Four things you must know about Austrian grand prix

Lewis Hamilton is  not a stranger to hanging out with celebs. Nonetheless, recently, the current world champion seemed star-struck. This is when Arnold Schwarzenegger, an action-movie legend, appeared on the Melbourne stage to interrogate the top three.

The following are some of the major talking points about the Austrian Grand prix:

·         There will be approximately twenty-car grid for 2015 based on an official entry list. This is two cars down compared to last year’s race after the exit of Caterham. The million-dollar question is, will Manor Marussia manage to race in Melbourne? Recently, the team confirmed its intention to race with its 2014 modified car. This might or might not comply with the circuits’ 107% rule. The rule holds that any driver, with a Q1 lap outside 107% of the best Q1 time, will not be permitted to race. However, exceptions exist to the drivers that do not manage to stay within the 107% window, but have achieved the set acceptable time during their practice.

·         From 2014-2015, at only one time did an Austrian GR winner proceed to claim the championship at the season’s end. That would be in 2011. During this time, Sebastian Vettel racing for Red Bull (currently with Ferrari) won 11 races en route to winning the second driver’s title. Strangely, from 2000-2009, Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella (2005) and McLaren’s David Coulthard (2003) stood out as the only victors in Melbourne that did not walk home with a trophy at the end of the season.

·         This year will see an even split of five champions and five rookies. Two squads will run the all-rookie tandems. This year, Manor Marussia has enrolled Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens. Toro Rosso has enlisted MxVerstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. Of great importance to note is that both the Toro Rosso drivers have with them racer fathers. A former formula one driver, Jos Verstappen boasts of 106 starts under his belt. A world rally champion, Sainz is the elder brother.

·         For fans of Fernando Alonso, it is quite unfortunate that he is out of the running during the season opener. He suffered a concussion after crashing out on the second pre-season test. Doctors advised him to avoid the Austrian GP in order to minimize the high chances of a second impact syndrome. The fans can wait his return during the Malaysian Grand Prix.

More about the Austrian Grand Prix 2015

The Intrigues behind Rosberg’s 2014 Monaco GP Victory

hamilton-rosbergIf there is one thing that Monaco Grand Prix is renowned for it has to be drama. 2014 GP was no different, and in fact, heading to the race, there was already palpable tension between Hamilton and Rosberg, the two Mercedes AMG drivers.

Now that the dust has settled and 2015 action is beckoning with even more exciting action expected, why not take a look at what really ensued. Take a look:

1.       Singapore GP, the Pot Calling the Kettle  Black

It looked like a minor thing, but when Rosberg found out that Hamilton had altered settings of his car to stay ahead, he was livid. Well, Rosberg was discovered to have used the same higher power settings at Bahrain to pass and it became a case of the pot calling the kettle black. From this point it was on.

2.       Who is Made of Steel?

Before Monaco GP 2014, Hamilton had said he was hungrier for victory considering his upbringing. This was a direct jibe at Rosberg, who was born with a silver-spoon as they say. He was jet setting with his dad as a kid and Hamilton wanted to show he was just in F1 for fun and not real passion. Telling this to his team colleague clearly raised the bar in rivalry and what happened next was predictable.

3.       Rosberg Springs a Schumacher Qualifying Trick

Qualifying on Saturday was intense, and while Rosberg was ahead, it was obvious Hamilton was aiming at wrestling pole from him. In a move that pundits say was copied directly from Schumacher’s 2006 qualifying move, Rosberg went off the tracks at Turn 5 Mirabeau, which brought out yellow flags. This ruined Hamilton’s fastest lap considering Rosberg had reversed his car back to the track.

4.       Post Qualification Investigations

FIA is very strict when it comes to rules, but stewards found after examining video evidence and telemetry data that Rosberg was indeed innocent. As they say, no one really knows what happens in an accident and in this case, only Rosberg knows what really happened.

5.       The Battle on Race Sunday

While Hamilton was still fuming, Rosberg was plotting how to bag his second title at home. Nico led from Hamilton, but it was a close battle which was muddled by the team’s failure to call him to pit after the second safety car session. At least this is according to Hamilton, who criticized the team on radio saying the strategy denied him a chance to overtake Rosberg.

Well, from Monaco it was obvious there was no love lost between the two Mercedes drivers and things went down south from here, culminating in the Spa Francorchmaps debacle.

What does this portend for Monaco 2015 GP? Fun galore, which is all Formula One is about.

7 of the Most Devastating Formula One Crashes

There is no denying that Formula One is one of the most fulfilling sports on the planet. Every other weekend you troop to your favorite Formula One circuit for thrilling action. But have you ever considered the sacrifice these drivers make for you to enjoy every other weekend?

Well, to appreciate how much these fantastic drivers risk, just take a look at some of the most devastating F1 crashes in history:

1.       Niki Luda’s Magical Escape Nurburgring 1976

If you love F1, then you know Niki Lauda today, but what you probably didn’t know is how close he came to death at Nurburgring in 1976. The driver lost control of his Ferrari, hit the barriers and spun out of control. The car burst into flames and Niki was badly burnt to a point where a priest was called in to read last rites. Miraculously he survived and in six weeks he was in his Ferrari once more.

2.       Ayrton Senna’s Death San Marion 1994

He is credited as one of the best F1 drivers to ever grace a circuit and had expressed concerns over safety at Imola. Senna was leading when he lost control and hit a concrete wall at the Tamburello corner. His massive brain injury was caused by the right tire that came loose on impact piercing into Senna’s visor and causing fatal trauma. To this day, this is regarded as the worst loss in sports history.

3.       Robert Kubica, Montreal 2007

At 300kph, Kubica, who was one of the most promising F1 drivers at the time, hit a wall and brought the whole world to a stop. It was a horrific scene reminiscent of Imola 1994. The car rolled back on the track and hit another barrier and everyone expected the worst once more. Luckily, the driver was pronounced stable and recovered.

4.       Ronnie Peterson, Monza, 1978

The Super Swede, as Peterson was known, was a two time runners-up and it was obvious he had a great career in F1. The race at the Italian GP started before all the cars were off the grid and an ultimate 8-car crash occurred resulting in a blaze in his Lotus. Peterson was trapped and sustained severe burns and leg injuries. The next day he was pronounced dead due to renal failure. Formula One mourns this great loss to date.

5.       Gilles Villeneuve, Belgian GP, 1982

He was the most known face in F1 despite not having won the title. During qualifying for the 1982 GP, Gilles’ clipped the tires of fellow driver Jochen Mass and his Ferrari went flying up. The French-Canadian driver was thrown 50 meters to the safety barrier. Medical personnel arrived promptly, but Gilles succumbed to a neck fracture.

6.       Roland Ratzenberger, Imola  1994

Ratzenberger was another casualty in the Black Weekend where Senna lost his life, and Barrichello suffered a nasty accident. During final practice on Saturday, Ratzenberger hit a safety barrier at full speed fracturing his skull.

7.       Tom Pryce, South Africa, 1977

Of course the death of Tom Pryce in 1977 deserves mention, especially due to the gruesome footage it led to. He was almost decapitated by his helmet strap and had to be identified by elimination of body parts.

There are many other gruesome accidents, but remember these are not to make you squirmy but to help you appreciate how much these drivers give for you to have fun every weekend.

2015 Formula 1 Grand Prix Changes Focusing on Safety

Faces to Watch Out for in 2015

Australian GP, the opener for the 2015 F1 season, is just around the corner. You have watched your favorite driver testing at Jerez and Barcelona, and you are either confident or diffident. Well, what if you make the wait even more exciting by looking at other faces who could become future champions in the right car? Here is a probable list:

sergio_perez1.       Sergio Perez

The Force India Mexican driver was born in 1990. If you didn’t watch preseason testing, Perez impressed in the new car. Together with Hulkenberg, the two were able to rake in good laps for only two days in Barcelona. Pundits reckon he is brilliant with tire management though his wild side shows at times. Could this be the year Perez forces big teams his way?

2.       Nico-HulkenbergNico Hulkenberg

Some call him the unluckiest driver of modern times for always missing the top seat in a top team. His consistency is admirable and his speed pushed him to a career best finish at 4th. He also has a career pole position, which not many new drivers can brag. Could the German become the new Schumacher in the right car?

3.       Valtteri-Bottas Valtteri Bottas

Whatever pundits say, there is no denying Bottas has a successful career ahead in F1. Consider the fact that his debut was only in Australia 2013 and in a Williams that was nothing to write home about. He emerged 4th in the stiffly competitive 2014 F1 championship title, and this year he has already helped William top the time sheets which is impressive considering the rest of the competition. This is clearly a probable winner, especially if Williams maintains its reliability.

4.       Daniil-Kyvat Daniil Kyvat

Red Bull never takes chances with its drivers. When Kyvat was promoted from the junior Toro Rosso, it was obvious the Renault-powered team had noticed something extraordinary in the young driver. Promotion by Red Bull, after only one season, speaks volumes of the Russian’s talent. He might need some time to learn the ropes, but this is definitely a driver to watch.

5.       Max-Verstappen Max Verstappen

The Dutch is the youngest driver to sit behind the wheel of an F1 car and even industry players were shocked. Toro Rosso is willing to count on the 17 year old to deliver some points, and while he is talented, the pressure of F1 and Red Bull’s merciless employment policy might push him too much. He might probably perform after a few seasons once he knows how to handle pressure.

6.       Felipe_NasrFelipe Nasr

If preseason testing counts for anything, then Nasr has something to give F1. Only Mercedes exceeded Sauber’s tally of 5703 km. But that’s not all; he is quick, though handling his car seems to be the problem. Having bought his seat at Sauber at £16m, it remains to be seen whether this deal will eventually pay off. The Ferrari-powered C34 impressed even in power which could make the Brazilian a force to watch.

7.      Carlo-Sainz-Jr Carlo Sainz Jr.

If name and heritage alone could win the F1 championship, then Carlo Sainz Jr. would be a shoo-in candidate considering his father’s decorated racing career. He had been overlooked for Verstappen but as luck would have it, Vette jumped ship and Kyvaat was promoted. This has given Sainz Jr. a chance to prove himself, and if testing at Jerez and Barcelona is anything to go by, the former Renault 3 champion might impress with Toro Rosso.

8.       Pastor MaldonadoPastor-Maldonado

Of course you know Maldonado for his dubious record in wrecking cars. The Venezuelan will be driving for a rejuvenated Lotus team and his single career win in 77 Formula One races might translate to more wins.

There is of course Marcus Ericsson with Sauber and Romain Grosjean, but there is still a lot for them to do on the track. Well, Melbourne GP is almost here and now you have some new faces to look out for, and of course the new FIA helmet design allows you a better glimpse.