Singapore it is. Lewis Hamilton was off to a good start that lasted for 23 laps. Transmission failure put Sebastin Vettel in the lead never to look back. Jensen Button came in second with Fernando Alonso following in third.
A 5,073 km bumpy track with little action as the cars get too strung out here. Michael Schumacher had a shunt that will cost him 10 grid places in the next race.
HRA pro stock driver Shane Gray's car goes airborne after he lost control and crashed into the wall during the O'Reilly Auto Parts Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C. Luckily, Gray was not injured in the incident.
In late August the FIA announced a new championship series to be powered by 100% electric energy. Called Formula E, it aims to demonstrate the need for alternatively-powered cars, an idea that has become the motor industry’s collective vision for automobiles of the future. The series promoter, Formula E Holdings (FEH), is a conglomerate of entrepreneurs, former racing bosses, and other auto industry professionals.
The cars will be showcased to the public in demonstrations throughout next year, but the first championship season will not begin until 2014. The field will share a likeness with that of Formula 1, except that it will be intended to be a 10-team of two drivers each. And also like F1, grands prix will be held in landmark cities around the world - Rio de Janeiro has already been named the city to host the first Formula E race. Cars must be “sanctioned as Formula E” by the FIA and based on the Formulec EF01 prototype, though we’re still waiting to see pictures of the prototype “already in operation.”
The creation of the Formula E series represents a push to maintain a sustainable racing series that does not sacrifice the entertainment factor that comes from traditional, high-performance cars driven by combustion engines. In fact, the Formula E series will be built on a “Three Es” paradigm - energy, environment, and entertainment - and as such will appeal to what will hopefully be a diverse fan base in more ways than one. Clearly energy and entertainment aren’t new elements to the racing scene, but it’s refreshing to see the second “E” serve equal importance in the development of an international championship series.
Not only is the global population increasing at an unsustainable rate, but there also exists a greater than ever (perceived) need for people to be mobile. Although people may not be in agreement about where our energy sources should be derived, I believe most would agree that the continual mass consumption of fossil fuels given these facts has and will become increasingly more irresponsible.
But here comes the “not so fast.” While all that lean ‘n’ green talk sounds great moving forward, there exists a potential negative impact on F1. A new series dedicated to high performance electric cars will be a good thing for F1 and all other championship series, right? In the long run, maybe. But when the big budget teams of F1 compete with other teams in different series – especially for the sake of trying something new – is it really good for F1? Focus wanes, performance declines, and that entertainment factor starts to slide, all because teams spread themselves too thin across too many motoring ventures. Take McLaren-Mercedes for example, who’s expressed interest in participating in Formula E according to Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh. They compete with Ferrari in numerous other road car series, yet have been anything but consistent this 2012 F1 season. Of course you can’t blame of the inconsistencies and failures from this season on this, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Remaining on top in a highly competitive sport such as F1 requires teams to maintain an edge. To state an interest is one thing, especially since F1 excels at creating waste in so many ways - with fuel, rare materials and so on. Hopping onto the green bandwagon might seem like a gracious and points-winning display of opportunism, but it only serves to divert attention from the need to drive the current, targeted fascination forwards. Only time will tell if the new Formula E series will lead the way in efficient performance - or if it will cause teams to take their eye off the ball in the premier sport of F1.
edited text credit: 2012 Andrew Swinghamer via 2012 The Austin Grand Prix, LLC
(my notes: I am looking forward to this. I thought they were going to start in 2013, but I guess that isn't going to happen. These cars will be as fast as a bad odor out of a sewer...and just as quiet. How are they going to shake the ground while reving up?)
Dario Franchitti held the lead heading into the final lap, but a daring pass by Ed Carpenter shot the owner/driver to the front. A crash by Takuma Sato on the last lap secured Carpenter's second career victory after the American led a race-high 62 laps. So, that left Ed Carpenter the winner, Dario Franchitti in second and Scott Dixon in Third.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, THE CHAMPION
Since this was the final race of the season it was also the season championship race. Going into the race it was Will Power against Ryan Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay, who came out of nowhere in the last few races, to challenge the championship. Power, who led the championship by 17 points, qualified in 12th, but had a five place penalty because of an engine change. Hunter-Reay qualified in 17th and also picking up a five place penalty for the same reason. It makes sense to me to make an engine change and take the penalty and get a fresh engine. Especially for the championship. Both drivers had to be a little up tight with how far back in the field they were, but it is a 500 mile race and anything can happen. And happen, it did.
Power went out on lap 55 with an accident which put Hunter-Reay in the limelight. In order to win Hunter-Reay had to finish 6th or better. Power was able to get out later for a short time forcing Hunter-Reay to now be 5th or better. A tall order. Hunter-Reay was able to get into 4th and hang on to it for the championship.
I always feel bad for the winner of a race that also decides the championship because that winner ends up being like an ‘also ran.’ You can’t take anything away from Ed Carpenter…this is his first year as an owner/driver and what a job he did.
A couple of interesting things happened before the race and during the race. On Wednesday, Mike Conway, decided that he wasn’t comfortable with oval racing anymore. Two years ago, as shown in this blog, Conway had a terrible accident on the last lap of the Indy 500. After a year recovery period he crashed there again this year. There has been a lot of thought about the oval tracks over the years. Certainly Indy is the biggest race in the U.S., but the ovals have been disappearing from the schedule. He hopes that someone will keep him on for the road races. A lot of drivers are not comfortable with the ovals, but Mike is the first one to step up and say “no.” The drivers all commend him for doing so. I am willing to bet that the owners don’t feel the same way. We will see what next season brings him….maybe in a different series. He is a good driver and it would be a shame to lose him. The second thing was the red flag after the Tony Kanaan accident. There was nothing different about that type of accident yet they red flagged the field. Maybe they were trying to insure a five lap shoot-out, but they took a big chance of the cars not starting again or losing the settings that they had in the first place. Tony’s car was cleaned up in the usual time and they still would have had at least a two lap shoot-out. I don’t think anyone was happy about it, owners or drivers. It worked out in the end, but it was a big gamble. I would like to know whose idea it was and what was he thinking.
The season is done, time to sit back and have a beer and think about next year.
Anyone that has followed Formula One for any length knows who Dr. Sid Watkins is. Commonly known within the Formula One fraternity as Professor Sid or simply Prof was a world-renowned English neurosurgeon.
Watkins served twenty-six years as the FIA Formula One Safety and Medical Delegate, head of the Formula One on-track medical team, and first responder in case of a crash. He helped to save the lives of many drivers including Gerhard Berger, Martin Donnelly, Érik Comas, Mika Häkkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Karl Wendlinger. Watkins was also known for his friendship with driver Ayrton Senna until Senna's death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Watkins was married, with four sons and two daughters. He died on 12 September 2012 after suffering a heart attack.
Early lifeSidney Watkins was born in Liverpool to Wallace and Jessica Watkins. Wallace was originally a coal miner from Gloucestershire, but had moved to Liverpool during the Great Depression of the 1930s where he started a small business initially repairing bicycles before progressing to motor vehicle repairs. Sid Watkins worked for his father at the garage until he was 25. He had two brothers and a sister.
Watkins graduated as a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Liverpool in 1956; during his time there he carried out research on the effects of heat stress on performance, finding that increased heat greatly affected intellectual performance. This research would later prove useful as part of his work in motor racing. Following graduation, he served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in West Africa for four years. There he competed in his only motorsport event, driving a Ford Zephyr Zodiac in the 1955 West African Rally, retiring from the event after the first stage. He returned to the UK in 1958 to specialize in neurosurgery at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, and it was in 1961 when he took up his first motorsport event in a medical capacity at a kart race at the Brands Hatch circuit. During his free time he acted as race doctor at the Silverstone Circuit.
Upon receiving an offer to be professor of neurosurgery at the State University of New York in 1962, Watkins moved to Syracuse, New York, and continued his interest in motorsport at the Watkins Glen circuit. Watkins took four members to the circuit and his own medical equipment due to the lack of supplies provided by circuit officals. He returned to England in 1970 to act as head of neurosurgery at the London Hospital, and was invited to join the RAC medical panel the same year.
Formula One 1970sIn 1978 he met Bernie Ecclestone, at the time chief executive of the Formula One Constructors Association, who offered Watkins the position of official Formula One race doctor. Ecclestone had checked in for a medical problem and offered Watkins $35,000 a year for the entire season. Watkins had to pay airfaires, hotel bills, rental cars and all incidental expenses. Watkins accepted, and attended his first race at the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix. Outside of the Grand Prix weekends, he remained in his position as a neurosurgeon in London. His first day as the Safety and Medical Delegate, was at Brands Hatch to introduce himself to the drivers.
Initially, his appointment was met with hostility by some of the racing circuits, who saw his appointment as a way of monitoring their performance. At the time, medical facilities would sometimes consist of nothing more than a tent. At the 1978 Italian Grand Prix, Ronnie Peterson crashed heavily on the first lap, with the car catching fire. Fellow drivers Clay Regazzoni, Patrick Depailler and James Hunt pulled him from the wreckage but by the time Sid Watkins arrived at the scene, Italian police had formed a human wall to prevent people from entering the area. Watkins was initially stopped from assisting with the treatment and there was a long delay of approximately 18 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take Peterson to hospital, where he died the following day. Following the race, Watkins demanded that Ecclestone provide better safety equipment, an anaesthetist, a medical car and a medical helicopter (Medevac). All were provided at the next race in the USA. In addition, it was decided that the medical car containing Watkins would follow the racing cars for the first lap of the race in order to provide immediate help in the event of a first lap incident.
1980s1981 saw FISA, motorsport's governing body at the time, appoint a Medical Commission, with Watkins elected President. In 1982, at the Belgian Grand Prix, Watkins went into the medical car driven by Roland Bruynseraede as it headed to the scene of Gilles Villeneuve's serious accident and placed a tube into his windpipe for ventilation with his heart in normal condition. Villeneuve was airlifted by helicopter to the 'Gasthuisberg' Hospital in Leuven and Watkins spoke to Villeneuve's wife Joann who was in her home in Monaco when 1979 champion Jody Scheckter informed her of the news. Joann flew to Belgium along with Scheckter's wife Pam to speak with Watkins. Joann and Watkins both accepted the decision to turn off his respirator, and Villeneuve died.
At the Canadian Grand Prix later that year, Watkins had to deal with the fatal accident of Riccardo Paletti on the first lap of the race. Watkins got to Paletti's car 16 seconds after impact and opened the visor of the helmet to see his blown pupils. Then before any medical attention could be received, Paletti's car caught fire due to the petrol tank having ruptured and ignited. Watkins had suitable clothing to prevent him from suffering serious burns but his hands were affected. After he extinguished the fire, he took off his gloves to put an airway into Paletti's throat but Watkins' boots had melted in the fire. At the British Grand Prix in 1985, Watkins received a silver trophy during the drivers briefing. The trophy reads; "To the Prof, our thanks for your invaluable contribution to Formula 1. Nice to know you're there".
In 1987, Nelson Piquet crashed during practice at the San Marino Grand Prix, and was declared unfit to race by Watkins. Despite it being only the 2nd race of the season Piquet tried to persuade officials to allow him to compete knowing any lost points could lose him the championship (which he ultimately won). In response Watkins threatened to resign if overruled. The officials opted to support Watkins, and Piquet sat out the race, later admitting that it was the correct decision.
1990sWatkins founded the Brain and Spine Foundation in 1992, a charity that aims to improve "the prevention, treatment and care of people affected by disorders of the brain and spine". He was a Patron of the foundation.
At the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, Watkins had to attend to his close personal friend, three-time champion Ayrton Senna, following the accident that would eventually claim his life. Watkins had concerns about Senna's mental state following two crashes earlier in the weekend that had injured Senna's countryman and protege Rubens Barrichello and killed Austrian Roland Ratzenberger, suggesting to him that the two leave the track, go fishing, and forget about the race. Early in the race, Senna hit a retaining wall at nearly 140 miles per hour and Watkins was the first to attend to the driver. He reported that there was no chance, based on what he ascertained on arriving at the scene, that Senna could have been saved due to the graveness of the head injury he had suffered. Watkins also said that he felt "his spirit depart at that moment" when Senna apparently drew his last breath.
The FIA Expert Advisory Safety Committee was set up in 1994 following the race and Watkins was appointed as its chairman. There has not been a driver fatality in Formula 1 ever since. Watkins was also responsible for setting up a rally research group and karting research group in 2003. The three groups were brought together in 2004 as the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety, with Watkins as president.
At the 1995 Australian Grand Prix, Mika Häkkinen crashed heavily during the Friday qualifying session at the Brewery Bend at high-speed due to a puncture having been sustained by his car. Häkkinen was immediately rendered unconscious but did not hit his head aganist the surrounding wall or cockpit. Two volunteer doctors, Jereme Lockins and Steve Lewis arrived at the scene in 15 seconds with Watkins arriving last and took the action of restarting Häkkinen's heart twice and performed a cricothyroidotomy at the side of the track which he later described as his most satisfying experience during his time in the sport.
Watkins was awarded the Mario Andretti Award for Medical Excellence in 1996. In 2002, Watkins was made a member of the Order of the British Empire. The University of Liverpool presented him with an honorary doctorate at a ceremony in Liverpool on 8 July 2004. On 12 October 2004, Watkins became the first president of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, and in December of that year he became the first president of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety, both created in honor of the FIA's hundredth anniversary.
RetirementSince his retirement, the FIA has recognised Watkins for being largely responsible for the modernization of medical standards in Formula One. On 20 January 2005, Watkins announced his retirement from his various medical positions in the FIA, but stated his intention to continue as President of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety. FIA President Max Mosley appointed Watkins's longtime deputy Gary Hartstein as his successor. Following his departure Mosley remarked that "Professor Watkins has made a unique contribution to improving the standards of safety and medical intervention throughout motor sport." In July 2008, Watkins was honoured for the award of 'Most Outstanding Contribution to the Motorsport Industry" with the award presented by Martin Brundle at the House of Lords. On 8 December 2011 it was announced that Watkins had stepped down as President of the FIA Institute, but would continue in an honorary role. The day after retiring, he received the FIA Academy Gold Medal for Motor Sport at the official FIA Gala prize-giving ceremony in Dubai.
Each year the Motorsport Safety Fund organises the Watkins Lecture, which takes place at the Autosport Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. These lectures usually focus on motorsport safety related matters, and have been delivered by guest speakers such as Max Mosley and Ross Brawn.
Watkins wrote or co-authored a number of books on racing safety, including Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One.
Eleven years after he was resuscitated seven times following a horrific 200 mph crash, former race car driver Alex Zanardi was among the athletes honored at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Sunday.
His return to the podium – winning two golds and a silver for handcycling - is one of many inspirational stories behind the competition.
The 45-year-old Italian triumphantly lifted his three-wheeled cycle with one arm after winning a time-trial at England’s Brands Hatch course – a track on which he used to race with four wheels.
It is nothing short of extraordinary that he is alive, let alone the winner of three Paralympic medals.
Zanardi's journey to the Paralympics began at the American Memorial 500 on Sept. 15, 2001, at the Eurospeedway Lausitz in Germany — the only American-based series to go forward on the weekend after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Zanardi, a two-time CART champion, had had a difficult season. He started 22nd in a field of 27, but the car was responding well. He was enjoying the drive, passing one car after another, until with 13 laps to go he was in the lead.
Zanardi went into his final pit stop and the crew chief waved him off urging him to "Go, go, go!"
But as he built up speed to get back into the race, the car spun out of control and he veered onto the track. Canadian driver Alex Tagliani, traveling at close to 200 mph, could not avoid him. The reinforced carbon fiber cone of Tagliani's car sliced through the area beside Zanardi's left front wheel and cockpit, the weakest part of the vehicle.
On the track, Dr. Terry Trammel slipped and fell as he raced to the wreckage. He thought he had fallen in oil, but it was Zanardi's blood.
But Zanardi was alive.
The crash had severed Zanardi's right leg at the knee and his left at the thigh some five inches above the knee. The driver's lower legs had disintegrated like those of land mine victims, said Dr. Steve Olvey, director of medical affairs for CART at the time. He had lost 70 percent of his blood, his pelvis was fractured in five places and he had a lacerated liver.
As part of his rehabilitation, Zanardi took up handcycling, which uses a vehicle powered by the arms that features two coasting rear wheels and one steerable front wheel.
He heard about the sport by chance. Zanardi and another athlete had both tried to pull into a disabled parking spot, setting off a dispute as to who should get it. He saw the other man's handbike on top of the car and got curious.
“I don’t know why it happened but I don’t complain because I’m here,” Zanardi said. “Everything else was up to me, to change an adversity into an opportunity…and I think you can do that with everything in life.”
He said the athletes in London - the biggest Paralympic Games in history – had demonstrated that their achievements are about ability rather than disability.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER FOR RAHAL LETTERMAN LANIGAN RACING
Scott Roembke use to get out of Howe High School, jump on a bus for downtown Indianapolis, then take a transfer out to West 16th Street where he could catch Happy Hour -- the last hour of practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That was his May ritual in the early ‘80s as he could never get enough of the Indianapolis 500.
So it was only fitting than Indy went from his passion to his profession.
Roembke, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 50, pretty much lived for Indy-car racing and spent the past 30 years entrenched in the sport he worshiped.
Roembke, who purchased the Gasoline Alley garage doors of Indy 500 legend Bill Vukovich a few years ago, owned as much Indy memorabilia as any two people. One of his favorite pass times was emailing old photos to his pals to identify the car, driver, track and year.
Roembke, of Indianapolis, began his professional racing career in 1986 with Patrick Racing as the logistics manager and then accepted the role of assistant team manager. Late in 1991, he joined Rahal-Hogan Racing as general manager, and in 2000 was promoted to Chief Operating Officer.
The last of the European races was run in Italy. Another old track which I tend to like better than the new ones. As so often happens in Formula One a driver gets in the lead and stays there. Which was the case again this weekend with Lewis Hamilton. Clear sailing all the way, BUT if the race had been any longer he would have lost it to Sergio Perez who was only 4 seconds behind him and gaining. This Perez drives like thunder. If his car holds together just keeps moving up, even on bald tires. He clearly had the best car in this race. He started in 12th, and as I said, was gaining on the leader at the end. He will clearly be a winner some day and is champion material. Would Ferrari be interested in him...probably....would he want to take a second seat to Alonso.....probably not. Alonso came in third and collected enough points to keep him in the lead on the championship points.
For a street race that is only a couple of years old, the streets of Baltimore is going to be a classic. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has been doing very well lately, came in first. Followed by Mr. Second Place, Ryan Briscoe. Coming third was Simon Pagenaud. A four car pile up became one of the deciding factors in the race.
So here we are, the first race after the summer vacation and at one of my favorite tracks. Someone said to me that it seems that I have a lot of favorite tracks in the Formula One and IndyCar series. That is very true. You have to remember that between the two you have about 40 tracks to choose from. There are many that I like and many that I like that are not on the schedule. Jensen Button ran a perfect race, but all the action was behind him. Pastor Maldonado will get a 5 place penalty for jump starting everyone at the start. Roman Grosjean will have to sit out the next race and pay a £50,000 fine for causing an accident at the first turn that took out himself and Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. I am sorry, but I don't like penalities for racing accidents...they are just that....accidents.
Sebastian Vettel came in a hard earned second with Kimi Raikkonen coming in third.....on the podium in almost every race this year. The championship points a tightening up.
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