Indycar and Formula One – the two top single-seater series in the world. Today, Indycar’s first round and F1’s second round both had their qualifying sessions. Despite popular perception, Indycar is NOT just cars going round and round in circles – especially since there are only a few oval tracks left on the calendar. Unlike NASCAR, there are several permenant race tracks and street courses.
Indycar’s 2012 series features an all-new car: the DW12 named after Dan Wheldon. There are also two new engine suppliers, meaning that the series has a new dimension that will allow much more interesting racing. However, the chassis are still single-make.
Twenty-six drivers are taking part this weekend, though the number will change over the season, including reigning champion Dario Franchitti who is cousin to Force India’s Paul di Resta. Unlike the 26 taking part in GP2, however, these guys are all competitive. Rubens Barrichello, taking part in his first race weekend in the series, was soon on the pace. During qualifying, he barely missed out on the second session. He will start 14th, just behind his KV Racing teammate EJ Viso and just ahead of Takuma Sato.
Pole position was taken by Will Power, who has regularly been barely beaten by Dario Franchitti to the championship. His teammate at Penske, Ryan Briscoe, will be next to him.
Formula One saw the McLarens sandbagging until the final qualifying session, when they suddenly gained pace. It wasn’t as big a gap as in Melbourne, but Lewis went top fairly early on and Jenson Button lines up next to him. In third was Michael Schumacher. Mercedes engines last had a 1-2-3 in the 2009 European Grand Prix: Hamilton on pole, with Kovalainen and Barrichello second and third.
Mark Webber once again outqualified his teammate, who starts fifth due to Kimi Raikkonen suffering a five-place grid penalty. Then it’s Grosjean, Rosberg, Alonso, Perez and the demoted Raikkonen. Starting at the back after his penalty is Heikki Kovalainen, who is behind the HRTs. Both managed to beat the 107% rule.
Lotus F1’s hospitality unit suffered a major fire on the Friday night just before the curfew began. It was caused by a dodgy fuse on a fridge. Fortunately they saved a race suit for each driver as well as some helmets – but not all of them. Lotus also lost a lot of food and gifts for their guests. They have been relocated down by the Marussia garage, and seem to be taking the situation well judging by their Twitter account.