So I missed a step over labor day weekend with the Belgium Grand Prix (Jenson Button won it BTW) but I am back in the swing of things now with a quick report on the Italian Grand Prix that took place over the weekend. Naturally, the Ferrari camp was in good spirits since they were racing on their home turf and coming into the weekend with Fernando Alonso in the points lead. However, even though there was a sea of red in the crowd, it was silver cars dominating the weekend. It started when Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button qualified first and second respectively making for an all-McLaren first row.
A Ferrari did make it up front for qualifying but it was the Ferrari of Felipe Massa (who is rumored to be racing for his job at this point) rather than Fernando Alonso who ended up qualifying 10th. When the lights went out on Sunday Lewis charged hard to stay out front but Felipe Massa immediately got around Button for second place.
That order would change up more than a few times through out the race though as Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez fought their way past Felipe to the front of the pack. Jenson on the other hand suffered an engine failure and DNF’d the race. Sergio Perez managed to get past Alonso and grab second place. For a moment Fernando was worried about his points but then Sebastien Vettel (who was back in sixth) suffered car troubles and DNF’d also!
Sergio lead the race for a few breif moments when Lewis came in for tires but once the Brit got back out he hunted down Perez and took back the race lead and held on to win. Sergio finished a career best 2nd place while Fernando Alonso protected his points lead by finishing third.
It should be noted that Mark Webber also had car troubles which left both Red Bull cars with zero points across the board for the weekend. For a full post race report check out the SPEED wrap up.
As the Formula One series reached Budapest’s own Hungarioring many thought rain would be the story of the weekend. However, when race day came on Sunday the weather could not have been better. In fact the weather was so good, the track was so grippy that Pirelli predicted that many drivers would probably only make one pit stop for the entire race. Pirelli turned out to be right in that respect. Not only were they right, but pit stops were a key factor.
The weekend started with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position during a great qualifying session and when the lights went out on Sunday he certainly did his part not to squander his front row position. Although a hiccup in his first pit stop put him down to 4th position. Luckily for Lewis, Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber, and teammate Jenson Button all had pit troubles as well. With some determination Lewis was able to fight his way back to the front, but all the while he had both Lotus cars on his tail.
Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean fought each other hard for the opportunity to attack Lewis for the lead, but their battle slowed them just enough for Lewis to hold on to his lead and take his second win of the season. Kimi stayed ahead of Romain for second place and Grosjean took third.
Lewis’ win brings him up to fourth place in the points, bumping Kimi to fifth. Sebastien Vettel (who finished fourth) held on to third spot in the points and Fernando Alonso (who finished fifth) still leads the point with a very comfortable 40 point cushion over Mark Webber.
Formula One returned to the Hokenheimring in Germany over the weekend for the German Grand Prix, the home GP of Sebastien Vettel, Timo Glock, and of course Michael Schumacher. Three Germans in total gunning for the win but it was Fernando Alonso who dominated the weekend. First the Spaniard captured the pole in qualifying and once the lights went out on Sunday that was all she wrote as Fernando led the race from start to finish becoming the first three time winner of the season and also becoming the points leader. Sebastien Vettel was in second place. I say “was” because he passed Jenson Button for second place position on the last turn of the last lap but in doing so took all four wheels off track to complete the pass. After review the race stewards gave Vettel a 20 second penalty which pushed him back to fifth place, bumping Jenson to second and Kimi Raikkonen to third.
In a surprise Comic-Con announcement Codemasters has revealed a trailer for a new F1 game. Hold your horses though. This is not an extremely early trailer for F1 2013. In fact this is a trailer for something entirely different from any of their previous F1 games. The new IP titled “F1 Race Stars” puts a “Mario Kart” like take on Formula One racing. Look forward to “toon” style cars and drivers instead of the hyper-realistic visuals you are used to from other games. Also this looks to be the first time that actual driver likenesses are used in a Codemasters F1 game. Previously you would see a drivers suit, helmet, and name but never their face. That appears to have changed based on the first official trailer titled “over the top”.
According to the press release game modes will include 12 player online races, 4 player split screen modes, and various career modes. The release also states that like the more “serious” F1 games F1 Race Stars will feature real Formula One tracks (including the new Austin Circuit Of The Americas) albeit “fantastical” versions of them. What does that mean? Try skyward vertical hairpin turns, jumps, and 360 degree loops. Also like other “kart style” games F1 Race Stars will feature power-ups and weapons that can be used against your opponents. If this sounds like an awesome time to you then you may be interested to know that Codemasters has announced that the game will release for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC this November. For now check out the trailer featuring toon versions Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Vettel, and Fernando Alonso below.
We just learned the official driver line up for the game will be as follows: Fernando Alonso, Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Bruno Senna, and Sebastien Vettel. We also have a batch of screen shots which you can view by clicking the thumbnails below.
Today Codemasters® announced that the all-new addition to its acclaimed FORMULA ONE gaming portfolio is F1 RACE STARS, a fast-to-the-fun arcade racing game for all ages featuring official FORMULA ONE cars, teams and circuits as they’ve never been seen before. Set to arrive this November, gamers can see how F1 RACE STARS will take FORMULA ONE over the top in the first trailer video, now playing at www.F1RaceStars.com.
The video reveals how 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™ drivers Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have been transformed into personality-packed heroes and FORMULA ONE circuits are converted into over-the-top tracks built for super-charged speed.
In the video, the drivers are shown blasting down the track in their F1 RACE STARS cars. However there’s a surprise ahead as the circuit begins to transform and a tight hairpin elevates into the sky. Undaunted, the racing heroes accelerate and take the race onwards and upwards.
Coming this holiday season for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and PC, F1 RACE STARS is now in production at Codemasters Racing Studios in Birmingham, UK, the home of the BAFTA award-winning series of Official FORMULA ONE games, and is being created under exclusive worldwide agreement with Formula One World Championship Limited.
F1 RACE STARS will deliver formula fun on every straight, hairpin, jump and loop-the-loop with super-fast racing and a range of power-ups for players to collect and deploy as they sprint for the chequered flag ahead of their rivals.
F1 RACE STARS will take players on a world tour of iconic FORMULA ONE locations, including Monaco, Silverstone and the new Circuit of Americas in Austin, Texas, recreated as fantastical racing circuits built for speed and wheel-to-wheel competition. Friends and family can share the fun too; F1 RACE STARS will deliver 4-player split-screen racing and 12-player competition alongside an extensive career mode featuring a number of Championships.
Chris Gray, Senior Producer, F1 RACE STARS, said: “We’re really excited to bring the whole cast of FORMULA ONE into a fun new world of racing. We’ve really let our Art and Design teams off the leash to bring F1 stars’ personalities alive in a new way and create a game where racing fans of all ages can jump into all-action solo, split-screen and online multiplayer races. It’s the game we’ve wanted to create for a long time and, building on our strong relationship with Formula One Management Limited, we’re now able to bring Codemasters’ long-standing expertise in track design and AI to create a FORMULA ONE racing experience quite unlike any other.”
OK, first things first. I totally forgot about the British GP in my last post race report so allow me to formally say “my bad”. Now on to business. Over the weekend Formula 1 returned to the Silverstone Circuit for the British Grand Prix, the home GP of the McLaren team (and both their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button) as well as the Red Bull Racing team. However with all the British pride on the grid it was Ferrari putting on a show for the crowd as Fernando Alonso was kicking butt all weekend. He started by qualifying on pole in the wet, then on race day the skies parted and sunshine hit Silverstone, to which he took full advantage of. On a dry track it seemed like he would be unstoppable as he was able to brilliantly manage his tires despite the fact that his team was a bit thrown off by the sudden run of good weather.
Fernando pushed and pushed and it looked like he was well on his way to earn his third win of the season but as the race started to wind down, so did his tires. Mark Webber, who was on fresher tires was able to capitalize on Fernando’s misfortune and grabbed the lead away from the Spaniard and continued to drive on to a victory at Red Bull Racing’s home GP. Fernando took second (retaining the points lead), and Sebastien Vettel earned third place.
Over the weekend Formula One returned to Spain for the second time this year on the streets of Valencia and the talk of the weekend remained the phenomenon of seven different winners in seven races. With Sebastien Vettel throwing down a blistering fast lap during Qualifying and taking the pole position most were starting to think the 2011 champion would end the streak. When the race started Vettel had an excellent start and returned to old form as he shot out and built a hefty lead over Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean. It was starting to look like Vettel was going to indeed become the first two time winner of the year until his car mysteriously shut-off on lap 34 of 57 in a rare mechanical failure which ended his day.
Vettel’s mechanical issues allowed hometown hero Fernando Alonso to take the lead in front of an absolutely roaring crowd, but he faced serious pressure from the Frenchman Romain Grosjean. Grosjean was hard charging and chasing Fernando down until his car also shut-off on lap 41 which took an immense amount of pressure off the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso. Over the radio the Lotus team informed Romain that the alternator failed which caused an electrical failure, thus shutting down the motor. Since Lotus runs a similar Renault engine set up as Red Bull, it was speculated that the alternator was possibly the culprit in Vettel’s shut-down as well. With Romain out, points leader Lewis Hamilton took over second place but had a four second gap to Alonso. While Lewis was figuring out how he would close on Fernando, his rear view mirrors were full of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen who was smelling blood, or more likely the quickly degrading tires of both Hamilton and Alonso.
As the race closed in on the last 10 laps Lewis was stil working on closing that 4 second cap on Alosno but Kimi began to ease off of Hamilton, perhaps he was worried about pushing too hard and having the same alternator failure as his teammate. As the race got down to the last 6 laps McLaren was hoping that Fernando’s tires would begin to fail, which would allow Hamilton to steal the win in the end. However with Lewis suffering his own tire troubles Kimi Raikkonen took Hamilton down and grabbed second place on lap 55 of 57. Lewis then almost lost third place to Pastor Maldonado right after falling to Raikkonen but Lewis held him off for a few turns until Pastor got a little too aggressive and punted Lewis Into the wall with only two laps remaining. The hit took the front wing off Maldonado which put him out as well allowing Michael Schumacher to take over third place and Mark Webber moving up to fourth.
At that point it was all she wrote as Fernando Alonso finally won in Valencia becoming the first two-time winner of 2012, followed by Kimi Raikkonen taking second place, and the great one Michael Schumacher grabbing third.
Fernando’s win shoots him up to first place in the points, with Mark Webber moving up to second past Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel. Now the F1 grid gets about a month break as next on the schedule is the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim starting July 20th.
In a weekend surrounded by controversy of the social political environment of Bahrain the FIA decided that the show would go on and the Bahrain Grand Prix went ahead as scheduled. Hacker group Anonymous attempted to hack the F1 website issuing a warning that if the organization went forward with the race further cyber attacks would ensue but it really seemed as if things went off without a hitch for the most part. When the lights went out on Sunday it was Red Bull who was back in old form with Sebastien Vettel taking the lead but towards the last half of the race he had to deal with major contention from Kimi “The Iceman” Raikkonen and Kimi’s teammate Romain Grosjean. As Seb was on the soft tire he fought degradation which helped Kimi (who was on mediums) close the gap even further as the race wound down. However, once Sebastien pulled into the pits and switched to medium tires Kimi could not close on the young German the way he did in previous laps.
When the Checkered flag dropped it was Sebastien Vettel taking his first victory of the year followed by Kimi with his first podium of the year in second place and his teammate Romain Grosjean capturing third. Sebastien’s win gives him a 4 point advantage over Lewis Hamilton in the championship battle. We will just have to see if Red Bull can hold onto that lead or if McLaren and Hamilton will come back with a vengeance.
The Formula One season finally came back this weekend as all the teams brought their shiny new 2012 cars down under for the Australian Grand Prix. The talk of the silly season was the new “step nose” that most teams adapted in order to comply with new rules on having the nose of the car at a specific height. However McLaren found away to keep with the rules without having such a drastic dip in the nose line of their car. Many wondered if this would turn out to be a hindrance or a help. Well when Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole followed by his teammate Jenson Button, that question was answered! Surprisingly the Red Bull cars struggled to keep pace with McLaren and Mercedes GP. In an even bigger surprise French driver Romain Grosjean with Lotus GP took the third spot in qualifying but fell victim to contact during the race which ended his chances at a podium finish for the black and gold. Jenson Button managed to get around Lewis as the field dove into the first corner at the start of the race and thats where he remained until the checkered flags fell. Lewis fought hard to keep up with Jenson but some Red Bull pit stop trickery allowed Sebastien Vettel to get past Hamilton for second but Lewis held on for third place. With McLaren taking two of the three spots on the podium does this mean it is their year? Will Red Bull come back fighting? Will Ferrari wake up? I guess we will find out next weekend when Formula 1 goes back to Malaysia!
On the heels of their successful launch of F1 2011, Codemasters is on the verge of launching “F1 Online The Game”. F1 online attempts to bring the fun of F1 racing in a “top-down view” browser based free to play online game. Players can manage their own team, run licensed teams, design their own liveries, and more. There are also several types of game modes including grand prix, quick fire challenges, and obviously multi-player racing. If this sounds like your brand of apple juice then head over to F1OnlineTheGame.com to sign up for a shot at the closed beta. The full version of F1 Online should launch sometime in the first three months of 2012. Check out the first official gameplay video below.
Just as the tryptophan coma wore off the final Formula One race of the season at circuit Interlagos in Brazil got underway. Things started off with a history making run by Sebastien Vettel in qualifying. The young German captured pole once again, surpassing the tie he has with Nigel Mansel for most poles in a single season. With that bit of business out of the way it was time for all the guys on the grid to have at it one last time for 2011. As usual Sebastien Vettel took off for an early lead but later on he had issues with his car and had to reduce his pace significantly which made way for his team mate Mark Webber to take the lead. Sebastien managed to hold on to the second place spot while Jenson Button secured a 2nd place in the points by finishing third in the race. Lewis Hamilton appeared to have a shot for one last win but his car suffered an uncharacteristic failure early in the race.
So there we have it folks! Sebastien Vettel is your 2011 champion while breaking a few records in the process, Red Bull Racing took the constructor’s title, and McLaren along with Ferrari are just glad its all over for the year. Stay tuned for the 2012 silly season!