19 November 2009

November 18th version of grid

Button to McLaren, Mercedes buy-out Brawn... So much happening, so little time!
Here's the latest grid, as I understand it (CONFIRMED DRIVERS in capitals).

McLAREN: 1. BUTTON 2. HAMILTON (Mercedes engine)
MERCEDES: 3. ROSBERG 4. Heidfeld (maybe Kubica if Renault pull out)
RED BULL: 5. VETTEL 6. WEBBER (Renault engine)
FERRARI: 7. ALONSO 8. MASSA (not sure of driver numbers)
TOYOTA: withdrawn - penalties likely since they signed Concorde agreement to 2012.
SAUBER: 9. Heidfeld 10. A Ferrari junior (Ferrari engines, place not confirmed until penalty for Toyota sorted)
RENAULT: 14. KUBICA 15. Di Grassi (may withdraw, Grosjean and many others in frame for drive)
FORCE INDIA: 16. Sutil 17. De La Rosa (Mercedes engine, Sutil near confirmed, Liuzzi contender for other seat, as are 6 others, approx)
TORO ROSSO: 18. BUEMI 19. Alguersuari (Ferrari engine, Bortolotti and others in contention for #2 drive)
CAMPOS META: 20. SENNA 21. Alguersuari (Cosworth engine, preference for a Spanish driver, numbers 20-27 unknown)
US F1: 22. Wurz 23. Andretti (Cosworth engine, little is known about driver choices)
MANOR (VIRGIN): 24. GLOCK 25. Piquet (Cosworth engine, little known about 2nd driver)
LOTUS: 26. Kovaleinen 27. Trulli(Cosworth engine, 1 driver signed but anonymous)

There are 13 drives still to fight over and I'll list 20 drivers below who stand a decent chance:

Drivers not yet confirmed (from above list, likely to get drives):
1. Heidfeld (Mercedes or Sauber)
2. Sutil (Force India)
3. Alguersuari (Toro Rosso or Campos Meta)
4. Wurz (US F1)
5. Kovaleinen (Lotus or Campos)
6. Trulli (Lotus or USF1)

With a fair chance (above list and otherwise):
7. Kobayashi (any)
8. Di Grassi (Renault)
9. De La Rosa (Campos or Force India)
10. Grosjean (Renault or new team)
11. Liuzzi (Force India or new team)
12. Sato (Lotus or any)
13. Davidson (Manor or any)
14. Bortollotti (Toro Rosso, Sauber or Campos)
15. Carroll (Manor or any)
16. Soucek (any)
17. Andretti (USF1)
18. Pantano (any new)
19. Piquet jnr (any new)
20. Petrov (any new)

07 November 2009

Amended best-guess grid 2010

*indicates far from certain, alternatives/explanation in brackets)

Brawn - Mercedes
1. Jenson Button
2. Nico Rosberg

Red Bull *Renault (Mercedes blocked by McLaren, Ferrari unlikely due to previous strife)
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Mark Webber

McLaren Mercedes
5. Lewis Hamilton
*6. Kimi Räikkönen (Heidfeld, Glock, even Kovaleinen)

7. Felipe Massa
8. Fernando Alonso (not sure which way around the numbering will go)

Toyota - *will not exist, nor be directly replaced

Sauber Qadbak Ferrari
9. Nick Heidfeld
10. * (Kobayashi, Bortolotti, many others in with a chance here)

Williams Cosworth
11. Rubens Barrichello (had Toyota not left, he'd have had the number 14 he started his career with)
12. Nico Hulkenberg

*Renault (likely to stay, but not certain)
14. Robert Kubica
15. * (Grosjean, di Grassi, Kobayashi, Glock)

Force India Mercedes
16. Adrian Sutil
17 * (Liuzzi, Glock, Trulli, Kovaleinen)

Toro Rosso Ferrari
18. Sebastien Buemi
19. Jaime Alguersuari

Lotus *Cosworth
20. * (Sato, Davidson, Klien)
21. * (Trulli, di Grassi, Kovaleinen, AN Other)

US F1 *Cosworth
22. * (Danica Patrick, Scott Speed, Marco Andretti, Wickens)
23. * (Fisichella, De La Rosa, Gene, Trulli, Bourdais)

Campos Meta *Cosworth
24. Bruno Senna
25. * (De La Rosa, Gene, anyone Spanish, anyone else)

Manor/Virgin *Cosworth
26. * (Paffett, Davidson, ...)
27. * (Petrov, Soucek, ...)

For most of the new teams, all names are in the hat. We'll see come January who's going where.

Auto Motor und Sport's driver rankings (and my own)

Auto Motor und Sport have ranked the drivers in the 2009 championship. Their order is reporduced below - for details visit the link above. Bracketed drivers were not included in the ranking (I've brought them into their would-be place) since they competed in less than 1/3 of the season:

(Kamui Kobayashi)
1. Rubens Barrichello
2. Jenson Button
3. Sebastian Vettel
4. Nico Rosberg
5. Mark Webber
6. Felipe Massa
7. Timo Glock
8. Kimi Räikkönen
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Lewis Hamilton
11. Nick Heidfeld
12. Jarno Trulli
13. Robert Kubica
14. Adrian Sutil
15. Heikki Kovaleinen
16. Sebastien Buemi
17. Nelson Piquet
(Tonio Liuzzi)
18. Giancarlo Fisichella
19. Kazuki Nakajima
20. Sebastien Bourdais
21. Jaime Alguersuari
22. Romain Grosjean
(Luca Badoer)

Personally, I couldn't agree with their assesment. With Luca Badoer taking last place, my ranking of the other 24 is as follows:

1. Lewis Hamilton (dragged his awful car to the front, outshining his teammate throughout)
2. Nico Rosberg (comprehensively better than his teammate, he almost dragged Williams to 5th in constructors, alone)
3. Jenson Button (superb, unbeatable with best car, weak without it)
4. Sebastian Vettel (superb in Malaysia and Silverstone, he failed to take advantage of the best car for 60% of the season)
5. Rubens Barrichello (narrrowly outdriven by teammate when car was at its best, he returned the favour when times were tougher)
6. Kimi Räikkönen (string of podiums mid-season ended by Ferrari's development switch to 2010 car)
7. Felipe Massa (season was just coming good when it was horrifically cut short)
8. Kamui Kobayashi (superb in Abu Dhabi, dangerous in Interlagos, clearly the best newcomer)
9. Robert Kubica (some excellent late-season drives camouflaged a bad year)
10. Jarno Trulli (consistently slightly better than his teammate, with pole in Bahrain the highlight)
11. Timo Glock (drives in Malaysia and Singapore in poor car worth mention, but he didn't take advantage of the good car he had until Spain).
12. Mark Webber (only took advantage of a superb car on two occassions)
13. Fernando Alonso (Renault gave up developing their car, but Fernando was outshone by Hamilton and Raikkonen in similar situations)
14. Sebastien Buemi (points on debut and at finale, made the most of his car and saw off a more experienced teammate - as Rubens Barrichello did in 1993).
15. Nick Heidfeld (drove very well in Malaysia, otherwise hardly noticeable)
16. Giancarlo Fisichella (superb in Belgium, otherwise mediocre)
17. Adrian Sutil (a few good races couldn't disguise a poor year)
18. Heikki Kovaleinen (comprehensibly outdriven by his teammate, like most drivers below)
19. Tonio Liuzzi (never outshone his teammate, but which replacement did?)
20. Romain Grosjean (more consistent than his predecessor, but not spectacular)
21. Nelson Piquet jnr
22. Jaime Alguersuari (in the course of a few races, he was nearly matching his teammate)
23. Sebastien Bourdais
24. Kazuki Nakajima (His team-mate finished the season with more points than any Toyota powered driver, yet Kazuki didn't manage a single point).
25. Luca Badoer

29 October 2009

2010 lineup (amended)

Well 2009 is nearly over, so what awaits us next year? Let's run through the grid in order:
In bold are some edits made AFTER the Abu Dhabi GP

1 - Button (90% chance) 95%
2 - Rosberg (70%) 90%
If not - Barrichello, Heidfeld Heidfeld

Red Bull-Renault (or Mercedes) Renault
3 - Vettel (100%)
4 - Webber (90%)
If not - Raikkonen

McLaren Mercedes
5 - Hamilton (100%)
6 - Raikkonen (60%) 80%
If not - Button, Kovaleinen, Heidfeld

7 - Alonso (100%)
8 - Massa (90%)
If not - Fisichella

9 - Trulli (60%) Kobayashi (90%)
10 - Kobayashi (50%)
If not - Raikkonen, Glock, Barrichello, Nakajima, Heidfeld, Sato

Williams - Cosworth (Renault, Mercedes?) Cosworth
11 - Barrichello (70%) CONFIRMED
12 - Hulkenberg (80%) CONFIRMED
If not - Rosberg, Glock, Kovaleinen, Heidfeld

14 - Kubica (100%)
15 - Grosjean (60%) Glock (70%)
If not - di Grassi, Senna, Heidfeld, Glock

Force India Mercedes
16 - Sutil (80%) 90%
17 - Liuzzi (50%) Kovaleinen (50%)
If not - Paffett, Senna, Heidfeld, Glock, Kovaleinen

Toro Rosso Ferrari
18 - Buemi (90%)
19 - Alguersuari (90%)
If not - Hartley, Bortolotti

?Lotus - Cosworth?
From - Trulli, Heidfeld, Kovaleinen, Davidson, Glock, etc

Campos - Cosworth
From - De La Rosa? Any of the above drivers who aren't chosen

US F1 Cosworth
From - Heidfeld, rookies, Americans, any of the drivers who miss out above

Manor/Virgin - Cosworth
From - Anyone. Suggestions welcome

07 July 2009

Good news

My friends at Fun In The Sunglasses inform me that their website is back online. Good news if you're looking for Wimbledon frames, with or without prescription lenses. They sell several other brands too, you know.

Bad news: I won't be updating this blog very often over the forthcoming weeks.

06 June 2009

Turkey predictions

Whilst I haven't published any predictions so far, I have made a note of my views as they shifted across the weekend.

Button, Barrichello, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, Glock

Friday (after practice):
Massa, Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg

Saturday (after qualifying):
Vettel, Button, Barrichello, Webber, Massa, Trulli, Raikkonen, Rosberg

Put simply, Brawn's slow practice pace didn't fool me, whereas Red Bulls did. McLaren and BMW flattered to deceive yesterday as well, although Kubica did make it into Q3 for only the 2nd time since Malaysia.

I don't forsee much carnage tomorrow, but we'll only find out once the race is underway. Note: Fisichella has struggled to survive the first corner here (there was a piece in the preview show for ualifying, showing him spinning or crashing every time he's been here, on lap one at turn one).

Turkey preview - Qualifying update

Red Bull and Brawn share the top two rows on the grid. I'm attempting a different format for displaying the grid, and please forgive it. The gap listed is that between the driver and the man who finished directly in front of them, gaps in bold are beneath 0.1s, showing where things were close.

It is a 58 lap race (as are quite a few, these days) and so 1/4 distance is 14.5 laps (3 stops, equally spaced), 1/3 distance is 19.3 laps (2 stops equally spaced). However, the lack of faith in the soft tyre this weekend is such that Alonso and Vettel are probably taking a short first stint on softs, before 2 stints on hards. The one-stoppers might in fact 2-stop, if any repeat of Melbourne/Monaco happened, to avoid over-using the softs.

Predictions to follow in next post

03 June 2009

Turkey preview - fancying their chances

Talking up their chances in the media (well, ITV-F1): BMW, Red Bull (car should suit track), Renault, Williams, Toro Rosso (figured out the car, apparently. Clue: tall thin wing is the back, wide tea tray thing the front), Brawn (but see next section), Toyota, Force India (but, only in the keep up the form sense), Massa (looking for 4th win at 4 year old track - didn't win in his Sauber in 2005), Kimi Raikkonen (although a week ago, shortly after the Monaco GP)

Talking down their chances: Brawn (well, expecting more challengers), Kimi Raikkonen.

From which you should deduce: Massa to beat Raikkonen and McLaren to go backwards. Or, you should ignore all this "cheap talk"

25 May 2009

What price?

Button, Barrichello, Raikkonen was the podium in Monte Carlo. What price that same trio finishing 1-2-3 in the championship. Vettel is 12 points behind Rubens, and 14 ahead of Kimi. The Ferrari is improving faster than the Red Bull (although their new double diffuser should prove useful in Turkey and at Silverstone).

24 May 2009

Pre race predictions

I've been busy, so no post-qualifying post has appeared. I'll write a review of both qualifying and the race at some stage. Using formula1.com's information the grid, with weights is as follows.

1. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 647.5 kg (Brawn said his cars had 20 laps, based on which the other estimates are made)
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 644 - 18 laps
3. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 648 - 21 laps
4. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 631.5 - 13 laps
5. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 643.5 - 17 laps
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 642 - 17 laps
7. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 644 - 18 laps
8. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 646.5 - 19 laps
9. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 654 - 24 laps
10. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 668 - 31 laps
11. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 670 - 32
12. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 673.1 - 34
13. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 693 - 42
14. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 699.5 - 45
15. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 670 - 32
16. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 680 - 37
17. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 696 - 43
18. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 688.3 - 40
19. Timo Glock, Toyota, 700.8 - 46 - will start from pits
20. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 645.5 - 19 - gearbox change

Bold indicates KERS, italics indicates hitting the wall in qualifying
Predictions: Hamilton to be racy early on, but with little reward.

Win: Button
2nd: Barrichello
3rd: Raikkonen
4th: Vettel
5th: Kovaleinen
6th: Alonso
7th: Massa
8th: Rosberg

I half-expect Raikkonen and Button to collide off the start, causing havoc and rendering the grid meaningless.

23 May 2009

Saturday practice

Shorter session, with everyone on track an awful lot. Everyone did between 20 and 29 laps, which implies an average of 11-12 cars on track at any time. Traffic WILL be a problem in Q1, perhaps even in Q2 and Q3. Anyway, times by team:

1. Renault - F. Alonso - 1:15.164
2. Brawn - J. Button - 1:15.233 - 0.069
3. McLaren-Kovaleinen-1:15.278-0.114
5. Ferrari - F. Massa - 1:15.293 - 0.129
8. Red Bull - S. Vettel - 1:15.722 - 0.558
9. Williams - Rosberg - 1:15.758 - 0.594
12. Force India- Sutil - 1:16.228 - 1.064
13.Toro Rosso-Bourdais-1:16.301-1.137
17. Toyota - T. Glock - 1:16.527 - 1.363
18. BMW - R. Kubica - 1:16.599 - 1.435

Too close to call, in other words. In Q1, it is worth everyone's while attempting as many laps as possible, to try and find a clear track - making it implausible that everyone else will succeed.

Luck will play a key role in qualifying, and since qualifying plays such a key role in the race, lcuk matters a lot here.

22 May 2009

Friday predictions

BMW and Toyota were VERY slow in practice. Don't know what to make of that - it is only practice after all, and Kubica had problems that stopped him running at all in the second session, perhaps they'll both improve.

Barrichello beat Button in both sessions, though not by much in the second session. Again, probably doesn't mean much, so I'll try not to take it into account.

What is very clear, is that traffic will be the major issue of qualifying. Even when 5-10 drivers were on the track they were getting in each other's way. Expect 2 big names (Brawn, Red Bull, Ferrari, Alonso, Rosberg, Hamilton) to fail to make Q3, probably Q2 even.

As for the race, it depends on strategy, safety cars and qualifying position. Before I know these, I can only stab in the dark, but here goes:

Win: Barrichello
2nd: Vettel
3rd: Button
4th: Webber
5th: Alonso
6th: Hamilton
7th: Rosberg (finally completing a Monaco GP)
8th: Trulli

But realistically it is any 8 from 20 (yes, even Force India, even in the dry).

Thursday Practice

The tag will say Friday, but that is just for consistency's sake. Monaco being so special, "Friday" practice happened yesterday. Simple post, this, to gauge gaps between teams, it will look at total laps, fastest time and the difference between the sessions.

Session 1:
Brawn - Barrichello- 1:17.189 - 0.000 - 26+28 = 54 laps total
Ferrari - F. Massa - 1:17.499 - 0.310 - 31+30 = 61
McLaren - Hamilton - 1:17.578 - 0.389 - 26+30 = 56
Williams - Nakajima- 1:18.000 - 0.811 - 29+27 = 56
Renault - F. Alonso- 1:18.283 - 1.094 - 31+36 = 67 (Piquet ran lots of laps)
Red Bull - Webber - 1:18.348 - 1.159 - 22+16 = 38 (Vettel engine blown,no penalty)
Toro Rosso - Buemi - 1:18.695 - 1.506 - 37+31 = 68 (Buemi ran more laps than anyone else)
Force India-Fisichella-1:19.534-2.345 - 28+24 = 52
BMW - Robert Kubica- 1:19.560 - 2.371 - 20+23 = 43 (Kubica had mechanical trouble)
Toyota - Timo Glock- 1:19.698 - 2.509 - 24+28 = 52

Session 2:
Williams - Rosberg - 1:15.243 - 0.000 - 45+43 = 88
McLaren-Hamilton-1:15.445 - 0.202 - 35+45 = 80
Brawn-Barrichello- 1:15.590 - 0.347 - 41+36 = 77
Ferrari - F. Massa - 1:15.832 - 0.589 - 42+43 = 87
Red Bull - S. Vettel - 1:15.847 - 0.604 - 33+27 = 60
Renault - N. Piquet - 1:16.286 - 1.043 - 43+39 = 82
Force India-A. Sutil- 1:16.675 - 1.432 - 38+45 = 83
Toyota-Jarno Trulli- 1:16.915 - 1.672 - 43+45 = 88
Toro Rosso-Buemi- 1:16.983 - 1.740 - 48+48=96
BMW - N. Heidfeld - 1:17.109 - 1.866 - 40+2 = 42 (Kubica blew his engine early on)

You'll notice how much quicker the 2nd session was compared to the first. Saturday will be quicker still. Drivers in bold beat their teammates in both sessions. Remember, though, that Thursday is worthless in F1 (except for sponsors).

Tyres: Super-softs and softs have been brought here, as an exception to the "2 compounds apart" rule, which will reduce the need for leading teams to run on softs in Q1. This will further empower them to 2-stop, on fresh tyres throughout (2 stints on super-softs, 1 on softs, I think). Weaker teams will 1 stop and put the longer stint on the soft (harder) tyre, to avoid problems faced in some years.

Weather: looks like it will be clear and dry, which spoils the fun somewhat.

21 May 2009

Monaco preview

Weather doesn't look like being important, so expect a fairly boring race. What will matter here is mechanical grip, and those experts I've heard say that it favours Brawn, and perhaps Toyota, but not to rule out Ferrari, Red Bull, Alonso or Hamilton. Which is to say, that half the field is worth backing. To that list I'd like to add Rosberg, who is usually quick around Monte Carlo, and add in a note that anyhting can go wrong, and usually does.

Despite this, I'm making some fairly tame predictions:

Win: Webber
2nd: Barrichello
3rd: Button
4th: Glock
5th: Vettel
6th: Massa
7th: Alonso
8th: Hamilton

Obviously, rain will change everything (go Sutil, go, go) as would any safety cars/virtuoso performances.

Tyres: soft and super-soft here, which is an exception to the usual "one compound apart" rule - this will reduce the benefits of extreme strategies, and probably return us to the "2 stops for frontrunners, 1 stop for the rest" strategies of years gone by.

10 May 2009

What the cars are capable of

Formula1.com provide a ranking of each driver's fastest lap. Taking the faster team-mate in each case we have:

1. Barrichello - Brawn - 1:22.762
3. Massa - Ferrari - 1:23.089 - + 0.327
4. Vettel - Red Bull - 1:23.089 - + 0.328 (yes 0.001 behind)
6. Alonso - Renault - 1:23.420 - + 0.658
7. Rosberg -Williams- 1:23.621 +0.879
8. Fisichella-Force India-1:23.796 +1.034
9. Hamilton - McLaren - 1:23.839 +1.077
10. Heidfeld - BMW - 1:23.878 - + 1.116
12. Glock - Toyota - 1:24.134 - + 1.372
No Toro Rosso finished a lap.

Rubens was quicker due to 3 stop strategy (meaning he was on less-worn softs when he was on low fuel) and Fisichella was on softs right at the end setting a string of laps quicker than anyone else over the last 10 laps.

This demonstrates the superiority of Brawn, Red Bull and Ferrari this weekend. It also shows how bad the Toyota was (I assume it was damaged) and how very close the entire field is. Also, BMW haven't moved up yet, despite getting 2 points.


A driver who is more than 2 points per remaining race behind has the championship "out of their hands" since, even if they win every race, if the leader comes second each time, they wouldn't win. The equivalent figure for constructors is 7 per race, since that's the difference between a 1-2 and a 3-4.

With 12 races left only 2 drivers are within 24 points of Button (Barrichello 14 behind, Vettel 18 behind). For the constructors it is still entirely open, since Brawn only have 68 points, and 84 would be the margin required to take it out of someone's hands. Logically, if Brawn take 9 points more than Force India in Monaco (as is likely) then we can start applying the metric to constructors, too.

However, for the drivers championship, when is it too early for teams to give a driver priority? The top 6 in the drivers standings go in pairs: the Brawns, the Red Bulls, the Toyotas. Toyota have shown how easy it is to slip back this year, so Brawn might be justified in promoting Button, but surely not until at least Silverstone, in mid-season.

However, if McLaren (Hamilton 9, Kovaleinen 4) or Renault (Alonso 9, Piquet 0) suddenly had a great car, then surely they'd feel it worthwhile.

For reference sake, as it stands, Barrichello has 40% of Brawn's points, as does Webber for Red Bull. Who gets pulled aside first?

Drivers in trouble

The main metric of performance for a driver in F1 is how you match up with your teammate. Some battles (BMW, Toyota) are closer than others, but here are the drivers you might hear rumours about.

Kovaleinen: Simply didn't have the pace to get out of Q1, which should ring alarm bells. As with his countryman Raikkonen, car problems brought him to an early halt, but at the time he was ahead of his teammate. Reputation: no harm done.

Raikkonen: Clearly not the man he was. Claimed responsibility for Q1 error, although realistically that was a team decision. Had a good first lap today, but car troubles brought him to a halt early on. Reputation: unharmed, but unimproved.

Piquet jnr: Outqualified again (but his best performance yet in 12th) . Survived first lap, unlike some, and ended up ahead of Hamilton. Couldn't keep that up, which on a track like this is a black mark. Stopped earlier than pre-race weight would indicate, probably because Alonso had come out just behind him. Reputation: unimproved, which will soon be a problem.

Bourdais: out on lap 1, like his teammate. Not much to say, really.

Webber: outqualified by his teammate, again (used to be his speciality) but with a better strategy, managed to be best of the rest behind the Brawns. Reputation: restored, still adrift of Vettel though.

Nakajima: Broke his front wing on lap one, but had already lost out in qualifying to his teammate. Got stuck behind Fisichella (but if Hamilton can overtake Piquet, surely Nakajima could overtake a Force India). Lost time when Heidfeld came out in front of him after a stop, but was nowhere near Rosberg's pace again. Reputation: sinking, needs to do something soon to justify his place.

Fisichella: Qualified last, and much slower than Sutil (19th). Survived first lap incident, which is a plus. Had some problems mid-race, making 4 put stops, but on his final stint was the fastest car on the track, 8th on the overall fastest laps ranking (why not for the rest of the race).

Barrichello: Outdone in qualifying, recovered on lap one. Blamed the tyres in stints 2 and 3 for his failure to capitalise on 3 stop strategy. Should have been fuelled longer for penultimate stint, but at least he came second. Will have to tow the line behind Button, if he can't win before Ferrari et al catch up.

How the race was lost

This time the 3 quickest cars were the Brawn, Red Bull and Ferrari. 6 drivers therefore had a good chance of winning. Here's how they went, and went wrong.

Button: Qualified on pole, but lost out on first straight. Despite slightly lighter car, he slipped to 1.5s behind Rubens. Switched to 2 stop strategy at first stop, which proved the right thing to do.

Barrichello: Poor qualifying, but recovered on first lap to lead. Stayed on 3-stop strategy but foolishly left a full length final stint on the slower tyres. Had he put, say, 4 laps more fuel on board, the fuel might have slowed him a second, but he would have recovered about 8 a the end of the stint. Emerged 7 seconds behind Jenson, which became 13 by the end.

Vettel: Qualified 2nd whilst heavier than the Brawn cars. Slipped behind Massa at the start. Stuck to same strategy as Massa, which was pure folly, as he could have been as quick as the Brawns. Ended up 5th, promoted to 4th only by Massa's problems.

Webber: Poor qualifying, left him 5th on grid. Good fight with Alonso as safety car came in. If he'd slipped behind, it would have been curtains. Went longer on 2nd stint, putting twice as much fuel in as Rubens (who stopped on same lap) which meant he was on the soft tyre longer than any other leading 2 stopper. This enabled him to leapfrog Massa and Vettel, but Jenson was long gone. Couldn't pass Rubens, but kept him in sight at the end.

Massa: Qualified really well, but only gained one spot off the grid, using his KERS. Had he managed to get in front, the race would have looked very different, and it would have taken quite some Brawn or Red Bull ingenuity to get passed him. Screwed up final stop, leaving him short fuelled, which cost him 4th and 5th places, he ended up 6th, joining Kimi on 3pts in the standings.

Raikkonen: Had the same car as Massa, but a spectacular Q1 misjudgement left him 16th on the grid. Jumped to 10th on lap 1, but problems first with his KERS and then with his throttle gave him a DNF. Never even ran in the points.

09 May 2009

Post qualifying prediction

Given Button on pole, and Massa 4th, with KERS, it should be an interesting race tomorrow. My race predictions are as follows:

Win - Button
2nd - Massa
3rd - Barrichello
4th - Vettel
5th - Trulli
6th - Webber
7th - Rosberg
8th - Alonso

The most interesting feature tomorrow might well be Raikkonen's progress. He starts 16th, in a car that could have made the 2nd row. He'll also have more unused soft tyres than most (having expected to use them in Q2 and Q3). He's a good outside bet for points.

The grid and weights

Going into qualifying, Brawn and Barrichello were confident of pole. Coming out, Button was surprised by it. Were those comments designed to affect Red Bull's strategy? Who knows, however, given the FIA's release of the weights of the cars, we can assess performance in final qualifying.

As usual, the grid is displayed below by row, with the odd numbers on the left (pole listed first) and with my estimate of first pit stop lap (based on fuel consumption figures from Williams) in brackets. KERS cars are highlighted in bold.

Front row: Button (16) Vettel (18)
2nd row: Barrichello (17) Massa (20)
3rd row: Webber (18) Glock (16)
4th row: Trulli (20) Alonso (15-16)
5th row: Rosberg (25-26) Kubica (22)
6th row: Nakajima (29) Piquet (30)
7th row: Heidfeld (29) Hamilton (32)
8th row: Buemi (30) Raikkonen (28)
9th row: Bourdais (26) Kovaleinen (21)
Back row: Sutil (29) Fisichella (20)

It is a 66 lap race, so 16 laps represents a straightforward 3-stopper, whilst 22 is the equivalent figure for a 2-stopper. However, given the apparent slowness of the hard tyre, expect some to have long stints on softs to avoid using hard tyres for more than they have to.

Given all that, expect everyone to start on softs, for Massa to lead into turn 1, for Vettel and Webber to pit on consecutive laps (their weights were identical). The top 8, plus Kovaleinen and Fisichella might all 3-stop, but nobody will 1-stop (if they did, Piquet or Buemi might start on hards, then use softs for 36 laps, which is surely pushing things too far).

Predictions for tomorrow's result in next post (expect it at 19:15).

Saturday Practice

A seldom-well-reported session of 1 hour, a few hours before qualifying. Usually the quickest of the three free pratice sessions it usually features pretty much everyone trying their qualifying set-up. It will be interesting to see if performances this afternoon match those this morning.

As yesterday, I include a list of the top driver from each team, to demonstrate the best pace shown by each car so far this weekend.

Ferrari ... ... 0.000 (more than a second quicker than Rosberg yesterday)
Brawn . .. ... 0.497 (3 and 4, behind a Ferrari 1-2)
BMW ... ... .. 0.686 (although Heidfeld had difficulties and ended up last 2.904s behind Massa)
Toyota ... ... 0.703 (ran more laps than anyone else, 23 & 26 compared to 22 for Kimi)
McLaren ... 0.793 (ran only 15 & 16 laps, only Heidfeld (8) ran fewer)
Toro Rosso..0.871 (9th and 14th places will cheer them, probably)
Renault .. ... 0.946 (guess which one was faster, ahem)
Williams .. .. 1.041 (unusual for them not to lead in this session)
Red Bull .. .. 1.076 (holding their fire, presumably)
Force India..1.356 (still last, hopefully they'll find something soon, to get them into the fight)

One point to note, is that the gap from the Ferrari's to the rest of the field is huge, implying they were doing something different. Another is that Button, in third was less than 1s ahead of Nakajima in 18th, and only 0.469s ahead of Kovaleinen.

Friday Predictions - Barcelona

Friday partice is as uninformative as ever. Many teams were trying out new parts and following their own schedules (especially Toyota, going from second fastest to slowest between the sessions, see below).

My updated predictions show little change in my beliefs.

Win: Barrichello (although Button looks quicker in qualy spec, and pole matters here)
2nd: Button (no loss of faith in team Brawn)
3rd: Vettel (think Red Bull have better race pace than Toyota)
4th: Glock
5th: Alonso (show pony Q3 lap, then takes advantage of KERS in the race)
6th: Webber (due a better finish, but that's been true for years)
7th: Kubica (think a BMW might make Q3, and he'd be the more likely of the pair - no KERS though)
8th: Rosberg (surely the Williams team will make some hay while the sun, umm, sets)

08 May 2009

Friday Practice Review

Button won the first session, Rosberg the second. Highlights can be found on the BBC (first session, second session). The BBC describe the major headlines here.

Below is a list, by team, of the fastest drivers in each session, and then overall (almost mirrors 2nd session). Please forgive the poor formatting, one day I'll learn html.

Practice 1 .. Gap .. Practice 2 .. Gap .. Overall .. Gap
.. Brawn .. 0.000 .. Williams .. 0.000 . Williams .. 0.000
.. Toyota .. 0.355 .. Renault .. 0.193 ... Renault .. 0.193
... BMW ... 0.422 ... Brawn ... 0.255 ... *Brawn* .. *0.209*
. Williams . 0.860 . Red Bull .. 0.439 .. Red Bull .. 0.439
.. Renault . 0.954 Toro Rosso 0.983 .. *Toyota* *0.564*
.. Ferrari .. 1.056 ... Ferrari ... 1.011 ... *BMW* .. *0.631*
.. Red Bull . 1.135 Force India 1.082 . Toro Rosso 0.983
.. McLaren . 1.278 . McLaren . 1.221 .. Ferrari .. 1.011
. Toro Rosso 1.289 ... BMW ... 1.360 . Force India 1.082
. Force India 1.290 .. Toyota .. 1.772 .. McLaren . 1.221

The less obvious headlines are that Toyota and BMW are in better shape than they appear, because they did their only fast times in the first session, when conditions were slower (less rubber on the track, mainly). Secondly, the gap across the field is miniscule, with 1.221s between the fastest McLaren and the fastest car.

Button's first session time was slightly quicker than Barrichello's 2nd session one, but it doesn't affect their 3rd ranking. Alonso's fastest lap should be taken with all the usual salt (as should those of Williams, as always) for this is Spain, and he is Fernando.

Having said that, not everyone will have done a low fuel, soft tyre lap at all (and those that did might not have run on Q2 levels, but instead with, say, 10 laps' worth on board).

Trouble did strike Adrian Sutil, who failed to complete a lap in the 2nd session, having come last in the first. His fastest lap was 1.737s slower than Button's in the first session, so hopefully he'll pick time up tomorrow morning, otherwise he'll fail again, to get through to Q2.

Final note - this race we have the harder tyres (soft and hard, rather than super-soft and medium) and it appears that the soft is better, even on longer runs, so that will affect Sunday strategy.

Preview - Barcelona

I forgot to include my Thursday predictions here. Actually, I didn't make any, but if I had, they would have been along the lines of:
Win: Barrichello
2nd: Button
3rd: Trulli
4th: Vettel
5th: Glock
6th: Hamilton
7th: Alonso
8th: Rosberg.

European racing, here we come! Friday details to follow soon...

05 May 2009

Man with no credibility makes outlandish claim

Donington 'will stage British GP' Lease-holder claims everything is fine, ignoring wreams of evidence to the contrary.

04 May 2009

Fun In The Sunglasses

This is a shameless plug for my friends at Fun in the Sunglasses.
They sell sunglasses online, offering free UK delivery and selling below RRP on brand names including Wimbledon, Porsche and Rodenstock.
The website is www.fitsunglasses.com

02 May 2009

2010 and the WMSC

Last week the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) was gathered to pass judgement on McLaren, following their misleading of stewards in Melbourne. The punishment (in addition to the already-imposed disqualification): a three race suspended ban, to be imposed only if a further breach of the same rule occurs within 12 months. In other words, no further punishment, but watch your step.

However, more important were some decisions about next year's rules:
1) The number of entries permitted to be 13 instead of 12 (following several applications, there might be 26 cars on the grid for the first time in ages).
2) Voluntary budget cap of £40m or €45m (I haven't seen which is the official version, but most media, from the UK, Spain and Germany, quote both). If budget is not followed, teams must not have adjustable wings, and must have their engine revs capped.
3) Refuelling banned (supposed justification - give advantage to any team that can develop a fuel efficient engine).
4) Increase in minimum weight from 605kg to 620kg. This will allow heavier drivers some ballast even if they use KERS (a system that weighs about 30kg).

The teams mostly back the plans, but Ferrari are livid about the budget cap, whilst Williams want it to be compulsory. The big test for the teams is whether they can produce and maintain a united response to these changes (they suit the 5 privateers better than the 5 manufacturer teams - BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Renault and Toyota).

30 April 2009

RIP Roland Ratzenberger

15 years ago today, in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix, Roland Ratzenberger bexame the first F1 driver to die in an accident since 1986. His was the first at a Grand Prix weekend (as opposed to testing) since 1982.
His death was overshadowed, the following day, but the death of triple world champion Ayrton Senna, but that should't lessen the impact of losing a young driver, in only his 3rd Grand Prix weekend.
Thankfully no driver has been killed since that weekend in 1994, but we should never forget.

27 April 2009


A few words, first to congratulate the ITV-F1 team on their BAFTA. Also, I wanted to take the chance to recommend a new blog from Carl S, available at carlonf1.blogspot.com. He's starting off with a review of the season so far, for each of the teams. He's also less blinkered than I am when it comes to Rubens Barrichello, my favourite driver.

26 April 2009

Theissen on Bahrain strategy

Auto Motor und Sport have an article (in German) where they ask Mario Theissen about BMW's terrible performance. He says that after qualifying a lowly 13th and 14th they'd "tanked up, put on the hard tyres, and hoped for a safety car."

This is the sort of risk that Piquet took in Germany last year and was probably the right thing to do, since they wouldn't (probably) have been able to do anything else from where they were, in the 7th best car.

However, Bahrain is not the sort of track where a safety car is likely (I don't rememebr any) because of its massive runoff areas and clear sight lines.

Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The article also mentions an aero-upgrade for Barcelona. But they all say that.

Under Pressure

Team-mate comparisons are the most accurate ones available in F1. Some drivers suit certain car characteristics better than others, but generally, if you're beating a well-regarded teammate, you're doing well.

If, however, you're being completely overshadowed, then you're number may soon be up:

Piquet - Has one of the best drivers since the Prost, Senna, Mansell era as his teammate, but then so did Lewis Hamilton. Getting a kicking in the press and on TV, but ultimately, he must raise his game, if he is to keep his seat beyond Spain (or Turkey, depending on the rumour you hear). Rumour also has it that only his dad's friendship with Flavio Briatore saved him from the chop last winter.

Bourdais - Multiple Champ Car champion has managed to prove how worthless the Champ Car series is, having been outdone by a rookie last season (admittedly Vettel) and being outdone by another rookie, with an uninspiring CV (Buemi). Must stamp his authority soon, otherwise Sato might get a call (or else one of the Red Bull youngsters).

Nakajima - Has managed a top 8 position in a session that counted only once (8th in Q1 at Bahrain), which is one more than Piquet, but far fewer than Rosberg. Nico Hulkenberg might replace him, or else another Toyota favourite, but realistically it is only his Japanese passport that is keeping him in F1 for now.

Kovaleinen - Has been overshadowed by Hamilton for a year and a bit now. However, his performance in China will keep the pressure off for a while yet.

Fisichella - Very experienced, but unable to wring the best out of the car. He is losing the head-to-head with another inexperienced driver, and probably won't get a drive next season. Whether he loses his drive in the meantime, however, depends on whether McLaren decide to "persuade" tehir partners to give De La Rosa some racing.


Below you'll see a driver-by-driver analysis for the top 3 teams, here I'll look at the rest.

McLaren: At the circuit where KERS has the greatest advantage (except Monza) they managed to get Lewis into the fight for the podium. Great to see that their Malaysia performance wasn't a one-off, but they'll be disappointed that Heikki didn't manage to match his teammate. Hoping to progress when the upgrades come at Barcelona (but then every team is saying that).

Ferrari: Finally got their first points, even if it was only for 6th place. Kimi's strategy was perfect, and he managed to get ahead of those cars that might have held him up. He even led briefly before his first stop. Massa was compromised by an early stop to repair damage from a first-lap collision, but such are the perils of racing in the midfield. Still have work to do, but should be in the fight for points from now on.

Renault: Alonso completely outdid Piquet again and had a wonderful tussle with Trulli after the Toyota driver's first stop. Nelsinho was underwhelming throughout, so will be surrounded by talk of getting replaced. Grosjean is a good driver, but not a great (at least based on GP2 form, where he matched Buemi, but was beaten by Pantano, Senna and Di Grassi).

Williams: Rosberg didn't manage to take advantage of the teams upgrades (Nakajima didn't get them at all) and they'll be disappointed since they've completely wasted a quick car over the opening few weekends. Now they'll face a massive struggle not to go backwards, as the "bigger" teams improve. Nakajima is another driver in peril (see separate, forthcoming, post).

BMW: Picked the wrong strategy (1 stop) which left the cars too slow over the opening lap, leading both into collisions, which spoilt any chance they had left. Heidfeld did finish his 25 consecutive race, which is a record, but he was last, so not a record he set in any style. Lots of work to do, and the sounds they make imply it won't even be for Barcelona. A tough May ahead for them.

Toro Rosso: Where were they? Looking back at the lap chart (registration required) Bourdais started well-ish, getting to 13th, which, like Webber in 11th, is where he finished. Buemi, on the other hand lost out on his 2nd stop, ending 17th. They'll be looking for more chaotic races, to take any points - perhaps a wet Monaco (their car is superb in the wet, second only to Red Bull).

Force India: Sutil deserved his penalty from qualifying, but they'll be disappointed that their upgrades only brought them into the fight for lower places, rather than into the midfield proper. Fisichella seemed to have a problem late on, slipping from 10th to 15th, but like Toro Rosso, they'll depend on rain to score points.

How the race was lost

Going into the race, Trulli and Vettel were the favourites. Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota seemed well matched for pace, so here's how 5 of their drivers lost.

Trulli - Lost the lead into the first corner, but wasn't held up by his teammate, so that wasn't where the race was lost. After his first pit stop, however, he was held up fighting with Alonso, and then gradually lost more time on the harder tyre. At the end, he failed to take advantage of the softer tyre to usurp Vettel for second.

Glock - Poor qualifying lap, but recovered well to take the lead. Held up by Rosberg after his first stop and then had absolutely no pace on the harder tyre (about 1s per lap slower than his teammate on the SAME tyres). Ended up slipping into Rosberg and Alonso's fight.

Vettel - Fuelled longer than anyone else on the first 3 rows, but slipped behind Hamilton into the first corner. Button followed through into turn 2, leaving him 5th. Wasn't able to follow Button past Hamilton so lost time there. Was then held up by Trulli, so unable to take advantage of the softer tyres. Used his fuel strategy well to pass Trulli, but should have been in the same position as Button.

Webber - Held up by Sutil in Q1, started 18th. Quickly got into the middle of the field, runing 11th until his first stop. However, he then unable to make any further progress, proving either that overtaking is still impossible, or else that he hasn't got the knack. A poor performance, he should at least have recovered to the points.

Button - Qualified only 4th and dropped behind Hamilton at the start. However, he managed to get past Lewis at the beginning of lap 2, and then took advantage of his tyres and his fuel to take the lead. He then never looked back.

Barrichello - Poor qualifying lap, left him 6th, with 4 heavier cars ahead of him. The KERS cars then passed him on the first straight, but he recovered to get back ahead of Alonso and Massa in turn 1. Also passed Kimi on lap 1, leaving him where he started in 6th. However, his 3 stop strategy only slowed him down, bringing him into a fight for 6th, rather than into the fight for 2nd to 5th.

25 April 2009

Pre-race predictions

Weights have been announced, and my estimates are for earlier stops than predicted by the BBC (by about 1 lap each) and James Allen (about 2 laps). Hopefully this time we'll actually be able to compare.
Rubens made an interesting comment after qualifying. Apart from the fact that the car isn't as quick over a single lap as some of its rivals (Red Bull and Toyota, even McLaren now) he said that he lost time because he was held up on his out lap. This meant he couldn't heat his tyres properly. This reminded me of the tyre-war days, when any Michelin car would do an extra slow parade lap, to prevent Michael Schumacher from warming his tyres properly. Brawn's rivals, take note. ITV-F1s article is available here
James Allen also notes that the soft tyre is quicker than the medium, even on longer runs, so expect almost everyone (except the BMWs who are going past half-way) to start the race on them.

Anyway, time for my top 8:
Win: Trulli
2nd: Button
3rd: Vettel
4th: Barrichello
5th: Glock
6th: Hamilton
7th: Massa
8th: Alonso

Looking back, I see I've picked the same top 5, in a different order, every time this weekend. Let's see how that turns out tomorrow, then.

Grid and weights

Using a car minimum weight of 605kg, and fuel consumption of 2.88kg/lap (thanks to Williams) and allowing some excess weight for driver weight loss (heat leads to water loss) and fuel for the formation lap and the drive to the grid, I estimate that the cars will stop as follows (pole on left):

Front row: Trulli (12) Glock (10/11)
2nd row: Vettel (16) Button (14)
3rd row: Hamilton (14) Barrichello (12/13)
4th row: Alonso (13) Massa (18)
5th row: Rosberg (20) Raikkonen (20)
6th row: Kovaleinen (13) Nakajima (23/24)
7th row: Kubica (30) Heidfeld (29)
8th row: Piquet (22/23) Buemi (23)
9th row: Fisichella (13/14) Webber (15)
10th row: Sutil (23) Bourdais (19)

KERS cars in brackets, drivers I expect to start on softs in italics. It is a 57 lap race, and I'm working on the assumption that teams will choose a 2 stop strategy (except perhaps BMW). I also expect Massa and Bourdais to take long middle stints, to provide a short super-soft period.

Having said all that, the super-softs are designed to work in the conditions expected tomorrow, so shouldn't degrade as they did in Melbourne.


A full grid and weights post will follow, eventually (weights are published on the FIA website at some point after qualifying, hopefully I'll hve a post for you by 6pm).

Final practise - I didn't watch it, but the top 10 featured neither Brawn not Red Bull. Glock broke down after setting the fastest time, whilst Bourdais in the Toro Rosso only managed 7 laps (most managed 15-18). I assume (couldn't find mention of it on ITV or BBC sites) that he too had technical problems.

Q1 - Lap times so close that everyone had to run on super-softs, to ensure a top 15 space. Vettel, Trulli, Hamilton and the Brawns were the top 5, whilst Webber was dramtically blocked by Sutil and didn't get through. Back 5: Sutil, Buemi, Fisichella, Webber, Bourdais. Sutil was later penalised 3 places and will start 19th, behind Webber in 18th.

Q2 - Everyone ran on scrubbed softs to set a "banker" lap, and that dramatically improved on super softs. Vettel, Glock, Trulli, Raikkonen and Barrichello were top 5, whilst Kovaleinen, Nakajima, Kubica, Heifeld and Piquet missed out on the top 10 shootout.

Q3 - Again, most drivers took two runs, using any new sets of softs that they had at the end. I suspect the Toyotas are light, but the top 10 are listed below. Looking at sector times, Hamilton (sector 2) and Barrichello (sector 3) appear to have dropped time, but otherwise the times were consistent across the lap.

Pole - Trulli
2nd - Glock (0.281s)
3rd - Vettel (0.584s)
4th - Button (0.613s)
5th - Hamilton (0.765s)
6th - Barrichello (0.808s)
7th - Alonso (1.147s)
8th - Massa (1.387s)
9th - Rosberg (1.703s)
10th - Raikkonen (1.949s)

Expect Rosberg to be heavy, the other slower cars might have run out of fresh super-softs. Trulli's lap was only 0.760s slower than his Q2 time, so he can't have been very heavy.

24 April 2009

Practise makes perfect

Another Friday, another Rosberg fastest lap. One day I'll believe he's going to keep it going all weekend long. Actually, this is his last "best chance" as many teams are massively upgrading their cars for the next Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Morning session:
All cars ran between 15 and 24 laps, in a 90-minute session (which tells you how little traffic there was until the end). Hamilton put in a quick lap early on, which was never beaten (although it was on low fuel). The BMWs came in 2nd and 3rd, but on the softer tyres (and presumably also low-fuelled). Only 4 cars were more than 1.5 seconds outside Rosberg's time, with Glock, Alonso and the Toro Rosso's ending up in positions 17-20. Just over 6 tenths separated Button in 5th from Fisichella in 16th place.

Afternoon session:
Busier. Only 5 cars ran for less than 30 laps, with 3 drivers managing 37. Even closer spaced field, too, with Trulli in 3rd and Buemi in 13th 0.511s apart. Curiously, if the order were repeated in the first Qualifying session, then the back 5 would be the two BMWs, both Ferraris and Heikki Kovaleinen (all from last year's top 3 teams). How times change.

What we've learnt:
That the field is closer than ever, with Force India's improvements shunting them into the midfield (Sutil 7th in second practise). Tomorrow will be even higher pressure than usual, and anyone repeating Vettel's China strategy (1 run in each session) will find things very difficult, unless their car is much quicker.

My updated predictions for the race:
Win: Button
2nd: Barrichello
3rd: Vettel
4th: Trulli
5th: Glock
6th: Rosberg (I always fall for it slightly)
7th: Alonso
8th: Sutil (honestly, the field is so close, it could be ANYONE)

23 April 2009


Dry race, hot race. Should be easy for Brawn. Toyota, BMW and Ferrari tested here over the winter, so Toyota might be a threat.

My official Thursday picks:
Win: Rubens Barrichello (I fear I'll continue to pick him until he actually wins)
2nd: Jenson Button (the heat and dry conditions should make this easy)
3rd: Timo Glock
4th: Jarno Trulli (dry conditions and winter tests should bump them above Red Bull)
5th: Sebastian Vettel
6th: Nico Rosberg (has a good record here, by his standards)
7th: Kazuki Nakajima (due a good performance)
8th: Lewis Hamilton (best of the rest)

As ever, we'll know more tomorrow

Other news

British GP 2010 in trouble (BBC, ITV, James Allen)
Lola (Formula1.com, BBC and others) and ProDrive/Aston Martin (BBC, interview on BBC website (audio)) join US Grand Prix Engineering in considering entering F1 in 2010. Could there be 13 teams? More, even? Imagine having qualifying, where drivers are actually trying to qualify (for the first time since 1994, or 2002 through the 107% rule) rather than merely arranging the starting order.

Bahrain GP history

The BBC do a feature before every race, in which they showcase the highlights of 5 "classic" races at the venue, in the build up to each race. Like in China, there have only been 5 races at Sakhir, so they offer highlights of each (between 5 and a half and 7 minutes long).

2004 - Ferrari 1-2 on circuit's debut.
2005 - De La Rosa's most famous performance. Many drivers went off the track, including Pedro several times, but there was plenty of overtaking.
2006 - Massa nearly wipes out Alonso on his Ferrari debut, Raikkonen fights from last to third and Rosberg gets himself a Fastest Lap, on his F1 debut.
2007 - Massa wins as Hamilton gets his 3rd podium, in only his 3rd race.
2008 - Hamilton rear-ends Alonso, which left the way open for a Ferrari 1-2, Kubica third.

History shows this to be a Ferrari track, but you'd be brave/foolish to bet on them this weekend!

KERS/diffusors etc.

As far as I can ascertain, the following cars will have KERS this weekend.
Ferrari (just Massa on Friday, then possibly both or neither)
BMW (both drivers, at least on Friday, possibly just Heidfeld for the race)
Renault (assessing on Friday, but probably, see above link)
McLaren (definitely, see above link).

Piquet will join Alonso, in having the latest Renault aero-updates and fancies his chances. However, there are rumours that Bruno Senna is being lined up to replace him.

Meanwhile, only Force India have brought in any significant upgrades (more are expected for Barcelona in a fortnight's time).


Australia was affected by safety cars, Malaysia by a monsoon, China by constant rain (at least on Sunday) so welcome to the desert for a dry race, right?

Well, according to Auto Motor und Sport (in German) there's a fair chance of sandstorms come race day. When this happened during testing, no car was allowed on track, as the saftey helicopter could not fly. It'll be interesting to see what the race organisers can do about this.

This English article reports the same thing.

22 April 2009

New blog

Welcome to my new blog. Formula 1 related posts from my previous blog can be found here.

A Bahrain GP preview will appear here tomorrow, but to start us off here are a couple of links to current Formula 1 stories:

Lola consider returning to Formula 1 whilst Alonso still believes he has a chance of winning the 2009 drivers championship.