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GP Week : Issue 6
FOLLOWING McLaren’s successful ‘Grow-your-own- F1-driver’ programme, with Lewis Hamilton, the Honda Racing F1 team has signed 16-year-old British kart racer Will Stevens to a long-term deal. In a deal reminiscent of McLaren’s backing of a young Lewis Hamilton, Honda will assist Stevens in “developing to the level of performance that is required to potentially become part of Honda's Formula One programme in the future." HRF1’s Sporting Director Ron Meadows said the team was “delighted,” to welcome the youngster to their number. "Will has had a very promising career in karting to date and we very much look forward to assisting his advancement through the ranks of the junior formulae towards achieving his ultimate ambition to race in Formula One. "Honda considers the development of emerging motorsport talent to be a key part of our strategy and our commitment to Formula One. We look forward to seeing how Will progresses with our support over the course of the next few years." Stevens himself was naturally delighted and, after meeting Ross Brawn and Nick Fry at Honda’s base in Brackley, declared himself to be “extremely proud to be joining the Honda Racing F1 Team and this provides me with a great opportunity to progress my career towards my goal of reaching Formula One.” Stevens is managed by 2MB, the management company run by former F1 drivers Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell, which also manages Honda test driver Mike Conway. n The inaugural Abu- Dhabi Grand Prix will be held in October 2009, it has been announced. The high tech race track, currently under construction in the Middle East, has signed a seven year race deal. n Organisers of the European Grand Prix at Valencia have announced that they have already sold out of grandstand tickets for the August street race. Organisers are considering increasing the size of the grandstands. n Honda has announced that it will make just one further major upgrade to its RA108 after Barcelona as it shifts its full focus onto its 2009 challenger. n Mario Theissen has put to bed rumours that he stopped Lewis Hamilton signing for Williams in 2004, saying "there was no serious opportunity" of a deal. Patrick Head had indicated that the BMW boss deterred them from signing the young star, however Theissen has insisted in the media that Hamilton was clearly property of McLaren. n Robert Kubica is the latest recipient of the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy. The trophy, awarded annually to the most exciting talent in Grand Prix racing, will be presented to the Pole at Brisighella a week before the Monaco Grand Prix. n Johnny Herbert is the first ever Speedcar Champion. The former Grand Prix ace went into the final round at Dubai just fourth in the standings, but won both races to secure his first title since the Le Mans Series crown in 2004. Short Straights ADVERTISE in GPWEEK For more details CLICK HERE to access a HuGE global audience Honda signs 16-year old kart star Will KERS add weight? F1 teams are debating the pros and cons of an increase in minimum car weight next season – when teams will be allowed to use new technology to recycle energy via the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) process. While some teams believe the systems will add significant weight to the cars, others are suggesting that part of the challenge should be to incorporate them within the current minimum weight framework. The current minimum car weight is 605kg. Part of the parallel problem is that teams need to build a reasonable degree of ability to move ballast to adjust weight distribution – likely to be affected by the reintroduction of slick tyres (see other story). 10