Category Archives: Other

Super Seb Victorious In Malaysia

Sebastian Vettel stormed to victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix this afternoon, combining the Scuderia’s strong pace with a peculiar Mercedes strategy to take his fourth victory in Sepang.

The start of Vettel’s victory came with Marcus Ericsson botching an overtake on Romain Grosjean and spinning into the gravel at turn 1. His beached car brought out the Safety Car for several laps, and importantly saw the Mercedes duo dive for the pit lane, but second-placed Vettel staying out.

Several laps later, when the Safety Car came back into the pit lane, Vettel raced away in the front but Hamilton and Rosberg were stuck in traffic. Vettel had Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Sainz and Perez to act as a buffer zone in front of Hamilton, with Rosberg another few cars behind again.

The reigning World Champion struggled more than expected to get past the misplaced midfield, and when he did finally get into free air, Hamilton surprisingly could not close the gap to the leading Ferrari. The gap lingered at the ten second mark until Vettel finally pitted.

Judging by Mercedes’ form last year and so far this year, it could be expected that the race was over with Vettel emerging from the pits in third place. On the contrary, the German sped up to his compatriot Nico Rosberg and took second before beginning his bloodthirsty chase of Hamilton who had a twelve second lead on him.

Within no time though, Vettel was within two seconds of Hamilton as the latter frantically reported that his tyres were degrading rapidly. The Ferrari was drawing even with the Mercedes later on the same lap and Hamilton ducked into the pit lane to adopt a new set of boots.

Vettel stayed out in front until his second stop, by which Hamilton had closed the gap to fifteen seconds. Crucially, Vettel emerged from his final stop ahead of Rosberg while Lewis reported that his tyres felt very bad and soon pitted again.

Emerging from the pits, Hamilton complained that his tyres were the hard compound as opposed to the faster medium tyres, but was told that he had the only fresh tyres available to him. His team-mate also pitted and slotted back into the race in third.

With the top three drivers having completed their final stops for the race, the Grand Prix turned into a procession to the flag, with Vettel unchallenged on his way to the 56th lap where he took the chequered flag. Crossing the line, he secured his 40th victory in Formula One – putting him one behind Ayrton Senna’s tally of wins.

In contrast to his team-mate’s straight-forward day, Raikkonen fought an uphill battle on his way to fourth. The Finn took a stab from Felipe Nasr’s front wing on the first lap and had to endure a full lap with a flailing Pirelli carcass. The rest of his afternoon was spent clawing back from the very back of the grid.

Pastor Maldonado also suffered a puncture this weekend, an innocent victim for the second weekend in a row. He was nudged by the returning Valtteri Bottas and also dropped down the classification. The Venezuelan’s afternoon ended prematurely when he was beckoned into the pit lane to retire the car.

In the other Lotus, Romain Grosjean finished just outside the points, as he crossed the line eleventh. The Frenchman was hit by Force India’s Sergio Perez as he attempted an overtake, but made a fantastic save in an out-of-control spin, which prevented him from ending in a similar fate to that of Ericsson in the earlier part of the race.

Perez was awarded a ten-second penalty for causing the incident, and his team-mate took the same penalty for a similar infringement: he kicked Daniil Kvyat’s Red Bull into a spin at the second turn, losing the Russian time and a place to Daniel Ricciardo. The latter suffered throughout with a plume of brake dust shooting from the car at every corner, but survived the race to finish tenth.

Both Red Bull men were behind their sister team. The young and impressive Max Verstappen finished ahead of Carlos Sainz when an out braking incident turned into an impromptu overtake, while Kvyat finished ninth ahead of Ricciardo.

The Williams team-mates were a lap down by the end of the race, which seems to be a step down from their 2014 showing. The Grove-based drivers battled tooth-and-nail over the final stages of the race and it was Bottas who emerged on top, finishing fourth ahead of Massa in fifth.

Roberto Merhi was the sole Manor car driving today after an issue was discovered on Will Steven’s car shortly before the race. Despite losing one car, the team were fairly upbeat as they celebrated getting their car to the end of the race: an impressive feat for a team which didn’t exist two months ago.

Ferrari’s Team Principal Mario Arrivabene said pre-season that the team’s goal for the year was to win two races. With half of the objective met after just two races, it seems hard to imagine them not achieving it. But can Vettel and Ferrari challenge Hamilton for the title?

Full Race Results:

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Nico Rosberg
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Max Verstappen
  8. Carlos Sainz
  9. Daniil Kvyat
  10. Daniel Ricciardo
  11. Romain Grosjean
  12. Felipe Nasr
  13. Sergio Perez
  14. Nico Hulkenberg
  15. Roberto Merhi
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Jenson Button
  • Fernando Alonso
  • Marcus Ericsson

Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari

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Hamilton Drives To Controlled Australian Victory

Lewis Hamilton began his title defence by claiming his second victory at Albert Park, keeping team-mate Nico Rosberg at arms length from the beginning.

The reigning Champion faced intermittent challenges from Rosberg slipping within a second or two of the sister Mercedes car, but realistically held complete control over the Grand Prix from pole to flag.

While the Mercedes duo cruised predictably up front, the grid behind them was anything but predictable. The Manor drivers had failed to make Qualifying as their team struggled to reinstall software to the cars for the new season, meaning Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will have to wait until at least Malaysia before turning a wheel in anger.

Kevin Magnussen was one of three other drivers who failed to start the race: the Dane, who was drafted in to replace the injured Fernando Alonso, saw his Honda engine give up on his lap from the pits to the grid pre-race. Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat also ended his race effort on his lap to the grid when a terminal problem with his gearbox was discovered. Williams’ Valtteri Bottas failed to even take his car from the garage today, as he was not given medical permission to race. The Finn injured the small of his back yesterday in Qualifying and failed one of the aspects of the mandatory extraction tests earlier today, meaning he will have to wait until Malaysia to begin his season proper.

These five absences left only fifteen cars on the grid for the race start, but the car number soon dropped to thirteen. Pastor Maldonado was the innocent victim of a jab from Felipe Nasr which sent him into the barriers at turn 2 and deployed the Safety Car. Meanwhile, his Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean suffered a technical fault which sent him out of the race, compounding a dismal weekend for Lotus.

With Maldonado’s stricken Lotus cleared, the Safety Car pitted and Hamilton led the drivers away for the first full racing lap of 2015. Nico Rosberg stuck close to the rear wing of the sister Mercedes, but third placed Felipe Massa soon lost sight of the Silver Arrows, such is the advantage the World Champions hold.

Further down the grid, the eleven other drivers had grouped together into individual battles spaced out along the track. Daniel Ricciardo spent time in front of his home crowd trying to keep Kimi Raikkonen’s slightly damaged prancing horse behind him. Further behind, Sergio Perez and Jenson Button were scrapping for the final places when the Mexican botched an overtake on his former team-mate and spun at turn 3.

The battle for third between Massa and Vettel was going well for the Brazilian until he pitted first and allowed Vettel to stay out in open air for several laps, while Felipe met traffic in the much slower RB11 of Daniel Ricciardo. When Vettel emerged from the pit lane a few laps later, he had promoted himself to third and held a cushion over the Williams.

Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen was doing a good effort of making up for the mistake he made in Qualifying which saw him start twelfth, and he stayed on track on his first set of tyres until lap 33 of 58. When the 17-year-old came out of the pits, however, a puff of smoke acted as a precursor for a full engine failure at Turn 15 a minute later. The heartbroken Dutchman clambered from his cockpit and lamented his bad luck as his former F1 racer father, Jos Verstappen, stormed out of the Toro Rosso garage.

Verstappen’s retirement reduced the number of cars to twelve, but when Kimi Raikkonen’s left-rear tyre came loose after a pit stop four laps later, the Finn was forced to pull over at turn 4 and stomp back to the paddock. As Ferrari Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene grilled the pit crew as to why the car left the pits without the wheel properly attached, the stewards announced that the unsafe release will be investigated after the race. Raikkonen can expect a ten-place grid penalty for the Malaysian Grand Prix, as is the standard penalty for an infringement of this type.

With the racing drivers now limited to eleven, only Carlos Sainz and Marcus Ericsson gave commentators something to talk about as the latter caught and passed the former in the final laps. Up front though, Hamilton was untouched as he led Rosberg across the line for his 34th victory.

Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to take a podium finish on his debut with Ferrari, while Felipe Massa shadowed the Scuderia over the line. Felipe Nasr finished fifth on his Formula One debut – the highest result for a Brazilian driver in his first F1 race. Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, while Marcus Ericsson scored six points from finishing seventh – meaning Sauber take fourteen points home from the Grand Prix. Having gone scoreless in 2014, this will certainly not go uncelebrated. Carlos Sainz joined Felipe Nasr as a rookie scoring a point on his debut, when the Spaniard finished ninth for Toro Rosso. Sergio Perez was the final points finisher for Force India, while Jenson Button finished dead-last and was the only man to cross the line without scoring a point.

Provisional Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Felipe Massa
  5. Felipe Nasr
  6. Daniel Ricciardo
  7. Nico Hulkenberg
  8. Marcus ericsson
  9. Carlos Sainz
  10. Sergio Perez
  11. Jenson Button
  • Kimi Raikkonen – Loose wheel
  • Max Verstappen – Mechanical failure
  • Romain Grosjean – Mechanical failure
  • Pastor Maldonado – Collision
  • Kevin Magnussen (DNS)
  • Daniil Kvyat (DNS)
  • Valtteri Bottas (DNS)

DNS – Did Not Start

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team. 

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Coulthard Victorious In Race Of Champions

Former F1 driver David Coulthard was victorious at the Race of Champions last weekend, fending off a final challenge from Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein.

The Scot, who took thirteen Grands Prix victories over his fifteen seasons in Formula One, was racing for Team Scotland alongside Williams reserve driver Susie Wolff. Team Scotland’s bid for glory ended in the final, however, following defeat from Team Nordic drivers Tom Kristensen and Petter Solberg.

When it came to the individual event, Coulthard fared better and won the first two rounds of his best-of-three battle with Wehrlein in the final, securing his first win in the Championship, which annually pits drivers against each other, in both team and individual matches. While Team Nordic won this year’s Championship, Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher had brought Team Germany to victory each year between 2007 and 2013.

Romain Grosjean won last year’s Champion of Champions trophy, but fared less successfully this year where he raced alongside Esteban Ocon in Team France. Second-placed Wehrlein raced with GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer in the Young Stars team.

Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images.

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Gutierrez Announced As Ferrari Reserve Driver

Esteban Gutierrez was today announced as Ferrari reserve driver.

In contrast to Sebastian Vettel’s much-anticipated arrival at the team, Gutierrez’s appointment was widely unexpected. The Mexican joined Sauber in 2013 and competed with the team for two years, but was dropped by the team after a dismal season which saw Sauber’s first ever season without scoring a point.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Esteban who, although young, has plenty of experience relating to the new generation of Formula 1 cars,” said Ferrari’s Director General and Team Principal, Maurizio Arrivabene. “I am sure that, with his experience, he will make an important contribution to the development work of the team in the simulator.”

In a Ferrari press release, Gutierrez is quoted as saying: “It is for me the beginning of a new path for my future and I’m going to do my utmost to contribute to the achievement of the targets set by the Scuderia. It is an honour to become part of the Scuderia Ferrari family, a Team with such an exceptional history.”

Gutierrez is the first Mexican driver to race for Ferrari since Pedro Rodriguez in 1969. He will join former Sauber driver Pedro de la Rosa, Ferrari driver Marc Gené and GP2 and WEC driver Davide Rigon in the Ferrari reserve team. Meanwhile, Sauber have signed former Williams reserve driver Felipe Nasr and Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson as their 2015 line-up, dropping Gutierrez and Adrian Sutil.

Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari.

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Caterham Rubbishes Factory Seizure Rumours

Caterham have moved to rubbish rumours that their Leafield factory has been seized by bailiffs.

Reports of the seizure broke on Twitter just before 4pm British time, with some accounts claiming that staff were being ordered to disconnect servers and leave the premises, while equipment was being seized by bailiffs.

There was no official word for five hours before Caterham released a statement rubbishing the “unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours” about action against them or 1MRT, Caterham’s owner.

An action was threatened yesterday against a supplier company to 1MRT,” the statement explained. “This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of CaterhamF1 or the entrant.” 

Also contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan.” the statement concluded.

However, contrary to the team statement, TheSheriffsOffice.com, a bailiff, has listed Formula One items seized from Caterham to be auctioned away, including:

  • A 2013 test car
  • Car parts due for the upcoming race
  • A full size 6 DOF motion platform F1 simulator
  • Pit lane equipment
  • TVs, monitors and other goods and equipment

Although a genuine company, the verity of the auction is yet to be confirmed.

Caterham was abandoned by founder Tony Fernandes in July, who cut his losses after four years of uncompetitive performances, selling the outfit to a mixture of European and Middle-Eastern investors.

Financial trouble was reported at the team almost immediately and new Team Principal, Christijan Albers, left the team shortly after taking the position. Further trouble was signalled when rumours came to the surface that Pirelli were threatening not to supply the team with tyres for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix unless they received a quick payment from the cash-strapped team.

For now, the team say they will race this weekend, where driver Kamui Kobayashi is to drive in front of his home crowd. While they may drive in this weekend’s race, Caterham’s position in Formula One next season is looking ever less stable.

Image courtesy of Caterham F1 Team. 

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VIDEO: 24 Hours After A Grand Prix

The winner crosses the finishing line, the top three drivers celebrate on the podium and TV crews turn the cameras off an hour or so later. For me and you that’s all she wrote – the end of a Grand Prix weekend. But while we find things to do to occupy the painstaking wait until the next Grand Prix, men and women from every team are still working hard to clear their equipment and mobile homes and move them to the next track or back to the factories. The work never stops for these guys whose focus shifts immediately to the next race.

In this video, Red Bull Racing give us a behind the scenes look at what happens 24 hours after a race, including a really cool insight to the RBR factory in Milton Keynes.

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Van Der Garde Given All-Clear After Testing Shunt

Giedo van der Garde has been given the all clear after a big shunt in the closing minutes of today’s test session at Silverstone.

The two day mid-season test, one of four tests this year, wrapped up today under the red flags which were brought out by Van der Garde’s crash.

The Dutchman crashed heavily at Copse corner, losing control of the car and spinning into the barrier. The G-Force meter on his car, which detects potentially dangerous levels of G’s in an impact, and leads to a mandatory trip to the medical centre, signalled a high impact, meaning that Van der Garde was sent to the track medical centre for inspection. Luckily, he was found to have escaped injury in a crash which, he says, was one of the biggest he has ever had.

Speaking to Autosport, the Sauber test driver said:  “This is really one of the biggest crashes I’ve had. All the [G-Force meter] lights went on on the car so I had to go to the medical centre. They checked everything and I am fine.”

As for the crash, he pins some of the blame on the winds, which caught him as he exited the sheltered International Pit Straight onto the open maggots/becketts section of the historic British circuit.

“It was really strange with the crosswinds. The wind picked up in the afternoon and as I came out of the corner I had a little snap and caught it, but then suddenly it went the other way.

“I lost it completely and I went into the barrier on the outside. It was broken, so that’s why they could not restart the session.”

The barrier repairs took too long to allow the session to be restarted, with only twenty minutes left in the session when the accident happened.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen caused a similar barrier repair to be carried out following a whopping 47G impact with the barriers, when he lost control on the first lap of the British Grand Prix last Sunday. Like Van der Garde, Raikkonen’s G-Force meter signalled a dangerous level of G’s, meaning he was sent to the medical centre while track officials red flagged the race for an hour as they worked to repair the broken Armco barrier where Raikkonen crashed.

Although without any serious injury, the Finn suffered a slight ankle injury in the crash and missed this week’s test as he rests in order to be fit to race at the German Grand Prix on Sunday week. Jules Bianchi replaced him today, Wednesday, and topped the timesheets for Ferrari.

Image courtesy of Sauber Motorsport AG.

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Rosberg Leads Hamilton In Opening Silverstone Practice

Nico Rosberg had the edge over his team-mate as practice got underway ahead of the British Grand Prix this weekend. The German, race winner in Austria two weeks ago, finished the session seven-tenths clear of his team-mate car after an hour and a half session, although Lewis found himself repeatedly impeded by other drivers, yellow flags and a red flag about 30 minutes in.

Susie Wolff was driving Valtteri Bottas’ Williams for the Free Practice One, which made her the first woman to drive a Formula One session in 22 years, but her running was short lived as she encountered what appears to have been an oil pressure issue which caused her engine to shut off after a single flying lap. Not too long afterwards, her Williams team-mate, Felipe Massa, lost control of his FW35 coming out of the hangar straight and spun into a high speed collision with the barriers which heavily damaged his car and left him back in the garage with Wolff.

A red flag was brought out to clear his car and, ten minutes later, the green flag was shown and the session got back underway. Daniil Kvyat was the first man out on track and the majority of the other drivers followed him out slowly, all except Pastor Maldonado whose Lotus was undergoing surgery in the garage with an expected engine problem – which could signal a grid penalty for the Venezuelan on Sunday.

The rest of the running was relatively straight-forward for everyone except for Marcus Ericsson who spun out of the maggots-becketts section and beached his Caterham where marshals could not push it back to track. Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez scrapped in the final minutes as the Spaniard tried to pass the Mexican to get a clean lap, but was met with a surprising amount of resistance from the slower Force India. Ricciardo pulled in early with a suspected gearbox problem, while Daniel Juncadella and Robin Frijns had relatively smooth sessions for Force India and Caterham, respectively.

Free Practice One results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Fernando Alonso
  4. Daniel Ricciardo
  5. Kimi Raikkonen
  6. Sebastian Vettel
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Daniil Kvyat
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne
  10. Kevin Magnussen
  11. Sergio Perez
  12. Romain Grosjean
  13. Esteban Gutierrez
  14. Daniel Juncadella
  15. Giedo van der Garde
  16. Jules Bianchi
  17. Felipe Massa
  18. Max Chilton
  19. Marcus Ericsson
  20. Robin Frijns
  21. Susie Wolff
  22. Pastor Maldonado

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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My Red Bull Open House Experience

I arrived into Luton shortly before half nine and was picked up by Keith, who explained on the journey that he had been working with the team since they were under the Jaguar name. Only last night, he told me, he had collected Daniel Ricciardo and his girlfriend, Gemma. Keith and I meandered our way through Milton Keynes’ endless roundabouts and finally reached the Daytona race track, where the Red Bull Open House event was to be held. It was 10am.

I walked in the front door and was greeted by two women dressed in Red Bull t-shirts who welcomed me and gave me a bag with a Red Bull bib for karting and the name of the group I’d be karting with. I got changed into the karting overalls, grabbed a helmet and then went for a look around.

Past the reception area was a race seat where one could play Codemasters’ F1 game, fit with pedals and a mock-up F1 wheel. Beside that on the right was a Pirelli and a wheel gun, and on the left was a birthday cake with a ’25’ candle on it for Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, whose birthday it was.

Sampling the free Red Bull on offer, I walked outside and immediately felt the glare of the sun. As an Irishman, the sun and it’s heat are a foreign concept to me. Taking shelter on a stool under a Red Bull marquee I took stock of my surroundings. Out on track I could see Sebastien Buemi talking to some of the marshals, while Daniel Ricciardo stood atop a hill to my left, in front of a camera crew. Glancing to my left, I noticed I was sitting right beside Christian Horner and Adrian Newey who had just finished Karting – Christian was the fastest.

Before too long, my Karting group (House 4) was called to the track. My group and I paid attention to some last minute advice given to us by Sebastien Buemi: “Turn 1 is an easy flat. They say it’s not, but it is. Take it flat! Turn 9 can be taken flat too.” Noted.

I hopped in and was soon given the go ahead to leave the pits. I was the third driver out but slowed to allow the others past so that I could weave around to warm my tyres without blocking anyone. My first lap wasn’t too bad an effort and by lap 2 I’d worked up the courage to take turn 1 completely flat-out, which went well and subsequently gave me the courage to take turn 9 flat out… which didn’t go well. At all. At the end of a very long straight, turn 9 is a long left hander. Locked in a drag race with Dan Paddock I swung in as late as I dared, with my foot still firmly pressed down on the accelerator. I was too far to the right of the racing line so I corrected slightly and SNAP. What happened next was a blur as I spun three or four times before coming to a rest backwards in the barriers, surrounded by a thick cloud of dust. Nice one, Ben.

I rejoined the track and gave the thumbs up to the marshal to let him know that both the kart and I were okay, before getting on my way. I had quite a good run and, excluding a spin at a hairpin, I felt I did quite well. When the 25 minutes were up and I hopped out to read my times. To my surprise, my 1 minute 13 second lap time put me only four seconds shy of Buemi’s best lap, the best time that day.

After that I met Lyndsey Fairburn, the Junior Press Officer at Red Bull. After a quick chat, she told me to head upstairs to the briefing room because Daniel Ricciardo would be talking to us in there. I did, and sat down and waited for Ricciardo to follow us in.

Not too shortly afterwards the door opened and Ricciardo came in, light-hearted as per usual, mumbling to no one in particular about how tired he was. He trudged down to the back of the room and plopped himself across a row of chairs. Lyndsey followed him in and reminded him he was in a media session. “Interview session?” he asked. “Oh I thought it was a… I don’t know what it was actually…” he said as he walked to the front and got settled behind a table. We put our dictaphones on the table and he told us that he’d ask the questions. “On a scale of 1-10, ten being great and one being pretty good also, how good looking am I?” he asked with a smile.

The serious questions began and somebody behind me asked him what he wanted for his birthday. “True love!” Daniel replied, again smiling. “Another victory actually, if that’s not too much to ask for”, he followed up with. Daniel had only a few weeks ago taken his first F1 victory. Another guy asked him if he thought he had a chance in Silverstone, to which Daniel said he might, if the car acted completely the opposite of how it acted at the most recent race in Austria. He reflected that they were caught out with the under performance of the car in Austria, especially given the amount of downforce they were running with, which looked like it would give them an advantage, but said that it was not a worry for him going forward because he had faith in the team to figure out the problem.

As for Championship hopes: “I hope they (Mercedes) get disqualified!” he joked. “The car is quick, surely they’re cheating, right?”. Still grinning from his own joke, he moved on to the topic of the incoming Safety Car restart rules. He said it was harsh on the leader and admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the rule, and said that most of the drivers disagreed to the rule. He expressed concern at the tyre-warming issue but admitted that if it’s the same for everyone, it’s not too bad.

After joking that his head was about to explode because of the praise he’s been given for out-performing his team-mate, time was up and he left the room to be replaced by Christian Horner who answered questions based exclusively on the problems Red Bull are facing with the Renault engines. He repeatedly reminded everyone that they have a deal with Renault, but admitted that there were concerns over the 2014 Renault engines as far back as 2012. He said they would continue to support Renault, but did suggest that they have other engine suppliers that they could look to if they continued to hit problems with Renault.

Lunch was scheduled for after this, but instead of heading to the food stalls, I headed to the marquee where Katie Tweedle, the Red Bull Head of Communications, had organised an interview with Sebastien Buemi for me. After chatting about my crash at turn 9 (in fairness, he told me it could be taken flat out), I got to work and asked him about the news that he was going to be racing in Formula E next season, which broke that morning. He explained that he wanted to keep racing, but the World Endurance Championship calendar has a big gap in the middle of the year. He found an opportunity to balance his role as reserve driver with Red Bull, his work in the WEC and as a racer in Formula E, so he took it.

Interviewing Sebastien Buemi  Photo (c) Getty Images

Interviewing Sebastien Buemi
Photo (c) Getty Images

He admitted that although he was happy as a reserve driver with Red Bull, he is still on the look out for a seat. I asked if he would move to a team like Sauber or Caterham if they offered him a seat, and he said it would be difficult to decide. “I would need to analyse everything,” He said. “There is no point going back to a team where you will be fighting to finish fifteenth. I’ve been fighting for points with Toro Rosso so I don’t want to be fifteenth just to be in F1.”

On the V6 engines, he maintained that he liked the engines as the fuel consumption has gone down and the power has gone up, but he recognised that there are still issues with the noise. “You want F1 to be the loudest car, the quickest car, the most expensive car – it has to be on top everywhere. Maybe it lost a little something with the noise, but the technology itself went forward.” Finally, he expressed how he wished Formula One was more accessible.

We headed back inside where it was now a lot busier as competition winners had begun to arrive. The bulk of the print media and camera crews had left by now. The fans were scheduled for an endurance kart race, but as some of the competition winners had called in sick, there were some empty spaces to be filled by some of the remaining media, myself included. I got kitted out and told I was part of the “marketing” team, with four others.

We made our way across the track and to the pits where we were allocated karts and each team decided who would go in the kart first. After thirty minutes of Qualifying practice, our team had qualified fifth of ten teams. At the race start, our driver bogged down and lost some places but made another place up before the first lap was out. I was the third driver to take the wheel of the kart and I followed a Jean Todt look-a-like out of the pitlane but couldn’t catch up to him and fell behind. Eventually someone ahead of us spun and I gained fifth for the team, before pulling in to hand over to the fourth driver. Our fifth driver took the kart home at the end of the hour, and we crossed the line fourth – gaining a place due to a spinner on the penultimate corner.

Happy, but slightly disappointed to miss out on the podium, we went back to the main building before being ushered down to a smaller track where BMX riders were doing stunts while jumping over an increasingly higher bar – to a chorus of ‘ooohhhsss’ and ‘aaahhhs’. This ended and we headed to the podium where the winning karters were given their trophies and pictures were taken with Buemi. One last group picture and that was that.

A BMX rider jumps the bar

Keith collected me from the track and drove me back past the Red Bull factory. I popped quickly inside and saw the incredibly impressive display cabinet with all 150+ trophies the team has won. Keith recounted how the receptionist used to vigorously polish the team’s three trophies when they were a younger, less successful team.

DSCN8057

 

My three hours waiting in the airport were largely passed by thinking about how incredible the team’s story is. As Chrstian Horner put it in 2010, they were the laughing stock of the paddock only five years beforehand. Five years ago today, the team were still celebrating winning their first race. Five years later, they’ve won eight World Championships. Incredible.

A huge congratulations is due to Red Bull for the success of the day. From talking to people at the event, I know that everyone went home very happy. Also, I’d like give a big thank you to Katie Tweedle, the Red Bull Head of Communications. Katie invited me, sent a car to the airport to pick me up, made sure I had a great day yesterday, and is always at the end of a friendly e-mail if I need anything, so thank you Katie!

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Win A VIP Porsche Experience At Le Mans With Exxon

Exxon are offering you the chance to win a VIP experience with Porsche at the 24 hours of Le Mans race this June.

To be in with a chance of winning, one must simply register on their website before the closing date, the 28th of May 2014. The winner will win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – watching the 24 hours of Le Mans race from the Porsche VIP hospitality area.

The 24 hours of Le Mans race is a 24 hour endurance race competed as part of the World Endurance Championship. Former F1 driver Mark Webber joins Brandon Hartley and Timo Bernhard at the Porsche works team who returned to the WEC this year. They will be hoping to take glory at the prestigious Le Mans race this year, which was last year won by former Toyota driver Allan McNish.

As part of their ambition to bring fans closer to motorsport, Mobil 1, who are partnered with the McLaren F1 Team, produced this brilliant video about an unsuspecting worker who won a race that he didn’t even know he was in.

Don’t forget to enter here, and good luck!

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