F1: Team Orders in the Spotlight

September 10, 2010 by  
Filed under News

It seems that Fernando Alonso’s victory at Hockenheim in Germany has sparked much debate, even after the FIA made their decision to drop the charges laid against the Ferrari team. Formula 1 has always been viewed as a team sport, and yet when team decisions were made, Ferrari found themselves in trouble with the World Motor Sport Council. And while the teams might be in a battle against each other when they are on the track, rival teams stood behind Ferrari and gave them their full support while the decisions were being made about the fate of Ferrari.

The International Automobile Federation will still uphold the $100 000 fine given to Ferrari, while not taking any further steps against the team for a lack of evidence. According the federation, team orders are banned and it was felt that Felipe Massa was getting faster lap times than Fernando Alonso prior to Alonso overtaking Massa for the victory. The federation believes that after Ferrari had ordered their drivers to reduce engine speed, the order to increase engine speed again was only given to Alonso and the battle between the team drivers was ended through team orders. The FIA went on to say that it was their understanding that if team orders were not handed out, Massa would more than likely have been the winner of the race.

Ferrari denied these allegations in their defense, pointing out that based on their information Alonso was indeed gaining on Massa, and that no order was given to Massa to allow Alonso to pass him. They went on to state that giving team orders was very different to working out a strategy and tactics that would benefit the team as a whole, and that clarity on this topic needs to be made. There is no denying that other teams also make decisions on what is best for them, and devise strategies to work towards a victory. However, it is clear that the argument over team orders and team strategy is far from over, as everyone looks towards the FIA to confirm and clarify the distinction between the two.

Felipe Massa

March 23, 2010 by  
Filed under

Felipe Massa was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 25 April 1981. This extremely talented Formula 1 driver began karting at the age of 8, competing in this form of racing for some 9 years. Massa then debuted as a single-seater racing driver, taking part in the Brazil Formula Chevrolet series in 1998. He became the Formula Chevrolet Champion in Brazil the very next year.

From there, the sky was the limit for Felipe Massa. He went on to take first place in the Italian and European Formula Renault series. In 1999 he went on to make 6 wins from 8 races in the Formula 3000 Euro-Series. The Sauber team decided to sign Massa on for the 2002 F1 season. He made a few mistakes during the season, earning 4 points and finishing 13th in the drivers’ championship. He spent 2003 test driving for Ferrari. Sauber signed Massa back onto their team for 2004 and 2005. During the 2005 season he managed to out-perform his teammate Jacques Villeneuve.

As of 2006, Felipe Massa began driving for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, beside the world-renowned Michael Schumacher. Things really began looking up for Massa, who completed the season in 3rd place with 80 points. Continuing with Ferrari, Felipe Massa made 4th in 2007 with 94 points, 2nd in 2008 with 97 points (missing the lead by just 2 points) and 11th in 2009 with 22 points. Following a life-threatening injury in 2009, Felipe Massa took to the track again, coming in second in the first race of the 2010 season in Bahrain. The future continues to look bright for this talented driver.

Turkish Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

As one of the newest additions to the Formula One World Championships, the Turkish Grand Prix made its championship debut on 21 August 2005. The event is held at Istanbul Park Circuit – a newly constructed track which was designed by Hermann Tilke. Tilke is a famous German civil engineer and the Istanbul Park Circuit was not his first racetrack project. The circuit is generally considered to be very challenging, as it makes use of the natural contours of the land as well as copies some of the most difficult aspects of other international tracks. It is also one of only three circuits which are raced in an anti-clockwise direction. The other two are the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Italy and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Brazil.

The Istanbul Park Circuit track is 5.34 kilometres (3.32 miles) in length. It is lapped 57 times which adds up to a total race length of 309.72 kilometres (192.45 miles). Although the track has a number of interesting twists and turns, turn 8 is generally considered to be the best and most challenging corner on the track. The turn is basically a combination of four corners which are joined together to form an intense turn with a 5G load capacity that lasts for four seconds. As if the turn itself wasn’t challenging enough, many drivers attempt to take it too fast and this usually results in them spinning off the track. Such was the case in the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix when Juan Pablo Montoya lost his leading advantage by taking turn 8 too fast in an attempt to lap Tiago Monteiro just two laps before the finish. His car spun out of control, tangled with his opponent and both were overtaken by Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

Although he has never won the Turkish Grand Prix, the fastest lap time of 1:28.005 was set by Michael Schumacher whilst driving for Ferrari. In 2005 the race was won by Kimi Raikkonen and in 2006 the trophy was taken by Felipe Massa. Unfortunately at the end of 2006 the winners trophy was presented in such a way that the political neutrality policy of the FIA was compromised. Fears that the Turkish Grand Prix might be scratched from the World Championships were put to rest when Turkey was fined $5 million for their inappropriate behaviour.

Felipe Massa went on to claim first place again at the 2007 and 2008 Turkish Grand Prix events, with Jenson Button winning the 2009 event. Turkey is one of the host countries on the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship race calendar, with the action taking place on 28-30 May as the seventh event of the season.

Massa Wins Race, Hamilton Wins F1 Championship

November 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

It’s been an exciting F1 season right up until the last moment. Lewis Hamilton has been an incredibly strong contender for the Championship title, but during Sunday’s race it truly seemed as if his goal might slip through his fingers yet again.

In the end it was Ferrari driver Felipe Massa who won the race. The F1 race took place in front of his home crowd so you can imagine the cheers as Massa crossed the finish line in first place. Despite great driving and a first-place finish, Massa didn’t win the Formula One Championship and so it was young Hamilton that received all the praise and glory after the race.

In the beginning it didn’t seem as if Hamilton would be able to claim the championship victory. Despite going into the race with a seven point lead, he ended up struggling to place in the top three behind Toyota driver Timo Glock. In fact, he was stuck as far back as sixth place. Glock was driving on dry tires and it seems that that made life really hard for him when the rain hit. Glock commented: “It was just impossible on the last lap. I was fighting as hard as I could but it was so difficult to just keep the car on the track and I lost positions right at the end of the lap.” It was his difficulties which ultimately worked out in Hamilton’s favor. With driving rain making Glock’s race harder and harder, Hamilton was able to make his move and overtake on the final lap to finish fifth in the Brazilian Grand Prix. It was all he needed to make sure that the hard-earned points he’d accumulated earlier in the year would help him to win the Formula One Championship Title.

Last year he lost the championship by just one point. This year, he won it by one point. After the race, an ecstatic Hamilton commented: “I am speechless. It’s been a long journey in which I had the support of many people. My team did a fantastic job during the entire year and we sacrificed ourselves a lot. I am happy for having achieved this for all of us.” The victory has made Lewis Hamilton the first British driver to win the championship since Damon Hill in 1996. Hamilton has also set a new record for being the youngest champion, the 23-year old McLaren driver beating Fernando Alonso’s record of 24 years of age with Renault in 2005.

Alonso’s Win at the Singapore Grand Prix

September 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The latest Grand Prix race held on Sunday (28/09/2008) was packed with never-before-seen excitement and drama. Not only was this the first Grand Prix to take place in the colorful country of Singapore, but it was also the first time a Formula One race has ever taken place at night. In the end the outcome was anything but predictable and the race was wildly exciting for fans watching from all over the world.

A number of the drivers may have been nervous about hitting the racetrack at night, fearful that bad visibility could’ve caused some nasty collisions. But in the end it seems that the demanding Marina Park circuit had enough spotlights to ensure that the drivers could see as clear as day. The excitement of the race was further emphasized by showers of sparks created by titanium skid plates as the cars made their way around the circuit. Initially it seemed Felipe Massa might claim the winner’s trophy yet again. He led from pole early on in the race and was driving well. Unfortunately his race was ruined at the start of the 20th lap when he pitted. The Brazilian was so eager to get back out on the track that he pulled away prematurely, taking the fuel rig and hose with him. By the time he was extricated from the situation by his crew, he had dropped to 18th place. To make matters worse, he was also given a drive-through penalty for his ‘unsafe release from a pit stop’, leaving many to wonder if he’d ever make it out last place. In the end he managed to climb up the grid a bit and finish in 13th place.

In the end it was Renault’s Fernando Alonso who took the victory, though even he hadn’t foreseen the victory. He started at 15th on the grid after a fuel pump failure during the qualifying rounds and his prospects looked grim. However, he managed to benefit from an early safety car period early in the race and from there it wasn’t long before he catapulted himself into the lead. The victory marks his 20th career win. It is also the first time that Alonso has won since he raced with McLaren at the Italian Grand Prix last year. Alonso was followed over the finish line by Nico Rosberg (Williams), while Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) finished third. Hamilton continues to lead the championship and has now gained further points over arch rival Massa.

Next Page »