Fernando Alonso

February 9, 2009 by  
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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.

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.

Goodwood Festival of Speed

June 16, 2008 by  
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The Goodwood Festival of Speed, set to take place 11-13 July 2008 in the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, England, is considered by many to be the world’s largest and most diverse tribute to the history of car culture and motor sport, attracting participants and spectators from around the world. Visitors can expect to see everything from 19th century steam carriages through to current Formula One cars.

Racing motorbikes, classic rally cars and dragsters will feature at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Visitors can look out for a number of motor sport legends, including Emerson Fittipaldi, John Surtees, Stirling Moss and Mario Andretti, who will be mingling with the top drivers of today, such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Petter Solberg and Fernando Alonso.

A highlight of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is the Hillclimb Competition, with participation by invitation only. This takes place throughout the three-day festival in the grounds of Goodwood House. The start of the almost two kilometer course is in the south of the park near the gate lodge. Participants race along a beautiful tree-lined avenue before turning to pass in front of historical Goodwood House. The trail then climbs a steep and narrow estate road past dense woodland groves, as competitors head toward Goodwood’s horse racing track situated on top of the South Downs. The Hillclimb Competition starts on Friday with free practice sessions with Saturday being the official practice day. Sunday is the timed competition with about 200 vehicles competing. The cars are grouped according to various categories, including Early Cars, Single Seaters, Sports-Racing Cars, Saloon-Based Cars and Motorcycles. With the oldest cars starting first, competitors can participate either in a timed category, or purely as a demonstration run. Competitors complete two runs on Saturday and again on Sunday with each competitor’s fastest time determining the final competition result. When they are not competing, the cars will be parked in four paddocks near Goodwood House for festival-goers to view.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed is also a celebration of the role that the United Kingdom has played in providing a competitive and high-profile environment for world-class manufacturers and riders to honor the British Superbike Championship. One of the largest collections of machinery and riders, past and present stars of the British Superbike Championship, will be showcased at the Festival of Speed.

Rally drivers will put their skills, and their cars, to the test on a 2.5 kilometer loose-surfaced track which has been cut into the wooded area near the Hillclimb finish line. Spectators will have unrestricted access to observe these talented drivers demonstrate some daring rally driving techniques, including sideways driving.

Away from the roar of engines, the Cartier Style et Luxe displays some of the most beautiful and innovative automotive designs to come out of this coveted car design competition. The competition consists of about 50 cars divided into 10 classes, representing motoring history. The judges for the competition are not car experts, but noteworthy personalities from the arts. Judging is done on the basis of the beauty and practicality of the vehicle, taking into account proportion, detail, texture and finish. Judging will take place on Saturday and Sunday with a live jazz band adding to the festive atmosphere.

Certainly, all motor sport enthusiasts would not want to miss the exciting Goodwood Festival of Speed. Tickets will not be available at the gate, so book your tickets now!

Hamilton wins Monaco Grand Prix

May 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

When the cars lined up at the starting grid at Monaco on a very wet Sunday morning, it was anyone’s guess who’d take the checkered flag. The grueling, wet, race conditions put everyone through their paces and a lot of accidents kept fans excited and put pressure on contenders to drive well in order to place. In the end it was 23-year-old Lewis Hamilton from Britain who managed to take first place in an altogether outstanding race.

Hamilton left the starting grid in third place and quickly made his way to second right from the start, but then it seemed as if he’d spoilt his chances of winning when he swiped the wall six laps in and almost lost his back tire. However a quick pit stop fixed the damage and gave him the chance to do a bit of refueling, getting him back on the racing circuit in record time. His luck further turned when pole sitter Felipe Massa slipped up, giving him the chance to overtake and win the race. This brief summary of events makes the victory sound easy, but it certainly wasn’t. Persistent rain during the morning ensured that the race was slippery and there were literally dozens of crashes during the course of the grand prix. In fact, there were so many accidents that race officials eventually decided to shorten the race to 76 laps. Hamilton himself nearly saw his victory slip away a second time when his 40 second advantage was destroyed on the final 17 laps as the safety car came out. In the end he still managed to limp over the finish line in first place despite the fact that his tire was punctured by the debris left behind after Nico Rosberg’s accident. He beat Robert Kubica by only three seconds, and his victory made him the first English driver to win the Monaco Grand Prix since 1969. Felipe Massa finished in third place 4.811 seconds behind.

After a wild pit lane celebration, an overjoyed Hamilton remarked that he was “absolutely over the moon.” He also noted that this was definitely his best win yet and that he’d worked hard at keeping his cool – especially near the end when he saw the possibility of having his victory slip away from him. Hamilton finished second to Fernando Alonso at Monaco last year, and so it may seem that the win was a natural progression for him. However, it was a grueling race the whole way through and this made his victory even more spectacular.

Turkish Grand Prix Review

May 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

The 2008 Turkish Grand Prix turned out to be just the fast-paced, action-packed event that fans and spectators were hoping for. Punctured tires, scary accidents and some brilliant driving kept pulses racing as Felipe Massa struggled to defend his position at the front of the pack. In the end Massa managed to take the winner’s trophy for the Turkish Grand Prix for the third time in a row.

As the cars lined up on the starting grid that day, massive clouds gathered above threatening rain. There was no telling what would happen. The drivers spent ages waiting for the lights to be switched on and there was an air of tension all around. When the lights finally signaled the start of the race, the scene erupted into chaos. But in seconds the main contenders for the trophy erupted from the mess: Brazilian Felipe Massa made a clean break from the rest of the pack while Hamilton managed to slot into second place. In his efforts to gain ground, Raikkonen’s front wing nudged Kovalainen’s rear tire, puncturing it and causing a major setback for him.

At the back it was a confusion as Fisichella drove into the back of Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams, causing both to end their race before it really started. Vettel and Sutil suffered sufficient damage from the collision to have to be sent to the pits for repair work, giving them little hope of ever reclaiming the ground lost. Meanwhile Raikkonen lost his position at third place to Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica due to heavy braking, but he was determined to reclaim his spot and immediately put into practice the perfect strategy. By closely tailing Alonso, Raikkonen was able to slipstream his opponent, allowing him to pull out and overtake. The two struggled neck in neck for a nail-biting second before the Ferrari suddenly disappeared into the distance.

Things continued to prove interesting after driver Hamilton shot out of the pit stops into first place ahead of Massa. Massa seemed to yield to the position and didn’t fight it. The majority of drivers seemed to settle where they were and the race proceeded without much excitement for a while.

By the end of the race it seemed clear that Massa was back in the lead and no one would be challenging his position. However the battle for second and third was a tight one fought by Hamilton and Raikkonen. In the final round of stops Hamilton managed to change his tires and get back out on the track extremely fast, leaving him in second place with Raikkonen pushing to reclaim his position. Raikkonen continued to hassle Hamilton for the remaining 16 laps until at last he decided to settle for third instead of risking an accident. So in the end it was Massa who took first place, followed by Hamilton in second and Raikkonen in third. The three drivers were clearly driving much better than the rest of the field and deserved their prizes.

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