Viewing entries tagged
Michael Schumacher

Race Review: Indian Grand Prix

5 Wheel-change Pit Stop by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team - Lewis Hamilton at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix

Indian Grand Prix 2012 will go down in the records as "the race in which Vettel continues his path of complete domination in the closing races of the season." Coming off of a fantastic qualifying, Vettel lead from lights to flag, replicating his win in 2011. It's a tell-tale sign on where the teams are at when we look at the grid positions at the start of the race where Red Bull had front row locked, then McLaren, then Ferrari. Clearly Red Bull has continued to fine tune their race cars, also called the "Adrian Newey car" while other teams are merely catching up. It's hard to comprehend why McLaren and Ferrari with hefty financial backing have not been able to make their race cars more competitive. Who are the weakest links in these teams that's ruining the chances for the drivers and for the teams? Is it strategy (both in qualifying and in pit stop calls) or is it the technical challenges on the car itself?

Every Little Boy's Scalextric: Japanese Grand Prix

Suzuka Circuit, 2011 (image courtesy of Mercedes GP)

Tradition has it that Japan was always the last country visited on the annual Formula One calendar and it was invariably a Championship ‘decider’…that was until a raft of new circuits and new markets for the premier racing series opened up. Of course, in motor racing terms, Japan is still fairly ‘youthful’, having held its first GP as recently as 1976. Fuji Speedway (owned by Toyota) was the initial venue but Suzuka Circuit (owned by Honda) has superseded it, a factor that would have pleased the late, great Soichiro Honda no end.

From "Guten Tag" To GO

KUT, one of the top public radio stations in the country and Austin's local affiliate of National Public Radio (NPR), has released a neat video of Circuit of The Americas like you have never seen (or heard) before.

They interviewed Alessandro Tassisto, Architect, and Oliver Liedgens, Civil Engineer, two essential Tilke GmbH & Co. team members that have been working on the Texas circuit for years. The video is captivating because we get to view it through the eyes of the men who have arguably developed the deepest understanding of the complex project. They have had to analyze everything from soil constraints to climate, interpret racing corners and driving sequences, and they narrate the video in their native German tongue (subtitles provided).

At about one minute into the video, Oliver takes to Turn 1:

We are standing at the starting line where, on November 18, 24 racecars will take their positions.

That will be a real challenge given the 15 percent incline here.

It's like you are shooting into the sky, because you don't know what's happening behind turn one.

The viewer gets the sense that they are behind the wheel as Oliver maneuvers a contruction off-road vehicle around the nearly complete circuit. The fresh layers of pavement have been laid, the gantry is in place and the FIA safety fence looks to be complete.

A great behind the scenes preview that we hope will have Michael Schumacher, Sebastien Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Nico Hulkenberg and others exclaiming: "Ausgezeichnet!"

Fan Feature: 10 Important Numbers in F1

The following is a special feature from Austin F1 fan, Kerri Olsen. In addition to being the Co-Founder of this site, www.TheAustinGrandPrix.com, Kerri is also an F1 Fan. Here, she shares how she has gotten "up to speed."

Ferrari's "Formula 1 Alphabet" is a great resource for new F1 pupils or those who want to brush up on their lingo. We'll share our own version next month. I thought of a quick 10 facts that new F1 fans need to know:

// 1

P1: this is the lead position to start the race from. In race qualifying on the Saturday of a grand prix weekend, the driver that sets the best time is qualified to start in 1st position - or P1 - on race day. 

// 2

2 Winners: Each F1 season, there are actually two World Champions determined: a Constructor (the team) and a Driver. Constructors and Drivers each receive points based on their finishing of each race. There are also two drivers per team, which affect the point accrual based on race finishes.

// 3

3-Day Weekend: Grand Prix weekend typically runs three days, Friday through Sunday, with practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, qualifying also on Saturday, and the Grand Prix race on Sunday. The exception is Monaco, where practice runs on Thursday in lieu of Friday, for a "day of rest."

// 4

4 tyres per car: Tyres is the British spelling and since this sport originated in Europe, I will refer to them as tyres. Tyre strategy is a topic we will examine more in the future.

// 5

5 G's: F1 cars race on track with many turns. In these turns, they can exceed 5 g-forces of "lateral acceleration" (horizontal force) through the corners. By comparison, an astronaut being launched into space experiences about 3 g-forces.

// 6

6 continents: The F1 race series travels to six continents.

// 7

7 time World-Champion Michael Schumacher: It's the most identified racing driver that we have come across when speaking with Americans about Formula 1. And, Ladies and Gentlemen, he will be behind the wheel of a Mercedes AMG Petronas car come November.

// 8

8 cylinders: The cars are powered by V8 engines, similar to a Corvette. Due to the evolving rules, or "Formula" that the sport must adhere to each season, engines have included types from V12 to I-4, and more, over the past 60 years.

// 9

9 months: typical F1 season runs from March through November.

// 10

10 finishers get points: points are awarded to drivers and teams exclusively on where they finish in a race. The winner receives 25 points, the second place finisher 18 points, with 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points for positions 3 through 10.

// Contest Winner

Congratulations to Dale Daugherty! His F1 tip was chosen by Jenny Tynes as the best one last week and he will receive an Alexander Rossi autographed COME AND RACE IT sticker! Dale offers this suggestion for Austin visitors:

Be sure to take advantage of pedicabs in downtown Austin. They are everywhere, and it is a great way to get around the city. Trust me, you are going to appreciate this when you are cruising the late night 6th Street scene!

Click here for Ground Transportation information in Austin.

// Contest Alert

Leave us your helpful F1 tip in the comments of this article in order to be entered into our contest. Dale will choose another winning F1 tip and you will receive a COME AND RACE IT sticker autographed by Alexander Rossi!

Contest closes at 12:00PM (Noon) CDT on Thursday, August 30, 2012. Winner will be announced in the August 31, 2012 edition of "Fan Feature" here on this website.

Message Contest@TheAustinGrandPrix.com if you have questions.

Calling All The Heroes

 

Just musing the other evening (it is what motoring scribes do, when F1 drivers are on annual leave), Iain Robertson found himself trying to define Formula One heroes, most especially from today’s grid, and he admitted that he found it well nigh impossible.

Race Review: German Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso came in first while Sebastian Vettel took second position (though Seb was penalized for his overtake on Jenson Butto - Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Nothing throws a wrench into Race day grid positions like a bit of rain on Qualifying day. That is precisely what we had at the German Grand Prix this weekend. Some teams were prepared (or lucky) while others were slightly doomed (or not prepared). Alonso, the front-runner of the championship after British Grand Prix, was certainly prepared with a wet setup and capture Pole position. Not so lucky was Massa, Rosberg and Grosjean, none of them made Q3 Top-10 shootout.

To keep things interesting, Hokkenheim gave the German Grand Prix a sunny and dry race day. Alonso was on pole, followed by Vettel and Schumacher. With 4 wins in the pocket and a 3rd place on the grid, I had high hopes for Schumacher. However, ultimately it was just not meant to be. Schumacher ended the race at 7th.

Taking full advantage of the pole position, however, is Alonso. Alonso blew away the competition, surged ahead and never looked back from the moment the race started. Alonso seems to be ready for any challenge and made his strategy stick in recent races. Even in a seemingly less competitive car, Alonso has driven the wheels off of the Ferrari and took the top spot on the podium for the German Grand Prix. This is the 3rd win for Alonso at the Hokkenheim track. I think he may have shed some joyous tears on the podium. In my pre-race post, I've mentioned that the odds are in Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton's favor at this Grand Prix, I'm mildly excited that my guesses are getting more accurate in this unpredictable season.

Hoping for a comeback from a disappointing finish last week, Hamilton started on 7th and ended up retiring at Lap 58 due to lack of pace and a puncture. With a bit of reversed fortune, Button did very well in the race, going from 6th to 3rd by lap 12 and just kept pushing up front. It certainly helped that McLaren has dramatically improved their pit stop time, with one of Button's stop taking a fleeting 2.31 seconds, fastest ever in the records. All these with some good driving nudged Button to 2nd near closing stage of the race. That was until Button started losing tyres performance. Vettel saw the weakness and decided to be naughty (and play innocent), attempted to pass Button on Lap 66, went wide AND off the track that give him some grip to slip in front of Button to take 2nd place on the podium.

Even though Vettel was on podium for 2nd, the stewards investigate the overtaking move and decided to give him a 20-second penalty which dropped him to Fifth. Quite the misfortune for Vettel at the home race. As a result, Button is 2nd, with Raikkonen taking 3rd in the 67-lap race. Button must be absolutely thrilled to be back on the podium after a drought of wins.

Honorable mentions of the Hokkenheim race are Kobayashi, who went up 7 spots with a 2-stop strategy to end the race in 5th, and Perez, went up a whopping 11 spots to 6th place. Both of these drivers are not always the front-runners, but are always driving their heart out with their cars, great pleasure to watch and definitely adds to the entertaining factor of the race to see them dual!

Grid girls, what's going on with the outfits? Is it because we're still in Europe that the last few races your outfit has not changed? It's still a red dress with a white bow-knot in the front and red heels. I was hoping that there'd be some new outfits, but alas. And who wins the Post-race Best hair award? That prize goes to none other than Button, who kept his cool on the podium with cool head and hair while waiting for the stewards to decide Vettel's illegal overtaking move.

That's all for the German Grand Prix! Can't wait for the Hungarian Grand Prix to come around July 27-29! Catch you then!