Hockenheim: Meet me halfway

Hockenheim: Meet me halfway

19 July 2012 – The German Grand Prix marks the midway point of the 2012 Formula 1 season. Yes, you read that right – how time flies. Last time we visited Hockenheim was two years ago, when Ferrari infamously switched their two cars around. This time, the legendary venue will be greeted by one of the sport’s best ever title battles.

Things are tightening up at the top, with Mark Webber’s Silverstone victory having reduced the 20-point gap to Fernando Alonso to just 13. With the next two races running back-to-back, everybody is striving to be the championship leader when boarding their departing flight from Budapest - it’s always a nice confidence boost ahead of the summer break. Curiously, though, even Sebastian Vettel is now over one race win away from the title lead. He and others need to get on with it.

Ahead of the weekend, the German Grand Prix has been making headlines for the wrong reasons. The Nürburgring is bankrupt. This raises questions over next year’s race, as the alternating pattern continues. Hockenheim could host events consecutively although, also strapped for cash, it would rather not do so. Bernie Ecclestone has already offered to help the Nürburgring and, with Germany being the home of the current World Champion and of powerhouse Mercedes, you can be sure that Bernie will ensure that the country will remain firmly on the schedule next year.

Staying on the subject of deals, the 2013 grid is finally taking shape. Mark Webber has signed a further one-year deal with Red Bull, having proven to himself that he does still very much have what it takes to beat Sebastian Vettel; who would have believed, at the end of last season, that the Aussie would have out-raced the German on six out of nine occasions so far this season? This leaves Lewis Hamilton in the spotlight, but it really should not. The media likes to raise question marks but, with Webber having got himself sorted out, McLaren is the only option for Hamilton. As Lewis said, long-term is the way to think; Ferrari is out of the question because of Alonso and Enstone’s Lotus has shown a number of peaks and troughs over the years.

It will be somewhat compelling to see who comes out on top this weekend. If the weather is anything like it was in 2003, when that scorcher of a summer helped Juan Pablo Montoya to an absolutely dominant victory for Williams, then Lotus could be the ones to watch out for. Between then, Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean have sealed five podium finishes so far this season; three came in the hot surroundings of Bahrain and Valencia, although those of Montreal and Silverstone were further proof of just how strong a base chassis that E20 is. I should also point out to further F1 trivia lovers that, after Britain, Grosjean is one of only two drivers to manage Q3 qualifying at all circuits so far this year. Hamilton is the other.

Let us not forget María de Villota, though. Her name may have disappeared from news bulletins as quickly as it got there, but María remains in hospital after losing her right eye in that freak testing accident. Marussia must be credited for their handling of the situation, not least how they broke the news that the car was not responsible for the incident; sadly, that had to be said to avoid a huge legal situation. It very much suggests that driver error caused the incident. The questions which remain unanswered are: was María driving too close to the team hospitality unit and the stationary truck, with its tail lift in the lowered position? Or should the truck have been parked there in the first place, tail lift down or not? The responses to those two queries will have huge relevance when it comes to apportioning blame but, at the end of the day, María remains in a bad way and our thoughts are still very much with you.

At a glance:

- Hockenheim pole position sitters
- Hockenheim Grand Prix winners

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The facts: Hockenheimring
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Laps 67

Direction Clockwise

Corners 17

Length 4.574 km / 2.842 mi

First championship race 1970

First winner Jochen Rindt – Lotus-Ford

Lap record 1:13.780 / K. Räikkönen / McLaren-Mercedes / 2004

Local start time 2pm (BST +1)

Slick Pirelli tyre compounds
Medium (white markings) & Soft (yellow markings)

DRS zone

Detection: Exit of Turn 4
Activation: 260 metres after Turn 4 until braking zone of Turn 6 Hairpin

FIA driver steward
Derek Warwick

2010 pole position sitter
Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault

2010 Grand Prix winner
Fernando Alonso – Ferrari
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circuit changes for 2012
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- New, higher quality artificial grass has been installed on the exit of Turn 1; three metres in width, it has also been extended to make sure drivers who run wide must cross it again in order to rejoin the track (deterring corner-cutting)

- An additional row of conveyor belt has been installed after the first two rows on all six-row tyre barriers. This leaves a composition of: conveyor layer, two rows of tyres, a second conveyor, four rows of tyres and finally the wall

- All rubber will be removed from the drag strip, located on the outside of the final two corners, before the Grand Prix takes place
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Gregory Haines
GPUpdate.net Editor

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 27 November 2014

  2. Video: Räikkönen joins the logistics race 12:07

    Video: Räikkönen joins the logistics race

    Ferrari logistics partner UPS takes Kimi Räikkönen behind the scenes at its WorldPort facility.

    F1
  3. Kubica heads Monza Rally entry list 11:43

    Kubica heads Monza Rally entry list

    Ex-Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica, MotoGP star Valentino Rossi and NASCAR's Kurt Busch are the major names on the entry list...

    Misc
  4. Toro Rosso to name second driver on Monday 10:13

    Toro Rosso to name second driver on Monday

    The driver joining Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso for the 2015 season will be revealed on Monday, Red Bull advisor Helmut...

    F1
  5. Nasr thanks Williams for 2014 opportunities 09:27

    Nasr thanks Williams for 2014 opportunities

    Felipe Nasr has thanked Williams for the opportunities he was given as the team's test and reserve driver during the 2014...

    F1
  6. Pirelli pleased with reaction to 2015 tyres 06:14

    Pirelli pleased with reaction to 2015 tyres

    Pirelli says it is "very pleased" with the feedback it has received from drivers over the new 2015 tyres it brought to this...

    F1
  7. Video of the Day: 2014 Formula 1 highlights 05:02

    Video of the Day: 2014 Formula 1 highlights

    Relive highlights from the 2014 F1 season, in which Lewis Hamilton claimed his second world title.

    F1
  8. Wednesday 26 November 2014

  9. 16:49

    F1 photos: Abu Dhabi testing - Day 2

    F1
  10. Lynn delighted with maiden Formula 1 test 16:48

    Lynn delighted with maiden Formula 1 test

    Newly-crowned GP3 champion Alex Lynn described his first experience of F1 machinery as "fantastic", after testing for Lotus...

    F1
  11. Marciello: Impossible not to think of Bianchi 16:28

    Marciello: Impossible not to think of Bianchi

    Raffaele Marciello says fellow Ferrari academy driver Jules Bianchi was at the forefront of his mind as he made his Formula...

    F1
  12. 14:38

    Post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test: Day 2 results

    F1
  13. Wehrlein fastest as Abu Dhabi test concludes 14:37

    Wehrlein fastest as Abu Dhabi test concludes

    Mercedes reserve driver Pascal Wehrlein topped the timesheets on the final day of testing at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit,...

    F1
  14. Vergne announces Toro Rosso exit 14:26

    Vergne announces Toro Rosso exit

    Jean-Éric Vergne has announced that he will not be racing for Toro Rosso in Formula 1 next season, with Red Bull bosses...

    F1
  15. Marko: Vettel's Ferrari visit breached contract 12:12

    Marko: Vettel's Ferrari visit breached contract

    Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has claimed that Sebastian Vettel breached his contract by making an early appearance with new...

    F1
  16. Force India trials 'Info Wing' display system 10:04

    Force India trials 'Info Wing' display system

    A revolutionary LED display system, designed by Lewis Hamilton's father Anthony, was tested by Force India in Abu Dhabi on...

    F1
  17. Video: Lewis Hamilton surprises karter 09:06

    Video: Lewis Hamilton surprises karter

    Lewis Hamilton surprises nine-year-old karting champion Harley Haughton on BBC Radio 5 live, just hours after he was crowned...

    F1
  18. Ecclestone says Qatar 'ready' for F1 race 08:45

    Ecclestone says Qatar 'ready' for F1 race

    Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says Qatar is planning to host a Grand Prix in the near future. If negotiations lead...

    F1
  19. Bottas: New Pirelli tyres more consistent 07:42

    Bottas: New Pirelli tyres more consistent

    Valtteri Bottas says he experienced "more consistent" tyre degradation on Pirelli's development 2015 rubber at this week's...

    F1
  20. Video: Stewart on Hamilton's title win 05:04

    Video: Stewart on Hamilton's title win

    Sir Jackie Stewart offers his views on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's title-winning 2014 campaign.

    F1
  21. Tuesday 25 November 2014

  22. Leal remains with Carlin for 2015 18:36

    Leal remains with Carlin for 2015

    Carlin has confirmed that Colombian racer Julián Leal will remain with the team for the 2015 GP2 season. Leal, 24, has...

    GP2
  23. 17:28

    F1 photos: Abu Dhabi testing - Day 1

    F1
  24. Honda says rivals faced same early issues 17:27

    Honda says rivals faced same early issues

    Honda says the teething problems it is facing at this week's Abu Dhabi test are no different to those endured by rival...

    F1
  25. GP2 champion Palmer eyes Force India role 16:11

    GP2 champion Palmer eyes Force India role

    GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer says he would like to occupy a role in Formula 1 with Force India, after testing for the team in...

    F1
  26. 14:23

    Post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test: Day 1 results

    F1
  27. Bottas tops first day of Abu Dhabi test 14:22

    Bottas tops first day of Abu Dhabi test

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas set the standard on the opening day of the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test at the Yas Marina...

    F1
  28. McLaren-Honda targets immediate success 12:52

    McLaren-Honda targets immediate success

    McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier says the team will be targeting success from the very first race of its new engine...

    F1
  29. Lynn to make F1 test debut with Lotus 12:08

    Lynn to make F1 test debut with Lotus

    GP3 champion Alex Lynn is set to make his Formula 1 test debut with Lotus on the second day of this week's post-season...

    F1
  30. Winners and Losers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 12:06

    Winners and Losers at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix rounded out the 2014 Formula 1 Season and Lewis Hamilton's 11th victory of the campaign secured him...

    F1
  31. Video: New era for McLaren-Honda 09:24

    Video: New era for McLaren-Honda

    The McLaren-Honda partnership returns to life in 2015, with the two giants of motorsport hoping to emulate the success they...

    F1
  32. Hamilton to keep 44 as car number 08:47

    Hamilton to keep 44 as car number

    Lewis Hamilton has revealed that he will retain #44 as his car number next season, despite earning the right to compete with...

    F1
  33. Hamilton on Sports Personality shortlist 07:53

    Hamilton on Sports Personality shortlist

    Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has been named on the 10-person shortlist for this year's BBC Sports Personality of...

    F1
  34. Video: Button on 15 years in Formula 1 07:48

    Video: Button on 15 years in Formula 1

    Amid ongoing uncertainty over his future, Jenson Button looks back at 15 years in Formula 1.

    F1
  35. Lewis Hamilton's path to the 2014 title 06:57

    Lewis Hamilton's path to the 2014 title

    Lewis Hamilton clinched his second world title with victory in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, becoming the 16th driver in...

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Putrajaya ePrix highlights 05:04

    Video of the Day: Putrajaya ePrix highlights

    Enjoy highlights of the second Formula E race in Malaysia, won by Virgin Racing's Sam Bird.

    Formula E
  37. Monday 24 November 2014

  38. Post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test: The line-up 21:09

    Post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix test: The line-up

    Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit plays host to final test of the year this week. Ahead of the two-day gathering, GPUpdate.net...

    F1
  39. Glimpse of the future at Abu Dhabi test 21:01

    Glimpse of the future at Abu Dhabi test

    Less than 48 hours after the conclusion of the 2014 season, Formula 1 teams will be back in action to push ahead with...

    F1
  40. Lauda: Rosberg will fight back next year 17:28

    Lauda: Rosberg will fight back next year

    Niki Lauda reckons Nico Rosberg will "fight back" next season after being beaten to the 2014 title by Mercedes team-mate...

    F1
  41. Dennis: Right person won championship 16:05

    Dennis: Right person won championship

    McLaren boss Ron Dennis believes the "right person" won the 2014 championship after his former driver Lewis Hamilton...

    F1
  42. Grosjean glad 2014 season is over 15:22

    Grosjean glad 2014 season is over

    Romain Grosjean says he is glad to see the back of the 2014 season after another challenging weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand...

    F1
  43. Video: Rosberg reflects on Abu Dhabi anguish 14:35

    Video: Rosberg reflects on Abu Dhabi anguish

    Nico Rosberg looks back at a heartbreaking Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he missed out on the 2014 title.

    F1
  44. Hülkenberg: Abu Dhabi a good sign for 2015 13:57

    Hülkenberg: Abu Dhabi a good sign for 2015

    Nico Hülkenberg believes his performance in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a "good sign" for next year. The Force India...

    F1
more news