Thursday, 28 February 2008

A1 Grand Prix


I am surprised to find I have not done a blog posting about A1 Grand Prix. For non-motorsport fans this is the World Cup of single-seater motor sport with 22 countries vying with each other in identical cars. The season has ten events between the end of September and the beginning of May in locations across the world. The drivers tend to be youngsters creating a career or oldies trying to recreate one.

Most of the cars run in the country’s national colours and many of them are extremely attractive. The drivers are of the team’s own nationality but the other team places can be composed of any nationality – an essential if teams like Lebanon are to have a fair chance.

The New Zealand car – known as Black Beauty

Each event has two races a Sprint Race and Feature Race. There are four qualifying sessions, two for the sprint and two for the feature. The shorter Sprint Race has a rolling start while the hour long Feature Race has a standing start and two compulsory pit stops for tyre changes. Generally every event has twice as much excitement and overtaking as occurs in the whole of the Formula One Grand prix season.

Switzerland is leading the season
The current season is being led by Switzerland with France and New Zealand on their heels. South Africa is fourth, Germany fifth and Great Britain is in sixth. France won the first season in 2005/6 and Germany won 2006/7 while Great Britain was third both seasons.

Team GBR’s car

At one stage Great Britain held provisional pole for both races but ended up on the second row in each case.

The attractive South African car

The home team, South Africa (driver Adrian Zaugg), had no luck in Durban getting caught up in the many shunts which took place in the first corner in both races.

Ireland pits for a new nose

Ireland went through a lot of nosecones on the street circuit at Durban.

Brazil lost two noses in the feature race alone – I think they ran out of them in the end.

Team GBR came third in the first race but got clobbered on the last lap of the Feature Race and taken out by second place Canada spinning while GBR were in fourth place. Both races under red flags!

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