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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.

Vintage by Definition

The summer holidays are upon us and the Grand Prix circus is taking its customary mid-season vacation before recommencing racing duties in late-August, at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Iain Robertson perceives this as a chance to review what has been and what is to come, from what he calls a ‘vintage year’ in the F1 scene.

Alexander Rossi To Join Austin Fashion Event

Alexander Rossi (Photo courtesy
American driver Alexander Rossi will be in Austin next week for Austin Fashion Week's kick-off event, "Shift Into Style," which is being presented by Circuit of The Americas and the Circuit Events Host Committee

// Alexander Rossi

Most American F1 fans are quite familiar with Alexander Rossi as he is the only American currently with an FIA super license, the license all F1 drivers must hold to participate in F1. With such credentials, he is Test Driver for the Caterham F1 Team and competing for Arden Caterham in the Renault 3.5 series, part of the World Series by Renault, the championship in which he finished third in his rookie season in 2011. In addition to an impressive resume in motorsports, Rossi has earned 136 starts with an extremely impressive 38 wins and 33 pole positions. American fans embrace Rossi as he is the most immediate and promising future American F1 driver - something that we haven't seen since Scott Speed in 2007.

Born in California and currently residing in the UK, Rossi understands the important role fashion plays in international motorsport events. F1 drivers are frequently sought after by corporate sponsors for endorsements and advertising campaigns, and Rossi’s elite status has exposed him to opportunities in the fashion industry through print and runway modeling.

// Shift Into Style

On Friday, August 10, Austin's annual week of fashion will kick off with an exceptional fashion party and fundraiser at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Runway shows will feature Austin designers, gourmet food and live entertainment at this prestigious event. Seizing the opportunity to marry motorsports and style, Circuit of The Americas will welcome more than one-thousand guests to witness VIPs from the fashion and motorsports industries and unveil the outfits to be worn by the COTA Girls at this November's Inaugural Formula 1 race. COTA Girls are stylish ambassadors who will be part of the color and pageantry during the race week festivities. Local fashion talent, of Fashion Star™ fame, Ross Bennett designed the COTA Girls’ collection for the 2012 USGP and will be on hand for the unveiling. Bennett added:

This is one of the most unique design projects and it’s an honor to have been chosen for this special assignment in my hometown. Formula 1 events draw sophisticated fans from around the world. We expect Shift Into Style to highlight the important role fashion plays in international motorsports.

Geoff Moore, CMO at COTA, went on to explain:

Formula 1 Grands Prix are very fashion-focused experiences, and we expect Shift Into Style to get our guests excited for the fall season while providing a preview of what we expect to see at the Circuit this November.

// Beyond Austin

Last month COTA also announced that First Lady of Texas, Anita Perry, will open the AFW festivities by welcoming guests to the Bob Bullock Museum for Shift Into Style. She is also excited to take part in the event:

The U.S. Grand Prix will bring the attention of the entire world to Central Texas, giving people from many nations the chance to see the unique blend of cultures that our state has to offer. From music and history to our vibrant and growing fashion and arts communities, Texas has something for everybody. I am so pleased to take part in this truly special event that adds to the diverse culture that has made the Lone Star State an international attraction.

Offering Texans a unique opportunity to understand the world of F1 up close and personal, F1 cars from Williams F1 Team, Lotus-Pirelli and Michael Schumacher's Ferrari F1 world championship car will be on display at the event. In addition, an F1 timeline photography exhibition by premier F1 international photographers, Sutton Images, will be on display and take guests on a visual journey through the last 60+ years of F1. If you missed it last month, check out our interview with Keith and Mark Sutton from Formula Expo.

// Beyond Fashion

One of the best parts about this unique event is that its impact will go beyond the glossy magazines and red carpet. COTA has chosen Seton Breast Cancer Center and Dell Children's Blood and Cancer Center as beneficiaries for the evening's event. A silent auction will offer guests the opportunity to raise money for local, worthy causes and take home fabulous items, including:

  • VIP tickets to the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
  • VIP tickets to the race kickoff reception and luncheon
  • VIP tickets to a private reception during race week
  • Tickets for a track ride in the Circuit’s F1 3-seater
  • Tickets to one of the weekend outdoor concerts

Rossi may have summarized it best:

Fashion is something I have grown to appreciate, and it’s great to see Austin’s fashion community embrace F1 style. Central Texas is going to be a fantastic place to host a Grand Prix and all of the fashion-forward guests who attend Formula 1 races. Shift Into Style will be a great way to launch Austin’s Fashion Week and start the official countdown to the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Circuit of The Americas this November. I feel privileged to work with Circuit of Americas for this event and I’m also very proud of my affiliation with Caterham F1 Team. I thank Team Principal Tony Fernandes for this and the opportunity he has given me within the team and I will continue to work hard to embrace the American commercial objectives for Caterham F1 Team, Formula 1 as a sport and Circuit of the Americas.

// Details

What: Austin Fashion Week Kick-Off Event, Shift Into Style

When: Friday, August 10, 2012 from 8:00PM - 11:00PM

Where: Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701

Who: Circuit of The Americas, Circuit Events Host Committee, Austin Fashion Week, Alexander Rossi and more TBA

Fashion Lineup: Ross Bennett, Keepers, Ferrari, The Danes Collection and Linda Asaf

Food and Drinks: Parkside, Olive & June, Backspace, Truluck's, Iron Cactus, Siena and Sentelli's

Cost: $85 per ticket

// Click HERE to purchase your tickets!

Hungarian GP Review

Lewis Hamilton tops the Hungarian GP with the Lotus boys, Kimi Raikkonnen and Romain Grosjean, just behind

Britain is having the best week ever. First, London Olympic is off to a fantastic and sheep-filled start, and secondly, Hamilton took home the Gold medal-equivalent at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend. Well done, Britain. Well done!

Out of the qualifying sessions, Hamilton clenched the crucial pole position with Grosjean trailing behind in P2, and Vettel at P3. Schumacher had the worst luck, ended up in P17 after qualifying. The poor qualifying later was compounded by not able to start on the grid, leading to start from the Pit lane, which then lead to speeding in the pit lane, ended with a drive-through penalty due to speeding and then retiring at Lap 60. Overall, a rather horrible day at the office for Schumacher.  Meanwhile, Alonso, who's been dominant in the last few races had to deal with a disappointing P6 after qualifying.

Due to Schumacher's car inability to start on the grid, the cars have to do another formation lap. The extra formation lap is counted towards the total number of laps, so the drivers will have to race 69-lap rather than 70-lap. Who knew there's such an FIA rule?

Hamilton aggressively lead the race from the very beginning. He made very few errors, in fact, I think the only thing that could have been improved for Hamilton may bethe McLaren pit stops (again!). Hamilton had two pitstops during the Hungarian Grand Prix, lap 18 and lap 40, which for the most part were smooth and quick. Due to the horrid pit stop performances in some of the races this year, I still get nervous for McLaren during all their pit stops.

Grosjean was relentless in staying right behind Hamilton for the most part, constantly putting pressure with an average of 1 sec gap, though ultimately not able to make any overtaking bids. Hamilton won this race with pure speed and determination, landing him his 2nd win this season and his 3rd win at this circuit.

In a track where overtaking has been known to be particularly difficult, we saw some pretty exciting wheel-to-wheel actions. Button and Vettel were battling it out at the start of the race with Button overtaking Vettel to get into 3rd place. Equally, if not more, nail-biting was when Raikkonen came out of pit lane after pit stop at lap 45, Grosjean was just coming down the track and we saw two Lotus dueling with real danger of crushing. I think Grosjean may have been surprised by Raikkonen, as the

Lotus team radioed Grosjean to let him know that "You're racing Kimi!". Way to go, Raikkonen, on pulling off a move like that with the fresh tyres. That particular move paid off handsomely for Raikkonen as he was able to take 2nd while leaving Grosjean to 3rd in the final results.

As much as this is a big win for McLaren and Hamilton, it's even grander results for Lotus to have double podium. The Lotus cars are getting really good pace and remains competitive with the big 3. I am still optimistic that Raikkonen will win one (or few) Grand Prix this season. Never under-estimate the Iceman, I say! We may still see Raikkonen smile or show the slightest of emotions this season!

Another race weekend, another grid girl outfit. The grid girl outfits continue to be somewhat unimaginative. I think I may have to stop hoping for the couture grid girl outfit. For the Hungarian Grand Prix, the grid girls were dressed in a white and yellow "dress". It starts out looking like a white golf shirt on the top part and then color-morphed to a short yellow bottom. It's catchy visually but slightly odd-looking. This dress makes me long for the all-red-with-white-bow classy but boring dress that we saw a few races back. And Best Post-race hair? Hamilton takes the prize.

Don't forget that F1 is having a summer break for August. There'll be no more races until 8/31! Me sad. Until then, Keep Calm and Carry On! See you late August!

Race Preview: Hungarian GP

Hungarian Grand Prix, the last race before F1 breaks for the summer. (Note to self: Don't Panic! There are still more races to come after August. I can get through August without an F1 race. Really I can!) It'll likely be a hot and dry race since the Hungarian Grand Prix has never seen a wet race up until the 2006 Grand Prix. Interestingly enough, due to the way the track is situated amongst the nature setting, you can see the track from any point of the stands. This gave the Hungarian Grand Prix track a special name - the dinner plate, as the spectators can sit on the edge of the plate and follow the events from there. Doesn't that just make you hungry for Hungary? Yes, that was a terrible joke.

Some say the track at Hungaroring is twisty, narrow and impossible to overtake. According to Vettel, who has never won here, "The Hungarian GP is one of the hardest for the drivers".  Meanwhile, Raikkonen is full of confidence, "Usually this Grand Prix weekend is one of the hottest in the calendar, so it should suit our car very well." Both Button and Hamilton have won twice here before, McLaren must be quietly optimistic for grand results this weekend. 

The track has actually proven entirely possible to overtake, moreover, one can even achieve a massive comeback from 14th on the grid to win the race (that was Button's win back in 2006). Like every race, it will certainly be paramount to be in the front part of the grid if not the pole, but if by chance a driver majorly messed up the qualifying, an aggressive race day performance could be key to the podium. We'll also see some great action at the DRS zone, so I imagine we'll see some overtaking around there as well.

Will we see another driver other than Alonso take home the victory at Hungarian Grand Prix? We shall find out soon enough. Catch you after the race!!

// Get a feel for the GP in Budapest by checking out our Pinterest board


Eni Magyar Nagdij on Pinterest


Qualifying Preview: Hungary

Lewis Hamilton has stepped up his game and shown great pace in Friday's sessions in Hungary (photo by HOCH ZWEI)
The last race weekend before the summer break kicked off with Lewis Hamilton commanding the field in both Friday practices, being the only driver to set a sub-1:22 time in a shortened wet-dry practice 2.  His teammate, Jenson Button, also showed his grit turning in the 2nd and 6th fastest times of the two sessions, just .1 seconds behind Hamilton in P1.  Championship points leader Fernando Alonso, who has been one with his car as of late, was fast enough for 3rd and 5th.  2007 Champion Kimi Raikkonen has yet to win a race since his return to F1 this year, but demonstrated he has the pace to reach the top step of the podium by finishing 2nd in practice 2, just .185 seconds behind Hamilton.

For Saturday’s qualifying session, look for arguably the most consistent driver of the field in Alonso to challenge for a third straight pole with a streaky Hamilton nipping at his heels.  Don’t count out Button though for pole though – while he may be all but out of championship contention, he drove a brilliant race in Germany to take 2nd from Sebastian Vettel and is among the fastest when his car is healthy.  Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber has been driving consistent enough to find himself in second place in the championship race, and arguably would have landed on the podium in Germany had he not been the victim of a 5-place grid penalty for an unexpected gearbox change before.  Look for him to make a qualifying statement to Alonso along the lines of “down but not out.”

Could we see another new race winner Sunday?  With 10 grands prix left in the season, the fans are sure to be delighted this weekend with a spirited battle for momentum into Belgium in one month.