The WEC goes in 2013 in his 2nd year. They will be still 8 rounds, including the 24h of Le Mans. The WEC will drive in Austin instead of the 12h of Sebring and Silverstone is now the season opener. They will also make ”Super Weekends” with the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) in Silverstone and Spa, ALMS with Austin and the AsLMS (Asian Le Mans Series) in Fuji and Shanghai.
Toyota will only use one TS030 in the entire WEC season (apart from Spa and Le Mans). Audi will still use two R18 Diesel Hybrids and four cars for Le Mans. Audi will even compete the 12h of Sebring, the season opener of the ALMS (American Le Mans Series). Rebillion will only use one Lola B10/60 Toyota, because they use two of them in the ALMS. OAK and JRM didn’t confirm anything to their LMP1 programm and Strakka will also use one HPD ARX-03a. So only 5 cars are in the LMP1 class, maybe more in Spa and Le Mans.
The LMP2 is the class with the most cars. Lotus will use two T128, Gulf and Greaves will also use two cars. OAK will compete with two Morgan Nissans and Signatech Nissan with two Zyteks. ADR-Delta and Pecom will use one car each.
In GTE-Pro are two cars each from AF-Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, Manthey Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage V12. In GTE-Am they could be two Corvette Rcaing ZR1, one IMSA Porsche and maybe one BMW Z4 from Saudi Falcons.
Note: I will visit the 6 Hours of Spa this year, follow me on twitter @Motorsport4ever and subscribe to motorsportracer97 on Youtube for news and (hopefully) HD footage of the ELMS and WEC race.
WEC (World Endurance Championship) Calender 2013:
1. 6H Silverstone 14th April 2013 (Super Weekend ELMS)
2. 6H Spa-Francorchamps 04th May 2013 (Super Weekend ELMS)
3. 24H Le Mans 22nd June 2013
4. 6H Sao Paulo 01st September 2013
5. 6H Austin 22nd September 2013 (Super Weekend ALMS)
6. 6H Fuji 20th Oktober 2013 (Super Weekend AsLMS)
7. 6H Shanghai 10th November 2013 (Super Weekend AsLMS)
8. 6H Bahrain 30th November 2013
Whether Pastor Maldonado’s blatant early getaway at the Belgian Grand Prix caused the first corner pile-up that followed is unlikely, but the error cast another black mark against the Venezuelan’s up-and-down season.
Maldonado topped the penalty charts in his debut season last year, and is well on his way to repeating the ‘feat’ in 2012 after picking up now fewer than three censures at Spa-Francorchamps. Having qualified third fastest, Maldonado was relegated three places for allegedly blocking Nico Rosberg during the session – a penalty apparently reduced by the stewards – but then picked up two five-place punishments in the space of a few laps after jumping the start and later colliding with Marussia’s Timo Glock on the restart.
While the Williams team were happy with the Spanish Grand Prix winner’s early weekend performance, they made it clear that it was his fault that the FW34 took off before the lights had gone out.
“We were very pleased with Pastor’s qualifying as he drove exceptionally well, pushing the car to the limit,” chief operations engineer Mark Gillan confirmed, “However, he jumped the start as his fingers slipped from the clutch paddle by mistake…..”
The Belgian weekend turned to frustration for Williams after that, as Bruno Senna’s grid position effectively prevented him from adding to his recent points haul, although the Brazilian did set the fastest lap of the race on his way to a twelfth place that could have been so much better but for a puncture suffered five laps from home.
“Our race pace on Sunday was not as good as we would have liked, and we need to investigate this a bit further,” Gillan admitted, “With both Friday sessions being fully wet, we effectively had to squeeze three sessions’ work into one, which made for a very busy one hour period during FP3. However, it was the same for everyone and we were pleased with what we achieved in preparing the cars for both the qualifying and race
“Unfortunately Bruno’s qualifying was hampered by a spin and a subsequent aerodynamic loss on the next run as a result of a damaged front wing. [In the race] the rear right tyre had a number of cuts on it, which was likely to have been the result of earlier contact. His engineering team noticed the tyre deflation very quickly in the telemetry data and we were able to get Bruno back to the pits without further damaging the car for a change to new tyres.”
With the final European round of the season less than a week away in Italy, avoiding unnecessary damage was important for the team, and Gillan remains confident that both drivers can be in the mix for points at Monza.
“The [Belgian] weekend promised a lot, so to come away with no points is disappointing,” he conceded, “However, I am proud of the effort that the whole team has put in over this difficult weekend and, whilst we ultimately didn’t score points, we have learnt a lot and should therefore be stronger in Monza as a result of this. We are aiming to get both cars home in the points and, provided we have a trouble-free weekend, there are no reasons why this cannot be achieved.”
Button is now sixth in the title race with 101 points, trailing leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by 63. Defending champion German Sebastian Vettel, who finished second on Sunday, is second with 140 ahead of Red Bull team-mate Australian Mark Webber, on 132, Finn Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus on 131 and Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren on 117.
Asked if he will learn from his experiences, Bouillier said: “I can only say yes, I hope so. Obviously the penalty is done to make people understand what they did.
“So the penalty can help him learn to do better in the future and I am happy about that.”
His over-aggressive change of direction at the start of the race saw Grosjean swerve right and into the McLaren of Briton Lewis Hamilton, forcing his car into a multiple collision involving championship leader Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and the Saubers of Mexican Sergio Perez and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi.
Kobayashi, after repairs, was the only driver who could continue in the race while Alonso, dazed and suffering back pains, climbed out after evading serious head injuries by a narrow margin when Grosjean’s Lotus car was launched over his Ferrari.
The race stewards declared Grosjean’s involvement to represent a ‘serious’ breach of the regulations. It was the seventh time in 12 races this season that the Frenchman has been involved in an opening lap collision.
He has previously been in incidents in Australia, Malaysia, Spain, Monaco, Britain and Germany.
Boullier said: “He was not responsible for seven incidents. But, he was involved in seven incidents, which is different.
“But obviously being in the wrong place is not good; and that means we have to keep working and talking, which is more talking I think, about the reason why he is in the wrong place.
Boullier added that he was undecided about whether Grosjean should go to Monza and attend the Italian Grand Prix, but said: “He is part of the team, he should be there and that is it.”
Grosjean said: “When you love racing this is very hard. I accept my mistake.
“We know that La Source is a very tough corner. It was a bit of a crazy start as well with Maldonado leaving the grid so early and the Sauber of Kobayashi smoking a lot.
“I did a mistake and I misjudged the gap with Lewis. I was sure I was in front of him. So a small mistake made a big incident.
“I didn’t change my line, I went from left to right. I was not really wanting to put anyone in the wall – I’m not here to stop the race in the first corner.
“I’m very, very sorry and I’m glad that nobody is hurt. But I have to say it is a very, very hard decision to hear.”
He added that he had been involved in too many incidents.
He said: “I did too many. If there is more than one then that is too many, I agree.
“But as I say it is not always the same. It’s not over-aggressive by braking 200 metres too late, it’s just most of the time misjudgement of the space I have in front or the space I have on the side.”
Sauber is a realistic contender for victory in today’s Belgian Grand Prix, according to team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn.
Kamui Kobayashi lines up second on the grid, the Sauber team’s first front row start as a fully-independent team since Jean Alesi at the 1999 French Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez fourth.
The Sauber-Ferrari C30 has shown consistently strong race pace over the season, but its results have often been compromised by disappointing qualifying performances, something that will not hold the Swiss team back at Spa.
“From this position, everything is realistic, even going right to the top,” Kaltenborn told AUTOSPORT. “But this is determined by many factors that are not under our control. “We will definitely try to make the most of it. It puts you at a very different starting point, where you don’t have to make your way through the field as you do if you start P15. If you start in front, you can really utilise the potential of the car.”
Kaltenborn believes that having both drivers potentially in the mix for victory will offer it a wider range of strategic options. Provided both drivers are still well-placed after the first lap, it would be possible to opt for alternative strategies with its two drivers. “This is something that we have not done often enough in the past,” said Kaltenborn. “Normally, we had one car somewhere further up and the other at the back. “But this will allow us to look at many different strategies with ideas of how to strategically place the cars.”
Kaltenborn is certain that Sauber has nothing to fear from drivers from the traditional top teams which start from lower grid positions. While she does not expect it to be easy, she believes that the car has shown representative speed relative to the rest. “We have now been able to make the most of this car and have a good qualifying,” said Kaltenborn. “But there are some very strong teams [starting behind] that are very good in the race. “They have also shown a good level of performance this year. We won’t be laying back and saying that with these positions, points are absolutely sure and we will have to be careful that they don’t come through and overtake us.”
Source: Autosport F1
Lotus looks set to postpone the race debut of its double DRS after announcing that it will not run the device in Saturday morning practice at Spa.
Friday’s rain hampered the team’s efforts to evaluate the system ahead of what was expected to be its first use in a grand prix. Lotus technical chief James Allison said the team had decided that with just one dry practice session likely, it was more sensible to remove the double DRS.
“Today’s rain also prevented us from seeing how the ‘device’ would perform in the expected race conditions,” he said. “With discretion being the better part of valour we will conduct P3 tomorrow with a conventional aero package rather than attempting to squeeze Friday’s intended evaluation into the precious final practice session.”
Kimi Raikkonen has carried out the double DRS testing in previous practice sessions, and Romain Grosjean was set to get his first taste of it at Spa. “I was really looking forward to trying the famous ‘device’ for the first time, but I guess I’ll have to wait,” said Grosjean.
For yet another significant moment in Michael Schumacher’s career, the venue is ironically Spa-Francorchamps. To mark the German’s 300th Grand Prix weekend, the Mercedes driver has traded in his customary red helmet for a platinum design.
Although Belgium 2012 will not mark Schumacher’s 300th Grand Prix start, it does confirm his 300th attendance as an entrant at an F1 race. Previously, only former team-mate Rubens Barrichello had hit such a figure after bypassing Ricardo Patrese’s 257.
Other noteworthy Schumacher-Spa facts include his F1 debut for Jordan in 1991, a career-first win for Benetton in 1992, the collection of his seventh world title for Ferrari in 2004 and the 20th anniversary of his debut which was celebrated across last year’s race weekend.
Qualifying in Belgium with Mercedes has never gone well for Schumacher, but he has more than delivered on the race days of 2010 and 2011; he stormed through the field on both occasions, to seventh and fifth places in the two respective seasons.
DRS usage for the Belgian Grand Prix will come on the Kemmel Straight, as it did last year.
However, this will only be if Sunday’s race happens in the dry. By placing DRS at Kemmel, drivers will be able to use the device along what is Spa’s longest straight section, preceding Les Combes which is a popular location for overtaking.
The detection point comes on the run downhill towards Eau Rouge. As practice started on Friday, rain lashed the Ardennes venue. Should such conditions remain on Sunday, which is possible, DRS usage would not be permitted.
HRT drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan are hoping a return to Montreal levels of downforce can pay dividends in Belgium.
F1 backmarker HRT has revealed that it is planning to use the set-up that served it well at the Canadian Grand Prix when the F1 season resumes in Belgium’s Ardennes next weekend.
Although it failed to achieve a finish at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where both Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa stopped with brake problems, the Spanish minnow surprised with its pace in practice, qualifying and the early part of the race, with de la Rosa starting ahead of both Marussias on merit after lapping half a second quicker than Timo Glock.
Since then, HRT has slipped back behind its main rival in terms of performance, but both drivers appear quietly confident that the Montreal set-up can help close the gap on the sweeps of Spa-Francorchamps.
“We’re going to use the same medium downforce that worked so well in Canada, so we hope to perform well despite the large amount of high speed corners,” de la Rosa confirmed, “Spa is one of the drivers’ favourite tracks – it’s spectacular and difficult, not only because of the type of corners, but also because of the weather, so you have to be able to adapt quickly. We’ve all returned full of energy from the holidays and I personally arrive in my best physical condition of the season and really looking forward to taking on the second half of the championship.”
Like most of its rivals, the summer break will have helped HRT regain strength as it prepares to face a very intense culmination to the championship and, while reserve driver Dani Clos will replace him in the opening free practice session, Karthikeyan is looking forward to returning to a circuit where he has won in the past. “I won here in my F3 days, so I have some nice memories,” the Indian reflected, “Spa is a drivers’ track – and the atmosphere is always great. Even though a lot of run-off has been added over the years, it still has some of the most challenging corners on the calendar. And then there’s the classic Spa weather which nearly always plays a part in the final result!”
With Marussia raising its game through the mid-part of the year, HRT currently props up the constructors’ table, and needs to better Karthikeyan’s 15th-place finish in Monaco – and Timo Glock’s brace of 14ths for its main rival – if it is to move up.
“We’ll be using the same medium rear wing which worked well in Canada, so we hope it goes well in Spa as we aim to maintain our progress throughout the second part of the championship. We’re back after a much deserved break after an especially intense start to the season for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Jenson Button is confident wins at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza are possible over the next two weeks after he showed a significant improvement in form ahead of the summer break.
Button struggled for pace midway through the first half of the season as he failed to find a set-up to match the demands of McLaren’s upgrades and the Pirelli tyres. However, he is confident he now has a car capable of scoring his best results yet in Belgium and Italy.
“You couldn’t really ask for a more spectacular double-header for F1’s return: Spa is the daddy of them all, one of the all-time great grand prix tracks, and Monza is one of the most historic and evocative circuits on the calendar,” he said. “They’re each places with their own unique atmosphere. I’ve got some really great memories of both circuits, but I’ve won neither. Given our pace in the last few races, I go forward feeling positive about rectifying that over the coming weekends.”
Button filled the summer break with a combination of training and holidaying, but is now eager to return to racing. “The past few weeks have been a perfect combination of a bit of downtime to relax and some great training, all of which has had me raring to get back in the car. I’ve been out in the Philippines; and Hawaii, training, and having a bit of a holiday and then back in the UK for a bit more of the same and while I’ve had a great break, I’m really looking forward to getting back to work.
Source: ESPN F1