The Few Changes to the Formula One Grand Prix Drivers Lineup

At last after three months of recess and of course boredom for F1 fans, the stage of scintillating action is now set. The winter testing is done and tested and of course there were some surprises, especially with Ferrari’s immaculate testing.  As the countdown to the real show starts before the Australian GP, why not a look at the new faces that will grace the grid? Here you go:

1.       Rio Haryanto, Team Manor

The 23 year old Indonesian is making his debut in F1 having already impressed by coming in 4th at the 2015 GP2 series. However, there are still questions of his ability in the big considering his team, Manor, was more impressed by the irresistible £10m in sponsorship Rio brings in more than his ability. As they say, time will tell.

2.       Esteban Gutierrez, Team Haas

Remember Esteban Gutierrez? Of course you remember the Mexican driver who featured at Sauber in the 2013 to 2014 season. Gutierrez later joined Ferrari as a reserve driver and he believes that a year observing Vettel and Raikkonen puts him in a good place to fight for points with new F1 entrants Haas. He has 38 races under his belt and has already joined the record books as the 2nd youngest driver to set the fastest lap after Rosberg.

3.       Pascal Wehrlein, Manor

The relationship between Mercedes and Manor as engine suppliers has miraculously given Wehrlein a seat and the German will definitely work to prove his worth. He is the youngest driver to win the German Touring Cars title in 2015 and obviously, Mercedes know that a seat for him at Manor is invaluable for the their long-term interests. He might not have any F1 experience, but with high-tour racing experience and Manor’s ambitions, the German will be able to fight for points.

4.       Jolyon Palmer, Renault

Renault is back in F1 and isn’t it a good feeling? Remember the wins by Alonso and much more glory they achieved before then? Well, Palmer the scion of GP2 champion Jonathan Palmer has the pedigree to push for podium. The car might be ideal, but the 2014 GP2 Series champion has what it takes to push hard.

In terms of the drivers’ lineup, nothing has changed much except probably the departure of Pastor Maldonado or the ‘crashator’ as fans called the Venezuelan who was prone to crashes. There will also be a bit of musical chairs as Kevin Magnussen replaces Maldonado having left McLaren as a test driver. Romain Grosjean will also be linking with entrants Haas after leaving Renault despite the feeling that this was the perfect seat considering his French links.

The rumors associating Valtteri Bottas with Ferrari have also been quashed now that Kimi Raikkonen has surprisingly retained his seat at the Scuderia team.

It is time to get back to the action and experts are already predicting a title challenge by Ferrari considering the impressive testing. Already Nico Rosberg has said the new Ferrari car is closer than ever and maybe Bernie Ecclestone might have to eat humble pie about the boring races when the real action starts in Melbourne.

How Accidents and Incidents Affect F1 Racing Mood

formula1_accidentsAs this year’s F1 season comes to an end this year, as a fan, you cannot claim not to have enjoyed all the 18 races. All the same, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will not disappoint you. Away from the circuits, you cannot help but admire the rivalry between teams. It is also interesting to see how teammates compete with each other. Cases of teammates hitting out at each other are not new. It is not an unusual occurrence. As a matter of fact, it adds flavor to the event.

Revisiting Hamilton’s exit at the Spa

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are a case in point. During the Belgium Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps in August, Hamilton had to retire. This was after teammate Nico Rosberg crashed into the back of his car. Rosberg admitted to being responsible. Ironically, Rosberg did not win that race. He came second after trailing behind Daniel Ricciardo. Rosberg apologized even though he had initially stated that he thought he had the right to make the overtaking maneuver that cost Hamilton the race.

Rosberg’s support from unexpected quarters

Team Mercedes disciplined Rosberg all the same. Surprisingly, Sebastian Vettel threw his weight behind Rosberg. Vettel, in his supporting remarks, said that the accident was a normal occurrence. He did not see why it drew all the fuss and media attention. Earlier, Hamilton had said that Rosberg had acted on purpose. In Vettel’s opinion, no professional F1 driver would wish to be considered disloyal. He further added that anyone trying to pull such tricks on others usually ends up failing.

Sad win for Hamilton at Suzuka

All the same, the incident left Hamilton trailing by 29 points behind his teammate. Hamilton managed to recover so well from this incident. He won the Japanese Grand Prix hence regaining the deficit and extending the lead over Rosberg by 10 points. Rosberg came in second place. A somber mood covered the race following a crash by Jules Bianchi. The Frenchman picked serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

Victory with no celebrations

There were no victory celebrations. The top three drivers simply took a swig and put the giant bottles on the floor. Such is the anticlimax of F1 races whenever a colleague gets involved in a serious accident. A dense fog and heavy rain descended on Suzuka. This made it impossible for drivers to see more than a few meters ahead. Cars had to rely on the guidance of the safety car before retiring to the pit lanes after one lap. Hamilton’s victory was his first ever at Suzuka.

St Devote – notorious Monte Carlo corner

At the Monaco Grand Prix, drivers have to be cautious at the St. Devote corner. In 2013, there was a 14-car pileup during the GP2, a precursor to the main F1 event. Drivers had to be shown how to tackle the corner safely. Considering that this is a street race, event organizers are always on high alert. St Devote is one spot where all drivers approach with caution.

Formula 1: The Emergence of Team Mercedes

In 1950, the FIA brought in changes to make motor racing more competitive and exciting. A new formula, the Formula One was established. Under the new rules, weight limits were scrapped. Car engines could have any amount of power. It could be a supercharged 1,500 cc or those that could attain 4,500 cc. There was also a Formula Two category for cheaper and less powerful car engines. The FIA arranged races in a calendar comprising of Italian, French, Belgian, Swiss, Monaco and British Grand Prix. There were thirteen teams consisting of about thirty drivers. Other races out of the championship were also put on the calendar.

An attempt to tame German and Italian dominance

Racing events became orderly. As expected, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Ferrari and Talbot kept swiping places. British Racing Motors (BRM) would later arrive on the car racing scene. The company was founded by Raymond Mays, a racer in the pre-war era. He was sickened by the dominance held by Italian and German constructors. The two had dominated motor racing for two generations. BRM was a prestigious company whose aim was to stamp British authority in motor racing. The company commissioned Rolls-Royce to design a supercharged engine with a 1500 cc capacity.

BRMs – total failure

Progress on the new car was painfully slow. At one point, the winter in Lincolnshire was bitterly cold forcing draughtsmen to wear special gloves. Eventually, five years later, the final product was unveiled. It was during the British Grand Prix and the car ended up being a total disappointment. Tens of thousands of fans who included Queen Elizabeth watched in dismay as it tottered. Nothing worked even in the later races. The BRM was a complete failure. New FIA rules rendered it ineligible. In the same year, 1952, Mays went bankrupt. His company was taken over by its banker.

Mercedes – better and organized

As BRM faded into oblivion, Mercedes managed to rebuild its team. By 1954, its cars were exceptional. Mercedes drivers were among the best in the world. The company had enough money to finance development of Grand Prix cars. The company was highly organized. With Alfred Neubauer as the team manager, it was not difficult to see how successful Mercedes was. Neubauer felt that every driver should make his own decisions. There was a general rule in the team that once a driver secured a lead, no teammate was supposed to challenge him. Neubauer developed a the red and black flag signal used to advise drivers on whether to slow down, speed up or maintain current speed.

Equipped and well-staffed

Team Mercedes enjoyed luxurious breakfast menus carefully selected by the team manager. It modernized its cars and added ferocity to their engines. There was also a mobile workshop that travelled with the team to any circuit. The Mercedes-Benz workshop truck had every kind of kit a Formula One team would envy. It had grinding equipment, precision drills and welding gear. The team’s high-speed racing car transporter could, cruising at speeds of over 100 mph, quickly deliver a racing car to and from European circuits. Over 200 people worked directly with the racing team.

A winning driver

From 1952 onwards, FIA made it compulsory for Formula One drivers to wear crash helmets. This was to later save their key driver, Argentinean born Juan Manuel Fangio. The talented and passionate driver handed Mercedes four wins in 1954. That year alone, Fangio won six out of nine championship races. Fangio commanded a lot of respect among his peers. His genius on and off the track coupled with teaming up with the likes of Moss led the world to take a bow for Mercedes.

Why you should not Miss the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix

During the days leading to the Monaco Grand Prix, hundreds of tourists flock to Monte Carlo. Monaco has a population of around 31,000 people. The number swells to more than 200,000 on the actual race weekend. Qualifying races are held on Thursday. Circuit roads are closed from as early as 7 am. During the race, visitors are not allowed to walk on the circuit or access the port and pit areas. However, you can do so on Friday afternoon when there are no races. This is also the only time during which you can also take photos of the pits.

Bus and shuttle companies still operate on racing weekends. The only thing is that routes are restricted and most roads are congested. You had better walk, just like most visitors do. If you would like to take a walk around the Circuit de Monaco, Friday afternoon and Saturday evening are the best times. Monaco gets into party mode on Saturday evening. After an enjoyable day out in the sun and on spectator stands, plan to be part of the sundowner. Most importantly, remember to bring your tickets along. Otherwise, you will miss out on the race.

Your stay at Monaco need not be expensive. You can still manage on a small budget. Food stalls run by local charities and volunteers provide soft drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. With prices controlled, you need not worry about buying your favorite drink at an outrageous price. On the other hand, even though restaurant menus are restricted, the service is fast. There are no restrictions on photography. Visitors are allowed to take as many photos as they like. Security is also tight but you need to keep your camera and smart phone with you all the time.

Carrying of food to the spectator stands is allowed. It is highly recommended that you avoid using glasses and glass bottles. Carry ear defenders and ear plugs as it can get very loud especially if this is your first Grand Prix event you have ever attended. If you have a Sunday ticket, you may be allowed admittance into the pits on a Friday. This, however, is subject to confirmation. You can double check with your online ticketing site or vendors at the booths. While Monaco enjoys fair weather between April and August, it would help to keep an eye on the weather.

If the predictions are that it will be hot, carry a hat and sun cream. In case there are signs it might rain, a poncho (wrap coat) would be most appropriate. For additional comfort at the spectator stands, carry a seat cushion. Visitors can also rent miniature TVs. With one of this, you can follow the race by listening to commentaries, enjoy replays and view statistics. When the streets reopen, take the chance and walk the circuit. Dance the night away with music from one of the numerous DJs. There are tables where you can sit and enjoy dinner or have some drinks. Your trip to the Monaco Grand Prix 2015 will surely count.