Thursday, October 25, 2012

India’s F1 debut was certainly a success: Schumacher


India’s F1 debut was certainly a success: Schumacher

New Delhi: Seven times Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher says it will be interesting to see if the enthusiasm among the Indian fans has survived as it was during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
Around 95,000 people turned up at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) to watch the race last year.
Schumacher will retire at the end of the season. Reuters
Schumacher will retire at the end of the season. Reuters
“The Formula 1 debut of India last year was certainly a success. There were a surprising amount of fans during the weekend, and the track itself really is cool. We drivers were given a very enthusiastic reception, and it will be interesting to see if this enthusiasm has remained as strong,” Schumacher, who drives for the Mercedes GP team, told the official Formula 1 website ahead of the Oct 26-28 event. The German will retire with the end of the 2012 season.
His teammate Nico Rosberg expressed that he was impressed by the passion for the sport of the Indian fans.
“Last year I was really impressed by the passion and friendliness of the Indian people so I`m looking forward to visiting again and having some more interesting experiences. ,” said Rosberg, who had a crazy time in 2011 while visiting the busy streets of Old Delhi.
“The BIC is very challenging with an interesting combination of slow speed corners and long fast straights. The track also has one of the highest average speeds in Formula 1 and is good for overtaking,” added Rosberg.

India has one of the most challenging F1 circuits: Vettel


India has one of the most challenging F1 circuits: Vettel

Current Formula 1 driver’s champion Sebastian Vettel believes that the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) is one of the most challenging circuits in the world.
“The BIC really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers. I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235 km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza,” said Vettel, who hails from Germany, on the official F1 website.
Vettel won the last race in Yeongam, Korea. Reuters
“There is a lot of elevation change around the lap which adds to the fun, from as much as eight percent downhill and up to 10 percent uphill; it’s like a roller coaster.”
Vettel currently leads the driver’s World Championship with 215 points, six ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He won the last race in Yeongam, Korea.
Teammate Mark Webber also said that the track is challenging on which he loves to drive.
“It’s a challenging venue and I really enjoy the track, it’s a nice circuit to drive. The track is similar to Korea with mainly long straights in Sector 1 followed by a very busy Sector 2 and 3, so we need to get the balance right between downforce and top speed.
“It should be reasonably straightforward weather-wise and I’m looking forward to getting out there. There was a massive crowd there last year and it was a good atmosphere,” said the Australian, who earned the pole position and finished second in the Korean Grand Prix Oct 14.

Driving for Force India would be huge stepping stone for Narain: Hamilton


Driving for Force India would be huge stepping stone for Narain: Hamilton

New Delhi: Former World Champion Lewis Hamilton yesterday said if Indian F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan could race for Sahara Force India it would be a huge “stepping stone” for him.
Karthikeyan drives for Spanish outfit Hispania Racing Team and Hamilton said a driver can not do much in a slow car.
“It is unfortunate that Narain is driving a slow car. Other drivers would also struggle in slow car and it does not mean you are a bad driver. It would be wonderful if he were in Force India which is a pretty good team. It would be a huge stepping stone for him,” Hamilton said here.
“It is unfortunate that Narain is driving a slow car. Other drivers would also struggle in slow car and it does not mean you are a bad driver. It would be wonderful if he were in Force India which is a pretty good team,” said Hamilton. Reuters
Hamilton said it helps when one drives for a country’s team. “I am a Brit, driving for a British team in a British car. To me it’s very positive and it has done wonders for us so I hope it would be the same for him and India,” he said.
A 15th place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix is Karthikeyan’s best result this season.
One seat will be left in Force India for the 2013 season as Nico Hulkenberg is expected to leave the side for Sauber.
However, Karthikeyan has indicated that he would stay at the HRT for the next season.

Indian GP: You’ll find Mallya cheering Force India here


Indian GP: You’ll find Mallya cheering Force India here

New Delhi: Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya is expecting another spectacular Indian Grand Prix over the weekend, saying a double points finish at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) will be a fitting result for the team’s home race.
Mallya, who has been away from public glare following the suspension of his Kingfisher airlines, will attend the 26-28 October event at BIC.
“I remember how proud I felt last year to see our cars racing in India in the colours of the Indian flag. It was a moment I had dreamed about and a great sporting achievement for our country,” Mallya said in a statement today.
Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya is expecting another spectacular Indian Grand Prix over the weekend.
“To score points was the icing on the cake. This year I would like to go one better and see both our cars in the points — at the very least — so that we can give our fans something to smile about. The gap to Sauber is now 27 points. It’s a big lead, but not impossible to catch them before the end of the year,” he said.
Force India are seventh in the constructors’ championship with 89 points from 16 rounds.
Mallya is hoping for a better show by the organisers, Jaypee Group, than in the inaugural edition.
“Last year’s race was a tremendous success. I’m sure we can expect an equally spectacular event this year. Buddh International Circuit always looks after us very well and I know that they have been working hard behind the scenes to fine-tune the circuit and facilities even more.
“But above all else, the most important thing is the layout of the track because last year all the drivers loved it. It’s certainly one of the best tracks in the world,” he added.

‘Force India’s target is to finish sixth’


‘Force India’s target is to finish sixth’

Force India’s German driver Nico Hulkenberg opens up about the challenges he and his team face at the 2012 Indian Grand Prix.
You started off your F1 career with Williams in 2010 and they have a good pedigree. They have been champions in the past even though they are a middle rung team now. So how was the experience racing for them?
You know the first year of Formula One is very special, always, for everyone. I have a lot of great memories with them and obviously the pole position in Brazil stands out. We had some very good weekends apart from that as well, such as Monza (Italian GP). I enjoyed working with Rubens Barrichello a lot, and he was one of the most experienced people on the grid. So I got to learn a lot from him. I had a very good relationship with all the mechanics and engineers there. But it didn’t end too well for me. They told me very late in the day that I won’t be driving for them in 2011 and that wasn’t very nice.
Can you talk about that pole position lap in Brazil in 2010, your first ever pole?
I think it was the perfect lap for the sort of conditions we had then. It had stopped raining and the track was drying up very fast, so it was a bit of dry and wet both. And the car was feeling just great in those conditions, perfect set-up and new soft (dry) tyres with optimum pressure in them, which is very crucial on a partly dry-partly wet circuit. So when they put on the slicks, I was very aggressive, trying to get as much heat into the tyres as possible. And my lap times kept improving as I got more and more heat into them. It is quite tricky to get the braking point right in those conditions and also to stay on the dry line, but that was the perfect lap and it was quite sensational in the end, yeah! It was an emotional moment for me, my first ever pole position.
There is a lack of testing in Formula One. In that light how important was getting a reserve driver role at Force India in 2011 and keeping busy during Friday practice sessions?
Very important, because without that Friday running I wouldn’t be the driver I am now. If one of the two drivers were not able to race for whatever reasons, I would have been able to straight away jump into the car and drive, and perform at the top of my level. That stint at Force India kept me sharp, kept me going, and I learnt how to use DRS and KERS. Honestly if I hadn’t done those sessions, I would be totally a different driver now. And then you can lose your Formula One status very quickly, so yes I am thankful for these sessions that have kept me in the game. (He subsequently won a Force India race seat for the 2012 season, replacing Adrian Sutil.)
Nico Hulkenberg has been good for Force India this season. AP
Nico Hulkenberg has been good for Force India this season. AP
How different is driving in Formula One than in junior Formulae? How different is your preparation and concentration?
Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport and it is very special to be part of this racing series. Of course it is the quite a challenge and difficult to get set in here. But then you have the junior Formulae, Formula BMW, Formula Renault, you name the series. These racing series prepare you for the challenges ahead, for Formula One if you get there eventually. I had some mega seasons in Formula Three and GP2 as well which prepared me and taught me lot of stuff that ultimately brought me to F1.
There are quite a few German drivers in Formula One at the moment. Top of the ladder are Michael Schumacher, who is an all time great, and Sebastian Vettel, a double world champion. So what sort of impact are you looking to make in F1?
I have just done one year of racing in Formula One so the main aim is to establish myself here over the next three to four years. I hope I can do many more years in F1 than that because I love this sport. I love the way people work here, very professional and driving these cars is a very big privilege. So I just want to stay here and in terms of what I want to achieve, of course I want to be successful. I want to win races but that is for the long term, to be realistic.
Did sitting out a year from active racing make you hungrier for success?
The motivation to do well in Formula One has always been there. Even when I was out of the car the determination to succeed was always there. So I don’t think anything has changed there. The only difference is you cannot show it when you are not in a racing car and that was a situation that needed to be changed. And now I can show it.
This being the home race for Force India, how much pressure is on you to deliver and is the pressure different from other races?
I think pressure is always an element of F1 but we cannot really approach this weekend any differently. Target is always to score points. But two out of three owners of Force India are Indians, so obviously it is a bit more special. There is going to be a lot of Indian media and lot of local fans will be monitoring us closely. But it doesn’t change anything once we are inside the car. Pressure is always there, like I said, and we always have to try as hard as we can.
Are you happy with the mid-field position that Force India has gotten consistent with?
It was very tight and close last year as well. This time we have a lot more points than we did last year at this stage. But last season teams like Sauber and Williams weren’t so strong, they hadn’t had a win or podium finish. So from that it’s a little different. This year on a good day you are inside the top ten and on a bad day, you are just outside. It is that tight. But we are happy that we have been very consistent, especially in the last five-six races. Atleast one car has finished in points which is very good news for us. But we still have a target to finish sixth in the standings this year and that is what we are focussing on.
How tough was the Pirelli challenge this season, getting used to the tyres?
Easy (laughs) I mean they are different from last season, when I didn’t get much experience on those compounds, and they are challenging, because they have a very small operating window. Maybe it has gotten a little better now towards the end of the season as we have gotten used to working with them. But every Formula One season has its own challenges and tyres are one of them. Yes we have to find their sweet spot, but this year the team always had a good understanding of the tyres and that is also why we have been quite consistent.
How do you compare the traditional European circuits and modern ones such as the Buddh International Circuit? Which ones do you prefer to race on?
I can tell you that after I have raced at the BIC. So can’t comment before that. But I think both parts of the world have good circuits really. As a mixture what Formula One has at the moment is pretty good I would say.
It is said that the first person to beat in F1 is your team-mate. And you are leading Paul di Resta by one point. How is the rivalry between you two?
I think it is okay (laughs). It is important that we work together to push the team forward but we have a very healthy relationship and strive to achieve success. We both try very hard and the result is that it is very, very close between us.
We see a lot of paid drivers on the grid nowadays. Do you think that is good for Formula One going forward?
In the history of Formula One, there have always been pay drivers in any given season. Sometimes, it also happens that drivers who have good financial backing are also good racing drivers and they learn with time, progress and move up the order. I would rather have not so many as we do today on the grid. But F1 is an expensive sport to run and teams need the money to run the course of the season. At other times it doesn’t happen. So, it is what it is really.
There are rumours that you will be leaving Force India at the end of the season and moving to Sauber F1 for 2013.
I will not comment on speculation and rumours out there at the moment. For this weekend, again the focus is on good performance and getting points.

Will try to make Indian Grand Prix special: Force India drivers


Will try to make Indian Grand Prix special: Force India drivers

New Delhi: Sahara Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta said they will try to make their home Grand Prix “special” with a big result and won’t “give up” on the sixth place in the championship for which they are fighting hard with Sauber.
With four races to go, starting with Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix, the Indian outfit is placed seventh currently, trailing the Swiss team Sauber by 27 points.
“Since this one is home Grand Prix, a big result would be very welcome. We will try to make it special,” Hulkenberg said. ”Focus never changes, as a team we want both the cars with points,” said Paul di Resta.
At this stage of the season so far, Force India have fared better on points compared to the last season but the mid-field has been very competitive with Sauber coming up very strong. Sauber can even dislodge Mercedes from the fifth position.
Hulkenberg, who is expected to move to Sauber in the next season, said Force India still have hopes of grabbing the sixth place.
Reuters
“It’s been a good year, we have been fairly consistent compared to the other teams. We have scored quite a few points on different occasions. Personally, I had good result, some strong performances, I missed on podium (in Belgium),” he said.
“On paper we have had better year than last year with more points but our main rivals like Suber have also been very strong. Our target still is to get that sixth place,” the German said.
Paul knew that it was easier said than done but was not willing to throw in the towel as yet.
“Mathematically, it will be difficult, but obviously we won’t give up with four races to go,” the Scot said.

All you needed to know about the Indian Grand Prix


All you needed to know about the Indian Grand Prix

A ready reckoner ahead of Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi.
Lap distance: 5.125km (race distance 307.249km, 60 laps)
Race lap record: One minute 27.249 seconds ( Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 2011)
Start time: 0830 (1500 local)
2011 pole: Vettel 1:24.178
2011 winner: Vettel
WINS
Vettel is the only driver to have won four races this season. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton have both won three. Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Jenson Button have won twice.
The championship started with an unprecedented run of seven different winners in the first seven races (Button/Alonso/Nico Rosberg/Vettel/Pastor Maldonado/Webber/Hamilton).
Ferrari have won 219 races since the championship started in 1950, McLaren 180, Williams 114 and Red Bull 33.
Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher holds the record for driver victories with 91. Alonso has 30, Vettel 25, Hamilton 20, Raikkonen 18.
File picture of Red Bull Formula One driver Vettel drives during the Indian first F1 Grand Prix. Reuters
File picture of Red Bull Formula One driver Vettel drives during the Indian first F1 Grand Prix. Reuters
One more win would lift Alonso level with Britain’s 1992 champion Nigel Mansell as fourth equal in the all-time list. Vettel’s win in South Korea lifted him level with Niki Lauda and Jim Clark.
Raikkonen’s last win was in Belgium with Ferrari in 2009. Schumacher’s last win was in China with Ferrari in 2006.
Vettel is chasing his fourth win in a row after victories in South Korea, Japan and Singapore. The German has never before chalked up four successive victories in a single season but he won in India last year.
POLE
Vettel took 15 pole positions in 2011, the most anyone has achieved in a single season, but has been on pole only four times this year. Red Bull took a record 18 poles last year.
Vettel has 34 poles to his credit. Only Schumacher (68) and the late Ayrton Senna (65) managed more. Hamilton has 24 and Alonso 22.
Nine of 16 races this year have been won from pole. – POINTS Caterham (formerly Team Lotus and Lotus Racing), Marussia (Previously Virgin Racing) and HRT have yet to score a point in nearly three seasons of competing.
FASTEST LAPS
South Korea saw Red Bull’s Mark Webber become the 11th different driver to have set the fastest race lap this season in 16 grands prix.
INDIA
Narain Karthikeyan is the only Indian driver to have scored points in Formula One, finishing fourth for Jordan in a six-car 2005 US Grand Prix. He will also be the only Indian in Sunday’s race, competing for HRT.
Force India are the first and only Indian-owned team but have never had an Indian driver.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was born in the Indian city of Dehradun and lived in the country until she was eight years old.
The safety car was not deployed in India last year. The circuit has 16 corners (nine of them right-handers) and cars hit a maximum speed without using DRS of 315kph. Average lap speed last year was around 206kph. The 1.12km straight is one of the longest on the calendar. Pirelli are bringing their hard and soft tyres, the same choice as last year although the compounds are now softer. A two-stop strategy is most likely, although a one-stop is certainly possible.

Indian F1 circuit challenging: Sebastian Vettel


Indian F1 circuit challenging: Sebastian Vettel

NEW DELHI: Current Formula 1 driver's champion Sebastian Vettel believes that the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) is one of the most challenging circuits in the world.
"The BIC really has emerged as one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar for the drivers. I loved the track layout last year, but not just because I won the race. With an average speed of 235 km/h, the course is the second quickest of the year after Monza," said Vettel, who hails from Germany, on the official F1 website.

Buddh International Circuit one of my favourites: Pastor Maldonado


Buddh International Circuit one of my favourites: Pastor Maldonado

Williams' Formula 1 driver PastorMaldonado said the BuddhInternational Circuit (BIC) is one of his favourites in the calendar.
“India is enjoyable because it’s so different and the track is one of my favourites. It’s still a new track but it has a good combination of medium and high-speed corners, chicanes and good changes in direction," saidMaldonado of Venezuela was quoted as saying on the Formula 1 web site.
"Coming to the final few races, making the most of our cars potential is going to be important. So hopefully, we can score points here and put ourselves in a strong position for the final three races.”
Maldonado's team mate Bruno Senna also likes the circuit in GreaterNoida, which he feels is very smooth and fast.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend because India has a different atmosphere to many other Grands Prix and it’s always a unique place to visit.
"As a new track the surface is very smooth and the layout is fast and flows well with some high speed corners which will suit our car. We should therefore be looking to improve on our performance in Korea,” said Senna, who finished 12th in the Indian Grand Prix last year.

Google: More Gadgets In The Wings?


Google: More gadgets in the wings?
Between earnings reports and new product announcements, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for the tech world.  And it’s not over: Google is planning a big Android event on Monday, the same day that Microsoft is scheduled to officially launch its Windows Phone 8 software.
Google isn’t saying much about its event, which will be in New York, but it sent out one of those mysterious invitations that are intended to whet tech writers’ appetites. Industry blogs like Android Authority and The Next Web, however, are full of speculation and anonymously sourced reports that the company will announce a new 10-inch Android tablet from Samsung, as well as an upgrade to Google’s 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7.
There’s also talk of a new Nexus smartphone, made by LG, and even an upgrade to the Android operating system itself.  In keeping with the company’s tradition of naming each version after a dessert, this one may be code-named “Key Lime Pie,” according to some sources, although others say Android 4.2 will keep the name “Jelly Bean” from the last release.
Google made another hardware move last Thursday, although it was overshadowed by the company’s earnings report later the same day.  At an event in San Francisco, Google announced a new light-weight Chromebook laptop with an 11.6-inch screen that runs on the company’s cloud-based Chrome operating system.
The new Chromebooks, which sell for $250, are touted as inexpensive and lightweight machines for consumers who might otherwise buy a tablet, but still want a full keyboard, to serve as a second computer for their home or for their kids.
One of the most interesting features of the new Chromebooks is that each comes with 100 gigabytes of free online storage for two years, and the ability to synchronize photos, online purchases and other web actions with phones or tablets running Android software.
Just like Apple, which introduced a slew of new gadgets this week, Google wants to make it easy for consumers to live their lives entirely within its own software ecosystem.

‘Buddh circuit is smooth’


‘Buddh circuit is smooth’

Timo Glock.Marussia driver Timo Glock is from Germany, Michael Schumacher country. A privilege for any aspiring race driver from that part of the world, the link with a F1 legend also carries with it a sense of responsibility.
For the 30-year-old from Lindenfels, in Mumbai for a stopover en route to the Airtel Indian GP at Buddh International Circuit, the name is special. Glock said: “Schumacher was the guy who got the ball rolling for motorsports in Germany. From that moment, there has been a lot of support for young drivers and that is the reason why we have so many Germans in F1 at the moment.

ON THE RIGHT PATH

The German is quite happy with Marussia’s partnership with McLaren.
“The partnership helped us get into wind tunnel and work. Things are in place this time and we are on the right path towards climbing up the ladder,” he said. The Indian GP is happening at an opportune time for him. “I never went to a circuit that was so smooth, so fluid. It has unique turns, very different to other surfaces. It’s good from the F1 point of view as there are possibilities of overtaking,” he said, at a presentation organised by QNET, Marussia’s sponsor and official direct selling partner.
Marussia, which uses Cosworth engines, is reportedly in the process of buying KERS from Williams next year.