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State of play going into qualifying
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State of play going into qualifying
Posted By:   |  04 Apr 2009   |  7:38 am GMT  |  19 comments

This is going to be close!

In Practice 3 this morning, Rosberg was fastest by a tenth, from Webber, Massa and Trulli, the three of whom were separated by a few hundredths. Then Trulli, Glock, and Vettel were all within six hundredths of each other.

The question mark hangs over Brawn. There is no doubt that their margin over the rest is not what it was in Melbourne, certainly as far as single lap performance is concerned. Jenson Button’s long runs yesterday were competitive, but he has been struggling with understeer in fast corners and today he’s losing time in the slow speed corners. He and Rubens may well have been carrying more fuel than the cars in front of them in that practice session, but we’ll really only find out this afternoon, where Brawn is relative to the rest.

At one point there was a plume of smoke coming out of the back of both Brawn cars, but it was just an overfill on the oil, nothing to worry about.

It will be a hell of a scrap between Rosberg and Webber this afternoon, both are capable of front row slots. The temperature is likely to drop as we get to 5pm when qualifying starts and the cars with extra downforce will benefit because they’ll be able to keep more heat in their tyres.

What we do know is that this is a very strong KERS track, so cars like Red Bull, Williams, Toyota and Brawn will not want to be behind the Ferraris, because they will never get past. KERS is believed to be worth between 3/10ths and 4/10ths per lap and is a major advantage tactically in the race, both defensively (relelling attackers) and offensively (passing cars).

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19comments

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1
Antonio Carlos

I think at least two teams will drop their KERS device for this race.

Because their batteries looks very fragile on hot conditions. And I don’t think the cars have an efficient cooler to work properly at these conditions.

And Jenson will win again, with some Toyota in second or third, followed by Red Bull’s Vettel. Rubens must keep concentration now, he needs a podium if he wants something on WDC.

2

Anyone know why Kimi didn’t use KERS in Q3? Will he use it in the race?

If KERS gives around 3 tenths then why would Kimi not use it.

I expect Button to go into the distance…Trulli will stay 2nd but 3rd place will be contested between Rubens, Rosberg and Kimi.

Massa will either get some points or retire and both McLarens will struggle.

3

JA writes: Lower case david – I will forward your message on to FOM TV.

4

If KERS gives 0.3-0.4 per lap, why are all the teams at the top without KERS?

I think you could make arguement for it losing 0.3-0.4 per lap. You get the strategic advantage of boosts during the race, but lose corner speed with the higher centre of gravity and less ballast.

5

Kers or no Kers, you need the double-decker.

The drivers will adapt themselves to Kers. The learning curve will certainly be very fast. For the diffuser there’s not much they have to do. They just need the best one.

Nice grid in the end. Shame for the penalties: a race incident and a gearbox = 15 places lost in total. Stupid rules and not so clever stewards.

6

Post qualifying —

That qualifying was the clearest signal ever that Formula 1 is at the cutting edge of technology capable by Humans at this time.

10 teams (well, 9) start out with a blank piece of paper and a rule book and all build cars that lap a 5.5km circuit within 2 seconds of each other.

It simply shows the level of expertise in every single one of the teams is right up there at the physical limits of what is capable right now.

Amazing.

Oh and also C’MON JENSON, C’MON!!!

7
lower-case david

here james, on your travels round the paddock, if you get a chance could you maybe huckle someone from FOM and get them to tell you what exactly’s going on with the onboard sound this season.

it’s not your old-fashioned audio drop-out … all sorts of cars, no pattern, just every now and again, the engine-note sounds like an accordian going down a flight of stairs.

never heard anything like it before, it’s the feed i’m sure, what have they changed, or what are they up to??? don’t take no for an answer, they’re up to something.

8

Trulli seemed very happy with his second place, cant wait to see how much fuel he’s carrying. Toyota are looking good for their first win here if they can keep up that performance.

The situation with Massa is unfortunate for Ferrari, they were close to getting away with it (reminds me of Hamilton at Monza last year), nothing seems to be going right for either of the the two championship contenders of last year at the moment.

9

i heard that again nick is to use it but kubica has opted not to. there were no problems with KERS in melbourne tho, he just got aero damage on the first lap and suffered for the rest of the race (somehow bizarrely setting 4th or 5th fastest lap along the way!)

10

“What we do know is that this is a very strong KERS track…”

So why are BMW not using it in their cars at all this race, did Herr Heidfeld have problems with it in Melbourne?

11
Antonio Carlos

Hello, James. Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Of course, I follow the races by media mogul TV Globo. However, I’m always looking to extend knowledge opportunities, and that includes you, and your dazzling work.

At your time at ITV until last year, on blog or F1 Racing, I’m pretty sure I’ll keep very inside about our sport.

Talking about these Qualyfing sessions, I never saw times so close. I think that are six candidates aiming the win: Ferrari, Red Bull, Toyota, BMW, Williams, Brawn.

The Toyotas seems very fast, and passing the corners like no other, including Brawns, but facing handling difficulties. Koln should work on this at European races.

Brawns very fast too, but I’m feeling a lack of consistency on some laps.

Williams are the cars for a hot lap, but I think the drivers are very inconstant.

BMW looks very solid, but lacks some speed on straights.

Ferraris looking good, but they are not very reliable, as kers answered yesterday.

And, finally, I think Red Bull is the best handling car around the league. Looks impressive how easily Vettel and Webber driving on low and high speed corners.

Greetings, James!

12

I’m going to go for an outside bet and say Webber for pole, I imagine the Ferraris will go for optimum race strategy and rely on their KERS to get them up the grid at the beginning of the race (speaking of which, I think it’d be suicide for anyone to start on hard tires considering it’s taking them about 3 laps to get up to temperature). Any clue how long the softs are lasting? We dont get much information in that regard from the TV feed.

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