How Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 Hailed the Rebirth of Sebastian Vettel

vettelWhat defines a legend in Formula One? Who is allowed to join the harrowed hall of fame in this amazing sport? This is a question that elicits debate, but one thing that is an irrefutable fact is Sebastian Vettel’s desire to join this coterie of drivers.

With the win at the amazing 2015 Malaysia Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver announced his comeback, and for F1 fans, they have Sepang to thank for this turnaround. But before you start celebrating that baby-Schumacher, as Vettel is adoringly called, is back, why not look at germane issues around this incredible win at Kuala Lumpur?

Struggling to Join Legends

The German might have won four back-to-back titles with Red Bull from 2010 to 2014 but the sporting world seems to have never accepted him into the pantheon of F1 greats. When the German announced he would leave Red Bull in September 2014, everyone was astonished including team bigwigs.

Of course you had to sympathize with the guy; a defending champion with no race win as the F1 season was closing had to make a drastic decision, and Sebastian Vettel was bold enough to make the call. It was considered career suicide considering the struggle Ferrari was going through in the 2014 season, but finally the move paid.

Malaysia Grand Prix as a Springboard

So, was it just the SF-15T’s pace or were there other factors about the circuit that worked for Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari in general? Here are some ideas:

  1. Past wins experience: With age comes experience. Vettel has won at Sepang three other times.  With such background and a good car to boot, all the right ingredients were there for a win at Malaysia GP.
  2. The incredible Ferrari SF-15T: After the race, one statement from Vettel stood out about beating Mercedes W06 fair and square. During pre-season testing at Jerez, the German had also hinted about the car’s incredible performance, and when the right conditions presented themselves, it was all systems go for the four-time champion.
  3. Amazing race strategy: When Mercedes decided to pit early under the safety car, Vettel took the lead and he was able to run longer on more fragile medium tires. Mercedes in desperation split tire strategy to catch Vettel, but the German’s skills and race conditions worked to his favor.

You can’t deny that the complicated Malaysia GP circuit, which requires an innovative tire strategy, handed F1 a refreshing outlook to things. All of a sudden, the 2015 season looks like it is bound to get even more exciting; thanks to Sepang!

Could Williams Upset Formula One this Year after Strong Preseason Testing?

Williams - Jerez, SpainWhen the 2014 F1 season was closing, it was obvious that no team would come close to Mercedes in 2015. When the W06 was launched, Lewis Hamilton, the 2014 champion, said the car felt much like the 2014 machine which obviously sent jitters down the spines of those constructors’ who wanted to at least take a bite off team PETRONAS’ lead.

Williams’ Preseason Surprise Package

Well, preseason testing is over and Australian GP is due to start on March 15th. However, that is not even the focus this week, but the performance of Williams in testing. By the last day of testing, Valterri Bottas had managed to ensure Williams ended preseason testing on top of the timesheets. The Mercedes-powered Williams managed to rake in 89 laps at an impressive 1: 23.063s on super soft tires.

So, what is Williams not giving away and who should be worried about this preseason muscle power? For starters, there was nothing much coming from the team during the first days, and Felipe Massa and Bottas seem to have worked extra hard to get to the peak.

The two drivers are already saying the car is a vast improvement from the previous car and it is no wonder it got the best classification since 2003 season. With only more down force being cited as the problem, it is obvious that the season is definitely going to be full of surprises.

Changes to Competition behind Mercedes

What would happen if Williams kept up its consistency which other teams seem to be struggling with? Most likely the teams that would have to come in for more competition include:

1.       Ferrari

This is the team that has experienced the most intriguing ‘stupid season’ and now it seems the dust is settling. The new boss, Maurizio Arrivabene, wants some wins, and with Vettel and Raikkonen praising the SF 15-T, it is obvious that these wins are possible in case reliability issues with Mercedes persist.

2.       McLaren

Could the season be over before it starts for McLaren-Honda? The team name that once sent shivers down spines of competition is now fading right before fans’ eyes. With technical problems still plaguing the team, especially with Alonso’s accident, it seems like Ferrari and Williams will fully capitalize on McLaren’s problems. Kevin Magnussen and Button were further limited by oil leaks again hinting the car is not ready to push for 2nd position.

3.       Red Bull

Could the livery on Red Bull’s car have been meant to hide the disappointment of the winter season? The RB 11 is not the force anyone thought it would be and to even think it can challenge Ferrari or Mercedes would be stretching the truth too far. The performance and reliability of RB 11 are in doubt and only the combined genius of Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat can see Red Bull winning a race this season.

4.       Suaber

Felipe Nasr impressed in preseason testing and though the team concentrated on race simulations, there is no denying the team can surprise with points this season. Marcus Ericsson hasn’t raced since Sochi, Russia and you have to give it to the team for the efforts they seem to be expending. Could this be the surprise package this season?

5.       Lotus

If Pastor Maldonado stops crashing every other time, this team could probably fight for points. The Mercedes-powered E23 Hybrid impressed in Barcelona, and while the team is not overly optimistic on wins and podium finishes, it is definitely going to be interesting to see what comes out of this partnership.

6.       Force India

The most significant detail that you must have noted from Force India’s races in Barcelona was VJM08’s performance, which seemed flawless. The team which skipped Jerez entirely landed with Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg ready to see what the car could do. Impressively, the VJM08 impressed so much almost surpassing the more powerful McLaren-Honda’s entire pre-season total laps over only 2 days.

7.       Toro Rosso

Beautiful car to say the least and one which Franz Tost hailed as the greatest the team has made. If you ask Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr., the reaction wouldn’t be so optimistic considering the team’s erratic performance and low power. With an almost new car for the last pre-season testing to remedy these issues, the two rookie drivers have a tough test ahead as Melbourne approaches.

Well, this was all about Williams. Many teams have impressed during pre-season testing previously only to disappoint. Could Williams be a true surprise package this season? It would surely make every race more exciting to watch.

Yas Marina Where the 2014 F1 Season Comes To an End

This year’s Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the last one for the season. Drivers will get double points for podium finishes. The race will kick off on November 21st and end on 23rd November 2014. This will certainly be the biggest sporting event on Middle Eastern soil. Even without delving into the specifics of the race, Formula One diehards know what it means to have a race taking place.

Yas Marina

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place at the Yas Marina Circuit. The state held its first Grand Prix in 2009. Since then, the country has had a partnership with Formula One. Drivers have to battle it off in a race that covers a total of 55 laps. There is also intense heat from the scorching sun. Abu Dhabi is located in a region well known for its desert features. However, the country has spent the millions of dollars it earns from oil revenues well.

Living up to the promise

The race happens to be among the recent additions in the Formula One calendar. So far, Abu Dhabi has lived to its promise. Many a Formula 1 fan looks forward to this event. It is the only F1 race held during twilight hours. The Yas Marina circuit comes to life with its magnificent lighting. Hermann Tilke is the man behind the track’s design. The name Yas Marina comes from the island on which the track is located.

No desert stops an exciting event

Yas Marina has a 50,000 spectator capacity. There are 21 corners twisting through the island. Tight corners and straights are a typical feature in all F1 circuits across the world. Drivers pass near the marina before racing through Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel. Since the region sits on a desert, the track passes through a number of sand dunes. Drivers are in for an exciting challenge.

Hamilton and Rosberg – usual suspects

Many expect the duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to take the top two positions. Hamilton appears to be the thirsty one here after Rosberg beat him in the just concluded Brazil Grand Prix. Even if Hamilton takes second position, he will still be crowned world champion. A victory, nonetheless, will grant him full bragging rights. He will also be the one to pop the champagne.

Away from the track

Back to the circuit, there are five grandstands. A grandstand is a structure designed in a way that spectators can seat and follow proceedings on the track. The grandstands are Marina, South, North, West and Main Grandstands. There is also a media center, VIP tower, pit and team buildings.

Monaco – unique comparison

Yas Marina circuit covers a surface area equivalent to 161.9 hectares. The exit lane to the pit stop goes underneath the main track, which is beyond imagination. The Monaco Grand Prix is another race where uniqueness and creativity is present. The race takes place in the streets. You need to be there in 2015 to see and experience it.

Hamilton on the verge of taking the 2014 F1 championship

Lewis Hamilton has been hitting motorsport headlines all year round. The British Grand Prix driver is poised to become this year’s champion. Hamilton only needs to finish the Sao Paolo Grand Prix in third place and come second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Brazilian Grand Prix ends on Sunday, 9 November 2014. Hamilton is leading the 2014 Grand Prix standings with 316 points. His team Mercedes compatriot Nico Rosberg is second with 292 points. Even if Rosberg wins the remaining two races, Hamilton will still receive the champion crown on the strength of the aforementioned probabilities.

Winning is all Hamilton wants

In the 2014 season, Hamilton has won 10 races while Rosberg has four wins. Nonetheless, Hamilton is going for nothing but victory. Despite the fact that anything can happen is sports, Hamilton is very optimistic. Rosberg, on the other hand is not perturbed at all. A string of misfortunes has seen him retire in the British and Singaporean races earlier in the year. The Abu Dhabi race has a strange twist to it. The world motorsport body FIA has agreed to the award of double points to the winner in the last event. That would make it difficult for Hamilton. It means that he must win in both events.

The Brazilian test

Surprisingly, Hamilton has never won a race in Brazil. He, however, admits that the spirit of Ayrton Senna inspires him to perform wonders at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Hamilton says that Senna inspired him during childhood. He has always wanted to be like Senna. Brazilian fans love Hamilton. Moments after his arrival in Brazil for the 2014 race, he received a football shirt with his name emblazoned on it. Fans jokingly said that they would even consider giving Hamilton a Brazilian passport. This would make him one of their own. Ayrton Senna was one of the most successful Brazilian Formula One champion.

Sad memories

Hamilton still has sad memories of the Belgian Grand Prix. During the race, he was involved in a collision with Nico Rosberg, his teammate. He had to retire while Rosberg finished second. The German later apologized. The collision occurred in the second lap of the race. Rosberg was trying to overtake Hamilton. The front wing of his racing car hit the rear left tyre of his team mate’s car. The result was a damaged wing and a puncture. Hamilton had no choice but to retire.