Tag: 2012

Susie Wolff continues as Williams’ development driver

Williams has confirmed that Susie Wolff will continue in her role of development driver for 2014. Her expanded role will see her take to the wheel of the FW36 in two FP1 sessions this season.

Wolff joined the team in April 2012 and has helped develop the FW34, FW35 and the FW36. This year she will continue to work in the simulator to help further development.

“Susie has become a valued member of our driver line-up,” Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds said. “2014 will see her take on more responsibilities as we seek to make a strong step forward in performance. Susie has demonstrated a natural talent for developing a car and providing strong feedback and these sort of characteristics will be key this season as teams seek to quickly understand and refine the radically overhauled 2014 cars.”

Wolff, who previously spent seven seasons in DTM before joining Williams, has expressed her gratitude to Williams for giving her a chance. “I’m grateful for the support and belief Williams continue to show in me and 2014 promises to be a very important milestone in my career,” she said. “My responsibilities within the team have steadily increased as I have proved myself, culminating in the opportunity to test the car at Silverstone and conduct straight line aero tests last season. Competing in two FP1 sessions, alongside an additional full test day this season will be a big step and I am looking forward to the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the FW36 on a Grand Prix weekend. It’s a challenge that I will relish and it will be a great chance for me to continue assisting the team.”

Wolff will work alongside Felipe Nasr who was recently appointed test and reserve driver by the team.


Jamie Hamilton secures Wilson Craig deal

Jamie Hamilton will ride for Wilson Craig Racing this year it has been confirmed this morning. The Ballyclare rider will ride Honda bikes in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes this year, having split with KMR Kawasaki at the end of last year.

He will compete at the North West 200, the Isle of Man TT and the Ulster Grand Prix as well as a number of Irish Nationals. As well as the fleet of Wilson Craig bikes Hamilton will ride a Stewart Smith owned bike in the Supertwin class.

Jamie Hamilton finished second in the Supertwins race at last year's North West 200
Jamie Hamilton finished third in the Supertwins race at last year’s North West 200

Hamilton has impressed in his short road racing career so far – picking up Best Newcomer at the TT in 2012 and securing podiums at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix. In 2013 he was Supersport and Supertwin champion in the Irish Road Racing Championship and came third in the end of year Duke Road Race Rankings.

Hamilton described the move as a “dream come true”. He joins an impressive list of riders to have ridden for Wilson Craig since the teams inception in 2008. He follows Cameron Donald, who has raced for the outfit for the past three seasons, as well as Guy Martin, William Dunlop and Keith Amor.

Analysis: how would double points have changed the last 20 years? Part Two

A few days ago the FIA published some regulation changes ahead of 2014, and one in particular has been met with an overwhelmingly negative response. The F1 Strategy Group, consisting teams from the championship, voted to allow double points for the last race of the season which, in the case of 2014, is in Abu Dhabi. Four time world champion Sebastian Vettel told German media he thought the idea was “absurd”.

The question was then raised: would double points have made a difference to world championships in the past? An analysis of 1993 to 2002 showed that there would have been a few changes here and there in the top ten, but nothing significant like a change of champion. This post will complete an analysis of twenty years, looking at 2003 – 2013.

2003 – Michael Schumacher

In 2003 a new points system was introduced – points were now awarded to the top eight on the basis of: 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Michael Schumacher won his fourth championship in a row (his sixth overall) narrowly beating McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen. Juan Pablo Montoya ended the year in third place. However, if double points for the last race had been in play, the first major change in the period 1993 – 2013 would have occurred:

  1. Kimi Raikkonen (92) 99
  2. Michael Schumacher (93) 94
  3. Juan Pablo Montoya 82

Yes, Raikkonen would have won his first championship, reducing Schumacher’s tally to only six (‘only’…). David Coulthard would also have benefited from double points, moving from seventh to six, with Fernando Alonso dropping a place. In the constructors championship McLaren would have finished in second place with double points, moving ahead of Williams.


2004 – Michael Schumacher

It was a whitewash for Michael Schumacher in 2004 when he won 13 of 18 races, comfortably wrapping up the championship before the final race of the year, meaning double points would have made no difference:

  1. Michael Schumacher (148) 150
  2. Rubens Barrichello (114) 120
  3. Jenson Button 85

Double points would have allowed Juan Pablo Montoya to finish ahead of Fernando Alonso in fourth place. Kimi Raikkonen would also have benefited, at the expense of Jarno Trulli. The constructors championship would have remained the same.


2005 – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso became the youngest world champion (at the time) in 2005, comfortably beating Kimi Raikkonen who was hampered by an unreliable McLaren. Michael Schumacher finished in a distant third – an unfamiliar position for him after so much domination. Double points would have altered the top three slightly, although Alonso had already wrapped the title up before the last race:

  1. Fernando Alonso (133) 143
  2. Kimi Raikkonen (112) 120
  3. Giancarlo Fisichella (58) 63

The constructors championship would have remained the same with or without double points.


2006 – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso did not have to wait long for championship number two, enjoying a spirited battle with a retiring Michael Schumacher throughout 2006 on his way to it. Felipe Massa finished in third place:

  1. Fernando Alonso (134) 142
  2. Michael Schumacher (121) 126
  3. Felipe Massa (80) 90

As can be seen, double points would not have changed the order, instead they would have dropped Schumacher further behind Alonso. The top ten in both the drivers and constructors championships would have been the same, regardless of double points.


2007 – Kimi Raikkonen

2007 saw the arrival of Lewis Hamilton on the scene, and he instantly fought for the world championship. It was a difficult year for McLaren with inter-team battles and ‘Spygate’ seeing them disqualified from the constructors championship. In the end, in some sort of poetic justice, Hamilton and his team-mate Fernando Alonso finished on joint points, just one point behind champion Kimi Raikkonen, who won the final race of the year to clinch it. Double points, however, would have changed things slightly:

  1. Kimi Raikkonen (110) 120
  2. Fernando Alonso (109) 115
  3. Lewis Hamilton (109) 111

Elsewhere in the top ten, double points would have seen Nico Rosberg finish in eighth place instead of ninth. The constructors championship would not have changed.


2008 – Lewis Hamilton

After narrowly missing out in 2007, Lewis Hamilton ruled the roost in 2008, beating Felipe Massa in a nailbiting finale. He overtook Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap to take the fifth place he needed, after Massa took an emotional home victory. 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen finished in third. If there had been double points, things would be very different in the history books – Massa would be champion and Hamilton would have no championships:

  1. Felipe Massa (97) 107
  2. Lewis Hamilton (98) 102
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (75) 81

Those would have been the only changes within the top ten, but pretty significant. The constructors championship would have remained the same.


2009 – Jenson Button

Major regulation changes in 2009 shook up the field, with newly formed Brawn GP dominating the start of the season. Red Bull joined them at the front with usual front runners Ferrari and McLaren slipping back. Jenson Button won his first world championship, beating Sebastian Vettel and Rubens Barrichello. Double points would have brought Vettel closer to Button’s points tally, but would not have changed the overall order:

  1. Jenson Button (95) 101
  2. Sebastian Vettel (84) 94
  3. Rubens Barrichello (77) 82

None of the top ten would have changed with double points and the same can be said for the constructors championship.


2010 – Sebastian Vettel

In 2009 a new points system was introduced: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1. After missing out in 2009, Sebastian Vettel won his first world championship in 2010, beating off stiff competition from Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.  Going into the last race, Alonso had the advantage – Vettel never led the championship until the last race, subsequently winning it – but his race did not go quite as planned. The top three would have been altered slightly by double points:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (256) 281
  2. Fernando Alonso (252) 258
  3. Lewis Hamilton (240) 258

Mark Webber, who actually finished third, would have dropped to fourth and Lewis Hamilton would have been third with the same amount of points as Alonso. Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica would both have finished ahead of Felipe Massa with double points. The constructors championship would have been unaffected.


2011 – Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel dominated 2011 in a Schumacher-esque style and won his second championship with over 100 points in hand. Going into the last race he was already 119 points clear of Jenson Button, so double points definitely would not have changed the outcome. Mark Webber finished in third place:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (392) 410
  2. Jenson Button (270) 285
  3. Mark Webber (258) 283

Elsewhere the rest of the top ten would also have remained as they actually finished. Force India would have benefited from double points in the constructors championship, however, moving ahead of Renault.








2012 – Sebastian Vettel

After dominating 2011, Sebastian Vettel had to overcome a significant deficit to beat Fernando Alonso. Kimi Raikkonen finished in third on his return to the sport. Double points in 2012 would have resulted in a very different top three – the biggest changes in the past twenty years:

  1. Fernando Alonso (278) 296
  2. Sebastian Vettel (281) 289
  3. Jenson Button (188) 213

Alonso would now be a three time world champion with Vettel as runner up. Jenson Button would have benefited most from double points after winning the last race of the season. He would have risen from fifth to third – moving ahead of Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. The constructors championship would have been unchanged.








2013 – Sebastian Vettel

This season saw Sebastian Vettel dominate again, winning 13 of 19 races including the last nine. His advantage at the end of the year was 155 points and he had the championship won in India with a few races in hand. Double points would not have changed the outcome:

  1. Sebastian Vettel (397) 422
  2. Fernando Alonso (242) 257
  3. Mark Webber (199) 217

With double points, Sergio Perez would have finished in the top ten, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg who actually finished tenth. In the constructors championship, double points would have seen Ferrari finish ahead of Mercedes in second.







And that concludes the analysis of the effect of double points in the last twenty years. Between 1993 and 2002 there were no major changes, but 2003 – 2013 would have seen some major changes with double points. The history books would have Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel both down as three time world champions. Michael Schumacher would be a six time world champion and Kimi Raikkonen would have two championships. Felipe Massa would be a one time world champion and Lewis Hamilton would have none.


Guy Martin to return to TV screens in 2014

Following the success of The Boat That Guy Built and How Britain Worked, road racer Guy Martin will be returning to TV screens in 2014 with a new four part series. Speed follows Martin as he looks to replicate the rush he feels when lapping the Isle of Man TT course at 200mph.

The news was revealed on his website (www.guymartinracing.co.uk) and outlined the challenges Martin would be facing in the series, which will be broadcast on Channel 4. He will go from attempting to break the British record for outright speed on a bicycle to flying using muscle power alone. Riding a motorcycle over a lake and attempting to break the record for the world’s fastest gravity powered sled will also feature.

Back in 2011, Martin’s first show The Boat That Guy Built was broadcast on BBC. It followed Martin, accompanied by friend Mave, as they renovated a narrowboat using inventions from the Industrial Revolution. The follow-up, How Britain Worked, aired last Autumn on Channel 4 and saw Martin getting stuck in with restoration projects and celebrating those who played a part in the Industrial Revolution. The episodes focused on the unsung heroes who worked long hours for little pay, and how they contributed to developments that changed the country.

The Boat That Guy Built is available to purchase on DVD. How Britain Worked was also accompanied by a book. Speed: How To Make Things Go Really Fast will be available to purchase from 2 January 2014. Further details of the show will be made available via Guy Martin’s website closer to the time of broadcast.

Update: Episode One will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8pm on Sunday 29th December


Sebastian Vettel: Four-time World Champion

As Sebastian Vettel crossed the line to secure his fourth world championship on Sunday, at the Buddh International Circuit, he wasn’t the only driver being talked about. Names such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna were being bandied about, as Vettel cemented his position in Formula One history as one of the greats. Since his F1 debut in 2007, Vettel has broken records on his way to becoming, not only the youngest four time world champion but, one of only two drivers to win four titles back-to-back. The other man to do this? None other than Herr Schumacher himself. Only three men have won four or more titles before Vettel (Fangio, Alain Prost, and Schumacher) and the fact that Vettel is only in the early stages of his career suggests that there could be more to come!

In 2013, Vettel has been in a class of his own. Seven pole positions, 13 podiums, ten wins, and 15 points finishes from 16 starts have put him miles ahead of his rivals. He has won six races in a row since Belgium and can still beat Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a year. But how does this young German’s fourth championship stack up against his other three?


After rule changes shook the field up in 2009, Red Bull and Brawn GP rose to the fore. Vettel fought with Jenson Button for the 2009 title but ultimately lost out. He was one of five drivers who spent the year in contention for the 2010 championship – Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Button, and Mark Webber – and didn’t lead it once, or at least not until it really mattered. He won in Abu Dhabi eventually finishing four points ahead of Alonso, despite being 15 points behind going into the season finale.

Here’s a look at Vettel’s season, points-wise, compared to his nearest rival at the end of the year (Alonso):


Both Vettel and Alonso had an up and down season in terms of scoring points. Vettel had four non-scoring races in comparison to Alonso’s three. Vettel only out-scored Alonso seven times from 19 races, while Alonso outscored Vettel eleven times. Both drivers scored on average around 13 points per race. But when it came to it, Vettel had four more points at the end of the year and so became world champion. His stats for the year included five wins, five further podiums, 15/19 points finishes and ten pole positions.


2011 was a different kettle of fish for Vettel and Red Bull. A pole position and win at the start of the year was an indication of what was to come. In stark contrast to 2010, he led the championship start to finish, winning by a whopping 114 points over his nearest rival Button. He outscored Button by an average of 7.6 points per race and never scored less than 12 points, up to the point of winning the title at round 15 in Japan. By the end of the season he was 122 points clear of Button.

Here’s a look at Vettel’s season, points-wise, compared to his nearest rival at the end of the season (Button), at the point of winning the championship:


Vettel scored consistently throughout the season, not dropping below 12 points once. It was a steadier season than 2010 had been. It was a different story for Button and a couple of non-scores cost him. Vettel’s first (and only) retirement of the year came at Abu Dhabi (not shown on chart), after he had already wrapped up the championship and his point gap still increased. He won eight races on his way to the championship (not including races after Japan).


Following the dominance of 2011, it was back to a 2010-esque year in 2012 for Vettel and Red Bull. The championship went right down to the wire and even included a fight back from a 44 point deficit to Alonso. His first victory came at round four and he had three non-scores on his way to the title. Despite this, however, he scored 14.05 points per race (compared with Alonso’s 13.9) but ended the year with his narrowest margin yet, just three points clear of the Spaniard.

Here’s a look at Vettel’s season, points-wise, compared with closest contender Alonso:

SVchamp2012As mentioned above, it is very similar to the season of 2010, with many peaks and troughs. A four race winning streak towards the end of the year really helped Vettel’s cause, as he started to claw back the -44 point deficit that had developed. By round 16 (the Korean GP) he was leading by six points and Alonso could do nothing to beat him, eventually finishing three points behind the now three-time world champion. As was the case in 2010, Vettel had five wins and five further podiums, 17 points finishes (compared with 15 in 2010) and six pole positions – his lowest tally.


Another dominating performance this season has seen Vettel wrap up proceedings by round 16, once again beating Alonso to the title. Since the Belgium Grand Prix he has won six races in a row, not allowing Alonso to stage any sort of comeback. His speed and domination have seen him secure pole position and then run away in the early stages of the race, allowing him to pit and still come out in front or near enough to it.

Once again, Vettel’s points throughout the season have been compared with Alonso’s, up to the Indian Grand Prix, where he won the title:


Both Alonso and Vettel have only had one non-scoring race each so far this season. An early three point lead over Vettel was wiped out for Alonso when he retired from the Malaysia Grand Prix and Vettel won. Vettel has scored an average of 20.1 points per race, which is an impressive average indeed. In contrast, Alonso has only scored 12.9 points per race. The Red Bull driver’s basic stats for 2013 read ten wins, three further podiums, 15 points finishes and seven pole positions – they speak for themselves.


SVchampALLThe above diagram maps out Vettel’s points difference to nearest rival i.e. the driver who finished second. The 2010 and 2013 lines only go as far as the rounds that Vettel won the championship at, and of course 2013 is still in progress. To recap, 2010, 2012 & 2013 are against Alonso and 2011 is against Button. In 2011 Vettel did not fall behind Button in the championship once. 2012 was when he dropped the furthest behind a rival, and for the longest time, while 2013 has had a solid end to it, aided by the six wins of course!

So, there we have it. A look at the four championships years for Sebastian Vettel. He has come from behind, he has led from the get-go, and he has faced some tough competition. There does seem to be a bit of a pattern emerging and, if he does find himself in contention for a fifth title in a row in 2014, he could have a bit of a fight on his hands!

Congratulations to Vettel and Red Bull for their incredible achievements.


McLaren ’50 in 50′: Jenson Button

Jenson Button is McLaren’s most recent race winner in two ways. He won last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, making him the last McLaren driver to stand on the top step of the podium. He is also the 19th driver to win a race for McLaren and, unless Sergio Perez wins one of the last few races, he will remain the most recent race winner for them until next year at least.

Button joined McLaren in 2010, fresh off the back of his first world championship, which he won driving for Brawn GP. Button joined 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton at the team making it an all British, back-to-back champions line-up. Victor of the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year award in 1998, Button got his first taste of Formula One testing a McLaren in 1999. He became a race driver for Williams in 2000, giving him over a decade of experience in the sport.

Button’s route to Formula One is a standard one – started karting when he was young, and progressed through single seater championships. In 1991 he won all 34 races in the British Cadet Kart Championship, impressing from the get go. British Formula Fords was his first port of call in single seaters, and he won that in his debut year by 15 points. British Formula 3 followed and he finished the year in third place. He tested for McLaren and Prost and was involved in a shoot-out with Bruno Junqueira for a vacant seat at Williams.

Button finished eighth in his first year with Williams, finishing in the points on six occaions. Despite impressing, he was dropped by Williams in favour of Juan Pablo Montoya, so he joined Benetton. He had a lacklustre season in 2001 before finishing seventh in 2002. Button’s long relationship with Honda started when he joined BAR for 2003. He had his best season to date in 2004, finishing on the podium on ten occasions and scoring points in all but three races. He finished the year in third place – the closest challenger to the Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. 2005 was so-so and at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, Button was awarded for all his perserverence over the years. He won in tricky conditions, ending his long spell without a win. He had to wait until 2009 to win again, however, but by that stage it was worth the wait.

After Honda pulled out of the sport, the team was bought and rebranded Brawn GP, with former Ferrari man Ross Brawn at the helm. With a major technical and regulation shake-up mixing the order up, Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing moved to the fore. Button won six of the first seven races in 2009, demonstrating the domination of Brawn GP. That proved to be all his victories for 2009 after the latter half of the season was spent consistently scoring points but not podiums. The early domination, however, was enough for Button to win the championship and Brawn GP, with Barrichello’s added success, became the constructors champions.

Button joined McLaren in 2010, replacing Heikki Kovalainen. He ranks joint eighth in terms of all time wins list, winning eight races (joint with Nika Lauda). In 2013 he became the de facto number one after Hamilton’s departure. He is regarded a consistent pair of hands, after his vast amount of experience. He finished seventh in his first race for McLaren but won in Australia, the second race of the year. He was in contention for the championship but ultimately fell at the last hurdle and finished fifth. In 2011 he came second to a dominant Sebastian Vettel and finished fifth in 2012. He has started 72 races for McLaren and has eight wins, 17 additional podiums, and 58 points finishes in total. 2013 has been a difficult year for the team and as yet the podium has alluded them. McLaren have not officially confirmed their 2014 drivers, but it is widely considered Button will remain. He is the most experienced current driver on the grid and, with another regulation shake-up and new engines coming into play, the McLaren team will hopefully progress to challenging at the front once again.


McLaren ’50 in 50′: History in Hungary

Of the 19 races in 2013, McLaren have won 16 of them at one stage or another. Wins in Bahrain, Korea and India have as yet alluded them. In terms of number of wins, Hungary ranks in the top five, behind the big guns of Monaco, Belgium, Great Britain, and the US. First held in 1986, McLaren are the most successful team at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with 11 victories to their name. The first of these came in 1988 and the most recent was in 2012 when Lewis Hamilton won for the third time.

In the early days of the race it was a happy hunting ground for Williams, with the team securing a number of front row lock-outs in qualifying, getting numerous podiums and winning seven races in 12 years. From the late 90s, however, McLaren started to edge ahead in the statistics and are now the most successful constructor there, in terms of wins and podiums. They have 22 podium finishes in Budapest, including their 11 wins, as well as eight pole positions and five fastest laps. Ferrari and Williams are not far behind, however, with seven and six podiums respectively, with Williams leading the fastest laps tally with nine in total.

Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton are the most successful drivers for McLaren around the Hungaroring. Senna won the race in 1988, 1991 and 1992 while Hamilton was successful in 2007, 2009 and 2012. Hamilton’s 2007 victory came under a shadow, however, after he refused to let team-mate Fernando Alonso through in qualifying. The Spaniard retaliated by staying in the pit-box longer than he should and subsequently ruining any chance Hamilton had of completing another lap. Alonso was demoted on the grid and Hamilton started from pole and went on to win. Another McLaren driver with more than one Hungarian Grand Prix victory is Mika Hakkinen (1998 & 1999), as he won the race on the way to his two world championships. Kimi Raikkonen won it in 2005 while fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen took his one and only Formula One victory there in 2008. Last, but by no means least, is Jenson Button who won in 2011.

Both Button and Hamilton are also race winners at the Hungaroring for other teams. Button’s maiden Grand Prix victory came in 2006, driving for Honda while Hamilton took his first win with his new team – Mercedes – at this year’s race. The Hungarian Grand Prix could well be on the calendar through to 2020, so who knows how much more success McLaren and its drivers can enjoy there!