This weekend saw the first-ever high speed drift event at the famed South African Grand Prix circuit, Kyalami. Most of you might not know that South Africa has a thriving aftermarket and racing scene, probably because the mention South Africa brings forth images of the Safari and some wild animals, but, even though drifting is in its infancy stages, the passion and dedication towards the sport is just as high as anywhere else.
Kyalami played host to SuperDRIFT this weekend – South Africa’s first high speed event to be staged at the Grand Prix circuit. The event featured drivers with various skill levels from across the country in a bid to separate the “men from the boys” so to speak. The aim was to setup a precursor to the initial Pro Championship planned for next year – with the Top 16 of the 32 contestants gaining automatic entry for the first round. With that in mind, the guys took to the track to let it all hang out, impressing even the International experts in attendance, who were pleasantly surprised by the budding talent South Africa had to offer. Cars included everything from 4 cylinder BMWs to 850HP Turbocharged 350Zs.
The FIA has made some more rule changes to Formula One, even though this year’s season has been pretty amazing. The FIA’s World Motor Sports Council has just approved some changes that will take place in the 2011 season, starting with the banning of all F-duct. Instead, they will allow a movable rear wing.
Adjusting the wing isn’t allowed in the first two laps, but after those are complete, if any car trails another by less than a second, the wing can be used to allow higher speeds.
"The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled the first time the driver uses the brakes after the system has been activated," read the FIA statement.
The minimum weight has also been raised, from 620 kilograms to 640 kg. This will help make way for the KERS system. There is also no passing on the last lap of the race when the safety car comes in.
The 107% rule has been brought back, after its eight-year hiatus. They hope that this rule will help the backmarker situation that is in the sport at the moment.
The tire war is officially over and Pirelli has been made the official tire supplier of F1 for three years. Bridgestone will be stepping down, even though the teams and Bernie had asked them to stay. So, after a 19-year absence from the sport, Pirelli is back.
The next race is Sunday, tune into BBC1 or the Speed Channel for full coverage.
When a team like Scuderia Ferrari is upset in Formula One, people are going to hear about it one way or another. Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo was furious at the new, slower teams in F1 after Fernando Alonso was held up during the Canadian Grand Prix.
Alonso was trying to pass Lewis Hamilton after the leading McLaren went into the pits after a bit of pressure from Alonso.
Yet, the Spaniard was slowed down by one of the slower teams on his in lap and he eventually came out of the pits behind Hamilton, who would later win the race.
Things kept getting worse for Alonso, who lost second to Jenson Button after he was slowed down by another slow newcomer.
The Italian boss was livid with the new boys after the race had finished, having seen his driver’s chance at a win slip away with the help of the slower cars.
"Cars who perform at GP2-level should not be allowed to participate in F1 races because they are supposed to race on Sunday mornings," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Our car’s race pace was good enough for victory.
"Let’s hope that, in the future, there won’t be mistakes in pushing a button nor in lapping cars that put us at a disadvantage, because we’ve already gone though that."
Alonso has one win in his first season with Ferrari and is currently fourth in the points behind Mark Webber and the two McLaren drivers.
While the USF1 project may be dead and gone, there is still hope for an American team in Formula One. A bid by a group of American investors to enter F1 met with teams and Bernie Ecclestone to advance their talks over the weekend.
Autosport first broke the news. The team is being led by Parris Mullins, the advisor to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley during his involvement at US F1, last month.
Mullins was in Montreal last weekend for the Canadian Gran Prix to try and advance their talks about the future. He has made clear that the group will look to take over a current team and not bring in a new one. Speculation has already linked the group with Sauber and Toro Rosso because of his personal links with Ferrari. Yet, Mullins says he is totally open-minded about the issue.
When Mullins spoke with Autosport, he said “Over the course of these three days progress has been huge. There was only so much I could do from the US anyway, and all the right people are here congregated in to one area.
"I made a lot more progress this weekend than what I was expecting, I hope to be making just as much progress between now and Valencia so we will see. The project is moving ahead.
In one of the most exciting races all season, Lewis Hamilton stormed to victory and his second win of the 2010-racing season.
Hamilton, who won the last race in Turkey, crossed the line ahead of his teammate Jenson Button, a Ferrari, and the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Fernando Alonso finished third in his Ferrari, after he led a few laps in the middle segment of the race.
Starting from pole position, Hamilton led on three separate occasions before taking the lead for good on lap 50. It was his third win at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
The race in Canada became a race of the tires and who could make the best use out of the two different sets. Both hard and soft compounds suffered from degradation, far more than anybody had thought. The tire issue helped spur on one of the best races all season, as tire strategy and wear left fans wondering who would come out on top.
Mark Webber’s recent run of success hasn’t gone unnoticed especially by the very team that he drives for. With the Aussie leading this year’s F1 Drivers Championship standings, Red Bull Racing rewarded its 34-year old racing ace with a contract extension for the 2011 Formula One season.
Webber’s extension, coupled with team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s upstanding multi-year contract, means that Red Bull’s driver line-up for 2011 has pretty much been set in stone already. The extension also appeases growing concerns on whether Red Bull was planning on retaining Webber for next year amidst speculation that former Formula One world champion and Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen would make his return to F1 with Red Bull.
We’re really happy for Webber for having his recent performances be rewarded by Red Bull. Sure, they have the best car in the entire F1 grid, but somebody still has to drive the thing, right? And, as of now, Mark Webber’s doing it over and above everyone else this year.
So congratulations, buddy, err, mate. You deserve it.
Forget about all that talk about New York becoming a possible host of the future Formula One U.S. Grand Prix because it won’t be coming there anymore. Oh, Formula One is coming back to America alright, but it won’t be in New York, or anywhere close to it. Instead, Formula One announced that beginning in 2012, the US Grand Prix will return to the calendar and will be held in Austin, Texas.
According to Formula One, Austin will host the US GP from 2012 to 2021, making it a pretty strong fixture in the F1 calendar in the coming years. Of course, the decision was made knowing that Austin doesn’t exactly have a ready race track so we can at least expect that a track - or even an entire facility - will be built just in time for the 2012 season. That, or they’re probably thinking of doing it on the streets, Melbourne style.
When the ESPN X Games kicks off at the LA Coliseum from July 29 to August 1, it’s going to come with a new event that is going to give rally fans something to look forward to. For the first in its history, the X Games will be featuring the SuperRally competition.
If you haven’t heard of the SuperRally, it’s actually similar to Europe’s RallyCross, with the only difference being the use of rally cars instead motorcycles. Sounds familiar, right? According to ESPN, the new SuperRally event will feature 12 drivers doing a number of trial runs to determine grid positions for three different elimination races. The winner of the Elimination heats, as well as the highest seeded driver who has not yet advanced, will battle it out in a four-lap last chance qualifier with the winner of that race competing in the five-lap final race against the winners of the Elimination heat races. Did you get all that?
We’re not afraid to admit that the rules left us more confused and dumb-founded, so we’re just going to visualize a number of races with lots of dirt, flying cars, and the occasional roll-over. After all, that’s what rally racing is all about, isn’t it?
Toyota may have bid ’sayonara!’ to Formula One, but another auto conglomerate is voicing its interest in joining the racing series sometime down the road, possibly as early as 2013.
It’s already been reported that Volkswagen has made it known of its interest in joining Formula One as an engine supplier under the auspices of the racing series using VW’s ’world engine’ by 2013. Now it looks like the German auto giant is interested in more than just supplying engines; they’re actually thinking of fielding their own team to compete in the so-called ’pinnacle of motorsport’.
According to Volkswagen’s motor racing chief, Kris Nissen, should the company enter the world of Formula One, it could possibly be under the name of one of their brands. "Within the group, for sure, it could be Audi, it could be Porsche and might also be Volkswagen," he said.
For the sake of everyone, let’s hope that if VW does decide to enter Formula One, they’d fare better than some of the recent automakers to try their luck in the sport only to fizzle out when it came time to the actual race. Yes, we’re talking about you, Jaguar and Spyker.