The 2010 Australian Grand Prix Review

Posted April 2, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Formula One

Tags:

The Australian Grand Prix was a much improved spectacle than in the desert of Bahrain. As the drivers lined up on the grid (excluding the Virgins who started in the pit lane) there was a great threat of rain, the clouds got darker and darker and most of the teams’ tactical brains started working hard. The rain ended up only being light and for a short time but it was enough for the Intermediate tyres.
Hamilton’s Qualifying performance wasn’t up to his best but he did manage 11th, so the rain could help him to better results. Button, in the other MP4-25 lined up in 4th, much better than his Bahrain performance. The Red Bulls took the front two grid slots just as Brawn GP did 12 months ago, with Alonso in his Ferrari F10 in 3rd.  Brazilian Massa took 5th behind Button in the other Ferrari. And both Mercedes GP cars followed with Nico Rosberg leading Schumacher.

2010 Aussie GP Start

 

 As the lights built up and turned off the drivers slowly took off, Massa had a great start and leaped up to 2nd by the time they reached turn 1, Vettel kept his lead going through the first corner as his team-mate, Webber,  lost out to Felipe. Button tried to take the inside line up past Alonso but the Spaniard couldn’t see him and ploughed right into him, and then span into the 7 time world champion, Michael Schumacher! That left the German with front wing damage. As a result of all that, Alonso fell behind not only everyone on the grid, but behind both Virgins and the Safety car! Button took avoiding action and got through without any damage. Hamilton jumped from 11th to 8th, but the surprise gain driver was Kubica; he qualified in 9th on Saturday but by turn 3 he was up into 4th.  Both Mercedes GP cars were able to leap frog Button, so the current world champion now had to deal with a fiesty Hamilton behind him and a slow damaged Schumacher ahead of him. While the big guys were duelling it out there was action at the back, Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber had already had trouble this weekend with a front wing failure in FP1, but then it happened again in the race itself. He tobogganed into the wall at turn 6, skimmed across and ploughed heavily into the Toro Rosso of Buemi and the Williams of Hulkenberg, taking himself, Buemi and Hulkenberg all out in under 3 seconds.

Kamui crashes at the 2010 Aussie GP

 This brought out the safety car for the only time in the race. Schumacher had to come in and change his front wing, which put him to the back of the pack alongside old rival Alonso, who was trying to make his way back up.
By lap 5 the Safety car came back in and the race restarted. Vettel got away cleanly and so did Massa but Webber got very loose on the exit of the final corner, opening up a chance for the Renault of Kubica to have a look into turn 1. Webber made sure he couldn’t make the move stick, but Kubica had another go into turn 3, although Webber prevailed and kept his 3rd place.
Nico Rosberg split the Renault and Red Bull from the two McLarens as Hamilton and Button kept dicing around the track.
As the front runners battled it out, the back of the field were having some fun with Alonso and Schumacher; the Virgin of Di Grassi had one battle with Alonso which ended quite quickly but then when Schumacher tried to come through Di Grassi thought he would re-pass him through turn 13!
Back at the front, Hamilton finally got around his team-mate, Button, and set his sights on Rosberg’s Mercedes. Then Massa made a mistake which let Webber through and Kubica had a sniff of a chance, but he didn’t make it which lead Rosberg to try and have a go at Kubica!

Lewis Passes Jenson at the 2010 Aussie GP

 Button then decided to change to Slicks way earlier than anyone else, which would make all the difference to the outcome of the race.
Nearly everyone thought this was a crazy choice for Jenson to make, especially as when he exited the pits, he got to turn 3 only to lock his wheels up and go straight off the road! However, he then went on to set “Purple” sector times on the next two sectors of the lap, which indicated he had made the right choice.
This brilliant choice made the race win for the Briton, enabling him to benefit from Vettel’s wheel problem (which caused him to crash out of the race), and Robert Kubica’s Renault holding up Lewis Hamilton and the two Ferrari’s.
Jenson brought his MP4-25 home on the last lap to cross the line first, just like 12 months before with Brawn GP…this means that British drivers have won the Australian GP for the last 3 years in a row! With Hamilton in 2008, Button in 2009, and Button again this year.

Button Wins The Aussie GP Once Again

My verdict of the race is: Amazing, brilliant and eventful! What a race to kick start the 2010 season. The McLarens seemed a bit faster around Albert Park than they did in Bahrain, which obviously feels good for a McLaren fan like me! Red Bull really need to fix their cars before they lose too many points and start to fall behind in the Championship. Well done to Massa for getting on the podium once again. Lewis could have had 3rd place if Webber hadn’t gone up the back-side of him! He could have even had 2nd place if McLaren hadn’t brought him into the pits when they did, but it did seem like the best choice at the time. Nico Rosberg brought his Mercedes GP car in 5th ahead of Lewis, with Schumacher in 10th. What is going on with the German legend then? Still just rusty eh?

With thunder storms forecast for Malaysia, it looks like we’re gonna have another exciting race (if it goes ahead). FP1 and FP2 have just finished, so I’m off to watch it on BBC iPlayer!

2010 Bahrain GP Review

Posted March 25, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Uncategorized

 Sorry I haven’t really got around to doing this post, but I will make sure I make a full review post of the Australian GP coming up this week…

Anyway my thoughts on the Bahrain GP are; compared to the 2008 or 2007 season it was extremely boring, but compared to the 2009 season, I think it was quite entertaining. The revamped track was awful in my eyes, but the gathering of all the living world champions (excluding Kimi) was a real achievement. McLaren were off the pace all weekend but this should improve in Australia where they think the track will suit the car more than the hostile Sakhir curcuit in Bahrain.

2010 Bahrain Start

 

Sebastien Vettel lead the race from the beginning and I think he would have stayed there if it wasn’t for his slight glitch…

Because of this slight glitch, Alonso in the Ferrari took the lead away from the German and powered to victory with team-mate Felipe Massa impressively taking second place and Lewis Hamilton coming in third behind them both.

There was talk after the race that FOTA and the FIA might consider making two pit stops mandatory, this would be a good idea. When I was watching the race, there was a point where I thought, “If they pitted about now things would be much more interesting”. But they didn’t, and it was boring. So making two stops mandatory would be a step forward in my eyes.

But to have the season under way is the most exciting thing I can think of!

Button wins the 2009 Aussie GP For Brawn GP

 

Next is the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Will Button be able to come strong in his new McLaren? Or will Lewis Hamilton win again with dominance like 2008? Or will Ferrari walk the field once more like in Bahrain? Red Bull will be hoping their cars will stay in one piece this time around!

The 2010 F1 Season Preview

Posted March 11, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Formula One

 With the 2010 Formula One Championship just a few days away, the excitement is building up, globally. The FIA have finally confirmed the 2010 entry list just a few days before the season starts, so we now know who is on the grid or not.
How will McLaren’s all British line up fare against the all Latin line up at Ferrari. And how will those teams fare against the all German Mercedes GP team? How will all the teams cope with the new rules, including the re-fuelling ban? Who will be the best of the new teams?
All these questions will be answered very soon…    

2010 Pit Stops Could Be Sub 3 Seconds

There are new rules for the 2010 Season, as there have been for the last few years.    

The biggest change has to be the ban on re-fuelling- this means that the team will only have to change tyres; this will cut pit stop times to sub three seconds! Red Bull and Renault have also found ways to make that even quicker. Reports have come in that Red Bull have gone to under two seconds. Also, Renault have designed new front and rear jacks to make the release of the car quicker- no reports of how quick they have got to yet.
Penalties will also have to be served in a maximum two laps instead of three, but if they have to serve the penalty after the race, like Spa 2008, 35 seconds will be the punishment, not 25.
Front tyre dimensions have also shrunk from 270mm to 245mm, this will make life hard with the heavier cars, full of extra fuel.
Garages used to have sizes for where in the championship the team had finished the previous year, but now every team will have an equal amount of space for that race track.
Of course the points system has changed from 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 to 25-18-15-12-8-6-4-2-1.    

My Verdict:
The re-fuel ban is crazy, the tyres dimensions isn’t crazy if you had less fuel, the points system is crazy, serving penalties in two laps is crazy, 35 seconds is just too much, but I love the garage idea!    

The McLaren MP4-25

First up is the all British team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.      

The big question is: How will McLaren cope with two British world champions?
McLaren haven’t won a constructors championship since 1998, mainly because of driver combinations and Ferrari. But even after the Lewis-Fernando combination in 2007 they still couldn’t manage the title because of a bitter relationship. 2008 wasn’t much different with Heikki Kovalainen as second driver, he just wasn’t up to the standard of Lewis and couldn’t get consistent podiums or wins. And we all know what happened in 2009. Will Jenson in 2010 be any different?      

After the Lewis-Fernando saga, the silver team will be wanting to avoid this kind of scenario this time around. Lewis has recently admitted that he “misunderstood” the situation at the team during his first year, and that he won’t be making the same mistake with new team-mate Jenson Button.
Alonso expected the ‘number one’ slot at McLaren when he arrived, but the young Brit was too strong for him. Things started to go wrong from there.
But Jenson Button himself has said that he won’t have that attitude, as he knows what Lewis is capable of. He said that he wanted the challenge of a new team after winning the championship in 2009 with former team Brawn GP.      

My verdict:
Jenson Button will struggle at his new team and will fail to beat Lewis, but he will do better than Kovalainen did in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Lewis Hamilton will be having so much fun back at the front with drivers like Schumacher, but he won’t have an easy ride with Jenson, Massa, Alonso and the Red Bull’s.      

Twitter Status:
Jenson Button: @The_Real_JB
Lewis Hamilton: N/A
McLaren: @McLaren_eShop + @TheFifthDriver      

Nico Rosberg In The Mercedes GP W01

Next is the new, all German Mercedes GP Petronas team.      

With Brawn GP’s success to follow, this will be a hard year for the ‘silver arrows’ who haven’t been in the sport since 1955. Although they will be a strong force in 2010 I think they just won’t have the strength of teams such as McLaren, Red Bull or Ferrari. They do have Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn up their sleeves though! With more updates on the way for most of the teams, expect them to be fighting for wins later on in the season, but not in the first few races…      

My verdict:
Michael Schumacher will lead the team to most of their wins, if any.
I feel sorry for Nico Rosberg that he ended up with the 7 time world champion instead of McLaren-bound Button; he’s just going to end up like Barrichello did.      

Twitter Status:
Michael Schumacher: N/A
Nico Rosberg: @NicoRosberg16
Mercedes GP: @OfficialMGP      

The Red Bull RB6

Next, the all – no wait – just Red Bull.      

Now they have some wins under their belt, and the race officials know that they have to have the Austrian anthem ready, can they go one better and win the championship? Well with the same line up as 2009 and another good car, the chances are very good. Now all they need to do is to have less engine failures or hydraulic failures- was it a good idea to keep the Renault engine?      

Since they took to the sport in 2005 Red Bull have never finished higher than 5th in the championship, until 2009 when they just came short of winning behind the white car of Brawn GP. Webber’s broken leg from 2008 has now fully recovered, so he doesn’t have anything to worry about this time around- can he do it?
Vettel, a.k.a. ‘Baby Schumi’ has the real ‘Schumi’ to fight with this year…      

Here’s what ex-Red Bull driver, David Coulthard thinks: “The team had a late decision on the Renault engine choice, meaning the car missed the first test. They’ve also taken a decision to spend more time developing in the windtunnel and on the drawing board before committing to the first iteration that we will see in Bahrain. But with a limited regulation change going into 2010 they’re looking good.” (Taken from the F1 Racing Magazine)      

My Verdict:
Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber and Red Bull as a team will all have one thing on their mind- winning…      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Vettel: N/A
Mark Webber: @AussieGrit
Red Bull: @redbullf1spy      

The Scuderia Ferrari F10

Now for the all Latin team, Scuderia Ferrari.      

As I write this, Ferrari just announced that they expect Red Bull to be top in Bahrain- playing yourselves down eh? Quite an interesting statement to make with under a week to go before the race opener. The most successful team will be strong whatever they say though, with the return of Felipe Massa and 2 time world champion Fernando Alonso, it’s a recipe for more success. Well that’s what nearly everyone says- I don’t agree, but maybe that’s just because I never really liked Ferrari?! Anyway, I think it’s a recipe for disaster; just think back to 2007 and when Alonso was at McLaren, remember that? What makes people think this will be any better? The main issue, apart from the ‘spy-gate’ scandal, was that Lewis was too strong for the Spaniard, so will Felipe be any weaker? Don’t get me wrong, Alonso is good driver- but really?      

That’s what I think anyway, after their worst season in years the Italian team will want to forget that by winning again. Will Schumacher help them out in some controversial way?
I really don’t like Ferrari, do I? ;-P      

I do like Massa, so I’m happy he’s back in F1, will he ‘do a Schumacher’? In the 1999 British GP Schumacher broke a leg, but came back to win the title in 2000. Can Felipe come back to win this year’s title, after his horrific crash in Hungary last year?      

My Verdict:
Felipe will be too strong for Alonso and he won’t like it.
Alonso could back-stab the Italian team if things don’t go well; there are probably things only he knows about the past…      

Twitter Status:
Felipe Massa: N/A
Fernando Alonso: N/A
Ferrari: @InsideFerrari      

Rubens Barrichello In The Williams FW32

Next is the Williams F1 Team.      

The British based team have scored a mere 170.5 points since their last win in Brazil 2004 with Montoya, and in 2009 things started to look up with Rosberg, when he consistently challenged for podiums, but he just never quite got there. He himself scored the biggest points haul of his career in one season, but it wasn’t so good for the Williams team with second driver Nakajima consistently not scoring points. Will things be different this time around with the most experienced driver on the grid, Rubens Barrichello, and 2009 GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg? With things looking up in testing over the winter, maybe things will be better for the team.      

Rubens Barrichello has always had the backseat in whatever team he was driving for. In Ferrari he was second to Schumacher, at BAR Honda/Honda/Brawn GP he was second to Jenson Button. Is this his chance to take a leading role in his own team?      

My Verdict:
Barrichello will be strong in this team, but whether he can beat the other strong teams is another question.
Nico ‘The Hulk’ Hulkenberg has the chance to prove himself as a talented driver, as I think he has a good car to drive in his first season.      

Twitter Status:
Rubens Barrichello: @rubarrichello
Nico Hulkenberg: @NicoHulkenberg
Williams: @f1_williams      

The Renault R30

The controversial Renault F1 Team next.      

This is a whole new start for the team now; Briatore is gone, Alonso is gone, Piquet is gone. But Robert Kubica and Eric Boullier have arrived and could be the saviours of the French team. If they can make him a good car, Kubica has the talent to bring it home, as we have seen during the 2007 and 2008 season’s when he was at BMW Sauber. But can Renault make him a good car? They definitely can’t make a good looking car! Some people think it’s a great return to the old style 80’s livery, but they could have done something a bit less strong, huh? You’ll be able to see it on track easily!

Renault have gone downhill since 2007, where they finished 3rd in the championship, then 4th in 2008, then a lowly 8th in 2009. Can they improve on that 8th at least? I think so, but anything better than 4th, I don’t know – not without some major upgrades…      

My Verdict:
Kubica will definitely lead the team, but I haven’t really seen how former GP2 driver Petrov can race.
Podiums? No. But regular points? Possibly.      

Twitter Status:
Robert Kubica: N/A
Vitaly Petrov: N/A
Renault: @rf1paddockpass      

The Force India VJM03

The Force India F1 team next.      

The team is going into it’s fourth year now, which is the longest stint this team has had since it was known as Jordan. After coming close to scoring points in the Monaco 2008 GP and the 2009 Chinese GP, then finally breaking the dead lock in Belgium 2009 with Fisichella getting a podium, good things are expected of the team this year. Can they win a race? I’m not sure the drivers are good enough, but they can definitely come close and do well in the championship.      

The team has never finished higher than 9th in the championship, but I’m sure that will change this year, with a good car and reliability. Watch out for this team…      

My Verdict:
Adrian Sutil is a talented driver, and has driven for one team in his career, (Midland, Spyker and Force India) I think he has the talent to push himself in to a winning position, if the opportunity comes.
Vitantonio Liuzzi has not had much luck in his F1 career; he had a small stint at Toro Rosso but that was when they were new and inexperienced. But now, with a good car, I think he can start to show himself.      

Twitter Status:
Adrian Sutil: N/A
Vitantonio Liuzzi: N/A
Force India: @ClubForce      

Next is the ex-Minardi team: Toro Rosso.      

Toro Rosso have a chance this season with two good drivers, and a good car. Their first own-made factory car. Since they started in 2006 they have gone slowly, building experience and knowledge. In 2008 they had Vettel as one of their drivers, he won them their first ever race in Italy, and then went on to Red Bull to come second in 2009. But things didn’t go so well for Toro Rosso in 2009. Vettel leaving them hurt quite badly, as they could only mange to keep Bourdais and new boy Buemi. Bourdais went on to be sacked and replaced by Alguersuari who is the youngest ever driver to race in F1.      

Alguersuari didn’t have a good reponse from his fellow drivers on the grid; as the in-season testing ban meant he had never driven an F1 car, and was expected to just start racing with some of the best drivers in the world. But I think this kid has some talent and will do well this year.      

Sebastien Buemi has performed well as a rookie in 2009 and I expect him to do even better this time. With a good car and some luck I think he is points finish worthy.      

My Verdict:
This will be a close battle between these drivers, but I think a good one; they will work together and push the team forward. Who will come out on top? I really can’t say, but they will get in to the points.      

Twitter Status:
Sebastien Buemi: N/A
Jaime Alguersuari: @JAIMEALGUERSUAR
Toro Rosso: @ToroRossoSpy      

The Lotus T127

Next is the first of the new teams: Malaysian based Lotus F1 team.      

They claim to be the best of the new teams this year, and they are going well with that statement, by signing drivers such as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen but has technical director Mike Gascoyne made a good car? Gascoyne has been at teams such as Force India and Midland. They have a big name to live up to, being one of the most successful teams in F1 history. They also have a little bet with fellow new team Virgin Racing on which team will come out on top!      

I think the driver line up is a straight hit; Trulli is one of the most underrated drivers in F1. He has only had one win, but that was at Monaco, and he was in a Renault, one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Alonso mind you. Then after that he moved on to the unsuccessful Toyota, I don’t have to explain how that was bad. I think if he has a good enough car, he will shine in this team.      

Kovalainen has also had only one win, Hungary 2008, in one of the best cars on the grid. His team-mate was Lewis Hamilton, and he just couldn’t live up to him throughout his time there. So similar story here – good enough car= good enough chance.      

I think this team has the ambition to succeed, which is always good.      

My Verdict:
This team won’t be able to get into the points, but they will be a very strong new team.
Which driver will come out on top? I really don’t know, but they will work together well.      

Twitter Status:
Jarno Trulli: N/A
Heikki Kovalainen: @H_Kovalainen
Tony Fernandes: @tonyfernandes
Mike Gascoyne: @MikeGascoyne      

The New Hispania Racing Car

Next is the team to re-carry the big Senna name: Hispania Racing.      

This little new team has one big name to hold as they start this season, Bruno Senna, nephew of the late Ayrton Senna. They only just managed to save themselves from going under with fellow new team USF1. The team will now be called Hispania Racing or HRT. The new Spanish team recently signed the Indian GP2 driver, Karun Chandhok. Indian F1 fans have wanted the driver to race for home team Force India ever since they took over Spyker. But at least they get him in F1 at all.      

Chandhok hasn’t performed that well in GP2 to be honest, but I think he deserves the seat alongside fellow former iSport team-mate Bruno in GP2.
Martin Brundle on Bruno Senna: “Bruno’s a good kid and he’s had success in GP2, but just as it will be for all the rookies coming straight into F1, it’ll be tough. It’s uncanny but when Bruno lifts his visor up he looks just like Ayrton – it’s quite spooky.”      

My Verdict:
I’m not sure how the team will do in terms of success because we haven’t had a look at how quick the car is, so I can’t say anything there.
In terms of drivers, I think it’s a strong line up, but there won’t be anything special, there just isn’t enough experience, even though they used to be team-mates at iSport.      

Twitter Status:
Karun Chandhok: @karunchandhok
Bruno Senna: @Bsenna
Hispania Racing: @HRTf1      

The Sauber C29

Now the Ferrari engined Sauber team.      

This white car is going to be at Bahrain unlike Stefan GP or USF1. During testing “See you in Bahrain” was written across the side of the C29’s shark fin, and the car goes quickly as a bonus. With BMW pulling out of the sport, Sauber are left with Ferrari engines to power them along. Team boss Peter Sauber is back in charge of the team once more as he only wants “To finish around sixth in the championship, and not to be a team owner for another 17 years.”      

The car goes quickly, and the drivers go quickly, things have to go well this year, right? Who knows, as said by Button, there are at least 7 top teams this year. McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes GP, Red Bull, Force India, Toro Rosso and finally Sauber. They have signed up long serving McLaren tester, Pedro De La Rosa, and new kid Kamui Kobayashi who scored in his second race. Will they win races? I don’t think so, but they will be in the position for podiums when the time comes…      

My Verdict:
The team will be strong, but whether they can keep up the form is another matter. You will see them in the points though.
This is a big chance for Kamui to shine, if he can beat his team-mate he will surely be on some bigger teams lists for next year.
This is the last chance for De La Rosa- let’s see if he can make the most of it.      

Twitter Status:
Pedro De La Rosa: N/A
Kamui Kobayashi: N/A
Sauber: N/A      

The Virgin VR-01

The final team is Virgin Racing.      

The only team to use CFD alone to design their car. (Computational Fluid Dynamics-research it on Wikipedia; it’s mind boggling.) Owned by Richard Branson, they have a good package to be best of the new teams. Virgin used to be Manor GP before Branson bought the team to diversify his Virgin empire. Drivers like Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi have the setting for a great team. However, I’ve noticed throughout testing that the team’s reliability is flawed; wings falling off, hydraulic failures, parts running late- can this team live up to the bet they made with Lotus?      

Timo Glock had a tough time at Toyota, as has everyone who have driven for the ex-Japanese team. With only a few podiums to celebrate, it’s time for Glock to step up to the No.1 driver role. New team-mate Lucas Di Grassi is Glock’s first team-mate with a lower pedigree, so here’s his chance to shine – if he can. He is also the newest driver to Tweet! Follow him here: @realTimoGlock      

Lucas is stepping up from GP2 this season, I don’t know much about him so I can’t say much, but from what I can see, he’s had a good career in GP2 with 5 wins and 16 podiums.      

My Verdict
The team will be strong with Glock and Di Grassi, but will be riddled with reliability issues.
Timo Glock to come out on top.      

Twitter Status:
Timo Glock: @realTimoGlock
Lucas Di Grassi: @lucasdigrassi
Virgin Racing: @VirginRacing      

      

USF1′s failed entry.      

I just have to do a small piece on USF1. I said from the beginning that they wouldn’t make it, and look where they are! I don’t have anything against America but really, America don’t belong in F1. A quote in the F1 Racing magazine, from Lauren Spurin ( a bar tender from Charlotte, where USF1′s North Carolina HQ is based) shows the general attitude which makes me feel this way… ” I didn’t know we had a team here. The problem with F1 is it’s always on TV at really weird hours. NASCAR rules….. and besides, if you have 36 races a year in your own backyard, why go out of your way to follow something halfway across the world?” Scott Speed, Danica Patrick and USF1 all failed, it’s time they give up…      

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stefan GP’s failed entry.
 
Stefan GP sadly haven’t made it to the grid this year, yet. It could still happen, although it’s unlikely. I’m quite disappointed, but good luck to them for whenever they do make it.
Jacques Villenuve and Kazuki Nakajima were due to race for the Serbian team, had they got on the grid. That would have put 5 world champions on the same grid!

F1 In 2010 Is Nearly Here

March 12th, Friday, 7.00am UK time, FP1, Bahrain.      

So, here we go, only a few days to go and I’ve covered every single team and their Twitter status. Bahrain has a new layout for this year and most of the drivers are not impressed, and neither am I. Everyone on Twitter, including Jake Humphrey (@jakehumphreyf1) are all on their way to the Arabic track. This is it! We are finally here….      

 

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Deadline Day

Posted March 3, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Formula One

As all the teams wanted to see exactly how fast their cars can go, they were doing qualifying runs. Our first chance to see who really is on top…

The sun was back at the Spanish track for the final day, so all the teams were wanting to make the most of their few precious hours, especially after those they lost on Saturday because of rain.

Virgin and Toro Rosso shared the same space of track for a short time at least.

For Virgin, Lucas Di Grassi was in the seat, as he set a time of 1:26.160 which brought him in last place, 12th. He covered 49 laps.

Sebastien Buemi was driving for Toro Rosso, setting a time of 1:22.135, leaving him in 9th. But he was about a whole 4 seconds faster the Virgin. The Swiss driver covered 88 laps.

“I am pleased with my two days here in Barcelona,” said Buemi. “Today, we concentrated on doing a scan of various mechanical set-up options as well as some aero work. Overall, I think we are in good shape and now I’m looking forward to the first race to see where we stand compared to everyone else.”

Just thought it was worth mentioning, just before the lunch break Hamilton, Massa, Vettel and Schumacher all did qualifying runs and went flat out. This is worth considering looking at for a form book before Bahrain.

The times looked like this: 1st Hamilton 1:20.472. 2nd Massa 1:20.539. 3rd Vettel 1:20.667. 4th Schumacher 1:20.745.

Just after the lunch break Mark Webber took over the RB6 from Vettel and set time of 1:20.496 which put him 2nd at the end of the day. He made 61 laps to Vettel’s 76.

Vettel didn’t manage to keep his 3rd place by the end of the session and finished in 5th behind Adrian Sutil who put in some qualifying runs after the break.

Vettel completed 76 laps and set time of 1:20.667, only 2 tenths of Lewis’ fastest time…

Adrian Sutil beat both Vettel and Schumacher in the Afternoon session when he started to go flat out.

The German was doing a race run during the morning session so he was only 9th by the break.

“I feel like this was the first proper test day for me,” said the young German. “We did our long race simulation and I think we can be quite happy and confident. The pace was good, the tyre life was very good, and I was able to run a lot of laps on both the soft and hard tyres without any problems. Speed-wise the car is competitive and we have to show it in Bahrain now.”

 

Just before the lunch break Lewis Hamilton set a time of 1:20.475 to put him top just ahead of Mark Webber by the end of the day, he also covered the most laps of 136. The Brit didn’t manage to improve his time after the break.
He only just announced that his father, Anthony Hamilton, who is Lewis’ manager, will be standing down from that position.

“I’m 25 now – and I think it was inevitable that there had to be change at some point,” Hamilton told Autosport.com.
“Over the past few years, we looked around to see if we could bring someone else into the picture to help with the situation – whether to help with guidance, or sponsors, or whatever it was.
“We looked at it and I just never felt comfortable with anyone else. At the time I loved my dad being my manager and taking care of things, because I trust him.
“Other managers you hire as employees, but my dad is my dad. I know he does things for only the right reasons, and I can just trust him with my full heart.
“But all of this time we were discussing bringing someone else in, we never quite had the confidence to do it. I think we’re now at the point where we are looking to take that step – and I think it is a positive step.
“I’m 25. I am my own man now, I’ve been in F1 for quite a while now and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my dad. He’s done a fantastic job. But he’s done that job.”

More at Autosport.com: http://ow.ly/1d8lg

We got to see some ‘racing’ from Michael Schumacher and the Briton for the first time.

Schumacher completed the second most laps of 123 and set a time of 1:20.745.

“The four testing days here in Barcelona have helped us to make significant progress with the MGP W01 and I am feeling quite confident for the start of the season,” said the German driver. “It is always difficult to read too much into testing but knowing our programme, it is fair to say that the times did not always reflect the true picture. We have worked through many set-up and development evaluations this week and gained valuable information to study before Bahrain. We are heading the first race with a good feeling and we know that we will have our upgrades there. But most of all we know that our prospects for even the first races are looking very reasonable now.”

Felipe has taken his limited testing time well since his crash at Hungary, he’s gone well in the red car. He covered 114 laps and set a time of 1:20.539 which brought him in 3rd.

It’s Bahrain for the Brazilian now, no more testing.
A video interview with Massa: http://ow.ly/1dA0n

The more experienced Brazilian, Barrichello, completed his test regime by setting the 7th quickest time of 1:20.870 and covering 84 laps.

Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi had a successful day in the C29, he covered 67 laps and set a time of 1:20.911 to leave him 8th just behind Barrichello. He would have made more laps if it wasn’t for a technical problem.

“Unfortunately our final day of testing was hampered by reliability problems,” said technical director Willy Rampf. “In the morning, it was a shifting problem, which needs to be analysed, and at the end it was a problem in the fuel system. Certainly both can be solved before Bahrain. In Barcelona we have been testing new aero parts, which confirmed the performance we expected after the wind tunnel tests. We also concentrated further on getting the best out of the mechanical set-ups. We have defined the Bahrain package now and feel ready for the season to kick off. We are very much looking forward to finally going racing.”

Heikki Kovalainen only had one day of running at the Circuit De Catalunya, and that day was hampered by a Gearbox problem, but even so, the T127 covered 65 laps and set the 11th fastest time of 1:25.251 just ahead of the Virgin.

“It was a game of two halves as they say,” explained chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We had a good morning where we were able to complete all our plans but a problem with the programme change on the gearbox delayed us in the afternoon, which meant we weren’t able to do as much running as we wanted. Overall, however, the test has been extremely productive – in general we’ve had very good reliability, and the team is in very good shape going to the first race.”

Robert Kubica is having a better time at Renault compared to his 2009 year at BMW Sauber, whether it was a good decision to move from BMW Sauber to Renault is another matter. The Pole set the 10th fastest time of 1:23.175 and covered 107 laps.

“Our final day of testing was a mixed one as we suffered a problem with the gearbox on the installation lap, which limited our running,” explained Renault’s chief engineer Alan Permane. “We managed to get back out at the end of the morning to evaluate some new aero parts and also worked on improving the set-up of the car. For the afternoon we tried to cover a race distance, and although it was interrupted, we did cover the desired number of laps. To end the day we returned to our set-up programme.”

So that’s it, testing over, the teams have done all they can before Bahrain and there is only 9 days until Friday Practice 1 (I’m writing this late)
The sagas of Hispania F1, (formerly known as Campos Meta) USF1 and Stefan GP are all yet unresolved, although 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve could be coming back, alongside Kazuki Nakajima at Stefan GP.

Not long until we really know who will be the faster driver!

Unofficial Sunday times from Barcelona:
1.     Lewis Hamilton             McLaren               1:20.472     134   Laps
2.     Mark Webber                 Red Bull              1:20.496       61    Laps
3.     Felipe Massa                  Ferrari                  1:20.539      114   Laps
4.     Adrian Sutil                    Force India          1:20.611      100   Laps
5.     Sebastian Vettel             Red Bull              1:20.667        76    Laps
6.     Michael Schumacher     Mercedes GP       1:20.745       123   Laps
7.     Rubens Barrichello        Williams              1:20.870        84    Laps
8.     Kamui Kobayashi           Sauber                 1:20.911        67    Laps
9.     Sebastien Buemi            Toro Rosso           1:22.135        88   Laps
10.   Robert Kubica                Renault                 1:23.175       107  Laps
11.   Heikki Kovalainen          Lotus                    1:25.251        65   Laps
12.   Lucas Di Grassi               Virgin                   1:26.160        49   Laps
Season Preview coming up…

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 3

Posted February 28, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Uncategorized

Rain arrived on Saturday to disrupt running as the teams try out race distance runs.

Glock, Button, Rosberg, Petrov, and Trulli all had their last days before the opening race in Bahrain.

Sebastien Vettel could only manage 51 laps as he had a technical failure in the morning. He set a time of 1:23.123 to bring him in 8th.

“We were late out this morning as we had a few technical issues following the overnight rebuild, which carried over into the planned programme for today,” explained Ian Morgan, Red Bull’s head of race engineering. “Once we were running in the afternoon we got three or four positive tests completed looking at set-up directions for Bahrain, which gave us some clear results – so we ended the session in much better shape.”

Vettel and Webber will share the last day.

Adrian Sutil covered 61 laps in the VJM03 as he came in 7th with a time of 1:22.606.

The German will continue on the last day.

Virgin sat the bottom once again with Timo Glock in the seat, setting a time of 1:26.305.

“A couple of assembly issues affected our programme today,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “The gearbox problem delayed our start and by the time we were ready to run, the rain came along. We used the changeable conditions up to lunchtime working through a programme of control system preparation for Bahrain and we were looking forward to a more productive afternoon. However, lunchtime checks revealed a cut fuel system seal, which meant we had to pull the engine off to replace it. We used the remaining time this afternoon to complete a few more interesting tests with Timo. We’re hoping that our planets will align tomorrow to allow us a smooth final day of testing before we head into our debut Grand Prix in Bahrain in two weeks’ time.”

Virgin really need to get themselves together before Bahrain if they’re going to have any chance of a decent finish.

Lucas Di Grassi will finish off on Sunday.

Renault had a quiet day as Russian Vitaly Petrov completed 68 laps and set a time of 1:22.523 which brought him in 6th.

“Another day of changing weather so we lost some time in the morning with the rain, but fortunately it was dry in the afternoon,” said Petrov. “We had a lot planned as it was my last day in the car before Bahrain and we did some good work and we’ve improved the car quite a bit.”

Team-mate Robert Kubica will take over on Sunday.

Kamui Kobayashi got his test at Barcelona underway on Saturday as he drove the Ferrari powered C29 Sauber to 10th.

“It would have been more convenient to do the race simulation with ideal track conditions,” explained Kobayashi, who completed 105 laps in the C29. “On the other hand it was an even better practice because we had to do additional tyre changes due to the weather, and every pit stop helps to improve our skills in communications and procedures.”

The young Japanese rookie will finish on Sunday.

The T127 is showing promise as it’s starting to be faster than the Sauber and Virgin; at least they can put the car together properly!

Jarno finished 9th with a time of 1:25.059 and covered 102 laps.

“Another productive day with Jarno,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We successfully completed our whole programme with the changeable conditions and have had two very useful days with Jarno in the car.”

Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over on Sunday.

Felipe Massa finished the day with 115 laps under his belt and a time of 1:22.344 which put him in 5th.

The Brazilian will finish off the test on Sunday.

Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi drove to 2nd in the standings as he got his test at Barcelona underway.

“Despite the rain, my first day in Barcelona has gone well,” said Buemi. “Carrying out a race simulation was very useful and it was particularly interesting to see how the tyre behaviour changed depending on the fuel load. In the races, it will be important to drive smoothly, as on full tanks it is very easy to damage the tyres if you slide too much.”

The Swiss driver set a time of 1:21.413, and covered 106 laps. He will continue on Sunday.

Williams keep up their pace as veteran Barrichello comes 4th with a time of 1:21.975.

“We covered 101 laps today, which is always good,” said the Brazilian. “Unfortunately, we had some rain during the day which affected the programme a little bit. Everything that the team has brought to this test seems to be working well, so it’s been a positive day altogether.”

The Williams driver will finish on Sunday.

Jenson Button finished off his test in 3rd with a time of 1:21.450, and covered 105 laps.

Here’s an audio interview: http://ow.ly/1cdW8

But it was German Nico Rosberg who went top of the time sheet with a time of 1:20.686. He also covered the most laps of 128, and he will hand over the W01 to team-mate Michael Schumacher for the last day.

“We had a good day today and made some significant progress in terms of set-up, which was nice to see,” he explained. “We hadn’t got the most out of the car in terms of performance over the last couple of days, but we made a step in the right direction today. We went through some big changes this morning step by step and found some good improvements. The longer runs this afternoon were interesting. We learnt a lot as there were other cars running similar programmes at the same time so we were able to do some comparisons. There is still plenty of room to improve but overall we’re looking in pretty good shape.”

There’s only one more day to go with Hamilton, Massa, Schumacher, Vettel, Webber, Di Grassi, Kovalainen, Kubica, Kobayashi, Sutil, Barrichello and Buemi in the line up. The teams will be doing low fuel runs and really going for it; if it’s dry that is…

12 Days Until the New F1 Season…

Unofficial Saturday times from Barcelona:
1.     Nico Rosberg                   Mercedes GP        1:20.686          128     Laps
2.     Sebastien Buemi             Toro Rosso           1:21.413           106     Laps
3.     Jenson Button                 McLaren                1:21.450          105      Laps
4.     Rubens Barrichello       Williams                 1:21.975          101      Laps
5.     Felipe Massa                     Ferrari                   1:22.344          115       Laps
6.     Vitaly Petrov                   Renault                   1:22.523          68        Laps
7.     Adrian Sutil                      Force India           1:22.606         61         Laps
8.      Sebastian Vettel             Red Bull                  1:23.123          51         Laps
9.      Jarno Trulli                      Lotus                       1:25.059        102        Laps
10.   Kamui Kobayashi           Sauber                     1:26.216       105         Laps
11.    Timo Glock                       Virgin                       1:26.305       31           Laps

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 2

Posted February 27, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s the second day at the Spanish circuit, the sun is still shining (THANK YOU!!) and drivers like Alonso, Alguersuari, Hulkenberg and De La Rosa will be finishing off their programmes for the last time before Bahrain.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso covered the most laps on Friday, as he tried to make up for Thursday’s technical failure, he made 133 laps and clocked a time of 1:20.637 which brought him 2nd.

Last year’s championship runner-up Vettel went fifth after making 125 laps, he clocked a time of 1:21.258.

“It was good today – we didn’t have any major problems,” Vettel explained. “We had to stop in the afternoon for a minor issue, but it’s quite normal in testing. When you’re testing, you don’t want to risk any damage so it’s best to switch the car off and stop if you don’t have to push when there’s an alert in the background.”

Sauber driver Pedro De La Rosa completed the third most laps of 114, and set a time of 1:20.973 which led him to 3rd in the standings.

“The reliability of the car was perfect and I think the performance was also good, especially in the race simulation,” explained the Spaniard. “It was a very good exercise and I feel we have now done everything possible to get ready for the first Grand Prix. It was also a big day for me because it has been a while since I last completed a race distance. I feel very well and also really confident now.”

Toro Rosso’s young star, Jaime Alguersuari made the most of his last test day by covering 104 laps and setting a time of 1:21.571 to bring him in 6th.

“Today was very useful in that it is a good confidence boost to have completed a race simulation on my last day of testing before the start of the season,” said Alguersuari. “It is still too early to talk about where we are in performance terms, but with a good mileage achieved over these four test sessions, I feel much better prepared than when I made my debut in the middle of last year.”

Young rookie Nico Hulkenberg really made the most of his last day in the seat of a Williams before Bahrain by topping the time sheet, and making 99 laps.

“We’ve had a good test here,” he said. “P1 today is nice but means nothing, to be honest. We’re not in Bahrain yet! It is positive for the team, and for me, to know what the car can do though. We did a lot of set-up work today and have found some interesting things so I feel ready and confident to go to Bahrain now.”

Lewis Hamilton kept his speed under wraps on Friday, which makes it hard to compare the likes of Schumacher and Alonso with the 2008 Champion. He covered 93 laps and set a time of 1:22.152, 8th was his position in the standings.

“Lewis took over from Jenson today,” said McLaren’s website. “Continuing the development work his team-mate began yesterday: refining set-up and evaluating tyres.
The morning was spent conducting shorter runs, attempting more experimental set-ups – changes that Lewis found beneficial to the car’s balance.
The different set-up changes caused several lengthy turnarounds in the morning before Lewis could concentrate on a single long-distance run in the afternoon – which was punctuated by several late red-flag periods.
Jenson is back in the car tomorrow, conducting further fine-tuning of MP4-25.”

Force India driver Tonio Liuzzi covered 90 laps and set his best time of 1:21.056 which gave him a very good 4th. Team-mate Adrian Sutil will take over for the next two days.

“We can be quite happy about today’s programme,” he said. “We completed everything without any issues and the car showed very good reliability, even when we did the race simulation. Again it is responding very well and we are improving day by day so everything is looking positive. We still don’t know where we are relative to the others, and we will only see in Bahrain, but overall we can be really happy.”

7 time world champion Michael Schumacher also kept his speed quiet and only set a time 1 place ahead of Briton Hamilton. He covered 85 laps and made a time of 1:21.689, he focused on pit-stop practise and long runs.

“We had a positive day but it was quite stop-start with some changes on the car and then the red flags towards the end of the day,” explained the German. “We are working hard and even if the programme doesn’t run as smoothly as we would have liked, there is much more to come from the team both here and in Bahrain. We are working very well together and there is a good atmosphere within the team.”

The Lotus T127 didn’t finish at the bottom of the time sheet, for the first time! Jarno Trulli was in the cockpit on Friday, and he set a time of 1:25.524 which was faster than the Virgin of Timo Glock.

“It was a productive day in terms of set up direction with Jarno,” said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “We were able to identify some problems with the set up in the car and establish clear direction to improve it. We still have a long way to go, and a lot of time to come from the car. We had a couple of minor hydraulics issues which stopped the car on track, but nothing major, so all in all it was a productive day and we’re aiming to continue in the same vein on Saturday.”
Jarno will continue in the Lotus on Saturday, then team-mate Heikki Kovalainen will take over for the last day.

Ex-BMW Sauber driver Robert Kubica, covered a limited 53 laps after a suspension failure hit the Renault.

“Robert was in the car today for his first laps at Barcelona in the R30,” explained Renault’s chief engineer Alan Permane. “We spent the morning doing some set-up work, but in the afternoon we had a problem with the suspension, which limited our running. We’re still looking into the issue and will have the car fixed and ready for Saturday morning.”

Virgin found themselves back at the bottom after Thursday’s crash meant they had to fly over new parts overnight, limiting their available running time.

Timo Glock was in the seat and set a time of 1:25.942, and covered 52 laps.

Everyone will be hoping for more dry running.

Button, Massa, Rosberg, Vettel, Barrichello, Buemi, Sutil, Trulli, Petrov, Kobayashi and Glock are the drivers for Saturday.

13 Days Until the New F1 Season…

Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1.     Nico Hulkenberg            Williams                1:20.614          99      Laps
2.     Fernando Alonso           Ferrari                   1:20.637        133     Laps
3.     Pedro de la Rosa             Sauber                   1:20.973        114      Laps
4.     Vitantonio Liuzzi            Force India         1:21.056         90       Laps
5.     Sebastian Vettel              Red Bull                1:21.258         125     Laps
6.     Jaime Alguersuari          Toro Rosso          1:21.571        104     Laps
7.    Michael Schumacher     Mercedes GP       1:21.689         85       Laps
8.     Lewis Hamilton               McLaren                1:22.152        93        Laps
9.     Robert Kubica                  Renault                  1:24.912        53        Laps
10.   Jarno Trulli                       Lotus                      1:25.524       70        Laps
11.   Timo Glock                        Virgin                     1:25.942        52        Laps

Testing At Circuit De Catalunya – Day 1

Posted February 26, 2010 by Vee
Categories: Formula One

With only two weeks until Friday Practice 1 begins in Bahrain, the Teams started testing at the Circuit De Catalunya, which will hold Round 5 of the 2010 F1 World Championship; this gives them the chance to find out who is really on top. The first day got under way on Thursday with the likes of Button, Alonso, Webber and Rosberg.

Lotus test driver Fairuz Fauzy got another 76 laps under the team’s belt but could only manage bottom of the time sheet, with a time of 1:28.002.

“It was a very productive day, with no mechanical worries on the car,” explained chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “In the morning we conducted some engine LAMDA running which we completed successfully. We ran through a series of system set up checks, completed our first starts and evaluated a number of other control systems on the car, as well as monitoring temperatures and pressures throughout the car. All in all this was a successful day both on the track and we ticked off a lot of behind the scenes tasks ahead of the first race. Fairuz did a very good job today, with no mistakes, and we were able to complete our whole programme.”

Almost a full second ahead of Fairuz was Virgin’s Lucas Di Grassi. He set a time of 1:27.057 but could only make 31 laps because of a hefty crash early on.

“We are continuing to debug the car hydraulics and making good progress in our understanding of the issue,” explained Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth. “Unfortunately when we were running some experimental control settings on the car, which were adversely affecting its handling, this caught Lucas out on the entry to Turn Nine resulting in a spin and contact with the barrier. We’re going to need to spend the time before tomorrow replacing some broken suspension and wings. We should be back on track tomorrow morning when we hope to really start building up our mileage.”

Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari finished 9th after completing 111 laps.

“It was encouraging to have another trouble free day, completing a high mileage,” the young Spaniard said. “We learned a lot doing long runs on the soft compound tyre and I’m looking forward to tackling a different programme tomorrow.”

He clocked a time of 1:24.869 and will continue to test on Friday.

GP2 graduate Vitaly Petrov concentrated on pit-stop practise and set-up work on the way to 8th place.

He manged to set a time of 1:24.173, and his team-mate Kubica will take over on Friday.

Alonso got his last test off to a bad start as his Ferrari F10 stopped on track with an electrical problem. He covered just 74 laps and came 7th with a time of 1:24.170, just 0.003 seconds quicker than Petrov.

The home favourite will get his last testing day underway on Friday.

Vitantonio Liuzzi managed to come up with a good time of 1:24.064 and covered 65 laps on the way to 6th.

He will continue to test the VJM03 on Friday, then Sutil will take over for the last two days.

Current world champion, Jenson Button set the 5th fastest time and according to McLaren’s website, they seem happy with Thursday’s running.

“Jenson kicked off running in Barcelona this morning, concentrating primarily on mechanical and aerodynamic set-up work.
Despite not setting any headline laptimes, the team declared itself pleased with progress, gaining a greater understanding of the behaviour of the Bridgestone tyre over a long run.”

Spaniard De La Rosa set a quick time of 1:23.144 on the way to 4th, he covered 73 laps.

“Today we have been concentrating on different mechanical set-ups and different downforce levels in preparation for the Bahrain Grand Prix,” explained technical director Willy Rampf. “We are not satisfied with the car’s balance yet, but we have recorded a great deal of useful data which will help us further improve it.”

German Nico Rosberg also did well in the W01 Mercedes GP, setting a time of 1:22.514 which brought him in 3rd. He carried out long runs, qualifying runs and practise pit-stops.

“We had a productive day today and we were able to learn a great deal from doing so many laps,” he said. “We’re making good use of the testing time that we have and I’m feeling quite confident and comfortable in the car. Aerodynamically the car will change quite significantly for the first race in Bahrain so we’re not focusing on the details but on general set-up work and seeing how the car behaves over long runs.”

Williams driver Nico “The Hulk” Hulkenburg continues to impress in his first few months as an F1 driver by setting the 2nd fastest time of 1:22.407.

The young German will continue in the FW32 on Friday.

Australian Mark Webber went top again at the Circuit De Catalunya, which just shows it wasn’t a one off at Jerez, as well as topping the time sheet he had enough time to join up to Twitter! Follow him here: @AussieGrit

“We had a pretty good day of testing,” said the Australian. “We did some simulations and performance items in the morning and a race simulation in the afternoon. We had a precautionary stop in the middle of the race simulation because of a gearbox oil alarm, but the guys got the car turned around pretty quickly and we finished the session, so it wasn’t too bad.”

So as the teams start practising their pit-stops, which could take less than 3 seconds this year, everyone seemed pretty happy with the day. 3 days left…

14 Days Until the New F1 Season….

Unofficial Thursday times from Barcelona:
1.     Mark Webber                Red Bull                 1:21.487      109   Laps
2.     Nico Hulkenberg         Williams                1:22.407      82     Laps
3.     Nico Rosberg                Mercedes GP       1:22.514      107   Laps
4.     Pedro de la Rosa          Sauber                   1:23.144       73     Laps
5.     Jenson Button              McLaren                1:23.452      101   Laps
6.     Vitantonio Liuzzi         Force India          1:24.064      65     Laps
7.     Fernando Alonso         Ferrari                   1:24.170      74     Laps
8.     Vitaly Petrov                 Renault                  1:24.173      74     Laps
9.     Jaime Alguersuari       Toro Rosso           1:24.869     111     Laps
10.  Lucas Di Grassi              Virgin                      1:27.057     31      Laps
11.   Fairuz Fauzy                   Lotus                      1:28.002      76     Laps


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