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Webber in charge as F1 heads towards Singapore
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Webber in charge as F1 heads towards Singapore
Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Sep 2010   |  5:56 pm GMT  |  106 comments

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 Monza (from a championship point of view at least) means that Alonso and Button are now right back in it.

Still Webber's to lose (Darren Heath)


I still think it is Mark Webber’s championship to lose, provided he can improve his starts, which have cost him in the last two races. “When everything goes right with an F1 car, they’re easy to get away, “Webber said on the BBC this week. “But when it doesn’t it looks very much exaggerated that you’ve made a shocking start.

“The last few starts haven’t been like they were at the start of the year, when we were making good starts; the team are working on it and we’re confident we can address it in the future.”

But the view that it’s Webber’s to lose is based on the expectation that we will see the Red Bull car in Singapore again with something in hand again over its rivals.

The updates the leading teams bring this weekend have to work and have to make the difference; anything less could see them lose ground. But it will be very interesting to see whether the new FIA tests for flexi wings and flexi floors have knocked something off red Bull’s performance.

Certainly in Spa and Monza their optimum lap time plotted on a graph relative to the best was the lowest it has been this season. Was that just the circuit characteristics or was it the effect of the new FIA tests? This weekend we will get our answer. Spa and Monza were not optimum Red Bull tracks, but Singapore is.

Webber is confident, as well he might be; he was dominant in Monaco and Budapest. The McLaren looked a quick car in Spa and Monza, but it doesn’t like the bumps and that will be a handicap this weekend. Ferrari meanwhile has an update it is confident about and the feelgood factor from the Monza win is very strong. And then there is the imponderable of Sebastian Vettel, who if the car is dominant again, is quite capable of winning four of the next five races and turning everything on its head. But will he?

Further down the field, I would put a few quid on Williams to get a good result this weekend. This seems to be one of those tracks they always go well on – Rosberg could have won last year and certainly should have finished on the podium, but for a mistake as he drove through the pits. It’s an important weekend for them to take away the maximum they can manage as they battle with Force India over sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

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106 Comments
  1. Azlas says:

    What we are witnessing sure is something special. Makes me wonder why formula 1 changes the rules every year. Perhaps to reset things lest Vodaphone Mclaren Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro get too dominant but still. Would be interesting seeing how 2011 holds up. I’m afraid that after this championship anyone after would be a dissapointment!

    1. PaulL says:

      I know there’s a lot of talk about how this year’s so great.

      I have thought that although it’s a closely contested championship, the performances we’ve seen from the contenders hasn’t been standout.

      -Hamilton has been performing well for most of the year, arguable whether he’s been exhillerating or merely better-than-good.

      -Vettel hasn’t really been impressive, and although Webber has for the most part, it’s been a step-up from his previous level more than a step-up to Hamilton/Alonso level. Plus both those have had a clear pace advantage except for races like Canada and Belgium, so I don’t know that either performances have the context to be able to say how good they’ve been driving.

      -Massa’s had a subdued year, and Alonso’s been hot and cold – too often below his best.

      -Schumacher’s been a disappointment even by modeset expectations.

      Overall, I would confidently assert that this year hasn’t exceeded 2006-2008 and I would personally argue it’s been a step down from those years because although the title fights in those years were between fewer (just two in 06 and 08), the performances of the contending drivers were, in my view, higher. Quality beats quantity if my argument runs!

      1. MK_Chris says:

        @PauL. I agree with your sentiments but would add the following.

        You could have mentioned Jenson Button. Remember all the comments from the “experts” when he moved to VMcM? Words like slaughter, hammered, etc. were often used to describe his fate. So a big smug plus from me for JB, and from Alonso after the last race (without the smug of course). The smug bit refers back to comments made by some colleagues who strongly disagreed with me at the start of the season.

        The rain and the some unexpected tyre degradation. Remove these two items from the races and 80% of the interest for this season would disappear. Better judgement from the Red Bull driver camp would have removed another 10%.

        So yes, an interesting end to the season because of small points difference at the top.
        But this is all due to circumstance, and very little to do with the F1 rules and design.

        James. Am I correct in thinking that no one who has led the points table this year has gone on to win the next race?

      2. iceman says:

        Good observation! You’re right that no-one has won a race while leading the championship this year. Hamilton took 2nd place at Valencia and Silverstone, and Webber was 2nd at Spa. Those are the best results so far for someone who was leading the championship at the time.

      3. iceman says:

        And if you extend it to the constructor’s championship – McLaren are the only team to have won a race while leading the WCC, when Lewis won in Canada.

      4. Glen says:

        Not sure what you are trying to say with the percentage comment.

        Are you saying Button is good or bad?

        Or that he again, like 2009, he has made the best of race conditions and circumstances?

      5. charlie says:

        I whole heartedly disagree.

      6. Harvey Yates says:

        Paul,

        Thanks for your comments. I found them very interesting and there’s little to usefully add – but that’s never stopped me.

        The Red Bull pair have been most frustrating. Both have oodles of ability and the team, with the apparent car advantage, should have had both drivers in the top two positions in the WDC.

        Hamilton has been fascinating to watch. As ever one might say. He’s made mistakes but they have been when he’s been trying to push it. Monza was an error in the eyes of the team but I have to say I watch F1 to see drivers like him risking everything.

        You say that this season – so far – hasn’t exceed the previous three, your justification being the fact that the performance of the drivers were better in 2006-2008. I’ve got to agree with the reasoning. I would assume there are few who wouldn’t. But do you accept this one has been thrilling?

        I’ve given up trying to predict races as I’ve been so far from getting it right. But so have those in my group of fans, some (but by no means all) of whom have been spot on in previous seasons. And this unpredictability has made this season compulsory viewing.

        I remember some seasons in the past for being ‘great’ because of two or three races that stood out for their excitement. Slightly different already for 2010.

        You have my total agreement (if that means anything to you) that the number of drivers in contention for the crown does no necessarily make for a higher quality season. Indeed duals are often what make championships. But I assume you agree that this season has been fun to watch.

      7. MK_Chris says:

        @Glen. I was trying to make two separate points using two separate paragraphs.

        1. I think JB deserves a mention because he has performed above expections: given that many F1 fans gave him no chance at all at the start of the season. Not his fault when radiator covers cost him an engine: and not his fault when being swiped by a Red Bull. Both cost him potential good points.

        2. PaulL opened with ” . lot of talk about how this year’s so great.”

        Paul then gave his views on this and I agree. I add / believe that the contributions from the weather, etc. has made the season bit of a lottery. So not a great season that lot of fans seem to believe. An interesting one maybe, as much for off track “fun” as the on-track driving.

  2. Kenny says:

    Just a small thing about Williams, absolutely behind you about them getting a good result at Singapore given they always seem to perform actually well in high-downforce configuration, but in the recent couple of races or so, Hulkenburg has had the measure of Barrichello and could that perhaps be the first signs of Barrichello losing some of his speed actually?
    I hope it isn’t, but it’s just a thought. Obviously it could be just that the tracks that we have been to recently are both tracks that Hulkenburg knows and therefore has the confidence to push and perhaps suits his driving style a touch better than Barrichello’s?

    1. Banjo says:

      I don’t think Rubens is losing his speed at all. More Hulkenberg finding his. In all of the junior categories Hulkenberg has performed exceptionally well, so it was only ever going to be a matter of time (in my opinion at least) before he was getting the measure of Rubens.
      Both are great drivers, 2011 shall hopefully be a better year for Williams. I’m very eager to see how Rubens’ input into the development helps improve the cars platform. I think the Hulk will really start to shine soon now he has some experience under his belt.

    2. hawkfist says:

      Or maybe Hulkenberg is just used to the car now, and he’s actually quite a good driver. Crazy!

    3. semder says:

      Maybe there have been some updates which Barrichello doesn’t like very much.
      Remember last year at Brawn – it was the other way round – Jenson did not like some upgrades but Barrichello seemingly improved with them.
      Just a theory. I know that it is a bit unlikely, since I understand that of the two drivers Barrichello is the man who gives the most feedback for the car. As I undertstand it, Williams respects Barri for this quality.

  3. kam says:

    Hi James,

    Super article.

    I have heard people say, certain cars dont like bumps, or as Mr Brundle says, “that car looks very stiff”.

    Can you please explain this- race cars are meant to be rigid. Is there some give designed into chasis, although I would think this would loose lap time?

    Can some teams get away with this, for example Red Bull- a stiff chasis, and softer suspension?

    Thanks,
    Kam

    1. Nice post Kam

      I am also curious to know about Mclaren. At Silverstone you could literally see the front end bobbing on certain sections.

      Is it just the design direction McLaren went this year, or is it a a consequence of having to run on full tanks this year.

      The McLarens were so strong at this track last year but now it seems they playing catch up.

      1. Andy C says:

        The McLarens quite often run their suspension super stiff. If you remember they also had problems at silverstone on that big bump.

        Got to agree with you both, the technical side of the sport is intriguing for a non engineer like me.

        All of the wing flex technology being about the direction of the layers of laminate is pretty amazing stuff. Must take thousands of hours of playing about to get that.

    2. Tim says:

      I think talk about stiffness in this context is related to how well the car handles the bumps, rather than the torsional rigidity of the chassis.

      The suspension on F1 cars looks fairly similar but the tiny, detail differences in geometry and damping mechanisms all impact on how well the car will handle over bumps. If the suspension yields just enough to help the tyres maintain maximum grip then the car should be good over kerbs. The differences are relatively small but, at this level, small differences are magnified. For example, how an F1 car handles the chicane kerbs at Monza impacts on its exit speed and any small gain or loss is carried all the way down those long straights.

      Another, indirect, factor is the sensitivity of the car’s aero setup. Some designs of wing are more pitch sensitive than others, i.e. the angle they are relative to the ground has a significant impact on how much downforce is produced and that angle changes under braking and acceleration. A car with an aero setup that is very pitch sensitive is unpredictable and difficult to drive. The advantage of aActive suspension in the early 1990s was in maintaining a stable aero platform. Nowadays, the main way of stabilising a pitch senstive car is to run rock hard suspension, but that comes with the trade off that the car is skittish and more difficult over bumps.

      McLaren’s aero setup is reputedly geared for maximum peak downforce, but that may mean it’s quite pitch sensitive and therefore the car has to be run very stiff, hence problems with bumps.

      1. Martin says:

        Hi Tim,

        To me, based on various drivers and F1 designers making comments, the primary thing is downforce. In the same way a light car tends to have a worse ride than a heavy one, and fitting lighter wheels improves the ride, adding downforce should help the ride control.

        If you look at the performance of the cars, the McLaren, which has the best engine and for parts of the season at least the best or only F-duct, clearly lacks downforce compared to the Red Bull and Ferrari. McLaren can make comments about the basic design favouring tyre life, but normally increased downforce means increased load on the tyres and more wear. In races this is a compensating factor for the outright pace disadvantage in qualifying. Another performance factor could be the engine. The Mercedes is historically very reliable, so the engine may have to turned down less than the Renault and Ferrari. Or, less likely due to the original design parameters, it could be run leaner to save fuel mass early in the race without risk of damage.

        A common comment that I’ve seen with suspension design these days is that it is all about damper tuning.

        Cheers,
        Martin

  4. jonrob says:

    I think the number of engines left to each driver will be the deciding factor in the championship.

    1. Banjo says:

      I expect Webber hopes you’re right, while Alonso is hoping you’re not!

    2. ozmark says:

      Absolutely correct, at least for a certain Maranello team.

    3. Vivek Shetty says:

      Most probably only for Ferrari, considering they are on number 8. (both cars)

      McLaren are on 7 & RBR are on 6 or 7.

  5. Chuffbiscuits says:

    Succinctly put – Webber should win, but you can’t take any of the top five and say he “probably” will win, not even Mark with his points lead. We had two European races which people were calling “decisive” and “crucial” yet after the dust settled we were in a pretty similar position to the day before Spa. The top teams probably already have updates for Brazil etc in the wind tunnel, so even Singapore could be a false dawn for those eager to proclaim an odds-on favourite for the championship. I just pray it all comes down to the final race and all five are still in it.

  6. Banjo says:

    Singapore is always a pleasure to watch. Roll on the weekend. I hear they’ve resurfaced the track, which may spoil some of the night race spectacle with less sparks being thrown out of the back of the car when they bottom out on the bumps. Either way, what a climax this season is coming to.

    1. Craig says:

      They’ve only resurface some of the track, between turns 1 and, I think, 5.

  7. lebesset says:

    what bumps ?

    1. Col says:

      The ones on the track

  8. semder says:

    James,
    You are quite right – Vettel can win if the car is dominant.
    Let me put it this way – I think that he can even win if the car is as quick or a little quicker than the opposition. But Hamilton can win with a car that is as quick as Red Bull or even a little bit slower. That is a big difference between those two.
    I think that Hamilton is just a better driver than Vettel. He would outperform Sebastian if they both were in Red Bull.
    As I have said before, I don’t think that Alonso will win it. I also do not believe in Button’s chances. It is comfortable to say that it is a 5-way championship, but the reality is different.
    Webber is another story. I think that he is a strong contender. If he will manage it psychologicaly, the rest will be OK for him (of course if his team doesn’t screw him up). But if they do that, that would be a mistake (if Vettel underperforms).

  9. Galapago555 says:

    There is a forecast of “scattered thuderstorms” for Sunday.

    http://www.weather.com/weather/weekend/SNXX0006

    If it is accurate, then I would put my money on Jenson.

    Personally, I don’t believe that Seb is capable of winning four of the five races – I think he will not be able to deal succesfully with the pressure as the Championshinp gets into this final stages.

    And last but not least, I still trust in Fernando’s chances. If we have a “normal” race, dry weather and not too many SC, I think that the Ferraris will be as competitive as they were in Monaco. So, fingers crossed in Asturias for a dry weekend…

    Wow, five races to go and still five drivers in the hunt!! Best championship in years, IMO.

    1. Banjo says:

      I think you’re possibly right about Alonso. While he has made a lot of errors this year, he is looking very strong and menacing to the McLaren and Red Bulls. A few races ago a lot of people had written Alonso off, at the moment, i wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he snuck in and pinched the crown. Either way, it’s going to be a thrilling climax. Can’t believe there is only five races left. This season has gone so quickly.

    2. Baktru says:

      Of course there is. The weather forecast here pretty much never changes.

      High of 31 degrees C, feels like 36. Low of 25. Scattered thunderstorms.

      Those temperatures fluctuate by a few degrees, with highs going down to 30 and up to 34, but otherwise it is always the same.

      To me the best case scenario is a good old thunderstorm starting at about 6:30, ending just before the race. So we get a start on a wet track, that dries up throughout the race.

      1. James Allen says:

        I’ve just arrived and the black clouds coming in say it’s going to rain very hard shortly!

      2. Lynn says:

        You’re right James, there could be flash flood today. At least that’s what NEA warns.
        This morning it was so hot 34C!
        Crazy weather.

      3. Kedar says:

        James,
        what are the odds for a complete washout?
        I mean Malaysia isnt that far and we knew what happened there last year.
        It will be a real shame if this were to happen

      4. Baktru says:

        It’s been rather rainy the past few days, there was a big storm yesterday and now at noon there is some rain again.

        I’d say there’s a good chance for some more thunderstorms over the weekend, but as usual it is impossible to predict now at what time they will be.

        I haven’t seen any rain the past days between 8pm and 9:30pm though. It tends to be either in the afternoon, or later at night. I’d see a washout for the qualifications at 10pm as more likely. But you never know.

        And yes the climate here is very similar to Sepang. It’s only 300 km away, if that.

      5. James Allen says:

        Yes, this is the wettest weather I have encountered here in my visits so far. There’s been plenty of rain from Wednesday to today

  10. El Shish says:

    “And then there is the imponderable of Sebastian Vettel, who if the car is dominant again, is quite capable of winning four of the next five races and turning everything on its head. But will he?”

    That’s the thing. He’s had the best car and, for at least half the season, support as the number one driver, yet he’s won fewer races than three other drivers. As of now, he’s massively underperformed and there are at least five drivers who, given their equipment, have done a better job than him (Hamilton, Alonso, Webber, Kubica, Button).

    So imponderable yes, but should a Red Bull driver not win the championship and the non-winner not end up in the top three, can you think of an occasion in recent history when such a dominant car didn’t win the championship?

    1. Banjo says:

      Vettel may be quick, but this year i believe he’s damaged his reputation. He’s shown a lot of room for growth before he’s the finished article. Which perhaps is the most impressive thing about him. That quick, with a lot of room for improvement. No wonder McLaren have said they want him.

      1. Andy C says:

        Absolutely. The only thing I wonder about is whether he will be another guy with bags of talent (like Montoya) who may just never reach the ultimate wdc title.

        Although I’d like Jenson or Lewis to win the WDC, I would not begrudge Mark the WDC as I think he’s really upped his game recently, since coming back from that horrible bike crash last season.

    2. Mr. Vain says:

      The 2005 mclaren which was ‘conceive’ under Adrian Newey was less dominant but still a clear winner in the hands of vodka ice cool kimi. Consistency from the alonso i remember brought him the title. It was reliability issues which cost them more that a couple GP wins. and as history sugests the championship in the end. Does it sound familiar??

  11. Peter Abatan says:

    I’ll like to see Webber consolidate on his lead this weekend. Hamilton will still be in there fighting to the bitter end and unless he makes a mistake as he did in Monza.

    Alonso, Button and Vettel will also be up there fighting for top points, but at the moment Webber looks like the one to beat.

    I expect this weekend to eliminate 1 or 2 of the five drivers from the championship contenders.

  12. dulait says:

    Agreed on the Williams James, although I doubt they will be quick enough to threaten the podium slots.

    Kubica is worth a little wager this weekend me thinks. I expect the Bulls to ace qualifying, but knowing how they like to trip up during the race………

    The Reno in the hands of Alonso over the past 2 seasons has been very quick there (win and podium. Win was via cheating but the car was quick enough to win that weekend regardless)

    The Reno is quick in the hands of Kubica on street tracks.

    The track has a habit of throwing up surprises. Glock, Nico etc….

    Kubica qualified P4 and P7 in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

  13. f1aroo says:

    In ’08, Rosberg got a 10 sec stop/go penalty for refueling when the pitlane was closed for the safety car on lap 15, but still finished second to Alonso by just under 3 sec. In ’09, he had the third fastest lap behind Hamilton and Alonso. He is very good on this track for some reason. I bet he doesn’t cross the pit exit line this time. Merc might figure into the podium somehow.

  14. chris says:

    The title run is going to be epic. Webber is favourite to clinch the title but my guts are telling me that he is going to get the yips between now and the end of the season and i am fascinated to see how he will deal with it. It was so tough for him to land his first GP win and the emotional release at the nurburgring was very very intense. I can’t imagine what a world title would do to him.

    The Unfortunate thing for Webber is that he going into battle with three world champions who know how to get the job done and they should start to gently turn the heat up on webber with the mind games. Fill his head with as much shit as possible and see if he breaks.

    As for Vettel; Singapore is a reset for him and he is my tip for victory this weekend.

    1. ozmark says:

      “…they should start to gently turn the heat up on webber with the mind games.”

      Webber’s been around too long to be susceptible. If anything, it’s his “teammate” that’s vulnerable.

      Two events were of Webber’s own doing this year – Melbourne and Valencia – and that was due to not paying attention. He’s past being influenced into mistakes by others.

      1. chris says:

        “Webber’s been around too long to be susceptible”

        Thats kind of the point. He has been around for a long time and his career flatlined for many years until last season which is why this could be his only shot at the title.

        Like all good racing drivers, Webber is an intense emotional guy and can definitely be put under enough pressure which could trigger a few forced errors, not necessarily big crashes but certainly a few scruffy laps, missed apexes and poor getaways.

        By the way I would love to see Webber win the title.

    2. charlie says:

      I’m sure Webber is quite capable of taking care of himself.

      F1 Champion’s Hamilton, Button and Alonso were all just that once upon a time.

      Championship contenders.

  15. Jim says:

    Never count Alonso out – he will fight ever last step of the way. But this season has to be a Red Bull one, and I hope they win, even if it is just so Newey gets all the praise he rightly deserves for an engineering masterpiece. Will definitely be interesting to see, though, if flexi-gate results in Red Bull being slower than expected

    My prediction for Singapore:

    1 – Vettel
    2 – Alonso
    3 – Webber

    Thoughts?

    1. Banjo says:

      I think you have your top three right, but maybe not in the right order.

      For the sake of keeping the championship tension going, i’d like to see:

      1-Alonso
      2-Vettel
      3-Hamilton
      4- Webber

      That would really make things close at the front.

    2. D. says:

      Jim,

      I think you are right on here. I also think Vettel wins Singapore after a closely contested race w/ Alonso. I think Webber doesn’t get on the podium, maybe Lewis does or even Kubica.

    3. Zobra Wambleska says:

      I’m going way out on a limb here. I’m going for a McLaren 1/2, Massa third, with Vettel and Alonso taking each other out, Webber fourth.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        Would you put your money on that? I would put mine on Vettel crashing into Lewis’ car during the first corners…

    4. Ron says:

      I wud put my money on Lewis, especially if it rains…

      1. Jim says:

        If it rains, Button has looked the most consistent of the two Maclarens in the wet

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Jenson has been the most consistent, not only of the two McLarens, but of all the grid, on wet and/or changing conditions, in my opinion.

      3. iceman says:

        I’d back Button if it’s changeable or partly wet, but Hamilton if it’s fully wet.

    5. FD says:

      I would replace alonso with hamilton. He has been too uncharacteristically inconsistent this year.

      Vettel
      Hamilton
      Webber
      Alonso
      Kubica
      Button

      Throw in some safety cars and who knows?!:D

      1. Peter Abatan says:

        Alonso has been too uncharacteristically inconsistent this year and you tip Vettel to win? hmmm!

        Who has been more inconsistent this year Alonso or Vettel? Do you think if Alonso had the same car as Vettel he would’nt have wrapped up the championship?

        Put Alonso on pole and he is most likely to finish ahead of the pack. Can you say that about Vettel?

      2. FD says:

        But Alonso isn’t going to get pole on such an RB6 friendly track. Vettel is due a dominating performance from the front anyway.

      3. Peter Abatan says:

        How many times has Vettel been on pole this season, and how many times has he been able to convert that pole position to a win? This is what I am talking about.

        I am not sure Singapore is Vettel’s for the taking. If you fancy RBR to win, I’ll go for Webber he is the safer bet.

  16. TurboMuncher says:

    James – fantastic blog. First time I’ve posted but have been reading for a long time. And the posters here are extremely knowledgable too. Best place to come for non-experts (but huge F1 fans)such as myself in order to ‘educate’ ourselves!

    Anyway – What do you think of McLaren’s chances in terms of their obvious confidence over their updates? I don’t get the impression they’re bluffing (a la the intro. of the blown diffuser!)

    I’m calling RBR’s bluff over having to modify their car to pass new tests. Why wouldn’t they be competitive in Sector 2 @ Spa based on ‘circuit characteristics’ alone? Most of their downforce advantage apparently comes from parts which have little or no drag penalty so these wouldn’t have needed to be changed for Spa?

    1. james b says:

      It really is going to be an interesting run in. For me because the points are so close the key for me is that ferrari are backing alonso and massa is in the mix helping out. The other contenders all have to beat there team mate first. Alonso for me is favourite.

    2. irish con says:

      because at spa they had to run much less wing than the mclaren to be competitive down the straights as spa is a circuit where you need straight line speed because you can overtake on it. if you look at the tracks were redbull hae been at there best straight line speed doesnt matter as you cant overtake ie barcalona and hungary so expect redbull to be out in front by a big bit this weekend also.maybe the biggest gap to the next car as its a long lap. the less wing they ran at spa hurt them in spa middle sector

    3. Banjo says:

      I’ve not stumbled across any info on the McLaren updates due this weekend ? Do you know where i might find some?
      Thanks, and Welcome to the site. Great punch of people here, hope you enjoy it.

      1. Andy C says:

        Sounds like an optimisation of previous bits, but autosport are running an update from phil prew (may be from mclaren website team)

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/86862

    4. James Allen says:

      That’s why I said what I did in the post, these updates have to work for everyone now. No-one can afford to fall behind or take time bedding in an update. It will be a fascinating weekend. Watch out for my LG Tech Report on the updates people have brought here over the weekend.

  17. irish con says:

    sinapore and japan are red bull territory for me. brazil and abu dhabi is ferrari territory and korea looks like mclaren to me. vettel id due a win and mark webbers run of non mechanical problems is due to end sooner or later. i think monday mornings tables in going to be dramatically different

  18. scott says:

    Much as I’d like to see Webber win (this weekend and the championship), I think the rule and scrutineering changes have made more impact on Red Bull than anybody wants to admit. I stand to be corrected, but I’ll be very surprised if they have anything like the same sort of gap over the field that we’ve previously seen on the slow tracks.

    I think we’re in for an epic four or five way battle for pole position, and literally anything is possible on sunday night.

    Can’t wait…..but I fear Red Bull’s day in the sun might be over. Just hope I’m wrong!

  19. Banjo says:

    James, very off topic but hope you can help me out.
    Do you know when the Ayrton Senna film is being released in the UK ? I’ve been looking forward to this all year. Really hope you manage to pull together a premier. Would be fantastic to experience it with other enthusiasts from the site.

    1. James Allen says:

      It will be released in UK next Spring I believe. We will have a special JA on F1 screening, with Q&A with the film makers before the release date, so keep an eye out here on the site for details. It will be first come first served.

      1. Galapago555 says:

        James, will it be accesible from outside of the UK? I hope so, you owe something to your non UK resident followers, don’t you…? :-)

  20. D. says:

    This is an absolute must-win race for Vettel, and I think he will do it. It will be a hard battle w/ Alonso though. There is a lot of talk about this being Webber’s WDC to lose … and I think he will find a way to do (lose) it.

  21. TG says:

    Yeah, on paper, its Webber’s to lose but I don’t find his statement on the RBR’s troubled starts that convincing.
    He said the team are working on it for “the future”, when every other team with developments to come are a lot more specific about the weekend or a certain race.
    I think RBR and McLaren respectively won’t give their drivers an easy ride to the end, whether from a lack of strategy and managerial experience (RBR) or a lack of technological competitiveness (McL).
    Ferrari seem very settled now, on the march and with Felipe effectively guarding the pack Alonso might just steal it.
    As for next year I’m just hoping the Pirellis actually offer the teams a genuine tyre choice, which can only make things better.

  22. Thomas in Australia says:

    If Vettel wins the WDC i win an iPad.

    If Webber wins I’m a happy Australian.

    So conflicted! :P

    1. Lewis Jones says:

      I’m in a similar situation to you Thomas. I have a couple of quid on Vettel to win it, but would actually be much happier seeing Mark come through and take the crown, after the crashes/swapped wings and general tensions of RBR’s season….

  23. Josh says:

    As an Australian I really hope Webber can put some good points on the board and take out 1st or 2nd this weekend. Based on the pace Redbull “should” have in Singapore the race victory should be between Webber and Vettel yet I think Hamilton is the strongest driver of the top 5 by a long way and is my tip to actually win the race.

    Fingers crossed for Webber though. Hoping his start is a LOT better this weekend

  24. tharris19 says:

    While I am a dieheart Hamilton fan I believe Ferrari has a leg up in the car development this year. With that in mind, I believe Alonso will win the WDC and RBR will win the WCC. If Massa was not religated to testing upgrades and supporting Alonso then I believe they could provide a serious challenge to RBR for WCC.

  25. JohnBt says:

    Out of prejudice, as Alonso has used his eight engine I predict the podium result to be:

    1.Alonso
    2.Webber
    3.Hamilton

    Weather has been rather hot and humid in Singapore the past few days. Some light rain will be great to spice up quali and raceday.

    But Singapore is a strange place, why?
    Somehow when there is a major event the rain god seems to retreat. Call it mystery or whatever, believe me it just happens.

  26. David Turnedge says:

    It’s been 30 years since we’ve had an Australian World Champion… it’s time we had one again.

  27. Gus says:

    Webber has impressed the last three races with his maturity. He is taking the “Button” view to consistency in the last part of the season and thereby has eliminated one of the main doubts people have had about him.

    Singapore could be a lottery with rain but it typically rains early afternoon and by evening things have dried out.

    As you correctly point out James, this week will tell us if the new regulations have truly affected the RB car – will be a very, very interesting weekend.

  28. EM says:

    This weekend’s Grand Prix has all the ingredients to be a classic for the thinking fans of the sport.

    The tight twisty nature of the circuit should favour the Red Bulls first, the Ferarris second and the McLarens third. However the Red Bulls have appeared slower since the new wing tests despite what they say publically and taking the faster nature of Spa and Monza into account.

    Qualifying will count for a lot and if you take the natural order of things into account Red Bull should have front row, Ferarri the second followed by McLaren third. Give or take a good/bad start that would be how the race finishes. However F1 doesn’t work that predictably which is why we watch it. Each driver involved has his own unique pressures.

    Webber – is leading the World Championship ahead of 3 former champs and one impetuous team mate. Off the back of two unimpressive races he must be looking over his shoulder a lot. He must worry any ground gained by Vettel will see the German back as the favoured son at the team. Will Mark try too hard?

    Vettel – his stock has fallen dramatically over the summer. Can the crash kid grow up? Will he take steady points or risk everything with a do or die move? He certainly got the talent to take pole and win giving the championship a new dimention.

    Alonso – he’s been on it all summer after some mediocre races. He has the advantage of a teammate who will move over and seems to go into the race in a strong position. Capable of thinking his way past the Red Bulls or picking up from their in fighting.

    Massa – should SHOULD get behind Alonso and slow up the pack. But he seemed to want to pass Fernando on the first lap in Italy so will he play game? Potentially Alonso’s biggest ally as he’s capable of qualifying well and racing slowly.

    Hamilton – has a lot to do after Monza. He might not be able to qualify above the cars performance but man could he race above it. If anyone could mix up the Red Bulls and Ferarris going into turns one to four it’s Lewis.

    Button – a typical Button race here would be qualify sixth, go round as if on rails, pick up the maximum points available to him on the day, bank ‘em and move on. Also highlt typical would be to qualify 14th and finish in the top 8. He says he has to be aggressive but does he have what it takes to mix it at the front of this race?

    That’s just the drivers! Throw in tyres, weather, safety cars, other teams and we’re in for a belter

  29. guy says:

    What did you think of Vettel’s radio transmission shown on the F1 race edit – he accused the team of helping Mark!

    1. er,go says:

      yeah, i didn’t get that totally, could you write it for me? he did sound very excited. i thought he was going to cry when the car slowed down and he said the engine was going off. the poor fella must be getting paranoid. conspiracys all around.

      1. guy says:

        It was only broadcast in the race edit. After his brake problem he radioed ‘seriously guys are you f**king with me’!!

  30. Paul Kirk says:

    I’m sure Weber is capable of winning the wdc, but the question in my mind is “will RBR programe his car to get decent starts, or will they continue to stuf up his starts as they have already have done?”
    PK.

  31. Andy C says:

    I agree with most of the guys here. I cant remember such an enthralling season with so many drivers so close.

    On an unconnected point, as a grown man I should not be looking forward to recieving my F1 2010 game from this week. The graphics look great.

    I’m going for Webber to win, and both mclarens on the podium (and no I havent been drinking :-)

    P.S Anyone know what Geoff Crammond is doing these days? I remember those GP games on the PC very well.

    1. James B says:

      Haha brilliant! I spent many many hours as a kid playing on my fathers PC! I still have yet to find a game that feels as realistic as a game. Everything else feels far to arcadie? The graphics are much better now but nothing can beat the game play.

      I just hope the latest release lives up to my hopes!! Mind you if I spend as long on the new game as I did as a boy I think my wife will divorce me!!

      1. Andy C says:

        Is GP4 still the latest version of it? I played it loads then havent played in ages since I got my new pc.

        I liked GP legends as well, as it had the full nurburgring and old no downforce cars.

        Thanks
        Andy

    2. DerangedStoat says:

      Geoff Crammond’s Grand Prix 4 is still the benchmark by which I measure all F1 games, and IMO is still to be topped. That said, I’m confident that F1 2010 will be able to do it, although I’m not a big fan of Codemaster’s driving physics in their games so far (I prefer sim to arcade).

      If your interested in sim’s and have a wheel for your PC, I highly recommend that you check out the recently released Ferrari Virtual Academy. While it only has the F10 and Fiorano circuit, it’s by far the most realistic feeling simulation of driving a F1 car that I’ve come across. It’s fantastic.

  32. Galapago555 says:

    “Alonso – he’s been on it all summer after some mediocre races. He has the advantage of a teammate who will move over…”

    I agree that Massa moved over in Germany. And I also agree that he is expected to do so.

    But, did you see how he “moved over” during Monza first corners? With a mate like him, Fernando does not need any rivals!! :-)

  33. James Punt says:

    It seems to be a given that Singapore will be ‘a Red Bull track’, but will it? There are something like 10 second gear corners and nothing that could be described as fast sweeping corners were the Red Bull have shown thier biggest advantage. It is very much a slow stop-start track, lots of braking, 90 degreee turn, accelerate stuff. Even The Hungaroring has much more flow to it. Suzuka looks much more like thier sort of venue

    The fact that McLaren and Mercedes seem happy that the flexi front wings are no longer an issue is interesting. Do they know that the new tests have done the job? Sounds like it.

    And then we have the McLaren upgrade (and new parts for Ferrari). They will have known what they needed to do and it will become clearer on Friday if they have hit the ground running. If they have got it right we should have a three way fight and probably Kubica sticking his nose in as well.

    Even if Red Bull get another pole, well they have proved to be masters of failing to convert their chances.

    The bookies are offering even money a Red Bull to win, good odds if this really is a Red Bull playground, but 9/2 Alonso could be the each way bet of the year.

  34. David Newsome says:

    Many people have commented on how the new points system has spiced up the championship, but compared to the 2003-2009 points allocation, it would be very similar and we’d still have five drivers within a win of each other, although Hamilton would be leading:

    Hamilton 75
    Webber 74
    Alonso 67
    Button 67
    Vettel 66

    Even futher back, compared to the system prior to 2003, it would be slightly different, with only three drivers within a win of the top:

    Webber 60
    Hamilton 59
    Alonso 53
    Button 49
    Vettel 48

    The sensational set-up to the season finale has little to do with the new points allocation, but with the competitiveness of the front three teams

    1. Glen says:

      I think the new point system does make a difference; beyond the statistics.

  35. David Newsome says:

    P.S. ALONSO for the championship!

  36. forzaminardi says:

    Fingers crossed for Rubens – probably Williams’ last best chance of a podium this year!

  37. giorgio says:

    Webber by math and logic is clearly favourite of the game but to affirm any of idea about any of driver is pure fiction and gamble, coz no one knows what will happen, as it was with Levis in Monza, nobody would imagine that and he was clear favourite of Italian GP. But things can turn different way at all, that’s an intrigue and great challenge of this years WCC, nobody don’t know clearly nothing, and no prediction is possible at all. The argument of this discourse is that all 5 drivers made mistakes and there is no guarantee they will not.

  38. Nilesh says:

    During the summer break we were reviewing the 2005 and 2007 seasons and it was really fascinating to see the contrast in Webber and Button’s confidence then and now. Both of them are making greater attempts to pass now and pushing their cars just a little bit further. Their body language in post race interviews is also very positive now. Though Rosberg seemed more cheerful and spirited then and comes off as slightly disappointed and even bitter at times in interviews.

  39. Bunde F1 Baby says:

    I have to say that in my view, Williams have been the most improved team of this year. I always said that F1 is better with private teams than manufacturers, teams understand the sport better, like Williams, they have not won any races for years now but they just have that fighting spirit to go out and do the best job, Brawn did it last year and I dont see why Williams cannot compete at the top from next year, Rubens is there and he is a veteran who has a wealth of knowledge to drive Williams forward. Red Bull too is doing great and they are more likely to win a tittle alongside Ferrari and McLaren.

    Personally i think there is more pressure from a manufacturer to deliver race wins and title. Ferrari went for 20 years without winning, the same principle applies in business, you just have to be patient and everything will fall into right places.

    BMW did far better when they were with Williams and had that partnership continues, Williams could have been champions again.

  40. Nuno says:

    I am not biased towards any driver, in other words, I am not a true fan of any particular driver. I have my opinions about several drivers, and a I love to see good racing. I don´t care who wins or looses…but this year I would be happy if Webber wins the championship. Hamilton and Webber both deserve the title. I would be happier with Webber because I have the feeling that this is his last chance of being a world champion. From the other four candidates, three of them are world champions and Vettel has a lot of time to win several titles.

    For the moment I am focused on Webber and Hamilton. They are leadind, they have a cushion, and I bet one of them will be champion.

    The other three contenders are a bit behind and they need luke. Alonso doesn’t have any spare engine and that is a problem, even if he say´s that he doesn´t have. Vettel is quick but lacks experience. Button is a great guy and drives very well but…he is not a match to his team mate.

    I can´t guess the future, and maybe Singapore won´t be the expected pivotal race.

    For the WCC the fight is very very close between RB and ML. A win for ML would be a special one due to the fact that this year they started producing and selling road cars.
    I would be happy if they get it.

  41. BMG says:

    I just want to see good racing with Team Mates giving each other room. Interesting I wonder if webber is just trying to stay away from trouble and this why he has had bad starts?

  42. er,go says:

    Well,I reckon we’ve got a hell of a battle on our hands and anyone who can predict a championship winner from here is a fool. Five blokes with excellent cars and a couple jokers makes for a finale par excellence. Bring it on!
    The car trends are clear: Redbull fast all the time, Maclaren wasting not too many opportunities and a resurgent Ferrari. The drivers are crazier: Webber must remain consistent and cool, Hamilton must drive the wheels off his car, Alonso should stay out of trouble, Button will pray for rain and Vettel has to calm right down.

    And it will go down to the wire.

  43. Chris Orr says:

    Hi James
    Have you seen any pictures, post the new load test on floors and wings comparing the flex before and after the new requirements were brought in.

    Im interested to see how much different it really did make to the Red Bulls.

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s one of the things we’ll be across over the weekend

  44. Jon Wilde says:

    James,

    Off topic, but could you shed some light on what is going on with Lotus? I’m totally confused. Lotus ART GP2-GP3, Air Asia GP, PKV Lotus Indycar, Team Lotus F1. who owns what!!! who should we support? What’s stopping all parties getting together for a combined team approach?

  45. Robert Lujan says:

    I have a few questions concerning the race itself this weekend. Hopefully it doesn’t come too late to be answered. What happens if the race has to be delayed because of rain Sunday? I mean if the rain really does interfere with the drivers ability to see in it with the floodlights. Obviously it can’t be held later as it will be far too late in the evening. Have they made plans if this should ever happen? Have the race organizers ever discussed this scenario? Will they hold the race Monday morning or midday? And has that ever happened that an F1 race took place a day later on a Monday? Thanks!

  46. Galapago555 says:

    Absolutely off topic, but good news, at least for me. Pedro de la Rosa, hired as test driver by Pirelli for the rest of the year. You can read the report by Manel Serras, @ elpais.com (sorry, it’s in Spanish).

    http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/Rosa/sera/probador/Pirelli/elpepudep/20100923elpepudep_5/Tes

    I’m happy for Pedro. I think he has never had the good luck that he deserved, after so many years in the sport.

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