Thursday, September 26, 2013


Vettel won again, what did you think? And not only did he win it, he had spare pace with the ability to pull away 1 to 1.5 seconds per lap from everybody else. The pace of the RB9 was MONSTROUS, it was obscenely ridiculous. Actually, there was no race in Singapore last weekend, it was just a cruise to collect even more points to guarantee a fourth world title for Vettel.

Behind him was a scrap, for whatever scraps that was left on the table. Alonso lost even more points to Vettel even though he finished second. Although there were a lot of good overtaking and fights behind, it was just a show. It is not a race when the victory was sealed on lap 2. Vettel had a 4.1 second gap to Rosberg on lap 2. What does that tell you? Even the safety car coming out didn't help much, Rosberg totally failing to do anything at the restart.

Actually the race was set by qualifying already when Vettel took a strategy gamble on Saturday, opting not to do a final run to save a new set of supersoft tyres for the race. Having a new set would mean Vettel could have superior pace at a key point in the race or if he was under pressure and forced into stopping earlier than ideal to avoid an undercut, he could put on a new set of tyres which would give him the pace to get out of trouble. In the end he didn’t need to worry; his pace advantage was so significant that even with a safety car cutting down his lead, he still had a huge margin over his rivals.

The Mercedes drivers were no threat at all. Their pace was good but let down by strategy, blaming traffic is normal, everybody gets that...except Vettel of course. Ferrari were also nowhere near Red Bull so couldn't mount a challenge. And Lotus lost Grosjean to a car problem while Kimi made a good comeback. All in all, there was no real challenge for Vettel in Singapore. It was just a walk in the park.

Which brings us to last few races of the season. Vettel and Red Bull did well last year on these last few races so there is no reason to believe they won't this year. With the RB9 good on low, medium or high downforce tracks, what is there to stop them now from wrapping up the titles soon with a few races to spare? And what is to stop some of us from gong fishing instead?

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Friday, September 20, 2013


This article was expertly written by James Allen and explains why the Singapore GP has been very successful since day 1 and I completely agree. For the complete article proceed HERE.

Why has Singapore quickly become one of F1′s most important and successful races, where events in places like Korea and India have floundered?

Of course the charisma of the night race and the economic location of the event, in the business gateway to Asia are significant factors. But the reason why it works so well is the business model for organising the event. And it’s one other F1 races and aspiring hosts would do well to emulate.

The key to it is a public/private model; a 60-40 split between the Singapore government and a private company owned by entrepreneur Ong Beng Seng, whose property, hotels and lifestyle business also extends to operating Ferrari dealerships in Singapore and Shanghai. Ong was the first to bring Haagen Dazs ice cream to Asia and is one of Singapore’s main concert promoters via his Lushington Entertainments company.

For the complete article proceed HERE.

Now the Malaysian GP on the other hand has been around longer but fails miserably in comparison. Why? Here are some reasons I think why:

1. Local Attendance - Even though the Malaysian GP is way cheaper to attend by the locals, it is still expensive due to local living standards.

2. Location - The Sepang track is too far for locals to attend and it does not offer convenient public access nor does it have any public facilities nearby such as shopping, eating and entertainment.

3. Management - The management of the Sepang track and event does not have the funding, vision or marketing skills as the Singapore organisers. I've dealt with them for a few years and I know firsthand the limited vision and drive they have. It is unfortunate.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013


The Singapore Grand Prix is a motor race on the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event takes place in Singapore on the Marina Bay Street Circuit and was the inaugural F1 night race and the first street circuit in Asia. Spaniard Fernando Alonso won the first edition of the grand prix, driving for the Renault F1 team although that win was tainted by the unexplained crashing of team mate Piquet Jr. The Singapore Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calendar through at least 2017, after race organizers signed a contract extension with Formula One Management on the eve of the 2012 event.

Starting at 8pm (local time), two hours after darkness has fallen over the city-state, the Singapore Grand Prix is the only night race on the 2013 Formula 1 calendar. To enable visibility, the 5.073km Marina Bay circuit is lit up by 1,500 halogen lamps, giving a luminosity of 3,000 lux – as bright as daylight.

The track is the second street circuit of the year, following on from Monaco, and runs in an anti-clockwise direction. The cars negotiate its tight and twisty confines – 14 left-handers, nine right-handers – in maximum downforce trim and the key to a quick lap is to have good traction and a neutral car balance.

The Singapore Grand Prix is the longest race of the year, taking close to two hours to complete its 61 laps. That makes it physically tough for the drivers, who have to cope with the 30-degree heat and 70 per cent tropical humidity while wrestling their cars around the busy, stop-start layout. As a result, they expect to lose up to three kilos’ fluid loss during the race. With low pit lane speed limits (60km/h) and a 400 metre pit lane, it is one of the slowest pitstops of the year, so teams try to do the minimum number of stops here.


Track length : 5.073 kilometres
Race distance : 61 laps (309.316 kilometres)
Corners : 23 corners in total
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed 305km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 290km/h without
Full throttle : 45.5% of the lap time (low)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 155 kilos (average/high)
Fuel consumption : 2.26 kg per lap (average)
Time spent braking : 21% of lap
Number of brake zones : 16
Brake wear : Very high. Toughest race of season for brakes as no cooling opportunities.
Total time needed for pit stop : 29 seconds (very high)
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.37 seconds (high)

The Chicane at Turn 10 also called the Singapore Sling, which has seen numerous incidents over the years, has now been removed and replaced with a single-apex left-hand turn. In simulations carried out by the FIA, the approach speed to the corner is now around 25 mph (40 kph) quicker meaning lap times should be around a second quicker than in 2012, as confirmed by Fernando Alonso on Twitter.
"These days working in the simulator," the Spaniard tweeted. "New turn 10 in Singapore this year, without the chicane of before. The lap is around 1sec faster."
In light of the increased speed into the corner, a new layer of TecPro barriers is to be installed at the end of the turn.


The weather forecast for the weekend is for high temperatures, around 31 degrees, with the possibility of rain. It has rained most evenings in the week before the event. However in five previous events rain hasn’t affected the actual race, so we must surely be due a wet race soon, given the nature of the weather in Singapore. The chances of rain is very high as Malaysia has reported rain everyday for the past 2 weeks and weather has been cloudy and cool.


Pirelli tyre choice for Singapore: medium (white markings) and supersoft (red markings). This is the first time this combination of tyres has been seen since Pirelli switched the compounds from the Hungarian GP onwards.

Also, Pirelli have announced their choices of tyre compounds for the forthcoming races in Korea, Japan and India. Unlike in 2012, the Italian firm have opted for a step between the compounds at the Korea International Circuit bringing the red-marked supersoft tyre and the white-banded mediums.

As the venue is rarely used, grip tends to be at a premium and Pirelli hope that "the supersoft is capable of generating the highest possible levels of traction on the slippery surface," whilst the medium has been chosen due to the "wide variety of corners and some heavy braking areas."

Pirelli will bring the two hardest compounds in their range - the medium and the orange-marked hard to Japan. They say this is to "soak up the high-energy demands of rapid corners such as 130R and Spoon." This is a more conservative choice than in 2012 when the soft compound was coupled with the hard.

In India, the prime tyre has been moved a step softer this year with Pirelli pairing the medium compound tyre with the yellow-banded softs. The firm explained "this combination has been selected to provide the best possible compromise between performance and durability at the Buddh International circuit, which is well-known for its big elevation changes and technically demanding corners."

2013 tyre choices
Australia - Supersoft, Medium
Malaysia - Medium, Hard
China - Soft, Medium
Bahrain - Medium, Hard
Spain - Medium, Hard
Monaco - Supersoft, Soft
Canada - Supersoft, Medium
Great Britain - Medium, Hard
Germany - Soft, Medium
Hungary - Soft, Medium
Belgium - Medium, Hard
Italy - Medium, Hard
Singapore - Supersoft, Medium
Korea - Supersoft, Medium
Japan - Medium, Hard
India - Soft, Medium.


The chance of a Safety Car at Singapore is very high. There has been at least one Safety Car at every Singapore GP so far with an average of 6 laps spent under Safety Car. Last year there were two safety car periods.


The FIA has confirmed that this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix will feature two DRS zones, continuing a trend set throughout the 2013 season.

As in earlier events, the overtake-aiding device will come into action on the long stretch running from Turn 5 to Turn 7, known as Raffles Boulevard. The activation point for the first zone will be placed at Turn 4. However, marking a departure from previous races at the Marina Bay circuit, the governing body has added a second zone along the main straight, with the activation point coming just after the apex of Turn 23.

However Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane expects the extra DRS zone will do little to make it easier for drivers to pass each other.
“The additional DRS zone along the pit straight is very short so we wouldn’t expect that to have much of a bearing on overtaking. It may help a driver close up to the car in front through the opening sequence of corners, but even the original section from turn five to seven is quite a tricky place to make a move so it’s unlikely to have a major influence.”
So there you have it. Another great race shaping up providing everybody does their job and Vettel doesn't run away with it.

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Friday, September 13, 2013


This is a repost of an excellent team technical analysis of the Italian GP by Matt Somerfield as published on Pitpass recently. Just wanted those who have missed it to have a read. For the full article, please go HERE.

The Formula One circus headed into the last European race of the season knowing that the circuit represents a unique challenge. The 3.6 mile Autodromo Nazionale Monza is nestled in parkland and represents a unique challenge for both teams and drivers with only chicanes and a few medium downforce corners breaking up the long, super-fast straights. It therefore comes as no surprise that many teams have Monza specific parts to cater for this low downforce circuit. As I discussed in my previous roundup (Spa) some of the teams took the time to simulate their extremely low downforce rear wing configurations during the free practice sessions.

Red Bull

With neither of its drivers completing the Italian GP in 2012 the team was eager to continue its current momentum and take a result in Ferrari's back yard. The team arrived with the same low downforce rear wing it had tested in Spa featuring endplates devoid of the louvres we usually see that reduce drag. Louvres aren't really required when you are running a shallow 'angle of attack' like Red Bull used at Monza as the drag penalty is severely minimized.

Red Bull started the weekend with its regular front wing featuring the main cascades but was devoid of the small strakes we have seen added to the front of the wing over the last few races in order to guide airflow to the rearward strakes, further minimising drag.

However as the weekend developed and it became apparent that other teams were sacrificing their cascades (used to turn the airflow outbound and over the front wheels), Red Bull also decided to run without them. Interestingly we can also see the team started to trim the level of downforce the front wing was producing also, curtailing the top flap's height (left of the adjuster) and removing the gurney trim completely.

Meanwhile for qualifying and the race Webber's side of the garage went one stage further taking a further few millimetres off the inboard edge of the top flap, further reducing the force being created by the wing.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Not again?!
What can I say? It was confirmation that the Red Bull car is fast on fast tracks. Not only are they fast on high downforce tracks, but now they are fast on low downforce tracks as well. That means they are fast on all tracks. Which means I will have to watch The Simpsons more often.

It was always going to be a difficult race for the title contenders except Vettel as Alonso started in P5, Hamilton P12 and Raikonnen P11. Vettel romped away at the start as expected, not even a wheel lockup doing anything to his dominance. Raikonnen had his front wing smashed which left lots of debris for Hamilton to step on and get a slow puncture. Both had good race pace but were pushed back into the field due to unnecessary pitstops.

Basically Vettel had another of his dominant races where he just cruised from lights to flag. The only interesting part of the race was behind him where fights were on-going and incredible overtaking was taking place. Much of the overtaking was done without DRS so double DRS zones on the fastest track on the calendar does just not make sense.

Now Vettel has a huge lead over Alonso with no signs his car will have issues with track types or mechanical problems. I'm not sure I want to watch the next race. Vettel waqs booed on the podium at Monza, expected at Ferrari home race and a Ferrari driver not winning. But this booing has not been happening regularly at Monza either when a non-Ferrari driver won. It seems to be following Vettel now. People are tired of the Schumacher era dominance, 5 years in a row. Now we have 3 years in a row and soon to be 4. So, no matter what you think booing is, good or bad, it will follow Vettel till the end of this season. Quite nice if you ask me.
Damn that little twat..

But where does the real fault lies in this season? Or the 3 seasons before? Is it Adrian Newey designing such a bad ass car and Vettel driving it perfectly? Or is it other teams not designing a bad ass car, their drivers not driving it bad ass and their teams not performing perfectly? Right now it is easy to blame Red Bull and Vettel (which feels quite nice really, won't change even if someone else wins) but I think the real blame lies with the other teams and drivers.

Why are they not upping their game? Not performing better? Not doing more? Instead their falling over themselves and making mistakes after mistakes. It's not that Vettel and Red Bull are great, it's that the competition is weak. Wake up motherfuckers!!! I'm not going to watch Vettel steamroll over all the remaining races, this year's championship and next year's too. Something has got to change.

For a detailed analysis of the race, please read the race strategy report by James Allen HERE.

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Friday, September 6, 2013


This excellent article was written by Brad Spurgeon of the New York Times. I'm reproducing it here in part for the benefit of most of the casual F1 and racing fans to understand racing from the racing line perspective. There are many excellent and technically detailed articles out there I'm sure but this one is written in a more laymans term, so it is nice to read. The full article is HERE.

When most people think of the world’s greatest racing drivers fighting to be first at the checkered flag, they think of speed, guts and bravado, of brilliant overtaking moves and the car’s raw power. What is often not realized is that the real challenge for a driver is not posed by the other drivers but rather by his own constant effort to find the best racing line.

The racing line is the most efficient, fastest path around the track. In short, drivers do not think of racing in terms of always going at top speed, but of finding the most economical trip around the circuit and shaving as many tenths of a second off their lap times as they can.

“You are trying to find the shortest way around the track,” said Heikki Kovalainen, a reserve driver for the Caterham team and former driver at several other teams. “You are cutting the corner when you can, going from side to side when it’s beneficial.”

“You don’t think that you are trying to go as fast in terms of kilometers per hour, as fast as possible,” he added, “but as fast in terms of lap time, as efficiently as possible.”

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Thursday, September 5, 2013


We are now coming to the last race of the European season at Monza this weekend. Although a simple layout track, Monza is the fastest track on the calendar and will see some great action round the bends plus some crashes at the first turn. Hopefully not.

The Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d'Italia) is one of the longest running events on the Formula One calendar. The Italian Grand Prix was also one of the inaugural Formula One championship races in 1950, and has been held every year since then. The only other championship race for which this is true is the British Grand Prix, and the only other inaugural F1 races that are still on the calendar are the Monaco Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix. Every Formula One Italian Grand Prix since 1950 has been held at Monza (except in 1980, when it was held at Imola). The Italian Grand Prix counted toward the European Championship from 1935 to 1938. It was designated the European Grand Prix seven times between 1923 and 1967, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one grand prix race in Europe.

The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a race track located near the city of Monza, north of Milan, in Italy. The circuit's biggest event is the Formula One Italian Grand Prix, which has been hosted there since the sport's inception.

Built in the Royal Villa of Monza park in a woodland setting, the site has three tracks – the 5.793 kilometres (3.600 mi) Grand Prix track, the 2.405 kilometres (1.494 mi) Junior track and a 4.250 kilometres (2.641 mi) high speed oval track with steep bankings which has been unused for many decades and is now decaying. The major features of the main Grand Prix track include the Curva Grande, the Curva di Lesmo, the Variante Ascari and the Curva Parabolica. The high speed curve, Curva Grande, is located after the Variante del Rettifilo which is located at the end of the front straight or Rettifilo Tribune, and is usually taken flat out by Formula One cars.

Drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap due to its long straights and fast corners, and is usually the scenario in which the open-wheeled F1 cars show the raw speed they are capable of (372 kilometres per hour (231 mph) during the mid-2000s V10 engine formula, although in 2012 with the 2.4L V8 engines, top speeds in F1 rarely reach over 340 kilometres per hour (211 mph)). The circuit is generally flat, but has a gradual gradient from the second Lesmos to the Variante Ascari. Due to the low aerodynamic profile needed, with its resulting low downforce, the grip is very low; understeer is a more serious issue than at other circuits; however, the opposite effect, oversteer, is also present in the second sector, requiring the use of a very distinctive opposite lock technique. Since both maximum power, and minimal drag is the key for speed on the straights, only competitors with enough power or aerodynamic efficiency at their disposal are able to challenge for the top places.

In addition to Formula One, the circuit hosts an endurance event, the 1000 km Monza, which has been run as part of the World Sportscar Championship and the Le Mans Series. Monza also featured the unique Race of Two Worlds events, which attempted to run Formula One and United States Auto Club National Championship cars against each other, and previously held rounds of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, in the Italian motorcycle Grand Prix. Current major events are races of the World Touring Car Championship and the Superbike World Championship, as well as various local championship races.

The Monza circuit has been the arena of many fatal accidents, especially in the early years of the Formula One world championship and has claimed the lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators. Track modifications have continuously occurred, to improve spectators safety and reduce curve speeds but it is still criticised by the current drivers for its lack of run-off areas, most notoriously at the chicane that cuts the Variante della Roggia.


Track length : 5.793 kilometres
Race distance : 53 laps (306.72 kilometres)
Corners : 11 corners in total
Average speed : 247km/h
Aerodynamic setup : Low downforce
Top speed : 340km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 334km/h without
Full throttle : 74% of the lap (high)
Total fuel needed for race distance : 135 kilos (ave)
Fuel consumption : 2.5kg per lap (ave)
Time spent braking : 11% of lap
Number of brake zones : 6
Brake wear : High
Total time needed for pit stop (at 80km/h) : 23 seconds (ave/high)
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (ave/high)


The long term weather forecast predicts a dry weekend with temperatures of 27-28 degrees. Although Friday and Saturday are predicted dry, we have the prospect of mixed conditions for the race on Sunday and the last time that happened on race day a Torro Rosso won. Could we have the irony that the perennially damp Spa turns out dry and the perennialy dry Monza turns out wet? On Wednesday the BBC weather site was predicting sunshine and thundery showers for much of the day on Sunday although F1 Weather Forecast predicts overcast.


Pirelli tyre choice for Monza: medium (white markings) and hard (orange markings). This combination of revised specification tyres was seen in Belgium. From a strategy point of view, Monza is not particularly hard on the tyres as there are few fast corners, which put energy into them. The track is basically a series of long straights, punctuated with chicanes. There are only three corners in a traditional sense; the two Lesmo bends and the Parabolica. However the wheel rotation speeds are very high so overheating can be an issue and if the track temperature is high, this can create problems.


The chance of a safety car at Monza is statistically very low at 43% and 0.4 Safety Cars per race. There was however a Safety car three years in a row recently from 2007- 9.


The Italian Grand Prix will again feature two DRS zones this season. As per 2011 and 2012, these have been placed on the runs to the chicanes of Rettifilo and Ascari. The first detection point comes shortly before the entry to Lesmo 2, with the activation area situated along the Curva del Serraglio. A second detection line is located ahead of the Parabolica, after which drivers can use the device again on the main straight.


Following Red Bull's lacklustre display at Monza in 2012, few realistically believed the partnership would be so effective at Spa last race. The Red Bulls were similarly lacklustre in Monza last season underlying the fact low down-force high-speed circuits were not exactly their cup of espresso. Nowadays all circuits, all conditions and all comers are dispatched implausibly yet totally predictably. And there is no good reason why the Spa form will not translate directly into Monza results. That is underlined by McLaren's dominance here in Italy last year which followed a convincing race win in Belgium.

Ferrari and Alonso need a win badly and no where more badly than at their home race with all the passionate support that is a part of the circuit tradition. More importantly, Red Bull and in paticular Vettel need to have a DNF, no points scored to make this championship interesting until the end. The other hope to deny Vettel even more points and surging out of reach are the 2 Mercedes of Hamilton and Rosberg. If they can perform their qualifying magic again, take pole then deny Vettel the win, it would at least give some life back to the championship. lets hope for the best.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Daniel Ricciardo has been officially confirmed at Red Bull for next season replacing Mark Webber. This continues the tradition of having an Australian at Red Bull, will it also continue the tradition of the Australian being the number 2 driver? I could hear the howls of protestations at the news, including mine. Not that I wanted Kimi or Alonso to go there but doesn't matter who does, will they get equal treatment to Vettel after what we've seen the last 3 years?

Of course on the surface of it, one would assume that Ricciardo will get the short end of the stick. He's new, young and a product of the Red Bull young driver program. Of course he has to toe the party line, even Red Bull die hards will have to admit as much. But if he outshines Vettel, will he get nipped in the bud? Will his car have some unexplained problems during races? Will his clutch fail to engage properly at starts? Will Helmut Marko...well, lets not even go there, we all know Helmut.

Team boss Christian Horner seems to believe that Ricciardo will get equal treatment. Of course he does, he is also toeing the company line.
"The decision to take a junior driver doesn't mean anything changes," Horner said. "Both drivers will get the same opportunity and the same equipment, but inevitably there will be a natural pecking order determined by the driver who is in front on track. Sebastian has won a lot of races and is a multiple world champion, so with that comes a lot of expectation. But the reality is that both drivers, as has always been the case, will get identical opportunity and equipment.

"Daniel is very quick and we know he's very quick and Sebastian is the best in the business at the moment. It's very tough to be his [Vettel's] team-mate so it will be a big surprise for him. But I think people are going to be surprised at the pace that Daniel does have. We've seen it at the simulator and at track tests, and we've seen flashes in the Toro Rosso.

"I think he really does have a natural ability. He's a good personality, a good guy to work with and I've never seen him yet without a smile on his face. For sure, now he will be smiling from ear to ear."
Ok, this is how it's gonna work..
 But the cynic in all of us, well at least the non-Vettel fans, will always be believing that that is not the case. That Vettel will always get away with it. And Ricciardo will be a number 2. Is this 100% true? What about the sensible explanation? I there one? Pitpass, known for their sensible, well informed comments had this to say:
As exciting as it would have been to see two world champions as teammates, this is not something Red Bull requires to ensure success. Vettel has demonstrated that he can carry a world championship and at just 26 years of age is already a very complete driver and is still improving. The team can therefore afford to take a chance on another driver and they have time to nurture him.

Though Vettel is entrenched in the team, Ricciardo shares the same foundation to his relationship with Red Bull, having come through their Driver Development Program. This should aid his integration into the environment and the team will want him to succeed in the long term.
Read the full article HERE. Not very convincing either. I guess the only way we will find out is with time. On the face of it, Red Bull is very concerned about the constructors title which brings in the money and the drivers title which brings in the publicity. If Ricciardo can bring in the points for the team, then Vettel will still have the upper hand.
Apparently Red Bull's placement of him in their car at the Silverstone (Young) Driver Test was to make a comparison to Vettel and evaluate whether he has the necessary capability to score 200 points to support a Constructor's Championship bid. That he has secured the seat indicates Red Bull feels he has at least that potential.
I guess the cynics will still have the upper hand here in the battle of perceptions. I do hope Ricciardo will shine in a better car and fight Vettel so we don't have another year of Vettel dominance. It would be good for the championship.

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