Tag Archives: Valencia

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

2012 Canadian Grand Prix Results

Well, the one-stop strategy was tried and in full effect… it just failed miserably for a few of the front runners and predicted winner especially. In the end, it was Lewis Hamilton, whose record in Montreal is either a win or a DNF so far in his career, meaning that I really should have picked him to win as he had a pretty good shot. This makes it seven winners from seven races and means that the championship is still wide open and anyone can take it in the remaining 13 races.

Usually, Canada provides some good racing, and it provided some good moments to be sure, but not if you are a fan of the Prancing Horse. With Felipe Massa spinning out of his own accord and Fernando Alonso trying to nurse some very well worn tires for over 45 laps, neither of the two I picked to have good results finished that well. Alonso’s tires fell off the cliff in the final three laps, making him easy prey for Hamilton, Perez, Grosjean and Vettel, all of whom passed the struggling Ferrari in the last few laps of the race. To his, and his team’s, credit, the McLaren driver had the right strategy for the day called all along. Even when Hamilton came in for his second stop and both Alonso and Vettel stayed out, it looked like the race would be over for him. Either they would put in a few fast laps to come in and stay ahead after the pit stops, or they would stay out and just run out the few remaining laps to the checkered flag. However, the team must have known something – or got very lucky – as they were adamant that Alonso and Vettel would be stopping again before the end and that Lewis would catch them in the rotation. However, the longer they stayed out, the more Hamilton had to push, and the faster he wound up catching them both as their tires began to fall apart. As Kimi Raikkonen proved earlier this year, when the tires fall of the cliff, they fall off hard, and both Red Bull and Ferrari made critical errors that they might come to regret later on in the season. Lewis is one of the most consistent drivers on the grid for scoring points, and now leads Alonso in the Driver’s Championship by two points.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but with every point becoming more and more valuable, no driver can ill afford to have a blunder or blown strategy call anymore. Both Ferrari and Red Bull will learn from this, but Hamilton is going to only find strength in this win and it could be a three horse race as they start to come down to the wire. Look for these three to lead the way and start to pull clear of the rest of the field soon enough.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Romain Grosjean

3. Sergio Perez

4. Sebastian Vettel

5. Fernando Alonso

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Mark Webber

8. Kimi Raikkonen

9. Kamui Kobayashi

10. Felipe Massa

 

In other racing news, the next race is one of my most detestable: The European Grand Prix in Valencia. And it comes as no surprise to me that the race is struggling to find an audience. As I have said before, it makes no sense for one country to have two races, and even Bernie said as much, then went ahead and did the damn thing anyway! Now, the director of the circuit was quoted as saying, “Two races for Spain is meaningless. Like everything, you have to rationalise.” If that isn’t proof enough of what I had been preaching since this race’s inception, nothing is. Bernie, stop lining your goddamn pockets, pull your head out of your ass and either alternate the race (bad idea) or get rid of the parade lap that lacks the pomp and theater of Monaco (best idea) known as the Valencia circuit.

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.

Bernie’s Hypocrisy and Odd F1 Cars

It was revealed in a recent letter that the proposed GP in Rome will most likely never happen. This is due to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone stating that one race per country is enough and that the Monza circuit would have precedence over Rome in the new 20 race schedule. However, as I look over the calendar, I notice that there is a country with two Grands Prix in it currently. Spain. They have both the Spanish GP and the European GP. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been constantly berating the European GP in Valencia for a few years because it is boring and goes against what Bernie wants, which is for no country to have two races. This is part of the reason why Germany switches between both of its tracks. All I’m saying is that the European GP should be moved out of Spain because 1) I think it’s a bad race, and 2) it really does go against what Bernie is trying to accomplish, and if it stays there, it will only reinforce the fact that he is a senile old bat who has lost touch with the sport and how it should be run.

Also, in preparation for the arrivals of the team’s new car designs, here is a good slide show of ten of the weirdest F1 cars ever to take to the track. The unmistakeable Tyrrell P34 and the March 711 are both crazy faves of mine.

Race 13 – Belgian Grand Prix

Well, F1 was back in action this past weekend, and I did not do any predictions on Friday because I was not around a computer all day. Regardless, they would have been way off base based on the practice session, which I think we can all agree is not the best way to judge just how the actual race will be run.

The great thing about F1 now, is the unpredictability. On any given Sunday, there will be multiple people vying for the checkered flag. And when you toss in a track like Spa and the weather that almost always rears its greatly appreciated head, you get even wilder results. This past Sunday was no different, as Mark Webber started on pole position, with a bevvy of machines behind him ready to pounce and make a run on him.

It didn’t take very long to make that run either, as Webber had a horrible start, dropping immediately down to seventh after the first corner. He bogged down and had wheelspin, allowing Lewis Hamilton to roar into the lead. And as usual, the best place to be in F1 is out front, because as soon as the rain started to fall, cars further back in the pack began to bang and crash into each other because of the slippery conditions. Down at the Bus Stop chicane, it was Rubens Barrichello running into Fernando Alonso on one lap, followed by Sebastian Vettel taking out Jenson Button just a few laps later. That corner has been the scene of some real controversy over the past couple of years, and even though it is not the same corner that it used to be, it seems to be taking on a personality all its own. As the laps wound down and the rain fell on and off, it was Hamilton ahead of Webber (who made a great comeback during the race – helped out of course by some other on-track action) and Robert Kubica. Felipe Massa made up a few spots to finish in a good fourth position as well. Overall, the race was a corker with twists and turns around every bend – as it should be! If Bernie, or the region, or whoever, actually decides to rid Formula One of the majesty and prestige that is Spa-Francorchamps in the coming years, it will be a huge loss. You can take your Chinas and Valencias and even Abu Dhabis and put them to bed. Spa will forever remain one of the best spectacles in all of motor racing.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Mark Webber

3. Robert Kubica

4. Felipe Massa

5. Adrian Sutil

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Kamui Kobayashi

9. Vitaly Petrov

10. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Really? F1 Without Monaco? What is Bernie Smoking Now?

Why? Why is Bernie still in charge? He must be the only person on the planet who can’t see that he is a complete and utter idiot. I mean, Formula One without Monaco?! He must be off his meds even more than usual to be spouting that sort of crap. That race is the “crown jewel” of the Formula One calendar and not having it would be a blow to the whole sport. And the only reason that Monaco doesn’t pay to play is that they have it in their contract that they don’t have to use Bernie’s monopoly to broadcast the race. Otherwise they totally would have to pay in, and it must be that Bernie maybe needs more cash (however that may be considering he is a multi-multi-millionaire. And yes, the race cap is at 20 a year, but so what? I’ll tell you which you can get rid of: Valencia, Turkey and possibly China as well. These events are boring, underattended and in some cases – like China – hated by the teams. Leave Monaco, get a USGP that is real, and stop with Russia, another Italy and for godsakes DO NOT go to India! Here is the article for those who want to try and figure out Bernie’s logic… although no one can. Not even he.

Bernie Ecclestone

Not even Mick Jagger can comprehend Bernie's insanity.

Race Nine: European Grand Prix

Mark Webber’s Reb Bull gained some wings and threw the whole race into disarray in the process. The European Grand Prix this past weekend will go down in my book as a complete hack job joke of a race, based mainly on the “rules and regulations” as well as the “penalties” that were handed out. At the start of the race, everything was going just fine. There was a ton of action in the first couple of laps with people changing position and cars flying all over the track as the racing has fast and frantic. All in all, it seemed like the Valencia circuit was going to provide a race for once. But that was all to change on lap 15. On the fast back straight, Mark Webber was chasing down Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, when he failed to brake in time, flew over the back of his car and flipped in the air. His car landed on its spine and eventually back onto the wheels before hurtling into the tires. I screamed, gasped and was wowed by the spectacle. Its not every day that a Formula One car takes flight, but it was appropriate that it happened to be a Red Bull that did it.

What came next is what makes me upset. First off, let me just say that I am a Ferrari Fan. However, in this instance I don’t think that anyone in the F1 community (besides diehard McLaren or Hamilton fans) will disagree with me when I say that Ferrari, and many others in the field, got screwed. Big time screwed. And it all had to do with Lewis Hamilton once again. A few years ago I gave him the nickname of Lucky Lewis, and it hasn’t failed to work for him. It fits him so well its obscene sometimes. This time, Lucky saw the safety car coming out of the pits, hesitated, then went right around them to get to the pits faster and get back out into the field in a better position. Being that both Ferrari’s were behind Lewis at this point, they did the right thing for once, and ended up having to do a slow in lap, causing them to fall very far down the order after their stops. I knew something was up when I saw Hamilton in the pits, during the safety car period, but no sign of either Ferrari. How did he get there so quick? Why is Alonso not on his tail? What’s going on here? Turns out that by skittering around the safety car, Lucky saved himself more than a minute of time and ended up regaining the track back where he started; in second place. But he had broken the rules and needed to be suitably punished right? In theory that’s what should have happened, however, because he was in second, and Kamui Kobayashi was in third at the time, he could pull out a generous lead on him and not have to worry about anything after the race stewards informed him of a drive-through penalty. What this meant is that he had to drive slowly through the pits at the designated speed limit, then re-enter the race. In practice, this should hamper a driver who has committed a penalty. In reality, it made no difference. Hamilton entered the pits in second, and came out in the same position. What this boils down to is that no penalty was served. If you break the rules on the track, there will be no consequences. This is what the FIA just laid out on Sunday. It’s fairly plain to see this in the way other penalties were handled after the race as well, because the FIA handed out five-second penalties to nine other drivers. FIVE SECONDS! Whoopty-freaking-doo. You know what this changed? One place. Alonso to eighth, Buemi to ninth. WOW! What a harsh penalty! Oh, wait, you’re right, that’s not a penalty at all. In fact, it seems that of the ten people who broke the rules in this race, no one was penalized. The team that was penalized was Ferrari, and THEY FOLLOWED EVERY RULE TO THE LETTER. Thanks FIA. Thanks Formula One. I never thought you could become as big of a joke as the World Cup and soccer, but you are really starting to become a farce.

Here is how the finishing order went. I’m not even going to compare these to my predictions because as far as I’m concerned, this was a totally lost race. Well done to Sebastian Vettel though, who drove a perfect race and was on fire all weekend. Well done must also be given to Kamui Kobayashi who drove over 50 laps on one set of tires, then passed both Alonso and Buemi in the closing laps to come home in seventh.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Jenson Button

4. Rubens Barrichello

5. Robert Kubica

6. Adrian Sutil

7. Kamui Kobayashi

8. Fernando Alonso

9. Sebastian Buemi

10. Nico Rosberg