27th March 2013

Happy birthday David Coulthard!

On This Day:
The 1983 US GP West took place. Patrick Tambay had pole, but John Watson won.
The 1994 Brazilian GP was also today. Senna had pole but retired from the race due to issues with the Williams. Schumacher won. It was the debut race for Roland Ratzenberger, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Olivier Panis.
Finally the 2011 Australian GP was dominated by Sebastian Vettel in the first race of Pirelli’s return to F1. Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez all had their debuts, with Perez finishing in the points. Sauber were disqualified after the race for a technical infringement, giving di Resta points on his debut instead.

26th March 2013

Racing driver Didier Pironi, teammate and rival of Gilles Villeneuve, would have been 61 today.
Elio de Angelis would have been 55 today.
Martin Donnelly is 49 today.

On This Day:
In 1989, F1 was racing at Rio. The Brazilian GP hasn’t taken place there since. Local Senna was on pole, but British superstar Nigel Mansell won for Ferrari.
The 1995 Brazilian GP was at Interlagos, and Damon Hill was on pole. Michael Schumacher won for Bennetton.
And in 2000, F1 was again in Brazil. This time Mika Hakkinen had pole, but Schumacher again won – this time at Ferrari.

We are still waiting to find out just what will happen after yesterday’s dramatic Malaysian GP. Who will suffer from the team orders debacle at Red Bull and Mercedes?

Eurocup testing in Austria.

25th March 2013

On This Day:
Alain Prost won two races on March 25th. In 1984, he won the Brazilian GP. It was the debut race for two drivers: Ayrton Senna, future rival to Prost, and Martin Brundle. Though Brundle scored points on his debut, Tyrrell were eventually disqualified from the whole season. Brundle went on to become an F1 commentator.
In 1990, F1 was once again in Brazil, and local boy Senna was on pole in the second race of the season. Ferrari driver Prost won, while Senna was also beaten by his teammate Gerhard Berger and finished third.
In 2012, two more former McLaren rivals were challenging the field. Lewis Hamilton had pole, but once again his ex-teammate Alonso won for Ferrari while Hamilton was third. In P2 was Sauber’s Sergio Perez, taking Sauber’s best-ever result outside of the BMW era and his first podium.

Well. What a weekend. Let’s have a look at the race results from yesterday:
Sebastian Vettel won the Malaysian GP after ignoring team orders and overtaking Webber. Nico Rosberg obeyed team orders, however, so Lewis Hamilton came third. Force India had serious pit issues, while Fernando Alonso broke his wing on lap one and was forced to retire.
In IndyCar, James Hinchliffe won the opening race of the season. Simona de Silvestro finished sixth.
FIA Formula Three and Auto GP took place at a very wet Monza. Pascal Wehrlein won race two, while Raffaele Marciello won race three. The two drivers had some very close battles along with Lucas Auer over the weekend.
Japanese driver Kimya Sato won race two of Auto GP, with Luciano Bacheta twenty seconds behind in second.

24th March 2013

Happy birthday McLaren test driver Gary Paffett!

On This Day:
Ayrton Senna had pole and win at his home race in 1991.

Sebastian Vettel took pole at Sepang despite almost dropping out of qualifying in Q1 due to an error by Red Bull. Felipe Massa qualified an impressive second ahead of his teammate in third. Kimi Raikkonen qualified 7th, but was judged to have blocked Nico Rosberg and received a 3-place grid penalty.
The first Euro F3 race at Monza was won by Raffaele Marciello, with Lucas Auer second and Pascal Wehrlein third.
Sergio Campana won the opening Auto GP race, with Kimiya Sato second and Robert Visoiu third after Vittorio Ghirelli received a two second penalty for corner cutting. Ex-F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan finished fifth.
Sadly Robert Kubica has had to end his first ERC weekend after his car was irrepairably damaged. He had been dominating the weekend, leading by over a minuted from Jan Kopecky.
Will Power has pole position at the opening IndyCar weekend. Takuma Sato qualified second, with Simona de Silvestro an imoressive third.

F1 and GP2 in Malaysia.
Auto GP and Euro F3 at Monza.
IndyCar at St Petersburg.

23rd March 2013

Happy birthday Jaime Alguersuari, 23 today!
Ricardo Zonta is 37 today.
Young driver Matteo Beretta is 19 today.

On This Day:
Nelson Piquet won his home race in 1986.
Kimi Raikkonen won for the first time at the 2003 Malaysian GP. Fernando Alonso also got his first pole at this race.
Kimi Raikkonen also won at the 2008 Malaysian GP, after his teammate Felipe Massa had pole.

Fabio Leimer has won the first GP2 race of the season, with Stefano Coletti and James Calado second and third. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs was given a 25-second penalty after crashing himself and his teammate out of the race.
Toto Wolff will take over as Mercedes CEO after Nick Fry steps down at the start of next month.
Jenson Button has replaced Felipe Massa as a GPDA director. Vettel is the other director, and Pedro de la Rosa is chairman.

Auto GP and Euro F3 at Monza.
F1 and GP2 at Malaysia.

22nd March 2013 – extra special post!

All of today’s racing news has a special post as there’s just so much of it!

In Malaysia, rain hampered F1 free practice. Rain is expected in the race, so the cars were still out on track. Mark Webber was fastest in FP1, while Australia winner Kimi Raikkonen was fastest in FP2 – with Vettel and Massa close behind.
GP2 saw James Calado fastest in practice, while Stefano Coletti had pole in qualifying. Sam Bird blocked Johnny Cecotto in qualifying, and in revenge the Venezuelan pushed the Brit onto the grass in a dangerous, unjustifiable move. Bird received a 3-place grid penalty, while Cecotto was disqualified from the session and will start from last.

Monza was home to excitement in a close European F3 field. Felix Rosenqvist was fastest in practice overall, then in qualifying Pascal Wehrlein was fastest for race 1, and set the best second-fastest lap for race 2. The second qualifying session set the grid for race 3, with Raffaele Marciello fastest.
In Auto GP, Robert Visoiu was fastest in practice one, while Vittorio Ghirelli was fastest in practice two. Riccardo Agostini took pole in qualifying.

22nd March 2013

On This Day:
American racing driver Peter Revson, who won a couple of races for McLaren, died in a test session before the 1974 South African GP.
Nigel Mansell had pole for the 1992 Mexican GP, but there was no Brabham on the grid – the first time this had happened since the team was founded. Mansell went on to win, beating Riccardo Patrese by 12 seconds, while Michael Schumacher finished third – his first podium in F1.

Experienced driver Narain Karthikeyan has signed to drive in the 2013 Auto GP season with Zele racing. His teammate will be F2 champion Luciano Bacheta, who is also of Indian descent. I’m hoping Luciano will outshine his teammate. Their first race weekend will support the WTCC at Monza, where European F3 will also be racing. Amongst the other drivers taking part will be Robert Visoiu and Meindert van Buuren.
BTCC held their media day today as their season prepares to begin. They will be on ITV in the UK until at least 2017. It’s a large field, featuring a number of experienced, skillful drivers including 2009 champion Colin Turkington.

Formula One continues, and GP2 begins, at Sepang.
Auto GP and European F3 start their seasons at Monza, supporting the WTCC.

21st March 2013

The late, great Ayrton Senna would have been 53 today.
Paul Hembery, head of Pirelli’s motorsport division, has his birthday today (although his age is unknown).
Northern Irish BTCC driver Colin Turnkington is 31 today.

On This Day:
Alain Prost won the 1982 Brazilian GP for Renault. Nelson Piquet had crossed the line first, with Keke Rosberg second, but they were both disqualified for being underweight. Because of this, the FOCA teams decided to boycott the San Marino GP.
Malaysia 2004, and it was no surprise that Michael Schumacher won, or that it was a wet race, or that Mark Webber made a bad start.

See the previous blog post for the GP2 lineup this weekend. Pal Varhaug will partner Conor Daly at Hilmer, at least in Malaysia.
GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi has tipped Fabio Leimer for the 2013 title.

GP2 2013 – who’s who, and who will win?

GP2 is back this weekend, starting at Malaysia alongside Formula One. There are some new teams from last year – Russian Time replaces iSport, Hilmer replace Ocean, and MP Motorsport replace Coloni. ART, meanwhile, revert to their original name.

DAMS have fielded the champion for two years in a row, but can they make it three? Marcus Ericsson has a long GP2 history with 2 wins and several podiums, and Stephane Richelmi finished 18th in his first full season.
ART are the most successful team in GP2 and GP3, and retain James Calado, while bringing Daniel Abt up from GP3. They’re a loyal team with good drivers. Calado almost won the championship last year despite being a rookie.
Arden have brought GP3 champion Mitch Evans up to their GP2 squad, and partnered him with Johnny Cecotto Jr, who has been too long and too unreliable in GP2. He won two races last year, but was also disqualified in Valencia.
Racing Engineering have good driver Fabio Leimer in their team. Leimer was tipped for the championship last year, but he has so far lacked the ability to get there. He has to prove why he’s still around. His teammate Julian Leal has scored 9 points in two years of GP2.
Carlin as usual have chosen skilled drivers. Felipe Nasr was a rookie with DAMS last year and got several podiums. Jolyon Palmer proved himself in his second season of GP2, and was unlucky to have a lot of mechanical issues.
Russian Time might be newcomers, but their GP2 lineup is stunning and could challenge for the title. Tom Dillmann won an excellent race last season before he was dropped due to budget issues. Sam Bird, Mercedes reserve driver and Nico Rosberg lookalike, came a very close third in last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 championship and has been excellent in his two GP2 seasons.
Caterham‘s lineup leaves much to be desired, with Sergio Canamasas and Ma Qinghua. Qinghua was a champion in Chinese touring cars, but his single seater ability is untested. As for Canamasas, he shouldn’t be allowed in GP2.
Addax have brought two good drivers for the coming season. Jake Rosenzweig has a good FR 3.5 record, while Rio Haryanto was a GP3 star and should do well in his second GP2 season.
Rapax‘s drivers for 2013 are Monaco native Stefano Coletti, proven in GP2, and Simon Trummer, who still has much to prove.
Trident today announced their pair of French driver Nat Berthon, who got a couple of good podiums last year, and fan favourite Kevin Ceccon. Ceccon has some GP2 experience, and was only in GP3 last year due to lack of budget.
Hilmer still have one driver left to announce, but the first is GP3 superstar Conor Daly. Daly almost left for American racing after struggling for funding, but he will be tipped to win races in his debut season.
Venezuela GP Lazarus have a couple of interesting choices in Austrian Rene Binder, and Italian Kevin Giovesi. Binder has had a few races in GP2, and Giovesi is untested although he did alright in Italian F3 last year.
Finally MP Motorsport have a good pairing. British driver Adrian Quaife-Hobbs dominated Auto GP last year and won, while Daniel de Jong picked up several podiums. De Jong replaced Tom Dillmann in GP2 last year at Rapax, but could not match the French driver’s results.

There are a number of good drivers in this year’s GP2 season. There are also a lot of bad ones. But the good drivers should provide some fantastic racing. Conor Daly, Daniel Abt, Mitch Evans and Adrian Quaife-Hobbs ought to have good rookie seasons. James Calado, Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer, Marcus Ericsson, Sam Bird and Tom Dillmann all ought to win races and challenge for the championship.

20th March 2013

Pedro Lamy, the first Portuguese driver to score an F1 point, is 41 today.
British driver Oliver Webb is 22 today.

On This Day:
Fernando Alonso took pole and win at the 2005 Malaysian GP.

McLaren have apologised for the second ever failure of the ECU, which affected Mark Webber in the formation lap of the Australian GP.
Antonio Felix da Costa was fastest at the FR 3.5 testing in Barcelona, and set a record lap time.
Will Buller was fastest at the European F3 testing at Monza.
Christopher Zanella has signed for ISR in FR 3.5.
Sam Bird has returned to GP2 to partner Tom Dillmann at Russian Time.

Formula Renault 3.5 testing continues at the Circuit de Catalunya.