Sahara Force India Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg is officially part of the Porsche factory team for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans; the last time a current F1 driver got permission from his team to compete in the world's biggest endurance race was in 2009 when Toro Rosso let Sébastien Bourdais pilot for Peugeot.
The last few seats are being taken in the grand game of musical chairs that ensues at the end of any Formula One season. The latest announcement comes from Force India, which has confirmed that it's keeping Sergio Perez in place not just for next season, but for the next several years.
In the two weeks it's taken Formula One to move from Belgium to Italy, fleet-footed rumor has outrun the driver transfer market – Fernando Alonso can't issue enough denials of a departure from Ferrari, McLaren isn't sure what it wants to do with its drivers, Lotus has found out why it stinks this year and that the problem can't be fixed this year, and Nico Rosberg is said to have donated a team-ordered six-figure fine to charity to atone for his Belgian waffling. Oh, and Lewis Hamilton reg
Momentum. That was the word of the weekend at the last race in Monaco – Nico Rosberg retaking it, Williams getting reacquainted with it and Marussia tasting it for the first time, among other examples. That same, weighted term flew to Canada with the money circus known as Formula One, took all weekend to build and then walloped the front end of the field and the season on Sunday afternoon.
If you're a serious fan of Formula One, you already know all about The Great Nosecone Conundrum of 2014. Those given to parsing each year's F1 regulations predicted the strong possibility of the so-called "anteater" noses as far back as early December 2013. Highly suggestive visual evidence first came after Caterham's crash test in early January, with further proof coming as soon as Williams showed a rendering of the FW36 challenger for this year's championship. That car earned a name that wasn'
Most years, the new crop of Formula One racecars come out from each team looking just like the ones they replace. But every once in a while, the FIA shakes up the rules significantly enough to force the teams back to the drawing board. And that's what's happened for 2014.
The big ol' game of musical chairs that is the Formula One off season plays on as two solid drivers switch between midfield teams. First up is Sergio Perez, who moves to Force India for next season and onward. The young Mexican has been on the grid for three seasons, driving for the first two with Sauber before moving to McLaren last year. He's since been replaced at the Woking outfit by newcomer Kevin Magnussen.
Formula One fans and commentators have spent the three weeks since the Malaysian Grand Prix discussing two things more than any other: that pass, and tires. Sebastian Vettel spent days giving his tongue an Olympic workout on the verbal gymnastics parallel bars before finally admitting he passed his Infiniti Red Bull teammate Mark Webber on purpose partly for reasons of payback, partly out of a desire to win – he doesn't apologize for it and he would do it again.
Echoing words spoken at launches of the Formula One cars for Ferrari and McLaren, Sahara Force India F1 technical director Andrew Green said that it's what's under the skin of the VJM06 that marks the car's changes. The team began working on the car in the middle of last year – and cut development on last year's car, which could have played a part in its inability to overtake Sauber for sixth – with the emphasis on simulations and computational fluid design.
Force India has come a long way. What started out as Jordan Grand Prix and changed hands (and names) several times before landing in the stewardship of Indian bazillionaire Vijay Mallya has become a solid mid-field contender on race days. In 2011, the team finished sixth in the constructors' standings, behind front-runners Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus Renault GP. In 2012, however, Force India aims to challenge Mercedes and Lotus for fifth place using the car shown above.
Formula One driver Adrian Sutil has been convicted of assault in a trial concluded this week in Munich, Germany. The proceeding revolved around a brawl at a night club in Shanghai, where Sutil slashed the throat of Genii Capital CEO Eric Lux, co-owner of the team now known as Lotus, with a champagne flute.
Now that the 2011 season is behind us, Formula One is focusing on the year ahead. So far, the top teams are keeping their talents in place: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will continue at Red Bull Racing, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will take another crack at McLaren, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will soldier on at Scuderia Ferrari, and Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will stick it out another season at what's now begin called the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
It's a tough business, being an F1 driver. It's one of the most coveted, competitive jobs in the world. Every year there's a crop of new youngsters vying for race seats, and there's only so many to go around. Nico Hulkenberg found that out the hard way when he lost his seat at Williams to newcomer Pastor Maldonado. Vitantonio Liuzzi is no stranger to the phenomenon either.