Autosport Awards 2012 – Winners

Sunday 2nd December is the 2012 Autosport Awards ceremony. The event was held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

Photo (c) Amy Wozencroft

Live Commentary is available:

List of Winners:

British Club Driver of the Year Award: Scott Malvern

National Driver of the Year Award: Gordon Shedden

1st Pioneering and Innovation Award: FIA medical team, acknowledging the remarkable work of Professor Sid Watkins

2nd Pioneering and Innovation Award: Nissan DeltaWing

1st John Bolster Award for Technical Excellence:  Peter Sauber

2nd John Bolster Award for Technical Excellence:  Bob Dance

Rally Car of the Year: Citroen DS3 WRC

Rookie of the Year Award: Matheo Tuscher

British Competition Driver: Jenson Button

Racing Car of the Year: Red Bull RB8

International Racing Driver: Sebastian Vettel (for the 3rd consecutive year)

Comments and Feedback:

Most motorsport fans assumed that the event would be available as a live stream online but were bitterly disappointed to find out that it wasnt the case this year. Some suggested it had something to do with Autosport’s recent announcement of a quote for non-subscribers. However, sponsors missed a trick by not insisting on live feed. Despite the unfortunate music choices during the un-censored live streamed event last year, sponsors’ logos were very visible during the awards.

There was also some consternation about Button being awarded the British Competition Driver of the Year. It must be noted that the nomination form was printed in an edition of Autosport with Button on the cover and the driver is known to host dinners for british journalists every year at the last race. Some also pointed out that Hamilton might have lost out since he recently announced his move from a British team McLaren to German team, Mercedes.

 ‏@EwanMarshall : Eh? So Hamilton has one of his best ever seasons yet loses the British Competition Driver award to Button?

 ‏@TalkingaboutF1 : Jenson voted British Competition Driver of 2012 ahead of Lewis. I don’t get that.

What did you think of the winners? Do you agree? Did you vote, if not, why not? Did you know much about the awards and the nomination/voting process? Is it reflective of most F1 fans opinions?


Italian GP Experience

Guest Blog from a follower (@naijaSolar) who was at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend.

I have been to F1 races before but I had never been to the Italian Grand Prix, despite having friends in and visiting Milan and Monza. So after running out of reasons not to go, I decided to book tickets for the race and combine it visiting my friends. Milan in the lead up to the Italian Grand Prix didnt look very different – apart from the front of the Ferrari Store near Corso Vittorio Emmanuele and the Duomo. This area had been transformed into a mini-race track with several events for passers-by. I am not a “tifoso” but any F1 fan would be crazy not to visit the shop which epitomises Formula 1 passion globally.

To maintain a balanced, unbiased perspective, I also visited the McLaren showroom on Corso Sempione. Unfortunately, it is a showroom – accessible only by appointment – perhaps this was why not a lot of people were aware of its presence.

On my way back from the McLaren Showroom, I walked past a small bookshop on Corso Venezia. Turns out it is an automobile bookshop – one of the oldest in Italy. The owner spoke English and told me about the extensive array of books that he had.

Something caught my eye in the shop: I spotted a large red book with a pair of gloves on it. These, the proprietor explained, were to protect the book from customer smudges and stains. It was an iconic Ferrari book which had to be made to order, the most expensive version (Ferrari Opus Diamante Edition) costing up to a quarter of a million dollars! Sadly I didnt have that kind of change on me.


On Thursday, I went to the track to collect my pre-booked tickets. As I was staying at a friend’s apartment on the outskirts of Milan, the entire trip to the Autodromo lasted about 2hours and involved the Metro to Sesto, a bus to Monza town centre and then another bus to the Autodromo di Monza. On arrival, it took just 5 minutes to process my ID and furnish me with the tickets. Then I had the rest of the afternoon to look around the track.

I discovered the entrance to the F1 paddock and the crowd gathered outside it implied that it might be a good spot for autograph-hunting. And sure enough, Kimi Raikkonen, Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi walked by – none of whom stopped for autographs. However about half an hour later, a black Mercedes pulled up to the gates and Lewis Hamilton emerged from the car. I almost could not believe it was him! He stopped and signed autographs, flags, shirts, hats and shook hands with some of the people there. Everyone cheered for him and it was good to see him take time to acknowledge the fans’ support.

Lewis arrives at Autodromo di Monza, Italian GP

As part of the 3-day ticket package, fans were allowed onto the pit between 4pm and 6.30pm on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, the first garage most fans flocked to was the Ferrari garage and there were chants of “ALONSO, ALONSO”. There was even a random chant of “Grosjean is sheeeeeet” in a thick Italian accent, no doubt a tifoso still annoyed about the 1st-lap incident that took out Alonso at the Spa Grand Prix.

I saw Vettel and his minders as he went to conduct an interview, also saw Christian Horner, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, Daniel Ricciardo, Timo Glock and FIA Deputy Race Director, Herbie Blash.

Thursday Night was spent at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in Milan – a glamour-themed late shopping night in Milan. Parties at Pirelli, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, Pinko and many other shops along Corso Venezia kept us entertained till the early hours of the morning.

Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, VFNO, Milan


Parabolica 21D was our home on Friday and Saturday, which provided a good view of the Monza track; with the big screen directly in front of us and bilingual commentary, we didn’t miss much of the session. The only thing that I wasnt prepared for was the unbearable heat!

Something else I was looking forward to was Santander‘s regular competition on race weekends: an initiative to get more females interested in Formula 1, by selecting the first 5 people to tweet them within a certain period. I was lucky enough to have been on Twitter when the “competition opened” and promptly sent a tweet for a chance at this money-cant-buy experience. I was elated to receive a message saying I had been selected for the Paddock tour, all I had to do was been at the paddock entrance at 9am on race day.


I arrived an hour early on Sunday and myself and other competition winners met the Santander representative who gave us guest passes for the paddock and escorted us through the turnstiles leading into the Monza paddock. We met Ferrari’s sponsorship manager, Marco who had been enrolled as our guide for the day. He showed us the Ferrari technical motorhome and their hospitality area.

Later on, we went into the McLaren motorhome and spoke briefly with Sam Inskip (Sponsorship Manager at McLaren), after which we were introduced to a senior director of Santander. Finally we had a quick look inside HRT’s motorhome and as we exited the paddock, politely interrupted Pirelli’s Paul Hembery‘s conversation for a photograph.

It was such a great opportunity and I cannot thank Santander enough for making my first trip to Monza an unforgettable experience. This was made even better by the phenomenal drive and win by Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez. The fans at Parabolica cheered for most drivers – even when Button’s car ground to a halt right in front of our stands. However, the same cannot be said of the fans who crowded under the podium after the race and booed Lewis Hamilton. This was the only negative on a glorious race weekend.

If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing – well, perhaps I’d get covered grandstand tickets or better yet, not return the Santander Guest passes!

Special thanks to @SantanderGP, @PaulHembery, @InsideFerrari and @theFifthDriver. More photos can be found on my Twitter profile @naijaSolar.

duskyF1Quiz Answers

Which driver won the most races btw 1991 and 2000? Schumacher And which driver was 2nd highest winner between 2001 – 2010? Alonso

If the current Championship was scored with 2008 points i.e. 10 pts for a win, 8 for 2nd place etc, what would be the total of Alonso + Hamilton’s current points? 111

Who is leading the DHL fastest lap table this season? Vettel

Which driver(s) has completed every race of the 2012 season so far? Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen (some of you answered Webber but he is short by 1 lap!)

How many points did Toro Rosso have before the summer break in 2011 – and how many do they have now? 22 in 2011, 6 this year.

If the WCC order at the end of 2012 is MCL, RBR, LOT, SAUB, MERC, FIND, WILL, TROSSO and there are no driver-changes; what car number would Daniel Ricciardo & Jean-Eric Vergne have in 2013? 16 and 17. Number 13 is not used

Photo round:
Helmets 1 – 5: Webber, Massa, Riccardo, Petrov, Vergne
Logo 1 – 5: Minardi, Benetton, Brabham, Super Aguri, Williams

FOTA Fans Forum – Manhattan

This is a short interview by @rfzeitlin who attended the recent FOTA Fans Forum in Manhattan. (Click here for the Barcelona FOTA Fans Forum). 

1) How was registering for the event? How did you hear about it?

It definitely was easy to register, just a name and email address were required.  I saw a post on twitter and went from there.  There were also a few articles that mentioned it, but I think it could have been much better publicized.

(*It was only publicised on Twitter and via the trade press. These events do not need wider publicising, because registrations would have been more substantial, leading to potential disappointment for more people)

2) Venue and Turn-Out

The venue was very easy to find, right in the middle of the city, no problem at all.  I actually arrived by train to Grand Central, so it was an easy walk to the hall.  The registration book at check-in was very, very long and I know they actually shut down registration because of extremely high demand.  I was quite surprised there weren’t more people there.  I don’t think the turnout mattered to the quality of the event, but as someone with a particularly vested interest in the success of F1 in the US, I was disappointed there weren’t more fans there.

(*Actual attendance figure was over 200 from 600 who registered for the FOTA Forum event but could not/did not attend)

3) What questions were asked / answered by the guests of honour?

The drivers present were Paul di Resta, Alexander Rossi, Sergio Perez (a treat, considering his Montreal podium), and Charles Pic.

Sergio Perez (Photo from @salukiconvert)

Before they came on, the panel started with Graeme Lowdon (Marussia) and Bob Fernley (Sahara Force India). There were a good number of interesting questions tossed out at these guys, including my personal favorite asking what the gents would change if they were Bernie for a day.


Welcome back, Formula 1

Similarly to last F1 off-season, I’ve collated tid-bits and news items from the F1 world during the break – one for every day since those cars were packed up in Brazil to when their new reincarnations roar to live in Australia on Friday (110 days). So to refresh your memory…


  1. Caterham (previously known as Team Lotus) launched their car in an innovative way by publishing a photo in F1 Racing magazine. It has a stepped down nose (nicknamed “platypus”) as their interpretation of lower nose-rule change
  2. McLaren launch the MP4-27 on 1st February online, and it has a smooth nose
  3. Ferrari’s launch (F2012) is on 3rd February. Heavy snow fall scuppered plans to drive around Maranello
  4. Force India also unveil the VJM05 on 3rd February
  5. Lotus F1 team revealed the E20 online on Sunday 5th Feb – same step-down nose as all others (apart from McLaren)
  6. Sauber release their C31 new car on Monday 6th February
  7. RedBull also launched the RB8 on Monday 6th February
  8. …. and so does Toro Rosso
  9. Tuesday 7th was Williams’ launch date
  10. Mercedes reveal another stepped nose car at the second test in Barcelona
  11. HRT is reported to have passed the FIA Crash test in the final week of February 2012
  12. Marussia failed the last of 18 tests and means it will not participate in the final test in Barcelona – therefore goes to AustralianGP untested…..
  13. …..They eventually passed on March 6th 2012
  14. Marussia unveil their car at Silverstone on Monday 5th March and its nose is similar to McLaren – with whom they have a technical partnership
  15. HRT have a filming day at Montmelo on Monday 5th March
  16. Pirelli’s test car is the 2010 Renault


  1. McLaren retains its driver line up of Lewis Hamilton (UK)  and Jenson Button (UK)
  2. RedBull also keeps their 2010 line up i.e. Mark Webber (Australia) and Sebastian Vettel (Germany)
  3. Michael Schmacher has another go to show that his comeback is not a mistake with Mercedes GP 2010 team mate Nico Rosberg
  4. Force India kick Adrian Sutil (Germany) out and replace him with German reserve driver, Nico Hulkenberg  whilst retaining Paul Di Resta (UK)
  5. Williams keep Pastor Maldonaldo (Venezuelan) and his partner is Bruno Senna (Brazil)
  6. Toro Rosso go for a completely new line-up with a promotion for last year’s reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) and Jean-Eric Vergne (France)
  7. Lotus follow in Toro Rosso’s steps and announce all new line up….well, almost all new – both drivers are “second-chancers” Kimi Raikkonen (Finnish) after a 2-year-hiatus and Romain Grosjean (France) after his first stint in F1 in 2009.
  8. Sauber keep Kobayashi (Japan) and Sergio Pérez (Mexico)
  9. Marussia Virgin keeps Timo Glock (Germany), loses Jerome D’Ambrosio (Belgium) and newbie Charles Pic (French) joins the team
  10. HRT sign ex-McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) and he is partnered by Narain Karthikeyan (India)- last driver to be announced, and it came after news of Sutil’s conviction.
  11. Lotus retain ‘veteran’ Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) and Jarno Trulli (Italy) until Feb 17th (see #43)
  12. Ferrari return with Felipe Massa (Brazil) and Fernando Alonso (Spain)


Season Finale and Review

Bloggers, Reporters and Journalists didn’t need much encouragement to use puns such as “close shave” or “smooth run” during the seaon-finale in Brazil despite the event being the anti-climax it was destined to be after the WDC and WCC were decided several races ago.
Vettel started on pole after breaking Nigel Mansell’s record of most poles in a season on the penultimate session of the season. Though many were quick to point out that he was still trailing Mansell’s record in terms of % poles per races. Hamilton qualified 4th and was beside his team-mate on the grid.
Brazil GP (photo via @F1PaddockPass)
Button lost ground at the start of the race on Sunday, and was soon overtaken by Alonso. He then struggled to keep up with the Ferrari. Vettel was told he had a gearbox problem and had to “short-shift” for the rest of the race. He continued to drive as normal, pulling out a gap on other drivers until he slowed down enough for his team-mate Webber to overtake him.
Conspiracy theorists then inferred that his gearbox problem was “manufactured” to hand his team-mate the win. Several other drivers suffered gear-box problems; Hamilton had to retire mid way through the race, after a  season he will be in a hurry to forget.

Indian GP: Qualifying

Narain Karthikeyan replaces Tonio Liuzzi in the HRT to be the only Indian on track for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. In the drop out zone after Q1 were KOB, KOV, TRU, RIC, KAR, DAM, GLO. 
Solo Indian at inaugural Indian Grand Prix

Out of Q2 were: PET, MSC, DIR, MAL, SEN, BAR, PER and the top 10 were VET, HAM, WEB, ALO, BUT, MAS, ROS, SUT, BUE, ALG.
The Indian Grand Prix starting grid looks like this after penalties have been applied:
Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton (3 place grid drop), Rosberg, Sutil, Buemi, Alguersuari, Schumacher, di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Barichello, Petrov (5 place grid drop), Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Perez (3 place grid drop), D’Ambrosio, Riccardo, Karthikeyan (5 place grid drop), Glock.

Korean GP: Race Summary

Lewis Hamilton started from pole position but he lost the lead to recently crowned Double World Drivers Champion, Sebastian Vettel by the fourth corner of the first lap. A collision between Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher on lap 18 caused the deployment of the Safety car and the cars ‘bunched’ up behind Vettel.
However at the restart, Vettel retained the lead and Lewis Hamilton spent the second half of the race fighting to fend off Webber and stay in 2nd place. A final-lap overtake by Alguersuari on Rosberg (who seemed to be running out of fuel) bagged the young Spaniard 7th place and the accolade of “Driver of the Day”. Paul di Resta was the only rookie to score points in this race.

Winner’s Trophy (photo by @leeStevo1)
The top three drivers were Vettel, Hamilton and Webber. RedBull’s 1st and 3rd clinched them their 2nd World Constructor’s Championship and two weekends of partying. Hamilton seemed content (he only managed a wry smile) to have finished 2nd and ahead of his team-mate, and even managed a quip at the start of his interview with BBC’s Lee McKenzie.

Petrov got a 5-place grid drop and a reprimand for his collision with Schumacher. See Stewards’ press release here.

Korean GP: Qualifying

Both Friday practice sessions were in the wet but Saturday morning was dry and gave the drivers a better indicator of their true pace.

Korean GP (photo from @MyTeamLotus)
Out after Q1 were Barrichello, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, D’Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Ricciardo. Ricciardo did not set a time as his car developed a problem before Qualifying.
In the second Qualifying session, Alguersuari, Schumacher, Buemi, Kobayashi, Senna, Maldonado, Perez qualified 11th to 18th, leaving Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Button, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Petrov, Sutil and Di Resta to fight for the top 10 places.
Fight for top 10 resulted in this order for tomorrow’s race: Hamilton (1:35.820s), Vettel, Button, Webber, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Petrov, Di Resta and Sutil. 
Top 3 drivers at Korean GP (photo by @thefifthDriver)
Vettel is not in the middle (photo by @thefifthDriver)

Hamilton breaks RedBull streak of pole positions and this is on the weekend his team celebrates their 700th Grand Prix. Hope a race win tomorrow can finally bring a smile to his face. Goodness knows, he needs a great deal of a morale boost.

Addendum: Sebastian Vettel took a shortcut while racing back to the pits in preparation for a last run in Q3. The stewards ruled that no penalty would be applied since he started with 17 seconds before end of session. See photo below for Stewards’ ruling.

Stewards Ruling (photo from @F1Kate)

Japanese GP: Race Summary (Vettel wins 2nd WDC)

Fireworks and Champagne greets Vettel in Japan, as he became the youngest ever Double World Champion. He finished in 3rd position behind Button and Alonso, scoring 14 points more than what he required to secure the title.
In 2010, Vettel took Hamilton’s title of being youngest ever WDC and this year, Alonso’s youngest double WDC record has been broken by almost a year (Vettel is 24 years and 98 days today).
Vettel already holds the record for being the youngest polesitter at 21 years, 72 days old when he qualified in first place for the 2008 Italian Grand Prix and for being the youngest WDC runners-up. According to German publication Bild, Vettel will receive a £5million pound bonus for winning his 2nd title.

As the lights went out, Vettel moved right to cover Button’s brilliant start and pushed the McLaren driver onto the grass. This gave Hamilton some room to to move up close to Vettel and he held 2nd position until a slow puncture forced him to pit for new tyres. Button later regained 1st place during the pit stop phase.

Massa and Hamilton had a coming together which resulted in parts of the Brazilian’s Ferrari to break off but the stewards decided not to investigate the incident further. Clearing up this debris resulted in a Safety car deployment and Button managed the snake of cars behind him skillfully.

There was only one retirement of the race; Sebastian Buemi’s tyres were not fitted properly and he had to retire. Rosberg who started from 23rd and had his full tyre allocation at his disposal, drove well to finish 10th.

Top 10 drivers were: BUT, ALO, VET, WEB, HAM, MSC, MAS, PER, PET, ROS.