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.

Stirling Moss

February 9, 2009 by  
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Sir Stirling Moss OBE was born on 17 September 1929 in London. Moss is a former British racing driver who succeeded in many categories of racing, making him one of the world’s elite. He has often been called the “greatest driver never to win the World Championship”.

Stirling Moss raced from 1948 to 1962 and won approximately 194 out of the 497 races that he entered and took part in. This incorporated a total of 16 Formula One Grand Prix events. Once when he was interviewed he told the interviewer that over the years he had participated in 525 races in total and that he raced as many as 62 races in one year in just as many different cars. Drivers who came out of that era competed in many categories, often at the same time.

Stirling was a pioneer in British Formula One racing and was second four times in the Drivers’ Championships from 1955 to 1958. His first win was at the British Grand Prix at Aintree, with the incredible Mercedes-Benz W196 Monoposto. One of his favourite drives was the 1955 Mille Miglia, a race 1597 km long endurance race on open road through Italy. Here he managed to beat teammate Fangio in second place when he finished with a record time of 10 hours and 8 minutes. His navigator was there to support Moss with notes on the long trip and anything that might affect Stirling’s decision making. This helped immensely as Stirling competed against many local drivers and this gave him as much information as what they would have had.

In 1957 Moss completed one of the longest Grand Prix circuits, winning the daunting 25 km Pescara Circuit. He again beat friend and archrival Fangio showing his skills at high speeds and over a long distance. Stirling Moss was equally gifted in the sports car as he was in the Grand Prix car, winning for three years consecutively the hard and tiring 1000 km race at Germany’s Nurburgring.

Australian Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Formula One Australian Grand Prix is currently held at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit located in Melbourne’s Albert Park. In the past the races hosted open wheel racing, in the Formula One style, but they were not part of the World Championships. Venues also alternated a great deal, with Albert Park, being very popular in the 1950s. Local drivers would often compete against the world class drivers of the time., but this form of racing came to an end in 1984.

In 1985, the Australian Grand Prix became a part of the World Championships, and therefore, a part of Formula One racing. The last race of the season was raced on the Adelaide street circuit. This street circuit was not as narrow and challenging as the circuit in Monaco, but nevertheless proved to be quite a challenge for drivers and their cars. In 1986, one of the most memorable Australian Grand Prix took place here. At that time,Nigel Mansell only needed a third place to win the championship. Also fighting for the much coveted title was Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. With Mansell in the lead and only a few laps to the finish, everyone thought that they knew the outcome. The Williams car that Mansell was driving, suddenly had a mechanical failure, sending Mansell with sparks flying, off the circuit. Prost, then took the lead, to win the race and the championship. He too, almost did not make it, as he ran out of fuel on his warm down lap.

In 1995, the Adelaide Street Circuit held its last Formula One Australian Grand Prix, to the disappointment of many. This was a very popular street circuit amongst the drivers, and the teams thoroughly enjoyed the circuit’s atmosphere. In 1993, together with the Australian Grand Prix chairman Ron Walker, politician and premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, announced that the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix would be moved to Albert Park. A significant amount of money was spent to rebuild the circuit, and it led to protests and controversy. Many people believed that the funds would have been better spent by erecting a permanent circuit, rather than using a street circuit, and that the benefits outlined to support the Albert Park renovations, were exaggerated and not completely true. Although a permanent circuit has never been seriously considered, the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit still attracts plenty of spectators. The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is completed in 58 laps and is a total race length of 307.57 kilometers.

Silverstone Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Britain’s Silverstone Speedway, with its rich history in the world of auto racing, is incredibly fast with a long complex of high-speed corners that thrill spectators and challenges drivers. In fact, most of its twist and turns leave other circuits in the dust. The change of direction is so quick that driver’s testify to feeling the “speed” of the car. You need good aerodynamics at Silverstone, so this is where all the hard work in the wind tunnel before the race pays off!

Silverstone Speedway was opened as a World War II airfield in 1943, near the leafy village of the same name. Once the war had ended in 1945, Britain was left with a number of sprawling airfields, but without a major racetrack: Donington Park was still a military vehicle storage depot, Brooklands had been sold off, Crystal Palace was in a state of disrepair, and Brands Hatch was still under-developed.

The Royal Automobile Club was interested in Silverstone as a potential site and approached the Air Ministry in 1948 and a lease was arranged. At this time, the centre of Silverstone Circuit was a farm that produced cereal crops and raised pigs! Out of such humble surroundings legends are born: the RAC employed farmer James Wilson Brown to create the first Grand Prix circuit at the site and gave him just two months to build it.

On October 2nd, 1948, amid straw bales and ropes, the first event at Silverstone Speedway took place, the RAC Grand Prix. The crowds came in their thousands, thrilled to see the return of Grand Prix racing after so many years of war austerity. The 3.67 mile course sent the 23 competing cars racing round part of the perimeter track, up the two former runways and back to the perimeter. This layout meant cars were racing towards each other head-on until they turned sharp left and returned to the perimeter. For this reason, canvas screens were erected across the centre of the circuit to stop the drivers being distracted whilst the spectators were not permitted to enter the centre of the circuit because of the potential damage to growing crops.

The winner of the inaugural race at the Silverstone circuit was Luigi Villoresi in a Maserati, who recorded an average speed of 72 mph to claim the first prize of £500. A year later, after the hazardous runways were eliminated and a chicane was inserted on the full perimeter road, Silverstone Speedway hosted a second major event in May 1949 – the Formula One Daily Express International Trophy – virtually a second Grand Prix, won by Alberto Ascari.

Another of Silverstone Speedway’s most famous classics also began in August 1949, the Daily Express International Trophy for Formula One cars and for this meeting the Club chicane was dispensed with and the circuit took up a shape that was to last for a quarter of a century.

Back in 1950, Silverstone Speedway was the birthplace of today’s FIA Formula One World Championship. Today the Speedway remains one of the world’s most historic tracks, but the challenges faced on every corner are no less daunting than any other circuit raced by the greatest names in F1 today.