Thursday, December 5, 2013


The 2014 Formula 1 season was confirmed by the FIA World Motorsport Council on Wednesday. As expected Korea, Mexico and the planned Grand Prix of America in New Jersey have dropped off the calendar. While Korea's withdrawal is understood to be because of financial difficulties, Mexico will probably make its long awaited return in 2015 as they have to make renovations to the old track.

Brazil will no longer host the finale as originally planned and will instead take place on November 9, when the Abu Dhabi race was supposed to take place.

March 16 - Australia GP, Melbourne
March 30 - Malaysia GP, Sepang
April 6 - Bahrain GP, Sakhir
April 20 - China GP, Shanghai
May 11 - Spain GP, Barcelona
May 25 - Monaco GP, Monaco
June 8 - Canada GP, Montreal
June 22 - Austria GP, Red Bull Ring
July 6 - Britain GP, Silverstone
July 20 - Germany GP, Hockenheim
July 27 - Hungary GP, Hungaroring
August 24 - Belgium GP, Spa-Francorchamps
September 7 - Italy GP, Monza
September 21 - Singapore GP, Marina Bay
October 5- Japan GP, Suzuka
October 12 - Russia, Sochi
November 2 - USA, Circuit of the Americas
November 9 - Brazil, Interlagos
November 23 - Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina

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Now that the season is over, we are all looking forward to the next one as we do every year. Next year will be quite different though with many major rule changes including a huge change to the engines from 2.4 litre V8 to 1.6 litre V6 turbos. The turbo era is back from the 80s - Back To The Future. I'm looking forward to the changes as this will hopefully reset the grid and not allow Red Bull to bulldoze their way through the season and make it another boring one.

Now I'm not really that technical in F1 although I am really a fanatic fan and I understand how most races will go by looking at free practice, qualifying, how the cars runs over time but these changes need a really experienced insider to know how they will affect the racing next year. That is why I'm sharing what Gary Anderson, BBC F1 technical analyst has to say about it.

Read the full article HERE.

The cars that emerge at the end of January for the start of pre-season testing will look very different from those of the last few years - and they will be even more radically changed under the skin. There are significant changes to the chassis regulations and even bigger ones to the engine, which together amount to probably the biggest change in rules in a lifetime.


The V8 engines produced about 780bhp. The new turbo engines will on their own produce in the region of 620bhp or more, but the electrical energy will increase that back up to at least the same as before. Some insiders have even said total power could be as high as 840bhp at the start of 2014.


The most striking aspect of the new cars will be a much lower nose, as well as a narrower front wing, and the chassis rules could lead to some ungainly designs.


Those with long memories will recall that when fuel limits were introduced to F1 with turbo engines in the mid-1980s, races were marked in the early years by cars running out of fuel.


The engine is much more reliant on electrical power for its overall performance, so there will be no more winning races with a broken energy-recovery system, as Red Bull have done several times over the last few years.

Read the full article HERE.

Next year should be interesting again. We'll have to watch the next few months for news on teams progress and especially winter testing.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013


The season is finally over. It has been a long journey and now we look forward to the 2014 season with all the changes. Hoping there won't be a Vettel/Red Bull domination again after 4 years in a row.

Here is a superb race analysis of the last race in Brazil before we move on. As usual it was done by James Allen with input from Mark Gillan and the Williams F1 team.

The full report is HERE.

The Brazilian Grand Prix ended the 2013 season on a high note, with an exciting race, which was a real journey into the unknown for the drivers and strategists because it was a dry race that came at the end of a wet weekend.

The Pirelli medium and hard compound tyres were selected for the weekend, but the first time they came out of the tyre blankets was as the cars went to the grid.

This made for an interesting race, where teams had to feel their way as the race unfolded, with no data on tyre wear or degradation and a persistent threat of rain, which fell lightly in the final third of the race, but never enough to necessitate a move to intermediate tyres.

Key strategy decisions had a bearing on the outcome.

The full report is HERE.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Well there it goes, another season ends and another one awaits. It has been a long season with ups and downs, many new records set, new controversies achieved, new rules being made and broken in the same season but the defining topic has been Sebastian Vettel's domination...again. In a word..boring. The season was over about halfway when Vettel was just unchallenged from pole to flag. I did not bother to watch the last 2 races as I knew what I would read the following morning.

James Allen put it nicely to recap what this season means with so many "eras" ending:
It was the end of an era in many respects; the last race for V8 engines, the last race for Mark Webber and possibly a few others who don’t know it yet, like Paul di Resta, depending on driver market movements in the coming weeks.

It was the last race, for the moment at least, for Cosworth engines and Felipe Massa’s last race for Ferrari. And maybe Ross Brawn’s last race at the helm of Mercedes. If so, will he return in a different shirt?

These – apart from the change of engine formula – are the normal comings and goings of a sport which is like real life on fast forward, always restless and changing. The real question is, will the 2013 season be looked back on as the end of the Sebastian Vettel/Red Bull era, or just a staging post?
Just a staging post? I hope not, for our sakes. Lets not have Red Bull pull out another trick to dominate next year all over again. I'm praying for Mercedes to come out with a fantastic car that will allow them to win next year's championship for a change.

I never liked Ferrari nor Fernando Alonso but in a way, his words ring true during his BBC interview recently. He said:
"He is 26 years old, so when he will have a car like the others, if he wins, he will have a great recognition and be one of the legends in F1. When one day he has a car like the others and he is fourth, fifth, seventh, these four titles will be bad news for him because people will take these four titles even in a worse manner than they are doing now."
For me, struggling and putting your all into something which then produces results just makes it that much sweeter. When Alonso does win his third title it will be regarded as legendary. Alonso will join the ranks of those lgenedary racers such as Fangio, Clark or Moss. Vettel on the other hand will be regarded as superficial as although he has said it many times that it is not easy even with a superior car and team. For me a legend is someone who can achieve great results with poor resources. That is what Alonso has showed for many years now.

Of course Vettel fans will shout blasphemy or dismiss my thoughts as a non-Vettel fan frustration. But as I said, I do not like Alonso since his McLaren days but I have to admit he is a very good driver, a legendary driver in waiting. Don't get me wrong, Vettel is a good driver too. Most F1 drivers are good, if not they wouldn't be where they are now. But to be truly great you have to win with odds agaisnt you, not riding a superior wave.

So here's looking to 2014 with great trepidation and hope. Hope of a mixed up grid and a serious challenge from all the other teams to Red Bull. It will be a long winter.

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Friday, November 22, 2013


The Brazilian Grand Prix (Portuguese: Grande Prêmio do Brasil) is a Formula One championship race which occurs at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos, a district in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.

The Brazilian Grand Prix was first held in 1972 at the bumpy and demanding Interlagos circuit, located in São Paulo, although it was not part of the Formula One World Championship. The following year, however, the race was first included in the official calendar, and it was won by defending world champion and São Paulo local Emerson Fittipaldi. In 1978 the Brazilian Grand Prix moved to Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro. Argentine Carlos Reutemann dominated in his Ferrari, which was equipped with superior Michelin tires. This proved to be the famed French rubber marque's first victory in Formula One. Reutemann was followed by home favorite Fittipaldi and defending champion Niki Lauda.

The race returned to Interlagos for the next two seasons. But in 1980, the neighborhood of Interlagos was becoming increasingly run-down and the growing slums surrounding the circuit did not look good for the glamorous image of Formula One; and the drivers were dissatisfied with the safety conditions of the very bumpy 5-mile Interlagos circuit, and Jody Scheckter attempted to stop the race from going ahead; but this did not work and the race ended up being won by Frenchman Rene Arnoux.

After the emergence in 1980 of Rio de Janeiro racer Nelson Piquet and the retirement of Fittipaldi, Brazilian fans lobbied to host the Brazilian GP in Piquet's home town. The flat Jacarepaguá circuit, like Interlagos before it, proved to be extremely demanding: most corners were long and fast, some were slightly banked and the track had a very abrasive surface, thus rewarding high performing pilots and punishing those who were not up to the challenge. Due to the FIA calendar, which invariably had the Brazilian GP at the beginning of the season thus in the Southern hemisphere summer, most races were held under very high temperatures. Due to all of those circumstances, Grands Prix at Rio were epic affairs and most drivers who won it were exhausted in the end.

Paulista Ayrton Senna's success thus far in Formula One had city officials working hard to revamp the Interlagos circuit in a $15 million investment to shorten and smooth over the circuit. In 1990 the Grand Prix returned to a shortened Interlagos, where it has stayed since.

The Interlagos circuit has created some of the most exciting and memorable races in recent Formula One history, and is regarded as one of the most challenging and exciting circuits on the F1 calendar. Along with Spa-Francorchamps, it is rare in that the circuit in its modern form is one of the few with a lengthy history in the sport not considered to have lost much of its mystique or challenge in its adaptation for the modern, much more safety-conscious era of 21st century Formula One.

The Brazilian Grand Prix is often looked on by engineers and strategists in F1 as the biggest uncertainty of the season – it’s a very difficult race to plan for.

The weather often plays a part; last year was a perfect example. It was the championship deciding race, held in tricky wet/dry conditions. When it rains it is very hard to predict how long it will last and how hard it will rain. Then when it stops, there can be dry parts of the circuit and rivers running across other areas. Last year’s race was won by not switching to wet tyres when it rained!


Track length : 4.309 kilometres
Race distance : 71 laps (305.909 kilometres)
Corners : 15 corners in total
Average speed : 210km/hAerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce
Top speed : 323km/h (with DRS open) 311km/h without
Full throttle : 61% of the lap time (ave/high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 134 kilos (ave/low)
Fuel consumption : 1.9 kg per lap (low)
Brake wear : light
Number of braking events : 6
Time spent braking : 16% of the lap
Total time needed for a pit stop : 18 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.31 seconds (ave)


The forecast for this weekend is for temperatures around 30-33 degrees with little chance of rain. Rain showers are a common occurrence in Sao Paolo at this time of year and many Brazilian Grands Prix have experienced sudden showers over the years and no-one will factor rain out of their planning.


Pirelli tyre choice for Brazil: Medium (white markings) and Hard (Orange markings). This combination has been seen several times including Austin, Spa, Monza and Suzuka. Last year the key strategy call was to stay out when rain started to fall in the early stages with the dry tyres on which the race had been started, but few teams were able to do that, as they could not generate enough temperature in the tyres. Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg managed it and it set Button up for the win.


The chances of a Safety Car are high at 63%. The Safety Car has been used in seven of the last ten races. It is often called into action on the first lap, as it’s a short lap with 24 cars charging into tight corners. This makes the Safety Car an important element to factor into Race Strategy planning and having plenty of different plans is advisable.


Two DRS zones will be set up on the Interlagos circuit for this weekend’s race, the first time multiple zones have been used at the track. To the existing zone on the Reta Oposta straight an additional DRS activation point on the pit straight will be added. Drivers will be able to activate DRS 60 metres before the turn 15 kink which marks the end of the lap.

The previous DRS zone on the straight leading to Descida do Lago will be shortened by 153 metres. Drivers will not only be able to use DRS after they have exited turn three.


Last year’s race was won by McLaren’s Jenson Button, with McLaren taking a front row lock out in qualifying. Red Bull won the race for the previous three years, Mark Webber, who is making his final Grand Prix start, won in 2011 and in 2009, while Sebastian Vettel won in 2010. Felipe Massa won the race for Ferrari in 2006 and 2008, Kimi Raikkonen won the race in 2007.

Will I be watching? NO! Didn't watch the Austin race either, so predictable that Vettel will win again and set another record (yawn). Lewis Hamilton said it as much:
"If he doesn't finish, that's the best chance! Even if it rains he still has more downforce, the car works much better. It's going to be better in whatever weather, even if it snows! So there's not really a huge amount of hope in that sense."
So here we are at the end of another (boring) season. Next year will bring a lot of changes and hopefully Red Bull won't be so dominant again. I can't really bear to go through another season like this.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013



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Friday, November 15, 2013


The world championship has been decided, but Formula 1 still has plenty of energy for its second visit to Austin, Texas, which proved a huge hit with teams, drivers and fans last season. Austin is the tenth different venue for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix, but this one is considered a real winner. The new Circuit of the Americas, which runs anti clockwise, is a wonderful mixture of many of the most famous circuits on the F1 calendar; it has more corners at over 250 km/h than Spa and more below 100kph than Hungary, which is quite a combination!

The United States Grand Prix is a motor race which has been run on and off since 1908, when it was known as the American Grand Prize. The race later became part of the Formula One World Championship. Over 42 editions, the race has been held at ten locations, most recently in 2012 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

Circuit of the Americas often abbreviated as COTA is a 3.427-mile (5.515 km) motor racing circuit near Austin, Texas. It hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix on November 18, 2012, the penultimate round of the 2012 season. The circuit will also host the Texas Motorcycle Grand Prix, a round of the Road Racing World Championship—commonly known as MotoGP—in addition to the Australian V8 Supercars series, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the American Le Mans Series, and the Rolex Sports Car Series, all of which will make their debuts at the circuit in 2013.

The circuit and Grand Prix were first proposed in the middle of 2010. The circuit was the first in the United States to be purpose-built for Formula One. The layout was conceived by promoter Tavo Hellmund and 1993 Motorcycle World Champion Kevin Schwantz with the assistance of German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who has also designed the Sepang, Shanghai, Yas Marina, Istanbul, Bahrain, Yeongam, and Buddh circuits, as well as the reprofiling of the Hockenheimring and Fuji Speedway. The Grand Plaza, Observation Structure, Tower Amphitheater, and Main Grandstand were designed by Austin-based architectural firm Miró Rivera Architects. Spectator capacity was estimated to be 100,000 utilizing permanent and temporary seating facilities but a crowd of 117,429 watched the Formula One race in November 2012.


Track length : 5.516 kilometres
Race distance : 56 laps (308.896 kilometres)
Corners : 20 corners in total
Average speed : 197km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce
Top speed : 315km/h (with DRS open) 305km/h without
Total fuel needed for race distance : 142.8 kilos (ave/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.7kg per lap (ave/high)
Full throttle : 58% of lap
Brake wear : medium/hard
Number of braking events : 8 (At Turn 12 the drivers incur 5.5g in braking)
Time needed for a Pit stop : 21 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.38 seconds (ave/high)


The forecast for the weekend is for warm weather, with temperatures in the high 20 degrees C. Thunderstorms are forecast for Saturday – qualifying day.


There will be two DRS zones at COTA. The detection point of the first will be 150 metres after Turn 10, with the activation point 320m after Turn 11.

The second zone’s detection point will be 65m after Turn 18, with the activation point 80m after Turn 20, just before the start/finish line.

Changes to the circuit since 2012 – Removable kerbs, 50mm high, similar to those used at the apex of Turns Eight and Nine in Abu Dhabi, have been installed at the apex of Turns Three, Four and Five. Similar kerbs, 75mm high, have been placed at the apex of Turns Seven and Nine.


Pirelli tyre choice for Austin: Medium (white markings) and Hard (orange markings). This combination was seen in Japan, Belgium and Italy.

Despite aiming for two stops from most races, for this race Pirelli has gone for the two hardest tyres in the range, so it’s likely that the race will be one stop, as it was last year. The temperatures are set to be higher than in 2012, so that may make a difference, if thermal degradation is encountered.


As this is only the second race and there was no Safety car last year, the chance of a safety car has yet to be established.


Will I be watching the race? Even though the track is a good track for racing, I won't be watching as the championship is decided and the race is too late here. Hoping for a Hamilton win though and Vettel not to break another record.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013



Hulkenberg is now confirmed at Force India. Guess he had nowhere to go really.

So far the 2014 driver lineup has been much waiting and not much confirmation as teams play the cat and mouse game. Some drivers are confirmed, some are waiting for the right time to move, some are not sure what is going on, some think they know what is going on. At least one driver is confirmed for now and it is Felipe Massa who will be moving to Williams. So how does the driver line up look so far?

We've had a flurry of news yesterday about driver seats and some quite unexpected. Perez is out of McLaren, something I didn't expect. They've given the seat to Kevin Magnussen. Heikki Kovalainen replaces Kimi Raikkonen for the last 2 races but will stay at Caterham for next season.

No Driver Entrant Constructor
1 Vettel Red Bull Racing Red Bull-Renault
2 Ricciardo Red Bull Racing Red Bull-Renault
3 Rosberg Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team Mercedes
4 Hamilton Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team Mercedes
5 Alonso Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
6 Raikkonen Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
7 Grosjean Lotus F1 Team Lotus-Renault
8 Kovalainnen* Lotus F1 Team Lotus-Renault
9 Button Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
10 Magnussen Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
11 Hulkenberg Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India-Mercedes
Sahara Force India F1 Team Force India-Mercedes
Sauber F1 Team Sauber-Ferrari
Sauber F1 Team Sauber-Ferrari
16 Vergne Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso-Renault
17 Kvyat Scuderia Toro Rosso Toro Rosso-Renault
18 Massa Williams F1 Team Williams-Mercedes
19 Bottas Williams F1 Team Williams-Mercedes
20 Bianchi Marussia F1 Team Marussia-Ferrari
Marussia F1 Team Marussia-Ferrari
Caterham F1 Team Caterham Renault
Caterham F1 Team Caterham Renault
Massa had this to say:
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of racing for Williams, Ferrari or McLaren and I'm glad to be signing with another icon of the sport. The team wants to grow. It is already a big team but they are really pushing hard to go back to what they were in the past. It is a team to fight for the championships and good results and I really want to be a part of it. I understand what they are doing to get stronger. I think we can be very successful and I believe it is the best choice compared to the other choices I had.
I think he doesn't have that much of a choice so basically it was PR talk.

Team founder and principal Sir Frank Williams says Massa is "an exceptional talent and a real fighter on the track", while his daughter Claire, the deputy team principal, said: "Felipe has demonstrated his talent and speed over the years, as well as his ability to motivate and drive a team to championship success."

Claire Williams added that acquiring Massa's services was "a key step towards our goal of returning Williams to the front of the grid and part of our ongoing plans to ensure we are stronger in 2014 and beyond".

We'll see, won't we. Williams just needs some more money and a faster car. Perhaps the Brazilian oil and gas company Petrobras will consider replacing PDVSA now that a Brazilian is there again.

Perez had this to say:
"It (McLaren's decision) wasn't what I was expecting. But this is life, and sometimes life doesn't go the way you want it to go - and this is a perfect example - so you have to take another route. I'm still young, I still have a lot to give to the sport, and I have my whole career in front of me. I just have to take another route now to keep aiming for my goals in Formula One to become a World Champion."
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Friday, November 8, 2013


We've been seeing it the past few seasons. We've also seen it more pronounced this season. Vettel seemingly able to spurt ahead at the starts, then pull out a 2 second gap by lap 2 then pull away sometimes up to 30 seconds by three quarters of the race, pulling away 1.5 to 2 seconds a lap and still setting fastest laps near the end of the race. All this while Mark Webber, virtually in the same car can't. How does he do it? Is it the car? Is it some tricks Red Bull have hidden in the car? Is Vettel superhuman?

Well, James Allen has gotten hold of his F1 buddies to come out with an analysis and it seems to explain how that is possible. Although the cynic in me still is not happy for 1 person to monopolise the championship for 4 years running.

Read the full article HERE.

Never one to hand out praise readily to his team mate, Mark Webber said after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, “Seb was on another planet today and was very, very strong in the first stint. He was in another category today.

“He was super quick and his tyres didn’t wear out, which is a recipe for disaster for the rest of the opposition, me included.”

Indeed the opening stint is a talking point; not only Vettel’s pace but the length of the run at 14 laps.

Webber had taken pole position confidently on the Saturday in the same car, his second in three races, indicating that he is driving well at the moment and is hooked up with the car, as he himself has acknowledges. So how did Vettel manage to perform so far ahead of his team mate (and everyone else) in the opening stint of the race, in the same car with no adjustments made overnight?

Read the full article HERE.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013


I know the Abu Dhabi race is over. All the excitement is gone, if you can call Vettel cruising to another victory "excitement". But the race track is still there. The track is still exciting with all sorts of fast racing activities you can do there. What's that? You're in Mongolia and can't go to Abu Dhabi? No worries matey, I got you covered. You can drive the track virtually.

Etihad Airways are inviting Formula 1 racing fans from around the world to experience the iconic Yas Marina circuit with the release of their online interactive race course. The interactive circuit features fantastic facts about the official home of the 2013 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. Visitors will be greeted with images, videos and statistics about the circuit over 14 points as they complete a full lap around the animated track.

Some of the features included in the interactive race course include:

  • Images from the circuit including the pits, grandstands and previous winners
  • Facts about the circuit such as the technology and manpower behind the construction
  • Statistics about key elements that can make the difference between winning and losing at the Yas Marina circuit
  • Information on Abu Dhabi’s most popular landmarks
  • Details on this year’s free after-race concerts, including Jay Z, Muse and Depeche Mode

Additional features include the ability to switch between a day and night version of the circuit as well as allowing visitors to “jump into the driver’s seat” by uploading an image of themselves which is displayed as they race and can also be shared on Facebook.

To race through Yas Marina, one of the most advanced motor racing tracks in the world, head over to RACE THROUGH YAS MARINA CIRCUIT.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Here is another fantastic race strategy analysis by James Allen with input and data from several F1 teams, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli.

For the full article, click HERE.

Although Sebastian Vettel made a mistake in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his rivals were not able to press home their advantage and control him on race day, as he took the lead at the start from team-mate Mark Webber.

Any chance of his rivals being able to work with strategy to prevent Vettel from taking his seventh consecutive victory went out of the window there. Vettel was able to pull out a lead and preserve the tyres at the same time in the opening stint and then, because he had not used the medium tyres at all in qualifying, he was able to do two stints on new medium tyres in the race.

But behind the top three battle there were some interesting strategy plays and we will focus on these in this UBS Race Strategy report.

For the full article, click HERE.

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Friday, November 1, 2013


The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was announced in early 2007 at the Abu Dhabi F1 Festival in the United Arab Emirates. The first race took place on November 1, 2009, held at the Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit. On June 25, 2008 the FIA announced the provisional 2009 Formula One calendar including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the 19th and final race of the season on November 15. On November 5, 2008, however, it was announced that the race would be held as the season finale on November 1, two weeks before the initially planned date, as the 17th and final race.

The inaugural race was Formula One's first ever day-night race, starting at 17:00 local time. Floodlights used to illuminate the circuit were switched on from the start of the event to ensure a seamless transition from daylight to darkness. Subsequent Abu Dhabi Grands Prix have also been day-night races. The temperatures drop during the race and this has a bearing on tyre performance and thus race strategy.

Yas Marina is another Herman Tilke designed circuit with two long straights and some tight turns which take the track underneath the landmark Yas Hotel and around the marina. The Yas Marina Circuit features six corners below 100 kph – only Monaco, Singapore and Valencia have more.


Track length : 5.554 kilometres
Race distance : 55 laps (305.355 kilometres)
Corners : 21 corners in total
Average speed : 197km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce
Top speed 320km/h (with DRS open) 307km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap time (ave/high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 151.25 kilos (ave/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.75 kg per lap (ave/high)
Brake wear : Medium
Number of braking events : 12
Time spent braking : 16% of the lap
Total time needed for a pit stop : 21.2 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.4 seconds (ave/high)


The forecast for the weekend is stable with temperatures in the low 30 degrees C. But as this is a dusk/night race it’s worth noting that the night time temperature is set to fall to 19 degrees C.


Pirelli tyre choice for Abu Dhabi: Soft (yellow markings) and Medium (white markings). This combination was used in India last week, with mixed results as the soft tyre blistered on a number of cars and Pirelli issued guidance on maximum usage for both compounds, which Force India and Lotus ignored.

Abu Dhabi is unique in that the race starts at dusk and ends in the dark, so the track temperature falls as the race goes on and the teams have to factor this in. For teams looking to do longer runs at the end of the race, the temperature drop helps, so teams are encouraged to try some bold strategies to win. There are few high speed corners, but a number of low speed corners so wheelspin on corner exit is the thing to watch out for.


There have been four races at Yas Marina Circuit, the 2009 and 2011 races did not feature a safety car, while the second one in 2010 featured five laps under the safety car after a crash at the start of the race.

However the 2012 edition featured two safety cars and these proved game changers for Sebastian Vettel, who was coming through the field after starting from the pit lane. The timing of the safety cars is crucial, particularly if they fall in the pit stop windows.


The Yas Marina circuit of Abu Dhabi will feature a slightly longer first DRS zone at this weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix. The DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones at Yas Marina are on the two back straights. The first zone has a detection point 40m before Turn 7, with activation 390m after Turn 7. This means that the DRS zone will be 80m longer than last year.

The second zone’s detection point is 50m after Turn 9 with activation at the apex of Turn 10. Additionally, speed bumps similar to those used around the first chicane at Monza have been installed two metres from the track edge around the outside of Turns 8 and 11.


This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has many points of interest, despite the 2013 drivers’ and constructors’ championships already having been decided. There is a tight battle for second, third and fourth places in the constructors’ race between Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus, which is worth a significant amount of money to the teams involved. Force India and Sauber are also fighting for sixth position.

So do we watch the race or not since the championship has already been decided? I'll watch it just because I've been to the inaugural race in 2009 and enjoyed it so the Abu Dhabi race holds a pretty special place in my heart.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Mercedes-Benz are launching two fims that explore the relationship between sound and emotion; the unique feeling that an AMG evokes when started.

The #SoundWithPower films support the release of the new E63 AMG and consist of a documentary style interview. The first video features Mercedes DTM race driver Gary Paffett. Additionally a test driver and reserve driver for Mercedes Mclaren, Gary shares anecdotes about his time behind the wheel and reveals exclusive insight into hos addiction to racing and describes the stir of emotion when the engine ignites.

Watch the video below.

Friday, October 25, 2013


The Indian Grand Prix also known as Airtel Indian Grand Prix for sponsorship reasons is a Formula 1 race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship, currently being held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida near New Delhi. The first event took place on 30 October 2011, as the 17th race of the 2011 Formula One season. The inaugural race was won by Germany's Sebastian Vettel, who thus far is the only driver ever to win the Indian Grand Prix. Jaypee Sports International Limited is the organizer of Formula 1 race in India and has signed a five-year contract with Formula One Management (FOM) to host the championship in India. The next edition is scheduled to take place on 27 October 2013. In August 2013, FIA announced that the Indian Grand Prix will be discontinued in 2014 before returning to an early season slot in 2015.

The track has some similarities with other new tracks designed by Herman Tilke, but it also has some distinctive features, not least quite a bit of elevation change; the track rises 14 metres from Turn 1 to Turn 3, which contributes to increasing the fuel weight penalty, in other words the weight of every 10kg of fuel you carry slows you down by more than at some other tracks.

Buddh is a combination of mostly slow speed corners and some long straights, which leads to a reasonably high average speed. The first sector of the lap is stop-start, with two straights intercut with hairpins, while the middle sector is a flowing section featuring some faster corners, including the banked Turn 10/11.


Track length : 5.125 kilometres
Race distance : 60 laps (307.249 kilometres)
Corners : 16 corners in total
Average speed : 210 km/h
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed : 323km/h (with DRS open) 310km/h without
Full throttle : 70% of the lap time
Total fuel needed for race distance : 161.6 kilos (high)
Fuel consumption : 2.65 kg per lap (ave)
Brake wear : average
Total time needed for a pit stop : 21 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (ave/high)


The forecast for the weekend is stable with temperatures likely to be high; between 29 and 31˚Cs and track temperatures up in the 40˚Cs. No rain is forecast.


Pirelli tyre choice for India: Soft (yellow markings) and medium (white markings). Strategy wise last year was a bit flat as the tyre choice was too conservative and everyone stopped just once, This year Pirelli has brought the soft and medium tyres and this should make for a fascinating strategic battle like the one we saw last time out in Japan.


There are two DRS zones at the Buddh International Circuit. The detection point of the first is 16m before Turn Three and its activation point is 350m after Turn Three. The second zone’s detection point is 10m after Turn 15, with the activation point 36m after Turn 16.


As this is only the third race on the track and there was no safety car so far, the probability is yet to be established. A Safety Car at Buddh would help drivers attempting to make one less stop.

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Friday, October 11, 2013


The Japanese Grand Prix is a race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Traditionally one of the last, if not the last race of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue for many title-deciding races, with 13 World Champions being crowned over the 27 World Championship Japanese Grands Prix that have been hosted.

The first two Japanese Grands Prix in 1976 and 1977 were held at the Fuji Speedway, before Japan was taken off the calendar. It returned in 1987 at Suzuka, which hosted the Grand Prix exclusively for 20 years and gained a reputation as one of the most challenging F1 circuits. In 2007 the Grand Prix moved back to the newly redesigned Fuji Speedway. After a second race at Fuji in 2008, the race returned to Suzuka in 2009.

The Japanese Grand Prix was supposed to continue alternating between Fuji Speedway and Suzuka Circuit, owned by perennial rivals Toyota and Honda, respectively. There had been speculation that both tracks would host Grands Prix, with the readoption of the Pacific Grand Prix moniker used by the TI Circuit when it hosted Grands Prix in 1994 and 1995. The race made Japan one of only seven countries to host more than one Grand Prix in the same season (the others being Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the USA). It was discontinued primarily due to its location in a remote area of Japan. In July 2009, Toyota announced it would not host the race at Fuji Speedway in 2010 and beyond due to a downturn in the global economy.

This year’s Japanese Grand Prix could be the title decider, as it was in 2011. If Sebastian Vettel wins the race with Fernando Alonso ninth or lower then Vettel is champion. Vettel needs only 49 points from the remaining five races to guarantee the title; that is assuming Alonso wins all the remaining races but the Ferrari does not have the pace to do that.

The Suzuka circuit has a special place in the drivers’ hearts, along with Spa Francorchamps, as it provides a great driving challenge with its high speed corners and the first sector of the lap in particular is special, with a series of fast, winding curves through which there is only one really fast line.


Track length : 5.807 kilometres
Race distance : 53 laps (307.471 kilometres)
Corners : 18 corners in total. High speed, figure of 8 – a real drivers’ favourite
Aerodynamic setup : HIgh downforce
Top speed : 324km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 312km/h without
Full throttle : 70% of the lap time (ave/high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 148 kilos (ave/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.73 kg per lap (ave/high)
Time spent braking : 10% of lap (low)
Number of brake zones : 9
Brake wear : Light (Not a tough race on brakes)
Total time needed for pit stop : 20.8 seconds (ave)
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.385 seconds (high)


Being coastal, Suzuka is always likely to get sudden rain showers, sometimes heavy. Last year’s race, in contrast, was held in very hot conditions. The forecast for this weekend however is thunderstorms and rain on Friday, giving way to warm sunny weather for Saturday and Sunday, with forecasts of up to 27 degrees. If it stays warm the tyre degradation will be more severe.


Pirelli tyre choice for Suzuka: Medium (white markings) and hard (orange markings).

Pirelli is taking no chances on a circuit similar to Silverstone in terms of loadings, bringing the hardest tyres in the range. Last year Pirelli brought the soft and hard tyres to Suzuka and they comfortably managed two stops, helped by a safety car period at the start of the race. The 2013 hard tyre is the same as last year’s and the medium is very similar to last year’s soft, so a similar pattern is expected this year.


The chance of a Safety Car at Suzuka is quite high: 60% with 0.6 Safety Cars per race. As accidents at Suzuka tend to be at high speed there is often wreckage to be cleared away. There has been at least one Safety Car in five of the last six races at Suzuka and we have seen one in each of the last four years.


The Japanese Grand Prix will again feature a sole DRS zone along the start/finish straight, although it has been extended slightly in a bid to increase its overall effect.

The activation area, following a detection point ahead of the final Turn 16/17 chicane, will cover the majority of the main straight, beginning 100 metres before the finish line.


Last year Vettel was chasing Alonso and had clawed back the gap to 29 points before Suzuka. This year he needs to win the race with Alonso finishing ninth or lower in order to clinch his fourth consecutive world title. Vettel’s record at Suzuka is excellent; in the last four seasons he has been on pole four times and has won the race three times.

And with the form he and the car has shown in the last few races, it's a no brainer really to think that he won't win this race. Alonso might do better and delay the championship a bit but it is inevitable that Vettel will win the championship outright real soon.

We can only hope that Suzuka throws up a spanner in the works so we at least can enjoy a bit of racing.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013


As expected, Vettel lead the race in Korea and maintained it till the end. Even a safety car couldn't shake it up for him, the restart looking like Singapore where he just left everybody for dead and was not challenged. Basically the race was like any other race this season, the actual race was behind Vettel with the winner getting P2.

There is no reason to believe now that Vettel and Red Bull won't take the championships in Suzuka this weekend. All the other drivers and teams have basically given up this year and focusing on next year as you can read all over the place. So Vettel can just cruise to a 4th world title this weekend. We still have 5 races to go..yawn.

If you do want to read the race analysis, James Allen has an excellent one HERE.


Friday, October 4, 2013


The Korean Grand Prix is a Formula One race held in South Korea. After months of speculation, on October 2, 2006 it was confirmed that the event would actually take place in 2010, and would be hosted by the Korea International Circuit. It has also been revealed that the race will be promoted by a public-private company. The deal is for seven years with a five year option that would ensure the race to be held until 2021.

Despite this earlier confirmation, the South Korean Grand Prix was not included on any of the provisional 2010 calendars floated by Formula One Management. Following approval of funding for the event, however, Korea was given the date of 17 October on the 2010 calendar published by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) on 21 September 2009. On December 10, 2009, the organisers of the event announced that they were on schedule, with a plan to finish the circuit on July 5, 2010, though they admitted that their largest problem lay in finding accommodation for all Formula One staff and spectators. The organisers also ruled out the possibility of staging the race at night until they have more knowledge of and experience in running a Grand Prix. Despite all the confirmation there was still a risk that the circuit might not be on time, however this was denied by the race promoter who said that the circuit was ahead of schedule.

After several postponements, the FIA scheduled a final inspection of the circuit on 11 October 2010, 13 days before the Korean Grand Prix was scheduled to begin. After the FIA inspection, Race Director Charlie Whiting declared that the race would go ahead. Formula One drivers commented positively on the new circuit before the race weekend got under way, with several commenting that it looks like an interesting, challenging track.

The circuit came with a mix of different concepts, with a long straight and some high-speed corners early on in the lap, and then a series of tight blind bends at the end, around which the organizers hope to build a Monaco-like cityscape with a harbour. The slow sections contribute to making this one of the slowest average speed laps of any permanent circuit. This makes it quite a tough track to set the car up for, with a debate over whether straight line speed should be prioritized or higher downforce for the lower speed corners.


Track lenght : 5.615 kilometres
Race distance : 55 laps (308.630 kilometres)
Corners : 18 corners in total
Average speed : 209 km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Medium to High downforce
Top speed : 316km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 304km/h without
Full throttle : 55% of the lap time (ave)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 148.5 kilos (ave/ high)
Fuel consumption : 2.75 kg per lap (ave)
Time spent braking : 20% of lap (low)
Number of brake zones : 9
Brake wear : ave/high
Total time needed for pit stop : 20 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.37 seconds (high)
Fastest lap : Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault - 1:42.037


The Yeongam circuit’s position, close to the coast, means that it is susceptible to weather fronts and a tropical storm known as FITOW by the Japanese Typhoon Warning authorities, could be headed for the Yeongam area on Sunday or Monday. The 2010 race start had to be delayed and then the race was suspended due to heavy rain, while rain also blighted Friday practice in 2011.


Pirelli tyre choice for Korea: medium (white markings) and super soft (red markings). This combination – with new specification tyres – was seen in Singapore. One of the notable features of last year’s race at Yeongam was that there were lots of tyre marbles which got lodged in the front wings of cars, affecting downforce levels. F1 cars are sensitive to 1mm of difference in the slot gaps between wing elements so a large lump of rubber lodged in will have a big effect and will adversely affect lap time and tyre life.

Although the track surface is quite abrasive, which can lead to higher tyre wear the cooler conditions help with this generation of Pirelli tyres. So a two stop strategy looks the most likely way.


There was at least one Safety Car in both the 2010 and 2011 races at Yeongam, but last year did not feature one. There was a Safety Car due to the heavy rain at the start of the 2010 race and then the race was suspended. In total that race featured 26 laps, or 47% of the race distance, behind the Safety Car! In 2011 there were four laps spent behind the Safety Car.


The Korea International Circuit will have a second DRS zone this year on the pit straight, and the configuration of the original DRS zone has been changed. Drivers will still be able to use DRS on the longest straight on the track but the length of the DRS zone has been shortened by 40 metres. The detection point for it has also been moved – having previously been on the entry to turn one it is now after turn two.

The new DRS zone on the pit straight has its detection point between turns 15 and 16. Drivers can then open their rear wings 95 metres after the high-speed turn 18.


ahead of this year's race, the pit exit has been re-aligned and now runs through the middle of the run-off area at Turn 1. Furthermore, the kerbs at the apexes of the pit exit are double-sided, 2x500mm wide and four metres in overall length with a maximum height of 25mm.

The artificial grass on the exit of Turns 1, 3, 10, 13 and 15 has been replaced by a more hardwearing product, while 'sausage' kerbs have been installed at the apex of Turns 4, 5, 9, 11, 13 and 14.

The verge behind the kerb at the apex of Turn 8 has been laid with concrete and the entire verge between the track and the asphalt run-off area around the outside of Turn 11 has been laid with asphalt, while the verge at the exit of Turn 13 has been extended with asphalt.


I was going to go fishing and skip the race as Vettel will probably wipe the floor with his car if it retained the advantage as in Singapore as Lewis Hamilton commented. But now since typhoon Fitow is on the way and might slap a touch on Yeongam, heavy rain might just make the race watchable. Lets hope for a wet race with no SC start.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013


This article was written by James Allen with the input of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former Williams F1 team chief operations engineer in order to analyse and understand what made Vettel so untouchable in Singapore and whether we should just pack up and go fishing instead for the rest of the season. This issue was blown up recently when former team owner Giancarlo Minardi who was at the race questioned Vettel's engine sounds as he was going round.
"From my suite, I chose some mainstays as a reference point in order to monitor and compare the drivers' way of driving. I was impressed by Vettel's neat way of driving on that stretch of the track. He was able to drive all that stretch without making any corrections, unlike all his rivals (also his team-mate). On the same stretch, Sebastian was able to [accelerate] 50 metres before any other driver, Webber included. The thing that surprised me the most was the engine's output sound. Besides speeding up 50m before any other driver, the Renault engine of the German's car grinded like no other French engines on track, neither like Mark's. That sound was similar to the sound made by the engine when the traction control system got into action in the past seasons."
The original article can be found HERE.

One of the most commented aspects of the Singapore Grand Prix was the astonishing speed of Sebastian Vettel, particularly in the opening laps and the initial laps after the safety car. There have been many questions about how this was achieved and some interesting observations, such as Giancarlo Minardi’s comments about a strange sound coming from Vettel’s exhaust in these phases.

Here with the input of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, former Williams F1 team chief operations engineer, is our analysis of Vettel’s speed and a consideration of why it was so noticeable in Singapore and whether it is here to stay for the rest of the 2013 season.

The key to this is that Red Bull has done a lot of work on traction out of low speed corners. On average, across all the tracks in the F1 championship, 25% of the lap time is spent below 130km/h on corner exits. It is the most significant single area to focus on. So if you can make a significant gain in that area, you can get effectively a 25% improvement, which will show in your lap time.

The original article can be found HERE.

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