19/07/2012

What's happening this weekend?

Hmmm - i am getting bored of this title again and again, if anyone has a better suggestion please let me know haha :-)

Anyway, this weekend we've got F1 & F2 in action. I'll keep the F2 preview brief as Parthiva Sureshwaren did not take part at the last round, and to be honest, no-one seems to know why. I suspect it was an issue with his sponsors, Lycamobile, which suggests he won't take part this weekend either. However, i hope my prediction is wrong! If Parthiva does take part then his aim will be to score points, which are very overdue for him - he hasn't scored a point in 27 F2 races.

Meanwhile in F1, following Paul di Resta's home race last time out, it's now time for Nico Hulkenberg's home race, the German GP at Hockenheim.

The last time Force India raced at Hockenheim was in 2010* - and it wasn't a good race! Infact it was the worst race of the season with Liuzzi 16th & Sutil 17th. Let's hope for better this time. It's hard to tell exactly what the ultimate pace of the car could deliver this weekend, as the pecking order is changing on a race-by-race basis. However, a double points finish will be the aim. At least if the result is bad this weekend, Nico has an alternative career to fall back on:

(Nico Hulkenberg helping out in the ticket office at Hockenheim, click to enlarge)

Here are the standings and the preview quotes.

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (98 pts)
6) Sauber (60)
7) Williams (47)
8) Force India (44) 

Paul di Resta (Sahara Force India driver):
"I know the track well from my days in the DTM and I am looking forward to getting out there in a Formula One car. It's a fun circuit with some challenging corners and it's good for overtaking, especially the slow hairpin at turn six. My favourite part of the lap is the stadium, where you can really feel the energy of the crowd. The double right hander onto the start/finish line is another special corner and it's difficult to get it right. If you have lots of experience on this track you can gain a little bit of time through this corner".

Nico Hulkenberg (Sahara Force India driver):
"It's always a bit more special (to race at home) and it’s nice that I only live one hour away so I don't have to catch a flight! The fans always support the race and help produce a good atmosphere, especially in the stadium section at the end of the lap. It's fair to say that Michael and Sebastian are the main attractions, but the fans always show their support for all the German drivers. (Hockenheim) is where I had my very first car race in 2005 when I raced Formula BMW - and I won both races that weekend. Since then I've raced there a lot in Formula Three and I also raced there in Formula One with Williams in 2010. It's a track I know very well and I enjoy the layout, although it’s a relatively short lap. I think the most challenging corner to get right is turn one. It's a quick right-hander that we take at well above 200 km/h and there is a tricky curb on the exit. Another important part of the lap is getting the hairpin right. If you get your braking wrong it's easy to run wide and it's the main opportunity for overtaking".

Vijay Mallya (Sahara Force India team principle):
"We will come back in Germany with a greater sense of determination. It's satisfying to see that we are consistent top ten performers. We need that little bit of extra luck to get on the podium. Having said that, our immediate competitors didn't have too much luck either - Perez and Maldonado were both going well, but they didn't score. Sauber didn't get any more points to increase their lead over us. We are still only three points adrift of Williams and 16 behind Sauber, so we have reasons to be optimistic going forward. Hockenheim is also Nico's home race. We have no time to take things easy. We have to take every race very seriously, with the same intensity and do everything we possibly can to earn more points".

It is worth noting that in FP1 reserve driver Jules Bianchi will take the wheel of the VJM05 from Paul di Resta. Paul will be back in the car for FP2.

At the back of the grid, Indian hero Narain Karthikeyan will have his usual aim of beating his teammate and the Marussia's. Hopefully he will be in the right place to benefit from any unreliability to other cars too.

This is what he had to say:

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT driver):
"The new Hockenheim circuit is quite different to the old one, which for my liking was more exciting. Before it was quick but now it is slower and a high-downforce track, it is also quite short, not too complicated and very stop-and-go. In the last few races we have proved that our car is quick in qualifying but we haven't yet shown it over a race distance. We've been working on that and in Germany we are aiming to give our main rivals a fight throughout the entire race".

As always we wish all our drivers the very best of luck this weekend! :-)

*Note: The 2011 German GP was at the Nürburgring, not Hockenheim.

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