30/11/2011

Brazilian GP, Interlagos - A fitting finale indeed

After exactly 8 months the 2011 F1 season came to an end. Yes, the season’s first race took place on 27th March, 2011 and the season ended on 27th November, 2011. This is quite co-incidental that the season began with a weekend dated 25th-27th & ended with the same dates. A strong rain shower was predicted for the race but as we all know, we cannot trust the weather at all and it proved right as the rain never came. Mark Webber won his first race of the season at the last race with Vettel at P2 & Button at P3.

Here is the detailed report on the weekend, for the last time this season:

FP1:

Brazil was back as the last race of the season after a gap of two years in that slot, all the teams & drivers are always happy to return to a track of historical significance. The Friday prediction was dry running and it was bright & sunny throughout. The first session of the last race went fairly incident free. Webber topped the timesheets with Button at P2 & Hamilton at P3. Hulkenberg sat in place of Sutil for the session & he finished at P8 while Di Resta ended at P9, a great start to the weekend without any real issues.

FP2:

The teams continued with the assessment of the tyres and various other parts on the car for the qualifying & race. Another smooth session for all the teams with only a yellow flag disruption at the end after Perez’s car stalled on the track. Hamilton took the P1 spot with Vettel at P2 & Webber at P3 by the end. For Force India Sutil was back in the car and finished at P9 & Di Resta finished at P10, completing another good session which prompted Di Resta to say that it had been the best Friday in terms of collecting data. What was interesting is the time-sheets where from P9-P24, we saw all the team-mates one after the other: Sahara Force India’s, Lotus Renault’s, Sauber’s, Toro Rosso’s, Williams', Team Lotus’, Marussia Virgin’s & HRT’s.

FP3:

Rain was predicted for today including this session but none could be seen during the session at all. This was the final practice session of the 2011 season, the final one hour of practice. Yet again there were no dramas during the session as there were no incidents or stoppages. Vettel topped the timesheets by the end of the session with Button at P2 & Webber at P3. Sutil ended at P6, once running at the top of the timesheets while Di Resta ended at P9 in their Force India car. That was it from the last practice session of 2011 season.

After the practice session it was clear that the McLaren & Red Bull battle for pole will go on and I had the feeling that Vettel will sneak it. As for Force India, both the cars in Q3 was very much possible, so much so I had a feeling that they might even get close to top 5.

Qualifying:
Q1:

The last qualifying session of the season began in Brazil with lots of question over the weather as rain clouds were hovering over the track. With rain threat all the drivers were not in the mood to take risks & they straightaway headed out to set times to get through to Q2. In the end, it was Button at P1 with all the new teams bowing out as usual along with, this time, Maldonado. All qualified well within the 107% times. Notably HRT beat both the Virgin’s. While both the Force Indians made it comfortably to Q2, with Sutil ending as high as P4.

Q2:

The main part of the qualifying session and also the tricky session - just one mistake and you won’t make it to the Q3 battle. The weather was still threatening with rain but till the end it was all dry. Vettel came back strong to top the timesheet in this session, setting the stage for a McLaren VS RBR showdown. Sutil was comfortably in the top 10 but unfortunately for Di Resta the situation was a bit tricky as he was pushed back to P11 after Schumacher ended his lap. Di Resta couldn’t improve as he was on used set of tyres and thus he was out in Q2.

Q3:

By the time Q3 began, all worry about rain was gone, once again the weather prediction went to the ashes. All the top teams came out to set times, this season it became a trend that all the top teams do two runs while the lower half either do one run or not at all set times. The impressive qualifying lap was once again to be seen as Vettel got the pole position yet again breaking Nigel Mansell record of 14 poles in a season with the new record being 15 poles. Joining him at the front row was Webber at P2 and behind him was Button at P3. Force India’s Sutil qualified at P8 ahead of Senna & Schumacher.

I would say a fruitful qualifying for the Force Indians, matching the likes of Renault & Mercedes. I was very much hoping for a double point finish from them and thus sealing the P6 in CC. The qualifying battle was won by Sutil with 10-9 to Di Resta.  As for the top battle, I was hoping for Webber to win but won’t take anything away from Vettel, it was a superb lap to get the pole.

Race:

The day had arrived, the 2011 season coming to end. For the last time this year we saw the 24 cars on the grid getting ready for the race & Mr.Bernie moving up and down the grid greeting and meeting drivers and various other people. The atmosphere at the circuit was amazing, the dedication & love of the fans was there to be seen. The local support for the local drivers Massa, Barrichello & Senna was overwhelming. There was 80% chances of rain during the race with dark clouds hovering over the circuit but rain never arrived. Here it was for the last time we were hearing, ‘As the five red lights illuminate the Brazilian GP is a go...’ It was another good start from Vettel with most of the field staying the same in front. The first overtaking move we saw was from Alonso over Button to take the P3 position, it was a pure racing overtaking move. Sutil stayed at P8 while Di Resta moved upto P10 but was soon overtaken by Schumacher.

There was a tussle between Senna & Schumacher on Lap 10 through which Di Resta gained two places to be P8. While on front, Webber took the lead from Vettel after the German was radioed about a gearbox problem. A gearbox problem later forced Hamilton to retire from the race of a trouble season for the Briton. Meanwhile, Sutil was driving a fantastic race fighting with Rosberg, both on a different strategy though. But eventually, Sutil overtook Rosberg at the start/finish line, to get the P6 position. Sutil later told that it was a nice & fair battle. Team-mate Di Resta who gave way to Sutil earlier was behind Rosberg after Sutil overtook him. It was later known that he too had gearbox problem and was radioed to bring the car home safely.

At the front, Webber took a comfortable lead over Vettel who had a lonely race. Alonso couldn’t hold on to the P3 position due to a different strategy to Button who got his rhythm back and overtook Alonso to seal the final position in the podium & also P2 position in the drivers dhampionship. Webber won the race then after and also had the fastest lap of the race on the last lap, his teammate finished at P2 & Button at P3. As for Force India, Sutil drove an absolutely faultless race to finish at P6, ahead of Mercedes' & Renaults'. He also moved upto P9 in drivers championship, his career best. While Di Resta finished the race at P8, getting some more valuable points for himself and the team, he ended at P13 in the championship. Force India as a team secured their P6 position in the constructors championship, falling short of just 4 points behind Lotus Renault.

It was nice to see Massa doing a donut post the race was over. All in all it was a good race and an amazing season which also witnessed the Indian GP. Time went by quickly as the cars do on the track. There were loads of ups & downs during the season. I am very happy that Force India did so well after starting the season on the slower side. Hope they continue with the upward surge in 2012. Also, I have enjoyed writing these weekend blogs. This was my first attempt and seems to be successful. Loads of things to be covered in the off season, don’t worry we not going anywhere. Stay tuned with Auto India Sports!!

28/11/2011

Force India Misconceptions

2008 - VJM01: 10th (0points)
2009 - VJM02: 9th (13points)
2010 - VJM03: 7th (68points)
2011 - VJM04: 6th (69points)

These are the results Force India have achieved in the constructors championship since entering F1 back in 2008.

Random fact: Force India are the ONLY current F1 team to improve every season both in terms of points and position.

Misconception #1: Most people think that our chassis name; VJM##, is named after team founder Vijay Mallya but this is not the case. The explanation behind the name is as follows:

V = Vijay Mallya (Founder/co-owner/team principle)
J = Jan Mol (Shareholder of Force India)
M = Michael Mol (Shareholder of Force India)

Misconception #2: Many people said that when James Key left Force India to join Sauber at the end of 2010 - Force India would struggle in 2011.

I can not understand why people thought that in the first place ... one man does not make a team. The whole concept of Formula One is that the "formula" needs to be right, everything needs to be correct for success - it does not just rely on one member of staff. Anyway clearly the team proved the doubters wrong. I wonder what James Key feels about his decision now?

Misconception #3: Many people are stating that Force India were disappointed with their cars pace at the start of the season. This is infact incorrect.

It's a fact that the car was not quick enough then, however the team had expected this to be the case. Pre-season they stated that people should not judge them based on the early flyaway races because they were holding off installing updates until the European races to focus time in the factory and develop the baseline car before adding other updates. In hindsight, this was a good decision.

Misconception #4: Many people believe that Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg have been signed as drivers for 2012. This is also incorrect.

The team have yet to announce who will be driving in 2012 and we await the decision (the date of 15th December for the announcement has been mentioned, but again that's unconfirmed).

Personally i would keep Adrian and Paul as our 2012 race drivers. Adrian really got the maximum out of the car this season, i don't see how he could have performed any better in all honesty. Meanwhile Paul did appear to drop some pace to Adrian towards the end of the season but nevertheless it was a fantastic debut season for him, probably better than anybody expected. Why change something if it is not broken?

Having said that the final decision does rest with Dr.Mallya and let's not forget the team have more data than us to come to a more informed decision about who is quickest; so i trust whatever decision the team make.

Brazilian GP - Race Results

Results: Sutil 6th (8points), Di Resta 8th (4points).

A great race for Force India, infact their joint best race of the season (they achieved the same result, 6th and 8th, in Singapore earlier this season).

On paper this weekend a two stop strategy was around 10seconds quicker than a three stop strategy but in reality that's not how it played out so the team did the right thing switching Adrian onto a three stopper midway through the race! Infact Sutil was so quick the whole race that he even beat the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg - highly impressive!

As for Paul Di Resta, he stuck to the non-ideal two stop strategy but still made it work despite also having to contend with KERS and gearbox problems for the last 25laps. A very good drive by him!

Towards the end of the race with our cars running 6th and 8th i was hoping Vettel (who was also having gearbox problems) would retire with those troubles, pushing our cars upto 5th and 7th and giving us the 16points required to leapfrog Renault in the championship although i quickly realised that Petrov was in the points paying positions for Renault anyhow so in actual fact it would not have mattered.

A brilliant drive by both drivers though and Force India finished a record high 6th place in the constructors championship! This is a season that we can look back on and be very proud of!

Lots of good articles coming your way over the off-season so stay tuned for that! =)

26/11/2011

Brazilian GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Sutil 8th (1:13.298), Di Resta 11th (1:13.584).

Once again another great effort by Adrian Sutil to qualify in 8th place ahead of Senna and Schumacher!

Let's just take a moment to take that in:

"Adrian Sutil ahead of Senna and Schumacher" ... Schumacher, the man who was probably Adrian's hero growing up and Senna, such a big name in F1 during the 1990's i know it's not the same Senna racing as the great Ayrton but that sentence must make Adrian feel very proud!

Meanwhile Paul Di Resta qualified 11th but he was probably hoping for Q3. This weekend, and in recent races, he has been lagging behind Adrian a little pace wise but we'll see how he goes over a long run tomorrow. 11th place with a 90% chance of rain isn't too bad at all! =)

We're looking forward to the race tomorrow, things are still to be decided: can Adrian get 9th in the constructors championship? Can Force India outscore Renault by 16pts to overtake them in the championship? Join us tomorrow to find out!

In other news; most media sources have been reporting that Force India are considering Sutil, Di Resta and Hulkenberg for a seat in 2012 but as Auto India Sports understands it there is a 4th driver in contention for a race seat. If you can identify the driver (pictured below) please let us know! =D

Brazilian GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Sutil 6th (1:13.113), Di Resta 9th (1:13.419).

A quite brilliant session for the two Force India's which once again demonstrates just how quick the team is this weekend.

Sutil drove a good lap to finish the session 6th ahead of both Mercedes cars and Felipe Massa's Ferrari. Di Resta was 3tenths slower than Adrian but still managed to beat Massa. Both cars were within a second of the fastest time set by Vettel. It's interesting to note that Adrian did that best time with a different front wing to what he used during the rest of the session - was it a developmental part? Unusually so close to qualifying, all teams were trialling new things. Paul Di Resta was trying out different flaps, known as gurney flaps, on the rear wing.
 

There is a 90% of rain in the race tomorrow so it will be interesting to see if the drivers go for a dry or wet setup in qualifying (once they take to the track in qualifying they can not change their setup until after the race has begun).

Meanwhile Nico Hulkenberg did something different in FP3 and was in a commentary role for BBC Radio Five Live (UK coverage).

We now look forward to qualifying in just under a couple of hours time!

Brazilian GP - Practice One & Two Results

FP1 Results: Hulkenberg 8th (1:15.178), Di Resta 9th (1:15.241).
FP2 Results: Sutil 9th (1:14.144), Di Resta 10th (1:14.807).

The good form of the team continues. The performance scale has been going upwards from the past few GP's now after a slow start to the season. Both the Friday sessions went excellently well for the team as they finished inside the top 10 in both the sessions, even keeping the 5th placed Lotus Renault behind. Of course, keeping them behind in qualifying & race matters the most here but still the pace here of Force India seems more than Lotus Renault.

Hulkenberg sat for Sutil in FP1, for the first time since Suzuka. In FP1, both Hulkenberg & Di Resta were within a second of Schumacher's Mercedes and ahead of Rosberg. Both were closely matched, separated by 0.063seconds. In FP2, Sutil was back in the car concentrating on tyre set-up for qualifying and the race. Once again a strong performance as both finished inside the top 10. Interestingly, Sutil was just 0.752seconds away from 1st place, bracketing himself with the top teams.

As for our competitors, both Toro Rosso & Sauber were posting some good times but were a bit off from the pace of Force India. For a change, both the Lotus Renault's were also a bit far off from the Indian team's pace. Bruno Senna even said, "It will be difficult to get to Q3. The pace of Force India was far from ours." This pretty much sums up that the team had a good Friday outing which prompted Di Resta to say, "In fact, it's probably one of the best Fridays we've had in terms of collecting data." All in all, it should be an interesting qualifying today with the team very much looking to get both the cars in Q3.

Click here for the Friday quotes from Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg & Dominic Harlow.

Join us for FP3 & Qualifying reports later in the evening.

24/11/2011

Weekend Preview!

Well, most of the race series' we follow have now come to an end, just two remain in progress for 2011. You can view the status of each series on our championship standings page here. The eagle eyed among you will notice that the final rounds of the JK Racing Asia series have been moved from the Buddh International Circuit, India to the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia ... the reasoning behind this can be read here. A new weekend for the final races in that series has not yet been confirmed.

Anyhow, back on topic, the only race series in action this weekend is F1; the final race of the season in Brazil!

Let's see how things stand:

Constructors Standings (5th-8th)
5) Lotus Renault (72pts) 
6) Force India (57pts)
7) Sauber (42pts)
8) Toro Rosso (41pts)

In all honesty, Force India look very secure in their 6th place in the constructors championship; 15pts behind Renault and 15pts ahead of Sauber. However anything can happen in F1 so Force India need to be wary.

These are ways of scoring at least 15pts in F1:
  • One car finishing in 3rd place or higher (awards 15pts in total)
  • One car finishing in 4th place and one car finishing in 8th or higher (awards 16pts in total)
  • One car finishing in 5th place and one car finishing in 7th or higher (awards 16pts in total)
Unless either of these things happen to Force India, Renault or Toro Rosso then things will stay as they are with regards to our constructors battle - and you have to say those situations look unlikely. Nevertheless rain could play a factor and throw up a strange result; initial forecasts point towards a wet race.

Drivers Standings (9th-16th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (36pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (34pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (28pts)
13) Jaime Alguersuari (26pts) 
14) Paul di Resta (23pts)
15) Sebastien Buemi (15pts)
16) Sergio Perez (14pts)

Adrian Sutil is fighting for 9th place in the championship. He needs an 8th place in Brazil (awards 4pts) without Petrov scoring to leapfrog into what would be his highest drivers championship finish in F1; last season he finished in 11th in the championship.

For Paul Di Resta things are a little more open as there are many potential outcomes. His main battle however is with Kobayashi and Alguersuari for 12th place in the championship. If:
  • Paul takes 8th in Brazil (awards 4pts) without Alguersuari finishing higher than 10th (awards 1pt), he will move upto 13th in the championship.
  • Paul takes between 5th-7th in Brazil (awards between 10pts and 6pts) without Alguersuari getting 8th (awards 4pts) or higher and without Kobayashi getting 9th (awards 2pts) or higher, he will move upto 12th in the championship.
So to sum up, both titles may be decided however there are things still to play for! Furthermore let's not forget that Adrian and Paul will both want to impress as both have not yet had contract announcements for 2012.

Read what team members Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and Vijay Mallya have to say about this weekend on the F1 website here.

Something tells me this is going to be a mega exciting GP! Follow the coverage with session reports right here at Auto India Sports.

22/11/2011

Catch up time!

Well, it has been quite some time since we've done a news round-up article due to other commitments, like university work, so here we go with a massive catch up! =)

Firstly, here is something interesting to look at. It's info about the 2011 India motorsport forum to be held in New Delhi on the 24th November. It should be an interesting event and will hopefully produce some talking points regarding development for India in this sector.

Next up, Indian actor and film director Gulshan Grover has stated his desire to create a movie on motorsport! We'll provide more information on that story when we get it but in an interview Grover stated: "I plan to rope in Shah Rukh Khan for the lead role. Things are still in the planning stage but we hope to start the project by the end of this year." Shah Rukh Khan is a self-confessed motorsport fan and he is an ambassador for Force India F1 so it seems like an ideal fit.

Want more? Okay well Force India have announced an extension of their contract with STL for a further three years. STL are a communications company who help the race team connect to the Force India factory, back in Silverstone, during a race weekend. Read more on this deal and STL's role within Force India here.

While on the subject of Force India we are still awaiting their 2012 driver line-up announcement. Rumors are circling that the decision has been made and an announcement will be made very soon!

Finally, India has a new racing series! We won't tell you too much about it just yet as we have a detailed article about the series coming next week; however feel free to take a look around their very flashy website here =)

That's all for now - thanks for reading! =)

18/11/2011

Abu Dhabi - young driver test

F1's only twilight race may be over for another year but the action at Yas Marina certainly wasn't. It was time for the three day young driver test.

Force India fielded two GP2 drivers: 20 year old Max Chilton (left) and 22 year old Johnny Cecotto Jr (right) in the VJM04.


(click to enlarge)

Tuesday saw the first day of the test with Chilton in the car. After the test he said the following on his twitter account (@MaxChilton_):

"Had a very enjoyable morning I got to grips with the car & the controls well and have now got some soft developement tyres this afternoon!"

"Great day, I now have 81F1 laps under my belt and I finished P.6 for the day but had no kers so really happy! #F1RookieTest"

As Max said he covered 81 laps which put him 6th, just one tenth behind experienced McLaren test driver Gary Paffett - a good effort!

Wednesday saw Johnny Cecotto Jr grab his first taste of F1. He completed 84 laps which put him P5.

Johnny said the following after his run:

"Amazing is the only word to describe today. Everything was just incredible from the moment I left the pits to begin my first lap. These cars are so impressive: the power, the braking performance and the aerodynamic grip you get through the corners – it makes you say ‘wow’. And there are so many systems on the car, too, such as the KERS, which really impressed me. It was good to try out some of the 2012 tyres in the afternoon and the team seemed happy with the data and my feedback. Overall it was just an unbelievable experience to work at such a professional level, with a great crew, and I want to thank Sahara Force India for giving me such a wonderful opportunity."

The final day of young driver testing saw Chilton once again driving the car. The British driver covered 79 laps and ended the day P5.

These positions are largely irrelevent as we don't know fuel loads and car specifications (some teams were trying new parts for 2012) however we can make some loose comparisons.

The fastest qualifying lap we saw over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend was 1:40.205 by Adrian Sutil in Q2 - we can compare that to Chilton and Cecotto Jr's times to see their ability (although with very little F1 experience).

Tuesday (full results here)
Sutil Q2: 1:40.205
Chilton: 1:43.016 (+2.811s)

Wednesday (full results here)
Sutil Q2: 1:40.205
Cecotto Jr: 1:42.873 (+2.632s)

Thursday (full results here)
Sutil Q2: 1:40.205
Chilton: 1:41.575 (+1.370s)

As expected the newbies are considerably down on the experienced Adrian Sutil. What is interesting from this data though is that after both newbies had one days experience (at the end of Wednesday) - Cecotto Jr was faster than Chilton by 0.2s. On Thursday Chilton improved his best time massively to get within 1.3s of Sutil, an improvement of 1.5s compared with his Tuesday best. This could be down to a number of factors though such as track conditions/fuel load or car setup.

So a great experience for the two GP2 drivers and i am sure Force India picked up some valuable data too - a win win situation!

15/11/2011

Abu Dhabi GP, Yas Marina - Lights on, action begin

Abu Dhabi GP is one of the most spectacular events on the calendar, yes the venue is world class with lights on and that Yas Marina hotel looks majestic. Of course the track is not among the best because of not many overtaking opportunities and slow corners. Lewis Hamilton was back on song with a stylish victory in the race after 2011 champion Vettel had his first DNF of the season. Alonso came second after yet another superb drive in a struggling Ferrari and Button rounded up in P3.

Here is the detailed review of the whole weekend:

FP1:

The motorsport was back with Abu Dhabi GP post the Indian GP weekend. All the teams were ready for the new challenge at a beautiful circuit and the only twilight race of the calendar. The session went quite smooth for all the teams, there were few slides here and there. Button topped the time-sheets with Webber & Hamilton behind. Force India continued with their strong performance as Sutil finished at P7 & Di Resta at P9, a good & healthy start to the weekend. There was no Karthikeyan & Chandhok for FP1 this weekend as it's coming towards the end of the season.

FP2:

The second session was the one to look for as the sunlight started to fade out and the flood lights take their shape. We all know cars under lights, looks awesome. There is a challenge for the drivers here as its a bit tough for drivers to adjust from natural lights to artificial ones but professionals adjust to all the situation pretty quickly. The session went smoothly apart from Vettel sliding at T1 & hitting the barriers though he managed to come in and get out again towards the end. Also, in the same corner Alonso too hit the barrier but his session ended straightaway. Hamilton ended as P1 with Button at P2 & Alonso at P3. Force India continued with their upward performance with Sutil ending at P8 & Di Resta at P9.

FP3:

After collecting all the valuable data with the last days running, the teams main aim is to get the car ready for the qualifying session. The top time changed 17 times as rubber went down and drivers got some quick times. In the end it was all McLaren at Yas Marina as Hamilton continued his new found good form and ended in P1 with Vettel & Webber behind him. With yet another great run, Force India’s Sutil ended at P8 & Di Resta at P9. There were not many incidents in this session as well.

With the practice timings, the battle for top was quite clear between McLaren & Red Bull as Ferrari struggled throughout the sessions. As for midfield behind Mercedes, Force India were clearly the fifth best team and I was all the more expecting both the cars in top 10 in qualifying.

Qualifying:
Q1:

As I was watching the qualifying session on TV, hearing those sounds/noise of cars again was too good. Yes, it is not the same on TV but still I was loving it. Coming to action, as we all know the scenario the top 17 cars will make it to Q2 and rest will be out. It was pretty clear that the new teams won’t make it and it happened, though all were comfortably inside the 107% time of 1:46.766. The 7th driver out was Barrichello as the team couldn’t repair the car on time which meant he didn’t run a single lap and was starting from the back. Hamilton on song finished at the top in the session, as both the Force Indias made it safely through the next round.

Q2:

The flood lights started to take its full effect as Q2 began for drivers to get into the top 10 shootout. The top 4 teams looked set for Q3 but the main fight was between the Force Indias, Suabers, Lotus Reanults & the Toro Rosso guys. The pace was set by Hamilton again with Vettel coming close but not close enough. The session was red  flagged for a brief period of time due to a damaged bollard. By the end as per my expectation both the Force Indias made it through to Q3 with a strong times by both the drivers yet again separated by tenths of seconds. Both the Lotus Renaults didn’t make the cut along with the two Saubers & STRs and one Williams.

Q3:

The final session began with all the top 3 teams venturing out to fight out for pole position. Both Force Indias & Mercedes remained in the garage. The 2 way battle for pole was quite evident but when Hamilton set a somewhat a quickest time which was a bit hard to beat, there came the 2011 world champion with yet another superb lap to beat Hamilton to take the 14th pole of the season equalling Nigel Mansell's record of 14 poles in a season. Force India did come out but only Sutil set a timed lap qualifying at P9 while Di Resta by default ended at P10.

It always amazes me as to how Vettel gets those extra seconds to beat his rivals. He has got one more opportunity now to beat Mansell’s record & set a new record of 15 poles. As for Force, yet another brilliant qualifying performance, they beat Lotus Renault (P5 in CC) and there direct competitors. A good strategy and some gritty driving will help them get closer to sealing the P6 in CC and a double point finish as I was expecting them to. Also, an interesting stat both Force India's drivesr are tied at 9-9 from 18 races in qualifying, that’s how close it has been.

Raceday:

Light was fading at Abu Dhabi as the world was anxiously waiting for the only twilight race to start. Even though the championship is done & dusted, the motivation in the drivers for grid position was immense and all wanted to score points & do well. The organisers had already announced that it was a sold out event. 

Coming to the action, Vettel had a great start until Turn 2 where he skidded as his rear tyre blew off (the team think that the floor of the car was running too close to the ground and pushed up against the tyre while coming off the curve causing an instant deflation however they are not yet 100% sure), he was limping as he made it to the pits to know that he has to retire. This was his first DNF since Korea 2010. Hamilton took charge with Alonso behind him, with Button & Webber fighting for P3. Both Force India’s made decent start as they gained one position each with Vettel’s DNF.

There were two DRS zones to assist for overtaking as the circuit wasn’t known for overtaking at all. Buemi & Di Resta made full use of it as they battled out for P9 position using their DRS overtaking each other in the successive zones. The race went fairly smoothly with no big incidents but the biggies had to make their way out of the back-markers (most of them being the midfielders, themselves battling out for positions). A big jolt came to Button as his KERS wasn’t working midway in the race but still he kept on & took full advantage of Webber’s pit stop gamble. Ahead Alonso was trying all his might to catch Hamilton, but his Ferrari was just not just there to challenge the McLaren.

As for Force India, Sutil opted for 2 stop whereas Di Resta hung on to 1 stop. Sutil in his middle stint got ahead of Schumi and stayed ahead until he pitted and thereby remained P8 throughout the race. Perhaps a little more push would have got him ahead of Schumi but that Mercedes had a better pace than Force India. As for Di Resta, he had a big battle with Buemi at the started but gained the place as Buemi retired. His strategy wasn’t ideal but the pace and a fantastic limit driving helped him earn two points. Towards the end Kobayashi was charging in but the gap was enough to keep away. But this double point finish, helped the team almost seal the P6 position in CC, another great season for the team.

Hamilton took the winners honours, victory must have been sweet after some tough races he had. Alonso ended at P2, another gritty drive from him in that Ferrari. He now has trophies from all the circuits he has raced on apart from Austria. Button ended at P3, another excellent drive from him, more so after he suffered KERS problems. At the back of the field it was a good driving from Barrichello as he made 12 places to end at P12 after starting from last position. Now we move on to the final race of the season, its hard to believe that the last race is here already. Some facts to watch out for before I end, Sutil needs just one point to finish at P10 in DC and 3 points (provided Petrov doesn’t score) to finish at P9 and if he does it will be his career best finish. Force India is 15 points away from P5 Lotus Renaults, if they get another higher double point finish provided Renaults don’t score then they will get the P5 or else they are pretty safe at P6. Lots to play for, I will be back for my last weekend blog of the season from Brazil.

14/11/2011

Abu Dhabi GP - Points Analysis!

Force India scored their 3rd double points finish of the season in Abu Dhabi and almost secured their 6th place in the constructors championship.

This is hows things currently stand:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Lotus Renault (72pts) 
6) Force India (57pts)
7) Sauber (42pts)
8) Toro Rosso (41pts)

It will take a very unusual race at the last GP of the season in Brazil for Force India's championship position to change. The Indian team are currently 15pts behind Renault and 15pts ahead of Sauber.

15pts are awarded for a 3rd place so as long as Sauber don't get a podium without us scoring; we will finish at least 6th.

To grab 5th, we would need a second place in Brazil without Renault scoring (3rd place would make us equal on points with Renault - presuming they don't score - but they would get 5th overall as they have already had two podiums this season).

Both outcomes are very unlikely unless their is lots of carnage between the top four teams and thus the season is practically over in terms of the constructors championship - a great final position for Force India! =)

Drivers championship (9th-15th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (36pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (34pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (28pts)
13) Jaime Alguersuari (26pts) 
14) Paul di Resta (23pts)
15) Sebastien Buemi (15pts)

Things may be over in the constructors championship, but that's not the case in the drivers championship!

Adrian Sutil will head into the final race knowing 9th place in the drivers championship is very possible! He needs an 8th place in Brazil, without Petrov scoring (9th in Brazil would put him level with Petrov, however Petrov would stay 9th as he has had a podium this year).

Sutil could lose championship places in a number of ways, however the most likely is Kobayashi getting a 7th place without Adrian scoring.

Meanwhile Paul Di Resta has a realistic chance of of 12th in the championship - for that he needs a 7th place in Brazil without Kobayashi scoring and without Alguersuari taking 8th or higher.

Paul is very unlikely to lose any championship places in Brazil - the most likely way is if Buemi gets 5th place in Brazil without Paul scoring.

Clearly this season is not over yet!!

13/11/2011

Abu Dhabi GP - Race Results

Results: Sutil 8th (4points), Di Resta 9th (2points).

A great race for the Force India boys today - 9th and 10th on the grid turning into 8th and 9th after Sebastian Vettel's race retirement.

In actual fact it could have been better as Sutil had a brilliant race long scrap with a struggling Schumacher however unfortunately for us Schumacher just managed to stay ahead - the gap at the end between the two drivers was 1.1s.

Nevertheless, a total of six points scored this weekend is a wonderful result which puts us 15pts clear of Sauber in the constructors championship.

More to follow later =)

12/11/2011

Abu Dhabi GP - Qualifying Results

Results: Sutil 9th (1:40.768), Di Resta 10th (No time set).

It's interesting that Force India have not been outside the top ten so far this weekend and this session was no different!

Both drivers went out in Q3 looking to beat the Mercedes cars although unfortunately they were quicker than us - infact Paul Di Resta had a very slow final sector and so abandoned his lap.

Nevertheless, we beat our championship rivals!

Sauber: 11th & 16th (Perez followed by Kobayashi)
Toro Rosso: 13th & 15th (Buemi followed by Alguersuari)

We're in a very strong position tomorrow and a double points finish is on the cards for sure!

Let's all be Force India =D

Abu Dhabi GP - Practice Three Results

Results: Sutil 8th (1:40.429), Di Resta 9th (1:40:511).

For the third time in three sessions we saw both Force India cars firmly inside the top ten - this could well be one of our best weekends of the season in terms of points! =)

Meanwhile, our rivals:

Sauber: 12th and 13th (Kobayashi followed by Perez)
Toro Rosso: 15th and 16th (Buemi followed by Alguersuari)

What is interesting here is the gap to Force India.

Here are the gaps between the six drivers:

Sutil: Best
Di Resta: + 0.82s
Kobayashi: + 1.098s
Perez: + 1.137s
Buemi: + 1.193s
Alguersuari: + 1.426s

Clearly based on this data, Force India are considerably faster than their rivals - at least in qualifying!

Let's hope for the best in a qualifying session which begins in less than two hours! =)

11/11/2011

Abu Dhabi GP - Practice Two Results

Results: Sutil 8th (1:40.951), Di Resta 9th (1:41:021).

Once again a strong showing from the Force India boys saw them firmly inside the top ten - this is looking very consistent and promising for the rest of the weekend.

As for our rivals:

Sauber: 10th and 11th (Kobayashi followed by Perez)
Toro Rosso: 12th and 14th (Buemi followed by Alguersuari)

Interestingly in this session Sauber beat Toro Rosso which is the complete opposite of what happened in FP1 - nevertheless crucially for Force India, both teams were still considerably slower than the Indian squad.

Quotes from Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and chief race engineer Dominic Harlow are now online here.

Join us again tomorrow for reports from FP3 and qualifying - bye for now! =)

Abu Dhabi GP - Practice One Results

FP1 Results: Sutil 7th (1:41.340), Di Resta 9th (1:42:151).

A very impressive start to the race weekend saw the Force India drivers grab 7th and 9th places in FP1 with just the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg inbetween the two Indian machines.

What was interesting was the gap between Sutil and Di Resta, 8tenths of a second - that's some distance! Perhaps Di Resta had traffic on his final quick lap.

At this stage in the season we need to keep an eye on our rivals too!

Toro Rosso: 10th & 11th (Alguersuari followed by Vergne)
Sauber: 16th and 17th (Perez followed by Kobayashi)

Toro Rosso were quite strong but could not match Force India in this session. Having said that, 11th place for Vergne is quite impressive - a possible star of the future! Anyhow Buemi will take his seat back for FP2.

Meanwhile Sauber struggled and could only beat the three inexperienced teams + Barrichello who had a suspected oil pressure problem.

In other news; there has been a driver line-up announcement from Force India but not the one we were expecting! This announcement is regarding the upcoming young driver test, and joining Max Chilton in the VJM04 will be Venezuelan GP2 driver Johnny Cecotto Jr! We wish both of them the very best of luck!

We'll be back for FP2, bye for now! =)

Weekend preview!

All the series we follow have finished for 2011 except for two - F1 and the JK Racing Asia Series.

F1 is the only one of those two in action this weekend for the twilight race in Abu Dhabi!

Drivers Championship (9th-14th)
9) Vitaly Petrov (36pts)
10) Nick Heidfeld (34pts) 
11) Adrian Sutil (30pts)
12) Kamui Kobayashi (27pts)
13) Jaime Alguersuari (26pts) 
14) Paul di Resta (21pts)
15) Sebastien Buemi (15pts)
16) Sergio Perez (14pts)

Force India drivers Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta will both naturally be looking for strong finishes this weekend.

Adrian Sutil has previously stated that his target is P9 in the championship. Nick Heidfeld no longer has his drive in F1 and so will not score points this weekend; this means that 4pts for Adrian (which is an 8th place finish) would see him level on points with Nick going into the final GP. There is a nice interview with Adrian Sutil on the official F1 website here.

Meanwhile the most likely outcome for Paul Di Resta this weekend is to remain in 14th place overall. However if he can manage a strong finish (7th or higher) then maybe he could leapfrog Alguersuari and possibly even Kobayashi.

Constructors Championship (5th-8th)
5) Lotus Renault (72pts) 
6) Force India (51pts)
7) Sauber (41pts)
8) Toro Rosso (41pts)

With Renault 21pts ahead of Force India the real battle now appears to be for 6th place.

Quite simply Force India need to try and outscore Sauber and Toro Rosso to maintain the gap going into the final race.

In terms of pace, Force India has the fastest car on high downforce tracks (lots of corners, short straights) whereas Toro Rosso have the faster car on low downforce circuits (long straights, few slow corners). Elsewhere Sauber seem to have dropped off the pace recently on both types of track.

So what type of track is Abu Dhabi? Well, it's a mix! It has both long acceleration zones and slower corners so i am expecting a good close battle between the two teams. One clear advantage Force India does have is reliability - the Indian team have only had three DNF's this season compared to Toro Rosso's seven.

If you have not yet seen them; you can read weekend previews quotes from Sutil, Di Resta and team principle Vijay Mallya right here.

The race is not the only thing to be excited about this weekend though! Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday after the GP we will see the annual young driver test take place with British GP2 driver Max Chilton taking control of the VJM04. To view the full grid line-up for the young driver test please take a look at this page.

Furthermore, shortly after the race in Abu Dhabi we are expecting an announcement from Force India management about their 2012 driver line-up. It appears as if the teams current three drivers; Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg are fighting over the two race seats for 2012.

Personally i would keep things as they are - why change something if it's not broken? Nevertheless i trust the management's decision.

I think that's everything for now! We will keep you fully upto date this weekend so check back for more =)

09/11/2011

Pit stops league!

F1 pit crews are well aware that they can win or lose races their respective team - against the relentless stopwatch time is critical, pressure is high.

So how are the pit crews doing so far this year?

Average cumulative total for pitstop times for the 17 races of 2011 (relative to fastest overall time)

1) Red Bull & Mercedes GP : Best
3) McLaren : + 0.3s
4) Force India : + 0.4s
5) Ferrari : + 0.5s
6) Renault : + 0.9s
7) Williams : + 1.1s
8) Lotus & Sauber & Toro Rosso : + 1.3s
11) Virgin : + 1.6s
12) HRT : + 3.2s

Fastest average stops from 17 races

1) Red Bull Racing : 9
2) Mercedes GP : 5
3) McLaren : 2
4) Force India : 1

It sure is great to see Force India's pit crew doing so well, 4th in the overall standings! Much of the time in F1 pit crews are overlooked as most attention is on the drivers but it's wrong to do this. F1 races would not be able to be conducted without the mechanics and they deserve just as much praise. F1 is a team sport and every member of the team deserves praise - they are clearly doing a brilliant job! =)

Thanks to autosport.com for the original data.

07/11/2011

Past, present and future

Past
  • Re-live the inaugural Indian GP with the FIA official race review now online here - worth watching for sure!
  • Also, you can re-live the Indian GP from Force India's point of view with the teams latest podcast. In the podcast this week we hear from Adrian Sutil, Paul Di Resta and Vijay Mallya about how the race went. Also we listen to Force India's team chef (apparently his Lamb Curry is very nice!) and the winner of the Force India one from a Billion academy, Arjun Maini, plus his Dad. Listen to it here.
Present
  • Force India team principle Vijay Mallya has stated in an interview with autosport.com that no decision has been made on Force India's race drivers for 2012. We expect some news sometime during the next race in Abu Dhabi. Read the full interview here.
Future
  • GP2 driver Max Chilton has been confirmed as one of the drivers who will drive the Force India VJM04 in the upcoming young driver test in Abu Dhabi. British driver Max already drove the VJM04 earlier this year in an aero test and he appears to be building a good relationship with the team - perhaps he will take the reserve driver role for 2012 should one of our current drivers leave?
  •  Finally some news from Karun Chandhok's twitter feed - this is what he tweeted recently:

    "Over 3000 people are being moved in to make improvements to the BIC based on teams feedback- fantastic commitment from Jaypee to #IndianGP !"

    The event was brilliant but as the first ever F1 GP in the country there were always going to be a few issues. For instance, the organisers need to make sure stray dogs can't get onto the circuit (happened in FP1) and that bats can't get into the media centre (happened on the Thursday of the GP). Furthermore the commentary boxes need to have windows so the commentators can see the track and maybe the pit lane exit needs to be altered (as it comes straight out onto the track, potentially a little dangerously).

    "6am start to norfolk today ! Going to see @isportofficial , @MyTeamLotus & also drop by snetterton to help a new Indian kid doing F-Renault"

    We just thought we'd post this tweet as we found it an interesting insight into the life of an F1 driver. We believe the "Indian kid" he was referring to is Zaamin Jaffer (who we have featured on this site for some time now) - he is currently the only Indian in Formula Renault.

06/11/2011

Indian Grand Prix- My journey from Kolkata to Greater Noida

The excitement of attending my first ever GP was surely getting the more out of me as the day of travel came closer. I knew from Day 1 that i’ll be alone in this journey but never deter my plans, anyhow I had to be there for the first ever Indian GP and I did that. The journey was fairly mixed for me, filled with excitement and reservations.  This weekend review is a bit different from all the others as i’ll write about my experiences and also the sessions.

Wednesday/Thursday:

I left for Delhi on Wednesday in a train. I reached the station fairly on time and boarded the train which was quite an empty one owing to the Diwali festival. While checking the names on the list, I found Avishek Dan’s name along with his father’s, I knew they were on the same train but never thought they are in the same compartment. For the first day, I was quite relieved to get some company on train, we chatted a lot on F1 and various other topics. We reached Delhi at around 10:30 in the morning, Avishek went on his way to his hotel and I went my way. I was a bit taken a back while arriving at the hotel (can tell you if with family, we won’t stay in the hotel, I stayed) as it was bit below my expectation but what the heck? I could manage for 4-5 days in there with ease.

Next up for me was to collect my GP tickets as I had won them via a contest by the Jaypee people (would have bought it, if I had not won it) and I was told that I had to go to Jaypee Sports Complex in Greater Noida to collect it, had no idea where it was. But that Jaypee person helped me get there easily  travelling in Metro, Bus & Auto (Tuk Tuk).  As we reached there, we came to know that it is the venue for F1 Afterparty and we got the first hand visuals of the set up which looked amazing. We also saw the Resort & Spa where most the drivers and team people were to stay. I must say that long journey was a bit fruitful in the end. Though the day didn’t ended there, later on I came to know the shuttle service tickets are sold out and I had no transport to get the circuit. In the end I had to hire a car to Knowledge Park 2 and board the free shuttle service to circuit.

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Friday:

I woke up quite early in the morning to get to the circuit on time. In the morning hours the road were quite empty and so I reached Knowledge Park 2 pretty much on time and was happy to see many more fans out there, more so was happy to see that there were buses to take us (sigh of relief). I got a company of a foreigner who lived in Mumbai but hailed from California, USA and we had a lovely chat as he shared his previous experiences of attending Indycar & F1 which was nice to hear. As we entered the premises of the circuit, my heart was beating like anything was very excited to hop into the in-shuttle bus and get inside the stands. Finally, I made to my stand which was fairly empty, reached just 5 minutes before the session was to begin.

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FP1:

As expected it was Karthikeyan, Chandhok and the Force India’s car were first to come out at the circuit which was a historic moment in Indian motorsport. To add, it was very nice to see Chandhok though only driving in FP1 set the first timed lap. I was sitting near Turn 10 & Turn 11 corner, I could see Turn 9 & Turn 12 as well. As I heard from the drivers, T10 & T11 corner could be one to watch out for. The first thing which struck me was the enormous sound of the car (generated from the engine and diffuser), it just blew me away as I wasn’t expecting such a sound at all but it soon became music for me as I was loving it. Cars were zooming past me, it was hard to take pictures but managed to click some good one’s (all from my mobile) and few videos as well.

The day started with the Ferrari of Alonso stopping right opposite to me. He got out and sat below the TV screen for about 10 minutes before he left for the pits. It was nice to see a driver so close and the reaction when something like this happen, though he was fairly calm. The rest of the session went quite smoothly for all. Alguersuari did slide at T9 which was not quite visible for me. As the first session came to close, it was Hamilton who topped the time sheets with Vettel & Webber behind. Both our Force India did well with Sutil at P8 & Di Resta at P11. As for Indian drivers Chandhok finished at P20 & Karthikeyan at P22.

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FP2:

Post FP1, I headed out to meet Ankur Garhwal, was nice to finally meet him in person. At the track, action was going on with Practice session of the support races. After having lunch, I was back at the stands for the second session to begin with. For the first day, there wasn’t much crowd and I hoped it will change on Saturday & Sunday. Cars came out one by one and we could hear that lovely sound once again. The session was smooth for most of team, though there was quite a lot of dust off the racing line. The only major incident in the session, was that of Ambrosio at T12 where he lost his wheel after hitting the barriers. Ferrari was on top by the end of the day and session as Massa edged out Vettel & Alonso. Again it was a good day for Force India at their home ground with Sutil ending at P7 & Di Resta at P9. As for Karthikeyan, he ended at P24.

While returning back I dropped by the F1 Village, just to take a look around. There were quite many merchandise stalls and even exotic cars stalls. The real adventure began then after as the buses to take us to Knowledge Park 2 just weren’t there, we could only see people around. After pushing and pulling, at least I managed to get into one of the bus and reached safely to my car and back to hotel to take some rest.

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Saturday:
FP3:

Another fine morning in Delhi, bit of chill in the air. Today, I was travelling with Ankur’s friends mom and aunt, glad I had some company to the circuit. We reached the circuit quite early, an hour you can say. I then saw the pre-session preps going with Safety car doing round and marshalls clearing the track. Once all done, cars came out rolling for the final time before the first ever Qualifying & Race. The session went with not much drama, just in the end Senna slid at T11, almost kissed the barriers but managed to come out safely. Earlier Di Resta had also slid at T10 in the coloured run-off. The Red Bulls took charge as Vettel ended at P1 with Button & Webber behind. Another superb performance by home team Force India as Di Resta finished at P7 & Sutil at P9. And the home driver Karthikeyan ended at P22 edging out his team-mate & one Virgin.

Post the FP3 session, I headed out to go at the F1 Village with Ankur & his friends. We hung around there and checked few items which were quite expensive. As we got there, I spotted Sanjeev Palar (ESPN/Star Sports F1 Director) and also Jatin Sapru (ESPN/Star Sports Presenter), it was nice to catch hold of some big personalities. I couldn’t buy much as the merchandise were quite expensive . We hung about for an hour and then headed back to our stands for the qualifying to begin, were damn excited.

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Qualifying:
Q1:


I got late in returning from the F1 Village & reached just seconds before Q1 started. It was a mini F1 going for me to reach my seat on time to watch Q1. I looked around a bit and could see a larger crowd than what I saw for practice sessions. It was all noisy again as the cars crossed the turns for the first ever Indian GP qualifying. There was lot of buzz among people but again knowledge wise, it wasn’t encouraging. The atmosphere was totally different in qualifying, as one by one car went zooming past us. Naturally, all were trying to get that extra second to beat their competitor. But as known, all the new teams bowed out though Karthikeyan impressed with beating both the Virgins. Both Force India made it through. I was happy that when people saw the Force India cars, they were cheering a lot.

Q2:

After few minutes break, the session was on for the second leg of qualifying. The helicopter was hovering upon catching few cars. Again, most of the session went quite well. Only Petrov slid at T11 corner, perhaps over-shot the braking point. Notably, Schumacher bowed out along with the Renault drivers. Sutil made it to Q3, though Di Resta with a bit of disappointment finished at P13 (started P12). I had to explain the qualifying rules to quite many in the stands, some listened carefully and thanked and some with a grin but I was happy to help them.

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Q3:

Here it was, the last session for the day before Sunday’s epic race. The cars rolled out immediately, you can hear the engines sound even if they are at T6-T7. As expected the battle was on between Vettel & Hamilton but once again the 2011 World Champion found a way to get that extra second and get the pole position. Neither Sutil nor the STR guys set a timed lap and thus Sutil was starting from P8, good effort in the end. It was a poor end for Massa who hit a kerb at T9 and thereby stalling his car, much to the delight of fans who could see the car so closely. With that the first ever qualifying session was done with and as expected Vettel emerged as the pole sitter.

The ride back to the hotel begun as the quali session was over, didn’t want to get into a commotion like last day. On the way back, took a different route which was better as I managed to see the pit building & grandstand from the front side. Also saw the main office & paddock entry zone (wish I could have entered, maybe next year). To our delight, the transport back to Knowledge Park was smooth today, bit here and there is always there but was safely back to hotel after dodging a traffic.

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Sunday:
Raceday:

Finally, the day arrived for which we have all been waiting for. Me, Ankur & his friends decided to go to the circuit early and hang around at the F1 Village. It was a big day at motorsports and we fans had to be there in full support of the event. There were many cricketers & Bollywood stars coming, most notably Sachin Tendulkar who was going  to raise the Chequred flag at the end of the race. Since early morning I could see quite a lot of cars on the way to circuit, which was a good sign. After reaching,  we hung around there for quite many hours, I got a Force India flag from a helpful person. There again we met Sanjeev Palar, this time we had a small chit chat, he seems to be a nice person. While walking a Japanese TV camera guys spotted us with the flags and took some shots of us, hope we were aired on Japanese TV (even if it were for few seconds). Later on we came to know it was the famous Fuji TV guys. Even the BBC camera person was around taking some shots.

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We then headed to our respective stands, ate our lunch and in the stands for the Drivers Parade which started at 1:30PM. This was actually the first time I was going to watch the whole of the parade, the crowd was a huge one in there. Finally, the drivers came by in the lovely vintage cars with Narain Karthikeyan leading from front. The best was Mark Webber carrying the Indian flag, and Fernando Alonso completed the parade. These little things makes us fans so happy, the loudest cheers went for Karthikeyan, Force India drivers, Alonso, Button & of course Schumacher. Post the parade in half an hours time, the cars headed out for the installation laps, another thing seeing for the first time. But the most proudest moment was when the Indian National Anthem was played, just after the minute silence for Dan Wheldon & Marco Simoncelli. It was a bit surreal when the anthem was played, truly the best moment.

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All was set, 24 cars on the grid, for the first ever Airtel Indian Grand Prix to flag off. As the commentator say, I repeated them in my mind, “As the five red lights, illuminate the inaugural Airtel Indian GP is a go...” We were seeing the first lap melee on the huge screen as Vettel took the lead with others trying to come out safely. I saw Barrichello  limping with a front wing damage as he crossed us. Its very hard to keep track of the standings while watching from the stands but I did all the guess work which was somewhat correct. I could even guess the battles going on, the first was between Vettel & Button followed by Webber & Alonso, then Massa & Hamilton and Rosberg & Schumacher in front. For midfield it was Sutil, Perez & Petrov for final championship points.
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When Massa retired, I was happy that he was taken to the pits from my corner side, saw him with his helmets on. Even his car was taken from my side and I managed to see the Ferrari pretty closely. As for the view of the track as day went by, it was getting more and more hazy. I spotted the marbles on the track but couldn’t see the dust on track (which I saw on TV when I returned). There were no over-taking at my side, just the front cars lapping the back markers, but the battles for positions were quite intense. When sitting there, we don’t even realize that the race is over. Same thing happened with me, time passed so quickly, just like the cars passing us in a fraction of a second. It was indeed Vettel who stamped his authority at the new circuit with a first win as the double world champion. For Indians, Sutil ended at P9 gaining two more points in the fight for P6 at the CC and Karthikeyan finished at P17 beating his team-mate. We can say a fantastic race for Karthikeyan taking the few running he got before the race. 

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All in all it was a fantastic race, awesome experience and a great weekend. Once again the things which spoiled most of our mood was transport and this time traffic as well, 95000 people leaving at the same time is quite a lot. But I reached my hotel safely in the end. Two things which the organisers can keep in mind and improve upon for 2012 is the transport & traffic situation along with perhaps a bit moderate pricing of food.  But I would also like to congratulate Jaypee Group for bringing this event in India and making it a success, it was seriously some effort. I hope this race will create a larger fan base and the facilities at BIC will help nurture more Indian drivers to reach the F1 level.


Monday/Tuesday:

I was still in the F1 mood Monday morning, my mind was buzzing with the cars sound. I was greedy for more but perhaps will have to save for the greed for 2012. It was the travel day again as my train was to leave the station at 5PM, I had nothing to do so reached the station quite early. I got another surprise in train as two people in compartment were as well returning after seeing the race. I was quite happy to know that quite many people did go from Kolkata as well. It was a smooth journey back home, I reached Kolkata safely. Thus my journey ended, must say it was a new experience for me and I enjoyed every bit of it. I ask all the F1 fans to at least for once go and watch a race LIVE, its very different from TV. 

Additional Media:

To view more of my pictures from the event click here!

Meanwhile i have five videos to share from the event:
 

04/11/2011

We are developing!

Since the first Indian GP last weekend the motorsport news regarding the country has not stopped - a sign that motorsport in India is developing! We're not complaining but it certainly does make our job much harder =p

Firstly here is Force India's reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg speaking to F1 journalist Peter Windsor about his season so far and his plans for 2012 - an announcement about Force India's 2012 drivers is expected in the coming weeks! =)

While mentioning Peter Windsor, here is his latest video - about his trip in India. It's well worth watching, there is nothing but praise for the country we love!

Staying with journalists, there is a nice column ESPNStar.com's Steve Slater online here. He says that "India is a rising star in Formula 1 after their successful Grand Prix" - once again, well worth a read! =)

Now from journalists to staff ... Sauber CEO, Monisha Kaltenborn, who was born in Dehradun (India), has done an interview, which is online here, in Hindi about India! If you are lucky enough to know Hindi it's worth listening to ;-)

Back to drivers now and Narain Karthikeyan has stated that talks are ongoing about a potential new grade three race circuit in Coimbatore! More on that story here. Elsewhere Force India's Paul Di Resta has been nominated as Autosport's rookie of the year - you can vote for him right here.

Finally (for now), a while back we reported about the i1 supercar championship that was planned to be setup in India - read the original story from us here. Well plans for that championship are still on-going and it has been reported that Bollywood star, motorsport enthusiast and Force India ambassador Shahrukh Khan has bought the Mumbai franchise of the series - you can read more on what this exactly means right here!

As you can see we are working hard at Auto India Sports to try and provide you with the news all in one place - if you like the work we are doing please like our facebook page here!

02/11/2011

Chandhok - busy as ever!

The first Indian GP has come and gone now - it was a brilliant success.

After the GP had passed i'd expected Karun Chandhok to be less busy with PR but it seems there is no rest for him just yet!

He takes the F1 fantasy questions on the official website of the wonderful sport here and he has also taken NDTV's T20 test where they fire questions at him to answer - it's makes an interesting video here.