Friday, July 24, 2015


The Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungarian: Magyar Nagydíj) is a motor race held annually in Hungary. Since 1986, the race has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The first Hungarian Grand Prix was held on June 21, 1936 over a 3.1-mile (5.0 km) track laid out in Népliget, a park in Budapest. The Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, and the Alfa Romeo-equipped Ferrari teams all sent three cars and the event drew a very large crowd. However, politics and the ensuing war meant the end of Grand Prix motor racing in the country for fifty years.

The Hungaroring circuit is 19 km from the centre of Budapest, alongside the M3 motorway at the border of the village, Mogyoród. The track is in a natural valley, surrounded by 50 hectares of rolling hillside. With this exceptional natural advantage, almost 80 percent of the racetrack is visible from any point. This is the reason why it is called "The Shallow Plate", it is because the spectators are watching races sitting by the side of an imaginary plate.Hungary is a much maligned circuit, due to its tight low speed nature and the difficulty of overtaking, but it has produced a surprising number of exciting races.

As well as being tough on tyres, the Hungaroring is very physically demanding on the drivers. They have often compared it to Singapore (renowned as the most physically demanding track of the year) due to the high number of corners, significant ambient temperatures, and comparatively little airflow though the car.

The Hungaroring is a circuit that is quite well balanced in terms of traction, braking and lateral energy demands. All the forces acting on the car are roughly equal in their extent, meaning that a neutral set-up is needed. The teams tend to run maximum downforce to generate the most aerodynamic grip.

Track Characteristics

Track length : 4.381km kilometres.
Race distance : 70 laps (306.630 kilometres).
Corners : 14 corners in total. Average speed of 190 km/h is the lowest of any permanent track on F1 calendar.
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce.
Top speed : 305 km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 295km/h without.
Full throttle : 55% of the lap (low).
Time spent braking : 14% of lap.
Number of brake zones : 11.
Brake wear : High.
Total time needed for pit stop : 16 seconds.
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (high).
Lap Record : 1:19.071 - M Schumacher (2004)

Weather Forecast

Hot temperatures greeted the teams as they arrived at the Hungaroring but the mercury will fall in time for Sunday’s race. The Hungaroring will see some changeable conditions over the next three days including substantial temperature fluctuations and a chance of rain.

Tomorrow’s practice sessions may well be held on a wet track as rain is expected in the morning with a chance of thunderstorms. Conditions will be warm, however, with maximum temperatures exceeding 30C. It will be even hotter on Saturday – potentially as high as 35C – and sunny conditions are expected when the drivers are qualifying.

However the picture may change drastically overnight. A band of rain is forecast to arrive, probably early in the morning, followed by substantially cooler and windier conditions for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Race day is likely to see temperatures peak well below 30C.


The P Zero White medium tyres and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be in action for the Hungarian Grand Prix: an event steeped in history as it was the first race ever to be held behind the former Iron Curtain, on a distinctive circuit just outside Budapest that was described by one former world champion as like "a supersized go-kart track." This gives a clear impression of the track characteristics: it is tight and twisty with one corner leading straight into the next one - and its compact nature makes it very popular with spectators, who are able to see most of the circuit from any one vantage point.

There is only one significant straight on the Hungaroring, which means that the tyres do not get much opportunity to cool down. As a result, the medium tyre in particular (a low working range compound) will be constantly working at the upper end of its working range if it is hot. However, rain has been seen at the Hungaroring in the past too: notably last year.


There will be two DRS zones sharing a detection point 5m before Turn 14. The activation points are 130m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6m after the apex of Turn 1.

The guardrail to the left of the run-off area at Turn 3 has been re-aligned to better protect the recovery vehicle and to allow space for a car that has been recovered. Also, speed bumps 50mm high have been installed two metres from the track edge in the run-off area at Turns 6/7, while new debris fencing has been installed close to the guardrail on the left between Turns 11 and 12 and around the outside of Turn 14.

Safety Car

Safety cars are surprisingly rare at the Hungaroring. One possible explanation is that there are few gravel traps for cars to get stranded in, with tarmac preferred through most corners. The chances of a safety car are only 10% and there have been only two in the last seven years.


Last year Daniel Ricciardo won the 70-lap race for Red Bull, using three pit stops and a combative strategy to gain an advantage. Wet conditions meant that the drivers started on the intermediate tyre, which in turn signified that they were under no obligation to run both compounds. After completing his opening stint on the intermediate, Ricciardo ran the rest of the race on the soft tyre, with strategies also affected by two safety car periods. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton used tyre strategy to help him finish a remarkable third after starting from the pitlane.

Even in the DRS era, the difficulties of overtaking at the Hungaroring are such that last year was only the second time the race had been won by someone who did not start on the front row. With strategic options likely to be limited on Pirelli’s choice of the soft and medium tyre for this weekend, Saturday’s qualifying session will be one of the most important of the year. This year Lewis Hamilton is on a roll and with good hot weather there ain't nothing stopping him from adding yet another win to his Hungarian GP collection of wins.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Silverstone always serves up a good race because of the layout of the circuit and the British weather. Sebastian Vettel found that out nicely when he made the right call for intermediate tyres late in the race and landed in P3 after an uneventful race for him. Lewis Hamilton made an inspiring call late in the race for the same tyres and won the race. Although to be honest without the rain, Nico Rosberg would have overhauled him in the last couple of laps as Nico was taking chunks out of his time with slick tyres on a wet track. That disn't make sense really. How can he be so fast on slicks on a wet track like that?

Anyway here is what PlanetF1 had to say about it.

Original article HERE

It was a great opportunity for Williams right up until the moment it wasn't...

Williams waste an opportunity
Silverstone is a special circuit for Williams, one of F1's most special constructors. Clay Regazzoni swept to the team's first ever victory in 1977 and two decades later Jacques Villeneuve rode his luck to secure a century of wins for Frank Williams' outfit.

Instead of capitalising on a blistering start at the 2015 edition of at the classic circuit, Williams sacrificed a potential race victory at the altar of conservatively collecting points in a performance that has echoes of the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix in which the team failed to make the most of a front-row lockout.

The imposition of team orders to keep Valtteri Bottas behind Felipe Massa spared the Brazilian verteran the embarrassment of a "Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you" moment, but it came at a high price. Not only did it ruin a thrilling spectacle, but it also ended Williams' hopes of a 115th grand prix victory and destroyed Valtteri Bottas' chances of a potential maiden win.

Massa and Bottas had launched off the line on Sunday and left the invincible Mercedes glistening in their wake. Running one-two after the early safety car, the romantics were wondering whether Williams were on course for another milestone achievement.

Then came the following utterance to Bottas: "No racing your team-mate"

Unlike his team, Bottas sensed his moment and said in a message broadcast on lap 10: "I can overtake. I can do it on the back straight." On lap 11 Williams had conceded that they may have erred. "It has to be a clean move and you have to pull away," they said to the Finn.

But by then it was too late as Mercedes were ready to pounce and undercut the Williams at the first round of pit stops.

Would Bottas had had the pace to keep Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind? Would Williams had made the right call when the rain came? It would have been in F1's best interest to find out, but for F1 teams the only interest is self interest – even at the expense of their drivers.

Lewis finds the Goldilocks zone
While Williams conspired to sabotage their chances of winning for the first time since 2012, Hamilton and Mercedes stopped for intermediate tyres on lap 43 just as the intensity of the rain increased.

In the wet the finest of margins decide a race. Nico Rosberg stayed out one lap too long, a decision that put paid to a fourth win in five for the German. Kimi Raikkonen came in too early and he tumbled down the field to finish a mediocre eighth.

Rosberg said that he thought Hamilton had made "the wrong call". The Brit, though, found the "just right" Goldilocks zone to usurp Rosberg and deliver yet another victory on home turf.

St Hamilton and his engineers made the right strategy call in Northamptonshire, something they failed to do in Monte Carlo. Sometimes F1 drivers are robbed by the bank, other times they're the bank robbers.

Silverstone deliver, too
Journalists have written countless words about the sorry state of F1 in 2015. The cars are too slow. The cars aren't noisy enough. The racing is dull. The rules are too complex.

Amid the swirling pessimism, the British Grand Prix delivered a much-needed tonic for a sport that sometimes seems to be to sport what Greece is to the eurozone.

The opening lap of the race was spellbinding and the rest was magnificent: safety cars, spins, the lead changing hands several times, team-mates clashing on track, and then the rain.

The only thing missing? A constructor other than Mercedes winning.

The new order
Easy to forget given the chaos of the race, but 2015's competitive order was reshaped during the dry running at the British Grand Prix. Mercedes still have the fastest car and the McLarens, despite Fernando Alonso's point, are still well off the pace.

But at the sharp end, Williams have made strides while Red Bull and the B-spec Force India took chunks out of Ferrari.

"It's tight between us and Williams, and Red Bull were quick this weekend so I think they have done a step forward," said Sebastian Vettel after picking up a rather fortuitous podium.

The naysayers will no doubt retain their sceptical outlook towards F1 and at least some of their criticism will be legitimate considering Mercedes completed a ninth consecutive race in which both cars finished on the podium.

That said, Austria dished up some great midfield racing and, as SIlverstone showed, the race for best of the rest is simmering nicely.

McLaren retirement watch
A solid race for McLaren with no cars retiring with mechanical problems. The team has now finished 38.9 per cent of the races it has started in 2015.

Original article HERE

Silverstone gives us a reminder about just how good F1 can be, Williams' decision "not to chase rainbows" backfires and more...

Good Race
Formula 1
Felipe Massa ducking in between the two Mercedes cars after a blistering start, the two McLaren team-mates tagging each other, the two Lotus drivers making contact, the top four separated by two seconds, Williams ordering Valtteri Bottas not to overtake Massa, Mercedes' dummy pit stop, the rain, Lewis Hamilton's inspired pit for inters and Sebastian Vettel sneaking a podium. We could go on and on and on about how great the race was.

After all the complaints we had about the state of Formula 1, the British Grand Prix came to the sport's rescue on Sunday 140 000 fans turned up on race day and then the drivers and teams put up a spectacular show. More of the same at Hungary in three weeks' time please.

Lewis Hamilton
The Monaco Grand Prix must have been in the back of Lewis Hamilton's mind when he made the decision to come in for intermediate tyres. However, this time it proved to be an inspired call as he stole a march on his rivals at the British Grand Prix. It ultimately helped him to a very comfortable victory at Silverstone.

"It wasn't luck, it wasn't genius, it was just for once the right call. Sometimes you get it right, sometimes you get it wrong," he said after the race.

He has now joined legends Jack Brabham, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher as three-times winners of the British GP. Next on the list is Nigel Mansell on four wins. It was also Mercedes' third win in a row at Silverstone.

Sebastian Vettel
Having been outqualified by his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for only the second time this season, Sebastian Vettel found himself labouring in P7 during the early stages of the race.

His first pit stop was relatively early, but he was still stuck behind Raikkonen and we barely saw any footage of him before the rain hit Silverstone. However, he didn't blink first time, but was one of the first once to pounce when the second shower came down.

The gamble paid off, take note Williams.

Force India
The first impressions of the VJM08 have been very good. Nico Hulkenberg was there or thereabouts for most of the race weekend and he made it into Q3 while team-mate Sergio Perez was a bit further down the grid.

Although Hulkenberg was as high as P5 early on, he eventually finished seventh with Perez two places below. The eight points to Lotus' none mean Force India have a bit of breathing space in the Constructors' standings, but Daniil Kvyat's P6 means they didn't close the gap to Red Bull.

They still have plenty of reason to be optimistic for the remainder of the campaign.

Nobody saw Fernando Alonso's point coming after another difficult qualifying session for McLaren. They lost Jenson Button on the opening lap and Alonso was also forced to stop early after he got caught up in a first-lap tangle.

Yet the team managed to finish the race with a point as Alonso somehow stayed ahead of the struggling Marcus Ericsson for Sauber.

Bad Race
Yes, Mercedes would probably have won as their car is better in the cooler conditions and they are better at pit stops. And yes, it is easier to come up with a race-winning strategy from the comfort of your couch or the safety of the office.

However, Williams didn't do themselves any favours early on as they shot themselves in the foot by not allowing Valtteri Bottas to pass Felipe Massa.

Sometimes you have to take risks to give yourself a chance of upsetting the applecart. Williams didn't do that by keeping Bottas behind Massa and then later in the race they didn't gamble by bringing one of their drivers in early for intermediate tyres.

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley admitted earlier this year that the days of rolling the dice and "chasing rainbows" are in the past as they would rather settle for solid points. They are happy to do "flat, boring races".

Well, doing "flat, boring races" backfired spectacularly at Silverstone and they ended up without a podium as Sebastian Vettel sneaked P3 by "chasing rainbows" and going for an early stop for inters.

Felipe Nasr
Well, he didn't actually take part in the race due to a gearbox problem so it's not really his fault. For a Formula 1 driver it can't get any worse as you've done the hard yards the two previous days only to be denied 30 minutes before the light goes green.

Toro Rosso
"Only Mercedes was a bit faster," was Max Verstappen's verdict on Toro Ross's pace after Friday's practice sessions at Silverstone.

He was right, Toro Rosso looked impressive during FP1 and FP2, but things started to go wrong during qualifying and it got worse on race day and they eventually left the circuit empty handed.

At least Carlos Sainz can point to a good qualy run as he started P8, but Verstappen's race weekend will be remembered for the constant moaning over the team radio. We will put that in the "still learning" file.

Another double DNF for Lotus and to add insult to injury Romain Grosjean was the one who ended Pastor Maldonado's race, through no fault of their own as Daniel Ricciardo set off the chain of events. Ah well, the Hungarian Grand Prix is only three weeks away.

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Friday, July 3, 2015


The British Grand Prix is a race in the calendar of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is currently held at the Silverstone Circuit near the village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire in England. The British and Italian Grands Prix are the oldest continuously staged Formula One World Championship Grands Prix. It was designated the European Grand Prix five times between 1950 and 1977, when this title was an honorary designation given each year to one Grand Prix race in Europe. All British Grands Prix dating back to 1926 have been held in England; where the British motor racing industry is primarily located.

Silverstone is one of the oldest races on the calendar and started life as an airfield. The end of Second World War left Britain with no major race track. An ex-farmer, James Wilson Brown, was employed by the RAC and given just two months to turn the site from a wartime airfield and farm into a race track for the first RAC International Grand Prix.

On the 2nd October 1948, an estimated 100,000 people flocked to see Luigi Villoresi drive from the back of the grid to beat a field of 22 others in his Maserati with a top speed of 72.2mph. Silverstone racing history had begun. From the 50 races held here at the circuit, Alain Prost holds the record for most wins at the circuit in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1993. Nigel Mansell is only just behind Alain with 4 wins in 1986, 1987, 1991 and 1992.

Silverstone has the fastest corner combinations on the F1 calendar and is loved by the drivers, but it can be a real headache for the engineers and strategists, as it shows up aerodynamic instabilities and it can be very difficult to get a good reading on the tyres, especially as there is usually some rain during the practice sessions.


Track length : 5.891km kilometres.
Race distance : 52 laps (306.198 kilometres).
Corners : 18 corners in total. A high speed circuit based on an old WWII airfield. Lots of high-speed corners, aerodynamically challenging, very easy on brakes.
Aerodynamic setup : Med/High downforce.
Top speed : 311km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 301km/h without.
Full throttle : 66% of the lap (medium).
Fuel consumption : High.
Time spent braking : 9% of lap (very low). 9 braking zones.
Brake wear : Low.
Total time needed for pit stop : 25 seconds.


The weather in England, even in summer, is notoriously hard to predict. Something of a heatwave is currently hitting Britain, with temperatures soaring to 36.7ºC (98ºF) at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, making it the hottest July day ever. Although temperatures have cooled a little at Silverstone on Thursday, the heat is expected to return for the three days of on-track running.


The P Zero Orange hard and P Zero White medium tyres have been selected for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone: a fast and flowing circuit that takes a lot out of the tyres, especially during the many high-speed corners. This results in plenty of wear and degradation, especially if ambient temperatures are high - which is expected to be the case this year. As well as being one of the quickest and most historic venues on the Formula One calendar, Silverstone is also something of a home race for Pirelli: the Italian firm's Formula One logistics hub and centre of engineering excellence is located in Didcot, less than an hour away by car.


There will be two DRS zones at Silverstone. The detection point of the first is 25m before Turn Three, with the activation point 30m after Turn Five. The second detection point is at Turn 11 with the activation point 55m after Turn 14.


Because the new pit lane at Silverstone is quite long, a stop is relatively slow by F1 standards at 25 seconds total pit lane time. This encourages teams to do less, rather than more stops.


Silverstone is a fast, open circuit with lots of run off areas. So for marshals it’s relatively safe to recover a broken car. The chances of a safety car are therefore quite low – 57%, with 0.6 safety cars per race.


► The British Grand Prix is one of two ever-present races on the Formula One World Championship calendar. The other race featuring every year since 1950 is the Italian Grand Prix.
► Three venues have hosted the British Grand Prix during the World Championship era. Silverstone shared the early races with Aintree, which held races in 1955, ’57, ’59 and 1961-2. Aintree was replaced by Brands Hatch, which held the British Grand Prix in even years between 1964-1986. Silverstone has hosted all of the other races.
► 2014 marks the 48th running of the Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The circuit, however, is celebrating it’s 50th race, having hosted pre-World Championship grands prix in 1948 and 1949. Both of those races were won by Maserati, courtesy of drivers Luigi Villoresi and Baron Emmanuel ‘Toulo’ de Graffenried respectively. Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina won the inaugural world championship race in 1950. Before Silverstone, a British Grand Prix was held at the Brooklands circuit in 1926 and 1927.
► Silverstone is situated in an area known as ‘Motorsport Valley’. Eight of the 11 F1 teams are clustered within 125km of the track. In order of distance they are McLaren (125km), Williams (65km), Caterham (59km), Lotus (40km), Red Bull  (33km), Marussia (24km) and Mercedes (13km), with Force India based a few hundred metres from the front gates of the circuit. Additionally, Mercedes High Performance Powertrains’ manufacturing facility is based 33km from the circuit and Toro Rosso’s wind tunnel is located 23km away.
► Jim Clark (1962, ’63, ’64, ’65, ’67) and Alain Prost (1983, ’85, ’89, ’90, ’93) share top billing at the British Grand Prix with five victories each. One behind them is this weekend’s driver steward Nigel Mansell who won in 1986, ’87, ’91 and ’92. Mansell did, however claim five victories on home soil, winning the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch a year before winning the British Grand Prix at the same circuit. Mansell is one of only two drivers to have won differently titled grands prix at the same circuit (Nelson Piquet won the 1980 Italian and 1981 San Marino Grands Prix at Imola.)


Silverstone is well known for its succession of fast and sweeping corners, which load the tyres with sustained forces that peak at 5g. The teams use high levels of downforce, meaning that there are often big vertical as well as lateral forces acting on the tyres at the same time. The straights and braking areas are reasonably short, allowing the teams to run a lot of aero without too much time loss.

Last year's strategy and how the race was won: Lewis Hamilton won the 52-lap race for Mercedes, with a two-stop strategy. He started on the medium tyre, stopping for the hard compound on lap 24 and hard compound again on lap 41. The race was affected by an early red flag, which meant a re-start with drivers allowed to change tyres on the grid. This had a profound effect on strategy: seven drivers in the top 10 were able to stop just once.

This year with the super hot weather could see some high tyre wear which should lead to a more exciting race to watch. And Lewis Hamilton coming off a bad weekend in Austria to his home race should put some fire up Rosberg's ass as well.

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