Monthly Archives: August 2015

IndyCar: Some of the stats behind Scott Dixon’s championship victory

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Juan Pablo Montoya started the year’s final IndyCar race as raging favourite to win the title but a clumsy collision with his teammate opened the door for Scott Dixon to steal the championship from under his nose. Dixon owes his success to the fact that no driver was able to stamp any authority on the 2015 season. Even Montoya, who led the championship for 15 of the 16 races, only claimed two victories and the below stats illustrate how 2015 was an especially competitive and mixed-up season.

  • Only 1 of the 16 races was won by the driver starting from pole position.
  • There were 9 different winners, and 12 different drivers who set the fastest lap during a race.
  • Scott Dixon led twice as many laps as Juan Pablo Montoya (306 v 145)
  • If double points didn’t apply at any races during the 2015 season, Scott Dixon would still have beaten Juan Pablo Montoya (by 4 points).
  • Scott Dixon’s average finishing position throughout the year was only 7th.
  • Of the 18 drivers who took part in every race during 2015, only 1 of them (Stefano Coletti) failed to lead a lap.
  • In 9 of the 16 races, the driver who led the most laps did not go on to win.
  • There were 256 lead changes in 2015, an average of 16 per race.
  • 425 laps were spent under full-course yellow conditions. That’s 19% of the total racing laps.
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Vale Justin Wilson

Earlier today Justin Wilson succumbed to injuries sustained during Sunday’s IndyCar race in Pennsylvania. His passing is a horrible and powerfully sad reminder of the dangers that exist in motorsport.

Thoughts are with Justin’s parents, brother, wife, and two daughters.

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F1: Several drivers are on the cusp of qualifying for an F1 Super Licence

Any driver who wants to compete in Formula One must hold an FIA issued Super Licence and next year these will become harder for new drivers to obtain. The full conditions are listed below, but from 2016 aspiring F1 drivers must achieve a higher level of success in the feeder categories to be eligible. The FIA has assigned ‘points’ to finishing positions in the junior championships and drivers must score 40 of these within a three year period to gain eligibility.

This means there are currently several drivers on the cusp of gaining enough points to qualify for a F1 Super Licence at the end of this year and in some cases they are fighting against each other for that opportunity. Some of these interesting battles are highlighted below.

Although these drivers aren’t expecting to race in Formula One next year, most of them already have links to Grand Prix teams and eligibility for a Super Licence (which is valid for three years) will give them an advantage over other youngsters on their way to the top level. It certainly helps anyone with a budget because the new requirements will stop other pay drivers from simply buying their way into F1. If nothing else, access to a Super Licence will make a driver more attractive to potential sponsors.

FORMULA RENAULT 3.5

The first of these interesting battles is taking place in Formula Renault 3.5. Dean Stoneman and Nyck de Vries both have a realistic chance of finishing 3rd in this year’s championship which would give either of them enough points to be eligible for a Super Licence. However, it means the opportunity is there for only one of them. Since they are both part of highly competitive F1 junior programs (Stoneman at Red Bull and De Vries at McLaren) it adds some intrigue to their current fight for position.

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FORMULA 3

A similar battle is taking place in Formula 3. The 2015 championship is a three-way fight, and although Felix Rosenqvist is almost certain to finish the year with enough Super Licence points, the other two contenders will need to avoid finishing 3rd to ensure they don’t miss out.

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GP3 SERIES

The GP3 championship fight is another with Super Licence implications. Marvin Kirchhofer is currently in contention for the title and if he ends up winning he will have earned enough points to qualify (in case he needed any extra incentive).

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GP2 SERIES

The FIA has said that it will offer flexibility to drivers that have previously held a Super Licence but have been unable to race in F1. The three drivers fighting for 2nd place in this year’s GP2 championship all meet this condition so shouldn’t have any problems, but the regulations haven’t been finalised yet (Appendix L to the International Sporting Code) so if the final wording works against them it would make their battle for position very interesting.

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SUPER LICENCE CONDITIONS – APPENDIX L TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPORTING CODE

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World RX: Petter Solberg has missed a World RX final for the very first time

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Up until last weekend, Petter Solberg had qualified for every single World Rallycross final since the FIA championship started 18 months ago. That’s an incredible run of success which highlights why Solberg is a deserving World Champion.

At least Solberg got knocked out of last week’s Canadian semi-finals in style, bumping into other drivers whilst fighting for the lead. You can click here to skip 45 seconds into the YouTube clip featuring Solberg’s attempted heroics.

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Moto2: Julián Simón went from 17th to 1st in just five corners

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Julián Simón deserves a shoutout for his amazing start in the recent Moto2 race at Indianapolis. He jumped from 17th to 3rd before the exit of Turn 1 and hit the lead of the race just few corners later! Incredible. If only the rest of his race had been so successful (he fell off his bike on lap 4).

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FE: There are two interesting things in this video about Formula E engine noise

1. Even though they’re still very quiet, different cars now make slightly different sounds as teams are allowed to develop their own electric motors for the first time.

2. Some of the cars now have one gear only which sounds a little unnatural coming from an open-wheeler.

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FE: Formula E will be Jacques Villeneuve’s 15th different series since leaving F1

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Jacques Villeneuve is joining the second season of Formula E which means he will have competed in 15 different championships since leaving Formula One 9 years ago. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Villeneuve’s post-F1 career is that it has been incredibly varied, stretching all the way from rallycross to open wheelers.

Argentine Top Race V6
Australian V8 Supercars
Baku City Challenge
Brazilian Stock Car
FIA GT
FIA World Rallycross
Formula E
French GT
IndyCar
Le Mans Series
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
NASCAR Nationwide Series
NASCAR Sprint Cup
Speedcar Series

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WRC: MacGyver would be proud of Elfyn Evans’ Rally Finland repair job

When Elfyn Evans broke his suspension during Rally Finland he kept his car going by strapping the biggest spanner from his toolkit to the broken wishbone. Not only did it work, but it lasted 85km until Evans reached the Service Park. Nice work!

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V8SC: Todd Kelly’s sweary outburst was picked up on live TV

Most athletes don’t need to worry about a microphone being shoved in their face during the heat of battle but motorsport is a little bit different. TV cameras picked up Todd Kelly’s sweary outburst in the recent V8 Supercar round at Queensland Raceway after his engine failed with only a few laps to go. His raw emotion was on display for everyone to see and there was no need for a transcript.

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DTM: Audi has “started a big war” that could define the 2015 season

On the final lap of Sunday’s DTM race, Timo Scheider was racing with the two Mercedes of Pascal Wehrlein and Robert Wickens. Wehrlein was leading the championship at the time so worked together with Wickens to move ahead of Scheider’s Audi into 6th place. It was fairly standard racecraft but Audi’s response was not a sporting one. As Wehrlein got ahead they instructed Scheider to “push him off” (in German) and Timo duly obliged by punting both Mercedes drivers into the gravel at the very next corner. Amazing. It was a sly move that’s quite unusual at such a high professional level.

Audi’s boss, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, initially denied giving the instruction but later admitted it was a comment he made in the heat of the moment that wasn’t supposed to reach the driver. Scheider was disqualified from the race and Audi will face a separate hearing to determine if there should be any further sanctions. It was a serious professional foul.

There is plenty of bad blood between Audi and Mercedes so this controversy could rumble on for a while. In 2007 Audi withdrew all of their cars partway through a DTM race after their two championship contenders were taken out by Mercedes drivers. At the time, Audi’s bosses said “we had to get the impression that the Mercedes drivers used every opportunity to eliminate our cars. This is not the style in which we want to conduct motorsport” but now the boot is on the other foot and the Mercedes camp has made its displeasure well known. Pascal Wehrlein himself said that Audi “started a big war today” so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The 2015 DTM championship fight has now become a little bitter and Sunday’s race might define the rest of the season.

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