Italy is home to the world’s most
famous F1 team and has some of the
sport’s most rabid fans, but this year,
for the first time since 1970, there
will be no Italian F1 racers. This was
confirmed when Caterham replaced
Jarno Trulli with Vitaly Petrov.
Ferrari team principal Stefano
Domenicali termed the lack of
Italians “very sad,” but said his team
had done its part to promote new
talents. However, Riccardo Patrese
said that didn’t go far enough.
“Italian drivers don’t get help from
a team,” said Italy’s most
experienced F1 racer. “Ferrari has a
driver academy where the Italian F3
champion gets an F1 test, but
nothing seems to happen after that.”
He conceded, though, that Ferrari
affiliation would always trump driver
nationality among the tifosi.
“I remember Imola in 1983 when
the fans cheered when I crashed
because a Ferrari, not an Italian
driver, was going to win,” he said.
TIME TO PAY IT
Italian exodus from F1
puts onus on Scuderia
“AT LAST, WE THOUGHT,
INDYCAR SPRING TRAINING
AT SEBRING WOULD GIVE US
SOME CLUES. NOT SO”
It’s been hard to ascertain
which of the IZOD IndyCar
Series teams best has a handle
on the new Dallara DW12
chassis, which of the three
engines has the edge, or which
drivers are best adapting to the
combination. At last, we
thought, Spring Training at
Sebring would give us a clue.
Not so. With 26 cars entered
Is the Andretti-Andretti-Chevy combo the one
and a 50-second lap, the entry list
had to be divided in two, and the
expected heavy hitters were split
apart – Team Penske and Andretti
Autosport on the Monday-
Tuesday, Ganassi and KV Racing
on Thursday-Friday. As reigning
champion Dario Franchitti
pointed out, “We really won’t
know who has the advantage
until practice at St. Petersburg,
That’s exciting. Unpredictable is
what we wanted, right?”
Right. Nonetheless, starting
from page 21, we’ve laid bare
our thoughts on the season
ahead. Now we just can’t wait
for it to start…not least to see
how Rubens Barrichello fares
in his new environment.
KV Racing and IndyCar as a
whole can only benefit, but
the former Formula 1 star is
convinced he can, too. Turn to
page 38 to read why.
to beat? We don’t know – and that’s great!
F1’s season is even closer at
hand and it, too, appears
unpredictable. While Red Bull
Racing remains the title
favorite, it appears the RB8
does not have the same
advantage over its rivals as its
predecessor. McLaren has high
hopes it can take the fight to
Sebastian Vettel from the start
of the season, while behind
them, Ferrari appears to have
slipped and Mercedes and Lotus
have gained ground. The latter
should also benefit from F1
returnee Kimi Raikkonen’s
in-car skills. Read about his
motivations from page 54.
However, neither Barrichello
in IndyCar nor Raikkonen in F1
can attract the fanatical
following that stalks Dale
Earnhardt Jr. and adds pressure
not only to him, but also those
who work with him. While you
get the impression Junior will
never be comfortable with the
fame, despite the riches it
brings, he does now appear
very focused on living up to his
billing. Read our exclusive
interview, starting on page 42.
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FEAST OR FAMINE FOR THE EYES Will F1’s “platypus” noses prove a turn-off? Formula 1’s latest generation of cars is hardly likely to be remembered fondly as the most beautiful, with 2012’s pate of “platypus-style” noses – a response to the new regulations that force the front section of the nose to be low down (see page 50), while teams desire the chassis section to be higher up – drawing widespread criticism from fans. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery agrees. “I think I will have to be in agreement with the general sentiment that they’re damn ugly,” said Hembery. “But I guess if you talk to the engineers, they will say that as long as it’s quick we don’t care how ugly it is. “You understand why they do it: they are following regulations, which is a part of everybody’s job, and they are looking for speed, not beauty. But from a fan’s point of view, I think we have to say they look a bit weird. “But, where do you draw the line? How do you make rules that make cars look good?
Pirelli fears that the ubiquitous stepped noses on
this year’s F1 cars are a slippery slope toward losing
the aesthetical appeal of grand prix racing.