The prestigious Autosport Awards are held annually in December at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Autosport readers vote for the winners, and the gala event is attended by prominent celebrities in the auto racing world. The 2011 event took place on Sunday 4 December, with Sebastian Vettel being awarded the title of International Racing Driver of the year for the second time in a row, making history for setting a new record of fifteen pole-positions during the season, as well as for being the youngest double Formula 1 champion.
At 24-years of age, Sebastian Vettel has shown remarkable talent and endurance on the racetrack. He flew in from Germany for the Autosport Awards, expressing his appreciation for the acknowledgement of his achievements. Following his 2010 victory, Vettel began the 2011 season as a favorite to win. After winning the opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position, fans were assured of an exciting season ahead – and were not disappointed, as Vettel finished the season with 392 points, being a full 122 points ahead of second-place winner, Jenson Button. Other award winners of the season included Alex Lynn as British Club Driver of the Year; Matt Neal as National Driver of the Year; Paul di Resta as Rookie of the Year; Sebastien Loeb as Rally Driver of the Year; and Jenson Button as British Competition Driver of the Year.
Because they are in the public eye, auto racing drivers garner plenty of attention, but there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes, and the Autosport Awards gives due recognition to these vital elements of the sport. Founder of Dallara Automobili, engineer Gian Paolo Dallara, was chosen to receive the John Bolster Award in recognition of his achievements in the sport. Dallara has a long history in the auto racing industry, having been a designer at Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini before founding his own design company and becoming one of the top designers in this field.
The Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award was presented to Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Weeks for their movie tribute to Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna. Entitled Senna the film has received critical acclaim as having revealed the human element behind the sport through the life story of the three-time F1 Champion who was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
As the 2011 racing season has drawn to a close, plans for 2012 are already underway, with the strong possibility of many changes in Formula 1 racing venues and the assurance of plenty of action in the New Year.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, on 15 October 1983, as the nephew of three-time Formula One world Champion, Ayrton Senna (21 March 1960-1 May 1994), it seems that Bruno Senna Lalli had racing in his blood from the start. Pitting his skills against those of his uncle (the brother of his mother Viviane) on the family farm while racing in go-karts, it was clear to all that Bruno had great potential for a career in auto racing. The death of his uncle at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix put a stop to him pursuing a racing career at that time, and the family was dealt another blow when his father, Flávio Lalli, lost his life in a motorcycle crash in 1996.
In 2004 Bruno Senna received, as a gift from a family friend, a replica of his uncle’s 1986 Lotus 98T which he drove at the 2004 F1 Brazilian Grand Prix in São Paulo. From there his driving career took off as he competed in the last three events of the British Formula BMW Championship that year. For the following two years, Senna competed in the British Formula Three season with some success, finishing third in the standings in 2006, having earned three pole positions and five victories.
Upon switching to the GP2 series in 2007, Senna clocked up one race win, as well as two second places, ending the season eighth in the championship. 2008 proved to be a good year for Senna as he ended his second GP2 season with two victories and runner-up to Giorgio Pantano. It was in 2008 too, that Senna made his unsuccessful F1 test debut for Honda. Having missed out on an F1 drive, in 2009 Senna signed with Oreca and competed in the Le Mans Series, including the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race.
After announcing that he had signed a deal to race for Campos Meta in the 2010 F1 Championship series, the team changed hands resulting in some uncertainty as to whether contracts would be honored by the new owner, Spanish businessman José Ramón Carabante. However, on 2 March 2010, it was announced that the team’s name would change to Hispania Racing, with Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok as drivers.
When Ayrton Senna left McLaren at the end of 1993, he was quoted as having said: “If you think I’m fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno.” With such an endorsement, we can be sure that many will be following Bruno Senna’s career with great interest.
The San Marino Grand Prix forms a part of the Formula One Championship calendar each year. It has been held at the Autodromo e Dino Ferrari of Imola, Italy for several years, and as there was already an Italian Grand Prix when it was established, it was named the San Marino Grand Prix. A number of thrilling races have been recorded during the San Marino Grand Prix, which draws large numbers of Formula One fans each year.
Imola proves to be the perfect setting for Formula One racing. For decades it has been surrounded by numerous racing car manufacturers such as Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini. San Marino hosted its first car race in 1954, and several years later, in 1963, San Marino held a race with F1 cars. This non-championship race was won by Lotus’ Jim Clark and set a precedent for things to come. By the year 1980, the Italian Grand Prix was transferred to Imola from Monza after an awful startline pile-up in 1978. This amazing Formula One race was won by Nelson Piquet. The Italian Grand Prix moved back to Monza in 1981, with Imola creating its own race, namely the San Marino Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, the history of the San Marino Grand Prix was marked by 3 large accidents in 1994. That year was sadly marred by the death of F1 legend Ayrton Senna as well as great driver Roland Ratzenberger. However, there have been many exciting events at the San Marino Grand Prix. One of the most notable was the duel between Didier Pironi and Gilles Villeneuve in 1982.
The San Marino Grand Prix runs for 62 laps around the 4.93 km circuit of Autodomo e Dino Ferrari. Thus the race totals 305.61 km. Michael Schumacher has won the San Marino Grand Prix in the following years: 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000,1999 and 1994. Fernando Alonso gained victory in 2005 and Ralf Schumacher took the lead in 2001.
Unfortunately, the facilities at Imola deteriorated to the point that the San Marino Grand Prix was excluded from the 2007 calendar and has not featured since.
The Formula One race that takes place on the streets of the Principality of Monaco, is known as the Monaco Grand Prix, or Grand Prix de Monaco. It has long been one of the most important and prestigious racing events on the Formula One calendar, taking place every year since it’s inception in 1929. It has been ranked with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. This magnificent Grand Prix, has always been associated with glamor, fame and riches, and people from all over the world gather in Monaco to watch the race.
The very first Formula One Monaco Grand Prix was organized by Antony Noghes, with the year 1929 predating any other organized World Championship. The organization of the race, was overseen by Prince Louis II, with the assistance of the A.C.M (Automobile Club de Monaco). William Grover-Williams (also known as Williams), won the first event, behind the wheel of a Bugatti. His car was painted green, and would become Britain’s color, referred to as ‘racing green’. Grover-Williams, however, is not related to the later Williams teams, in any way. The Grand Prix was associated with the pre-Second World War European Championships, and it also included the very first Formula One World Championship that took place in 1950. It remained associated with the European Championship during the years 1936 to 1939. As part of the emergency protocol, divers are on hand to rescue any drivers that may have the misfortune of landing in the harbor.
Ayrton Senna, from Brazil, had six Grand Prix victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, of which five were consecutive from the year 1989 to 1993. He was given the title of “Master of Monaco”, but his predecessor, Graham Hill, was known as the “King of Monaco”.
Every year, the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, becomes the jewel of the Grand Prix season. The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps, that covers a total of 260.25 kilometers. It takes six weeks to construct the circuit, and it has many tight corners, various elevation changes and is, in general, a very narrow course. Nelson Piquet once said, that even though the course is like trying to ride a bicycle in your living room, one win at the Monaco Grand Prix, is equivalent to winning two races on any other circuit.
On March 21, 1960, Ayrton Senna da Silva was born into a wealthy Brazilian family along with his brother and sister. Although he led a privileged life with all his needs and wants catered for, his love and inner need to race pushed him to go further and push racing to the extreme. This obsession began at an early age when his father first gave him a miniature go-kart at the age of four years. Ayrton Senna’s memories of his childhood are highlighted with Grand Prix mornings where he would sit down and watch intensely as his Formula One heroes competed. His turn to race took place at the age of thirteen years when he raced a kart for the first time and won.
Later he moved onto single-seater racing in Britain, where he proved himself a formidable force to be reckoned with by winning five championships in three years. His passion for racing continued and finally he made his Formula One debut with Toleman in 1984. In Monaco, Senna proved that he was more then just a driver but that he had phenomenal talent, when he came second to Alain Prost’s McLaren in torrential rain.
In 1985 Ayrton Senna bought out his contract with Toleman and moved to Lotus where he could further his ambitions as a Formula One driver. This is exactly what he did, within three seasons he began in pole position sixteen times and won a total of six races. Again he came to a standstill as to what he could achieve within Lotus and so decided to take the next step forward and move to McLaren in 1988. Here he stayed for a total of six seasons, winning altogether three world championships and 35 races, showing his domination as a driver. Then in time for the 1994-racing season Senna moved to Williams for that ill-fated year.
Senna put his heart and soul into his driving and life itself, that was the type of man he was. It could be seen time and again by all his fans just how committed he was to the sport and what a thrilling spectacle it was to see him lap after lap. This ambition did not go without condemnation from the critics and infact it was Prost who accused Senna of caring more for the win then life itself. Ayrton Senna even confessed that he at times went too far to the point of even frightening himself. Although he was quite taken up with racing this did not mean that he was too self-absorbed to recognise the suffering of his fellow man. By the time he died in 1994 he had given approximately $400 million to children and to the underprivileged in Brazil.
Senna had always seen living as putting ‘your everything’ into what ever you did and come the time that he could not, he would rather die instantly then carry on. This is exactly what happened on May 1, 1994, at the San Marino Grand Prix. He was racing in his leading Williams when he veered off the track and hit the concrete wall. Millions of his fans saw Senna come to his end on television. The world mourned the passing of this man who had captivated his audience right from the beginning. Among the mourners at Ayrton’s funeral was Frank Williams, who said, “Ayrton was no ordinary person. He was actually a greater man out of his car than in it.”