Posts Tagged 'F1'

24/8/97 ….. Schumacher wins Belgian GP

Spa 1997 (f1-facts.com)

Thirteen years ago today …… Michael Schumacher scored his 26th victory at the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix. The racetrack was virtually flooded before the start of the race, and therefore it was too dangerous for a normal “standing start”. For the first time in F1 history, the race was started behind the safety car. Jacques Villeneuve was in pole position, followed by Jean Alesi in the Benetton, and Schumacher in third.

The cars followed the safety car for a number of laps, until the track’s condition had improved. Twenty-two cars and a safety car cleared the track surface of excess water quickly. Michael Schumacher quickly demonstrated that he was the “Rain Master”, passing Alesi into La Source with a very brave move. Schumacher caught and passed Villeneuve easily, and left his competitors for dead. Jacques was never a brilliant performer in the wet, and the Williams FW19 wasn’t a dominant force in those conditions.

Schumacher crossed the line 26 seconds ahead of second-place man Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan Peugeot). Michael would go on to challenge Villenueve for the Championship. It all ended in tears, as Schumacher would collide with the Canadian during the final round at Jerez, and was excluded from the entire Championship!

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Danica Patrick – F1 Material?

In recent months, several F1 figures have expressed their surprise that Danica Patrick still hasn’t made it into F1. They point to her driving skills and her marketability. Bernie Ecclestone recently said:

“Regarding an American driver, we have tried that lately but obviously what’s missing is the right attitude. You can race successfully in the US without the huge effort you need to succeed in F1, but to have someone like Danica Patrick in F1 would be a perfect advert.”

(www.formula1.com)

Peter Windsor, the famous toaster manufacturer and ex-USF1 boss also supports Danica:

Why did no-one sign Danica Patrick a few years back? It’s beyond me. She’s probably the best female single-seater driver in the history of the sport, she’s attractive, she works hard – and yet no-one in F1 seemed to take her seriously. If BMW had raced Robert Kubica and Danica for the last few years, would they have been any less successful? For sure they would have sold more cars in the States…but that’s assuming America is still important to the F1 corporates. I assume it is, but you should never take anything for granted in F1 these days…

(GPWeek)

Although Patrick has the support of several F1-related figures, there is a question mark over her suitability. There is no doubting her ability to attract sponsors and new viewers to F1, but is that all a driver needs? I have been keeping an eye on her IRL performances this year, and I have noticed her lack of pace on non-ovals. Her performance at Mid Ohio was below-par, where she finished last. Danica’s performance at Sonoma (22/8/10) wasn’t significantly better … she finished 16th! The race commentators for yesterday’s race noted that she will be relieved there are no more “road courses” left on the 2010 calendar! F1 drivers must be able to drive at a very high level, on the most technical circuits in the World. Just look at most of Herman Tilke’s circuit designs: Sepang, Bahrain, China … they are technical tracks to drive, and I personally doubt that Danica has the ability to drive at the very highest level on these circuits. If she can’t handle Sonoma .. there is no way she could handle an F1 track.

I believe that Danica Patrick is a very skilled driver, but there are tens of thousands of skilled racing drivers out there! Attracting sponsors is one thing, but delivering the goods is another matter altogether! Just look at Peter Windsor and his USF1 team ……

Oh Dear ...

Malaysian Grand Prix 2010

Photo by Nik Aizu
Vettel celebrates his victory! (Photo by Nik Aizu)

Yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was more entertaining than the doom-mongers were predicting. There wasn’t a drop of rain during the event, but there were some close battles, incidents, and drama. Here are some memorable points:

* Vettel overtaking his team-mate to take the lead into turn one
* The Virgin and Lotus cars fought battles on more than one occasion
* The Toro Rosso drivers impressed me with their racecraft
* Hamilton vs Petrov. A very good battle .. quite dramatic!
* Alonso passing Button into the first corner, and then retiring with a blown engine!

It was nice seeing Vettel winning his first race of the season, especially after what happened seven days beforehand! Hamilton drove a strong race to finish sixth, though I felt his tactics against Petrov were a little aggressive! The McLaren’s F-Duct “stalls” the rear wing, reducing drag and improving the straight line speed of the car! Expect to see these devices on other cars before mid-season.

I rate the race a solid 7/10! More pictures will follow in the next few days!

14/03/93 – South African GP

Ok, this one is a couple of days late, but the 1993 South African Grand Prix was seventeen years ago!

In 1993 in-race refuelling was banned, and the cars were limited to 190 litres of fuel for the entire race.

Kyalama 1993 was exciting, but not a classic by any standards … similar to the 2010 Bahrain GP! Alain Prost won the race.

What’s All The Fuss About?

Everyone was excited about the 2010 F1 Season, and with good reason. With four champions on the grid, the return of Michael Schumacher, Mercedes and Lotus …. the prospects are great! However, the first round at Bahrain provided a fairly average spectacle, with a the occasional overtaking manoeuvre, but nothing out of the ordinary. The F1 world immediately started to react, saying that the “show” needs to improve, but I’m aghast at people’s reaction! Sure, the race wasn’t a classic by any length of the imagination, but you would think F1 was on the brink of collapse as a result of ONE race! Bernie Ecclestone has even waded into the discussion, saying that the race wasn’t all that bad.

The 2010 F1 rules have prohibited in-race refuelling, so we are in a similar situation to 1984 – 1993. Throughout that decade there were quiet races, and limited overtaking during some Grand Prix. Nobody really complained. In fact, the period gave us some of the best racing in F1 history. Here are just a few of the best battles:

Piquet vs Senna at Hungary ’86
Mansell vs Piquet in ’87
Senna vs Prost at Estoril 1988
Prost vs Senna at Suzuka 1988
Suzuka 1989

This season will turn out to be a good one. It just requires a little patience! The fuel strategies may be gone, but we will see some incredible action later in the season … you mark my words!

10/03/1991: Senna won US Grand Prix

By Stu Seeger

On 10th of March 1991 Ayrton Senna won the United States Grand Prix.

The McLaren MP4/6 had only been completed a few weeks before the first race, but McLaren did a fantastic effort with the car, and its reliability was solid for the entire season. Williams were using the FW14, which featured a semi-automatic gearbox, and Mansell had rejoined the team from Ferrari. Ferrari started the season with the 642, which was based on the successful 1990 chassis. Jordan made their debut at this race, with the beautiful 191 car:

Picture by Stu Seeger

Onto the race itself:

At the start, Senna and Prost maintained their places while Mansell sliced ahead of Patrese and Piquet lost out to Alesi and Berger. The order at the end of lap 1 was: Senna, Prost, Mansell, Patrese, Alesi and Berger.

Early on, as Senna was pulling away from Prost, Alesi got past Patrese for fourth. However, Patrese repassed him on lap 16 and closed up on Mansell. He attacked on lap 22 but shot into an escape road and rejoined behind Alesi and Berger. He quickly closed up on them with Berger attacking Alesi but unable to pass. Patrese passed Berger on lap 34. On the next lap, Mansell’s gearbox failed and soon afterwards, on lap 36, Berger had fuel pump trouble, which forced him to retire. Patrese then passed Alesi who pitted on lap 43. He closed in on Prost and the Ferrari pitted on lap 46, with right rear troubles putting him down to seventh.

Patrese didn’t last longer, his gearbox failing and then the stationary car was hit by Roberto Moreno, forcing both of them out. Piquet, who did not stop, was passed by Alesi for second with Prost taking fourth off Stefano Modena soon after. Alesi was having gearbox troubles and was holding back Piquet as Prost began to attack both of them. On lap 70, Piquet passed Alesi and Prost followed him through. Prost then shifted sides getting ahead of Piquet as well. Modena passed Alesi for fourth and Alesi soon retired with gearbox troubles. Unflustered by all this, Senna won from Prost, Piquet, Modena, Satoru Nakajima and Aguri Suzuki.

(From Wikipedia)

Senna would go on to win the first FOUR rounds of the 1991 Season, which was quite a feat in the early 1990s. F1 cars were considerably less reliable back then. It was common for a dozen cars to retire from the race, and sometimes more! This would be the final US Grand Prix at Phoenix, and the last US race until the 2000 USGP in Indianapolis!

Let’s hope that the upcoming season is as good as 1991!

The Great USF1 Farce

Thirteen months ago, Peter Windsor and Ken Anderson announced the creation of the USF1 team. Less than a week ago, the team was all but dead. The entire staff has been put on unpaid leave, Lopez has terminated his driver contract with the team, and the car will never see a racetrack. Some would argue that the economic climate had a significant effect on the team, as potential sponsors were fighting for survival, rather than spending millions on an “extravagance” such as Formula One. Others would argue that this project was doomed many months ago.

One of the biggest criticisms of USF1 has to be their lack of communication to fans and media alike, who need to see tangible evidence that the team is on target to run during testing sessions, or to participate in the first race. A few YouTube videos from USF1 appeared, but apart from that … absolutely nothing! Many of the team workers didn’t receive a wage during the final weeks, and, in my opinion, these people are the real victims of the USF1 fiasco. They will have worked tirelessly, for no financial or psychological benefit.

Another team who won’t compete in the 2010 Championship is StefanGP. If you have read about their financial position …. it is probably a good thing they won’t be participating! You need a little more than one paid member of staff and a few thousand euros to run F1 cars in a TEST session, let alone a Grand Prix!