Tag Archives: Silverstone

2012 European Grand Prix Results and Maria de Villota Update

In my last piece, I wrote that Valencia needs to be gotten rid of because it is just a parade lap with the same weather, but lack of history and theater that makes Monaco so special still. Well, I know when I am wrong. And how wrong I was! Did I need to wait this long to write this? No. Was I just lazy and not willing to sit at my computer for a few minutes to write this? Yes. But now I am and it was a phenomenal race that had me yelling and screaming and jumping and fist-pumping throughout. In a few words, it was the best race we have seen this season. As if we didn’t have enough of a wild ride already with seven different winners in the first seven races, Fernando Alonso comes through from 11th on the grid (with the aid of some bad luck for other runners, including two alternator failures on the Renault and the Renault powered Red Bull, and another horrendous pit stop for Lewis Hamilton). Plus, it was a remarkable showing for both Michael Schumacher, making his way to third on the podium, and Mark Webber, who started a lowly 18th to finish fourth. Overall, quite the exciting race, and one that will hopefully propel this season forward to continue as one of the greatest ever.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Michael Schumacher

4. Mark Webber

5. Nico Hulkenberg

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Paul di Resta

8. Jenson Button

9. Sergio Perez

10. Bruno Senna

In much sadder news, it was revealed today that the test driver for Marussia F1, Maria de Villota, after a freak accident during testing wherein she crashed into one of the team’s support trucks, is in critical, yet stable, condition, but has lost her right eye. No doubt the car she was driving is being inspected and picked apart and having loads of information culled from it to see just what happened to destroy this promising young woman’s racing career in one fell swoop. Marussia will hopefully find the problem and things will be done to correct it, but it no way can replace what would have been a very big achievement for a woman race car driver. I wish Maria all the best in her long recovery. Because of this accident, I have to believe that the FIA will take an even harder look and do more testing on the front roll cage. After Felipe’s freak accident and now this (along with many other freak roll-over and tire detachment accidents), there might be some more new rules coming down the pipeline shortly.Maria de Villota

European GP Roundup and News

Although I missed this past weekend’s European Grand Prix, it took place in Valencia, so in reality, I didn’t miss a thing. In fact, the only two notable things to come from the weekend were that Fernando Alonso came in second, and that every car finished the race. Yes, you read that correctly. Every single car actually finished the race. At least last year Mark Webber went flying and flipping all over the place to give the race a little more gravitas than normal, but this year, it seems like it turned into a long, boring parade in which Vettel dominated from the word go… again. I’d have more, but all you really need for Valencia is who won the race because it is generally the most boring race out there and still needs to go away. Bernie should just count his losses on this one and let it go. Valencia is just simply a bad, boring race to watch and it proved that once again this year. Here is the finishing order.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Mark Webber

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Felipe Massa

6. Jenson Button

7. Nico Rosberg

8. Jaime Alguersuari

9. Adrian Sutil

10. Nick Heidfeld

In other, more interesting news, there are now officially official new engine regulation for the 2014 season. Formula one will downsize again, this time to 1.6 liter V6 engines with a maximum RPM of 15,000. Supposedly this will appease those who didn’t want the 4 cylinder engines and still make the sport appear to be environmentally conscious. It was also revealed that Audi would have come into the sport if the 4 cylinder engines were approved, which would have made for an interesting field, but I still think that F1 is nothing with 4 cylinder engines (even though I know that 4 cylinders with turbos have been fielded in the past). Also, it should be noted that F1 does have a distinctive sound. I brought this up when I talked about going to Montreal. I do believe it has lost some of its power moving down from the V10s to the V8s, and now it will lose even more with the switch to a turbo’d V6. There will still be a distinctive wail, but it really won’t have the same impact that it used to.

Also, the Austin GP got its funding from the state and is moving ahead. This is good news and hopefully should be the last hurdle (other than actually completing the track) to get over before the US GP at Austin is put on next year.

Silverstone is up next. I will be out of town again for this race, so updates will be scattered. However, I can tell you that the tire choices are medium/hard compounds, making for some scrambling from Ferrari to try and figure out how to make their car work on those, and that the track was updated and changed last year so the layout will be new to all the teams and be sort of like going to a new venue. It should be interesting how that plays into Vettel’s hands. And yes, I think Vettel will win. Some other team needs to prove me otherwise, because unless it rains and he has a brain fart, he will simply dominate the field like normal.

Another Austin Hurdle

Well, this is one of the big concerns that I had for the proposed US Grand Prix. Traffic is going to be a big factor in making this thing actually fly. If the organizers want the race to go off without a hitch (and not turn into the US version Silverstone based on traffic) they are essentially going to have to build a new highway system, or widen the one that is in place already. However, the Travis County planners have said that the widening of the lanes and making other improvements would not be completed by the proposed race date of 2012, even if they began work now. This all stems from people wanting to jump the gun and get a race underway in this country as soon as possible, despite the fact that they failed to actually study the traffic requirements and problems that an event like this will undoubtedly bring about. And, as usual, there are also concerns as to who will foot the bill for all these new things. The saga, it seems, will continue for now, and I am still very much in doubt of this US GP taking place in Austin, Texas by 2012. Click this link for more.

Austin Circuit Plans Revealed

I have been critical of the supposed US GP that will come to Austin, TX in 2012. Although I am still skeptical of the whole “Formula One in the heart of NASCAR” concept, they have actually made public their plans for what the track will look like. As you can see, the track takes a counter-clockwise approach, making it unique in the world of F1, as only a select few other tracks also feature the counter-clockwise layout.

Some of the other features of the track include 133 feet of elevation change (probably man-made as Texas is fairly flat I believe) as well as multiple corner viewing for spectators and a magnificent view of the downtown skyline. From the looks of things, I would say there are three decent overtaking spots, and maybe one or two others that could be tried if the driver is willing to take a chance (which most won’t). The thing that sort of bothers me is the willingness to copy other layouts from other tracks, specifically Silverstone, Hockenheim and Istanbul. While this seems like a good idea, I think that every track should have its own personality. If a track has to rely on corners to be transplanted into it to make it flow and work, then it’s not very unique and the design looks lazy. And because this is yet another Tilke designed track, laziness is probably setting in at this point. His tracks have been criticized before for being all right to drive, but not fun to watch, as there are rarely any passing opportunities. We can all hope this one will be different, but dollars to donuts says it will probably just be more of the same tired design that Tilke has become known for. You know why drivers like the old tracks so much? Because they still have a sense of danger about them. They are not some cookie-cutter, stale parade. Spa, Monaco, Monza, Silverstone, the Nordschleife. These are tracks that make drivers look like hairy-chested daredevils, sawing at their wheels in a vein attempt to hold all four wheels on the pavement, whereas most modern circuits are humdrum affairs that are run and conclude with a whisper of a cough.

I guess that the best thing I can think of about this course is that it is not a city track. There are too many of them these days – and too many on the horizon. Stick to Monaco for the city track, otherwise build actual circuits that take both the driver and the spectator for a ride. If the US GP at Austin does ever come about, I do hope they can make it work. As always, I am still skeptical.

US GP at Austin: Circuit Map

US GP at Austin: Circuit Map

3D US GP at Austin track map

3D US GP at Austin track map

Race Ten: Great Britain

A furious and determined Mark Webber utterly demolished the competition as he stormed to victory in Britain. His only competition all day was from Hamilton, but even he couldn’t match the outright pace of the Red Bull and finished a distant second. Nico Rosberg drove a fairly quiet race to end up third, while Jenson Button drove his butt off to come from 14th on the grid to finish fourth. One of the best drives has to his, but the other I would nominate would be Vettel. After puncturing his tire on the first corner of the first lap, he was last place for most of the race, only to come storming back due to a safety car to finish seventh. A very good drive from the young German.

And, if you have noticed neither Ferrari up there and were wondering what happened to them, well, Massa suffered a puncture on lap one and was uncompetitive the rest of the race, and the stewards saw fit to drop a penalty on Alonso (when it could have been argued either way seeing as he had the inside line on Kubica and was then forced over the curbs), which meant a drive through and a trip down the leader board. This was exacerbated further by the fact that those same stewards saw fit to penalize him during a safety car period, meaning he had to wait until the pits reopened to serve his penalty, and he wound up in last place. The fact of the matter is that it should not take that many laps – and in an uneventful race as well – to come up with a penalty for a minor infraction. Either get your act together and review it right away, or not at all. Plus, Kubica then went out of the race with a blown engine or something so Alonso couldn’t just give the position back at that time so they saw fit to go with a penalty that did not fit the crime, and did so at a completely inappropriate time in the race. Considering that Hamilton made an even worse move in Valencia (by passing the safety car), only to be given what amounted to a slap on the wrist, while Ferrari again suffered there as well, only goes to show me that everyone wants Ferrari to lose. Personally, I think its a big conspiracy against the Italian team. Frankly, I stopped watching the race at that point and simply had it on while I went ahead and played Dragon Quest IX!

1. Mark Webber

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Nico Rosberg

4. Jenson Button

5. Rubens Barrichello

6. Kamui Kobayashi

7. Sebastian Vettel

8. Adrian Sutil

9. Michael Schumacher

10. Nico Hulkenberg

As for my pics, they were OK, but I got screwed by the stewards and by Kubica blowing up. I did correctly predict both Sutil and Button though! And I got very close on Lewis. Oh, and as for Yamamoto? Well, I didn’t hear his name for the entire race, meaning he did nothing to screw up anyone else, which is a good thing.

1. Lewis Hamilton – after last year’s disappointing race, I look for “lucky” to take the win, and possibly even pole as well (the first for anything other than a Red Bull) in front of his home crowd

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Jenson Button

5. Felipe Massa

6. Mark Webber

7. Micheal Schumacher

8. Adrian Sutil

9. Nico Rosberg

10. Robert Kubica

Hockenheim is up next in two weeks time. Stay tuned for that, and a review of Top Gear soon.



British Grand Prix Predictions

The first two practice sessions are now over for the British Grand Prix, and topping both sessions, unsurprisingly, were the Red Bulls. Vettel was fastest in the morning, while Webber took the top spot in the afternoon. Ferrari looked to be on form in the afternoon session, while the McLarens looked to be off the pace. However, as usual, these sessions really don’t tell the whole story and I think the McLarens are definitely holding back. They have the grunt, the F-duct and their new blown diffuser on a circuit that is one of the fastest out there. They will have something to say in both qualifying and the race for sure. As of right now, it looks like the two two powers in Formula One are Red Bull and McLaren, with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault following them up. Because of this, my results are going to reflect that.

1. Lewis Hamilton – after last year’s disappointing race, I look for “lucky” to take the win, and possibly even pole as well (the first for anything other than a Red Bull) in front of his home crowd

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Jenson Button

5. Felipe Massa

6. Mark Webber

7. Micheal Schumacher

8. Adrian Sutil

9. Nico Rosberg

10. Robert Kubica

This is one of those races that is sort of predictable up front, but in the lower half of the top ten, there are now many cars that can vie for those points positions. At the beginning of the year, this would have been almost a lock for what the top ten would look like, but now, those lower positions are total guesswork.

However, I know that I don’t have to include Bruno Senna in there, because he has been taken out for this race. His replacement? Sakon Yamamoto. Yes, you read that correctly, the man who David Hobbs repeatedly has said should not be driving anywhere near a Formula One car, not even next to the track when a race is going on as his aura will send out bad crash vibes to all the other competitors. His race history is peppered with accidents, mistakes and generally bad driving behavior. As a bonus, my prediction for him? Look for some sort of accident during the race, and for Hobbs-y boy to get on him yet again… and deservedly so. Supposedly Senna will be back in the car for the next race, but this is sort of an odd development to say the least. While you wait for the race, here are some pictures of Sakon crashing his Spyker into the back of Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault.

Oops

Oops

Whoopsie

Whoopsie

Jumping The Gun Did We?

Well, well and more well. I’m not going to say “I told you so” just yet, but it seems as though Bernie let the cat out of the bag a little prematurely. The surprise announcement in May of the US GP coming to Austin, Texas was actually a complete surprise to the people behind the project as well! the lawyer for the project recently told an Austin newspaper that they “had no idea it was coming, and it started a firestorm.” Personally, this just seems like another attempt from Bernie to drum up some attention to a race that will, most likely, never be run. The whole idea of actually building a new racetrack specifically for F1 on American soil is such a long shot, that it wouldn’t ever seem to be a viable option. And because Bernie always needs to be making headlines, he probably saw it as an opportunity to release some sort of news before it was really ready to be released. So now Tavo Hellmund, the race promoter, and the Texas state comptroller will be attending the British Grand Prix. I would guess this would be because they have no actual clue as to how an actual Grand Prix works (well Tavo does). But there are some heavy logistics that need to be figured out, not the least of which is still how to get the traffic into and out of the race track area. Needless to say that this Austin GP is still under some heavy scrutiny and skepticism and this new info that Bernie basically blurted something out before it was ready to be blurted doesn’t shed a good light in my eyes. Also, let’s not forget that this race is supposedly going to happen in less than two years time, and people are still talking about preliminary details. I would like to bring up an example of typical America work speed at this point. In my hometown, there is a bridge that connects one side of a river to the other. It has been under constant construction for OVER SEVEN YEARS!! And it still isn’t finished. I see no way that this track gets greenlighted, or even finished, unless a million Chinese day laborers are hired at super low wages. I will believe that the US GP is for real when I see a finished race track and cars doing hot laps.

In other news, I hit 300,000 visitors today! Thanks to all who have visited this site, and keep coming back for more.