Friday, July 24, 2015

2015 HUNGARIAN GP PREVIEW

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.

Tyres

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.

DRS

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.

Conclusion

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

CONCLUSIONS FROM SILVERSTONE 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.

PF1'S CONCLUSIONS FROM BRITAIN
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.

GOOD RACE, BAD RACE: BRITAIN
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.

McLaren
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
Williams
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.

Lotus
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

BRITISH GP 2015 PREVIEW

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 CHARACTERISTICS 

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.

WEATHER FORECAST

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.

TYRES

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.

DRS

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.



PIT STOPS

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.

SAFETY CAR

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.

BRITISH GP FAST FACTS

► 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.)

CONCLUSION

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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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CONCLUSIONS FROM AUSTRIA

That was a boring race. Really. A few laps in and it was processional. I thought the track was supposed to make it a good race but somehow it fizzled out. It's not helped by the fact that Lewis lost the lead at the start and didn't have the pace to challenge all race long. Yes there were some good battles at the back but still most laps were slow. Even the commentators were struggling with what to say.

Here is what PlanetF1 had to say about it.

Danger is never far away, McLaren into the abyss, game of moans and more in our conclusions from the Red Bull Ring.

DANGER IS NEVER FAR AWAY
As Formula 1 grapples with its latest identity crisis, much debate has centred on whether F1 is a business or showbiz, and whether F1 cars are fast and exciting enough. The discussion was rendered moot on lap 1 of the Austrian Grand Prix when Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari lost the rear on a straight and slapped Fernando Alonso's McLaren. The two cars came to a rest with Alonso's car sitting atop the nose of the Ferrari - the McLaren's sidepod and aero skirting just centimetres from Raikkonen's head.

"I was in the wrong place," said Alonso.
"It was a very strange incident because he lost the car in fifth gear or something like that."

F1 is part business and part showbiz, but the Raikkonen-Alonso shunt underscores that it is a sport. And a dangerous one at that. Alonso was involved in an incident at Spa in 2012 when Romain Grosjean's Lotus similarly lurched over the Spaniard's Ferrari and narrowly missed his helmet.

In both cases Alonso was an innocent bystander. Now 33 and with five retirements in his seven starts in 2015, Alonso might be contemplating his next career move - especially as his good friend Jules Bianchi remains in a coma following his crash at Suzuka in 2014. #JB17

MCLAREN INTO THE ABYSS
On the bright side for Alonso, his first-lap incident spared him the ignominy of another catastrophic race. McLaren have between their two cars entered 16 races this season and have reached the chequered flag a mere six times.

Of the 9 failures to finish and one failure to start (Jenson Button in Bahrain), nine have been caused by mechanical problems:

- Power Units: 4
- Exhaust: 2
- Brakes: 1
- Electrics: 1
- Gearbox: 1
- NA: 1 (Austria retirement not released at time of writing)

ROSBERG ROCKS THE RING
Nico Rosberg's win moves him to within 10 points of Lewis Hamilton in the Championship.

The German rocketed past Hamilton through the inside of turn 1 on lap 1 and was feisty in his defence of the lead until the safety car was deployed following the Raikkonen-Alonso shunt.

Rosberg was criticised for his 'soft' wheel-to-wheel ability in 2014 and his showing amid the rolling hills of Austria will go some way to quell the critics.
"It's an awesome feeling to win again here. The start made the race. I really wanted to push this time and I opened the gap over Lewis," Rosberg said after the race.

Hamilton acknowledged he had a bad start and that Nico "was quicker in the race". The Brit's indiscretion at his one and only pit stop and ensuing five-second penalty put paid to his challenge for victory.

Rosberg, therefore, is the form driver having won three of the last four races. Victory at the next race, on Hamilton's home turf at Silverstone, presents the German with an opportunity to well and truly shake the Champion.

FERRARI FUMBLES...AGAIN
Ferrari's Canadian Grand Prix updates would, analysts said, offer the Scuderia the tonic required to push and even catch the Silver Arrows. Instead, Sebastian Vettel and Raikkonen have found themselves scrapping with the Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas in Canada and Austria.

Aghast at the step backwards, the tifosi must be wondering how Vettel managed to win in Malaysia and how the men in red might repeat the feat.

Two factors are worthy of scrutiny.

First, Ferrari have engineered their own woes. At Montreal, Raikkonen's issues with engine mapping resulted in a spin that gifted Bottas the final step on the podium.

Maranello's strategists then got the Raikkonen's qualifying approach all wrong in Austria, which resulted in his exit in Q1. Adding to the litany of errors, the Ferrari mechanics struggled to replace Vettel's right rear tyre at his only pit stop, a blunder that cost him 10 seconds and a podium.

The second factor is the ultimate variable: the weather. Vettel won in Malaysia because the SF15-T responded better than Mercedes to the heat of Sepang. Ferrari will hope that the higher temperatures in the European summer season will help to close the gap to the Mercs.

Singapore may present a similar opportunity, but by then it will be too late. So, at what point do Ferrari channel extra resources to their 2016 challenger?

GAME OF MOANS
The fifth season of Game of Thrones and the 2015 F1 season make for a strange comparison, but there are some parallels.

Many critics have pilloried the HBO series for its predictable brutality and violence. While F1 doesn't exactly burn people alive, Mercedes' dominance is the sporting equivalent of flaying a rival alive. The Silver Arrows now have 21 one-two finishes in the modern era and have started on pole position in 19 consecutive grands prix.

In this environment of Merc dominance, questions swirling around the complexity of the current regulations have become more pointed. Niki Lauda believes F1 has been "regulated to death" while Alain Prost, Maurizio Arrivabene and Bernie Ecclestone have questioned the current rules.

The absurd 25-place penalties handed to McLaren highlight F1's current morass. Unlike Game of Thrones, which drew record viewership in its season finale this month, F1 viewing figures in 2014 were down across the globe and few would predict an uptick in F1 viewers in 2015.

STRAY OBSERVATIONS
Nico Hulkenberg's triumph at Le Mans has rejuvanated the German. After a middling season, the German qualifed fifth and finished a solid sixth in Austria.

Daniel Ricciardo finished tenth to collect one point for Red Bull at their home race. The only consolation for Red Bull at this stage is that they're not McLaren-Honda.

Pastor Maldanado had the biggest tank slapper in recent memory down the main straight on lap 70 on his way to a seventh-place finish. "It was a bit scary but okay. Good control!" said the Lotus driver, as he reached around and patted himself on the back.

GOOD RACE, BAD RACE
By Michelle Foster
Nico Rosberg topped the charts, Lewis Hamilton is on the pit wall and did you hear the one about McLaren...

Good Race
Nico Rosberg; P1
Having missed out on pole position through a mistake at the final corner on his final flying lap, Nico Rosberg was quick to make amends as he snatched P1 off Lewis Hamilton at the start of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. Keeping his wits and bravery about him, he did not back down as the team-mates raced wheel-to-wheel to take the lead.

From there the German always appeared to have the measure of Hamilton as he raced unchallenged, although not entirely untroubled given a vibration in the closing laps, to his third win of this season. With Sunday's victory he also threw his hat into the ring for the World title as, more importantly than him closing the gap to Hamilton to 10 points, he proved he can come out tops when the two race it out.

Felipe Massa; P3
Some may say that Felipe Massa was gifted his first podium of the season thanks to a Ferrari error. Others will note that the Williams driver not only drove a flawless race but he did not buckle under the pressure when Sebastian Vettel caught him in the final laps. Success in F1 is about not only the driver but also the team getting it right. Massa did, Williams did, a podium was the end result.

Sebastian Vettel; P4
Sebastian Vettel did nothing wrong this weekend; you could say he did everything right. Ferrari, though, let him down. Problems in both Friday practices and yet he still finished the day quickest. A car unable to match the Mercedes in qualifying so he lined up third. A car also falling short on race-pace so he joined the Mercedes on the podium. Or at least he would have if Ferrari had not dropped the ball.

A botched pit stop - the one and only pit stop Ferrari did the entire Sunday and they could not get it right - left him in the pits for 13 seconds and dropped him behind Felipe Massa out on track. Yet Vettel never gave up and hunted down the Brazilian. He ran out of time.

Nico Hulkenberg; P6
Following up his Le Mans 24 Hours victory with a P6 in Spielberg, Nico Hulkenberg's phone must be ringing off the hook. Racing a VJM08 that is just days away from a massive (and much-needed) upgrade, the German raised his hand high into the air for a better 2016 race-seat as he qualified fifth and brought the car home in sixth place, his - and Force India's - best result of this season.

Max Verstappen; P8
Pastor Maldonado may have had a go at Max Verstappen in the wake of their closing-laps battle, saying the rookie driver "wasn't really respecting the rules" but, however you saw it, it made for a good racing. Taking on Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat and Maldonado at different times of the race - and at times wheel-to-wheel - Verstappen finished P8, his second points-haul of his fledgling F1 career.

On The Pitwall
Lewis Hamilton; P2
For just about any and every other driver, finishing a grand prix in second place would count as a good race – for many it would even be a great race. But not for Lewis Hamilton.

The reigning World Champion started Sunday's grand prix from pole position having edged Rosberg in qualifying, a session which ended with a mistake for both drivers. Hamilton, though, suffered a clutch issue off the line and before he knew it he was staring at Rosberg's rear wing.

A racer by reputation, fans had hoped it was only a matter of time before Hamilton attacked his team-mate for the lead but instead he drifted back. Even commentators were asking if he was biding his time for a late attack but that never happened and instead Hamilton incurred a five-second penalty for crossing the white line at the exit of the pitlane. A good reason for some to say why he finished second but most definitely not the true story.

Bad Race
Red Bull Racing; P10 and P12
They scored a point. At a race track that Red Bull owns and that carries the Red Bull name, dominated by a giant metal bull (not red), they scored a point. A single, solitary point.

McLaren; double DNF
I would never call a team with McLaren's history and prestige a joke but their performance this past weekend in Spielberg was laughable. Between Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso they amassed a 50-place drop on the grid (engine parts and a gearbox). But given that there are only 20 places that meant in-race penalties for both. And all this taking place in front of Honda's head honcho.

The team's misery was compounded when Alonso, completely innocent in the matter, was taken out by Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap, which meant McLaren were unable to gather any useful data from the new aero package - including the short nose - that the Spaniard was running. Button's race didn't last much longer as he retired with an electrical problem on lap 8.

Despite their rather public woes, the drivers sprouted off phrases such as "in a good place" (Button) and "the crisis is over" (Alonso). To anyone watching the only place McLaren are in is in the pits and the crisis is far from over.

Kimi Raikkonen; DNF
On the up side, Kimi Raikkonen is making Ferrari's decision on whether or not to keep him rather easy. On the down side, it probably won’t go in his favour.

Even if the 2007 World Champion was done in by his team in qualifying, and that depends on whether you're wearing your 'Iceman' cap, having a go at your team is never a good idea especially while still in the interview process. And crashing out on the first lap is a big no-no. That, though, is exactly what Raikkonen did. Yes he was on the prime tyres, which gave less grip, but so too were Maldonado, Perez and Ricciardo and none of them suffered wheel spin. None of them had a tank-slapper. None of them ended the race with Fernando Alonso on their head.

Marcus Ericsson; P13
Oy vey, what do you say to that. Jumping the start is a rookie error and a rather embarrassing one. Could the Swede have scored if not for that mistake and subsequent penalty? Given that his fastest lap time for the race was on a par with sixth-placed Nico Hulkenberg and only marginally slower than Verstappen's and Perez's, Sauber will be wondering the same.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here - http://formulaone.spreadshirt.com/

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Here is a sample. Click on image to purchase.


Friday, June 19, 2015

AUSTRIAN GP 2015 PREVIEW

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 (full world championship points awarded after 75 per cent distance/54 laps)
Run to Turn One : 185 metres
Longest straight : 868m, on the approach to Turn One
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

Did you know?

Jochen Rindt was F1’s first German-born world champion. He was born in Mainz, Germany, but was raised in Graz after his parents were killed in a World War II bombing raid. He took Austrian nationality and became the sport’s only posthumous world champion in 1970 when he was killed at the Italian Grand Prix.

WEATHER FORECAST

The track is located in the Styrian mountains, so the weather conditions can change quickly. Although rain is expected during the coming three days at the Red Bull Ring, current forecasts indicate it will arrive overnight on Friday and most likely won’t interfere with the following day’s running at the track.

Friday is likely to be the pick of the three days at the circuit near Knittelfeld in the Styrian countryside. It offers the best chance of seeing some sunshine and temperatures could exceed 20C.

Slightly cooler conditions are expected for qualifying and the race – Sunday could see the mercury struggle to get far above 16C. With the soft and super-soft tyres allocated for this weekend, lower temperatures may aid tyre life but could make graining a problem, as it was for those who started the race on the super-soft tyre last year.

DRS

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.


TYRES

For the third race in succession, the P Zero Yellow soft and P Zero Red supersoft tyres have been nominated. The demands on the tyres are relatively low, with two straights and reasonably slow corners. The Austrian Grand Prix reappeared on the Formula One calendar for the first time in 11 seasons last year, meaning that the teams will now be able to use the data from 2014 when it comes to formulating the optimal strategy. After the Austrian Grand Prix, the final two-day in-season test of the year will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The surface at the Red Bull Ring is low grip and low abrasion, with the track getting progressively quicker as the weekend goes on. Even though the asphalt is new, the track is quite bumpy in places, which makes it difficult to find consistent grip. Last year most drivers did a two-stopper, although three managed a one-stop. Race winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) started on the supersoft, changed to the soft on lap 11, then to the soft again on lap 40. His strategy allowed him to win even though he started from third on the grid.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 0.7 - 0.9 seconds per lap.

CONCLUSION

Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix weekend showed that even in hyper-professional Formula One, mistakes can be made – several slip-ups by Lewis Hamilton in qualifying compromised his and Nico Rosberg’s run in Q3 and opened the door for Williams to lock out the front row of the grid. That set up an intriguing race as the Mercedes drivers set about prising the lead from the hands of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Twelve months on, no one has beaten Mercedes to a pole position since. But Williams and Ferrari could be a more competitive proposition this weekend, and the Red Bull Ring’s compact layout often serves to lessen the performance gap between cars.

And I fully expect Lewis Hamilton to hammer his advantage into Rosberg's head once again on this power track.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here - http://formulaone.spreadshirt.com/

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX 2015 PREVIEW

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.

There have been a number of changes to the track since last year; the wall and fence behind the run-off area at T10 have been renewed, whilst new walls and fences have replaced guardrails on both sides of the track between Turns 10 and 12. Also, from now on cars straying into the run-off area at T13 will have a new line between bollards to follow when rejoining the track.

WEATHER

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. In 2011 the race was halted for four hours while the officials waited for the rain to abate (incidentally, the rules were rewritten after this to ensure no such delays happened again). 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. Friday is set to be overcast, while Saturday and Sunday are forecast to be warm and sunny. Ambient temperature is predicted to be 19C.
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.

TYRES

Canada has the same tyre nomination as Monaco - soft and supersoft - but quite a different challenge. The track is a lot more demanding for tyres than Monaco, which should lead to a greater degree of wear and degradation. The biggest forces at work are longitudinal (acceleration and braking) rather than lateral (cornering) - and these are the factors that influence wear and degradation in Canada. The nature of the track also means that there is more opportunity to use tyre strategy to gain track position, with a variety of different strategies in the mix last year. Although the demands on tyres are not especially high, due to a low-grip surface, there are some big kerbs that require a tough tyre structure, and the circuit is also famously hard on brakes. Uncertain weather is often a factor at the semi-permanent track, which adds another element of unpredictability.

Last year's strategy and how the race was won: A variety of one and two-stop strategies were seen at the race last year, which was characterised by two safety car periods. Daniel Ricciardo won the race for Red Bull using a two-stop strategy, taking the lead on fresher tyres with two laps to go. The top four all stopped twice, with the highest-placed one-stopper being Force India's Nico Hulkenberg in fifth, who started on the soft and completed a 41-lap stint before switching to supersoft.

Expected performance gap between the two compounds: 1.0 - 1.2 seconds per lap.

DRS

After the single zone of Monaco it's back to two DRS zones for Canada. Both are run from a single detection point shortly after the exit of Turn 9. Being in DRS range here can be more important than being ahead on track; hence the somewhat amusing sight in 2013 of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso both slowing because neither wanted to be ahead at the detection point.


The first zone's activation point comes just after the exit of the right-hand kink of Turn 12 on the back straight, and it ends with braking at the final chicane. The second zone has an activation point just after the exit of the final chicane, and it runs the length of the pit straight and ends at the braking zone of Turn 1.

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.

QUESTIONS AHEAD OF CANADA

Who Will Get Their Strategies Right?
The weather, crashes, safety cars and tyre strategies make for an interesting race in Canada and of course they are all interlinked. The weather is usually unpredictable and a few spots of rain can lead to a crash, which often results in a safety car and can ultimately change a team's strategy.

The word "strategy" is on everyone's lips following Mercedes' gaffe at Monte Carlo where Lewis Hamilton was on course for victory before the deployment of the safety car prompted the team to call him in.

Will The Brakes Hold Up?
The brakes usually take a heavy beating at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with cars going from 300km/h at the hairpin to about 60km/h all in the space of a few seconds.

Mercedes, Red Bull and Lotus, to name just a few, have all had brake issues this year already. Although Merc claimed a 1-3 finish at the Bahrain GP, both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had brake-by-wire failures at the same corner with the latter losing out P2 to Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari due to the issue.

Red Bull and Lotus have pretty much been hampered all season by brake problems and any small issue will take its toll on a circuit like Montreal.

Just How Much More Power Will McLaren And Ferrari Have?
The McLaren-Honda upward curve continued at the Monaco Grand Prix last time out with Jenson Button scoring their first points, but Circuit Gilles Villeneuve brings a different set of challenges and their Honda engine will come under scrutiny.

Both Honda and Ferrari have confirmed they have used their engine development tokens with the Japanese manufacturer using two and the Scuderia three ahead of the Canadian GP. If they get enough power, then it all indicates to a very good weekend for Button and Fernando Alonso, provided they can sort out their reliability woes of course.

Can Mercedes End Their Montreal Drought?
It's hard to believe, but Mercedes have never won a grand prix as a constructor at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Rosberg and Hamilton locked out the front-row of the grid last year, but they suffered almost simultaneous MGU-K problems and Hamilton went on to retire due to a brake failure (not that again) later in the race. Daniel Ricciardo then overtook Rosberg on the penultimate lap to claim his first win.

Hamilton, though, has an impressive record at Montreal as he won there three times with McLaren in 2012, 2010 and 2007 and also started in pole on several occasions. In other words it is a track that he fancies and should do well at if he is given the right equipment and he should have that underneath him, especially if you take into account that Merc will use new power units for both Hamilton and Rosberg. However, Canada is known for throwing up interesting results like Ricciardo's win last year or Robert Kubica's success with BMW-Sauber in 2008.

More Canadian Woe For Williams?
Valtteri Bottas warned that Williams can't afford to have another race where we are nowhere, adding that "somehow the slower the speed gets, we lose more downforce compared to the others". The good news for Bottas and Felipe Massa is that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is pretty high-speed compared to Monaco, but their recent results in Canada don't make for pretty reading. Bottas and Massa were solid in qualifying in 2014, but they could be in for another tough race day, especially if the likes of McLaren move up.

Who Will Kiss The Wall Of Champions?
Will any names (rookies or veterans) be added to the infamous list of drivers who have made contact with the Wall of Champions where drivers reach top speeds in excess of 310kph on the approach to Turn 15?

Of the current crop, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado have all crashed at the final corner. Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi will all make their F1 debuts at the circuit this weekend so there is plenty of potential for a little brush here and there while Maldonado is also still in the field.

Will they make changes to the kerb at the exit of the final right-left chicane, which will result in a few more kisses? Time will tell.

CONCLUSION

Simple. Lewis Hamilton is gonna blow everybody away with a win in Canada. We all know he's good for it. Of course that is the Hamilton fan in me talking. But who knows what will happen. All I know is that it's gonna be edge of seat stuff again. So bring on Canada.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here - http://formulaone.spreadshirt.com/

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Here is a sample.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WHERE DO YOU FIT IN F1?

A standard dream of any F1 fan is to be able to work in F1 itself or around it. Imagine being able to earn money while doing something that is directly or indirectly involved in the best and most exciting sport on the planet. I have had that pleasure between 2000 and 2009 when I was involved in supplying F1 simulators to sponsors of F1 such as TAG-Heuer, Mercedes and many more. It was a simulator designed and built by me and my friends which ran an F1 game. It was half a F1 car and we lugged it around the world. Even though it was not a direct job inside F1, it was still enormously satisfying being able to go to different cities and sharing my excitement of the F1 world with many people. Here is a photo of the simulator.


Now, it is not that easy to get yourself involved in F1 but what if you could? What would your current skill set do for your F1 career? How would you fit into F1? Well Williams F1 Team and Randstad have an app that could size you up and tell you where and how you would fit into F1.

Just go to the Randstad page here or click on the image below and fill in the required information. The app will then tell you where you would fit inside the Williams F1 team. There is also another app after that that will tell you how fast you would reach your office for work if Felipe Massa were to drive you.


What career did I get? Events Manager! Perfectly matched as that was what I was doing, am still doing and love doing. Pretty good app this.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my Formula 1 inspired designs at my online shop - Formula One Tees, click on image or proceed over to the online shop here - http://formulaone.spreadshirt.com/

You can put any of my designs on almost any available product (doesn't have to be t-shirts). To design your own, select the product, select the design, put your own text if you want to, arrange the size and placement of the design then click "Add to basket". The product will be created and added to your shopping cart. To finish and make payment, click "Checkout". Once you are happy with your order, click "Proceed To Checkout" where you will fill in your shipping information and payment method.

Here is a sample.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

MONACO GP 2015 PREVIEW

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

Expected weather conditions for the race: Generally bright with cloudy intervals and ambient temperatures ranging from 15 degrees overnight to 23 degrees during the day. There is, however, the possibility of rain showers throughout the four days of the grand prix.

Tyres

The Monaco Grand Prix is the most prestigious race on the calendar, where the P Zero Red supersoft makes its debut this year, alongside the P Zero Yellow soft. The supersoft compound offers the most grip and performance of Pirelli's entire F1 entire range, with a brand new compound for 2015.

Monaco features a number of unconventional aspects. It's the race with the lowest average speed and slowest corner of the entire championship, emphasising the importance of mechanical grip from the tyres rather than aerodynamic grip. All these factors make it ideal territory for the supersoft tyre, which offers the most grip of the entire range as well as the fastest warm-up.

DRS

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.


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.

2014 Result

1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes); 2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes); 3. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull); 4. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari); 5. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India); 6. Jenson Button (McLaren); 7. Felipe Massa (Williams); 8. Romain Grosjean (Lotus); 9. Jules Bianchi (Marussia); 10. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren).

Last five winners in Monaco

2014: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2013: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012: Mark Webber (Red Bull)
2011: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2010: Mark Webber (Red Bull).

Track Changes

Revisions to the Tabac corner on Monaco’s Grand Prix circuit have further reduced the length of what was already the shortest track on the F1 calendar. The drivers now arrive at the corner slightly earlier as the section of track which links the Tabac left-hander to the start of the Swimming Pool complex has been moved closer to the harbour by 2.5 metres.

The change has shortened the official lap length by three metres to 3.337 kilometres. The race distance of 78 laps will not be altered, Monaco being the only race run for 260 kilometres instead of the usual 305. The barrier on the inside of turn 15, the right-hander in the Swimming Pool complex, has also been moved since last year to give drivers a better view of the corner. More than half of the track has been resurfaced since last year, including the start/finish area, Casino, the entry to the tunnel, the Swimming Pool complex and pit lane.

Power Unit Elements

Details of drivers power unit elements used prior to the Grand Prix de Monaco weekend.

DRIVER CAR ICE TC MGU-K MGU-H ES CE
Hamilton Mercedes 1 1 1 1 1 2
Rosberg Mercedes 1 1 1 1 1 1
Ricciardo Red Bull 4 3 3 2 1 2
Kvyat Red Bull 4 3 2 2 1 2
Massa Williams 1 1 1 1 1 1
Bottas Williams 1 1 1 1 1 1
Vettel Ferrari 2 2 2 2 2 1
Raikonen Ferrari 2 2 2 2 1 2
Alonso McLaren 3 3 3 2 2 2
Button McLaren 3 3 3 3 2 2
Hulkenberg Force India 2 2 2 2 1 2
Perez Force India 1 1 1 1 1 1
Verstappen Toro Rosso 4 2 3 3 2 2
Sainz Toro Rosso 3 2 2 2 2 2
Grosjean Lotus 1 1 1 1 1 1
Maldonado Lotus 1 1 1 1 1 1
Stevens Marussia 2 2 2 2 2 2
Merhi Marussia 2 2 2 2 2 2
Ericsson Sauber 2 2 2 2 2 2
Nasr Sauber 2 2 2 2 1 2


ICE = Internal combustion Engine
TC = Turbo Charger
MGU-K = Motor Generator Unit - Kinetic
MGU-H = Motor Generator Unit - Heat
ES = Energy Store
CE = Control Electronics

Note: Drivers are able to use four of the new power units this season. However, this is more complicated than it first appears since the power unit is deemed to comprise six elements, which can be moved between units should the need arise.

Drivers are able to use four of each of the following: the engine (ICE), the motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K), the motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H), the energy store (ES), turbocharger (TC) and control electronics (CE). Each element can be rotated among units.

However, should a driver use more than four of any one of the elements a grid penalty will be imposed at the first event during which each additional element is used. The first time a driver uses a fifth element, a ten-place grid penalty is imposed. Different fifth elements used later will incur a five-place grid penalty. The first time a driver uses a sixth element, a ten-place grid penalty will be imposed. Different sixth elements used later will incur a five-place grid penalty and so on...

If a grid penalty is imposed, and the driver's grid position is such that the full penalty cannot be applied, the remainder of the penalty will be applied at the driver's next race. However, no remaining penalties will be carried forward for more than one race.

Conclusion

Last year's strategy and how the race was won: Last year the winning strategy was a one-stopper, helped by a safety car period that fell conveniently in the pit-stop window. Nico Rosberg (who won the race from pole) and his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton both stopped on lap 25 of 78, switching from the supersoft to the soft. The highest-placed two-stopper was Romain Grosjean in eighth, with a number of other drivers using innovative race strategies to make up places from lower down the grid.

With Lewis Hamilton getting preference to start qualifying first ahead of Nico Rosberg, will we see Lewis taking pole this time? The signs are there. At least we won't see any accidental off road excursions no more.

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