Formula 1


Former Williams star Nelson Piquet once likened the Monaco Grand Prix to riding a bicycle around his living room. Anyone who has attended the race will know that’s untrue; riding a bike indoors is much easier than controlling an 850bhp grand prix car through the streets of the Principality! The track is narrow, bumpy and unforgiving, and those factors combine to make overtaking very difficult. The working conditions are difficult because the teams have to work in a makeshift paddock and the narrowest pitlane of the year, and yet everyone still loves the Monaco Grand Prix. The Principality first staged a motor race through its streets in 1928 and it remains the jewel in F1’s crown. The race’s unique blend of glamour and history makes it one that every driver wants to win, although Williams has won here only once, in 2003. When will the team win again?

Rob Smedley:  Clearly Monaco is very different to where we have been so far this season. The race engineer plays a key part of the race weekend as they have to think a little outside the box and work differently in terms of car specification. This has taken up a lot of time preparing in the simulator. It’s a race of attrition and small mistakes can hurt you badly. The whole team are flat out all weekend, ensuring all the finer details are covered and the approach is correct, if this all goes well then we should be able to get some good points. It’s a very special place, Monaco, it’s the last of its kind.

Felipe Massa: I love Monaco. I live there so it’s great to be able to go home and see the family and sleep in my own bed after each day in the car. I am luckier than most as this happens at two races for me (Monaco and Brazil). The track is amazing and steeped in history. We will need good stability for the circuit as it’s so tight and traction is more important than top speed. The slow corners are very slow, but the track demands a lot of focus. The barriers are close, and it takes time getting use to driving right up against them, sometimes you can even touch them and still do a good lap. Monaco is a special place, there are no tracks like it on the calendar and that makes us enjoy it even more.

 Valtteri Bottas: Qualifying in Monaco is the most important of the season as the design of the circuit makes it very hard to overtake in the race. Strategy is also important in the race as you want to make sure that no time or positions are lost during the pitstop, it will be hard to make those positions up. There is no room for mistakes in Monaco as the barriers will punish you. I am really confident driving there now that I have experience and so am looking forward to the race. It’s also the closest thing I will have to a home Grand Prix as I live in Monaco, it will be nice to go from home in the morning.


Perfect strategy helps Christian Vietoris to score sensational win

Oschersleben. Rain, tyre gambles and risky overtaking manoeuvres – the second DTM round of the year in the etropolis Motorsport Arena Oschersleben had plenty of action. After a strategic and driving masterpiece, Christian Vietoris emerged as the surprising winner with his DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé. With a margin of 0.6 seconds from defending champion Mike Rockenfeller (Audi) after 44 laps, the 25-year-old Mercedes-Benz driver crossed the finish line as the winner of the race for the first time in his DTM career. “As we currently aren’t among the front runners in normal conditions, I obviously hoped for rain. Perfect that it turned out that way. We wanted to use these chances and so we did. We had an ideal strategy. I am overjoyed. What a race,” said Vietoris, who already changed to rain tyres after the formation lap, then chased the field from the pit lane and eventually made it through as the only driver with just one pit stop.

With his second place, Rockenfeller took over the lead in the drivers’ standings. Driving another Audi RS 5 DTM, Edoardo Mortara finished third in the action-packed race. Behind Paul Di Resta (Mercedes-Benz), last year’s winner Augusto Farfus came fifth as the best-placed driver of a BMW M4 DTM. In total, 65,000 fans attended the race weekend in the Magdeburg region.

Rockenfeller, who kept Vietoris under pressure until the final lap, was very happy with his score. “In the DTM, it is like in everyday life. You should never give up. Today, I almost did. The tyre choice at the start of the race wasn’t optimal. Then, there was some contact with other drivers and many safety car interventions. I really didn’t know where we were anymore and I wanted to give up. Then, all of a sudden, my team told me on the radio that we were in contention for a top position. Unbelievable,” the reigning DTM champion said. Mortara was also happy. “Being on the podium again is a great feeling. Too bad, we could even have ended higher up, but I had problems with the handling of the car after the second stop. Nevertheless, we had a great strategy,” the Audi driver said.

At times, Farfus also lost track of the situation in the Motorsport Arena. “This was the craziest DTM race I have ever driven. When the rain set in, it was really difficult and partly chaotic. Then I also got a penalty after contact with another car. However, scoring points and being among the front runners is a good thing,” ‘Gustl’ commented.

After a great recovery, Miguel Molina finished in sixth place. After setting the fastest time in qualifying, the Audi driver had been relegated to the back of the starting grid because his car wasn’t in accordance with the regulations. His fellow Audi driver Timo Scheider, who already scored two victories at Oschersleben, was classified seventh. Gary Paffett (Mercedes-Benz), Martin Tomczyk (BMW) and Adrien Tambay (Audi) rounded out the top ten.

The changeable conditions at Oschersleben prepared the stage for one of the most exciting DTM races in history. In total, the safety car was deployed three times after accidents and mixed up the field every time. Marco Wittmann had bad luck. The BMW driver, who won the season opener at Hockenheim, started from pole position, but slid off the track later in the race and retired.

Allocation of the performance weights will be changed prior to the third DTM round at the Hungaroring in Budapest (May 30 till June 1). After the result at Oschersleben, Mercedes-Benz drivers Christian Vietoris, Paul Di Resta and Gary Paffett have to add five kilograms of weight each, their fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers Vitaly Petrov, Pascal Wehrlein, Daniel Juncadella and Robert Wickens 2.5 kilograms each. The cars of the BMW drivers, on the other hand, will become lighter: for Augusto Farfus and Martin Tomczyk 2.5 kilograms, for António Félix da Costa, Bruno Spengler, Maxime Martin, Joey Hand, Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock five kilograms each. Like after the first race, the weight of the cars for the eight Audi drivers will remain unchanged.

Wolfgang Schattling, head of DTM management, Mercedes-Benz: “The key to our success was a super strategy that our engineers worked out during a difficult stage in the race. After two safety car phases, we realised that it could turn out in a good way. My heartbeat really rose. However, we know that we still have a lack of performance and that we still need time to make up for this. This time, the weather played out well for us.”

Dieter Gass, head of DTM, Audi: “A crazy race with an unexpected result. When you have the fastest car in the field, when you have three cars on the first three places at times and when you already have an advantage of more than ten seconds, finishing in second and third place is somewhat disappointing. However, today’s race was a lottery in which those had an advantage who were able to take the biggest risks. Having two drivers on the podium again and having taken over the lead in the drivers’, manufacturers’ and teams’ standings is great. The race also had two unsung heroes: Jamie Green, who was in a class of his own in the rain today but remained unrewarded, and Miguel Molina, who drove the fastest race lap. Had it not been for him being dropped to the back of the grid, he surely could have finished better than sixth.”

BMW Motorsport Direktor Jens Marquardt: “Wolfgang Schattling’s rain dance seems to have paid off. Congratulations for that. Unfortunately, we only have two drivers in the top ten. That is not the result we had expected here. However, the weather certainly was the decisive factor in this case.



INDIANAPOLIS — Ed Carpenter turned the fastest four-lap average speed in Round 1 of qualifications for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, but he’ll have to make another run May 18 to capture the Verizon P1 Award in the Fast Nine Shootout.

The Verizon IndyCar Series team owner/driver of the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet recorded a four-lap average of 230.661 mph to lead the 10 entries that surpassed 230 mph — the first qualifiers above 230 mph since 2003 — during the qualifications format revamped for 2014 to emphasize two days of competition.

Round 1, which featured 71 qualifying attempts, set the 33-car field for the May 25 race. Qualifiers 10-33 from Saturday will make another four-lap run on Sunday to set their starting positions. The fastest nine qualifiers from Saturday will compete in Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout, where they will vie for the pole and set the first three rows of the race.

Carpenter will try to repeat as the Verizon P1 Award winner at Indianapolis. He was joined in the 230 mph club by Carlos Munoz (230.460), three-time Indy 500 winner and four-time pole winner Helio Castroneves (230.432), James Hinchcliffe (230.407), Will Power (230.323), Marco Andretti (230.134), Simon Pagenaud (230.070), Josef Newgarden (230.033) and JR Hildebrand (230.027).

Newgarden, in his third season with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, bumped Ryan Hunter-Reay from the fast nine with his run in the final five minutes of the session. Five different teams are represented in the Fast Nine Shootout.

Kurt Busch, who is seeking to be the fourth driver to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C., in the same day, was 12th after his initial qualifying run (229.256 mph). With an hour to spare before having to leave for the evening all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Busch moved into the top nine (229.960) and departed by helicopter satisfied with the day’s efforts. By the time he landed, Juan Pablo Montoya had bumped Busch from the fast nine with a four-lap average of 229.966 mph. Montoya was summarily bumped by Andretti.


The Verizon IndyCar Series boost level has been increased from 130 kPa to 140 kPa for qualifications today and Sunday.

The change in pressure adds about a 40-horsepower boost to the engines produced by Chevrolet (twin-turbocharged Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (twin-turbo-charged Honda HI14TT. The boost level will return to 130 kPa for practice on Monday, May 19, Coors Light Carb Day on Friday, May 23 and the 500-mile race Sunday, May 25.


Pole position for Audi driver Miguel Molina at Oschersleben

Oschersleben. Miguel Molina has secured first place on the grid for the second round of the DTM season in the etropolis Motorsport Arena Oschersleben. With his Audi RS 5 DTM, the Spaniard completed his fastest lap of the 3.696 kilometres long circuit in the Magdeburg area in 1:20.007 minutes. “I am so happy. This is my third pole in the DTM and it always is a great feeling. I had a perfect car, it was just like I wanted it. I like this track; it is quite technical, one has to be a real racing driver,” the 25-year-old said. Molina’s advantage over second-placed Marco Wittmann (BMW) was more than half a second. Behind the winner of the Hockenheim season opener, Adrien Tambay (Audi) will be starting from third place.

Wittmann, who will be starting the race next to Molina from the front row of the grid with his BMW M4 DTM, was satisfied with his qualifying result. “I am very happy with second place, because it was a little bit difficult today. I had a bit of a struggle with the car. However, we are very confident and optimistic for tomorrow with second place on the grid. We will certainly attack,” the German announced.

Pascal Wehrlein was the fastest driver with a DTM Mercedes AMG C-Coupé in qualifying. The 19-year old only just failed to make it into the final qualifying heat and will be starting the second DTM round of the year from tenth place on the grid. “Things were going slightly better than at Hockenheim, but everyone knows that we are still lacking the pace. We have to analyse all the data and we have a long way ahead of us. After all, we can’t change our entire car within a fortnight. When it rains, we might have better chances,” the Mercedes-Benz driver said referring to the weather forecast for Sunday.

Once again, rookie driver António Félix da Costa (BMW) showed a strong performance by qualifying fourth ahead of Timo Scheider and defending champion Mike Rockenfeller (both Audi). For Paul Di Resta, however, qualifying was disappointing. For the second time already, the 2010 DTM champion, who is racing in the DTM again after three years in Formula 1, retired after the first of three qualifying heats. In Sunday’s race, the Brit will start from 21st place.

According to the new sporting regulations, performance weights will be in use for the first time at Oschersleben. Based on the result of the season opener at Hockenheim, BMW drivers Marco Wittmann, Timo Glock, Bruno Spengler, Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus and Joey Hand each had to add five kilograms. Their fellow BMW drivers Maxime Martin and António Félix da Costa each got 2.5 kilograms of additional weight. On the other hand, all seven Mercedes-Benz drivers were allowed to drive a car that is five kilograms lighter.

A rundown of the tyre choice of all the drivers for the start of the race will be available during the evening at The drivers can choose from the standard tyre or the option tyre from series partner Hankook; the latter can only be used in the race. The second race of the season will be run over 51 laps and 188.496 kilometres and starts on Sunday at 13:30hrs (12.30hrs BST). ARD is broadcasting live from Oschersleben from 13:15hrs (12.15hrs BST).

F1Weekly podcast # 655

Clark and Nasir go over the results of the Spanish Grand Prix, we have another outstanding Motorsports Mondial and…Here is an interview with Pastor Maldonado and his Monaco Grand Prix preview.

After setting the pace at the Barcelona post-race test, Pastor Maldonado is primed for the Monaco Grand Prix…

Was the Barcelona test as good as it looked?

Pastor Maldonado: Yes. I would say it was our first ‘normal’ test without any problems and we were able to complete our entire schedule. It was really important and a very positive test because we learnt so much more about the car. Everything is getting better and better in my opinion. Of course I’m happy with the result as well.

Can you feel the progress when you are driving the car?

The car has made a big step forward from where we were. The focus of the test was to continue to develop settings and try new ideas. It was a busy programme to be honest, but hopefully the rest of the season will be much better for us. We got a lot of data which our engineers took back to the factory to analyse in detail.

What’s the significance of such a positive test for the team?

I think it’s a great boost for everyone at Enstone and of course as a driver it gives me more confidence in the car so I can aim to achieve better results. If you think about where we were and where we are now it is an incredible step forward – particularly when the other teams are moving forward with their development too. It’s a true testament to the team’s capabilities and I hope we can start to get the results on track that we so deserve.

Looking ahead to Monaco, what makes it so special for you?

First of all it’s such an historic Grand Prix and an iconic race for Formula 1. I really love it. I’ve been very quick in the past and I think it is one of the most special weekends of the year. The atmosphere is unique. The track is really challenging and changes a lot over the sessions, which you need to anticipate. It’s difficult to be quick close to the walls and overall it’s a very tough race, demanding in terms of concentration and stressful physically and mentally. The only negative thing is that it is quite difficult to overtake, but it is not impossible.

What are your favourite parts of the circuit?

I really like the Casino and Swimming Pool sections. Every corner in Monaco has its own challenge, and own individual approach needed – that is probably the beauty of the circuit there. It’s where I live now so I might be biased, but it’s a very special place.

What are your early memories of Monaco?

Monaco was always my favourite track when I was watching Formula 1 on TV as a kid. Then the first time I went to a Grand Prix was also Monaco, in 2003, which was my first year in Formula Renault. Juan Pablo Montoya won and it was amazing to see how close they were to the wall and how quick the cars were, because they had V10 engines then. Another good Monaco memory for me is winning in GP2 in 2007 and 2009.

How difficult do you think it will be to drive the new F1 cars at Monaco, with all the new switches and settings?

We will be very busy in the cockpit with all the switches and changes to be made. We’re also going to face a big challenge as the tyres are harder than those we’ve used in Monaco in the past. In Barcelona we ran with the super-soft and were able to finish the lap without causing problems for the tyres, which was not the case in the past. So that’ll be a big question mark. For sure Mercedes is the strongest team at the moment but we are focused and pushing hard to catch them.

There has been a lot of talk about changes to improve Formula One, what would you like to see?

It’s difficult because ultimately the rules are the same for everyone. But I would like the performance of the cars to be closer. That is the main thing. Whatever the cars, whatever the teams, we need better competition. That’s certainly what we’re pushing for as a team; to be closer to the front.

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Formula E: Teams receive the first batch of single-seater electric cars

The FIA Formula E Championship is gradually building up to the new competition’s first race in Beijing, China, on September 13. An initial series of development tests, which went perfectly at a variety of circuits in January, allowed the car’s architecture and systems to be checked, and the first batch of electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E racing cars have now been delivered to the championship’s 10 registered teams at Donington, England, on May 15, in keeping with the timeframe set for Spark Racing and Renault!
Said Patrice Ratti (General Manager, Renault Sport Technologies): “We are delighted to have worked alongside Spark ahead of the delivery of the first 10 Spark-Renaults to the Formula E teams. It was no mean feat because this is the world’s first small-scale production-produced single-seater electric racing car to deliver such a high level of performance. To have succeeded is another illustration of the passion that fires the teams of experts who work at Renault Sport, as well as of their grasp of advanced electric vehicle technologies.”
Frédéric Vasseur (President, Spark Racing Technologies): “The development, fine-tuning and production of such an innovative racing car as the Spark-Renault SRT_01E in such a short lapse of time was a challenge that we are particularly proud to have risen to. The cooperation we enjoyed with our various partners was remarkable and the input from the teams at Renault Sport was especially decisive in enabling us to develop a car that is reliable, safe and competitive. We are delighted to have reaped the fruit of our collaboration with Renault.”
Alain Prost, co-director of the French team E-Dams, and also an ambassador for Renault, was at Donington for this landmark delivery.

Meanwhile, Renault took advantage of the opportunity to present the keys of a Renault ZOE to Alejandro Agag, Chairman and General Manager of Formula E Holdings. His use of this vehicle as his personal car will allow him to see the benefits of zero-emission* motoring (i.e. no noise, crisp acceleration from low speeds and driving enjoyment) for himself and consequently join the 98 percent of Renault Z.E. owners who are satisfied with their car.

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