Swiping the wasps off the apple of truth

It’s Friday, so it’s once again time to round-up all the events of the past seven days in F1. This week we’re pleased to bring you some real news, what with F1 cars being back in action, with a few oddities and rumours thrown in for good measure. This is Badger’s Friday news round-up.

Mark Webber’s Belgian Birthday.

Mark Webber quite literally blowing hot air. © Sutton/Autosport

We’ll start with a birthday: Red Bull’s Mark Webber today reaches the grand old age of 34, making him the fifth oldest driver in F1. The last time Mark’s birthday fell on the Friday of the Belgian Grand Prix was in 2004, when he qualified 7th in a Jaguar before exiting the race in a first lap collision. What can we infer from this about how he’ll fare this weekend? Nothing- absolutely nothing, folks. Happy birthday Mark.

Today is also the birthday of 10 times grand prix winner Gerhard Berger, who turns 51, and veteran of 162 grand prix Derek Warwick, who’s 56 years young. Neither of them ever won the title, so what can we infer from this about Mark’s chances in 2010? Nothing- not one single thing, folks.

Grosjean returns to Spa- in Renault colours.

Before you get too excited, no, Romain Grosjean isn’t going to be making a shock return to F1 with his old employers. He’s actually been drafted in to the Renault junior team’s GP2 line-up for this weekend’s race in place of injured Chinese racer Ho-Pin Tung. With Tung being the team’s third driver Grosjean is also now effecitvely Renault’s reserve. Watch out for banana skins, Vitaly.

We think this one’s newsworthy because last year’s Belgian GP was one of  the  worst of Grosjean’s 7 race stint at Renault, with the Frenchman crashing out on lap 1 and taking Jenson Button with him. Twelve months on he’s got a chance to impress behind the wheel of a GP2 car (which he knows well) at Spa (a track he knows well). We’ll be keeping a keen eye on his progress.

© LAT/Autosport

Chandhok lands Red Bull drive

Once again, before you get all excited, no, the Badger favourite hasn’t landed himself a seat in F1’s fastest car. This is just a temp role, and it involves a lot of travel. We’re not sure how well it pays but it will look decent on his C.V, so he may as well give it a shot.

Karun will be demoing a Red Bull at the new Yeongam circuit, which will host the innalgural Korean Grand Prix in October. The India driver- who still hopes to return to racing with Hispania this year- has a long association withRed Bull, having carried the companies logos earlier in his career. His first F1 test came at the wheel of an RB3 back in 2007, so with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber unable to make the event Chandhok got the call.

“Red Bull and I know each other from my days on the junior programme. The team’s regular drivers weren’t available due to other commitments, so I was happy to fill in,” Karun said of his new opportunity. “It’ll be a real honour to be one of the first people to drive around the new Korean circuit. The layout looks quite good fun on paper and I look forward to driving a winning team’s car there next weekend.”

Not a winning car though, as Red Bull use older models for their demo runs. Still, it’s bound to handle better than a Hispania.

KC tested for Red Bull at the back end of 2007. © XPB/LAT/Autosport

Hispania and Elipson to team up?

Rumours suggest that Hispania are considering a merger with Epsilon Euskadi, one of the teams looking to join the F1 grid in 2011. The idea makes total sense: they could combine their knowledge, money and facilities to put together a pretty decent outfit. The fact that both are Spanish also makes the tie-up appealing.

However there are issues over the team’s rather disticnt local identities (Hispania are based in Murcia whilst Epsilon are Basque) and this could be a sticking point. Neither will want to ‘forget who they are’, as it were.

It would make sense though, with Hispania having the place on the grid Epsilon want and Epsilon having a solid design and engineering base. Will either have a place on the F1 grid next season? It’s totally up in the air at the moment.

Epsilon boss Joan Villadelprat- seen here with Damon Hill, for some reason- is supposedly keen on a link-up with Hispania. © Autosport.

And finally, the obligatory F-Duct News

F-Duct pioneers McLaren will not be running the device at next month’s Italian Grand Prix.

The now-legendary duct allows drivers to stall the rear wing on straights, thus increasing top end speed. As such Monza- which is dominated by long straights- would seem like the perfect place to make us of the device.

But it turns out that the circuit requires such a low wing setting that the F-Duct becomes useless, because there isn’t enough drag for it to eliminate. Who’d have thought it?

It’s likely that the rest of the teams running the duct will elect to remove it for Monza, and you can be sure that Badger will continue to bring you all the F-Duct news worth printing, and maybe some that isn’t.

Beacause in 10 years time when someone mentions the 2010 F1 season to you this oddly named little duct will be one of the first things that pops in to your head. Trust us.