Victory for Alonso at British Grand Prix

July 13, 2011 by  
Filed under News

The Formula1 British Grand Prix 2011 was a very special event for Ferrari. Sixty years ago, a driver by the name of Jose Frolian Gonzalez won the first race ever in the history of the Ferrari team at Silverstone, and seeing Fernando Alonso on the podium in first position for Ferrari on the weekend was almost as if the team had come full circle. Driving the Scuderia has been a difficult task for Alonso, as he has had to watch ten victories pass him by, but he has finally been able to prove that there is great improvement with the Scuderia, and that the Ferrari team is back in action.

The Silverstone track did offer the drivers a few challenges, as it was wet in some parts of the track, while other places on the track were still a little damp. Alonso commented that there were a few uneasy moments during the race, such as when he was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton, but the entire team remained calm and focused, which was an advantage for them. While Lewis Hamilton was fighting off the two Red Bull drivers, Alonso was able to concentrate on his driving, not making any mistakes, and he only realized that he had a chance to win once he came out of his final pit stop. Sebastian Vettel’s pit stop did not go well, and all these factors opened up the opportunity for Alonso to cross the finish line more than sixteen seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel. He also went on to say that it was a great honor to win a race on the same track, sixty years after Ferrari enjoyed their first victory.

Vettel was followed home by Mark Webber, his Red Bull team mate, and the fight for fourth position was extremely thrilling. Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa where in a fierce battle right to the end, even leading them to collide slightly as the pressure mounted. But Hamilton was able to steal fourth position away from Massa by a few inches. The Ferrari team will now be looking at the next Grand Prix event, which will be hosted in Germany, and will most definitely be moving forward with more confidence, as this victory was very good for the morale of the team and the drivers.

A Tale of Two Motorsports: Comparing NASCAR and Formula One

February 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Features

Comparing NASCAR and F1 racing is a popular topic on the Internet. NASCAR is simple. All left turning in bulky, simple cars. F1 is complex. Left and right turning in sleek, technologically sophisticated cars. NASCAR is rough and tumble. Bumping and jostling add to the excitement. F1 is refined and elegant. Contact between cars spoils the precise aerodynamics and handling. As for the drivers, it is said that the best race in F1 and the rest race elsewhere. The comparisons by bloggers and racing analysts, no matter how erroneous, go on and on.

As shown in the table below, there are clear physical differences between the two motorsports. Less clear is whether there exists performance differences – that is, differences tied to the drivers’ and their teams’ performance – between the two sports. To address this question, we look back at the results from the 2009 NASCAR and F1 seasons.

Physical Differences: NASCAR and F1 Racing in 2009

Characteristic NASCAR F1
Number of Drivers 43 20
Number of Races 36 17
Design of Cars front-engine, “stock” car, heavy (3,300 lbs) mid-engine, open-wheel, light (1,322 lbs)
Technological Sophistication of Cars relatively simple mechanical engineering advanced electrical and mechanical engineering
Racing Tracks and Circuits oval-shaped speedways circuits and road courses
Width of Tracks and Circuits relatively wide, side-by-side racing is common relatively narrow, side-by-side racing is rare
Length of Tracks and Circuits relatively short (0.53 mi to 2.60 mi) relatively long (2.08 mi to 4.35 mi)
Location of Races 23 locations in USA 17 countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America
Turning all left turns 34 of 36 races left and right turning
Overtaking and Lead Changes relatively common relatively rare
Final Practice occurs after qualifying occurs before qualifying
Ability to race in wet weather cannot race in rain under any circumstances can race in rain with tires designed for this purpose

What is the relationship between a driver’s performance during the final practice before a race and his finish position?

Former NBA star Allen Iverson’s rant aside (“We’re not talking about the game, we’re talking about practice!”), coaches and sports psychologists say that athletes should practice like they play. The same is true for the 43 drivers who normally start a NASCAR race. An analysis of these drivers’ ranking in final practice and their finish positions throughout the 2009 season revealed statistically meaningful correlations or relationships between their practice performance and their finish positions in 81% of the races. The better someone performed in practice, the better his finish position. This was not the case for the 20 drivers who make up the starting field of an F1 grand prix. These drivers’ performances during final practice and their finish positions were related in only 41% of the grands prix. Interestingly, there was an even less reliable relationship between a driver’s practice performance and finish position if the results from only the top 20 points-leading NASCAR drivers before a race are considered. For these drivers, practice performance and finish position were related in only 22% of the races.

What is the relationship between a driver’s performance during qualifying (and thus his position at the start of a race) and his finish position?

“Qualifying is key” is a phrase that is heard often by drivers, crew chiefs, and racing analysts. The better a driver performs in qualifying, the closer to the front of the field he will start a race. For the 43-driver starting field of a NASCAR race, a statistically meaningful relationship between their performances in qualifying and their finish positions occurred in 75% of the races. For F1 drivers, the correlation between qualifying position and finish position was even stronger and occurred more often. But, for the top 20 points-leading drivers in NASCAR, a meaningful correlation between qualifying performance and finish position was uncommon.

What is the relationship between a driver’s points-standing (a measure of his performance in previous races) and his finish position?

Historians remind us often that the past is the best predictor of the future. This appears to be true for the 43 drivers who start NASCAR races. The higher a driver’s position in the points standings, the better his finish position. In contrast, a statistically meaningful correlation between F1 drivers’ performance in previous grands prix and their finish positions occurred much less often, and even less often for the top 20 points-leaders in NASCAR.

What is a more reliable predictor of a driver’s finish position: His performance during a practice, his performance during qualifying, his overall success prior to a race or a combination of these variables?

Overall, the best predictor of a NASCAR driver’s finish position was his points-standing. For F1 drivers, the best predictor of their finish position was their performance during qualifying and thus their position at the start of a grand prix. For the top 20 points-leaders in NASCAR, there were no reliable predictors across the races held in 2009.

Based on the analyses of the 2009 NASCAR and F1 racing seasons, we can now build a new table that summarizes performance differences in these two motorsports. Surprising, perhaps, is that the most noticeable differences were not between NASCAR and F1 drivers, but between the best NASCAR drivers and everyone else.

Performance Differences: NASCAR and F1 in 2009

Characteristic NASCAR F1 NASCAR (Top 20)
Finish position generally correlated with practice performance Yes, 81% of races No, 41% of grands prix No, 22% of races
Finish position generally correlated with qualifying performance/starting position Yes, 75% of races Yes, 82% of grands prix No, 28% of races
Finish position generally correlated with overall success in season Yes, 86% of races Somewhat, 59% of grands prix No, 19% of races
Best overall predictor(s) of finish position Points-standing before a race Qualifying performance (starting position) None of the performance variables studied

Article written by Kathleen Silva and Francisco Silva

Vettel is New F1 World Champion

November 17, 2010 by  
Filed under News

The atmosphere at Yas Marina was thick with anticipation and excitement as the cars for the 2010 Formula 1 Championships’ final round got ready to race. With all attention focused on Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) to win the drivers’ championship, there was one factor not many fans took into account, and that was the fact that in pole position was Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber started in fifth position, with Alonso in third, and the stage was set for a race and a showdown that people are unlikely to forget.

As the cars pulled away from the start and spectators prepared for racing action, the first lap turned out to be a hair-raising lap, as Michael Schumacher ended up in a spin, which resulted in Vitantonio Liuzzi not being able to avoid the crash. Safety cars were brought out onto the track and both Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso used this time for pit stops. Unfortunately, this put them back in the middle of the contender field, and with Alonso stuck behind Vitaly Petrov for most of the race, his top four placing in the drivers’ championship began to slip away.

Sebastian Vettel on the other hand delivered a perfect performance, leading the race and managing to collect twenty-five points after completing his fifty-five laps, making him the 2010 World Champion. It was a second reason for the Red Bull Team to celebrate, as they managed to win the constructors title as well during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

At the end of the season, the Champion Standings and points were as follows: Sebastian Vettel (256), Fernando Alonso (252), Mark Webber (242), Lewis Hamilton (240) and Jenson Button (214). The constructor title and points saw RBR-Renault in first position with 498 points, followed by McLaren-Mercedes (454), Ferrari (386), Mercedes GP (214) and Renault (163).

Vettel expressed his joy at his magnificent achievement saying, “I can’t believe it. The car is a masterpiece. Senna and Schumacher have been champions and now it’s me. It doesn’t seem real. It was light when I started and will be light again by the time I’ve finished celebrating.”

2010 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

October 29, 2010 by  
Filed under events

The final race in the 2010 Formula 1 Chamionship, the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is eagerly awaited by F1 fans. It will be held at the Yas Marina Circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke. The race was also F1’s first day-night race, adding to the sheer excitement of the event. Be sure not to miss this thrilling race, whether live or on T.V.

Date: 14 November 2010
Time: 17h00
Venue: Yas Marina Circuit
City: Abu Dhabi
Country: United Arab Emirates

Ferrari Formula One Theme Park

October 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

There is nothing more thrilling than a joy ride in an amusement park, enjoying the excitement of the experience of traveling at high speed through twists and turns. And when it comes to high speed, no one is better qualified than Ferrari. Yas Island in Abu Dhabi will be unveiling the new Ferrari World, a Formula 1 theme park. Adrenalin rides of all shapes and sizes will have visitors in awe, especially the biggest draw card of the theme park, namely the Formula Rossa roller coaster.

The opening of Ferrari World will be a historical occasion as it will be the first Ferrari theme park in the world. Over and above this fact, the entire theme park is indoors, making it the biggest indoor theme park as well. The entire structure stands at a height of fifty meters and covers an area of four hundred and fifty thousand square meters. The area that is accessible to the public is eighty-six thousand square meters. It is located on the land next to the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit. Its unveiling is perfectly timed, as on the 12th of November 2010 the second annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race will be held.

The exciting Formula Rossa roller coaster is a ride for the brave, as everyone on board will be subjected to a G-force of 7.1! This phenomenal rollercoaster is set on a track of the utmost safety and all passengers will be supplied with protective goggles, as this high speed roller coaster will reach speeds of a hundred kilometers an hour in just under three seconds and can go from zero to two hundred and forty kilometers in just under five seconds. This means that riders, with a staggering twenty thousand eight hundred horsepower behind them, will reach the first arch in the roller coaster ride within five seconds.

The interesting Fiorano GT Challenge ride consists of two rails that run parallel to one another and are approximately a kilometer in length. This ride will give visitors the true experience of racing, with both Ferrari F430 Spiders racing along the track taking patrons on an unforgettable ride. There are twenty rides in total, as well as simulators and a host of other attractions. Staff will be easily recognizable as their uniforms resemble those of Ferrari’s pit crews. Ferrari World is a theme park that will thrill, excite and entertain, and will be a massive attraction for visitors from all over the world.

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