Justin Wilson



By now you’ll have probably heard about the death of the former F1 driver in a freak accident last weekend at Pocono Raceway in the US. Tributes have been pouring in from competitors and others via social media.

Wilson was hit by a piece of debris from the car of Sage Karam on Sunday during the ABC Supply 500. Replays indicate that the nose cone of Karam’s car struck Wilson’s helmet. Wilson then veered into the inside wall.

However, what you may not know is that Justin’s organs have helped to save six lives, according to his brother, Stefan.

Justin leaves behind his wife Julia and two daughters. The Wilson Children’s Fund has been set up and you can send donations to:

Wilson Children’s Fund
4551 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Belgian GP practice: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado


Lotus F1 opened its Belgian Grand Prix weekend with a strong top ten time from Grosjean to underlie the team’s potential after an eventful and challenging first day back on track. Maldonado was one of three drivers to cause a red flag during the day, with an off in the second half of FP1. He returned to the track to end the day as fifteenth fastest. Jolyon Palmer completed evaluations of the team’s new front wing in the morning session.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director: “Pastor’s FP1 was curtailed mid-session after an off and contact with the barriers damaged his car and caused a brief red flag period. He was evaluating a new top rear wing today. Jolyon conducted a front wing evaluation programme as well as other set-up work. The twice interrupted second session saw tyre evaluation and longer runs, with Pastor and Romain in action. Romain continued the front wing evaluation and his car stopped on track at the end of the session, requiring recovery back to the garage. Pirelli’s medium (white) compound tyre was used in the morning session, the medium and soft (yellow) in the afternoon.

Jolyon Palmer, E23-04
Free practice 1: P17, 1:53.799, 23 laps
“It was a productive session for me and it was good to get the first taste on track of the new front wing which felt pretty promising from where I was sat. It’s always difficult at Spa to find the best balance because it’s a compromise between having aero and having straight line speed with the nature of the track. We tried something different across the two cars and we had a new front wing to try as well, which was good to test.”

Romain Grosjean, E23-04
Free practice 2: P7, 1:50.489, 21 laps
“That was a good session for me. My first runs weren’t great and it was clear we had to make some changes to the car’s set-up. Once we did that the car felt a lot better and I felt that the car was a lot more how I wanted it with the soft tyres. We have a few other niggles to rectify but it’s lovely to drive Spa with wonderful warm weather. If we can find a little more pace from the car I think we can have a pretty good weekend here.”

Pastor Maldonado, E23-03
Free practice 1: P11, 1:52.539, 15 laps
Free practice 2: P15, 1:51.317, 16 laps
“Today wasn’t the start to the Grand Prix weekend that we wanted. I lost the rear end in FP1 and unfortunately I wasn’t able to keep the car off the barriers. My crew did a great job to get everything back together for FP2, but then there were a couple of red flags to interrupt that session too. I think we can have a good weekend from now, there’s good potential in the car and we know what we need for a strong result.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director: “This wasn’t the most straight-forward first day back on track for us after the summer shutdown. Pastor unfortunately had an off in FP1 in which his car sustained a reasonable amount of damage. The repair work continued into FP2 meaning his day was pretty compromised. On the other side of the garage, Jolyon completed a good tally of laps in the morning to assist with our assessment of our latest front wing, whilst Romain was able to continue with set-up work in the afternoon and made good progress and looked competitive finishing FP2 in P7.”


Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Belgian GP practice: Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India returned to action after the summer break with a positive day of practice in Spa-Francorchamps.

Nico Hülkenberg VJM08-01
FP1: 1:52.614 (P12) 20 laps
FP2: 1:50.461 (P6) 21 laps

“The car felt pretty good and I am fairly happy with the baseline set-up. Obviously, we will need to keep working, fine-tuning the balance and trying to find the last few tenths of performance, but I think we’re in a good place going into the weekend. The red flags in the afternoon meant we didn’t get all the long-run data and we will head into the race without the best knowledge of how the tyres will behave, but that’s the same for everyone.”

Sergio Perez VJM08-02
FP1: 1:52.423 (P9) 20 laps
FP2: 1:50.971 (P11) 21 laps

“It was a really productive day despite the disruption that the red flags brought towards the end of FP2. We were able to get some good information, perhaps not as much as we would have wanted on the long runs, but overall I am happy with the day. We took two very different set-up directions with the two cars, which means we have plenty of data to analyse tonight, but I am confident for tomorrow.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal:
“We are satisfied with our first day of work here in Spa. This is a unique track when it comes to car balance: there aren’t many low-speed corners so the majority of our work focused on finding the optimal balance for the medium and high-speed corners, and I believe we made some good progress. We continued evaluating the b-spec evolutions in the morning session and the drivers were pretty happy with the balance of the car straight away. The afternoon was a bit more complicated with the red flags: the first half went according to plan and we were able to evaluate some solutions to respond to the high track temperatures. Our long run data was compromised by the red flags but we expect a lot of people to be in the same boat. There’s a lot of work still to be done but we’re in a good place so far.”

Belgian GP practice: Williams

Now back to the real stuff… Objectives: aero evaluations, set-up and tyre work.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We have had a decent Friday. We had set ourselves an ambitious programme to complete and although the red flags hampered this slightly we are very well prepared for the weekend. We focused on rear and front wing development during the morning and this afternoon was all about tyres. We still have a bit of time to find on the low fuel, but we know where to find this. On the higher fuel loads we look quite competitive. There are lots of small areas where we can find performance, so everyone needs to ensure that they have done their job to be ready for FP3.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was nice to be back in the car after the break. Today our main focus was on aero testing, including the rear wing configuration and we also looked at the tyres as you would expect from a Friday. We collected plenty of data throughout the day so we know that today’s times are not too representative, and we will continue to strengthen our performance throughout the weekend.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a typical Friday for Williams; we don’t go out trying to top the time sheets. We completed a lot of the work we had set ourselves, only held back by the red flags which were unexpected. This has meant my long run pace isn’t as clear as I would have hoped, but we should be able to be competitive tomorrow and build as the weekend progresses.”

Belgian GP preview: Sahara Force India

They’re all at it! Now Sahara Team Principal, Dr Vijay Mallya, looks forward to a strong second half of the season.

VJM: “The summer break has given us a chance to regroup following a challenging race in Budapest. The whole team has worked extremely hard to repair the cars and solve the problems that we encountered in Hungary, and we’re ready to bounce back this weekend in Spa.

“Although the Hungarian Grand Prix was disappointing, I prefer to focus on the positives, especially the strong pace we showed in the first half of the race. We saw that the VJM08 is capable of running comfortably inside the top ten, which gives us confidence for the second half of the season. There remains an upbeat feeling in the team and I think we can look forward to some competitive races to come.

“Returning to Spa is always special because it’s one of those tracks that truly captures the imagination. The drivers love to race here and it’s a favourite with the fans too. We expect to be in good shape this weekend and we will be aiming for Q3 on Saturday and good points on Sunday.”

Nico Hülkenberg feels refreshed and ready to race this weekend in Belgium: “The summer break was very relaxing for me. My schedule has been extra busy this year so it was nice to stay at home for a few weeks and just switch off and relax. Even though it’s only been a month since the last race, you miss being in the car and the buzz of racing, so I’m definitely ready to begin the second half of the season.

“Spa is a favourite for all the drivers. When I think of driving there it just makes me smile because it’s got so many special high-speed corners – the corners you want to experience in a Formula One car. You’ve also got the history of the place and the unpredictable weather which often helps spice up the racing.

“We go there hoping to bounce back from a tough race in Hungary. The improvements we’ve made to the car will really help us in Spa, especially through the high-speed corners. The engine also plays a big part around the lap. We are competitive and I am confident we can start the second part of the season strongly.”

Sergio Perez: “The break was a good opportunity to recharge my batteries and spend some time at home with my family. The calendar is pretty busy and we don’t often get the chance to have some time for ourselves. However, I am really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel and doing what I really love.

“Spa is an amazing track and I enjoy racing there. The first sector and the run through Eau Rouge feel very special in a Formula One car and it’s definitely a highlight of the year. The track can also produce really good racing because there are a few corners where you have a good chance to overtake.

“I think the characteristics of the track and its emphasis on power and top speed should suit our car. You also have to expect wet weather at some point during the weekend so it could be quite unpredictable. We have shown some good pace in the last few races and we should be in a position to get a good result.”

Belgian GP preview: Williams

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Belgian Grand Prix - Practice Day - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium


The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of Formula One’s most iconic and revered. The extreme climb through Eau Rouge with clouds of spray hanging between the trees of the Ardennes forest is one of the sport’s most memorable sights.

Spa is one of the precious few circuits to retain the magic of its original form through a modernised and shortened layout, thanks to sweeping elevations around legendary sections of road at Eau Rouge, Pouhon and Blanchimont.

The 7km lap is perhaps the most treasured of the season for the drivers.

Rob Smedley (you should know who he is by now):
“Returning from the summer break we are all refreshed and absolutely raring to go; the team spirit and motivation at Williams is tangible as we look forward to challenging for podium positions in the second part of the year. Spa should be a circuit that suits the FW37 and we therefore have to capitalise on this. The long straights twinned with the long sweeping corners in sector 2 are definitely characteristics where we’ve seen this year’s car perform really well. The weather is an important factor in Spa and we therefore have to be ready for all circumstances. We have been doing a lot of homework in this area recently and the team has made excellent inroads. Belgium is such a fantastic Grand Prix for the teams and the fans alike. It encapsulates the purity of Formula One very well, which is simply about the best cars in the world racing around the best circuits, and we are lucky to visit here each year.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“Spa is one of my favourite circuits. The feeling of Eau Rouge in a Formula One car is hard to explain and certainly unique, it’s just incredible. The layout is normally strongly suited to the characteristics of our car as well, so I head to this weekend looking for a strong result. I was on the podium last year, so we are looking to achieve a similar result. The weather always plays a part throughout the weekend so we have to be alert as it can change so fast.”

Felipe Massa:
“Spa is the most enjoyable circuit for many of the drivers and it’s definitely my favourite. It’s always good to have a strong result at the circuits you enjoy driving. The weather can sometimes surprise us so we will need to be on the ball when it comes to strategic decision making. The layout suits the strengths of our car so we’re looking to start the second half of the season in a strong position.”

Hungarian GP post race: Lotus

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado


Lotus F1 experienced an eventful Hungarian Grand Prix with Romain Grosjean fighting back to finish seventh and Pastor Maldonado finishing fourteenth. Both drivers had tardy starts but were able to work back through the order in a race which saw one safety car period as well as numerous incidents and penalties through the field. Both drivers were included in the penalty list, with Grosjean awarded five seconds stationary in the pit lane and Maldonado having two drive-through penalties and a 10 second addition to his race time.

Grosjean started from P10 on the grid on his qualifying soft tyres, changing to new softs on lap 14, new mediums on lap 34 and scrubbed softs on lap 42. He served a five-second stop and go on his second stop for an unsafe release from his first. Maldonado started from P14 on the grid on new medium tyres. He changed to new soft tyres on laps 25 and 41. He completed pit lane drive through penalties on laps 24 and 58. Ten seconds were added to his race time.

Romain Grosjean, P7, E23-04
“I think today was an incredible race; it was an incredible weekend. Being in the top ten in qualifying yesterday was a miracle and today was actually beautiful; we really pushed hard and it was good, we deserved some points. I had a terrible start, lost a lot of spaces and I was pushed into the gravel by Carlos Sainz on the first lap. Then I came back on track and couldn’t pass the McLaren. Then there was a penalty for an unsafe release and then the safety car. But we got the strategy right and, after all that, we ended up in P7 fighting with the Mercedes.”

Pastor Maldonado, P14, E23-03
“It was tough race and the Stewarts were certainly very strict today, very tough on driving with me and many other drivers. I struggled at the start as our strategy was to run with the harder tyres, but then the strategy was working well with the softer tyres until the penalties affected our race. With Sergio Perez around the outside of me it felt like a racing incident to me; there was nothing intentional in the contact.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“Today we saw a great race illustrating the never-give-up attitude from everyone at Enstone. Romain scored a nice tally of points and it’s a pity that Pastor was unable to join him in the top ten as he certainly looked set to finish there too. We started the weekend pretty far down the timesheets, but we improved every day. The E23 is a great car which still has further potential to perform strongly. It was a fantastic race to watch too; amazing for the spectacle.”

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director:
“After a poor start we expected a very difficult fight to try to get any points, but in an eventful race Romain was able to salvage a decent points finish. The E23 worked well in today’s track conditions, we had a good strategy and we were able to take advantage of the safety car period to change Romain back to the softer tyres. Romain did a great job to defend from the Mercedes to finish between them, and the points scored helps us in our battle for fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship. Pastor had the potential to also score well today, but unfortunately too many penalties blunted his charge.”


Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 E23. Hungarian Grand Prix, Sunday 26th July 2015. Budapest, Hungary.

Romain Grosjean

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23. Hungarian Grand Prix, Sunday 26th July 2015. Budapest, Hungary.

Pastor Maldonado


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