Archivo de la etiqueta: speed

Start your engines!

Ladies and gentlemen. We are one week away from what promises to be a great 2015 Formula 1 Season. Lots of changes since that last race in Abu Dhabi where an engine failure in Nico Rosberg’s car made it “easy” for Lewis Hamilton to win his second driver’s championship. All the behind the scenes preparation over the break will be put to the test in Melbourne next Sunday.

MERCEDES:

The Silver Arrow team has kept both of its world class drivers in charge of delivering another Constructors Championship. From the engineers to the mechanics to almost everyone on the staff will be returning this season. Nico now knows what it is like to handle the pressure of being in title contention feels like. Totto Wolf and Paddy Lowe know that can still get more points from the German driver. Lewis Hamilton will help him add even more points but is not expected to hold back for another shot at another title. Their testing results at Jerez and Barcelona point toward another great season for Mercedes.

RED BULL:

This team is seeing how Mercedes is drifting away with all the glory that used to belong to them. They not only lost their place on the top of the constructors and drivers championships, they also lost Sebastian Vettel. The Germani driver is now with Ferrari and leaves the leadership on the track to Australian sensation, Daniel Ricciardo while promoting Daniil Kvyat from Toro Rosso to Red Bull. The car did well in testing but has some things to figure out to make their Renault engine catch up with Mercedes.

WILLIAMS:

Probably the team that surprised fans the most in 2014 was this one. With Felippe Massa’s resurrection and the solid performances by Valtteri Bottas, they finished third. This year they should obviously be expecting to make it further up the podium. The greatness of this team is greatly powered by a woman. Claire Williams has been accredited with much of the team’s recent success. She is also pushing that in a near future Sussie Wolf could be behind the wheel in her team. This team only looks to be moving forward. The recent deal with BT should really help them get the best out of their cars.

FERRARI

The longest lasting Formula 1 team is experiencing one of its deepest crisis in many years. Their lack of victories is driving officials crazy and last year only one man was able to make it a decent one for Ferrari. Now that Fernando Alonso is on another team, Kimmi Raikkonen will be joined by Sebastian Vettel. They are both world champions but have forgotten about their winning ways. The reconstruction of this team was almost complete over the break. They want to deliver their fans a win but with how Mercedes and other teams are rolling, it will be something hard to see happening, but not impossible.

MCLAREN 

This team has a solid driver’s lineup. Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are experts at getting the most out of their cars. Unfortunately for the team that returns to run with a Honda engine, it will not be the two of them that line up at Melbourne. After Alonso’s crash during practice, he will miss the first week of action of the season. After that, both drivers will have to make their skills count to get McLaren back to where it once was. Button was about to leave the team, but Alonso suggested that he wanted the Englishman to stay. The team listened and both of these drivers have a lot of catching up to do for McLaren.

FORCE INDIA 

In 2014, this team was really unpredictable. They would have a great race one day and the next weekend they would barely even finish the race. Sergio Perez has found a new contract with this team but his biggest motivation might be having a Grand Prix in Mexico in sight. Perez is known for his aggressive driving that has cost him big points and in some cases a finish in the podium. He has to show maturity this season because he’s got talent. Then his teammate Nico Hulkenberg has been more consistent but not in the spots he would like to be. Team owner Vijay Mallya would like to see his money spent wisely.

TORO ROSSO

The driving school of Red Bull is a team that mostly prides itself in preparing their drivers for the F1 lifestyle by the time they make the jump with Red Bull. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr are the two drivers representing the Italian constructor. In 166 races, they have one win and one pole position. As we said before, this is more of a development team than a team concerned to win a drivers championship. Sebastian Vettel’s and Daniel Ricciardo’s success at the top can be highly attributed to what they learned from their time at Toro Rosso. So it’s fun to watch their drivers develop throughout the season.

LOTUS

The problems just wouldn’t stop for this British team in 2014. Despite having Pastor Maldonado as their leader, there was not much to celebrate last season. Romain Grosjean and the Venezuelan driver must take advantage of a team that does not seem to have the financial problems it had in 2013 and 2014. They will be supported by a Mercedes engine just like the team that leads the competition does. Their standard to beat last year’s performance is not high. With only 10 points in 2014, they sure have the drivers and hopefully the car to do better.

SAUBER

The swiss team finished pointless in 2014 so there is no way they could do worst than last season. Esteban Gutierrez was expected to stay with the team but he did not convince the team management it should be that way even with the Mexico Grand Prix in sight. They feel that Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr are what the team need to score some points this upcoming season. Troubles with their engine could be parallel to the ones Ferrari has with theirs. But something is for sure, to belong in this category you need more than a deep wallet. The two drivers have the skills to prove they belong in the F1 world.

F1 Season Finale Preview

Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi will once again be the host circuit of the Formula 1 Season. Throughout the year there has been huge criticism on the engine sounds after downgrading from a V8 to  V6 while limiting fuel consumption to 100 kgs. per race. But it will be the first time in F1 history that any race in the calendar gives double points. Regularly the first place would take 25 points, second place 18 points, third place 15 points, 12 for fourth, 10 for fifth, 8 for sixth 6 for seventh, 4 for eight, 2 for ninth and 1 for tenth. The easiest way to understand this is to just multiply the available points for each position times two.

This will highly benefit the constructors points who will earn money needed for the development of their 2015 cars and secure a spot in the starting grid at Melbourne next year. While Mercedes already took the title in this category, Ferrari would like a god share of the prize after a disaster of a season in 2014, but right now they are sitting in fourth. Way behind the close to perfect performance by Mercedes is Red Bull in second place. The team that had dominated the Formula for the past four years with Vettel winning pretty much every race, including the one in Yas Marina in 2010 to claim the first of his four world titles has now picked most of its (Red Bull) 373 points via Daniel Ricciardo, who came from Toro Rosso and is the only pilot this season to know what it means to win besides Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel won his last race in the season finale at Sao Paulo last year.

In third place comes a team that has been performing above the expectations many critics had before the season started. Williams assembled a team that may not be getting many podium finishes but is definitely doing things right. Valterri Bottas is currently in sixth place, helping out a veteran Felipe Massa who is eight in the drivers championship score important points for a team where I can say the combination of a veteran like Massa and a upcoming talent like Bottas has paid off nicely.

Fourth place as already mentioned is currently held by the only team that has not missed a Formula 1 season since 1950, Ferrari. Here, even with having two world champions like Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen behind the steering wheel, the results have been way below what was expected. Zero wins for a historic team is beyond unacceptable. Apparently the car has not favored the drivers and while Alonso regularly finishes in the top-5, his teammate usually has a hard time scoring any points. The spaniard heads into Abu Dhabi for his last race with the team, Sebastian Vettel is set to take his spot.

It is no longer a rumour that Alonso will be driving with the fifth place of the constructor’s championship. McLaren has just had a couple of good races this season but besides that consistency has been an issue for a team lead by world-champion Jenson Button. The british driver is currently in the seventh spot, but his teammate barely fits into the top-10. Both drivers have an uncertain future after what happens in Yas. Alonso recently declared that he would like Button to be his teammate, but with a very expensive contract the spaniard seems to be requesting from the british team, the safer bet for McLaren from a financial standpoint would be to let Jenson go and probably retire. The decision is set to come in December.

In sixth place we find Sahara Force India. A team that seems to be happy with both of his drivers as it is almost a sure thing that both Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg will return with the team for 2015. Hulkenberg has been more consistent than Perez who has had a rough last four races scoring only two points and retiring on the first lap at the U.S. Grand Prix. In Bahrain, the mexican claimed the first podium finish for the team. Nico has picked up points in every but three races this season. I do feel that keeping both drivers is the right call, specially with the F1 heading to Mexico next year.

Toro Rosso, the “driving-school” of Red Bull can call it a good year with Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat as their drivers and hoping that the squad doesn’t suffer any changes for next season. Even though both drivers are outside the top-10 with Vergne leading the charge at 13th, they are taking advantage of the poor performance by even better-funded teams like Lotus which is eight in the constructors championship. Lotus will not suffer changes to its squad coming next season. They just announced that despite their troubles to fight for the top spots on the grid they are keeping both Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean.

With only two points we find Marussia in the ninth spot.The team has not been competing since the U.S. Grand Prix. In Russia they only had one driver after Jules Bianchi , who was yesterday declared out of coma, suffered a horrific accident at the Japan Grand Prix. He will hardly drive in F1 again but he did manage to get those two points for his team in the streets of Monaco. The team will not see action at the Yas Marina circuit but unless Sauber and Caterham don’t score any points they will keep their position and could get money from Bernie Ecclestone and the F1 organization for next year.

Sauber, a team that runs with a Ferrari engine is about to close the 2014 season without a single point. After Esteban Gutierrez had a strong finish to his 2013 season he has not found any type of success in 2014. It was recently announced that he did not come in the plans for the team coming 2015 so he is either looking at Marussia or a practice pilot spot, unless a big surprise sets him in a better team. He was expected to run for Lotus but that will not happen. The team will face a complete renovation for 2015 with even Adrian Sutil stepping down. Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr will be the new drivers for the swiss team.

At the end we find Caterham. with Kamui Kobayashi and Will Stevens. Another team that has gone scoreless for the past 18 races including the two they had to forfeit due to financial difficulties. With a crowdfunding campaign and the help of Bernie Ecclestone they will be back for at least the season finale, without 2015 being a sure thing, and obviously the drivers not knowing if they have a secure seat.

Finally, one of the most interesting things about the Yas Marina race is that it starts during the day and ends at night, making it harder for the drivers to choose an adequate visor. The circuit has many curves, but long enough straightaways to provide good spaces for overpassing. Seeing cars crash is a common site in this circuit, which could compromise the fight for the drivers championship between Rosberg and Hamilton. The latter one has the lead but the first one has the ambition. On sunday, at 7:00 am lights will be out and 55 laps later we will know who is the new F1 Champion.

Nico Rosberg (left) could win his first F1 ChampionshIp at Abu Dhabi.
Nico Rosberg (left) could win his first F1 ChampionshIp at Abu Dhabi.

Screen shot 2014-11-21 at 12.33.29 PM

From a Joke to Formula 1

I am trying really hard to put into words what this week meant to me. In my short career I have worked at Cowboy’s games, UFC events, NBA Playoffs. At the end of the day none of them come close to the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.

This week was a dream within a dream which will be impossible to forget. Working at a Formula 1 Race is by far the best job in the world. I came back to the United States thanks to F1. The way it all began was kind of a joke. I was looking for tickets to come to the United States Grand Prix in Austin as a fan but without a job it was hard to afford. I tried looking for freelancing jobs that could send me there but that also did not work. I had been wanting to go to this race for the past two years but it just wasn’t happening. I then had the idea of asking a friend, that had worked there the year before if she was going back, unfortunately for her, she wasn’t. Then as a joke I asked if I could take her spot. Before I knew it I was being contacted by a german tv station to help out at the USGP. I did not think twice, and said yes to the offer no matter the conditions.

I knew I was heading to a big event but many times the expectation I have of something does not live up to its hype. Formula 1 definitely lived up to it and even surpassed it. Here is why.

The first day was pretty simple with the exception of buying groceries for about 40 people, it took forever but we got it done and then headed to the circuit where I saw where the media outlets from around the world were setting up. Then went up to the tower that overlooks the where you can see the whole circuit. It is an iconic part of the Circuit of the Americas I got to experience without making a long line. The next day the highlight was going for a run around the circuit. I’ve ran around the “Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez” a few times but this is a much more complex race track. More curves and more hills where turn one is by far the hardest one even for the cars but once you get up there the view is great. It was a short run but I loved every step of it.

On thursday I started to meet some of the drivers as I realized I had access to the paddock. That when I was starting to really realize when I was getting into and it would just get better. Just that night, since I was working for a german tv station we got to do an exclusive interview with 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Even though I did not understand what was going on during the interview (all in german) I was just happy to be there.

On friday I spent most of my day in the van driving the crew around the circuit and barely had a chance to see the F1 cars in action but I did get to meet even more pilots that day and walk around the pits while the teams were getting ready for the second round of practice sessions. At that moment I knew this was already better than what I expected to do this week and I still had the two most important days ahead of me. I had heard a lot about the low sound that the cars make this year since they have downgraded to a V6 engine and have a 100 kg limit on fuel for every race. I remembered well how in the French GP of 2006 I was barely able to hear a thing after the race but this time my ears never popped no matter how close I could get.

Saturday was a bit more hectic as it was the first time the station would broadcast live so everything had to be done quick and in time. Traffic started to become an issue as more people were coming to COTA. That day the highlight was meeting Pamela Anderson, one of the VIP guests at the race and someone who was really easy to talk to and approach. At the end of the day out of nowhere I met Nico Hulkenberg who was riding his bike while his mechanics ran around the track in a small race for media and F1 entourage I was not aware off. This was done at the same time as the paddock girls rehearsed the routine for the national anthem ceremony. Now the countdown was on for the big day.

Having to buy groceries at 8 am was the start of probably the most exciting day in my post-college life or probably my life. I headed out to the track a few minutes before 10 and made it there around 10:30 thanks to me avoiding a close to one mile line to get to the circuit, if not I probably would have been in line for about another hour. I unloaded the car and then headed to the paddock to help out the production crew and later on we went into the track for the driver’s parade. It was an awesome experience to have all the drivers walk right in front of me. Then walked along the pit lane while mechanics were making the final touches on the cars. Continued with going to turn one to watch the beginning of the race and then to the hospitality suite of Mercedes. For the next hour I walked around the track to see the race from different points and just before the race was over I had the chance of seeing the finish from the Mercedes garage. It was just the icing on cake that was needed to make it an almost perfect week which was slightly damaged when Sergio Perez was out after the first lap.

Things slowly unwinded from that point on, but it was just the right moment to think about everything that went on in the past six days. I was and still am at a loss of words to say how I really feel about it. I knew it really happened since it is now a thing of the past but something I will remember for a lifetime. I went to heaven and came back, I lived in a fantasy world for six days that I will never forget for as long as I live. All I know is that I am beyond lucky to have this on my resume from this point on. It was a job that definitely took me further than I could ever imagine.

Standing next to a legend. Niki Lauda.
Standing next to a legend. Niki Lauda.
Running on the track was definitely a highlight.
Running on the track was definitely a highlight.
A picture with Nico Rosberg was probably one of the highlights.
A picture with Nico Rosberg was probably one of the highlights.

Changes at the Speed of F1

When the 2014 Formula 1 Season started in march there were big changes to what we were used to see before. For the first time in a very long time Sebastian Vettel wasn’t the winner and he still hasn’t managed to be on top of the podium with less than half the season remaining. The sound of the new engines was widely criticized by fans which now creates part of its power by a Energy Recovery System. On the bright side we have seen a tougher competition among the whole field with the exception of the Mercedes Benz drivers who have won all but three races of the season so far.

Ferrari has not been the same team ever since Michael Schumacher left the team. They have not lived up to its name and Stefano Domenicali resigned from his position as team principal of the Ferrari Formula One team on mid-august. Marco Mattiacci, former president and CEO of Ferrari North America replaced him. Fernando Alonso has done more for the team than what his car has to offer. The two-time world champion has repeatedly performed at a world-class level but will not be with the “Cavallino Rampante” starting next season. Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel is about to make his move to Ferrari official any minute. Alonso could be going back to McLaren.

I’ve been following Formula 1 for a bit now and I can assure you that this one has been the most exciting one. Besides Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo being the only three pilots who have won races this far, the battle for second to 23rd place is always up for anyone. Mexican driver Sergio Perez is having his best season. He finished third in Bahrein and has been able to rack up some points in nine races currently sitting on the tenth spot overall. Esteban Gutierrez had a strong finish in the 2013 season, but the changes to his car have not been positive and so far he has no points, either has his teammate Adrian Sutil. Hamilton leads the board just ten points over Rosberg.

Just to show how tough these drivers are, they have endured extreme temperatures in places like Singapore and a close typhoon in Japan. At the first one Danii Kyvat and Kevin Magnussen reported burns and dehydration during the night race. That was nothing compared to what happened in Japan. The race started under a yellow flag due to the heavy rain. After a short pause it resumed and it was impressive to see how short of a visibility range drivers had along the course while still driving over 200 km/h.

The race was about to end when Adrian Sutil lost control of his car on turn 12 and crashed with a safety wall. There was a provisional yellow flag issued (which should have resulted in the safety car immediately). One lap later Jules Bianchi lost control of his Marussia in the same exact spot. The result was him crashing against the crane that was lifting Sutil’s car at around 160 miles per hour. it took a while for the press to know what was going on since there was no video of the incident.

What should have been a week of celebration in the wake of the first Russian Grand Prix ever, has been a week where Bianchi is fighting for his life in Japan and all the attention is on increasing an already tight security around Formula 1 plus really knowing what happened in what is surely Bianchi’s last lap ever as a F1 driver. Some experts say that race should have not even happened under the conditions it was raced in.

Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)
Sergio Perez at the Japan GP under heavy rain conditions. (Force India)

But now Russia is set to host a Grand Prix. Next year Mexico will have the return of the highest category in automotive racing come to a city where many stories were written. Austin is setting itself as one of the driver’s favorite places to race at with just two years in existence, the rumor is New York could be next and it could actually be a street-circuit and not on an actual track. You can already tell safety will be made an even higher priority from now on at old and new circuits.

Safety measures are bound to change, but what spectators around the world hope that does not change is the excitement of the current F1 season. Many of us were tired of the dictatorship that drivers like Vettel and Schumacher had at every race. If Bernie Ecclestone wants more fans to tune into F1 activities, a season as exciting as this one should be a common situation.

But for now lets just hope Jules Bianchi survives a horrifying incident. #ForzaJules

Viewer Discretion is advised to watch this link containing the crash of Jules Bianchi.

Top 5 Drivers: 1) Lewis Hamilton, 2) Nico Rosberg, 3) Daniel Ricciardo, 4) Sebastian Vettel, 5) Fernando Alonso

Top 5 Constructors: 1) Mercedes, 2) Red Bull, 3) Williams, 4) Ferrari, 5) Force India

Races to go: 4 (Russia, United States, Brazil, Abu Dhabi)