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Formula 1: Update - Kimi, Bruno, Buemi, and Bobby

KIMI’S RETURN--Kimi Raikkonen returns to Formula 1 in 2012 after a two year absence, driving for Team Lotus (last year’s Renault). He’s met with engineers, had his seat fitted, and will be testing with the team in Spain next month. Raikkonen will be joined on Team Lotus by Romain Grosjean. The first round of winter testing is Feb. 7-9.   BRUNO WILLIAMS--Bruno Senna, who drove for Renault last year, is rumored to be joining Williams for 2012, to drive alongside Pastor Mal...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Brazilian Grand Prix

Well, that's a wrap. The last race of the season didn't go entirely to script (my version: Sebastian Vettel leading from start to finish to close the year in much the way he ran it), but in so doing served as the second consecutive reminder of how thin the margin of even Vettel's dominating performance was. He didn't repeat Abu Dhabi's DNF, but a gimpy gearbox detected on Lap 16 forced him from the lead on Lap 30 and left his point average over the last two events at 9. Project that over the cou...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi

The Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi was a good reminder as the 2011 season winds down of exactly how fine the line between champion and also-ran can be in Formula 1. Practice sessions saw the continued ascent of McLaren whose cars consistently ran better than Red Bull. Lewis Hamilton in particular had always been very fast at Abu Dhabi and this continued to be the case, with the assembled well-heeled masses given good reason to believe that Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's stranglehold on ...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Indian Grand Prix

The inaugural Grand Prix of India took place on the brand new Buddh circuit, which ended up being the second-fastset course of 2011, after Monza. The newly finished track, however, added extra menace to the high speeds. Large amounts of dust on the dirving circuit caused several offs during practice and qualifying and at least a handful during the race itself. But new, dusty course or no, one thing remained the same, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) won the pole, his 13th, leaving ...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Korean Grand Prix

And that's a championship again! RBR-Renault secured its second consecutive Formula 1 manufacturers' championship at the Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam, though not without at least a small fight. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) became the first non-Red Bull pole-sitter of the 2011 season in Korea. By Turn 4,  however, Sebatian Vettel had claimed P1 and his Red Bull teammate Mark Webber passed Jenson Button in the other McLaren to move into 3rd place. Vitaly...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Japanese Grand Prix

Photo: Getty Images for Red Bull Racing And that's a championship! Barring a racing scandal of the highest order, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) will be crowned Formula One World Drivers' Champion following the 2011 season finale in Brazil, becoming the youngest two-time champion ever. Going into race weekend in Japan the only combination of events that could have kept Vettel from wrapping up the title were a Jenson Button (McLaren) win and Vettel finishing entirely out of the ponts. The first ...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Singapore Grand Prix

Monza and the Italian Grand Prix brought the European portion of the 2011 Formula One season to a close and brought Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) within striking distance of becoming the youngest back-to-back F1 champion ever. Singapore is the first of three consecutive races in the Far East, the only one on a street circuit, and the longest race of the year. It is also the only night race on the Formula One calendar.   Going into the weekend there were a number of possible outcom...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Italian Grand Prix

Monza, site of the Italian Grand Prix since 1950, and the third of my three favorite Formula 1 courses. Built in 1922 in the Royal Villa of Monza park, the sun-dappled views created by the surrounding forest provide an arboreal setting which stands in marked contrast to the high technology of modern day F1 racing. With only 8 corners and the cars running at minimum downforce as a result, Monza is also the fastest course of the year, cars topping out at more ethan 200 mph and average lap&nbs...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Belgian Grand Prix

Back when the Formula One circuit stopped in Monaco I described it as one of my three favorite courses the drivers faced each year. Why? Because it is the closest F1 gets to taking the machine out of the equation and testing the man on his own. And Spa-Francorchamps, site of the Belgian Grand Prix? It is, without qualification, my favorite course. At 4 1/3 miles Spa is the longest circuit of the F1 season. Its back-to-back straightaways allow the drivers to appr...

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F1: Countdown to Austin 2012 - Hungarian Grand Prix

Photo: Derszi Elekes Andor Entering the Hungarian Grand Prix reigning champion and current championship leader Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) hadn't won for two races in row for the first time all year. In the immediately prior event, his home German Grand Prix, he didn't even make the podium. Vettel came into Hungary clearly intent on putting all of that into his reviews, taking pole over the previous two race winners -- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari, P5) and Le...

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