Im just posting to add after another day im still really shook up about Dan Wheldon and the accident yesterday at the Las Vegas 300. I just think it was the randomness of it and the fact there was nothing he could do.
Its strange that I can accept a racer pushing the limit too far and crashing and loosing their life but it underlines the huge risks involved in this sport despite the strides in saftey. In my head i’ve never called into question the morales of motorsport and the risks involved but after this I am having a really hard time with it. There will be some questions to ask about various aspects of the sport but there have been some poor reports that Wheldon coming through the field was to blame, I do think this is nonsense as it had nothing to do with the accident if you’ve seen the footage.
I do hope that we will remember Dan as a great racer and double Indy 500 champion and series winner, his latest win this year at the Brickyard surely one of the great all time achievements in motorsport.
While writing my last post for some reason I clicked over to the Indy Car news to see the sad and tragic news that Dan Wheldon has died following injurys in a huge 15 car pile up at the end of season race in Las Vegas. His car went airbourne after a large number of drivers came off the higher part of the oval taking avoiding action and his car hit the fence.
After two hours the race was called off after Wheldon was pronounced dead and the remaining drivers in the field returned to their cars to complete 5 laps in his honour.
Dan was competing in only his 3rd event this year as he was without a full time drive, despite this he took the victory at the Indy 500 this year.
You will be missed.
Casey Stoner wrapped up the 2011 Moto GP championship at his home Grand Prix in Australia after Jorge Lornezo crashed in warm up and ruled himself out of the race and next week as well. There was further misery for Yamaha as Ben Spies couldn’t recover from his knock on the head and decided to sit the race out on saftey grounds after not being able to put together a lap on Sunday morning. His title means Casey was the first and last man to win a world title in the 880cc era and secures Honda a world championship in the formula, as next year we move to 1000cc bikes.
In other news Aoyama (former 250cc world champion) has confirmed hes moving to World Superbikes in a rather surprise move away from the Gresini Honda team, who while providing a factory spec bike to Simoncelli (who finished 2nd) couldn’t provide Aoyama with anything similar and he is currently in 10th place in the championship with a best finish of 4th. It leaves another spot open next year in a well respected team in a season where there will be a lot of new faces with the CRT bikes entering. Unfortunatly there is still no word on whether Suzuki are commited next year to running a bike, for the sake of top flight motorcycle racing I hope we do have 4 full manufactures next year and they all field quite a few bikes. It leaves 10 seats unaccounted for (plus whatever Suzuki run if anything) next year so we expect to see quite a bit of movement between Moto 2, Superbikes and Moto GP.
In F1 the Korean race provided a entertaining race that was won again by Sebastian Vettel despite McLarens pace all weekend, but there was positives for the Woking team with a pole position and Lewis Hamilton having a calm weekend to second place. There was some great battles down the field with a seasons best showing from Toro Rosso with a 7th and 9th position. In terms of the constructors it looks as though the battle for 6th place will be intense now as Toro Rosso have pulled themselves up to within 12 points of Force India and Sauber while Renault are probably too far ahead despite not scoring.
Despite Vijay Mallya saying that the team was not for sale he has sold 42.5% of the team to Sahara (who sponsor the Indian national circket team and own a IPL 20/20 team) and the team will now officially become Sahara Force India. This has left a certain Joe Saward quite irate for some reason, even though he must know that Vijay couldn’t comment anything publically to keep the price high.
It fits nicely as Mallya is running out of money it would seem and has spent a lot to improve his profile with the team, he will remain team principle and co-owner with 42.5% as well. The remaining % is owned by a family who have been investors since the Sypker days. It could boost the team further up the grid with Sahara surely having some great connections in relation to sports promotion and India, the team is ideal for them as investers but as Paul Di Resta pointed out, who will pick the drivers for next season in a team with too much driver talent for 2 seats.
The Moto GP jigsaw looks evermore complete for next year as Andrea Dovizioso has decided to take the spare seat at Yamaha Tech III for the first season on 1000CC bikes. Dovizioso has appeared to be the one big name rider without a seat next year after Honda confirmed there would not be a Repsol Honda for him next year. Also with Simoncelli still recieving a factory spec bike at Grenesi the team would have to have run a customer spec bike to afford to run Dovi.
However he has signed with Tech III Yamaha who are believed to be running factory/near factory spec Yamaha bikes for the next two seasons. The deal is for one year only and will be a straight shoot out with Cal Crutchlow to see who will partner Bradley Smith in 2013 as he has already signed a deal to race for the french satellite squad.
This leaves Honda, Ducati and Yamaha with unchanged factory team line ups as well as Tech III and Simoncelli at Grenesi Honda. The Moto GP world championship continues this weekend with Casey Stoners home Grand Prix in Austrialia.
Well it was inevitable but Sebastian Vettel has become the worlds youngest ever double champion, winning the title with 4 races to spare (the record is 6 by Schumacher in 2002) highlighting another period of German dominance in the sport. But there was more stories than that up and down the field:
First of all McLaren especially in the hands of Jenson Button looked on fire all weekend (as in fast, not Renault/Lotus Renault/Genii Capital my side pods exploding on fire) and a great qualifying performance saw Jenson take his first win in the dry for the Woking based squad. Additionally Vettel warned on the grid that Ferrari wern’t out of it and he turned out to be correct as good tire management let Fernando get to 2nd step of the podium, while the Red Bull consumed its tires but the boys from Milton Keynes wern’t taking any risks and just wanted that title. Mark Webber drove a decent race to finish 4th.
Schumacher continues his return to form and became the oldest man to lead a race since Jack Brabham in the 1970s before securing a 6th position beating Felipe Massa across the line. Furthermore there was a big boost for Team Lotus who managed to get both cars across the line on lead lap. The norfolk boys do appeared to have quietly closed the gap to the midfield teams and next season will have KERS along with their drive train from Renault, we do think there is more to come from them and now realistically look as though they could pull themselves out of Q3.
It does look as though the field have closed up with McLaren now seemingly matching Red Bull over one lap (at a circuit that traditionally suits Adrian Newey cars) as well as the race. Ferrari seem as though they’ve sorted out their tire issues and Mercedes also look good now in race trim.
Force India will however be ruing the saftey car which ruined their strategy and cost them points while Petrov picked up 2 for Renault. Bruno Senna however just seemed to head backwards all race ending up finishing 16th. Bruno could really use a marquee finish to boost his chances of getting a drive next year.
Today in the European High Court the decision was made that it was not illegal for a pub to decode Premier League football matches using a Greek Satellite. It will be interesting to see the knock on effect of all of this as if it stands in the British high court you will still be able to watch F1 on foreign free to air channels legally in the UK. Its an interesting turn around and a real headache for sports rights as some sports are more popular than others region to region and are priced accordingly.
Furthermore F1 might agree to take a cheaper rights deal to make the sport free to air in a new market it is entering (such as there is a team, driver or race from that country) whereas in more established markets it may charge for content or are not too bothered about an expansion of the fan base as it is quite large.
For football it does still mean you would have to pay to subscribe to a sports channel and is likely to see leagues move to pan-european rights. However as F1 is shown free to air in most countries you could watch the race with commentary from your radio for the price of a Hotbird satellite!