here today.
Also present was Tourism Malaysia director in Indonesia, Nor Aznan Sulaiman.
Malaysia will host the second round of the 2014 F1 race from March 28 to 30 at the SIC while the season opening race will be hosted by Australia from March 14 to 16.     
Razlan said though the SIC was not under pressure from anyone, including F1 Supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, the SIC would need to continue lobbying to ensure the race remains a part of Malaysia.
He said every year, the F1 race in Malaysia attracted more than 100,000 fans and of the total, 30 to 35 per cent were foreigners, and as a result it brings in revenue.
Last year, the F1 race attracted an attendance of 123,400 fans over the three days and F1 fans from Indonesia accounted for the fifth highest. — Bernama

Bernie Ecclestone wins F1 court case, but deal ruled corrupt

LONDON (AP) -- Despite a ruling damaging to his already tarnished image, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone won a multimillion-dollar case at London's High Court on Thursday relating to the sale of F1 in 2005.
The case was dismissed but the judge said it had nevertheless been a corrupt deal and questioned Ecclestone's honesty.
"Even ... making allowances for the lapse of time and Mr. Ecclestone's age, I am afraid that I find it impossible to regard him as a reliable or truthful witness," Judge Guy Newey said.
A former F1 shareholder, German media company Constantin Medien, sued Ecclestone and other defendants for up to $144 million, claiming F1 was undervalued at the time of the sale to investment group CVC Capital Partners.
The 83-year-old Ecclestone was accused of entering into a "corrupt agreement" with German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to facilitate the sale of Formula One Group to a buyer chosen by him.
The High Court said the deal was corrupt, but ruled that Constantin Medien did not lose out as a result.
"No loss to Constantin has been shown to have been caused by the corrupt arrangement with Dr. Gribkowsky," the judge said in his conclusions. "That fact is fatal to the claim."
Ecclestone's camp played down the judge's decision, arguing that his ruling was made after hearing only partial evidence.
"The judge has expressed his opinion that on the balance of probabilities there was an unlawful agreement made with Dr. Gribkowsky and that payments that Mr. Ecclestone made for Dr. Gribkowsky's benefit were a bribe, but this view is not underpinned by reliable evidence," read a statement on behalf of Ecclestone.
"The source of these allegations is Dr. Gribkowsky himself, who did not give evidence in this case. The judge expressly recognised there was clearly considerable force in the point that there had been no opportunity for Mr. Ecclestone's (and the other defendants') legal team to cross examine important witnesses, including Dr. Gribkowsky."
During the trial, which ran from October to December last year, Constantin Medien's lawyers said that payments totaling about 27 million pounds ($45 million) were made to Gribkowsky at the instigation of Ecclestone.
Gribkowsky, who was in charge of selling German bank BayernLB's 47 percent stake in F1 to CVC, has already been found guilty of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust and is serving an 8 1/2-year prison sentence. Ecclestone acknowledged during Gribkowsky's trial that he made the payment to avoid being reported by the banker to authorities over his tax affairs.
"The payments were a bribe," the judge said. "They were made because Mr. Ecclestone had entered into a corrupt agreement with Dr. Gribkowsky in May 2005 under which Dr. Gribkowsky was to be rewarded for facilitating the sale of BLB's shares in the Formula One Group to a buyer acceptable to Mr. Ecclestone."
Constantin said it would appeal the decision.
"The judge ruled against Constantin essentially on technical grounds - including extremely complicated questions of German law which is the governing law in the case - and Constantin will be appealing those findings," said lawyer Keith Oliver, head of commercial fraud litigation at Peters and Peters Solicitors.
Ecclestone is also facing trial in Germany. He is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust connected with the payment to Gribkowsky. The trial will begin on April 24 and is set to run until Sept. 16.
"Mr. Ecclestone welcomes that he will have the opportunity to defend these bribery allegations properly in proceedings due to begin in Munich in April, when the relevant witnesses can be compelled to attend and be cross-examined by his lawyers. He is confident that he will be acquitted," Ecclestone's camp added.
Bribery convictions can result in prison sentences ranging from three months to 10 years in Germany.
Ecclestone has stepped down as a member of F1's holding company board of directors pending the outcome of the trial but continues to run the series.