Formula 1

F1 reveals bumper 21-race calendar for 2015

2012 Korean Grand Prix

The Korean Grand Prix is back on the Formula 1 calendar after the FIA published a surprise 21-race program during the week.

This is a bit of an odd one as there is, in theory, a 20-race cap for the F1 calendar. Speculation suggests the weeds around the Yeongam circuit will remain untouched and the race won’t actually go ahead.

It would seem the inclusion of the Korean Grand Prix has more to do with engine allowances in 2015 than it does actual racing. Under the current regulations each driver will have access to just four power units next season. However, there is a clause allowing an increase to five power units if the calendar exceeds 20 races.

In relation to engine allowances the sporting regs state: “This number will be increased to five if the number of Events in the Championship, as originally scheduled, exceeds 20.”

“Orignally scheduled” being the key words there. For example, if the season is underway and Korea remains on the calendar the teams and drivers will have five power units at their disposal for the year. If the Korean race is later cancelled then the extra engine allowance will still stand.

There could be some mileage left in this story yet.

You can see the full calendar after the break.

Caterham F1 in pictures Ferrari Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Toro Rosso

2013 Korean Grand Prix in pictures

2013 Korean Grand Prix

While even his fellow drivers may be booing Sebastian Vettel’s latest win at the Korean Grand Prix, the race itself is under threat. Partly because of poor attendance and also due to the promise of a bumper 22-race calendar that nobody wants. One thing is sure, Mark Webber has plenty of fans in Korea, as you’ll see in the pics below.

Formula 1 Lotus Red Bull Racing

2013 Korean GP: Post-race press conference

2013 Korean Grand Prix

One of the nice things about a grand prix held at a more convenient time for those of us following Formula 1 from the southern hemisphere is that we can follow the post-race activities in real time. That means you can read the press conference transcript before you go to bed.

Before you do, here’s what the Aussies had to say. Mark Webber first: “The incident with Sutil was obviously the end of my race today. It was in Turn 3 on the restart, everyone bottles back up and I was looking for a big exit on the next straight to use some KERS on Daniel (Ricciardo) and the Williams. Then Sutil, I don’t know what happened, but obviously he hit me from the inside and that was that.

“There was quite a lot of damage at the back of the car and I hope it hasn’t gone towards the chassis—we will have to see before the next race. Before that I was very happy with how I drove and we’d got back to a very good position before I got the puncture. After the Pirelli tyre failure on Perez’ car, I was very lucky to miss the tread of the tyre that came off and then unbelievably I managed to get a puncture from going through the debris.”

For his part Adrian Sutil has both escaped penalty from the stewards and said sorry to Mark: “At the restart I lost the rear of the car under braking for turn three. I really don’t know why because I was not braking late and the car just snapped. I hit Webber so I apologise for ending his race. It’s a disappointing end to the race because I believe there was still a chance of a point.”

And Daniel Ricciardo: “I think we did all we could today in the race. I had a decent first stint and tried to run as long as possible on the Prime tyre. The car wasn’t perfect but it was good enough to be in a points position with a few laps to go and I was hanging on nicely to ninth.

“It’s déjà vu, as I had the same scenario here last year, when I came down to Turn 3 with a few laps to go, I braked and the car immediately shot to the left. That time it cost me one place. Once I got out of the cockpit this time, I could see there was a mechanical problem at the front left corner. Personally, I was really pleased with my performance in the car today. Maybe we didn’t have a top ten car but I was able to fight in the top ten. But for myself and the team it’s frustrating to get no reward. Now all we can do is look ahead to Suzuka.”

The full transcript of the post-race press conference featuring the first three drivers can be read after the break.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Lotus Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Korean GP

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Korean Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel’s charmed run has continued at the Korean Grand Prix, where he has just collected his fourth consecutive race win. The Red Bull champ won by just over four seconds from the Lotus duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean.

Vettel is very much on track to secure his fourth world title, his winning margin masks the comfort with which he won. Although he was helped by a pair of Safety Car periods, which extended his tyre life and brought the field together in what was a bizarre race at times.

The first Safety Car came out on Lap 31 after a severe flat spot into Turn 1 from Sergio Perez preceded a spectacular failure to his right front tyre on the main straight. An unlucky Mark Webber, who had just rejoined the track after pitting for new tyres, was the first on the scene and he picked up a puncture after having nowhere to go except over the debris left behind from Perez’s McLaren.

In effect the need to come in for new tyres ruined Webber’s race after he was making good progress through the field following his start from P13 due to his 10-place grid penalty. Alas, worse was to come.

On the first lap after the race restarted Adrian Sutil lost control under brakes into Turn 3 and spun putting his rear tyre into the sidepod of Mark’s car. Almost immediately Webber’s car caught fire and his race ended in flames for the second grand prix in a row.

In the aftermath of that event a fire marshal’s vehicle entered the track and interrupted the race before the Safety Car was deployed. There was potential for a nasty incident but thankfully, the fire marshal escaped incident. We suspect whoever was responsible for sending that car out on track won’t be working at an F1 race again anytime soon.

Once racing resumed we were treated to some first class action, sadly none of if centred on the first three and the two Lotus drivers were unable to challenge Vettel for the victory. The rest of the field, though, was fighting desperately for position and the action was exciting right to the end.

Unfortunately, it was a bad day for the Aussies with Daniel Ricciardo retiring from the race while he was in ninth position with only three laps to go. It’s not clear why Daniel had to park his car off to the side of the circuit.

Nico Hulkenberg drove a masterful race to finish P4, holding off Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg.

Grosjean made a good start to earn himself P2 on the opening lap with a good move on Hamilton and he probably deserved better than P3 today. Although we’ll never know what might have been if the Lotus pairing were able to run longer on their tyres, it’s expected they might have given Vettel a tougher fight for victory.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Watch Mark Webber’s flat spot

Mark Webber's flat spot

After making its debut on Paul di Resta’s car at the 2013 Italian Grand Prix thermal imaging cameras look like being a permanent addition to Formula 1 broadcasts.

If you were on the couch for yesterday’s qualifying at the Korean Grand Prix you will have seen Mark Webber lock his right front. If you missed it, this is what it looked like from the thermal camera mounted on his car. Pretty cool, huh. Well, hot anyway.

[Thanks to Dylan for the tip]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2013 Korean GP: Qualifying report

2013 Korean Grand Prix

The Sebastian Vettel show successfully filed another episode this afternoon when the Red Bull champ claimed his 42nd career pole position.

Vettel (1:37.202) was two tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG, 1:37.420) who had set the pace in the first two practice sessions. Close behind was Mark Webber (Red Bull, 1:37.464).

Sadly for Mark, he’ll be lining up from P13 tomorrow after his 10-place grid penalty handed down after his reprimand in Singapore.

“We had to take a bit of pace out of the car for qualifying, not much, but it was about how we would compromise between qualifying and the race tomorrow,” Mark explained. “I’m pretty happy, I could be two positions further up but that would mean, with the penalty, I would be 11th rather than 13th. It was a pretty tight qualifying with the two Mercedes, Seb and myself. Tomorrow’s race will be interesting, I will be out of position, but we’ll fight and come back through.”

Romain Grosjean (Lotus, 1:37.531) benefits from Mark’s penalty and will start the race from P3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes AMG, 1:37.679) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari, 1:38.038) will line up on the third row.

Felipe Massa (Ferrari, 1:38.223) edged out the two Saubers of Nico Hulkenberg (1:38.237) and Esteban Gutierrez (1:38.405).

Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso, 1:38.417) couldn’t crack the top 10 for qualifying—he missed by less than a tenth of a second—and will start from P12 after Webber’s penalty. But he did continue to outpace his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne (1:38.781).

“I’m definitely not happy with my position and when the gap to the top ten is so small, you have to also be disappointed,” Daniel said. “I would have liked to have been in the car for the full hour. However, compared to where we were yesterday, we have managed to improve the car, but we have not been able to make enough progress to be more competitive than this.”

The full transcript of the post-quali press conference featuring the first three drivers can be read after the break.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Ferrari Formula 1 Lotus McLaren Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing Renault

2010 Korean Grand Prix in pictures

2010 Korean Grand Prix

“Our Mark” binned it! Can you believe it. It was a race that promised so much; an opportunity for Webber to really intensify the pressure on his rivals. Instead, on a dramatic and soaking wet afternoon in Yeongam, Mark put it into the wall and he walked away empty handed. Pressure does strange things and amplifies the tiniest of indiscretions. It was a mistake that needn’t have happened. Webber cracked on Sunday.

Worse, it looked like his fiercest rival, Sebastien Vettel, was going to rub his nose in it with a comfortable victory. A win that would have put the young German 11 points ahead of Webber and the shift in power across the garage would likely have been irreversible. For Mark, at least, fate dealt a helping hand when a dominant Vettel was robbed of certain victory after his Renault engine disintegrated with no apparent warning.

Only too happy to watch the imploding Red Bulls ahead of him Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was there to pick up the pieces. He drove solidly and mostly kept himself out of trouble, despite the woeful light conditions towards the end of the race. Amazingly, he now finds himself 11 points ahead of Webber in the drivers’ title race. A few weeks back he was the fifth man in the chasing pack.

With just two more races to go, can Fernando hold off the inevitable challenge from those closest behind? Brazil is next and Webber is the defending race winner. How he would love an encore performance in two weeks time.

For now, though, catch up on all the drama from last weekend with 80 pics from the inaugural Korean Grand Prix.