Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interlagos, the end of the F1 season

Unlike the past 4 years, Formula 1's visit to Interlagos does not have any driver's championship implications riding on it. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because most of the top guys can pretty much race with no extra burden.

Of course there are minor placings to be sorted out, but any of the heavy hitters involved in those already have their seats confirmed for next year.

The highest profile score to settle is the battle for 2nd place between Mark Webber, Jensen Button, and Fernando Alonso. We see Jensen keeping his present slot at 2nd in the title chase.

As for the win...Sebastian Vettel is the favorite. Given that he is looking to take hold of the record for the most pole positions in a season for himself (currently tied with Nigel Mansel with 14), we wonder if he was too hard on his tires during qualifying in Abu Dhabi and did his tires in for the race. The drivers reaching Q3 start the race with their Q3 tires.

No one will mention that possibility of that being what happened, because he wants that record, and with nothing to loose the team doesn't mind letting him be a bit daring in qualifying.

There are other actors who will be playing for the win here, if Vettel does not get all his ducks aligned. In order of likeliness here they are:

Lewis Hamilton: he has had a turbulent season, but he is still Lewis Hamilton one of the fastest and decisive drivers around. Just the thought of at least finishing with more wins than Jensen Button can make him rise to the occasion; everybody needs a consolation prize. If he is fully focused, the race can be his with or without Vettel in contention. He has nothing to loose.

Jensen Button: He has a bit of a reason to drive a calculated race; he wants to remain 2n in the standings. As long as he finishes in the top 3 there's nothing anyone can do to unseat him.

Fernando Alonso: Arguably the prototype Formula 1 driver and team leader. Despite his various skills, the Ferrari lags a bit behind the other cars here.

Mark Webber: We don't see him hauling in either Fernando Alonso nor Jensen Button. However like Hamilton he has nothing to loose, and he dearly wants a win this season. He can take more risks than Button, but his fortunes have not been the greatest.

Felipe Massa: Very unexpected, but this is a sport and a hometown hero always has a chance of performing a miracle by feeding off the cheers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grand-Am strikes back

We follow both of North America's premier sports car series. Namely the ALMS and Grand-Am. Being pretty well acquainted with both of them, try as we might to be impartial we have always seen the ALMS' racing hardware as superior to Grand-Am's machinery.

The American Le Mans cars are better looking, better sounding, at the top end they're faster, etc.

However a few days ago we heard about a new Grand-Am prototype. And when we finally saw pictures of it. The experience was literally jaw-dropping to say the least. It's like the guy in high school no one really pays much attention to, until he introduces the hot looking new volleyball player as his cousin that moved in with him and his parents for the school year. Now everybody wants to know when they can stop over.

This new Corvette DP is just sultry looking in every detail. We couldn't help picturing something similarly looking closing in on the back of an Audi or Peugeot on the Mulsanne straight.

We're not sure what other manufacturer is lining up to unleash a challenger of their own. But this car really is a investment by GM into Grand Am. With the ALMS corvette squad pressured to deliver an ALMS championship, you never know, this could be a foreshadowing of Corvette's eventual departure from the ALMS. We don't want to speak too soon, but bad news is easier to take when you have a hint of what's coming.

Monday, November 21, 2011

ESM's first 2012 lineup

Extreme Speed Motorsports has unveiled their lineup for the #02 car. No one really expected anything to change here from lat season. So it's hardly news. It will still be Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown at the wheel.

The lineup for their lead # 01 car is yet to be announced. But if anything changes there it would be pretty interesting. Scott Sharp is the team owner, so he isn't going anywhere...well at least I don't think so. Johannes Van Overbeek is an employee of Scott's, but he is arguably the faster driver of the two. But there are faster pilots out there still, and Scott can always decide he would like to partner with one of those and hope for better success in 2012

Having watched Guy Cosmo give the factory cars small scares in qualifying, and as well as Van Overbeek's sometimes promising runs in the races, you just can't help but think that if those 2 shared one of ESM's cars they would be a very solid lineup, and could be there to pounce on the spoils when the big teams slip up.

Sure if that were to happen that would send the Ed Brown and Scott Sharp pairing deep into this ultra fierce field, but the GT class would gain another strong player.