Friday, March 14, 2014


We're finally here! After that long winter, all the changes to the regulations, new engines, new everything, we're finally going to have the cars run on the track in anger on a race weekend. Welcome back Australia!

The Australian Grand Prix is a motor race held annually in Australia. The Grand Prix is the oldest surviving motor racing competition held in Australia having been held 77 times since it was first run at Phillip Island in 1928. Since 1985 the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship and is currently held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit at Albert Park in Melbourne. Prior to its inclusion in the World Championship it was held at a multitude of venues in every state of Australia. It was a centrepiece of the Tasman Series between 1964 and 1972 and was a round of the Australian Drivers' Championship on many occasions between 1957 and 1983. It became part of the Formula One World Championship in 1985 and was held at the Adelaide Street Circuit in Adelaide, South Australia from that year to 1995, before moving to Melbourne in 1996.

The Australian Grand Prix is the first round of the Championship, having been the first race of each year, excluding 2006 and 2010, since the event moved to Melbourne. During its years in Adelaide, the Australian Grand Prix was the final round of the Championship, replacing the Portuguese Grand Prix in that respect. As the final round of the season, the Grand Prix hosted a handful of memorable races, most notably the 1986 and 1994 races which saw the 1986 and 1994 World Drivers' Championships decided.

Australian driver Lex Davison and German driver Michael Schumacher are the most successful drivers in the 84-year history of the event taking four wins each; while McLaren has been the most successful constructor with twelve victories, its success stretching back into the pre-Formula One history of the race—its first win being in 1970. Frenchman Alain Prost is the only driver to win the Australian Grand Prix in both non-championship and World Championship formats, having won the race in 1982, 1986, and again in 1988.

A trip Into The Unknown

After a winter in which they have coped with a huge rule change, introducing complex hybrid turbo engines, the F1 teams arrive in Melbourne less well prepared for the first race than at any time in recent memory. Only Mercedes and Williams can be said to have achieved the 5,000km target mileage in the three winter tests, while Ferrari were not far off with 500km less.

Others, like Red Bull (1,700km) and their fellow Renault powered teams including last year’s Melbourne winners Lotus, are underprepared and will find Melbourne a struggle this year.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 5.303 kilometres
Race distance : 58 laps (307.574 kilometres)
Corners :  16 corners in total, none particularly fast
Aerodynamic setup : Medium/high downforce
Top speed : 318km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 308km/h without
Full throttle : 64% of the lap
Total fuel permitted for race distance : 100 kilos
Time spent braking : 13% of the lap
Braking zones : 8
Brake wear : High
Time needed for a pit stop : 23 seconds
Pit lane length : 280 metres
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.34 seconds


DRS sectors will be the same as those used in 2013. Activation One is 762m before Turn One, Activation Two is 510m before Turn Three. They share a single detection point, located 13m before Turn 14.

Weather Forecast

The teams will be anxious for as much dry running as possible in order to maximise their opportunity to conduct more testing with their new cars. On Friday at least, they should be spared any rain. The two 90-minute practice sessions should see very warm conditions, with temperatures almost reaching 30C. It will be overcast to begin with but the sun should break through the clouds in time for second practice.

Saturday is looking a bit trickier. The temperatures will remain high but the wind will pick up, reaching up to 45kph, and is likely to bring some showers with it. At present the indication is these will not fall during qualifying, but as that’s still almost two days away that is certainly subject to change.

Race day is expected to bring another change with considerably lower temperatures – only just making it above 20C. This will come as a relief to anyone concerned about cooling problems with the new V6 turbos during the 58-lap race.

Melbourne weather data HERE.


Pirelli tyre choice for Melbourne: Soft and Medium.

The tyres this season are quite different from last year’s in that they are more durable. This is to deal with the greatly increased torque from the hybrid turbo engines, which causes wheelspin. Pirelli’s objective was to make all four tyres in the range one step harder than last year. So the choice of soft and medium means that the option tyre (the soft) is two steps harder than Pirelli’s option tyre last year, which was supersoft.
The performance difference between the two compounds this year will be around 1.2 to 1.5 seconds per lap, which will mean that teams will seek to spend as little time on the medium as possible.

Safety Car

The chance of a safety car at Albert Park is 60%, although there have been safety cars in four of the last six years. The average number of safety car interventions for the race is 1.7 (in 2006 there were four).

This will be one of the most exciting and unpredictable race in years as we really have no idea who will be fast but more importantly reliable enough to finish this race and get points. Having a DNF here is really not what any team wants.

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Friday, March 7, 2014


Here is a collection of news and stories that were doing the rounds the past week. Some of you might have missed it, so I have collected them here for you. Those that I think are interesting and will keep us fans updated on the goings on in the sport. Also, some technical ones to keep us in the know about this new season.

Rosberg and Mercedes lead the way in test mileage

While Williams might have held off Mercedes in terms of claiming the fastest lap posted in Bahrain, that Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) failure late on Sunday afternoon not only saw the Grove outfit lose its 100% pre-season reliability record but also saw it lose out to its Brackley neighbour in terms of pre-season mileage completed.

Martini lifts Williams off the rocks

Following weeks of speculation, Williams has today confirmed a new title sponsor and with it a striking new livery. The new agreement sees Martini, the world's leading vermouth and best-selling Italian sparkling wine, join forces with Williams to become Williams Martini Racing in a multi-year agreement that unites two iconic brands.

Pirelli reveals compounds for opening races

Pirelli has announced its tyre choices for the opening four races of the 2014 Formula One season. The choices have been made to reflect the characteristics of each circuit and the all-new 2014 cars, bearing in mind all the data that has been obtained from the three pre-season tests.

Uneasy peace among the engine manufacturers?

As the Formula One fraternity gathers itself before the long haul flight to Melbourne, some within the paddock believe not all is as it should be with regards to engines. Heading in to pre-season testing it was believed Mercedes had produced the strongest power unit, as engines are now known, with Ferrari the weakest.

That Baku time of year

An interesting report about a Formula One race taking place in Azerbaijan is doing the rounds. The race will take place in 2015 or 2016 according to the report and it has quotes from F1's boss Bernie Ecclestone to back it up. The article claims that the event is expected to be held on the streets of Baku, the capital of the oil-rich country which sits at the crossroads of western Asia and eastern Europe.

Ecclestone reveals bribery trial will be 'part-time' to fit F1 calendar

He claims a recent report in the Financial Times about the implications of the trial didn't give the full picture. Ecclestone was quoted as saying "I've been looking, over the last few years, for somebody who can join me to assist with what I have to do. I will eventually be in a position, if I decide to retire - or unfortunately become dead - to have someone to step into my shoes."

Dennis: We will win races this this year

"The company was a little unfit," he admitted, "it needs to get fit and there is pain to getting fit. Hopefully everybody has got the right mind-set to understand what we expect of each other and what I expect of them. It takes time. You've got to give people time to understand what's expected of them and if they don't get there, they won't be with the company."

I'll show you how to run an F1 team!
'You don't become idiots overnight'

"To be honest with you, we have no real idea. We know we don't have the pace to challenge the Mercedes teams at the moment, but it's very much a case of see where we are in Melbourne. Then we know the scale and magnitude of what we have to climb. We don't even know our starting point at the moment, so it's impossible to make predictions sitting here in Milton Keynes a week prior to the first race. But I have every confidence in the team, and in Renault, that we can make it. Our target is [to catch up] as soon as possible."

I have no idea either..
From Bahrain test to Free practice in Melbourne: What the F1 teams are doing now

The factories will be 100% operational right now in ensuring that the cars leave with enough spares for the first race. For example ideally one wants 6 front wings at each race, with 4 being considered the bare minimum. Typically a team may go with 2 to 3 launch specification front wings and 2 to 3 Melbourne update wings, one of which will have probably been run at Bahrain. Each front wing can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to make from scratch so if any were damaged in the last track test production will struggle to replace it in time.

Insight: Behind the scenes look at how Formula 1 TV now operates team radio and other functions remotely

When you watch next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, some of what you see and hear on your screens will be being operated by technicians sitting next to an airfield in Kent, collaborating in real time with colleagues 10,500 miles away.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Felipe Massa fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

Monday, March 3, 2014


This is a re-produced post by PlanetF1. I couldn't have put it better, so I'm just re-producing it here for your benefit. To read the original article, click HERE.

Mercedes on top, Red Bull still struggling, Williams have two Felipes and everything's taking a lot more time...

Number 1

When Marussia decided they needed to change the engine on Max Chilton's car after four laps on Friday, it wasn't the work of a couple of hours. That was it for the rest of the day. Although repairs and engine fixes are going to come down as teams learn to shortcut the time, such is the complexity of the new engine systems that everything is taking around double the time it took before. So if teams get engine problems in final practice (FP3) on a Saturday morning, it may be impossible to get the car ready in the time left before Qualifying.

Number 2

Thus on Friday when Ferrari had some telemetry issues, what would have been a routine fix for the team in 2013 with telemetry equipment that hasn't changed from 2013 to 2014, became a much longer process, sidelining Kimi Raikkonen for a lot of Friday. An engineer from a rival team also revealed that both Sauber and Ferrari were suffering misfires, as fuel was getting into the exhaust, something that hadn't happened in Jerez.

Number 3

Williams have now got two Felipes in their car with Brazilian Felipe Nasr signing up as their reserve and test team driver. He put in a lot of mileage on Saturday. Having a namesake in the team will make it a lot easier to swap drivers in and out if they put the name 'Felipe' next to a Brazilian flag on the side of the car. However should Valtteri Bottas fall ill and need to be replaced then it could be fun having two Felipes racing and could lead to the team radio message "Felipe, Felipe is faster than you."

Number 4

The new quieter engines make it easier for drivers to hear messages on team radio - but on the downside, there is so much electrical activity going on in the engine compartment that the signals are getting a lot of interference.

Number 5

For those doubters who thought that F1 cars would be a lot slower in 2014, Nico Rosberg's 1:33.283 on Saturday morning was less that a second off his 2013 pole of 1:32.330. Lewis Hamilton confirmed that the new cars are losing out in the fast corners, thanks to the removal of downforce and exhaust blowing, but gaining on the straights.

Number 6

The best news from Saturday was that Lotus bounced back with some last-minute parts flown in and a haul of 59 laps making them by far the strongest Renault runner at the end of the test. The four Renault teams managed just 114 laps between them on the final day, against 92 for the three Ferrari teams and 261 for the Mercedes engined teams.

Number 7

After eight days of pre-season testing gone, with four left, only Mercedes and McLaren have run race simulations. In race mode, and adhering to the restriction of 100kgs of fuel, both the W05 and the MP4-29 were lapping eight seconds off their ultimate one-lap pace.

Number 8

Red Bull were only the fastest Renault-engined car on Day One. On Day Two it was the Caterham-Renault. On Day Three it was the Toro Rosso-Renault, and on Day Four the Lotus-Renault. Day Two will hurt the most.

Number 9

The lack of reliability for the teams may spill out into marshalling problems in the early races or at least safety worries for marshals. In Bahrain, when a car stops, the teams' engineers are coming out to collect their own cars because of the potential safety issues with electricity. When the season starts, the systems are supposedly going to be all sorted. But if the teams cannot get their cars working reliably by Melbourne, can the electricity safety systems in place be trusted? Having had a marshal killed in Melbourne not too many years ago by a flying wheel, the race organisers will want to be assured that the cars are safe to be touched.

Number 10

Had the 107% rule been applied to Saturday's best testing times, as though it were the grid, Red Bull would have been ruled out. Daniel Ricciardo's 1:39.837 was more than 107% of Nico Rosberg's blistering 1:33.283

To read the original article, click HERE.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Kimi Raikkonen fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.