Monday, December 24, 2012

GRAND PRIX DRIVER OF THE YEAR 2012


We have recently experienced a golden era of Motor Sport with the 2012 season consisting of 6 World Champions on the grid and battles of all sorts up and down the grid. This has been one of the most competitive seasons in memory.

Fernando Alonso has come out on top in a survey to   find who was the best performing driver of the 2012 Formula One season.

The Spaniard picked up almost 25% more points from judges than the World Champion Sebastian Vettel who came in 2nd. It is likely that perceptions of the German’s performance were hampered by the perceived superiority of his Red Bull car.

Lewis Hamilton was a distant third, finishing just ahead of the impressive Kimi Raikkonen who made a stunning return after two years out of the sport.

However, the two other World Champions on the grid had a less successful year; with Jenson Button finishing in 6th place behind his 2013 team-mate Sergio Perez. This probably owes largely to poor form in the middle part of the season, the low point of which was the Canadian Grand Prix where he was lapped by Hamilton.

Michael Schumacher meanwhile could manage no better than 13th on the list; 4 places behind Nico Rosberg despite his impressive pole lap in Monaco and achieving the first podium finish of his return in Valencia. It certainly isn’t the send-off that the legendary German would have been hoping for.

MoneySupermarket, who ran the survey encompassing the opinions of leading Motorsport related websites,  has created the following infographic based on the results:


You may download the above infographic by clicking on it or by visiting here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RED BULL RACING STORY



In the span of seven years, Red Bull built a lackluster F1 team into the three-time world champions and the most dominant presence in motor racing.

Red Bull did something quite unprecedented when it bought its first Formula One team in 2005. It took a backmarker team - Jaguar Racing, itself rebranded from Stewart Grand Prix - and through a boatload of money at it. It took its first podium finish in only its second year on the grid, and was winning races by 2009. The rest, as they say, is history, as the team - headed by some of the top minds driven by two of the best drivers in the sport - went on to secure three back-to-back world championships.

Watch the video above to learn their fascinating story.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

TEAM GERMANY WINS ROC NATIONS CUP 2012

This is the latest news as reported by the ROC.

Team Germany's Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel added to their incredible run of success by winning their sixth consecutive ROC Nations Cup title in Bangkok.

On another hot evening in the Thai capital, legends from many of the world's biggest motor sport series teamed up in pairs to battle for national pride. They raced a mix of cars – including the Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco, Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo and the Toyota GT86 – on a purpose-built parallel track at the Rajamangala Stadium.

To cap off a busy night of action, Schumacher and Vettel prevailed in the Grand Final against Team France's Sébastien Ogier and Romain Grosjean. First Schumacher defeated Grosjean then Vettel beat rally ace Ogier in the 'battle of the Sebs'.

The result meant that the German duo took an incredible ten wins out of ten on the night, matching their combined total of F1 world championships. They have now extended their record of ROC Nations Cup titles to six in a row too.

Schumacher said: “This is a historic day. It was already very special to win five times in a row but this new record just feels great. The Race Of Champions is a nice event with a nice set-up, there are great guys here and tough competition. We were pretty scared of the guys on Team France but in the end they lost time in the final heats so we were lucky to be consistent the whole way through.”

Vettel added: “Even Michael hasn’t managed six titles in a row before so this is something special. Six years is a long time and now we can look back and know we’ve won for the last six years. We all love coming here as it’s a special event. It’s a privilege and an honour to race with these guys. There’s one thing that connects us all, which is racing. Now I can look forward to tomorrow and hopefully stay in the competition as long as possible. I’ve tried that for the last five years and haven’t succeeded yet so it would be nice to put my name on that trophy too.”

Beaten finalists Team France also had a fine evening, topping their group before defeating Team All Stars (Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen and MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo) by two heats to nil in the semi-final.

Grosjean admitted: “We knew going up against Team Germany was the toughest moment of the evening. But we fought as well as we could with what we had in our hands. Last year we reached the semi-final, this year the final. Now the next step is to be on the top of the podium. They want to go for seven next year but we want to go for our first one in the future. For now it’s great to have brought the blue, white and red flag to the final.”

Reigning individual Champion of Champions Ogier said: “First I want to congratulate Team Germany because six victories in a row is a great result. We tried our best but they were very strong. We will try to do better next time. First I will do my best to retain the individual Race Of Champions title tomorrow but I know it will be tough.”

In the semi-finals Team Germany beat Team Australia's Jamie Whincup and Mick Doohan by two heats to nil. They had earlier sailed through their Group B with six wins out of six to kick off their perfect night. Team Australia joined them in the semi-finals with three victories: two for Whincup, one for Doohan.

Following their triumph in yesterday's ROC Asia, Team India's Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok failed to make it beyond the group stages this time. They took a win apiece but it wasn't enough against the might of Germany and Australia.

Host nation Team Thailand (Nattavude Charoensukawattana and Tin Sritrai) fought hard but they were unable to progress beyond the group stages. Sritrai nonetheless gave the home fans something to cheer with victory over Doohan.

Earlier in the evening, Team France (four wins) and Team All Stars (three wins) both progressed through the round-robin Group A to line up a best-of-three semi-final. Lorenzo memorably proved his two-wheeled skill extends to four wheels by defeating touring car great Andy Priaulx in one of the heats.

Team Americas were unlucky to miss out on qualification on countback of fastest times as they also ended up with three wins courtesy of Benito Guerra (2) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (1). Team Great Britain (Priaulx and David Coulthard) missed a semi-final spot after both fell foul of penalties for touching the barriers – though they still took one win each.

There is plenty more action to come in Bangkok on Sunday as the drivers will put their friendships aside and go it alone in the individual Race Of Champions. This race will be held at 8pm Bangkok local time.

Official ROC website here - http://www.raceofchampions.com/

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2013 and 2014 RULES PUBLISHED

The FIA has finalized the changes to the F1 regulations for the 2013 season and updated its planned rules for 2014. There are a few changes to the 2013 rules beyond those revealed after last week’s World Motor Sport Council meeting but the full regulations reveal some new details.

2013 Rules

Among the changes to the technical regulations for next year is a rule governing what happens when cars run out of fuel on the track during any session, such as happened during qualifying to Lewis Hamilton in Spain and Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi.

Teams will no longer be allowed to claim a car was stopped for reasons of “force majeure”, instead the FIA will determine how much fuel should have been in the car when it stopped:
After a practice session, if a car has not been driven back to the pits under its own power, it will be required to supply the above mentioned sample plus the amount of fuel that would have been consumed to drive back to the pits. The additional amount of fuel will be determined by the FIA.
As the tyres Pirelli are supplying next year will be heavier the rules on minimum weight and weight distribution have been revised. The minimum weight has increased by 2kg to 642kg and a more drastic change is coming for 2014. An extra kilo has therefore been added to the minimum weights at each end of the car making these now 292kg at the front, 343kg at the rear. These will be adjusted to take final 2013 tyre weights into account.

A tougher front wing deflection test has been defined as well. The amount a wing may deflect when a 1,000N load is applied to it has been reduced from 20mm to 10mm, the further curb the use of flexing wings.

As of next year teams may add a panel to their car’s nose to remove the steps seen on many cars this year.

Tougher standards for roll structures and crash tests have also been defined, the latter requiring the static load test to be applied to all of the teams’ survival cells.

There are fewer changes in the Sporting Regulations and some are already known including the restriction of using DRS outside the designated zone at any time during a race weekend.

For teams to arrange a test outside Europe they now require the agreement of the FIA and the total number of tests during the season has been reduced to three each of no more than four days long. There will be no repeat of this year’s in-season test which was held at Mugello.

During race weekends the first of the two curfews on teams’ activity has been extended from six hours to eight. The number of curfew breaks each team is allowed is reduced to two and they may not both be used at the same event.

The updated 2013 rules are available here:

2013 F1 Sporting Regulations – Published on 11.12.2012 (PDF)
2013 F1 Technical Regulations – Published on 11.12.2012 (PDF)

2014 Rules

The minimum weight will be further increased from 642kg in 2012 to 685kg to account for the rise in weight from the new power units. The regulations on power units, electrical systems and transmission have been extensively revised as well.

Although parts of the rules on aerodynamic bodywork have been moved closer to the current rules, the planned reduction in front wing width from 1,800mm to to 1,650mm has been retained.

The updated 2014 rules are available here:

Friday, December 7, 2012

50 THINGS THAT MADE THE 2012 F1 SEASON GREAT

Here is a great article by Keith of F1Fanatic listing down 50 things that made this year great in F1. Just had to share as I agreed with almost everything there and some of them are just wonderful. Made me smile thinking back what a great year this has been with all the ups and downs.

Click here to enjoy yourself!

And look at this picture. Doesn't that just make you smile? F1 drivers are just human with Massa and Alonso there making fun of the shot. It's just some fanatical fans out there that sometimes sound like a serial stalker. Lighten up, it' a sport and we're supposed to enjoy ourselves and widen our network and knowledge.

FIA DECISIONS FOR 2013

The World Motor Sport Council met recently to ratify some detailed changes to the F1 calendar for 2013 and to the sporting and technical regulations.

The main headline is that the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are keen to insert a 20th race as the New Jersey race has been postponed.

The German Grand Prix will move to July 7th (from 14th July) to make room for a race on July 21st.

The Turkish Istanbul Park race track has confirmed an agreement in principle to host the race, which would fall one week before the Hungarian Grand Prix. However the deal might not happen as the Turkish government has not given approval to fund the race. Problems of funding the event have dogged it in the past.

“The date for the 2013 Grand Prix of Germany has been moved to 7 July, and 21 July has been reserved for another F1 European event, subject to the approval of the relevant ASNs,” said the FIA statement. There has been talk of the return of the French Grand Prix, but sources in France say that there is no evidence of funding for this, particularly state or regional government funding.

2013 F1 Technical Regulations
  • More stringent front wing deflection tests have been introduced.
  • Minor changes have been made to the front roll structure design.
  • There is an increase in minimum weight to compensate for an increase in tyre weight for 2013.
  • Deletion of the ‘force majeure’ allowance when a car stops on the track in qualifying. The FIA will determine how much fuel the car would have used to get back to the pits and add it to the one litre sample minimum.
  • All chassis will now have higher static loads applied to them (formerly only one chassis was tested to the higher loads with subsequent chassis being tested to 20% lower proof loads).
2013 F1 Sporting Regulations
  • For safety reasons, use of the DRS during practice will now only be allowed in the place(s) it will be used on the track in the race.
  • The team personnel curfew will be extended from six to eight hours on Thursday night and only two exceptions will be allowed during a season (formerly four).
  • 2014 F1 Technical Regulations
  • A new draft with numerous changes was discussed and agreed by the F1 Technical Working Group and Powertrain Working Group.
  • The requirement for cars to be driven exclusively under electric power in the pit lane has been postponed until 2017.
  • A number of changes have been made to the power unit regulations with the aim of limiting technology in some areas in order to reduce development costs.
  • Changes made to bodywork design, originally aimed at reducing downforce and drag for increased efficiency, have reverted to 2012 specification.
  • The minimum weight limit has been raised to compensate for additional power unit weight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SOME FASCINATING STATS FROM PIRELLI

At the conclusion of its second season in F1 since its return, Pirelli has issued a range of statistics relating to tyres, circuits, pit stops, overtakes and just about everything else… even mascarpone!

TYRES

Total number of tyres provided for the season: Race tyres: 31,800 of which 22,500 dry tyres and 9,300 wet tyres plus an additional 6,600 for the tests (not including development tyres)

Of which (for race tyres only): supersoft: 6 % / soft: 25 % / medium: 21 % / hard: 17 % / intermediate: 18 % / wet: 11 % / 2 % development tyres

Total numbers of tyres used: Dry tyres: 21,400; wet tyres: 2,100

Number of tyres recycled during 2012: All, i.e. 31,800 race tyres plus 6,600 test tyres

Average life span of a dry compound this season: 180 km

Average life span of a wet compound this season: 140 km

TRACKS, RACES AND TESTS

Longest continuous energy input into a tyre: India (turn 10-11)

Longest race of the year: Malaysia in 2h 44:51.812

Shortest race of the year: Great Britain in 1h 25:11.288

Most laps run on Pirelli tyres:
Hard - Kobayashi (798); Medium - Senna (869); Soft - Ricciardo (1,012);
Supersoft - Raikkonen (237); Intermediate - Alonso (145); Wet - Kobayashi (104)

Highest top speed reached by a P Zero F1 tyre: 248.241 kph (154.254 mph) Hamilton / Italy Qualifying

Slowest top speed reached by a P Zero F1 tyre: 161.828 kph (100.558 mph) Schumacher / Monaco

Most fastest laps in 2011: Sebastian Vettel (5 in race / 6 in qualifying)

Distance covered by Pirelli's Renault R30 test car in 2012: 7,012 kms (4,537 miles)

Number of different test tracks visited by Pirelli staff this year (incl. private tests): 9

PIT STOPS

Total number of pit stops for the year: 957 (of which 14 were a Drive Through and 2 a Stop & Go penalty)

Total average number of stops per race: 47.9, i.e. 1.9 per driver

Most pit stops in a race: 76 (Malaysia)

Least pit stops in a race: 24 (United States)

Fastest pit stop time: 2.31s (McLaren / Jenson Button at the German Grand Prix)

OVERTAKING

Number of overtaking manoeuvres in 2012: 994 (not including Brazil)

Most overtaking manoeuvres in a dry race: 90 at the 2012 C hinese Grand Prix

Most overtaking manoeuvres in a wet race: 76 at the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix

Least overtaking manoeuvres in a dry race: 12 at the Monaco Grand Prix

OTHERS

Total kilometres driven by all the P Zero compounds in 2012 (races and tests): Hard - 101,692 (63,190
miles); Medium - 121,840 (75,709 miles); Soft - 123,270 (76,598 miles); Supersoft - 21,993 (13,666
miles); Intermediate - 13,770 (8,556 miles); Wet - 7,930 (4,927 miles)

Coldest track/ground temperatures Pirelli P Zero tyres have run: United States Grand Prix at 11 degrees
Celsius (17.11.); coldest overall: Jerez winter testing at 0 degrees C elsius (10.02.)

Hottest track/ground temperatures Pirelli P Zero tyres have run: Brazilian Grand Prix at 55 degrees Celsius (23.11.)

Coldest air/ambient temperatures Pirelli P Zero tyres have run: United States Grand Prix at 4 degrees Celsius (17.11); coldest overall: Jerez winter testing at -2 degrees C elsius (10.11.)

Hottest air/ambient temperatures Pirelli P Zero tyres have run: Grand Prix of Europe at 37 degrees Celsius (21.06.)

Amount of time spent downloading all tyre data on the RTS system this year (incl. tests): 92 hrs

Number of track/air temperature taken by tyre fitter per race weekend: 124

Total distance travelled by all F1 tyres in 2012 (off-track): 216,967 kms (134,820 miles)

Total number of tweets from Pirelli Media: 5,400

Words written on Pirelli press releases in 2012: 79,744

Total number of Pirelli recipe books produced (incl. translations): 10,000

PIRELLI F1 AND ITS PEOPLE

Total number of Pirelli people travelling to each race: 52

Total number of nationalities within the Pirelli F1 team: 10

Average amount of hours spent by each Pirelli staff member on a plane this year: 192 hrs (or 8 days!)

Number of Pirelli wristbands given out during the season in the paddock: 4,450

Total number of hotel nights booked for the Pirelli team: 1,498

PIRELLI F1 TRUCKS AND HOSPITALITY

Total amount of trucks at European races: 13

Total average kilometres travelled by each Pirelli truck in 2012: 31,125 kms (19,340 miles)

Numbers of meals served at the Pirelli F1 hospitality (incl. tests): 24,132

Number of coffees served by Pirelli hospitality during the season: 28,350

Number of different pasta recipes cooked by Pirelli's chef this year: 314

Amount of mascarpone used for tiramisu and other dolci: 205 kgs

PIRELLI IN F1 SINCE 1950

Races started: 242

Wins: 83

Pole positions: 86

Podium places: 256

Fastest laps: 90

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ENTRY LIST - UPDATED FEB 2013



Giedo van der Garde has secured the second race seat at Caterham for 2013, completing the team's line-up alongside Charles Pic. Which mean Caterham is effectively running 2 rookies this year, a situation that is unavoidable due to financial constraints. Although Petrov should have brought more money but I have a feeling that his sponsors have abandoned him, therefore Caterham did not retain him.

So that leaves only 2 more seats available - 1 at Force India and 1 at Marussia, although it is possible that Luiz Razia has secured that seat at Marussia as his official website has claimed it so (funnily enough ahead of the team announcement).
Below list has been updated as of today (Bold = Officially confirmed)

Driver
Entrant
Constructor
Vettel
Red Bull Racing
RBR-Renault
Webber
Red Bull Racing
RBR-Renault
Button
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Perez
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Alonso
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Massa
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Hamilton
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes
Rosberg
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes
Raikkonen
Lotus F1 Team
Lotus-Renault
Grosjean
Lotus F1 Team
Lotus-Renault
Di Resta
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
TBC
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
Hulkenberg
Sauber F1 Team
Sauber-Ferrari
Gutierrez
Sauber F1 Team
Sauber-Ferrari
Ricciardo
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR-Ferrari
Vergne
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR-Ferrari
Maldonado
Williams F1
Williams-Renault
Bottas
Williams F1
Williams-Renault
Van De Garde
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
Pic
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
Razia
Marussia F1 Team
Marussia-Cosworth
Chilton
Marussia F1 Team
Marussia-Cosworth

Thursday, November 29, 2012

THOUGHTS ON 2012 AND THE LAST RACE

I can't believe sometimes that the season is over. Some days it feels very long with 20 races. Some days I'm surprised it is over, the last race was done and dusted just last week. What a season it has been with many different race winners, teams moving up and down the grid, accidents, dramas, unexpected news and the title battle being dragged to the final race.

2012 would be remembered as a watershed year for F1 as Sebastian Vettel won his 3rd drivers title in a row, not only going into the record books as the youngest 3 time world champion but also the only other driver besides Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio to have won 3 titles in a row, a hatrick.

The Red Bull RB8 is a strong car and fast. It was strong and fast since 2010, even better in 2011 as Vettel swept the title with ease then. But this year has been different. The RB8 started not as strong, that's why there were 7 different winners in the first part of the season.

But as the season progressed, Red Bull got on top of their issues and from Singapore onwards, they were dominant again. The car is also very strong, even with accidents during the race it would not break down or even lose pace. That is an incredible car to be winning in. I have noticed in several races where Vettel has been hit or has hit something on the track, the car refuses to break down or even slow down.

What is it with that car? Mark Webber breaks down or slows down, does that mean that Vettel is the better driver as he can drive a wounded car better? Of course he has had his share of break downs but I'm referring to damage to the car that would usually slow it down or even make it stop. Like in Brazil when he was hit by Senna and we could see his exhaust was exposed with the floor area broken or shredded. And still the car goes fast.

If I were to say it would be easy to win with a car like that, Vettel fans would get angry and say that the driver is good, that's why he can still drive it with that kind of performance. But what if it was the car? No matter how you try to break it, it is just fast. Consider that.

Jaime Alguersuari in his column on the BBC Sport website said:
When I saw Vettel get a bad start and slip down into the lower positions after the first corner, I thought the race was going to be very difficult for him, and then when he got hit by Bruno Senna's Williams I thought that was his race over.
He was very, very lucky that was not the case - and after that he did a great job.
Very, very lucky? What kind of luck did he have? A car that is fast and refuses to breakdown? What if he didn't have this car? Hmmm....

Alright, alright, settle down..it's only 3!
As for the last race, what can I say? It was good to have the title battle dragged to the last race as it should. Nobody wants to have a repeat of 2011 where Vettel won the title with 4 races or so to spare. And what better place to have it than Interlagos, which always guarantees mixed weather to spice things up.

As it went, the race was fantastic to watch. It was tense from the beginning and continued to be so until the second safety car on lap 70 killed the climax. It was great to watch both title protagonist battling it out for position as their race ending positions would determine who would be world champion.

Massa covered Alonso and Webber helped Vettel, although we knew that Webber would not help much as he did. He was not really in a position to help anyway, so that helps in clearing his conscience as he said he would just concentrate on his own race. it also looked like the Torro Rossos were also helping Vettel a bit as he manages to pass them without much trouble.

But the most intriguing and I'm sure the one incident that really makes Vettel fans happy and other fans hot under the collar was when Michael Schumacher helped Vettel by giving up his 6th place so that Vettel moved from 7th to 6th. Not that Vettel needed it as he was already safe to win the championship but Schumacher made sure of it by doing so.
Thanks for early Christmas present dad..

It was a parting gift to his successor which was very obvious as even before Vettel completed the move on Schumacher, the race commentators were already making the assumption. At that point of the race, it was clear who was going to be world champion. Alonso had no chance whatsoever. I question the skills of a top driver with a very fast and unbreakable car needing that kind of helping hand.

At the end, it was a great season. It was great not just because of all the scrapping for positions during the races but more importantly because Red Bull did not dominate like in 2011. Hopefully they do not dominate again in 2013, I don't think I can take another few years of the same driver and team winning all the time as Mario Theissen would like.

Now on to 2013 and 2014, these should be exciting years as the rules changes drastically in 2014 and the teams all have to prepare for that during 2013. Lewis Hamilton has moved to Mercedes, lets hope he can mould that car to his liking and charge up the 2014 season.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winner and Losers: Brazilian GP

This article is written by Andrew Davies and published on PlanetF1.com. It is re-produced here in its entirety. For the original article, click here.

Jenson Button proved that he is Der Mixed-ConditionsMeister at Interlagos while Felipe had another miserable Brazilian podium.



Star of the Race
Jenson Button, McLaren, 1st

Button showed just who is the better McLaren driver in mixed conditions on Sunday after he stalked Lewis Hamilton over the opening laps and then made the decisive move on Lap 8. He and Hulkenberg were 45 seconds clear of Hamilton and 64 seconds in front of Alonso when the Safety Car came out on Lap 23. Although the Force India driver managed to dispose of his team-mate, it's likely that as the rain came down again Button would have re-established his superiority.

Despite winning the last race, McLaren are the big losers of 2013. They had the fastest car - Hamilton scored the most poles of any driver (not even counting Barcelona) - yet they didn't get a driver in the top three and were third in the constructors' championship. They may have scored the highest number of wins since their formation in the 1960s, (after the USGP win) but the major success is still eluding them.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 36: Felipe Massa on Kamui Kobayashi

You could probably fill a grid with the number of drivers who have tried to make an overtaking move around the outside of Lake Descent and found themselves actually descending towards the lake and not continuing round the track. The fact that Felipe Massa managed it around the outside of Kobayashi - who needed a result - shows how bullish and on top of his game he was at Interlagos. Korea, USA and Brazil have shown him at his very best and also reinforced Stefano Domenicali's judgement in signing him for 2013. Had he been leaving the team after this race and this performance, then the Ferrari team might not have got out of the country. There will probably be some post-race recriminations aimed at Domenicali from the hard-to-please Luca Montezemolo, but as Stefano said before the race: "what more you can do?"

Sat on the Naughty Step
Bruno Senna, Williams, DNF

Bruno Senna was more contrite about his first lap accident in the BBC forum than he was during the race. Coming down the straight to Lake Descent he was behind Raikkonen, and Di Resta with Vettel two places in front. He made a move on Raikkonen, tried to get DiResta and thumped into Vettel. It wasn't an overtaking move it was a total misjudgement. As Bruno confessed afterwards: "When I saw it was Sebastian I thought - uhoh, that's a bad one."

On a day when it was difficult controlling the horsepower, four of the five members of the Carbon Fibre Club were out within the first four laps: Senna, Perez, Grosjean and Maldonado. Only Kobayashi managed to keep his car on the island, although he did manage to put in two commendable bumps in the race, including a farewell Kamui Kiss for Michael Schumacher.

Winners

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2nd

Alonso did virtually everything he could to conjure a result in the race but came up short. The position he ended up in was flattering. During the race he was never faster than the front-runners, and it was only in the final few laps when Button started to take it easy that he began to reduce the gap between himself and anybody seriously in front of him who wasn't his team-mate. Even then Felipe Massa was driving solely as Alonso's domestique and if he could have gone back to the team car and fetched some water half way through the race, he would have.

Alonso got away with running wide off track early on and if he'd come in for inters on Lap56, when Felipe inadvertently got in front of him again, then he might have been closer to Jenson, but he was never going to get close. As it was, Fernando - or Tenacious-F as he's known in the PF1 office - didn't see his greatest opportunity for the win. Button's car snapped away from him in the same standing water that threw Paul Di Resta at the barriers, but the Brit held it. That would have been one hell of an ending.

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 5th
Hulkenberg had a fantastic race but threw away a podium place by bouncing into Hamilton. Up until Lap 23 he was virtually guaranteed a magnum of champagne having braved it out with Button when all around were diving for inters and it had become a two-horse race. When told he had a drive-through penalty he claimed he didn't know what it was for. Yeah, right. He's got quite a few months to watch replays before we're back in Melbourne next year to see exactly where he went wrong.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 6th
An epic drive, in an epic race. This is why we love F1 so much. Before the lights went out Seb was the overwhelming favourite to be World Champ. By Turn 4 he was in last place with a pretty damaged car that had sustained a double impact and Alonso was heading for P3. Even when Seb is being hit by another car he is still thinking and instead of applying the brakes allowed his car to roll down the hill to put himself further away from the turn so that cars following could see him and go either side. "When you are heading down the M25 the wrong way, it's not a comfortable feeling," he admitted.

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 7th
Another farewell in Brazil, another puncture, but Michael managed to break the unenviable run of pointless Mercedes races. And he beat his team-mate, too.

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, 10th
"Leave me alone. I know where I'm going!" We're trying to imagine what Kimi said to his race engineer when he tried to get back onto the circuit. Raikkonen went off track on Lap 52 and headed for what he thought was an escape road, before having to turn round and go back the way he'd come.

"Where I went off you can get back on the track by going through the support race pitlane, but you have to go through a gate. I know this as I did the same thing in 2001 and the gate was open that year. Somebody closed it this time."

Anway he was just deliberately time-wasting. What Kimi was secretly hoping was that Lewis would win the race and come third in the drivers' title so that he wouldn't have to attend the FIA awards dinner in Paris and receive a trophy he didn't want. Nico Hulkenberg put an end to all that.

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 11th
It would be interesting to know what the atmosphere was like in the Marussia garage when Charles Pic (off to Caterham in 2013) got back in, having been overtaken by Vitaly Petrov for the place that gave Caterham 10th in the constructors' championship and several million dollars. Despite Vitaly taking the vitally important position, he may still find himself without a seat in 2013.

Podium Ceremony Interviews
It'll be an improvement for 2013 if all of the podium interviews can be done in Portuguese. As that nice boy Ben Edwards commented on Felipe's speech: "I can't understand it, but it was lovely."

Losers

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, DNF

Lewis would dearly have loved to have been on the podium for his McLaren swansong, but it wasn't meant to be. When he got clobbered by the Force India it would have been interesting to see how Lewis's car could have obeyed the laws of physics, stayed in front of Hulkenberg and got past the Caterham that was directly in front of him.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, 4th
Christian Horner must have been on auto-pilot/auto-quote after the race when he called Mark Webber a great team player. It's hard to know what help he was at the start when he moved across and blocked Vettel's line, forcing him to give up places to Alonso and Hulkenberg. That was the one thing he had to do, make sure Seb got a clean get away and he blocked him. It's not like he didn't know Vettel was going to be there.

Then on the re-start after the Safety Car he attacked his team-mate into Turn 1 and put him under the kind of pressure he really didn't need. As it was he ran wide and dropped from 7th to 11th. Had he kept it together then he would have ended the race on the podium, he was catching Massa by a second a lap towards the end.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, DNF
Both Lotus cars showed a tendency to head off track at the slightest inclination (or declination in this case) and Romain was off into the scenery on Lap 5 for quite a hefty 9g impact.

Conclusions From The Brazil GP

This article is written by Pete Gill and published on PlanetF1.com. It is re-produced here in its entirety. For the original article, click here.

No matter who won the Championship they were going to be worthy of it but for different reasons...

Alonso loses out to a worthy champion
Oh 2012, how we're going to miss you. Brazil's epic conclusion was a fitting finale for an epic season which had everything and which just kept on giving.

The victor was deserved, but that conclusion was guaranteed long before the curtain fell; only Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel could have been crowned champion at Interlagos and just because Ferrari's brilliant Spaniard warranted the title doesn't mean the German didn't deserve the crown for himself as well.

In very different ways, with polar-opposite styles of personality, and usually starting from different parts of the grid, the genius and the jester were united by their shared claim for the elite ranking of triple World Champion. The beautiful satisfaction of 2012 was that no matter how it ended, it had to end well.

Partly because of Alonso's undisputed brilliance and partly because of the nagging unease that Vettel has had it a little too easy so far in his career, it's been easy to overlook just how well Sebastian has driven this year.

He has made very few mistakes, run into form at a stage of the season when many of his peers have run out of steam, and triumphed in a car which, although usually far faster than Alonso's, was far from dominant. Nonetheless, he's won more races than any other driver this term, with five to Alonso's three, a statistic which ought to carry a degree of weight in the final reckoning. And in two of the last three races, he's come from the back of the field to finish in the points. Luck has played its own beneficial role, but a good champion makes his own luck.

Without question, Alonso has transcended his machinery, but he's also had the advantage of being partnered by a team-mate who only found pace and a degree of competitiveness in the final third of the campaign. Even then, Felipe Massa remained wholly subordinate to his superior, ceding grid position in America and then running as Alonso's rear-gunner in Brazil. By consistent contrast, Webber was far more of a match and a challenge to Vettel.

Moreover, the shortcomings of the F2012 have surely been exaggerated. Yes, Alonso's car was almost always a dog on Saturdays, but time after time it found its bite on race day and, with the honest-exception of a broken roll bar at Monza, never once did it betray its master. While two alternator failures cost Vettel over forty points, Alonso's Ferrari remained a bullet-proof model of reliability for eight successive months. That shouldn't be so readily overlooked when considering their respective claims to the title.

The pity is that there could only be one winner and that one man's just desserts was always going to end with a bitter pill for the other. Unlike at Abu Dhabi three years ago when a botched strategy cost him the title, Alonso at least has the satisfaction of knowing he could have done no more this year. Nor could have Lewis Hamilton, whose season was encapsulated by his luckless demise from the lead of Sunday's race. He, like Alonso, deserved better. That's just the way sport is sometimes. And that's not to say Vettel is an underserved champion.

The difficulty of seeing what you want to see
If there is nothing on this planet as myopic as man, there is surely nobody quite as accomplished at the art of seeing what they want to see as a sports fan. It's a guarantee already confirmed that while Vettel fans will consider his pass on Kamui Kobayashi to have been unequivocally legal, Alonso supporters will view the incident as taking place under yellow flags.

All that can be said with any degree of certainty is that the footage is ambiguous and the wonder is that it can ever be acceptable for a system of semaphore to be open to interpretation and ambiguity. Put bluntly: shouldn't the marshals try a few different colours rather than involve yellow twice? There's also surely a pertinent question to be asked about the need for a warning that the track is slippery after rain. If drivers need advice of that ilk they probably shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel of any type of motor vehicle, never mind a very fast one.

The disappointment, all the while, is that in the absence of transparency from the stewards' office so much official scrutiny is left open to another layer of interpretation. Where, for stark illustration, was the confirmation that they were aware of the lap-nine Kobayashi incident but deemed it legal? And, moving on, how to tally the stewards' near-instantaneous punishment of Hulkenberg with their apparent refusal to give Vettel's collision into the side of Bruno Senna's Williams on the first lap another look?

It was a clumsy piece of driving, very possibly borne of panic, and, given that a precedent was set in Spa for stewards to punish first-lap infringements, Vettel was almost as fortunate to escape official sanction as he was not to suffer race-ending damage. Had roles been reversed, Senna would surely have been punished in much the same way that Grosjean was suspended for "eliminating leading championship contenders" at the start in Belgium.

One rule for them, one for the also-rans? Maybe not, because, in another under-publicised ruling, the Interlagos stewards concluded that Grosjean's tangle during qualifying with Pedro de la Rosa was a racing incident. Taking a consistent line, Vettel's lunge for the Turn Four apex might have been interpreted along similar lines. It was clumsy, yes, but perhaps not so bad as to deserve a penalty.

Either way, a little clarity and the occasional explanation along the way would be a very welcome thing.

Connections run deep in F1
Nico Hulkenberg has a lot to answer for. From McLaren's perspective, he has almost £15m of lost prize money to account for after Hamilton's retirement, brought about by his leery slide into the crippled MP4-27, cost them second place in the Constructors' Championship above Ferrari. The Scuderia, conversely, will be thankful for the tenuous endorsement of their one-driver team philosophy.

For his part, Hamilton has accepted the loss of what could have been his final win in quite a while with good grace after Hulkenberg personally delivered an apology, but his CV will forever be tainted by the statistic that, over the course of their three years at team-mates, he was out-pointed by Jenson Button by a score of 672 to 657. The crash also meant he finished fourth rather that third in the Drivers' Championship behind Kimi Raikkonen, although that's something which matters rather less.

Yet the real significance of Hulkenberg's ill-judged manoeuvre was very arguably at the back of the grid, with the retirements of Hamilton and Paul di Resta, whose reputation has crumbled this season, propelling Vitaly Petrov into eleventh for Caterham. The consequences of that minor-sounding matter are in fact far reaching, with Marussia demoted a position in the Constructors' Championship and Caterham collecting an additional £10m of prize money at their expense.

In a head-spinning irony, that unexpected bonus might yet offer the F1 career of Heikki Kovalainen an unexpected lifeline, even though it was Kovalainen who Force India believed was primarily at fault for Hulkenberg's crash into the side of Hamilton.

It's a tangled affair is this F1 lark.

Hamilton and McLaren make family their first rival
It's a perversity entirely in keeping with the reasoning behind his decision to depart for the muddy grass of Mercedes and even the nature of his own mercurial talent that it's taken the prospect of leaving home for Lewis Hamilton to appreciate that there is no place like home.

As he prepares his final goodbyes, the bond tying him to McLaren seems stronger than ever. You won't be alone in suspecting that we probably haven't seen the last of him in McLaren colours just yet.

But as of January, Hamilton is a Mercedes man and it's another perversity that the more he endorses the team, and the more he becomes synonymous with their reputation, the more essential it becomes for them to beat him next season. 2013, it's over to you, because in this 'him' versus 'them' scenario there can only be one winner in 2013. The path of true love never run smooth.

Good just isn't good enough any more
So barring something remarkable - which, to all intents and purposes means Kamui Kobayashi jumping the long queue in front of him to grab the second seat at Force India - there won't be a Japanese driver on the 2013 grid.

It's a landscape which was unthinkable just a few years ago when Toyota and Honda were at the forefront of the sport while another Japanese team, Super Aguri, brought up the rear. Even the prospect Kobayashi losing his seat for 2013 was barely imagined at the start of this year. Yet time changes quickly in F1. Somehow, and very unfortunately, Japan has been left behind by F1 - an impression summed up by Kobayashi's expulsion from Sauber two months after scoring his maiden podium at Suzuka. Japan has lost its influence.

Kobayashi's foremost problem, of course, is that he is a paid driver rather than a pay. But it goes a little further than that because, as remarked previously, it doesn't make sense that while Perez has been promoted into the big league with McLaren, Kamui has been left behind altogether. 2012 ends with Perez out-scoring Kobayashi by 66 points to 60 and out-qualifying him by eleven to nine. Bottom line: there is nothing in those stats to account for why their careers are heading in such polar opposite directions.

The only explanation of sorts is that imprecise impression that Perez is considered to have the potential to be a champion and Kobayashi isn't. There is a vast no-man's growing in the midfield of F1 in which a surplus of good-but-not-great drivers means that the size - and direction - of the remuneration has become the only way to compile a pecking order.

Pay drivers are bad news for F1, but if the result is that being good isn't good enough any more, it's not all bad news.

BRAZIL 2012 REVIEW

This review of the final race at Interlagos in 2012 was done by Gary Anderson and posted originally here. Gary Anderson, BBC F1's technical analyst, is the former technical director of the Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar teams.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso did not lose the world championship to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in Brazil on Sunday - it was gone long before that. Thirteen points is a lot to make up in one race. Alonso almost managed it - he ended the season just three points behind - but in the end it was too much to do.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was a lottery; races run in changeable conditions always are. It could have gone many different ways. Winner Jenson Button did two stops, Alonso did three, and Vettel did four. That sort of thing can change the outcome of the race dramatically.

Everything went wrong for Vettel - although he was lucky he did not have to retire as a result of his first-lap collision with Williams's Bruno Senna - and Alonso could very easily have walked away with the championship. Ferrari might look back and wonder whether they might have won the race - and the championship - had they played it differently.

Alonso - like Vettel and Lewis Hamilton - came in to the pits to fit intermediate tyres when it started to rain after about 10 laps. But Button and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg did not. A few laps later, Alonso and the others needed to come back in for dry tyres. That lost Alonso 40 seconds to the leaders in a race he really needed to win, even if that deficit was wiped out by the safety car later.

He would have had to have beaten a faster car in the McLaren and in Button a driver who excels in such conditions. But 40 seconds is a large amount of time to throw away.

Alonso and Ferrari

There are two championships in Formula 1 - the constructors' and the drivers'.

With Red Bull's two drivers, and their total commitment to development of the car, they certainly deserve to win constructors. But there is a sense that Vettel won the drivers' championship because the Red Bull was a better car than the Ferrari and was better developed.

That's OK, because that's what happens, but if Alonso had won the championship it would have been a true drivers' championship because it would have been in a car that wasn't worthy of it. The Ferrari was really not very good at the start of the year but, in all the confusion the teams were having over how best to use the new Pirelli tyre, Alonso was able to pull some results out of it. He was very good at picking up the characteristics of the tyre. He just knew what to do with it.

The Pirellis don't like it when a driver tries to brake and turn in at the same time. Alonso picked that up in no time and adapted himself to it. So he was able to pull out some really good results even though the car wasn't competitive.

Through Spain, Monaco and Canada, the Ferrari had a bit of an update that made it reasonable. That was really the package with which they should have started the season. From there on, it was down to Ferrari to find the solutions to the car's problems.

It's strange that while Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa was struggling with the car at the start of the year, he was able to drive it well at the end. Massa's biggest problem is probably that he over-drives the car - so he ends up making a lot of mistakes.

But Ferrari's development direction through the season gave them a car Massa could drive and at that point Alonso fell back a bit, in terms of being able to use his talent to drag something out of the car. That suggests that initially they had a car with very peaky downforce but that if you had a driver who could feel it - ie Alonso - it was quicker relative to the opposition. It seems Ferrari made the car more driveable but lost out-and-out performance.

They need to worry about having made Massa into as good a driver as Alonso. I believe Alonso is better, so it's strange that is the case. They need to regroup for next year and understand what happened, because for the last third of the season you'd have to say they probably threw away the championship by not developing the car enough when Red Bull were coming on strong.

Alonso got them into a position they should never have been in. They got to a point where he was bringing in decent points and had a 40-point lead in the championship and I think they stood back a bit. They have been fiddling about with the rear wing since the Singapore Grand Prix, trying to fix an aerodynamic problem at the rear of the car.

The wing they ran in Brazil has been around for five races on and off and last weekend was the first time they'd actually raced it. If it was good to race it in Brazil, it was good to race five races ago. It looks like they don't understand how to fix the problem they have, and are just poking around a bit.

Alonso did have some bad luck in crashing out in Japan and Belgium when it was not his fault. But Vettel had two alternator failures in races. OK, they are things the team have influence over but he still lost as many races as Alonso.

Equally, Red Bull allow their drivers to race early in the season, whereas Ferrari have a defined number one. If you take Red Bull and give Vettel their big points from every race, Vettel thrashes Alonso comprehensively.

But Ferrari shouldn't go away from Brazil unhappy. They definitely have some good stuff on that car somewhere, even though there is a lot of stuff that's not good.

Vettel has won his three championships in three different scenarios.

In 2010 he won from behind, keeping his head down and delivering the results after losing points to reliability problems and errors early in the season.

In 2011 he won it from the front, which is a different set of pressures.

In 2012 it was a bit of both - he had to catch up, did and then took the pressure on the way.

I win again! Again! Again!
Red Bull started 2012 poorly by their standards. Their toys were taken away, in the form of the exhaust-blown diffuser around which the aerodynamic philosophy of their car was developed. As a result of that, the car lacked out-and-out performance on new tyres in qualifying which affected their philosophy of how they run the car, which is to stick it on pole and control the race from the front.

At the start of the season, they didn't have a car to exploit that approach. But they turned it around and that's what it's about. You're going into a new season and if you haven't shown you can turn it around, how can you have confidence in what you're doing?

Vettel turned around his season compared to Webber, who was a bit stronger in the first half of the season. Red Bull developed the car to suit Vettel, as they're always going to do. They are Vettel fans. He drives the Red Bull concept - he turns in on the brakes, which gives understeer, then when he gets the brakes off, the front grips, the car rotates around the nose and he nails the throttle because he's got confidence that the rear aerodynamics will make the back grip.

Alonso could drive like this, too. But the Ferrari doesn't have the rear downforce to allow it.

Following the big developments at the rear that Red Bull made from Singapore onwards, that's what happened with the car again, even if not to the same extent as in 2011. That's what design chief Adrian Newey told Vettel would happen if he drove that way - and Vettel believed him and did it. But Webber does not have the confidence to drive that way - it's counter-intuitive.

McLaren

McLaren ended the season as they started it - locking out the front row and Jenson Button winning the race. Overall they had the quickest car and so should have a lot of confidence for next year. I would imagine they'll raise the underside of the chassis so it is as high as on other cars - there is still a tenth of a second or two in that for them.

McLaren have lost their strongest asset in Hamilton but Button proved in 2009 that if you give him a car he likes he's a rocket ship and now they only have one driver to listen to. For the last three years they had two - but Button and Hamilton drive their cars differently, and you have to believe in one driver to follow a development direction. So in some ways Hamilton leaving might help.

F1 should be a contest between Red Bull and McLaren next year - if Ferrari can do anything to get on to the back of them they haven't shown it.

Expect it to be a fantastic battle.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

2013 DRIVER LINE UP UPDATED 2





Williams has confirmed Valterri Bottas as their new driver for 2013 replacing Bruno Senna and partnering Pastor Maldonado today. That leaves Senna without a seat for hext year. So below is the latest update of the driver line up for 2013, there are still seats available. We will post updates as soon as they become available.

Below list has been updated as of today (Bold = Officially confirmed)

Driver
Entrant
Constructor
Vettel
Red Bull Racing
RBR-Renault
Webber
Red Bull Racing
RBR-Renault
Button
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Perez
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Alonso
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Massa
Scuderia Ferrari
Ferrari
Hamilton
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes
Rosberg
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes
Raikkonen
Lotus F1 Team
Lotus-Renault
Grosjean
Lotus F1 Team
Lotus-Renault
Di Resta
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
Sutil
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
Hulkenberg
Sauber F1 Team
Sauber-Ferrari
Gutierrez
Sauber F1 Team
Sauber-Ferrari
Ricciardo
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR-Ferrari
Vergne
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR-Ferrari
Maldonado
Williams F1
Williams-Renault
Bottas
Williams F1
Williams-Renault
Kovalainen
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
Pic
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
De la Rosa
HRT F1 Team
HRT-Cosworth

HRT F1 Team
HRT-Cosworth
Glock
Marussia F1 Team
Marussia-Cosworth
Chilton
Marussia F1 Team
Marussia-Cosworth

Friday, November 23, 2012

May The Best Man Win

This is an article written by ex-F1 racer Christian Klien who now guest writes on www.pitpass.com. It is reproduced here in its entirety. The original article can be found here.

Christian Klien (born 7 February 1983) is an Austrian former Formula One racing driver. In total he has scored 14 points in 49 Formula One starts. Klien currently drives for Aston Martin Racing in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

With just one race to go the championship could not have been set up any better. It's been a long season with a lot of back-to-back races, a lot of them fly-aways outside of Europe, which is tough on everyone involved in the sport, especially the mechanics.

Last weekend Formula One returned to the United States for the first time in five years. The US is an important market for Formula One, and I must say I was impressed with what I saw of the Circuit of the Americas. It reminded me a lot of Istanbul; very modern but with a lot of challenging corners and undulation. It looked a real driver's circuit and one I hope I have the good fortune to race on in the future.

Because it was so new there wasn't a lot of grip, but I wonder if perhaps Hermann Tilke chose a surface that was deliberately slippery. I know Hermann well, and know he likes to use the same mixture for the tarmac for all his circuits but using local stones, which creates different grip levels.

Perhaps the American stones are smoother and give less grip, which isn't necessarily a bad thing - many of the best Formula One races are in wet and slippery conditions, and the US Grand Prix was one of the best races I've seen all year.

Of course one of the big talking points over the weekend was Ferrari choosing to penalise Felipe Massa to help Fernando Alonso. With Alonso fighting for the championship and Massa having lost a lot of points earlier in the season it was something the team really had to do, especially since Ferrari didn't have the pace of Red Bull. I think it was a clever move and in the end it paid off. Alonso got a fantastic start and was perhaps a little lucky to be on the podium, but it kept the championship alive, and that was the important thing for him and the team.

It was also good to see Lewis Hamilton win at last. He retired from the lead in both Singapore and Abu Dhabi with mechanical problems so it was good that he finally got the win. If Hamilton hadn't had those reliability problems it probably would have helped Alonso in the championship because Vettel wouldn't have scored quite as many points, reducing the advantage he was able to build with that phenomenal run of wins.

But Alonso is driving brilliantly, better than I ever remember seeing him drive. He's got such a cool head in the car and can absorb so much pressure, and I think that could be important in Brazil this weekend. The Ferrari hasn't been the fastest car all year but Alonso's been pushing the team, like Michael Schumacher used to, and that's been important.

It's something I don't think Vettel is able to do. Vettel is an amazing qualifier and usually if he gets pole he will go on to win, but I think he gets more flustered in the car than Alonso. I also don't think he's as good in traffic, which could be important this weekend.

I think the Red Bull has been the best car for a lot of the season, along with the McLaren, so on balance you have to say that Alonso has got more out of his package than Vettel. I dread to think what Fernando could do in a Red Bull; nobody would see him!

Even so Vettel has to start as favourite for the championship this weekend. The Interlagos circuit is fast and bumpy, so a car that can ride the bumps but is still stiff enough to corner well is important, and I think that suits the Red Bull more than the Ferrari.

There are a lot of long high speed sections out of corners, like up the hill on to the start/finish straight, so traction and corner exits are critical for a fast lap. There's a lot of time to be made or lost in the infield section too, where it's important to ride the kerbs to get the best lap time.

People talk about the fact it's an anti-clockwise circuit and how that is physically tough on drivers, but it's more the sheer number of left hand corners that's taxing. If the circuit had more right hand corners than left it would still hurt the driver's neck, so I don't think that causes too much of an issue. Plus all the drivers are incredibly fit, so they will be up for the challenge.

The weather suggests rain, which will make it interesting. I think this is Alonso's only hope because if it's a dry race I don't think he can stay with Vettel. But, if it's wet, Alonso's such a calm, experienced driver, and Ferrari has been good with strategy for much of the year, that I think he could just pip Vettel to the post. Whatever happens it's been a fantastic year and whoever does win the championship will have earned it.

Christian Klien

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

BRAZILIAN GP AT INTERLAGOS 2012

The week is finally winding down towards Friday where first practice will take place at the final grand prix of this very long season. It is the 20th race of the year and it will decide the winner of the world championship battle this year between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

The Brazilian GP takes place at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace or better known to F1 fans as the Interlagos circuit. The track is located in the city of São Paulo, renamed after Carlos Pace, a Brazilian Formula One driver who had died in a 1977 plane crash. The circuit is one of a minority of non-oval racing circuits to go in an anti-clockwise direction (Austin, Imola, Istanbul Park, Yas Marina Circuit, Laguna Seca, Singapore, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Korea International Circuit, Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, and Miller Motorsports Park being notable others).

The circuit is known for its many inclines and formerly bumpy surface, which could take its toll on F1 cars because they have a very low ride height and little suspension travel. The track is therefore very tough on the car and also physically tough on the drivers, especially since the circuit is anti-clockwise, where the centrifugal forces in the many hard left turns push the drivers' necks to the right, instead of left as in the majority of circuits on the F1 calendar. (This is frequently a topic of broadcast commentary at this circuit as well as at Istanbul Park.)


Interlagos has one of the longest pit-lanes ever used in Formula One, starting just before the start-finish straight and rejoining the main course after Curva do Sol. Funny enough, it is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar with a lap time of below 1.15.xxx. Sebastian Vettel qualified here in 2011 with a time of 1.11.918.

Track Details
Location : Sao Paolo, Brazil
Capacity : 119,000
Length : 4.309 km
Turns : 15
Race distance : 71 laps (305.909 km)
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce
Average speed : 210km/h
Top speed : 323km/h (with DRS open) 311km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap time (ave/high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 144 kilos (ave/low)
Fuel consumption : 2.10 kg per lap (low)
Brake wear : light
Number of braking events : 6
Time spent braking : 16% of the lap
Loss time for a Pit stop : 15.5 seconds
Total time needed for a pit stop : 20 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.27 seconds (ave)

As for the DRS zone this race, The FIA has confirmed that there will be one DRS zone at Interlagos this weekend for the 2012 world championship finale. As in 2011, the activation zone is on the back straight leading from Curva do Sol (Turn 3) to Descida do Lago (Turn 4), with the detection zone at the apex of Turn 2.

Changes to the circuit ahead of thisd year's race include the installation of new debris fences on both sides of the track between turns 3 and 4, while a kerb has been installed on the apex of turn 15. Tube inserts have also been placed in the tyre barrier at the end of the wall at the pit entry.

This race is also famous for its fanatical fans who turn up in the thousands and who literally fill the place to the brim. The roar of fans can drown out the sound of an F1 car at full throttle sometimes. Even the drivers can hear them while driving!