NGK Spark Plugs entered the world of Formula One for the first time with Honda in 1964. The following year they achieved their first Grand Prix victory in Mexico with the American driver Richie Ginther.
Following their success with Honda Formula One, NGK spark plugs were soon were fitted in many other Formula One engines. In 1978 another American driver, Mario Andretti, won the Formula One World Championship in the Lotus 78 sparked by NGK.
In 1998, a car with a Mercedes engine fitted with NGK spark plugs took NGK to its 100th victory in Formula One, and in 2007, cars fitted with NGK spark plugs achieved wins in all 17 races, stretching the total to 200 wins.
In 2013 season, NGK is officially supplying spark plugs to two engine manufacturers, Mercedes and Ferrari, who in turn supply engines to six Formula One teams.
Abu Dhabi Prix Report
November 04, 2013
Vettel romps to victory in Abu Dhabi
Teams were once again left wishing that they could hide their heads in the sand after experiencing the crushing superiority that Sebastien Vettel exhibited around the Yas Marina circuit this weekend. Another almost other worldly performance from the Red Bull driver left all who witnessed his latest victory open mouthed, praying that this performance advantage would not be carried forward into next season.
Other concerns were also being voiced in Abu Dhabi, namely by Kimi Räikkönen who was chasing the Lotus team for his salary of £10 million. Apparently the cheque had not been in the post and he wasn’t amused. News of Ross Brawn’s impending departure from Mercedes also was the subject of much speculation. But meanwhile there was a race to be run and the harsh reality of another potential runaway victory for Red Bull to be faced.
Practice and qualifying did little to allay anyone’s fears as once again the Vettel and Webber pretty much dominated every session bar first practice. As it was last weekend, the Mercedes boys had tucked in behind them with Räikkönen and Grosjean poking their Lotus’s black noses into the fray. Webber however upset the order by taking pole from Vettel. Räikkönen too had his day spoiled when his sixth place was taken from him due do a technical infringement which dropped him to the back of the pack.
However the big news in qualifying was Alonso failing to make the cut into the final session, which left him languishing in 11th. Massa however once again out qualified his team mate with another solid eighth, a run of form that will do his attempts to secure a drive next year no harm at all.
Hulkenberg in his Sauber also delivered another strong qualifying performance slotting into sixth which made his car the best performing Ferrari powered car on the grid. One imagines that Enzo would not have been impressed…
A distinctive feature of the Abu Ahabi race is that it starts in daylight and ends in darkness. And the difference between night and day was the same as that demonstrated by Sebastien Vettel in his Red Bull over the rest of the grid. His impeccable start saw him wrest first place from Webber in the three hundred odd yards it took to get to the first corner. Then he just accelerated away pulling out almost two seconds after the first lap and his blistering pace continued unabated. In fact so quick was he that by the time of his first stop he had enough time in hand to pit and come out still in the lead!
Behind him things were relatively uneventful on the first lap with the exception of Räikkönen, whose race came to an early end having collided with Van der Garde’s Caterham. The race then continued to play out with tyres behaving fairly predictably.
Pit stops came and went and some tussles further down the field lent a degree of excitement to proceedings, not the least of which was Alonso who exited from his pit stop as if his postillion had been struck by lightening. As he rejoined, poor Jean-Eric Vergne must have had the fright of his life as the charging Spaniard erupted out of the pit exit and overtook the Frenchmen with four wheels off the track causing the stewards to have a look at his manouvre. But to be honest the only reason they probably investigated the move was because it was possibly the most exciting part of the race and definitely worth a rerun in slow motion!
But that late charge allowed Alonso to claim fifth at the end behind the Lotus of Grosjean and ahead of the Force India of Di Resta. Roseberg after his initial lunge at that start to pass Webber, had in the end to settle for third behind the Aussie who recovered well to take second. Hamilton in the other Mercedes fared less well having struggled with his tyres which left him finishing in seventh ahead of Massa.
With the gap now extended to 130 points over his nearest rival (rival hardly being an accurate description in this instance), Vettel with this victory has now equalled his season’s record of eleven victories. So it seems the only race left for him is the one against himself! As for the rest? Well unless the Red Bulls develop the equivalent of automotive foot and mouth, their stampede of superiority looks set to roll until the year end. Then it will be time for a good old sing song. Anyone know the words to Rawhide?