Felipe Massa: “Ever since I was little my father has always been a hero to me and if I’m here now, it’s down to him. Even though he only raced for fun, he gave me my passion for motor sport, as I always wanted to copy him. I am sure that he will be very pleased to see his colours back on track at a race which means a lot to me and my family.”
[via Im a die hard F1 Fan]
Paddy Lowe, Technical Director at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, answers some quick fire questions about the teams success at the 2012 USA Grand Prix and what lies in store for the finale of the 2012 season in Brazil.
The 2012 Formula One World Championship grand finale between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
The final battle in this season has come to South America in Brazil. It is just a blink of an eye since the first race of this season in Australia. Unlike in 2011, the world champion deciding race has moved to Brazil where Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso are battling for it with Sebastian Vettel having a 13 point lead against Fernando Alonso. Meanwhile, Ferrari and McLaren are also fighting for the second place in the constructors standings with Ferrari having a 14 point lead against McLaren. Brazil has been producing one of the most exciting races due to the high altitude circuit and tricky weather. And this year, with the unpredictable 2012 Pirelli tyres, Red Bull Racing multiple alternator failures, McLaren reliability and pit stop issues as well as Ferrari’s underpeforming car and inaccurate wind tunnel, the world champion deciding race here in Brazil will be the most memorable and spectacular ever.
The circuit is situated on high altitude terrains, about 800 metres above sea level and the thin atmosphere will cause the engine to lose about 8% of the maximum power output. The big elevation changes throughout the circuit makes it very tricky to find the perfect aerodynamic set up for the cars. Generally, the cars will have a medium-low downforce set up for the weekend. The track is very technical particularly in Sector 2 where there are a lot of medium speed corners with elevation changes. Turn 14, the slowest corner on the track, is the most challenging one as the cars are heading uphill, it is easier to lose the rear wheels and get into a wheelspin. Pirelli will be bringing their P Zero Silver hard and White medium tyres to Brazil. The tyre wear of the circuit is quite low so a two stop strategy is expected for the race in the given combination.
Rain is predicted to fall on the race day and this will add a little spice to the already exciting battle between the title contender. Fernando Alonso, hailed as one of the masters of rain, may have an advantage over the younger Sebastian Vettel if it did turned out to be a wet race. There are also some other memorable events in Brazil such as Michael Schumacher’s second retirement and Lewis Hamilton’s last race in McLaren. After all, it will mark the conclusion for 2012.
Lap Record : 1:11.473 – Juan Pablo Montoya (2004)
Get up to speed on the Brazilian Grand Prix circuit with our track guide from Jenson Button.
The inaugural United States Grand Prix in the 202nd decade.
The 19th 2012 Formula One Championship has come to a brand new racing circuit, Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas. It can be said as the first United States Grand Prix in the 202nd decade, the last US Grand Prix is held in 2007 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The circuit has only been lapped by Lotus reserve driver, Jerome d’Ambrosio. All engineers and drivers have no experience on this circuit except some simulations so everybody have a tight schedule of 3 practice sessions to do all the required practising and testing to get an optimum set-up for the race.
Based on initial impressions, Circuit of The Americas is a combination of both the elevation changes of Spa Francorchamps and the high speed corners of Silverstone. Turn 1 will be the signature corner at the start of the race. The track is going uphill upon entry and the drivers cannot see the blind apex when braking for it. The track also goes downhill at the exit, the fact that the drivers cannot see the entry and exit makes throttle control a main priority. Turn 3 to Turn 6 are like Becketts at Silverstone, very quick corners but once the driver goes off the track during the race, he will need to wait before joining back safely. Turn 12, the end of the DRS long straight is the obvious overtaking point of the circuit. Starting from Turn 12 to Turn 15 is a series of technical corners with Turn 15 the slowest. Turn 15 is actually made up of 1 main corner and 1 “mini” corner before the main one, the driver has to ignore the first “mini” corner and go as wide as possible before attacking the main Turn 15 to clear the corner as fast as possible. It should be the slowest corner in the circuit. Turn 16 is a multi-apex corner like a slower version of the Spoon in Suzuka. Turn 20 should be another possible overtaking point before going down the main straight in full throttle.
Circuit of The Americas is highly praised among the F1 drivers due to the technical corners and elevation changes. Jenson Button reckons it is better to qualify second for the race as the driver can use the first car as a reference point to negotiate the technical Turn 1. The circuit has been rumoured to be another Red Bull track but we will see which team can get the most out of their set-ups. The most guessed winner of 2012 United States Grand Prix is still the main 4 drivers: Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, provided that his engineer doesn’t annoy him again.
Lap Record : N/A