Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The Austrian Grand Prix (German: Großer Preis von Österreich) is a Formula One race held in 1964, 1970–1987 and 1997–2003. The Grand Prix is set to be revived at the Red Bull Ring during the 2014 Formula One season.

The Red Bull Ring is a motorsport circuit in Spielberg, Styria, Austria. The race circuit was founded as Österreichring and hosted the Formula One Austrian Grand Prix for 18 consecutive years, from 1970 to 1987. It was later shortened, rebuilt and renamed the A1-Ring, it hosted the Austrian Grand Prix again from 1997 to 2003. When Formula One outgrew the circuit, a plan was drawn up to extend the layout. Parts of the circuit, including the pits and main grandstand, were demolished, but construction work was stopped and the circuit remained unusable for several years before it was purchased by Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz and rebuilt. Renamed the Red Bull Ring the track was reopened on 15 May 2011 and subsequently hosted a round of the 2011 DTM season and a round of the 2011 F2 championship. Formula One will return to the circuit in the 2014 season.

It is essentially the same layout as the old (A1 Ring) circuit, very simple with just nine corners, four flat out stretches where the cars hit 300km/h and a very short lap time of around 68 seconds. Most teams have only simulations to go on and some of the details which will be important to deciding race strategy – such as the exact pit lane length and pit stop time – will be measured and worked out during practice on Friday.
It looks similar to Canada in terms of the amount of energy and loading going into the tyres, so Pirelli has brought the same soft and supersoft tyres and it predicts a two stop strategy to be the default for the race.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 4.326 kilometers
Race distance : 71 laps (307.146 kilometers)
Corners : 9 corners in total. A circuit made up of four straights and a few tight corners
Aerodynamic setup : Medium/High downforce
Top speed : 315km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 304km/h without
Full throttle : 70% of the lap (high), 10 seconds unbroken full throttle on main straight
Fuel consumption : High
Time spent braking : 14% of lap (high), 7 braking zones
Brake wear : High
Total time needed for pit stop at 80km/h (est) : 22 seconds

Weather Forecast

The forecast for this weekend looks good with temperatures in the high 20s and little chance of rain.


The Austrian Grand Prix, which returns to Formula 1 this weekend, will feature two DRS zones. Controlled by separate detection points, governing body the FIA has decided to place the two activation areas along the start/finish straight and between the Remus and Schlossgold corners of the Red Bull Ring circuit.


Pirelli tyre choice for Austria: Prime tyre is Soft and Option tyre is Super Soft. This is the same combination as in Monaco and Montreal. This combination of Pirelli tyres in Monaco proved very durable and quite hard to warm up and this is likely to be repeated this weekend. This will be particularly noticeable for the fronts on the soft compound. The working temperature range of the soft is higher and the track temperatures may be a little low to get them working to the optimum. Pirelli is not sure until they test on Friday of the exact difference in lap time performance between the soft and supersoft tyres. The estimated range is between 0.7s/lap and 1.4s/lap.

Safety Car

As this is a revamped circuit, there is no current data for this.


Despite having four 300km/h straights and two DRS zones, overtaking might not be all that straightforward on this track due to the nature of the corners. Time will tell. So strategy will de decisive as it was in Montreal. Before a wheel has turned it looks as though a likely strategy could be to do an initial stint on the supersoft of around 14 laps and then two equal stints of around 28/29laps on soft. There could be some good racing as the cars, which have just stopped and are getting the front tyres up to temperature, struggle to hold back cars who have stayed out.

Mercedes is the dominant force at the moment with six wins and seven pole positions. This track is likely to be another strong circuit for them, with four 300km/h straights and traction out of slow corners another Mercedes strength

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Friday, June 6, 2014


The Canadian Grand Prix (known in French as the Grand Prix du Canada), abbreviated as gpc, is an annual auto race held in Canada starting in 1961. It has been part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967. It was first staged at Mosport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario as a sports car event before it alternated between Mosport and Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Quebec after Formula One took over the event. After 1971, safety concerns led to the Grand Prix moving permanently to Mosport. In 1978, after similar safety concerns with Mosport, the Canadian Grand Prix moved to its current home at the Circuit Giles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame in Montreal.

In 2005, the Canadian Grand Prix was the most watched Formula One GP in the world. The race was also the third most watched sporting event worldwide, behind the first place Super Bowl XXXIX and the UEFA Champions League Final.

This weekend is the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, one of the F1 fraternity’s favourite races and a solid favourite with many drivers. Montreal is unique, with its long straights and corners lined with walls, especially the “Wall of Champions” on the exit of the final chicane once hit by three World Champs in the same 1999 race.

With a combination of long straights, numerous chicanes and the close proximity of barriers to the track, the Montreal circuit places stress on engines and brakes as well as driver concentration. The track itself is bumpy and generally low grip, due to the fact that it is rarely used outside of the grand prix weekend. With the lack of long corners and emphasis on traction, tyre wear around Montreal is relatively low. Thanks to the configuration of the Montreal track, overtaking tended to be easier on it than at most circuits.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 4.36 kilometers
Race distance : 70 laps (305 kilometers)
Corners : 12 corners in total made up of straights, chicanes and a hairpin
Aerodynamic setup : Medium downforce
Top speed : 326km/h (with Dag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 316km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap (quite high, 15 seconds unbroken full throttle on main straight)
Time spent braking : 17% of lap (high, 7 braking zones)
Brake wear : Very High
Total time needed for pit stop at 80km/h : 18.8 seconds

After the extreme of Monaco, qualifying is significantly less important at Montreal because overtaking is easy and with a short pit lane, this also has a big bearing on race strategy, generally pushing teams towards more stops rather than less.


Set on the St Lawrence seaway, Montreal can experience extremes of weather for the race; it can be very hot and humid, but also cold and wet, as it was in 2011. This will have a huge bearing on the tyres. It is common to see huge temperature variations – 15 degrees of track temperature on one day and 35 degrees on another. It is one of the most extreme circuit locations for this phenomenon.

Early forecasts for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend pointed to a strong chance of thunderstorms on the first day of practice. But as the start of the race weekend draws near the threat of rain has gradually receded. It’s now looking ever more likely the teams will get a dry start to the weekend, and conditions will remain fine after that.

There will be cloud cover and perhaps the occasional shower during the first day of running on Friday, with temperature reaching around 23C. By Saturday the cloud cover will have passed and under clear skies air temperatures are likely to be three or four degrees higher. It’s likely to be warmer than any of the three days last year, when track temperatures peaked at 33C during the race. Sunday is likely to bring more of the same.

The Montreal Plateau Webcam run by Adrian Platts is a useful way of keeping an eye on incoming weather systems at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, as it is located 2km west of the circuit and usually sees its incoming weather. Find it HERE.


Pirelli tyre choice for Montreal: Prime tyre is Soft and Option tyre is Super Soft. This is the same combination as in Monaco. With the lack of long corners and emphasis on traction, tyre wear around Montreal is relatively low.


This weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix will once again have two DRS zones. Last year two DRS zone were used, but there was only one activation point – the first zone is 55m before Turn 12 (Casino Straight) and the second is 70m after Turn 14 (Start-Finish Straight). This year there will be two DRS zones as well. They share a single detection point, located 110m after T9. The first activation point is 55m before T12, the second 70m after T14.

Also ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix the FIA has revealed a number of changes to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Asphalt has replaced the gravel around the outside of Turns 10 and 13, while the barrier on the outside of Turn 13 (right of the pit entry), has been moved further back and a new debris fence has been installed. New guardrail posts have been added in order to ensure that no spacing is greater than two metres, while the speed bumps used in 2013 at the exit of Turn 9 and the final chicane will be in place again this year.

Safety Car

The chances of a safety car at Montreal are very high at 56%. Seven of the last 12 Canadian Grands Prix have featured at least one safety car. This is because, with the track lined with walls and several blind corners, there are frequent accidents and the conditions for the marshals when clearing debris from an accident are dangerous. Montreal has the highest rate of Safety Car deployments per race of any circuit bar Singapore.


It has taken just six races for the rivalry between the Mercedes team mates of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to transform into an intense and personal duel. Although there is two-thirds of the season still to run, the events of Monaco may prove to have been a turning point in the narrative of the 2014 championship.

And while Mercedes management will have done everything in their power to soothe any tensions between their drivers behind closed doors, once the lights go out on Sunday expect the battle between Rosberg and Hamilton to pick up where it left off. Personally I think Hamilton will have the advantage here as he has a very good track record at Montreal. Hamilton has three poles and three wins. Rosberg’s best qualifying is fourth and best race result is 5th.

Qualifying last year it was:
Lewis Hamilton: 1:25.512
Nico Rosberg 1:26.008

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Thursday, June 5, 2014


Fantastic but simple analysis of what could be going on in Alonso's head and what are his options if Ferrari keep going down the toilet as they are right now by ESPN feature writer Nate Saunders. I was screaming in agony when I heard Alonso was going to Ferrari because at the time Ferrari were still quite strong and I knew what Alonso was capable of. But alas, the team has floundered.

I'm sharing this article in its entirety as I could have not written it any better than what Nate has done and I truly find it worthwhile reading so I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. The original article is HERE.

Ferrari's PR department may well have leapt for joy when they saw Nico Rosberg finish Monaco qualifying in the Mirabeau slip road. The bad blood which followed at Mercedes provided a compelling narrative for the rest of the weekend and buried the news everyone had been talking about earlier that week, which centred around a certain Fernando Alonso.

The news had triggered with Alonso's cryptic comments in response to praise from Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche, saying he did not feel like he received the same support from those closest to him. Ferrari issued a gushing reply from Luca di Montezemolo, stating Alonso is "the best driver in the world, who always gives 200% in races".

The statement suggested various things, notably that Montezemolo is terrified of losing Alonso after failing to provide him a competitive car yet again this season. Ferrari's reported big-money pursuit of Red Bull technical guru Adrian Newey would support that hypothesis. Alonso caused a stir in 2013 by joking that he would like "somebody else's car" for his birthday and he may well wish for similar this year.

If Alonso's eyes have started to wander again, ESPN looks at the likely destinations for the Spaniard and whether there is much hope of him finding a drive away from Maranello.


Mercedes kicked off the Alonso speculation in two ways; first came Toto Wolff's statement that Alonso was a "racing monster" capable of just about anything in a motor car, followed by chairman Zetsche saying Alonso was "probably the best driver" on the current grid. The statements were bound to cause a stir in the paddock, even before Montezemolo's response, and could be interpreted as an attempt to court a man who made very public his dissatisfaction at Ferrari in 2013.

On the surface it is hard not to like the idea. The only team-mate to genuinely challenge Alonso consistently in his career is Lewis Hamilton, so much so that it caused the Spaniard to destroy his opportunity at McLaren in 2007 and spend two years languishing at an uncompetitive Renault as a result. Hamilton was an incredible coup for Mercedes when they signed him in late 2012 so it is next to impossible to imagine the team would dump him so soon, meaning Nico Rosberg would appear the most likely to go.

But it seems equally unlikely Mercedes would turn its back on Rosberg, a German driver who has been with the team since the beginning in 2010 and has reportedly signed a two-year contract extension. Then there is the team harmony to consider. Mercedes has already spent the last weeks fighting fires between Hamilton and Rosberg. Replace Rosberg with Alonso and the situation could resemble something of a towering inferno.

Red Bull

The rumour mill was in overdrive half way through 2013 about Alonso replacing Mark Webber at Red Bull. By some accounts Alonso pushed hard to join and Red Bull gave serious consideration to the idea before opting for Daniel Ricciardo. It is hard to know what Vettel would have made of being team-mates with Alonso - he did a good job of staying tight-lipped on the subject last year - but his growing frustration this year suggests he would not have handled the challenge of a competitive former world champion all that well.

Choosing Ricciardo is already a decision which is paying dividends for Red Bull and meant the team continued its tried and tested formula of promoting youngsters from its drivers' programme. With Daniil Kvyat impressing for Toro Rosso and the likes of Alex Lynn and Carlos Sainz Jr also on the books in other series, if a seat was available it seems unlikely Red Bull would want to overlook one of its own junior drivers with F1 opportunities already at a premium.

Add to that the reputation Alonso brings as a man who likes to build a team around himself and you have a problem for a team which spent so long managing the frosty relationship between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.


Alonso's move to McLaren in 2007 was supposed to be a platform to a third world title but ended in acrimony after just one year, his reputation tarnished and his relationship with Ron Dennis seemingly damaged beyond repair. The problems stemmed from a rookie Hamilton having the gall to challenge Alonso not only for race wins but for the title, before taking an ugly turn when the Spaniard threatened to go to the FIA with information relating to the spygate scandal.

But there may yet be hope for Alonso yet. Despite their rocky relationship Dennis said "never say never" when asked about Alonso coming back to McLaren at the end of last year. The arrival of Honda engines could well open the door for Alonso if the engine manufacturer wanted to mark its return next season with a marquee driver signing.

Whether Alonso would see McLaren as a step sideways or backwards is another question. McLaren clearly has the resources to get back to the front but, like Ferrari, it has been a worryingly long time since it delivered its drivers a car with championship-winning potential. Jenson Button's contract runs until the end of this season but almost certainly has an option for another, while it would take a remarkable downturn in form for the team to consider dumping the promising Kevin Magnussen after just one season.


What do I think? I think his best option would be McLaren as Honda may just be able to produce a powerful powertrain (not engines anymore) to rival Mercedes as they will have this whole year to watch and learn. Plus they have a track record of powerful turbo engines in their history with McLaren.

I'm sharing this article in its entirety as I could have not written it any better than what Nate has done and I truly find it worthwhile reading so I wanted to share it with as many people as possible. The original article is 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 Fernando Alonso fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Here is the winners vs losers piece by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1. Original article HERE.

"Monaco is like cycling round your bathroom" is the classic quote. Now try doing it with one eye closed...


Jules Bianchi, Marussia, 9th
A historic day in the tax dodgers' principality. One of the drivers who almost certainly doesn't earn enough to live there, managed to score the first ever points for Marussia. Jules Bianchi had to do some robust overtaking en route to his ninth place, but was able to fend off Jean-Eric Vergne (who nerfed him in the rear wing at the hairpin) for a time and finished in front of a McLaren and a Ferrari. He found a unique place to overtake rival Kamui Kobayashi, lunging up the inside into the Rascasse, then banging wheels three times on the way through. This might be the only two points that either Bianchi or Marussia ever score, so, an event not to go unmarked.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 32, Nico Hulkenberg, Force India on Kevin Magnussen, McLaren for P7
It's always been true of Monaco that you rely on co-operation from the car being overtaken to make a passing move stick. Should the overtaken car at any point decide that they'd like to maintain their normal braking point and the normal turn-in line, then it's tears. This was true of Adrian Sutil's cheeky little dinks into the Loew's/Grand Hotel Hairpin, or Bianchi vs Kobayashi.

Most audacious of all was Hulkenberg versus Magnussen on the first lap after the restart, with Nico shooting up the inside of the McLaren on the short sprint from Bas Mirabeau to Portier. Martin Brundle thought he'd never seen anyone overtake there before, but in 1998 Michael Schumacher had squeezed past Alex Wurz's Benetton there, although that was a carry-on from a move that started through the Loew's hairpin.

Hulkenberg was able to keep Jenson Button at bay despite his fast-degenerating SuperSoft tyres and put some more serious points for Sahara Force India. He must be so glad he didn't get the Lotus drive.


Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1st
Toto Wolff explained the extraordinary sawing motion that Nico Rosberg did at the wheel of his Mercedes on his last lap of Qualifying as the natural reaction a driver would make after braking too late. Yeah, right. Any other explanation would have been a PR disaster for the Mercedes team. On the balance of probabilities, someone else would have made that mistake through Qualifying if it was such a great place to make up time, but, surprise surprise, they didn't. Nobody did it in the race either.

Rosberg didn't look the fastest Mercedes driver around Monaco, but such is the idiocy of the circuit that that never really matters much. He was the leading driver around the circuit and when it came to the pit-stops, they were premeditated by Adrian Sutil's crash, so had to be taken together.

F1 needs the Hamilton vs Rosberg battle to keep on going because it's the biggest show in town in 2014, so for that reason alone it was important for Nico to win.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd
Lewis Hamilton knows he really can't complain about a bit of skulduggery from the other side of the garage given that he used a verboten engine setting to win the race in Spain. What he got back in Monaco evened the score. What was probably eating him up more, was that after Barcelona he apologised whereas Rosberg didn't in Monaco. On Saturday he said he was going to deal with the incident "as Senna would". Mercedes weren't sure if that mean clattering into the barrier at Portier then walking home.

If Marussia's first ever points weren't such a defining moment, then Hamilton's defence of P2 with one eye shut was easily worthy of Star of the Race. In fact there were shades of the Monty Python film - The Holy Grail in his team radio messages. In the film, the character the Black Knight keeps getting limbs cut off him in a fight but won't give up. When disabled by having to close one eye around the most exacting F1 circuit on the calendar, where there is the smallest margin of error, Lewis wasn't interested in the gap to the car behind him, he still wanted to know his gap to Rosberg in front who he was never going to catch.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 3rd
A poor getaway could have relegated Daniel to P5 for the rest of the afternoon, but Max Chilton sorted Raikkonen out and Renault quality control removed his team-mate.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 4th
For once Fernando was outraced by his team-mate and had a long lonely afternoon, circulating a couple of pit-stops in front of Hulkenberg. Every race he is trying to find new ways of saying, "we are not fast enough".

Jenson Button, McLaren, 6th
Button's quick thinking and early pit-stop after the Adrian Sutil accident didn't give him the advantage it could have, but at least it meant that the team didn't have to double stop him behind Kevin Magnussen. He was the beneficiary of cars disappearing in front of him and his team-mate having an ERS issue.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 7th
Considering Felipe was down in 13th on the opening lap, to finish 7th was not a poor result - and he was right up with the Button vs Hulkenberg fight at the flag. It looked like the Williams team left him out on circuit during the first Safety Car, gambling on another Safety Car to make his second stop. Otherwise it was a bit strange that they left him out there.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 8th
On an afternoon when four other Renault engine units failed to make it to the flag, Romain banked more points for the Enstone team.

Max Chilton, Marussia, 14th
Max has still finished every F1 race he's ever taken part in, the run continues.

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, 10th
Kevin Magnussen put in a fine qualifying performance and a great opening lap to finish it in P7. He may have got a bit of argy bargy from Raikkonen, but on balance, it's nothing he hasn't meted out to the Ferrari driver already this season.

Helmut Marko, Red BullThe promotion of Dan Ricciardo to the Red Bull Racing team has been one of the decisions of the year. The elevation of Daniil Kvyat above Antonio Felix da Costa another one. For a long time the Red Bull staircase of talent looked like an expensive gentle incline. Now, with Ricciardo outqualifying Vettel 5-1, and with Vergne (for whom Dan was on virtual parity last year) putting his car in the top 10 in Monaco, and Kvyat matching him all the way it looks like the Red Bull organisation have got four very strong drivers. Memories of Alguersuari, Buemi and Bourdais fading fast.


Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, DNF
Vettel got a great start and got the jump on his normally-too-damn-fast team-mate, only to find that reliability let him down. Now he should be able to understand what Mark Webber felt like for all those years.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 12th
Kimi got the most brilliant Monaco start and there's no reason to suppose that he couldn't have hung on to P3 till the end of the race. That is until Max Chilton inexpertly unlapped himself during the Safety Car period and gave Raikkonen a puncture. Even after the calamity of a second pit-stop Kimi was making good progress back through the field and was up to P8 when he made a poor overtaking move on Magnussen, carrying too much speed into Loews and taking them both into the barrier.

Sauber, DNF
Sauber are now in the invidious position of lagging behind Marussia in the Constructors' table and may stay there for a few races to come.

Media Watch
Martin Brundle: "Being in the pit-stop window doesn't mean you have to jump through that window."

Eddie Jordan: Talking about Kimi Raikkonen's overtaking move - "You can see he's getting very bravado."

Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish: "He's adjusting some adjustments on his steering wheel."

Original article by Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 is 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 Lotus fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.