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German Grand Prix may avoid dangerous tire woes

After an exciting and dangerous race in Silverstone, England, Formula 1 fans, drivers and teams are eagerly awaiting the Santander-sponsored German Gran Prix in Nürburgring this weekend (July 6-7).

Triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) still leads the driver standings with 132 points, while Fernando Alonso(Ferrari, sponsored by Banco Santander) and Kimi Räikkönen(Lotus) trail him with 111 and 98 points, respectively.

The Santander-sponsored Formula 1 race in Silverstone, England, caused much controversy due to several rear-left tire failures that resulted in explosions.

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Ross) and Sergio Pérez (McLaren) all suffered from tire issues, while Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) claimed his second win this season by 0.7 seconds. Perez is a Santander-sponsored driver.

Since then, several Formula 1 drivers have expressed mixed feelings about the changes and safety.

“Now, our greatest concern revolves around safety. Even if I can’t really tell what happened, it’s unacceptable having to drive knowing you are not safe,” Massa said. “Even if, luckily, nothing serious happened, what we saw is very dangerous.”

The Silverstone tire burst nearly created a crash between Lewis Hamilton, who was leading the race, and Felipe Massa. Luckily, all drivers came out of the race unharmed.

To ensure the safety of the drivers, Pirelli will use Kevlar-belted tires that were recently tested in Canada in the German Grand Prix.

A new range of tires will be introduced for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary.

The tires used in Silverstone were different from the ones used in previous races, with Pirelli introducing a stronger bonding process in an attempt to prevent tire failures that occurred earlier in the season. Pirelli, the world’s fifth-largest tire manufacturer, has been sole supplier for Formula 1 since 2011, and its contract is due to expire at the end of this season.

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Top 5 Formula 1 Teams

Two Santander-sponsored Formula 1 races, Santander British Grand Prix (June 28-30) at Silverstone and Grosser Preis Santander Von Deutschland (July 6-7) at Nurburgring in Germany, will provide the top teams an opportunity to edge closer to the coveted season championship at the season’s midpoint.

Those teams include Ferrari with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, sponsored by European-based banking giant, Santander.

In addition to the Ferrari racing team, Santander sponsors the McLaren team drivers.

Here are the top five teams and points in this year’s competition:

Red Bull (201 points)

The team made their grand prix debut in 2005. The Red Bull driving prodigy, Sebastian Vettel, is a key figure in this team that has won the World Championship in the past three seasons. Vettel graduated from the Red Bull Junior squad and made his debut for Red Bull Racing in 2009. Since then, he has 29 wins for the team.

Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (132 points) and Mark Webber (69).

Ferrari (145)

Santander sponsored Ferrari team’s first season was in 1950, with the beginning of Formula 1 World Championship. Ferrari has won 16 championships since then, with the last coming in 2007. Since then, the team has had three near misses – the latest in 2010 with Fernando Alonso. A technical reorganization and Alonso’s performance last year – he finished second to Vettel by three points – makes this season an interesting one for Ferrari.

Drivers: Fernando Alonso (96) and Felipe Massa (49).

Mercedes (134)

The team has not won a championship since their first Formula 1 season in 2010. With the arrival of Lewis Hamilton, 2008 champion, the team is under increased pressure for good results. Even though the team’s chassis, the F1 W04 was proven to be fast, tire wear issues because of the chassis may hinder the team’s performance this year. Hamilton has been playing second fiddle to teammate Nico Rosberg, who won the Grand Prix De Monaco.

Drivers: Lewis Hamilton (77) and Nico Rosberg (57).

Lotus (114)

Since its first season in 1981, the team has managed to win two world championships. The team’s personnel have experience winning titles with Fernando Alonso, when Alonso was a part of Lotus before joining Santander-sponsored Ferrari. The team’s tight budget seems to be a limitation, but they remain a major force in the championship run.

Drivers: Kimi Räikkönen (88) and Romain Grosjean (26).

McLaren (37)

McLaren entered Formula 1 in 1966 and have won eight constructors’ and 12 drivers’ world championships. This year, they have gone against the wind by designing a completely new car. McLaren team’s performance without Lewis Hamilton, who will be racing for team Mercedes, remains to be seen as the season continues to unfold.

Drivers: Jenson Button (25) and Sergio Pérez (12).

To read more about Formula 1 history, click here:

To read about this year’s top competitors, click here: