Who is better off? 2013 vs 2014 F1 points comparison

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After the first four rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 season, the stage appeared to be set for a tight championship battle. Sebastian Vettel led the way with two wins, but Kimi Raikkonen – who was the surprise victor in Australia – trailed by just 10 points. Fernando Alonso had also claimed a win and was waiting in the wings, whilst Lewis Hamilton had made a great start at Mercedes and sat third in the championship. Of course, we all know what happened from then on…

What a difference 12 months makes. The championship has been turned on its head, and we are now staring down the barrel of a season of Mercedes dominance that could make Red Bull’s exploits look tame.

In order to put how much has changed into perspective, let’s take a look at how the current scores stand up against the tallies from the first four rounds of the 2013 season.

2013 VS 2014 – POINTS COMPARISON AFTER FOUR RACES

THE WINNERS

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2013: 14 points. 2014: 79 points. Difference: +65
Of the entire grid, Rosberg has made the biggest gain over last season. One win and three second places has given him the championship lead, but his teammate is in hot pursuit.

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2013: 5 points. 2014: 36 points. Difference: +31
The other German Nico has also made a great start after leaving Sauber to return to Force India. He still inexplicably lacks that maiden podium, but surely this is the year for Hulkenberg. He finally looks at home with the Indian team.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2013: 50 points. 2014: 75 points. Difference: +25
His start to 2013 was by no means bad, it’s just this year has been better. Three imperious wins has given him 75 points, and had it not been for a DNF in Australia, it could easily have been the maximum 100.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2013: 0 points. 2014: 24 points. Difference: +24
What a difference a year makes. Bottas’ F1 career started in quiet fashion thanks to the lackluster FW35 car, but he has now proven just how good he is. In fact, 24 points actually short changes the Finn given his great races.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
2013: 6 points. 2014: 24 points. Difference: +18
Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Red Bull with Toro Rosso, but Ricciardo has still made a huge step up. Two fourth place finishes, like Bottas, leaves him short. Factor in the 30 points lost in Australia and Malaysia, and he’s got a very good return indeed.

Jenson Button, McLaren
2013: 13 points. 2014: 23 points. Difference: +10
JB struggled in 2013 with the troublesome MP4-28 car, but he has ran better so far this year. However, it’s not the seismic step forwards that many at McLaren expected, having scored just 8 points since Australia.

Sergio Perez, Force India
2013: 10 points. 2014: 18 points. Difference: +8
Same as Button. Rubbish car last year, a bit better this year. Was unfortunate to not start in Malaysia.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso
2013: 1 point. 2014: 4 points. Difference +3
A minimal increase for Vergne, who must be feeling worried with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Antonio Felix da Costa eyeing his seat.

THE LOSERS

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2013: 67 points. 2014: 11 points. Difference: -56
Probably the most surprising statistic from the first four races. The Finn appears to be struggling with the new regulations and the Ferrari F14 T; a far cry from his win and two second places at the start of last year.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2013: 77 points. 2014: 33 points. Difference: -44
Frankly, 33 points is still a remarkable haul for Red Bull considering where the team was during pre-season. Still looking decidedly average, and sounded like a troublesome kid in kindergarten in China.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2013: 26 points. 2014: 0 points. Difference: -26
It’s a dire situation at Lotus, meaning Grosjean has stood little chance of scoring any points in the first four races as he did last year. Progress is being made, though, as he was set for points in China before retiring.

Felipe Massa, Williams
2013: 30 points. 2014: 12 points. Difference: -18
Another weird stat, given that he’s in a quicker car than before and also under less pressure. Some bad luck in Australia, Bahrain and China hasn’t helped, though. Probably deserves more.

Adrian Sutil, Sauber
2013: 6 points. 2014: 0 points. Difference: -6
Three straight retirements for Sutil, but it’s not like he would have made the top ten anyway.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2013: 47 points. 2014: 41 points. Difference: -6
Not much in this one for Alonso. He scored 43 in the first four races of 2012, so it’s a pretty regular start. Similar story, too: car isn’t quick enough, but he still makes it work. Great result in China with P3.

ALL THE SAME

Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Pastor Maldonado have all broken even. That said, they couldn’t lose any points. Zero in 2013, zero in 2014.

Here’s a full table of the comparison for all you F1 stat lovers out there. It’s not just me, right?

Castroneves OK after heavy crash in Pocono qualifying (VIDEO)

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Helio Castroneves lost the back end of his No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet rolling into Turn 1 during qualifying for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN), in a big accident that will hurt his weekend hopes and force the Team Penske crew to make significant repairs.

Castroneves looped around and hit the Turn 1 wall with his nose and left side of the car, with the car then tilting up on its side before coming back down to the ground.

The Brazilian got out of the car under his own power without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team before heading to the infield medical center. He has been checked, cleared and released.

Castroneves told NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis: “Good news the hair is still good. Unfortunate for the car. We didn’t have a chance to do qualifying (in practice). I was a bit slow, so the car pushed a bit, it might have been a bit too aggressive. It caught me in Turn 1, and came around, unfortunately spun out on me. Hopefully it’s not a snowball. Now that practice is tonight before the race.”

Castroneves enters Sunday’s race second in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings, seven points behind teammate and points leader Josef Newgarden (423-416).

Porsche: Formula E more than a marketing tool, ‘no passing fad’

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Porsche executive board member Michael Steiner is confident that Formula E will be more than just a “passing fad” or a tool for good marketing as the German marque begins to prepare for its entry to the series in 2019.

Porsche rocked the racing world last month by announcing it would be closing its LMP1 program at the end of this year, shifting its focus to Formula E where it will race from season six onwards.

The move sees Porsche follow in the footsteps of many more manufacturers, with Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Renault and BMW among those who will also be racing in season six.

Porsche had previously dismissed Formula E as not being of enough technical interest in its current state, but Steiner is confident of its future direction.

“The series is developing in an interesting direction,” Steiner said. Think, for example, of the rear axle with the electric motor, which manufacturers are able to design themselves within the regulations.

“Or take the inverter and the battery management, where there will also be more freedom. In the relatively short term, it is expected that a better battery will be used in Formula E, which will eliminate vehicle changes during the race.

“There are also planned increases in drive performance. And brake-by-wire is coming, along with other things. We have seen the roadmap on the technical side. The regulations will start to open up and the planned developments are very interesting.”

Steiner said Porsche is expecting Formula E to become a strong technical formula, adding: “We would not make such a wide-ranging strategic change for an event that only had marketing potential.

“If Formula E were just a short-term trend or a passing fad, we would certainly not become involved.”

Leah Pritchett has quickest run in NHRA history at 3.640 seconds

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BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) Leah Pritchett had the quickest run in NHRA history with 3.640-second pass at 330.63 mph Friday night at Brainerd International Speedway in Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals qualifying.

She broke her own Top Fuel record of 3.658 set in Arizona in February.

“We’ve looked forward to this night session for a long time,” Pritchett said. “Knowing that Brainerd, this track, this surface, the conditions and what NHRA is able to do to it, lays down the ground work for us to pull out the most power possible. That’s what this team did. They have been working tirelessly at finding small amounts of power here, there and everywhere and to be able to put it on the track tonight was incredible.”

Robert Hight broke the Funny Car time record with a 3.793 at 338.00 in a Chevrolet Camaro SS, the first run in the 3.7s in Funny Car history. He set the speed record of 339.87 last month at Sonoma Raceway.

“I could tell it was running fast and I saw the 3.79 on the scoreboard,” Hight said. “It’s just something you dream about. There are so many things that have to happen and work together for it all to come together. It’s not that easy. This is a big milestone. To be part of a milestone as a driver, this was big for me.”

Tanner Gray topped the Pro Stock field, and Hector Arana Jr. was the fastest in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Gray had a 6.607 at 208.617 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Arana had a 6.879 at 194.24 on a Buell.

Back racing after F1 test, Norris dominates Zandvoort F3 opener

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McLaren younster Lando Norris made an emphatic return to racing action after the summer break by dominating the opening race of the FIA European Formula 3 weekend at Zandvoort, taking his sixth win of the season.

Norris, 17, moved up to F3 for 2017 after winning two Formula Renault titles last year, as well as linking up with McLaren’s junior program.

The Briton impressed during his maiden Formula 1 test in Hungary at the end of last month, and carried the momentum through to Zandvoort by taking pole position for Carlin for the first race of the weekend.

Norris retained his lead at the start and only came under pressure following a safety car period, with Swedish youngster Joel Eriksson running close for the lead.

Norris was able to create a gap and pull away, completing a wire-to-wire win with almost nine seconds in hand over the pack for his sixth win of the season.

The result sees Norris move to within eight points of championship leader Maximillian Günther, the German finishing third on Saturday at Zandvoort.