7th April 2013

On This Day:
A formula two race in Hockenheim turned tragic as Jim Clark crashed in the forest and was killed in 1968.
In 1984, Piquet had pole in South Africa for a Saturday race. Niki Lauda won.
In 1985, April 7th was a Sunday, and again it was race day. Prost had been P2 one year previously at Kyalami, but in Brazil he took the win at the first race of the season. Michele Alboreto, who started on pole, finished 3s back, and everyone else was lapped at least once. Rene Arnoux was sacked right after the race by Ferrari, and to this day nobody has been told why.
1996, Argentina, and despite food poisoning, Williams driver Damon Hill had pole and win. Pedro Diniz had an interesting race, first colliding with Luca Badoer – which brought out the safety car – then after pitting for repairs the safety valve in his fuel tank failed and his Ligier set on fire.

Rookie Stoffel Vandoorne took a well-deserved victory on his debut Formula Renault 3.5 race. Kevin Magnussen and Christopher Zanella completed the podium.
Sergio Campana had pole for Auto GP at Marrakech, and he went on to win the first race despite his car struggling in the final laps.
Ryan Hunter-Reay has pole for IndyCar at Alabama.
Newly-married Tonio Liuzzi has pole for this weekend’s superstars race at Monza.

IndyCar, Formula Renault 3.5, Auto GP as well as NASCAR, Moto GP, WTCC and other series not covered here because I’d go crazy!

6th April 2013

Two talented GP2 drivers share a birthday: Stefano Coletti and Tom Dillmann. Both are 24 today.

On This Day:
2003, Brazil, and the win eventually went to Giancarlo Fisichella. The race had been red flagged after heavy rain and crashes caused the track to be blocked. On countback, the stewards originally decided that Raikkonen had won, with Fisichella second and Alonso third (though he was injured and couldn’t make the podium). But Fisichella had overtaken Raikkonen to lead on lap 54. Later, it was decided that the countback had been wrong, and Fisichella was given victory.
2008 was much less controversial as F1 came to Bahrain. Robert Kubica started on pole, with Massa in P2. It was a close race, and Massa won by three seconds from teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Kubica was third.

Stoffel Vandoorne has pole for the opening race of the Formula Renault 3.5 season. Sergey Sirotkin will start second with Christopher Zanella third. Antonio Felix da Costa starts fourth despite having more experience than the three ahead of him.

Auto GP and Formula Renault 3.5

5th April 2013

On This Day:
For the two races that took place on this day in history, the British winner had pole position as well.
In 1992, Nigel Mansell and second-place Ricardo Patrese were the only drivers on the lead lap at the finish for the Brazilian GP.
In 2009, at Sepang, it rained even more than usual. The race was red-flagged, and as the light dimmed Kimi Raikkonen ate an ice cream before Jenson Button was declared the winner. Half points were awarded as the race was not long enough for full points.

David Fumanelli set the pace on the final day of testing at Silverstone, but Tio Ellinas was fastest in the afternoon session of GP3 testing.
Sergei Sirotkin was fastest in an additional Formula Renault 3.5 test at Monza, issued because of an earlier winter test being cancelled by snow.

World Series by Renault at Monza.
Auto GP at Marrakech

4th April 2013

Almost F1 driver Luiz Razia is 24 today!
Formula Renault driver Marlon Stockinger is 22 today.

On This Day:
Andrea de Cesaris had pole at the 1982 United States Grand Prix West. Technical issues for the Alfa caused it to unexpectedly spin off and crash, allowing Niki Lauda an easier victory.
In 2004, Bahrain hosted a Grand Prix for the first time. Michael Schumacher won, with his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello a close second.
2010, Malaysia, and the third race of the season. Mark Webber had pole, but teammate Sebastian Vettel won due to his better start.

Tio Ellinas was fastest on the first day of GP3 testing at Silverstone.
Narain Karthikeyan will continue to drive for Zele Racing at the next Auto GP round.

GP3 testing continues.

3rd April 2013

On This Day:
Austrian Niki Lauda had pole for the 1977 US GP West. Jody Scheckter did well to lead most of the way in his Wolf, but three laps before the end, Mario Andretti and Niki Lauda overtook him. American Andretti took his third win by less than a second from Lauda, with Scheckter less than five seconds behind the leader for third.
Brazil 1988, and local hero Ayrton Senna was on pole. Senna’s car got stuck in gear on the parade lap, and he had to start from the pits in the spare car. Prost took the lead from the start, and went on to win, while Gerhard Berger was second and Nelson Piquet was third. Senna was disqualified for changing cars when he wasn’t allowed.
2005, and in Bahrain Fernando Alonso was dominating. Fellow Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa took the fastest lap, having replaced an injured Juan Pablo Montoya. Trulli and Raikkonen completed the podium.

American GP2 and GP3 driver Conor Daly will be driving in the Indy 500 this year, with ex-F1 driver Takuma Sato as his teammate.
Mihai Marinescu and Emmanuel Piget have been confirmed by Zeta Corse to drive in Formula Renault 3.5 at Monza. Skilled ex-F2 driver Marinescu will be driving for the team all season. This confirms the lineup for the series’ first races at Monza, this weekend.
Chinese driver Adderly Fong has been signed by Status GP for the 2013 GP3 season.
GP3 will be holding a standalone event in 2013 at the Circuit de Ricardo Tormo in Valencia in June, between the Spanish and British events.

GP3 is testing at Silverstone. Follow @MrJamesRowe on Twitter for photos and more.

2nd April 2013

I’m sorry I didn’t do a blog post yesterday. Obviously it was deliberately done for April Fools’ Day, not an accident…

April 1st – Oliver Turvey is 26!
April 2nd – Happy birthday to the only F1 driver to be a champion in his own car, Jack Brabham. He is 87 today!

On This Day:
April 1st – no jokes in Brazil, 2001, as David Coulthard beats reigning world champion Michael Schumacher by 16 seconds. They were the only drivers to finish on the lead lap due to the wet weather, while Nick Heidfeld finished third for his debut podium.

April 2nd – Carlos Reutemann had pole and win at the 1978 US GP West. Gilles Villeneuve had led for the first half, but after he crashed his teammate took over the lead.
In 2006, Jenson Button was in fine form in Australia for the second race of the season. His Honda was on pole, and he led for the first few laps before Fernando Alonso took the lead and eventually won. Button’s engine blew on the final lap, and the Brit stalled his car rather than finish in the points to avoid an engine change penalty.

Wins in the opening round of the BTCC went to Jason Plato (twice) and Matt Neal. There were some excellent drives, particularly from reigning champion Gordon Shedden who started at the back in race three, and despite success ballast overtook almost everyone – he was right on teammate Neal’s tail as they crossed the finish line.
Dan Cammish won all three opening races of the British Formula Ford championship.

31st March 2013

On This Day:
The 1996 Brazilian GP was a good one for Williams. It was pouring with rain at the second race of the season. Damon Hill followed up his win at Melbourne with pole and win at Interlagos – his fifteenth F1 victory, beating the total of his father Graham Hill.
2002 at Interlagos, and Williams were again on pole with Juan Pablo Montoya. Michael Schumacher qualified a close second, and finished with victory barely ahead of his brother Ralf. Footballer Pele was chosen to wave the chequered flag, and he accidentally forgot to wave it at Michael, waving it at Takuma Sato instead. Mika Salo, finishing sixth, scored his last-ever F1 point.

Andrew Jordan has pole for the opening round of the BTCC. Race two’s grid will be race one’s finishing order, while the top few drivers finishing race two (the exact number determined by a random draw) will be reversed for race three’s grid.
Dan Cammish has pole for all the Formula Ford races this weekend, and he took fastest lap and win for yesterday’s race.

It’s the first round of BTCC, and the races feature several ex-single seater drivers. Supporting are Formula Ford – now with slicks and wings – and Ginetta Juniors – which has produced some good young drivers such as Seb Morris, Dino Zamparelli and Josh Hill.

30th March 2013

Giacomo Ricci is 28 today.
Eddie Jordan is 65 today.

On This Day:
Carlos Reutemann won the 1974 South African GP for Brabham after polesitter Niki Lauda retired with technical problems.
In 1980, Nelson Piquet won the 1980 US GP West for Brabham, his first F1 win on only his fourth points finish.
And in 1997, that year’s world champion Jaques Villeneuve had pole and win in Brazil.

Tonio Liuzzi will be driving for Romeo Ferraris Mercedes in the 2013 Superstars season.
Robert Kubica is preparing for his WRC debut next month, with help from Sebastian Loeb.

BTCC and Formula Ford at Brands Hatch, as well as other series.

29th March 2013

Happy birthday to Marc Gene, Ferrari test driver.

On This Day:
Argentinian Carlos Reutemann won the 1981 Brazilian GP by ignoring team orders. Teammate Alan Jones finished second, and refused to go on the podium. Nelson Piquet had pole but finished 12th, two laps down.
Things were a little simpler in 1998, when Mika Hakkinen took pole and win for McLaren at Interlagos. Teammate David Coulthard was second, and they finished a minute ahead of Michael Schumacher and Alex Wurz – the only other drivers on the lead lap.
There was a new team on the grid for the 2009 Australian GP. Ross Brawn had bought Honda, and gave them Mercedes engines and a white livery. Brawn GP shocked everyone by taking pole position thanks to Jenson Button, and the British driver also took the win. It was the first time since Mercedes in 1954 that a constructor had won on their debut, and the second race to finish under safety car conditions after Kubica and Vettel collided. This allowed Barrichello to finish second.

Force India will continue to use Mercedes power units and transmissions for the next few years after signing a deal with the German company.
Michelin are set to supply tyres to Formula E when the series begins.
Sebastian Vettel has apologised to Red Bull for disobeying team orders.
Seb Morris has changed from Formula Renault to BRDC F4 for the 2013 season, driving with Hillspeed – for whom he won the 2011 Ginetta Juniors championship with. The championship has attracted drivers from all over the world. The first round of the championship will be at the end of April.

Stat of the Day:
Nobody has ever beaten Fernando Alonso in qualifying five times in a row, but Felipe Massa could manage that in China, having beaten Alonso in the USA, Brazil, Australia and Malaysia. (via BBC)

28th March 2013

On This Day:
Clay Regazzoni had pole and win at the 1976 US GP West.
Alain Prost’s Williams was on pole in Brazil, but local hero Ayrton Senna in his McLaren won. It was his last home race victory.
Sebastian Vettel had pole at the 2010 Australian GP, but McLaren new boy Jenson Button took the win.

Claire Williams has been appointed deputy Team Principal at Williams.