WTCC Race of Macau 2011

September 22, 2011 by  
Filed under events

Tacking place in Downtown Macau, the Race of Macau is the last leg of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. The race distance is 2 x 9 laps, with each lap being 6,117 m. The lap record for the event was set by Tiago Monteiro in November 2009 at 2:32.076/144.87 kph.

Dates: 20 November 2011
Venue: Downtown Macau
Region: Macau
Country: People’s Republic of China

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.

Virgin Racing

March 23, 2010 by  
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Virgin Racing made its F1 debut as one of the four new teams granted entry to the 2010 Formula One Championships. Originally granted entry as Manor Grand Prix on 12 June 2009, the team changed its name to reflect its title sponsor – Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – with the FIA releasing a revised entry list with the team’s new name on 30 November 2009.

Virgin Racing is based in Dinnington, South Yorkshire, England, with John Booth as the team principal and Nick Wirth as the technical director. The team’s drivers are Timo Glock of Germany, and Lucas di Grassi of Brazil, with test drivers being Luiz Razia (Brazil) and Andy Soucek (Spain). The team boasts cars designed entirely using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Its chassis is the VR-01 with Cosworth CA2010 engine and sporting Bridgestone tires. While the team is based in Dinnington, the development and production of the cars is handled by Wirth Research, based in Bicester. Virgin owns eighty percent of the team, with other sponsors being Lloyds Banking Group, Bridgestone, UST Global, Carbon Green, and CSC.

Both drivers were forced to retire from their debut race at the 2010 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. Nonetheless, the entire team has displayed a positive attitude noting that while they have some teething problems to overcome, the season is still young and there is plenty of opportunity to show that Virgin Racing has what it takes to compete in this demanding, and exciting, sport.

French Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The French Grand Prix or as its called in France, the Grand Prix de France, is part of the Federation Internationale de I’Automobile’s annual Formula One automobile racing championships. Grand Prix motor racing as a whole originated in France, making the French Grand Prix one of the oldest Grand Prix races to ever take place. The first French International Grand Prix to come about was run on the 26th of June 1906 under the sponsorship of the Automobile Club de France in Sarthe, with as many as thirty-two racing cars taking place.

But the first organized event of this kind was part of a Reliability Trial run from Paris to Rouen and took place in 1894 over a distance of 126 km. The Le Petite Journal organised the event and wrote that the winner of the “horseless carriage” must be “safe, easily controllable and reasonably economical to run.” Twenty-one contestants took part, leaving on July 22nd, with the Count de Dion coming home first in his steam driven De Dion tractor. However the vehicle was not considered a practical car and the prize went jointly to a Panhard-Levassor and a Peugeot, with winning speeds of an exciting 17km/h. This race was quite a breakthrough considering when the first “horseless carriage” was introduced. The vehicle was seen as something to get to places quicker but by no means reliable, so the thought of speed on these machines was unthinkable at the time.

Then in 1925 the first ever World Championships were organized. This included the French Grand Prix, the Belgian Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Since 1950 when Formula One was instituted, the French Grand Prix has been part of this organisation. Formula One has been held all over France at various racetracks, including the Autodrome de Montlhery. Then in 1991 the French Grand Prix was given a permanent home at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. The reason for such a move to such a remote area was in an attempt to boost the local economy.

Financial problems cast a shadow over the 2004 and 2005 French Grand Prix events, although they continued as planned. As it turned out, 2005 was the last French Grand Prix to be held, as despite many efforts to continue including France in the F1 racing circuit, financial and logistical problems thwarted each new attempt. For the 2010 F1 season, there will be no French Grand Prix, however, French auto racing enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Paul Ricard Circuit has been put forward as a candidate to act as host in 2011.

Red Bull Racing F1 Team

February 9, 2009 by  
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Still a relatively new to the F1 racing scene, the Red Bull F1 Racing Team is one of two teams owned by Red Bull. Red Bull is an Austrian beverage company which focuses on the sale of an energy drink said to boost energy and mental vitality. It enjoys a good global marketing campaign and is known for sponsoring and supporting adrenaline-pumping sporting activities around the globe. The Red Bull Racing team is currently managed by Christian Horner and is set to give up their British flag soon in favour of an Austrian one.

The team started when Red Bull made the decision to purchase Jaguar Racing at the end of the 2004 racing season. Up until that stage, Red Bull had been in a long-term partnership with the Sauber Formula One team. This partnership was broken with the establishment of the new team. Red Bull is dedicated to their F1 team and also to the development of the sport as a whole. The company currently also owns the Toro Rosso team for the development of promising F1 drivers and the Red Bull Junior Team for the development of young drivers. Red Bull Racing also reached a political high-ground with the signing of the Concorde Agreement which will come into effect in 2008. Thus far only four teams have signed this agreement which commits to long-term involvement in the sport.

Red Bull Racing made their debut in the 2005 racing season with David Coulthard in the driving seat. Backing him up in the team’s second car was Christian Klien, who had driven for Jaguar during the previous year, and Vitantonio Liuzzi. By the end of the year it was decided that Liuzzi should drive for the Scuderia Toro Rosso team while Klien would remain with the Red Bull Racing team. In their first year they came sixth in the Constructors Championship and their final number of points outshone Jaguar’s performance over the past two years combined. They even contended for a place on the podium for much of their debut season. In 2006 the team made the decision to switch to Ferrari engines which would help them comply with a rule change mandating the use of V8 engines. 2006 also saw McLaren’s technical director, Adrian Newey, join the ranks of the team, which finished the season 7th in the FIA Constructors Championship, with driver David Coulthard finishing in 13th place.

Having used Ferrari engines in 2006, Red Bull Racing passed the Ferrari contract to Scuderia Toro Rosso, and took the decision to use Renault engines for the 2007 F1 Championships season. Principle drivers for 2007 were David Coulthard and Mark Webber, with Robert Doornbos as the third driver for the team. Despite some problems with the team’s cars during the season, it finished in 5th place in the 2007 FIA Constructors Championship. Using the same drivers in 2008, Red Bull Racing saw one of its driver’s up on the winning podium again when David Coulthard took third place in Canada. However, the team started questioning the wisdom of changing over to Renault engines, especially when the Red Bull ‘B’ Team with their Ferrari-powered cars passed them in points by the season’s end.

The 2009 season started off better for Red Bull Racing as Sebastian Vettel won the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix, with Mark Webber taking second place in their Renault-powered RB5 cars. The team followed up with points victories at the Spanish, Turkish, British, German, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix events, finishing in 2nd place in the FIA Constructors Championships. The 2010 F1 Grand Prix Championships saw Vettel taking the World Championship for the Red Bull Racing F1 team.

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