The 2011 Formula One season resumes this weekend with the German Grand Prix, which returns to the 3.2-mile (5.148-kilometer) Nurburgring circuit. Last year’s German GP was contested in Hockenheim.
Germany’s Sebastian Vettel enters his home race with an insurmountable 80- point lead over second-place and Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber.
Vettel has finished either first or second in the first nine grand prix this season. The defending world champion is seeking his first win in his home country. He finished third in last year’s German GP and second in the 2009 event, held at the Nurburgring.
“One of the objectives a Formula One driver sets for himself is to win his home race,” said Vettel, who has already won six races this season. “Of course, you always give 100 percent, but at a home race, you’re always more motivated, simply because you feel at home. This year, we’re back at the Nurburgring, which is one of the better and more modern tracks.”
Michael Schumacher, the seven-time F1 titleholder, Nico Rosberg, Nick Heidfeld, Timo Glock and Adrian Sutil are also competing in front of their home crowd.
After winning last week’s British Grand Prix in Silverstone, Fernando Alonso moved to within 92 points of Vettel. Alonso claimed his and Ferrari’s first victory since last October in the Korean Grand Prix.
“Hopefully, we can have some more wins and good races,” Alonso said. “As far as the championship, we are very far away from Sebastian, so we just need to concentrate race after race and try to win everywhere we go. Then we’ll see if they [Red Bull] make some mistakes, because with no mistakes, it is difficult to recover from the gap in the championship.”
Alonso won the 2010 German GP under a cloud of controversy. Felipe Massa was robbed of a potential win after his Ferrari team instructed him to move aside and allow Alonso to take the lead with 20 laps remaining. Shortly before Alonso made his winning pass, Massa’s race engineer, Rob Smedley, told his driver over the radio that “Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand the message?” Massa finished second.
Shortly after the conclusion of the race, F1′s governing body, the FIA, determined Ferrari breached sporting regulations and fined the Italian team $100,000. Race stewards determined Ferrari gave team orders to Massa, which interfered with the race result.
Ferrari maintained their action did not constitute a team order.
Alonso won the German GP for the first time in 2005 when he drove for Renault.