The prestigious Autosport Awards are held annually in December at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. Autosport readers vote for the winners, and the gala event is attended by prominent celebrities in the auto racing world. The 2011 event took place on Sunday 4 December, with Sebastian Vettel being awarded the title of International Racing Driver of the year for the second time in a row, making history for setting a new record of fifteen pole-positions during the season, as well as for being the youngest double Formula 1 champion.
At 24-years of age, Sebastian Vettel has shown remarkable talent and endurance on the racetrack. He flew in from Germany for the Autosport Awards, expressing his appreciation for the acknowledgement of his achievements. Following his 2010 victory, Vettel began the 2011 season as a favorite to win. After winning the opening Australian Grand Prix from pole position, fans were assured of an exciting season ahead – and were not disappointed, as Vettel finished the season with 392 points, being a full 122 points ahead of second-place winner, Jenson Button. Other award winners of the season included Alex Lynn as British Club Driver of the Year; Matt Neal as National Driver of the Year; Paul di Resta as Rookie of the Year; Sebastien Loeb as Rally Driver of the Year; and Jenson Button as British Competition Driver of the Year.
Because they are in the public eye, auto racing drivers garner plenty of attention, but there is a whole lot going on behind the scenes, and the Autosport Awards gives due recognition to these vital elements of the sport. Founder of Dallara Automobili, engineer Gian Paolo Dallara, was chosen to receive the John Bolster Award in recognition of his achievements in the sport. Dallara has a long history in the auto racing industry, having been a designer at Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini before founding his own design company and becoming one of the top designers in this field.
The Autosport Pioneering and Innovation Award was presented to Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Weeks for their movie tribute to Brazilian driver, Ayrton Senna. Entitled Senna the film has received critical acclaim as having revealed the human element behind the sport through the life story of the three-time F1 Champion who was killed at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.
As the 2011 racing season has drawn to a close, plans for 2012 are already underway, with the strong possibility of many changes in Formula 1 racing venues and the assurance of plenty of action in the New Year.
A festive atmosphere prevailed at India’s new Buddh International Circuit for the inaugural Formula One race held there on Sunday. Drivers were lavish in in their praise for the smooth and fast new course, and random interviews among the crowd confirmed the day to be a total success. With a crowd of more than 90,000 spectators giving the track their undivided attention, Sebastian Vettel of Team Red Bull took the checkered flag – once again. As his 11th win of the 2011 Formula One season, his 35th podium finish and 21st career Formula One win, it seems that nothing can stop the celebrated German driver as he claimed all the first of the day – pole position, fastest lap, lap leader and first place.
With the Buddh International Circuit meeting the stringent requirements set out by the FIS, offering world-class facilities for competitors and spectators, organizers, Jaypee Group, are looking to the future and promoting auto racing as a sport in India. They will also be looking at other options to monetize the new sports venue. One of the options in the pipeline for the Buddh International Circuit is a Mercedes-sponsored academy to train potential F1 drivers. Mercedes will also be considering co-hosting auto racing events on a revenue-sharing basis with Jaypee Sports. Mercedes completed the Indian Grand Prix in fifth and sixth places, expressing their satisfaction with the result. Michael Schumacher moved from eleventh on the grid to finish one spot ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, who had started the rate from seventh on the grid.
Jaypee also hopes to attract the wealthy class in India, many of whom have more than a passing interest in sports cars, by offering special memberships at the Buddh International Circuit. Auto racing fans who become members of this exclusive club will have secure parking at the track for their racing cars. Riding high on the success of the inaugural Formula One race, the organizers plan to recoup their costs of building the circuit, and break even within three years.
Race winner, Sebastian Vettel, made no secret of the fact that he was very impressed with India, not only as hosts of the prestigious race, but as a country and a nation, noting that he found the time he spent in the country to be inspiring. Judging from the success of the event, India is likely to be a permanent fixture on future Formula One Championship calendars.
The Belgian Grand Prix was hosted on Sunday, 28 August 2011, and was once again dominated by the Red Bull Team, as Sebastian Vettel was able to capture this leg of the Formula 1 Championships with his team mate, Mark Webber, taking second place. Having both drivers on the podium was a great victory for Red Bull, as have now increased their lead on the other teams in regard to championship points. Jenson Button was able to gain a third position for McLaren. The day proved to be difficult for many drivers, as pit stops and accidents plagued some teams.
With only seven events remaining for the 2011 Formula One season, it seems that Sebastian Vettel is well on his way to securing the driver’s championship, as he now has 259 points; with his teammate Mark Webber sitting on 167. The Red Bull Team has now accumulated 426 points, with McLaren having 295 and Ferrari with 231 points for the constructor’s championship.
As both drivers for Red Bull were struggling tremendously with tire degradation during the qualifying rounds of the event, there was some concern for the big day, but they managed to make it work. Even though Nico Rosberg was able to grab the lead, it proved to be a short lived victory, as Vettel reclaimed his leading position during lap three, after starting in pole position. While fighting it out for forth position during lap thirteen, Lewis Hamilton suffered an unfortunate accident, leaving debris all over the circuit, which brought out the safety car. Hamilton was fortunate enough to walk away uninjured.
Fernando Alonso, from Ferrari, who has enjoyed four podium positions this season, was in third place, but in the final laps of the race, Jenson Button was able to pass him, leaving him to finish in forth position. Michael Schumacher was able to enjoy a very successful race, as he made his way from last position to finish in fifth place, which was a fitting way to celebrate his twentieth anniversary in Formula One.
The 2011 Formula One Season started off on a high note for the Red Bull team, with Sebastian Vettel winning five of the first six events of the season. However, it seems that their luck is turning, as other teams begin to gain momentum and more races are eluding Vettel. The Hungarian Grand Prix took place on a wet track, but it did not interfere with Jenson Button’s winning his 200th grand prix start.
It was not a very good day for Lewis Hamilton, who not only got a drive through penalty but also spun out, giving Paul di Resta and Jenson Button the opportunity to pass him on the forty-seventh lap. Jenson Button had to fight for his position, as everyone was putting in their best performances, but Sebastian Vettel had to settle for watching Jenson Button cross the finish line in front of him. Vettel’s second place finish was followed by Fernando Alsono in third, Lewis Hamilton in fourth position, Mark Webber in fifth, Felipe Massa in sixth and Paul di Resta in seventh place.
The championship point standings still sees Vettel leading by eighty-five points, as he has now accumulated 234 points, followed by Mark Webber (Red Bull) with 149, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) with 146, Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) with 145 and Jenson Button (McLaren) on 134 points. Speaking to press after the race, Vettel commented that he always focuses on securing a victory for his team, and after gaining pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix they did have the opportunity to win, but it unfortunately did not pay off. He said that even though other drivers did increase their Championship Points, he did not feel too threatened as there are still eight races left for the season and he is hungry for another victory.
The next event will take place in Belgium on 28 August, followed by 11 September in Italy, 25 September in Singapore, 9 October in Japan, 16 October in Korea, 30 October in India, 13 November in Abu Dhabi and on 27 November in Brazil.
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.