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Posts Tagged ‘Red Bull’

Sebastian Vettel drives to the podium after his second race win

Sebastian Vettel drives to the podium in his RB5

Sebastian Vettel has claimed his second career win at the Shanghai International Circuit as rain and standing water made conditions difficult for the entire duration of the third race of 2009. It’s Red Bull’s first win in Formula 1 since their takeover of Jaguar at the end of 2004, and a 1-2 finish, with Mark Webber crossing the line in second. Championship leader Jenson Button finished third.

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Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull RB5 at Jerez

Tuesday saw the latest pre-season tests begin with Toyota, Ferrari and BMW moving to Bahrain in the hope to avoid rain, and Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Williams, McLaren and Renault sticking in Spain. Sebastien Buemi added to his huge amount of mileage in last year’s Toro Rosso, and finished top at Jerez with his 3 second advantage, whilst things were a whole lot closer in the desert.

Fellow Seb, this one named Vettel, was busy giving the Red Bull RB5 it’s first few runs after the car was launched earlier that morning.  He set the fastest time of all the ’09 contenders before he was forced out of the car early due to a gearbox problem. Nico Hulkenburg was a busy man as he put the Williams Fw31 just three tenths behind Vettel’s shiny new Red Bull. Heikki Kovalainen put his McLaren half a second ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr’s Renault, with rain only making a brief interruption in the day’s running.

Meanwhile at Bahrain, Timo Glock put Toyota’s TF109 on top, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa and the F60, who was in turn just 0.1 seconds ahead of Robert Kubica and the F1.09.

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Red Bull RB5 Launch Photo

Red Bull Racing unveiled their 2009 car, the RB5, at Jerez on Monday, ahead of this week’s four day test at the circuit. Drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, who has just about recovered from his broken leg, were present as Adrian Newey’s take on the 2009 regulations was presented to the media. The car features a typically narrower front nose, featured in many of Newey’s designs, and the front wing is higher of the ground then in previous seasons. The car, however, is missing the shark fin that Red Bull pioneered last year.

Along with many other teams this year, Red Bull’s hopes for ’09 are high. For the past 4 seasons the team have been steady midfielders, but having watched the Red Bull junior team take a win with their car last year, the team feels they are ready to take the top step of the podium themselves. One of the Austrian teams major problems in the past has been reliability, but 2008 saw a big improvement, and team boss Christian Horner is confident the improvement will continue into ’09. Speaking of the cost-cutting regulations, Horner said: “The changes caused few interruptions to our work flow and they will also assist the larger manufacturer teams in cutting costs, in terms of manpower. Over the past year, we had invested strategically, and therefore, with the rules as they now stand, we are in a good position to capitalise on them, as they present an opportunity for teams to compete on a more level playing field.”

Sebastian Vettel took the car out for it’s first runs but, perhaps rather worryingly, a gearbox problem, a frequent past issue for the team, stopped their running after just 14 laps.

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Sebastien Bourdais in Turkey

Scuderia Toro Rosso confirmed on Friday that Sebastien Bourdais will continue as a driver for the team in 2009. After many months of speculation about his future at the team, he narrowly avoided being replaced by Japan’s Takuma Sato.

Bourdais had a difficult, and some might say, unlucky season with Toro Rosso in 2008. He was largely overshadowed by team mate Sebastian Vettel who, after some impressive showings last year which included a race win at Monza, has been promoted to the Red Bull senior team. Towards the end of the season doubts were starting to form as to whether STR would retain him, and after the conformation that the team were looking for a pay driver to fill their second seat, Sato, who fell victim to the collapse of Super Aguri, became a favourite for the seat with his Japanese backing. Bourdais managed to cling on though, and will partner rookie Sebastien Buemi in the upcoming season.

Bourdais has announced he will also be competing in this years 24 Hours of Le Mans race for Peugeot. He is the first active F1 driver to do so since fellow Frenchman Franck Montagny in 2006. STR’s decision leaves all the driver positions for 2009 filled, with the exception of the two seats at the former Honda team, who are yet to announce a buyer.

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Sebastien Buemi in 2008

Scuderia Toro Rosso officially confirmed on Friday that Sebastien Buemi has been signed for a race seat at the team for the 2009 season. He replaces Sebastian Vettel who moved to the Red Bull parent team alongside Mark Webber, in response to the retirement of David Coulthard. Since then, the Swiss driver, who took up the third driver role at Red Bull last year, had become the favourite to take one of the two available seats.

“I am naturally very happy to be driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso this year,” said Buemi. “This year, I will do all I can to bring home the best possible results and to show Red Bull that the confidence it has shown in me is justified. I want to thank Red Bull for this opportunity and for all the help they have given me in my career, dating back to 2005.” The 20 year old will make his first outing as an official race driver for STR later this month in Portugal.

His 2009 teammate is yet to be confirmed, but either Sebastien Bourdais or Takuma Sato are favourites to take the job. It is possible that STR are waiting for more news from Honda, before confirming their second driver, in the hope of signing Jenson Button.

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Kazuki Nakajima in 2009 spec Williams at Jerez

The final testing day of 2008 took place on Wednesday at both Jerez and the new Algarve circuit, with all the teams in action developing or starting to develop their 2009 car in preparation for the first car launches next month.

At Jerez, Sebastian Vettel finally beat Sebastien Buemi to the fastest time for Red Bull, Buemi having sat at the top of the time sheets for 5 days. The German’s 1:16.617 lap was easily the fastest of the entire test, and beat Buemi’s time by 3 tenths of a second. Robert Kubica and Christian Klien continued their testing of the 2009 BMW and it’s KERS. Kubica’s best lap was marginally faster than Klien’s, who completed just 38 laps. Kazuki Nakajima had the most to do in his 2009 Williams spec car, three tenths of the pace of the BMWs.

Pedro de la Rosa continued at the top of the Algarve time sheets with a best lap of 1:28.993. Luca Badoer continued his duties for Ferrari as the only other man out on track. He finished the day over 1 second behind de la Rosa’s McLaren.

Formula 1 testing will now return in January at many different locations, as the teams begin to send their 2009 cars out for their first runs.

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Luca Badoer in F2008 at Algarve

Testing continued at both Jerez and the new Algarve circuit into Tuesday, with Red Bull and McLaren remaining on top as times improved from Monday.

Sebastien Buemi was once again on top in an RB4, setting a best lap of 1:17.029 during his extended running, after stepping in for the injured Mark Webber. He was joined by Sebastian Vettel, who had to settle for second behind the Red Bull tester by just under 0.3 seconds. Nick Heidfeld was a full 2 seconds further behind in his BMW fitted with slick tyres, whilst Robert Kubica drove to fourth with KERS. Kazuki Nakajima closed the gap to the BMWs, now three tenths behind.

McLaren and Ferrari continued their running at the Algarve circuit, with Pedro de la Rosa taking over from Gary Paffett. The Spaniard topped the time sheets in the cold conditions, with a 1:30.080, ahead of Ferrari testers Luca Badoer and Mark Gene.

Wednesday sees the final day of 2008 testing at both Jerez and the Algarve.

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