The Formula 1 circus returned to Istanbul Park Circuit in Turkey for the 2011 Turkish Grand Prix this weekend. As usual there were a slew of questions being asked before the cars hit the grid on Sunday. The main question being “Will Vettel claim revenge on Hamilton for ruining his win streak?”. It certainly started to look that way as the weekend progressed. Vettel was quick in practice and in qualifying he dominated once again, taking the pole and continuing his qualifying streak. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber captured P2, completing a Red Bull lock out of the first row. Behind the Red Bulls were Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who had a surprisingly good showing in qualifying. However, when the lights went out Vettelreturned to form and ran away from the field building a comfortable gap for himself and eventually taking the win and extending his points lead over Lewis Hamilton. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber captured the 2nd place spot while 3rd was earned with a hard fought comeback performance by Fernando Alonso. Will Vettel’s dominance continue? I guess we will find out in about 10 days at the Spanish Grand Prix in Catalyunya. Stay tuned! For a full post race report check out SPEED TV.
The circus that is F1 returned to Shanghai, China for the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix over the weekend and the spectators were treated to a dramatic race that saw 6 different leaders. The theatrics started straight away with the Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes team as Lewis Hamilton’s car decided to act up literally moments before the race start! The team was thrashing away on the car in the garage while the other cars were lining up on the grid. They were able to fix the problem (a flooded engine) and get Hamilton onto the track with just 30 seconds to spare before the allotted time ran out and they would have to sacrifice Lewis’ P3 starting position he fought hard to earn in qualifying.
Once the lights went out and the race began the rest of the drama came from the pit stops. Most teams are still trying to figure out the limits of the new Pirelli tires so many were forced to make three pit stops throughout the race. However McLaren and Red Bull Racing seemed to have things figured out and were able to make their fuel and tires last, thus both teams only had to make two pit stops which transformed the race into a battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. There was much back and fourth between the two rivals but Hamilton won out in the end with a brilliant pass on the 2010 champion with only 5 laps to go. Lewis held off Seb and took home the win. His victory pushed him up to second place in the points but he is still about 20 points behind the dominant Vettel.
Although technically I’m supposed to be impartial I have to say I am glad to see Lewis Hamilton back in the winner’s circle again. Certainly makes things interesting! The unfortunate side-effect of dominance is boredom but Hamilton and the guys at McLaren fixed that right up for us. Good job dudes! Check out SPEED for a full post race report.
While the Indy Cars were dicing it up in Alabama the Formula 1 circus made its return to the Sepang Circuit for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sebastien Vettel was still grinning from his previous victory in Australia and it was just the confidence booster he needed (thats a joke he doesn’t really need another boost!) to capture pole position during a wet/dry qualifying session. Once the lights went out on race day everyone got off to a pretty good start with the exception of Mark Webber to appeared to fall asleep at the wheel. The slow start cost him dearly as he lost several positions before even making it to the first turn.
For a while Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso seemed to be in a position to challenge Vettel for the race win but Alonso ran into the back of Hamilton’s car as a result of Hamilton putting on a pretty severe block. The fiasco landed both drivers a 20 second penalty which obviously dashed any hopes they had of even making the podium much less beating Vettel. With Alonso and Hamilton regulated to the back due to a penalty it made way for Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld to show their stuff but they had nothing for Vettel who finished over 3 seconds ahead of Button and over 20 seconds ahead of Heidfeld. This makes two wins in a row for the young defending champion. He is really taking the “defending” part quite literally isn’t he?
For a full post race wrap up from the guys at SPEED click HERE.
In case you didn’t realize it, the 2011 Formula 1 season starts this weekend in Melbourne, Australia. For us hardcore fans a new Formula 1 season means more late nights and early mornings watching the races live on TV. However sometimes you just can’t wake up, stay up, or just be around a TV when there’s a race on. Luckily for just such occasions Formula 1 has released an official app to help you keep up on events each race weekend. The app gives live timing, circuit data, results, news, and session alerts. There is even an archive feature that will give you race results all the way back to the 50′s! The best part of all is that this app is available in the Android Market, BlackBerry App World, and the iTunes App Store. No one gets left out!
In this week’s “Things You Should Know” our buddy Bill Wood talks about Rhys Millen’s expansion with Hyundai in Rally America, gives an update on F1 driver Robert Kubica’s recovery, rumors of Sam Hubinette taking on a full off-road program and more. Watch the video below for a few tidbits and then you can listen to the full podcast on the Tech House & Speed site via RaceFanRadio.com.
Playseathas built an F1 racing simulator seat rig! It is about time someone built something like this that a regular person can afford. It looks really fresh and I can’t wait to try it out but I will be waiting for a while. While it comes out in Europe this year we will have to wait until 2012 for this rig to be released here in the states. That part is kind of a bummer but it looks like it will be worth the wait. Check out the video below to see the Playseat F1 racing simulator in action. While you’re watching, if you identify the steering wheel that the guy is using in the video please let me know in the comments!
A few hours ago when most of us were in bed Mercedes GP Petronas took the sheet off their 2011 car dubbed the MGP W02 at the Valencia Circuit in Spain. Both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were on hand for the debut to pose for pictures and then jump in their new cars to get some testing under their belts. So did Mercedes GP build the new car around King Schumacher? I guess we will find out once we see some results from their first test.
The debut of the MGP W02, the new Silver Arrow for the 2011 Formula One World Championship, took place this morning at the Valencia Circuit in Spain with the new challenger unveiled in front of the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team garage by Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher.
The result of twelve months intense design and development work, the MGP W02 is the second Silver Arrows car to be launched by MERCEDES GP PETRONAS since the team became the first Mercedes-Benz works outfit since 1955.
The car’s livery is an evolution from its predecessor with a striking high-gloss airbrush effect highlighting the shape of the car. The interaction between the Silver Arrows heritage and the green shading representing the team’s title partner PETRONAS evokes memories of the first Silver Arrow car of 1934 with a modern touch added by 3D partner logos.
The technical specification of the MGP W02 includes the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery) system which returns to the sport after a one-year absence. The Mercedes KERS system was the first to win a Grand Prix during the 2009 season when KERS made its debut in Formula One. Also new on the car for this season is the adjustable rear wing, operated by the driver to aid overtaking, and Pirelli tyres as the Italian manufacturer becomes the sport’s official tyre supplier.
The team’s driver line-up remains unchanged with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, who achieved the team’s three podiums in 2010, forming one of the most exciting and talented pairings on the grid.
“Finally the waiting is over and things get started. For us drivers, the break every year is hard to take because the gap between the last race and the first time out on track seems to be never-ending. Even if I have been involved and updated all winter on the developments, and even if I know the improvements are significant, it is still different to see the new car literally for the first time in front of you. You automatically build up this nice pre-start tension. I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”
“It is always a very exciting time of year to drive the new car for the first time and feel how it performs out on track. This year we have the added challenge of not having an immediate reference due to the change in tyre manufacturer to the new Pirelli tyres, which felt good during our first try-out at the Abu Dhabi test last year. I am very much looking forward to having a much stronger season than last year and as always, our targets are aggressive. We want to be competing at the front and challenging for race wins. Everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth has worked extremely hard on the new Silver Arrow and we are all looking forward to seeing how it performs.”
Ross Brawn, Team Principal
“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception. After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis group and our engine group working well together. With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.
“The concept development for the MGP W02 started early and we have set challenging targets for the design, combined with a robust plan to ensure that the pace of development can continue
throughout the long 2011 season. We have two excellent drivers in Michael and Nico, both of whom capable of winning races in a good car, and we look forward to seeing them push each other and the development of the new Silver Arrow during the season. We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”
“The new Silver Arrow for the 2011 season has little in common with its immediate predecessor. Our chassis engineers have taken a fairly ruthless approach and were determined to shave off every superfluous gram and millimetre. What emerged from this process is a compact and exquisitely shaped vehicle that introduces a host of sophisticated solutions and truly reflects the enormous dedication of its constructors. We have given it a brand new coat of paint, and we aim to see a smile on the faces of our hard-working drivers and team members that is as bright as our new silver livery.
“Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher are top drivers who can win races for us, provided we build them the right car. At the same time, our team, like all the other teams, has to deal with complex new tasks. The new generation of tyres from Pirelli, and the extent to which the cars and drivers adapt to them, will play a vital role in deciding wins and defeats.
“The rear wing flap, which can be adjusted under specified conditions, will boost top speed and facilitate overtaking which should open up a new and interesting chapter for Formula One. And there is the return of KERS following a one-year absence at the end of the 2009 season when our Mercedes system recorded a historic first race win. This will play a massive role amongst all of the performance-related components, both for the additional power and for the strategic options it makes available. As in 2009, it is our ambition that Mercedes-Benz builds and runs the best hybrid system and that all three teams which use it benefit significantly from this.
“After I have spoken at length here on the many new issues, our target can be described in one short sentence: The new Silver Arrow should not only look first class, but should also be developed to be at the top step-by-step.”
I know we’re a bit late on this due to a temporary website black out but now that we’re back we just wanted to drop a quick congrats to Sebastian Vettel for taking the win at Abu Dhabi and winning the 2010 F1 World Championship. His teammate Mark Webber and other champ contender Fernando Alonso just didn’t have enough for the young German at the Yas Marinas Circuit. At only 23 years old Vettel surpassed Lewis Hamilton as the youngest F1 champion in history. We also want to say congrats to Red Bull Racing for taking the constructors championship as well! F1 2010 was a crazy season. We can’t wait for 2011!
The past weekend saw the inaugural Korean Grand Prix in Yeogam at the Korean International Circuit. Just like in So Cal, Korea was also very wet and windy over the weekend as well. In fact, the rain got so bad at the circuit that there were actually reports of the asphalt breaking up at one of the turns. The rain refused to let up by the time the race started and the first 17 laps or so were behind a safety car. However, the rain backed off just enough to allow the field to go green and things went underway.
Every car on the grid struggled to find grip as they slipped and slid around nearly every turn. This came to a head when points leader Mark Webber lost control only two laps after the race went green and hit the wall just before being hit by Nico Rosberg who had no where else to go. This incident was a big shake up in the points race and would allow a chance for either Lewis Hamilton or Sebastien Vettel to make up so much needed ground. For a while it looked like Vettel would be the main benefactor of Webber’s misfortune but then Vettel’s engine popped and took him out of the race as well.
With both Red Bull cars out of the race McLaren and Ferrari both smelled blood. However, Ferrari smelled it first and Fernando Alonso took charge as well as the lead for the rest of the race and eventually the win. Due to tire problems Lewis Hamilton couldn’t challenge Alonso for the win but he did hold on to 2nd place which helped him gain ground in the points and Felipe Massa drove a solid race and took home 3rd.
Now, as it stands Fernando Alonso is leading the points title while Mark Webber sits 11 points back and Lewis Hamilton is now third in the title run being 21 points behind Fernando. Jenson Button is still technically alive for the championship but its highly unlikely.
There are only two races left in the season now (Brazil and Abu Dhabi) and the title chase has just gotten interesting!
The 2010 Singapore Grand Prix has come and gone and in its wake it has left a path of destruction that has shaken up the points battle a bit. The race started off with a bang when Fernando Alonso nearly drove 2nd place qualifier Sebastien Vettel into the wall as he forcefully snatched the lead away. While Fernando was trying his best to run away from Vettel the mid-packers started to engage in what I can only liken to a “Lord Of the Rings” style epic battle on wheels. Let’s just say no one seemed to care about smashing their multi-million dollar race car into the other guy if it meant gaining a position.
This became especially apparent in lap 36 when Mark Webber was held up by lapped traffic and Lewis Hamilton attempted an opportunistic pass on the Aussie driver. “Attempted” is the operative word here as Lewis couldn’t quite complete his mission. You see, Lewis made his move as they were going into turn 7 but right as Lewis went to make his apex he didn’t realize that Webber didn’t back off an inch so the two collided. Webber came out ok but poor Lewis broke his wheel, forcing him to retire and possibly ending his championship run.
Fernando Alonso went on to win the race with Sebastien Vettle coming in second, and Mark Webber in third. Fernando’s win puts him just 11 points behind first place Mark Webber in the championship race while Lewis Hamilton’s DNF punted him from 5 points behind Webber to 20 points behind! With only 5 races left in 2010 Lewis will need a miracle just to catch up.
The next race on the schedule is the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit 10 days from now. Make sure you don’t miss it!