Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso controlled the race from pole to win at Hockenheim’s German Grand Prix, securing a third victory this year, and beginning to suggest that he is the man most ready to tame the unpredictability of Formula One. Since the season began, seven different drivers have finished first; with half of the 20 scheduled Grands Prix completed, Alonso leads the only other multiple race winner, Red Bull’s Mark Webber, by 34 points – more than a race victory. Webber, victorious two weeks previously at the British Grand Prix, “just found himself slightly out of that sweet spot with these tyres” according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner. The team principal also suggested that the reduced time for dry running in practice had impeded Webber’s Hockenheim preparations. The Australian was 47 seconds off Alonso’s pace, finishing eighth.
Using a two-stop strategy to prevail from a low-key qualifying performance, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso became the first driver to win two races in the 2012 season in Valencia at the European Grand Prix. Alonso took the lead in the championship thanks to an emotional home victory having qualified 11th on the grid. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented, “Fernando did an incredible job to win from 11th place.” Sailing serenely ahead of the jostling pack in the first half of the race, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel looked likely to make good on his greater speed, and led by 20 seconds after qualifying on pole. However a safety car period and a pit stop to change to medium compound tyres later and the German was forced to retire with a technical problem. Alonso completed two short stints on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre and a longer stint of 29 laps on the P Zero White medium.
Pirelli has consistently said the aim of its 2012 specification tyre compounds would be to create increased variety in Formula One teams’ race strategies. The Italian supplier of the championship has proposed to do this by reducing the gaps in performance between its available compounds, and in the season opening Australian Grand Prix the new versions of the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero White medium created a difference of around half a second per lap.
Following what it describes as an “extensive investigation” of the circumstances leading Sebastian Vettel’s tyre-related exit from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Pirelli says its engineers have ruled out the possibility that a structural failure of the tyre was causal factor. “We can confirm that a structural failure was not the cause of Sebastian Vettel’s deflation in Abu Dhabi, a conclusion that we have arrived at together with Red Bull Racing following a detailed examination and analysis of the remains of the tyre,” stated Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. “We cannot rule out debris on the track causing damage to the tyre, which then provoked a deflation, but having looked at the track closely there is no direct evidence of this.”
Pirelli says its engineers are investigating the sudden deflation of Sebastian Vettel’s tyre, which caused the world champion to retire from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with damage to the rear of his car. The tyre deflation marked the end of Red Bull Racing’s streak of podium finishes – the F1 team had a podium presence during the last 19 finishes – and it is also the first time in 19 races that Vettel has retired.
Pirelli’s home race in Monza was run in high temperatures, presenting a good test for the company’s rubber following the blistering experienced at Spa. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “Our first home race in the very special surroundings of Monza was everything that we hoped it would be, and the fact that there are five world champions in the top five just underlines the quality of the action.
McLaren’s Jenson Button took his second victory in mixed conditions at the Hungaroring, to follow his win in similar weather in Canada earlier this year. The Englishman was assured of victory after his team mate Lewis Hamilton changed onto intermediate tyres in the closing stages of the race only to find that the conditions were not wet enough, forcing him to revert to slicks in his fifth pit stop of the afternoon. In an intriguing move, Hamilton had saved an extra set of supersoft tyres for the race during qualifying, allowing him to find extra grip even in the damp middle stages of the race. However, a gamble on more rain failed to pay off and he finished fourth, leaving Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to take the podium’s lower steps.
It seems pit-stop confusion may have aided Sebastian Vettel in securing victory at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Red Bull Racing driver pulled into the pit on lap 16 in response to a change of rubber made by nearest rival Jenson Button. His team intended to keep the PZero Red super soft tyres on his car, however a problem with the team’s communication system led to a switch to the primary Yellow soft tyres. Thanks to this radio mix-up, Vettel was able to avoid a later pit-stop. Race commentators say the German driver’s ability to continue on the soft tyres until the red flag was hung out late in the race proved key to his Monaco victory.
After crashing on Friday and missing the entirety of the second free practice session, Sebastian Vettel took his third grand prix win of the year, using a four-stop strategy to convert his pole position in Turkey to victory. The top five finishers used a four-stop strategy for the first time this year. Jenson Button was obliged to concede two places in the closing stages of the race, finishing sixth for McLaren, after a three-stop strategy forced him to run on PZero Silver tyres that were seven laps older than those of his team mate. Virgin’s Jerome d’Ambrosio drove a two-stop strategy, while Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi used a three-stop strategy to help propel him from last on the grid to a point-scoring 10th place finish.
“What a fantastic race” – these are the words of Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery following the Australian Grand Prix, the tyre maker’s first race under its three-year supply agreement. As Pirelli predicted, most runners made two to three pit stops – eleven of the 16 classified finishers, including race winner Sebastian Vettel, stopped twice, with five finishers stopping three times and one driver – 21-year-old rookie Sergio Perez – stopping only once en route to seventh place. The total race time was three minutes quicker than last year, a time saving that Pirelli says underlines the performance of its PZero tyres.
Kumho has created an all-new control tyre for the 2011 Formula 3 Euro Series. The final specification of the new tyre resulted from two days of comprehensive evaluation at the renowned Vallelunga circuit in Italy. It will be made available to the teams from the first official test session onwards.
Kumho supplied four different specifications of tyre for the 900 kilometres carried out by Dutch F3 driver Renger van der Zande – two completely new designs and two new compounds – each of which was compared with the 2010 specification covers. “The chosen tyre is incredibly good,” van der Zande commented adding: “The performance for fast qualifying laps and race pace consistency are equally remarkable.”
Bridgestone’s penultimate Formula 1 race saw the three major contenders for the Formula One Drivers Championship take the podium places. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both closed the gap on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari with a one-two that helped the team seal the Constructors’ Championship. All three drivers used the same super soft – medium Bridgestone Potenza tyre strategy. In contrast to the damp qualifying session, the race saw hot and dry weather conditions.
Fernando Alonso scored his fifth win of the season in Korea, overcoming difficult conditions on a new, already slippery surface. Alonso called conditions “the worst [he’d] ever driven in”, a sentiment his nearest rival Mark Webber must also have felt as he failed to find enough grip in time when exiting a corner, aquaplaning into a wall. Current champion Jenson Button will almost certainly relinquish his crown, failing to score a point down in twelfth, but McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton kept up his challenge on Alonso and Webber with a high-quality second place, splitting the Ferraris on the podium. Sebastian Vettel’s failure to finish compounded a miserable race for Red Bull after looking strongest in qualifying.
Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel won his third Grand Prix of the season after using a soft-hard Bridgestone Potenza tyre strategy in a fast-paced, close and exciting Japanese Grand Prix. Pole-man Vettel led team-mate Mark Webber across the line by less than a second for Red Bull Racing’s third 1-2 of the season. Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Fernando Alonso finished third. Shoshi Arakawa, Bridgestone chairman of the Board, CEO and president delivered a parting message to Formula One: “For Bridgestone it was our final home Grand Prix. I am proud that we have supported the pinnacle of motorsport for the last 14 years. I would like to thank all the teams, drivers, fans and everyone involved in Formula One. I wish Formula One a prosperous future. We look forward to supporting all teams and drivers for the remaining three races.”
Bridgestone’s soft tyre took Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel to the fastest lap of the sinuous Suzuka Circuit on the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix today. The German set a 1:31.465 lap time in the afternoon session after earlier setting the fastest time with the hard tyre in the morning. Bridgestone director of Motorsport Tyre Development, Hirohide Hamashima said that both compounds for the race were looking “strong”, but that wet tyres would also come into play at some point over the weekend.