So, F1 will return to the United States, at least that is what the announcement published yesterday on official F1 website reveals:
Formula One World Championship Limited and Formula One Administration Limited (together, the F1 Commercial Rights Holder) and Full Throttle Productions, LP, promoter of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™, announce that a historic agreement has been reached for Austin, Texas to serve as the host city of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ for years 2012 through 2021.
It was a big day for motor racing yesterday. Monaco GP for Formula One fans, the Indy 500 for those who prefer IRL and the oval racing.
We had the Indy500 here on TV live last night. Unfortunately thanks to time difference the race start in this part of the world is at 1am. That makes it really difficult to stay awake for the entire race, really difficult. At the end I ended up watching around 120 laps of the Indy500 action.
It was not too bad, actually I quite enjoyed the spectacle. But what surprised me was that there was not that much overtaking on the track. The main place to gain or loose postions was the pitlane. It somehow reminded me of another open wheel racing series …
After last Indy500 race, I was wondering whether it would or would not be fun to have one F1 race a year on oval. Well, I think it is better to stop wondering. F1 is F1 and for the taste of oval racing action I can continue with my once a year Indy500 TV experience .
United States Grand Prix
The Belgian GP follow up was all about the last 3 laps of the race and the Lewis Hamilton (non)win. However there were other things going on behind the scenes.
Failure of Bernie Ecclestone and Tony George to find some common ground lead to US GP elimination from the F1 calendar. We had no US GP this year, there is no US GP featuring on 2009 provisional race calendar. It looks like last weekend in Belgium some first steps were taken to bring the US GP back, perhaps as early as in 2010. Bernie Ecclestone held talks with team principals and the topic was the return of F1 race to United States. There is hardly any team principal happy with the current sitaution and it looks like the F1 team bosses made this clear (yet again) to Bernie. I am not sure if the current economic climate has anything to with it, but this time Bernie seems to be listening.
I believe it was during Saturday’s Free Practice Live Blog that the debate turned to a lack of proper high speed tracks. As Keith from F1Fanatic mentioned, basically Monza is the only traditional high speed track left on the calendar. Some guys said that with the 305 km limit on the race distance the races on high speed tracks would be rather short (meaning higher speeds and same distance). Well exemptions are possible. We have slow track in Monaco where the race distance is only 260 km, we could as well have a high speed race over longer distance …
This short debate finally brought me to the post I had in mind for a while. Back in May, after the Indy 500 race, I started a thread at the F1Wolf Club forum on the possibility of having a Formula 1 race on a proper oval track. There are different opinions on the former F1 track at Indy but I always looked forward to that race. The sight of the F1 cars going around the final banked corner (see the photo above) and then charging down the long straight used to be one of the higlights of the season. (The rest of the track was boring but that is a different story). Now Indy F1 race is gone and the closest we get to banked corner is Turn 13 in Shanghai …
There are no North American drivers on Formula 1 grid this year and it is hard to see anyone joining anytime soon. The United States GP has been omitted from calendar this year and at the moment does not feature on 2009 calendar either. Except for few sponsors the Canadian GP remains the only connection between North America and Formula 1. Here is a brief overview US and Canadian contribution to Formula 1:
1) First of all America created some chaos in F1 statistics . In the early days, between 1950 – 1960, the Indy 500 race was part of the world championship. European drivers usually did not take part in that race. Also the drivers and teams that raced at Indy did not take part in the European F1 races. The race was therefore pretty much irrelevant to the F1 World Championship. The Indy 500 winners from those years however feature in Formula 1 history charts.
2) Including the Indy 500 drivers mentioned above Canada and USA have supplied Formula 1 with 163 drivers. Three of them – Phil Hill, Mario Andretti (both USA) and Jacques Villeneuve won the F1 drivers titles.
3) The North American drivers claimed 50 race wins (11 of them are the Indy 500 wins), 54 pole positions (11 are Indy 500 poles), 53 fastest laps (again 11 of them are from the Indy 500 races) and 165 drivers made it to podium (here 36 came from Indy 500 as drivers could change in the cars those days). In total US drivers collected so far total of 998 points, Canadians 342 points.
It was Monaco GP for Formula 1 fans yesterday. Across the Atlantic it was the day of another classic race – the 92th Indianapolis 500. I watched the race for a while from around lap 46 to lap 100. Most of that time the race was behind the pace car and pretty much nothing was happening, except those crashes that caused all the pace car intervals. So if someone asks me how I feel about the race, I would say pretty boring procession, because that’s about all I could see during those 50 something laps I watched . But while the cars were actually racing I was wondering, what is more mad. Racing at these high speeds so close to the walls of the oval track, or racing F1 cars in Monaco…
Some exciting moments apparently followed after I went to sleep. Marco Andretti helping his teammate Tony Kanaan to crash out of the race, or the pitlane incident between Danica Patrick and Ryan Briscoe (video inside the post). As Formula One fan I was jelaous seeing the massive 33 car grid (although all looking the same) and then … the huge crowd. I think I heard 350,000 people on TV but I may not be correct.
The race was won by Scott Dixon from New Zealand who spent more than half of the race in the lead (115 laps our of 200). Two former F1 drivers took part in the race – Enrique Bernoldi and Justin Wilson as well ex-GP2 driver Ernesto Viso (perhaps best remembered for his spectatular crash in Magny Cours last year).
92th Indy 500 race result:
Here is a short re-cap of how Kimi Raikkonen’s season went from Australia to Brazil, race by race.
AUSTRALIAN GP – 1st
Raikkonen 10 (+2)
MALAYSIAN GP – 3rd
Raikkonen 16 (-2)
When talking about the teams in history of Formula 1, the name Kuzma does not get mentioned too often. But yet, it has more race wins then Minardi or Arrows and the driver Troy Ruttman shares his position in the race win table with drivers like Jarno Trulli, Jenson Button, Jean Alesi or Olivier Panis.
Troy Ruttman (Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
The United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will not be on the 2008 Formula 1 schedule. After recent meetings, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George and Formula One Management Ltd. CEO Bernie Ecclestone mutually agreed to not schedule a race at Indianapolis in 2008.
“After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep Formula 1 in Indianapolis for the near term,” George said. “However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date. It has been a pleasure having the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and I hope that as we approach our Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an opportunity might present itself that would allow its return.”
Another race, another great performance from McLaren and Lewis Hamilton. He won in Montreal fair and square. But his job was made a bit easier as his main rival had the bad luck with the safety car. Those chasing him were no match for him and he could only throw the race win away by himself. Indianapolis was totally different story.
And Lewis Hamilton did it again…
1) L. Hamilton – McLaren – 1:31:09.965
2) F. Alonso – McLaren + 1.518
3) F. Massa – Ferrari + 12.842
4) K. Räikkönen – Ferrari + 14.422
5) H. Kovalainen – Renault + 41.402
6) J. Trulli – Toyota + 1:06.703
7) M. Webber – Red Bull + 1:07.331
8) S. Vettel – BMW + 1:07.783
Full Race Results Here:
Lewis Hamilton on pole again. Alonso was fastest at every free practice this weekend, but come qualifying Hamilton got better of him. Ferraris will line up on the second row. Massa again qualified ahead of Kimi. Heidfeld finished only a tenth behind Kimi he looks like serious contender for podium tomorrow. Vettel will start his first race from P7, well done. This was a good session for Kovalainen, Trulli and Webber. Two of the Montreal stars will be disapointed – Sato and Wurz did not make it to Q2 and will line up on row 9.
Qualifying Results Here: