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Bahrain GP – Fuel weights for the race
Bahrain GP  – Fuel weights for the race
Posted By:   |  25 Apr 2009   |  4:35 pm GMT  |  34 comments

The fuel weights the cars will carry at the start of the race are now public.

Based on these the top performer in qualifying is Jarno Trulli, who decimated his team mate (half a second!) and was 2/10ths faster than Sebastian Vettel.

The Brawn again shows that it is a better race car than a qualifying car, while Lewis Hamilton’s performance – on the same fuel as Button and only a tenth slower – shows that the McLaren is developing very quickly and will be racing the front runners when we get into the European season. I think they will be docked 30 points at the FIA world council hearing on Wednesday, so the championship may be hard to achieve, but I’ve no doubt McLaren will be winning races before the summer.

Disappointing show from Rosberg in a car which had new parts his team mate didn’t have, also disappointing from Kovalainen and Piquet. Raikkonen would have done better in Q3 if he had a set of new tyres available, but he’d used them all up by then, something he’s not too happy about.

For those unfamiliar with how this works, the top ten cars carried this fuel in the final part of qualifying, those outside the top 10 have chosen to put this amount of fuel in their cars.

Fuel consumption here is 2.9kg per lap and the fuel effect is 0.35 secs per 10 kg.

1. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 648.5 kg
2. Timo Glock, Toyota, 643
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 659
4. Jenson Button, Brawn GP, 652.5
5. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 652.5
6. Rubens Barrichello, Brawn GP, 649
7. Fernando Alonso, Renault, 650.5
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 664.5
9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 670.5
10. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 671.5
11. Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren, 678.5
12. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 680.9
13. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 698.6
14. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 696.3
15. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 677.6
16. Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, 678.5
17. Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India, 652
18. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 656
19. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 679
20. Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso, 667.5

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I suppose hindsight is a wonderful thing but Button could have afforded to go a bit heavier and start behind the KERS cars of Alonso and Hamilton. They will probably get him off the start line anyway.


All set for a cracking race. Vettel looks to have four laps more fuel on board than Trulli, with Jenson in the middle. It'll be Glock's job to hold off the rest while Trulli builds his lead - does Trulli have the race pace to sprint clear? He'll need about half a second per lap over Vettel to maintain his advantage at the stops. I remember in Malaysia Trulli wasn't happy with the performance of his car in the opening stint - have they cleared that problem up?

Let's not forget Button as well - the 0.470s or so fuel-corrected pace deficit to the Toyotas could well vanish under race conditions. But he's on the dirty side and has to keep Lewis behind him - I don't fancy his chances of doing that. How you you see things unfolding, James?


Not so sure Rosberg's performance was so disappointing when you take into account he had more fuel on board than everyone in front of him - 25 kilos more than Glock. He's not going to be troubling the podium but he might finally get some decent points on the board for Williams.

Interesting that Webber has been fueled relatively light despite starting at the back. Vettel's looking good in third, I'd say...


James thank you for you blog, it is awesome.

I'm wondering why Piquet, already having problems being unable to compete with Alonso is so heavy on fuel?
Why not have him on the same fuel load to get him through to the next session?


You didn't mention Vettel much, James.

He is in the box seat (forgetting race pace for a second), clean side, 3rd on the grid with most fuel of all the front runners. Assuming Brawns are quicker in the race pace, it might be different but in my opinion 3 teams are going for the win tommorow.

Button is in a very dangerous position, Lewis behind him is on the clean side with the KERS boost into turn 1. Rubens is behind and lighter. Alonso could get Rubens as well! Nightmare quali for Brawn, this is the first race where in Q3 they haven't had the fastest car (fuel corrected).

Will be a very fun race!


Impressed by Jarno, Lewis and SebV today. Just hope Lewis can cope with tyre wear as attrition looks like it will be high.

Think Alonso is worth a few quid for a podium finish .. so long as Renault get the strategy right.

Top 3 Guess
1 Vettel
2 Rubens
3 Alonso


'Fuel corrected' what does that really tell me?

As Brundle is so fond of saying: the track is a living breathing thing.

There are 101 variables that come into play on a qualifying lap that determine final grid position, fuel weight is but one. A statistic of limited if not academic value insofar as I can see.


James when you say they'll docked 30 points, i hope you mean constructors points and not drivers points?


James - is the 30 point FIA punishment for McLaren you mention just your well-developed sense of F1 smell, or do you have some insider info? There seems to be such a fine line with the FIA between a $100 million penalty on the one hand or a smack on the bottom with the other that almost any punishment seems possible.


can you please clarify this 30 point deduction. As other correspondants have said is this for LH and team or just the team? It has been suggested that LH has received his punishment. Other websites still go along with the theory that there could be a two race ban.
Personally I believe the punishment McLaren has received so far with disqualification from Australia and terrible publicity is enough. However, a points deduction is a far more suitable punishment rather than a race ban. Many people would have recently spent a fortune to see the forthcoming Monaco GP. LH fans and I believe the majority of fans would be devastated not so see one of the best drivers not there. A 30 point penalty would effectively discount any hopes of winning the championship like you say but still enable fans to see LH and a 20 car grid in action.
Everyone knows that much lying and dishonesty has taken place in the past in F1. It's part and parcel of the sport just like it is in most walks of life these days.


Cracking wit from Brundle during Q3 today (1hr 46mins 35 seconds on iplayer) with reference to EJ apologising to DC for cocking up over the Sutil blocking incident:

Brundle: "...they can all go again [the drivers in Q3], all ten of them, top 12 shoot out today as Couthard versus Jordan with Coulthard on pole there"


Didn't BAR lie to the stewards a couple of years ago about the fuel in their cars, telling the stewards it was empty when actually there was a load left in the 'secret' tank? They got banned, drivers and constructors, for two races. Both drivers and team were punished, for what was a team-only infraction.

Seeing as Hamilton and McLaren (repeatedly) lied to the stewards as well, surely that suggests a precedent? The team was certainly involved, even if it was only Ryan (as McLaren have been all so eager to tell us) and Hamilton helped perpetrate the lie on multiple occasions.

Add to that, it's McLaren, whom the FIA don't like all too much (even if Ron Dennis has moved elsewhere within the organisation). Surely the "Spygate" scandal should have suggested to McLaren that they should have been more careful and the FIA would be watching out for any more shenanigans? Yet they go and pull this needless stunt anyway - for two whole points and (yet another) trophy.

Have the FIA docked so many points in recent history? They've docked points after individual races for infringements in those races, but a huge bunch of points, that the team don't even have to lose (and won't even if they get a 1-2 in tomorrow's race)?


so did ferrari make another mistake with kimi running out of tyres he was faster than massa all through practice if they stuff it up again someone better get fired .As for the race lewis is in the box seat with kers he gets the jump at the start they wont catch him and with all those other kers cars following closely behind it could be a very busy day for jenson and co defending position's from cars which are faster on the straights .


Truli is a great qualifier, but his race pace has never matched that, i'm thinking that we might see the trulli train returning again, which should be interesting as he'll probably bunch up this leading pack until the first pit stop atleast, that should give some of the other drivers a chance to challenge for victory.


Hi James,
I have a question for you about some statistic I could not find, and hope you had easy access to some database.

I like wet races because they are an exciting change of pace and can show what some drivers are truly capable of. The one thing that always worries me about wet races are the offs. The marshalls will eagerly attend to an offed car, and it is sort of unsettling. If you have a very wet corner, its entirely possible there will be a second off in the same direction.

To me, it seems that the number of safety car periods have increased in recent years to try and head this off at the pass, before some poor marshall gets crunched. Have they? Is there anyway to get a breakdown by year?



Here's my take on events..

Trulli's always been a great qualifier but an average racer. If he does come out in front after turn 1 things will get mighty interesting. I can see him holding up the field and this will negate the strategy of anyone running light and play into the hands of those with more fuel on board.

What do Toyota do if Glock is behind Trulli and clearly faster?

Should be an interesting race.


Is there an assumption that all cars without fuel and driver have the same weight?


I hope you're right. I can't see for the life of me why Heikki should be penalised in any way for this affair, as he would be with a suspension of the team. 30 points seems about right, but there really should be at least 10 for Lewis too ...



if McLaren face a two race ban then surely this will affect LH as he will not be able to race? With regards to HK the situation is even worse as he had no part to play in what happened in Australia!

With regards to the potential of docking points many say that McLaren, LH do not have many. I assume they would go in to negative points as is the case with English football if this was to happen?

Do you remember the 1994 World Championship?Schumacher beat Hill by a single point after taking Hill out in Adelaide. I was a big Hill fan but inside was pleased that Schumacher won the championship because of his two race ban. Even Damon Hill said that in a way he was pleased that he did not win the championship because of those circumstances. Thankfully Hill won it in more style in 1996.

It's not inconceivable that LH could win the world championship this year. Had his points stood in Australia he would only be 11 points behind JB, just one race win. Judging by McLaren's improving form they are not far away from front running pace. Penalty points would probably eliminate any championship prospects. This could be viewed as suitable punishment, certainly a lot better than race bans. At least we can still see one of the best drivers in action.


Such a lenient punishment will be very disproportionate for the crime committed. There is evident bad faith in what they did. They are recidivists too!

lower-case david

anyone know roughly how much a WCC point is worth nowadays.

i guess it's all still hidden in various memorandum of understandings and temporary concordes, and depends on which team you are and how sweet your respective deal is ... but year-end, roughly how many millions of dollars would losing 30points cost a team?

Heinz-Harald from Sydney

The penalty for 1kg of fuel is 0.035 seconds per lap. Given that these days not much separates the field, three-hundredths of a second make a huge difference. Sure, there are many other variables at play, however, fuel is arguably the most crucial in Q3 and given that it is difficult to isolate the effects of other variables (i.e. track conditions, tyre performance, traffic, wind, etc.) without primary data, the fuel-corrected times give us tremendous insight into the respective qualifying pace of the top 10.

Check out the fuel corrected positions that I've calculated and judge for yourself:

Trulli 01:33.431
Vettel 01:33.648 00:00.217
Button 01:33.904 00:00.473
Glock 01:33.905 00:00.474
Hamilton 01:34.056 00:00.625
Barrichello01:34.222 00:00.791
Massa 01:34.258 00:00.827
Rosberg 01:34.364 00:00.933
Alonso 01:34.508 00:01.077
Raikkonnen 01:34.575 00:01.144

Here's the excel calculator I use (VBA version to follow):


LT, how is that of any relevance, exactly? are you saying ferrari lied to the stewards, they found out, and weren't penalised? oh dear! you have to point this occasion out to me please, because my memory is not so good!


Yeah and Ferrari never lied, ever.....


Well not a mistake so much as a very cautious move, not wanting to slip up. Kimi was easily fast enough to get through to Q3, but they didn't want to take any chances.


Depends on the finishing position in the championship as well. It's not something they make public.


Not as far as I know, the FIA might know, but they don't really have a public facing department dealing with that.


Feeling is it would be for team only, possibly an/or a suspended two race ban in case they do anything like this again.


Why not? Didn't Lewis lie t the stewards?


It will also be about brakes. Trulli had problems even in quali.

Ironic that it's too hot for the tyres to heat up properly due to the lesser downforce from the thinner air. (due to the temperature)
This was according to a Bridgestone man this morning during Prac3.

Sadly, unlikely that Lewis will change his driving style enough to preserve the tyres. Something he needs to learn. (send Alan Prost or Jackie Stewart over)


Vettel seems the best placed, and his car seems to have the least inconsistencies over the w/e. For me it's



Only the top 10 have to qualify with their race fuel on board; the rest can qualify on fumes and then fill their cars up if they want, so Piquet's time was not set with all that fuel on board.


As I understand it that isn't the fuel Piquet was carrying in Q2; the cars can run as light as they like in the first 2 sessions, so he was probably a lot lighter during the sessions he ran in. As James says, only the top 10 actually finished qualifying with the published fuel loads - the 10 at the back have filled to those levels afterwards.


Mike - the fuel load here is what he'll take into the race, not what he carried in Q2, when he was, like everyone else, as light as possible. I understand your question, because I asked the same one before the last GP. I also think it's daft that the runners outside the top ten have to declare weight. What do you think James ?

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