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Niki Lauda, Ferrari, 1976The forthcoming F1 film Rush has received the endorsement of Ferrari, one of the teams which plays a central role in the story.

Rush, directed by Ron Howard, is based on the events of the 1976 Formula One season, when Ferrari’s Niki Lauda lost the world championship to Mclaren’s James Hunt.

Lauda suffered near fatal injuries in a crash in the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring Nordscleife, yet returned to the cockpit after missing just two races. Hunt had made inroads into his championship lead, and as they went into the final race Lauda was narrowly ahead on points.

But he withdrew from the Japanese Grand Prix which was held in horrendous wet conditions. “In the intervening decades, much has been said and written about that day and what happened before, during and after the race,” said Ferrari in a statement.

“Now enthusiasts can relive the rivalry between two men who took a very individual approach to their job that was a world away from the Formula One of today.

“Anyone that has seen the film was impressed by the way in which Howard has drawn the drivers’ personalities and his masterful portrayal of the world of Formula One as it was at the time.

“Despite the passing of almost 30 [sic] years and the enormous progress made in safety, the Rush trailer declares that one fact hasn’t changed: ‘There’s a lie that all drivers tell themselves: death is something that happens to other people’. Anyone that works in the paddocks knows all about that and never forgets it.”

The first trailer for Rush appeared earlier this week.

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Image © Ferrari

McLaren M23, Nurburgring Nordschleife, Rush filming, 2011The first trailer for Ron Howard’s forthcoming film Rush has appeared.

The film tells the story of the 1976 F1 season and the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. The two drivers are played by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.

Among the locations used for filming was the Nurburgring Nordschleife, where Lauda’s near-fatal crash during the German Grand Prix was recreated. Original cars and replicas created to look like them were used.

See pictures of the cars being filmed here:

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel said he does not apologise for winning the Malaysian Grand Prix after disobeying orders to finish behind Mark Webber.

“I think there is not much to add than what happened,” said Vettel in a video interview ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

“I told the team straight after I apologised for putting myself above the team, which I didn’t mean to do. But there is not much more to say really.

“I don’t apologise for winning, I think that is why people employed me in the first place and why I’m here. I love racing so that’s what I did.”

In the immediate aftermath of the race Vettel said “it’s not a victory I’m very proud of because it should have been Mark’s“.

Vettel said the row over what happened in the final laps overshadowed a strong performance by Red Bull: “I think unfortunately people didn’t see that we performed well on the day – as a team I think we did a very good job.”

“We got a fantastic result and I think we’d had a very strong weekend in Australia already, even if we didn’t get quite the result we wanted.

“But in Malaysia we were surprised again to be at the top and racing at the top and the whole race we worked excellently well with the tyres etc… I think that’s what people forgot and I think what stuck to their heads was the way the race ended.”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Five years ago Sebastian Vettel started his first full season with this team and Red Bull’s search for his successor goes on.

The latest candidates are Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who are entering their second seasons with the team.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of recent F1 history knows the clock is ticking and the road in front of them leads either to a Red Bull seat or a door marked ‘exit’.

But Toro Rosso’s role as Red Bull’s kindergarten doesn’t mean it lacks ambitions of its own. Team principal Franz Tost made it plain at the launch of the STR8 that his aim is for the team to finish sixth overall in 2013.

That would be three places higher than they managed last year, matching the peak they hit with Vettel in 2008. This tall order will likely mean beating Sauber, Force India and Williams – a considerable challenge, and one which will reveal any shortcomings in its drivers.

But the team need more from their car as well. The STR7 offered limited set-up options and just wasn’t quick enough. Several areas for progress were identified on it.

Following the departure of Giorgio Ascanelli the STR8 was designed by former McLaren man Luca Furbatto, who has been with this team for more than a year. It will also benefit from the input of James Key, who joined Toro Rosso from Sauber in September.

The team expect significant gains from the changes in the technical team. “We had the hands [behind] our backs last year,” admitted Jean-Eric Vergne. He describes the changes in the new car as “massive”.

Both drivers will need to exploit the opportunity if they are to avoid joining the list of young hopefuls Toro Rosso has tested and discarded. With promising rookie Antonio Felix da Costa looking ripe for graduation to F1, they cannot afford any slip-ups.

However neither driver will admit to feeling under pressure as the year begins. “I have no problem with the pressure,” says Vergne.

“I always lived with the pressure: when I was in go-karts I was never sure for doing the next season. So I was never secure. I’m still in the same position. It’s quite nice to be under pressure, I deal with it, it’s not a problem for me.”

Car 18: Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Vergne seemed particularly energised at getting his hands on the new car.

He is also relishing the challenge of Pirelli’s tricky tyres which he expects will suit his driving style better this year.

There were a few weak spots in Vergne’s game last year. More often than not he gave away a few tenths to Ricciardo in qualifying and there were a couple of incidents too.

But his race pace was sound and with as more adaptable car at his disposal he has a chance to realise more of his potential.

Car 19: Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Jerez, 2013Ricciardo is a generally chipper character but the grin was discernibly broader after he’d sampled the STR8 for the first time. Like his team mate, he believes this car will give him more opportunities to show his potential.

There were flashes of it last year: such as in Bahrain, where he qualified an excellent sixth, only to reverse his way through the field in a nightmare opening lap.

Like Vergne, Ricciardo says he’s grown used to being told he has a ‘make or break’ campaign ahead of him: “It’s something I hear at the beginning of every season: ‘This season’s a big year, it’s an important season…’, I mean they all are.”

“It’s got to the point where I’ve gone through enough important seasons that no one is more important than the other. You shouldn’t approach it any differently, in a way. I think I’ve approached the last few seasons in the right way to get to Formula One and to be here. It’s not like you change your approach or anything.

“You try to improve some things you’ve learnt with experience, which I’m doing. But there’s no radical mental training it’s just go and do what you know and as I said just try and keep improving and let experience show you the way. I’m not looking at the season as a whole yet. I still like to take a step-by-step process. I’m not doing anything radically different.”

Toro Rosso STR8

Toro Rosso championship form

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/stats.csv
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Championship position 9 7 6 10 9 8 9
Wins 0 0 1 0 0 0 0

Toro Rosso in 2013: Your view

Do either of Toro Rosso’s drivers look like Red Bull star of the future to you? How close will they get to their target of sixth in the constructors’ championship?

Have your say in the comments.

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Red Bull’s record-breaking 2.05 second pit stop for Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso’s early retirement were caught on camera by F1 fans at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Practice

Jules Bianchi and others enter and exit the pits during practice.

Race day morning

It’s one of the hottest races of the year but don’t you dare try to take any water into the track.

Pre-race build-up

But once you get inside these chaps are on hand to entertain you.

Turn one

The field rush into turn one with Sebastian Vettel under attack from the Ferraris but Mark Webber is poised to pick them both off.

Turn three

Two corners on, the track is even wetter and Fernando Alonso is struggling after making contact with Vettel – you can see the sparks from his front nose in this video.

Alonso crashes out

Alonso tried to stay out with his damaged front wing but was forced into retirement when the damaged wing collapsed under his front wheels at the start of lap two.

Red Bull’s record stop

Red Bull claimed a new record for the fastest ever pit stop when they changed Mark Webber’s tyres on lap 19. This video shows them completing the four-tyre change in 2.05 seconds, according to their own timing.

Webber leads

Webber presses on in the lead, chased by Vettel with the two Mercedes bearing down on them. And we all know how that worked out…

Thanks to @Girts for researching this article. If you’re interested in contributing to F1 Fanatic, see here for details on how you can:

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2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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