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Race Recap: UF1 Winter Series 2013 – Race 1 – Korean GP

Race Recap: UF1 Winter Series 2013 – Race 1 – Korean GP

Post Race Analysis
The 2013 UF1 Winter Series is under way with 43 drivers and an amazing 16 teams showing up to lay it down on the rug. Round 1 certainly had its share of controversy with some teams disbanding, others forming and some heated tempers. I guess the UF1 is more along the lines of real F1 than we imagined…

The new 3-minute, 5-lap average qualifier seemed to go over well as drivers not only had an extra minute of run time to sort their cars out but that time also saw some new faces to rise to the top. Slower, cleaner laps are definitely the way to go over a single, super-fast hot lap.

Repsol-Honda Driver Dave Berger led the charge in qualifying to take TQ, barely beating out the 2012 Summer Series champ, Tony Phalen. His TQ and 2 extra points would prove vital at the end of the day…

Other names making the A-Group would be multiple 1/12 World Champion Tony Neisinger, 2012 Winter Series Champ Mike Kennedy, up-and-comer Aaron Lane and locals Chris Cabrales and Roel Espina. These two guys came out of nowhere to put in some stellar 5-lap combinations to get themselves in the A-Group. Great driving.

In the mains, 2011 Winter Series Champion Lee Passehl (and current Team Driver for Patron Honda) took the overall win for the day with 3 consistent runs, but Dave Berger’s 2 point TQ award actually gave Dave the overall win. First race, first time the TQ points make a difference. I guess we’ll be seeing everyone put in that extra effort knowing that those 2 points do make a difference.

Aaron Lane, who in the 2012 Summer Series had been throwing a wrench into some peoples points, sees himself sitting 3rd after Round 1. He seemed a bit surprised but it’s all about 3 consistent runs, and this guy can do it. Look out for him in future rounds…

Kevin Cole, AKA “Panda”, also put in a great showing even after some mid-day ‘drama’. Kevin held it together and put in 3 great runs to finish 4th overall for the day.
And who is this Roel guy? This future champ put himself in with the top guys and showed that he’s not just another pretty face. Finishing 5th overall, he’s not far behind the top 4 and is one of the guys that certainly shows promise with the extended qualifying and race lengths.

Bill ‘Beefcake’ Martinez, who finished an impressive 5th overall last season, said he is looking for a Top 3 in the Winter Series. Sitting 6th overall after Round 1, he’s in a good position to do that. Keep an eye on this guy too…

Track owner and operator Sean Park is right behind Bill in 7th. Sean definitely has the home-track advantage as well as ample time for testing, so it’s safe to say that, without any major incidents, this guy should be putting it to the top drivers all season long.

In 8th we see the other half of the Repsol crew, Fred Medel. Fred finished 10th last season after missing an entire race (and scoring zero points), so you know he’s looking for at least a Top 5 finish this season. Working together with Berger, these two are going to be the Constructor to beat as well.

Jason Huang pulls in a respectable 9th place showing. Jason is one of the two independent drivers in the Top 10 (the other being Aaron Lane). This cat is doing it all on his own…he’s going to be dangerous if he teams up…

And in the final spot in the Top 10 is Tyree Phillips. Tyree is one of the only drivers not running a Tamiya chassis (choosing instead to run a TRG-112 chassis). Tyree struggled a bit last season so it’s good to see him having a good start in Round 1. He’ll also be one of the top contenders this year.

Out of the Top 10 but a major force this year is Tony Neisinger. He took the overall win in Rounds 1 and 2 but a failed part in Round 3 cost him the day’s overall. I’ve known this guy for a LONG time and he’s always been a fast, consistent driver. With 3 1/12 Scale World Championships under his belt, he is definitely going to be the man to beat. We may have to lower his track time to 10-minutes runs to keep it fair.

Farther down the list, 2012 Summer Series Champion Tony Phalen qualified 2nd for the day, but a traction roll on Lap 7 in Round 1 saw him running back to the pits to replace some parts. A stellar 116 second lap followed by a 105 second lap killed his chances at a good Round 1 outing, but I’m sure he’ll get things sorted out for the next race.

Constructor’s Championship
In the Constructor Championship, Repsol-Honda has jumped to an early lead on their way to defending their 2012 Summer Series Constructor win.

New entry, Benetton Ford, also had a strong showing, but soon after Round 1 disbanded. Kevin Cole is the sole driver now on Benetton Ford and is looking for a driver replacement.

Steven Jackson, former Benetton Ford driver, has teamed up with Tyree Phillips and will be flying the Team Marlboro Mercedes colors for the rest of the season. Watch for them to move up the list.

Another new team, Vodafone-McLaren Mercedes, has also put on a strong showing with drivers Roel Espina and Calvin Simmons. This is another strong team that could put some pressure on the Repsol boys.

Team Patron Honda is in 4th overall with Lee Passehl leading the way. Ron Shuur had a pair of bad runs that cost the team some points, but once he gets back on track this is going to be one of the strongest teams out there.

The Caterham F1 team is in 5th, with drivers Craig Hammon and Mark Goldwater both putting in good runs. There is only 6 points separating these 2 in the Driver’s Championship so, as you can see, this is a good consistent team that could continue to stay in the Top 5 all season.

Final Thoughts
Round 1 was certainly not your typical UF1 race. Items of issue have been addressed and Round 2 should go a lot more smoothly. Remember, this is a fun sport…UF1 = Ultimate FUN 1. Ok, not really, but we have to realize that these are open wheel cars on a high-grip surface with varying ability levels all lumped into one event. Common sense and courtesy on the track will go a long way in making everyone’s experience in the UF1 that much more enjoyable.

Track Tip
Since the new scoring is based on time and not necessarily laps, smooth, consistent driving will reward each driver with a higher place in the standings. Before, if you got 45 laps, you were just as fast (and gained the same amount of points) as everyone else that had 45 laps, no matter what your final time was. With the new system, 45 is only a number, and someone with a fast 45 lap run can be 10 places higher on the leaderboards than someone with a slow 45 lap run. So, you can see, it’s best to keep out of trouble and not tangle with anyone to gain the most points. If the car behind you is faster (and you’re not fighting for position), it’s in the best interest of BOTH of you to pull over and let him pass. That will keep you running, losing minimal time (1/2 second as opposed to 5-6 seconds) and helping you score maximum points for the day!

Top 10 Results

Pos Driver Points
01 Dave Berger 298
02 Lee Passehl 296
03 Aaron Lane 289
04 Kevin Cole 286
05 Roel Espina 280
06 Bill Martinez 279
07 Sean Park 275
08 Fred Medel 267
09 Jason Huang 267
10 Tyree Phillips 265

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