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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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1

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.

2

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!

3

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?

4

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.

5

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

6

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.

7

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?

8

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.

9

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.

10

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.

11

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.

12

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

13

P.S. ALONSO for the championship!

14

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

15

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

16

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.

17

“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!! 🙂

18

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.

19

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.

20

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!!

21

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

22

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.

23

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

24

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.

25

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

26

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

27

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

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

29

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.

30

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.

31

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

32
Thomas in Australia

If Vettel wins the WDC i win an iPad.

If Webber wins I’m a happy Australian.

So conflicted! 😛

33

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….

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