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OK....should've started this thread earlier. A shame I'm starting it with a bit of bad news (though considering how 'ready' the McLaren-Honda looked in testing, I don't suppose Alonso is as miffed as he'd otherwise be).

Fernando Alonso: McLaren driver to miss Australian Grand Prix

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso will miss the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on 15 March on medical advice.

Doctors say Alonso, 33, is not injured following his crash in testing on 22 February , but advised him not to race in Melbourne because of the risk of suffering a second concussion.

Sustaining another concussion injury while a patient is still suffering from the first can have serious consequences, which can extend to prolonged coma or even death.

Alonso will be replaced for the first grand prix of the season by McLaren reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.

A McLaren statement said a series of medical tests and scans found Alonso had "no medical issue" and there was "no evidence whatsoever of any injury".

Doctors, McLaren said, described the Spaniard as "entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike".

But it added that the doctors had recommended that Alonso should "for the time being seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions".

Second impact syndrome is where a patient suffers a second concussion before the first is entirely healed, and it can result in raised intra-cranial pressure, prolonged coma and can be fatal.

Doctors say recovery from concussion cannot be predicted and that it varies from patient to patient.

McLaren said Alonso's doctors were "supportive" of his ambitions to return to the cockpit in time for the second race of the season in Malaysia on 27-29 March.

It added that he had already restarted his physical training, with his doctors' backing.

McLaren have suffered poor reliability in their pre-season testing programme and have admitted they expect to struggle for competitiveness in the first four races of the season.

Alonso lost control of his car at 215km/h (133.6mph) in his crash at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

He hit the wall and suffered two impacts on his head, after which he was flown immediately to hospital, where he was kept for three nights.

He said in a video posted on YouTube last Thursday that he was "completely fine" and was looking forward to getting back in the car "very soon".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/31713292

_81366957_fernando_alonso_getty.jpg

Edited by Rob.
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Manor Formula 1 team will make it to Australian Grand Prix

Manor has confirmed that its Formula 1 car is ready to race at the Australian Grand Prix.

The British-based outfit - revived from the defunct Marussia team - said the final hurdles have been overcome and its 2015 challenger is being finalised for the flight to Melbourne later this week.

Sporting director Graeme Lowdon said: "At certain times over the last six months it was not completely clear we would get to this point.

"I'm very excited to announce that thanks to a lot of hard work from an awful lot of people we are ready to go racing again.

"The last few months have been a rollercoaster - and I want to say particular thanks to the fans."

1361438575.jpgInvestor Fitzpatrick on why he's saving Manor

Manor will start the season with an interim car, modified to fulfil the 2015 regulations, before a bespoke design is introduced later in the campaign.

The team has confirmed that energy boss Stephen Fitzpatrick is the investor behind the effort, with former Sainsbury's CEO Justin King appointed as interim team chairman.

Lowdon admitted that final crash tests still had to be passed later this week.

"Crash tests are ongoing - we block-booked some space at the laboratory to do the crash test this week, so I think the preparation day is today, and then tests will start," he explained.

"There are only a very small number of tests to be done, a push off and an impact test. We will just have to see how those tests progress.

"The timescale to prepare the car has been incredibly short, but there is a bit of time capacity in there so hopefully things will go well this year.

"The car is being prepared in Dinnington, the overall car is on schedule and main freight dispatch is Friday and we will be sending bits right up until the last minute."

Will Stevens will drive one of the Manor entries in 2015, with the second driver yet to be announced.

Autosport

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Roberto Merhi to race for Manor F1 team in Australian Grand Prix

Roberto Merhi will race for the Manor Formula 1 team in this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, partnering fellow Formula Renault 3.5 race winner Will Stevens.

The Spaniard, who got his first taste of GP weekend running with three free practice outings for Caterham late last year, has signed a short-term deal with the former Marussia team for the "opening races" of the 2015 season.

...

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/117975

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Australian Grand Prix: Sauber reaches agreement with F1 driver Giedo van der Garde

Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde has withdrawn his contempt of court action against the Sauber Motorsports team after negotiations between the two parties overnight.

The Dutchman claimed he was guaranteed a spot for the 2015 season by Sauber, but was then dumped in favour of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

He launched legal action over the issue and on Wednesday the Victorian Supreme Court ruled van der Garde should be able to race in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, upholding a Swiss arbitration tribunal's decision.

Sauber appealed the decision and lost, but indicated it would still not allow him to compete.

Today, van der Garde's lawyers withdrew action against the Swiss team, telling the judge the matter had been settled.

It is still unclear what the agreement means for the Dutch driver ahead of Sunday's race.

Sauber did not take part in the first practice session at Albert Park on Friday, but Nasr and Ericsson drove in the second.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-14/sauber-reaches-agreement-with-f1-driver-van-der-garde/6318834?section=sport

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ONE POINT FOUR SECONDS

Mercedes have built one hell of a car.

SIX TENTHS OF A SECOND

Hamilton blitzes Rosberg.

The WCC looks like a foregone conclusion already doesn't it? As a fan I'm very happy Hamilton is nailing it so early, but a little down that the only person he'll be racing with again is Rosberg. Would like to see Vettel/Ricciardo/Alonso etc in better cars that could challenge but it's not looking likely.

CACjdmQWgAEheBc.jpg

BUT F1 IS BACK AND I NEED SOME BREAKFAST NOW!

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Awful race! :lol:

THUMBS UP - Hamilton, Ferrari, the new boys, Sauber (on track) & Ricciardo

THUMBS DOWN - Renault, Honda (and to a lesser extent their works teams)

Not sure whether to put Rosberg in the 'thumbs down' category as well or if that's too harsh. Miles off in quali obviously. Depends if you think he kept Hamilton honest with a small-gap or whether you think Hamilton was easily controlling things from a team-mate who had no answers.

Hopefully it'll be like 2014, where Melbourne was one of the worst races and there were many better after it. If not 2015 will be a year to forget.

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Given the gap between the two drivers in qualifying, you'd be tempted to say it was the former rather than the latter but we can't draw too many conclusions from one race weekend.

I'm not convinced things look quite as dire as they might first appear either. Ferrari certainly look to have made an advance and we would certainly have had a better race behind the Mercedes cars if Bottas had been able to race for Williams. I think the biggest worry has to be how few cars there were on the grid.

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Giedo van der Garde reaches Sauber contract settlement

Giedo van der Garde has reached a settlement with Sauber following a legal dispute over his contract with the Formula 1 team.

The 29-year-old issued a statement saying his contract has been "ended by mutual consent".

A court in Australia backed the Dutch driver's claim he had a valid contract before his dismissal last season.

"This dream has been taken away from me and I know that my future in Formula 1 is probably over," he said.

...

How do you sign five drivers for two race seats? Andrew Benson explains...

"Sauber do not come out of the Giedo Van Der Garde contract row well, but they ended up in this situation because they are struggling to cope with financial problems.

The Swiss team actually ended up with five drivers contracted for this season - Van Der Garde, last year's race drivers Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez and the two current drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

They have not talked publicly about why that was, but the answer seems straightforward. In desperate financial straits, they did what they needed to do at each stage to keep the company on its feet.

Although Sauber have ended up paying Van Der Garde a reputed 15m euros to go away, the team still appear to be up, financially speaking. That's because Nasr and Ericsson brought 40m euros between them - and paid it up front.

And Van Der Garde's deal presumably includes a return of the reputed 8m euros he paid the team last summer to seal his deal.

It's not hard to see why Sauber wanted rid of Sutil and Gutierrez. Last year was Sauber's worst ever, but they still could have scored points if the two drivers had not spun away their chances each time they came up.

Gutierrez is now Ferrari's reserve driver. Sutil, though, is still in the wings, waiting for his own chance to claim compensation. This story is not over yet."

BBC

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Germany dropped from 2015 calendar

20 Mar 2015

Germany will not stage a round of this year's world championship, after Formula One racing's governing body the FIA issued a revised calendar on Friday featuring 19 races.

The country had been due to hold the 10th round of the 2015 season on July 17-19, although uncertainty had surrounded whether Hockenheim or the Nurburgring - which had previously shared the race under an alternation agreement - would be the chosen venue.

The change to the calendar means there will now be a three-week gap between Grands Prix in Great Britain and Hungary, which play host to Formula One racing on the first and last weekends of July respectively.

The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar is confirmed as follows:

15/03 Australia

29/03 Malaysia

12/04 China

19/04 Bahrain

10/05 Spain

24/05 Monaco

07/06 Canada

21/06 Austria

05/07 Britain

26/07 Hungary

23/08 Belgium

06/09 Italy

20/09 Singapore

27/09 Japan

11/10 Russia

25/10 USA

01/11 Mexico

15/11 Brazil

29/11 Abu Dhabi

http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/latest/headlines/2015/3/germany-dropped-from-2015-calendar.html

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Alonso and Bottas cleared to race in Malaysia McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas will both take part in this weekend’s 2015 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix after passing mandatory FIA fitness tests at Sepang on Thursday

...

http://www.formula1.com/content/fom-website/en/latest/headlines/2015/3/alonso-and-bottas-cleared-to-race-in-malaysia.html

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Rosberg miles off at the moment, only second quali of the season and he's already resorting to dubious tactics (surely that block was deliberate) and asking for driving advice over the radio.

Well done Hamilton, Vettel, Max Verstappen.

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Grosjean has been given a two-place grid penalty after Malaysian Grand Prix qualifying.


The 16 drivers who made it into Q2 all raced to the pitlane exit ahead of the session's start in a hurry to get a clear lap in before it began to rain.


Grosjean was adjudged to have jumped the queue and overtaken illegally in the pit exit on his way out.


He went on to qualify eighth, so his penalty drops him to 10th on the grid.



http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/118261



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So Nico Rosberg got his wish from the last race. Wonder if Vettel will invite him to Ferarri's debrief!

Very good race from Vettel, didn't put a foot wrong, first time the Mercs have been beaten on merit since the new regs came in place. James Allison has built another car amazing on tyre-wear, a trait from his days at Lotus.

Have to say, Mercedes strategy and calculations all over the place. Putting the options on in Q1 (why??) left them short in the race. Then over the radio they were telling Hamilton (who was 17 secs behind) that he'd be on the back of Vettel with 5 laps to go. Not sure what was going on there. :lol:

But even if they did get it right, I still think Vettel would've won (albeit by a smaller margin).

But whatever, today's Ferarri's day and Seb's got his mojo back....well done to them both.

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So smartly controlled from Hamilton today. Really a Vettel-esque race from him at the front. Rosberg interview on sky hilarious.

Max Verstappen looks like a bit of a star. Some very clean overtakes.

Edited by Rob.

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Lewis Hamilton has been cautioned over his "excessively enthusiastic" spraying of champagne over what were clearly distraught podium hostess in his celebrations at winning the Shanghai leg of the F1 circuit.

Although a regular part of the winners podium presentation, the spraying of champagne over fellow drivers has become a more vulgar affair over the years and after Sunday's display, drivers have been asked to "tone it down".

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