On November 18th 2012, the sport of Formula One Racing returns to the USA following a break of seven years. The last race in America was the legendary ill fated Indianapolis Grand Prix of 2005, where due to a screw up over tires, only six cars competed in the race. This race is often cited as the low point of the sport in recent years.
Let’s not dwell on that, though, for the modern F1, with its innovative DRS, KERS and new Pirelli tries, is a far cry from the old processional racing that had no overtakes and very little in the way of wheel to wheel battling . Make no mistake, F1 in 2012 is possibly the most exciting the sport has ever been. New tactics are in play due to the ban on re-fueling, the previously mentioned tires are something of a wild card, and there is enough new blood in the sport now to give even the most seasoned of those old dogs something to worry about.
The forthcoming race in Austin, Texas on the 18th November aims to re-ignite the USA’s interest in this sport and this will be joined in 2013 by the first ever race in New Jersey. To that end The Inept Owl is bringing you a weekly guide to the teams and drivers, with the aim of telling you everything you need to know before a wheel is turned in anger on U.S. soil.
Red Bull Racing
Yes, this is a team named after a fizzy drink. Red Bull Racing is the baby of Austrian businessman Dietrich Mateschitz. Looking like a cross between Charlton Heston and a Eastern European Mafia boss, my research has yet to uncover a photo of Herr. Mateschitz in his extinct Volcano hideout stroking a white cat, although I am led to believe they exist somewhere. Since the team’s inception in 2005, they have screamed to the head of the field, winning the previous two constructors and drivers championships.
Team Principle: Christian Horner – Christian is a master of the PR statement, nothing that happens within the team is ever their fault, even when it clearly is their fault and there is video and audio evidence to back it up. Expect to see numerous camera shots of Christian’s twitching feet, a nervous tick which shows itself during moments of high stress, elation, and when he is accused of doing something that is his fault.
Chief Designer: Adrian Newey – Newey is THE designer in F1. All the teams would love to have this quiet, unassuming, God-like genius of aerodynamics on their crew. F1 is very much about taking the technical regulations and finding grey area an holes to exploit, and Newey is a master of this. As soon as he comes up with a new innovation, all the other teams try to copy it, then usually tried to get it banned because they don’t have Newey’s planet-sized brain to make it work.
Driver: Sebastian Vettel – At the age of 23, Vettel gained his first world championship title. A year later, he repeated the feat, as such he is the current World Champion and fighting hard to gain his third title. This young German is very much a ‘German’ in the most stereotypical use of the word. His dedication and attention to detail are second to none, and his determination can border on the psychotic. As a contrast to this, and blowing a hole in the stereotype, Seb has an incredible sense of humour and is a great practical joker around the circuit. When he is on form, expect nothing short of perfection. When he isn’t on form, expect some toys to be thrown out of the pram and maybe even a spot of very dangerous driving. His hero on growing up was legend Michael Schumacher, but Vettel has comprehensively and consistently left Schumi for dust since the older German returned to the sport a couple of years ago. I guess that must now make Seb Vettel his own hero, which is nice.
Driver: Mark Webber-Two words are routinely used to describe Mark Webber: Aussie Grit. This incredibly down to earth driver is ahard but fair fighter, some of his moves these last two years have been nothing short of breathtaking, causing the race commentators to hide under a desk until the move is over. He’s come within spitting distance of the World Championship, but never worn that crown. An example of his Aussie Gritness was during a race a couple of years back where he had food poisoning and actually threw up into his own helmet, only to continue and complete the two hour race with a face-full of carrots and yesterday’s breakfast. You could cut Mark Webber’s arm off with a spoon, and he’d still insist it was merely a flesh wound and get out there and carry on with the job. Rumours have Webber moving to Ferrari next year, but this is F1 silly season, and as such, I think even my Mum has been linked to that Ferrari drive next year.
One of the great teams of F1, they’ve had a few terrible seasons, but this year are very much back in the game and fighting for midfield glory.
Team Principle: Frank Williams –Everyone loves Frank Williams, one of the true gents of F1. Left paralyzed and wheelchair bound following a car accident in 1986, Sir Frank’s appearances track-side are always something special, such is
the respect for this great man of the sport. He recently celebrated his 70th birthday and was given one the most heartfelt tributes from all the teams and drivers, which was great to see from a sport often considered impersonal and aloof. Ok, F1 isn’t quite NASCAR, but they’re doing their best.
Driver: Bruno Senna –Nephew of the great Ayrton Senna, Bruno hit F1 this year amongst much excitement and massive expectations. It must be hard for poor old Bruno when you’re Uncle happens to be the man most recognized as the greatest F1 driver ever. He’s had a few decent races this year, but the thought is that the car could do better with a more experienced person at the wheel. F1 is a tough business these days with no out of season testing. The first time many of the new drivers will ever get to drive the car is at the beginning of the season’s first race meeting, a real baptism of fire. Bruno has the advantage over his competitors in that if he does lose his race seat next year, he can always get work as an Ayrton look-a-like.
Driver: Pastor Maldonado-Pastor is a Venezuelan driver who brings a truckload of money with him via his Government’s sponsorship deal with the team. He is an incredibly fast driver. Unfortunately, going fast is only half of the game as you have to be able to stop sometimes as well, and Pastor often fore-goes the traditional brake-pedal approach to slowing down, preferring to use the other competitors’ cars instead. As such he has earned the nickname ‘Murdernado’ in some quarters. Expect much clenching of buttocks and sucking of teeth from the commentators, along with all sorts of snide comments any time Pastor is within a mile of another racer . ‘Murdernado’ is a race winner though, a 1st place at this years Spanish Grand Prix was the first for Team Williams since 2004, and Pastor definitely has the ability to win more, if only he could stop hitting people.
Next time on F-1ng About : Teams Ferrari and Sauber come under the spotlight.