Posted on September 30, 2010

The sport has often been criticised for not doing enough centrally to develop and nurture young drivers. It has been left to the likes of Elf, Renault, Red Bull and individual teams to run young driver programmes. These are very expensive and do not always produce results. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are products of McLaren and Red Bull programmes but there is a lot of wastage. I was interested to see, while we were in Singapore at the weekend, that the FIA Institute has announced that it is going into partnership with former Benetton and Williams driver Alex Wurz More…

Posted on September 30, 2010

Michael Schumacher will compete next year in Formula 1, but how well it goes depends on the quality of the car that Mercedes gives him. The seven times world champion has had a torrid time this season, scoring 76 points less than his young team mate Nico Rosberg and generally being outpaced by him everywhere. The old Schumacher, who’s presence always dominated the paddock and the race track during race weekends, is a far more anonymous competitor these days. It is often easy to forget that he’s in the field. The reason why he has struggled is because what he More…

Posted on September 29, 2010

Today was the final part of the Yas Marina Circuit’s two day experience, aimed at giving a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a Formula 1 driver. After physical tests, karting and a 2 seater F1 ride yesterday, today we went through a series of mental tests devised by Dr Riccardo Ceccarelli of the human performance company Formula Medicine and drove F3000 cars. Although the rides and drives have been fantastic and insightful, for me the most interesting part of this programme was Dr Ceccarelli’s work. He has been honing his research and methods over 20 years working More…

Posted on September 28, 2010

Today has been an astonishing day for me, for Neil Donnell our Fan Ambassador competition winner and the other attendees of the driving event at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. The two day event is all about giving the media and some fans like Neil a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a Grand Prix driver, ahead of the second Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November. There are four driving disciplines, karts, Aston Martin GTs, Super sport two seaters and F3000 cars. In addition there are two off track elements which are a phyiscal and mental tests More…

Posted on September 27, 2010

The row over the use of the Lotus brand in F1 has been bubbling under the surface for a long time and today it went public. Proton, the owner of Group Lotus, which makes road cars said that the F1 team had no rights to use the name Lotus. This followed an announcement at the weekend that Tony Fernandes’s Lotus F1 team had acquired the rights to the Team Lotus name from David Hunt, who has owned it since 1994. From next season Tony Fernandes’ outfit will be called Team Lotus. He has made this move in order to bring More…

Posted on September 27, 2010

I heard an amazing statistic this week in Singapore from the manager of one of the teams. He said that a Formula 1 car has 4,000 parts on it and during a season they change up to a quarter of them!

The aim of course of all this development is to lower the lap time and Renault boss Eric Boullier told me that since Bahrain the Renault has improved by 1.7 seconds a lap.

Singapore is always a significant date technically because for most teams it is the last opportunity to bring a major package of upgrades to the car. From now on the cars will not return to the factory again until after the season has finished, even after the Abu Dhabi tests. That’s not to say that there will not be new parts on the cars in the remaining races, but they will have to be flown out in engineer’s luggage and they will be individual components rather than packages.

In sharp contrast to the last race in Monza, Singapore is all about downforce, the more the better. So you see more elements on the front wings and some very elaborate designs.

Red Bull are really going for it. There were sounds of grinding coming from their garage in the early hours of Saturday morning as new bodywork parts were fine tuned before being fitted for FP3 and qualifying. Here they had not one, but two new specifications of front wing and there was one of each for both drivers. They did back to back tests on them during Friday practice. The aim, as with all the teams’ updates, was to find more downforce and to improve the airflow to the floor and the rest of the car to improve stability and driveability. Look at how steeply angled the main element is. Both drivers used the same wing for qualifying and the race.

Ferrari were interesting to watch during the weekend, trying various configurations during practice, making the most of the track time. They had a new Singapore front wing, with the outer element of the endplate further back than before and a different main element. But they also had wings of the type used in Monaco and Silverstone. Alonso raced the new wing.

Alonso's car without F Duct channel to rear wing

In Friday afternoon practice they did a comparison test between the F Duct rear wing and no F Duct. Alonso said on Friday night that he thought it was better with the F Duct, but then his car appeared without it for qualifying and he stuck it on pole. This was because the simulations for qualifying and the race showed that the car would be faster here without it, the extra downforce more than making up for the additional speed the F Duct wing would give on the straight. On this occasion Alonso was willing to sideline his instincts in the face of raw data.

..and Massa's with the F Duct channel

McLaren were miles off the pace the last time we went to a high downforce and bumpy circuit, in Hungary. Here they were more competitive and part of that has to do with the way that they have evolved the rear end aerodynamics. This has allowed them to run the suspension softer and that helped over the bumps.

McLaren had a sumptuous looking new front wing on display this weekend, based on the main profile introduced at Silverstone. This layout has the purpose to separate the airflow into two channels, but with both directing airflow around the outside of the front tyres . There is so much detail in this wing, check out the tiny fin vents on the inside of the top element. And contrast the complexity of this wing with the simplicity of the Ferrari one. McLaren ran a back to back comparison between this wing and the previous version and Button opted to run the new one.

In contrast to all of the above we have Hispania’s car, built by Dallara. This car has basically not had any development on it at all.

The high downforce wing in Singapore is the same as...

The most stark illustration of this is the front wing. If you compare their front wing for the low downforce Monza circuit and for the high downforce Singapore circuit you will see quite clearly that they are exactly the same!

For reference the Hispania was 3.75 seconds off the pace in Turkey, earlier in the season and here in Singapore it was 6.4 seconds.

..the low downforce wing in Monza

A tough race for Brakes
With new rules for 2010 requiring drivers to start the race with full fuel loads, Singapore has become one of the toughest races on the calendar for the brakes. The reason for this is not because there are many big stops from high to low speed. Rather it is the lack of cooling opportunities.

There are 17 braking moments on every lap and an incredible 21% of the lap time is spent braking – that’s 22 seconds of braking in a 1m 45s lap. On two occasions the driver has to put over 100kg of pressure on the brake pedal. If the carbon discs and pads are not given a chance to dissipate the heat and cool down their performance fades, so getting the brake ducts right to finding ways of cooling them is critical.

The brake discs were 28mm thick at the start or the race and during the course of the Singapore Grand Prix they wore down to just 22mm. A set of brake discs and pads for each F1 car costs £10,000 and at the end of the 61 lap race they are thrown in the bin.

Posted on September 26, 2010

Fernando Alonso won today’s Singapore Grand Prix using the same engine with which he raced in Germany and Hungary. It’s been a successful engine, scoring 68 out of a potential 75 points. That engine will now be used for Fridays for the remainder of the season. Despite having now used all his eight allocated engines, compared to his rivals Red Bull and McLaren who each have one fresh one to take, Alonso and Ferrari say that their running will not be compromised. He has two engines which have both done one race each – Spa and Monza. These will be More…

Posted on September 26, 2010

We had a number of very strong performances in the field today, so it’s a tough call for driver of the day. Who’s yours? Fernando Alonso – Took pole with a strong lap, defended robustly at the start from Vettel and pulled away at 3/10ths per lap in the opening stint. Drove a perfect race, despite intense pressure from Vettel in second phase when the Red Bull was clearly faster on the hard tyres. Has now scored three wins in five races. Sebastian Vettel – His first podium for three races, the so called “crash kid” put in a faultless More…

Posted on September 26, 2010

Fernando Alonso won the Singapore Grand Prix by a margin of just 0.2 seconds after a race long battle with Sebastian Vettel on a day when the gloves well and truly came off between championship rivals Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. The pair, who were one and two in the championship going into the race, were fighting for third place when they collided following a restart from a safety car period. It was Alonso’s 25th career victory, putting him level with the great Jim Clark and only two behind Jackie Stewart. More significantly it was his third win in five More…

Posted on September 25, 2010

Fernando Alonso took pole position under the lights for tomorrow’s Singapore night race in a thrilling battle with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. The pair traded fastest sector times in the final runs, but Vettel brushed the wall, handing Alonso pole by a tenth of a second. It was his 20th career pole and the second in a row this season. Lewis Hamilton was third for 4/10ths ahead of McLaren ahead of team mate Jenson Button and Red Bull’s Mark Webber. The session had started with a scare for Ferrari – Felipe Massa stopped out on the track during Q1, before More…

Posted on September 24, 2010

The Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set the fastest times on the first day of free practice on the Marina Bay Circuit. The Red Bulls looked back to their best after two races on tracks which didn’t play to their strengths in Spa and Monza. The cars look fast on a single lap and on long runs and are getting the soft tyres to last well. Vettel said that he’s pleased with the pace, but he has convinced himself that the rain is going to play a part in the weekend. This would be a shame More…

Posted on September 24, 2010

I’ve spent the first part of Friday hosting the Business of Motorsport in Asia conference at the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) – a high octane gathering of Asian business leaders who were there to hear from speakers including Bernie Ecclestone, Tony Fernandes, McLaren’s Ekrem Sami, and the marketing supremos of Shell, LG and Diageo. The event was organised by SGX together with sponsorship agency JMI and it was attended by almost 200 delegates. It was widely agreed that Singapore has performed miracles to establish itself as one of the most important events on the F1 calendar, equal with Monaco. This More…

Posted on September 23, 2010

Pirelli’s development programme on next years tyres has moved into another phase, with the testing role passing from Romain Grosjean to Pedro de la Rosa, recently ousted by the Sauber team in favour of Pirelli’s original tester Nick Heidfeld. The first three tests were carried out by Heidfeld, with Grosjean taking over for the recent fourth test. But current F1 drivers will be relieved that the role has now been given to De la Rosa, who has a wealth of experience as a development driver with McLaren, a role he relinquished only this year to take up the race opportunity More…

Posted on September 23, 2010

Sebastian Vettel has admitted that he is the outsider going into the final five races of the season. Placed fifth of the five contenders, with 24 points fewer than Mark Webber, Vettel is nevertheless still less than a win away from his team mate. He’s never stood on the podium here in Singapore, even though he was competitive here last year, qualifying on the front row. This season he has been the most consistent of all the front runners in qualifying, with top three placings in all the first 12 races, only slipping back in the last two races. It’s More…

Posted on September 22, 2010

The F1 in Schools World Finals, supported by LG, took place in Singapore this evening and was won by Team Unitus from the USA. There was a good turn out from the F1 Paddock with racers Kamui Kobayashi, Lucas di Grassi and Lotus Technical director Mike Gascoyne among the personalities handing out awards. I hosted it for the sixth year in a row and was stunned by the increase in quality of the entries from last year to this. It was the most closely fought championship so far in the event’s 10 year history, particularly for the podium places, with More…

Posted on September 21, 2010

This weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix has a turning point feel about it for me. Like the first European race of the season, Singapore seems to have become a race which teams still fighting for the championship, or at the other end of the grid, trying to salvage something from the end of the season, bring significant updates to. It was in Singapore last year, for example that the Red Bull really kicked on a gear, the McLaren became a real contender. This year’s championship is the closest for many years, with five races to go and the perfect result in More…

Posted on September 21, 2010

We have a winner of our UK Fan Ambassador to Abu Dhabi competition – his name is Neil Donnell, 34, a games developer from Poole in Dorset. He will travel to Abu Dhabi next week for a two day experience meeting other fans from the UAE and around the world and finding out what it takes to become and F1 driver with a driving programme from karts to the threshold of F1. Neil was chosen by our panel because of the personality which came through in his girlfriend Tashi’s nomination (number 31). We loved the humour and the heartfelt warmth More…

Posted on September 20, 2010

Thanks to everyone who has put in nominations for the UK Fan Ambassador to travel to Abu Dhabi next week for a once in a lifetime experience, meeting other fans from around the world and seeing exactly what it takes to become an F1 driver. We have been surprised and overwhelmed by the response and by the many amazing, heartfelt stories you have told in your nominations. Thanks for all your fantastic entries. We have to bring it to a close and so the nominations will end at 6pm this evening UK time. It’s going to be very hard to More…

Posted on September 17, 2010

How would you like an opportunity to become a Fan Ambassador, to represent the fan base of the UK at a unique event in Abu Dhabi? Formula 1 visits Abu Dhabi this season for the second time. The fan base in the UAE is small, but growing fast. The UK represents a very mature market for F1 enthusiasts and I have an opportunity to take a Fan Ambassador to a unique event on September 28-29 where you can engage with fans from around the world and from the UAE, share your ideas and find out first hand what it takes More…

Posted on September 16, 2010

Last week I went down to visit Virgin Racing Technical Director Nick Wirth at his Wirth Research headquarters in Oxfordshire, which this year designed and developed the first digital F1 car, entirely conceived using CFD with no wind tunnel. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Virgin, which started the season with chronic unreliability and a fuel tank which wasn’t big enough. Solving the reliability issues delayed performance upgrades until Silverstone and here Wirth admits that there was some nervousness within the team around Valencia. But recently they have added performance to the car, Wirth says that his group has added More…

Posted on September 15, 2010

We are now getting into what is known as the ‘Business End” of the season and with five drivers still in with a shout of the title, separated by a scant 24 points – less that the points from a win – it’s shaping up to be the most exciting finale in recent F1 history. Five drivers can win it, no-one knows for sure who will. But one thing is certain – four drivers will lose it. No-one wants to be left in that position and thus the whole issue of team orders and teams prioritising one driver over the More…

Posted on September 15, 2010

The F1 in Schools programme, of which I am a patron along with many of the leading technical directors in F1, is all set to host its World Finals next week in Singapore. The competition, which is also backed by F1 sponsor LG Electronics, is open to children from nine to school leaving age. Teams of students have to design a model car from a block of balsa wood, which is fired down a 20 metre track using gas canisters in the back. It is an exercise in research, CAD/CAM design, manufacturing, aerodynamic testing and racing. It is a junior More…

Posted on September 14, 2010

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza is the fastest event of the season and it is a unique layout as far as F1 is concerned. The average speed of the lap is 250km/h and the top speed is 345km/h. It is essentially a series of long straights linked with chicanes. There are only three corners; the two Lesmo bends and the Parabolica.

Because of the relative amounts of time spent on the straights and in the corners, teams have traditionally chosen to run the cars in ultra low downforce configuration to minimise drag on the straights, considering this to be a greater gain than having extra speed through the corners. A car using Monza wings will generate 25% less downforce than the same car with Monaco wings on.

But this year the drag reducing F Duct rear wing has changed the game. This is a device which allows engineers to have their cake and eat it – in other words they can have low drag without sacrificing downforce.

Interestingly Ferrari’s top speed at the weekend was more or less the same as last year at 338km/h, but the lap time was 6/10ths faster this year. Much of that is to due to the F Duct.

Engineers I spoke who had carried out direct comparison tests on Friday found that the F Duct was up to half a second faster than the low downforce specification. But only those with an efficient system.

And as there is something to be gained from having a bit of extra downforce in the three corners and in stability under braking, there was an advantage to using the F Duct – but only if you have an efficient system, which sheds enough drag and doesn’t lose downforce.

Therefore a glance at the teams who chose to race without the F Duct – Mercedes and Force India being the most obvious examples – reveals the teams with the system which is the least efficient, and therefore they were too slow in a straight line with it fitted.

One of the things which made it such an interesting weekend was that there was a mix of solutions. And one of the secrets of success this weekend was having a Monza wing with an F Duct in it, rather than a compromise wing.

Button's F Duct, note steep wing angle

McLaren’s drivers went different ways. Jenson Button went for the F Duct and a higher level of downforce than any other driver, preferring the feel of the car in the corners, while Lewis Hamilton went the traditional route with skinny rear wings. After qualifying he was wondering whether he had made a mistake, as he was down in fifth while Button was second. We will never know how it might have panned out in the race as Hamilton crashed on the opening lap.

Hamilton's low downforce wing without F Duct

However on closer inspection it seems that McLaren might have got lucky at the weekend. They said some time ago that they were not planning on using an F Duct at Monza and the wing that they turned up with was actually the Spa wing with the F Duct, according to engineers I spoke to.

In other words, unlike Ferrari they had not built a specific Monza spec wing with F Duct. It worked well enough for Button, but one wonders whether that fraction of extra straight line speed for Ferrari might have just made the difference.

Ferrari’s solution featured a smaller air pipe inside the engine cover. Also the wing had a smaller flap with a completely flat profile, the main profile was completely flat.

Renault too had a Spa wing and it wasn’t fantastic, hence Kubica’s relatively poor 9th place on the grid.

Engine use
Most drivers opted to use a new engine for qualifying and the race. The engines are at full throttle for 73% of the lap in Monza, the most of any circuit, so a fresh unit is considered an advantage.

All drivers are allowed a maximum of eight engines per season and most of them took a seventh new engine at Monza, with the exception of the two Renault drivers (6th engine), the two Ferrari drivers (8th engine). Other exceptions this weekend were drivers who opted not to use a new engine, Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello, who have used six engines each and Pedro de la Rosa, who has now used nine. His car will be taken over by Nick Heidfeld at the next round and he will carry on with the same allocation of engines.

Engines used so far in 2010 season
01 McLaren Mercedes Jenson Button 7
02 McLaren Mercedes Lewis Hamilton 7
03 Mercedes Benz Michael Schumacher 7
04 Mercedes Benz Nico Rosberg 7
05 RBR Renault Sebastian Vettel 7
06 RBR Renault Mark Webber 6
07 Ferrari Felipe Massa 8
08 Ferrari Fernando Alonso 8
09 Williams Cosworth Rubens Barrichello 6
10 Williams Cosworth Nico Hülkenberg 7
11 Renault Robert Kubica 6
12 Renault Vitaly Pertrov 6
14 Force India Mercedes Adrian Sutil 7
15 Force India Mercedes Vitantonio Liuzzi 7
16 STR Ferrari Sébastien Buemi 7
17 STR Ferrari Jaime Alguersuari 7
18 Lotus Cosworth Jarno Trulli 7
19 Lotus Cosworth Heikki Kovalainen 7
20 HRT Cosworth Sakon Yamamoto 7
21 HRT Cosworth Bruno Senna 7
22 BMW Sauber Ferrari Pedro De La Rosa 9 (Nick Heidfeld’s car now)
23 BMW Sauber Ferrari Kamui Kobayashi 7
24 Virgin Cosworth Timo Glock 7
25 Virgin Cosworth Lucas Di Grassi 7

Posted on September 14, 2010

Sauber confirmed today that it has struck a deal with Nick Heidfeld to replace Pedro de la Rosa for the remaining races of the 2010 season. One would expect that if this works out well, he may be retained next season alongside Kamui Kobayashi, who has already been signed. One problem is that de la Rosa’s car has already used 9 engines this season, so Heidfeld could be rather on the back foot when it comes to engine penalties with five events still to go. This abrupt late season switch is reminiscent of 2006, when Sauber replaced another older driver More…

Posted on September 13, 2010

Jenson Button maintained a narrow lead over Fernando Alonso for the first 36 laps of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but lost the race when he pitted first. It was a game changing decision by McLaren. After the race Button said it was the wrong decision, while McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said it was the right one. So what is the truth? Did the call to pit Button before Alonso cost him what would have been a historic and memorable victory? Button got the lead at the start, but it was clear from the performance of the Ferrari that More…

Posted on September 13, 2010

The Lotus Formula 1 team is making some bold moves forward as it nears the end of its first season in Formula 1. The team, established exactly one year ago by Tony Fernandes, the Malaysian music to airlines entrepreneur and F1 engineer Mike Gascoyne, will soon be renamed Team Lotus and this weekend it inked a deal with Renault for a technical collaboration involving two years supply of engines, gearboxes and KERS system. The technical deal is similar to the one Force India enjoys with McLaren Mercedes. For a small team to get the entire drive train from an established More…

Posted on September 12, 2010

The Hispania team has been fined $20,000 for an unsafe release from the pit stop of Sakon Yamamoto this afternoon in which a team member was injured. The Japanese driver came into the pits on lap 22 and a technician leaned into the cockpit of the car. When the four tyres had been changed the chief mechanic raised the lollipop and despite the fact that the technician was still reaching in, Yamamoto drove off. The technician was dragged along initially and then was flipped in the air by the rear wing. An ambulance had to come down the pit lane More…

Posted on September 12, 2010

Today’s Italian Grand Prix had some great performances from quite a few drivers. So who do you think stood out? Fernando Alonso Took pole with a storming lap on Saturday. Lost the start to Button, but put him under intense pressure and made the difference on the two laps after Button’s earlier pit stop. He was under a lot of pressure this weekend, carrying Ferrari’s hopes in their home Grand Prix. They needed their leader to win and give them confidence for the final rounds. He delivered. Jenson Button Took a tactical decision to run with more downforce than his More…

Posted on September 12, 2010

Fernando Alonso took an emotional victory in today’s Italian Grand Prix, on his Monza debut with Ferrari. It was his 24th career victory, which puts him equal with the great Juan Manuel Fangio and perhaps more importantly, puts him right back in the championship hunt with five races to go. He is now just 21 points behind Mark Webber, who regained the lead today. “It’s a very special win, ” said Alonso. I’ve been on the Monza podium before with all those people supporting Ferrari but to imagine myself on the top of the podium with all the Ferrari flags, More…

Posted on September 12, 2010

This afternoon’s Italian Grand Prix is wonderfully poised, with Fernando Alonso starting on pole but Jenson Button alongside him. Alonso’s race will be about dominating the start and then relentless pace. Button has been thinking about his race since Friday and has gone with a plan which, if it works, will spring a trap on Alonso and the others at the pits stops. The McLaren drivers were given the option of running with higher downforce and the F Duct drag reducing wing, or running a standard Monza low downforce set up. The latter gives you approximately 8km/h additional straight line More…

Posted on September 11, 2010

Fernando Alonso took pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, his first as a Ferrari driver, with a blistering early lap, which neither he nor his competitors could beat. It was his 19th career pole and the first for Ferrari since Brazil 2008, a drought of 30 races. The Spaniard was in determined form on his first outing in front of the tifosi and he now has a win on his debut in Bahrain and a Monza pole to his name. The team brought him in to deliver like a champion and although there have been quite a few bumpsin More…

Posted on September 10, 2010

It’s easy to forget that Rubens Barrichello is a three times winner of the Italian Grand Prix, including last season at the wheel of the Brawn car. This year he is unlikely to be among the contenders, but the Williams team is optimistic of getting at least one car into Q3 tomorrow. In light of what has been going on this week with the Ferrari team orders situation, Barrichello’s point of view as the man who moved over for Michael Schumacher on one or two occasions is enlightening. I spoke to him in Spa and caught sight of an interview More…

Posted on September 9, 2010

The full reasons behind the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in the case of Ferrari’s team orders in Germany has been published and it is clear that the governing body has turned a corner from the Max Mosley era. Yesterday the WMSC decided to uphold the decision of the Hockenheim stewards, that Ferrari had broken Article 39c of the F1 sporting regulations banning team orders, but as it could not prove it on the balance of probabilities, it could not take any further action or press home a charge of bringing the sport into disrepute. The team orders More…

Posted on September 9, 2010

As Ferrari arrives in Monza for its home Grand Prix, there is an interview with Fernando Alonso in the Gazzetta dello Sport, which makes for interesting reading. It’s a wide ranging discussion with Ferrari’s lead driver and in it he admits that he’s made mistakes this season, but that driving for Ferrari you are more under scrutiny. He says that he isn’t giving up on the championship, explains the key to being fast at Monza and touches on other interesting topics. Asked whether he agrees that he’s “made many mistakes” this year he says, “Yes. In the past I made More…

Posted on September 8, 2010

Ferrari walked away from the FIA World Motor Sport council today with no further punishment following the decision of the stewards at the German Grand Prix to fine them $100,000 for breaking a rule regarding team orders. And this evening the FIA put out a brief statement saying that the whole team orders rule is being reconsidered in the light of this case. “The Judging Body has also acknowledged that article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations should be reviewed and has decided to refer this question to the Formula One Sporting Working Group,” it said. The Sporting Working Group is More…

Posted on September 8, 2010

Today has seen some quite significant announcements from the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which was also meeting to judge the Ferrari team orders case. The team has got away with no further punishment, but I will post on that separately. The WMSC announced that there would be no 13th team in F1 next season as none of the applicants fit the criteria for entry. It announced a 20 race calendar for 2011 and has introduced a licencing system for senior team personnel, something JA on F1 proposed last year when the Singapore crash scandal broke. F1 drivers also face More…

Posted on September 8, 2010

Today is a big day for Ferrari as they will appear before the World Motor Sort Council to answer charges relating to violation of the rules regarding team orders in F1. This relates to an incident at the German Grand Prix in July, where Felipe Massa allowed Fernando Alonso through to win the race after receiving the message from his race engineer, “Fernando is faster than you”. In Germany the race stewards examined the matter and were satisfied that a team order had been used, which violates Article 39.1 of the Sporting Regulations. The team was fined $100,000 and referred More…

Posted on September 7, 2010

Kamui Kobayashi has done enough to secure his place in Formula 1 with Sauber for 2011, the team announced this morning. The 23 year old Japanese driver has proved a firm favourite with fans all over the world for his fighting spirit and although we didn’t see much of it in the early part of this season, when the Sauber car was disappointingly slow and unreliable, in recent races he has been able to show a little of his flare. He has 21 points on the board from points finishes in Istanbul, Valencia, Silverstone, Budapest and Spa. A highlight was More…

Posted on September 6, 2010

This is the first view of onboard camera footage from Karun Chandhok’s run on the new Korean Grand Prix circuit in a Red Bull Racing F1 car. There is an out-lap, a hot-lap and an in-lap to watch. The 3.49 mile circuit track has 18 corners and engineers tell me that it will be quite a long lap, something like 1m 40 seconds, similar to Spa. The circuit features a straight over 1.2 kilometres long, which dominates the first sector of the lap and some interesting corners thereafter. There are quite a few walls lining the track, particularly in the More…

Posted on September 6, 2010

There have been discussions going on all year behind the scenes to frame new rules for the 2013 season and it is beginning to look as though F1 is going to grasp the nettle and make some really exciting changes. 2013 has been a key date on the horizon for some time as it offers the sport a massive opportunity, one it cannot really afford to squander. It amounts to a chance to reshape F1 to be exactly what it needs to be to set itself up for a bright future as both thrilling to watch and relevant to the More…

Posted on September 3, 2010

The Belgian Grand Prix was a race where a lot of decisions needed to be taken, many on the hoof, due to the uncertain weather conditions, which had prevailed throughout the weekend. It is a fascinating case study in how teams and drivers pick their way through a race, based on the evidence of Friday practice, best guesses about what the other teams will do and lots of instinct. Big decisions on Saturday had a knock-on effect to Sunday. Timing the final qualifying run was everything and Mark Webber and Red Bull got it just right, putting on a new More…

Posted on September 2, 2010

There has been a lot of chat online and in the comments section of this site these past few days about Felipe Massa’s start in Spa. The Brazilian parked his car ahead of the grid slot he was supposed to take up and thus gained a small advantage from it, certainly over a metre. The FIA’s detection devices didn’t pick it up and he ran his race as normal. Having started sixth on the grid, he was fifth on the first lap, one of the drivers able to take advantage of Mark Webber’s poor start. What is supposed to happen More…

Posted on September 2, 2010

You will recall I posted a while back on the feature film about Ayrton Senna being made by Working Title and Universal. The first trailer for the film has come out in Japan and I’m posting it here so you can get a feel for the movie. I’ve seen it twice, once quite early on when it was in development and then more recently I saw the almost finished version. It is a fantastic film made by a very dedicated and meticulous crew. They tell the story of Senna, the man and the driver using actual footage and voice over More…

Posted on September 1, 2010

Thanks to the many hundreds of you who entered the competition to predict where Michael Schumacher would start and finish the Belgian Grand Prix, after receiving a ten place grid drop for chopping Rubens Barrichello towards the wall in Hungary. Many of you correctly predicted that he would start 21st after his 10 place penalty was applied, but few imagined that he would finish as high as 7th. It could have been quite different. He was quite quick in qualifying and lost time behind Buemi in Q2, otherwise he might have started higher. And in the race, he got a More…

Posted on September 1, 2010

There has been a clip on the internet for the last 48 hours showing the on board shot from Sebastian Vettel’s car as he lost control and hit Jenson Button. The clip was originally on You Tube, but has been taken down on the request of FOM. This is to protect the rights of the broadcasters, like BBC, RTL and La Sexta, who also have the online rights in their countries. As a result the clip is available on the BBC website today and maybe on your local broadcaters’ site. Apologies for raising this if your local broadcaster doesn’t have More…

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Darren Heath
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