Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The Monaco Grand Prix (French: Grand Prix de Monaco) is a Formula One motor race held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Run since 1929, it is widely considered to be one of the most important and prestigious automobile races in the world, alongside the Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The circuit has been called "an exceptional location of glamour and prestige."

The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of Monaco, with many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One. In spite of the relatively low average speeds, it is a dangerous place to race. It is the only Grand Prix that does not adhere to the FIA's mandated 305 kilometres (190 mi) minimum race distance.

The first race in 1929, was organised by Antony Noghès under the auspices of the "Automobile Club de Monaco", and was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti. The event was part of the pre-Second World War European Championship and was included in the first World Championship of Drivers in 1950. It was designated the European Grand Prix two times, 1955 and 1963, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one Grand Prix race in Europe. Graham Hill was known as "Mr. Monaco" due to his five Monaco wins in the 1960s. Brazil's Ayrton Senna won the race more times than any other driver, with six victories, winning five races consecutively between 1989 and 1993.

Monaco is unique and it’s not and easy race to win, even with the fastest car. And this year could be very eventful. The track layout is tight, with no high speed corners, two short straights and the lowest average lap speed of the season at 157 km/h (99mph). The only possible overtaking place is on the run between the exit of the tunnel and the chicane, but drivers must be careful as it is very dirty off line in the tunnel and they can lose grip by picking up dust and discarded rubber from the tyres.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 3.34 kilometres
Race distance : 78 laps (260.52 kilometres)
Corners : 19 corners in total
Average lap speed : 157km/h
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed : 295km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 285km/h without
Full throttle : 45% of the lap (lowest of year)
Time spent braking : 21% of the lap (high)
Braking zones : 13
Brake wear : Medium; 48 gear changes per lap
Total time needed for pit stop : 25 seconds
Lap record : 1:14.439 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004)

Weather Forecast

The forecast looks good with temperatures around 20 degrees and a low chance of rain. Being coastal however rain can arrive quite suddenly. More rain is forecast this weekend but, for the time being at least, it is not expected to interfere with the competitive sessions.

The first showers are expected in time for the beginning of first practice which, uniquely, is on Thursday instead of Friday. Further rainfall is expected in the run-up to the second practice session later in the day. The rain will lessen on Friday, when F1 cars do not run, and no further precipitation is expected over the remaining days.

Saturday is forecast to be fine and sunny, with clear skies and air temperatures exceeding 20C – ideal conditions for qualifying. Similar temperatures are expected on Sunday, though there will be cloud cover in the morning which should break up during the grand prix.


Pirelli tyre choice for Monaco: Supersoft and Soft. Monaco is gentle on tyres, the track surface is smooth and there are no high energy corners.

The supersoft tyre makes its 2014 debut and looks like the tyre most runners will prefer. It goes without saying that perfect execution in qualifying is critical for a strong race performance. Pirelli has been very cautious and conservative so far in its tyre choices. Last year, for example, it used the supersoft in Australia, but this year it has held it back until now.

There is scope for teams that are kinder on their tyres than rivals, to pit early and attempt the undercut, at an early point in the race, knowing that their rivals will not be able to react and bring their car in because it will not make it to the finish from there on a single set of tyres.


The Monaco Grand Prix will again feature a single DRS zone this season, the FIA has confirmed. As has recently been the case in the principality, the detection point will be situated between Turns 16 and 17, while the activation marker is to be placed on the exit of the final corner (Turn 19) for the run to St. Devote. Monte-Carlo's sole zone breaks a trend, with 2014's opening five races featuring two DRS zones.

Safety Car

Very high; there is an 80% chance of a safety car and if it falls at the right time it can make your race. But if it falls at the wrong time, your victory plans fall apart – as they did for Jenson Button in 2011, who was trying to drive flat out uninterrupted on three stops, a risky plan given the likelihood of the safety car.


The Mercedes was the fastest car in Monaco last year and this year it has been unbeaten in the first five races. However the Red Bull will be closer on pace here as the power deficit from the engine will be less significant. The Red Bull chassis is very nimble. Red Bull has won the race for the three of the past four seasons

Ferrari will have a few problems unless they can sort out their issues with traction. Ferrari hasn’t won at Monaco since 2001, a drought of 14 years. Monaco requires a particular technique of driving close to the barriers and this is a venue where a driver can make a real difference. But the challenge will be even greater this year as the power delivery from the new hybrid turbo engines makes handling these cars a real challenge.

As far as drivers’ form is concerned at Monaco, all the world champions have won Monaco; Sebastian Vettel won in 2011, while other previous Monaco winners in the field are Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Nico Rosberg won last year from pole.

Only a few minor changes have been carried out to the circuit ahead of this year's Grand Prix at Monaco, where racing has taken place since 1929. The track has been resurfaced from the exit of the Casino until the start of the tunnel, while small sections before the Nouvelle Chicane and Tabac (Turn 12) have been resurfaced. The entire pit wall and debris fence has been renewed and the TecPro barrier at Turn 12 has been more efficiently constrained.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014


Another funny article post race by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

Lewis and Nico stole the show in a season where the team battles are providing the most entertainment...

Stars of the Race

Lewis Hamilton and Pete Bonnington, Mercedes, 1st
Lewis never looked on top of his W05 in the race even though he scored a decisive pole position on Saturday and got an unchallenged getaway to lead through Turn 1. The rest of the race was spent looking in his mirrors. Or, as DC likes to calls them, his "mur-errs".

In fact most of the race seemed like a counselling session between himself and race engineer Pete Bonnington who was expected to come up with solutions to any problem or any question that Lewis decided to throw at him. Anything from graining tyres to providing a constant dialogue about where he was slower than Nico - seemingly lap after lap after lap.

Later, we had Lewis coming on team radio saying that he wasn't being talked to, like an abandoned orphan pushed out on the steps of the Children's Home, to which Pete wisely said that they weren't going to talk to him while he was passing backmarkers. Then when Lewis got the second of two sluggish Mercedes tyre changes and wanted to know why it happened, Pete came up with the perfect robust answer - "we'll talk about it after the race, Nico lost time in traffic - get on with the ruddy job in hand" Although he didn't actually say the last bit.

Hamilton resisted all the pressure from Rosberg who said he needed another lap to get in front of Lewis. He may have needed more than that. The most interesting moment of all was them together in the green room directly after the race - making a point of saying very little. They could have played Bjork's 'It's Oh So Quiet'.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 38: Sebastian Vettel on Felipe Massa for P9

Sebastian Vettel had a great race, especially after he pitted so early - Lap 13 - and found himself racing wheel to wheel with Kamui Kobayashi for the honour of P21. On his resurgence through the field the RB10 showed some great pace, Seb taking Fastest Lap on Laps 54 and 55 and ending up with Fastest Lap of the race overall.

Given the difficulties of overtaking at Barcelona, choosing a three-stop strategy is a risky one, but Vettel's carefully assessed aggression was a renewed glimpse of his multiple Championship status.

On Lap 38 he came up against Felipe Massa who was very much on the same strategy as the Red Bull having stopped five laps earlier. Vettel needed to get past in a hurry if he was to keep his momentum going and slung 'Sexy Suzy*' up the inside at the last minute into Turn 5 and Massa had to give best.

Later on he managed to overtake Magnussen round the outside of the hairpin and just keep some wheels on the circuit a move that typified his battling afternoon.

*We're not sure if this still applies after he changed his chassis


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd
The last thing we needed at Barcelona was for Nico Rosberg to trail home 15 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton or get as duff a start as he did in China and spend the rest of the race pegging his way back through the pack. Rosberg's been unhappy with his last three starts, this one included, and although he didn't get swamped, he wasn't able to apply pressure as Hamilton had been able to do to him in Bahrain.

He was also able to take advantage of faster pit-stops and the fact that backmarkers were alerted by Lewis coming through and left him a clearer run.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 3rd
Daniel's first podium that won't be taken away from him. It's unlikely to be his last this season and the Vettel vs Ricciardo battle is going to shape up nicely as a sideshow to which Mercedes driver will win the World Championship. Because of its mix of corners Barcelona is a good indication of how the rest of the season will pan out and though Red Bull are good, they're not going to find a second in the next four or five races, by which time it will be too late. ( They can't even depend on reliability failing the W05, the only thing that has stopped the juggernaut so far is a tiny little rubber insulating tube that split down a seam on Lewis's engine in Melbourne.)

Circuit de Barcelona, Catalunya, is supposed to be a Red Bull circuit and Dan did finish 30 seconds in front of the next non-Red Bull car. The only problem was that he was 48 seconds behind the cars in front. Seb's set-up time may have been limited by a wiring loom failure on Friday, but Daniel was still easily faster than him in Qualifying.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 5th
Bottas is used to scrapping his way through races but in Spain he had a relatively lonely time of it, Grosjean slowly dropping back and the Ferrari challenge slipping away. He couldn't resist the two Red Bulls, but it's more points on the board

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 6th
Alonso eventually got the better of team-mate Raikkonen who resisted him for the majority of the race. In fact just as Lewis was questioning the interminable length of his pit-stops, Kimi didn't sound best pleased that it was his team-mate who got the first call from the pits.

Kimi's problem with the handling of the F14T, specifically braking on turn-in, showed itself a few times with lock-ups, such as the opening lap, but otherwise he looks to have made strides forward.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 8th
As if Ferrari didn't have enough problems making their car go faster, they now have to factor in a Lotus. One half of the Lotus driving team has got its act together and is going to challenge for grid places in front of the Scuderia as ably demonstrated by Romain putting his car onto the third row of the grid.

Grosjean managed to keep his E22 on the island despite "thousands of problems during the race" and scored the team's first points of 2014. He also managed to put in some feisty resistance against Kimi Raikkonen on Lap 25 when it looked a certainty that the Finn had got him round the outside of Turn 1. His resistance didn't last long. Romain had sensor issues that would sometimes give him six cylinders and at other times five. In the end he was thankful to get it home a second in front of Sergio Perez's Force India.


Felipe Massa, Williams, 13th
Considering Bottas did so well in qualifying and Massa looked to have the speed to do equally well (up until his final run in Q3) this was a puzzling and downbeat result. Felipe failed to get his bullet start of previous races and spent the rest of the GP languishing in the midfield.

Considering the Circuit de Catalunya has one of the longest runs to the first corner, there was very little shuffling of the pack in Spain - of the top seven, only Bottas and Ricciardo changed places.

McLaren, 11th and 12th
Oh dear. This race was supposed to be The Great Leap Forward for Mclaren, the race when they gathered up all the glorious improvements that they had been working on since the season began... and they ended up outside of the points. What's more, they were the fourth best Mercedes-engined team and they couldn't overhaul Force India who had only changed their floor. If Luca Montezemolo thinks that Ferrari have got problems...

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 15th
Maldonado elected to start from the grid and not the pitlane because he thought he might be able to slip past both Caterhams and Marussias at the first corner. That didn't happen. His clumsy overtake of Ericsson got the penalty it richly deserved.

Media Watch

"We've lost Martin Whitmarsh. We've wost Stefano Domenicali." Suzi Perry

To Sebastian Vettel. "I think the polite word for what you're going through this weekend is 'character building'." Lee McKenzie

Eddie Jordan and Three Times Le Mans Winner, Allan McNish were competing for the STBO Award (first letter is 'Stating' and the last is 'Obvious')

Eddie: "We know that the race and the points are all in the race."

Allan McNish: To Mercedes' Paddy Lowe - "It looked clearly like the cars were racing against each other."
You can see why they made him a driver steward...

Original article HERE.

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Friday, May 9, 2014


The Spanish Grand Prix (Spanish: Gran Premio de España, Catalan: Gran Premi d'Espanya) is a Formula One race currently held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona. The race is one of the oldest in the world still contested, celebrating its centenary in 2013. The race had modest beginnings as a production car race. Interrupted by the First World War, the race waited a decade for its second running before becoming a staple of the European calendar. It was promoted to the European Championship in 1935 before the Spanish Civil War brought an end to racing. The race was successfully revived in 1967 and has been a regular part of the Formula One World Championship since 1968 at a variety of venues.

For once, the Formula One teams have not covered thousands of kilometres of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.

This year’s pre-season testing was in Jerez and Bahrain, so with these new lower-downforce, hybrid turbo cars they will be tackling blind this enigmatic circuit, which always changes with temperature and wind conditions. A car that flies in the morning can be uncompetitive in the afternoon without anything being changed on the car itself.

The Circuit de Catalunya has a bit of everything in terms of corner types and is a very good test of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The most important sector of the lap is the final one, which features low-speed corners. The most lap time gain and loss is here. Performance in the final sector is often taken as an indicator of how well a car will go at the next race in Monaco.

Mercedes have enjoyed an advantage of around six-tenths of a second per lap over their principal rivals Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of raw speed, though their race pace has been even better. And they are determined to pull further ahead here.

Track Characteristics

Location : Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Track length : 4.65 kilometres
Race distance : 66 laps (307 kilometres)
Corners : 16 corners in total, considered the best test of an F1 car’s aerodynamic efficiency due to combination of variety of corner speeds
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed 317km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 305km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap (2013)
Time spent braking : 13% of the lap (quite low). 8 braking zones
Brake wear : Medium/low
Total time needed for pit stop : 21 seconds
Lap record : 1:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)

Weather Forecast

The forecast looks good, with temperatures around 20 to 21 degrees , sunshine and a low chance of rain. The wind is often a significant factor at this track, sudden gusts and crosswinds can upset the balance of the cars, particularly in the final sector.


The two DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones used in 2013 will be in use again at the Circuit de Catalunya this year. The first one will have a detection point just before Turn 9, and it will run the length of the short straight between Turns 9 and 10. Don’t anticipate much to happen down here.

The second will have its detection point just after Turn 15 and will run for most of the length of the long pit straight, ending with braking for Turn 1, with activation 157m after Turn 16.


Pirelli tyre choice for Spain: Hard and Medium.

Catalunya is a tough track on tyres, with the long Turn 3 the most difficult corner. It is taken at 240km/h and the corner lasts for four seconds, which puts a heavy load on the left-front tyre. The surface generally is also quite abrasive. Last year saw the winner Fernando Alonso do four stops, due to high tyre degradation. This year three stops is more likely with some two stoppers.

Safety Car

There have been five Safety Car periods in this race since 2003, and four of those were for first lap incidents.

Mercedes have enjoyed an advantage of around six-tenths of a second per lap over their principal rivals Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of raw speed, though their race pace has been even better. And they are determined to pull further ahead here.

The circuit meanwhile is largely unchanged from last year, apart from minor work on kerbs and asphalt replacing the gravel run-off at Turn 11. This will be a very important race as it starts the European season and will show the real pecking order for the rest of the season.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Interesting concept this but really, would we be interested to watch cars go round with nobody inside? And how would it feel to drive it remotely without the feel of a real car? I wouldn't enjoy it.

This article was written by Chris Bafle of and shows what is possible. Some of the concepts where fans can be a part of the racing would be great to get more people interested in F1.

Full article HERE.

In the wake of Imola 1994, for many the first experience, courtesy of their TV sets, just how brutal and unforgiving Formula One can be, the sport went into overdrive in its efforts to ensure that such tragedy could never happen again.

Though the powers that be can quite rightly point to the positives, the number of drivers who have survived far worse accidents and walked away, there were also some quite silly kneejerk reactions such was the desire to convince the wider public that F1 was safe and Imola was merely an aberration.

Such was the safety drive some opined that they remembered when "motor racing was dangerous and sex was safe...", the purists almost lamenting the dreadful days of the 50s, 60s and 70s when we were losing our heroes almost on a weekly basis.

As the cars became safer so too did the circuits, and as standard parts were introduced - more about money rather than safety to be honest - some claimed it was only a matter of time before drivers - in the name of safety - operated their cars by remote control.

At a time when the majority of Formula One testing is done in simulators and race drivers are entering the sport having gained their experience in racing games, the lines are becoming ever more blurred.

Now, Canadian industrial designer and entrepreneur Charles Bombardier, grandson of Joseph-Armand Bombardier, founder of Bombardier Inc. and inventor of the snowmobile, and whose previous projects include an all-terrain vehicle and ground effect cargo plane, has turned his attention to racing.

"The Phantom 1 is a concept for a new era of motor sports, where full-scale driverless race cars powered by electric motors (or combustion engine) are driven remotely by gamers or by Racing Artificial intelligence (AI).

"I've been thinking about driverless race cars for some time," says Bombardier. "I enjoy driving fast cars and follow racing for both the sport and the technology. However, as an engineer, I have also been thinking of a scenario where the pilot's life would not be in danger, yet the spectacle would remain the same.

"I am not proposing something to compete against traditional racing," he stresses, "rather a scenario that would complement the status quo .My scenario would be a driverless racing series where some cars would be remotely controlled by the best drivers in the world - think video game gods. In another category, Phantom 1 would be controlled by Racing Artificial Intelligence.

"The Phantom 1's body mixes Formula 1 and Le Mans prototypes to achieve an optimal aerodynamic efficiency," he continues. "The body could be very lean and low, and it would have enough space for efficient Lithium-Air battery packs. The weight target would be 1,250 pounds. The rear wheels would be covered, and the front and rear spoilers would adjust to adapt the aerodynamics of the car in real time. It would tilt up when braking, and tilt down when overtaking and going on straightaways.

"There would be two large LCD screen panels on each side of the car to showcase sponsors and rotate ads on the fly based on the target audience. Animated sponsor logos and motion graphics would be projected on them and also on the covered part where the driver used to be. LED stripes would be used on some body parts to make car look more aggressive and visually appealing. They could also change based on the car's racing strategy or technical condition.

"Much of the challenge to engineers creating F1 and Le Mans prototypes is the issue of driver safety. Being driverless, Phantom 1 would allow engineers to focus on outright technical performance without the same restrictions. This should allow for more rapid engineering and AI development.

"The Phantom 1 concept would let us push the cars to their limits without endangering the drivers. I would create an annual online competition open to everyone... the championship would be open to anybody with a computer. More exposure means more interest. I would also create races with no remote drivers, meaning an AI would drive the cars. This would improve the technology used in our cars, and it would translate into incredible competition between rivalling AI's."

Full article HERE.

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