The throaty roar of an inline-four, the swish of a chequered flag, the camaraderie of riding together, and the legends and their greatest hits.

Blast From the Past

Finally, it’s F1 time. Excitement galore! I know, I know, we are all excited. Everyone does tend to get a tad grumpy when there’s too much of a break between races. Lord only knows how I will survive the one-month long annual F1 summer holiday. It’s coming up soon and I am going to be decidedly grumpy.

Hockenheim in 1958, Press photo from Lloyd Motoren Werke, Bremen. Image courtesy John Lloyd; Used under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

But, the excitement is not just because it’s race weekend. Uh-huh. We are now heading to one of my favourite circuits: Hockenheim. That name itself, gives me the goose bumps. F1 was last here in 2010. Before I dive into and wax eloquent on Hockenheim (yes, I am saying it so many times, because I love the way it rolls off my tongue: Hock-en-heim), I must briefly tell you about ‘favourite circuits’. No, I insist.

My list isn’t that long, but you will notice that they are all classic circuits. (You see where I am going with this one, aren’t you?). So there’s Monaco, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa, Monza and Suzuka. No, you can’t ask me to rate them. That’s like asking children who they love more: mom or dad. Anyway, I love these circuits for many, many reasons, but truth be told, they appeal to the romantic in me. They call out to that part of me that thrives on history.

The 1987 German Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet lifts the winners trophy into the air Stefan Johansson and Ayrton Senna look on. Photo: LAT Photographic/Williams F1.

I think of the greats that raced these circuits, the legends that were born here and wish the tarmac could talk. The stories it would tell us. These circuits open the doors to my imagination, set it free, and allow it walk down so many different times. I told you I was a romantic. It’s perhaps one reason why I start literally frothing when I hear things like: Spa’s going off the calendar (It isn’t any more. I did sign the petition to save it, and heaved a huge sigh of relief when I heard that it’s going to be around). Hermann Tilke too sets me off on a rant (the less I say about that, the better). Here’s an interesting take on Tilke. Do read the comments as well.

But then, think Hockenheim and somehow I do think Tilke (I promise not to rant). The new design completely ruined (yes, that’s the politest I can get) the circuit. But, that’s one circuit where history still speaks loudly through those uprooted trees. What I would give to listen to the cars screaming down those long, forest straights. Sadly too, this is where the great, great Jim Clark fatally crashed into the trees during a Formula Two race.

Yes, this track could tell us stories.

The 1979 German Grand Prix. Alan Jones in the Williams FW07-Ford takes the lead. He went on to win the event. Photo: LAT Photographic/Williams F1

So, the Ice Man still holds the lap record of 1:13.780 at the 4.574km-long circuit. It will be good to see Kimi Raikkonen back on the circuit pushing for a podium finish. He has been in good form since his return from retirement. But the chances of a home victory are high. This time, Michael Schumacher isn’t the only German vying for a podium. Giving him company will be Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg, Nico Rosberg, and Timo Glock. And considering this season has been nothing short of unpredictable, chances are we will be pleasantly surprised at the end of the race. While Vettel and Rosberg will certainly fight for a second victory, Schumacher will be determined to break his run of bad luck. The Mercedes has shown immense potential, it remains to be seen how far the former world champion can actually push for a win. The pressure will certainly be on as this will be the team’s second home race, and as the team will be celebrating 111 years of Mercedes Motorsport. Force India and Hulkenberg are also trying hard to better their standings. They are currently on the 8th spot with 44 points. But then, this is the crazy 2012 season and Alonso, Hamilton, Button, and Webber will also be a part of what promises to be an interesting battle.

This year, the growl of F1 cars will ring through Hockenheim once again. I bet the circuit has craved to hear those engines work their magic, to listen to cheering fans, and to see a winner open a bottle of champagne at its podium. Here’s to Hockenheimring, a circuit you can never forget.

In other very important news

Bruno Senna. Courtesy Williams F1; Image World Copyright:Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic

How can I not mention Bruno Senna? So, Williams may, much to our chagrin, let Valtteri Bottas take over Bruno’s car during practice sessions. But, Bruno proved that he isn’t just any racer. He became the 19th racer to receive the prestigious Lorenzo Bandini Trophy. The award is in honour of Lorenzo Bandini, who died during the Monaco Grand Prix in 1967. In the past, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher have all won this award. Bruno later said, in a Williams press release, “It’s a huge honour to be chosen to receive such a prestigious award. I’ve seen some of the names who have won this in the past and what they have gone on to achieve in their careers, so let’s hope this is just the start of greater things for me too.” Congratulations Bruno!!!

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4 Responses

  1. Nice warm up for the Grand Prix weekend (and sky have given free sports channels this weekend so no BBC highlights in the uk! Yay!) Loved the Bruno Senna bit at the end, he is a talent in his own right, but it must be hard to do your own thing with the attention and comparisons THAT surname brings!

    • Thank you! Hoping to do a larger piece on Bruno. Sometimes a surname does tend to overshadow everything. People expect quick results forgetting that Bruno is a racer in his own right, and that he needs to make his own history! Looking forward to the race today. Hope you enjoy it too 🙂

    • Thank god they got a fast driver in that sencod Renault, This is a nice step forward for Bruno, much better car then the Hispanias of last year. I think people will gonna see now that he can drive at a really high level, and I can’t wait to see him on the grid with this car. You have my 100% support Bruno!!

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