Nico Hulkenberg: 100 GP and the Magic Formula

Like team-mate Sergio Perez this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix will be Nico Hulkenberg’s 100th GP race weekend. Here’s a look at the numbers that make up his magic formula.

6th season

2016 is Nico Hulkenberg’s 6 season as a race driver in Formula One. He has also spent two years as a test driver – in 2009 for Williams prior to making his race debut and 2011 for Force India after a year of racing. He came into Formula One as the reigning GP2 champion.

3 teams

Hulkenberg has driven competitively for three teams in Formula One. He made his debut with Williams in 2010 before moving to Force India to become their test driver in 2011. He was promoted to a race seat for the team in 2012 but moved to Sauber for 2013. Hulkenberg returned to Force India in 2014 and has driven for them since.

1 pole position

The German driver’s sole pole position came at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix in changeable conditions. He went on to finish the race in 8th place.

2 fastest laps

As well as the one pole position, Hulkenberg’s key statistics show two fastest laps. The first was at the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix for Force India and the second was at this year’s Chinese Grand Prix.

63% points finish

Hulkenberg has had 84 classified finishes from his 97 race starts. 53 of these have been in the points giving him a 63% points finishing record.

12 consecutive points finishes

His longest streak of points finishes has been 12 – starting at the 2013 US GP and ending at the 2014 German GP, his home race. His highest finish in that time was 5th three times.

4th place

Hulkenberg’s highest finish in a race has been fourth place where he has finished twice. He finished fourth at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix and the 2013 Korean Grand Prix. His first podium in Formula One has still eluded him.

9th place

His best finishing position in the world championship was 9th in 2014. He currently lies 11th in the 2016 season.

So 6 seasons + 3 teams + 1 pole position + 2 fastest laps + 63% points finishes +12 consecutive points finishes +4th place + 9th place = 100 GP.

 

Advertisements

Rio Haryanto completes Manor line-up

The 2016 Formula One grid is now complete following the news that Rio Haryanto has signed a deal to drive for Manor Racing.

The Indonesian driver will partner fellow Formula One rookie Pascal Wehrlein at the team. Haryanto’s move to Formula One comes after his best season in GP2 where he finished fourth in the championship, winning three races on the way. He finished just one point shy of third place.

Haryanto has had links with Manor in the past, racing in their respective GP3 and GP2 teams. He has also tested for the team in F1 at Young Driver Tests.

“Manor Racing is a team with an exciting vision and ambitious plans,” Haryanto said following the announcement. “They have produced a great package and I can’t wait to get in the car. Melbourne will be a huge moment for me, my country, supporters and fans and I want to thank everyone who’s been with me since I started in single seaters.”

“2016 is my chance to reward that faith and represent Asia in F1,” he concluded.

 

F1 2015 Preview: Sauber

2014 Statistics

Constructors Championship: 10th
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Pole positions: 0
Points finishes: 0

Last year, for the first time in their 22 year Formula One history, Sauber had a point-less season. From 38 race starts they retired from 13 with the rest of their finishes outside the points. Adrian Sutil came closest to scoring points, finishing 11th on two occasions. His best starting position of ninth in the US Grand Prix did not yield any results after he got caught up in an incident with Sergio Perez. Esteban Gutierrez’s best result was 12th at the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

For 2015 Sauber has an all new driver line-up in the form of Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr – well at least for now. Just two days ahead of the start of the new season the team has been taken to court by former test driver Giedo van der Garde. His testing contract included a clause which meant he would be a race driver in 2015 but the team failed to honour this. The case was held in the Supreme Court of Victoria and it ruled that van der Garde should race this weekend at the Australian Grand Prix. Sauber has appealed the decision with their case set to be heard tomorrow, just one day ahead of free practice. Both Ericsson and Nasr brought significant backing to the team – in particular Banco do Brasil whose colours make up the team’s new colour scheme.

Nasr makes the step up to Formula One from GP2. He finished third in 2014 while acting as test and reserve driver for Williams. He has also enjoyed success in British Formula 3 and Formula BMW. Ericsson is another GP2 graduate although he made the step last year when he raced for Caterham. He also took part in the 2009 Young Driver Test for champions Brawn GP.

Sauber are a team who are in a dire financial situation and if the court throws out their appeal it could prove disastrous for their survival. Their defence is that putting van der Garde in the car would prove dangerous, however, he has raced in Formula One in the past and was the team’s test driver in 2014. He is also a proven race winner in other series – including GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 – so does not lack the skill it takes to drive an F1 car.

The team can not afford – literally – another point-less season. At the first test in Jerez, Nasr topped the times on day three. They completed the second highest amount of laps of any team over the course of all three tests, just behind Mercedes’ final tally. Their car has proven to be reliable and at the second Barcelona test – where cars run the closest to their race specification – the team’s fastest time was a solid midfield. In the mid to late 00s the team enjoyed their biggest successes, finishing second in the championship in 2007 and third in 2008. This was in their BMW days and they made the switch to Ferrari engines in 2008. They have not quite reached their highest heights again but in the past few years have been consistent point scorers including the odd podium. They will no doubt be hoping to return to those ways in 2015, regardless of who is driving the car.

Alex Lynn joins Williams as development driver

Williams Martini Racing has announced that Alex Lynn will be joining the team as a development driver for the upcoming season.

The 2014 GP3 champion will become fully immersed in the race team and gain a full understanding of its various functions. He will complete simulation work to help with the ongoing development of the Williams Mercedes FW37 and assist the race engineers in setting up the car for each Grand Prix. Lynn will also get behind the wheel of the FW37 for one day’s testing in Barcelona following this season’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Lynn will balance his Williams commitments with driving for DAMS in the GP2 championship, having won the GP3 championship last season. In the past he has raced in Formula Renault UK – winning the championship with 12 wins – as well as British F3, European F3, and he went on to win the Macau F3 Grand Prix in 2013.  “I am extremely excited to be joining Williams, a team with such incredible history and amazing potential,” Lynn said of the news. “Over the past year the team has made huge strides forward and it’s clear to see their determination to fight for more success in the future. I hope that with a strong year in GP2, while also helping to develop the F1 car throughout this season, I can follow in the footsteps of Valtteri Bottas who joined the Williams team in exactly the same Development Driver role. Through hard work and determination, he has gone from winning the GP3 title to earning his place as a Williams F1 race driver.”

“Working with people like Sir Frank Williams and Pat Symonds is an incredible opportunity for me,” Lynn continued. “There is so much experience here at Williams and I hope to be able to use the knowledge gained from these people to further develop my skills as a racing driver and respected member of this team. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming from the outset, we have hit the ground running and I am very excited about the challenges this role offers – particularly my own track activities driving the FW37 in a few months time.”

“Williams has a strong track record in bringing young talent through the ranks,” Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams explained. “Our Development Driver position is designed to fully immerse new recruits into the inner workings of a Formula One team. As a British team we are always on the lookout for emerging home-grown talent and Alex has caught our eye with his impressive performances in GP3. He has been chosen on merit and we are confident that alongside Felipe [Massa], Valtteri [Bottas] and Susie [Wolff], Alex will help play an important role in making sure that the FW37 shows continuous improvement over the course of the 2015 season.”

Pre-season testing commences this Sunday at Jerez.

GP2 champion Palmer gets Lotus F1 reserve driver role

2014 GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer has been given the role of third driver at Lotus.

The 24 year-old Brit – who tested for Force India at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi last year – finished 47 points clear of McLaren protégé Stoffel Vandoorne in GP2, racing for DAMS. From 22 races he took four wins, 12 podiums and three pole positions, including a podium finish at his home Grand Prix.

“It’s the dream to be with a Formula 1 team,” he explained. “Now I can say I am a Formula 1 driver! I tested with Force India last year which was already a dream but now to have a full role with a team, a prestigious team as well like Lotus F1 Team, is an amazing opportunity. Working as a third driver is the next best thing to being a race driver. I’ll be working with the engineers throughout the season whether I’m in the car or not. There is a lot to learn and I’ll be working to make a valuable contribution to the E23’s development. Every time I’m in the car, I’ll try to give my very best. It’s not just being quick, but also working with the engineers and the team as well”.

Palmer will travel to the races as well as getting time in the simulator and he recently visited Enstone for the first time. “It’s really impressive,” he revealed. “It was bigger than I expected but you can see when you’re here that this is a team that has won championships. You can tell the professionalism and the motivation just when you walk around. You know that some fantastic drivers have been part of the make-up here. It’s a really good feeling to now be part of this.” He also revealed that he is pushing hard for a seat on the 2016 grid. “With no race seats available this year, I will still be driving a Formula 1 car, I’ll be part of a prestigious team, one that will move forward, and my goal is to have a year out of racing now, working to be back racing in Formula 1, in 2016”.

This year Lotus will run with Mercedes engines with 2014 race drivers Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean remaining. Pre-season testing commences in a week and a half in Jerez.

Caterham confirms 2014 line-up

The 2014 grid is finally complete, following Caterham’s announcement today that they will have Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson racing for them in Formula One this season.

The team, who have a completely different line-up to 2013, have retained Alexander Rossi as a test and reserve driver, with Robin Frijns also being included.

“I’m very pleased we can finally unveil our F1 drivers for the year ahead,” Team Principal and CEO Cyril Abiteboul said. “The process may have taken longer than we’d have liked, but we didn’t want or need to be rushed into such an important decision. We have been in the happy position of having a wide range of drivers to choose from. I believe that we have exciting and dynamic talents in both F1 and GP2, and I know just how excited everyone in the F1 team and Caterham Racing are about working with our drivers.”

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Kamui back,” he continued. “He is a very popular driver and it’s very good for the whole team that we’ve been able to attract such an exciting driver to join us at a critical point in our development. His pace speaks for itself and his extensive experience of developing cars, particularly in his years with Toyota, will be incredibly important for us as we tackle one of the most challenging seasons F1 has ever embarked upon.”

Kobayashi burst onto the F1 scene in 2009, when he stood in for an injured Timo Glock at the final few rounds for Toyota. He instantly went wheel to wheel, literally, with championship contender Jenson Button.

“It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it is with Caterham F1 Team,” he said. “We’ve been talking to Cyril and Tony since last year about driving for the team for 2014 and beyond. Throughout all our discussions I’ve been very impressed with where they want to take the team and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals. For me it’s a great honour that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms and the experience I have. I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets”.

“I also want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to Kamui Support,” he continued. “Their donations and gestures gave me extra strength to come back fighting and I am very pleased that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year. Every single one of you who helped with Kamui Support will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud”.

Kobayashi will be partnered with F1 rookie Ericsson, who started his single seater career in Formula BMW in 2007, progressing through the ranks to GP2.

“This is a very proud day for me and everyone who has helped make my F1 dream come true,” Ericsson said. “I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.”

“It’s obviously great for Sweden that we’ll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014,” he continued. “This is what I’ve been working for since I first started racing karts back when I was nine years old, and now I know I’m ready for the step up to F1.”

Both drivers have a busy time ahead of them as testing is just around the corner.

“I can’t wait to start work again,” Kobayashi said. “One of the benefits of making this announcement so close to the start of the tests means I only have a few days to wait to get back on track! Before then I’ll be at the factory as much as possible, working in the simulator and with everyone there to prepare as much as we can for the tests in Jerez and Bahrain. Physically and mentally I’m fully prepared, now I just want to get back to work!”

Ericsson echoed his sentiments. “After a good break at home over Christmas, the hard work has already started,” he said. “My physical fitness has always been good but I’ve been working even more on that since the discussions with Caterham began. I’m going to be in the factory in Leafield as much as I can before and during the tests in Spain and Bahrain so I can play an active role in helping understand the 2014 car, and what we need to do to unlock its performance. We have a big task in front of us but it’s an exciting one, and one both the team and I are ready for.”

A Review of the Year: F1 – September & October

Part four of a review of the year (2013) in Formula One, following part one (January & February), part two (March, April & May), and part three (June, July & August).

September 2013 

At the start of September, McLaren celebrated their official 50th anniversary. The H Duct posted 50 posts over 50 days, celebrating the team and its achievements and personnel. The team held celebrations at the McLaren Technology Centre and commemorated the occasion at the Italian Grand Prix.

In driver news, Red Bull confirmed the identity of Mark Webber’s replacement. Daniel Ricciardo will make the move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull for 2014. Elsewhere, Force India confirmed that they had signed GP2 driver James Calado as their third driver.

Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso topped the Italian Grand Prix practice sessions. Vettel took pole and another race win.

Felipe Massa took to Twitter to announce that he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season. “For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the championship which remains my greatest objective,” he said.

Ferrari followed up Massa’s announcement with the news that Kimi Raikkonen would be returning. The Finn, who returned to Formula One in 2012 after two seasons away, won his world championship with the team in 2007.

The Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore was altered before the race, removing the infamous ‘Singapore Sling’ at Turn 10. The changes lowered the overall lap-times.

Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session in Singapore but it was Sebastian Vettel who dominated the weekend – topping the remainder of practice, qualifying and winning the race.

Caterham announced a three year contract extension to their Renault deal.

A draft 2014 calendar was posted by the FIA. It included races in Russia, Mexico and New Jersey; including an unprecedented triple header between Monaco, New Jersey and Canada.

Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin made his Formula One debut at a display in Sochi, home of the new Russian Grand Prix.

October 2013

Marussia confirmed that they would be retaining Jules Bianchi for the 2014 season. The rookie driver improved on his debut, regularly out-qualifying and out-racing his team-mate and the Caterham drivers.

Lewis Hamilton topped the first two practice sessions in Korea but Sebastian Vettel took over in Free Practice Three. He then went on to qualify in pole position and win yet another race.

Sauber extended their deal with Ferrari into 2014 and beyond.

Sauber also announced that for practice in Japan, they would have Kimiya Sato as their reserve driver.

Codemasters launched the latest version of their Formula One game – F1 2013. The game features classic content from the 80s and 90s, including the FW207b, Alan Jones and Brands Hatch.

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel topped the first two practice sessions for the Japanese Grand Prix. Mark Webber topped FP3 and took pole position but it was his team-mate, Vettel, who won the race.

Maria de Villota, a former Marussia reserve driver, sadly passed away aged 33. She sustained serious injuries after a testing crash in 2012, and died as a result of them.

Toro Rosso confirmed that Jean-Eric Vergne would remain with the team for 2014 and be partnered by Daniil Kvyat.

1,571 – the number of career points that saw Fernando Alonso become the highest scoring Formula One driver ever.

Sebastian Vettel topped every session in India and stormed to his fourth championship in style.