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No Defending Race Winner For Upcoming US Grand Prix

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  United States Grand Prix

No Defending Race Winner For Upcoming US Grand Prix

Anthony Fontanelle
June 5, 2007

With the first race on North American soil coming up, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is preparing to host the 2007 Formula One season. While the first North American race will be the Canadian Grand Prix, the track is already being prepared for the fastest cars in the world. The Grand Prix du Canada is scheduled to take place at the Circuit Gilles Villneuve in Montreal on the tenth of June while the United States Grand Prix is scheduled on the 17th of the month.

This year’s United States Grand Prix will have no defending race winner since last year’s winner, the seven-time champion Michael Schumacher, retired after last year’s season. The German driver has the record for the most wins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His last team before he retired, Ferrari, holds the most number of wins at the said race at nine victories.

Of all the seven races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Schumacher won five and Rubens Barichello and Mika Hakkinen each with one win. This year, only Barichello will be the past winner at the circuit who will be racing on the 17th of this month. Hakkinen retired after his win at the famed speedway in 2001.

The win that Barichello had on the United States Grand Prix is filled with controversy since Schumacher obviously slowed down to let his then teammate take the win. The said move is said to be payback for Barichello since he was ordered to let Schumacher win the Austrian Grand Prix to solidify his grasp on the lead at the driver’s championship during the 2002 Formula One season. The incident at the Austrian Grand Prix forced the FIA to take steps to prohibit teams from implementing team orders.

This year’s United States Grand Prix will be hosting a different cast of drivers since Formula One drivers have changed teams after the retirement of Schumacher. After the departure of the iconic driver, Kimi Raikkonen left McLaren to join Ferrari. He joined Felipe Massa who was the runner-up in last year’s United States Grand Prix.

For McLaren, two-time defending champion Fernando Alonso went on board leaving Renault. He was joined by the youngest driver to secure a Formula One contract - Lewis Hamilton. The young British driver is currently sharing the top spot with Alonso in the driver’s championship. The domination of the duo is evident in the fact that Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads the constructor’s championship. The cars used by these two drivers are regarded as the best cars so far this season even without the use of performance enhancing parts such as Accel parts.

With Alonso leaving Renault, the team promoted test driver Heikki Kovalainen as a full time driver. He joined Giancarlo Fisichella who is currently on his third season with Renault. Aside from the aforementioned changes, other drivers who switched teams are Mark Weber, who jumped from Williams to Red Bull, and Alex Wurz who is making his return to Formula One after a hiatus. Wurz joined the Williams team and filled the seat vacated by Weber. Wurz joins Nico Rosberg who is making his second season appearance for Williams.

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