Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bahrain reassures teams and fans of safe Grand Prix

The Chief Executive of the Bahrain International Circuit has reassured F1 teams and fans that all measures will be taken to ensure that the race, which will take place on 22nd April 2012, Will be a safe one.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sheik Salman bin Isa Al-Khalifa said that Bahrain was now a safe country. He said Bahrain was ready to hold the race, as it has done since 2004, except for last year.

Last year, The race was postponed and eventually cancelled after protest’s across the country turned violent and the country was unstable. On top of this, most medical personal that would be needed at the track travelled to the protests to help the injured civilians and many were arrested.

“The country has moved on and we are on the path of reconciliation,” Sheik Salman said in a phone interview to “The Times of India”. A “global event with so much exposure” will benefit Bahrain economically and politically.

“There will be so much good with Formula One back in Bahrain. I am confident that all measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the teams and fans.” He added no additional security measures will be in place for the race on April 22 despite the ongoing political strife in Bahrain.

“To be honest, every year the standard of security is high, not just in the Formula One race, but for any sporting event like this,” Salman said. “Our country has always handled well events of this nature.”

Human rights groups have criticized the decision of the world racing body to reinstate the Bahrain race this year. Bahrain’s Shiite majority is demanding more rights and opportunities, equal to the Sunni minority that rules Bahrain.

In February, an opposition group that has been the driving force of the yearlong uprising wrote to F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone demanding that the race be canceled.

The letter by the Coalition Youth of the 14 Feb Revolution said “organizing an F1 race in Bahrain at a time when children are being killed in the streets at the hands of the regime mercenaries will haunt the F1 reputation forever and will imprint it with the image of death and human rights violations.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix will take place on April 20-22 2012.

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Alonso wins in Malaysia

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso won the 2012 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix. The Spaniard started the race in 9th place, but terrible weather conditions played havoc with the grid and Alonso drove spectacularly to secure his 7th Ferrari win.

Before the race began there was much doubt about how it would begin. Rain was creeping over the circuit and there was a strong belief that the race would begin behind a safety car. However, Race Director Charlie Whiting decided that the race would be started under normal conditions.

Hamilton had a good start from pole and Button followed him closely, Nearly colliding in the 1st corner. Behind them, Schumacher started uncharacteristically slowly and fought off Webber, Vettel and fast starting Grosjean. Webber pulled a spectacular pass on Schumacher coming out of turn 2 whilst Grosjean, Much to my frustration, Drove straight into the back of Schumacher. Both cars spun  around followed by Bruno Senna’s Williams in an un-related incident. Pedro De La Rosa who stalled his Hispania on the parade lap left the pits to follow the pack. Up ahead, Hamilton still lead from Button while Webber lead team-mate Vettel. Grosjean again spun the car and beached himself in the gravel.

On Lap 7, Yellow flags and a safety car were deployed as the rain thickened and thunder and lightening took out the power at the track. On Lap 9, The race was red flagged.

40 minutes later, The race re-started under the safety car. The big surprises were Sauber’s Sergio Perez in 3rd, Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in 7th and the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan in 10th. The Safety Car went in after 5 laps and Webber was immediately swamped by Vettel and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen who both overtook him. The HRT of Karthikeyan lacked the pace needed to defend against the cars around him and slowly began to fall backwards.

The pit stop phase began and the big looser from this was Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso scored big, overtaking several cars, including Lewis Hamilton and he got to the lead, followed by Hamilton, Button, Perez, Rosberg, Vettel, Raikkonen and Webber.

Vettel, Raikkonen and Webber launched an attack on the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and one by one got passed him. Button tangled with the HRT of Karthikeyan and damaged his front wing, Resulting in a double front puncture. He crawled back to the pits and came out 23rd, Last. Button who usually thrives in these conditions, Remember Canada 2011, Failed to make the tyre’s work and failed to make much of a charge on the field, as people were expecting of him. Hamilton also got unlucky with a botched pit stop which saw Sergio Perez leap frog him and into 2nd. Incredibly, Alonso lead the race while Sergio Perez followed him in 2nd.

A very on-form Perez began to pull away from Hamilton AND catch Fernando Alonso at a whopping 1.5 second per lap! With 15 laps to go, Much of the world were egging him on and expecting him to catch and pass Alonso but with 7 laps to go, Perez lost it on Turn 13. Alonso pulled up a gap of 5.5 seconds before the end of the lap and Perez couldn’t catch him fast enough.

Vettel became the next driver to tangle with Narain Karthikeyan and suffered a right rear puncture while running in 4th. Team mate Webber took him as he went into the pits, and so did half the grid! Vettel came out in 13th, Finishing in a lowly 11th.

Pastor Maldonado had very bad luck again on the penultimate lap of the race for the second race in a row. The engine in his Williams blew, promoting Schumacher to 10th, giving Mercedes their first point of 2012.

Meanwhile, On the last lap, Guillaume Rocquelin came on the radio to tell Sebastian Vettel that he must drive into the pits to retire the car. Just seconds later, another radio message was sent out, telling him to stay OUT and not to come in the pits. Again, Just seconds later, “Rocky” came back on the radio and told Vettel that he MUST stop the car immediately and get out of it, due to a possible KERS issue. However, Vettel made it to the line and finished the race.

Fernando Alonso crossed the line first, followed immediately by Sergio Perez, Perez’s first ever podium and Sauber’s best ever race result. Hamilton crossed the line in third position to round of the podium. It is the 1st time in 18 races that someone either than Webber, Vettel, Button, Hamilton or Alonso were on the podium!

Final Standings:

1. Fernando Alonso
2. Sergio Perez
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Mark Webber
5. Kimi Raikkonen
6. Bruno Senna
7. Paul Di Resta
8. Jean-Eric Vergne
9. Nico Hulkenberg
10. Michael Schumacher
11. Sebastian Vettel
12. Daniel Ricciardo
13. Nico Rosberg
14. JensonButton
15. Felipe Massa
16. Vitaly Petrov
17. Timo Glock
18. Heikki Kovalainen
19. Charles Pic
20. Narain Karthikeyan
21. Pedro De La Rosa

Retired:
22. Pastor Maldonado – Engine
23. Kamui Kobayashi – Brake Failure
24. Romain Grosjean – Spun Off

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Timo Glock

As per usual, On a F1 driver’s birthday we have a look at their career. So on Timo Glock’s 30th birthday we look back at his career.

Timo Glock was born in Lindenfields, West Germany on March 18th 1982. He began his career relatively late, at the age of 15. Hw won several World Championships and the BMW ADAC Formula Junior cup  in 2000 and the Formula BMW ADAC Championship in 2001. He finished third in his first season in German Formula Three Championship season in 2002 and secured rookie of the year. In 2003, He raced in the Formula Three Euroseries, winning three races and scoring three podiums. He finished fifth in the Championship.

Jordan Racing signed Glock as a reserve driver and he made his Formula One debut in the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix when he replaced Giorgio Pantano. He finished 11th but moved up to 7th after the Williams and Toyota cars were disqualified. This gave Glock two points on his debut. He took over from Pantano again for the last three races of the 2004.

In 2005, Glock moved to America to race with Rocketsports in the Champ Car World Series. His best result for the season was 2nd place at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit. He finished eighth in the championship and was declared Rookie Of The Year.

In 2006, Glock returned to Europe to race in GP2. He signed with BCN Competicion team, a mid-field team. However, Midway through the season, He moved to iSport, A front runner. He had a good run in the second part of the season and finished fourth in the championship . He tested for BMW Sauber and he was signed as their second driver for 2007.

Glock was re-signed with iSport for 2007 and won one feature race and four sprint races. Polish Robert Kubica who drove for BMW Sauber was seriously injured in a crash at Canada in 2007 and it was thought that Glock would replace him. However, Sebastian Vettel was chosen instead. Toro Rosso later scooped Vettel up and Glock was promoted to main reserve driver for BMW Sauber.

Glock won the GP2 series and Toyota signed him on a three year basis, to replace Ralf Schumacher. At the Canadian Grand Prix, Glock finished fourth and scored his first points of the season. He achieved a career best 5th place in Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and converted it to 2nd place. He finished fourth in the Singapore Grand Prix. In Brazil, The final race of the season, Glock was seventh approaching the end of the race. Rain began to fall and as other drivers opted to change to wet tyre’s, He stayed out. On the final corner of the race, because he had no grip, Lewis Hamilton drove straight passed him, allowing Hamilton to secure the championship by one point over Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Glock finished the championship in 10th place with 25 points.

In 2009, Glock remained with Toyota. In the first race in Australia, His time from Qualifying was removed after his wing was found to be illegal. He started the race in 19th and finished in an amazing 5th place. However, Lewis Hamilton was disqualified after the race and Glock was promoted to 4th place. Glock scored a 3rd, 7th and 7th over the next three races. In Singapore, Glock finished 2nd in Singapore. During Qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, He crashed heavily coming onto the pit straight. He was airlifted to hospital and was ruled out for the rest of the season. At the end of 2009, Toyota withdrew from F1 and Glock had an uncertain future ahead of him.

On 17th November 2009, Manor Grand Prix announced that they had signed Glock. Manor later became Virgin Racing. Lucas Di Grassi partnered him for the 2010 season and neither driver scored a point. His best finish was 14th at the Japanese Grand Prix.

In 2011,Glock stayed with the team and partnered rookie Jerome d’Ambrosio. Again, Neither driver scored a point and Glock’s best finish was 15th place, In Turkey and Belgium.

For 2012, Glock will stay with the team, now named Marussia. He will partner French rookie Charles Pic.

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Australian Grand Prix race report

McLaren’s Jenson Button has secured victory at the season opening race at Melbourne. The 2009 World Champion started 2nd but had a great start to leap frog team mate Lewis Hamilton into the first corner. Michael Schumacher jumped from 4th to 3rd as Lotus’ Romain Grosjean had a bad start and was swamped off the line. Mark Webber continued his bad run of starts which blighted him last year, dropping him to ninth while his team mate, defending world champion Sebastian Vettel made it up to 4th.

Rookie Jean-Eric Vergne highlighted his inexperience in F1 by smashing sideways into slow starting Mark Webber at the first corner. Webber was then pushed into Force India’s Nico Hulkenburg and this caused a chain reaction leading to Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo making contact with the Williams of Bruno Senna.

Jenson Button soon built a gap over team mate Lewis Hamilton in 2nd place as Nico Hulkenburg retired with a damaged car and Romain Grosjean made contact with Pastor Maldonado on lap 2, breaking Grosjean’s front right axle and sending him into the gravel.

Sebastian Vettel hunted down the third placed Mercedes of Michael Schumacher until Schumacher went wide on turn one with gearbox problems. The 7-time world champion cruised around the lap before pulling up in the pit lane to retire from the race.

Returning World Champion Kimi Raikkonen clawed his way up from 17th place, making it up to third place during the pit stop phase but finishing in seventh. Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber had a scrap for position which Webber finally came out on top of.

On Lap 37, The Caterham of Vitaly Petrov pulled off on the pit straight. A safety car was deployed to clear the car while the pack was held up by a recovery truck coming out to move the stricken car. Petrov’s team mate, Heikki Kovalainen was handed a five place grid penalty for Malaysia for overtaking two cars under the safety car, as he entered the pits and the pack continued on. Kovalainen then retired for suspension problems.

On the restart, Button led from Vettel from Hamilton from Webber from Alonso from Kobayashi. Button wasn’t long building up a gap from Vettel while Vettel, Hamilton and Webber pulled away from Alonso.

Perez collided lightly with the back of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa who suffered a puncture. Bruno Senna tried to overtake the fellow brazillian but Massa could not turn the corner due to the puncture and went into the side of Senna. The two became locked together and drove from turn four to turn six joined together before Senna went off at the Gravel. Felipe Massa pulled into his garage to retire from the race while Bruno Senna pitted for new tyres.

Pastor Maldonado proved that Williams have improved leaps and bounds from last year while attacking Fernando Alonso for 5th place. However on the penultimate lap, The Venezuelan got onto the grass at Turn 6 and flew into the wall in a very hard collision. He retired instantly.

The race finished with Perez eighth, Ricciardo ninth and Paul Di Resta having a fabulous lap to make it into the points in 10th position.

Nico Rosberg was unfortunate on the last lap as he makes contact with Perez and has to endure a lap at a much slower speed, dropping him to 12th place.

Final Standings:

1. Jenson Button
2. Sebastian Vettel
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Mark Webber
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Kamui Kobayashi
7. Kimi Raikkonen
8. Sergio Perez
9. Daniel Ricciardo
10. Paul Di Resta
11. Jean-Eric Vergne
12. Nico Rosberg
13. Timo Glock
14. Bruno Senna
15. Charles Pic

Retired:
Nico Hulkenburg – Collision
Romain Grosjean – Collision
Michael Schumacher – Gearbox Failure
Vitaly Petrov – Steering Wheel issue
Heikki Kovalainen – Suspension Failure
Felipe Massa – Collision
Pastor Maldonado – Collision

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Raikkonen unexcited by F1 return

In the run up to the Australian Grand Prix, 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen has said that he is not really excited about his return and admitting that he rarely bothered to watch F1 during his absence.

The finn is making his comeback in F1 after a three year leave in which he tried his hand at Rallying, unsuccessfully. However, He is making his comeback into a team that is at the least a long shot, heading into this weekends Australian Grand Prix.

However, Last year, The Renault (Now Lotus) achieved a spectacular 3rd place, granting Vitaly Petrov a well deserved first ever podium. Will they start off well this year aswell?

“I am a little bit older, that’s all, but its the same really,” Raikkonen said. “It really hasn’t changed a lot, the car feels very similar. I was expecting to have more difficulties with it, but its pretty good.”

The 2007 world champion said he did not tune in to F1 much in his time away.

“I didn’t watch much the past few years, same people, similar stuff going on,” Raikkonen said “I had other things to do than watch the races. It doesn’t mean I don’t like the sport – if I didn’t like the sport I would not be here.”

Lotus have impressed in testing, topping the timesheets more than any other team but will it lead to early success in the championship? Raikkonen hasn’t a clue!

“I have no idea where we’re going to be,” He said. “Are we going to be in the front? I don’t know. I hope so.”

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F1 Humour Press Release

Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog is happy to announce a new partnership with Formula 1 Humour.

From today onwards, Formula 1 Humour has allowance to use all of the posts on this blog for the “Serious Corner” They are now running which will host news and features compared to its usually humorous posts.

We at Formula 1 Humour are glad to be partnering up with Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog to provide a more diverse service to our readers” Said Formula 1 Humour Creator Andrei Sevastian.

For the Formula 1 Humour website, go to http://formula1-humour.blogspot.com/

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Spain to alter races from 2013

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that the organisers of the European Grand Prix (At Valencia) and the Spanish Grand Prix (At Catalunya) have agreed to alternate the races from 2013 onwards. Both races, Held in Spain, are heavily hit by the economic downturn, much like the country that they are in.

Catalunya who currently holds the Spanish Grand Prix in May, aswell as two of the three pre-season tests, will then only be on track for race conditions every two years. Valencia, which has been on the race calendar since 2008, is often criticised for not producing an exciting race in a track where it is too hard to overtake. This track will also play host to the Spanish Grand Prix every two years.

This leaves the question open, What will happen to the European Grand Prix? With more and more race taking place in Asia and America, will the race be demolished and given to a “Flyaway” destination? Or perhaps the French-Belgian situation, in which Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps) and France (Paul-Ricard circuit) will alternate tracks every year, could be solved by giving the French Grand Prix the title of European Grand Prix and keeping the popular and legendary circuit at Spa-Francorchamps on the calendar.

The Spanish Grand Prix takes place on 11-13 May 2012.

The European Grand Prix will be held on 22-24 June 2012.

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