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.

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.


Friday, May 8, 2015

SPANISH GP 2015 PREVIEW

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

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





Track Characteristics

Location : Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Track length : 4.65 kilometres
Race distance : 66 laps (307 kilometres)
Corners : 16 corners in total, considered the best test of an F1 car’s aerodynamic efficiency due to combination of variety of corner speeds
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed 317km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 305km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap (2013)
Time spent braking : 13% of the lap (quite low). 8 braking zones
Brake wear : Medium/low
Total time needed for pit stop : 21 seconds
Lap record : 1:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)
2014 Winner: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2014 Pole Position: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:25.232
2014 Fastest Lap: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 1:28.918

Weather Forecast

Expected weather conditions for the race: Dry and warm, peaking at 25 degrees centigrade but dropping to 13 degrees centigrade overnight. Some overcast intervals leading up to the race, but bright and clear for race day.

Friday - Sunny, high 29°C / low 15°C
Saturday - Sunny, high 24°C / low 14°C
Sunday - Sunny, high 25°C / low 13°C

DRS

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


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

Tyres

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

Paul Hembery: "Spain is obviously one of the more familiar venues that we go to, as there has already been plenty of data gathered during testing. One of the things we have noticed so far is that this year Barcelona will once again be a front-limited circuit, from a tyre perspective. Last year, the increase in traction and torque from the cars meant that for the first time the race became a rear-limited event, with the useful life of the rear tyres dictating the pit stop strategy. Thanks to the improvements we made to the rear tyre construction for this year, we're back to Barcelona being a front-limited circuit again. However, we do not expect this to mean that there will necessarily be more pit stops this year: last year the majority of competitors used a two-stop strategy and that will probably be the case again. The biggest unknown factor will be the weather: in the past we have seen some very hot weather in Barcelona, but it isn't always guaranteed. The start of the European season traditionally means that many teams bring important upgrades, and it will be very interesting to see how these interact with our 2015 tyres."

Conclusion

Lewis Hamilton is on a roll and seems mentally strong, hard to beat. Nico Rosberg really has his work cut out for him. The question is now, whether Kimi Raikkonen can spring a surprise and mount a serious challenge for the win this time. Can't wait to see the sparks fly on race day.

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.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 WINNERS & LOSERS: BAHRAIN

The Bahrain GP was way better than the Chinese GP. I missed the thrilling race last year but this year it was just as good. With Ferrari powering up, the Mercs had a fight on their hands. And did they fight with Nico overtaking Vettel 3 times and Raikkonen taking Nico in the last few laps. He also almost got Lewis on the last lap due to brake problems on the Mercs.

Here is Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 to give you the lowdown of the winners and losers. Original article can be found HERE.

It wasn't the duel in the desert, but at least it wasn't dull in the desert...

Star of the Race
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 2nd
Depending on how serious Lewis Hamilton’s last-lap Break-By-Wire failure was, Kimi might have been on for a win had the race run to 58 laps. But it didn’t and he didn’t. And as we were reminded from his Lotus career – a drive against the odds to capture second place doesn’t really excite him that much.

As early as Lap 9 Kimi was being held up by team-mate Sebastian Vettel and he radioed to engineer Dave Greenwood, “I think I can go a bit faster, but I will try and overtake.”

His ability to keep pace with the cars in front during the middle stint, on the slower Medium tyre  was particularly impressive.

On Lap 22
Hamilton – 1:39.0
Rosberg – 1:39.4Vettel – 1:39.3
Raikkonen – 1:39.0

On Lap 19 the gap to Vettel was 10.0 seconds, by Lap 31 he’d got the deficit to his team-mate down to 4.3 seconds. Rosberg may have gifted him second place when his brakes failed just at the wrong moment, but you kind of felt that Kimi would have found a way past anyway. Once over the finish line and showered with praise by his team on the radio, we didn’t get a euphoric: “Bella! Bella! Bella! Multi grande!” we got a “Yeah, thanks everybody”. That’s how it should be. His 7th podium in Bahrain and his 78th career podium wasn’t on the step he wanted to be. And the day Kimi starts spouting Italian on the slowing down lap is the day Bernie goes and gives John Booth a great big hug.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 25: Felipe Nasr, Sauber, on Felipe Massa, Williams
More heroics from Felipe Nasr who made a superb overtaking move on Nico Hulkenberg, (not with the DRS) later in the race. On Lap 25 he was in a hurry to get past Felipe Massa and claim 11th place. Massa anticipated him coming and took a defensive line into Turn 11, but Nasr saw that it gave Massa poor traction out of the corner and swept up the inside before Turn 12 in a beautifully executed, clean move.

It kind of spoiled thing that he, Massa and Maldonado then came into the pits line astern – 11th, 12th and 13th – and that they left the pits in the order – Maldonado, Massa, Nasr, but it was still a great move.

Winners
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
Another dominant pole position, backed up by a flying getaway, put Lewis in the perfect position to control the race. Mercedes made him play the team game by pitting Nico Rosberg first, when it was obvious that he would lose out to the two cars behind by coming into pitlane third. The other two managed to gain three or four seconds on him, so it was a good job he had the buffer. The rest of the race was another exercise in tyre and engine management, with a last minute panic when the brakes became too hot.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 3rd
Nico finally got the message that there could be no more pussying  around while Lewis Hamilton disappeared off into the distance. Having lost out in Qualifying and at the start, he had no choice but to attack once he was demoted to P4. His passes of Raikkonen and multiple Turn 1 passes of Vettel showed that he can get aggressive when it’s required. His pass of Raikkonen – who wouldn’t give it up – included the same exit-of-turn-4-move that Lewis had employed on him last year and which he’d studied pre-race. As he said, it was good to pass some red cars – but it would still be better to pass a silver one, and not just Alonso.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 4th
A superb defensive drive from Bottas who managed to keep a four-times World Champion in a faster car at bay for 14 laps. On Lap 53 he got away with a misjudgement from Vettel who sliced past his rear tyre by centimetres into Turn 1. That had puncture and post-race acrimony written all over it.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 5th
Not such a great race for Seb, he was beaten for race pace by his team-mate, out-muscled a couple of times by the guy who rarely out-muscles, and then forced into a last corner mistake that warranted an extra pit-stop. Then he got stuck behind a canny Bottas who knew exactly where to position his car and where to apply the hybrid energy in defence of fourth place.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 6th
Some good points for the Red Bull team but at a cost. Dan’s lonely run to P6 was ruined about 100 metres before the flag when his Renault engine shrugged its shoulders in a gallic way and emitted the smoke of a thousand gauloises. So, four races in and he’s almost through his seaon’s allowance. McLaren-Honda thought they had this particular title race sewn up, but it looks like Red Bull are going to push them all the way.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 7th
More important points for Lotus, Grosjean made the most of his stronger qualifying position and was 7th or thereabouts for much of the race. He was 23 seconds shy of Daniel Ricciardo at the flag, but then again he probably wasn’t stressing his engine so much.

Losers
Jenson Button, McLaren, DNS
Grand Prix statisticians absolutely hate this kind of thing. It was Jenson Button’s 100th race weekend for McLaren, but he still only has 99 race starts. This race will always be an asterisk.  It can’t have been a comfortable weekend for Ron Dennis, entertaining one of the team’s biggest investors (the Bahrain sovereign fund) and watching Button repeatedly park it a few hundred metres beyond the pitlane exit.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 10th
Felipe’s car failed to fire up on the grid and the subsequent pitlane start meant he was back there in the wild west of Maldonado country. A damaged floor from a Pastor shunt limited his progress through the field and he had to watch Dan Ricciardo carry home his pre-destined 6th place points.

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, 15th
Nick Heidfeld’s speciality always used to be long, lonely races, where he didn’t see anybody after the first few laps. Pastor is the opposite, he rarely has calm races where he circulates on his own. At the start, he decided to go for someone else’s grid slot. On the opening lap he got contact from Max Verstappen – the fourth race out of four that someone has hit him. Then he had a coming together with Felipe Massa. Never dull.

Toro Rosso, Double DNF
After such a great start to the season, a double failure for the Toro Rosso team will come as a significant blow. They had never scored points in Bahrain before, so maybe it was to be expected, but it is rapidly becoming the garage full of anguished parents.

Media Watch
STBO Award
The BBC’s Ben Edwards won this one convincingly. After Sebastian Vettel sustained wing damage and had to return to the pits for an extra-long pit-stop while the nose was changed, Ben came up with: “This could well count against him getting a podium finish.” With 21 laps left, Vettel set off 35 seconds behind P3.

Suzi Perry after Jenson ground to a halt beyond the pitlane exit (or maybe a nad’s more): “It’s one thing and the other for Jenson this weekend.”

Eddie Jordan in Qualifying: “It’s all about bragging rights – and Sainz there, just pulling the wool over Verstappen’s face at the last minute.”

Allan McNish  “I haven’t seen Nico Rosberg driving with that much teeth for a long, long time.”

Final Lap
A big thank-you to Michelle Foster and Shahida Jacobs for putting up with this errant column over the last 12 years. Just as the McLaren-Honda will be sporting a far superior rear end in Barcelona, so PlanetF1 will be running a new (and superior) post-race feature after the Spanish GP. You will still be able to catch up with the indulgences and eccentricities of Winners and Losers on OffonF1.com – where it started, back in the heady days of Rivals.net and the dot.com boom.

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.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 WINNERS AND LOSERS: CHINA

I wouldn't describe the Chinese GP as exciting. It was a bit boring with the filed spread out but there were some interesting battles in the midfield. Lewis Hamilton asserted his domination once again and Nico Rosberg was left wanting and crying why Lewis held him up. it's called racing Nico, so man up or shut up.

Here is Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 to give you the lowdown of the winners and losers. Original article can be found HERE.

Lewis completed the perfect GP weekend, while Lotus are installing SatNav on Pator Maldonado’s car.

Star of the Race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
It was pretty much perfection from Lewis Hamilton this weekend; fastest in all practice sessions, pole, fastest lap and the race win. The only flaw in Lewis’s GP was his failure to improve on his second run in Q3 which might, just might, have allowed Nico Rosberg to get pole. Maybe there is some psychology in that Lewis’s first lap of Q3 is often quicker than his second, typified by his failure to press on on a drying track at Silverstone last year with disastrous consequences (the track got much quicker at the end of the lap, as Hamilton aborted his final run).

In the race, once away in front, he drove an incredibly measured race only going as fast as his engineers allowed, based on the degradation of the limiting front left tyre. But we’re right back to the old complaint of driving-to-the-tyres. This was exemplified on Lap 20 when Rosberg got on the radio and moaned, “Lewis is driving very slowly, tell him to speed up.”

Lewis’s engineer ‘Bonno’ got on the radio and gave him a new target time, “Okay Lewis, if you’d like to pick the pace up, target time 1:43.7”. So on Lap 21 Lewis delivered a 1:43.735 – a whole 0.035 too slow. Next time round he put in a 1:43.696, a commendable 0.004 too fast. By Lap 24 he got the closest, a 1:43.702, and having done what he was asked to do, he decided to break loose with a 1:43.508 on Lap 25. This is F1 driving by numbers.

All this is absorbing to watch on timing screens, to see the ebb and flow of lap times, but it’s not exactly balls-out-round-the-Nordschliefe. Delivering perfectly executed sector times doesn’t put bums on seats.

Lewis did exactly what he had to do to win the race. Afterwards he had to field complaints from Rosberg that he was being backed up into Vettel, and it tells you something about the quality of the race when the post-race interviews are more interesting than what went on on track. At the front anyway.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 10: Max Verstappen, Torro Rosso on Marcus Ericsson, Sauber
Verstappen has built up an uncanny level of confidence in his car after just three races and this was demonstrated at the Chinese GP with positive moves on Kvyat, Nasr, Perez and Ericsson.

The pass he made on Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber into the Turn 14 hairpin may have been a DRS move, but it was far from routine. Max came from a long way back and Ericsson clearly thought he was going to follow him through when all of a sudden he looked right and there was a 17-year-old in a Toro Rosso blocking his view to the apex. Verstappen’s lock-up-less braking was superb and such was Ericsson’s surprise that he almost ground to a halt and wasn’t able to hound him back on the following start/finish straight DRS zone. Max was on for 8th place, but the power unit thought otherwise.

Winners
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd
Nico almost snatched pole on Saturday, and when he couldn’t beat Lewis into Turn 1 at the start of the race his main concern seemed to be behind him, not in front. Rosberg’s complaint that he was being backed up into Vettel had some substance in that when Lewis was allowed off the leash at the end of the second stint, he could run very much quicker than he did before. But the Malaysian GP showed that  Mercedes had to be careful. If Hamilton had gone too quick in either of the first two stints and compromised his tyres, the depth of criticism would have been enormous.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 3rd
Although he looked a potential threat for P2 up to the end of the second stint, the Ferrari on the medium tyres was no match for the Mercedes on them. And at the close, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was closing on him at around 0.3 seconds a lap. On Lap 52 (of 56) the gap was 1.7 seconds and on lap 53 it was down to 1.4 seconds. What’s more, Kimi had fresher tyres.

Unluckily for everyone wanting a grandstand finish, the Renault Twingo engine in the back of Max Verstappen’s car called it a day and we were denied some serious Ferrari on Ferrari action by the appearance of the Safety Car. Three races and three podiums for Vettel and second in the Championship heading to the fourth race can be nothing less than a dream start.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 4th
Kimi’s qualifying performance on Saturday might have been less than expected, but at last he got a race start to remember and jumped from P6 to P4 on the opening lap. In the race, he kept station behind Sebastian Vettel, carefully looking after the tyres with a minimal amount of steering input. The only grievance he had was with lapping Alonso and then Button/Maldonado impeding his progress as he inexorably reeled his team-mate in at the end of the race. Close observers of F1’s nearest thing to ‘The Stig’ reckoned that he was even chuckling to himself as he yelled down team radio, “Come on, get these two cars out of the way!”

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 5th and 6th
The emergence of the Safety Car at the end of the race robbed us of the true performance gap between Ferrari and Williams, but on Lap 51 Massa was 29 seconds in arrears to Kimi Raikkonen. Both Williams drivers got jumped by the Finn at the start and both had fairly uneventful races. No last-lap heroics from Bottas this time round.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 7th
Finally the result the Lotus team deserved, Daniel Ricciardo’s poor start meant that the most likely candidate for P7 was probably never going to make it back up there to challenge for the position.  Grosjean  managed to negotiate the pitlane entry far more successfully, than his team-mate and kept it on the island, thus inheriting the place that his team-mate gave up when he failed to turn left at the pitlane entrance.

Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, 8th and 10th
Another double points finish for the Sauber duo who came home in the positions they finished Q2. Although Ericsson’s single point was more thanks to the adventures of Pastor Maldonado than anything else.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 9th
It’s hardly something to shout about, a 9th place for Red Bull, but Dan was the lead Renault runner. His third engine of the year kicked into anti-stall on the grid which converted a P7 gridslot into a P17 position at the end of the opening lap. On the way to 9th he had an unnecessary tussle with his Russian team-mate who was told to move over and didn’t. Any more of that and we’ll be cranking out the Putin-analogies. Dan looked to be struggling with his braking all race long, but still managed a great move on Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber despite the uncertainty of whether his car would stop or not.

Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, McLaren, 12th and 13th
After a double race failure in Malaysia, a double race finish in China was not exactly The Great Leap Forward, but it was a significant move forward. The new McLaren-Honda was capable of lapping in the 1:43.7s in the hands of Alonso on Lap 41 at a time when Lewis was putting in laps less than a second quicker. Before the ‘Winners and Losers’ column heads off to pastures new – after the Bahrain GP – it would be nice to see them back in the points. That may not happen at a hot GP given the Honda’s inability to stay cool, but for old time’s sake it would be nice to go out without a bang.

Losers
F1 race Action
The over-supply of statistics in a sport is often an indication that nothing is happening. For instance there are a lot of statistics supplied in baseball. If baseball is the benchmark sport for nothing happening, then F1 is surely closing the gap. After the race we were told that it was the sixth race to end behind the Safety Car, the last one being Brazil in 2012.

Lewis Hamilton has now finished on the podium for the 10th consecutive race. His previous best  was the first nine races of his career, at McLaren in 2007. He’s also now passed fellow British World Champions Jackie Stewart (1,921) and Jim Clark (1,942) on the all-time laps led list. (though in many more races than Clark). It’s also the seventh time in his career that he’s got pole, the fastest lap and the win…etc

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus, DNF
Pastor’s had three successive races where he’s been hit by another car. There is a website – Has Maldonado Crashed Yet – which really should be renamed, Has Someone Crashed Into Maldonado Yet. However at Shanghai, he set about taking himself out of the points a long time before Jenson Button arrived at Turn 1 too quickly. Having crashed at the pitlane entry once in his career you’d have thought he might have sorted it out. But no, his failure to make the left-turn dropped him from P7, and a nailed-on points finish, to scrapping it out with a couple of McLaren-Hondas that were just itching to have someone to play with.

David Coulthard said: "There’s no hiding from the fact that it’s a scrappy driver error," which is true. And when he crashed in the pitlane while leading a race, he never did it again. The Button versus Maldonado duel was one of the best in the race, the only pity being that it was a fight for that coveted P13 spot.

Media Watch
Radio 5’s Jenny Gow “Don’t count your eggs too quickly, Lewis’s bottom is getting hot. That happened to him yesterday…”
Former Cosworth boss Mark Gallagher adding to Jenny’s comments…"there was a suggestion last night that Lewis should take his salary and stuff it down his race overalls…"

R5’s Jack Nichols on the stranded Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen: “The engine seized and locked the rear wheels. That car’s not going anywhere. Oh no, they’ve just done it.”

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 WINNERS AND LOSERS: AUSTRALIA

A fantastic start to the season..well only because Lewis hammered everybody to win the race. It was a weird race with so little cars due to all sorts of things, kind of boring to be honest with little wheel to wheel action. Here is Andrew Davies of PlanetF1 to give you the lowdown of the winners and losers. I'm sure you've read the race review upside down by now.

Original article can be found HERE.

It only took one grand prix for Sauber rookie Felipe Nasr to bag his first points and his first Star of the Race...

Star of the Race
Felipe Nasr, Sauber, 5th

This is why we love F1. On a weekend when everything looked bleak for Sauber they turned things round spectacularly. As late as Saturday morning they were facing court proceedings, including jail for Contempt of Court for their team boss Monisha Kaltenborn. The Giedo van der Garde contract  row looked to be a dreadful mess, something  the team had hoped would be swept under the carpet in the rush to get to Melbourne. As we read, over the course of the weekend, Giedo van der Garde was as resistant to being steam-rollered as the Giedo Fawkes website. (That’s the one with almost a million signatures supporting Jeremy Clarkson).

Not running either C34 in FP1 lost the team 180 minutes of set-up time, but they continued to show their strong form from Barcelona qualifying. Felipe Nasr looked sharp, with a good get away and some opportunistic passes through Turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap. And no mistakes in the rest of the race, despite strong pressure from Daniel Ricciardo, a guy who’s not easily held back.

Sauber now leave the Australian Grand Prix with a 5th place and an 8th place, and sit third in the Constructors’ Championship with 14 points – ahead of Williams. Nobody needs telling that it’s 14 points more than they got last year and the only successful result for anything sporting a Chelsea badge in the last seven days.

Overtaking Move of the Race
Lap 55: Marcus Ericsson, Sauber  on Carlos Sainz Jr., Toro Rosso

Ericsson produced one of the few non-DRS overtakes of the race to grab 8th place off Sainz before he ran out of laps and his tyres faded.  Throughout lap 55 it looked as though the Swede might be biding his time waiting for the start/finish straight and the better traction he might get from the final turn, to make his move under DRS. And then all of a sudden he was alongside the Toro Rosso into Turn 13 and through.

 Winners

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st
From the moment Nico Rosberg unleashed a series of trouble-free laps on Day One of the Jerez test, a Mercedes 1-2 looked on the cards. But it was Lewis Hamilton who delivered the top result for the Silver Arrows team after having a bit of a  ‘Williams Friday’. We can define a ‘Williams Friday’ as playing around with things, trying different set-ups but not going for ultimate pace.

Hamilton wasn’t happy on Friday and got his engineers working late into the night to produce a car that was even more dialled into the circuit than Rosberg’s and when Saturday came it showed. Unlike a lot of 2014, Hamilton’s Qualifying performance looked assured and unruffled, fastest in all three sessions and then 0.6 quicker at the end.

In the race Lewis looked as though he was gap-managing from Lap One. Rosberg couldn’t make anything of the three opportunities he had to pass: the start, the re-start and the pitstop. Indeed, the re-start on Lap 5 was an object lesson in how to do it. It was Vettel-esque.

Through the race it looked as though Lewis could turn up the wick the moment Rosberg came within a sniff of the DRS, the closest Nico got was 1.2 seconds on Lap 10, before Lewis edged it out to a (massive) 3.5 seconds on Lap 22. It never got to any more than that. With four engines per season, you can see this is the way it’s going to go for 2015.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 2nd
Rosberg was lulled into a false sense of security by topping the timesheets on Friday. From FP3 he was behind the curve and the race was like a chess match where Nico was always a castle down right from the start. Psychologically it can’t be that good following your team-mate, and then having every move you make countered. Effortlessly. No surprise, then, that Rosberg would like to see the Ferraris closer to them. Any outside assistance would be good, and the races won’t always be straightforward one-stoppers.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 3rd
Whatever your shade of support in F1 it’s never good to have Ferrari in the doldrums for long and Sebastian Vettel has helped re-energise the effort from Maranello. Good news from technical boss James Allison, too, when he said that the team hadn’t run out of ideas (to make the SF15-T quicker), they’d just run out of time.

Vettel couldn’t quite nail P3 in Qualifying, but a better use of strategy in the race helped him get ahead of Felipe Massa and the talent that lay dormant most of last season at Red Bull kept him nicely out of range at the end.

Felipe Massa, Williams, 4th
The No.1 Brazilian Felipe couldn’t break free of the pursuing Ferrari.  Rob Smedley said afterwards that Vettel  found eight tenths over two laps compared to when he was sat behind Massa and whichever way they’d gone on the pit-stops – first or second – he’d have been jumped.  Really? It didn’t help picking a moment that brought him out directly behind Daniel Ricciardo, or was it that Massa was just slow into the pits on his inlap. He didn’t seem to whack the brakes on when he entered the pitlane.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, 6th
Daniel ended up the furthest forward of the Renault-engined runners, but was mindful that in the normal scheme of things he’d probably have finished the race behind an extra Ferrari and an extra Williams and maybe even one of the Lotus cars. So, the points were good, but the reality is that Renault are in a worse place than they were last year.

Christian Horner, in a typical knee-jerk reaction called for “engine equalisation”, which seems a bit early doors for a moan, given that Mercedes have used up 80% of their engine tokens already and Renault are said to have more in hand. The system is in place for Renault to improve, they just need to get on with it. The more appropriate question might be how come Toro Rosso are doing so well in comparison.

You don’t look such an inspirational team boss if the under-funded, under-designed sister team are outcompeting you using the same engine. Take away the brilliance of Ricciardo and it would look even more embarrassing.

Jenson Button, McLaren-Honda, 11th
There must be a degree of relief in the McLaren team after the 2015 Australian Grand prix. They’ve now banked an 11th place. That might be crucial in staving off the challenge from Manor-Motorsport later in the season. Imagine what might have happened if someone at Manor hasn’t deleted all the software (Maurice Moss leaves post as Manor IT Chief) and the two re-engineered  Marussia cars had come home in P9 and P10. That would have been a points mountain for the Woking team to climb.

Thankfully Jenson surpassed the 12-lap total previously achieved by the new MP4-30 and was getting so cocky by the end that he was turning the engine up to set a personal best of 1:33.338 on the last lap. If the temperatures are a problem with an ambient of 18C, the next race in Malaysia is going to be a whole lot of fun.

Force India, 7th and 10th
Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez may have been aided by other teams’ calamities but to get the late-arriving VMJ08 to a double points finish was a solid achievement for  the team.

Another Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, 9th
With the headline writers all ready to pursue the Max Verstappen story, it was Carlos Sainz Junior (referred to by Eddie Jordan in all seriousness as “another Carlos Sainz”) who stole the thunder. He wasn’t helped by a 36-second tyre stop, but at least his engine didn’t lunch itself.

Losers

The Grid
Fifteen cars starting an F1 race looks a bit rubbish. One of the absentees, Valtteri Bottas, was excluded for medical/safety reasons and that couldn’t be helped; two were down to unforeseen technical issues,  which, again, were down to the nature of complex engines not the sport’s paymaster. But four of the absences were down to the fact that Bernie Ecclestone and CVC  Capital Partners, the commercial rights holder, can’t be arsed to pay teams further down the grid enough money to compete.

This isn’t about ambitious teams spending more money than they have, this is about basic mismanagement of the sport. Bernie likes to hear more noise from the cars. The roar of 22 cars away from the line is more than 18. Less than 15 and we’re getting into Formula E territory.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda, DNS
It was said that in his latter days Fernando Alonso created an ‘atmosphere’ in the Ferrari garage and that in the new Vettel/Arrivabene Scuderia there is already a lot more joy. That may be so, but not having Fernando around the paddock for the GP weekend detracted from the experience. We need that serious, brooding figure – amplified by his dark brooding beard – to add some gravitas to proceedings. Even if he is going to be driving a car with a Honda grenade in the back.

Lotus, Double DNF
Maldonado’s early exit was unfortunate, and though he’s often been the architect of his own downfall, this time it was just ‘wrong place, wrong time, wrong nudge’. Grosjean’s power unit failure added to the gloom, but it’s only a question of time until they re-assert themselves. Two Q3 appearances vouched for that.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, DNS
 It remains to be seen how serious Valtteri’s injury is, but disk-associated injuries normally take weeks, not days, to heal. Susie…

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, DNF
The good news is that we’ve got our old Kimi Raikkonen back, the one that can put in sequences of fastest laps, as he did in the latter stages of the race. The bad news is that a two-stop strategy never looked like working. Ignore the fact that a wheel problem ended his race early, it looked like a poor strategy choice.

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Honda, DNS 
Considering that Honda had already detuned the engine, Kevin Magnussen’s failure to get round  the parade lap, or even as far as Turn 4, was not good. Albert Park isn’t the Camino de las Yungas in Bolivia. It’s not a hazardous  bit of tarmac between the pitlane exit and Turn 4. Some time around the Bahrain GP weekend the team will have finished their Jerez-testing programme.

Media Watch
Let’s get his straight from the start, we are big fans of Three Times Le Mans Winner Allan McNish, but we were also very distressed that his caption has been changed for 2015. In the past it was simply ‘Allan McNish Three Times Le Mans Winner’. You knew where you were with that. He’d won Le Mans three times. It was a Ronseal-kind of caption. Now, the BBC producers (and yes, after the Top Gear ‘fracas’  it does sound a bit like a pejorative term) have decided to fill in the detail. Now the caption reads Allan McNish, Winner of Le Mans in 1998, 2008 and 2013. No mention of his time at Toyota in 2002, or equally of his five wins at the Sebring 12 Hours race, or the one I’d really like to see: Allan McNish – ‘I  left the road at 360R and survived’. Anyway, in the race, the thinking woman’s Richard Hammond gave us some great moments:

Allan McNish: “Local boy Daniel Ricciardo – well, when I say ‘local’, Perth is a five-hour flight away…”
 James Allen: “I think New Zealand is closer.”

Allan McNish: “Right now, Lewis Hamilton is sitting in the sweet seat.”

Talking about the Perez versus Button spat:
Allan McNish:  “When these guys catch up, there’ll be little handbags at dawn.”

Commenting on Marcus Ericsson hunting down the much-slower Toro Rosso of Another Carlos Sainz:
Allan McNish: “He’s looking for a way past, but he’s on the wrong part of this Albert Track Park…”

 STBO: Stating The Bleeding Obvious Award
Tom Clarkson was reporting from the pitlane during Free Practice 3 and was asked by James Allen what was happening with Manor-Marussia.
”James, the mechanics are watching the session on television, and that doesn’t bode too well for getting out…”

 Andrew Davies

Original article can be found HERE.

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