Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RACE WEEK SEPANG HAPPENINGS


The Australian GP is upon us this week and the Malaysian GP will follow the following week. It's gonna be a hectic 2 weeks. For those of you looking for happenings in KL during race week, here is a partial list compiled by the Tourism Ministry.

The interesting events are these 2:
  1. Petronas Pit Pulse at Jalan Binjai
  2. PETRONAS Formula One street demo will see the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS MGP WO1 special demo run by drivers Nico Rosberg and seven-time world champion, Michael Schumacher.
We haven't had a street demo in years. This should be good. Also look out for the STYLO F1 Party at Asian Heritage Row on April 1st. I will be there and looking forward to meet some F1 fans there too.

And last but not least, Lotus Racing is having a booth at Pavilion KL on 30th march (just 1 day) where they will show off their actual race car (as they don't have a replica) and there will be appearance by all 3 drivers. The interesting part for you race fans is that I will be there with 2 F1 simulators and you are invited to have a go. Try and beat my time, if you can.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

F1 2010 THE GAME UPDATES


Keith from F1fanatic had a first look at a beta or pre-alpha version for the upcoming complete F1 game called F1 2010. I say complete because the one launched last year, F1 2009, was not complete and was only available on the Wii and PSP.

This next version will be launched on the XBox, PC and PS3. According to the developers the game will be launched in September (so late) but will include all tracks this year. I've already talked a bit about the game in my previous post but this preview by Keith is more in-depth and exciting. I can't wait to get a copy. It seems that this game is as realistic as it can get with proper weather and other factors affecting a race such tires graining and damage multipliers.

For more information, click here to read Keith's review plus a great video on the development of the game.

Monday, March 15, 2010

BAHRAIN GP REVIEW

First and foremost, congratulations to Fernando Alonso for winning the first race of the season. The first race run under the new regulations was a bit of a disappointment for me. To be honest I was expecting a different and exciting race but it turned out to be much of the same. "Boring" it was according to Schumacher and a "train the whole way" according to Lewis Hamilton.

The start was a good clean one with Mark Webber's car spewing a lot of smoke which caused Sutil to touch Kubica and he spun, leaving him to prop up the back of the field. Shame for Sutil, seems that with Kimi Raikonnen now gone, he has other people hitting him.

Vettel was the class of the field, pulling away strongly and never looking like he could be challenged. In fact, his pace was so good that he should have won this race hands down. Unlucky for him, his spark plugs didn't work properly and he has to slow down considerably only to be overtaken by Alonso, Massa and Hamilton. Poor Vettel still managed to hold on for 4th though.

Alonso was always strong during this weekend and I knew he would be on the podium but not winning the race. His win was only because Vettel had that spark plug problem, without it Alonso could not have challenged Vettel. But Alonso did drive a controlled and stable race.

Massa also although he had good race pace, did not have the pace to challenge Vettel. He lost a position to Alonso at the start and has some other problems especially with fuel consumption throughout the race, so he wasn't even able to challenge Alonso.

Hamilton had a good start as well and had similiar pace to the Ferraris. His only problem was either he made a mistake at Turn 4 by himself or he was squeezed by Massa. Either way, he drifted wide and lost a position to Rosberg which wasted a lot of time for him for half the race. Without this, he could have got closer to Massa and maybe even taken him near the end.

The 2 Mercedes cars did not really have the pace to challenge the leaders as expected but Rosberg put in a respectable performance. Not much to say about Schumacher though, he seemed pretty quiet and was just holding station.

Webber was a different kettle of fish. Not only did he have a bad start, his engine spewed out a lot of smoke, probably due to overflooding of the engine or something almost causing a major accident. He lost a position and was caught behind the Mercedes cars and then Button. Even though the Red Bull had the pace, Webber couldn't do much as overtaking is still impossible.

The rest of the field did not conjure up anything interesting to talk about aside from all the retirements and there were quite a few of them. Bruno Senna retired as well, shame to have the Senna name not finishing the race. Virgin also disappointed with double DNFs.

The surprise of the race was Lotus Racing which managed to finish the race albeit last and were 3 laps down. Tony Fernandes was quite excited at the prospect. Maybe he's serving free nasi lemak now at the teams' motorhome.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

ANOTHER EXPLANATION ON MCLAREN'S REAR WING

This is another but simpler and easier to understand explanation of the system used in the McLaren MP4-25 regarding the rear wing and the ability for the drivers to control the amount of airflow to it during a race.

"It is believed that a small air scoop in the nose of the car — you can see it just below the steering wheel in the pic below — allows air to enter a tube that runs through the cockpit and the air intake above the driver’s head to the rear wing. From there it flows to the wing and passes through small slots to the back side of the wing, where the added energy can aid the airflow like the slats on a plane. This increases downforce in the corners.

BAHRAIN GP QUALIFYING

It was great to be able to watch a qualifying session after so many months being laid off. Especially with all the rule changes and limited testing due to weather. I was quite surprised to see Vettel grab pole at the last moment but when I think about it, I shouldn't be because Vettel has shown last year that he is very adept at grabbing pole in 1 banzai last minute lap.

As expected, the new teams were seriously off the pace and filled up the back of the grid. I wasn't paying any attention to them to be honest except for Karun Chandok as he did no running until today and at least the car ran.

Q2 was as expected. Q3 was more interesting as a Renault and Force India made it through. I was not surprised at Kubica being there because he is such a competitive driver but maybe I was surprised at a Renault being there. If Kubica was in a better car, he would have shown up higher.

Force India is another surprise and especially Sutil. He has shown that he can stick his car where it matters, if only he had a McLaren. But I won't be surprised in the race tomorrow if he manages to secure a good points haul because the car seems stable and fast, if only the team doesn't let him down. At least he won't have to worry about Kimi crashing into him.

McLaren and Ferrari seemed closer during testing and practice but somehow McLaren lost downforce and speed when it mattered. I wonder what happened. But it shows the difference between Hamilton and Button with both separated by 4 positions. But what is worrying is the pace between Hamilton and Vettel which is a second. Has Red Bull been sandbagging all this while?

This year the gap between cars were huge. Past years the gap was 2 seconds for the entire grid. Now the difference between P1 and P10 is 2.2 seconds! Lets go racing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MCLAREN GENIUS IN BAHRAIN

Well, it has to happen sometime right? It can't be all the time that McLaren gets a beating or is blamed for something. This time they've done something ingenious and everybody, in true F1 style, has either decided to accept that McLaren came up with a damn good idea and have to copy it or make a lot of noise and try to get it banned.

I still don't understand what the device is. Explanations range from "works by the drivers blocking a pipe in their cockpit with their knees" to "the drivers themselves - who are not classified as an aerodynamic device, moveable or otherwise - who operate the flap by using their right knee to cover the flow of air into the cockpit tunnel. This in turn effects the flow of air to the rear of the car and 'stalls' the rear wing."

It's believed that the advantage accrued from the device amounts to approximately an extra 6mph on the straights when the cars are running at top speed. Which is all well and good. That is what F1 is all about. Coming up with engineering ideas to solve difficult problems and gaining an advantage.

Go McLaren!

Updates

James Allen has a very clear analysis about the McLaren wing, how it works but I still don't get it. There is a close up photo of the rear wing with a drawing as well which clearly shows the detail of the rear part of the car. It is no normal shark fin engine cover I can tell you. Click here to read more.

Friday, March 12, 2010

F1 2010 THE GAME

Finally!!!! The new complete season, realistic simulation of Formula One is almost here. F1 2010 will be released this year in September by Codemasters for the XBOX 360, PS3 and PC platforms. The game will be launched before the Korean GP, which means all the tracks will be ready. I wonder how they will simulate that track without seeing it.

This is how Codemasters describes the game:

In “F1 2010″ gamers will take on the full, expanded grid in a variety of game modes including Grand Prix, Championship, Time Trial and an extensive, innovative Career mode. “F1 2010″ will also feature a highly advanced damage model, fully dynamic weather system and extensive competitive multiplayer options.

In production at Codemasters Studios Birmingham, “F1 2010″ is being developed using the EGO Game Technology Platform, Codemasters’ proprietary tech that powered the critically acclaimed, million-plus selling “Colin McRae: Dirt 2″ and “Race Driver: Grid”. The award-winning technology has been further developed to accurately recreate the unique aerodynamics and handling of 200mph-plus Formula One cars. The tech combined with Codemasters’ unprecedented access to Formula One teams and drivers will ensure that “F1 2010″ delivers the most authentic Formula One racing experience yet.

I've been playing the closest simulation to F1 yet, the F1 Challenge 99-02 game with a few different mods and updated tracks, cars, drivers, etc for a few years now on the Simsys F1 simulator. The simulator gives the best driving experience as you are seated low in almost an F1 driving position.

That simulation is as real as you can get with tweaks possible for everything from tyre pressure to wing (back and front) adjustment to brake force distribution and all manner of things which I still don't understand today. The new F1 2010 should add another dimension to that with realistic physics and greater graphic detail. I'm curious as to how realistic the weather behaviour will be.

Whatever it is, I'm definitely getting this new game and I'm gonna be pounding the tracks for a long time to come. In fact, it would be a dream to drive the F1 2010 game on a motion simulator such as the Force Dynamics.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

F1 LIVE TIMING APP DOES IT AGAIN

Remember the F1 live timing application on the iPhone? Well, it has been the number 1 selling sports application in 10 countries. I talked about it here recently and last year. For those of you whose missed out, it is a downloadable app from the iPhone online store that takes live timing data from races and displays it on your iPhone showing a full bird's eye view of the entire track in real time and follows the relative positions of the whole field from lights off to chequered flag. It is now available for the 2010 season.

The F1 Live timing and track positioning App offers fans:
  • Ability to see the live timing screens used by the teams themselves.
  • Ability to replay any session at any time you choose, and jump forwards and backwards to key points of the action.
  • Ability to focus on the driver of your choice.
  • News and information on race circuits, teams, drivers, results, standings and much more.

I seriously need one too but not sure how do you get enough bandwidth to follow and entire race. Maybe if you were attached to a wi-fi network it's ok but if there if no wi-fi around, do you log onto to your 3G network and pay through your nose?


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

KOREAN GP

The Korean GP is confirmed this year but the track is still being built. Have a look here for the picture. This track should be ready just in time for the race just like Abu Dhabi. when I got to the Abu Dhabi track, it was still under construction with last minute works. Hopefully, the Koreans will get this track up and running on time, they do have a good reputation when it comes to construction so I'm not too worried.

2010 Sub 2 Second Pitstop - Is this possible?

Since this season refuelling has been banned, teams will only pit for tyres. The tyre rules have not really changed as teams will still need to use 2 different compounds during the race. And since they will have to start with a full fuel load, tyre management will be important.

What is more important is to change the tyres quickly as that is the only was to jump your rivals in the pit. But that means a tyre change will have to take between 3 to 4 seconds. That is definitely possible. A sub 3 second tyre change would be incredible which quite a few teams have done over the winter testing and at their factories. But a sub 2 second change?

Red Bull have indicated that they have done that. In fact it is rumored that they did a 1.8sec tyre change. Wow. Their guys even went training to get fit fot this purpose just like drivers have to. That would be fantastic. Now even tyre changes are calculated in the tenths.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shuttle bus service for 2010 Malaysian GP

Here is news on public transport for all you Formula One fans out there especially our foreign friends. Skybus is again offering shuttle services to and from Sepang International Circuit on all 3 days of race week and the cost is very minimal.

The bus leaves every half an hour and it will take about 1 hour 15 minutes per way, so plan your time well. Also, note that buses will stop at the main road and you will have to walk about 1 km into the track, a bit of exercise never hurt anybody, right?

Links are as follows:

Friday, March 5, 2010

McLaren not fazed by rear wing controversy

Here we go again. It always happens doesn't it? And it's always McLaren. What is it about McLaren and F1 anyway? Now it seems that Ferrari and Red Bull are protesting McLaren's rear wing just before the championship is about to begin (and conveniently just after all testing has finished).

"There's a bit of a fuss over McLaren's rear wing," says Red Bull's Christian Horner, according to the Daily Telegraph. "They have a slot on it that affects the air flow and they can pick up a lot of straight-line speed. "I think it will get resolved before the first race," he added. "We've asked the FIA for clarification although I think Ferrari are probably more excited than we are to be honest."
Funny though that McLaren said they spoke to Ferrari and Ferrari didn't know about it.
"We're very confident that our car is entirely legal - and we're not aware of any protest. In fact, we've spoken to Ferrari this morning and they're not aware of any protest either."
I think this is normal F1 games before the start of the season to try to derail your competitors' competitiveness if you see any advantage. The fact that this issue even came up means that McLaren are fast and have an advantage so Ferrari and Red Bull are trying to slow them down before the first race.

What is scary though is Mercedes' quietness. I won't be surprised at Bahrain when they whip out some crazy diffuser or something and blows everybody away.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

OFFICIAL FIA 2010 ENTRY LIST

The FIA has officially announced the 2010 Formula One entry list today and it's not surprising that USF1 is not there and Stefan GP did not get an entry. So we have 24 cars on the grid.

McLaren-Mercedes
1. Jenson Button
2. Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes Grand Prix
3. Michael Schumacher
4. Nico Rosberg

Red Bull Racing
5. Sebastian Vettel
6. Mark Webber

Scuderia Ferrari
7. Felipe Massa
8. Fernando Alonso

Williams
9. Rubens Barrichello
10. Nico H├╝lkenberg

Renault F1 Team
11. Robert Kubica
12. Vitaly Petrov

Force India F1 Team
14. Adrian Sutil
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Toro Rosso
16. Sebastien Buemi
17. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus Racing
18. Jarno Trulli
19. Heikki Kovalainen

HRT F1 Team
20. TBA
21. Bruno Senna

BMW Sauber F1 Team
22. Pedro de la Rosa
23. Kamui Kobayashi

Virgin Racing
24. Timo Glock
25. Lucas di Grassi

HAKKINEN OR BRUNDLE?


Rumours are swirling since Lewis Hamilton announced that Anthony will no longer be his manager and that he is looking for a replacement manager. The rumours are going round saying either Martin Brundle or Mika Hakkinen could take the role.

Personally, I like both. Brundle is an ex F1 racer and has raced in various other categories and currently is a commentator on the BBC for Formula One. And a damn good one too. Mika Hakkinen needs no introduction of course. He is the 1998 and 1999 world champion and overall nice guy. Met him a couple of times, great guy to be around.

If it was up to me, I'd have Mika manage Lewis.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GPPrep Opens Up


An interesting piece of news, even to me. Anthony Hamilton has not just stopped being Lewis' manager but has opened up a driving academy for aspiring Formula One drivers with Formula One cars managed by Formula One personnel. That sounds hugely interesting. I wonder how it works. Although, the cars will be from the preceding season. The website is here.

I knew that Anthony was working on the Lewis Hamilton Academy, a sort of club like what David Beckham did with the David Beckham Football Academy. We almost had a deal going with Sepang last year with that academy but somehow the academy didn't turn out. Or maybe it turned out to be this one.

I thought an academy for aspiring drivers would start at karting and provide the necessary help to progress to Formula One but this one sounds like somthing to prepare young drivers to graduate to Formula One itself. Meaning, if you are already in GP2 or F2 or World Series by Renault, then you could enrol in this academy and get the necessary training to prepare to enter Formula One. Or something like that. Oh well, we'll have to wait to ask Anthony himself next month.

Hamilton parts ways with Hamilton senior


Hmm, I was quite surprised to learn that Anthony has stopped being Lewis' manager as of this season. I wonder who Lewis will hire to represent him in future, I have no idea at all as I have not been in contact with both of them for quite some time.

Lewis said:

"I'm 25 now - and I think it was inevitable that there had to be change at some point,"

"You see, because my dad has always been my manager, and because we've always been working and doing business stuff, I've not fully had that relationship with my dad since when I was maybe a kid and we went radio control car racing - and did it just for fun.

Whoever it is, it better be a reputable person and Lewis better introduce him to me..haha. Anyway, we'll find out more when the race comes to Sepang. I will of course try to have lunch with Anthony to catch up on the year that was. I do still believe that Anthony will still continue to play a role and have some influence in decisions Lewis makes in the future. Perhaps the new manager may even have to double check things with Anthony before proceeding. I know that Anthony takes a very personal interest in anything to do with Lewis.

F1 timing and track positioning for the iPhone


Soft Pauer Ltd has launched its official Formula One Timing and Track Positioning Application for iPhone and iPod touch users.

The unique application allows fans to simultaneously track the progress of all cars in real time on a dynamic track map which offers a variety of views of the circuit, including the unique ability to see a bird's eye view of the action. The data is taken directly from the official timing feeds generated at each circuit, giving the user unprecedented portable access to the information used by race engineers in the pit lane, with the added ability to track the individual driver of your choice. So for the first time, fans will be able to get a full, detailed picture of the racing action wherever they are.

Soft Pauer CEO, Otmar Szafnauer, who was formerly director of strategy and business planning at Honda Racing, says of the application: "We're very pleased to offer fans an added dimension to the experience of watching Grands Prix. We hope that they will take advantage of this new opportunity to get a full picture of the racing action wherever they go."

"I'm very excited by this application," said Bernie Ecclestone, "as it will allow fans to keep in touch with what is going on whilst on the move."

See the whole circuit in real time

The application converts the live timing data from the track into a graphically rich 3D circuit showing you the location of every driver in real time through the whole race weekend, whether they are on track or in the pits.

Zoom in to see the action

Zoom in and out to track the progress of the race around a particular section of the track.

Choose your driver

Designate the racing driver of your choice and the software will highlight your chosen driver on the detailed track map and depict all other data relative to the chosen driver, including lap time differences between your chosen driver and all others in the race.

Live timing screen

Toggle across to see the main timing screens that the team engineers use at the circuit.

Replay feature

After the sessions have concluded you have the ability to replay any session at any time you choose, or jump to a particular point within the session.

This means if you record the race and start the application as you replay the recording, you can enjoy the live timing alongside your video recording.

To run the application live, your iPhone will require a 3G phone signal or WiFi connection, and your iPod touch will require a Wifi connection.

Full specification and prices can be found on the iTunes store

Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 F1 cars technical analysis (Part 2)

Wow, John Beamer is good. He is intricately knowledgeable about F1 and engineering as he explains and analyses the remaining cars on the grid this year. You can read his analysis at F1Fanatic with his 2010 F1 cars Technical Analysis Part 2.

And here is John's advice for this year as it is for most seasons. Casual fans will no doubt celebrate and talk about their teams or drivers timing after these 4 days of testing at Barcelona and probably will conclude that the fastest driver is on top. But that could not be further than the truth as John Beamer puts it:
"More so than previous years outright pace isn’t necessarily the critical performance element. Consistency is important and so is tyre wear. A car that works well on low and high fuel and is easy on its tyres is a better bet than one that can has extraordinary single lap pace."
Bring on Bahrain!!