Category: Williams


Vettel was full of apologies following the ‘Multi-21′ controversy, but Webber would hear none of it. (Image | AP)

Formula 1 is back this weekend as the fun and games comes to Europe and the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona after a three week absence following the Bahrain Grand Prix. Whilst it hasn’t perhaps started off with the bang that was last year, the action has been simmering just nicely to really take off over the next few races, and the level of intrigue remains high. So it is perhaps worthwhile recapping what has passed over the course of the first four races.

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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.

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Flying high: Red Bull’s Mark Webber became the sixth different race winner this season after holding off Nico Rosberg to take the chequered flag. (Image | The Daily Mail)

Mark Webber took his second victory on the streets of Monte Carlo to become the sixth different winner in the opening six races of the 2012 Formula One season. Webber, who was granted pole after Michael Schumacher was demoted to sixth, drove faultlessly as he held back Nico Rosberg of Mercedes. Fernando Alonso took the final podium place and surprisingly leads the championship ahead of Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Webber, something few in the paddock would have predicted before the first race in March.

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A fire in the Williams garage, which began over half an hour after the race ended, will be the lasting memory of the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix (Getty)

Pastor Maldonado achieved a memorable first win in seven and a half years for the long-embattled Williams F1 team, but the occasion was marred by the hospitalisation of four team mechanics – and five more, four from Caterham and one Force India member – following the outbreak of a horrific fire in the team’s garage following the race.

Reports soon emerged from sources such as BBC.co.uk and Autosport.com that the fire had been caused either by a KERS or fuel explosion, possibly linked to the retired car of Bruno Senna which had been recovered to the pits after stopping out on track. Thick black smoke engulfed the pit lane as fire-trained mechanics from several teams rushed to join the firefighting effort.

The event cast an unhappy shadow over what should have been a memorable day for Williams, whose founder Frank Williams had his entire family at the race to celebrate his 70th birthday. Williams, who has been in a wheelchair for over 25 years following a car accident, was in the garage at the time of the fire but was reportedly evacuated safely.

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The beautiful Sepang circuit, opened in 1999, is known for its twin straights, twisting corners and highly unpredictable weather (MotoGP.com)

There are many talking points around the Formula 1 paddock ahead of this weekend’s second round of the season in Sepang, Malaysia. Last weekend’s curtain-raiser in Melbourne provided F1 fans with a couple of surprises – McLaren out-qualifying Red Bull caught most casual fans by surprise, while the struggles of Ferrari have heaped more pressure on Stefano Domenicali and his technical team. So what should we be looking out for as the teams prepare to go racing again?

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Heikki Kovaleinen and Caterham were at the first F1 test of 2012 in Jerez, 7-10 February. Marussia and HRT, meanwhile, are yet to unveil their new cars

For the second time in three years, HRT will enter the Formula 1 season opener in Melbourne having not tested their new car at any of the sport’s spring tests in Jerez and Barcelona. This year, after failing the last of the FIA’s 18 mandatory crash tests, Marussia (previously Virgin Racing) will arrive in Melbourne blind, too – their plan to run some light testing tomorrow, the day after the final Barcelona test ends, was nixed earlier this week by the sport’s governing body.

2012 is the third season in F1 for these two teams, as well as for Caterham F1 (until recently known as Lotus Racing). And yet, neither are anywhere near being competitive, and the failure to arrive at pre-season testing – a perennial issue for beleaguered and cash-strapped HRT, in particular – is just another indication that neither team has what it takes to develop into a legitimate F1 competitor.

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Raikkonen returning to a different world

“The Iceman cometh back”, screamed the headline of the October issue of F1 Racing. I picked my subscriber’s copy straight off the doormat and flicked through to the relevant article. I was mildly disappointed to read that it was probable the Finn would be signing with Williams. That would mean his glacial press conferences would be much more commonplace than his lightning speed.

Raikkonen is returning to Formula One for the 2012-2013 season.

Then Renault – sorry, Lotus – had a dreary end to the season, and someone at Genii Capital who’s probably never watched any F1 decided that neither erratic Russian Vitaly Petrov nor Brazilian Bruno Senna, who in fairness has yet to display anything other than good character and strong qualifying, had done enough to warrant a new contract. With Robert Kubica still resting the team’s future, and his part-severed right hand, following last year’s rally mishap, the French – well, English-French-Swiss now – outfit have plumped for Romain Grosjean (a questionable move) and Raikkonen (brilliant).

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