Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This is a follow up on the article I wrote yesterday called "Whos's Gonna Win It - Part 2". As we all know Red Bully is "Bullying" everybody now for the past 3-4 races and are destined to take both world championships..again. How did they do it? How did they become so dominant starting from Japan when at the start of this year 7 different drivers won at 7 different races?

Gary Anderson, BBC F1's technical analyst, the former technical director of the Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar teams explains it from his point of view and perhaps from the information he has managed to glean from inside the paddock and the pits.

"There, chief technical officer Adrian Newey has found a way to recover more of the rear downforce that was lost through the banning of exhaust-blown diffusers at the end of last season than anyone else."

Read about what Gary knows here.

Conclusions From The Indian GP

This article was written by Pete Gill and published on PlanetF1.com. The original article can be found here.

The fear six months ago that F1 was in danger of becoming too unpredictable seems an awfully long time ago...

Alonso's problem is his brilliance - and the challenge of trying to beat F1's systematic winner. Fernando Alonso won't require a second career when his extremely lucrative time as an F1 driver reaches its retirement age. But, if he did, then a long and inspirational sideline in motivational speaking would surely await.

As a team leader, his status in the sport is unsurpassed and although his maths didn't add up on Sunday night when he argued that, despite falling further behind in the World Championship, his hopes of beating Sebastian Vettel to a third title had actually improved in defeat, it was impossible not to admire his defiance or appreciate his bloody-mindedness. He is a phenomenon.

The thought flickers, though, that perhaps Alonso is too great an inspiration, the strength of his personality so convincing and powerful that Ferrari have been lulled into thinking that his genius will be sufficient to beat Red Bull and Vettel. For the first fifteen or so races this season, it was. But as Fernando, in a rare moment of apparent irresolution, mused on Saturday night, it isn't just - or even perhaps mainly - Vettel who he is striving to overcome.

Alas for Fernando, he isn't fighting one man, but two, and his foremost foe is another genius who also happens to be the most successful protagonist in the sport, a serial winner with three different teams over the last two decades. Vettel, like all drivers, is beatable, but Adrian Newey, the closest thing to a guarantee of victory in F1, is a different matter altogether.

"At the moment we are not fighting against Sebastian only," lamented Fernando. "We are also fighting against Newey." In the wake of Vettel's fourth successive victory, Hamilton was even more effusive - but not about the driver who had just become the first to lead every lap of three successive races since Ayrton Senna in 1989.

"Adrian is just a genius," the McLaren driver told reporters. "I can't even imagine what Adrian and his team are doing. He's a one-off." And a one-man winning machine.

While the most successful driver in the sport has 'only' won seven titles, to Newey that haul is small fry - and it's getting smaller. With Vettel only marginally extending his advantage over Alonso this weekend to thirteen points, Sunday's most significant surge was in the Constructors' Championship. 91 points ahead of Ferrari, it is now a given that Red Bull will win a third successive team title and, through his deliberate and brilliant design, Newey has created his ninth title-winning car. Ninth.

He is the first among equals as the one man in F1 without peer.

Vettel has a skill up front that perhaps even Alonso and Hamilton couldn't better
Mark Webber is a very handy F1 driver. So, too, is Felipe Massa. And there's no doubt that Jenson Button is. Between them, they have won one World Championship, held another for half a lap, and almost claimed another outright two years ago. But when the chequered flag fell this Sunday, Button was twelve seconds behind his team-mate, Webber thirteen, and, somewhere further afield, Massa over half a minute adrift.

The cream has risen to the top, and while Alonso and Hamilton's quality is generally considered to be beyond dispute, the early stages of Sunday's race witnessed a devastating reposte to critics who prefer to disparage Vettel as a lucky driver. Forget that. First and foremost, he's a very fast driver.

After the first lap, his lead over Webber, driving a problem-free car at that stage and in clean air, was 1.2 seconds. After the second, it was 1.6. After four, it was 1.9. After eight, it was 2.6. After sixteen, 4.1. And so on, and so on until Vettel went into cruise control. Webber is not slow - he wasn't even off form this weekend; it's just that Sebastian is very, very quick.

Allied to wonderful car management and an eerie ability to blank out any other distractions to focus purely on the task of winning, Vettel has become the number one frontrunner of his age. True enough, he may lack the raw pace of Hamilton or the all-round skills of Alonso, but as a leader of the pack he is unsurpassed. It's a talent borne of his environment - he's driven a frontrunning car more often than not in his 98-grand prix career, and he understands better than any other driver in the field that the most efficient way of managing tyres in a race is to be quickest the day before.

Until he takes on Alonso or Hamilton in identical machinery, or wins in a car that isn't the fastest in the field, his claims to be regarded as a true legend - the title of a great, however, will have to be conferred with his third title - will always be suffixed with an asterisk. But what of the flip-side? It's been a long, long time since Alonso drove a frontrunning car, and even in 2008 Hamilton didn't possess the sort of mechanical advantage that Vettel has mostly had for the last three years. For all the sniping, how much do they really know of what is Vettel is currently doing or capable of?

The point to be made is that while Hamilton and Alonso are wonderfully superior over their team-mates in their own current environments, it doesn't necessarily follow that they would either be beating Webber so resoundingly or making winning appear so effortless. In this particular type of frontrunning car, Vettel may be a class apart - and the stuff of champion alright.

Hamilton appears with a necessary new look
Appearances can be deceptive and it's always easy to see what you want to see, but for the first time the wisdom of Lewis Hamilton's decision to depart for Mercedes began to look feasible this weekend.

From the sight of Hamilton wandering up and down the pitlane on Friday morning to take a close look at the competition's cars - something he continued to do in parc ferme after qualifying - even before he had trundled out on track, to Lewis' wonderfully-committed pursuit of the Red Bulls on Saturday and Sunday in a car that had been far off the pace on Friday, he had the look and feel of a driver who is ready to become a team builder and not just a very fast driver.

The process will be a long one, however, and the assumption must be that Mercedes have already given up on 2012 to turn all of their attentions to 2013. Judging by their metaphorical and literal pointless weekend in India, Hamilton must hope so. Otherwise he is driving his career up the sort of dead end that Michael Schumacher is being forced to finish his time in the sport stuck in.

Talk of Sebastian Vettel moving to Ferrari has been muted by both his insistence that stories of a pre-contract agreement are 'bulls**t' and Helmut Marko's assurance that his contract, previously believed to contain a results-based opt-out clause, is "bullet-proof". But if there's one question to be asked of Hamilton and Mercedes it is surely thus: what, if any, opt-out clauses does Hamilton's contract contain?
Given the challenge has already proved too great for the sport's most successful driver, surely but surely there's an escape clause in Hamilton's deal if Mercedes' malaise proves to be beyond remedy, isn't there?

Why it matters if Kovalainen stays on the grid
So with Kimi Raikkonen re-signing with Lotus for 2013, there will definitely be a Finnish driver on next year's grid. Yet, despite there being no performance-based reason for his exclusion, the presence of a second Finn in the shape of Heikki Kovalainen has been plunged into considerable jeopardy. Judging by his comments and demeanour in Thursday's otherwise unrevealing press conference, the odds may now be stacked against Kovalkanien staying on.

F1 will cope with or without Kovalainen, but his future could nonetheless become something of an acid test for the sport. If a driver of his ilk loses out to a pay driver and quality continues to be undervalued then a business billed as representing the pinnacle of motorsport will have to pay a steep cost sooner or later.

Gutierrez takes a step back from the limelight
Max Chilton, who will debut for Marussia in a few days' time in Practice One for the Abu Dhabi GP, be warned. Talk in the Friday paddock this Friday night that Robin Frijns is a successful Young Driver Test away from securing a race-seat with Sauber in 2013 was very probably based on nothing more than the disastrous nature of Esteban Gutierrez's disastrous debut earlier in the day.

In pertinent mitigation, the youngster had never previously driven the C31 in anything other than a straightline, but his struggles - the Mexican's fastest lap time was 1.4 seconds slower than Kamui Kobayashi's in the sister C31 - were such that what seemed a racing certainty two weeks ago - namely, the appointment of Hulkenberg and Gutierrez - now seems distinctly unlikely.

For one reason or another, Hulkenberg seems to be having second thoughts about leaving Force India, and while Gutierrez's chance will come again, either in practice next week or the youthful test that follows, his setback this weekend serves to remind what a tough baptism of fire F1 is.

And what does all this mean for Chilton? Most obviously, it's a warning. Friday will be tough. But Gutierrez's struggles could also prove to be of benefit because if Chilton does impress then it will be all the more noteworthy for following so fast on Gutierrez's slow debut.

Monday, October 29, 2012


The season is now fast approaching its conclusion with the Abu Dhabi race this weekend. This will be a back-to-back race weekends, from India to Abu Dhabi in the space of a week. The rush could be seen on TV last weekend as soon as the celebrations were over on the podium, the packers moved in to immediately pack everything to be shipped out. Martin Brundle and crew were almost run down by the packers.

We now have 3 races to go - Abu Dhabi, Austin and Interlagos. This has been a good season, quite fast I must say. Although it looked to be a long one when we first started early this year, it now seems too fast. I'm dreading the end really, the winter seems too long until March again next year.

So, how has the season been then? And most importantly, who is going to win the drivers championship? It was quite open from the start of the year with different drivers winning races and the competition was spread out. Then in the middle of the year, Alonso pulled out a strong lead over everyone else. There was a sense of relief actually that this year Vettel won't be so dominant and simply bore us to death.

Then came Singapore. Red Bull made some changes to their car which was tested there under everybody's noses and the result was a dominant run starting from Japan until last weekend's race in India. Vettel has won 4 races back to back so far. Red Bull have locked out the front row in qualifying 3 times back to back in the last 3 races. Red Bull is so dominant right now that it's hard to not believe that they will take both world championships again.

If that happens, then Vettel will become the youngest triple world champion in the history of the sport. And if Red Bull and Adrian Newey continue going at this rate, Vettel could match Michael Schumacher's record of 7 world championships. And the rest of us will have another 4 years of cursing at the finger and losing interest in the sport we love. McLaren is also not helping to take away points from red Bull by having a car that is fiddly during qualifying and the race. If they don't fix the car for the next few races, it will be a walk in the park for Red Bull.

But lets not forget Fernando Alonso who remains defiant. He is the still the only driver left who is realistically possible to challenge Vettel and win the championship as well, making him a triple world champion as well. His car is not the fastest or strongest but the last 2 races have showed that Ferrari have improved the car, so much so that it has proved a match for the McLarens in the race. Even though in qualifying the Ferrari is no match for the McLaren but we saw at the start of the Indian GP how strong Alonso was able to overtake both McLarens.

And Felipe Massa also showed the good race pace of the Ferrari when he harried Button and kept Raikonnen behind him for almost the whole race. The only thing keeping him at bay was his need to conserve fuel, the proof being him having to stop on the track after the race was over.

So who is gonna win it then? The logic at the moment would say Vettel as the RB8 is fast, has good downforce and is strong. But the more interesting option and one that many people are hoping for (even anti Alonso fans and other teams/drivers' fans) is that Fernando Alonso would somehow be able to wrestle that Ferrari to fight Vettel at each one of the last 3 races. Maybe we could have 2008 all over again where the championship was decided at the last turn of the last lap in Brazil.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The Indian Grand Prix is on this weekend at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida near New Delhi, India. As with all grand prix races, the right preparation can decide where you end up on Sunday evening. Even with all the practice and testing and forecasting on Friday and even qualifying on Saturday, the strategy plays an important part in any race.

The Buddh International Circuit proved popular with drivers last season on its inaugural event. It is the second fastest race track on the calendar after Monza, with an average lap speed of 145mph.

But it’s a tricky one on strategy. Last year the harder tyre was too slow relative to the softer one so the strategies were quite skewed. This year the teams will hope to play it like they did in Japan, favouring two stints on the hard tyre, but there is a possibility that one stop might turn out to be the way to go. As the teams have so little data to work with from last year and with different tyres this year, the free practice sessions will be vital in finding the best way to attack the race.

James Allen has his usual race strategy analysis mapped out to fantastic detail here. In it he outlines all the information needed to understand how the race will unfold and what are the considerations. Also, if you would like to test out your own strategy, how you think the race should be handled from a team's point of view, see if your strategy has any merit with the UBS Race Strategy Calculator here. Here you will find a step by step guide to the major considerations when planning a race strategy, such as the tyre choice and the amount of time it takes to make a stop.


According to Jaime Algersuari the Indian GP is special because the layout of the Buddh International Circuit is one of the best in the championship. It is very high speed, with fast chicanes, and there are good places to overtake. One corner stands out in particular. It's listed on the circuit map as Turns 10 and 11, but actually it is one long right-hander that seems to go on forever. It's just fantastic to go through there and feel like the corner is never ending. It's high speed, in fifth gear, and it's never easy for the outside front tyre.

Jaime Alguersuari is the youngest-ever driver to make a Formula One race appearance and the first Spanish teenager to follow in the footsteps of a certain Mr Fernando Alonso and join the F1 ranks. He is a former F1 driver and BBC Radio 5 live analyst who raced for Toro Rosso (2009-2011).

To read more of what he thinks of the Indian GP, proceed here.


The Indian GP has 2 DRS zones this year just like last year but the second DRS zones has been extended by 80 meters. This should make it easier to get alongside another car and try to outbrake into the corner. Although to be honest, sometimes DRS does make races especially overtaking too easy.

The DRS zone on the start/finish straight will remain unchanged, as will the two detection points at the exit of the penultimate corner and on the approach to turn three.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


We all know how difficult Kimi can become sometimes with the media and sponsors as he is the type of guy that does not really give a shit. Really, he says that a lot. His straight faced response to whatever happens on and off the track makes him one of the most popular F1 drivers on the grid. Funny how the more he doesn't want to get in the limelight, the more he does.

So it was a bit of a surprise to hear that he had signed up to promote a clothing brand from his home country and became their brand ambassador. He even agreed to do a video to spoof how he signed up with them. Only Kimi can look real on film like he does with no emotion.

The contract in question was his deal to be the face of Makia’s new racing range, but rather than announce the signing via a dry press release, the company got Raikkonen to do some more acting in a spoof kidnap plot in which he is taken by some heavies, wearing black hood and all, to a remote caravan where he is blackmailed to sign up for Makia before being sent on foot back to Monaco.

Nice one Kimi!


We've all wondered once in a while how does an F1 driver train to be so fit that they can drive an F1 car to its limits and still be refreshed to do a victory jump on the podium after finishing a gruelling 1 and a half hour race. How do they do it? What do they go through? How do you know you even qualify to be able to get into a fitness condition to become an F1 driver?

Well, here is an interesting article written by someone who actually went through a physical examination to see whether he has the capacity to even get near an F1 car. The type of training that it encompasses is routinely done by Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button to stay in shape.

Read on using the link and find out if we are more attuned to expertly debate and argue about F1 races from our armchair. Proceed here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


It seems that everybody wants to get on the F1 race bandwagon and now Thailand has announced that they want it too. But the announcement came abruptly I must say without any warning as usually there would be talks or some sort of activity that would be going on for some time before an announcement of this sort is made.

I say "of this sort" because this announcement sounded very confident. It's as if it has already been confirmed behind closed doors.

According to Kanokphand Chulakasem, Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok, which was first mooted as an ideal location for motor racing by Prince Bira (Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh), back in 1939, and Muang Thong Thani, home to Impact, a complex frequently used as the venue for exhibitions and entertainment events, are both under consideration.

Prince Bira was the only Thai racecar driver to race in Formula One. He raced for the Maserati, Gordini, and Connaught teams, among others.

"A contract is likely to be signed later this year," Kanokphand told the Bangkok Post. "It is likely to be a one-year deal with an option to extend." "It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco," Kanokphand said. "It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix."

While the government is expected to put up as much as 60 percent of the funding, the rest would come from private companies including Red Bull and the Singha Corporation. However , the project has yet to be officially approved by the government, a move that may require a public hearing.

"We have been working closely with F1 officials to look for the best site," said Kanokphand, while Red Bull's Michael de Santiesteban insists that Thailand is ready to host a race in 2014 and that it will happen. "Concerned parties have been in talks to finalise the details," he said.

Seems like a pretty done deal. And with confidence to boot. Thailand does not have a motorsport history or culture, just like Malaysia or Singapore. But if they did get the race and if they know how to market it right, then it could be a successful event like Singapore. Singapore has done well to put the race on the must go list, as compared to Malaysia who have not done much in 15 years.

Another night race. Sounds nice and all but Bangkok traffic isn't exactly freindly especially when you shutdown some parts of the city for a few days. Anyway, I wish them well and it would be nice to have another F1 race nearby to Malaysia. I just hope that it is not at the expense of the Malaysian race, although anything is possible.


The silly season has come and gone but the silliness does not stop. And the speculation continues, the wishing goes on but below we can see an update so far of who goes where in 2013. Some are confirmed, some are not. Today, Charles Pic has been confirmed to move from Marussia to Caterham, not sure replacing Kovalainen or Petrov.

Below list has been updated as of today (Bold = Officially confirmed)

Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
McLaren Mercedes
Scuderia Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Lotus F1 Team
Lotus F1 Team
Di Resta
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
Sahara Force India F1 Team
Force India-Mercedes
Sauber F1 Team
Sauber F1 Team
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Williams F1
Williams F1
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
Team Caterham
Caterham Renault
De la Rosa
HRT F1 Team

HRT F1 Team
Marussia F1 Team
Marussia F1 Team

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The Indian Grand Prix (sometimes referred to as the Grand Prix of India) is a motor race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The first event took place on 30 October 2011 as the 17th race of the 2011 Formula One season. The new race track was officially homologated on 1 September 2011 by Charlie Whiting, and the inaugural race was won by Sebastian Vettel.

The Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida is 24 km from Delhi and the circuit, designed by circuit architect Hermann Tilke, is 5.141 kilometres in length. The track is spread across an area of 875 acres and is a part of Jaypee Green Sports city. The 10-year contract for the race has been given to the Indian construction company Jaiprakash Associates.

The track in all has 16 largely medium speed corners where Formula One cars lap at an average speed of approximately 210 km/h. The back straight lets cars reach a top speed of around 320 km/h. The current Formula One lap record, set during the 2011 event, is 1 minute 27.249 seconds. Prior to the first race organizers received feedback from teams who performed track analysis using simulators, leading to modification of Turn 7 in order to maximize overtaking opportunities into the banked Turn 10. A grandstand with a capacity of 13,000 overlooks Turns 10 and 11.

According to Ashok Khurana, executive vice-chairman of JPSI, the cost of the circuit was planned to be between 12 billion and 15 billion rupees (US$309 million/£188 million/€216 million, at exchange rates of 21 August 2009). In January 2010 Mark Hughes – former second in command at the Bahrain International Circuit for five years and also advisor to the Yas Marina Circuit for their first Grand Prix at the end of 2009 was appointed to run the circuit. However, on 24 January 2011 Hughes confirmed that he had resigned due to 'personal reasons'. His post later went to Azhar Rehman, a former race organiser in Sepang, Malaysia.

Circuit Information

Race Date : 28 Oct 2012
Circuit Name : Buddh International Circuit
First Grand Prix : 2011
Number of Laps : 60
Circuit Length : 5.125 km
Race Distance : 307.249 km
Lap Record : 1:27.249 - S Vettel (2011)

Pole position was by Sebastian Vettel with a time of 1:24.178. Podium finishers were as follows:

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:30:35.002
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes +4.8
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +5.8

Fastest lap Sebastian Vettel 1:27.249.

To be honest, this is another Tilkedrome so don't expect much. I don't really remember last years' race, that tells you how much excitement this layout is. Although I suspect it could get interesting behind the race leader as Red Bull is on a roll, Ferrari have got their reliability and McLaren will be fighting tooth and nail for some points.


This is a very good technical article written by Scarbs about the Red Bull DDRS system. I have posted about this before but it was just a non-technical guess that the system is responsible for their uptick in form since Singapore and really took off from Suzuka.

Scarbs really delves into it and he as always, presents it in a very interesting technical way. Hope you guys enjoy it. Read about it here.


So Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia wants to reduce its yearly hosting fees? Asking Bernie to take less? Good luck! It's not impossible though as Singapore has done it. But seriously Malaysia has only until 2015, after that we don't know if we will have the race or not.

Here is an article about this issue, reproduced from The Malaysian Reserve.

Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd (SIC) will seek for a reduction in the payment to host the Formula One (F1) race which first came to Malaysia in 1999, following a similar successful move by its Singapore counterpart.

SIC, a Malaysian motorsport race track organisation, will commence the discussion with F1 exclusive rights holder Formula One Management Ltd (FOM) “at an appropriate time’’ before the current contract expires in 2015, an SIC official told The Malaysian Reserve.

The race track company plans to negotiate for a “similar or a better deal’’ than Singapore which is expecting its F1 event to cost less to host in the coming five years and expects expenses to drop about 15% to 20%.

The cost of Singapore F1, the first to stage a night race for the Grand Prix, is about S$150 million (RM372.83 million), with the government co-funding 60% of the amount, said S Iswaran, Singapore’s second trade minister, who’s responsible for developing the tourism industry, according to a Bloomberg report on Sept 24.

“I can safely say that it cost us less than that to host F1 in Malaysia predominantly because we are a permanent circuit,” SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir (picture) said in an email response to The Malaysian Reserve, making reference to the to the cost across the causeway.

However, this assumes that the government is game for the F1 to continue beyond 2015. The cost of hosting F1 events largely consists of royalty/franchise fees payable to FOM, which holds exclusive rights to the popular racing event.

“The government pays the promoters fee via Sepang International Circuit. I’m not at liberty to disclose the figure,” added Mokhzani.

However, a Ministry of Finance (MoF) official, who declined to be named, said the fees were paid and managed by SIC to FOM.

With the contract still valid for another three years, SIC has yet to discuss extending Malaysia’s F1 contract with FOM or the MoF, said an SIC official.

When asked when negotiations will begin for the new F1 contract, Mokhzani told reporters covering the most recent F1 race in Sepang in March that Malaysia would start its negotiations at the end of next year.

At that time, SIC chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Razlan Ahmad Razali was reported to have said that the company was not under pressure from either FOM or the government to come up with a decision on whether the F1 contract would be continued.

He added that as a business, SIC would ‘‘definitely want the F1 race to stay as it is a source of revenue’’ for the company, but the final say would come from the Cabinet.

The Sepang International Circuit is a motorsport race track located in Sepang, close to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and is the hub for motor racing activities in the region. The circuit was officially inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in March 1999, who was present in Sepang during the March F1 race.

The Singapore F1 event will help boost tourists as Singapore forecasts arrivals to rise to 17 million and tourism spending to reach S$30 billion by 2015, the same Bloomberg report said.

On the Malaysian front, one SIC official had said 119,960 spectators had turned up over the weekend for the 2012 edition of the race.

In the Economic Transformation Programme annual report for 2011, it spoke about repackaging F1 and MotoGP events.

In an effort to boost the number of spectators to the F1 and the MotoGP Races in Malaysia, it said that SIC had repackaged the 2011 events for overseas promotions.

As a result of these efforts, it noted that F1 in 2011 recorded a 6.5% increase of spectatorship from 2010 while MotoGP 2011 recorded a 22% increase.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I just wanted to comment on how F1 fans respond to their drivers results before, during and after an F1 race. We all have our own favourite driver or team. And we are quite committed fans in F1. We are really strong supporters, good or bad and are really passionate about our sport.

But it has been some time that I've noticed some of these fans are becoming fanatical. Being fanatical is ok, so am I about my driver/team. But when it takes over logic, it gets frightening. A sample:

It's such a shame! I can't believe why the car is/was so bad after the first stopp! Lewis has done all he can, but the car was simply too slow..Is that sabotage from McLaren against Lew?

Why would a team sabotage one driver to support another when they're in the same team? Does it make sense to have an internal rivalry like that and not care that your team loses to other teams? It sounds like the team exists to make sure one driver loses to the other.

I think if we all sit down and slow down, we would realise that F1 teams exist to win, especially a team like McLaren. To win the constructors championship and the drivers championship. Sabotaging one of your own drivers does not help you to win the constructors championship, not does it help to win any drivers championship either.

But more importantly, do us fans realise that each constructors championship point equals money for the top 10 teams at the end of each season? Money that goes back into funding the team for the next season. The more money you have, the more development you can put in your car. If you are sabotaging one driver for the other, you will lose points which equals money. You might as well just throw cash out the window.

So, lets be more logical and fair to each driver on the grid. I'm a Hamilton fan and I'm upset that his race was screwed today but I seriously do not think McLaren sabotaged Lewis' car to help Button. If they did, it didn't help did it? Button was taken out in the first lap. Karma?

The only thing McLaren need to do is buck up, fix the car and their operations. At the end of the day, the drivers get their millions but the team loses with less points at the end of the season. Think about it. And lets enjoy the next race.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


It would seem that the Red Bulls have found new energy lately since Suzuka to lock out the front row of the last 2 races. Have they got wings or do they have the energy drink mixed in with their fuel? A lot of rumours is going round that they have mastered the rear wing DRS or DDRS (Double DRS). This coincided with their new wing they introduced in Singapore.

Although the new wing was introduced in Singapore, it did not immediately become clear how the performance was going to affect the car. Vettel qualified P3 (6/10ths behind pole sitter Hamilton) and Webber P7 (1.1s behind). Those were huge numbers and I had thought at the time that finally the Bulls were losing some steam and we should still have an interesting end to the season.

Then we came to Suzuka. In Suzuka suddenly the Bulls locked out the front row by half a second. Vettel then proceeded to win the race from lights to flag without breaking a sweat and leaving second placed Massa 20 seconds in his wake. It was a dominant race for him.

And now we come to Korea. Again, the Bulls were fast in practice (FP2 and Saturday) and in qualifying locked out the front row again. This time Webber had pole ahead of Vettel. Lewis Hamilton had to wring his cars neck just to get P3, 2/10ths away. And how will it be tomorrow in the race? Will the Bulls again pull away as if they were just racing by themselves? Will this new wing of theirs spoil the run up to the last race?

If things go as they are now, I'm afraid Vettel and Red Bull might just win the championship again. We won't have an exciting last race, last lap championship decider of years past. So what is so great about this new wing? Did Red Bull crack the mystery of DRS or Double DRS?

The idea is a simple variation on something tried by Lotus this year, to shed even more drag than a standard DRS wing. The Red Bull idea works more like the Mercedes F Duct front wing; when the DRS is activated it opens a hole (where the narrow, curved grey piece is on the inside of the endplate) to channel air through the rear wing endplate and out through the main beam of the wing (the lower part), shedding drag. It also exits onto the diffuser, helping with rear balance. It helps with top speed and speed through fast corners.

Simple and good. At the end of the day, it works as we can see from the results so far.

“As with all these things, there's never a silver bullet and I think it would be very difficult to say the car's performance is purely down to a rear wing,” Team Principal Christian Horner is quoted as saying byReuters. “I think we've made progress in all areas and it's about chipping away at the detail.”

Of course when you have a silver bullet, you don't actually tell people you have a silver bullet. That would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Korea: Nice place. Pity about the race track.

This article is written by Maurice Hamilton and published on ESPNF1.com

The Korean Grand Prix is a strange one. It got off to an unusual start when I spent my first night in an Irish bar having Guinness and a hamburger while playing darts with David Croft (then of BBC Radio 5 Live but later having to abandon his West Ham shirt and dress properly following a switch to television and more first-rate commentary with SkySportsF1).

This was in Seoul, a buzzy city that reminded us of Tokyo, but with about a million less people on the sidewalks. We should have enjoyed the evening more because it was to seem like our last link with a perfectly civilised country before heading into the back of beyond.

Not that you would know it during a three-hour train ride that was not only comfortable and reasonably priced but also had the benefit of Wi-Fi throughout the journey - well, most of it, the tunnels in the vicinity of Seoul causing a few disconnects mid-Tweet. The truth of this journey begins to dawn when you make your way through the exit door of Mokpo station.

I missed the inaugural GP in 2010 (the one where Mark Webber lost his championship against the wall and Sebastian Vettel took a significant personal step towards winning it by remaining remarkably calm and motivating Red Bull despite his Renault having converted itself into V8 full of broken bits). There was method to my absence.

Colleagues reported the unique pleasures of staying in Love Hotels with dimly-lit rooms decorated in shades of pink. The bedside drawer contained a manual on safe sex, which made an interesting comparison with the usual Gideons Bible and the offer of succour and comfort in times of need. Vending machines stocked goods that could not be consumed - or, at least, not in the food and drink sense of the expression.

Taking advice, I chose to stay in a women's hostel - but without, I hasten to add, the women in residence. This being a centre of help and protection, its location was kept so private that none of the taxi drivers outside the station had the faintest idea about our destination. After half an hour of waiting - and the frustrating sight of watching colleagues cheerfully waving goodbye as they sped off to a waiting Love Hotel - one very helpful passerby, feeling sorry for us, got on the phone to goodness knows whom, discovered the exact location and passed on the message to the next taxi driver to appear.

That done, and given the driver's nonplussed expression, we did query the wisdom of it all as the journey took us into the far reaches of a deserted industrial estate (it was now early evening). We need not have worried because our man knew exactly where he was going and, as we were to discover, the non-plussed look belongs to anyone having to live in this very average corner of the country.

The hostel was immaculate and the service impeccable. We discovered clean, spacious rooms which, although strictly minimalist with a mattress on the floor, looked like the Ritz when shown on our smartphones to hapless colleagues shacked up in some shabby downtown bordello.

The circuit is in a place called Yeongam which, judging by the location, means 'Reclaimed Land We Don't Know What To Do With'. Someone did a very good sales job to persuade those responsible to build a race track on which Mr. Ecclestone would let his F1 cars loose and charge several million dollars for the privilege.

The Korean Grand Prix is not set against the most inspiring background © Sutton Images
The track itself is actually pretty good. The shame is that this is the Korean equivalent of Bahrain with a purpose-built circuit that appears to have no purpose as it disappears into the empty distance and comes back to the pit straight. There are supposed to be hotels, harbours and houses but, the last time I looked 12 months ago, someone had forgotten to build them. Either that or they had lost the key to the main gate and the lads from Wimpey Construction (South Korea) Ltd could not gain access.

This is closer to the truth than you might think. The teams' advance parties arrived to set up the garages and do the unpacking only to find, once the gates had been opened, what looked like a holiday camp that had been closed for the winter. Or abandoned, more like. Tufts of grass and weeds sprouted in the paddock, an infinitely more agreeable sight than kitchens containing left-overs from race day lunch in 2010.

The track itself looked fine but you will notice how the camera angles remain tight to avoid showing the desolation beyond the concrete walls. Korea may be without a racing heritage through no fault of its own but, judging by the wastes of Yeongam last year, it appeared disinteresting in creating one.

The really nice people there deserve so much better than this. So does F1 and it can only be hoped that matters will have improved this weekend. But, if this is the future, then you might want to consider the alternative of popping down to the pub for a game of darts and a Guinness. In some ways, it was the best part of Korea 2011. And we ganged up on poor Crofty and gave him a hammering into the bargain.

Maurice Hamilton writes for ESPN F1 in the build-up to each Grand Prix.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Yeah me too! Of course any right minded F1 fan would want an F1 car. We could take it to the track on weekends, do all the prep with our team and tear up the track for 2 hours. That is F1 fan nirvana. But the reality is the closest most of us get to F1 is on the tube on Sundays and maybe at race weekends when we can afford it.

But that doesn't mean we stop at the tube. We still will immediately turn and walk towards the slightest sound of an F1 car that we hear at a show or shopping mall or wherever we may be. So below I have reproduced an article written by Tom Castellani on F1Technical.net. The article is a bit old and some of the links are dead, so I have had to make modifications to it. Hopefully everybody who reads this will benefit in one way or another. Enjoy!

Formula One soaks up millions each year, with some of the most technically advanced racing cars on the planet many fans can only dream of ever driving or even owning an F1 car. Much of the money is brought in through high-profile sponsorship deals and of course the hordes of fans flocking to events to see the machines and their drivers at events. A lot of this income goes towards making the cars better, faster and in turn more expensive.

Realistically, if you ever want to own an F1 car you’re going to have to save up for a while (be seriously rich); But what are the options? It’s not actually as impossible as it sounds. And if not an actual fully-running car, what is the next best thing?

A fully fledged F1 car?!

If we step back in time a bit it is actually a very viable option to buy an older Formula One car. Again, this isn’t cheap but we’ll start with Race-Cars.com. They offer race-used and ex-F1 cars from 1974 to as late as 1999. Admittedly these also range from fully running ready-to-race cars to engineless showcars. They provide actual vehicles from Benetton, Honda, Arrows and Tyrell with price tags ranging between €40,000 and €729,000. This is obviously determined by the age, usability and who drove it. The main site also offers a huge range of ex-race cars from all series including F3 and F3000 from the historical and modern eras. If an F1 car is just out of your price range then maybe you might want to settle for a single-seater for use on the track.

A newly formed company, PF1 has acquired some late-model Jordan, Jaguar and Super-Aguri cars which they have kitted out with Ford Cosworth V10 engines capable of kicking out a healthy 875 hp. Their intention is to help more wealthy fans own and drive an F1 car without the worry of maintaining it themselves. The UK based company charges £300,000 (€400,000) for the car, plus £2,500 (€3,300) for membership in Club PF1. This is actually fairly cheap if compared to the tag on a road-going supercar. As mentioned this covers the ownership, organization of track days, maintenance and garage space. Kind of like sponsoring an animal, like a cheetah, except you get to drive it!

F1 Sales also offers older cars, mostly Benetton’s as can be seen on their site. If this is too much then you can always buy a high performance engine, although one starts to wonder what you’d do with it without a car to put it in. Again, some of these cars aren’t as much as you’d think considering their condition but a pretty penny all the same. They also provide other goods an services in relation to F1 but I’ll be getting to those later. It’s starting to become apparent that what seemed to be only possible in a dream world is certainly feasible.

Another site certainly worth a browse is Race Cars Direct. This is a multi-national listings site with a huge range of all sorts of cars. I personally spotted some 80's/90's Benetton's and other ex-F1 cars that are in running condition. The average price range is around €45,000 - €60,000 which is only the same as a pricey road car. Although maintenance may cost a bit on top, these could even make good track day or just enthusiasts cars. As well as these there are several Formula 3 cars and other open wheelers while not the same kind of history are sure to be fun behind the wheel.

Private dealers such as Hall And Hall and Cars International Kensington also sell on many historic cars for collectors etc although these are only priced on request as they’re fairly serious business. The odd car or two can be found at auctioneers, which are again attended mostly by aristocrats that throw money at collector’s cars like it was nothing. You can find more dealers like this at RaceCar.co.uk

Can I have a go?

Similar to PF1 as there are a lot of cars still in existence some owners like to offer ‘the ultimate driving experience’ by letting members of the public pay for the opportunity to drive one of these legendary cars. Of course unlike PF1 the car wouldn’t be yours to keep but the on-day experience is all many can afford and is better than nothing. If historic cars are more your thing then Classic Team Lotus will definitely take your fancy. Not long ago the group provided Top Gear’s ‘The Stig’ with Emerson Fittipaldi’s championship-winning Lotus 72D to drive. They have various historic Lotus F1 cars and use a ‘patron program’ which you can read more about on their site however they describe the costs only as significant and do also offer the chance to own a historic Lotus at what I assume are even more significant costs.

F1 Sales also run a ‘Drive an F1 Car’ scheme in Northern France. The course starts at €2,000 and provides tuition in a saloon car before stepping up to an F3 single-seater and finally the mighty F1 car. Once you have completed the course you will become a member with the option to return, I assume at an extra charge, and drive different F1 cars at track days.

AGS Formule 1 Is also another lot from France that offer various courses in singles seaters up to F1 with ex Prost, Jordan and Arrows cars available. No prices are listed as I’m sure anyone looking at doing this will be expected to be able to afford it.

In Great Britain, The Racing School also offers some racecar driving experiences, including a Formula One experience, where you can drive a Forti Corse.

Well, it looks real

What if you totally can’t afford a real F1 car even at knockdown prices? There’s always those that look convincing. Several companies now offer replica showcars mainly for display or hire. To buy one will still cost a good €25,000 - €63,000 the most expensive of which includes a state-of-the-art motion simulator although you obviously have the option to hire out yourself. Speaking of which hire can be up to €1,300 per day for events. Perhaps you’re not looking to start a business along with your hobby though and considering these are cars for show with no go, it’s not really a prime investment for the enthusiast. One perk to showcars is that they can be used and are popular for hire when coupled by a simulator, once again not much like real driving but a possible investment all the same.

  • FormulaFactory.com Offer a range of cars with different liveries and models for sale or hire.
  • Race To The Finish A small group in the UK with a single half-sized simulator for hire, quite cheap against the going rate and coupled with driving sim game rFactor (One of my favourites!).
  • Simulation Systems - A small group of dedicated Malaysian F1 fans who have started an F1 simulator rental business that covers the globe.
Oh so memorable

You're scraping the bottom of the piggy bank and you find a little spare change, not enough for anything I've discussed so far; not an entire F1 car real or replica. However, it might just get you part of one. When you think of memorabilia lots of things may come to mind: clothing, autographs, merchandise. How about a wheel, a front wing, a sidepod? As it happens although some survive, most F1 cars get broken down into their individual parts after use and naturally due to the value of these parts begin to circulate as merchandise. There are plenty of dealers which I will list for car parts and used overalls and prices vary massively depending on the item. Of course the price also increases if a certain someone has written their name on the item. As you can see there are lots of organizations that collect and sell on memorabilia such as F1 Collectors who have select car parts, helmets and even a couple showcars.

F1 Car parts - Having parts from an actual F1 car in your own home is an excellant investment for hardcore fans as they often make great display pieces, don't always cost as much as you might think again depending on what it is you're after and the parts rarely de-value so re-sale is always an option. Many people seem to like the idea of using wheel rims for coffee tables or furniture. Renault F1 in particular released a fairly pricey range of F1 car furnishings and household items and Autoart make lots of similar things although these are manufactured from scratch so don't have the same appeal.

Overalls/Gloves - As odd as it seems to me some fans relish the chance to own a pair of sweaty unwashed overalls or gloves used by particular drivers. Again there are plenty of these available since they only usually get used once per race.

Original Helmets/Visors - Now this I can understand! I was amazed to find that it's actually possible to buy an original Ayrton Senna helmet. Although strictly collector's items the helmet and its design is often very symbolic of any driver and makes them recognisable. Whenever most people think of Senna for instance they'll almost undoubtedly see that bright yellow helmet. Owning a piece of F1 history such as this is not cheap, for example sites listed quote original F1 helmets to sell for $6,000 - $90,000 (€4,000 - €60,000). There also appears to be lots of signed visors about which are far cheaper since they are replaced frequently for drivers.

  • Race To The Finish From the UK have for sale plenty of car parts and wheels, prices are alright and certainly affordable.
  • Chequered Flag Collectables Again from the UK have a small range of parts from various teams at okay prices.
  • F1 Originals In the UK have parts from all different teams along with a separate page for signed parts. They also apparently have entire Williams cars on request although they don't give much about this on the site.
  • The Collectors Studio Are a Canada-based site and have the most impressive range I have seen yet from modern and older vehicles. (Prices on Request)
  • Final Lap Memorabilia An absolutely fantastic site in the UK with a large amount of stock. They ship worldwide as well for those around the globe.
  • JMJ Auto Based in New Jersey, United States has some really nice items and are obviously good for those out of Europe and the rest of the world.
  • Autosport.net A selection of Senna and Schumacher pieces from the UK, expensive as always but especially due to the drivers.
  • Beverly Hills Motorsport Car parts for fans in the USA. Some smaller parts seem a bit over priced to me though they're mostly Ferrari then again.
  • F1 Helmets - F1-helmets specializes in full scale F1 driver's helmets, Nascar helmets and custom helmet painting. This site sells replica helmets and more.
  • eBay! This is a search string I created for finding F1 car parts listed on eBay. It works 9 times out of ten though sometimes catches other stuff as can be expected. It works with any other English-speaking nationality of eBay also. It could be refined more and I recommend looking at the other items of sellers with good merchandise in case they have other things that don't get picked up by the search.

Monday, October 8, 2012


This article is reproduced from an article written by Mike Lawrence (mike.lawrence@pitpass.com) at www.pitpass.com

There has been all kinds of speculation about Lewis Hamilton's decision to sign for Mercedes. Is it not
possible that, underneath it all, he just wanted a change after so long in one relationship? He came into F1 with a competitive car and has ever since been part of a well-oiled machine. It is part of human nature to see the grass greener on the other side of the fence. Hand on heart, few of us have not experienced that, even if we have done no more about it than to wonder.

The pretty wife, the talented kids, the nice home, a delicious meal on the table when we come home, but

By all accounts, the basic salary was not the issue. Both sides were offering a lottery win every month for three years. There do appear to be side-issues, however. One reason for McLaren's success has been Ron Dennis's attention to detail, but this can also be tiresome. When the McLaren F1 supercar was being shown to potential buyers, Goodwood House and the Goodwood Motor C ircuit were used. That is how I was able to hitch a ride in one. Of course the cars were presented immaculately, but after every test run someone was employed to wipe the inside of the exhaust pipes. You read it right, it was the inside.

Ron controls every aspect of the operation. At the end of each season, everyone hands in their team clothing and it becomes a bonfire that Ron personally lights. Trophies all go to the McLaren Technical C entre, there is a corridor about 60 yards long and on either side there are trophy cases, three deep. You cannot fail to be awestruck, it is part of McLaren's presentation. McLaren does not permit personal sponsorship deals. The main sponsors keep healthy the bank accounts of all contracted drivers. Sheer cash cannot be the issue, but restrictions can irritate.

We now know that Niki Lauda spoke with Hamilton. Niki was pivotal in taking Ferrari from the doldrums back to the top. People often forget how often Ferrari has not been among the top two or three teams. Niki secured his place in history by turning Ferrari around. His later stints with Brabham and McLaren confirmed his skill as a driver, but have never been considered as being as remarkable as his years with Ferrari.

Some have speculated that Mercedes could offer Lewis a distinct advantage if the 1.6-litre turbo F1 comes into play. So far as I am aware, McLaren has a long-term agreement with Mercedes-Benz for the supply of engines. For the Mercedes F1 team to have an engine advantage would mean that M-B would have to provide inferior units to customers.

The way engines are made today would make that difficult and, besides, it would offend the very philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. Anyone who has had intimate dealings with the company will dismiss the idea. It is possible that Lewis has seen something of Mercedes's 2013 car. Ross Brawn has been known to pull a few rabbits from the hat in his time, remember the twin-diffuser in 2009? There are currently two superstar designers: Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey and it is the nature of such people to spring

McLaren rarely springs surprises nowadays. Its strength is proven systems and engineering talent in depth. This season has been full of uncertainty due to the tyres. McLaren has won more races than any other team because of its in-depth talent. Engineers in the paddock know the score, but the wider public rarely does. I can understand Lewis's decision. McLaren is the sensible choice, but Mercedes is the racer's choice because of the element of uncertainty.

In my view, Fernando Alonso is the most complete driver on the 2012 grid, but it took a move to Ferrari for him to demonstrate that. This year's car has not been the best, but Fernando leads the World Championship and he is now etching, not merely writing, his name into history. Lewis is perhaps the quickest driver on the grid, but he cannot prove that he has the extra dimension which marks excellence from greatness while he stays at McLaren. A move to Mercedes has the potential to develop that side of him, if it exists. It offers him the opportunity to turn a so-so team into a top team and he cannot do that with McLaren.

It could be the best move he ever makes, or the worst. My feeling is that it could be that extreme and there will not be room for graduations. I am a student of stage magic and have seen performers advertise themselves as 'The Great So-and-so', but never as 'The Better Than Average So-and-so.' I think that Lewis is going for the big one, a place in history, and not merely a position on the list of Grand Prix winners and I think that is admirable. It is a decision made from the gut, not from the head. It is the racer's choice.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Well it seems that the inevitable has come to pass. It has been going on for some time, ever since rumours of Lewis Hamilton switching from McLaren started to fill the airwaves. When it was announced that Hamilton would move to Mercedes and take over Schumacher's seat, it was certain that Schumacher would have to either get another drive somewhere else (Sauber was mentioned as Perez vacated his seat) or simply retire.

Today he has confirmed it. After 3 years in his second career, Michael Schumacher has officially retired......again. It was an uninspiring attempt to bring back the glory days I must say. Of course the car didn't help much by being slow, unreliable and difficult to understand the balance. Schumacher could have done better if the car was better, we all know that. But his team mate showed that the car is either not that bad or he can drive around the problems (and Schumi can't).

Either way, it was a fun ride Mike and we wish you the best. Where will he go now? He could either go to another team or test for Pirelli or work for a team or just.........................retire.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Spa and Monza may have a greater percentage of the lap spent at full throttle, but the combination of corners, the relentless flow through the high speed sections and radial turns, esses and hairpins makes Suzuka one of the toughest challenges of the year for F1 engines.

Suzuka is above average in terms of power sensitivity, not quite in the top five but not far off. There are long portions of the track where the throttle will be fully open with the engine running at close to maximum revs, for example the 130R corner, a curved straight 1,250m in length that stretches from the exit of turn 14 to the chicane leading onto the pit straight. Drivers will reach nearly 200 mph during this section.

The high speed Esses are similar in profile to the Maggotts and Becketts complex at Silverstone; a flowing sequence of interlinking turns that sees the car change direction rapidly at very high speed. This section is also combined with appreciable changes in pitch. The driver will enter turn three, the start of the Esses, at approximately 150 mph and carry the speed through until the exit of the complex.

Approximately 15secs is spent in fourth or fifth gear during this section. The high speed changes of direction through the Esses subject the internals of the engine and lubricant systems to high lateral G-forces. The fuel and oil can be squashed to one side of the tank away from the collectors, so engineers must regularly check levels.

As much as Suzuka is famed for high speed corners, the slower sections also require careful preparation. Turn 11, the hairpin, is taken at approximately 40 mph and the challenge here is to give the driver the necessary torque response when required. To do this engineers work on the transition from four to eight cylinders, injecting fuel at precisely the right time to meet the torque demand. If the torque delivery is correct then it can help the driver avoid wheelspin when the grip is low, particularly if the track is wet.

Suzuka is prone to changeable weather, particularly at this point in the year when typhoons can lash the Far East. Changeable wind directions can play havoc with ratio selection. A tailwind will result in extended periods at the limiter, a headwind a poor top speed - both could potentially leave the driver as a sitting target down the straights. Any predicted change in wind direction between qualifying and the race will make this selection even more difficult.

The undulation of the circuit can also affect gear ratio selection. Although it is not a major problem, the acceleration on a stretch of tarmac that is climbing or descending will be quite different. This can affect the timing of the shift lights.

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations: Suzuka is a hard track for the chassis and engine teams. The power sensitivity is not higher than say Canada or Valencia, but the variety of corners over the 5.807km lap requires some careful preparation. The first half of the circuit, from the First Curve to Spoon Curve, is flowing so the engine needs to be responsive and smooth throughout the power curve. The second half of the track, from the exit of Spoon to the end of the pit straight, is all about outright power with 90% of this section spent at full throttle. It's a challenge, particularly as this point in the year when we are going into the back to back races, but one we are looking forward to, especially with the championship at this critical stage.

NOTE : This article is reproduced from www.pitpass.com


Since Suzuka is fast approaching, I thought it'd be a good idea to post some information about the track for our general knowledge and a bit of fun. The following graphic is produced by the people behind the Red Bull Racing Spy App, which contains loads of information about the Red Bull Racing drivers and the Suzuka race course.

For more great infographics, to follow the performance of both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber for the rest of the Championship and to keep up to date with all the gossip from inside the paddock, download the FREE app here or search for the Red Bull Racing Spy in the app store. This is of course for all you iPhone owners out there.