Friday, June 17, 2016

BAKU GRAND PRIX 2016 PREVIEW

Formula 1 moves to its 32nd new country this weekend with the inaugural Baku European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on what looks like the fastest street track F1 has ever seen. Speeds of up to 350km/h are predicted on the 2.1km long straight, which is the kind of speed only seen at Monza and in the high altitude of Mexico!

The six kilometre, counter-clockwise layout of the circuit was designed by circuit architect Hermann Tilke.The circuit is planned to start adjacent to Azadliq Square, then loop around Government House before heading west to Maiden Tower. Here, the track is planned to have a narrow uphill traversal and then circle the Old City before opening up onto a 2.2 km stretch along Neftchilar Avenue back to the start line. The circuit is projected to be the fastest street circuit in the world and the second longest circuit on the current F1 calendar behind the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium which currently is the longest circuit on calendar. It is expected that lap times in the 1 minute 40 seconds will be achieved during the Formula One event.

The capital city of the oil-rich nation of Azerbaijan has a PR strategy to match a Hollywood celebrity. Hosting sporting events is a tried and tested way of putting a city on the map and last year Baku held the inaugural European Games to get the ball rolling. The "Grand Prix of Europe" is now set to call Baku home for the next seven years, but it remains to be seen whether the race is a success or goes the way of Korea and India. The official name of the grand prix also tells you everything you need to know about the motivation behind the expenditure as Azerbaijan, which straddles the geographical divide between Europe and Asia, attempts to position itself as a tourist and commerce destination for the West.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Track length : 6.003 kilometers
Race distance : 51 laps (306 kilometers)
Corners : 20 corners in total
Aerodynamic setup : Medium downforce
Top speed : 350km/h (projected)
Total time needed for pit stop at 80km/h : 24 seconds

For an interactive guide to the circuit, F1Fanatic has a fantastic post on it here.

It is not like anything seen before in F1 as most of the corners are low speed, but the straights are long and fast. This calls for two completely different downforce configurations. It will reward cars with good mechanical grip, like Mercedes and Red Bull and with plenty of engine power like Ferrari and Mercedes.


The widest part of the track is 13m, while the narrowest section, between Turns 7 and 8, is just 7.6m. Turn 8 will also be the slowest corner on the track, with an expected apex speed of 53mph. The Baku track is also expected to have an extremely high average speed for a street circuit. This is largely because of the rapid sequence of flowing corners in the final sector that form part of the 2.1km (1.5-mile) main straight, where drivers are expected to be on full throttle for over 20 seconds and hit 350km/h.

WEATHER

The Baku City Circuit may have a few surprises in store for the Formula One teams this weekend but it seems the weather will not. Consistently warm temperatures are expected over the next three days, potentially reaching 30C on Saturday and Sunday. The first day of practice is expected to see a lot of cloud cover which will keep temperatures from getting too high. A fairly strong breeze from the north will also cool things down.

On Saturday the wind will drop, the clouds will break up and temperatures will climb in time for qualifying which begins at 5pm local time. With sunset arriving at around 8:15pm the sun will be fairly low at this point, which given the number of tall buildings in close proximity to the track could create challenging visibility conditions for drivers as they pass in and out of strong sunlight.

Some weather agencies are reporting a low risk of light rain around the time of the race on Sunday, but the general consensus is that conditions will remain dry. Baku typically sees only a few days of rain during June.

TYRES

For what is meant to be the fastest street circuit seen so far, Pirelli has nominated the medium, soft and supersoft tyres. As is always the case with a brand new venue, Pirelli has had to rely on simulation and acquired information rather than real data, which makes the task of nominating tyres more complex.

The nominated tyres are:

White medium: this has not been extensively chosen, so unlikely to figure prominently.
Yellow soft: a high working range tyre, which could make it very important in the heat of Baku.
Red supersoft: the most popular choice, which will be used heavily in qualifying and the race.

Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery has admitted concerns over the Baku City circuit which this weekend hosts the Grand Prix of Europe.

"Long straights can create standing wave issues. It seems to be a circuit that shouldn't be too dramatic, but it has that straight, so we have to be very careful on that in terms of what's going on with the standing wave management. If you go to a new circuit, it can throw up some surprises. The tendency to new circuits in recent years is smooth surfaces with very low levels of wear, but there is quite an aggressive straight and standing wave is something we have to manage, so there is an aspect of tyre integrity that we have to monitor well."

DRS

There will be two DRS zones this weekend, one on the approach to Turn 1 and one on the straight coming into Turn 3, while McLaren has highlighted the “deceptively fast” Turn 15 as a key corner as it is lined with close barriers.



SAFETY CAR

Before a car turns a wheel on the new track there are a few observations that can be made. It is a street track and given the high speeds in parts of the track, it’s likely that we will see a Safety Car. This is especially true because, as a new event care will have to be taken to give the marshals time to deal with incidents.

LAP OF CIRCUIT

Here's how the circuit actually looks like in a moving car.



CONCLUSION

It looks very much like Mercedes will enjoy a margin this weekend. It is also a high fuel consumption circuit, so there will be some fuel management to be done. While many would have expected Lewis Hamilton to make inroads into the 43-point lead Nico Rosberg built up over the first four races, few would have expected Rosberg to throw away almost all of his advantage in just two rounds. In a straight fight this year Hamilton has usually been the quicker of the two, so it’s down to Rosberg to raise his game.

We have no idea what to expect really from this race. Could there be a smash up at the tightest part? I certainly think so with eager F1 drivers giving no quarters. Will Mercedes outdrag everybody on the longest straight in F1? Probably. Will the field be spread out after just a few laps? Looks like it. Whatever it is, it's always exciting to go to a new track.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX 2016 PREVIEW

The Canadian Grand Prix (known in French as the Grand Prix du Canada), abbreviated as gpc, is an annual auto race held in Canada starting in 1961. It has been part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967. It was first staged at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario as a sports car event before it alternated between Mosport and Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec after Formula One took over the event. After 1971, safety concerns led to the Grand Prix moving permanently to Mosport.

In 1978, after similar safety concerns with Mosport, the Canadian Grand Prix moved to its current home at the Circuit Giles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame in Montreal. In 2005, the Canadian Grand Prix was the most watched Formula One GP in the world. The race was also the third most watched sporting event worldwide, behind the first place Super Bowl XXXIX and the UEFA Champions League Final.

F1 returns to Montreal this weekend for the running of the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix. One of the more popular and hotly anticipated races on the F1 calendar, the tight, street circuit feel, coupled with a design for high speed and overtaking down its long straights, has produced many memorable races and individual performances over the years. Add to this the fantastic atmosphere produced by the always friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic Canadian crowd, and we have a race weekend that you certainly won’t want to miss.

With a combination of long straights, numerous chicanes and the close proximity of barriers to the track, the Montreal circuit places stress on engines and brakes as well as driver concentration. The track itself is bumpy and generally low grip, due to the fact that it is rarely used outside of the grand prix weekend. With the lack of long corners and emphasis on traction, tyre wear around Montreal is relatively low. Thanks to the configuration of the Montreal track, overtaking tended to be easier on it than at most circuits.

TRACK CHARACTERISTICS

Track length : 4.36 kilometers
Race distance : 70 laps (305 kilometers)
Corners : 12 corners in total made up of straights, chicanes and a hairpin
Aerodynamic setup : Medium downforce
Top speed : 326km/h (with Dag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 316km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap (quite high, 15 seconds unbroken full throttle on main straight)
Time spent braking : 17% of lap (high, 7 braking zones)
Brake wear : Very High
Total time needed for pit stop at 80km/h : 18.8 seconds

The key stat about Montreal is that it’s the least important pole position of the season. This means that, more often than not, things do not got according to plan in Montreal. Since 2000 the pole sitter has enjoyed a conversion rate to race victory of just 35%. And add in the fact that this year there are three tyre compounds to choose from and the softest one is not capable of giving you a one-stop strategy and you have what looks to be an entertaining weekend ahead.

WEATHER

Montreal is experiencing cool, almost autumnal conditions ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. Although it is forecast to become warmer over the coming days the race itself could see some showers.

A low pressure weather system is keeping the air chilly in Montreal at present – a peak of just 17C is forecast on Thursday. However that will improve over the coming days with outbreaks of sunshine pushing temperatures to 20C during practice on Friday and 24C for qualifying on Saturday.

Following showers on Thursday the rain should stay away for the first two days of track action. That may change on Sunday, however, giving us the possibility of a second consecutive rain-affected race.

At present it is unclear whether the rain will arrive during the race or, as some forecasts indicate, fall earlier in the morning of race day. However it is expected to be a much cooler day on Sunday, with temperatures closer to that seen on Thursday, and quite a bit cooler than last year’s peak of 22C during the grand prix.

TYRES

Just two weeks after the debut of the new P Zero Purple ultrasoft tyre in Monaco, it appears again as part of exactly the same nomination for Canada: soft, supersoft and ultrasoft. Canada however will present a number of different challenges to Monaco, with notably higher speeds and higher loads that generate more temperature and put increased energy through the tyres.

Tyre options are:

1. Yellow soft: the hardest compound in the selection, poised to play an important role in the race.
2. Red supersoft: two teams have interestingly chosen not to nominate this compound at all.
3. Purple ultrasoft: very popular on its Monaco debut and chosen extensively in Canada.

Paul Hembery: "In Canada there's the potential for some quite mixed weather conditions, as we also saw in Monaco, so this could make it a very complex race as has often been the case in the past. The compounds that we have nominated mean that there is plenty of scope for strategy, on a circuit where it's definitely possible to overtake on the track as well. The ultrasoft made its mark when it first appeared in Monaco but Canada is a very different type of circuit with more demands on tyres. This could lead to a number of different tactics coming into play, as evidenced from the tyre choices made by each team prior to the race."

DRS

There are two DRS zones to look out for in Montreal. The detection area for the first DRS zone is after Turn 9 in the leadup to the hairpin at Turn 10. The first DRS zone is then on the long straight after Turn 12, while the second DRS zone follows immediately after the chicane at Turns 13 and 14.


SAFETY CAR

The chances of a safety car at Montreal are very high at 60%. Eight of the last 12 Canadian Grands Prix have featured at least one safety car. This is because, with the track lined with walls and several blind corners, there are frequent accidents and the conditions for the marshals when clearing debris from an accident are dangerous. Montreal has the highest rate of Safety Car deployments per race of any circuit bar Singapore.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX IN NUMBERS

Montreal is a race that tends to feature close finishes, according to F1 statistician Virtual Statman. In the last 13 runnings of the Canadian GP, eight of them have been won by a margin of less than three seconds.

Lewis Hamilton made another piece of history in Monaco as he moves closer to some all time great records. His win meant that he has now won at least one race in each of the last 10 consecutive seasons. Only Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher have achieved that. He has also now led 87 different Grands Prix, more than Ayrton Senna and second only to Michael Schumacher who led 142 races. Hamilton is closing in on Senna’s tally of 65 pole positions, he is now on 52.

Hamilton is the form man at Montreal with four wins there. He is also chasing a front row start there for the fifth season in a row. Red Bull and Mercedes are now tied on 58 pole positions each, so the battle on Saturday should be intense.

CONCLUSION

The Mercedes team will be very wary of the increased threat posed by Red Bull, but will rely on their dominant power unit to keep them clear of the pack in Canada. This is one of Lewis Hamilton’s favourite circuits, having taken his first victory here in 2007 and reaching the top step three times since.

This could be a race where we see a wide variety of different strategies, like China were 13 finishers used all three Pirelli tyre compounds. Montreal is a strange track and the temperature fluctuations in any given day are as big as any venue on the calendar. This can often catch people out. There is some rain forecast for Sunday, with Friday and Saturday likely to escape the rain, but the prevailing temperatures are low. This could lead some teams to have issues with tyre warm up, especially in qualifying and at the start of a race stint after a pit stop.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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2. Lewis Hamilton T-shirt (design your own) - http://lewishamiltontshirt.spreadshirt.com/

Thank you for your support. May you enjoy it with this new season and your favorite team/driver wins!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

CHINESE F1 GRAND PRIX 2016 PREVIEW

Goonies anyone?
From the desert of Bahrain Formula One heads to the industrial sprawl of Shanghai for the third round of the world championship and another track which first appeared on the calendar in 2004. But the Shanghai International Circuit is a very different proposition, with longer corners which place the tyres under greater strain. The front-left tyre takes the biggest pounding, especially in turns one/two/three and twelve/thirteen.

The Shanghai International Circuit, Jiading, Shanghai, designed by Hermann Tilke, when completed in 2004 was the most expensive Formula One circuit facility, costing $240 million. The track is 5.451 km long and features one of the trickiest corners combinations on the Formula One calendar, comparable to that of Istanbul Park's turn 8, also designed by Tilke. Turn 1 and 2 are a very demanding 270 degree, right-handed corner combination that requires a lot of speed whilst entering and it tightens up towards the end.

Two long straights with the inevitable DRS zones present opportunities for overtaking. The back straight leading to the turn 14 hairpin is one of the longest of the season. Yet despite this drivers are at full throttle for less time than at almost every other circuit. This makes the track less demanding in terms of fuel consumption and brake wear. The cars pass beneath a vast grandstand as they accelerate towards turn one, which is one of the quickest opening turns of the season.

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix is always an intriguing race and strategy has played a significant role in the outcome in recent years. Overtaking is easy here because of the longest straight in F1 at 1.17km, so teams can plan for the fastest strategy knowing that traffic will not be a huge problem. That said, the speed differential between cars due to the new hybrid turbo engines, could see cars with less straight line speed struggle to pass midfield cars with good straight line speed.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 5.45 kilometres
Race distance : 56 laps (305 kilometres)
Corner : 16 corners in total, a mixture of slow, medium and fast
Aerodynamic setup : Medium/high downforce
Top speed : 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 310km/h without
Full throttle : 55% of the lap
Time spent braking : 15% of the lap. 8 braking zones
Brake wear : Medium
Total time needed for pit stop : 22 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.34 seconds (average)

Weather Forecast

A large band of rain will have reached Shanghai by now and is likely to create wet conditions for Saturday’s qualifying session. Dry and fairly warm conditions are expected for the first two practice sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit on Friday. But in the evening rain will arrive from the east and linger for the next 24 hours.

This will be persistent drizzle rather than a downpour. It will build slightly in intensity throughout the day but the 3pm qualifying session is expected to miss the heaviest rainfall. The dull, cloudy conditions will persist into Sunday but the drivers will be spared any further rain. Temperatures for race day will be slightly lower, peaking at around 20C, some two degrees cooler than Saturday.

Although the air temperature will be only slightly cooler than during last year’s race the cloud cover should keep the track temperatures from reaching the 47C high seen in this race 12 months ago.

Tyres

Pirelli tyre choice for Shanghai: Medium, soft, super-soft. As in the opening two rounds, the Super Soft, Soft and Medium tyre compounds will be used at Shanghai. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have opted for different choices, with the Briton selecting an extra set of Medium tyres compared to his team-mate. While both Ferrari drivers have selected the same number of each tyres, the pair have chosen an extra set of the Super Soft tyres compared to their Mercedes counterparts. Williams, Renault, Toro Rosso and Haas drivers have all made slightly different choices compared to their respective team-mates.


The front tyres are the limitation, especially the left front which gets hammered by the two long corners T1 and T13. With the three different tyre options available for the race, we’ll see a mixture of different strategies again. We can see already who tends to be aggressive (Red Bull, Haas) and it should be another fascinating his speed chess game.

Weather conditions are nearly always unpredictable, which have a big effect on tyre behaviour. Key tyre info for Shanghai from Pirelli:
  • As a result, graining is sometimes an issue when it's cool: especially in the early sessions.
  • Around 80% of the lap is spent cornering, meaning that lateral loads are a crucial factor.
  • The track is front limited, because of all the turns and high-energy corners.
  • The crucial corners are Turn 1, which is almost a full circle, and Turn 13, which is banked.
  • Drivers also have to avoid wheelspin out of the corners, in order to minimise rear degradation.
Safety Car

The chance of a safety car at Shanghai is reasonably high, at 43% and there is an average of 0.7 safety cars per race. In the 2005 and 2010 races there were 2 safety car periods.

DRS

The DRS sectors at the Shanghai International Circuit will be as last year. The detection point of
the first zone is at Turn 12 and the activation point is 752m before Turn 14. The second zone’s
detection point is 35m before Turn 16, with activation occurring 98m after Turn 16.


Conclusion

Lewis Hamilton has an enviable qualifying record in China with five pole positions to his name including the last three in a row. But he’s unlikely to extend that run this weekend as he arrives carrying a five-place grid penalty for an expected gearbox change.

That will hand the initiate to his team mate Nico Rosberg who arrives looking for his sixth win in a row – something only three drivers have achieved in F1 history. More importantly, Rosberg could increase his 17-point championship lead – especially if Hamilton makes another poor start.

Race strategy will again be crucial, as will qualifying. Sebastian Vettel was in touching distance of the Mercedes after the first runs in Q3 in Bahrain, but then they opened out a half second margin in the second runs. They denied that it had anything to do with advanced engine modes, saying that the cars were at the maximum from Q2 onwards.

But the Ferrari’s end of sector time speeds were encouraging, especially in the race and give grounds for hope. They still have a reliability concern, especially on the turbo, but new fixes are on the way.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

1. Hamilton Tees (fixed designs) - http://shop.spreadshirt.com/hamiltontees/
2. Lewis Hamilton T-shirt (design your own) - http://lewishamiltontshirt.spreadshirt.com/

Thank you for your support. May you enjoy it with this new season and your favorite team/driver wins!

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

WILL DRONE RACING BE THE SPORT OF THE FUTURE?

500 million  human lives disrupted on April 17th, 2016. The survivors of the nuclear race called the race Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war using the machines. The computer which controlled the machines, FIAnet, sent two ideas through. Their mission: to destroy any semblance of family life in young adults by getting them hooked onto racing with machines. The leader of the resistance..uh wuh whut? Yeah! Yeah! I'm awake! Shut yer trap.

These are strange times we live in. We have all sorts of sports where people physically partake in the testosterone drenched quest of greatness but somehow we still can't get out of our seats or throw down that controller. Racing by proxy has arrived folks. And it's no XBOX.

Drone racing they call it. And to tell you all about is Joshua Madisson, our regular guest writer.

Drones is a word we all have had to get used to talking about. Whether it is on the news in wars, or Amazon suggesting using a new delivery method it is on everyone’s tongues. 2016 has seen the introduction of something newer. People haven’t thought about Drone in a sporting context yet, but the Drone Racing League is hoping to change that.


Drone Racing is very new, believed to have begun in Australia in 2014. Racers or as their referred to by the Drone Racing League (DRL), Pilots are growing as a population. 2016 has seen the ‘events’ that took place between enthusiasts officially become a sport. The DRL are holding a competition of six events which started on the 22nd February, over the course of 2016. The first race took place in Miami’s Sunlife Stadium and made everyone take notice. Special lit tracks, LED lit drones racing at high speeds and a real world track with obstacles. What was this?

Drone Racing is a very new yet unique sport. Pilots race their drones around real world environments while wearing goggles. These goggles provide First Person Viewing from the drone directly to the pilots. When watching a race, the excitement around its futuristic looks is understandable. In the DRL heats and races take place over a single course and the Pilots rack up points determined on their placing. The drones are provided by the DRL to keep the playing field level, but still the Drones are fine-tuned machines able to travel up to speeds of 120mph. They also have a careful calibration of balancing taking place while it flies, which allows the pilots to stay in control while also performing many manoeuvres. Drones flip, roll and seem to skid around corners whilst all whizzing through the air.


The sport has had the backing of many investors and interested parties. The DRL hopes to become the elite competition in Drone Racing and people have put their money where their belief is. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross invested $1m of his own wealth into the league and Muse lead singer whose last album was even called ‘Drone’ is also said to be backing the sport financially. This all leads to the question of what does the future look like for other racing sports?

Rival racing sports, especially Formula 1 are in constant argument over mundane elements such as qualifying at the moment, and fights over engines that no one quite understands can make the sport look utterly archaic at times. Yes, there is much more involved in racing cars such a pit crews and drivers, but how many people get the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car. With drones anyone can realistically try it. Formula 1 is currently in a battle of the same two drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, from the same team no less, for the Championship. Other teams can sometimes just be cannon fodder to overtake. Could it be possible for Drone Racing to steal away the fans from F1 and could we even maybe see Sebastien Vettel at the hands of a controller?


The only stumbling block for Drone Racing right now is the audiences. Formula 1 fans are the highlight of the sport with their passion and enthusiasm for the sport that has kept it going. Drone Racing will hope to emulate this in some way. With crashing a common occurrence spectators have to be some distance from the drones. The DRL’s ultimate goal is to have fans wearing the same goggles as the pilots to give them a POV view of the racing, but maintaining live feeds are proving problematic. While the rules and technical issues are ironed out Drone Racing may be years from making an impact on its much bigger rivals, but with the looks of Star Wars and the modern powered vehicles, Drone Racing is definitely something to look out for. Meanwhile the league moves on with the next race taking place in an abandoned LA mall, it already sounds awesome!

Written by Joshua Madisson

Think that is cool? How about a super sexy racing car with no driver that drives itself? Apparently that is what Roborace is. Roborace will be the world's first driverless racing series i.e. autonomous racing cars. At least drone racing still has people directly controlling the machines. Roborace is another step closer to Judgement Day. Hasta La Vista Baby!

The organizers have finally unveiled what its custom-made electric cars will look like — and boy do they look wild. The four-wheeled autonomous vehicles appear to be covered in sensors and look wickedly aerodynamic, with bodywork that covers up all the internals and massive openings around each axle. 


That the car looks crazy isn't necessarily a surprise — after all, Roborace hired Daniel Simon, the man who designed the light cycles in Tron: Legacy, to design these cars. In an official release, Simon says his goal was "to create a vehicle that takes full advantage of the unusual opportunities of having no driver without ever compromising on beauty," and that he worked with racing engineers and aerodynamicists to strike that balance. "Beauty was very high on our agenda," he says, and it shows.

The founders say that the first Roborace "shows" are still on schedule to take place during the 2016/17 Formula E season, though exactly when is still unknown. Does this mean that we'll see something different from the 10-team, 20-car races that were teased when the series was originally announced in November? Or will Roborace host a suite of events, with some looking more like traditional races and others being pure displays of what the teams' algorithms are capable of? Will Formula E pit its drivers against the autonomous cars in a high speed showdown of man versus machine?

One thing is for sure: whatever Roborace winds up becoming will be shaped by the logistical framework already put in place by Formula E. Roborace will be piggybacking on Formula E's infrastructure, performing on the same race days at the same locations. Considering that Formula E teams only have something on the order of half a day to practice, qualify, and race on each street circuit, there won't be a ton of time to squeeze in Roborace. But whatever these cars do, at least now we know they'll be doing it in style.


If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

1. Hamilton Tees (fixed designs) - http://shop.spreadshirt.com/hamiltontees/
2. Lewis Hamilton T-shirt (design your own) - http://lewishamiltontshirt.spreadshirt.com/

Thank you for your support. May you enjoy it with this new season and your favorite team/driver wins!

Here is a sample. 




Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

Nico! Amma beat ya! Again!
The Bahrain Grand Prix is a Formula One Championship race in Bahrain sponsored by Gulf Air. The first race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 4 April 2004. It made history as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East, and was given the award for the "Best Organised Grand Prix" by the FIA.

The Bahrain International Circuit is holding its 12th round of the world championship this year. A typical modern circuit with wide run-off areas and frequent braking zones, it has nonetheless produced some memorable races in recent years. The purpose-built venue was designed by Hermann Tilke and is characterised by long straights and slow corners. This puts a premium on top speed and traction.

Despite the focus being on the controversial decision to stick with the unloved ‘elimination’ qualifying, the tactical game in the race should once again prove the main attraction.

The opening race in Melbourne showed that the new rule permitting the drivers a choice of three tyre compounds in the race is the most interesting and exciting of the changes to the 2016 regulations, far more than the team radio or qualifying changes. It opens up several viable strategy options and this leads to cars racing each other with performance offsets, enough to promote close battles and more overtaking.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 5.41 kilometres
Race distance : 57 laps (308.23 kilometres)
Corners : 15 corners in total, mostly medium speed, with three long straights. Very tough on brakes.
Aerodynamic setup : Medium downforce
Top speed : 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 310km/h without
Full throttle : 64% of the lap
Time spent braking : 16% of the lap. 8 braking zones.
Brake wear : High.
Total time needed for pit stop : 23 seconds.
Pit lane length : 480 metres
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.38 seconds (average/high)

Weather Forecast

One thing Bahrain tends to be very good for is stable weather conditions and this weekend is set to be no different. Following a rain-affected Friday practice in Melbourne, the teams will be pleased with warm and dry representative running, with temperatures expected to be a relatively cool 24C. With some cloud expected too, that should help ensure track temperatures in FP1 and FP3 are closer to the conditions which will be seen during qualifying and the race which take place under floodlights.

Tyres

A glance at last year’s race shows that the soft was the preferred race tyre; the shift to a twilight race means that the track temperature comes down in comparison to the 2pm start we used to have there and that greatly reduces the thermal degradation on the tyres. The temperature is forecast to be around 25 degrees for qualifying and race.

As the supersoft will once again be the preferred qualifying tyre and therefore the starting race tyre, the key to this race will be whether the teams can cover the 57 lap race with two stints on softs after the initial pit stop to get off the supersofts. It will be touch and go and you cannot rely on a safety car as these are pretty rare in Bahrain due to the wide open nature of the track. The alternative is to go supersoft, soft, medium, with a longer stint on mediums. Mercedes will not fear this, as they did not in Melbourne, as they can make the mediums work better than the Ferraris can.

Last year the longest stint for the soft was 21 laps, while the medium was good for 32 laps on Massa’s Williams, so it is tough and go for soft tyres.




DRS

The DRS sectors at the Bahrain International Circuit will be the same as last year. The detection point of the first zone is 10m before turn 9 and the activation point is 50m after turn 10. The second zone's detection point is 108m before turn 14 with activation occuring 270m after turn 15.


Conclusion

Mercedes’ 1-2 finish last time out in Australia was its 24th since the beginning of 2014. Every team that has previously secured a 1-2 in Melbourne has gone on to win both championships and the victorious driver has also won the drivers’ championship on those six occasions, which will be a boost for Nico Rosberg.

There is a sense of status quo at the top of the order, but Ferrari looked clearly closer to Mercedes than it was a year ago in Melbourne, and should have won the opening race had it got its strategy under the red flag right. As it was, Mercedes started with another one-two but will know the gap is closing, while Red Bull similarly made a step towards the front. Realistically the RB12 will only be a major threat later in the year but it looks to have the legs on Williams, while Haas has shown it can mix it with the likes of Force India in the midfield. Toro Rosso has more potential than ninth and tenth in Melbourne showed, while Renault can also target points if it can improve its qualifying pace. Perhaps the biggest unknown surrounds McLaren, with Fernando Alonso spectacularly crashing out early in Australia and Jenson Button suffering from a poor strategy that left him at the back of a midfield pack.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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FORMULA 1 CAR VS AVERAGE ROAD CAR

You've read this before. An F1 car vs a road car. There is really no match here. But still the facts are staggering in the least. So to whet your appetite for the second race of the season, here is an infographic of an F1 car against a road car.


If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

PIRELLI EXPLAINS NEW TYRE RULES

In a bid to spice up racing this year, the tyre rules were tweaked to give teams a choice of three compounds rather than two at a race weekend. Of the 13 sets available to drivers over a weekend, Pirelli sets aside one of each -- leaving 10 sets available for each driver to choose between for the race weekend.

Of the three compounds set aside by Pirelli, the softest will always be the one set aside for qualifying, with one each of the other compounds allocated for Sunday. The regulations state two different compounds must be used during the race, though that does not have to be both of the tyres set aside for use by Pirelli for Sunday.

OK, you've read the explanations; how Pirelli will nominate two mandatory race sets for each car and one set of the softer compound will have to be kept for use in Q3 only, and at least one of the two sets must be used during the race... yadda, yadda, yadda. So what? Do you get it? I still am confused. So many questions. Will the top 10 start on the qualy tyres they used in Q2 like last year? Or is that the top 8 now?

Thankfully, those kind folk at Pirelli have provided a video.



Now that we've seen how this works in a race, I am thankful that it actually works. There was a variety of different tyre strategies employed with some team risking one way and another going in a different route. Although Ferrari who decided not to use the mediums for the last part of the race was probably due to them not having enough information on those tyres because of the lack of testing on Friday and Saturday. Who knows if the race weekend went normally i.e. without rain disruptions, we would probably see a convergence of strategies anyway.

The jury is still out on this one as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to see a few more races to see if the variety in tyre options does have an effect. Bahrain should give us more of an idea how it will work as the chance of rain there is very slim. Although the twilight nature of the race will affect tyre choice as temperature changes could be quite big during sundown. We'll see.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

COMPARE EVERY F1 CAR OF 2016 FROM EVERY ANGLE

F1Fanatic is one of the best, if not THE best F1 sites out there. There I said it. Keith who runs it is a very knowledgeable and connected individual in the world of F1. He may not be right all the time but his site has relevant content that is presented in a way that is easy to consume for us F1 fans.

I'm not paid to rave about him or his site by the way. Although if anybody thinks I should be..thanks! I just wanted to share what a great site F1Fanatic is. And if you're any type of F1 fan, bookmark the place.

So the reason I wanted to post about this today is because F1Fanatic has done such a great job putting together all the information we need about all the new 2016 cars. For those who like to pore over details, this posting from F1Fanatic is excellent. It's interactive, you can put 2 different cars side by side then move the slider to reveal or hide more of one car or the other. You have to see it to understand. And there are views from the top, front, side and rear. Fantastic doesn't even begin to describe this. Fanatastic?

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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Thank you for your support. May you enjoy it with this new season and your favorite team/driver wins!

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Monday, March 7, 2016

ELIMINATION QUALIFYING BOGGLE - UPDATED

Have you ever heard of the term "Gobledygook"? It's a term I learnt a long time ago when I was much younger. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the short definition is "speech or writing that is complicated and difficult to understand." The full definition is "wordy and generally unintelligible jargon".

Wikipedia groups gobledygook together with gibberish:
Gibberish and gobbledygook refer to speech or other use of language that is nonsense, or that appears to be nonsense.
Lately the F1 rules by the FIA seems to be nonsense, isn't it? Especially with qualifying. The new rules on qualifying has been bent over so much that I have trouble figuring out what is going on. And that was last year. I finally got around to it and now they've twisted it even more.

Then they said they won't have it by Melbourne but will start at Spain as Bernie Ecclestone claimed the relevant software and broadcast graphics would not be ready in time. Now we have another u-turn and it will start at Melbourne with a 'bastardised' version, one which would use the new format in Q1 and Q2 but revert to the old format for Q3. This, of course, still didn't take into account the concerns raised by Ecclestone.. Of course, whether it runs without a hitch, and whether fans (and drivers) can make sense of it remains to be seen.

At this point the teams and drivers got involved, most, especially the drivers, unhappy with the new format, insisting that the old one worked perfectly well. Duh? Aware that the clock is ticking, the FIA World Motor Sport Council, having been advised by FOM that the software and graphics issues will be sorted, ratified the original format which sees the slowest drivers eliminated in all three phases of qualifying.

And for those fans (and drivers) still as confused as I am:

Q1 will last for 16 minutes. After 7 minutes the slowest driver is eliminated. Subsequently the slowest driver is eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag. 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2.

Q2 will last for 15 minutes. After 6 minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated. Subsequently the slowest driver is eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag. 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3.

Q3 will last 14 minutes. After 5 minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated. Subsequently the slowest driver is eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag leaving 2 drivers in the final 1 minute 30 seconds.

The final elimination in each session occurs at the chequered flag - not when time is up.

Get it?


I think I need to go now..

UPDATE!! 

Not that it makes much of a difference when you're trying to figure out what's happening and drivers are dropping of like flies.

The FIA has published Formula One's new qualifying regulations for 2016 that will see a live-elimination during the sessions. The proposal was approved by the World Motor Sport Council last week and has been now been included in a redraft of the regulations.

Article 33.1 of the sporting regulations now reads as follows:

"The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.

"The session will be run as follows :

"a) From 14.00 to 14.16 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track. Seven minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 8m30s, 10m0s, 11m30s, 13m0s and 14m30s leaving sixteen cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

"b) From 14.24 to 14.39 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Six minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 7m30s, 9m0s, 10m30s, 12m0s and 13m30s leaving nine cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. Lap times achieved by the eight remaining cars will then be deleted.

"c) From 14.46 to 15.00 (Q3) the eight remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Five minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 6m30s, 8m0s, 9m30s, 11m0s and 12m30s leaving two cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session any driver on the track may complete the lap he is on and, once any final lap has been completed, the overall classification will be established. "The above procedure is based upon 22 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible eight will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 26 cars are eligible nine cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible. If necessary, the intervals between the sessions and eliminations will be adjusted to ensure Q3 remains unchanged."

Got that??

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Friday, February 19, 2016

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

The 2016 season is almost upon us. Launch season is here. The first test session of the season is only next week. All drivers have been confirmed. So what will the cars look like? We can only guess. We'll have to wait till next week at least to have a look when the first test starts in Barcelona.

How will they sound? We've been told that they'll sound louder and better. The main “improvement” in the quality of F1’s sound for 2016 will come from new regulations allowing two exhaust pipes instead of one. Mercedes’ technical chief, Paddy Lowe, is convinced the system will work, although he admits he is unsure of how much louder, exactly, the new 2016-spec. engines will be.

According to Williams technical chief Pat Symonds it will be up to 25 per cent louder. Although Symonds admits the wastegate "doesn't open very much" on modern-day engines, with the turbo units designed to be as efficient as possible, the layout of the exhaust system used in 2014 and 2015 still had a negative impact on the quality of the sound produced - creating a so-called 'dead zone' in the pipe. And even without the changes, Symonds says F1's engine sound would have continued to produce more sound in 2016 as manufacturers continue to make development breakthroughs.

But really, how much louder can it get? On normal street turbo cars they use huge exhausts that make the sound very loud. Well at least for us mortals. Since F1 regulations like to strangle fun, I'm not so sure. Although even a small improvement is still better than nothing.

Although seriously, if you make a direct comparison there is no competition. See the video below.


Amazing isn't it? I really do miss the sounds of the old V8 and V10. Hopefully the new sounds will be better. For your convenience below are the sounds from 4 of the teams for 2016.






To be honest the Ferrari sounds the best so far. It has that unmistakable V8 burble, I like it. We'll know for sure soon enough. Can't wait to hear them at full tilt.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Lewis Hamilton inspired designs at my online shop. Unique, personal Triple F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton inspired designs for the loyal Lewis Hamilton fan. Support Lewis this season by owning this collection. Get yours now!

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