Allianz and Formula OneTM

The first round of the 2012 Formula OneTM Grand Prix took place at Albert Park in Melbourne over the weekend of the 16th-18th March. Allianz has had an association with F1 for many years, and has been an Official Global Partner of Formula OneTM since 2007. Allianz is also proud to be associated with the Mercedes GP Petronas Formula OneTM team, which boasts seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg as its drivers.

The race weekend

Under glorious sunshine and a spectacular Melbourne backdrop, the racing provided plenty of action for the millions of spectators who follow the fortunes of this most global of sports. It was won by Jenson Button in the McLaren Mercedes, who was followed over the line by Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Lewis Hamilton (McLaren Mercedes) and local favourite Mark Webber (Red Bull) in fourth place.

The first weekend of a new season is always challenging for the teams. The cars they have been developing for months get their first real test through practice, qualifying and the race itself, and there was no shortage of drama.

The qualifying session on Saturday threw up a few surprises, with the once dominant Ferrari's of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa not reaching the top 10 shoot-out. Lewis Hamilton took pole position, with Jenson Button joining him on the front row.

The start of the race on Sunday saw Jenson Button's fast start good enough to take the lead through the first corner, and he stayed out in front all the way to the chequered flag. Michael Schumacher had a great start, rapidly moving up the order but he retired on lap 11 with gearbox problems, and Nico Rosberg finished the race in 12th place. It was a disappointing end to the weekend after the team showed some good form in the practice session.

When there is an accident or blockage on the track, the Allianz sponsored Safety Car can be deployed to ensure the safety of the marshalls and circuit workers as they clear the track. Thankfully the Safety Car was only deployed once when Vitaly Petrov's car stopped in the main straight, but it did mean that Sebastian Vettel managed to change position with Lewis Hamilton by getting into the pits just before the Safety Car signal was given. The vital seconds he gained in that stop ultimately led to his second place in the race.

The next race is in Malaysia on 23rd-25th March.

Drive Safely

The Allianz Drive Safely site is the place to go for all the latest Formula OneTM news and tips on road safety. It’s constantly updated with news and features on Formula OneTM and safe driving.

You can also learn how Nico Rosberg has to make split second decisions to act or react on the track. This is the first in a series of insights into the workings of a Formula OneTM team – check back for future editions.

There are also some great tips on safe driving and safety initiatives around the world.