The British Grand Prix weekend is my favorite race weekend of the season – but then again, I am biased. Nonetheless, Silverstone is a magical venue, featuring some of the world’s most remarkable corners and having played host to many classic Grand Prix’s of yesteryear. When a British driver heads into the weekend with a chance of victory, as Lewis Hamilton does this weekend, the atmosphere reaches fever pitch, with the potential to spill into euphoria should he repeat the feat of 12 months ago and take the 25 points away from his home race. However, with Nico Rosberg entering the weekend on the back of three wins from the previous four races, including success last time out in Austria, Hamilton will surely face a stern test.
A Challenger Emerges
When a spectacle was needed, the sport found a way to deliver the goods once again. Just as armchair pundits began to prepare a year of Mercedes domination, Ferrari have emerged as credible challengers to Mercedes superiority, beating the world champions in a straight fight. Unlike Daniel Ricciardo’s three victories last season, Sebastian Vettel needed no invitation to take the win, as Mercedes found themselves out-paced by a rival for the first time in this current turbo era. A big day for F1 and an equally seismic occasion for everyone wearing red.
A belated happy Christmas to all readers – I hope you have enjoyed the days of festive fun, and are looking forward to New Year’s Eve celebrations. Of course, this is a critical period for blogger’s as it is a time to reflect upon a year of content.
Just weeks after being dropped by Sauber and facing the daunting reality of an early end to his Formula 1 career, Esteban Gutierrez is now once again employed – and by one of the most famous names in motorsport, no less. Ferrari have snapped up the 23-year-old Mexican, who will be their reserve driver for 2015. Esteban has certainly made the best of a bad situation this winter.
|“Esteban Gutierrez 2014 Singapore FP1“
By Morio (photo taken by Morio) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
While many analysts were beginning to guesstimate that Christmas could come before the McLaren driver saga drew to a close, the team have finally given their verdict – and it is pleasing news for Jenson Button’s army of fans. The Brit has retained his seat at the team, at the expense of Kevin Mganussen, who has been ousted to a reserve driver role. In regards to the worst kept secret of the season, Fernando Alonso was confirmed as Button’s teammate today and means that McLaren will field the oldest driver line-up in the sport next season – yet with 500 races and 47 wins between the duo, it promises to be a successful combination.
|“McLaren, Button, Cross The Line“
By emperornie (Mclaren, Button) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Button In, Magnussen Less So…
Burying The Hatchet
|“Fernando Alonso 2007 USA 2“
By Matthew Blasi from Fredericksburg Va & Washington DC, USA (2007 US Grand Prix)
[CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Regardless, McLaren seem to have made a wise choice in terms of drivers. Experience over youth is an age old argument and is applicable to most sports, yet as circumstances suggest a rocky road ahead as McLaren and Honda reacquaint themselves, a safe pair of hands behind the wheel is an excellent place to start. They have elected for the safe option, but as a famous saying suggests, discretion is the better part of valour.
Heading into today’s World Motorsport Council meeting in Qatar, all talk centred around double points and standing restarts, yet yesterday evenings main headlines have been dominated by some surprise notices. Perhaps the most surprising of all storylines is that the Korean Grand Prix has reappeared, taking a spot on the provisional 2015 calender and on a date which could cause some headaches. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen could have etched his name into the history books for good – It was certainly a seismic day for F1 news.
|“Yeongam Korean Grand Prix October 2012“
By calflier001 [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A Recording Breaking Calender…
Ultimately, the headline came as a massive surprise to almost everyone. Talk of the Indian Grand Prix making a reappearance was rife when it was initially dropped this time last year, yet with speculation in regards to this thread falling quiet, the provisional 20 race schedule, (featuring the Mexico Grand Prix) looked set to be ratified by the WMSC. However 20 has become 21 and in uncharacteristic circumstances, a secret was kept as just that.
The return of the Korean Grand Prix is intriguing for a number of reasons. Not only has it emerged out of the blue, but a race which has failed to attract the audiences which Ecclestone desires has reappeared after just a year away- so what has changed? Other than the date on the calender, it is difficult to see what. It was suggested that the landscape around Yeongam would be vastly altered as part of a development plan when the venue initally appeared and this could be a first step towards remounting the road towards this end goal. It is certainly an exciting prospect.
One issue surrounding the race is its scheduling. I imagine that it will lead to logistical headaches for all the teams, with it placement on May 3th meaning that it will be a back-to-back event with the Spanish Grand Prix. In terms of development programmes, teams may be forced to alter their usual schedules, as the typical three week hiatus prior to the European season will now be disrupted by a fifth fly-away in succession – not-to-mention the logistical nightmare that will be travelling from Mokpo to Barcelona in a week. Regardless, it is another race and another weekend of entertainment in 2015.
The Youngest EVER
Another piece of news which slithered under the radar yesterday will certainly have caught young Max Verstappen’s attention. After criticisms have been made in regards to the simplicity of the super-licence process, the WMSC have clamped down on youngsters entering the F1 scene, placing an age restriction on qualification – in short, anyone under the age of 18 will not be able to obtain a super-licence from next season. Fortunately for family Vertsappen, Max has already earned his and as such, he has dodged the new regulation.
Not only that, but the news suggests that Max Vertsappen’s name could be etched into the history books forever. If this age restriction becomes a cornerstone of the super-licence process, (and it is difficult to see it ever coming under scrutiny), Vertsappen will be the youngest F1 driver ever, forever, as a 17-year-old débutante. Entering the fray with a record already established is certainly pleasing, particularly when it seems as though it will be entrenched.
While speculation suggested that the announcement would come on Monday, Toro Rosso have finally committed to an individual from their vast pool of promising youngsters – Formula Renault 3.5 Champion, Carlos Sainz Jr, has snapped up the seat alongside boy-wonder Max Verstappen for 2015. An inexperienced line up, but undoubtedly an exciting one.
|“Carlos Sainz Jr Motorland“
By Willtron (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons