Tag Archives: Pirelli

Motorsports Mondial

Robert Wickens testing with Lotus Renault GP

Robert: “I’m pleased with what we achieved today. I learned so much with everything, and Lotus Renault GP did an amazing job. The car really feels fantastic to drive. It has been fun and I can’t thank Lotus Renault GP enough for the opportunity they gave me to drive for the team. I’m glad I was able to drive in a car that put me towards the top of the grid. I was hoping to be in the top three today and to be third is really good. Obviously you can always find ways to improve but I’m sure that will come. I was surprised how different the Pirelli Prototype 2012 was compared to the normal 2011 tyre – I did a long run at the end with heavy fuel and I was able to do a very consistent 20 lap run towards the end of the day on the soft tyre, which is a good sign for next year I think. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do consistent, long runs and to really start understanding the tyres. I trained very hard all season, prepared for this young drivers test and I’m very proud of myself. I just wish I could stay a couple more days.”


Motorsports Mondial



The Lion of Nuevo León

Like the lion roars in the jungle, this young Mexican driver has been rip roaring through the competition. Marking his territory, from Salt Lake City to Spa-Francorchamps.

In three years of racing in the cut-throat world of European jungle, Esteban Gutierrez has claimed two dominant championships. And in 2011 he will enter the final frontier before Formula 1, GP2 with Lotus-ART team.

Esteban triumphed this year in the inaugural season of GP3 Series, created by the same people who are behind the highly successful GP2 Series, Bruno Michel & Company.

GP3 turbo machine.

The Dallara-built car is powered by a Renault-turbo engine while Pirelli supplies the rubber. The car made its track debut in June 2009 at Paul Ricard in the south of France in the capable hands of Romain Grosjean.

The Geneva-born and based banker and F1 aspirant was impressed by the new race car.

“This is a great car! Compared to Formula 3 car, the acceleration is better and speeds in fast corners are similar. The paddle shift on the steering is also a great addition to a car that will definitely prepare GP3 drivers to step into the next category, GP2,” Grosjean commented after the initial shakedown.

Mark Webber, who co-owns MW Arden team in GP3 with Christian Horner, also tested the car in November last year at the same track and was equally enthusiastic.

“I can honestly say it is like driving a small F1 car,” assured the Australian.

Season of domination.

Gutierrez was on the go as soon as the pre-season testing commenced, posting some of the fastest times both at Paul Ricard and Circuit de Catalunya.

The birth of the new series in Barcelona, as a support race to Spanish Grand Prix, saw a difficult wet-dry conditions in qualifying which saw Dutch driver Nigel Melker grab pole position and a surprised Pal Varhaug of Norway sharing the front row with him. Varhaug led the race from start to finish to become the first ever race winner in GP3 Series.

Gutierrez started his charge from the fourth row and was in third place by the end of the opening lap. The remaining laps saw a great battle between Gutierrez and Robert Wickens for second place. The Canadian was able to hold off Gutierrez.

The reverse grid for second race of top eight finishers from Saturday’s event saw Gutierrez start sixth, and he was on the podium again, this time returning the favor and holding off Wickens for third place. The race was won by Gutierrez’s ART teammate from northern California, Alexander Rossi, who started from pole courtesy of his eighth place finish in race one of the weekend.

The Gutierrez gun got blazing in round two. He started the opening race of round two in Istanbul from front row and put in a Pasha performance of complete and utter domination. He led from start to finish and was over 10-seconds ahead of runner-up James Jakes.

Victory also gave Gutierrez the championship lead.

Second race of the weekend saw maiden win for Indonesian driver Rio Haryanto. Gutierrez kept his championship lead despite placing seventh.

The streets of Valencia gave Gutierrez his first pole position of the season, and he made the most of it by leading the race from start to finish. His fastest lap on the final lap gave him a bonus point which helped him to extend his championship lead over Wickens, who finished second.

The opening lap of race two on Sunday saw Gutierrez and Wickens collide, spinning the Mexican driver to the bottom of the field and sending the Canadian to the pit lane for a drive-through penalty. Gutierrez raced hard but finished out of the points in seventh but with championship lead still intact.

The race was won by the Swiss driver Nico Müller.

The Silverstone show placed Gutierrez on pole from which he scored his third successive feature win of the season, setting the fastest lap on the final tour of the circuit. Indonesian star Rio Haryanto chased hard all the way to second place finish.

Starting Sunday’s race two in eighth place Gutierrez charged through the field to fight for second place with Italian Mirko Bortolotti, the duel intensified resulting in Gutierrez squeezed out on the grass on the final lap. This allowed his teammate Rossi to fight for the final podium finish which both fought with fierce determination, the Californian claiming third place finish by a mere 0.08s.

The race was won by Canadian Daniel Morad, his first win of the season.

There was more Canadian success in the opening race of the following round at Hockenheimring. Robert Wickens, who, like Morad, hails from Toronto, scored his first win of the season. Gutierrez finished fourth.

The second German race gave Gutierrez win number four of the season. This put him 30 points ahead of second place Wickens and 38 points ahead of third man, teammate Rossi.

The Hungarian round saw front row finish in the same position, pole-sitter Nico Müller taking the win from Gutierrez, the Mexican had matched his lap time in qualifying but the Swiss driver’s time was set first and was, thus, awarded pole position.

Sunday’s round two in Budapest almost ended in an American one-two. Alexander Rossi led the race from start from to finish over pole-sitter Josef Newgarden, who hails from Tennessee, but his car stopped only three laps from the end.

Gutierrez came in fifth. Wickens, despite finishing second, was now 35 points behind Gutierrez with only two rounds remaining.

The fabled Spa-Francorchamps witnessed a bizarre rain sodden race where Robert Wickens crashed while leading, managed to get going again and then wisely ran the clock out after the safety car came in with only 30 seconds remaining in the race.

Gutierrez failed to score any points and was unable to fire up the championship celebrations in the Ardennes forest.

Both title contenders, Gutierrez and Wickens, failed to score in race two, which saw an impressive win by Adrien Tambay. The son of ex-Ferrari Grand Prix driver Patrick was not a regular in the series. At Spa on Sunday he stayed on slick tires in the closing stages only to face rain falling again. He put on a great display of defensive driving to win ahead of Alexander Rossi.

The magical Monza was going to stage the season finale. But with an 18-point lead from maximum 20 points available, the wind and win was going Gutierrez’s way.

The Monza moment came before the race even started. Gutierrez took pole and bonus point made him GP3’s first ever champion. But he saved the best for last. Having lost the lead at the start, Gutierrez was third with three laps remaining. His relentless pursuit resulted in fifth win of the season

Sunday’s final race of the season at the Temple of Speed saw Wickens forced his way for an impressive win after starting seventh. After winning the race on Saturday Gutierrez started next to Wickens, but an off-course excursion while attempting a pass on Roberti Merhi going into Parabolica resulted in his only dnf of the season.

The new champion explained his season campaign to Autosport: “From the beginning our main focus was not only to win races and to win the championship, but to be consistent through the whole season. And in the end we have been able to keep a high level of consistency, and we have been working to improve ourselves and not think too much about the other guys. We’ve just tried to do our best and focus on the job. Every mechanic, every engineer did his job and we had a really good synergy and a really good attitude. Everyone was really positive all the time, even in the hard times.”

Esteban Gutierrez was born in Monterrey in the Mexican state of Nuevo León on August 5, 1991. His racing career started in Utah at the Miller Motorsports Park, near Salt Lake City. He grabbed pole positions for the first two races of his career in the 2007 Formula BMW US Championship. He was Rookie of the Year at season’s end. The following year he captured the European version of the same series, winning seven races, six of them in a row.

In 2009, he competed in the F3 Euro Series and finished in the top ten in the championship. His success this year has marked him as a star of the future. He is now signed as third driver for Sauber F1 team and posted very impressive times in recent GP2 testing in Abu Dhabi.

If Esteban can pull-off a Hamilton or Hulkenberg and win the GP2 Championship in his rookie season against experienced hands, from Bianchi and Bird to Turvey and Filippi, the roar of Mexican Hat Dance will be heard around the world.

— Nasir Hameed.

Buenos Dias from California.

All photos courtesy of www.estebangtz.com and Marks Granados.

Motorsports Mondial

2011 GP2 Car

Fabio Leimer leads Day 2 Rapax driver quickest at Yas Marina Circuit in post season tests The second day of GP2 Series post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit saw a few changes in the drivers’ entry list with some racers switching teams and new ones joining, namely Pal Varhaug at Dams, Daniel Macinelli at Rapax, Dani Clos at Ocean Racing and Luca Filippi at Coloni.

The morning session was dominated by Fabio Leimer at the wheel of the #14 car for 2010 Team Champions’ Rapax: the Swiss topped the timing sheet from the moment the pitlane opened until the chequered flag, leaving only scraps to his closest rivals. Charles Pic at Addax looked like the man who could come the closest to Leimer’s best laptime as he stayed P2 for most of the session, but with five minutes left on the clock, GP2 returnee Filippi picked up some pace and finished two tenths from Leimer.

The session was briefly interrupted by three red flags, the second one due to Jake Rosenzweig damaging his Super Nova car on a curb and ending the American’s session prematurely. In the afternoon, yesterday’s quickest man James Jakes – this time at the wheel of a Racing Engineering car, set the early pace, until Sam Bird at Dams bettered his laptime. On the one hour mark, Michael Herck at DPR reminded everyone that he had been the fastest man on track in yesterday’s morning session by going top again, but not for long: Leimer and Josef Kral at Addax bettered the Romanian’s laptime. It was then Stefano Coletti’s turn to place his Trident car at the top of the timesheet.

The fight for today’s top honour continued relentlessly with GP3 Series Champion Esteban Gutierrez at ART claiming the top spot temporarily until Leimer went quickest again, improving his morning’s laptime by four tenths. He was then never dethroned despite Kral’s best efforts: the Addax man finished just one tenth behind the Swiss. In the dying seconds of the session, Clos improved, edging Bird out of the Top 3. Gutierrez finished best rookie of the day. The post-season test will resume on Saturday.

F1weekly podcast # 436

Pirelli was the winning rubber when Dr. Nino Farina took the checkered flag at Silverstone in the 1950 British Grand Prix, the dawn of Formula 1 civilization. Since then the Milanese company has amassed success in various forms of motorsports all over the world.

Pirelli’s first success came in the 1907 Paris-Peking Rally, which inspired the company to introduce its elongated P logo in 1908.

The company’s products were used by Ferrari to win the 1954 Le Mans 24 Hours with Maurice Trintignant and Froilan Gonzales. Three years later Pirelli shod Maserati won at Sebring 12 Hours with Juan Manuel Fangio and Jean Behra. The same year, 1957, Pirelli departed from F1 scene on a very high mark, helping Fangio to his fifth world championship and his final and greatest Grand Prix triumph at the Nürburgring.

On the rallying front Pirelli has been involved since the 1970s, most notable success was Sandro Munari’s three in a row Lancia Stratos wins in the 1975-’77 Monte Carlo Rally.

Pirelli’s second foray in F1 circles was in the early ‘80s. Brazilian Nelson Piquet gave the team their first win at Paul Ricard in the 1985 French Grand Prix. Six years later in Canada Piquet would provide their last Grand Prix win in a Benetton.

Currently the company is exclusive supplier in WRC, GP3, Grand Am, Ferrari Challenge and World Super Bikes.

With Bridgestone following Japanese giants Honda and Toyota in their F1 exodus we welcome an old F1 friend back to the Grand Prix circuit. Pirelli will be the exclusive supplier from 2011 to F1 and GP2 teams.

Pirelli is also one of the largest manufacturers of cables.

Funiculi, Funicula!

Nasir Hameed

Heavenly regards from California.

Pirelli tyres to become sole supplier to Formula 1 replacing Bridgestone.

The 107 percent rule to return to qualifying in 2011.

Adjustable rear wings to replace adjustable front wings.

Renault and Mercedes to bring Red Bull type exhaust for Valencia.

USF1 Is fined and banned from any FIA championships.

Podcast number 436 in post production.

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed and…

This weeks special Interview with GP3 driver Pal Varhaug.