F1weekly podcast # 510

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Podcast number 510

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed and…

Special repeat Interview with Martin Hines

GP3 Series: Sims leads the way in Valencia.

Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims was the fastest man on track at a scorching hot Circuit de la Comunitat Valencia-Ricardo Tormo today, after setting the best time of 1:27.394 during the morning session of Day 1 of the final two-day mid-season test.

Today marked the start of the final GP3 Series mid-season test, and with the experts predicting that temperatures could rise above thirty degrees in Valencia today, all the drivers were quick to feed out onto the track for their initial installation laps when the lights turned green. Addax Team’s Gabby Chaves was the first driver to set a benchmark time of 1:27.913, with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs second quickest for Marussia Manor.

Sophomore Nico Müller found some extra time in his Jenzer car and briefly moved top of the timings ahead of rookie Chaves, but with just one hour gone in the session Sims edged ahead after setting a 1:27.751 laptime. From then on, the majority of the morning times were mostly static as teams used the time to continue developing a good understanding of the Pirelli P Zero soft slick tyres and concentrate on setups rather than quick times. At the end of the sessions Sims’s time remained unbeaten at the top ahead of Quaife-Hobbs, RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Michael Christensen, Müller and MW Arden’s Lewis Williamson.

It was the Lotus ART trio of Valtteri Bottas, James Calado and Pedro Nunes who were planted firmly at the top of the timesheet for the first half of the afternoon session, until Dane Michael Christensen split the teammates to go second quickest. Marussia Manor Racing’s Rio Haryanto was behind the leading quartet, followed by his teammates Quaife-Hobbs and Matias Laine in sixth and seventh respectively. During the session teams were once again busy working on race simulations and setups ahead of Round 3 at Valencia Street Circuit next week.

With thirty minutes remaining, Sims took his place back at the top of the timings, but a red flag just ten minutes from the end of the session ensured a last minute shootout with nearly all the field heading back out on track for one final run when the lights turned green. In the dying minutes, Haryanto put together his best lap of the day to snatch the top spot bumping Sims into second, ahead of Bottas, Williamson, Dillmann, Quaife-Hobbs, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Laine, Christensen and Müller.

GP3 Series will be back on track tomorrow for the second and final day of testing at Circuit de la Comunitat Valencia-Ricardo Tormo.

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Motorsports Mondial

Digital Dialogue with Runaway Stanaway

Meet the Flying Kiwi. Richie Stanaway. The 19-year old from Tauranga is moving rapidly, and successfully, towards his ultimate dream; Formula 1. Stanaway is based in Hilversum, Holland, and is driving for the Dutch team, van Amersfoort Racing.

His motorsports career started at the tender age of six in motocross. In his first year of karting he captured the regional championship in the Rotax Max category. The trend continued in his first year of Formula Ford; dominating season saw him win the championship with 14 victories, nine of those being consecutive.

F1Weekly would like to thank Richie for answering our questions, and we wish him continued in his racing career.

Q  Richie, congratulations on a great start where you are enjoying a winning weekend every time you race in the 2011 German F3 Championship. Is the season going as per the script or has this been a surprise for you?

A  It has been a bit of a surprise to have won a race on every weekend, however, the goal is always to win races so the fact that we have been able to do so means it has gone nicely to plan. If we hadn’t have won races by now we would have been working very hard until we did, and obviously competing with a championship winning team they know what it takes to win and have been able to teach me the necessary skills to do so.

Q  Seven wins from ten starts so far this season; what was the most satisfying victory?

A  The most satisfying would be the first race of the championship, it was my first ever Formula 3 race so to win was an incredible feeling, also with a margin of 10 seconds was for sure un-expected. You do so much preparation during the off season leading up to the first race and there has been so much sacrifice involved in my lifestyle that to win straight away was an incredibly rewarding feeling.

Q  With four rounds remaining who do you expect to be your main challenger for race wins and championship?

A  So far the closest to us on points is Marco Sorenson, but my main focus at the moment is just on improving my own performance and consistently scoring points for the rest of the championship. If we just focus on giving it 100% and doing our best, the results will take care of themselves.

Q  You are now part of Gravity Management, how and when did this deal come together?

A  Shorty after winning Germany’s ADAC Formel Masters championship last year I was offered the chance to test with Gravity against some other drivers from around Europe. I was also offered the opportunity to race in the Formula Renault UK winter cup which was all part of the selection process of Gravity, following that they made the decision and I was chosen to join the program.

Thanks to the support of Gravity they have made it possible for me to continue my racing career in Europe and have given me this great opportunity to compete in German F3 this year.


 

Q  Last year you won the ADAC Formula Master Championship with complete authority; how different is the European racing scene from what you experienced in New Zealand and Australia?

A  Of course, the environment is very different, and the lifestyle of living abroad on the other-side of the world isn’t easy, however the racing I experienced in New Zealand and particularly Australia I believe was very competitive so I had an adequate and beneficial preparation before coming to Europe at the end of 2009. Aside from that there are subtle differences in the way things are done in Europe which I noticed, and there is a higher density of fast drivers to compete with.

Q  Generally, young Kiwi talent go to the land of Kings and Queens – jolly olde England – what made you decide to race in Germany?

A  My first manager from New Zealand had influential contacts with Volkswagen and in the German motorsport scene and because of that a test was organized for me which took place in Germany and things went from there. After a short time of competing in Germany I soon realized why they are the nation with the most drivers in Formula 1, and it feels great to have been involved in the German motorsport scene for the last 2 years as I think it has been a great place to develop my skills as a racing driver.

Q  Tom Blomqvist is one of your competitors in German F3 and also grew up in New Zealand; did you ever race against him back home?

A  I raced against him once at a Karting race in Auckland, but apart from that we haven’t had much involvement with each other. But I think it’s cool to have two drivers from the same backyard competing on the other side of the world.

Q  Have you ever met Chris Amon?

A  I haven’t met Chris Amon, although I read his biography a few years ago from my school library and have been very fond of his past achievements in F1. My current team boss also says that he was his favorite driver back in the day.

Q  Looking ahead, where would you like your career to be in three years?

A  In three years my goal is to be driving in Formula 1, that’s a realistic time frame for it to happen, so in the meantime I am working extremely hard on using the time now to prepare myself. With gravity it will all depend on my results in the next 2 years, I need to show that I am capable and win races. I don’t see it as a huge amount of pressure; I just see it as a great opportunity.

Q  Your thoughts on the final lap of the Canadian Grand Prix?

A  The last few laps of the Canadian Grand Prix left me feeling very inspired, I really admire both Jenson Button & Sebastian Vettel and to see such a close battle at the end was great. Sometimes it’s also interesting to see that even the best in the world can make mistakes.

Q  Do you follow American racing series like Indy cars or NASCAR?

A  Not as closely as I would like. I never manage to find it on TV here so I rarely get a chance to see the races.



Q  Please tell us about Richie Stanaway. The young man not the race car driver; your taste in music and food and what other sports you enjoy watching?

A  I’m a big fan of house/electro type music, but also go along with most good chart music which is on the radio; also Kings of Leon is probably my favorite band. Food depends a lot on which part of Europe I’m in but don’t have a particular preference for anything but just try to keep it as healthy as I can.

Apart from watching F1 which is by far the sport I enjoy watching the most, I also enjoy watching the Olympics when it comes around every 4 years, I like to ponder about how much preparation everyone puts into it and how far people push the limits of human performance.

The Tour de France is also very cool to watch, I just finished reading one of Lance Armstrong’s books which gave me a whole new insight into the world of cycling and the amount of effort they put in, for me it’s something I can aspire to.

Weekly would like to thank Richie for answering our questions, and we wish him continued success in his racing career.

For more information on this exciting racing talent please visit www.richiestanaway.com

 

— Nasir Hameed

F1weekly podcast # 509

Vettel is rattled by Button. “Everything” goes wrong for Alonso.


Photo. www.bbc.co.uk

Rain, the great equalizer, turned Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix into a long drawn last lap thriller in Montreal. Sebastian Vettel, looking for his first win at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, led the race from pole position only to make a small mistake on the final lap which allowed McLaren’s Jenson Button to score an amazing win when earlier in the race it seemed all was lost.

The race started behind the safety car due to rain. Vettel held off a hard charging Alonso to lead into the first corner. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber was not so lucky going into the same corner. Lewis Hamilton gave him a love tap, spinning the Australian and dropping him to 14th.

Hamilton himself was later passed by teammate Button while he was chasing Michael Schumacher; the King of Kerpen had his day of days since his return.

After two laps of racing under the green Lewis tried to pass Button and the two McLarens touched, sending Hamilton into the wall which resulted in suspension damage and retirement from the race. Button blamed Montreal Mist claiming he did not see his teammate.

Hamilton, the mega-talent he is, has come under fire from two legends of Formula 1. Emerson Fittipaldi, the 1972 & ’74 World Champion, called him ‘too aggressive’ and triple world champion from Austria, Niki Lauda, has called for FIA to take action against the 2008 Champion before he ‘kills somebody.’

Hamilton threw away a championship in his rookie season by his aggressive style on the opening lap of the season finale in 2007.

The heavy downpour brought out the red flag on lap 25. After a two hour delay cars were screaming again at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Shortly after the re-start Button and Alonso were involved in a turf tussle. Trying to pass Alonso the two touched and the Ferrari driver spun and was stranded on kerbs. Button suffered a tire puncture and had to pit. This put him at the back of the field.

With 60 of the 70 laps run, Vettel, the Baby Schumi, led the Full Schumi; the seven-time world champion put on a display of old glory and fury and looked set for a podium finish despite the charges of the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Button, by this time had carved his way into the top five, and was closing in on a fight for podium finish. On lap 65 Webber made a second futile attempt to pass the ‘old master’ thus allowing Button to weave through and mount a challenge to the two Germans ahead of him.

Button passed Schumacher to grab second and set the stage for a Suzuka

2005-style finish when McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen started from the back of the field and passed race leader Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault on the last lap.

Three laps to go Webber denied a podium finish for Schumacher by passing the seven-time Canadian Grand Prix winner. Button closed on Vettel and a thrilling dash to the chequered was expected on the final. Before the final lap was over, Vettel made a rare mistake with only few corners remaining and his hopes for victory number six from seven starts were undone as Button sailed by in his silver McLaren.

What they had to say….

Race winner Jenson Button. “That was the best victory of my career, and today is, therefore, a very special day for me. I fought my way from last to first to win the race, and I overtook the cars in front of me on the track……….. I can’t stop smiling now!”

Second place Sebastian Vettel. “When you have it in your hands and you give it away – then it’s not the sweetest feeling.”

Fernando Alonso. “Everything went wrong, right from this morning when we saw it was raining…..The championship is not finished yet, but we must now hope for errors from others to have some hope.”

Drivers’ Championship.

1.   Sebastian Vettel. 161 Points.

2.   Jenson Button. 101

3.   Mark Webber. 94

4.   Lewis Hamilton. 85

5.   Fernando Alonso. 69

Constructors’ Championship.

1.   Red Bull. 255 Points.

2.   McLaren. 186

3.   Ferrari. 101

4.   Renault. 60

5.   Mercedes Benz. 52

 

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and racing regards from….

Oh, Canada!

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Motorsports Mondial

Jenson Button passes Vettel on the last lap in a wet and wild Grand Prix to take victory in Canada!

Red Bull settles for second and third places.

Lewis Hamilton once again investigated by the stewards.

Felipe Massa denies P6 from Kobayashi by a nose.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh: What a race. Coming through six times from 21st is incredible. He is driving fantastically and we know he deserves it and hope everyone else does too. He just attacked and attacked and delivered a fantastic race.” On the Button v Alonson incident: “I think Jenson was on the inside there and Fernando shut on him. I may be a bit partisan on that but I hope and believe that the stewards will make the same opinion. We’ll wait and see.”

Jenson Button: “I really don’t know what to say, it’s been a very emotional three hours or whatever it’s been since the start. The incident with Lewis – I couldn’t see anything and I’ve apologised to him. It was really a fight from then on, but I kept on pushing and I managed to get past Seb at the end. Another great win for me and possibly my best.

Sebastian Vettel: “Of course, I’m disappointed, It was a very difficult race from start to finish, and we led every single lap apart from the last one. I was probably too conservative after the last safety car.

To lead and then give it away is not the sweetest feeling.

We did the best we could,” he added. “It was important to finish, especially in race like that, but to make my only mistake on the last lap is not very sweet at the moment.

I was a little bit late on the brakes,” he explained. “It was a difficult finish to a hard race, I could see that especially in the last sector Jenson was coming very close and catching up.”

Vitaly Petrov: “Today, the conditions became very difficult after a few laps and stopping the race was the right decision. There was absolutely no grip and the car was aquaplaning everywhere. When it restarted, we tried to make the most of our position : I was fourth because I decided not to change my tyres before the red flag. From then on, I was fighting for a good position. On one hand, finishing fifth after starting 10th is a good result but, on the other hand, I really feel we could have finished on the podium today. That said, I welcome these extra points, and I think we’re back on track after a couple of difficult races. A big thank you to the team for the work this weekend.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Naturally, the main disappointment for me is that I didn’t finish the race. I was behind Kamui (Kobayashi) and then something happened. He slowed down suddenly and I hit the back of him, which resulted in my front wing coming off and me going off the track. I was on track for fifth and some good points, so it’s frustrating that more did not come from today after a decent qualifying session yesterday. Today was one of those unpredictable races and I just had to drive as well as I could in the circumstance. We will now look forward to Valencia where I hope to get some more points for the team.”

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h23:50.995
 2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +     2.709
 3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    13.828
 4.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    14.219
 5.  Petrov        Renault                    +    20.395
 6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +    33.225
 7.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +    33.270
 8.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    35.964
 9.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +    45.100
10.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    47.000
11.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    50.400
12.  de la Rosa    Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:03.600
13.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
14.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +     1 lap
15.  D'Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +     1 lap
16.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +     1 lap
17.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +     1 lap
18.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    3 laps

Motorsports Mondial

Stanaway Slip Away In The Wet


Quick Kiwi Richie Stanaway is the Sebastian Vettel of the 2011 German Formula 3 Championship, enjoying a dominant start to the season. The 19-year old took his seventh win of the season in the rain at Zolder, Belgium, on Saturday.

The season started in April at Oschersleben; Stanaway stamped his authority immediately by winning both races of the weekend. He repeated the feat in the last round at Assen, Holland.

Championship success in New Zealand Formula Ford, 11 wins from 21 races, brought him to the European theatre and the winning trend has continued. Competing in the German ADAC Formula Master last year, Stanaway ran away with the championship with 12 wins and 17 podium finishes from 18 races.

Stanaway drives for the Dutch Van Amersfoort Racing team and is under Gravity Management; their clientele includes Romain Grosjean, Christian Vietoris and Adrien Tambay.

With Brendon Hartley in World Series by Renault, Mitch Evans in GP3 and Stanaway all doing well, the future is bright for New Zealand motorsports.

For more information on Stanaway please visit www.richiestanaway.com and the German F3 website www.formel3.de has an English version and also features racing videos.

 

— Nasir Hameed

 

Greetings and a great racing weekend regards.

 

Motorsports Mondial

Sebastian Vettel is unstoppable with Pole in Canada.

Fernando Alonso pips his team mate for the front row.

Ferrari having a great weekend with Massa in third.

Renault can only manage ninth and tenth on the grid.

Vitaly Petrov:

“The track temperatures were much lower than yesterday and it was very difficult to warm-up the tyres properly throughout qualifying. As a result, I was lacking grip out there and I lost a bit of time during my quickest lap. This said, Nick and I got to Q3 and this is a good thing considering the problems we had in Monaco. Looking ahead to tomorrow, it is really difficult to make any prediction. Montreal is almost always a crazy race and the safety car is often a part of it. Also, the weather forecast is looking unsettled so we can expect anything. As a result, tomorrow will be a case of adapting ourselves to the conditions and taking every single opportunity.”

Nick Heidfeld:

“I am extremely happy because I think I achieved the maximum I could have done today. We actually drove with more downforce than normal, as we were gambling a bit and hoping for wet conditions tomorrow. We made some minor adjustments with the car today and certainly got what we could have done from it. I’m also happier with how I’m driving on the supersoft tyres; yesterday I was not satisfied but today I really got used to them, and I think that showed through my lap times. Obviously you always want to be higher up than P9 but being in the top ten is satisfying and we will try to improve on this tomorrow by securing a good pace and gaining some places.”

Alan Permane: Chief race engineer: “: “A different set-up for Nick and Vitaly”

Are you satisfied with today’s result?

In a way, we’re pleased to have both cars in the top10 today. It shows that we’ve uncovered the problems we had in Monaco, and that the solutions we’ve brought here are the right ones. However, we can’t be happy with a 5th row. We need to work harder and get more performance out of the car.

Did the lower temperatures have an impact on our performance today?

It’s difficult to say, really. However, it’s true to think that the weather conditions could play a big role in tomorrow’s race. This is the reason why we have chosen two different set-ups. Even if their lap times were very close today, Nick and Vitaly are carrying different levels of downforce. As you know, when it rains, we’re only allowed to change the cooling of the cars. Nick will carry more downforce than Vitaly tomorrow and, depending on the weather, this could be a very strong position to be in.

Did the drivers extract the maximum from their cars today?

I think so. Their cars are not identical but they did a good job and could play on different strategies tomorrow.

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time         Gap   
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m13.014s
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m13.199s  + 0.185
 3.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              1m13.217s  + 0.203
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m13.429s  + 0.415
 5.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m13.565s  + 0.551
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m13.814s  + 0.800
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m13.838s  + 0.824
 8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m13.864s  + 0.850
 9.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m14.062s  + 1.048
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m14.085s  + 1.071
Q3 cut-off time: 1m14.467s                                  Gap **
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m14.752s  + 1.321
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m15.043s  + 1.612
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.285s  + 1.854
14.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m15.287s  + 1.856
15.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m15.334s  + 1.903
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m15.361s  + 1.930
17.  Pedro de la Rosa      Sauber-Ferrari       1m15.587s  + 2.156
Q3 cut-off time: 1m16.229s                                    Gap *
18.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m16.294s  + 2.472
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m16.745s  + 2.923
20.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m16.786s  + 2.964
21.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m18.424s  + 4.602
22.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m18.537s  + 4.715
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m18.574s  + 4.752
24.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m19.414s  + 5.592

 

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