Adrian Newey and Nigel Mansell given New Year honours
The Sport Review brings you a round-up of all of the latest news from the world of Formula 1
Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey and 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell have both been named on the UK’s New Year Honours list, which rewards achievement or service to the country.
Newey, 53, currently chief technical officer of world champions Red Bull, receives an OBE for services to motorsport, while Mansell, who was already is awarded a CBE for services to children and young people in his role as president of charity UK Youth.
Newey is synonymous with pioneering design and success in motorsport. His cars have won the world constructors’ championship for the past two seasons, his seventh and eighth constructors’ titles, having designed six title-winning cars for Williams and McLaren between 1992 and 1998.
Those included the dominant Williams FW14B which powered Mansell to 14 poles out of 16 in 1992, as well as nine race wins and a further three podium finishes as the Brit destroyed the field en route to the drivers’ title.
Williams co-founder Patrick Head has stepped down from the team’s board after 34 years with the former F1 front runners.
Head set up the team with Frank Williams and, as technical director and later head of engineering, helped the Grove-based outfit to 113 grands prix victories, nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles between 1980 and 1997. Their successes have been few since, with the team’s last win coming in the last race of 2004 as Juan Pablo Montoya won the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 65-year-old will remain a director of Williams Hybrid Power, a subsidiary that develops flywheel technology for broader commercial use in buses and trains.
“Patrick and I have been in partnership for 34 years. During that time, he has been the leader of the technical team that has won the majority of our race wins and championships,” said team principal Sir Frank Williams. “This is a remarkable legacy and one which will be treasured and definitely not forgotten.”
Vitantonio Liuzzi has admitted doubts over his future with Spanish team HRT, despite having a long-term deal.
The Italian joined the backmarkers at the start of 2011 after being dropped by Force India, but the team have since been bought out by Thesan Captal in July, and the new owners are intent in starting over with their own personnel in place.
“I have a contract to race next season with HRT, but the agreement was concluded with the previous owner and now the future is uncertain,” Liuzzi told TotalRace.com.
HRT have already dispensed with respected team principal Colin Kolles following a dispute over their decision to relocate from Germany to Spain.
Former long-term McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa has already been announced as the team’s lead driver for 2012, with new boss Luis Perez-Sala in no hurry to name his team-mate with several drivers in contention. However, a Spanish driver is understood to be top of the team’s priorities.
Liuzzi remains in contention, but will face stiff competition from Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, who was dropped by Toro Rosso at the end of 2011, while Spanish youngster Dani Clos, who has spent the last three years with Jerez-based GP2 outfit Racing Engineering, took part in the Young Drivers’ Test with HRT at the Yas Marina Circuit in November.
Niki Lauda has expressed his disliking of the DRS overtaking aid that was brought into the sport in 2011.
The system, which was designed by a working group including McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe, created a standardised overtaking boost for cars on a designated part of the track.
Lauda told Australian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten that DRS “bothers me”.
“To see passing at the push of a button is fundamentally the wrong direction,” he said. “The front man is totally defenceless. I think from the sporting point of view it is not right.”
Lowe, however, disagrees with the former treble-winning world champion, insisting that it is a better way of standardising aerodynamic changes.
“What’s great [is] at least we can move on from this debate of trying to change the aerodynamic characteristics of cars to try to improve overtaking,” Lowe said.
“We’ve found something much more authoritative, much cheaper, easier and more effective, and adjustable from race to race.”
Damon Hill has warned that F1 must not neglect Europe as it continues its worldwide expansion into emerging markets in Asia, eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
The 2012 calendar features just eight European races, including two in Spain, whereas two-thirds of the calendar in 2002 saw races in Europe.
Hill, former British Racing Drivers’ Club president, fought for Silverstone’s long-term future in the sport, despite threats from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to cut Britain from the calendar in favour of newer venues with state-of-the-art facilities.
In some countries, F1 has experienced problems which would not arise in Europe, such as the very low attendances in Turkey, which led to the race being scrapped from 2012. And the 2011 season-opening race in Bahrain was cancelled because of civil unrest, and may still be under threat in 2012.
New races in Korea and India also saw problems, with the new venues failing to be fully ready for their inauguration into the sport, and more recently there were issues with the new venue in Austin, Texas for the 2012 US Grand Prix.
Speaking to Autosport, Hill said: “I thought it [the season] was very exciting. It was a brilliant season. The sport is good, but there is still a lot that needs discussing. It is fantastic entertainment, but I just know that Europe and Great Britain is important to the sport.
“I think that is worth emphasising”“it is not all about the bottom line. It is about going to place where people understand and appreciate the sport and they should not be denied access to it.”