Sunday, August 30, 2009
What can I say? I was so looking forward to the best track in the world and for McLaren to make some impact and Lewis to score some points. But what happened just a few corners after the start completely ruined it for me. But not all is lost as the race was pretty nail biting with a Force India driven by Fisichella stuck to the Ferrari's ass driven by Raikonnen.
Fisichella didn't just get pole yesterday but started the race well and would have won it if not for the safety car in response to the first lap accident. When the safety car came out, it was all over as we knew that Raikonnen would use his KERS to pass Fisi and held on to the lead all the way. But what was surprising was that the Force India car had the pace to maintain a 1 sec gap to the Ferrari all the way. In fact, without that KERS button, Fisi would have overtaken Kimi for the win.
That first lap incident was unfortunate. From what I can see from video playback on Youtube here and here and here (some might have been removed) Grosjean hit Button from behind and he spun out, although Grosjean has a different story. And Lewis was hit by Alguersuari from the side and both crashed out. Lewis took it on the chin and said it was "one of those days". Bad enough his start was bad with the anti-stall kicking in and he was overtaken by Button. Well at least Kovalainnen got some points for the team. He showed there was some long distance pace to the car, if only Lewis had a chance to show what he could do with it.
Other than that everything else was pretty normal except the fact that again BMW improved albeit too little too late. Alonso had a nightmare pitstop which took about 30 secs and had to retire due to his front left wheel having problems. I guess they didn't want a repeat at Hungary where the wheel flew off and they faced a suspension.
Bad weekend for Brawn as Button got taken out and Barrichello almost lost it as a few laps to the finish his engine was leaking oil and smoke was pouring out all the way to the finish line. But he managed to nurse the car to the finish for some valuable points. And bad for Webber as didn't get any points, just finishing out side of it. Now the title challenge gets interesting as the front runners get closer to each other with a lot more points still to play for.
01 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:23:50.995
02 G. Fisichella Force India F1 + 0.938
03 S. Vettel Red Bull + 3.875
04 R. Kubica BMW + 9.966
05 N. Heidfeld BMW + 11.276
06 H. Kovalainen McLaren + 32.763
07 R. Barrichello Brawn GP + 35.461
08 N. Rosberg Williams + 36.208
09 M. Webber Red Bull + 36.959
10 T. Glock Toyota + 41.490
11 A. Sutil Force India F1 + 42.636
12 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 46.106
13 K. Nakajima Williams + 54.241
14 L. Badoer Ferrari + 1:42.177
Did not finish
15 F. Alonso Renault + 18 lap(s)
16 J. Trulli Toyota + 23 lap(s)
17 J. Button Brawn GP + 44 lap(s)
18 R. Grosjean Renault + 44 lap(s)
19 L. Hamilton McLaren + 44 lap(s)
20 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso + 44 lap(s)
Best part is that Montreal is back. It is one of the best and fastest tracks in F1, a classic. Long straights disturbed by sudden chicanes and u-turns, damn good. All in all, 18 races and gonna be a good season as the teams will debut more finely tuned cars as the regulations should be stable by then.
March 14 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
March 28 – Australia (Melbourne)
April 4 – Malaysia (Sepang)
April 25 – Turkey (Istanbul)
May 9 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 23 – Monaco (Monte Carlo)
June 6 – Canada (Montreal)
June 27 – Europe (Valencia)
July 11 – Great Britain (Donington)
July 25 – Germany (Hockenheim)
August 1 – Hungary (Budapest)
August 22 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
September 5 – Italy (Monza)
September 19 – China (Shanghai)
September 26 – Singapore (Singapore)
October 10 – Japan (Suzuka)
October 24 – Brazil (Interlagos)
November 7 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
First of, hats off to Abu Dhabi for creating one of the best looking and probably with the best facilities, track around. The track looks amazing with the surrounding buildings being a part of it especially the hotel that is practically right on the track. Although it will only have full occupancy during the F1 Race.
How the track drives or produces a race is still up for debate though. A track may look good but it doesn't neccessarily mean it will produce an exciting race. Especially that this track was designed by Herman Tilke. We'll have to wait and see.
Now, the interesting part is this year's last race will be held at Abu Dhabi and more interesting is the start time. It was supposed to be around 3pm local time but now it has been changed to 5pm. Seems like Bernie is up to his old tricks again. And dusk in Abu Dhabi is 6pm. That means the race will run with daylight and end in the dark. Interesting? Yes. Dangerous? Yes too. That means the drivers will have to adjust to the changeover between light and dark. It seems the track is already built with lights. They think of everything, don't they?
Unsurprisingly, the top ten runners are lighter on fuel than those starting outside of the top ten. Indeed those towards the back of the field such as Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean and Jaime Alguersuari are brimmed full with fuel and on a one stop strategy.
Pole-sitter Giancarlo Fisichella is fuelled relatively lightly - as expected - but not as light as fourth placed Rubens Barrichello. Fisichella has 43kg of fuel on board and allowing for the lap to the grid and the parade lap, should be able to run until lap 17 of the 44 lap race. Barrichello meanwhile will be in on lap 16.
Jarno Trulli starts on the front row alongside Fisichella and he should be able to run until lap 21 and that could be critical as he chases Toyota’s first Grand Prix win. Third placed Nick Heidfeld is on a similar strategy while the Red Bull duo of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber can run a couple of laps longer.
While the strategy plays a role, the weather and then the run to La Source and then up the hill through Eau Rouge and to Les Combes will be critical. However, should all go according to plan, Trulli is the driver looking strongest ahead of the 12th round of the championship.
Spa Francorchamps Qualifying Weight (kg)
P. Driver Car Weight Fuel Laps
1 . R. Barrichello - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001 - 644.5 39.5 - 16 .
2 . G.Fisichella - Force India Mercedes VJM02 - 648.0 43.0 - 17 .
3 . T. Glock - Toyota TF109 - 648.5 43.5 - 17 .
4 . R. Kubica - BMW Sauber F1.09 - 649.0 44.0 - 18 .
5 . N. Heidfeld - BMW Sauber F1.09 - 655.0 50.0 - 20 .
6 . K. Raikkonen - Ferrari F60 - 655.0 50.0 - 20 .
7 . J. Trulli - Toyota TF109 - 656.5 51.5 - 21 .
8 . M. Webber - Red Bull Renault RB5 - 658.0 53.0 - 22 .
9 . S. Vettel - Red Bull Renault RB5 - 662.5 57.5 - 24 .
10 . N. Rosberg - Williams Toyota FW31 - 670.0 65.0 - 27 .
11 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02 - 678.5 * 73.5 - 31 .
12 . F. Alonso - Renault R29 - 684.4 * 79.4 - 33 .
13 . S. Buemi - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4 - 685.0 * 80.0 - 34 .
14 . L. Badoer - Ferrari F60 - 691.5 * 86.5 - 36 .
15 . L. Hamilton - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 - 693.5 * 88.5 - 37 .
16 . J. Button - Brawn Mercedes BGP 001 - 694.2 * 89.2 - 38 .
17 . H. Kovalainen - McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 - 697.0 * 92.0 - 39 .
18 . J. Alguersuari - Toro Rosso Ferrari STR4 - 704.5 * 99.5 - 42 .
19 . R. Grosjean - Renault R29 - 704.7 * 99.7 - 42 .
20 . K. Nakajima - Williams Toyota FW31 - 706.1 * 101.1 - 43 .
Source : F1-Live
There couldn't have been a more interesting or perplexing qualifying than this one. I was absolutely confused about it. The whole order of things has been shaken up for reasons still unknown or unbelievable. Some of the reasons to explain it is either lack of downforce or low fuel. we'll have to wait for the weights to be published to get a clearer picture.
But for now, Fisichella and Force India are on pole. Yes, you read it right, Force India have scored their first pole ever. Shame for Sutil who got P11, he was outpacing Fisi for much of Friday and Saturday practice.
McLaren were fast and stable on Friday and Saturday practice but something happened overnight and they finished in the middle of the pack. Lewis was right when he downplayed their chances at Spa. It seems that they still have not found the downforce they need in fast corners and Spa is full of fast flowing corners. Only the rain could save them now.
The Brawns didn't do too well either with only Barrichello making it into Q3 and Button stuck behind Alonso in P14. The Red Bulls didn't have a good day either with Vettel p8 and Webber P9 with both constanly worrying about their engines on every lap.
The surprise is Toyota who managed to get 2 cars in the top 10 and best of all BMW with Heidfeld P3 and Kubica P5. Funny that after announcing they were leaving F1 then only their car started to improve. Or is it that they are advertising their team for sale? And both Heidfeld and Kubica are posturing for new jobs?
Whatever it is, the race tomorrow should be a good one with a mixed grid at the start and some interesting strategies put in place. Also, I hope the weather interferes and we'll see some overtaking in the rain. It's a long track.
01 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:46.308
02 J. Trulli Toyota 1:46.395
03 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:46.500
04 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:46.513
05 R. Kubica BMW 1:46.586
06 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.633
07 T. Glock Toyota 1:46.677
08 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:46.761
09 M. Webber Red Bull 1:46.788
10 N. Rosberg Williams 1:47.362
11 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:45.119
12 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:45.122
13 F. Alonso Renault 1:45.136
14 J. Button Brawn GP 1:45.251
15 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:45.259
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:45.951
17 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:46.032
18 K. Nakajima Williams 1:46.307
19 R. Grosjean Renault 1:46.359
20 L. Badoer Ferrari 1:46.957
Friday, August 28, 2009
This is my most favorite track in the world. Why? Because it has Eau Rouge and Blanchimont. Eau Rouge is not only fast but it goes down a hill then back up with a chicane thrown in the middle. Blanchimont is a double left hander that is taken flat out. Both these turns are just awesome. Read what the drivers have to say about the magic of Spa.
Spa-Francorchamps boasts what is widely regarded as the greatest and most daunting corner in the world: Eau Rouge. Commitment and precision are required in equal measure to take on the climbing right-hander. The vertical wall of concrete challenges the drivers to carry as much speed as possible over the brow and into the 190mph sprint towards Les Combes. A good exit to Eau Rouge will see drivers able to challenge the car ahead at the right hander. Through Eau Rouge the drivers are placed under lateral G forces of more than 5G and compression. It also sees high structural loads placed on the car and engine.Spa is also located in the Ardennes, the mountainous region of Belgium that saw one of the bloodiest battles in WW2. It also means that the weather there is almost always cooler with a high chance of rain. As the track is quite long, about 7km sometimes half of it is raining and the half is dry. Which should provided plenty of edge of seat action.
The beautiful thing about Spa is that the changes of elevation and the combination of high-speed corners, which is very challenging. The track lay out is natural, guided by the topology of the place, and not artificially created. Can't wait for the race.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
McLaren's return to form in recent weeks has left the outfit more confident about its prospects for building a title-winning car in 2010, but the team does not believe it can fully relax just yet.
The Woking-based outfit started the season in big trouble with its car, and knew that it needed to understand what had gone wrong if it was not to make the same mistakes next year.
Now that the MP4-24 has been turned into a race winner, the team is more confident about its chances for developing a successful successor.
McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said: "If we were still scrabbling around at the back of the grid whilst we are going through the release of the car for next year - which will happen over the next month - then I would be very much more concerned than I am now.
"We are not complacent by any means. We have to recognise that our car has KERS on it which is probably worth 0.3s, and we have a very good engine package.
"If I compare where other team's chassis are, it's clear that while we have a competitive package, we do not have the benchmark chassis and aero performance at the moment.
"Therefore we will not be sitting on our laurels but working to recover that on this year's car and going in to next year, it's a stretch for us."
Neale believes that the fact the MP4-24 was turned from being the worst car in pre-season testing to the winning machine in Hungary was proof that its design was not fundamentally flawed.
"It's a testament to a huge amount of hard work, but it is also evidence of what I said at the beginning of the season, which is that we hadn't done anything wrong with the car, we just hadn't done enough," explained Neale.
"When you end up with a car where you have taken a completely wrong turn with it, i.e you've screwed up the stiffnesses or you have done something to make it really unstable, it is notoriously difficult to get that back.
"We had just under-developed the aero package and then in the cut and thrust of what happened between week 11 and getting to the first European race, we turned the organisation upside down here because we knew we had to fight back and try and overhaul teams that in themselves were pushing forwards."
He added: "In terms of the confidence for 2010, then the regulations are different but it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
"The fundamental aerodynamics of the package are the same. The big changes will be in the weight of the car because we will have to carry the fuel that we need for the whole race.
"We are going to go back around the loop on vehicle dynamics because the front tyre will be changing and therefore the weight distribution and the forces will have to be managed separately. But the essense of the aerodynamic fall will be based upon existing technology and the extension of a stable platform that we have."
Source : Autosport
Ever since McLaren have introduced their new diffuser, the car can again match itself with the best of the field, allowing Hamilton to take 18 points in the latest two races.
Their completely new design built upon the foundations of the double deck diffuser idea. At the same time, the team abandoned its cutout floor after it found out that its effect was far from what was expected after wind tunnel simulations.
At Valencia, the car had additional updates in this area. Notably the exhaust covers were now, for once, symmetrical - contrary to the diffuser's shape.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
For those of you who missed the race or want to watch it again, Axis of Oversteer has a 58 mins video of the European GP, quite good quality too. I assume it has been edited to cut out the boring parts, that's why its not an hour and a half but 58 minutes.
It's been confirmed that Suzuka will host the Japanese GP for the next 3 years including this year. Personally I prefer Suzuka to Fuji as Fuji is very boring with no real challenge. The older Fuji circuit was even more simple and boring although they tried to spice it up last year by adding some more turns and chicanes, which didn't really improve the experience. Suzuka is full of tight turns and chicanes especially turns 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Love it, looking forward to it.
Monday, 24 August 2009
What are your thoughts coming away from the Valencia weekend?
"It was a great weekend and the team ought to be really satisfied with our result. We can't complain, we're up there at the front and we led most of the race - some you win and some you lose. That's motor racing. As I've said before, we don't have the best car just yet, we've still got a lot of work to do but the positive thing is that I genuinely believe we can catch up.
Is Vodafone McLaren Mercedes a genuine contender now?
"Before the recent upgrades, we'd have been hopeful of getting into the top 10 but now we're regularly hoping for a win or to finish second - and that's a big difference and very encouraging. We're definitely strong again - but we're not fastest. With KERS, we are there or thereabouts but we still lack two or three tenths to the Brawns. Hopefully we can make some further changes to our aerodynamic package - Spa will be an interesting test for us."
What exactly happened during your second pitstop?
"During my second stint, I was saving fuel as well as trying to build the gap to Rubens. I wasn't sure whether I'd actually done enough for another lap but I got the call to do an extra lap just as I was coming into the pitlane. But it was too late: I was committed to coming in and knew I'd lose more time if I aborted my pit entry and continued for another lap. In terms of the procedure with the guys, they never make mistakes at the stops - they are the best - and that's why we win races. And it just happened that the team was expecting me in on the next lap, which is why there was a slight delay in getting the tyres ready. It was a misunderstanding and we did the best job we could. It's very rare that we do things like thatbut it's not a problem and it didn't ultimately affect our finishing position."
Was it frustrating to lose the race?
"I'm not frustrated. We've been finishing close to last all year so to just finish second is great - it's my first second of the year, so I'm quite pleased. We win and lose as a team - simple as. There are some races where there will be a problem with me on the track and some races where there will be a problem with the car or the pitstop. The fact is that we have been extremely quick - it was always going to be a very tight fight with Rubens, but he just had the overall pace to win. Our car can't match that - at the moment."
What did you think about Rubens winning - it was like seeing two generations of F1 driver on the podium!
"It was a great result for Rubens - he was absolutely on it all weekend. I've got a huge amount of respect for him - he's a driver who's been in Formula 1 for a long time and has seen so much. He was racing back when Ayrton was in Formula 1, which is incredible. He did a fantastic job and drove a stonking race!"
Are you confident ahead of next week's Belgian Grand Prix?
"I don't think we'll be as competitive as we've been at the last few races, because Spa is a circuit where you need a lot of downforce. I think Brawn, Red Bull and even Ferrari will be fast there - it's a high-speed circuit and Ferrari has always been very quick there, so I'm expecting Kimi to be quick. It should also suit the Red Bulls because it's very high-speed and flowing and they have great downforce. But, like most races these days, it's going to be very competitive. For ourselves, we need to ensure that we are competitive without KERS, so that when we use it, it will give us the advantage that we need."
Were you pleased to see that England won The Ashes on Sunday?
"Absolutely, I think it's a fantastic sporting achievement for this country. It's been a great summer of sport for Great Britain - people like Andy Murray, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Jenson have done so well. We should be proud of this country. I recently played cricket when I was in New Delhi with Vodafone and I know how much people are affected by it. Congratulations to the whole team, especially Andrew Strauss, who did a brilliant job as captain. Also, my best wishes to Andrew Flintoff, I wish him a happy retirement from Test cricket."
Source : Lewishamilton.com
Monday, August 24, 2009
Well, as expected it was a boring race. Everything turned out to be a procession as the track doesn't allow the cars to bunch up at certain points for overtaking, all cars were evenly spaced out. The start was as usual the only exciting part of the race. Both McLarens had a good start off the line as did Barichello.
Kimi had a good start also, making a few palces but bad news for Button who lost a few places due to being cut by Vettel and his no-risk approach to the race. In the end it was good news for him as he finished 7th, collecting a safe 2 points. Not so for Red Bull, who lost Vettel with another engine failure making it 2 engines in one weekend. Vettel is running out of engines, with 1 engine left for the next 6 races. Does not look good for his championship hopes. I'd say he has no chance now as after the last engine, he will have a 10 place grid penalty everytime he changes engine. Plus, how long can he stretch that last engine? Over 6 races? No way.
Webber didn't too well also, finishing 9th and out of the points. They just didn't have the pace. The main talking point is how Lewis lost the race to Barichello due to a pitstop blunder. 13.4s is not normal for McLaren. It seems that their strategy didn't work out this weekend. They were definitely racing Barrichello and they would have got the win for Lewis if not for a last minute strategy decision to ask him to stay out another lap. By then Lewis was already in the pitlane entry. To compound the problem, a new set of tyres were not ready for him.
Barrichello managed to get infront of Lewis with 17 laps to go but it was not enough for Lewis to chase him. The Brawn and Barrichello just had too much pace. Funny Button didn't have the same pace though. The other disappointment was Heikki Kovalainnen who was overtaken in the pits twice - once by Barrichello and then by Raikkonnen. What happened McLaren? He had pace this weekend after being told he might lose his job.
The other highlight of the race was that Badoer started last and didn't quite make a dent. On top of that, he almost collided with a Renault in the pits, allowed the Renault to overtake him in the pits (which looked amateurish to me) and crossed the white line after that on the way out. What was he thinking? Was he so shaken up by that? He is an experienced driver. Even the rookies don't make that kind of mistake. Fun though.
The rest of the field didn't make any impression on me. It was just another day at the office. Looking forward to my favorite track next - Spa Francorchamps.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
About time! Finally, the upgrades work and they've got the problem pinned down. I knew at the Nurburgring that the changes were working and it showed at Hungary. This week during all practice sessions and now qualifying, it's proven that the McLaren cars are fit for duty and will stay at the sharp end of the grid for the rest of the season.
Lewis was all relaxed and cruising as it looked like his car is almost perfect. Although both he and Kovalainnen had different wheelbase cars, both seemed to work well. As usual, Kovalainnen is off Lewis' pace slightly. But the Brawns are back and it looks like tomorrowit will be McLaren vs Brawns. With KERS thrown in.
The Red Bulls were off the pace with Webber making some mistakes in his rush and Vettel being demoted for an engine change. Ferrari is pretty off also with Raikonnen off the pace and Badoer providing all the fun. It's great seeing a Ferrari starting from last.
Sutil in the Force India was great. he provided a great show and thrashed Fisi nicely. He would do well in a good car. The 2 BMWs were not too bad either, managing to get in 9th and 10th, courtesy of Vettel of course.
And Grosjean proved once and for all that Piquet was no fluke, Piquet was that bad. Grosjean stayed close to Alonso all along but didn't managed to go to Q3. Shame.
All in all, tomorrow is gonna be a good race in a boring location. Looking forward to the 2 McLarens KERsing their way away at the start.
From practice 1, it seems that the McLarens' pace from Hungary was no fluke. Both cars finished the session P2 Kovalainnen and P3 Hamilton behind the Brawn of Barrichello. It also seems that the new parts i.e. front wing and underfloor fitted to Kovalainnen's car has added some tenths to the times as Kovalainnen did finish ahead of Hamilton. It also seems that the Brawns has found their pace back as they finished P1 and P4. What is fun to notice though is that Ferrari has one car finishing at the back, last position, Badoer. Not surprised but fun.
Practice 1 Times
01 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:42.460 19 laps
02 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:42.636 16 laps
03 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:42.654 18 laps
4 J. Button Brawn GP 1:43.074 19 laps
05 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:43.088 17 laps
06 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:43.209 13 laps
07 K. Nakajima Williams 1:43.225 25 laps
08 M. Webber Red Bull 1:43.243 19 laps
09 F. Alonso Renault 1:43.345 18 laps
10 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:43.384 23 laps
11 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:43.389 30 laps
12 R. Kubica BMW 1:43.419 20 laps
13 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:43.637 30 laps
14 N. Rosberg Williams 1:43.746 22 laps
15 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:44.040 23 laps
16 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:44.126 17 laps
17 R. Grosjean Renault 1:44.356 23 laps
18 J. Trulli Toyota 1:44.638 26 laps
19 T. Glock Toyota 1:44.732 28 laps
20 L. Badoer Ferrari 1:45.840 25 laps
Practice 2 tells a different story. Shame for Hamilton that he clipped his front wing and broke a small piece. Worse was that McLaren didn't have any spares so Lewis had to sit out the whole session. But what was interesting is that Alonso finished P1 ahead of the 2 Brawns. Again, the Brawns are showing that they have got their pace back. Not sure about long runs though. I would bet the few dollars I have in my wallet that in qualifying, Alonso will run on low fuel just to get pole.
Practice 2 Times
01 F. Alonso Renault 1:39.404 33 laps
02 J. Button Brawn GP 1:40.178 33 laps
03 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:40.209 34 laps
04 N. Rosberg Williams 1:40.385 39 laps
05 K. Nakajima Williams 1:40.503 35 laps
06 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:40.596 23 laps
07 R. Kubica BMW 1:40.643 34 laps
08 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:40.681 31 laps
09 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:40.723 33 laps
10 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:40.738 31 laps
11 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.739 39 laps
12 J. Trulli Toyota 1:40.770 32 laps
13 R. Grosjean Renault 1:40.787 35 laps
14 M. Webber Red Bull 1:40.956 37 laps
15 T. Glock Toyota 1:40.985 30 laps
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:41.156 34 laps
17 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:41.350 29 laps
18 L. Badoer Ferrari 1:42.017 37 laps
19 J. Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:42.089 34 laps
20 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:43.214 3 laps
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The FIA has issued the Technical and sporting Regulations for the 2010 Formula One World Championship.
- No budget cap.
- KERS to be retained.
- Titles to be decided on points not medals.
- To accommodate the need for cars to carry enough fuel for a full race, the weight limit has been raised to 620 kg.
- Q3 will see a shootout between the drivers that survive Q1 and Q2 all running on low fuel.
- Eight engine rule to remain in place - despite calls for drivers to be allowed only five engines a season.
- Only change to in-season testing rules is that teams are restricted to eight straight-line tests and limited running on "promotional" tires.
- Windtunnel testing limited to 60 per cent scale models (or smaller), and speeds capped at 50 mps.
The Court described some of Renault's pit lane procedures as "flawed" but said the decisions and actions in Hungary were "taken in good faith."
Good faith? You'll never see "good faith" in any of Mclaren's cases. I like what Mercedes' motorsport boss Norbert Haug had to say about it:
"It's good to see that a harsh punishment is sometimes reversed. I would like to know what that's like," he said jovially during a teleconference with German media.Incidentally, McLaren supported Renault at the FIA hearing and even submitted a letter of support together with 3 other teams.
McLaren's MP4-34 will head into this weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia with a new front wing and rear floor.
The Woking-based team are eager to make it two wins a row following their victory in Hungary last month and they hope the upgrades will give them a big push.
"This coming weekend we have a new front wing system for the car to hopefully bring some more performance," team principal Martin Whitmarsh is quoted by Autosport.
"You will see that will be on one car in P1, with the new rear floor on the other car in P1... we need to back-to-back the new front wing and rear floor modifications, so by P2 both cars will have converged on the same specification."
Whitmarsh also believes KERS is one of the major reasons for the team's return to form in recent races.
"Now there is no doubt that KERS is an advantage," he added. "We have potentially a small lap time advantage, we have an overtake or defend advantage and certainly, if we can get near the front of the grid, then we have a launch advantage.
"At the beginning of the year we were frankly too far back on the grid to be able to exploit the launch advantage that KERS should be giving us, but it is now coming together and it is an advantage, and a real interesting technical challenge for everyone in the team and the drivers."
Source : Planet F1
I'd like to see more from Heikki. To be honest, he's not delivering the points the team needs since last year. In races where Lewis is not scoring the maximum points or is not scoring points at all, Heikki is also not scoring or adding to the tally. I like Heikki actually as he is a nice person, I've met him personally a couple of times. I've also had him in an F1 simulator and he was incredible to watch, his performance was also great. But compared to Lewis in the same simulator, he is still lacking something. On the track, with the same machine he can't match Lewis for performance either. I've got a feeling next year he won't be around.
"Heikki is doing, as a team player, a fantastic job in this team," Whitmarsh said in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Phone-In' media call. "On his own evaluation he has not raced as well as he would have liked and we would have liked him to this year.Shame.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Situated in the marina area of Valencia, the European Grand Prix street course is one of the most exciting additions to the Formula One calendar in recent years. Hemmed in by concrete walls, the 25-turn circuit combines a mix of high and low-speed sections and presents a challenging layout for the drivers and engineers.
AerodynamicsThe track layout means that the teams run with medium levels of downforce with a similar set-up to that used in Shanghai and Bahrain earlier this year. This set-up is possible as there are no high-speed corners and good straight-line speed is important down the long back straight.
Fernando Alonso explains: “One of the most exciting parts of the lap is the final section from turns 17 to 25. You are flat-out almost all the way from the exit of 17 to the final corner, but there are so many kinks that you are constantly in a corner. Turn 25 is quite difficult because it’s so slow and yet you approach it at over 300 km/h. So you have to brake as you are coming through turn 24, which makes it’s easy to lock a wheel or make a mistake.”
BrakesThe circuit is particularly demanding on the brakes and on a par with somewhere like Bahrain. There are frequent large stops from over 300km/h, such as turns 12 and 17, leading into tight second gear corners which put high energy though the braking systems. Brake cooling therefore needs special attention and the team will use larger brake cooling ducts than usual, as was the case in Bahrain.
General car set-upThe drivers need a responsive and well-balanced car with good change of direction to deal with the high-speed kinks that are spread around the circuit. But, as always, this needs to be balanced with a supple enough suspension to give good mechanical grip in the low-speed corners. Good braking stability is also important, especially at the end of the straights, to avoid locking wheels on a track where there is little margin for error.
Fernando explains: “Overtaking is always difficult on a street circuit and Valencia is no exception. Turn 12 at the end of the long back straight is probably the best opportunity as it’s the biggest braking zone on the track. There’s also quite a lot of tarmac run-off in case you go too deep into the corner.”
TyresBridgestone will bring the soft and super-soft compounds from its 2009 range, just as it did for the streets of Monaco and at last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix. This choice is possible as the tarmac is not particularly abrasive and the softest compounds from the range will offer good grip on what is likely to be quite a slippery track surface to begin with. However, like any temporary circuit, we can expect the track to gradually evolve, becoming faster with each lap as it rubbers-in. The main concern over the weekend will be monitoring the rear tyre wear, which tends to be high due to the number of low-speed corners that lead onto long straights where traction demands are high.
EngineThe mix of straights, low speed chicanes and hairpins means that the engine will be used in a very stop-start fashion. About 60% of the lap is spent at full throttle, which is slightly below average for the season, and so Valencia is not a demanding test for the engine. The key to a good lap time is not peak power, but good torque to help launch the car out of the slow corners and onto the straights. Getting the car well balanced will therefore be of utmost importance to avoid understeer out of the low-speed corners to allow early application of the throttle.
Source : www.f1technical.net
Monday, August 17, 2009
McLaren is confident that it can carry its race-winning form from Hungary into this weekend's European Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton scored the team's first victory of 2009 at the Hungaroring three weeks ago and team boss Martin Whitmarsh believes the latest raft of upgrades to the MP4-24 will give McLaren the opportunity to repeat its winning form on the streets of Valencia.
"It's very important that we are able to maintain the winning momentum into this weekend's race," said Whitmarsh. "Fortunately, we have made a structured effort to bring further improvements to the car in Spain.
"The whole team has been buoyed by that win and is really looking forward to another strong set of results this weekend. I've no doubt that we'll certainly hit the ground running on Friday."
Hamilton says that he is still on a high after his Hungary victory and is hoping to be able to challenge for another win.
"It's great to be getting back to business after the break, I'm still buzzing from the win in Hungary," he said. "I'm hopeful of being able to carry that pace into the Valencia weekend - particularly with our new upgrades to the car."
Source : Autosport
It seems the masters of cheating are at it again. Unable to get permission for Schumacher to test (and unable to get Schumacher to drive) they've suddenly had the urge to do a 2 day promotional video shoot of the F60 with Badoer at the wheel just before the next race at Valencia. Hmm..imagine if Jean Todt was FIA president.
This is interesting I must admit although it would eventually reveal my worst fears. That Alonso might be going to Ferrari. Damn. He's gonna be so cocky when he does get there and being at the front with a good car will help him to raise his nose to the sky. Again, the latest news is still a rumour and I don't really want to believe it as it was from a tabloid - The Sun. But being an F1 fanatic, I can say the probable outcome is Alonso will end up at Ferrari. Sigh.
Lewis Hamilton has said that he is not perfect and he's right. Nobody is then. I can vouch for his explanation as I know him personally. He's just a normal guy with needs and wants like the rest of us. And he has the same fears and anxiety. It's just that he has an extraordinary talent for driving an F1 car which was honed over years of practice and dedication to his love of driving. And having steady hands plus good reflexes does help.
He makes mistakes too. The problem is the papers need to sell and they need to latch on a popular person such as Lewis and anything especially the bad stuff reported about him will sell. What makes the problem worse is that people who read this thrash actually believe what they read and never for once stop to think using their logic faculty to see whether it's true or not. Think about it.
It seems next year's race at Sepang will start at 4pm local time instead of the stupid 5pm practiced this year. The moment the race time was announced, every Malaysian worth his salt knew that the race would be fucked because it will rain. And rain it did, in shitloads. But then again Bernie is only concerned about money. Seems for next year he has come to his senses but not enough as 4pm is still dangerously near to rain time here in Malaysia. And when it rains here, light fails pretty fast. Sundown comes early. I hope it will ok though but seriously Bernie should stop thinking of just himself.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
McLaren is pushing ahead with its car development, and this time has come up with a revised aerodynamics package around the exhausts. The change resembles much that of Renault or Ferrari early on in the season as they decided that it is better to let hot air out of the sidepod sooner rather than later. Hence McLaren did the same, as the exhausts are now part of a large air outlet opening, following which the car's shell is much more tight. Still, the system is assymetrical with the left side allowing more hot air to exit.
Also marked it the revised engine cover which Hamilton already had at the Nürburgring. The previous version that was used without change in the first half of the season is now replaced by a more traditional layout with a straight slope towards the rear crash structure. The change effectively reduces the surface of the cover and is an opposite development of the extending shark fin covers.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The McLaren Technology Centre or MTC is a marvel of design and engineering. It looks just stunning with all sorts of clever features built into the design. Keith of F1Fanatic had the good luck of being invited to lunch there recently and was taken on a tour of the place. I envy you, Keith. Anyway, here's his report on his visit. The MTC is definitely a place I want to tour when I go to England 1 day.
Monday, August 10, 2009
It's quite surprising and exciting that McLaren have managed to fix the problems with their car, the MP4-24 turning it essentially from trash to cash. It not only improved but won the race in Hungary outright. It's fast, sticks in corners and is as reliable as ever. How did they do it? Well, head on to Youtube to find out more here.
Since Massa's accident and Henry Surtees' death, there's been a lot of talk about safety in open wheel cars. It seems that there is nothing much can be done but to upgrade some safety equipment such as the helmet and pray for the best.
Schuberth, the F1 helmet manufacturer has come out with a new helmet design for Michael Schumacher to debut in Valencia. This new helmet costs a bomb and has an upgraded visor as explained below:
"The area around the visor, where Massa was hit by the spring, has been strengthened on Schumacher’s helmet with titanium. - James Allen"
It also has seven stars to denote his seven world championships.
Friday, August 7, 2009
It seems that anticipation is still running high at Schumacher's re-debut in an F1 race in Valencia. According to Ross Brawn, if Schumi doesn't perform it's not because he is no good, it's because the car is no good. Luca di Montezemolo though doesn't expect much or doesn't want to put undue pressure on Schumacher to achieve anything.
What do I think? I think Schumacher is still a good driver no matter what, even if he hasn't driven an F1 car competitively for some time. There are some things you never forget, it's like riding a bike. But there are 2 things which I think will affect his performance, whether good or bad :
- His skill and ability - he's obviously got loads of this to drive an F1 car as most F1 drivers have (well, maybe not Piquet or Bourdais..haha..just a joke). His skill and knowledge of driving the car is still there and he will either take to it like duck to water or need a bit of time to adjust (as the car is at least 50% different than what he was used to, or even compared to last year's car).
- The car - as I've said before, the car plays a big part in the equation and as we can see what happened to Hamilton and Button this season. As of Hungary, the F60 is looking good as it managed to bring Kimi to 2nd behind Hamilton. Both F60 and Mp4-24 have improved a lot and looks set to provide Hamilton and Schumacher a good platform to duke it out (woohoo!). It also means that both Kovalainnen and Raikonnen can give Schumacher a good fight or get in his way.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
It seems that Ferrari is not happy that their plans for Schumacher to test the F60 was blocked by Williams and Red Bull. And the way the worded their statement is pretty sour grapes. I tend to agree with Williams and Red Bull.
Other teams have not or did not take advantage of requesting for special clearance for testing for their drivers, why should Ferrari be any different? Read Ferrari's statement below :
"Guess who opposed the test with the F60?" questioned Ferrari.
"A team that hasn't won anything for years and yet didn't pass over the opportunity to demonstrate once more a lack of spirit of fair play."
Look who's talking? I'm surprised Ferrari can spell "fair play". Ha ha, what a joke. Lets put it this way, nobody else got special treatment so you don't get it either.
Well, finally it has happened. I was waiting for it. Piquet didn't quite shine last year and even then by F1 standards he should have been dropped but somehow Flavio needed to please Alonso by having a sub standard teamate. Piquet is quite pissed off about it but hey, who could blame him. He sucked at F1 with a name like that. I'm sure his reputation is pretty screwed by now thanks to Flav or himself, we'll never know.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I wonder, can we have peace with Bernie running the show and Max pulling the strings in retirement.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
That is one interesting possibility, isn't it? Lewis himself is very excited at the prospect of testing himself against Schumacher. Obviously, growing up and dreaming to be in F1 and being the best in the world, the only was to prove that you are the best is by beating the best. And the best so far, according to other people (not me) is Schumacher. But first Schumacher has to get fit and test the F60, then only he can race. We'll see.
My thoughts? Hard to say. Depends on the car really. If you read my post on the car here, you'd have a better picture. Is the Mp4-24 better than the F60? Only just recently at Hungary. But then Kimi finished 2nd to Lewis so probably both cars are evenly matched. Which is a really interesting fact as we could then see who is the better driver. Maybe Schumacher has a slight disadvantage as he has not been racing for 2 years and he is not used to the new rules without traction control, less downforce, slicks, etc. But don't count out the sly fox just yet. I'll be rooting for Hamilton and keeping a watchful eye on the Schumi.