Battling inclement weather, yesterday’s Malaysian F1 Grand Prix provided plenty of auto racing action, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso taking the checkered flag, followed by Sauber’s Sergio Perez and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen taking fourth and fifth place. With his latest victory, Alonso has moved into fifth place on the career victories list – one place ahead of legendary three-time world champion Jackie Stewart. In a post-race interview, Alonso congratulated the team for doing a great job, and noted that in light of their performance in Australia, and in the qualifying rounds in Malaysia, he considered the win to be a big surprise.
While the performance by seasoned drivers Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Webber was impressive, the second-place win by 22-year-old Sergio Perez was considered to be spectacular, with his enthusiasm dampened only slightly by the thought that he could have grabbed first place. Perez has been reported as saying that a win had been possible as he caught up to Alonso, but he touched the curb and went onto the wet side of the track causing him to lose time. Perez went on to say that although they would have liked to have gathered more points this weekend, he was nevertheless on the podium for the second race in a row and so had no reason to complain.
The Malaysian F1 Grand Prix was interrupted by a tropical downpour just six laps into the race. Light rain fell in the closing laps, with the race coming to an end at 06h48 local time. Following the restart, drivers changed from full wet to intermediate tires with pit teams working frantically to get the drivers back on the track. Alonzo took the lead, building his advantage to 7.7 seconds. Perez was just 1.3 seconds behind Alonso when both went into the pits to change to dry-weather tires. Excitement mounted as Perez was just a half a second behind Alonzo with only seven laps to go. Just as it appeared the young Mexican driver may take the lead, Perez made contact with a slippery curb allowing Alonso the opportunity to take the checkered flag, with Perez following 2.2 seconds behind him to clinch second place.
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.
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.
Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel found themselves at the top of the Formula One drivers’ standings following Sunday’s Monaco F1 Grand Prix event in which the talented duo took first and second place respectively. As the sixth race of the season, the Monaco victory puts Webber and Vettel at the top of the standings, each with 78 points, however the Australian’s two-race victory puts him in the lead, with the German having claimed first place once this season. Webber started off the race in pole position maintaining his determination to stay ahead of the pack, following up on the success he had enjoyed in Spain just a week previously, where he claimed fastest lap, pole position and first place. He is also the first Australian to win at Monaco since Jack Brabham took the checkered flag in 1959. Driving for Ferrari, Spaniard Fernando Alonso fought his way from the pits to claim seventh place in the iconic street race, putting him at third place in the season.
This is Mark Webber’s fourth season with Red Bull and it appears that he is on a long-awaited winning streak. In his inaugural season with the team he scored just 10 points, finishing the 2007 season in twelfth place. The following year saw somewhat of an improved performance by Webber, with 2009 being his most successful F1 season – finishing fourth in the drivers’ championship with a total of 69.5 points. Certainly, 2010 has started out well for the Red Bull team, with both its drivers delivering superb performances.
Prior to joining Red Bull, Webber had spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons driving for Williams, but with limited success. So it may have come as a surprise to many that Frank Williams has been quoted as saying: “When we had him, our car was a disappointment, and we felt that he was part of the problem, but he probably wasn’t actually – with hindsight.”
There are many variables with auto racing and those who participate in it will readily agree that it truly is a team sport, with every member of the team contributing to success. The Red Bull team is on a roll right now and fans are no doubt eager to see how the season progresses.
Fernando Alonso is a renowned Formula One driver and won the World Championship twice. He is best known for winning the World Driver’s Championship title in 2005 at the age of 24, making him the youngest Formula One champion. This victory also halted Schumacher’s 5 consecutive championship successes.
Fernando Alonso Diaz was born on 29 July 1981 in Oviedo of Spain. His father, Jose Luis, competed as an amateur kart driver and even constructed a pedal kart to look like a Formula One car. Right from a young age Fernando showed a keen interest in racing and his parents described him as having a competitive spirit. As a kart racer, Fernando Alonso met with much success, winning several championships and titles in Spain. This drew the attention of sponsors who provided the family with needed funds to promote Fernando’s racing career.
It was in 1999 that Fernando Alonso moved from karting to open-wheel cars. He took part in the Spanish Euro Open MoviStar and at the age of 18 he became champion of the series. In 2000 Alonso began racing in Formula 3000. Once again he met with victory and thus began Alonso’s Formula One career.
Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001 at the Australian Grand Prix, driving for Minardi. Unfortunately he battled to score his championship point as his car was not quite fit to compete against technically superior vehicles. However, Fernando Alonso’s racing skills were strongly evident. The year 2002 saw Alonso becoming a test driver for Renault in 2002 and later a regular driver in 2006. During the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2003 he earned the title of youngest driver to gain a F1 pole position. By the end of the 2004 season Alonso gained greater standings and points. Alonso’s 2005 was marked by consistency in racing and 7 victories. 2006 was the year Alonso challenged Michael Schumacher. The entire season was tense, filled with wins and losses. In the end it was Fernando Alonso who took the world championship in 2006.
In 2007 Fernando Alonso began racing for McLaren. Following a scandal in that year, McLaren and Alonso mutually agreed to the cancellation of his contract. In December 2007 he signed a contract with Renault F1 to drive beside Nelson Piquet, Jr. Toward the end of 2009, Alonso decided to sign a three season contract, from 2010 to 2012, with Ferrari.