Monthly Archives: May 2010

Red Bull self-destruct hands McLaren a 1-2 in Turkey

Lewis Hamilton took his first win of the 2010 season yesterday in Turkey, after an absolute disastrous race for the Red Bull team. The Austrian squad were holding a 1-2 lead, with Webber leading Vettel, before they both collided into each other, gifting the race to McLaren.

Mark Webber retains his lead, while Sebastian Vettel gets into second place

Mark Webber retains his lead, while Sebastian Vettel gets into second place

At the start, Mark Webber retained his advantage at the top, while Sebastian Vettel got ahead of Lewis Hamilton for 2nd place. However, still on the 1st lap, Lewis managed to get the position back at Turn 3. Also, Jenson Button lost 4th place to Michael Schumacher, but similarly fought to get his position back.

Lewis set about catching and passing Webber, but simply wasn’t able to. This is because, at Turn 8, the Red Bull was clearly faster than the McLaren, which meant he couldn’t get close enough on the main straight. However, the advantage of his F-duct meant that he would be able to pounce if Webber made a mistake.

At the first set of stops, a mistake at Hamilton’s pit meant that he dropped to 3rd, behind the two Red Bulls. The problem seemed to be caused by a stuck right-rear tyre. Button had made no progress so far, and didn’t seem to be closing on his team-mate.

But, after the stops, a new threat appeared to be in the form of rain. Heavy clouds were gathering around the circuit, and the radars were predicting rainfall at halfway distance. For the next few laps, the entire field watched closely as the clouds got closer and closer.

While many teams were preparing their strategies for the imminent rain, Vettel closed in on Webber for the lead. On Lap 40, he got close enough on the main straight to make a move, but disaster struck. As Sebastian moved to the left side of the track, Mark pushed him slightly too far. Vettel veered right slightly, and collided with Webber’s car. Both Red Bulls speared off the track, with Vettel retiring on the spot, and Webber in need of repairs. The team were distraught, having thrown away an almost-certain 1-2 victory.

Of course, this handed the 1-2 to the McLarens of Hamilton and Button. Nobody else even came close to challenging them, as the Mercedes cars were miles behind, and the Ferraris completely off the pace. Jenson didn’t seem content with 2nd place though, and began to challenge Lewis for the lead. He made a move on the outside of Turn 12, and managed to get past.

But, this meant that Button was out of shape for the pit straight. Hamilton made excellent use of this fact to respond instantly, diving down the inside of Turn 1. They banged wheels, and Hamilton seized the lead again. After this, Martin Whitmarsh went on the team radio to instruct his drivers to calm down, and Button did not challenge Hamilton after this.

Further back, Fernando Alonso struggled to work his way up the field. He started 12th, and made up 2 places at the first stop, and 1 further place later. Once he got close to Vitaly Petrov in the battle for 8th, the young Russian did very well to defend his position from the 2-time world champion. Fernando finally got past, but not without consequences. Petrov appeared to damage his suspension in that battle, and was forced to pit for repairs. However, it was nice to see that he set the fastest lap of the race after this stop, even if he did lose his points-scoring position.

While Webber soon stopped for repairs on Lap 42, he was able to retain 3rd place, ahead of the two Mercedes cars of Schumacher and Rosberg. Behind them, Robert Kubica held off Felipe Massa for most of the race, ahead of a slow-recovering Alonso. Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi finished off the top 10.

Out of the points scoring positions, it was a disappointing race for Toro Rosso. The team had used a 2-stop strategy to try and propel their drivers up the order, but it failed to work, leaving Jaime Alguersuari 12th and Sebastien Buemi 16th.

In the earlier stages of the race, Bruno Senna had a great battle with Lucas di Grassi, but unfortunately retired on Lap 22 with a fuel pressure problem. Team-mate Karun Chandhok retired 2 laps later with a fuel pump failure. A similar double-retirement occured at Lotus, with both Kovalainen and Trulli exiting the race within a lap of each other. Both failures were confirmed as hydraulic.

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber celebrate on the podium

Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber celebrate on the podium

The expected rain arrived eventually, but only very lightly, and so Hamilton crossed the line first, to take 3rd position in the championship, although Button is still in 2nd, 4 points ahead. Sebastian Vettel collapsed to 5th, while McLaren took the lead of the constructors’ championship by a single point to Red Bull. There are many questions to be asked over the next few days, the most important of which is why two drivers who were belived to be responsible would cause such an unecessary crash.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Turkish Grand Prix qualifying in pictures

Here are the pictures from today’s Turkish Grand Prix qualifying:

Webber takes 3 pole positions in a row in Turkey

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton after Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton after Turkish Grand Prix qualifying

Mark Webber took his third pole position of a row, ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton will make McLaren’s first fron row start this season, with 2nd place. Sebastian Vettel was 3rd, Jenson Button 4th, and Michael Schumacher 5th. Here is the full qualifying report:

Q1

As Q1 began, the Virgin and Lotus cars were out first. Jarno Trulli set the early benchmark with a 1.31.7, ahead of Timo Glock. The HRt cars were unable to challenge any of the new teams at this time.

Fernando Alonso was the first of the frontrunners to go out on the harder tyres, and set a 1.28.1. Vitaly Petrov set a good lap to get in between the top drivers. Vitantonio Liuzzi was struggling in the drop zone, and a spin at Turn 10 didn’t help his cause. He pitted to check the car soon after.

The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were the last out, and were quickly on the pace, getting 3rd and 5th respectively. Soon after, they got to the top of the timesheets. Vitaly Petrov got another good lap in to take 4th momentarily. However, Vitantonio Liuzzi was unable to improve on his previous time, and was knocked out in Q1 alongside the new teams.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Vitantonio Liuzzi

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Heikki Kovalainen

21) Timo Glock

22) Bruno Senna

23) Lucas di Grassi

24) Karun Chandhok

Q2

As the first drivers went out, Lewis Hamilton surprised many by going out on the harder tyres again. After 4 minutes, he had already got the fastest lap of the session. Webber and Vettel quickly get 2nd and 3rd positions after this.

Nico Rosberg was struggling with his car, and his first attempt only put him into 13th place. His next lap was similarly poor, a 1.27.7, only placing him 11th. Again, Vitaly Petrov got another good lap in to get ahead of team-mate Kubica. While Kamui Kobayashi was in 9th, team-mate Pedro de la Rosa was lacking pace on the soft tyres, and only finished 13th.

After Rosberg finally improved to get into Q3, Fernando Alonso was the only top driver in the knockout zone. On his first attempt with 3 minutes to go, he made a mistake at Turn 12, ruining his lap. The next time, he couldn’t get the pace he needed, and only got 12th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil

12) Fernando Alonso

13) Pedro de la Rosa

14) Sebastien Buemi

15) Rubens Barrichello

16) Jaime Alguersuari

17) Nico Hulkenberg

Q3

Michael Schumacher spins at Turn 8 and gets beached in the gravel trap

Michael Schumacher spins at Turn 8 and gets beached in the gravel trap

Even though the softer tyres only seem to be able to get one fast lap in, most of the first drivers out on track took on the soft tyres. Robert Kubica, as he seems to do a lot, set the first lap of Q3, with a 1.27. Lewis Hamilton soon improved on that with a 1.26.5. Sebastian Vettel seemed to be able to take provisional pole off Hamilton, but messed up the final sector, and was 2nd. Mark Webber didn’t make the same mistake, and was 0.03 seconds quicker than Lewis.

Kamui Kobayashi waited a long time to go out, but eventually did so with 4 minutes remaining. He only had one set of soft tyres left though, so he had to be careful. While he was on track, everyone else pitted to prepare for their final runs. However, his car wasn’t fast enough, and Kamui was 10th.

Mark Webber was the first of the leaders to go out on his final run, and improved on his time to take a 1.26.295. But, Lewis Hamilton got very close to Mark, only 1 tenth slower. Oddly enough, instead of a mad scramble for pole, the other drivers all messed up their final laps. Sebastian Vettel had a massive lock-up at Turn 1, ruining his tyres, while Nico Rosberg just didn’t have the pace. Michael Schumacher spun at Turn 8, and got stuck in the gravel trap.

So, Webber took pole position for the third time in a row, ahead of Lewis Hamilton, which is McLaren’s first front-row start this season. Sebastian Vettel was third, Jenson Button 4th, Michael Schumacher 5th, Nico Rosberg 6th, Robert Kubica 7th, Felipe Massa 8th, Vitaly Petrov 9th, and Kamui Kobayashi 10th.

Full times from qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.27.500 1.26.818 1.26.295
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.27.667 1.27.013 1.26.433
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.27.067 1.26.729 1.26.760
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.27.555 1.27.277 1.26.781
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.27.756 1.27.438 1.26.857
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.27.649 1.27.141 1.26.952
7 Robert Kubica Renault 1.27.766 1.27.426 1.27.039
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.27.993 1.27.200 1.27.082
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.27.620 1.27.387 1.27.430
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.28.158 1.27.434 1.28.122
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.27.951 1.27.525
12 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.27.857 1.27.612
13 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.28.147 1.27.879
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.28.534 1.28.273
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.28.336 1.28.392
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.28.460 1.28.540
17 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.28.227 1.28.841
18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.28.958
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.30.237
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.30.519
21 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.30.744
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.31.266
23 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.31.989
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.32.060

Button leads Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button in Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button in Turkish Friday Practice 2

Jenson Button led the way in the second Friday practice session of the Turkish Grand Prix weekend. Behind him were the two Red Bulls of Webber and Vettel, before reliability got in the way of both cars again.

Before the session began, Sebastian Vettel had a water pipe change, although he suffered a loss of water pressure near the end of FP2, and drove slowly back to the pits. Meanwhile, Mark Webber slowed as he accelerated away from Turn 2, and smoke appeared from his engine. He rolled to a halt soon after. Despite this, Webber and Vettel were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Lewis Hamilton was 4th, and almost 4 tenths slower than Button. Fernando Alonso was behind Hamilton, followed by the two Mercedes drivers of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Again, the two Renault drivers of Kubica and Petrov were close, getting 8th and 9th. Felipe Massa rounded off the top 10.

Adrian Sutil once again trounced his team-mate by an entire second to take 11th place. Nico Hulkenberg put in a good performance to get 12th, and the same goes for Kamui Kobayashi who was 13th. Behind them were Pedro de la Rosa, Sebastien Buemi, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello, with Jaime Alguersuari again the slowest of the midfield.

While Heikki Kovalainen was again considerably the fastest of the new teams, in 19th, his team-mate Trulli was not beside him. Instead, Lucas di Grassi split the two Lotus cars t0 finish 20th, with Jarno 21st. Timo Glock was 22nd, followed by the HRTs of Senna and Chandhok.

Track temperatures reached up to 50 degrees during this session. Many drivers were caught out by Turn 8, such as Felipe Massa, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Kamui Kobayashi, Vitaly Petrov and Karun Chandhok. Massa’s spin ruined one of his sets of tyres, which affected his pace in this session.

Times from Friday Practice 2:

Driver Team Best Lap Gap # of laps
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.28.280 30
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.28.378 0.098 24
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.28.590 0.31 27
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.28.672 0.392 32
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.28.725 0.445 30
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.28.914 0.634 22
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.28.974 0.694 22
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1.29.225 0.945 34
9 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.29.501 1.221 36
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.29.620 1.34 26
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.29.629 1.349 16
12 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.29.987 1.707 17
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.30.053 1.773 34
14 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.30.176 1.896 34
15 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.30.386 2.106 32
16 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.30.627 2.347 28
17 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.30.766 2.486 32
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.30.933 2.653 37
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.31.610 3.33 37
20 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.33.013 4.733 28
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.33.081 4.801 11
22 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.33.312 5.032 29
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.33.420 5.14 35
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.33.740 5.46 25

Hamilton leads McLaren 1-2 in Turkish Friday Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton in Turkish Friday Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton in Turkish Friday Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton was in front of Jenson Button for FP1 in Turkey today, as he was an entire second faster than any of his opposition. Also, Red Bull and Force India tested out their interpretations of the F-duct system.

Behind the McLaren 1-2, the Mercedes drivers of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg were 3rd and 4th. Sebastian Vettel was 5th for Red Bull, and the two Renaults of Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov were 6th and 7th. Petrov was only 0.004 seconds slower than Kubica, a great performance for a rookie.

Mark Webber was 8th, and was 1.444 seconds slower than the leader. Fernando Alonso and Adrian Sutil topped off the top 10. Kamui Kobayashi was 11th, and Vitantonio Liuzzi was 12th, 0.4 seconds slower than team-mate Sutil. Felipe Massa was 13th, Sebastien Buemi was 14th, and Pedro de la Rosa was 15th. The two Williams cars of Hulkenberg and Barrichello were 16th and 17th, with Jaime Alguersuari slowest of the midfield.

As normal, Lotus were the best of the new teams, and again closed the gap considerably to the rest of the grid, with a new rear wing this weekend. Heikki Kovalainen led Jarno Trulli, while Karun Chandhok was behind them in 21st. Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock were 22nd and 23rd. Instead of Bruno Senna, the HRT team elected to run Sakon Yamamoto, who was signed as the team’s reserve driver a few weeks ago. He was dissapointingly slow though, as he was 24th, and half a second behind Glock.

While Sebastian Vettel ran the F-duct on his car, Mark Webber stayed with the original version of the car. Adrian Sutil crashed his Force India with only 3 minutes to go in this session, as a driver error caused the car to understeer off at Turn 8 and slam into the barriers, removing the front wing, nosecone and both front wheels in the process.

Karun Chandhok also suffered problems, as his HRT car had an electrical problem, and was forced to crawl back to the pits. He was able to rejoin with 15 minutes left in the session though.

Times from Friday Practice 1:

Driver Team Best Lap Gap # of laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.28.653 20
2 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.29.615 0.962 21
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.29.750 1.097 24
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.29.855 1.202 25
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.29.867 1.214 30
6 Robert Kubica Renault 1.30.061 1.408 23
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.30.065 1.412 24
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.30.097 1.444 26
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.30.294 1.641 20
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.30.501 1.848 17
11 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.30.615 1.962 20
12 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.30.853 2.2 21
13 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.30.867 2.214 22
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.31.011 2.358 24
15 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.31.238 2.585 18
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.31.355 2.702 23
17 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.31.464 2.811 19
18 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.31.735 3.082 27
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.32.161 3.508 24
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.32.990 4.337 23
21 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.34.876 6.223 13
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.35.137 6.484 21
23 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.35.583 6.93 15
24 Sakon Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1.36.137 7.484 26

Ferrari reveal 800th Grand Prix design

Ferrari have revealed a new livery for their cars for this weekends’ Turkish Grand Prix, to celebrate their 800th Grand Prix in Formula 1. A special logo is now on the engine covers of the cars.

While it isn’t as good as it could have been, I think it looks much better than that stupid white box outline they have been forced to use ever since the Marlboro subliminal advertising claims. Have a look at the photos below:

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Ferrari's 800th Grand Prix special livery

Pirelli set to announce F1 2011 tyre deal

Pirelli is about to be confirmed as the F1 tyre supplier from 2011 onwards

Pirelli is about to be confirmed as the F1 tyre supplier from 2011 onwards

According to the Italain media, tyre manufacturer Pirelli are set to announce that they are to supply tyres to the Formula 1 grid from 2011 onwards.

While Cooper Avon and Michelin were also in the running, both companies had their disadvatages. Cooper Avon did not have commercial beneifts, while Michelin’s offer came with very pushy strings attached. So, in that sense, I think Pirelli was the best decicion.

The deal is reported to pay Pirelli €1m from every team per year, on a 3-year contract. Throughout the season, they will provide 3 compounds of tyre – soft, medium and hard.These 3 compounds will be available at every single race for the season, which in my opinion is too confusing for the fans to follow during races.

Also, it is possible that the Milan-based company would supply tyres to GP2 and GP3 teams as well, but this is currently unconfirmed. More on this news soon.

2009 flashback: Button takes 6 out of 7

As the seventh Grand Prix of 2009 approached, it was clear that the Brawn car was still the best of the field. The only competitor to them seemed to be the Red Bull team, the only other team to have won a race this season. In Turkey, Sebastian Vettel knew he would have to take a risk to go for the win.

In qualifying, Vettel dominated all three qualifying sessions to take pole position, ahead of Button and Barrichello, with Mark Webber behind. Lewis Hamilton was still struggling massively with his McLaren, and was knocked out in Q1. When the fuel weights were released, Button was two laps longer than Vettel, so Jenson already had an advantage. Fuel corrected, it was again Button on pole position.

Vettel leads Button at the start, but not for long

Vettel leads Button at the start, but not for long

At the start, it was a disaster for Rubens Barrichello, who had another start-line problem, and fell down to 13th. Jarno Trulli scythed up to 3rd, but fell prey to Webber at Turn 10. Sebastian Vettel retained the lead at the first turn, but a mistake at Turn 9 handed the lead on a golden plate to Jenson, who didn’t pass up the opportunity.

By Lap 2, Button was already pulling away from Vettel, whose team were now planning a comeback. Webber was third, and not troubling either car yet. On Lap 5, Nico Rosberg defied the advantages of KERS to get past both Ferraris to get into 5th place. Rubens Barrichello was wild in trying to get past Heikki Kovalainen, and on Lap 8 collided with the Finn, and spun, and fell to 17th place.

He quickly regained two places. before starting a battle with Adrian Sutil for 14th. On Lap 11, he tried a move on the final corner, and knocked off part of his front wing. He was forced to pit for repairs and a fuel strategy change soon after, but his day was already ruined.

Barrichello spins after a collision with Kovalainen

Barrichello spins after a collision with Kovalainen

While Rubens entertained the audience, the top three were getting away from each other, with Button holding a 4.6 second lead over Vettel by Lap 11, who was 4.9 seconds ahead of Webber respectively. Red Bull decided on their tactics change for Vettel – to switch him to a 3-stop strategy.

On Lap 15, Vettel pitted for the first time, and spent little time refuelling, which was a clear indicator to everyone of his strategy change. Button pitted two laps later, while Webber and Rosberg were in on the next lap. Everyone else was on a 2-stop strategy, so everyone focused on Vettel to see how he coped.

He caught up swiftly to Jenson, but simply was unable to make an overtaking move. Whether this was because of turbulent air or driver inability, we don’t know. The end result was, by the time Vettel stopped for the second time on Lap 29, he had fallen behind team-mate Mark Webber, with both still scheduled for a final stop.

There wasn’t much action then until the second set of stops. Kazuki Nakajima was running 7th, but a faulty wheel gun ruined his race, and he dropped to 12th thanks to the delay. Jarno Trulli fell behind Nico Rosberg, but overtook him after the stops. Rubens Barrichello, still at the back of the field, suffered a gearbox problem and was forced to retire.

After the pit stops were completed, Sebastian started to catch up to team-mate Webber. However, even though he was gaining, his team had other ideas, saying : “Mark is faster, mark is faster. Sebastian: save your car, save your car. Mark is faster.” The real meaning of this message is clear: do not attempt to overtake Webber.

Jenson Button celebrates in the pit lane

Jenson Button celebrates in the pit lane

So, as the chequered flag fell, there was no change in position. Jenson Button took his sixth win out of 7 races, Webber gained 2places to get 2nd, while a disgruntled Vettel was 3rd. Oddly enough, he seemed more annoyed than the strategy mistake than the team order at the end of the race.

This all meant that Button’s 6 out of 7 wins meant he was level with Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Jim Clark in terms of best start to an F1 season. He was also the first Englishman to score 4 wins in a row since Nigel Mansell in 1992. He was now 26 points ahead of Barrichello, ahead of the two Red Bulls. But, Brawns domination was about to come to an end.

Formula 1 to return to USA in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, the location for the USGP from 2012 onwards

Austin, Texas, the location for the USGP from 2012 onwards

Bernie Ecclestone has announced that from 2012 to 2021, Formula 1 will race in Austin, Texas, as the host of the United States Grand Prix. A brand new facility will be built for the event.

While more details will be announced, the circuit will almost definitely, lets be honest here, be designed by Herman Tilke. Full Throttle Productions, the promoter of the United States Grand Prix, said:

“We are extremely honoured and proud to reach an agreement with the 
F1 Commercial Rights Holder. We have been diligently working together 
for several years to bring this great event to Austin, the State of 
Texas and back to the United States. All parties involved have a great 
amount of trust and confidence in each other and are committed to 
establishing the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas 
as a prestigious global event.
This is a case of the right timing in the right place. As many 
Americans know, Austin has earned a reputation as one of the ‘it’ 
cities in the United States. Austin features that rare combination of 
ideal geographic location and beauty. Its fine dining, world-renowned 
hospitality and excellent transportation infrastructure make Austin 
ideally suited to host and manage an event of this magnitude. Few 
cities if any in America could rival the connectivity of all the key 
elements needed for hosting a Formula 1 event as well as Austin. Now, 
many people around the world will have the opportunity to experience 
a world-class event, facility and city.”

Bernie Ecclestone explained further:

“For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United 
States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event. 
It was thirty years ago that the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ 
was last held on a purpose-built permanent road course circuit in 
Watkins Glen, NY (1961-1980), which enjoyed great success. Since then, 
Formula One has been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas 
and Phoenix all on temporary street circuits. Indianapolis joined the 
ranks of host cities in 2000 when they added a road course inside the 
famed oval. Lewis Hamilton won the last Formula 1 United States Grand 
Prix™ in 2007, signalling the end to eight years at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. This however, will be the first time a facility is constructed 
from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the US.”

Well, that was quick wasn’t it? The fact that it is in Texas surprises me, but Austin doesn’t seem too bad a location. What we do know about the circuit so far is that it will be in close proximity to the hotels, downtown and the airport. It will also be well located to accomodate North, South and Central American visitors. 250,000 hotel rooms are available within 180 miles, so it seems that spectators won’t find this location a problem.

The Austin skyline at night

The Austin skyline at night

Austin itself is regarded as the Live Music Capital of the World, the Greenest City in America (MSN), and Least Stressful Large Metro (Forbes). It is also considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.

So, the city looks good, the only worry will be regarding the circuit. If Herman Tilke is designing it, then we can only pray that he doesnsn’t throw in 90 degree corners everywhere. Formula 1 has raced in Texas once, back in 1984, but only on a temporary circuit, and the sport never visited again.

Forgotten heroes: Wolfgang Von Trips

Wolfgang von Trips

Wolfgang von Trips

Wolfgang Graf Alexander Albert Eduard Maximillian Reichsgraf Berghe von Trips  is another name that is rarely, if ever, mentioned these days. However, he came incredibly close to winning the 1961 World Championship, and become the first ever German F1 champion. His jinx for accidents came in the way of that though.

He was born on 4th May 1928 in Horrem, Cologne, as the son of a noble Rhineland family. It is very difficult to see how he entered F1, due to the complete lack of information about it, but he first entered the Formula 1 World Championship with Ferrari in 1956. He was on course to compete in the final race of the season in Monza, but a practice accident ruled him out.

Next year, in 1957, he started the first race with last year’s car, the Lancia Ferrari D50A. He finished 6th, driving the same car as Caesare Perdisa and Peter Collins. For Monaco, he was given the Ferrari 801 to drive, and shared the car with Mike Hawthorn, but retired in the race. Other drivers replaced him for all but the last race of that season, again at Monza. Here, he finally had a car to hmself, and impressed with a 3rd place finish.

In 1958, he started the second race of the season in Monaco, but an engine failure ruled him out after 91 laps, after starting 11th on the grid. He then competed in the French Grand Prix, with a very impressive result. He started 21st on the grid, but he fought up the field to get 3rd place, ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio (in his last ever F1 race). Ferrari decided to keep him for the rest of the season after this. In Great Britain, another engine failure took him out, after again starting 11th. In Germany and Portugal he finished 5th both times. In Italy, he started 6th, but was caught up in an accident on the first lap. He did not race at the last event in Morocco.

For the first race of 1959 in Monaco, he raced for Porsche, but was taken out on the first lap from a collision, after starting 12th. He took part in one other event that year, AVUS in Germany, but failed to qualify. 1960 was a much better year for Von Trips, as his Ferrari Dino 246 was now up to the job. He got one 4th, three 5th places, one 6th and one 8th place. He had a transmission problem in Belgium, and was 11th in France. For the last race that year, he competed in a Cooper T51 for Scuderia Centro Sud, and only got 9th.

1961 was the best season of Von Trips’ career, as he finally showed his potential. He got 4th in Monaco, followed by his first ever victory at the Dutch Grand Prix (the only race in F1 history where everyone finished and nobody pitted). He followed that up with a second position in Belgium, before retiring in France thanks to an engine failure. Another win then followed at Great Britain, and then a second place at Germany. At this point, Von Trips only needed one third place in any of the next two races to win the world championships. This was despite him handing over the lead to Phil Hill twice, who his team thought was more likely to take the title. But, events at Monza changed all that.

Here, Wolfgang took his first ever pole position. This put him well on course for victory and the championship. But, on Lap 2 approaching the Parabolica, he tangled with Jim Clark’s Lotus, spearing his car into the spectators, killing 14 people and Von Trips himself. The race was not stopped, and so Phil Hill took the win, and the championship with it. This was the last ever time that Formula 1 visited the full 10km Monza circuit layout.

For the final race at Watkins Glen, Ferrari decided not to compete, in repect for Von Trips, and the fact that they had already completely dominated the season, so there was nothing to compete for. Hill won the championship by a single point, but after such a tragic event at Monza, many people remember this season for what could have been for Wolfgang.

Before he died, in 1961, he established a go-kart race track in Kerpen, Germany. After he died, the track was leased to Rolf Schumacher, who allowed his two sons to have their first ever racing laps there. His sons just so happened to be called Michael and Ralf.

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