PUMA News Archive
After 15 gruelling races in which he failed to finish lower than fourth, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing clinched the 2011 FIA World Championship for Drivers on Sunday in Japan. The 24-year-old German placed third – having needed just one point – in the thrilling 53-lap race at the classic Suzuka circuit to put the title beyond reach of his only remaining challenger Jenson Button, who took his McLaren to a third 2011 race victory.
It really is wonderful to be back in Japan. I just love the place, and of course feel a strong connection to the country through having managed many drivers who raced here, plus I used Yokohama tyres in my Formula 3 team, and in Formula 1 we were successful with Bridgestone rubber.
All hopes Fernando Alonso and PUMA’s partner team Ferrari had of laying claim to the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship collapsed on Sunday when the Spaniard, World Champion in 2005/6, finished fourth in the Singapore Grand Prix, thus putting him out of mathematical reckoning for the title with five (of 19) races remaining.
Was it not simply glorious to see Fernando Alonso sneak past the three cars of him at the start of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix to lead Ferrari’s home race for five laps?
Fourth after starting eighth and vice-versa is hardly a dream result for PUMA’s partner team Ferrari, but that overlooks the extremely tricky conditions faced by drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in Sunday’s 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix at the classic Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
Formula 1 fans will have to do without their fixes until end-August as per an agreement originally proposed a decade ago by Eddie Jordan, who campaigned for a (European) summer break during which F1 personnel could spend quality time with family, loved ones and friends. Thus was born the concept of a two-part season, with MotoGP and the World Rally Championship quickly following suit.
Amid all the podium celebrations in Hungary it was easy to overlook one very simple, yet telling, statistic: Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso scored more points out of the past four races than any other driver. Having placed second, first, second and third in Valencia, Britain, Germany and Hungary respectively, the 2005/6 champion took home 76 points versus the 73 of reigning champion and points’ leader Sebastian Vettel, and the 55 of the German’s Red Bull Racing team-mate, and current runner-up, Mark Webber.
After that scintillating race in Germany the big question is whether the Hungarian Grand Prix can deliver the same again. There we had a world-class show, with Lewis Hamilton shrugging aside all the criticism he has endured since Monza last year to win from Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.
Shortly before the 52-lap British Grand Prix Fernando Alonso put in a lap of the revised Silverstone circuit in a Ferrari. Nothing unusual about seeing the Spaniard circulate the circuits of the world in red cars on a Sunday, except that this one had a front engine and narrow tyres.
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