Keeping track

Published : Mar 15, 2014 00:00 IST

Kobayashi’s generous fans

Kamui Kobayashi, who failed to secure his position with Sauber at the end of the 2012 season, will be back on the grid this year driving for Caterham, thanks to the munificence of his fans. Struggling to find funding at the end of 2012, the Japanese Formula One driver sought help from his diehard supporters through an online campaign, ‘Support Kamui.’ And his fans responded generously, which helped Kobayashi pay for his seat at Caterham.

Wolff among men

Susie Wolff, an active test driver for Williams — she has tested for the team on several occasions — is poised to become the first woman in 22 years to drive on a Grand Prix weekend. (The last woman to run on a Formula One race weekend was Giovanna Amati of Italy.) The 31-year-old former DTM race driver would do two practice sessions (Friday), at Silverstone (British Grand Prix) and Hockenheim (German Grand Prix). Susie, wife of Toto Wolff, the executive director of the Mercedes F1 team, will continue to be Williams’ development driver, the Oxfordshire-based team has announced.

What’s the number?

Beginning this season, the drivers have been assigned permanent race numbers. They were given the option of choosing a number between 2 and 99 — which they will wear for the rest of their careers — with No. 1 set aside for the reigning world champion. The following are the drivers’ numbers: 1. Sebastian Vettel (No. 5 also reserved), 3. Daniel Ricciardo, 6. Nico Rosberg, 7. Kimi Raikkonen, 8. Romain Grosjean, 11. Sergio Perez, 13. Pastor Maldonado, 14. Fernando Alonso, 17. Jules Bianchi, 19. Felipe Massa, 20. Kevin Magnussen, 21. Esteban Gutierrez, 22. Jenson Button, 25. Jean-Eric Vergne, 26. Daniil Kvyat, 27. Nico Hulkenberg, 44. Lewis Hamilton, 77. Valtteri Bottas, 99. Adrian Sutil.

A trophy for pole

The FIA has instituted a trophy that would be given to the driver with most pole positions in the season. In case of a deadlock, the driver with most second places will be adjudged the winner. If the issue is still unresolved, third-place finishes will be taken into account and so on until a winner is identified.

A team of champions

Sixty-one years after the Prancing Horse had two world champions, Giuseppe Farina (the first Formula One world champion) and Alberto Ascari (world champion in 1952 and 53) in its stable, Ferrari will once again see two world championship winners steering its cars this season. Fernando Alonso, world champion in 2005 and 2006, and Kimi Raikkonen, winner in 2007, form a potentially explosive combination.

Enter Russia

In the 2014 calendar, a new circuit makes its entry and an old one makes a comeback after a 10-year absence. The Sochi International Street Circuit will host the inaugural Russian Grand Prix on October 12, while the completely rebuilt Red Bull Ring (also known as A1 Ring) will stage the Austrian Grand Prix that was last held in 2003. The two races come in place of the Korean Grand Prix and the Indian Grand Prix, which is taking a year’s break.

Stretching the nose too far

One of the safety measures introduced this season, which scaled down the height of the car’s snout from 550mm to 185mm, has led to what the experts say are ugly engineering tweaks. The nose cones of the cars range from the outlandish to the bizarre. While most teams have opted for anteater-shaped cones, the champion team, Red Bull Racing, has bolted on a keel-shaped nose to its RB10. McLaren and Williams have a wacky finger-shaped snout. The Silver Arrows (Mercedes) have cones whose front resembles a bottle opener. Lotus’ E22 has a split nose while Ferrari’s F14-T sports a squashed snout.

Compiled by G. Raghunath

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