Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Brazilian GP timetable

The Brazilian GP, which takes place around the Interlagos circuit, marks the penultimate round of the 2010 F1 World Championship

All times are local (Brazil is GMT -2)

Thursday 4 November
15:00: FIA press conference

Friday 5 November
10:00 - 11:30: First free practice
14:00 - 15:30: Second free practice
16:00: FIA press conference

Saturday 6 November
11:00 - 12:00: Third free practice
14:00 - 15:00: Qualifying
15h00: FIA post qualifying press conference

Sunday 7 November
14:00 - 16:00: Brazilian GP
19:00: FIA post race press conference

Brazilian GP Info
No of Laps: 71
Race Distance:305.909 km
Lap Record: 1:11.473 - JP Montoya (2004)
2009 Winner: Mark Webber (Red Bull)

Source: Planet-F1

Seiska was Kimi's guest in his new home


Kimi and Jenni Dahlmann Räikkönen, 28, moved last year to Bar village into a luxury palace called Villa Butterfly.

Kimi bought Villa Butterfly with about 30 million euros.

They appreciate privacy and left their old home in Wollerau village because they couldn't live in peace there anymore.

According to the Swiss Bilanz-magazine Kimi is now one of the 300 richest persons in Switzerland. According to the magazine's estimation Kimi has now a fortune up to 100 million euros!

Kimi has lived in Switzerland for over 10 years and he isn't even planning to move anywhere from there. He pops a few times in a year in Finland to say hi to his pals and family.

- It's great to visit Finland but there isn't enough activities there so I could stay there, the speed devil stated.

- We looked around for about five years for a property where we could start building our own house. Then we found Villa Butterfly, which was ready to move in up to the name.

The home, which is really stylish with beautiful interior is on a small hill from where one can see the magnificent scenery to Zug lake and the Alps behind it. The scenery that opens up from the window in the living room is like a piece of art no matter what the weather is like.

'It's boring to clatter around alone!

My pals use my vacation house!

The Iceman on water

- Even though it's not a long way to Zürich's party places I don't visit them often. I prefer going through the Swiss small villages with coffee shops and bars. But I haven't found even one karaoke-place from here, Kimi grinned.

I have fractures in my backbone!

A new operation is ahead!

Patient driver!

Late reporter!

Courtesy: Nicole

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sao Paulo from the cockpit - Red Bull previews the Brazilian GP

It’s a track dear to Mark’s heart after his stunning victory there in 2009, while Seb relishes the unique atmosphere and the challenge Sao Paolo presents. Here are the boys’ thoughts ahead of this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix...

Mark Webber: “Brazil is one of the best tracks of the year in terms of the atmosphere. The Brazilians are fully into their motorsports and have had lot of world champions in the past. I obviously have good memories from last year, it was a nice race to win and we will clearly be trying to get another victory this year. It’s now coming to a pivotal stage of the Championship and we need to make the most of every opportunity we can.”

Sebastian Vettel: “There are a lot of positive things about the upcoming event in Brazil. The circuit is fantastic and the spectators are passionate about racing; the atmosphere during a race is great and the city is interesting. The Interlagos track is a challenging one for the drivers because it’s anti-clockwise which, after a season of racing on clockwise circuits, puts a strain on your neck muscles. Also the big bumps are demanding. The circuit requires good aero-efficiency which should suit the RB6 although the long, uphill start-finish straight will give an advantage to the more powerful engines. It’s always a challenging circuit and the weather often plays a part."

Source: Red Bull

Vettel: I'm the last person to give up!

Whilst he left Korea 25 points adrift of the world championship lead rather than atop the standings as he arguably should have been but for his cruel late-race engine failure, Red Bull Racing star Sebastian Vettel insists he can still claim the F1 2010 crown

His F1 2010 World Championship hopes might have been rocked by his late-race engine failure whilst in the lead of the inaugural Korean Grand Prix last weekend, but Sebastian Vettel has warned his title rivals – and, likely most significantly, his Red Bull Racing team-mate Mark Webber – that he is 'the last person to give up'.

Had Vettel triumphed in Korea as he looked all-set to do after expertly dominating proceedings from qualifying and all the way through the race in treacherously difficult conditions, then he would now be leading the drivers' standings by seven points from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, and by eleven from Webber – margin enough, F1's conspiracy theorists might argue, for the energy drinks-backed outfit to elect to throw their full weight behind the young German's bid for glory at the expense of the Australian's.

As it, is, with Alonso inheriting the top spot on the podium in Yeongam County, it is the Spaniard who now holds an eleven-point advantage over Webber – who crashed out early on in Korea – and 25 points over fourth-placed Vettel, equivalent to a race victory with only 50 points remaining up for grabs.

Whilst admitting that his cruel ill-fortune – far from the first time he has lost valuable ground through poor reliability this season – was hard to swallow, the 23-year-old Heppenheim native is adamant that he will keep on fighting right the way to the end, comforted by the knowledge that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in F1 2010 have tended to swing one way and then the next.

“I am the last person to give up,” Vettel is quoted as having said by British newspaper The Sun. “My chances? They are how they are, but as long as I have a tiny chance... We still have two races to go, and we saw in Korea how quickly things can change. The race for the title is not over yet, so let's wait to see what the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi brings.

“[The engine failure] was such a hard moment. With Mark's crash it was hard as a team, but the reason for the failure was not my fault. There was no sign from the engine of any defect; in Turn 17 I lost a row of cylinders, and I could then count down to when it would break. We have engines with little mileage, though, so I'll be fine for the remaining two races.”

What's more, the eight-time grand prix-winner has received a boost after RBR team principal Christian Horner confirmed that notwithstanding the Milton Keynes-based squad's first double DNF in over 50 races in Korea leaving them under pressure heading next to Brazil, Vettel will not be asked to support Webber's challenge for the laurels, despite many opining that such a tactic would be the only way to prevent Alonso from effectively cruising to the crown.

“We have two fantastic drivers, and we will continue to support both equally in-line with Red Bull's credible sporting ethos,” the Englishman stressed.

Source: Crash

McLaren ‘supporting Button fully’ in Brazil

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh has vowed to continue supporting Jenson Button for a second World Championship title, despite the current holder all but admitting that his chances of retaining the crown are now over after Korea.

Following his non-scoring race at Yeongam, Button lies 42 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso with a maximum of 50 remaining on the table; this means that that third place or lower at Interlagos next weekend would confirm that Formula 1’s Champion has failed to retain his crown for the fourth year running.

“He has vowed to fight on and we will be supporting him fully next weekend,” Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by BBC Sport. “Jenson knows you can't lift the title without being a resolute fighter.

“That's exactly why we hired him; he’s a great driver and we will be supporting him fully next weekend.”

Source: GP Update

Webber has blown title chances, says Brabham

Mark Webber has blown his chance of becoming Australia's first Formula One world champion since Alan Jones back in 1980 according to the country's most famous driver, Jack Brabham.

Webber had the destiny of the title in his own hands going into the Korean Grand Prix but the pressure appeared to take its toll as the Red Bull driver crashed out of the race. According to Brabham, the mistake has cost Webber his only chance of lifting the title.

"It would mean a lot to me and it would mean a lot to Australia, but unfortunately I think his real opportunity has been blown last weekend," Brabham told the AAP news agency. "I'm really there behind him in the hope that he gets there but if he doesn't do it this year, I don't think he ever will."

Brabham, who won three drivers' titles in 1959, 1960 and in 1966 with his own team, admits to being a big fan of Webber but says time is not now on his side against the likes of Fernando Alonso and his own team-mate, Sebastian Vettel.

"People like Alonso are young and Mark's getting a bit too old really now. He can probably go one more year but every year that goes by now he's getting older and this is a young man's sport. He's racing against 21-year-olds or 22-year-olds and he's got the job in front of him."

Source: ESPNF1

Barrichello seat still not secure

Rubens Barrichello says he hopes to stay with the Williams team in 2011 amid reports his seat at the team is far from secure.

The veteran of over 300 grands prix said last month that he was '100 per cent' certain that he would be with the team next year but now it appears that both Barrichello and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg have an equal chance of being replaced, most probably by Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado.

"I've done a good job this year and I'm focused on the car for next year, so I'm hoping to stay," said Barrichello in a Portuguese interview with Reuters.

GP2 champion Maldonado carries a reported US $15 million of sponsorship from state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, making him an extremely attractive proposition to the Grove based team who are set to lose a number of sponsors including RBS.

And a recent report in Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the Oxfordshire based team does not intend to confirm either Hulkenberg or Barrichello until the winter period.

When asked on Thursday if a deal is in place to keep him, Barrichello said: "That's something you will have to ask Williams."

Doubts into Barrichello's future at the team were raised when engineering boss Patrick Head said Hulkenberg had performed well enough in 2010 to keep his seat.

"I think Nico has done enough, both before he entered F1 and since being in F1, to support the view that he is a justified driver," commented Head in Korea.

Source: ESPNF1

Williams hints at Hulkenberg stay

Nico Hulkenberg could be set for a shock stay at Williams after Sir Frank Williams, the team principal, hailed the young German driver.

Hulkenberg's drive at Williams was thought to be under severe threat given his performance this season - 18 points from 17 races.

GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado, who Williams will run at the end-of-season young drivers' test in Abu Dhabi, has been mooted as a replacement for Hulkenberg.

But Sir Frank's quotes have boosted his chances of retaining his drive. "It was a little disappointing, maybe, in the first few races, perhaps because he was being over-cautious," he told BBC Sport. "But lately he has become very competitive and we have just seen the beginning of something exceptional.

"We do hope [he will remain in F1]. He won all the way up to Formula 3 and GP2, he has won every single championship and in the right team, hopefully us one day, he will win the world championship as well in Formula 1."

Although Williams have yet to make an announcement on their drivers for next season, it is widely assumed that Rubens Barrichello's place is not at risk - and that supposition has been lent some weight by Sir Frank.

"He has enormous experience," he said. "He is now, without doubt, the most experienced driver in the pit lane and he does demonstrate that very frequently.

"His technique is very understated, he's a very smooth driver. He likes to be mollycoddled emotionally a little bit, and he likes being told how good he is, but we don't have any problem in telling him, we believe strongly in him.

"He's good fun and very experienced and that is a great value to any team."

Source: ESPNF1

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bulgarian GP plans gather momentum

Plans are gathering pace for the inaugural Bulgarian Grand Prix to feature on the Formula One calendar, possibly as soon as 2012.

According to the head of the south east European country's motor racing federation, Bogdan Nikolov, a race contract could be signed as soon as next month.

The idea of a Bulgarian Grand Prix is nothing new, with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone having met with the country's economy minister for discussions at Monza last month.

If talks with a funding consortium reportedly comprising Arab, US and Canadian companies and the government go well, Ecclestone could travel to Sofia to sign the contract between November 15 and December 15.

"We have created a project that meets the requirements of both FIA and (MotoGP governing body) FIM," Nikolov told Sofia news agency Novinite.

Nikolov added that the circuit will bid to host both Formula One and MotoGP races.

It has also emerged that Rome's agreement about a city-based grand prix in 2012 or 2013 could lapse at the end of the year.

It was reported last month that organisers of the proposed event had signed a five-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone. But Italian media reports this week have revealed that the document signed at Monza last month was just a letter of intent.

"I will soon meet with Ecclestone to confirm the letter of intent that has been signed and never revoked," said Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno. "If someone thinks I want to make a mess of the EUR, they are making a big mistake.

"Rather, we want to enrich the city's image. Research shows that the majority of Rome residents, although not an overwhelming one, are in favour."

Source: ESPNF1

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: Press Preview

Source: ItaliaspeedTV

Alonso's Blog: A bit of relaxation before the final rush

It’s nice to have a few days to relax before the final rush! The Far Eastern leg was very long and it’s always nice to get back home to relax a bit, before heading off for the final two races of the season in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

I am back in the lead of the championship for the first time since way back after the Australian Grand Prix. However, we know that with this points system and the gaps as they are, the standings don’t really mean that much: it only takes one race – as indeed we saw in Korea – for the situation to turn itself round. All the same, It’s always better to be in front than behind! Knowing that achieving our objectives is in our hands means we are a fraction calmer, but in no way does it change our approach. We will have to try and do our utmost, making the most of all the potential we have at our disposal. The only difference is that it would be enough, so to speak, to stay ahead of our closest rivals, without having to think too much about the maths.

The statistics from the second part of the season make interesting reading – 133 points from seven races, 90 of them in the last four – and that makes you think it might have been nice if the season had started in Hockenheim. And yet, for our part, it’s not as though we changed anything special in the way we went about our work: it’s just that we manage to string together a series of strong weekends from start to finish, while earlier, sometimes for a variety of reasons, that was not the case. We were lacking consistency in terms of results until this finally came through later. The car has always been reasonably competitive, with differing levels from circuit to circuit, which was also the case later on. However we have definitely much improved the performance level over these last three months.

In the last few years, Interlagos has usually produced very exciting races, partly because of the track characteristics, but also because the weather can be very changeable. This will be a very important factor and we will need to be ready to tackle all possible scenarios in the best way possible. The lap is fairly short, so we can expect closer times than usual, which means that the slightest little mistake will count even more, because one or two tenths either way can mean having seven or eight cars in front or behind you. We will need to do everything perfectly.

In theory, there are still five of us in the running for the title, but clearly Button is in a trickier situation. There are not many points between us to be honest and we saw how things ended up three years ago, but the fact is that are no less than four drivers ahead of him and it’s hard to imagine none of them scoring points.

Naturally, I’ve got great memories of this track because it was here that I secured my two titles, in 2005 and 2006. Every time I go to Sao Paolo it’s a special feeling and the atmosphere is really great. I don’t want to think about the chances of history repeating itself for a third time: I know it is theoretically possible, but that does not count for me. We want to tackle this Grand Prix in the same way as all the others, concentrating on ourselves with our feet on the ground, trying to do a good job, without making mistakes and with the aim of beating our rivals. I have said it before and I say it again: we will do the maths in Abu Dhabi.

Source: Alonso's Blog -

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fernando Alonso doing the card magic at the Yeongam Korean GP 2010

Source: bnr344

Interlagos improves F1 safety after fatal crash

Organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix have moved to improve the safety at one of the most dangerous stretches of track on the F1 calendar.

Three years ago, Brazilian stock car driver Rafael Sperafico died after striking the tyre barriers on the exit of the fast right-hand kink before the pitlane entry at Interlagos.

He died instantly when the car bounced out of the barriers into the path of a competitor.

Globo Esporte reports that, ahead of the penultimate round of F1's 2010 championship, organisers have replaced the offending tyre barrier with a 225 metre stretch of 'softwall'.

The 'softwall' concept - a combination of foam mounted behind hollow metal barriers - is intended to absorb the impact of an accident without 'grabbing' the car and spearing it back onto the track.

"It's a barrier that absorbs the impact," said circuit engineer Luis Ernesto Morales.

"It is a dangerous point of the circuit, with the wall very close," he added.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Massa's Blog: "A much better feeling"

Sitting here at home in Sao Paolo where I returned from Korea on Tuesday, I can look back at the last race with a much better feeling than in the previous two rounds of the championship. It was a great sensation to be back on the podium after a couple of poor results and the points for third place are important for us in the Constructors' championship and a help to my team-mate in the Drivers'.

Visiting a new track for the first time always means more work for everyone and that situation became even more complicated when the rain arrived for race day. The team worked well all weekend, especially in managing the situation in what were very difficult conditions on Sunday. Finishing first and third was an excellent result for the team. When the race started behind the Safety Car for the first time, the grip level was not the problem, because the tyres were clearing the water as it was not actually raining so hard: no, the big difficulty was a real lack of visibility. I could not see anything in front and it was extremely dangerous and I can imagine it was even worse for those drivers further back in the field. There was much more spray than we could have expected, it was huge! I think it might have been down to the track surface being so new that it took so long to clear away.

Ferrari's chances in both championships now look much better than before we tackled these last three Asian races. Even during the difficult time, we were able to improve the car, working in the right direction and the result is that the F10 got stronger race by race, even if I missed out on getting a good points score for the team until Korea. Looking at the championships, it is still possible for the team in the Constructors' and Fernando has moved into the lead in the Drivers', so we are in with a fighting chance. We still need to work hard to prepare for the final two rounds and clearly, we know we must try and improve our performance on Saturday afternoons. Qualifying is still our weak point, although you have to take into account how strong the Red Bulls are over one lap.

I think even without the rain, this new Korean track would have provided an interesting race, as it is very enjoyable to drive. It was a bit dirty, but not to an unacceptable level, given how late it was ready. I did not have much time to be a tourist on my first visit to Korea, apart from one day in the capital, Seoul. It looked interesting, somewhere between Japan and China in terms of the feel of the place. My main memory is that the people everywhere were very nice and helpful and gradually, as the town they are planning to build around the circuit area gets bigger I am sure this will become one of the nicest race venues.

I can now look forward to not having to fly anywhere for a while as the next race is in my home town. Last year it's true, Red Bull was very strong and won the race in Brazil, but in the years before then, Ferrari had been the strongest team, from 2006 to 2008, with our car going very well at Interlagos. I love racing here and can't wait to get out on track in front of my home fans.

Source: Massa's Blog -

Lewis has lost title in his head

NIGEL MANSELL says Lewis Hamilton will only have himself to blame if his world title bid ends in failure

McLaren star Hamilton is convinced he can land his second championship following his runners-up place in Korea.

That left him 21 points adrift of Ferrari leader Fernando Alonso with just the Brazil and Abu Dhabi GPs to go next month.

But 1992 champ Mansell fears Hamilton may pay a heavy price for a few out-of-character 'misjudgments'.

The 2008 king, 25, confessed last weekend family illnesses and a personal falling out with his dad and manager Anthony had affected his performances. Hamilton crashed out in Italy and Singapore and two weeks ago wrecked his car in first practice in Japan, where he finished fifth.

Mansell said: "A few misjudgments have crept in this year and I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's better than that.

"So there are obviously a few things going on inside his head where he's not in sync with himself.

"Whether you have got mirrors or not you know exactly where you are on the circuit and where you are racing someone else. He's been caught out a couple of times but if he's the class act I'm sure he is, he won't repeat that and will be better for it."

Mansell is convinced Mark Webber can still rule supreme in his Red Bull and become the first Aussie to land the world title since Alan Jones in 1980.

Spaniard Alonso overtook Webber, 30, in the championship on Sunday to move 11 points clear.

But the Aussie blamed himself for his first accident of the season on lap 19 that opened the door for Alonso to claim his fifth victory of the campaign.

Mansell added: "I still think the title's there for Mark Webber to lose now and I don't think he will.

"There has been stuff going on within the team all year but he has demonstrated he is strong of character and strong of mind.

"Mark is a class act as he showed when he came back from that accident in Valencia. In years gone by anyone thrown through the air like that would have been hospitalised or dead.

"Then you think of the accident he had on a mountain bike, hitting the car head on and breaking his leg and yet he came back from that, too.

"Mark is not taking any risks. I have to commend him because he's been so professional by finishing second and taking the points.

"Alonso is a brilliant driver but for me Ferrari lost focus by publicly demonstrating that their drivers basically don't get on."

Source: The Sun

F1 Rocks™ The Afterparty to samba in Sao Paulo

Following its debut event at last month’s Italian Grand Prix in Milan, F1 Rocks™ The Afterparty is heading to the Brazilian Grand Prix to celebrate F1 Rocks™ with LG in Sao Paulo featuring Eminem.

F1 Rocks™ will be kicking off the Interlagos weekend by entertaining 45,000 people, as Eminem takes to the stage on Friday evening for his first ever performance in Latin America. Support will come from N*E*R*D and Marcelo D2.

Following the on-track action, F1 Rocks™ The Afterparty will round things off with a weekend-closing event on Sunday at the spectacular and exclusive Terraca Daslu in the heart of Sao Paulo. DJ Jack.E - the Brazilian-born resident DJ of St Tropez hotspot Les Caves du Roy - and international jetsetter DJ Lora will be heading a stellar DJ line-up.

“We staged F1 Rocks™ in Milan last month with the Stereophonics in concert and The Afterparty on Saturday and Sunday evenings,” said Robert Montague, Chairman of Enterprise Entertainment, the organiser of F1 Rocks™. “The weekend went brilliantly, and now I’m thrilled to be going to Brazil.

“This is a huge gig with a performance by one of the biggest music stars in the world and we’ll be following it up with one of the best parties Formula One has ever put on following the race on Sunday. It’s sure to be an unforgettable Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.”


Alonso in same league as Senna, Schumacher - Berger

Fernando Alonso is in the same league as two of F1's greatest recent champions, according to Gerhard Berger.

"There are sometimes those special drivers: Ayrton Senna was one, Michael Schumacher was one, and Alonso is one," said the Austrian and former Grand Prix winner.

Berger is uniquely placed to compare Ferrari's Spanish driver with those greats -- he was one of Senna's closest friends, having raced alongside the late Brazilian at McLaren in the 90s.

And he was a contemporary of Schumacher's during the seven time world champion's first F1 career, moving away from Ferrari to make room for the German, and then replacing him for the 1996 season at Benetton.

"They are drivers who can win world championships without having the absolute best car," Berger told Austrian television Servus TV.


Fernando Alonso playing table tennis at Yeongam Korean GP 2010

Source: bnr344

Montezemolo to the team: “We have not won anything yet”

A quick toast to celebrate coming first and third in the Korean Grand Prix and then it was back to work for everyone, to prepare in minute detail for the double header in Brazil and Abu Dhabi which will bring this long season to a close. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo and the Scuderia’s Team Principal Stefano Domenicali put out a very clear message to the staff of the Gestione Sportiva who held their usual post-victory meeting in the Logistics pavilion: “let’s keep our feet on the ground, because we have not actually won anything yet.

“Now comes the hard part and that’s something we must bear in mind,” said Domenicali in exhorting the crew. “Over the next three weeks, we have to do everything perfectly: reliability, the work at the track and at home and preparation for the race. These are things we are well used to, but it still merits repetition. I have always said that this year, keeping a cool head is what will make the difference and we must not get carried away with the words of praise, just as we did not get downhearted by the criticism in the most difficult moments: we should leave unguarded enthusiasm at the door.”

“First of all, I want to congratulate and thank you all, because this great fight-back is down to you,” said Montezemolo. “In these last few races, we have seen Ferrari working perfectly, both at the track and at home. This is the image of the team I like to see projected to the outside world, one of a team of competent and capable people, proud to represent a winning side of Italy, which was clearly visible in the faces of those you who stood beneath the podium on Sunday. I was happy to see Fernando once again proving to be very strong and focussed, not putting a foot wrong and I was also pleased to see Felipe back on the podium, going into his home race, where I have no doubt, he will enjoy a great weekend.

“We were not useless before and we have not become genii now: we are just a team that never surrenders,” continued the President. “However, we have not actually won anything yet. I have said this to all of you before: each one of us must aim for pole in our own roles, going about our business in a level headed fashion, with concentration and determination, then we can add up the figures in Abu Dhabi.”


Räikkönen close to staying in rally with Citroën - boss

Kimi Räikkönen is reportedly close to deciding to stay in the world rally championship with Red Bull and Citroën next year.

After F1's world champion of 2007 quelled speculation he is looking to return to Formula One next year with Renault, Citroen's competition boss has now revealed that talks between Räikkönen and his sponsor Red Bull are well advanced.

"I know the negotiations are progressing well for Kimi to stay in the Citroën junior team," Olivier Quesnel reportedly told Autosprint magazine in Italy.

"I don't know when something will be officially announced," he acknowledged.

It had been rumoured that energy drink Red Bull's enthusiasm for the Citroen junior team project had waned.

More rumours had linked Räikkönen, 31, with a move to Ford, with funding from the Monster energy drink.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Turn, Turn, Turn: The best Formula One corners

Corners matter. Yes, straight-line speed is important, but ultimately it is how quickly a car and driver can corner that dictates that all-important lap time. But what makes a great corner? It is, of course, a very subjective issue. The new Korea International Circuit threw up a few at the weekend, but it is a little too soon to dub them ‘classics’. For those, most drivers will refer you to the likes of Spa-Francorchamps, Suzuka and Istanbul Park…

Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka’s 130R
The list had to include at least one corner from Suzuka, the famous figure-of-eight track that many drivers cite as their favourite on the calendar, and narrowing it down to the high-speed 130R proved tough, with the famous Spoon Curve a very close second. Named after the corner’s radius, the 130R is one of the fastest in Formula One racing. Although modifications made in 2003 mean taking it at full throttle is not quite the challenge it once was, jinking left in seventh gear at speeds in excess of 310 km/h remains a supreme test of both car and driver, with a lateral cornering force of up to 6G. 130R’s unforgiving nature is why the drivers love it. Precision is key, even when taken at relatively low speed, as Lucas di Grassi found to his cost recently when he trashed his Virgin there on his out-lap to the grid.
“130R is one of the fastest corners in Formula One and you really have to think about how you approach it.” McLaren’s Jenson Button.

Italian Grand Prix - Monza’s Parabolica
Monza may be known as the ‘temple of speed’, but sprinkled amongst its epically long straights are some equally legendary corners - including the majestic Parabolica. It’s the track’s final turn and at 180 degrees, cars can experience apex speeds in excess of 200km/h and lateral acceleration for close to 450 metres. It leads onto Monza’s 1.3-km main straight, so it’s paramount for drivers to make a good exit in order to maximise their top speed before they brake for Turn One, the Rettifilo chicane, which is the best spot on the circuit for overtaking. The challenge of Parabolica is to brake as late as possible but then also get back on the power before the apex. Guaranteed to sort the men from the boys.
“Parabolica, is quite special. It's a difficult one to get right. You can always go faster there than you actually do.” 1997 world champion, Jacques Villeneuve.

Turkish Grand Prix - Istanbul Park’s Turn Eight
It may be part of one of the newest tracks - Istanbul Park - but Turn Eight punches well above its weight, and is already challenging the establishment thanks to its fearsome reputation. It boasts top speeds of 270 km/h, four apices (though the drivers treat it as two), bumps, and is one of the longest on the calendar, meaning cars (and therefore drivers) pull up to 5G for over seven seconds through this left-hander, which makes it one of the most physical corners to race in the world. It seems they are a masochistic lot, Formula One drivers. If they get it right, they can make up a lot of ground, but thanks to the bumpy surface it’s very easy to get it wrong. A true test of driver skill and precision - Turn Eight’s name clearly doesn’t do this corner justice.
“It’s a real rollercoaster and is awesome.” Force India driver, Adrian Sutil.

Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps’ Eau Rouge
Arguably the most famous corner of them all. The whole Belgian track is dictated by its natural surroundings, and nowhere is this more apparent than at Eau Rouge. Drivers switch left to right and go up and down through this legendary stretch of tarmac. Even though modern downforce levels have made it easier to handle in recent years - it’s now pretty much flat-out for those in front-running cars - it remains just as thrilling and just as critical to a fast lap. Grip and a sympathetic suspension set-up are essential, as is nerve - the sheer scale and gradient of the thing (something television pictures struggle to convey) is enough to test even the most bold.
“The drivers love the fast sweeping corners, including the legendary Eau Rouge.” Mercedes GP team principal, Ross Brawn.

British Grand Prix - Silverstone’s Becketts
If you’re looking for great corners, Silverstone provides a veritable smorgasbord, and Becketts is just one that has stood the test of time through the UK circuits various transitions. Midway through the lap, it’s a multi-turn complex, which boasts high speeds and demands skilful handling. Drivers try not to touch their brakes throughout this slalom ride, and instead simply lift the throttle as they swerve through. They can experience loads of about 4G as they progress. Quite a rollercoaster ride!
“I always liked the old track layout with the high-speed sections, particularly the Becketts complex that is a real challenge as you need to keep the momentum all the way through the corners.” Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Brazilian Grand Prix - Interlagos’s Mergulho
Extremes rule at Interlagos, with one of the calendar’s longest straights, some of its slowest hairpins and multiple gradient changes just some of its unique features. One part that stands out is the fifth-gear left-hander of Mergulho. It’s the lowest part of the circuit, and is a thrilling ride on the limit, made all the more exciting by the characteristic bumps on its apex. Another firm favourite at the track, deserving an honourable mention, is the Curva Do Laranjinha.
“You need to have total confidence in your car and a good mechanical set-up with a high ride-height to manage the bumpy surface.” Williams’ Rubens Barrichello.

Monaco Grand Prix - Monte Carlo’s Grand Hotel Hairpin
It’s tough to single out just one corner on this legendary street track, but we’ve narrowed it down to Turn Six, more commonly known as the Grand Hotel Hairpin (formerly Loews). Although it must be the slowest (and is certainly the tightest) corner on the calendar, this hairpin presents its own unique challenge. Taken at under 50 km/h in first gear, before it sends you plunging downwards towards Portier and the tunnel, it requires full steering lock - some teams even have to modify their steering racks to make the corner - and as much concentration as a driver can muster. It distils the very essence of Monaco. And believe it or not, you even see overtaking here, especially on the opening lap when tyres, brakes (and brains) may not be quite up to temperature.
“It's quite a technical corner. It's important to hit the apex so you don't lose too much time through this part of the lap." Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Canadian Grand Prix - Montreal’s ‘Wall of Champions’
Turn 12 in Montreal achieved legendary status in 1999 when a trio of former world champions - Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve - all lost control on the exit and crashed into the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve’s unforgiving concrete walls during the race. There’s no doubt the track’s fierce speed has something to do with it. After spending over 15 seconds flat out along its longest straight, drivers must then brake from well over 300km/h for this final, critical chicane. Of course it’s a case of the later the better, but because there’s such a slim margin for error, running ‘on the edge’ rarely means more than it does here.
“You have to be careful because things can go wrong very quickly. A small mistake and you'll be in the 'Wall of Champions' before you know it.” Former F1 driver, now FIA stewards’ advisor, Alex Wurz.


Fernando Alonso run into Stefano Domenicali after the Korean GP 2010

Source: banjoparapanyo

A missed opportunity for Hamilton

By Martin Brundle BBC - F1 analyst

Should Lewis Hamilton have won the Korean Grand Prix?

He may well have done had he not braked a little too late into Turn One at the final safety car restart and run wide.

That gave Fernando Alonso back the second place he had lost because of a slow pit stop for intermediate tyres and meant the Ferrari driver, not Hamilton, took the lead when the Renault engine in Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull broke on lap 44.

It's true that Alonso was faster than Hamilton at the end of the race, when the McLaren's tyres were more heavily worn, but until then Hamilton had largely matched Vettel and Alonso for pace, and McLaren had the better strategy having pitted Hamilton a lap earlier than his main rivals.

Had Hamilton won, that would have meant a net 14-point turnaround for him against Alonso and he would have been right in the heart of the championship battle, instead of 21 points adrift as he is now. This left McLaren slightly flat despite Hamilton's strong second place.

Given that, judging by his radio messages, Hamilton had been the driver most keen to get the race under way, it was ironic that he was passed by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg the first time racing got under way.

As it happens, that turned out to be a stroke of luck - otherwise, Hamilton may have been the one who was taken out by Mark Webber's spinning Red Bull on the next lap.

The Australian's crash came as a result of one of those awful slow motion spins all racing drivers have experienced.

Webber ran wide in the adverse-camber Turn 12, a corner where he had spun in practice, but for all the world it looked as if he had saved the car.

On-board footage suggests Webber pick up a little too much throttle on the soggy artificial grass just beyond the kerbing, and round he went into the opposite wall. As he rebounded, he sadly took out the impressive Rosberg.

Webber seems to prefer to be the hunter rather than the hunted, and he normally rebounds with a vengeance, as we have seen on other occasions these past two seasons. He needs to now that Alonso is 11 points ahead. If Webber loses this championship, that spin will haunt him.

Vettel did everything right - apart from mystifyingly choosing to race in the fading light with a medium-smoke visor. No wonder he was complaining about the light while leading a dozen laps from the end. Why didn't they change it during the red-flag period?

The German's engine failure was a cruel twist of fate and his championship chances now look to be in nearly as many pieces as his pistons were on the main straight.

Red Bull had locked out the front row for the eighth time this season. A safety car start suited them perfectly and Vettel positively took off every time it pulled in, which was three times in total.

It was the first double non-finish for Red Bull this season and the seventh time Vettel has not converted pole position into a victory.

The team must crystallise their undoubted speed in the most convincing manner in Brazil and Abu Dhabi if they want to win one or both of the titles.

Vettel was immense, although Alonso increasingly had him covered. And for all the laps Vettel led, the Spaniard was the class act of the day.

Alonso stayed out of trouble, kept the car on the black bits, and nursed his long-serving intermediate tyres far better than anyone else.

It was a champion's drive from the man who back in July, when 47 points adrift, declared he was confident he could still win the championship.

This was Alonso's third victory in four races, and his sixth podium in the last seven races. He is on a major roll and will now take some stopping.

For the fifth title contender, though, it is all but over.

Jenson Button had one of his off days, despite it being his kind of race. Some new parts on the car compromised his braking, and his pit stop under racing conditions just before a safety car put him into a lot of traffic.

One of the cars Button found himself racing was Force India's Adrian Sutil, who used Button, among several others, as target practice.

Button would finish 12th, ahead only of a Lotus and two Hispanias. He was a very sad man after a race which recorded his first non-points finish of the season.

Mercedes seemed to be the most proactive in changing their cars to a more wet set-up during the red-flag period after just three laps.

Once the race had officially started, the cars were out of parc ferme restrictions and changes were permitted. Michael Schumacher took advantage to drive an impressive and committed race into fourth place for the third time this season.

A return to the podium for Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Robert Kubica's solid fifth place for Renault, another double points finish for Williams and Sauber, and Vitantonio Liuzzi's strong sixth place for Force India, meant there were some happy drivers poking around in the post-race pitch black.

It was a thrilling race, for so many reasons. A new venue with an intriguing layout and heavy rain arriving only on race day was an explosive combination.

To help European television transmission times, the Asian races tend to start at 3pm local time, and darkness is never far away from the scheduled finish.

The combination of failing light and rain made for a busy afternoon for race director Charlie Whiting but the drivers have pretty much universally praised his decision to delay the start and then use the safety car to start the race.

I felt strongly that the race could have started earlier, as did Hamilton judging by his frequent radio calls.

Of course, there will always be spray when the track is wet; there always was. It's a case of driving accordingly in extreme conditions. I have raced in and commentated on much worse conditions than that.

Still, Korea threw up a unique set of circumstances.

The resin on top of the newly laid asphalt prevented water from soaking into the surface and running away.

Button said the whole circuit looked like a lake and the spray was the worst he had ever known, but Hamilton confirmed there was not actually any aquaplaning when the race eventually got under way.

By amazing coincidence, after two hours and 48 minutes on track including the red-flag period, the 55 laps and daylight ran out at exactly the same time.

Many drivers have commented that the gearshift lights on their steering wheels, which have to be bright to be seen in the regular sunshine, were dazzling and blinding them in the near darkness at the end.

It was very marginal and the race could reasonably have been finished three laps earlier.

There were incidents and crashes galore as several drivers misjudged their braking on the extremely slippery surface. Sutil and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Buemi will both take five-place grid drops in Brazil for making heavy contact.

It was a rather surreal weekend all said and done, and the inaugural South Korean GP was deemed a success.

Nevertheless, there are several aspects of the hurriedly constructed track and infrastructure which they need to address for next year.

Source: BBC Sports

Kimi Räikkönen on Sport Stars 2000 Part I and Part II

Courtesy: Moominpappa and _TaniaS_

Alonso not expecting to win title in Brazil

Fernando Alonso is not ready to relax despite leaping into a strong points position with just two races left to run in 2010.

It is true that, now with an 11-point lead over Mark Webber, if the Spaniard wins in Brazil in two weeks and his Australian rival is fifth or lower, Alonso will secure his third drivers' world championship with a race to spare.

But McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, whose drivers are also still mathematically in the hunt, said: "There is little doubt now the championship decider is going to be in Abu Dhabi."

Alonso agrees that he cannot rely on another Korea-like outcome before then.

"Red Bull showed us again in Korea that they are stronger than us, and that will be the same in Brazil and Abu Dhabi as well," the Ferrari driver told El Pais newspaper.

"So what we need is another small step forward to be competitive. We must be on the podium. If someone beats us now, congratulations -- winning or losing will depend on who is faster, on reliability and on luck," added the 29-year-old.

In comments published by Italy's La Stampa, Alonso said he is not interested in the mathematical possibility of him becoming champion in Brazil.

"Yes, that's true -- and if Red Bull miss their plane to Brazil, that's another way to be champion," he joked.

"The odds remain in favour of Red Bull."

Alonso said the only mathematical certainty is that he cannot lose the championship at Interlagos in two weeks.

"In Korea I have only guaranteed to be fighting in Abu Dhabi in the last race of the season," he confirmed.


Sebastian Vettel Interview after Race at Korean GP 2010

Source: ririri074

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sebastian Vettel Q&A: I could not have done anything better

Up until Lap 45, when his engine started to smoke and he was forced to retire from the lead, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel had delivered a perfect race weekend. The 25 points he could have bagged for a well-deserved win would have seen him take the lead in the drivers’ championship and step closer than ever to the title. It was a cruel fate, but the thwarted Vettel is determined to be back on the offensive in Brazil…

Q: Sebastian, it was looking great for you until your engine gave out. Was there any indication in the preceding laps that something was wrong?
Sebastian Vettel: No not at all. It was a total surprise. At the exit of Turn 17 I lost four cylinders on the right-hand side and from then on it was just a question of when it would also hit the other side. So I had to stop the car between Turn Two and Three. There was nothing else left to do in this situation.

Q: How was your race up until Lap 45?
SV: I was leading the race the whole time, getting away every time the safety car pulled in. I was able to look after my tyres during the ten laps before the engine blow because the conditions were getting trickier. It was getting darker but during all that time I always had something up my sleeve to react and keep Fernando (Alonso) at bay. I was a bit unlucky with some lapped cars as I lost around a second, but I knew that I could be around two to three-tenths quicker than Fernando if I wanted to. We definitely could have been in better shape after this result in regards to points. It didn’t happen!

Q: You went through heaven and hell during the race…
SV: It was one of the most difficult races of the season, adapting to every new situation and every new safety car. Sure when the engine gave out I was very disappointed but then there is nothing you can do, and honestly until that moment I was very satisfied with my race. I was able to control it and the rest of the grid at every moment. It would have been no problem at all to finish those remaining ten laps without the engine failure.

Q: What ran through your mind when the engine went?
SV: Well, in the first split second I hoped that the problem would go away. But there is also something telling you that when four cylinders give in the white smoke is just a blink of an eye away, and if that happens there is nothing that you can do. It is not easy under such difficult conditions to be in the lead because when you are following someone you can see where he is braking or where he’s running into danger of spinning. But that’s life.

Q: Was it the bitterest moment of your whole career?
SV: No, and there is still a chance to clinch the title. Sure with a win it would have been much easier…

Q: Now you are 25 points behind championship leader Alonso. What does that mean to you?
SV: Well sometimes you have to be lucky and Fernando was very lucky. For us, our luck has gone up and down probably too many times, but right here right now we cannot change that. We take it as it is. It does not make too much sense to be too disappointed. We had delivered a brilliant weekend up until that moment and, from my side, I could not have done anything better.

Q: How will you approach the Brazilian Grand Prix in your quest to win the title?
SV: No differently than this weekend because there is no reason to change anything. I am sure, had I finished the race, I would have left Korea with 25 points. The race for the title is not over yet so let’s wait what the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi brings.

Source: Formula1