FORMULA 1

LEWIS Hamilton seized on a late mistake by Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to win the United States Grand Prix and secure his third Formula 1 championship.

Hamilton overtook Rosberg with eight laps to go when Rosberg locked his tires and helplessly watched his teammate zoom past.

Hamilton had to beat Rosberg and outscore Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by nine points to wrap up his second consecutive championship with Mercedes. He also won with McLaren in 2008.

The win also gave Hamilton his 21st victory over two seasons and 10th this year. He is the first Formula One driver to win 10 or more races in consecutive seasons.

Vettel, who could have pushed the title chase to next week in Mexico City, finished third after starting 13th.

Hamilton’s third world championship puts his name among the top drivers in the history of the sport, matching title wins with greats like his idol Ayrton Senna, and tying Jackie Stewart for most championships by a British driver. Only Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Vettel have won more.

After the race Hamilton radioed to his crew “This is the greatest moment of my life. To my family, I love you all.”

Enaam Ahmed

 A Step Ahead

At the end of last season, the London lad left the world of karting on a high five; winning five high energy and ultra-competitive championships. His first season of single-seater racing started on the same winning theme. EA ended the recently concluded MSA Formula Championship powered-by Ford EcoBoost certified by the FIA with victory on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit, and clinching the Rookie of the Year award.

The FIA, in recent years, has launched several initiatives to stream line the racing ladder for aspiring young drivers. The F3 Euro series took a major hit after the launch of GP3 in 2010 as most young and talented drivers felt the need to race on grand prix weekends in front of F1 team principals.

Jean Todt, President of Paris-based FIA, is an ex-rally co-driver and former head of Ferrari’s glory days with the Red Baron, and to re-energize the F3 concept he brought in ex-Grand Prix driver, Gerhard Berger. The F3 Euro series, which itself was born from the merger of French and German F3 championships, was re-badged under the European Formula 3 Championship. The good work put into this very important series last year produced two very talented rookie drivers. Frenchman Esteban Ocon, who won the championship and Red Bull’s newest golden boy, Max Verstappen.

At the entry level, the FIA has launched Formula 4 in different markets. The concept will be introduced in the United States in 2016. This series is designed as the first stepping stone from karting to single-seater competition. The minimum age was set at 15, a year younger than requirement for most championships in Europe.

The British iteration of this concept is called MSA Formula powered by Ford Eco-boost. Cars for the series are supplied by the French firm Mygale.

Practice makes perfect

Enaam, who did not even turn 15 till February of this year, and realizing he will be competing against drivers with motor racing experience embarked on a mission to prepare himself for the season. The testing program took him, apart from English tracks, to tracks in Scotland and Wales.

Over the years many karting champions have not even made the transition to single-seater scene; most who do face a steep learning curve but, as they say, cream rises to the top – sooner or later.

Young drivers face many challenges; new machine to master, new tracks and new drivers. For Enaam the biggest adjustment “was having the MSA Formula car slide around.”

Learning very quickly there is no short cut to experience, Enaam in the second half “gained confidence to do it.”

Game On

The inaugural season of MSA Formula Championship got under way on the first weekend of April at the beautiful Kent circuit, Brands Hatch. The season opener used the Indy circuit and Enaam qualified an impressive 8th on the grid for his first ever motor race, and improved to 5th on the grid for the second race of the weekend. On each occasion ahead of his two Arden teammates, Sandy Mitchell and the vastly more experienced 18-year-old Ricky Collard.

Enaam finished 9th in his first race and retired on lap 16 of 23 in the second race. He was 7th in the third and final race of the weekend. Two weeks later Round two was held at Donington Park circuit in the English midlands and Enaam recorded another top 10 finish.

 

“I like the Arden team. My engineer Stephen Colbert was tough on me but made me a better driver.”

 

The Thruxton circuit in Hampshire was the only round during the month of May. In the opening race off the weekend he improved from 14th on the grid to finish 8th. In the second race he was 7th and was classified 10th in the third and final race of the weekend. This was the first racing weekend where Enaam was in the top 10 in all three races.

Next stop on the 2015 calendar was at Oulton Park in Cheshire. A top ten finish eluded Enaam for the first time in his young single-seater career but he continued to build on an important aspect of any young driver’s career; bringing the car home in one piece in all three races of the weekend.

Croft played host to the final round before one month of vacation for the young aspiring drivers and their crew. Race number 13 of the season saw Enaam finish 9th and was placed one spot higher in race 14 of the season. He was 11th in the third and final race of the weekend

Second half. Triple Play

The championship trail led to Lotus and Brundle country, Norfolk. Enaam started the second half of the season at Snetterton with his best finish of the season so far with his sixth place finish from 10th on the grid. He was seventh in the remaining two races of the weekend at the Dr. Jonathan Palmer-owned track.

For round seven teams traveled north of the border to the Scottish circuit at Knockhill. In a sign of things that Ennam’s performance in the second half of the season, and indeed his career, was on an upward tick was highlighted by the opening race of the weekend. He qualified fifth, only 0.380s from pole position, and made his first podium appearance of the series – only 0.662 separated him from the car in front. Fifth in race two saw him gain more useful points as he sets his sights on being the top rookie in his maiden season of motorsports. He was fourth in the third and final race of the weekend.

The series was back in England for round 8, this time at the road circuit layout at the Rockingham oval. Enaam was fourth in the opening race, just behind Colton Herta, son of Bryan of Indy car fame and who will be involved in the American introduction of Formula 4 next season. Enaam was sixth in the second race, and looking strong to end the season on a high note in the remaining two races at two very classic English tracks; Silverstone, the birth place of Formula 1 World Championship and the grand finale at Brands Hatch utilizing the full grand prix circuit, scene of the long-awaited first F1 win for “Our Nige.” And the epic drive by Pedro Rodriguez for Porsche in monsoon conditions many moons before Mansell.

At the Silverstone (National) circuit, Enaam was 11th in the opening race of the weekend and set the fastest lap among the rookies. He was again 11th in race two.

In Sunday’s third and final race Enaam bagged his second podium finish of the season with his third place finish, and also set the fastest lap among the rookie crop.

The first season came to the Brands for grand finale on the weekend of October 10/11 with both the championship and rookie titles to be decided. The two drivers gunning for their respective title started the weekend on fast track; Lando Norris, who last year competed in Ginetta tin-tops, winning the opening race and Enaam was the highest placed rookie, fourth overall and yet again set the fastest lap among the first year’s racers.

The second race witnessed Enaam’s first motorsports victory on home soil, the podium was an all-rookie affair with Enaam’s Arden teammate Sandy Mitchell second and Rafael Martins third.

Enaam claimed another podium finish from his third place finish in the final race of the season, set the ‘rookie’ fastest lap again, and more importantly won the Rookie of the Year award.

This is how the official press release from MSA described the final showdown:

The battle for third place was the highlight of the race. The newly crowned Rookie Champion, Enaam Ahmed, slotted ahead of his TRS Arden team-mate Collard on the opening lap and clung tenaciously to third all the way to the line despite very worn tyres and heavy pressure from behind, first from JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding and then from MBM Motorsport man Toby Sowery.

“I was struggling a bit with worn tyres,” said Enaam, “which was an immediate disadvantage. I don’t really know how I stayed in third; my speed was not that great but I just stayed pretty consistent and Sennan didn’t quite have enough to overtake me but he definitely gave me a run for my money. Then on the final lap I had a little nudge from Toby around the back of the circuit, which was quite scary but I managed to hold it.

“It’s really great to end the season on such a high.” It was Ahmed’s fourth overall podium finish of the season and his sixth Rookie class victory.

The stage is now set for the next step in the exciting and winning career of Enaam Ahmed, as he ponders “things in the pipeline.”

 

P.S. PRESS RELEASE FROM EDGE SPORTING MANAGEMENT

After his outstanding performance this year, Enaam Ahmed was recently awarded with the Joe Tandy Memorial Award, beating his fellow competitors to be the ‘Most Impressive Newcomer of the 2015 Season’.

It was awarded to him because of the improvement the London based driver had made over the course of the season. Ahmed mostly competed in MSA Formula where he collected a number of rookie class wins, including four in a row at the end of the year, to take the rookie championship.

His performances showed real improvement throughout, as he even won an overall race in the final weekend of the year.

However; his results weren’t just shown in the UK, as Ahmed raced in the SMP F4 championship for a number of rounds as a guest driver, with it culminating in him winning all three of the races, at the final round in Estonia earlier this month.

“I’m very honoured to be given such an award.” stated Ahmed.

“I didnt know Joe, but of course I know his team, JTR, and they are such an awesome team. I must say a huge thank you to everyone that selected me and it really does mean a lot. I hope I do Joe, JTR, and the championship proud over the next few years with whatever we choose to race in”.

The award was put together in honour of the late Joe Tandy with the help of his race team JTR. Joe’s ethos was to develop and nurture new emerging talent. His younger brother, Nick Tandy, won the Le Mans 24 hours this year.

Having finished as top rookie, Ahmed has the option to return to the MSA Formula series as a likely contender, or move up, with the 15 year old having recently competed in a Formula Renault 2.0 test.

F1Weekly podcast # 692

Clark and Nasir talk about Putin and the Russian Grand Prix, The host is beginning to loose faith in the modern era of Formula One. And here is some great news from our friends at Renault Sport…

No rest for the Renault Sport R.S. 01 ! For the first time since it made its racing debut, the high-performance vehicle from Renault Sport Technologies will compete outside the World Series by Renault. Two cars are entered for this weekend’s GT Tour season finale at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Originally built exclusively for racing in the Renault Sport Trophy, Renault Sport Technologies’ most recent sports car received such a strong interest that the Ulis engineers quickly went to work to make certain adjustments to reach a new homologation. The first was granted by the FFSA, through a GT3 balance of performance.

Created to achieve high-end performance, the Renault Sport R.S. 01 had to review and level out itself to be allowed to race. The carbon brakes have been replaced with steel. In addition to the 25 extra kilograms associated with the change, 50 more of ballast was added. The ride height was raised and an engine restriction added.

Aerodynamically, changes were necessary both to add drag and remove downforce from the Renault Sport R.S. 01, which naturally enjoys exceptional characteristics in this area.

Less than a week after the inaugural Renault Sport Trophy season finale, two cars will take part in the FFSA championship for the first time. The Team Duqueine Renault Sport R.S. 01 will be entrusted to three GT Tour regulars : Eric Clément, Ange Barde and Bruce Lorgere-Roux. They will be joined in Open Challenge by a second R.S. 01 entered by the Belgian Boutsen-Ginion team for Eric Vaissière and Olivier Grotz.

Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Technologies Motorsport Director : “Since the genesis of the Renault Sport R.S. 01, the interest in our creation has been keen among teams and promoters. The success of the Renault Sport Trophy in the World Series by Renault has confirmed this trend. As competitors, we are extremely enthusiastic about the idea of seeing the R.S. 01 take on the competition. No doubt it will turn heads among both drivers and spectators. We are extremely grateful in the confidence that Hugues de Chaunac has shown in us and this drives us to continue our discussions with other championships.”

Hugues de Chaunac, ORECA Group President and GT Tour promoter : “We are pleased to welcome two Renault Sport R.S. 01s for the first appearance of this car outside the Renault Sport Trophy. It is a fast car with a magnificent look. This presence, through two quality teams, will without a doubt be positive and interesting. We have paid close attention the R.S. 01. I am convinced that the spectators will fully appreciate it.”

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FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Formula One has made several attempts in the past two decades to regain a successful foothold in the United States, and seems to have finally struck gold with the Circuit of the Americas. The sport is steeped in history in the USA, with the likes of Watkins Glen and Long Beach helping to define that era, but after transitions through Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix it struggled to find a permanent home.
The short-lived stay in Indianapolis was followed by a five-year absence, but since 2012, the universally popular Texas venue has carried Formula One back with a bang. Williams has scored victories at five US circuits, with Alan Jones at Watkins Glen in 1980, Long Beach and Las Vegas in 1981 (it was common to have multiple races in the US), and with Keke Rosberg at Dallas in 1984 and Detroit in 1985.
ROB SMEDLEY
We head to Austin after not getting all of the points we should have done in Russia, despite having a really good car with great pace. We are in a positive frame of mind and the circuit suits our car so we should have a good race. We need to keep pulling open a gap on Red Bull and the team must keep on fighting to get as many points as possible. Both drivers are coming off the back of really good drives in the last Grand Prix so we should be able to score some decent points.
VALTTERI BOTTAS
Austin is the place where I scored my first points so it will always be special to me. It’s also one of my favourite circuits to drive, with fast sweeping corners. Austin as a city is a fantastic place, accompanied by great weather. For me it’s one of the best locations on the calendar.
FELIPE MASSA
Austin is a beautiful place with a great circuit which has fantastic infrastructure. The circuit is very fun to drive with many fast corners. The first sector is incredible leading into a long straight with the opportunity for overtaking. The first corner is special – the elevation change is incredible and the space available means it’s a great place to pass and it’s hard to defend. The fans really enjoy Formula One and the drivers like to go there.

FORMULA 1

PASTOR MALDONADO’S UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

What are your thoughts on the Circuit of the Americas?

Austin is a great track, it’s a challenging layout which is refreshing to drive and it’s an enjoyable event. The first turn is quite something with its very steep climb and the rest of the lap flows well. The atmosphere at the circuit is really special, even for the first time we visited. It’s great to see the RVs at the side of the track and people staying at the circuit to enjoy the full weekend. The circuit can be a difficult one for tyres. The event is taking place earlier in the year this season so hopefully there’s plenty of sun to burn off any morning fog! Certainly, there can be a variety with the weather and in the past we’ve seen it be quite cold at the start of the day.

How about Austin as a place?

It’s really a fantastic location with a lot to do. It’s certainly the type of city I’d like to visit even if there wasn’t a race there! It’s a really lively place with a lot going on. Great food, great music and great people are three things I think about when we go to Austin. The fans are superb too. It’s only the fourth time we will visit Austin, but already it’s one event on the calendar that we really look forward to visiting.

What is your feeling on America in general?

It’s a place I love and I have spent a lot of time in Miami.

What’s your outlook for this race?

I think Austin offers us a good opportunity. The circuit shouldn’t pose any particular problems as long as we can get the tyres working as we want. The E23 is a car that generally works well so we have a good baseline to start with. At this point of the year we’re pretty on top of things like set-up and getting the most out of the car so it’s a case of getting the laps and simulations done in practice, qualifying as well as possible then targeting points in the race.

How was the Sochi debrief?

It was a solid race for us and the car felt good. We weren’t able to get the maximum from the super soft tyres in qualifying and also in the race they didn’t reward us with all we wanted, but we were able to push quite well, especially at the end of the race. I was relieved that Romain was fine after his crash. These cars are strong, but it did look like he’d had a big one.

If you had to be a character in a western movie, what would your character be like?

I think there are many people out there who would say I would make a good baddie! Certainly this weekend I’m looking to steal lots of points, so maybe that should be my character.

Last year saw your season-best qualifying position and race result; can we expect more of the same this year?

Certainly, everything went relatively well for us last year in Austin when you compare the performance to the season we’d been having. There’s no reason to say we can’t have a great weekend this year. At every race we’re looking to maximise the package we have; we always look to be as fast as possible in qualifying and finish the race as strongly as possible. I like the Circuit of the Americas, the E23 is a good racing car and I’m confident we’ll do the best job we can.

DTM

SCHEIDER WINS – WEHRLEIN WRAPS UP DTM TITLE

The battle for the DTM title has been decided: while Timo Scheider had a solitary drive to victory in the race at the Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg and crossed the finish line as the undisputed winner, eighth place was enough for Pascal Wehrlein to be crowned as the youngest DTM champion in history of the popular touring car series. The Mercedes-Benz driver, who will be celebrating his 21st birthday on Sunday, is beyond reach in the lead of the drivers’ standings with a total of 169 points. On the radio, Wehrlein expressed his emotions after crossing the finish line and cheered loudly. “This simply is an incredible feeling,” Wehrlein said at the finish. “Now, the pressure has gone and I am simply overjoyed.”

Mattias Ekström, Edoardo Mortara and Bruno Spengler, the remaining challengers for the title, were unable to postpone the decision to Sunday: Ekström finished ninth after the turbulent race while his fellow Audi driver Mortara retired after 17 laps and Spengler’s race was over after 20 laps.

Behind race winner Timo Scheider, the German’s fellow Audi driver Jamie Green finished second. Third place went to Maxime Martin, who had started the race from pole position with his BMW M4 DTM, but already lost the lead to eventual race winner Scheider on the opening lap and then had to allow Green to get past as well.

In the DTM finale at Hockenheim, two titles are still at stake: in the teams’ standings, the gooix/Original Teile Mercedes-AMG team is leading with 225 points from BMW Team RMG (198 points). Prior to the final race of the season, BMW is leading the manufacturers’ standings. In the 17 races held so far, the brand from Munich has scored 583 points, while Audi and Mercedes-Benz are at a total of 527 and 520 points respectively.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast