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FORMULA 1

MAX TAKES POLE WHILST BOTTAS CRASHES

Verstappen celebrated his pole for Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix but the Dutchman is likely to face stern criticism for what many will see as the dangerous manner with which he sealed the place. His final two laps were superb but for a driver still trying to shake off a reputation for recklessness and lapses of judgment, he was surprisingly unconcerned by his decision not to slow as he rounded the final corner, where Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes lay after crashing into the barriers.

Verstappen took pole ahead of the two Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel in second and third, with Lewis Hamilton in fourth for Mercedes. Hamilton’s title hopes, however, may yet have taken a boost if Bottas takes grid penalties for the repairs to his car.

Valtteri Bottas emerges from the wreckage of his car. Photograph: Pixathlon/Shutterstock

Verstappen had been quick throughout but the crucial moments came in the final seconds of the final session. He held the top spot from his first run but as Bottas went though the final corner, he clipped the wall and took a major, 17G impact. The stricken car was left at the side of the track but Bottas was unharmed.

Verstappen entered the corner shortly afterwards, where stewards were waving single yellow flags, denoting that drivers should slow down. However, there appeared to be no yellow indicators on the Dutchman’s dashboard. He would have been expected to back off and in the past drivers have had times set under yellow flags deleted.

Verstappen said he had not slowed. “I was aware Valtteri crashed,” he said. When asked if he had backed off, he made no attempt at deception. “It didn’t really look like it, did it? No.”

F1Weekly podcast # 807

CLARK AND NASIR FINALLY GET TO THE CONFUSING JAPANESE GRAND PRIX AND IN THE PROCESS PRODUCE A VERY CONFUSING PODCAST! AND, LOOKING TOWARDS THE MEXICAN GP HERE ARE SOME THOUGHTS FROM SERGIO PEREZ…

Sergio: “The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me. It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico. We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico. Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans. It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.
“The track is a pretty challenging one – especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude. It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there. Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else. Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support.

“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.”

Play Podcast: 10-22-19f1weekly807.mp3

JAPANESE F3

                      Enaami at Kyalami & On Turning Japanese

We are pleased to report F1Weekly friend Enaam Ahmed will be making his sports car racing debut at the world-famous Kyalami circuit in South Africa; where Jim Clark scored his last grand prix win in 1968.

The season finale of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge will take place on November 22-23.

After a successful race winning, and third place in the Japanese F3 Championship, Enaam is now testing with Italian Prema team in preparation for the 2020 FIA Formula 3 Championship.

Fast Five with Enaam.

How is the depth of competition in Japanese F3 compared to European F3.The competition in Japan is very high but in a different way compared with Europe because the drivers are very experienced on the tracks. To come over there and to go against teams like TOM’S is very difficult; they’ve got their car dialed in really well with decades of experience but I’ve enjoyed the experience.

Enaam has now won races in British, European and Japanese F3.

Highs and lows of the season?

My high of the season was putting it on pole and winning at Sugo. I’m the only driver on a VW engine to ever win and pole at Sugo. This is due to the engine never being at its optimum rpm throughout the lap because of the way the corners are. My low was the inconsistency and problems I had during the year with many DNFs.

How do the Japanese tracks compare to European tracks and your favorite track there?

 I’d say the Japanese tracks are better than most tracks in Europe. They have much more risk because of no run off, hence why there is never any track limit problems there. Also, the tracks are all fast and flowing. The best tracks for me are Suzuka, Sugo and Autopolis.

Enaam “Bond”-ing his way through Eau Rouge in his Aston Martin.

Next month you will make your sports car debut in the Kyalami 9 Hours. How did the deal with Aston Martin happen and who will be your teammates?

“The Aston deal with R Motorsport came up by accident. I’m very good friends with Julian Rouse who is the team principal and he gave me the opportunity to do it because he’s seen what I have done in the past. My teammates in the same car as me with be Jake Dennis and Maxime Martin. I’m looking forward to driving with them to learn as much as I can.”

Photo: SRO

Kyalami, now owned by Porsche, was once home to the South African Grand Prix. Mario Andretti’s first grand prix win came here in 1971 in his first race for Ferrari. The final F1 race here in 1993 was won by Alain Prost in a Williams-Renault.

You are among the four finalists in the prestigious Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award. How enticing is the prospect of winning and driving a Red Bull Formula 1 car?

 “I think this year is the best year to be in the award as the prize is the biggest it’s ever been. This is the reason why I am preparing for it as much as I can to make sure I give the best performance I can!”

NASIR HAMEED

FORMULA W

W SERIES ANNOUNCES 18 DRIVERS FOR 2020 SEASON

After a three-day on-track test at Almeria (southern Spain) last month, and a rigorous lap-time assessment and data-analysis programme thereafter, W Series has selected six new drivers to race alongside the 12 drivers who automatically qualified for the 2020 W Series championship as a result of having finished inside the top 12 in the 2019 W Series championship.

Driver Country Age Position in W Series Championship
Jamie Chadwick UK 21 1st
Beitske Visser Netherlands 24 2nd
Alice Powell UK 26 3rd
Marta Garcia Spain 19 4th
Emma Kimilainen Finland 30 5th
Fabienne Wohlwend Liechtenstein 21 6th
Miki Koyama Japan 21 7th
Sarah Moore UK 25 8th
Vicky Piria Italy 25 9th
Tasmin Pepper South Africa 29 10th
Jessica Hawkins UK 24 11th
Sabre Cook USA 24 12th
Ayla Agren Norway 25 New entrant
Abbie Eaton UK 27 New entrant
Belen Garcia Spain 20 New entrant
Nerea Marti Spain 17 New entrant
Irina Sidorkova Russia 16 New entrant
Bruna Tomaselli Brazil 21 New entrant

Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series) said:

“Almost as soon as the sun had set on Brands Hatch, scene of the 2019 W Series championship finale, on Sunday August 11th, we at W Series began preparing for our 2020 season. More than 40 new drivers applied to race with us in 2020 and, after a three-day on-track test at Almeria [southern Spain] last month, and a rigorous lap-time and data-analysis programme thereafter, we’re now able to announce the first 18 of the 20 drivers who’ll compete in the 2020 W Series championship.

“It’s an impressive list, including the top 12 from our 2019 season, and six new drivers, who all performed well at Almeria. The result is a varied and international group, comprising 18 drivers from 12 countries, ranging in age from the super-experienced Finn, Emma Kimilainen, 30, to the very promising young Russian, Irina Sidorkova, 16.

“Our commiserations go to those whom we haven’t selected, but sadly their disappointment is simply an example of the jeopardy inherent in any athlete’s life at the higher levels of competitive sport. The more you can win, the more you can lose.”

BTCC

BMW and Turkington crowned on drama-filled finals day

  • Turkington makes history with record-equaling fourth BTCC crown
  • Jordan snatches second in championship in nail-biting season finale
  • BMW retains Manufacturers’ title as 3 series proves class of the field

BMW made it back-to-back Manufacturers’ titles in the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch yesterday (13 October), as Colin Turkington clinched a record-equaling fourth Drivers’ crown in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Turkington arrived at Brands’ legendary GP circuit – home to Formula 1’s British Grand Prix on 12 occasions between 1964 and 1986 – holding a 16-point lead in the pursuit of the most coveted prize in UK motorsport.
That margin was eroded, however, when intensifying rain over the second half of race one restricted the Northern Irishman to a fighting fifth-place finish. Having qualified on pole position for the third time in 2019, he led early on, but was ultimately powerless to withstand the attack of rivals who had pitted to switch over to wet-weather tyres during an early safety car period.

Turkington’s advantage was overturned altogether in race two, when a tag from another driver sent the Team BMW man into a spin and tumbling down to the tail of the order. That left him eight points shy of the lead going into the eagerly-anticipated finale, and with it all to do from 25th on the grid. A scintillating charge through the field secured sixth at the chequered flag – and with it, a supremely hard-earned fourth championship title.
BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan was similarly in the mix heading into the weekend, sitting 17 points adrift of the summit of the standings. He had reduced that deficit to just two points by the end of race three, courtesy of an eighth, second and fourth-place finish, as the 30-year-old came tantalisingly close to adding to his 2013 championship success.

The runner-up spot in the Drivers’ table was ultimately Jordan’s reward for a season in which he won more races than anybody else behind the wheel of BMW’s all-conquering new 330i M Sport.

Tom Oliphant concluded his maiden campaign with Team BMW with a sensational drive from 30th to a top ten finish in the finale. The 29-year-old proved his pace with fastest lap in race one despite the mixed conditions, before finding himself removed from contention on the opening lap of race two through no fault of his own – a setback that paved the way for his soaring charge in race three.

The results confirmed BMW’s sixth BTCC Manufacturers’ title, with Team BMW finishing second in the Teams’ classification and BMW Pirtek Racing sixth.

FORMULA 1

BOTAS WINS RACE MERCEDES WINS CONSTRUCTORS

Bottas won the Japanese Grand Prix with team-mate LCH third behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, securing a Formula 1 record sixth straight World Championship double for Mercedes.

The result sealed the constructors’ title with four races to go and, while Hamilton is not quite world champion yet, only Bottas can catch him.

It breaks the record set by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, and confirms this Mercedes team as the greatest in F1 history.

LCH leads Bottas by 64 points and needs to be 78 clear of the Finn to win his sixth drivers’ title at the next race in Mexico.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said: “It has never been done before and that’s why it feels great.

“It’s F1, it’s motor racing. Is it historic? I don’t know. There are more important things out there but for us it feels great.”

Again, as so often this season, Ferrari’s race unravelled as a result of driver errors – from both in this case.

Vettel moved forward in his position box before the red lights had gone out at the start, forcing him to have to stop and then go again, and allowing Bottas to spring past him into the lead at the first corner.

Beside him, Leclerc also made a slow start, if not as poor as Vettel’s, and he had Red Bull’s Max Verstappen alongside him through the first two corners.

In Turn Two, Leclerc slid wide and into Verstappen, pitching the Red Bull into a spin that ultimately led to its retirement, and damaging the Ferrari’s front wing.

Leclerc tried to hang on but was forced to pit on lap three, and was only able to recover to sixth in a race that forced him to spend most of the afternoon picking his way past back markers.