Formula 1 update
European Grand Prix: Could Formula 1 have an eighth winner in eight races?
June 17, the day Austin was host to its first Formula 1 event of the year. But instead of a race, which moved last year to November 18, we got Formula One Expo.
An estimated 15,000 fans visited the Austin Convention Center, which made the event an overwhelming success.
Even though the general opinion was that door tickets were a little expensive, there were a few rare and beautiful cars on display including some recent and vintage Formula 1 cars, some of which fans may be able to see at the recently announced vintage Formula 1 race to be held during the U.S. Grand Prix (USGP) race weekend.
The various simulators seemed to be the highlight of the event for many attendees. Overall it was a good event with great attendance results, but the organizers are going to have to take things up a notch next year if they want attendance to remain high. This was the kind of event that you go to once and you are not necessarily unhappy, but you will not be excited for it next year.
The organizers say they are working with Circuit of the Americas to organize next years event at the circuit which should allow for a more engaging and fulfilling experience.
On a different and more distant note the Formula 1 teams headed back to Europe after a great Grand Prix in Montreal, Canada. This weekend Formula 1 stops in Valencia, Spain for the European Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix in Valencia is raced on a street circuit surrounding the harbor. It is one of the newer races with its inaugural race having been held in 2008.
Since it is a street circuit the surface is a little rougher than normal, and with high temperatures in Valencia tire management will be an important part of the teams race strategy. As we have seen this season time and time again a race can be won or lost in just a few laps due to poor tire management. Take a look at the final lap shake up in Canada between Alonso, Grosjean, Perez, and Vettel.
Some in pit lane have been complaining about this added element of semi-uncertainty. Semi-uncertainty because it is clear some teams and even some drivers within a team have been better than others, and appear to be better suited to handle the sensitive tires.
From a fans standpoint this is great, you never want to look away since there is more passing than we have seen in recent years and a race is not over until the checkered flag comes out, which, looking back at Vettel and Schumacher’s successes in recent years, has not always been the case. Just last year at this track Vettel pulled away in the first couple laps and was never challenged for the rest of the race. We were reduced to watching the fight for second place between Webber and Alonso.
This year we get to Valencia with seven different winners in seven different races, and a strong chance for an eighth winner.
Schumacher set the fastest qualifying time in Monaco recently and this track is similar so he has a good chance. Lotus-Renault has a good chance of seeing either of Romain Grosjean or Kimi Raikonnen on the top step of the podium.
Grosjean qualified well in Monaco but crashed out of the race, and having finished second last weekend he should have plenty of confidence coming to Valencia. The circuit and weather conditions should also favor Lotus’ car which has shown to be quicker in warmer weather.
Of course we could also finally have a repeat winner this weekend — although it almost seems inappropriate at this point to have a repeat victor, there are so many well qualified contenders.
Vettel has won here the past two years. Alonso, Webber, and Hamilton have also podiumed here in the past two years. So it should be another exciting race this weekend.
As always the race will broadcast on SPEED, but also tape delayed at 11:00 a.m. Sunday on FOX so if you plan on watching it on FOX stay away from your computer Sunday morning.
All of this intrigue is fantastic for Austin's USGP which is the penultimate race of the season. The 2012 Formula 1 World Championship will likely come down to the last race.
Also in case you missed it Circuit of the Americas has added more bleacher seating in turns 9 and 11, due to the quick sell out of the originally planned bleacher seats.