Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix Autódromo José Carlos Pace

The 2012 Formula One World Championship grand finale between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

Interlagos circuit

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)

interlagos circuit diagram

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Preview of 2012 Formula One United States Grand Prix Circuit of The Americas

The inaugural United States Grand Prix in the 202nd decade.

Circuit of the americas

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

Circuit diagram

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Yas Marina Circuit

The 18th Formula One Grand Prix has come to United Arab Emirates which means the Asian F1 series is over. Being one of the most unique circuit, the circuit is built on Yas Marina Island, a 2500 hectares artificial island with the iconic Ferrari World. The circuit is designed to be like the Arabic version of Monaco and Singapore, a twisty circuit surrounded by amazing architectures like the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel.

Like a typical street circuit, there are 21 corners in one lap of Yas Marina Circuit but with two long straights for DRS activation. Generally, it is still a slow circuit as one lap takes about 1 minute 40 seconds, almost as slow as Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit. The circuit has a number of potential overtaking spots, at Turn 5/6 before the hairpin at Turn 7, at Turn 8 at the end of long straight DRS zone and at Turn 11, also at the end of another long straight DRS zone. Grip level is generally high as the high grip surface material is being used. The circuit is well balanced and that’s why Yas Marina Circuit is chosen for testing. Pirelli has allocated P Zero Medium and Soft tyres for the race due to the twisty and high-downforce circuit. Many has regarded Yas Marina Circuit as a Red Bull Racing circuit since Red Bull F1 cars are considered to have the most downforce. A good mechanical balance is also very important here due to the rapid changing directions.

The race is first debuted in 2009 and has also won by Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. As in Singapore, both drivers have a very good pace in a similar circuit. In India, both Red Bull and McLaren also locked out the front row in the qualifying session and race. So, we might see a similar front row lock out again in Abu Dhabi. Qualifying is more important here since overtaking is quite difficult in the race. With 3 more races to go in this season, Ferrari and McLaren are still challenging Red Bull in the constructors’ standings and we will see what improvements can both teams bring to Abu Dhabi.

Lap Record : 1:40.279 – Sebastian Vettel (2009)

 

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix Buddh International Circuit

Kimi : 2007 comeback not possible.  McLaren : We’re going to push to the end.

The 17th Formula One World Championship Grand Prix has come to a relatively new motor racing circuit, the Buddh International Circuit at New Delhi, India. Debuted at 2011, this circuit is known to be very challenging to the drivers, due to the wide corners, multi apex corners and also the changes in elevation. Sebastian Vettel said it’s like a roller coaster. Since the circuit is new, it is still possible to break the lap record before the change in regulations in 2014.

The circuit length is 5.125 km and the 60-lap-race is 307.249 km long. It has one of the longest main straight (1060m) and also one of the longest pit lane (about 600m). Race strategies are important to make sure the time spent in the pit lane is “well spent”. Turn 3 is unusually wide to allow drivers to take different approach down the DRS main straight and improve overtaking. One of the most unique section of the circuit is the multi-apex Turn 10, 11 and 12. It’s a huge, bowl-shaped double-apex right-hander, like the Spoon at Suzuka Circuit, but tightens at the exit. Also, not to forget the left-hander at Turn 5, 6 and 7 which is very tricky to master, a good traction without sacrificing too much speed.

Pirelli will be bringing their P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Silver hard tyres, a conservative combination provided that the circuit is still new. An extra set of soft tyres are given to the teams on Friday FP1 session for extra testing and data collection. Tyre loadings is expected to be high especially on the high speed multi-apex Turn 10, 11 and 12. The elevation changes through the course of the circuit and the drivers have to take account of that when braking.

Red Bull is still leading the pack on both constructors and championship standings with Ferrari and McLaren challenging its position. It is a great timing to race in a real racing circuit this weekend rather than a street circuit and we can see the teams and drivers give everything they could to the race. While Kimi Raikkonen has expressed his thoughts on the chances of getting the title, McLaren and Ferrari have not given up any hopes in the constructors championship standings. We’ll watch another epic battle between the top teams again.

Lap Record : 1:27.249 – S Vettel (2011)

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix Korea International Circuit

Who can win the Korean Grand Prix in “Yeongam” Style?

The 16th Formula 1 Grand Prix is going to Korea, the hometown of Gangnam Style. But the focus here is the exciting F1 race on the all-around technical circuit with a combination of both long straights and tight corners, together with the generally cold weather which provides a challenge on the brakes and tyres.

The race distance is 308.630 km on 55 laps around the circuit. The lap record 1:39.605 is set by Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull in 2011. It is quite likely to see a new record set by McLaren, Red Bull or Lotus this year before the change in engines starting from 2014. The track is not abrasive and should be at a low grip level. Going in Turn 1 and Turn 3, the drivers have to prevent the brakes from locking up due to heavy braking for the tight corners and the cars also require good traction when exiting. The circuit is very unique because Sector 1 is like a purpose built racing circuit while Sector 2 and 3 are like street circuit which is tight and twisty. The setup must be well balanced so that no time will be wasted at each sectors, straight-line speed and low-speed grip have to come to a compromise.

Pirelli will be bringing P Zero Red supersoft tyres and P Zero Yellow soft tyres to Korea because Korea has the highest lateral energy loadings of all the circuits. Two stop strategy is common in Korean Grand Prix due to the reasonable tyre wear, however, the cold weather may cause issues in warming up the tyres and brakes. There are quite a number of overtaking opportunities on the track particularly on Turn 1, 3, 4 and 10. Safety car is very likely to deploy so the strategy has to be flexible to take advantage of it.

After Alonso’s DNF in Japan Suzuka Circuit, Vettel is just 4 points behind him. Now there are 4 world champions which are in a solid battle for the title and Button & Webber may also be included in the title fight. This race is the most crucial race this season which may put Button and Webber away from the championship forever if they didn’t perform well or more accurately, a podium finish.

Lap Record : 1:39.605 – Sebastian Vettel (2011)

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka Circuit

Second stop in Asia. One of the oldest F1 circuits on the calendar. Home Grand Prix for Kamui Kobayashi.

 

The 15th grand prix in 2012 Formula 1 season has came to Japan Suzuka Circuit, the second stop in Asia after Singapore. This circuit is well known as a fast circuit and a challenging one. The “S” curves in Sector 1 which consists of a continuous series of left-right corners is the unique part of this circuit.

The race distance is 307.471 km on 53 laps around the circuit. Drivers have been enjoying this circuit with lots of high speed corners as it is totally different from the low speed Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit. A well-balanced car is crucial to negotiate the high speed corners perfectly without excessive wear and tear on the tyres. Overtaking on Suzuka is quite difficult as the only “real” overtaking spots are the hairpin at Turn 11 and the chicane at Turn 16 and also partly due to the shortened DRS zone in 2012.

Pirelli P Zero Silver hard and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be used in Suzuka. Tyre wear is an issue here due to the high speed corners and a two-stop strategy is expected to be used by most of the teams and lots of opportunities will be opened up for the different strategies. Brake wear is low as there are only 2 significant braking zones in one lap of the circuit. Drivers have to keep track of the brakes’ temperature and brake harder if it drops below the optimum temperature. Replenishing KERS is also a problem where braking energy is low throughout the circuit.

After the interesting announcements regarding the transfers in 2013, one of the spotlights in Japanese Grand Prix goes to Sergio Perez. With his impressive performance in Monza which is also a high speed circuit, we might see him challenging his future team McLaren in Suzuka. Also, not to forget Lewis Hamilton which is still in the ferocious title fight along with world champions Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in his last year in McLaren.

Lap Record : 1:31.540 – Kimi Raikkonen (2005)

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix Marina Bay Street Circuit

The final street circuit for the season. Also, the toughest circuit on the calendar.

The 14th grand prix in 2012 Formula 1 will be coming to Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit. It is known as the toughest circuit of the year which requires maximum downforce setup for the car and maximum concentration for the drivers to negotiate all 23 corners in one lap.

The track will be a whopping 309.316 km race distance of 61 laps and due to the low average speed of the circuit, it is one of the longest race in the season for about 2 hours of battle on the track. One of the unique chicane in Marina Bay Street Circuit is the Singapore Sling at Turn 10 which is being described as the worst corner in F1 by Lewis Hamilton. The high and harsh kerbs may damage the suspension and pitch the cars into the wall. The bumpy surface combined with the hot and humid weather makes the circuit twice as hard to negotiate as the Monaco street circuit. If it rains, the absence of sunlight will cause the track to dry up more slowly and add some unpredictability to the race.

Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tyres and P Zero Red super-soft tyres will be used in Singapore where traction is the main priority here. The track is hard on tyres so a three-stop strategy is expected for most of the teams. McLaren may have an advantage here due to its lightning pit stop which is about 1 second faster than most of the teams. The deployment of safety car is almost a “tradition” in Singapore which means strategy have to be very flexible to take advantage of it.

McLaren is on a winning streak since Hungary and all eyes are on Lewis Hamilton challenging Fernando Alonso where he is 37 points off the lead. At this moment, every win counts and may decide whether Lewis Hamilton will stay in McLaren. Not to mention, currently on the drivers’ standings, there is a one-point-difference between 3 world champions which makes Singapore Grand Prix more exciting than before. Kimi Raikkonen, the lap record holder, says that he has some unfinished business there. Maybe we will witness his first victory in Singapore since his comeback in 2012?

Lap Record : 1:45.599 – Kimi Raikkonen (2008)

Marina Bay Street Circuit Diagram.

Click here to see the pictures of Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit on normal days before race weekend.

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Preview of Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander Von Deutschland 2012 German Grand Prix

The 10th grand prix in 2012 Formula 1 will be coming to Germany at the Hockenheimring. As everybody knows, Nürburgring and Hockenheimring will host the German Grand Prix each year alternatively. This year, we have come to Hockenheimring where it was known to be redesigned due to disagreements from the drivers.

The track will be a whopping 306.458 km race distance of 67 laps with a famous hairpin design from Hermann Tilke. Lap record is currently held by Kimi Raikkonen in 2004 at 1:13.780. Lotus cars are suitable in the hot temperatures in Hockenheimring and the tyres won’t go off easily. Maybe we’ll see his first win here after he has been on so many podiums this year? Another focus in German Grand Prix is Michael Schumacher where he will be racing in his home country. We have seen him improving his pace since his comeback in 2010. With almost all the supporters on the grandstands supporting him, can he grab the win in his own country?

During the Friday practise sessions, a new hard compound tyre will be tested in Hockenheimring provided that the weather is fine. Two sets of the new compound will be available for every team for evaluation. According to Pirelli, the new tyres are designed to have a slightly wider working range, which is easier to get the tyres up to temperature and maintain them in the optimum operating window.

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Preview of 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix Of Europe Valencia Street Circuit

Michael Schumacher had a superb qualifying form in Monaco which the track condition is almost similar to the upcoming race in Valencia Street Circuit. Will he become the 8th different winner this season?

The 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe will be held on 22, 23 and 24 June 2012 at Valencia Street Circuit in Valencia. The circuit length is 5.419 km with a total number of 57 laps which make a race distance of 308.883 km. The circuit is a street circuit designed by Hermann Tilke in a harbour side location like in Monaco and Singapore, winding around the city’s harbour and industrial port. The famous section of the circuit is the 140 metre long swing bridge spanning Valencia’s canal, located between Turn 9 and Turn 10 on the temporary part of the circuit. Just like any typical street circuit, overtaking opportunity in Valencia Street Circuit is considered very few, there were only 4 recorded overtakes since the first race in 2008. Teams have to focus more on qualifying pace to get a good starting position on the grid that can convert into championship points.

The nature of Valencia Street Circuit is analogous to the usual characteristics of a street circuit – tight, twisty and bumpy. There is a total of 25 turns – 14 left-handers and 11 right-handers, which will test the drivers ultimate skills. There are no high speed corners in the circuit and a good straight line speed is vital for the long straights, so a low downforce set up like in Montreal is preferable. The braking demand is quite high like in Bahrain where the cars have to brake from over 300 km/h leading into tight corners. Brake cooling is important so that the brakes can perform under optimum temperature. Drivers also have to avoid locking up tyres under heavy braking at the end of the long straights. P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be used here and given the high temperature and speed of the circuit, drivers are able to turn on the tyres quickly.

The new 2012 Pirelli tyres have bring excitement to this F1 season. Currently, we have Lewis Hamilton as the 6th different winner in Montreal. Pirelli expects the teams had made big strides in understanding tyres and will see consistent battle between them. Hamilton thinks that consistency will be the key to winning this world championship while Button is optimistic about having a great weekend and picking up the momentum again in the title fight. Raikkonen will be targeting for winning in Valencia. Schumacher will be heading to Valencia in an optimistic mood.

Lap Record : 1:38.683 – Timo Glock (2009)

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Preview Of 2012 Formula 1 Grand Prix Du Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

This F1 season is currently in uncharted territory with different winners for all 6 races. Will the season continue to have different winners with Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher possible to become the 7th winner in 2012?

The 2012 Canadian Grand Prix will be held on 8, 9 and 10 June 2012 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The circuit length is 4.361 km with a total number of 70 laps which make a race distance of 305.27 km. The circuit was renamed after Canadian racing driver Gilles Villeneuve who died in 1982 after an accident during the final qualifying session of Belgian Grand Prix. One of the famous part of the circuit is the final corner (Turn 13) known as the “Wall of Champions” where many former World Champions had crashed here. The circuit is a stop-start, temporary circuit with long straights and some slow corners which depend a lot on brakes and tyres traction. P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red super-soft tyres had been allocated for this circuit and they are the same tyre compounds used in Monaco last month.

As of the technical aspects, the circuit can be considered to have no high speed corners. The main focus is to gain a high straight line speed by reducing aerodynamic drag. So, a low downforce set up will be suitable here. However, given that it is one of the most demanding circuit in terms of braking, a low downforce car will be less stable under heavy braking. Besides, the braking energies are very high due to braking events from about 300 km/h causing the brake wear to be very high in this circuit. The circuit is also very bumpy and is difficult for the cars to find traction, stressing the rear tyres the most, easily causing wheelspin which is a main factor of tyre wear. At the final corner, tyres take serious punishment due to the impact with the kerbs at about 130 km/h. Engines are running at full throttle for 60% of the circuit with the longest full throttle section for 14 seconds. This will put a lot of stress on the engines’ reliability.

Mercedes primary priority is to give Michael Schumacher a problem-free weekend in Montreal. Mercedes car is expected to suit the nature of the circuit. McLaren is going for a win on the race weekend. Button will be focusing to fix his qualifying problems while Hamilton will be focusing on another clean weekend to score more consistent world championship points. Sauber will bring in a new rear wing for the medium downforce requirement and some minor modifications on the cars. Kimi Raikkonen believes Lotus car is competitive and is confident that he will have a good weekend in Montreal. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery says : “Tyres have traditionally played a very important role in this race, especially if it rains. We saw how being on the right tyre at the right time enabled Jenson Button to win the Canadian Grand Prix last year even after six visits to the pit lane. We’ve not yet had experience of running the supersoft in Canada under normal conditions. The practice sessions will be vital for the teams to understand how exactly it works on full tanks in particular. We think we will see several different strategies at work, with teams likely to split their strategies in order to cover every possibility.”

Lap Record : 1:13.622 – Rubens Barrichello (2004)

Click here to view the current drivers and constructors standings after Monaco.

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