Sad day

The FIA issued this statement earlier:

The world of motor sport is in mourning today, after the tragic passing of Jules Bianchi overnight. The sport has lost one of the most talented drivers of this generation, from a family that has such a strong presence in the history of the sport.

Jules Bianchi was a popular personality all in F1, possessing the best of both human and sporting qualities. The FIA ​​recognises the courage with which he conducted his last fight, in the company of his loving family.

Jean Todt, FIA President, expressed his deepest condolences to Jules’ family and recognised the great pain being felt by the Bianchi family and those close to them.

The motor sport community offers their most sincere support through this terrible ordeal.

Silverstone Classic: try not to miss it

 

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This year’s 25th anniversary Silverstone Classic (24-26 July) will celebrate its milestone Silver Jubilee.

At one end of the phenomenal panorama the introduction of F1 cars from the turbocharged Senna and Schumacher era brings the story almost up to date. The return of the evocative pre-War sports cars meanwhile will take festival-goers much further back in time to an epoch when the famed Bentley Boys were victorious at Le Mans in the 1920s.

Adventurer and aviator Glen Kidston was one of them and he will be honoured at this year’s Classic. Silverstone will reverberate to the magnificent sound of a huge grid of wonderful cars from that golden age in what promises to be a vastly entertaining Kidston Trophy race on Saturday morning.

Kidston had been torpedoed twice in the same morning when serving as a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy. By the mid 1920s he was a submarine Commander and when not at sea he set records as an aviator, hill climbed, conducted motorcycle speed trials on sand and raced cars, winning the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hour race in the Bentley Speed Six he shared with Woolf Barnato (above).

Having survived several serious scrapes, Kidston sadly lost his life less than a year later when the de Havilland Puss Moth he was flying broke up in mid-air during a dust storm over the Drakensberg Mountains in southern Africa.

It takes quite a grid to represent such a buccaneering character, but Motor Racing Legends has succeeded with more than 45 eye-catching entries already received. A full complement of 50 now looks probable for a dazzling 40-minute showdown complete with a mandatory pit-stop and optional driver change.

In a race dedicated to a Bentley Boy you need a Bentley or two. The Classic will have at least nine, including the 4½-litre Le Mans of vintage Bentley guru Stanley Mann plus a pair of 3-litre machines dating back to 1924 – currently the oldest on the near-capacity entry.

At the front of the pack are likely to be the big Invicta S Type of Chris and Nick Ball, the Alta Sports of Gareth Burnett and Richard Evans, and Rudi Friedrichs in the Alvis Speed 20 SA in which he has clocked up more than 150,000 miles, including three Peking-Paris rallies. The aluminium Frazer Nash Supersports of Fred Wakeman and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards is another potential front-runner – it’s one of at least seven Frazer Nashes rolling back the years at the Classic.

What makes the Kidston Trophy special, though, is the wildly diverse sizes and power of the competing machines, the mighty Bentleys dwarfing cars such as the Austin Seven, as the seatbelt-less drivers saw away at the wooden steering wheels and negotiate the modern Grand Prix track on narrow tyres.

The entry also features a mouth-watering array of nine early Aston Martins plus the three Talbot 105 works Fox & Nicholl team cars complete with their famous GO 52, GO 53 and GO 54 registrations. Paul Grist’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2.9, Richard Pilkington’s Talbot T26, Richard Wilson’s 1935 Squire Short Chassis and Martin Halusa’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spyder are other certain crowd-pullers. Halusa is also fielding his iconic Bugatti 35C.

The inaugural Kidston Trophy is just one of the many, many highlights on Saturday’s packed programme. Others include BTCC champions Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden gunning for victory in the fiercely-fought U2TC race for Sixties saloons, the opening FIA Masters Formula One contest for a record field of F1 cars from the DFV era, Group C prototypes racing into the sunset and Status Quo performing live. It all adds up to a truly unmissable day of evocative entertainment.

 

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British GP post race: Sahara Force India

Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez.

 

The team scored eight points with Nico Hülkenberg racing to seventh place and Sergio Perez coming home ninth. The double points finish consolidates the team’s fifth position in the Constructors’ championship.

P7 Nico Hulkenberg VJM08-01
Strategy: Used Mediums (19 laps) – New Hards (25 laps) – New Intermediates (8 laps)

Nico Hulkenberg: “That was an entertaining afternoon and it’s great to come away from our home race with a good bunch of points. My start was sensational – maybe the best I ever had in Formula One – and I rocketed up to fifth place ahead of the two Ferraris. I was able to keep them behind me for the first stint, but they had too much pace and were able to use the strategy to jump us by pitting early. When the rain arrived at the end of the race the track was very slippery. I was a bit unfortunate with the timing because I had just passed the pit lane entry when the rain became really heavy and I had to do a full lap before I could change to intermediates. Overall, though, I think seventh place is a great result and we should be satisfied. A lot of the performance today is down to the updates we brought here. It’s moved us in the right direction so I have to say a big well done to the team.”

P9 Sergio Perez VJM08-02
Strategy: New Mediums (20 laps) – New Hards (24 laps) – New Intermediates (7 laps)

Sergio Perez: “Finishing with both cars in the points at Silverstone is a very positive step for the team. We probably could have been even higher up, but the strategy didn’t really work out in my favour. After my first stop, I lost a position to Sainz and I spent a few laps stuck behind him when my tyres were at their best. I was in the dirty air and struggling with the front tyres, which had a lot of graining. When the second rain shower came we had a lot of discussions over the radio about what call to make and unfortunately we waited too long, which cost us a place. When you get opportunities and you don’t make the best of them you are obviously disappointed, but I think we should focus on the positives of this weekend. We’ve shown good progress and there is a lot of potential for the second half of the season.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director:
“To score eight points in our home race and strengthen our hold on fifth place in the championship is a fantastic achievement. Historically we’ve never been especially strong on the high-speed layout of Silverstone, but the updated VJM08 looked competitive in all weather conditions. This track provides a tough test of a Formula One car so I’m optimistic we can keep up the momentum as we enter the second half of the season. Both Nico and Sergio drove exceptionally well today; they kept out of trouble and coped well with the changeable conditions. It wasn’t easy to know when to pit for intermediate tyres because some parts of the track were wet and some were dry, but I think we made the right decisions with the information we had.”

 

Nico Hulkenberg.

Nico Hulkenberg.

British GP post race: Williams

Felipe Massa finished fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth after running 1-2 in the first stint of an exciting British Grand Prix.

After a brilliant start, Massa took the lead of the race, holding on to the position until the first round of pitstops. Bottas was racing for second off the start, eventually holding third until he was able to capitalise on a mistake from Hamilton to retake the position after a brief safety car period. Hamilton jumped both cars in the first pitstops before rain played havoc with the field allowing Rosberg and Vettel to move ahead as they stopped for intermediates.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “There were a few moments in the race where things didn’t go our way. We have to remain positive and proud of our result. The pace we showed throughout this weekend was great, we had a stunning race up until the rain came. We raced two cars against both Mercedes for a majority of the race which shows the hard work and upgrades we are bringing to the car are all working. We closed the gap on second position and moved further ahead of fourth, so it has been a good weekend.”

Felipe Massa: “It is a frustrating result because the race was amazing today. I had a fantastic start and we were fighting with Mercedes the whole time, it could even have been possible to win the race if it had stayed dry, which is great to see. It was a shame to lose positions in the rain. We waited one lap longer on the second stop which is where we lost the opportunity to be on the podium. That shower also highlighted the car’s weakness in the wet.”

Valtteri Bottas: “In some ways it was an incredibly frustrating race, and others it was very pleasing. Both cars had great starts and we raced the Mercedes with genuine pace, but when the rain came I really struggled with the intermediate tyre. I was allowed to race Felipe, but it was hard to get through, and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. We have to have a look the race data and make sure we continue to learn from this.”

British GP post race: Lotus

Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team on the grid. British Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July 2015. Silverstone, England.

Romain Grosjean.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 E23 on the grid. British Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July 2015. Silverstone, England.

Pastor Maldonado.

 

Lotus F1 Team’s hopes for the British Grand Prix evaporated before the completion of the first lap after an incident instigated retirement for both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Contact between Daniel Riccardo’s Red Bull and Maldonado’s E23 led to contact with and damage to the latter’s car; Grosjean retired almost immediately whereas Maldonado was able to complete more of his lap before being told to park and retire.

Grosjean started from P12 on the grid on fresh medium compound tyres.
Maldonado started from P14 on the grid on new medium compound tyres.

Romain Grosjean, DNF, E23-04:
“That was a very short race for the team and I feel for everyone here at Silverstone and at Enstone. Daniel must have thought his brakes and tyres would be able to slow him better than they did and the result was the end of both my and Pastor’s race. No-one likes to end a Grand Prix like that as so much effort goes into making and preparing the cars. I know we have many fans who want to see us race so I feel for them too. Budapest is next, and we’ve gone well there in the past. I’m pumped-up to fight for every single point available.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03:
“At first I thought I had a puncture and would be able to return to the pits and re-join the race but unfortunately the damage to the car was more serious than that and I had to retire. There is nothing you can do in situations like these as it’s all part of racing. Now my focus is on the next race where we’ll be trying our very best as always.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal:
“Motorsport is sometimes a cruel sport and we saw that today. There was nothing either of our drivers could have done to avoid the first lap incident and that was our race over. It’s been a frustrating home weekend for us. We weren’t able to show the pace we have in the car, we’ve suffered from a few niggles, then it was a very early bath for both our guys. Our focus is now very much on Budapest and doing everything we can to ensure we perform at the best of our ability there.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director:
“Both Romain and Pastor were the victims of over-exuberance at the start of the race meaning that both returned to the garage for a very short debrief after only a lap on track. It’s now a rapid return to Enstone to put everything we can into preparing the cars for Hungary and our next opportunity for a points haul.”

 

(L to R): Julien Simon-Chautemps (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Race Engineer with Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team on the grid. British Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July 2015. Silverstone, England.

(L to R): Julien Simon-Chautemps, Team Race Engineer with Romain Grosjean.

Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team with Mark Slade (GBR) Lotus F1 Team Race Engineer on the grid. British Grand Prix, Sunday 5th July 2015. Silverstone, England.

Pastor Maldonado with Mark Slade, Team Race Engineer on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton receives Hawthorn Memorial trophy

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Sunday’s British Grand Prix winner received the accolade from Rob Jones, Chief Executive of the Motor Sports Association (MSA).

The Hawthorn Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the most successful British or Commonwealth driver in the previous year’s FIA Formula One World Drivers’ Championship. It was first presented by the Hawthorn family in memory of Mike Hawthorn, who became Britain’s first F1 champion in 1958 but tragically died a year later. Sunday (5 July) marked 62 years since Hawthorn won his first grand prix, at Reims in 1953 – can hardly believe it.

Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Hamilton won 11 grands prix – including his home race at Silverstone – en route to the 2014 F1 title. In doing so he became only the 16th driver in F1’s 64-year history to win the championship more than once. His first crown came in only his second F1 season in 2008, having missed being a rookie champion in 2007 by a single point.

Lewis Hamilton: “This trophy is full of class. It’s real silverware with a great history and that’s what I race for; this is the best reward you can get for winning. It’s real and it’s what you have to show for all your efforts, so I’m very grateful to receive it.”

Rob Jones: “It was a real pleasure to present Lewis with the Hawthorn Memorial Trophy once again, particularly as he is so appreciative of the history of British motor sports. Mike Hawthorn was Britain’s first F1 champion and Lewis is the latest, with nine more in between.”

Since the formation of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950, no fewer than 10 British drivers have won the title – seven more than any other nation.

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