As Formula 1 takes its traditional summer break, one of the key talking points within the media and the paddock is the question of who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull Racing.
Departing | Australian driver Mark Webber is to retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season. (Image | GT Spirit)
The team’s hierarchy will use this three-week break to discuss which driver they believe to be the best appointment once the Australian leaves to race for Porsche next season, in the classic Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Before the last outing in Hungary, the two leading candidates for the seat were Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen and Daniel Ricciardo, of Red Bull’s sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The Chinese Grand Prix, now in its ninth year as a Formula 1 venue, is host to plenty of talking points this weekend (Image | providingnews.com)
Two rounds down, seventeen to go, and the 2013 Formula 1 season is already shaping up to be a rather intriguing, and at this stage utterly unpredictable, affair.
There are already a great number of talking points following the curtain-raiser in Melbourne and last weekend’s eyebrow-raiser in Sepang, but we’ve taken four to examine and highlighted the three teams in most turmoil up and down the grid…
1) Are team orders still acceptable in Formula 1?
Tony Gilham, former world BMX champion and MMA fighter, has turned successfully to motorsport in recent years (Image | MJP Media)
This season will see Team HARD., led by former BMX world champion and professional cage-fighter Tony Gilham, attempt the unprecedented challenge of running four cars simultaneously in the British Touring Car Championship having run just one until the last round of last season, when they fielded two.
Just in case that doesn’t sound enough of a test, let me elaborate – HARD. will be running two different cars. One of those, the VW Passat CC, will be making its touring car debut. Only one of the five drivers signed thus far by the squad has previous experience of a complete BTCC season. Then there’s the sponsorship and backing for four cars to find, the logistical nightmare to sort out, the cars to finish building before the campaign starts – and yet the squad are looking at adding a fifth entry to their record-breaking endeavours.
Sounding difficult yet?
As another sporting year begins there may be a certain feeling that nothing could top the unforgettable year of 2012, which saw a magnificent Olympic Games, the European Championships, a British Grand Slam winner after so long and much more.
Mario Balotelli | Having once again hit the headlines after a row with manager Roberto Mancini in training, we ask: why, oh why is it always him? (Image | Manchester City FC)
However, there are more than enough prizes to be decided over the next 12 months, some of which are fairly easy to predict, while others remain very much open to debate.
The Armchair Pundits, therefore, has taken a look at the calendar and pinpointed five “sure-fire successes”, some of which are bound to be as controversial as Mario Balotelli and about as likely as Tom Daley being handed his own diving-themed show on televi… Oh, hang on.
As Sebastian Vettel slides past the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne on the run down to Turn 4, the yellow flag indicators can clearly be seen showing on his dashboard, either side of the timing screen. This would seem to suggest that the pass is illegal, which could result in a penalty for the German. (Video | YouTube)
This is the moment which could ruin Sebastian Vettel’s hat-trick of Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship crowns.
Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone announced on Sunday that the sport could soon be returning to France in the wake of construction delays in New Jersey, that have caused the Grand Prix of America to be postponed until 2014.
It could go one of two ways: south to Circuit Paul Ricard, which has not hosted a race since 1990, or back to Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, in central France.
So what does this mean for the sport? Firstly, it could mean the return of a classic racing circuit steeped in history, the setting for 17 Grand Prix races between 1991 and 2008, and almost certainly signifies at least one journey to the land of Proust, De Gaulle and Prost.
All smiles | Lewis Hamilton will drive for Mercedes GP next year. (Image | Planet F1)
The world of Formula 1 was moderately stirred earlier today by the announcement that Lewis Hamilton is set to join Mercedes GP. Having been at McLaren for six years, the 27-year-old driver moves to Mercedes hoping to reignite his title challenge.
Hamilton currently sits fourth in the drivers’ world championship, behind Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus-Renault, Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and Fernando Alonso, his former nemesis, at Ferrari.
Yuasa Honda’s Gordon Sheddon took two wins and a third-place at Rockingham at the weekend to move ahead of teammate and reigning champion Matt Neal in the championship standings (Image | 90right.wordpress.com)
Many of you will, no doubt, have been tuned in on Sunday to the Singapore Grand Prix, and suffered with Lewis Hamilton as engine failure cost him not only points but a lot of momentum in his pursuit of drivers’ championship leader, and former McLaren teammate, Fernando Alonso.
I, however, was at a motor-racing event of a rather different nature.
Regular readers of TAP’s motorsport section may have noticed that I’m something of a British touring cars fan, and last weekend I got the chance to fulfill a lifelong (okay, year-long) ambition to go to the BTCC event at Rockingham Motor Speedway in Northamptonshire.