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Jaime Villegas

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Nico Rosberg: In It to Win It

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 05:04 PM

Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg is two for two this season and is sitting pretty with five consecutive wins all together from 2015. Let’s take a look at who was able to prevail in the desert and who was left in the dust.

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Rosberg Rewind

Rosberg’s teammate Lewis Hamilton dropped to ninth on the opening lap after Turn 1 contact with Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, but in a damaged car fought his way back to secure a lonely final podium place. The second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel failed to start after a suspected engine failure on the formation lap.

Rosberg didn’t put a wheel wrong in Bahrain’s twilight. As Hamilton and Raikkonen made poor starts, he sped into a lead that was never seriously contested, thus increasing his championship lead. Whenever Raikkonen pushed, he responded, keeping clear of the red threat to score his second consecutive win of 2016, and his fifth in a row since Mexico last year. Two races in, and he has a 17-point lead over his reigning champion teammate…

Mario_china_11-1.jpgRaikkonen is ThisClose

Raikkonen kept the pressure up as they both ran the super-soft Pirelli tires on which they had qualified before switching to softs. Hamilton, with time to make up after being half spun in the first corner by an over-enthusiastic Bottas (who was given a drive-through penalty for his pains), switched to mediums on his first stop as he embarked on yet another 2016 damage-limitation race.

Raikkonen got close to Rosberg at times, but never close enough as Rosberg always had an answer. They each switched back to super-softs in their second stops, as did Hamilton, but it was clear the race lay between Rosberg and Raikkonen. They shadowed each other yet again in their final stops, back to softs, but in the end the Mercedes driver was 10.2s ahead.

2014_ASM_MALAYSIA_IMG_05-2.jpgHurry Up, Hamilton!

Hamilton, who had been breathtaking on the mediums as he matched the leaders, took softs for his final stint and for a while closed in, but the first-lap damage to his car was too limiting and he finished a distant third.

Hamilton was lucky insofar as he was able to continue, but Toto Wolff estimated that floor and bargeboard damage cost the world champion up to a second a lap. He is now 17 points adrift of his teammate, and it’s beginning to look like the start of 2014 all over again. But we all know how that turned out in the end…

Haas: The American Dream

Haas did a fabulous job to finish sixth with Romain Grosjean on their debut in Australia, but fifth here was even better because it was won the hard way. Yet again strategist Ruth Buscombe took an aggressive stance, which was made possible when Hulkenberg bumped Grosjean from Q3 in the dying seconds of Q2 and freed up their tire choice.

Two sets of new super-softs, another used set, and a set of new softs enabled the Frenchman to withstand a delay in his final stop and still finish well, though arguably that might even have cost them fourth place. It’s a long time since a new team looked so accomplished, which might explain Grosjean’s slightly OTT (over-the-top) post-race radio message.

Chinese Grand Prix, Here We Go!

The 2016 qualifying format may still be a contentious issue, but the choice of three tire compounds really has spiced things up and created a great race with battles throughout the field for the 57 laps.

Get to the Chinese Grand Prix with Grand Prix Experiences and enjoy F1™ racing as a true racing fan should! Get behind-the-scenes access, exclusive insider extras, premium hospitality, and more!

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Topics: Formula One

8 Things We Learned From the F1™ Australia Grand Prix

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 @ 02:03 PM

2014_ASM_AUSTRALIA_IMG_05.jpgThe season opener has a habit of throwing up interesting statistics, and so it proved again on Sunday. Nico Rosberg of Mercedes fought for every inch he earned on the track on Sunday, and it proved to be enough as he took home the checkered flag. Plenty of noteworthy things happened in the 2016 F1™ opener which made it hard for us to narrow it down to eight.

  • In finishing second, Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s record of six podium finishes in Australia. On Saturday the Briton joined the great German in becoming one of just three drivers (the other being Ayrton Senna) to have scored 50 or more pole positions in F1 racing.

    Hamilton fought early on to get out from the middle of the pack as the beginning of the race, which was something different than what we’ve come to expect from the Mercedes crew. It didn’t take them long to work through the poor start as they found their footing and soon proved that they are still the team to beat in Formula One™. Though helped in part by the red flag brought on by Fernando Alonso’s crash and subsequently, Ferrari’s decision to not change tire compounds during that red flag, Rosberg showed that Mercedes still have the ability to control a race comfortably from the front.

  • Romain Grosjean’s sixth place finish ensured Haas became the first brand-new team to score points on their Grand Prix debut since Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota in 2002. Haas are also the first American team to score points since the similarly named (but completely unaffiliated) Team Haas finished sixth with Alan Jones at Monza in 1986. Worth noting that Grosjean only finished in the top six once last season with Lotus.

    Grosjean without a doubt exceeded all expectations to claim sixth in Haas’ debut race. Again, without the red flag, it’s unlikely Grosjean would have even scored one point, but his driving in the second half of the race was world-class, and he deserved every single one of the eight points he scored.  2014_ASM_AUSTRALIA_IMG_04.jpg

  • Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place finish equaled the best result for an Australian driver on home soil – a tie with Mark Webber’s fourth place in 2012. Ricciardo also became just the second Australian - again after Webber - to record a fastest lap at home.

    Daniel Ricciardo enjoyed a successful home race after an average qualifying performance. The Australian worked his way up to sixth, working with super-soft tires, but these were switched for a new set of softs during the red flag stoppage. He was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton and his second stop dropped him to fifth, but soon after leaving the pits Ricciardo overtook Felipe Massa to reclaim fourth.

  • Max Verstappen’s tenth place finish ensured he is now - at 18 - the youngest points scorer in Australian Grand Prix history. Current Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat had previously held the record for finishing ninth as a 19-year-old on his debut in 2014.

    The younger generation continues to come to the proverbial table ready to play. Sure it’s going to take them a few seasons to find their groove, but much like Stella, they’re bound to find it soon!

  • Speaking of Daniil Kvyat, the Russian has now failed to take the start in two successive season openers in Australia because of mechanical woes.

    Daniil Kvyat was forced to watch from the sidelines yet again, he said that the retirement didn’t affect him as badly as his similar problem the year before when he made his Red Bull Racing debut. The unfortunate snafu begs the question, “What Russia do to Australia? Is there a feud we don’t know about?”

  • Three drivers finished the race in identical positions to where they finished in the same race last season: Sebastian Vettel (in third), Nico Hulkenberg (in seventh) and Carlos Sainz (in ninth).

    They say history is destined to repeat itself and we got a perfect glimpse of that with the Australian Grand Prix. Considering the major accident that occured, it is surprising to see these drivers place where they did.
  • For the first time ever in Melbourne, the first 13 drivers home finished on the lead lap – that’s the highest number in history, and a good indication of the competitive nature of the grid.

  • FIA’s safety standards DO work

    If there ever were an incident that represents a testament to the FIA’s gold standard safety regulations, it’s this one. Alonso’s McLaren flew, spun, and violently broke apart, yet the driver was completely unscathed and able to walk away from the wreck.

2014_ASM_BAHRAIN_IMG_02-1.jpgSee You in Bahrain!

Kick off your Formula One Paddock Club™ access with Grand Prix Experiences – it’s the closest you’ll get to the hottest racing action without being an actual driver!  Enjoy the luxury that the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and so much more!

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Topics: Formula One, Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1™ in 2016: Who is ahead for Australia? Part 2

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Racing-Austin-033.jpgIf testing is anything to go by, the 2016 F1™ season is going to be defined in one word: impressive. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy for the 11 teams in Formula 1™. It seems that every single team came to perform. In the few weeks that testing has taken place, we’ve seen more from every team than we have in years prior.

Let’s take into account testing that took place a two years ago, where teams weren’t able to get two or three laps out of their cars with cars not running or breaking down and now we have teams like Toro Rosso running 150-160 laps a day. A DAY! This year’s testing has been amazing.

Mercedes has actually completed a season’s worth of laps in just two weeks of testing, already. It’s only just now that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a few liability issues with his car. With all the exciting new demonstrations of power that we’ve seen during the winter testing, let’s take a look at the 2016 season and figure out this season’s pecking order.

Has anyone gained ground on Mercedes? What will Ferrari’s version of the halo head protection concept do for them? Who is leading in this year’s testing? It's almost time for the 2016 Formula One™ season to kick off in Australia, which means we are about to see the results of what the teams have been frantically working on.

Check out Part 1 of our Australia Preview

Manor Racing

After a sickly-looking season in 2015, it had been all change over at Manor, most notably in the renaming of the team formerly known as Manor Marussia. The ownership has also changed, as well as engine supplier, from Ferrari to Mercedes. They clearly liked Mercedes as they selected two drivers with previous affliliation with Mercedes, in German 21-year-old Pascal Wehrlien and Indonesia’s first-ever F1 driver, Rio Haryanto.

Toro Rosso

During the winter testing weeks Toro Rosso proved that it can run (to the surprise of many a team this year). Running more laps than anyone predicted gives new hopes to fans as the testing suggests that they will be right among the pack behind Mercedes and Ferrai and, with the incredibly talented teenager Verstappen, behind the wheel Toro Rosso could even top Red Bull.  Toro Rosso is quietly awaiting the opportunity to race among the leaders of the pack and this could very well be the year they do.

Renault

Having stepped back to become simply an engine supplier in 2011, this season marks the return of Renault as a full works team after they completed a takeover of Lotus. The French team has gone with two new drivers for their return, with Dane Kevin Magnussen, who had one season with McLaren in 2014, being joined by British newcomer Joylon Palmer.

Red Bull Racing

For such a young team, Red Bull Racing has seen a lot of success. However, last year the team was held back by power issues with its Renault engine. Daniel Ricciardo and Danill Kvyat unfortunately really struggled in the last few races of the 2015 championship, here’s to hoping the vast improvements they’ve shown in the winter testing is an indication of how the 2016 season will fare for them.

Ferrari

Having succeeded Luca di Montzemolo last year, new Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne made it very clear that success in Formula 1 is a top priority, and early signs in testing would suggest the Italians have the pace to challenge Mercedes. With its shortened nose, Ferrari’s engineers have fitted the car with pushrod suspension for the first time in four years.

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Legends-Club-Lunch-with-a-Legend-90.jpgSee F1™ in Austin!

See the world’s most complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1!  If you’re an F1™ fan, you already know that COTA is one of the most popular tracks on the calendar.  It’s one of just four anti-clockwise tracks on the schedule, featuring 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn. Last year’s championship was decided at Circuit of The Americas, will we see a repeat this year? Be there and find out for yourself!

Secure your spot at the F1 USGP!

Topics: Formula One, United States Grand Prix

Formula 1™ in 2016: Who is ahead for Australia? Part 1

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 @ 09:03 AM

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Racing-Austin-006.jpgIf testing is anything to go by, the 2016 F1™ season is going to be defined in one word: impressive. The last two weeks have been incredibly busy for the 11 teams in Formula 1™. It seems that every single team came to perform. In the few weeks that testing has taken place, we’ve seen more from every team than we have in years prior.

Let’s take into account testing that took place a two years ago, where teams weren’t able to get two or three laps out of their cars with cars not running or breaking down and now we have teams like Toro Rosso running 150-160 laps a day. A DAY! This year’s testing has been amazing.

Mercedes has actually completed a season’s worth of laps in just two weeks of testing, already. It’s only just now that Lewis Hamilton is experiencing a few liability issues with his car. With all the exciting new demonstrations of power that we’ve seen during the winter testing, let’s take a look at the 2016 season and figure out this season’s pecking order.

Has anyone gained ground on Mercedes? What will Ferrari’s version of the halo head protection concept do for them? Who is leading in this year’s testing? It's almost time for the 2016 Formula One™ season to kick off in Australia, which means we are about to see the results of what the teams have been frantically working on.

AMG Mercedes

Mercedes has retained their winning formula as they seek to extend their dominance of Formula 1 for a third season. Winter testing in Barcelona suggested that they remain the team to beat, although their advantage may mean that a repeat of 2015 might take place and seal the championship for Lewis Hamilton once again. Rosberg finished strong in 2015 and the long-simmering rivalry between the two could boil over and ultimately hurt their chances to earn podiums.

Haas F1 Team

Haas’ introduction into Formula 1 has been quietly happening in the background for the past five years, so it is perhaps no surprise that the American team appears better prepared than recent newcomers to Formula 1. Their close relationship with Ferrari (engine supplier) might also have something to do with their success, as well as having two drivers with F1 experience. Romain Grosjean has 10 podiums under his belt and showed plenty of determination during his years at Lotus, while Esteban Gutierrez spent the past two seasons with Sauber.

Force India

Force India’s 2016 campaign hinges on an evolution of last year’s b-spec chassis. With regulations likely to drastically change in 2017, there’s little hope that they’ll make any more improvements to the existing chassis. Technical Director Andrew Green went as far to say it “didn’t really seem like an efficient use of our resources to start from scratch on a project that would have such a limited lifetime.” I guess some teams are perfectly okay with not earning a podium. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

McLaren

No team suffered a more chastening experience in 2015 than McLaren. One of the standard bearers of the sport and eight time constructors’ champions, the British team suffered a disastrous fall from grace, often failing to make it through the first phase of qualifying and not scoring a single point until the sixth race. It could be another painful year for McLaren and Co. with little sign of the hoped for improvement in testing.

Sauber

While last season saw an improvement on the miserable zero-point year of 2014, 39 percent of their 36 points came in the opening Grand Prix and they finished without a point in the final three races. With finances still a major constraint, there has been little to suggest a real improvement in 2016, and another tough season for the Swiss team could well lie in store.

Williams

The past two years have been something of a resurgence from the Martini-liveried Williams outfit. Having finished third in the 2014 and 2015 Constructors’ Championhip, Frank Williams will be looking to make a leap and start challenging Ferrari, Red Bull, and of course Mercedes for the top step on the podium. After an up and down 2015, which perhaps cost him a move to Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas will be looking to step it up and show he is worthy of a seat among the real title challengers. Time to make moves Bottas!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Australia Preview!

Circuit-of-The-Americas-Experiences-F1-USGP-Legends-Club-Lunch-with-a-Legend-74.jpgSee F1™ in Austin!

See the world’s most complex and innovative vehicles put to the test as they compete on one of the most exciting and challenging tracks in Formula 1!  If you’re an F1™ fan, you already know that COTA is one of the most popular tracks on the calendar.  It’s one of just four anti-clockwise tracks on the schedule, featuring 19 turns and a 133-foot climb into a blind left turn. Last year’s championship was decided at Circuit of The Americas, will we see a repeat this year? Be there and find out for yourself!

Secure your spot at the F1 USGP!

Topics: Formula One, United States Grand Prix

VROOM! Formula 1™ Cars Will Bring the Noise in 2016

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 10:07 AM

2014_ASM_MALAYSIA_IMG_03.jpg

A few years ago Formula 1™ head honchos, FIA’s World Motor Sport Council, received A LOT of criticism over the new generation power units they enforced, which produced a much quieter sound relative to the previous V8 engines. The sound of the cars has been heavily scrutinized since the new turbo hybrid power unit Formula 1 was introduced at the start of 2014.

Well Formula 1 finally heard those complaints loud and clear.  In an effort to make cars/races more exciting to watch, late last year the World Motor Council approved changes that demand that, “all cars must have a separate exhaust wastegate tailpipe through which all and only wastegate exhaust gases must pass.” The measure is being described as an effort that will increase the noise of the cars and will not have any significant effect on power or emissions, though we’ll have to wait to see until the cars finally hit the track in March.

The Little Engine That Couldn’t Even

What the heck was the big deal, you ask? In the past, teams have run their wastegate pipes into the main tailpipe of the engine. The wastegate on a modern turbo engine doesn’t open very much, hence less noise being produced by the engines. The motor generator attached to the turbocharger is used by teams to harvest waste energy and control the compressor speed rather than use a rather inefficient wastegate.  

Shanghai-IMG_5271.jpgHere Comes the Boom

After much criticism over Formula 1 losing its essence, changes are finally being implemented. Here’s what you can expect in 2016 from these engines. Engines now will have a pipe joining the wastegate and main tailpipe, and will act as a side branch resonator. What this means is that even with the wastegate closed, it acts like a silencer in the exhaust. Getting rid of that means it’ll be a bit louder. With the wastegate closed, what most people perceive that sound to be around 14 percent of the original noise. With the wastegate open, it’ll actually be 20-25 percent louder, significantly louder.

There hasn’t been any testing done on circuits yet, but I believe we’ll be hearing a few of the old signature noises from the turbos. Since the new engines were introduced, the sound has gradually gotten louder through natural development and they will get naturally louder this year in addition to the changes that have been made to exhaust systems.

More Change(s) is Gonna Come

The World Motor Sport Council also agreed to a number of other changes – including the tightening of the wording surrounding drivers adhering to track limits. “Sporting Regulations regarding track limits have been clarified and specify that drivers “must make every reasonable effort to use the track at all times and may not deliberately leave the track without a justifable reason,” the FIA said.

Further minor changes approved by the FIA include:

  • Cars must now comply with all cockpit and safety equipment requirements during testing; such as the position of the driver's head, all headrest padding, cockpit padding and ease of driver egress.
  • For 2017, on board cameras on stalks on the nose of cars will be prohibited.
  • The WMSC confirmed a number of clarifications were made to aerodynamic testing restrictions for wind tunnel use and CFD, specifically focusing on reporting and inspection processes for these development tools.
  • Any driver who causes a start to be aborted, even if he is then able to start the extra formation lap, will be required to start the race from the pit lane. The same process will be applied to a re-start from a race suspension where drivers have been brought to the pit lane.

2014_ASM_BAHRAIN_IMG_01.jpgReady to Ride?

I’m sure there will be more changes that’ll be announced before this new engines hit the track in March. Until then, all we can do is appreciate that the FIA is listening to its die-hard fans. This is a very big step in the right direction towards the future of the sport.

Kick off your Formula One™ Paddock Club access with Grand Prix Experiences. It’s the closest you’ll get to hottest racing action without being an actual driver. Enjoy the luxury the Paddock Club offers with privileged views of the race, gourmet food spreads, an exclusive Pit Lane Walk, access to the Support Race Paddock, and so much more! Grand Prix Experiences is the only way to experience the Bahrain Grand Prix! 

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Topics: Formula One

4 Formula 1™ Locations That Will Shift the 2016 Season into High-Gear

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 @ 09:29 AM

4 Formula 1™ Locations That Will Shift the 2016 Season into High-GearFormula 1 is currently enjoying a nice little holiday break from racing. Though, this break might as well be a pit stop as drivers are already active on social media showing their foes that hard work never sleeps (sorry Felipe Massa). 

Many teams are already behind the wheel (and the drawing board) to figure out what was missing during the 2015 season that prevented them from claiming that coveted No. 1 spot. In an effort to be fully prepared for the 2016 season, we are taking a look at the four new and familiar tracks that we believe will shake up the point standings when drivers hit the starting grid.

australia-race-2013-03-1Melbourne, Australia

All eyes will be on Australia in a few months, mainly because it will kick off the 2016 Formula One World Championship! And what better way to start off the new season than in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Australian Grand Prix Corporation coined the phrase “a great place for the race” and Melbourne is just that. As the first race on the calendar, drivers definitely feel the pressure of performing well right out of the gate. Last year, Mercedes and Ferrari claimed the podium with brute force and set the tone for the rest of the season. Getting ahead early was a good indication of how the season went for teams this year; will it be the same for 2016?

Baku, Azerbaijan

Next season sees a brand new circuit land on the 2016 calendar. The latest addition to the Formula 1 championship, Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, will play host to what is rumored to be the fastest street circuit of the season, on a layout designed by renowned F1™ track architect Hermann Tilke (Sochi Autodrom, Circuit of The Americas). Tilke claims to have created a challenging street circuit, in terms of engineering and design, and one that thrives on Baku's very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city center, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track. Fans love seeing drivers hit a new track; not only is it for the novelty, but new circuits are a giant wild card in the season and anything can happen!

Mario JapanSuzuka, Japan

Suzuka makes our list because much like the SOAP channel, drama is the one thing that is always guaranteed. The circuit is a massive test of car AND driver ability and, as the one of the last five races on the calendar, it puts the pressure on everyone to perform. Suzuka features some of driver’s most challenging corners, now widely-known for its infamous collision involving Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. These types of instances only add to the growing trend of the circuit providing many of the end-of-season deciding races. Suzuka is a make-it or break-it track for any driver competing.

Photo_Nov_01_1_48_31_PMMexico City, Mexico

In its sophomore year, Mexico will effortlessly pull off another successful championship race. After being named the “event of the year” by the FIA this year, there’s a little bit of pressure to pull it off all over again. The excitement of a brand new location is still very much in the air there, and drivers seem to have gotten the hand of the circuit during this year’s race. Mexico was both fun and challenging in all the right corners for fans and drivers alike. The circuit has all the makings to give it the one thing some others lack, longevity.

Get on Your Tickets for 2016

Start planning your adventure to the 2016 Formula 1 Championship™ starting now! Get on the waitlist to be the first to hear about available ticket packages through Grand Prix Experiences, the moment they become available!

Experience Formula 1 as a VIP and step into the glamorous world of auto racing. Get exclusive access to the Paddock Club, premium food and drinks options, and exclusive extras. Be there to witness all of the non-stop action in 2016!

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Topics: Formula One

10 Formula 1™ Teams Ranked

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Dec 08, 2015 @ 03:12 PM

Steve-Monaco-2012IMG_5858.jpg

The 12 Days of Quintmas continue with our ranking of the 10 best Formula 1™ teams! Where did your favorite land? Any surprises? Sound off in the comments below!

#10 Manor Marussia

Robert Merhi (0 points)

Alexander Rossi (0 points)

Will Stevens (0 points)

Marussia currently has the most active drivers on its roster but unfortunately not a single one has been able to earn a podium finish (most haven’t even crossed the finish line of a single race), much less earn any points in the championship. Roberto Merhi, had a difficult beginning this year and the season only got tougher for him after Silverstone. Merhi revealed that he only learned of his omission from the Singapore Grand Prix when he arrived in the country on the Monday before the race. The American racer, Alexander Rossi, took the Spaniard’s place at the Marina Bay circuit and drove the remaining seven rounds after the Singapore Grand Prix. The other Manor Marussia driver, Will Stevens, also had another tough season but is already closing in on securing a seat with Manor for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

#9 McLaren Honda

Jenson Button (16 points)

Fernando Alonso (11 points)

Jenson Buttton and Fernando Alonso both lost some steam in 2015, but McLaren says it’s made significant improvements to its power unit and Honda engines. This was thier first season back with said engines and it’s one they’d like to quickly forget. Button was able to earn 16 points this season and Alonso earned 9 points this season. Let’s hope they’re able to get back to form once the new season kicks off.

#8 Sauber F1 Team

Felipe Nasr (27 points)

Marcos Ericsson (9 points)

No. 8 Sauber landed just a little higher than Mclaren on the scoreboard with 36 points for the 2015. Clearly, Sauber had some struggles that they simply couldn’t overcome. Team leader Felipe Nasr gained 27 points for the season while Marcos Ericsson only earned 9. Sauber was able to consistently come to every race prepared but wasn't able to earn strong enough positions in qualifying to secure a spot on the podium.

#7 Scuderia Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen (49 points)

Carlos Sainz (18 points)

Toro Rosso earned 67 points for the 2015 season. Max Verstappen or Carlos Sainz might have not earned a podium, but they did land on the charts being a team with some most retired drivers (11) during a race. Toro Rosso was plagued for the majority of the championship but showed plenty of perseverance each race. Hopefully they will figure out their engine troubles before the season opener.

#6 Lotus F1 Team

Romain Grosjean (51 points)

Pastor Maldonado (27 points)

Lotus finished 6th in the Championship this year, but it definitely wasn’t for a lack of trying. Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado both found the right chemistry between them and their engines in the second-half of the season. While it was towards the latter half of the season, it is undeniable that both drivers could find themselves on the podium with the right engine and team. Perhaps we’ll see Grosjean have that opportunity next season as one of the new drivers for Haas F1.

#5 Sahara Force India F1 Team

Sergio Perez (78 points)

Nico Hulkenburg (58 points)

Force India hang two of the biggest fan favorites on its team this year, regardless of where they landed on the leaderboard. Nico Hulkenburg has shown a lot of promise throughout the championship. With his technique improving, fans quickly joined the fan base. Sergio Perez seems to be Mexico’s “golden boy”. When Sergio Perez landed in Mexico for the Mexico Grand Prix the crowds were already gathered at the airport awaiting his arrival. No matter what place Perez finishes in, the fans always chant his name. Whatever happens on the track with this team no one can deny they don't look good in a suit. #StayFresh

#4 Infinti Red Bull Racing

Danil Kvyat (95 points)

Daniel Ricciardo (92 points)

Red Bull Racing closed the 2015 season with 187 points. The team certainly had its fair share of challenges this year but consistently demonstrated Red Bull Racing was here to stay. Danil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo each collected 95 and 92 points, respectively. Red Bull was also victim to faulty engines throughout the season but quickly managed to get things patched for the interim. Red Bull did confirm that they have come to an agreement on a new engine deal shortly after the Abu Dhabi closer. We’ll have to see how they stack up next year!

#3 Williams Martini Racing

Vallteri Bottas (136 points)

Felipe Massa (121 points)

Vallteri Bottas finished the 2015 championship in 5th place with 136 points, while Felipe Massa closed the season out 6th with 121 points. It was a tight race the whole season between Bottas, Massa, and Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari. Only a few points separated the three, which goes to show that a driver with the right team makes all the difference.

#2 Scuderia Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel (278 points)

Kimi Raikkonen (150 points)

Speaking of Ferrari, there was a point difference of almost 100 points between Sebastian Vettel and teammate Raikkonen. We all know that there will be rivalries amongst teammates but that’s never more apparent than when the two tops teams also compose the top four drivers. Vettel and Raikkonen were pretty evenly matched for the first half of the season and then Vettel found his groove and there was no catching up for Raikkonen. Raikkonen also struggled through the final races with setbacks that cost him points.

#1 Mercedes AMG Petronas F1

Lewis Hamilton (381 points)

Nico Rosberg (322 points)

Arguably the most ferocious competitor of the championship, the great and powerful Mercedes stands high on our list. Mercedes has earned its spot on our countdown by simply doing what it does best, dominating on the track. The well-oiled machine boasts the two brightest and fastest drivers of the entire season and the most loyal fans. Lewis Hamilton won his third World Champion title with Mercedes, but Nico Rosberg was not very far behind. There might be tension between these two but fans are all smiles. Mercedes looks to continue its dominance well through the 2016 championship. Stay tuned!

Get Your Tickets to the 2016 Championship

You can start planning your adventure to the 2016 Formula 1 Championship™ starting now! Get on the waitlist to be the first to hear about available ticket packages through Grand Prix Experiences.

Experience Formula 1 as a VIP and step into the glamorous world of auto racing. Get exclusive access to the Paddock Club, premium food and drinks options, and exclusive extras. Be there to witness all of the non-stop action in 2016!

Get on the Waitlist Now  to Secure Your Spot in 2016!

Topics: 12 Days of Quintmas, Formula One

Mercedes' Nico Rosberg Wraps up the 2015 FIA Formula One® World Championship With a Hat-Trick

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Tue, Dec 01, 2015 @ 03:58 PM

Steve ADhabi 1The German drove a stellar race to win his first Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday night. The 30-year-old finished 8.2 seconds ahead of teammate and triple world champion Lewis Hamilton.

It was the Cinderella-like ending Nico Rosberg had envisioned after what had transpired there almost a year ago. A crestfallen Rosberg had left the Yas Marina Circuit after missing out on becoming world champion. Teammate Lewis Hamilton had that honor for a second time after winning the season finale last year.

Fast-forward 12 months, the German wiped off some of that agony, to sign off 2015 on a high. Though he was again bested by the Briton, who sealed a third championship in Austin, Texas, with three races to spare. Rosberg pulled a flawless race to win his first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Good Things Come in 3's

At the Grand Prix this weekend, Rosberg led from start to finish ahead of teammate Hamilton to compete a hat-trick of race wins. It was his sixth win of the season after victories in Spain, Monaco, Austria, Mexico and Brazil. It was also his 14th victory of his career.

Rosberg acknowledges that there is has been a good teammate rivalry between him and Hamilton and added that it was great to battle such opposition and come out as a winner. He commented on the well-known rivalry by saying this, “My success is Lewis’ failure, in a way. It’s always tough to race Lewis. It is a great battle internally. So, it is a great moment. I will come back next year to beat Lewis, hopefully.”

Rosberg said that next season is still a long way off, but he hopes he can keep this momentum going into next year. For now though, it seems that the German is simply looking forward to spending the holiday with his family and decompressing before getting back behind the wheel.

Mercedes & Ferrari, a Powerhouse Duo

As we cross the finish line of the 2015 World Championship, it is evident that this was the year of Mercedes. The manufacturer has 12 one-two finishes, a new record, as well as 33 podiums this year, also a new record. There may be a lot of beef between its two best drivers, but there’s no denying Mercedes packs on a heck of a punch backed with talent. They’ll more than likely return to form when the season picks back up again.

Raikkonen, who was threatened by teammate Sebastian Vettel, came in third - his third podium of the year and the 80th podium of his career. The Finn finished fourth in the Drivers' Championship after compatriot Valtteri Bottas of Williams couldn't pose a challenge.

Grand Prix Experiences off track 404

While finishing fourth is a great accomplishment on its own, Raikkonen does not express the same sentiment as he said that it didn’t make any difference and added that what counted at the end of the day was being a world champion. “I am fourth in the championship this season but it does not make an awful lot of difference. The only thing that counts is to be world champion. I am happy for the team, but it does not change anything. It was a great weekend and I’ll take it as it is,” said the 2007 World Champion. I guess he missed the lesson on sportsmanship. Such is life, I guess.

Regardless, Ferrari has made significant improvements to its engines this season and was just shy of seeing the results it wanted but it has positioned itself to become the “Prancing Horse” next season that it was known as during its dominant period.

It Gets Better (Right?)

Steve Monaco 2012IMG 5858To say McLaren-Honda and Manor Marussia have had a tough year would be an understatement. Both teams have struggled…everywhere. Marussia was unable to earn any points this season. Marussia brought on American driver, Alexander Rossi, late in the season and Rossi showed a lot of promise a great technique. Hopefully the team will find the balance it needs to land some points and see a podium.

On the other hand, while McLaren was able to get on the board, they were plagued with technical difficulties at almost every grand prix. There are adjustments currently planned for their Honda engines, which misfired quite often this season, as well as changes planned for its power units. McLaren isn't the only team on the grid with misfiring engines. After winning four world titles with its engine partner Renault, Red Bull Racing has expressed frustration with the power unit in the back of its cars.

The Road to 2016

Mario germany 12There are so many great manufacturers and talented drivers in the sport. The game is filled with hundreds of possibilities every season. You just have to have the right driver behind the right car and you have yourself a winner; simple, right?

The 2015 Formula One World Championship saw many changes. Several long-standing records were broken; we rekindled old flames with exotic locations and created new love affairs with the new ones. The 2016 season already promises to deliver with even more intensity. With several new dates and locations on the calendar, new teams, driver/team shake-ups, and new rivalries, it’s going to be one really big year for Formula 1!

Of course, you have to do it right and attend as a VIP. Through Grand Prix Experiences you can!

Get on the Waitlist Now  to Secure Your Spot in 2016!

 

Topics: Formula One

Nico Rosberg Defeats Hamilton at F1™ Mexico Grand Prix

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Thu, Nov 05, 2015 @ 04:15 PM

Nico Rosberg after winning the Mexico Grand PrixAfter 23 years away, more than 135,000 F1™ fans showed up to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez for Sunday’s 2015 F1 Grand Prix! The two clear heroes of Sunday’s race: race winner Nico Rosberg and Mexican driver Sergio “Checo” Perez.

As far as the drivers are concerned however, the fans were the big winners that weekend. The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez had an atmosphere of enchantment throughout the whole weekend. Looking out into a sea of people and hearing them chant “Mexico! Mexico!” is truly electrifying.

Let’s take a look at what the first-ever VIP experience looked like at the Mexico Grand Prix presented by Gran Premio de Mexico VIP!

FRIDAY, OCT. 30, 2015

Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez Section 9The day kicked off around 10 a.m. with the official first practice session for Formula 1 since it’s extended hiatus. Nico Rosberg took out his frustrations on the track, setting the fastest time in the afternoon practice session as he warmed up for Sunday’s big event.

The Red Bull pair of Danil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo were next, with Hamilton – who often hit traffic problems – fourth and then the Ferrari team of Sebastain Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso, who was fastest in the morning run, lasted less than five minutes in the afternoon, sliding into a barrier on Turn 16. Verstappen, who said conditions were “like oil”, was quickest by three tenths of a second in the morning and set his time as conditions improved late in the session. Behind him came Kvyat, Raikkonen and Vettel. There was a great deal of support for the local hero Sergio Pérez, who was ninth. The dampness caused by the rain made it particularly tricky for the drivers, given the circuit’s freshly laid asphalt. With speeds up because of the high altitude, some drivers topped 220mph. Drivers started the day on intermediate tires because of the overnight rain.

SATURDAY, OCT. 31, 2015

Dirvers ParadeSaturday morning kicked off at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with the third practice session and the day quickly got off to a great start for Rosberg, who beat Lewis Hamilton for the pole position. Rosberg won his fourth straight pole in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, showing the German still has some fight in a rivalry that has been simmering in the Mercedes garage. Fight is about all Rosberg has left over the final two races of the season. Each of his three previous pole positions ended in Hamilton victories. Hamilton's win last week at the United States Grand Prix was an especially bitter blow. He snatched the lead from Rosberg with eight laps to go and wrapped up his third career season championship. Rosberg stewed while Hamilton celebrated. A postrace dustup caught by television cameras saw Hamilton toss Rosberg a sponsor's cap and Rosberg throw it back, nearly hitting Hamilton in the face.

Hamilton has 10 wins this season and could still tie Sebastian Vettel's season record of 13, set with Red Bull in 2013. Now driving for Ferrari, Vettel qualified third for Sunday's race. Red Bull, which ran strong through the practice sessions, qualified fourth and fifth with Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo. Home country favorite Sergio Perez of Force India will start ninth. The partisan crowd cheered his nickname "Checo" each time Perez left pit lane or drove between the two massive grandstands in the Foro Sol stadium.

SUNDAY, NOV. 1, 2015

Perez, who finished one place back from team mate Nico Hulkenberg as Force India recorded their fifth double points finish of the season, has now scored in six of the last seven races. Checo Perez actually became the first driver to score points on home soil since 1970! Behind Perez, Max Verstappen, fresh from becoming the youngest driver to top a practice session on Friday, finished ninth - the fifth race in a row he has scored points and the ninth time in his rookie campaign.

Williams bounced back well from their double damper failure in Texas, and Bottas was a strong podium contender all afternoon even after his run in with Raikkonen on the 22nd lap. He was the first to stop for tires, then the last under the safety car, but made use of a good restart to claim third from Kvyat on the 58th lap. Massa was side-by-side with him in Turn 1 on the opening lap, but got squeezed back in the heavy traffic and thereafter never looked as quick on his way to sixth.

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Rosberg controlled the race, despite a late safety car appearance after Sebastian Vettel crashed out, to claim his first victory since June's Austrian Grand Prix. The German, who moves clear of Vettel in second place in the championship, finished 1.9 seconds clear of Hamilton, with Williams driver Valtteri Bottas taking the final spot on the podium.

Nico Rosberg in Foro sol after winning the Mexico Grand Prix

The race for 1st place may be over, but it’s still to be determined who will be on the podium next to Hamilton in the finale. Up next is the Brazil Grand Prix, but make sure you have the Paddock Club experience for the finale! See you there!

 See the Finale in Abu Dhabi!

All images courtesy of Formula1.com

Topics: Formula One

Lewis Hamilton Becomes Three-Time World Champion at F1® USGP

Posted by Jaime Villegas on Wed, Oct 28, 2015 @ 05:10 PM

The storms may have darken the sky in Austin over the weekend but “Golden Boy” Lewis Hamilton was shining bright. Take a look at our recap below to see all the action you didn’t get to see on TV.

Friday, Oct. 23

Racing at F1 USGP

Friday proved to be probably one of the most difficult days in COTA’s history. The dark clouds and sudden-bursts of wind foreshadowed what the day had in store for us. Fans began to arrive at the track early morning with plenty of time for them to get situated in their seats and get ready for the first Formula 1 practice session. The weather had a different story written, however. Showers struck the circuit overnight and most of the morning that left the track damp at the start of FP1.

Drivers headed out on the extreme wet tire early on, with Sauber drivers Marcus Ericsson and Raffaele Marciello setting the pace before the track dried out and allowed for running on the intermediate compound. None of the teams opted to undertake excessive running, instead preferring to complete the required car checks and installations before some gentle wet laps in the spray. Rosberg set the pace for Mercedes, posting the fastest lap of 1:53.989 to finish 1.2 seconds clear of the field in P1, drawing first blood at COTA despite completing just a handful of laps.

Saturday, Oct. 24

Force India during QualifyingSaturday morning came and the weather did not let up. The track did not open gates until 12 noon on Saturday with a soft opening at 11 a.m. Once again, the weather foreshadowed the type of day we were all about to experience.

The Formula 1 Qualifying was scheduled to take place around 1 p.m. but what we had learned the past two days, was that anything can happen. After the weather persisted the Qualifying was pushed back every 30 minutes until about 5 p.m. when FOM (Formula One Management) officially made the call to push it for Sunday morning.

As a sign of appreciation to the dedicated fans of Formula 1. CEO of Formula 1, – Bernie Ecclestone, U.S. Grand Prix promoter Bobby Esptein and Austin Mayor Steve Adler invited ALL fans that were still at the circuit into the pit areas. The garages were opened and fans were treated to an inside look at the pit lane - an unprecedented access that’s not offered to many!

Sunday, Oct. 25

The big day had finally arrived! The track opened an hour earlier to accommodate for the early Qualifying round that had been postponed the day before. As guests arrived the weather had begun to clear and tiny slivers of hope peaked through the clouds every now and then, giving us just that little bit of hope we needed that today was going to be a good day!

Around 10 a.m. the Qualifying kicked off and the Formula 1 engines were heard throughout the circuit. No matter what the sky looked like at that moment, a fiery passion for racing peaked inside all of us.

Nico Rosberg started the 2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix from pole position, locking out the front row with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg set the fastest time in Q2 at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday morning, before Q3 was cancelled due to worsening rain.

2015 USGP Podium

As the weather gods finally smiled on Circuit of The Americas, for a long time it looked like Mercedes’ one-two in a crash-strewn race was going to be the wrong way round, with Rosberg seemingly headed for victory. Hamilton needed to be in front of the German in order to ensure that he outscored Vettel by nine points.

Rosberg had lost the lead as Hamilton aggressively eased him aside in the first corner, but he retook it from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo during the pit stops on the 19th lap and held it through various virtual and real safety car interventions until the 48th lap.

Then, under pressure from Hamilton, he slid wide in Turn 12, and suddenly the roles were crucially reversed. Hamilton, who had clearly struggled initially on intermediate tires on a very slippery track, was then able to take not only to his 10th win of the year, but the one that would allow him to achieve his life ambition of matching his hero Ayrton Senna’s three championships!

 

The action was non-stop in Sunday’s 2015 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix and only on lap 49 of 56 did Lewis Hamilton move ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg to seal victory – and with it a second successive world championship, the British driver’s third in total.

Hamilton thus came away with an unassailable point total of 327 – with Vettel on 251 and Rosberg 247 – with three rounds of the season remaining. The race for 1st place may be over but it’s still to be determined who will be on the podium next to Hamilton in the final. Up next is the Mexico Grand Prix. See you there!

 See the Finale in Abu Dhabi!

Topics: Formula One