Safety in Formula One racing has come a long way over the past few decades, but accidents still do occur. And when they do, we're reminded of the inherent dangers involved in such a fast-paced form of motorsport.
We still aren't convinced that the new Acura NSX will ever arrive in the US. After years of "concepts" and previews, it all seems like an elaborate tease put on by Honda to mess with journalists and auto enthusiasts. We're so looking forward to being wrong...
Some F1 races have a permanent home while others bounce around, but some have yoyo'ed between two circuits their entire history. The German Grand Prix, for example, has (with few exceptions) been held either at the Nürburgring or Hockenheim. The British Grand Prix alternated between Silverstone and Brands Hatch for decades before the former won out. And in Japan, it's always come down to either Fuji or Suzuka.
Honda is returning to Formula One in 2015 with McLaren, and when that engine maker and that F1 constructor are mentioned together, two other words are never far behind: Ayrton Senna. There are engine suppliers, constructors and drivers that have bigger numbers, but those three form a triumvirate that came close to defining F1 in the eighties.
The only reason we have the Nissan GT-R is because of the exploits of all those GT-Rs we didn't get, and it started with the first one, a model at the time called the Skyline GT, at the 1964 Grand Prix at Suzuka. It was there that modified Prince Motor Company Skyline sedans, only just homologated and never raced, took the green flag and drifted their way to second through sixth places.
Even though the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix wasn't an especially exciting race, it involved "destiny" and resurrection, chanting, and a "nutcase" as some drivers tried to make their impression on the Formula 1 World Championship standings this year, while other tried to make cases for retention to their teams for next year.
Ferrari is an automaker the operates in two spheres: racing and road cars. The company builds the latter to fund the former, but while the two have long operated as fairly separate units, there is plenty of room for overlap. Like its Corse Clienti department.
If one trend could sum up the 2011 Formula One World Championship so far, it would surely be the domination of Sebastian Vettel. The reigning champion has put up an unsurpassed fight to defend his title, claiming pole position eleven out of fourteen races so far this season, and turning them into nine checkered flags. In fact, Vettel has finished on the podium at every grand prix this season but one, having finished fourth at his home race in Germany.
At the risk of sounding like the end of a cheesy kung-fu movie, the future of the Japanese Grand Prix is safe...for now. After Toyota confirmed it could no longer host the race at its Fuji Speedway, Honda has reportedly stepped up to secure a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone to hold the race at its Suzuka circuit for the next three years. Hiroshi Oshima, president of Honda's Mobilityland division met with Ecclestone in Valencia at the European Grand Prix this past weekend to sign the contract.
Things could hardly have played out worse for Honda. It has poured what surely amounted to billions of dollars for years into its Formula One team with little effect. Then it brought in Ross Brawn, only to withdrew its support from the squad, then it sold the entire operation to Brawn while paying out big bucks to avoid an even bigger severance bill. And only then did Brawn turn the F1 team into a winner. That'd be enough to send some automakers scurrying to get back in the game, but not Honda.
With superfast Imprezas and Skylines galore, Japan has produced some impressive performance cars, but only one bonafide supercar: the NSX. Honda developed the groundbreaking all-aluminum exotic with input from the legendary (and tragically short-lived) three-time F1 champ Ayrton Senna, who drove several Honda-powered grand prix cars throughout his career.
The Japan Grand Prix wrapped up moments ago and in a huge disappointment for Ferrari fans, Michael Schumacher's engine blew up in an unspectacular fashion on lap 37, taking the race leader out of the competition.