Force India’s Paul di Resta hints at leaving Formula One

F1 Testing in Jerez - Day Three

Briton Paul Di Resta hinted heavily on Saturday that he is looking at his options for a seat outside Formula One as the drivers’ market for 2014 remained in flux.

Scot Di Resta of Force India faces fierce competition to keep his job with the Silverstone-based outfit from a host of rival drivers including former team-mate German Nico Hulkenberg, who looks set to leave Sauber.

Di Resta, who has no substantial sponsorship package, admitted that he is interested in exploring other options, including possibly replacing newly-retired cousin and fellow-Scot Dario Franchitti in IndyCar racing in the United States.

He said: “I would discuss it with Dario… But, I think I’m still in the running for a seat here at Force India, or at least I’d like to think I am.

“So my primary objective is to stay in F1, but more importantly to stay driving. I have a lot to offer, I’m still young.

“I have a lot of fire in me. I have won championships and I will continue to win races I hope.”

He said he is not enjoying being in his current position.

“To find yourself in difficulties is quite hard to accept, but I have to understand where F1 is at the moment, in the midfield as well… Yes, it’s tough.”

In contrast, his German team-mate Adrian Sutil has made it clear he feels confident of staying at Force India next year.

“I know where I’ll be,” he said. But he declined to name the team – leaving his choice open to speculation.

Both current drivers know they face competition from Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who has a sponsorship package worth 35 million euros (USD 47.5 million) to take with him now that he is leaving Williams.

Sebastian Vettel wins Indian GP, grabs historic 4th world title

Taking a giant step towards becoming a modern great, Sebastian Vettel cruised into the history books by winning his fourth consecutive Formula One world title as he conquered the Indian Grand Prix for the third time in a row, in Greater Noida on Sunday.


Changing his tyres strategy after only two laps on softs from pole position, Vettel switched to mediums and drove sensationally to grab the lead after joining the race in the 17 place, yet again showing that he was uncatchable in his RB09.

Red Bull looked set for a one and two but Mark Webber’s race ended due to gearbox problem in lap 40. His team ordered him to stop the car. However, Red Bull still won the constructors’ title. So it was double delight for Red Bull.

Vettel bowed on the Buddh International circuit after completing the victory and then jumped on his car, celebrating his historic win, which he took ahead of Mercedes Nico Rosberg, who was 29.8 seconds behind.

Joining them on the podium was Lotus’ Romain Grosjean, who had sensational race as he worked his way to third position after starting 17 on the grid.

Vettel needed to finish only fifth to become youngest quadruple champion. With this win, he took his points tally to 322. Only Ferrai’s Fernando Alonso could have kept the championship alive but he could not get a single point by finishing a distant 11th.

Ever since the Formula One world arrived in India, Vettel has dominated everything from dominating practice sessions to winning all three Poles and races.

Only two drivers before Vettel have won four straight titles — Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina and German great Michael Schumacher. Frenchman Alain Prost is another driver who has won four titles but he did not win those in a row and Vettel is now youngest quadruple champion at the age 26.

It was Vettel’s sixth win in a row and the affable German now has the record of nine consecutive wins in sight with three races to go in the season.

Italian Alberto Ascari had established the astonishing nine-win record in 1952-53.

Felipe Massa was fourth, followed by McLaren drivers Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Raikonnen, who was in podium contention till the last 10 laps, faded to seventh, followed by home team Sahara Force India’s Paul di Resta and Sutil. Daniel Ricciardo took the last available point from Indian Grand Prix, which is missing on the calendar in 2014.

It was a great result for home team as they enjoyed their first double points finish since the British Grand prix to consolidate their sixth position. The team earned six points to take the tally to 68, which is 23 ahead of Sauber, who failed to earn a point.

In lap 29, Vettel got ahead of the pack when Webber pitted and just after one lap he was comfortably ahead by 11 seconds. Vettel was uncatchable after that as he build a 25-second lead over Kimi Raikkonen.

Earlier, Massa made a great start by getting past both the Mercedes cars to get behind Vettel. Fernando Alonso, who needed a strong race to keep the championship alive, clipped Jenson Button, breaking his Ferrari’s nose.

Vettel too pitted early for changing tyres from soft to mediums and now Massa was leading the race, followed by Rosberg and his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Webber soon was to his original fourth after making a move on Kimi Raikkonen in lap six.

Vettel who joined 17th, worked his way up to fourthth by lap 12 as he passed Force India’s Adrian Sutil and Lotus’ Romain Grosjean but the gap with the race leader Webber was more than 12 seconds.

Sutil was holding on to his fifth strongly, behind Daniel Ricciardo and ahead of Massa but the German had not pitted by then.

Vettel was going fast and fast and passed Sergio Perez in lap 21 to be behind Webber, who was to take his first pit stop. It was business as usual as Vettel took lead in lap 29.

Behind him, Raikkenon comfortably passed Sutil to take third in lap 37 and the Force India driver was the only one who had not pitted as yet. Sutil finally went to pitlane, opted for soft tyres and joined ninth, just ahead of teammate Paul di Resta.

The last five laps,, saw an exciting battle among Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Perez.

New Delhi : Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel says his win in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix was the one of the best in his career and he will take back a lot from the country which has inspired him immensely.

Vettel secured his second world title in Japan three weeks ago and Sunday won his 11th race of the season.

The German, who has not put a foot wrong this season, is floored by everything concerned with India.

He rates the Buddh International Circuit as one of the best on the F1 calendar, loves the people who according to him are poor but happy and can’t wait to come back next year.

“Coming to India has been an inspiration. A great learning experience,” said a humble Vettel.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time here but it was very inspiring when I had a bit of time to spend in the country. I went to see the Taj Mahal which is obviously a touristy thing to do but driving there by car, and not falling asleep because the roads were pretty… it was a good adventure, let’s say,” he said.

“All in all, it was great to be here, a great circuit, which obviously – speaking about our job, about racing, that’s what we judge most, the circuit is fantastic to drive. I was surprised that the race went by pretty quickly. I was always trying to keep the gap to him (Button), trying to push but my engineer came on the radio and said ‘twelve laps to go’ and I was surprised because I thought, bloody hell, that went by quickly. It is a good sign, because you enjoy the circuit and it is a good sign for the future.”

“It is great what people did here in a short amount of time. We heard about it (circuit) a couple of years ago but to put up this arena is incredible. Its not 100 per cent finished but I am sure they will fix it next year. I am very proud to be the first winner here in India. It is a very impressive country.”

Vettel says it was the first time he saw people happy despite being poor, something he hasn’t seen in Europe.

“I think some things are very difficult to imagine for us. If you look where we come from, I think it’s hard to imagine things if you haven’t seen them.

“The really surprising bit for us… where sometimes you measure happiness in our lives, in our world, with what you have achieved, what you have etc. For the people here, it doesn’t really matter, they are happy with what they have, even if you compare they have so little, but they are happy and friendly, helpful, respectful.

“The people have so little here I think in a way they are much richer than a lot of people back in Europe so there is a lot we can learn. They enjoy life and in the end that’s what count.

“If your life comes to an end, it is more about the thoughts, the emotions, the friendship that you take with you rather than what you have in your bank account,” said an emotional Vettel.

When asked to describe the country, Vettel promptly replied: “Incredible India”, sparking a loud round of applause from the local media.

New Delhi: It would take a brave if not foolhardy soul, to bet against Sebastian Vettel clinching his 11th win of the season, in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, come Sunday.

Having secured his 13th pole position of the season on Saturday, Vettel will be in no mood to relent as the F1 world, along with motorsport enthusiasts in the country, gear up for a truly historic occasion.

Earlier on Friday, setting aside the stray dog incident, and one in which a photographer doubled up as a marshal, the two practice sessions of the Indian GP, saw Brazil’s Felipe Massa deny Red Bull and Vettel the bragging rights by finishing on top at the end of the day.

Sebastian Vettel notched up his 13th pole position in the qualifying session of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
AP Photo

‘Drama on the track’ would be the best way to define the course of events that followed, even though some of the action would have left the organisers red faced.

But as far as results on the track are concerned, it would be hard to visualize any scene other than, Vettel holding aloft the prized trophy at the conclusion of the race.

With 10 victories out of the 15 races held thus far this season, the man from Heppenheim has done what he failed to do last year, convert pole positions into race wins.

Even though, Red Bull have proved to be heads and shoulders ahead of the rest of the pack, Vettel deserves more than the credit that’s due, considering that teammate Mark Webber is yet to win his first race of the year.

The story seemed to be totally different last year, when the animosity between Webber and Vettel came to full tilt during the Turkish GP, as the two collided with each other, to the horror of the Red Bull establishment.

Even though Vettel has been in cruise control throughout the 2011 season, there has been the odd occasion when he has provided the opposition drivers an opportunity to cash in when push came to shove.

A slip up by the 24 year old German on the very last lap of the Canadian Grand Prix allowed McLaren’s Jenson Button to snatch a memorable victory in wet conditions.

But the errors have been few and far between as the Red Bull-Sebastian Vettel combination continues to march on, and there is very little to suggest that things should be any different at the Buddh International Circuit on race day.

Source: TOI & IBNLive

Vettel is already this year’s F1 champ, two years running. So, will he be just as motivated for Sunday’s race?

Sebastian Vettel





What does a champion look like? Their posters and cutouts give them a larger-than-life feel and make them appear big, confident, perhaps slightly arrogant too. In real life it’s a different story – at least for reigning speed king Sebastian Vettel. He sauntered in wearing the same jersey as several other Red Bull crew members and went virtually unnoticed until he smiled and extended his hand.

Vettel is a slight man, a boy almost, with an easy gait and an easier smile. Not quite the highly-motivated, highly-competitive and highly-skilled driver one expects. We say so. “So, what does a champ look like?” he shoots back. It leaves us groping for an answer. No, not quite that, but… we fumble. “Dhanyavad,” he says with a big smile in perfect Hindi, putting us at ease.

Vettel is already this year’s F1 champ, two years running. So, will he be just as motivated for Sunday’s race? “Of course!” Vettel exclaims. “People don’t understand and ask me if I’m still as motivated. This is the Grand Prix of India and it means a lot to us. All of us want to be the first to win here.”

Besides, he’s probably looking to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher’s record of winning 13 races in a year. Vettel has already won 10. If he wins the Delhi, Abu Dhabi and Brazil races, he would have equalled the feat.

Schumacher, says Vettel, was an idol for him along with two other Michaels – Jackson and Jordan. “Since I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t be Jackson, and since I’m not tall I can’t be Jordan. So, I was left with Schumacher as role model,” he laughs.


Good track, endorses champ

On Thursday the Sebastian Vettel went around the Buddh International Circuit taking in the sights, sounds and the smell. He liked it. “It’s a very good track. The elevation is great and the ups and downs will make it exciting,” he said. Referred to as ‘Baby Schumi’ early in his career Vettel sought to play down the comparison.

“I care about the sport. I know its history and the numbers according to the drivers. From time to time I like to see my name somewhere but I don’t set myself targets,” he said.

Vettel’s role model and racing legend, Schumacher, has been fending off questions about his motivation skills ever since he made his comeback with Mercedes GP but vows that he’s still the same Schumi behind the wheel as he was with Ferrari. He told TOI: “Motivation is not a question. It’s just a procedure of building ourselves step-by-step. That’s why I’m racing, that’s why we’re here. We’re here to win.”

Another champion, Fernando Alonso, still exudes the same confidence he did when he was a double-world champion. “We don’t like to finish second, and not just in Formula One. Whether in golf or tennis, I don’t like losing. We’re an extremely competitive team. Engineers are working 16 hours a day, mechanics 20 hours a day. People are working round the clock in Maranello. Tifosi around the world are following the team. That’s enough motivation to win,” he said.

For the first time ever in the history of Formula One a ‘Pundit’ has blessed Formula One cars and drivers at the Sauber-Ferrari pit lane

Over its 6 decades of existence the world’s most glamorous motorsport has graced many nations and cultures with its fast cars and rich and famous drivers. Come 2011 and Formula One has graced India with its glamorous cars and drivers.

The fusion of cultures has been a very harmonious one with every single Formula One driver becoming extremely fascinated by Indian culture and especially the Indian cuisine which they have sadly been kept strictly off before the race for obvious reasons.


Sergio Perez being blessed

As for culture the teams seem to be taking extremely well to Indian culture and customs. So much so that keeping to Indian traditions the Sauber-Ferrari team arranged a ‘Vishwakarma Puja’ session at their pit lane so that their Formula One cars and drivers, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez could be blessed before the first ever practice session on the Buddh International Circuit.


It was a stunning affair as no one has ever seen customs and traditions ever mingle with the Formula One motorsport. Check out our gallery to take a look at the proceedings of the ‘Puja’.






GREATER NOIDA: Driving down from the Yamuna Expressway to the hustle and bustle of the Buddh International Circuit’s paddock in Greater Noida, it gradually sinks in that Formula One has arrived in India, and may as well be here to stay. As the hours ticked down to the first free practice session for the inaugural Airtel Indian Grand Prix on Friday, it was time for the F1 juggernaut to get a feel of its new environment.


Weary after their long flights from different parts of the world, most of the 24 drivers are still getting used to F1’s newest destination. But for at least one of them, a long-cherished dream is on the verge of coming true.


“I didn’t ever think that I would get a chance to race in India. That cherished dream of driving in front of my home crowd is finally going to come true. The track looks magnificent with plenty of overtaking opportunities and run-off areas to provide enough safety,” Narain Karthikeyan said on Thursday.


This might be India’s first foray into F1 but the nation itself is no stranger to the world’s most technologically advanced sport, which seems to have taken most in the paddock by surprise. India, after all, was supposed to be only a cricket-crazy nation.



Buddh International Circuit




Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn told TOI: “India, for us, is a fascinating new country. People comment on what F1 coming to India will do for the economy, but if we don’t come here how can we help in the development? F1 can, in a small way, help in the development of the nation. What amazes me really is the knowledge people have about F1. Talking to fans and the media one is astonished at the following F1 has in this country. India as a nation is rapidly progressing in the area of technology and that’s why they are lapping up Formula One.”


Brawn’s views were echoed by McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who was making his fifth visit to the country in the last two years. “Coming to India, people would think that cricket is the No. 1 sport but that’s not the case. F1 has a huge fan base as I witnessed in Bangalore a couple of weeks back where as many as 40,000 people turned up,” Hamilton said.


‘Dirty’ track welcomes drivers 


The facilities might be fantastic but the track itself is quite dirty and could be an area of concern for drivers going out first at 10 am for the practice session on Friday. “The track is quite good and the organisers have done a super job getting this place ready in such a short period of time. But like any new track there is some dirt and dust on the track. I hope they can clean it today and tomorrow morning and let’s wait and see how the circuit turns out,” Williams driver Rubens Barrichello said.


The Brazilian veteran, with 323 race starts under his belt and 18 years experience, didn’t waste time in engaging in some friendly banter with countrymate Felipe Massa of Ferrari. “I have got this F1 game at hope and already notched up over 100 laps on it at home,” said Barrichello.


Massa was quick to chip in: “He is racing seven hours a day at home.” Barrichello retorted by saying that Massa himself was hooked on to the game for more than five hours every day, adding, “We meet each other on these games quite often and he (Massa) was the one who introduced me to it. My wife is more p****d off at him and not me!”


On coming to India for the first time in a career stretching close to two decades, Barrichello said, “Obviously, I have never had the chance of coming to India. So it’s great that through my job and sport I am getting the opportunity to explore a new country.”


For Michael Schumacher, though, it was a whole new challenge in his 20th year in F1. “I have just seen the safety car run through the paces here. There were some elevation changes, some blind spots and it will be quite a challenge for us with high and low speed corners,” Schumacher felt.


We’ve managed to get a virtual drive on the Buddh International Circuit – supplemented by this hot video from Red Bull and comments from RBR driver Seb Vettel. It’s a circuit with real character, and should be

Two weekends away from the first ever Indian F1 Grand Prix, and what a weekend it has been! To start with, we got our first virtual view and experience of the Buddh International Circuit on the Codemasters F1 2011 game on the XBox 360. Then, just as we had finished building up our initial impressions of what promises to be a great racing track, Red Bull released this computer generated video of its two drivers going at it on the circuit, with commentary from its drivers. Clearly, we couldn’t keep ourselves from letting you know how excited the circuit has gotten us.

To point things out, we’ve used Tilke’s CG render of the circuit. Do remember that the diagram has been super-elevated by 5 times to ensure that the climbs and slopes of the circuit are properly visible, and believe us, they do make for some great racing moments. Only four of the sixteen corners on the racetrack are slow in nature – 100 km/h or less – it’s all a fast, fast drive otherwise, with an average lap speed in excess of 200 km/h.

Starting off from the smallish start-finish straight off a flying lap and kissing 300 km/h just before braking hard for the first corner – a slow 100 km/h right hander – the circuit snakes left and rises towards the blind crest that makes Turn 3. The slowest corner on the circuit at around 80 km/h, good drive out of this corner is critical since it leads into the longest straight of the race. Drivers will be able to pick up vulgar speeds very quickly with the DRS and KERS activated – and then climbs up quickly towards the end, with gradual bumps along the way which will prove scary at 300+ km/h. The tricky straight ends in another tight right hander – expect to see lots of drivers trying to outbrake each other here as they shed 200 km/h of velocity as they enter. “Immediately uphill again into turn 4 – from 320 down to 100  – without  locking up a front wheel” says Vettel, and we can see that concern is coming from the uphill corner where the front of the car will not have as much force pushing it down.


Sector 2 is for the real technical racers, since it demands a lot of rhythm and accuracy. Two rapid left-right combinations but drastically different in their makeup lead up to the fifth corner of this sector – a long, winding right hander which rewards patience, and has a lot of different possible lines. “Theoretically there’s room for  several cars next to each other here  – despite the wide track it sometimes can get cramped.” If it’s not overtaking under the brakes in the first sector, this would be the place where more battles will play out.



Red Bull Indian GP Circuit 3
Downhill again into the final sector of the circuit, and drivers will be greeted by another interesting left-right combination, the right hander at Turn 13 much sharper than the track map suggests, especially after having picked up all that speed with the assistance of gravity. Another right hander in Turn 15 to set things up for the final corner – a tight left that leads back into the start-finish straight – “downhill  race  with hard braking,  from 260 down to 100”, Vettel remarks.

We managed a personal best lap time of 1 minute 31.852 seconds in the game itself (in a Force India car at that!), but it was with dynamic racing lines showing us where and how much to brake, and medium traction control to keep the game car slightly in check. Tilke’s designers think that a swift lap of the circuit should clock around 1 minute 27 seconds – but the experience is not just about lap times. Based on our first impressions, the Buddh International Circuit will be challenging for both engineers and drivers in a very exciting sort of way, and will almost certainly throw up a memorable race. “It’s an unusual track, peppered with difficult spots and fantastic chicanes,” Seb says. We have the exact same idea. To October 30, 2011 then!


The Style Souk