Thursday, October 3, 2013

What to watch this Weekend (Oct 4rd - Oct 9th)

  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Aston Martin Vanquish. Friday @ 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • FIA European Rally Championship. Rally Liepaja-Ventspils from Latvia. Saturday @ 2pm - 3pm (VelocityHD) new
  • American Le Mans Series. VIR 240. From Virginia International Raceway. Saturday @ 2pm - race end ( live; delayed broadcast Sunday @ 5:30pm on ESPN2
  • Formula 1 - Korean Grand Prix; from the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Korea. Race. Sunday @ 1am - 4am (NBCSN(HD)) live
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past episodes. Monday @ 4pm - 3am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. 2014 Corvette Stingray. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Red hot and rowdy. Tuesday @ 10pm - 10:30pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Top Gear America. Season 4 - Episode 4. America's Biggest Cars. Tuesday @ 9pm - 10pm (History Channel/History Channel HD) new
  • Wheeler Dealers. Triumph TR6. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) replay
A solid weekend of entertainment ahead with more of the usual suspects. We're back in Korea for F1 this weekend, but before we get to that lets recap the action from Singapore two weeks ago...

The major news in F1 is that Kimi is officially going to Ferrari, leaving Massa a free agent. Word is that if Massa doesn't jump on an existing team there may be a DTM opportunity for him. In the meantime though, Kimi re-injured his back (pinched nerve) and it affected his performance in Q3, missing the cut.

Practice was mostly uneventful, but Webber clips the wall a few times with his right rear. Vettel shows his dominant pace in practice with a 1:44.2xx. Qualy starts with Massa teetering on getting booted from Q1, but hops up into the teens to make the cut. Hams is tops in Q1 with a 1:44.196, Button right behind in P2. Red Bull started to separate itself from the field in Q2, ending with Vettel throwing down the gauntlet with a 1:42.905. Q3 wasn't even close at first; Vettel put down a 1:42.84x and pitted. This almost cost him as Rosberg puts down a 1:42.932 on a flyer. Grosjean rounds out the top three of qualifying with a 1:43.058. Webber, while starting his flying lap practically even with Vettels' pole setting lap in the first couple sectors, fails to keep the pace up in the end, finishing 4th with a 1:43.152.

The race starts with Rosberg beating vettel into the first major turn, but overcooking it, letting Vettel back ahead. Then Seb takes off. By the end of lap one he has a 1.9 second lead on Rosberg. Things shake out as expected, with the first tire pitstops coming around lap 13. By lap 15 Vettel is still going purple with old tires while Webber pits for mediums. Lap 16 Rosberg comes in for mediums, while Grosjean follows for another set of softs.

On lap 17/61 Raikkonen is getting word from his pit that KERS performance is dropping. Vettel gets told by his pit to box -- he comes in for mediums. After Vettel returns to the field, he still has a extremely comfortable lead. Di Resta is running (super)softs and is still out at lap 18/61, showing very solid tire wear, putting him in 3rd for now. Hamilton is in 7th at 20/61, complaining about the mediums to his pit about their feel (much like he did in qualy). 

Di Resta's soft tire marathon finally ends with a pit stop on lap 21, bringing Alonzo into 3rd position. He returns to the field in 13th. Rosberg is running well, but is still 9secs back from Vettel. Hams is now in 6th. Kimi's KERS is still an issue, but the pit won't disclose more over the radio. Things are going smoothly overall then our new RedBull front man, Ricciardo, puts it right into the wall on a slow turn he overcooked (25/61) appeared to be a mechanical issue as he was all by himself. Singapore is notorious for safety car laps, and now Vettels lead has been shrunk to nothing. The teams scramble for the pits for new tires, however the top 4 haven't pitted as they're all committed to the same strategy. Vettel, Rosberg, Alonzo and Hamilton are all still out with one stop under their belts.

Safety car stays out through 30/61 and when the green flag waves Vettel takes off in usual fashion. Within a lap and a half, Vettel incredibly (and predictably) has a 3+ second lead. Grosjean, running comfortably in 6th, has the rug pulled from under him when his pit found there was an issue with the pneumatic valve control system on his car, as the compressed air used to run it springs a leak. The refill takes 40 seconds, effectively ruining his chances of a podium; I'm sure he's hoping for another safety car deployment. It also appeared that the mechanic that filled the air tank didn't have a fire suit on, so this could be an issue. Sadly, Grosjean ends up having to retire on 40/61 as the leak continued.

Hams tires are going off on lap 40, Webber pulling away from him. Vettel now has a 20 second lead on Rosberg; Rosberg's pit is telling him he has rubber clag in his front wing which is affecting his front-end downforce, but super slow-mo isn't cooberating that tale. Rosberg pits on lap 42, losing a position to Webber(11th), when he came back out (12th) on mediums. Hams stays out, sitting in 2nd, 27 seconds back from Vettel. Hams pits on 44/61, comes out in 10th...4sec stop. Vettel is told to pit on 44/61 for his brand new set of super softs (that he was able to save in Qualy by pitting after that hot lap). He comes out in 1st.

Rosbergs' pit implores him to push, but he sounds like a beaten man; probably exhausted from the hottest and most physically demanding race of the year. Button is now in 3rd (46/61), and could possible pull this out if his tires hold up. Alonzo's strategy seems to be a pit late for softs affair where goes nuts to try to finish strong; he sits in 2nd currently. Hams is now behind his tired teammate Rosberg (49/61), both of them behind Webber. They're going to try to pass Webber, but easier said than done. The tricky thing here is that if the drivers ahead of this trio (7-8-9) decide to stay out on tires, including Alonzo, they all need to pass like crazy over the next ~11 laps if they want to see the podium. Raikkonen is sitting in 4th behind Button, which makes you think about the issues Grosjean had and if they'll rear their head in his Lotus as well.

Webber is working his way to Hulkenberg and up front, Raikkonen and Webber go at it for P3. Vettel slows the pace after the pit tells him to look after his brakes. Tires up front are starting to go off and things are heating up. Lap 55/61, ol' bad back Raikkonen pulls a great move over Button and speeds off. It appears Buttons tires are just about roasted. Rosberg and Hams jump Hulkenberg, then Di Resta puts his nose into the wall on 56/61. Safety Car is looming and everyone else is making moves. Webber passes Button for 4th and Hamilton and Rosberg are chasing down Perez for 6th. Hams is trying to take 7th spot from Rosberg, he's being held up. Rosberg passes Perez for 6th and Massa tries to pounce on Hamilton while he tries to get past Perez. Webber gets told to short-shift all gears (sound familiar?) by the pit.

(59/61) Hamilton gets by Perez, but is now very far behind Rosberg as Perez held him up. Rosberg passes Button for 5th. Now Buttons sinking and Massa passes him. Rosberg is reeling Webber in, but he may be too far back (60/61). But with the short-shifting Rosberg gets him on 61/61 followed by Hamilton. Webber's engine is giving up on the last lap, smoke starting to come out the back...three miles worth of a single lap left. Vettel meanwhile is taking the checkered flag. Webber's car goes up in flames, he pulls off to get out of the car. Alonzo pulls off second, getting 36 laps out of a set of mediums. More impressively Raikkonen comes in third, behind his future stable-mate, on a bad back, from 13th place. Vettel has just about sealed up the Championship at this point, 33 career wins, new age records, yadda, but what else do you expect. Alonzo picks up Webber on his way around the track after finishing the race, providing a gentlemanly lift back to the paddock. The ceremony wasn't as crazy as Monza, but in similar fashion and large crowd gathered on the track to hear the national anthems of both Germany and Austria. Third Singapore Grand Prix win in a row for Seb. The current top 5 driver standings are as follows: Vettel, Alonzo (-60), Hamilton (-96), Raikkonen (-98), Webber (-117).

This weekend should be another exciting scrap for Manufacturer and Driver's Championship points in Korea. In related news it appears the group responsible for paperwork and capital to get the 2014 NJ/NY F1 off the ground has met the deadline for submission; cross your fingers for a second US F1 race next year. Enjoy your weekends.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Car Pron: The One With The 2014 McLaren MP4-12C Spider! (MotorTrend)

MotorTrend's Worlds Fastest Carshow with Justin Bell features the latest pop-top from McLaren.

Video courtesy of MotorTrend.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Motorsport Workshop: With Allan McNish at COTA 2013 And More (Shakedown)

Leo Parente talks motorsport with renowned Audi LMP1 pilot Allan McNish on topics including ALMS, F1 and learning the COTA circuit from a drivers' perspective.

Video courtesy of Drive.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Automotive Topic: Talking Audi Concepts with Quattro GmbH at 2013 Frankfurt Show! (MotorTrend)

Our friends at MotorTrend visit the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show to chat with Frank Van Meel and Stephan Reil from Quattro GmbH. They talk turkey on Audi RS models, concept cars and future projects. Video courtesy of MotorTrend.