2007 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK Vettel has mixed emotions about F1 debut; Fans' reception excites Speed INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 14, 2007 -- Germany's Sebastian Vettel will make his Formula One racing debut in this weekend's United ...
2007 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK
Vettel has mixed emotions about F1 debut; Fans' reception excites Speed
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, June 14, 2007 -- Germany's Sebastian Vettel will make his Formula One racing debut in this weekend's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He replaces Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber.
Kubica crashed heavily in the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10. While he was released from the hospital the next day, the doctors, led by FIA Medical Delegate Dr. Gary Hartstein of New York and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Director of Medical Services Dr. Geoffrey Billows, decided Kubica shouldn't take any chances so soon after his crash in Montreal.
"Naturally I'm disappointed because I felt absolutely ready to race," Kubica said. "But I respect the decision. It was made because there is too much risk to let me race in this Grand Prix in case I have had another impact so soon after Montreal. I will go home now. I wish Sebastian all the best. It is good for him, and I am pretty sure he will do a good job."
Vettel, 19, is the test and reserve driver for BMW Sauber. He drove a third car for the team in the Friday practice session during last year's Turkish Grand Prix.
"Of course, I am looking forward to my first F1 race," Vettel said, "but I wish it had come under different circumstances. It's never nice if a teammate can't drive because he had an accident. For me, the Indianapolis Speedway is unknown territory, but I have prepared myself for this situation, and tomorrow I have two 90-minute practice sessions. I know the car very well as I have quite a lot of testing miles under my belt."
The team's second test driver, Timo Glock, is also in Indianapolis and will be nominated as the reserve driver for this event.
"In reviewing the accident and medical examination the doctors did not give Robert the green light to race," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "There will be another medical check before the (French Grand Prix) race in Magny-Cours (on July 1).
"Although the doctors see Robert in a remarkably good condition, they will not let him race here mainly because of the risk of another impact. We respect the decision of the medical personnel. The team was prepared for this situation. Sebastian will receive all possible support from us, and we hope for another good race here."
Back home again in Indiana: American F1 driver Scott Speed again received a warm welcome from the F1 fans and the citizens of Indianapolis when he arrived in the city for his home Grand Prix of the United States.
"It's very similar to last year," he said of the reception the fans give him. "It's like my homecoming of the year. Certainly I have a lot more support here than the rest of the races. It's nice to be back in America. I'm enjoying very much my time here."
Hamilton an Indy 500 fan: Rookie Lewis Hamilton, who scored his maiden Grand Prix victory on June 10 in Canada, is a fan of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500.
"It's an amazing opportunity for any driver to come here and compete," Hamilton said. "Watching the Indy 500 over the years, it's an awesome race, and I've always wanted to go and watch and be a spectator. But to be here racing on the circuit is pretty cool. Just flying over, I could see what the track was like. It's quite a nice complex."
Tricky compromise: The combination of the long straight and the twisting infield section of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road circuit calls for vastly different chassis setups on the F1 cars, and the engineers and drivers must try to find a balanced compromise.
"The Indianapolis Speedway is fundamentally different from the circuit at Montreal, yet both tracks demand a medium downforce level," said BMW Sauber Technical Director Willy Rampf. "In Indy, that is the result of a tricky compromise.
"On the oval section, you have a full-throttle section -- the longest flat-out stretch to date on the whole F1 calendar. To achieve maximum top speed, you would want to take the Indy oval (Turn 13 of the road circuit) with a very low wing setting and minimal drag.
"But with a low-downforce package of the kind we use in Monza (for the Italian Grand Prix) there wouldn't be nearly enough downforce for the 11 turns in the Indianapolis infield section. If you haven't got sufficient braking stability and traction in these corners, you lose more time than can be gained on the straights. In the infield, where you shift down all the way to first, you want the maximum possible downforce, similar to Monaco or Budapest.
"These radically different demands made by the oval and the infield section turn setup work at Indy into a fine balancing act. In 2006, we made quite a good job of it. For the race, it is also worth noting that there are passing opportunities at the end of the straights. And the transition to the infield the track is so wide that it can accommodate a number of possible lines."
McLaren's perfect record: Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton are the only two drivers this season to complete all 384 race laps and to score points in each of the first six races of the season.
2007 USGP tickets: Reserved Race Day and three-day "Season Passes" for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, June 15-17, are on sale to all customers.
Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.