Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hungarian Grand Prix 2012 - Part 2

                                Kimi finishes second after not quite being able to catch Lewis.

                                                           Lewis celebrates his victory.

                                                  The rest of the drivers finish their races.

 Lotus drivers Raikkonen and Grosjean take second and third, with Lewis on the top step.

                                                            The Champaiiiiiiiiiiiigne

Hungarian Grand Prix 2012

                                             The drivers roar off on their warm up lap.

                           Following Button's false start, Schumacher stalls on the grid.

                             Schumi gets going again to start the race from the pit lane.

Lap 2.  Jenson in third place as a result of his overtake on Vettel at turn 1.

Race Build Up

                                                              Drivers Track Parade

                                                    Vettel on the way to grid slot 3

Always a lot of interest around Alonso's car.

Jenson being interviewed by his car.

                                     Kimi being sheltered from sweltering temperatures.

Support races at the Hungaroring

GP2 podium.  Race 2 was won by Mexican Esteban Gutlerrez.

Porshe Mobil 1 supercup podium.  Christian Engelhart took the win.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Qualifying - Hungary

                                     Gnomes from Estonia came to the Hungaroring. 

                                       Pretty ladies from Spain came to the Hungaroring.

                                 Lots of Michael Schumachers came to the Hungaroring.

Now for the serious business...

                                              Cars in Parc Ferme following qualifying.

                                         Lewis Hamilton after securing Pole position.

                                Top three grid slots go to Hamilton, Grosjean and Vettel.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Hungaroring - Free Practice 2

                             Raikkonen briefly records fastest time before finishing 2nd overall.

                               Mass exodus when the rain came.  Whatever would they do at Spa?

                                                 Some cars did venture out in the rain.

                          Schumi returns to the pits after his tangle with the tyre wall.                             

Hungaroring - Free Practice 1

                                                               Start of Free Practice 1

                                                 Jenson Button recording 2nd fastest time.
                                              Sebastian Vettel could only manage 15th fastest
                                             Schumacher returning to the pits 6th fastest.


Finally, I got my hands in one of these.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Thursday Pitwalk Hungaroring 2012

                                      Senna posed for a picture showing his charming smile. 

Maldonado shows his chinny grin.

Senna, Maldonado, Glock and Pic were signing for the fans. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Flying with Daniel Ricciardo

Who would have known that the flight to Budapest for the Grand Prix weekend in Hungary would be such an eventful one.  Having just sat in our seats, we noticed someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Ricciardo sitting across the aisle from us.  Not really being able to believe that he would just be getting some random low budget Easyjet flight we decided he was probably just the best look a like ever.  Until we saw that he had braces on his teeth.  What are the chances of someoone looking exactly like him, with braces, on a flight to Hungary, just before the Hungarian Grand Prix?  I decided I would seriously regret it if I didn't go and be really annoying and ask him for his autograph and a photo.

Clearly his friend thought it was all highly amusing.
In addition to this, sat right next to us, and dotted all round the plane, were members of the Marussia Racing Team.  I asked the man sitting next to us for his autograph to which he responded with a look of utter confusion and answered "I don't race, I am only part of the technical team."  I told him that there wouldn't be any racing if it wasn't for people like him.  He reluctantly signed my F1 racing magazine but I think he was secretly pleased.    

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hermann's Hockenheim

To me, one of the most iconic sights in Formula One is cars sweeping majestically through the trees on the old Hockenheim track. 

Sadly, due to the massacre of the track by circuit designer Hermann Tilke, fans are now deprived of the beautiful aerial shots of cars roaring flat out along the straight through the forest. 

At the old track, make a mistake and you would be in the trees, and although this often resulted in a large percentage of cars not finishing, it demonstrated driver skill, much like at Monaco.  As with most of the tracks Tilke has designed,  there are now huge run off areas meaning that drivers are given a cosy cushion to protect them if they put a foot wrong. 

Hermann Tilke changed the  track in order to facilitate more overtaking.  However, this year, following the incidents with Rosberg using the run off areas in Bahrain to make passes on Alonso and Hamilton, the rules have been changed to stop drivers doing just that.  Having four wheels leave the track and rejoining to gain an advantage has been ruled out.   

The overtaking manouvre on Button by Vettel, who made full use of the run off area, caused action to be taken by the stewards regarding this rule. 

Receiving a 20 second time penalty relegating him to fifth place from second must make all German fans wish there were no run off areas.   What good is overtaking if it is just going to be penalised, we might as well just have kept the old track and its beautiful forested straights.

Tilke and his cradling , supportive run offs have caused this rule to be imposed on the racing.  How much more clinical and conducive is it going to get?  It is time to find a radical new circuit designer with the vision that will give the drivers the opportunity to demonstrate their skill  and actually race each other properly.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Coaching in F1

Coaching for drivers seems to be an increasing trend within Formula 1.  Former Austrian F1 driver Alex Wurz has been drafted in by Williams to coach Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado. 

Wurz and Maldonado

Wurz and Senna

Williams seem to be fans of coaching, having used Olympic Gold Medallist Michael Johnson to help slash their pit stop times in order to be competitive for 2012. 

The fact that Williams have been around two seconds off the fastest pit stop time for each Grand prix so far this season would indicate that being able to achieve a fastest time in the 200m sprint clearly doesn't mean you can bring an aura of speed to everything you touch.  

Alexander Wurz's impact also has to be questioned.  Granted, Maldonado is a race winner, but look what has happened since.  No points finishes since Spain, and there have been numerous incidents causing woes for other drivers.  Following clashes with Hamilton and Perez he has earned himself a negative name around the paddock. 

Bruno Senna, while not being complained about by other drivers, has not delivered the desired results for Williams so far this season.  With just eighteen points notched up, he is having to deal with the looming figure of Valtteri Bottas snapping at his seat.  Finnish test driver Bottas, who is managed by double World Champion Mika Hakkinen, has showed his worth during Friday practice all season.  Are the performances of Maldonado and Senna really a good advocate of coaching in Formula One?

Jackie Stewart has always been a fan of coaching and mentoring for drivers, and coaching obviously works well for individuals in sport such as those playing tennis or golf.   But in Formula One, so much data and information is given to the driver in order to improve performance, it could be said that they are constantly being coached. Over the radio during a race, engineers can be heard telling the drivers what they need to be doing to gain positions. 

In a team sport like this, is a coach just superfluous to requirements?  

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Superficial Silverstone

The British Grand Prix always seems to have an air of the superficial about it, brought about by the myriad of celebrities who crawl out of the woodwork to attend because it is the place to be, and be seen on this particular weekend.

            Celebrities such as Jude Law, Goldie, and JB from JLS all got their faces snapped by media.

Chris Moyles and the producer from his Radio One show, who professes on air that he has no knowledge or interest in F1, were there for qualifying having been given a mud free parking space.  This is outrageous considering that real fans were told not to attend due to parking problems.  The wonderful atmosphere at Silverstone we all hear so much about, would be non existent without fans who attend because they actually enjoy, and possess some knowledge about the sport.  Yet it is the real fans who are let down in favour of desultory celebrities.

When Lewis Hamilton talks about the fans giving him an extra boost at the British Grand Prix, is he talking about the real fans or his celebrity chums?  Bring on Hungary, where the only celebrity guest you get on the grid is Niki Lauda.  That is how it should be. 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Sodden Silverstone

If you go to Silverstone, you should expect some rain.  This year has produced an unprecedented amount of rainfall, causing major problems at the track.

There has been a huge amount of money spent in recent years developing the track so it can complete with the likes of newer, grandiose tracks like Abu Dhabi.  The Silverstone Wing has been completed comprising of a lavish new Pit and Paddock complex and conferencing centre.  The Complex also provides new garages, a race control building, media centre, hospitality and VIP spectator zones and a primary paddock.  While most of these developments are intrinsic to hosting a Formula One race, it all seems to be focused on the corporate side of the sport, including VIP's of course. 

This rainy weekend has exposed Silverstone as not having a very high regard for the real fans.  The quagmire state of the carparks resulted in fans being told not to go to the Grand Prix.  Was depriving fans of the spectacle they have paid to see, the contingency plan Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips spoke of at the beginning of the weekend? 
Fans that did manage to get to the track had the pleasure of pushing their cars out of the mud.

Although some of the car parks are now hard standing, a lot are still fields.  Maybe some of the money spent on corporate building should have been allocated to improving car parking for the masses.  One problem seems to be that a lot of the fields are owned by local farmers so therefore cannot be made hard standing, but this is perhaps a reason why the venue for the British Grand Prix should be changed.

Access to the track  is a huge problem.  Getting in and out of the Hungaroring and Spa tracks is an absolute breeze compared with Silverstone.   Parking at the Hungaroring is free and at Spa it costs a third of the price of Silverstone parking. As a fan, this makes the Northampton track less appealing in comparison with others around the world, which is not positive for British motorsport. 

Bernie Ecclestone has not hidden his negative opinions about the British track and with lots of speculation surrounding a future Grand Prix in London, I wonder whether this weekend has just been another nail in the Silverstone coffin.

                                      Access to a London Grand Prix should not be a problem.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Does more safety mean less respect?

It has been said by Sir Stirling Moss that drivers in his day all held tremendous respect for each other.  They knew that a shunt could end with any drivers involved being injured or worse. 

Moss and Fangio give each other full respect while racing wheel to wheel at Monaco in 1955..

As safety in Formula One has improved over the years, it seems the level of respect between drivers has deteriorated. 

Prost and Senna showed little respect for each other when they were ramming into each other to clinch the titles in 1989 and 1990. 

Prost collides with Senna to win the World Championship in 1989.

Senna drove straight into Prost on the starting line to clinch title in 1990.

Only two drivers, Gilles Villeneuve and Riccardo Paletti, had died since 1978 so it could be that they were lulled into a false sense of security regarding safety.    Senna collided with many other drivers during his career and newer drivers such as Schumacher adopted this disrespectful approach. 

Now F1 is safer than ever before, and there seems to be less respect than ever before. 

Racing in the 1950's and 60's was built on a high regard for fellow drivers, providing thrilling wheel to wheel racing.  If there was more respect for each other in the present day, maybe it would give us exciting racing that without leading to a stewards discussion.