Posted on October 31, 2011


It was interesting last night after the Indian Grand Prix to hear McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh suggest that part of the reason for Lewis Hamilton being off form and rather niggly with many people he encounters in F1 at the moment is because he isn’t enjoying being beaten by his team mate, Jenson Button. “Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances from Jenson at the moment, ” said Whitmarsh. “Lewis, the great, exciting driver that he is, will not like being beaten by Jenson. I don’t want him to enjoy being beaten by his team-mate. I More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel became the first man to win a Formula 1 race in India when he scored his 11th victory of the season at the Buddh International Circuit but elsewhere in the field, there were a number of standout performances. So who was your driver of the day? Sebastian Vettel Arrived in India with the drivers’ title and constructors’ title for Red Bull already in the bag but refused to take his foot of the gas. Took his 13th pole of the season to keep him on course to break Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 in a single More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Felipe Massa spoke around 90 minutes after the Indian Grand Prix in which he was penalised with a drive through for colliding with Lewis Hamilton. It was the sixth occasion the pair have collided in a bitter season. Speaking after the race Massa said, “I don’t have anything against him. Zero. If I saw him I would tell him what I’m telling you now. “I don’t understand why I have the penalty. I braked later than him, I was in front and on the grippier part of the circuit and I didn’t see him on the left. So he was More…

Posted on October 30, 2011


Sebastian Vettel made more history today as he won the first Indian Grand Prix, setting a new record for most laps led in a season in the process. The German went past Nigel Mansell’s 692 laps led from the 1992 season. It was his 11th win of the season and the 21st of his career. It was one of Vettel’s most comfortable wins of the season; he won from pole position, led every lap and set the fastest lap. “I’m very proud to be the first winner of the Indian Grand Prix,” said the world champion, “It’s a great country, More…

Posted on October 29, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his 28th career pole position today equalling the great Juan Manuel Fangio, as Red Bull Racing set a new record for poles in one season with 16. There are still two races to go. Lewis Hamilton went into qualifying knowing that he would have to go three places back on the grid from where he qualified, following an incident in practice where he ignored waved yellow flags, as did Sergio Perez. Vitaly Petrov carried a five place penalty from the previous race. The hard tyres are 2 seconds a lap slower than the softs here, so the More…

Posted on October 28, 2011


Felipe Massa set the pace on Day 1 at the Buddh International Circuit, with Sebastian Vettel second and Fernando Alonso third after three hours of running on the new track. It is a hit with drivers and teams alike, certainly as far as the layout is concerned, even if the facilities behind the scenes aren’t quite there yet. Alonso had an engine failure in first practice, which was halted early on due to a dog on the track. An earlier support race session had to be stopped for the same reason. The track was very dusty in the morning and More…

Posted on October 28, 2011


Several of the top teams have flown out half a dozen mechanics to have on standby in case any of their crew should fall ill during this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix. This unprecedented situation has arisen after stories emanating from the Commonwealth Games, held here in India last year, where many key workers got “Delhi belly” and were incapacitated. With long transit times from Europe, some teams do not want to take the risk that they might have people unable to work or to perform vital functions, such as late night rebuilds or even pit stops. The rules say that More…

Posted on October 27, 2011


The confirmation on Tuesday of the news that there will be a second F1 race in America from 2013 onwards is positive for the sport. Rather than write about this from a purely F1 insiders perspective, I asked a long time JA on F1 reader and poster, Rudy Pyatt, who lives in the area, to give us a local perspective on the news and I have intercut his thoughts with mine. Rudy Pyatt writes: There are three key parts of the potential audience. F1 must win them over, or this event will be Phoenix all over again. The easiest audience More…

Posted on October 26, 2011


The Formula One fraternity heads to India for the first time this week, keenly anticipating the nations first Grand Prix event. The race will be sure to boost India’s passion and image within the sport, as well as allowing people within F1 the chance to experience a new culture. The event will be particularly special for Lotus reserve driver, Karun Chandhok, whose father has been instrumental in bringing the race to India and building the track. Although the Indian driver has only competed in one race this season, he had high hopes that he would have the chance to contest More…

Posted on October 25, 2011


This weekend the teams race on the new Buddh International Circuit, located about 50 kilometres south east of New Delhi. The track has similarities in composition of corners to a number of F1 circuits but it has unusual features too. So how will the teams tune the cars in to the circuit and what will the winning race strategy be on Sunday? Here is a comprehensive guide to the considerations the F1 engineers will be looking at when deciding how to attack this weekend’s race. Track characteristics Buddh International – 5.125 kilometres. Race distance – 60 laps = 307.249 kilometres. More…

Posted on October 25, 2011


The social media competition we’ve been running, in conjunction with Shell, to find a Fan Ambassador enters its final phase. We are looking for a Fan Ambassador to go to Abu Dhabi in November, the week after the F1 Grand Prix, to have the experience of a lifetime at a Shell V-Power Network of Champions event at Ferrari World, then experience the Yas Marina GP Circuit and then report on the trip for the JA on F1 website. They will join fans from around the world at this unique event. After an initial phase we selected five finalists, who were More…

Posted on October 24, 2011


We’ve done some great competitions this season, taking the fans closer to the sport of F1 and taking them to Grands Prix and overseas events. But for those fans who dream of getting behind the wheel, here is something a little bit special; we are delighted to offer JA on F1 readers the chance to experience a 3 hour in-depth driving session on a real simulator, with coaching from Darren Turner, who has over 10 years experience of F1 sim development. Turner now runs Base Performance Simulators in Banbury. Turner is an expert on F1 simulators. He did the initial More…

Posted on October 23, 2011


Here is my video of the day a F1 fan drove Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren F1 car at Silverstone. Djorge Simic works in a bank in Serbia, but for one day he got to taste the shattering performance of a 2008 F1 McLaren, the car in which Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 British Grand Prix. Contributing to the video are Mika Hakkinen and Hamilton – “I bet he’s crapping his pants!” says Hamilton when asked how the fan will be feeling moments before the off. Simic was chosen from 17 finalists to win the drive as the top prize in McLaren More…

Posted on October 22, 2011


On Friday evening in the US news began to emerge that there could be a second US Grand Prix from 2013 onwards, with suggestions that a street circuit in New Jersey would be announced as an F1 venue on Tuesday. According to Autoweek, the circuit is believed to have the Manhattan skyline as a back drop and the concept has been developed over several years by Leo Hindery Jr, who is married to the daughter of legendary US motorsports promoter Humpy Wheeler. There are suggestions that the race would be paired in June with Montreal, which is a short distance More…

Posted on October 21, 2011


This week I went along to Silverstone to see something I haven’t seen before; a member of the public driving a Formula 1 car. This extraordinary happening was the final stage of the Drive of a Lifetime programme, which is organised by one of McLaren’s sponsors, Johnnie Walker. Thousands of entries from all over the world were narrowed down to 17 finalists, who came to England for a three day experience, which took in some time at McLaren’s HQ in Woking, a day driving fast cars at Jonathan Palmers’s track in Bedford and then a day in single seaters at More…

Posted on October 20, 2011


In the last 24 hours it appears that a clarification has gone out from the FIA’s Charlie Whiting to all teams regarding exotic engine maps, to the effect that they aren’t allowed after the end of this 2011 season. Many engineers I’ve spoken to are rejoicing, because they feel that at last there is clarity on exhausts having an aerodynamic effect by continuing to blow over aerodynamic surfaces while the car is in corners. The feeling is they can all get on with designing a nice F1 car for next year, without worrying about how engine modes are going to More…

Posted on October 18, 2011

The Strategy Report

The Korean Grand Prix was a fascinating race from a strategy point of view, with many talking points and there have been lots of questions from fans about whether Mark Webber could have won the race if he hadn’t pitted at the same time as Lewis Hamilton or whether Fernando Alonso could have got on the podium if he’d been released from behind Felipe Massa, as he was in Suzuka. Hopefully the answers are all here. This was one of those races where strategy was always going to be decisive, but where it was vital to be flexible and adaptable. More…

Posted on October 17, 2011


We’ve been running a competition in conjunction with our friends at Shell, to find a Fan Ambassador to go to Abu Dhabi a week after the Grand Prix, to experience the amazing Ferrari World theme park and get a taste of the Yas Marina GP circuit in a racing car literally days after the F1 Grand Prix and the Young Guns F1 test. The winner will take part in the Shell V Power Network of Champions event in November, meet fans from other countries around the world and will get to write and produce content on his or her experience, More…

Posted on October 17, 2011


With the championship settled, teams are using the final races of the season as a test session looking at “carry over” items, which could be used in 2012. Ferrari’s Nicolas Tombaszis said last week that they would be trying out some new parts, including a new front wing. And so it proved in Korea. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa carried out back to back tests over the weekend, with Alonso taking the wing for the qualifying and race. It featured several Red Bull-esque touches, such as the endplates, the main plane slot and the large top flap, and was considered More…

Posted on October 17, 2011


The accident which killed British racing driver Dan Whedon yesterday in an Indycar race at Las Vegas has raised a number of safety questions, including the wisdom of running 34 open wheel cars on a tight 1.5 mile oval track such as Las Vegas with an average speed of 220mph. But it has also revived discussion about the possible use of canopies to make the drivers safer in the cockpit from flying wheels or debris, as happened with Felipe Massa and Henry Surtees. The FIA Institute has done some work in this area and produced some interesting content in the More…

Posted on October 16, 2011


I was very sorry to hear of the death of Dan Wheldon, the two times Indy 500 winner and IRL series champion. He was killed in an Indycar accident at Las Vegas Speedway. The race was only his third start this season. Wheldon had taken part at Indy this year on a one-off basis and won the race. He was taking part in a challenge organised by the Indycar series to try to win the race in Vegas from 34th and last place on the grid in pursuit of a $5 million prize fund, when he got caught in a More…

Posted on October 16, 2011


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel racked up his 10th victory of the season with a dominant performance but there was plenty of action all the way down the field. So who was your Driver of the Day? Sebastian Vettel Didn’t trouble the top of the timesheets in a wet Friday practice and then saw Red Bull’s run of pole positions come to an end when he could only manage second. Made a clean start before passing pole-sitter Hamilton at the end of the back straight. From then on, the German controlled the race from the front, as he has so often More…

Posted on October 16, 2011


Sebastian Vettel may have clinched the 2011 World Championship, but it’s not dented his motivation as he again out raced and out thought his opponents, despite the race not working out the way Red Bull had thought it would in terms of tyre strategy. Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton battled with understeer all race and finished second. It was Vettel’s 10th win of the season, making him the only driver apart from his countryman Michael Schumacher do win 10 or more races in a season. It was the 20th victory of his career and with Mark Webber’s third place it gave More…

Posted on October 15, 2011


Lewis Hamilton rediscovered his form in qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, breaking the stranglehold Red Bull have enjoyed on pole position since November 2010. It is his 19th career pole position and his first for 27 Grands Prix, stretching back to Canada 2010. Although Red Bull’s tactics showed that they had accepted they were not going to be able to beat McLaren to pole, Vettel nevertheless managed to fight Hamilton and to split the McLarens on the grid. Hamilton was on sensational form, setting a time three tenths of a second faster than team mate Jenson Button and squeezing More…

Posted on October 14, 2011


I’ve got a fantastic competition this weekend for JA on F1 readers around the world; we have four signed Senna movie posters and DVDs of the film, released this week, to give away. All you have to do is predict the time gap between the two McLaren drivers at the finish of Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix and in whose favour. So for example if you think that Jenson Button will finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton by 4 seconds use the comments box below and write “Button by 4 secs”. Or you could predict that one will finish and the other More…

Posted on October 13, 2011


Earlier this year I wrote a post about Force India’s initiative to try to find a driver from India whom they could develop – they call it the “One in a Billion” search. I was reminded of this yesterday when Force India announced the deal with Sahara. There were seven karting trials across India giving 14 to 17 year-olds the chance to show show their talent. The best from each trial, a total of 100 kids, reached the national finals in September. Now ten finalists have been chosen to come over to Silverstone next week for the grand finale. The More…

Posted on October 12, 2011


Force India boss Vijay Mallya today confirmed that he has sold 42.5% of the F1 team to Sahara India Pariwar, described as “a leading promoter and patron of sports in India.” The fee is US$100 million The deal therefore values the team at $235 million (£150 million), a significant uplift on the price Mallya paid to buy the team known as Spyker. It is the same Silverstone based team which was originally known as Jordan, founded by BBC pundit Eddie Jordan. “With this investment both the Sahara India Pariwar and Dr. Mallya will own 42.5% each in the team. The More…

Posted on October 12, 2011


If you live in Australia here’s an opportunity for you to race Mark Webber and raise some money for good causes at the same time. As a warm up for his gruelling Tasmania Challenge event, Webber is offering all levels of runners the chance to compete against him in a sponsored “Adventure Run” around the Hobart waterfront in Tasmania. The run will take place on December 4th in aid of the Mark Webber Foundation and Save the Tasmanian Devil foundation. The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge Adventure Run is being held three days prior to the main event; a tough More…

Posted on October 11, 2011

The Strategy Report

The Japanese Grand Prix was all about race strategy. With tyre wear much more tricky to manage than expected, throughout the field the drivers who succeeded were the ones whose teams got the strategy right, not just on race day but on qualifying day too. There were some pretty contrasting races at the front. Of the top three, Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull had the worst tyre performance and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari had the best. Alonso was nowhere near as quick as Vettel at the start of each of the stints, but he was always the quickest of the three cars More…

Posted on October 10, 2011


Some say he’s going to win as many titles as Schumacher, others say he’s still improving as a driver, while others say it’s all the car and Vettel cannot overtake. No 24 year old driver has achieved more – two world titles, 19 wins, 27 pole positions. And now Fernando Alonso has challenged him to a contest to see who can be the youngest ever three times world champion – one of them is likely to beat Ayrton Senna’s record of 31 years of age. Alonso has been waiting five years for his third title.. Whatever the hype, the hyperbole More…

Posted on October 9, 2011


Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel may have sealed his second successive title at Suzuka, but there were plenty of exciting battles all the way down the field in what was another unpredictable race. So who was your Driver of the Day? Jenson Button Dominated the weekend leading up to qualifying by topping the times in all three practice sessions. Missed out on pole position by 0.009 seconds to start second. Pushed towards the grass by Vettel at the start and lost a place to team-mate Hamilton, but kept calm and maintain the gap to the leader while looking after his tyres. More…

Posted on October 9, 2011


Sebastian Vettel became the youngest double world champion in the history of F1 today, the 24 year old finishing third in the race and wrapping up the title with four races still to go. “To win the championship here is fantastic,” said an emotional Vettel. “I’m so thankful to everyone in the team, working day in and day out pushing hard. We found ourselves in a strong position and it’s great to achieve our goals. This year we have always been one step ahead. There is no secret, it’s step by step. The hardest thing is winning after winning, to More…

Posted on October 8, 2011


Our exciting social media competition looking for a Fan Ambassador to join other bloggers from around the world ends at midnight tonight UK time. So now’s the last chance to get your entry in. We are looking for a Fan Ambassador to go to Abu Dhabi in November to have the experience of a lifetime at a Shell V-Power Network of Champions event at Ferrari World- you will be invited to travel business class to Abu Dhabi from London, stay in a 4 star hotel, ride on the fastest rollercoaster in the world and then experience the Yas Marina GP More…

Posted on October 8, 2011


Sebastian Vettel took his 12th pole position of the season, rather unexpectedly, as the pace setter McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton failed to get a final run in Q3 due to a timing error. Jenson Button, who had set the fastest times in all three practice sessions, ended up second by one hundredth of a second, his first front row start since Monaco. Having set the fastest time in the first runs, as he ended his out lap for his second Hamilton was passed by Schumacher and Webber and crossed the line after the chequered flag had fallen. He blamed the two More…

Posted on October 7, 2011


It’s a story that has been running for 12 months and now two Formula 1 teams want to change their names, but the other teams are not going to make it easy for them. Team Lotus wants to change the team name to Caterham F1 Team while the Renault team wants to change the “Lotus” in its name from a title sponsor to the team and chassis name, but both parties may have to wait until the F1 commission next meets in order to do so. The F1 commission normally meets in the first week of December, but Bernie Ecclestone More…

Posted on October 7, 2011


Many F1 drivers and F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone have got behind the efforts of Kamui Kobayashi and others to raise money for victims of the tsunami, which devastated areas of Japan earlier this year leaving over 20,000 people dead or missing. The 80 year old F1 boss has bought 3,000 tickets for this weekend’s race at an average price of 35,000 yen to give to people who have suffered through the disaster. The total bill is almost £1 million. Meanwhile a puppet of Ecclestone has been commissioned for sale to raise money and there are paintings of the five More…

Posted on October 5, 2011


Jenson Button has committed himself to a long term contract at McLaren, ruling out a move any time soon to any of the team’s rivals. McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh describes him as “one of the most capable and respected drivers we’ve ever had.” ‪ Button is in the form of his life at the moment, lying second in the drivers’ world championship, with a chance to become the first F1 team mate to beat Lewis Hamilton in the points standings – he is currently 17 points ahead – and he is thoroughly enjoying his racing. He’s stood on the More…

Posted on October 5, 2011


Ferrari chief designer Nikolas Tombazis has promised a more aggressive car from the Scuderia next season, as it looks to close the gap to the pace setting Red Bull. Over the winter of 2010/11 Ferrari went too conservative under the technical leadership of Aldo Costa, leaving some ideas untested in a generally risk averse strategy. McLaren went the opposite way with initially calamitous consequences, of the kind Costa was trying to avoid, but they changed direction before the first race and got the car on track. However they, like Ferrari, have been playing catch up all year. Meanwhile Red Bull More…

Posted on October 4, 2011


There is an interview with Mark Webber posted on Yahoo News Singapore today, which a JA on F1 reader flagged up to me. There are some interesting comments in it which are worth highlighting, although it appears that Webber belives he has been misquoted on the main one. Webber is quoted as saying that last season, where he lost the title at the final round, was his “last chance” to be world champion, a rare admission for an active racing driver, especially one who is sitting in the fastest car on the grid. He goes on to explain that a More…

Posted on October 4, 2011


The aftermath of the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa at Singapore shows no signs of abating. Immediately after the race we had Massa attempting to confront the Englishman, who rebuffed him in front of the TV cameras at the track. Then there came the suggestion that the F1 drivers want to meet with FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting in Suzuka this weekend to discuss Hamilton’s overly aggressive driving. Then at the weekend F1.com ran a race edit featuring a radio clip of Massa’s race engineer Rob Smedley urging his driver to,”Hold Hamilton as much as we can. Destroy More…

Posted on October 4, 2011


Pre-event strategy content Suzuka Circuit October 7-9 2011 The Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka is a race at which the Drivers’ World Championship has been clinched on many occasions in the past by greats like Senna, Prost, Schumacher and Hakkinen. And this weekend it is likely to see Sebastian Vettel clinch his second consecutive world title for Red Bull. The Suzuka circuit has a special place in the drivers’ hearts, along with Spa Francorchamps, as it provides a great driving challenge with its high speed corners and the first sector of the lap in particular is special, with a series More…

Posted on October 3, 2011


Next Monday, October 10th, sees the UK launch of the DVD of the award winning F1 documentary film “Senna”. The film has won awards, including an audience award at the Sundance Film Festival and has had great reviews world wide for its portrayal of the tragic icon and his struggles to reach the top of the F1 ladder. Much of its success lies in its crossover appeal – many people with no interest in F1 have been captivated by it and hopefully some of them now take more of an interest in the sport. Britain’s leading film critic, Mark Kermode, More…

Posted on October 2, 2011


There was an article in the Austin Statesman on Friday which caught the eye and suggests that there are some changes imminent in the management and promotion of the US Grand Prix at Austin, which is due to have its inaugural event in 13 months from now. The paper has seen a letter sent by the Texas state comptroller Susan Combs to F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone which deals with a transfer of ownership rights to the US Grand Prix in the promoter contract. It appears that Tavo Hellmund, who struck the deal with Ecclestone for the US GP to More…



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