Just weeks ago, Spanish F1 driver Maria de Villota was in a horrific crash during testing of her new Marussia MR-01 racecar. In fact, it was her first test drive ever and the injuries were apparently very serious. The only injury we were made aware of initially was the fact that she lost an eye.
Fortunately, the injuries were not so severe to put her life in direct risk, as it was just announced that she was released from the hospital. There was some speculation that Maria would require brain surgery, but following some testing, it was found that there wasn’t any damage that would require this risky surgery.
Though she will not spend any more time in the hospital, physicians will continue to monitor her at home to assure that her recovery stays on schedule. She will be undergoing surgery to repair damage done to her face during the accident, so we wish her the best in the rest of her recovery and her future plastic surgery.
Marussia has also officially chalked the crash up as a combination of several driver errors. The first error was that she was unable to find the clutch lever, which was in an unexpected position because the wheel was not centered. Also, when she came into the pits, de Villota forgot to press the neutral button to keep the car out of gear. These are all freak lapses that most F1 drivers remember almost instinctively, but while testing a new car, these steps can sometimes be forgotten.
On an aside, Maria will likely have to take significant time off, as the FIA does not issue international licenses for five years following the loss of an eye. This give the brain time to adjust using just a single eye.
Our best wishes go out to Maria de Villota and we hope for a speedy recovery.
Youtube user Marchettino has managed to shoot yet another amazing video. This time, he took a trip to the Fiorano race track where he caught two of the most amazing F1 cars racing: the Ferrari F1 V10 and the V12.
The video starts with a Ferrari F2005 F1 screaming around Fiorano. As the car comes back to the pitlane, an epic 412t2 F1 took its turn out on the track. Some can only imagine how amazing it was to hear the glorious sounds from both the V12 and the V10 engines. All of us, on the other hand, can take a listen to this video for full enjoyment. Let us know in the comments section below which of the two models is your favorite.
For comparison’s sake, the model driven by Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello - the V10 - delivers a total of 940 HP, while the model driven by Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger - the V12 - delivers a total of 700 HP.
If you’ve ever been to a tire shop for four brand-spankin’-new tires, you can typically expect to sit around for at least an hour. If you show up on a Saturday, you had better just drop off your car and come back in three or four hours. That is, of course, unless you are F1 driver Jenson Button.
At the German Grand Prix on Sunday, Button was in 3rd place and pulled into the pits for a new set of tires, which you can typically expect to lose at least one position when doing. Button, on the other hand, pulled in and didn’t even lose a single position. It’s not because the car trailing him was so far behind, but rather because his pit crew was ridiculously fast. They lifted the car, removed four tires and rims, and installed four new tires and rims in 2.31 seconds.
That’s not only insanely fast, but it is also a new world record. One YouTube user managed to get a shot of the record-breaking pit stop and posted it for all of us to see. Literally, if you blink, you’ll miss almost everything.
Check out the above video to see just how fast this crew gets this job done. The lightning-fast work of Button’s crew also enabled him to overtake the No. 2 slot, as Sebastian Vettel pitted shortly after Button.
As the Nürburgring sinks into its bankruptcy proceedings and the light at the end of the tunnel of relief for the famed `Ring looks bleak, everyone in the automotive industry would love to help, but they all have their own problems. F1 has its own lineup of issues to deal with, especially its boss, Bernie Ecclestone, but it has stepped up to the task and is offering a much-needed hand to the failing track.
Ecclestone has vowed to do whatever he can to save the track and isn’t just saying it to sound good. According to a report, Ecclestone has said that he will waive the typical sanctioning fee to bring an F1 race to the Nürburgring. For those that don’t know how significant that really is, the fee to bring F1 to Austin, Texas ran a full $25 million. That would bring huge attendance to the ’Ring and general tourism to the suffering area, possibly giving it the injection of cash that it needs.
F1 is still an extremely popular series in Europe, so the entire area could see income in the hundreds of million of dollars, if it is planned correctly. The biggest issue is whether the `Ring is suitable for F1 racing, as low income typically leads to poor track conditions. If it is not in acceptable shape, would Nürburgring officials have the spare cash to fix it up? If there is no cash to fix it, would F1 be willing to inch closer to that plate by helping fix the track to get it race-ready?
According to reports from `Ring officials, there is only a short time frame to get an F1 deal done, but it may be a little too late to completely save the famed raceway.
We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Between F1 and INDYCAR, we are unsure which of the open-wheeled racing conglomerates are in worse shape. INDYCAR gets bumped by a beer festival , then can’t find a location quick enough to replace it, so cancels the race altogether. Then again, F1 has its head honcho, Bernie Ecclestone, in hot water for bribing various banking officials . Both circuits, F1 more than INDYCAR, are constantly under fire for their lack of parity, as the same drivers/teams win over and over again. We don’t have an issue with the lack of parity, we say let the best driver and car win, but the public tends to get bored by it.
Now F1 is joining INDYCAR in the cancelling of races, as after saying that the New Jersey leg of its U.S. tour may be pushed back to 2014. Now Ecclestone is saying “No. Definitely no,” that the race will not happen in 2013. This all comes following Sebastian Vettel’s test drive of the course and him saying that the track is “nowhere near ready.”
Following his pretty definitive statement, Ecclestone backed up and reworded his statement by saying that if organizers get the NJ track ready, it will be added to the 2013 calendar.
This is obviously one gigantic mess, as even the event organizers in NJ are saying that they are ahead of schedule and have not hit any of the snags that the other American leg, Austin, Texas, hit. So, maybe Ecclestone is jumping the gun a little on this one, so we will have to keep an eye one what’s going on here.
To say that F1 is struggling is a bit of an understatement. First, the lack of parity has somewhat alienated fans and sponsors, as Red Bull and Ferrari both pulled corporate association last year. Then came the delay in releasing F1 stock on the Singapore stock market, citing worldwide economic unrest as its main reason, though we tend to think F1 officials are waiting for the time when the sport regains its footing.
The latest bit of F1 business news that may indicate that F1 is in for a tough future is the fact that F1’s majority owner, CVC Capital, has sold down its share in the racing series. It’s one thing if a majority owner dumps 5 of 6 percent of its stock, that’s simply business, but when an owner dumps 1/5 of its stack, that is a little more serious.
CVC Capital dumped $1.6 billion first and has more recently dropped another $500 million of its F1 ownership, dropping its overall stake from a hefty 63.4 percent to just 42.5 percent. The total sale was split amongst three different investment groups.
CVC still remains the majority shareholder, but its drastic drop is rather ominous. Does this mean that CVC sees something on the horizon that could cause the worth of F1 to drop significantly? We really don’t know, but there is no other reason to drop over 20 percent of your ownership in such a short period of time. Add this drop to the lack of two monster-sized corporate racing sponsors – Red Bull and Ferrari – not being a part of F1 and you can start seeing the writing on the wall that marks change.
There is no way that F1 would simply fold up, but we suspect that there will be some serious restructuring coming down the pipe very soon. We’ll keep you updated as more news becomes available.
Remember the days when car racing was “Car Racing.” The rules were loosely written and even looser followed, and it was considered more entertainment than sport. Those were the good old days, when the purpose was to build a car faster than the others and hire a driver that can keep the thing on the tarmac. Those days all went away in the 1980s, as all of the major professional racing circuits – NASCAR, Indy, F1 , NHRA – turned these entertainment spectacles into damn sporting events.
While we love our sports – I for one am obsessed with NFL football – the turning of driving a car fast into a sport led to the injection of fairness and parity. This led to restrictor plates, horsepower limits, and barred modifications. It even led to drivers starting to whine and boo-hoo about a little paint scraping… Well, if you are ready to see some racing in its truest form, take a look-see at the Global RallyCross Championship.
Sure, it piggybacks along with the aforementioned whiny racing “sports,” but it couldn’t be much farther from these sports in terms of real life competitive racing. The rules are few, the paint trading is a plenty, and there is no one crying foul when a fellow driver pulls a pit maneuver on your car’s tail end. He just pops it back in gear and thinks “why didn’t I see that guy there,” then gets ‘em back.
To boot, there are freaking bike-style ramps and barricades in the middle of the track to leap over or drive around. There are even shortcuts on each track. Granted the shortcuts are typically more difficult to drive through, but they are there. The only rules regarding the engine is the fitment of an intake restrictor and that the engine block must meet the manufacturer’s specification. This means you can bolt on as many ponies as you like, just don’t modify the block. Ah, you’ve got to love it.
Check out the above video to catch a glimpse of the awesomeness that is GRC!
So, what can you do when you are not having success with your Formula 1 cars? Well, logically, you will be trying to develop new technologies that will help you obtain better results. Of course, logic is not always the path people take.
For example, let’s take Sauber F1. They didn’t score any impressive results as of late, so what have they been doing for the past two years? The Sauber F1 Team mechanics have been using their downtime to slice a Formula 1 racing car lengthwise with the precision of true craftsmen. Chief Designer Matt Morris quite literally gets underneath the skin of the F1 car, pointing out where and how the individual components are located within the chassis. Everything is packed in pretty tightly. Sergio Perez is also on hand to demonstrate the driver’s seating position.
We don’t exactly get the point of all this, so check out the video and enlighten us.
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco , this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.
Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.
Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.
Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.
Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco