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Shell Circuit An Amazing Commercial

Shell and Ferrari have recently been involved in what many have described as the most expensive commercial ever filmed. It involved filming Ferrari race cars driving through some of the worlds busiest centers, which involved a logistics problem never faced by the making of a commercial before.


Transcript of Circuit

The screen opens with a globe of the world slowly spinning around and country names appear – Rome, Hong Kong, Rio, New York and Monte Carlo. An arrow traces this journey around the world. “Circuit, the making of”.

We now see lots of old Ferrari cars in different environments from the film shoot, including a tree-lined street and a Shell service station. Cameras and filming equipment is shown, as are Ferraro and Shell Formula One technicians. Everything is being meticulously placed and organized, even including retouching a driver’s helmet!

There are now two cameramen in front of the Coliseum and an old Ferrari drives past on old Italian roads. We see the car drive past with a camera hooked on the front carefully capturing all of the action.

We now see a Ferrari F312B being filmed from a moving car and the cameramen are carefully capturing all of the action. The car now drives down a street in Hong Kong and people are almost deafened by the noise of the car!

A helicopter takes off and we see a Ferrari 312 on a wet road, bringing up mist as it drives past. We see a Ferrari F310B driving down a street in Rio which then takes a corner on a busy main street filled with people. Crowds are amazed by the sights and sounds of the Ferrari car.

We are now in New York and see a Ferrari 312 being driven in New York. The streets are empty except the cars, the driver and the filming crew. The car drives down an empty Broadway onto Times Square. New York crowds are desperately trying to capture a glimpse of the amazing scenes.

Crowds of Shell and Ferrari technicians and the film director are carefully discussing the car can carefully drive around the windy streets of Monaco. The Ferrari F2003GA drives along the streets in front of the harbour.

We now see the F248 pull into a Shell service station where a pump attendant fills the car with Shell V-Power after being timed. The drive starts again, from the Coliseum.

We see the Shell Made to Move monolith.

The Making of Circuit

Immerse yourself in new Shell ‘Circuit’ television advert, where you can now be part of the behind the scenes action. Ferrari Formula One cars over the ages, from 1952 to the modern day take to the streets of Rome, New York, Rio, Hong Kong and Monaco. You can now take an exclusive look at how the video was made and celebrate the ongoing Shell and Ferrari technical partnership. Experience the effort that goes into such a project by getting an exclusive insight into the filmmakers’ secrets, from the fake dirt sprayed onto the cars to the car-mounted cameras – the “movie magic” is all evident in this exclusive behind the scenes video.

Stepney Gate II

I’ve stayed away form the whole saga that has been dubbed "Stepneygate" for the last few days. There has been so much speculation and rumor that it is hard to decide what should be considered fact, and what should be considered fiction. Since I last wrote about Stepneygate it has widened, now we have the Honda, Ferrari and McLaren teams in the thick of it, the FIA getting involved by investigating the scandal, and then summoning McLaren to appear in front of a special World Council meeting on July 26.

On the personal side and directly involved we have Nigel Stepney of Ferrari, Mike Caughlan of McLaren, Mikes wife Trudy (who apparently was the one trying to get photocopying of Ferrari documents done, which triggered the whole McLaren part of this saga) and also named and involved is McLaren Racing Managing Director, Jonathan Neale.

To me it seems that although Stepneygate as it is called, has widened it’s scope, I feel that somewhere along the line this may separate into two distinct sagas. Firstly Stepneygate, with the problems between Nigel Stepney and Ferrari, and then I think we will find out that the other half of this should be named Caughlangate. I say they will be separated as nowhere has it been confirmed that the discs (I told you in my earlier Stepneygate post that this would not have included the actual theft of paper documents, but rather electronic copies) actually came from Nigel Stepney. That leaves the door firmly open for other involvement from Ferrari.

The current burning question on everyones lips is did McLaren benefit from these documents. While the answer is probably no as far as actual car design goes, Nigel and Mike may have been communicating for some time, and possibly some of Nigels thinking may have been changed or expanded by those conversations. After all, a tip off about some technology, or a different way of doing something can easily lead to more investigation, and result in "new" features and developments being included in a car. With all of the movement of personnel between teams, this is nothing new. The flow of ideas between teams has slowed up a little from where it used to be after the introduction of "gardening leave", but being on gardening leave as we have seen recently in NASCAR with modern technology means nothing, and those on gardening leave could easily be passing technology on.

McLaren being summoned to appear before the FIA is also an interesting development. We are all guessing at this stage as to what the FIA wants to know, but the smart money is on further investigation into the allegations earlier in the year about Ferrari’s floor. I remember thinking at the time, how did McLaren know so much about Ferrari’s floor, as it appeared in the reports at the time that they knew a lot about it. Well, maybe we have our answer, could it be that Caughlan was the man feeding the information, information gained by the disgruntled Stepney ? The answer is probably. Time will tell.

Until this thing plays out completely, which could take some time, Planet F1 has assembled an easy to read summary of the events as they have occurred, and continue to occur. It makes for some good reading, and is probably the best summary of Stepneygate out there.

Lewis Hamilton Wants to Step It Up

Lewis Hamilton wants to step up his game over the next few months to try and win the Formula One World Championship in his first year. He has had an incredible season so far, finishing on the podium for all 9 races so far, along with two wins, the most impressive season ever in Formula One.

Despite this success he has admitted that he does need to step it up to stay in front of his teammate Fernando Alonso, and Ferraris’ hard charging pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Felippe Massa,

“I think I need to step up my game, which I intend to do,” he stated. “As a team we need to push as always, but we need to try to push even more if we can.

“You know for me as a driver I’m still learning, I still have time to find in myself through experience and I think we are going to a few tracks that I know so it should really make the weekend a bit easier but it doesn’t. I’ve been here before but I’ve struggled in terms of pace.

“Making sure we get the car set up right, making sure we keep on moving forward with the car and ideally beat the Ferraris"

He did have some disappointment after this weekends British Formula One Grand Prix, taking third place after securing pole position in qualifying.

“Obviously, it is not the best result for us,” he continued. “Being on pole I felt quite strongly that we could have had a better result.

“However, to come to your first home Grand Prix and still get a podium after difficulties on the second and last stint… I have to look on the bright side you know. We still have nine podiums in a row and I don’t know if that has ever been done, but I’m very happy with that.”

"I never give up,” he added. “I just keep on pushing because you never know what is going to happen. They could have come together; they could have got caught by back-markers.

“Sometimes I could see people ahead and I didn’t know if it was them or whoever. I thought maybe they would be getting close to back-markers and I thought ‘this is my opportunity to keep pushing because you might get close.’ You never know what is going to happen so I find you never give up, you just keep on pushing.

"The team are telling you to turn the engine down at some point so you are getting slower but then you try to push to compensate for the engine. But otherwise I kept going.”

Lewis Hamilton Overalls on Ebay

I’m not usually in the habit of posting about things that go bang on Ebay, but this time it seems to be something pretty unique, and with Lewismania sweeping the motorsport world, a signed pair of Lewis Hamilton overallsis something you might like to check out.

The auction has a lengthly blurb, and in the middle of that is the following:

This is a Lewis Hamilton worn Nomex suit – made by Sparco – with a Sparco McLaren installed Hamilton identifying serial number within it. (To prevent counterfeits you must email me here: ebay2@autosport.net to request specific photos of the identifying characteristics of this race suit. )


It was graciously signed, dated and donated to the Ayrton Senna Foundation by Lewis and his father, Anthony, at Monaco. It was purchased by me at the auction the next evening.

Having just spoken with Anthony Hamilton at Montreal, he has informed me that there is no other raced suit by Lewis available, that mine is the only one in private hands, and that it was for his own collection. Mr Hamilton donated his own suit to the Senna Foundation.

Looks like it is the genuine article, time of course will tell.

Happy Bidding!


It’s been a  few days since the story first broke, and I have taken the approach of sit back for a while and see how this thing shakes out, but finally I could not help myself and have decided to jump in.

There is much speculation and probably mis-information out there right now about who is doing what in Stepneygate.

The main players are alleged to be Nigel Stepney of Ferrari, Mike Caughlin of McLaren, and then the Ferrari, Mc Laren and Honda teams. The stories that are circulating are that at the center of this are approximately 500-700 pages of Ferrari documents that have been alleged to have been leaked to a senior McLaren person (rumored to be Caughlin, but not 100% confirmed at this time). Honda team boss Nick Fry this week confirmed directly to Ferrari and McLaren that he had met earlier in June with Stepney and Caughlin together, and discussed those two making a move across to Honda, and according to Fry this meeting was not at his request.

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that the English Police are not involved, as it is being treated as a civil matter in England, however the Italian Police are involved, with searches taking place of Stepneys residence in Italy.

As usual with F1, a lot of the facts are pretty clouded, and no-one is exactly who did what, and what the intentions are, or in fact what exactly the documents at the center of this are. The documents described as "Ferrari Documents" could be anything, they could be anything from a collection of menus form the Ferrari catering division, all the way through to design data, windtunnel data, or anything else with a Ferrari logo on it. One thing that does puzzle me a little, is we are talking about some of the most technical people involved in F1, and yet for some reason we have a pile of paper at the center of this. Surely if these guys were to have done this they would have done it electronically, but then again, who knows.

One theory also circulating right now is that the documents in question were left at an English copy center, and an employee there noticed the Ferrari logos, and the content, and then alerted Ferrari about the documents. Again, at this time this has not been confirmed by any official sources.

One thing that is very clear is that Honda is not in any way involved with this, they appear to be a completely innocent party, and neither has anyone accused McLaren of using any of these documents, or any other stolen designs/drawings/documents in the building of the 2007 car, and neither should they, as this has only just happened recently, although of course one does have to wonder if this has been going on for a while, or if this is an isolated incident.

I am sure we will hear more of this in the next few days, and I would not be surprised to hear of other teams being implicated in this incident, or perhaps even other incidents that come to light very soon.

Whatever happens it is still pretty amazing that such low tech espienage seems to have gone on amongst some of the most brilliant and most technical people on the planet. Watch this and many other spaces in the next few days.

McLarens new Motorhome

The all new McLaren Brand Centre at it's first race the Brisih Grand Prix July 2007The British Grand Prix this weekend sees the introduction of a new “Motorhome” in the F1 paddock. Named the McLaren Brand Centre, this new “Motorhome” conforms to the FIA’s height and width requirements for “Motorhomes”, but any comparison to a real Motorhome should stop right there.

If people in the US think Motorhome, the NASCAR version immediately pops to mind, some sort of driven vehicle, or more precisely, a palace on wheels, where drivers or other team people can seek refuge form the outside world. These Motorhomes are usually all decked out with the latest in cool technology and gadgets, and are a home away form home. When talking about Motorhomes in F1 terms, we are no longer talking about anything that can be driven, we are talking about full on portable building structures, really, multi level buildings that are moved from race to race, and seen usually only at the European events due to the transportation costs.

McLaren set the standard in 2002 with the introduction with the “Communications Centre”, but it seems that the state of the art structure has now been superseeded by this newer, bigger (maybe even faster) version. Below are some of the specs of the new McLaren Brand Center, pretty impressive for a “Motorhome”.


The Brand Centre:

  • will appear at all the European Formula 1 races.
  • will take approximately 20 people two days to erect.
  • is three stories high and within the parameters set by Formula 1 Management.was designed and built by Bischoff+Scheck based in Baden Baden in Germany.
  • has a 13.5 metres environmentally friendly solar glass façade at the front.
  • has nine 63 inch plasma screens to ensure optimum presentation of images and data.
  • has a total of four meeting rooms – one with video conferencing facilities and eight offices.has separate rooms for Fernando and Lewis to relax in with state-of-the-art wireless games consoles linked between rooms, MP3-docking stations and showers etc.
  • cost has been covered by the three main parties in the team; Vodafone, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz and its cost will be absorbed over five years.
  • has 20 office spaces for marketing and media workers, in addition to wireless network throughout the facility.

The French Grand Prix last weekend was the last appearance of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Communications Centre in the Formula 1 paddock The Communications Centre made its debut at the 2002 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola and at the time, a three-year lifespan was targeted. However after 53 race weekends it’s now time to move on.

During its operation the Communications Centre:

  • at the European Formula 1 races it hosted 53 editions of the “Meet the Team” press briefing where drivers and team management answered approximately 636 questions.
  • in its five and half seasons, it provided a base for the team’s drivers’ David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya, Pedro de la Rosa, Alexander Wurz, Gary Paffett, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton.
  • provided approximately 5000 breakfasts, lunches and dinners – causing the average journalist to gain 1.5 kgs in weight per season!!!
  • has travelled 86,731 kilometres.

Pitstop of the Year

There have been some strange incidents during pitstops in Formula One over the last few years, but this weekends stop for Christian Albers on lap 28 of the French Grand Prix is probably one of the strangest ever.

The team members were all lucky to escape injury when Albers left the pit stall early, while the refuelling hose was still attached. During the race you could clearly see Albers leaving the pit box before the "lollipop" sign was lifted to let him know it was ok to leave, and as no problem with the car was confirmed, we can only assume it was a complete driver error, and another blot on the copybook of an under fire Christian Albers.

Fortunately there was no fire, and Albers only got to the end of pitlane before the flailing hose wrapped itself around his car and it ground to a halt. He was fined $6,800.00 for his efforts by the FIA.

The European press also had a field day with this one with comments like: "The idiot from Holland" (Bild form Germany). Englands The Sun newspaper labeled the incident a "Calamity cock-up" and Englands Daily Telegraph called Albers "Woeful"

Relive the strange, but actually quite funny (now that we know no-one was harmed in the making of this video) incident below.

Lewis Hamilton Seeks Pay Rise

Ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend, it has been reported that Lewis Hamilton is asking the McLaren team for a pay rise. Lewis came into Formula One this year as a rookie and signed for McLaren with a salary believed to be around $300,000, with bonuses for each points that he scores in the World Championship, which to date is 64 points, a huge haul for a rookie driver.

According to the sources, however, there could be a clause in his contract with McLaren that allows for renegotiation of the amount he is paid if he happened to be leading the Championship at the halfway point of the season, which, given his 14 point lead over teammate Alonso after 8 of the 17 races is assured.. Such a clause is possible as Lewis was not expected to be doing as well as he is. A clause like this might have been allowed because it would have seemed something that had almost no chance of happening.

Of course these stories should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s not the first time strange, but interesting stories have been "leaked" or "broken" (you choose which) in Spain, and could just be designed to try to upset the McLaren team right before their "home" grand prix this weekend. Whatever is going on, you cna bet there is no smoke without some fire somewhere, and if it is true, could we see Lewis Hamilton sitting out the British Grand Prix, or being stood down by McLaren because of a pay dispute, somehow I don’t think so….

Pope Saves Formula One Racer

During the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Polish Formula One driver Robert Kubica had a horrific crash, slamming a concrete barrier at very high speed. Kubica was taken to hospital, but miraculously he was released a day later with only bruises to show for the huge high speed crash.

This week he denied that he owes his life to the miraculous powers of the late Pope, John Paul II. Kubica hails from Krakow, the late pontiff’s home city, and has raced for years with John Paul’s name inscribed on his crash helmet.

The Polish local PAP news agency reported earlier that Kubica’s survival after slamming into a wall during this month’s Canadian Grand Prix could serve as evidence of a miracle in the Catholic Church’s beatification process of John Paul. The report quoted a local Church source.

Kubica said "I know nothing about this" after being passed fit to race again on Sunday at this weekends French Grand Prix. "In Poland there are many things that are reported that are not true. "I don’t know by whom I was saved, I don’t know if I was saved by someone. I’m here in one piece so I think that is very positive," he added.

McLaren Tries to Keep the Peace

Ron Dennis and the McLaren team are no strangers to inter team rivalry and all the problems associated with it, after all go back to the Prost/Lauda days and the Prost/Senna days and you will see some of the most headstrong Formula One drivers ever in the same camp.

Recent talk in the media is that Alonso feels that the team is favoring homeboy Lewis Hamilton (after all he has been with McLaren since he was 14 years old!). Whether this is really true, or just a media storm we probably will never know, but after a little time has passed it seems more and more likely to be media hype, rather than the strict truth, but of course where there is smoke there is fire ….

Getting back onto the subject at hand, McLaren has moved to remove any speculation that they are favoring one driver in the garage over another and recently their Engineering Director, Paddy Lowe explained:

"Within 30 seconds of either car coming to rest in a practice session, its driver has his own data sheet, showing every engineering parameter available, and an overlay from his team-mate’s car. They debrief at the same table, with engineers and strategists from both sides of the garage. Concealing information is impossible. "

This does mean that McLaren are doing everything in their power to make sure that both drivers are being looked after equally, and that there is a level playing field inside the team. At the end of the day McLaren as a team I am sure do not care which driver wins the races, so long as they finish 1 and 2, and McLaren win the Constructors Championship , which at the end of the day is the Championship Ron Dennis has always said means the most to him.

If you look at the drivers, Alonso is a two time World Champion, while Hamilton is in his first season. No matter what, Alonso commands the respect inside the team of being a two time World Champion, and Hamilton only in his first season has plenty of years to win championships, so there is no real reason for McLaren to favor one driver over another, absolutely none in the world.