Google+

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hamilton Harnesses Top Time in Hot Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG

The 2015 Formula 1 season is in the process of crossing its halfway point this weekend as the stage is set for the 30th annual Hungarian Grand Prix. The race is also the final race before a month-long summer hiatus for Formula 1 teams. For this reason, drivers and teams want to set a good impression before heading into the latter half of the season.

Just outside of the capital of Budapest, the Hungarian Grand Prix is the 10th event on the 2015 schedule. Second only to the Monaco Grand Prix street circuit, the 4.381-kilometer Hungaroring gains notoriety for being among the slowest and tightest courses the Formula 1 tour has to deal with in the 2015 season. For this reason, handling overrides all-out engine power when racing on the 12-turn track. There is a theory that the Hungarian Grand Prix will allow some of the performance-challenged teams will be on equalized grounds. Last year, Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo pulled-off a victory in a series largely dominated by Mercedes AMG. However, with the consistent front-running performance of the Mercedes AMG team in 2015, there is no place where the team’s advantage isn’t shining through.

With the series engaged in the dog days of summer, track temperatures at the Hungaroring soared to the highest levels recorded this Formula 1 season for qualifying. According to tire supplier Pirelli, track temperature held at 52 degrees Celsius. The warmth combined with the dry weather conditions led to a fast track surface. At a Q3 lap time roughly 7/10ths of a second quicker than the 2014 pole time set by teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton recorded a 1-minute, 22.020-second one-lap effort to take the top spot for the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. The Hungarian Grand Prix is a race the Brit has won four times. Hamilton’s successful pole run places Mercedes AMG in possession of all 10 pole positions available during the 2015 Formula 1 campaign. Nico Rosberg captures snatched the other front row spot at the Hungaroring.

Leading the second row is the Ferrari driven by Sebastian Vettel. Interestingly, Vettel’s top time in Q3 was still slower than the pole position of Rosberg in 2014 symbolizing how far the Mercedes AMG team is ahead of the competition. Ferrari’s gains have been notable in 2015 in the hands of Sebastian Vettel and occasionally in the car of Kimi Raikkonen who starts fifth Sunday.

Based on their recent performances, a fourth and seventh place starting spot for the Red Bull Racing entrants could be viewed as a success. Defending winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo will start in fourth (the same position where the Australian won the 2014 race). Russian teammate Daniil Kvyat is placed on the fourth row of the race in the second Red Bull-Renault.

Both Williams Martini Racing cars will start in the top-10 but Head of Performance Engineering for the team Rob Smedley himself responded to the Hungaroring as, "It’s not a circuit that suits us as much as other tracks do". Valtteri Bottas took sixth place in qualifying for the grand prix while Felipe Massa will start in eighth. Rounding out the top-10 in the line-up for the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix is Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean.

With weather reports calling for a warm, dry event, the 70-lap Hungarian Grand Prix will start at 8:00 AM Eastern time on Sunday.

2015 Formula 1

Hungarian Grand Prix

Starting Line-up


Pos #
Car #
Driver
Team
Engine





1
44
Lewis Hamilton
Mercedes AMG
Mercedes-Benz
2
6
Nico Rosberg
Mercedes AMG
Mercedes-Benz
3
5
Sebastian Vettel
Ferrari
Ferrari
4
3
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
Renault
5
7
Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari
Ferrari
6
77
Valtteri Bottas
Williams F1
Renault
7
26
Daniil Kvyat
Red Bull
Renault
8
19
Felipe Massa
Williams
Mercedes-Benz
9
33
Max Verstappen
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Renault
10
8
Romain Grosjean
Lotus
Mercedes-Benz
11
27
Nico Hulkenberg
Force India
Mercedes-Benz
12
55
Carlos Sainz Jr
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Renault
13
11
Sergio Perez
Force India
Mercedes-Benz
14
13
Pastor Maldonado
Lotus
Mercedes-Benz
15
14
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
Honda
16
22
Jenson Button
McLaren
Honda
17
9
Marcus Ericsson
Sauber
Ferrari
18
12
Felipe Nasr
Sauber
Ferrari
19
98
Roberto Merhi
Manor Marussia
Ferrari
20
28
Will Stevens
Manor Marussia
Ferrari

Monday, July 20, 2015

The All-Too Brief Career of Jules Bianchi




Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.


Despite a short life and career, Jules Bianchi made a reputable impression on the motorsport world. Starting off as a karting champion, the driver was 18 years old when he won the French Formula Renault 2.0 crown in 2007. Nine wins and a championship in Formula 3 Euro Series garnered attention from the Scuderia Ferrari organization.

In late 2009, Jules Bianchi received an invitation to drive a Ferrari F60 Formula 1 with the team. In part of a press release, Bianchi responded to the question of testing the car with the following statement: "I am more than happy! It is difficult for me to explain how I feel, but it is something special. I know this is the first step on a journey that could turn out very nicely, but I’m equally aware that there is still a long way to go to get to Formula 1. In fact, next year, I’m competing in GP2 with ART Grand Prix and that will be the series in which I have to prove my worth." Impressing the team, he was enlisted to the newly-formed Ferrari Driver Academy becoming the first prospect to be granted a position. Bianchi held a test driver position with the Scuderia Ferrari team for 2011 and remained close with Ferrari throughout his Formula 1 career.  

Spending a period as the test driver for Force India in 2012, Jules Bianchi’s race career in Formula 1 would start in 2013. On at least in occasion, Bianchi was eyed for an expanded role Scuderia Ferrari if Formula 1 had allowed teams to run three cars. While the third car possibility never reached fruition, the young Frenchman’s competition career took place with the Marussia F1 Team (now operating as Manor Marussia F1). Despite being a backmarker organization that had not gained a constructor point since its arrival in 2010, Bianchi maintained enthusiasm for the opportunity. "The week before Melbourne I was totally focused on the race and there was room for nothing else in my head," said Jules Bianchi who commented how he actually grew more at ease as he related with the personnel at Marussia. In response to driving for Marussia powered by a Ferrari engine, the Frenchman admitted, "Do I miss fighting for the victory? Every driver wants to win but the important thing is to manage to create for yourself the right incentives and that’s what I’m doing. I am pleased with the way the first races have gone, with the exception of the last one…"



Photo Credit: Andrew Hone/ Pirelli



Campaigning throughout the 2013 Formula 1 season without scoring any points, Marussia F1 Team was impressed with Jules Bianchi as well as his teammate Max Chilton enough to keep both drivers in cars for the following season. In his second year of Formula 1 competition, Bianchi completed a task no other Marussia driver has been able to accomplish. Through a collective effort, the French and the team behind his Marussia-Ferrari obtained a ninth-place finish (Bianchi actually crossed the finish line in eighth but received a time penalty in post-race for an infraction). The result proved to be a stunning achievement for an organization that needed the right time and the right driver to score a top-10 points-paying position in Formula 1.

Although his performance in Monaco gained him a lot of kudos, Jules Bianchi’s future in Formula 1 was put into question with financial problems for the Marussia F1 Team. Due to the outcome of the fateful Japanese Grand Prix, the aspiring driver’s motor racing future was cut tragically short.

Please rest in peace Jules Bianchi.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Jules Bianchi Succumbs to 2014 Japanese Grand Prix Crash Injuries

Photo Credit: Ferrari S.p.A


The events of a Formula 1 race that concluded October 5th of last year have today become the focus of ultimate sorrow. A former champion of the French Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 3 Euro Series and more-recently up-and-coming Formula 1 driver Jules Bianchi has died at the age of 25 years old.

News of Jules Lucien AndrĂ© Bianchi’s Friday evening passing was shared online early Saturday morning in France. A statement arriving from the family of Jules Bianchi was posted on the driver’s official fan club page on Facebook. Translated from French, the statement from the now-departed driver’s parents and siblings said, "Jules fought until the end, as it has always done, but yesterday, his battle has ended.” The Bianchi family expressed their thanks to the medical staff in Japan and France for more than nine months of efforts following the accident at the Suzuka circuit.

In the final laps of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, the Suzuka Circuit was being pounded by heavy rain resulting from Typhoon Phanfone. During the retrieval of the stricken Sauber driven by Adrian Sutil from the Dunlop Curve runoff area, the Marussia-Ferrari driven by the promising French driver Jules Bianchi slid wide entering the same corner. Bianchi’s loss of control resulted in a 212-kilometre per hour impact with a vehicle recovery crane. The Marussia reportedly slid under the tractor crane and proved to be an exceptionally violent accident. Eventually, word came out the driver of the Marussia suffered a severe head injury. When a medical crew reached the crash scene, they arrived to find Jules Bianchi in what his father later described as a “desperate” condition.


Photo Credit: Andrew Hone/ Pirelli 

 

Through the remaining grand prix events for the 2014 season, concerns and well-wishes for Jules Bianchi showed how a multi-million-dollar sport is not without the capacity to care. The hashtag #JB17 was placed on the sole Marussia-Ferrari competing at the following Formula 1 race. #ForzaJules were worn on Ferrari race cars with Bianchi recognized as a graduate of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Lewis Hamilton dedicated victory at the race after Suzuka (the inaugural Russian Grand Prix) to Jules Bianchi. Remaining in a coma since the accident in Japan, the prognosis for the driver grew less positive in recent months. At the beginning of this week, Jule’s father Philippe Bianchi recalled the current state of his son as a “daily torture” as time has gone by.  

Bianchi was as much admired for his personality as he was for his driving skill among his race team. Manor Marussia team principal John Booth described him as a “very special driver.” Serving as the most monumental performance in less than two seasons, Jules Bianchi’s ninth place at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix handed the Marussia team its ever constructor points. After the crash in Japan, Booth remained in the hospital on the weekend the Marussia F1 Team ran a single-car at the Russian Grand Prix. Jules Bianchi’s 2014 teammate with Marussia was quick to share his thoughts in a tweet following the news of the French driver’s passing.



Following the announcement of his death, Ferrari has also remembered the life of Jules Bianchi. Formerly a test driver with Scuderia Ferrari, Bianchi was on the minds of an over 16,000-person crowd that attended Ferrari for Family Day at Maranello. Jules Bianchi becomes the first Formula 1 driver since 1994 to die as a result of a grand prix competition weekend crash when the San Marino Grand Prix claimed the life of Ayrton Senna.