Where is the circuit?
The Hungaroring circuit is in the Mogyorad area, around 18km to the north of Budapest. It has built into a shallow valley, giving great spectating areas.
What about the track stats?
The circuit length is 2.722 miles (4.381km), and runs in a clockwise direction. It is 14 turns in total, with 8 right handers and 6 left hand corners, and a top speed going into Turn 1 of around 185mph. Lap times last year were around the 1min 22secs mark last season, so expect them to be hitting this pace towards the end of the race.
What type of circuit is it?
Like the majority of the circuits in F1, it is a permanent racing circuit. But unlike the other circuits it is a low speed circuit which requires high downforce. As it is rarely used during the year, it is also a very dusty circuit which gets faster over the weekend than nearly every other permanent circuit on the calendar.
Wow...What a day!
First of all let me send out a big thank you to John Flood for allowing my wife Theresa and I to join his team and to be part of such and exciting event. It truly has been an honor and a privilege.
As we approached the ballroom at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus, I could feel the tension and excitement building. I knew that in just a few minutes many of the questions that Formula 1 fans around the world had been asking for months were going to be answered. Many others must have felt the same as the room got packed in a hurry and the buzz grew louder and louder. The room was packed with cameras and members of the media, ranging from the awesome entourage brought in by all the local network affiliates, to radio correspondents, to a Univision crew, to several representatives of racing websites like this one.
The families and friends of Tavo Hellmund and "the principal investor", still unknown at this point, were packing the front left rows. It reminded me a bit of a wedding. I liked that they showed so much deference to their loved ones. It was a big day and they treated it as such.
Among other notables we were able to recognize in the crowd were RunTex Shoes Co-Founder Paul Carrozza, Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs, and University of Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds.
The conference room went dark and the twin video screens on either side of the room came to life with exciting scenes and sounds of F1. "When technology meets glamour" flashed across the screens amid numerous fast-paced cut shots of, among other things, Mark Webber using his wings through the Valencia sky, stunning long-legged, scantily clad supermodels, and speed-blurred camera pod shots from the world's most advanced racing machines.
Tavo Hellmund and Red McCombs (photo by Theresa Wood)
There were some things that came out of the Formula1 United States press conference today that I have not seen anywhere in the world press. I want to say thanks to our Associates Tim and Theresa Wood for attending the event in my absence and for providing pictures and an audio recording of the entire event.
First, the partnership includes McCombs Partners and Prophet Capital Investments. But, those are not the only investors involved. It is clear from comments made that these groups will be involved in pulling together a complete package of investors from all sectors, and some will be publically acknowledged and some will not. Together they have interests in auto dealerships, sporting teams and events, real estate development, energy (including but not limited to oil), entertainment, and education. A very good mix of enterprises that fit well with F1.
Both Hellmund and McCombs talked about the site being a mixed use facility. There are to be permanant year round operations that are used for things other than racing. The University of Texas and Texas A & M University (and several others) have plans to build a human performance laboratory on the site. This complex will be used to research and develop human health and performance. The plans include facilities for running, bicycling, and swimming performance centers, as well as medical research to benefit the general public.
The Full Throttle press conference was held this morning in Austin, Texas and an associate of this Blog, Tim Wood, attended. The conference included one big surprise for many of us in the form of financial backer Red McCombs. In hindshight that's a pretty good choice, he's well enough known that Tim recognized him immediately. McCombs made his billions in the automobile business owning more than 100 dealerships. He also started and built one of the largest radio networks in the US, Clear Channel Communications. He sold that business a couple of years ago for $20 billion. He has also owned professional sports franchises in Texas, Colorado, and Minnesota. And he has an investment company that is heavily involved in high-dollar real estate.
The site was definitively identified. It is the site that this blog suggested many weeks ago. But the circuit map was not released. This and other facilities info will be available in the coming weeks. This is from an email I recieved about an hour ago from the press officer:
From now until year-end, we will be releasing information on our website and to our media partners regarding more details about:
We look forward to sharing more with you soon! Stay tuned...
Your Formula 1™ United States Team
The group also released their new website and made the site live.
We will have extensive coverage later on this blog and tomorrow on our turnpage e-zine.
Update: I forgot to mention that Moto 500cc champion Kevin Schwantz is a member of the team as well. Don't know exactly what his role is, but I smell a moto GP in Austin's future.
Today I recieved an invitation to the press conference to announce the site of the US GP, in Austin Texas. Things are moving forward!
It’s that time of the year again when the F1 hacks go into overdrive and start making stories about who is going where for the next season. This season, however, the majority of the top seats are gone, meaning that only potential top seats for next year are left. But just who is confirmed where, and whose seat is still up for grabs.
Confirmed: Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton
You won’t be surprised to learn that McLaren have both of their current drivers contracted until 2012. Lewis Hamilton will stay on for his 5th year with the team, while Button stays on for another year.
Confirmed: Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher
Possible: Nick Heidfeld
Although both drivers are under contract with Mercedes until 2012, it is still unknown whether Michael Schumacher will indeed stay on next year. Many expect him to stay on, but there’s a possibility that Schumi could call it a day again. If so, I’m expecting Mercedes protégé and current test driver Nick Heidfeld to step in, even if it is for only one season.
Confirmed: Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber
Red Bull confirmed a few weeks ago that Mark Webber will once again partner Sebastien Vettel in 2011. After a few public spats in recent weeks, things appear to have calmed down at the Milton Keynes-based team, but can that team harmony continue for the next 18 months?
Confirmed: Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa
Fernando Alonso will move into year two of a multi-year deal with Ferrari next year, and will hope to follow Michael Schumacher by fighting for wins and titles in his second year with the Scuderia. Felipe Massa will stay on as his team-mate, but with the Brazilian having a poor season compared to his other years with Ferrari will next year be his last with the team?
Confirmed: Nico Hulkenberg
Expected: Rubens Barrichello
So far this season Rubens has proven once again that he can still be fast in a racing car, and it will be a major surprise if he isn’t retained by the time for what will be his 19th season in Formula 1. Nico Hulkenberg has yet to show the speed that won him the 2009 GP2 title, but has done enough to earn his second season with the team.
Confirmed: Robert Kubica
Possible: Vitaly Petrov, Timo Glock, Heikki Kovalainen, Kamui Kobayashi, Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Raikkonen
Robert Kubica re-signed with the team a couple of weeks ago for 2011, and after the impressive first half of the season they have had together both he and the team will hope to build on their progress and challenge for race wins in 2011.
The identity of his team-mate is still far from clear, with a possible 7 drivers vying for one drive. The team is reportedly unhappy with Petrov’s inconsistency this season, but the Russian is still in contention to retain his seat next season (and rumoured to be a favourite with Bernie Ecclestone to try and seal a Russian GP deal). Other drivers apparently on Renault’s radar are Lotus duo, and former Renault drivers, Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock, Kamui Kobayashi and Mercedes test driver Nick Heidfeld. One other rumoured driver is former F1 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, but it is looking increasingly likely that his F1 days are over and he will stay in the WRC. Renault team boss Eric Boullier has said that talks have taken place with some of the drivers named, but refused to say who they were.
Confirmed: Adrian Sutil
Possible: Vitantonio Liuzzi, Paul Di Resta, Gary Paffett
The Anglo-Indian team has already confirmed that Adrian Sutil will stay on for a 5th year with the team and will race for them at their inaugural home race next season. But the identity of his team-mate has yet to be clarified.
At the minute the man in the box seat is Vitantonio Liuzzi, whose race performances of late have improved and he has gradually been getting closer to his team-mate. But there are still doubts over whether he keep up his performance. If he isn’t retained, it is expected that current test driver and sometime Friday practice driver Paul Di Resta will move up to partner Sutil. Should Di Resta be unable to fill the seat, there is a possibility that former DTM champion Gary Paffett could get the seat at the insistence of the team’s technical partner McLaren.
Confirmed: Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari
Both of Toro Rosso’s current line up have been retained for next year. They have done a good job this season and have picked up points along the way. With rumours of a possible buy-out by Parris Mullins, former advisor to USF1 investor Chad Hurley, there is a possibility that the drivers may have a better package next year.
Possible: Jarno Trulli, Heikki Kovalainen, Fairuz Fauzy
It is looking increasingly likely that Lotus will retain the pairing of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen for next season, with both having done a great job with the team this year, and they may possibly have Renault power next season. Should one of them decide to jump ship to another team, then expect Lotus owner Tony Fernandez to promote fellow countryman Fairuz Fauzy to a race seat.
Possible: Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Sakon Yamamoto, Christian Klien, any other driver with financial backing
Hispania will once again be the team that will take the highest bidder to fill their seats. Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok have done a good job this season, and their temporary replacement Sakon Yamamoto has been very poor when given his chance. But so long as he has some Japanese Yen behind him he has a chance of a race seat. Former Jaguar and Red Bull driver Christian Klien has been signed as a test driver this season, but has yet to get a chance to impress in the car. Any other drivers in the lower formulae with half-decent talent and a queue of sponsors are also welcome to try out for the team – and should the rumoured collaboration with Toyota become reality then the team may begin to move forward next year.
Possible: Pedro De La Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi, Giancarlo Fisichella
With the Sauber car still looking a bit bare of sponsors, it is possible that the team may need to find one pay-driver to help them next season, especially with BMW’s funding diminishing soon. But the team have said that they are in talks with several companies concerning title sponsorship, and if they can secure something then they could retain their drivers once again next year. Update: Kamikaze-Kobayashi has now been corfirmed.
Possible: Timo Glock, Lucas Di Grassi
Many people, including the team itself, expect the current Virgin line-up of Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi for their second season in the sport. Although Glock has a contract with the team for next season, there are rumours that he could be in contention for a Renault seat, but expect him to stay put. Continuity is what the team needs, so they will be fighting hard to make sure they maintain their current line-up.
New Team (Villeneuve Racing, Stefan, Epsilon Eauskadi, Anderson F1)
So far we know that there are 5 interested parties who have submitted applications for the vacant 13th spot on the F1 grid next season. Although there is a huge myriad of drivers that any successful applicant can choose from, there are several drivers that some of the potential new teams have already targeted. Villeneuve Racing will, naturally, have co-owner Jacques Villeneuve in one of the seats. Stefan GP had a bid to enter F1 fail at the start of this season, and had named Jacques Villeneuve and Kazuki Nakajima as their drivers – whether this will still be the case next year is unknown. And Epsilon are currently racing in World Series, and it is unknown whether they would recruit some of their junior formulae drivers to join them in F1.
So there you are – the driver market for 2011 as it sits now. Pieces of the jigsaw will fall into place over the coming weeks and months, but with the top seats already signed and sealed, don’t expect to see any new faces fighting at the front of the grid next season.
As F1 continues to consider the technical future of the sport, perhaps the powers-that-be should consider a glance in the direction of The Indy Racing League. F1 has grudgingly acknowledged that costs are too high, sponsorships are few and far between, and that a more concentrated move toward green technology is required to satisfy many in the industry.
New Indy Car CEO Randy Bernard established a committee of industry insiders to make technical recommendations for the IRL. The committee includes car owners, engine builders, promoters, and others. Their mandate was to talk to all interested parties, to collect all ideas, and to organize the information into technical recommendations.
Indy Car has now promulgated the basic guidelines for their 2012 specification. They have moved in a direction that I generally agree with and I am waiting for more details to emerge before I dive in face first. But, here is my understanding of the technical outline for 2012 and beyond.
At the last race in Germany we saw Ferrari driver Felipe Massa move over to allow his team-mate Fernando Alonso through after being told by his race engineer Rob Smedley ‘Fernando is faster than you’. After Alonso had passed, Smedley was then heard saying "Good lad. Just stick with now. Sorry." It was a sense of de ja vu, as back in 1999 Mika Salo was also given orders similar to allow team-mate Eddie Irvine through to keep his title chances alive. But back then Salo was only a stand-in driver for an injured Michael Schumacher, whereas this time both drivers have completed the full season so far. It is an issue that has caused uproar in F1, and one which many people feel is against the regulation which was introduced at the beginning of 2003 banning team orders – some even go as far as calling the Italian team ‘cheats’.
I was an advocate of the refueling ban. I have stated this many places prior to the beginning of the season, and I can't walk away from that point of view. I still support the move.
It was my opinion that drivers would need to manage their tires and that those who did would benefit from their skills. I thought that the very heavy starting weights of the cars would change the pace of cars throughout the race and result in unexpected wear and unscheduled stops for new rubber. And, I thought that drivers like Lewis would suffer from their aggressive style, while smoother drivers would benefit.
I had a busy day and looked at the practice times after the action was all over. I do not think the times are necessarily indicitative of the weekend's pace, but one must admit that Ferrari grabbed everyone's attention. Alonso had been widely quoted earlier in the week saying that he could still win the championship. Mathematically that is easily true, it does not even require a bunch of odd circumstances to make it so. But, the team would need to improve their form.
Just as RBR have failed to capitalize on their pace due to mechanical failures, driver error, and other blunders...... so have Ferrari. Their pace has been good at times but their racecraft has suffered. Alonso has made mistakes, the team have made strategic errors, and the crew behind the wall have made a few mistakes of their own.
So maybe if all of these things were corrected, Ferrari may have a chance. I'm not a Ferrari fan, but I do appreciate Alonso's skills, although I prefer Kimi's style of keeping his thoughts to himself. I would like to see Ferrari split the Maccas and the RBR's, in any order, just because I like competition. And my sympathies are with Massa who has had a terrible year to date.
With the German Grand Prix happening this weekend, it is hard to talk about a Formula 1 race in the country without mentioning the historic Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in the village of Nurburg in Western Germany. The circuit has went down in history as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, circuit in Formula 1 history, and it’s greatest trait turned out to be its downfall.
The ‘Ring was first built back in 1927, and consisted of a 174-turn, 19-mile circuit consisting of the Nordschleife and Sudschleife circuits. It first held the German Grand Prix that same year, and continued to hold it until 1939, when racing stopped due to the Second World War. The fastest-ever lap around the full circuit was done by Louis Chiron, was lapped at an average of 72mph in his Bugatti. The 1939 race was also the last time that the full circuit would be used, with the Nordschleife becoming the main Grand Prix circuit after this race.
Where is the circuit?
The Hockenheimring circuit, to give it’s official title, is based in the Baden-Wurttemberg region of northwest Germany. The circuit itself is actually based just to the East of the town of Hockenheim, on the other side of the E50 Autobahn.
What about the track stats?
The current form of the circuit is the third to exist. The previous two were known as fast circuits with high speeds, but the current version is slower. It is 2.842 miles (4.574km) long, and like many other circuits runs clockwise. The circuit has 13 turns in total, with 9 right hand corners and 4 left handers.
We have reached the halfway point in this season’s Formula 1 season, and so far we have seen Red Bull tripping up on themselves despite having the fastest car, allowing McLaren to lead both the driver’s and constructor’s championships. Some people have stated that this wouldn’t have been the case under an older points system, but does this argument have any substance?
Well first of all let’s look at the current points system. The current system was only introduced at the beginning of this season, and rewards points for the top 10 finishing positions (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1) and has the same percentage of points spread as the previous system. It means that any of the drivers in the top teams can afford to have the odd off-day and still pick up some points, which can be vital come the end of the season. As a result, the current standings after the British GP are as follows:
Lewis Hamilton – 145pts
Jenson Button – 133pts
Mark Webber – 128pts
Sebastien Vettel – 121pts
Fernando Alonso – 98pts
Nico Rosberg – 90pts
Robert Kubica – 83pts
Felipe Massa – 67pts
Michael Schumacher – 36pts
Adrian Sutil – 35pts
US GP in 2012.
A reality, or is it still nothing more than a very strong rumour? On the face of it, it certainly appears to be a very real possibility that it will happen. At the recent British GP Tavo Helmund, the man behind the project, attended his first race since the announcement was made.
During this visit he gave press interviews to Autosport, which is a well respected British motorsport magazine, and much of this article is reproduced from the answers that he gave in response to various questions. The links to these articles are listed below.
Other information which is available on this blog has been taken from the local Austin press, gathered in various snippets of information, although it must be said that any concrete news has not been revealed.
Firstly according to Tavo and Bernie Ecclestone everything is on track, funding is in place, the circuit design is virtually completed and the land for the track has been purchased. But the big question still unanswered is the actual location of the site. I was less than pleased to hear this reply from Tavo when asked this direct question.
Q. At Silverstone you attended your first race since the announcement was made about the grand prix in Austin. How is progress going with the race?
Best Start of the year:
I have decided to go with Sebastien Vettel at Monaco, although there was other contenders. With his team-mate on pole and Kubica alongside, Vettel had to get past the Renault into the first corner if he was to have any chance of challenging his team-mate during the race. He did so, and although he wasn’t able to challenge Webber during the race, his start meant that Red Bull took a one-two at the most prestigious race of the season
Qualifier of the year:
Once again I have gone with Vettel. Despite his team-mate scoring three poles in a row between Spain and Turkey, Vettel has been the better qualifier. Four pole positions and two more front row starts mean he has an average qualifying position of 2nd place over the course of the season. A special mention also goes to Kamui Kobayashi who has managed to drag his Sauber into the top 10 of qualifying three times this season.
Qualifying Lap of the year:
My pick is Hamilton’s pole lap in Montreal. Up until that point, Red Bull had been unbeatable in qualifying and had took pole at every race, and with seconds to go it was Mark Webber on pole. But Hamilton pulled out a great lap to claim his first pole of the season, which set him up nicely for a win. A mention as well to Heikki Kovalainen, who so nearly beat the Saubers in qualifying for the same race, showing just how far Lotus have come this season.
Recently the Ferrari president, Luca Di Montezemolo, came out with a stinging attack on the new teams, claiming that they are too slow and shouldn’t be allowed to take part in grand prix. These comments come on the back of the Canadian Grand Prix, where Fernando Alonso lost time and a possible victory after being stuck behind backmarkers. It is not the first time this season that Luca has attached the new outfits for their lack of pace, and these comments follow on from previous comments made by the Italian on his preference for three-car teams in F1 instead of new entries.
But does Luca really have a point?