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Page last updated at 01:05 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Australian GP practice as it happened


By Sam Lyon

To get involved text us on 81111 with FORMULA 1 before your message. (Not all contributions can be used; UK mobiles only; network rates apply)

0740: I'm going to wrap things up then people, thanks a million for your company. I'm back in the chair for Saturday's practice and qualifying, so join the coverage from around 0200 GMT on the website, the red button and Radio 5 Live sports extra. Let's be honest, you'd be a fool to miss it - it's going to be a stunner.
F1 on the BBC in 2009

0731: "I wonder if it's significant that all the teams running Kers struggled today."
Steve in Manchester

0726: "I'm sure I'm not the only one who is happy with the way this season has started. For far too long it's been the same few teams at the top. Watching Force India overtaking a Ferrari was fantastic!"
Neil Tonks, Rustington, West Sussex

0720: Well, what a fascinating day's racing that was. A controversial rear diffuser appears to have aided Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota no end - but then their pace has looked good throughout winter testing. Ferrari have work to do but they showed glimpses of good speed today, while the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber looked capable when the drivers were able to keep them on track. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen look about as threatening as a tortoise in a sandpit at the moment... anyone got money on them turning it around?
Rosberg fastest as F1 blasts off

0711: "This is the most exciting F1 season since Hill and Mansell were with Williams. All eyes on our English guys, here's wishing Hamilton and Button the best for the season ahead."
Dan Wood, Manchester
Australian Grand Prix practice results

0705: "There's a consistency that's come through the testing and today - Williams, Brawn GP and Toyota have very fast cars. Ferrari's performance in second pratice I don't understand at all, they've looked pretty consistent throughout the winter, but we have to learn about Fridays and just how significant they are and will be throughout the season. I'm not sure how much we should read into today's placings."
Force India director of business affairs Ian Phillips on 5 Live

0701: Just as I say the top eight haven't changed, Rubens Barrichello rips round the track to post the second fastest time of the session with a lap of 1:26.157. A phoenix from the flames effort from the Brazilian this weekend, maybe?

0658: A couple of minutes left in the session but the top eight in the timings have not changed around a jot for well over half an hour. Nico Rosberg will be giving himself a hearty slap on the back at the end of the day, as will Toyota and Brawn GP. Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen, down in 18th and 17th respectively, face an evening huddled around the McLaren drawing board I'd wager.

0655: "I'm now standing at the fence opposite the pit straight and, in case you needed a primary source, the cars are really really loud. Felipe Massa sets the crowd going with two big wobbles, while a straw poll of fans reveals a split between Button and a Ferrari for the flag on Sunday. That's if I heard them correctly over all this noise."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, trackside at Albert Park

0653: "I have to say I was surprised Nelson Piquet Jr got retained by Renault this season. He looked out of his depth last year and, if today's any kind of barometer, he'll do so again this season."
Force India director of business affairs Ian Phillips on 5 Live

0649: Cracking touch from Felipe Massa, meanwhile, as he saves himself brilliantly after a clip on the verge looks certain to send him in to a spin. Lovely shot of Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari paddock looking like someone is pulling his hind teeth. The F1 legend's mood is eased, somewhat, by Kimi Raikkonen raising himself off the bottom of the charts with a time of 1:27.334.

0646: Lewis Hamilton - currently 16th - says his car is bottoming so badly he can barely see the braking point. McLaren really suffering a lack of downforce it would appear and daddy Hamilton Anthony looks a concerned man trackside.

0643: Adrian Sutil is not loving life at Albert Park right now, but he's getting about as much sympathy from his team as a supermodel complaining about her 'fat' earlobes. "There's something wrong with this car," he exclaims. "That's just how these tyres are going to be I'm afraid," replies an engineer. Yeah, stop your whittering Adrian and get on with it son.

0639: "Wow what a difference - Kimi at the back of the pack and a fast Force India! What a year we are in for."
Ian in Tenby

0636: Felipe Massa re-emerges from the pits with less than half an hour left in the session, leaving Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen making up three of the bottom four places. BBC Sport columnist Mark Webber, though, is faring very nicely, the Red Bull driver splitting the 'protest three' in fourth spot.

0630: Oopsa-daisy from Sebastian Vettel as the Red Bull driver allows his rear left wheel to clip the grass and he spins out - two practice sessions down, and two exits for the young German. Yellow flag situation.

0626: "The BMWs seem well off the pace, which is surprising since they all but abandoned developing last years car to concentrate on this years!"

0625: "Should Renault be given a 10-grid slot penalty for unleashing the least aesthetically pleasing car since the walrus Williams abomination?"
Stuart, Hinckley

0622: Fernando Alonso now props up the standings as Nick Heidfeld and Sebastien Buemi get a little more - not much more - out of their cars.

0618: Robert Kubica is grumpier than Victor Meldrew at Christmas at the moment, claiming his BMW Sauber "does not even feel like my car. I'm not driving it, it is doing things I am not asking it to do". He's 12th fastest at the moment.

0616: The big names continue to limp behind their less celebrated rivals, with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso all languishing in the bottom eight in the charts. Once again, the Williams, Toyotas and Brawn GPs are dominating - it's a bit like a bunch of Davids giving an army of Goliaths a darn good kicking behind the school bike-shed. Love it.

0610: "Nick Heidfeld, who is propping up the charts, is complaining of having no grip and no control. He's in the pits trying to sort it out with his team, but he is not having a good day."
Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 Live

0608: "Just in case you wondered what the drivers get up to during the two hour and 20 minutes between sessions, I can exclusively reveal lots of sitting around. Felipe Massa and his wife Anna Rafaela received guests at the Ferrari hospitality area, while Fernando Alonso was brooding on the Renault lawn. There was a hint of a swagger from Jenson Button up at Brawn HQ where this commentary's favourite Leo Sayer was perched.

"Apart from Sayer, the celebrity count in Melbourne is disappointingly low. The centre of attention for the paps in the paddock is the reigning Miss Poland and, rather oddly, last year's Miss Poland. I cannot confirm that the 2009 Miss Poland has reduced aerodynamics."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, trackside at Albert Park

0604: "The drivers really are turning into models these days. Almost to a man they have lost weight ahead of this new season - three kilos by Alonso, similarly Rubens Barrichello, while Nico Rosberg has lost as much as four kilos."
Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 Live

0601: The Toyotas of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli are pushed into second and third by the Williams of Nico Rosberg, the German posting 1:26.142 to go top of the timings, while Sebastian Vettel - who only completed four laps in first practice because of a hydraulic problem - lies in fourth. Meanwhile, McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen suffers a big lock-up going into turn one and he goes off onto the grass - he'll have to get that checked out for damage, you'd think.

0557: "I believe Toyota made a brilliant decision last October - they said to themselves that they were just going to ignore Kers and build a really, really good, solid car. It looks like it might pay dividends."
Force India director of business affairs Ian Phillips on 5 Live

0555: Jenson Button is heard over the radio pointing out that shadows on the track are a bit of an issue - "We'll have to bear that in mind for raceday," he says - but otherwise he's fairly happy with things, save for a bit of "understeer" and "bumpy braking". He's fourth fastest at the moment.

0551: "It's great to see Sutil near the top of this session - why are we not talking about the Force Indias more, is it not possible that they could be dark horses along with Brawn GP?"
Heather from Coventry

0549: "Robert Kubica's not very happy at all - he is complaining that he has no grip on the track at all and so he's come back in for a tyre change. By the way, Jarno Trulli has come back out on the softs and is tearing round the track now - he goes top of the charts with a 1:27.168 lap. Those softs are looking really quick."
Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 Live

0547: Lewis Hamilton posts a personal best lap to go third in the charts with a time of 1:28.158 - he's looking a little more comfortable now - but Jenson Button quickly pushes his fellow Briton into fourth with the fastest lap of the session so far - 1:28.002.

0544: "For me, we've got Kers now and regardless of your opinion on whether it's good for the sport or not, there should be some sort of indicator on those cars that are employing it. Especially if as a sport, we're supposed to be informing people and promoting its use."
Force India director of business affairs Ian Phillips on 5 Live

0539: We have 14 cars out on the track, with Adrian Sutil leading the time charts with a lap of 1:29.335, although he and Fernando Alonso have already spun into the gravel even at this early stage in the session - no damage done to either, though, by the look of things. No sign just yet of either Ferrari nor Lewis Hamilton.

0537: "The buzz-word in Melbourne this weekend appears to be Brawn. Since evolving from Honda into Brawn GP, Ross Brawn's team have been installed as favourites to take the chequered flag in Melbourne. In first practice, Rubens Barrichello finished fourth with team-mate Jenson Button sixth. But there could be more to come in this session because the team say those times were set running on old tyres and with a heavy fuel load."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, trackside at Albert Park

0534: "It'd be a great, great story if one of the Brawn GPs won this weekend - come on, let's shake it up at the top."
Force India director of business affairs Ian Phillips on 5 Live

0530: The two Toyotas are first out on the track - where temperatures have hit 31C, by the way.

0528: "So who's going to be quick this weekend? Our first clue came this morning - two Williams topped the charts and in a quicker time than the pole position qualifying time of last year, too. They are looking very strong, but so are Ferrari and Brawn GP. McLaren are struggling, definitely, but a lot can change in second practice, we know that."
Maurice Hamilton on BBC Radio 5 Live

0522: We're minutes away from the start of second practice now folks, and the video coverage is back at the top of this page if you press refresh. Jubbly.

0517: Two fellas who will be looking for an improved showing in the next session are Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica - 10th and 13th respectively in first practice. Exceptional drivers both, but have they got the car? They have the talent to dominate the high school prom, but have they got their date sorted? They've got the skills to pay the bills, but do they have a cheque book to hand? I'll stop that now.
Brundle on Alonso
Kubica in pole position for title tilt

0510: Twenty minutes until second practice people - get your head off the pillow and ready yourselves for another intriguing session. And a reminder, as well, that the BBC News Channel is producing a new show devoted to Formula 1 on the Friday of every race weekend this season. Tune in tonight at 1830 GMT to catch the show. If you miss it, it will be shown again at 2230, or you can go to the Formula 1 web site and the red button to watch it at your own leisure.

0503: "Excellent opening to the '09 calender. This could shape up to be the most interesting season for some time. Nice to see a change in the position of runners and riders, but will it last?"
John, Bury, Lancs


Hamilton and Kovalainen face Shane Warne

And Mark Webber's definitely faring better than his compatriot Shane Warne did against Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen - the McLaren drivers gave the former Australia spinner a bit of schooling at a recent cricket get-up. Admittedly Warne was deliberately chucking pies at the pair of them to give them the best chance of hitting sixes, but still - with the Ashes cricket series coming up, England need all the little victories they can get!

0452: A quick nod in the direction of BBC Sport columnist Mark Webber, who is back in competitive racing in front of his home fans barely four months after breaking his leg after colliding head-on with a car while competing in a charity bike ride. He may have only managed seven laps in that first session, but one of the nicest men in showbiz showed no ill-effects and that, at least, is a bonus.
Mark Webber column

0439: "Desperate times call for desperate measures. Just 26 minutes before the start of the first practice session, a shipment of boxes full of new parts arrived at the McLaren garage. The team are desperately struggling to hit form ahead of qualifying and had the shipment especially flown in. What's in the box remains, for now, a mystery. A new rear diffuser, perhaps?"
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, trackside at Albert Park
Brawn rises from Honda ashes

0433: "Gripping first session at Albert Park. Thoroughly worth staying up through the night to see the new cars and get a first look at how the cars compare. Disappointing, however, that we won't be certain of Sunday's race result until the appeal hearing in over a week's time."
Garry in St Helens

0427: Oh, and - as we will throughout the season - BBC Sport can bring you the latest gossip from in and around the track courtesy of our F1 mole. The hottest chat right now is that Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is close to splashing some cash on the Brawn Grand Prix team. What a turn-around for the former Honda team - out of F1 one minute, favourites for the opening race the next, and now with investors banging down their door. Happy days.
Virgin poised for Brawn link-up


How fit does an F1 driver have to be?

Well Ste (see below), ask and I shall endeavour to answer. Newsbeat's David Garrido found out - the hard way - with an intensive session with F1 trainer Nick Harris, and I've posted the link to the video. It's safe to say I would last approximately three seconds in an F1 car. But then I'm in about as good condition as an asthmatic ant carrying a load of heavy shopping.

0417: "We are always told that F1 drivers are mega fit, but just how fit and what sort of prep do the drivers do over the winter?"
From Ste

0411: "The first thing to say is that first practice means nothing. Having said that, there is enough indication from the top eight cars to see that the controversial double-decker diffuser has a definite advantage, both Williams, Brawns and a Toyota are all in there. Heikki Kovalainen was a surprise up in fifth place, especially when McLaren themselves arent convinced the team is up to scratch yet and when his team-mate Lewis Hamilton is down in 16th. Lets see what happens in the second session."
Eddie Jordan, former team owner and BBC Sport analyst

0404: A bit of chat via text about the 'protest three'. A quick reminder that three Formula 1 teams (Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault) complained to the FIA over the legality of the rear diffuser (which is crucial to the aerodynamics of the car) being used by Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams. Those protests were thrown out, but an appeal followed meaning the race results this weekend will be subject to a hearing after next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. Interesting to see those three teams impressing today, the conspiracy theorists among you are loving it.
F1 teams given Melbourne go-ahead

0357: "How the Schumacher/Hill race finished ahead of the three-way battle of Mansell/Prost/Piquet is beyond me. Watching the extended highlights of that classic from '86 really got the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Gotta love the old stick shifts too!"
James, Southampton

0344: While we've got a bit of 'down-time' between practices, and while I tuck into a large mug of tea (no biscuits, though, bah humbug), why don't you all have a bit of a reminisce about Australian GPs gone by? You voted Michael Schumacher's dogfight against Damon Hill as the best in recent memory, just edging out the three-way battle between Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet in 1986. UK users can click the below link and relive the glory days. Classic Australian GP - the winner

0333: "Fans were given the opportunity to squeeze every last cent out of their ear plugs as immediately after practice they were treated to a flurry of fly-pasts from the Australian equivalent of the Red Arrows. "Oooh they're as good as the cars," enthused one BBC team member desperately taking photos of blank sky. And in case you were wondering how much a pair of ear defenders will set you back, well, there appears to be something of an ear-plug price war going on. Outside the gates you can pick them up for 50 cents but once inside they'll set you back Aus$2. I'll get back to some proper investigative reporting now..."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt, trackside at Albert Park

0327: "Barrichello should be favourite rather than Button, he is doing really well today and he has all the experience needed to win on Sunday."
Fred in London

0324: "Re: 0259 - Alonso 'gets love' because he proves time and again he can figure things out and put it altogether when it really matters."

0317: "Williams appear to be showing excellent form. Is this an indication that they are going to challenge for the championship? I hope so. Rosberg could be se tting himself up for his first victory. The excitement!"
Matt, Belfast
Australian Grand Prix practice results

0315: "I seem to be in the minority here, I love the new cars! They have a very classic appeal and they look a lot more organic than the last two-three seasons worth of cars. I'm sitting up watching despite a history lecture tomorrow at 10am! I think this season is going to be pretty epic!"
Greg, Stoke-on-Trent

0313: "Are these the fastest snow plows ever or what? Those front wing's are huge."
Steve, Northumberland

0310: By the way, the live video will be back on for the next practice session, which gets under way at 0530 GMT. Until then, we'll all have to keep each other occupied by ourselves - and a host of discussion points already right? The pace of the Williams is impressive, as is that of the Ferraris and Brawn GP, but problems for Red Bull already - and the BMW Saubers and Lewis Hamilton are showing about as much bite as a newborn baby. It can all change, though, of course... unlike the shape of the cars. I have to say, I'm not taken by them.

0308: "The new cars look like a beautiful row of Victorian houses at the front, but with an ugly block of flats planted behind them."
Mrs Myall, London

0304: "The McLarens will be asking some serious questions as well - is Heikki Kovalainen's pace reflective of the car's performance, or is Lewis Hamilton - back in 16th for the session - really going to struggle that badly all weekend?"
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live

0303: "Red Bull were the big losers in that session as they were restricted to just 11 laps between both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. They will have work to do in second practice."
David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live

0301: Kazuki Nakajima take a bow - the Williams goes second fastest for the session with a lap of 1:26.736. Elsewhere, angry-man syndrome from Robert Kubica as he waves his fists at one of the Force India's as he attempts to pull off a flying lap to end the session, only to find his progress blocked by a meandering effort from the car in front. Driving Miss Daisy effort, that, from - I think - Adrian Sutil.

0259: Fernando Alonso - he's getting a lot of love from you guys on the texts - is hardly pulling up trees at the moment, and in that last lap he struggles with his steering and pulls onto the grass on the bend. Meanwhile, Nico Rosberg pulls a doozy of a lap out of the bag - on the harder compounds - to go top of the timings with a lap of 1:26.687. Impressive, with a minute left in the session.

0257: "You have to look at the new car designs like this - you have a beautiful girlfriend, but after a while you realise that she's just a little bit dull and her uglier best friend is actually a hell of a lot more fun and therefore much better date material."
David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live

0254: The softer tyres are really impressing in this session and they're serving Force India's Adrian Sutil rather well - the German has gone seventh fastest with a lap of 1:27.993. Williams, Brawn GP and Toyota all impressing as well so far.

0251: The sun is belting down on Albert Park now and Raikkonen - on the super-soft tyres, by the way - continues to top the charts, ahead of Nico Rosberg and the Brawn GPs of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. The latter, though, is one of a number of drivers slipping about and onto the grass at the moment - a suspicion from Anthony Davidson that there may be a bit of oil on the track.

0245: "There is definitely something about Albert Park that promotes a spirit of just hanging out and taking it easy. It wasn't just the cars which were a bit slow to get into gear during first practice. Team bosses Flavio Briatore of Renault and Force India's Vijay Mallya took advantage of the sunshine to stay out of the heat of the garages and recline on the lawns along the paddock. But the early shout for most relaxed man goes to Michael Schumacher. Just minutes before the session started the seven-time world champion was munching his way through an enormous sandwich at the back of the Ferrari garage with a huge grin on his face."
BBC Sport's Sarah Holt trackside at Albert Park

0241: Just as Anthony Davidson waxes lyrical about Kazuki Nakajima, the Williams driver is forced to retire to the pits with a puncture. Interesting.

0240: "The drivers' times that are really standing out for me right now are Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima and Lewis Hamilton - they are the surprising ones for me. The first two are looking at decent pace, which is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, while obviously it's looking a little bit like hard work for Lewis."
Anthony Davidson on BBC Radio 5 Live

0237: And there goes Kimi Raikkonen storming to the top of the timings with a lap of 1:26.750. Lewis Hamilton, conversely, is limping round as the 15th fastest on the track, unlike his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, who remains fourth fastest.

0233: "I believe that Kimi will take the title this year - but the first few races will be a good points haul for Brawn GP! Good to see the cars looking as good as they did 20 years ago!"
Neil and Jonny in the flat, Hull!

0229: "There's a big question running through the paddock this weekend - what Kimi Raikkonen are we going to see? I must say, I suspect we're in for a real treat from the Finn and the body language and approach of the man, from what I can tell, suggests he might be at his inspirational best."
David Croft on BBC 5 Live

0228: Weather fans, hold on to your hats... the track temperature is 26C and the air temperature is 18C. I know, I know - information barely gets more exciting, huh?

0225: I do hope you've all brushed up on the rule changes for this season, by the way? If not, go to the back of the class and get studying or you'll be forced to stand in the corner wearing the dunce hat. We think Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and, possibly, Nick Heidfeld in his BMW Sauber are employing KERS this weekend...
F1 ready for racing revolution

0221: And Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello responds immediately with a time of 1:27.743 to go top of the timings.

0219: Right then, an early hint that perhaps the McLarens aren't quite as slow as Lewis Hamilton was suggesting - early mind games from the reigning champion perhaps? - as Heikki Kovalainen posts the fastest time of the session so far with 1:27.982.
McLaren will struggle - Hamilton

0216: "Everyone says that Jenson Button is a technically excellent driver, but does he have the street brawler in him to beat Lewis and the Ferrari boys regularly this season?"
Luke from London

0214: Sebastian Vettel, on only his fourth lap of the session, is stranded on the grass and he throws his gloves out of the cockpit in disgust - hardly the start he will have wanted. His Red Bull lost hydraulic pressure, apparently.

0211: A start more ragged than a student's best pair of jeans from Felipe Massa, the Ferrari driver spinning early in his lap before cutting onto the grass... that's it, start as you mean to go on fella. Hamilton's first lap is, as expected, less than impressive - he's seventh in the charts so far.

0206: And here comes Lewis Hamilton, moments after Raikkonen goes top of the times with a lap of 1:28.718 - it'll be interesting to see which Raikkonen we'll see this season. The man has undoubted super-human quality, but will he be able to switch it on? Jonathan Legard, for one, thinks he just might.
Jonathan Legard's blog

0204: Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are out and about, signalling the start of the business section of this practice.

0159: Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi puts in a flying lap of 1:41.493. Last year's pole, for reference, was 1:26.714. Have a butcher's at our circuit guide, by the way, it's fancier than a Fondant Fancy coated in hundreds and thousands.
BBC Sport's circuit guide

0152: Rubens Barrichello is the first driver out on a proper lap and we might just get an impression of the Brawn's pace in the coming minutes. Jenson Button, lest we forget, has been installed as the bookies' favourite for the win this weekend, which given his form (and car) over recent seasons would represent a cracking turnaround for the Briton.

0149: "Everyone is talking about Jenson Button being quick for Brawn but you have to remember that last season his team-mate Rubens Barrichello out-qualified him quite regularly. So there is absolutely no reason why Barrichello won't be up there too at the top of the timesheets in first practice. The bottom line for Friday is - expect the Brawns to be quick."
Lee McKenzie, BBC Sport pit-lane reporter

0146: Right then, after all the hullabaloo of the build-up, there's not very much happening on the track as yet - although, Kimi Raikkonen is making a tentative approach as I type... time then for us to hear from a couple of our reporters.

0141: "I'm tipping Jenson to 'Do a Mansell" - two years in a bad car and then comes back to dominate. Good luck Button and Hamilton!"
Henri stayin up in Hastings

0137: So far, all but Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello have been or are out on the track. Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella is the early pace-setter, but one would imagine that will change a fair few times in the coming hours.

0130: Ladies and gentleman, the first official practice of the new season is under way.

0129: "It's time for Brawn GP to show us what they're really made of. I for one am hoping the old Ferrari / McLaren hegemony is going to get a reality check from the small boys."
Tom in Oxford

0126: "It's going to be a cracking weekend. So many unanswered questions, a plot thick from the grid. Bring it on!"
Tom, Bangor, up all night!

0123: As if I wasn't excited enough, the news that Leo Sayer is at the track really has made me feel like dancing (sorry). So, just your average build-up to a season then, right? Rule changes, Honda out-Brawn GP in, a new points system in and then back out, protests about rival cars… and that's before we even start discussing the drivers and the cars! Ooh, we're moments away from the start of practice now… I'm so excited I may implode.
F1 teams given Melbourne go-ahead
Massa supports F1 points U-turn
F1 ready for racing revolution
Honda team to return as Brawn GP

0119: "Never have I been so excited about a practice session, let alone qualifying and the race itself. Will all our questions be answered in first practice? Probably not. Here's to a late night and the 2009 season!"
Ray via text

0116: "No work tomorrow, will be staying up with ya to watch online Sam. Think it's Raikkonen's if he wants it this weekend, but I'm gutted Lewis won't be up there."
Gav in Essex via text

0113: And, of course, we have our own intrepid reporter on the scene - the lovely Sarah Holt. "Good morning from Melbourne. The skies above Albert Park may be overcast but they're buzzing with the sound of helicopters - which we can only assume is Australia's great and good flying in for the first practice. One celebrity already making a name for himself in the paddock is Seventies popstrel Leo Sayer. The Brit is now an Aussie citizen and has already been joking about this summer's Ashes - apparently he's undecided about which side to support. He's been seen at pretty much most of the teams' hospitality areas over the last two days so he's probably not pledging his allegiance when it comes to F1 cars either."

0111: So what can you expect from us in the coming days and months? Well, Jake Humphrey presents our TV coverage, alongside 13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard and former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan. Commentary will come from Jonathan Legard and award-winning broadcaster Martin Brundle. The 5 live commentary team is led by David Croft alongside new signing Formula One driver Anthony Davidson and pit lane reporter Holly Samos. And, with a doff of the cap to my fearless leader, hugely respected F1 journalist Andrew Benson leads the web team. Jubbly.
Meet the BBC's Formula 1 team

0105: First things first, we have Friday's first practice coming up from 0130 GMT, and so now would be an absolutely splendid time for all you good people to get in touch with your thoughts, musings and expectations for the new season and this weekend. You can text me and the 5 Live team on 81111 and we will use the best of them, giving you your 15 minutes of fame. What are you waiting for?

0103: What a season we have in store, and what a potentially fascinating weekend's racing to kick it off. So many questions are already being asked - What impact will the rule changes have? Will the likes of Brawn GP actually outshine their more celebrated rivals? Will Lewis Hamilton's bid to retain his drivers' championship falter on the basis that his McLaren couldn't out-race a milk float? We might just get answers to those - and many more - this weekend. Are you ready?

0100: Formula 1. It's only on the BBC, isn't it? Love it.

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see also
Rosberg fastest as F1 blasts off
27 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Brawn supremacy
29 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
F1 Mole blog
27 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Date set for F1 diffuser appeal
28 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren will struggle - Hamilton
26 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Clock ticking towards F1 opener
26 Mar 09 |  Formula 1

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