Today’s Formula One statistics may be dominated by seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, but most enthusiasts still look back on the golden days of F1 when asked to nominated the greatest-ever F1 driver. Jim Clark is often included among the best, particularly because at the time of his death he had won more Grand Prix races and achieved more pople positions than any other driver. His legacy includes two F1 World Championships, two podiums at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and, more importantly, the ability to drive just about any type of vehicle, from single-seaters to rally cars and track-prepped saloons. He was Britain’s own Mark Donohue.
Although the world of motorsport lost Clark nearly 50 years ago, he is still celebrated around Europe with heavy support from the Jim Clark Trust. In 2015, the trust marked the 50th anniversary of Clark’s second F1 World Championship title — achieved in 1965 with Team Lotus — during a special event in Britain. Among other activities, the organizers showcased Clark’s Lotus 25, which he drove from 1962 through 1965, and invited Sir Jackie Stewart to drive it in honor of his former rival and friend. There’s no actual racing footage as Stewart only paraded the Lotus in front of those attending the event, but those of you who like 1960s F1 cars and their V-8 engines should find the footage enticing.
Click the play button above to watch 75-year-old Stewart drive one of the sports most iconic cars.
Over the past few years, the Formula One hierarchy has three established teams: Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren. But if you paid any attention, you might have noticed that a fourth team quietly made a name for itself as the kind of dark horse contender in the next few years.
Led by former F1 champ, Kimi Raikkonen, and Roman Grosjean, Lotus has set its sights on bigger things in 2013. To kick off their run to the top of the leaderboard, the British-based F1 outfit unveiled their prized steed for the 2013 season: the E21.
Since there aren’t a whole lot of changes in the series’ regulations, the E21 isn’t too far away from its predecessor in both form and function. On that note, the chassis of the E21 comes with a molded-carbon-fiber and aluminum-honeycomb-composite monocoque that was and designed to ensure maximum strength with minimum weight.
There have also been some slight changes, though, particularly the new suspension layout and the slightly modified front wing that Lotus describes as a "continuation of concepts" dating back to 2009. Additionally, the new Coanda exhaust and the team’s modified passive double DRS system are looked at as two critical adjustments that could catapult Lotus into the ranks of the proverbial big leagues.
It certainly helps that they have one of the best drivers in Formula One in the always affable Raikkonen, who managed to finish 3rd in last year’s Driver’s Championship, despite having been out of Formula One for the past few years. If the E21 proves to be a better ride than the E20, then look for Kimi to make serious noise in the 2013 season.
There are two things that Caterham shares with Lotus. The first is that they both are U.K.-based companies and the second is that they both had Ansar Ali as an executive in the company. Short of that, the two companies have stark differences. The biggest difference being that Caterham stayed focused on its racecar-building division, then slowly started working itself toward street cars, thus keeping it profitable. Lotus, on the other end of the spectrum, has been trigger happy lately and has lost millions of dollars.
Well, the man given a lion’s share of the credit for Caterhams’s success, Ansar Ali, has stepped down from his post as Managing Director of the successful company. The resignation is certainly not forced, as Caterham chairman, Tony Fernandes, poured a heavy helping of praise over top of Ali as he departed and this can only point to the fact that Ali is leaving for another job, a la the former Audi CEO bolting for Infiniti.
On paper, the destination is obviously Lotus. Do the math, it is a struggling company, much like Caterham was prior to Ali taking the reins, it lacks a CEO since Dany Bahar’s termination, and there is already a history between Ali and Lotus. Add in the fact that Ali is already in the U.K., where Lotus is based, and you come up with a perfect match.
If Ali is heading to Lotus, don’t expect an immediate announcement, especially given the rumors of Bahar suing Lotus. Lotus would be wise to bring Ali on as a special consultant for a few months until the Bahar storm settles down.
We’ll keep an eye on where Ali lands and let you know as soon as we hear anything.
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
The Lotus-Renault team became the fourth Formula One team to present their 2011 race cars to the media. The R31, as it’s being called, was presented at the pit lane of the Valencia race track ahead of its first pre-season test session that’s been scheduled for next Tuesday at the same circuit.
In addition to the presentation of the black-and-gold R31, Lotus-Renault also presented their 2011 driver line-up, featuring Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov. Together with technical director James Allison, team principal Eric Boullier, and chairman Gerard Lopez, Kubica and Petrov personally pulled the covers off of the R31, marking the return to partnership of two companies - Lotus and Renault - that last worked together in the 80s.
“Words like ‘aggressive’ and ‘innovative’ are very much in vogue in Formula One at the moment, but where the R31 is concerned we feel those adjectives are appropriate,” Allison said.
“It’s true to say that the car has been designed in an ambitious manner and a quick glance at the layout will confirm that its entire concept differs considerably, not just from last year’s car, but from any car this team has ever produced.”
Details on the Lotus Renault R31 after the jump.
It didn’t take long for Lotus F1 to crash into the Formula One scene, did it?
Days after signaling their return with the unveiling of the new Lotus T127, Lotus ended up crashing one of their cars into a tire wall during a recent testing session at Jerez. The culprit was former McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen, who seems to be building a growing reputation of a practice-day crasher in his short time in Formula One.
What was intriguing about the whole episode wasn’t the crash itself but the way Lotus is trying to keep the T127 shielded from any curious ‘bird watchers’ in the area. As soon as Kovalainen crashed his car, engineers from Lotus quickly ran down to the scene to put drapes on the car and to look for as many loose parts of the T127 before throwing fabric barricades over their garage.
It seems interesting that Lotus would react this way after having one of their cars crash into a tire wall. Maybe they’re not ready to divulge their trade secrets just yet, or maybe because, in light of the increasing occurrences of ‘spying’ among teams, they’re just trying to keep the poking noses out of their business.
Either way, it’s a pretty ominous start for the boys in green and yellow. Here’s to hoping that they don’t wreck anymore cars until the season starts.
The name may be the same, but make no mistake; this is a completely different Lotus racing team.
The second of the four new Formula One racing teams recently unveiled their 2010 Formula One car, the T127 at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls.
Owned by Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes, the new Lotus team does have some ties with the other Lotus brand in the form of the team’s financial backer, Proton, which, coincidentally, owns the sports car brand Lotus.
The unveiling of the T127 was attended by some of the team’s top big wigs, including new technical director Mike Gascoyne who previously held that position with Toyota and Force India. Joining Gascoyne in the launch of the new car were Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen who will be given the distinction of piloting the first Lotus cars to race in Formula One for the first time in 16 years.
Of the four new teams that are scheduled to make their inaugural Formula One race in Bahrain, only one of them can say that they’ve been there and done that. And after recent spy shots were taken at Silverstone, we can now definitely say that Lotus has returned to Formula One.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s been 15 years since Lotus was part of the F1 grid, but after seeing that unmistakable green and yellow coated F1 car that has long been synonymous with Lotus running some tests in Silverstone, there’s no denying now that one of the most successful F1 outfits in history has come back to, dare we say, restore its lost glory.
Lotus’ first test-run at Silverstone was emotional on a lot of levels for those involved in the team’s return to Formula One. Even Tony Fernandes, Lotus’ team principal, admitted that he got emotional after watching the car make its first test run around Silverstone. In this official Twitter feed, Fernandes said, "Shakedown started. Quite a few tears."
If a simple test-run in the middle of February could bring such emotion to a lot of people, you can imagine that it’s going to be a lot more emotional when Lotus lines up at the grid in Bahrain.