The Heart-racing Race, 2011 Formula 1 Korea Grand Prix! October 28th, 2011
Hello everyone, guess how I spent my weekend two weeks ago! I went to see the Formula 1 race in Korea, of course! I think I speak for all worldwide motor sports fans when I say the weekend was a special weekend for us because the Formula 1 race that was held in Korea. :-)
For those of you who know little about Formula 1, or F1, it is simply a race where a total of 24 racing drivers compete with a one-person racing vehicle. It is considered one of the world’s top three global sports events, along with the World Cup and the Olympics. You can better understand how popular it is when I tell you that more than sixty million people watch the game from all over the world.
In Asia, the Formula 1 race is held in six countries: Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China, India and Korea (since last year). India GP has joined F1 schedule from this year. Although it feels a little delayed to host such an important motor sports event in South Korea, the world’s fifth largest automobile producing nation, it’s better late than never! The popularity and awareness of the Formula 1 race is increasing rapidly in Korea.
<2010 & 2011 World champion, Vettel from the Red Bull Racing Team >
This is my second, consecutive visit to the Formula 1 race. I actually fell in love with it the first time I went. My favorite team is the Red Bull racing team. As you can probably tell, it’s the team that is managed by the very popular energy drink company, Red Bull. Red Bull is actually investing in and sponsoring many other extreme sports events, and I suppose this goes well with their product image.
The Red Bull racing team may not have fond memories of its last race in Korea. Mark Webber crashed with Nico Rosberg from Mercedes GP after his spin, and the Vettel had to retire because of an engine blow-out.
Mark Webber, then one of the strong contenders for the championship, lost the opportunity to gain a point, and Alonso from the Scuderia Ferrari team came in first. Ultimately, there was no clear winner until the very last race at Abu Dhabi. Even then, it was a very close game before Sebastian Vettel was able to finally take the 2010 World Champion trophy home.
This year’s world champion was already made clear at the Japan Grand Prix, the race right before Korea Grand Prix, so there was less anticipation. However, fans wanted to see whether the Red Bull racing team would see misfortune yet again in the Korea Grand Prix or whether last year’s winner, Alonso of Ferrarri, would win the race again.
Also, I wanted to know if the Red Bull’s Constructor Champion would be decided at the Youngam circuit. (Quick fact: In Formula 1, a separate championship is given to both a driver and a racing car. Therefore, a prize is given to a team who shows an outstanding performance.)
Formula 1 lasted for three days. On the first day Friday, two rounds of free practice took place and on the second day, there was a third round of free practice and a qualifying race. Finally, on the third day, the final race took place. I had the pleasure of attending the second and third day of the race.
For the results of the qualifying race, Lewis Hamilton from the McLaren team took the pole position while Red Bull’s Vettel took the second grid, the third grid by Jenson Button from McLaren and the fourth grid by Red Bull’s Mark Webber. Last year’s winner Alonso from Ferrari was a little sluggish and took the sixth grid while Massa took the fifth grid.
The fact that Force India took the ninth grid and Alguersuari from Toro Rosso Red Bull (A sister team of the Red Bull Racing Team) took the eleventh grid took everyone by surprise.
Finally, on the day of the final race, I ran to Youngam circuit hardly able to contain my excitement. I wanted to take good pictures for you guys before the crowd really filled in.
Not too much of a crowd, as this was really early in the morning.
”Grid girls” welcomed guests in front of the gate.
As Formula 1 is a beloved sport by people around the world, some people showed their national pride by bringing their country’s flags.
The unusually quiet main grand stadium, however, was soon teeming with people.
There were many gifts and accessory shops for the teams, and I bought a jacket that I’ve been longing to buy for some time.
The start of the CJ Race Cup, a warm-up game right before the official Formula 1 race.
Right before the game, each team gives a ‘trailer greeting’ with their drivers. Do you see a driver you are a fan of?
After the opening ceremony, the pit crews comes to the grid and set up machines for a final check up.
If you look closely, you’ll see that all of the machine’s tires are wrapped in something. They are wrapped not because they are new. They wrap the tires with an electric heating blanket to maintain the temperature of the tires to average 80 to 100 degrees Celsius. They do this because tires are very sensitive to heat and because the speed of Formula 1 race machines is so high (usually an average of 200 km~ 320 km/hr), so they maintain certain temperatures to maximize grip force.
That is why when the race is about to start, the pit crews take off the tire covers.
When it is time to start the race, the crew backs off from the machine and soon a formation lap begins. The formation lap is when a driver goes around the circuit driving the machine for a final checkup and then comes back to his own grid.
When the formation lap begins, all crews run back to their pit just like the picture above.
Machines coming back from the formation lap go to their own grid and prepare for the race. Below is the video of the beginning of the race.
Can you hear the awesome sound of the machines? It screams pure power and speed.
Lewis Hamilton, who was at the pole position, loses his position to Vettel right after the first lap.
Hamilton tries to chase after Vettel, but a 12-second difference is quite significant in the racing world. Webber, who started the race at the fourth grid, came up to third place after Hamilton.
Schumacher, who did well in the beginning, unfortunately crashed with Team Lotus Renault’s Petrov and had to give up the game.
When this kind of accident occurs, a safety car comes out and rides in front of the machines so they will slow down and not race until everything is settled down.
Another popular scene we are used to at Formula 1 is the pit work. According to Formula 1 regulations, only two types of tires (prime and option) are allowed. Prime tires must be used at least once in the race, which means that all machines must stop by the pit to change their tires. This is when you see the whole crew swarm around the machine to change the tires.
Because this pit stop is also counted in the lap time, all pit crews try their best to change the tires within a short amount of time. The average time of changing four tires are usually three to four seconds. The pit crew also replaces any parts that are broken or damaged during the race.
However, sometimes you see some machines that don’t stop by the pit stop but just pass through. This is called a drive through penalty, a penalty given to a racer who has done something dangerous during the race. The racer must pass through the pit lane, limiting speed to 100km/hr, which is a loss of time for racers competing to get a fraction of second faster than competitors.
The highlight of today’s race was Red Bull’s Mark Webber and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton’s fight for second place. Watch the video below.
These two fiercely competed to the very last lap, and even though Mark Webber kept pushing Hamilton, he took the third place. Below is the video of Vettel’s last lap.
The goddess of victory smiled at Vettel, Hamilton and Webber as they placed in the top three. Red Bull became the Constructor Champion once again after their win in 2010.
As a Red Bull fan, I was happy to see Vettel and Webber standing together on the podium and Red Bull taking the Constructor Championship. I was a bit tired waking up early for two days in a row and taking pictures, but I hope all of you enjoyed them.
If this article sparked any interest for Formula 1 racing, you should check out the India GP which begins on today October 28th in New Delhi.
Personally, I hope to see Kia’s logo on a Formula 1 machine like the Mercedes GP or Lotus Renaut. Maybe we will see it soon someday.
If you wish to see Kia logo on a Formula 1 machine as well, leave a comment! And I’ll see you next time with even more exciting news!