Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Button does it again!!!!!

Yet again rain affected the Chinese Grand Prix and yet again the Red Bulls locked out the front row but this year it was a McLaren that crossed the line to take victory in what was a hectic Chinese Grand Prix.

I have to say I'm impressed by Button this year he has got a car that lets him prove his ability as a driver more so than last year and he has also shown us his brilliant skill of being able to judge the conditions as he made another inspired tyre choice.

He was pushed quite a bit towards the end by Hamilton but in the end it was Hamilton's tyres that hindered his push for the win. Mclaren's first one two since 2007 will definitely come as a relief particularly after their disappointing qualifying performance.

Fernando Alonso certainly has had a tough time in the last two races. He retired with a blown engine in Malaysia and another tough race in China. He jumped the start and had to take a penalty for that which meant he had a real fight on his hands to get a good points finish.

  Start of the Chinese Grand Prix

 Mercedes had a mixed race. It was another struggle for Michael Schumacher who had a tough end to the race with worn tyres resulting in him loosing a lot of positions and eventually struggling home in tenth place to scrape a point. Rosberg could well have won the race today and indeed led the race for a considerable amount of time  but a mistake and tyre issues meant he slipped down to third but another podium for Mercedes I'm sure is very welcome. Watch out for them in Spain.

Speaking of which there is speculation that the Spanish Grand Prix may have to be postponed due to the ash from the volcano eruption in Iceland and indeed many of the teams personnel are trapped in China because of the airports being closed. It's not till the ninth of May so there are a few weeks left for the ash to disperse but there could be a situation where the teams may have to go straight to Barcelona and not go back to their bases. This could mean that the scheduled updates for the cars may have to wait till the Monaco Grand Prix.

There is one thing for sure. The 2010 season has definitely improved since Bahrain!! Lets hope it continues into Spain!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Final two laps of the Austrian Grand Prix

The 2002 Austrian Grand Prix was one of the most controversial grand Prixs of the last ten years. It was the race that proved that Ferrari didn't play fair with their drivers. Rubens Barrichello was only there to back up Michael Schumacher.

Barrichello had dominated the race and would have been a deserved winner but as both of the Ferrari approached the finish line Barrichello moved over and let Schumacher take the victory. Everyone was stunned and the spectators at the track let their feelings out. Jeers and boos rang out around the circuit when the drivers took to the podium.

Schumacher tried some damage control by telling Barrichello to take the top spot on the podium and also he handed him the winners trophy.

Ferrari had really shot themselves in the foot and at the next race the FIA had announced rules that made team orders illegal but the damage had been done. Ironically the only thing Ferrari got reprimanded for was Schumacher's actions on the podium for which they were fined a million dollars.

Years later Barrichello told a Brazilian TV show that he had been told by his team that he would be risking his contract if he didn't move over for Schumacher. At the time Schumacher claimed he had nothing to do with the decision but in the interview Barrichello claimed that he had documents to prove that he had known about the decision.

The incident put the sport, which was already suffering from Ferrari's dominance that year, in a bad light. The backlash from the fans was such that the FIA thought it necessary to act on the incident and change the rules.

I think it really highlighted that Ferrari didn't have the sports interest at heart and were heavily criticized by the rest of the teams.

Lets hope its not an incident that ever happens again!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Button wins a thrilling Australian GP!!!!

Who would have guessed it!!?? After a dismally boring round 1 in Bahrain we got an absolute classic in Australia! It had everything: rain, lots of overtaking, and leading retirements among others.

Congratulations to Jenson Button who wins for McLaren for the first time. It's hard to believe that this is his first victory since Turkey last year. I think what makes this win even more impressive is the fact that he won the race strategically and on the track. It was his decision, not his team, to come in and change onto dry tyres and everyone at the time (including me) thought he had made a terrible mistake. These thoughts were justified when he slid off the road at turn three on his out lap.

But it turned out to be a stroke of genius because he got faster and faster as the track dried out and soon everyone else followed suit. After this he was in second place and looked comfortable for a podium finish but then Vettel slid off the road due to a badly fitted wheel wearing down the front left brake disc. He was out. All Jenson had to do was bring it home and he did.

It was a great race but there is no doubt that the rain helped spice up the action. Towards the end of the race we saw some of the same problems that we saw in Bahrain with regards the aerodynamics hindering the overtaking attempts. Hamilton caught up to the Ferraris’ with ease but then couldn't get passed them and then Mark Webber punted him off the road.

There are some changes that still need to be made because when we go the types of tracks that have very little overtaking opportunities we could see the same processional bore that we saw in Bahrain. For this weekend in Malaysia there is a chance of thunderstorms so we could get another classic or we could have a repeat of last year when the race couldn't be completed due to the heavy downpour and the lack of light.

Of course I’m sure many of you would have heard about Hamilton's little run in with the police. He had his car was impounded for doing burnouts and fishtails in downtown Melbourne. I read this morning that the Victorian roads minister labelling him a "dickhead"!!! The rest of his weekend didn't go exactly according to plan as he qualified eleventh and finished in sixth although he did drive a very impressive race but a combination of a bad strategy and Mark Webber crashing into the back of him really ruined his race.

Can't wait for Malaysia now!! I'd say one man to watch will be Michael Schumacher. He looked set for a decent showing in Australia but was involved in a first corner incident. He spent the rest of the race fighting with backmarkers so he will really be out to change his fortunes around. The Malaysian Grand Prix is this Sunday. Watch it because it’s going to be epic!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Countdown to Melbourne

Please let the Australian Grand Prix be an improvement on Round1!!! It’s less than a week away to round 2 of the championship in Melbourne Australia and the main headlines since last week have been of course the processional affair that was the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lots of calls for the rules to undergo an emergency change but also a lot of people telling us to give the rules a chance. After my rant last week about the Bahrain grand prix I’ve finally calmed down and decided wait a few races before passing judgement. After all we are heading for Albert Park, one of the more exciting race circuits on the calendar.

Who can forget some of the classic races we have seen here over the years. 1996, the first time F1 graced Melbourne was definitely one to remember. The race was only seconds old when Martin Brundle launched his Jordan into the air and barrel rolled into the gravel trap at turn three splitting the car in half! The race will also be remembered for Jacques Villeneuve's incredible debut: starting from pole, leading for most of the race only to have to relinquish the lead because of an oil leak. It’s a circuit that has played host to a number of impressive debuts over the years. Lewis Hamilton's in 2007 and of course Brawn GP'S debut last year.

In 2010 McLaren find themselves in a bit of a dilemma, as a do a few other teams. They have been ordered by the FIA to modify their diffuser as it was deemed to give them an unfair advantage and with Martin Whitmarsh saying that the team is only bringing minimal upgrades for the car the question has to be asked will their pace improve over Bahrain. Hamilton finished third in Bahrain which he was quite pleased with which seems to suggest that the car wasn't expected to perform as well so with a new diffuser how will that effect performance.

There have been a number of stories coming out this week about fuel consumption. It has been suggested in the media that Ferrari’s cars are quite bad on the fuel consumption and are using more than their rivals but if Ron Denis is to be believed then Red Bull may also have the same problem. Denis believes that the spark plug problem that the team reported wasn’t true and he reckons that the car's ECU put it into safe mode in order to save fuel. If it's true then it will be interesting to see if the other teams can capitalise on this especially Mercedes who have been disappointing so far. Rosberg far outperformed Schumacher in Bahrain and it will be interesting to see if the forty one year old German can react. It certainly wouldn't look good for his comeback if the seven time world champion was out performed by a man who hasn’t won a grand prix yet.

Let’s hope that all this results in an exciting Australian Grand Prix this year. The track is a lot more unforgiving than Bahrain so hopefully that will add a bit if spice to the action. Also hopefully the Hispania team can get to the finish of their second grand prix; mileage is going to be their biggest ally. Virgin and Sauber have to sort out their reliability issues as well as Lotus capitalised on that last time out to be the only new team to get a car across the finish line. Round 2 is only a few days away!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Something is horribly wrong!! - 2010 Bahrain Grain Prix

I think it’s pretty clear to say that that was the dullest F1 season opener we have seen in a long time, possibly ever. It's clear that the new rules are just not working. If Sebastian Vettel had not had his exhaust issues then the race would have been decided by the first corner.

its not just me that is calling for an immediate change, go onto any F1 forum and you will see hundreds of comments demanding for something to be done to improve the show, also some of the drivers are complaining that the new rules make overtaking almost impossible.

Towards the end of the race the main aim of the drivers seemed to be to just save the tyres and bring the car home. What is this a leisurely Sunday drive???? This is suppose to be the pinnacle of motorsport, these are suppose to be the best drivers in the world!! Clearly the sport has forgotten the definition of the word "racing".

Ironically the best action was to be seen towards the back of the field where we saw good battles between the new boys, the Torro Rossos and Hulkenberg’s Williams. But this was all over shadowed by the processional "racing" we had gong on at the front of the field.

The thing that really annoyed me was when Alonso started closing on Vettel in order to make a move for the lead. Once he got within a second of the Red Bull he had to drop back because the hot air coming from the engine of the Red Bull and the turbulent air from the aerodynamics were causing Alonso's Ferrari’s tyres to over heat.

The main reason there was so much emphasis on saving the tyres was because most of the field were one stopping and their stops were taken after about sixteen laps or so which basically meant that most people had to complete most of the race on the same set of tyres.

A number of drivers have said that this F1 season could be a processional bore unless changes are brought in immediately including seven times world champion Michael Schumacher who finished in 6th place. He said that overtaking was basically impossible and that we can expect similar racing with this kind of strategy environment. There you go FIA, sort it out!!!!!

To concentrate on other aspects of the race in is obvious that the new teams still have reliability issues to sort out with only Lotus getting a car across the finish line. Jarno Truilli's Lotus, Lucas Di Grassi's Virgin and both BMW Saubers succumbed to hydraulic issues. Timo Glock's Virgin had gearbox issues, Bruno Senna's HRT over heated and Karon Chandok crashed out two laps into the race.

To finish off the Formula 1 Teams Association (FOTA) is set to meet on Thursday and its been suggested that the talks will be held with regards improving the show so fingers crossed something good will come out of it! Till next week SEE YA!!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

F1 is almost back!!!

Well were almost there!! Next weekend marks the start of one of the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 seasons ever. Michael Schumacher has returned, Hamilton against Button at McLaren, Alonso in a Ferrari, Massa back after his accident and intent on proving a point to Alonso, this season just has so many exciting prospects!!!

Let’s start with Schumacher and Mercedes. The seven time world champion is coming in the new season with a car that doesn't seem to be as dominant as it was at the start of last year. The Mercedes is, at the moment, about fourth fastest behind Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull but if any man can change things around it's Schumacher. It may not be a probable winner at the moment but as the season goes on expect to see that team make vast improvements. They've got a new aero update coming for Bahrain and who knows maybe I will have to eat my words, maybe they will challenge for the win this weekend. Their new diffuser has certainly caught the attention of a lot of people before it has even been seen with people expecting  controversy over it, we may see a repeat of the controversy surrounding the legality of the double diffusers last year. McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull are the three other top teams and if the testing times are anything to go by they all have the potential to win. Hamilton and Button (which I covered in an earlier blog), two latest world champions, are going to push each other to the limit. The result: either some fantastic performances or an embarrassing collision between them. At Ferrari you have Fernando Alonso who has endured a few rough seasons . He didn't enjoy his time at Mclaren and had two poor seasons with Renault so this is a man who is determined to get his career back on track and appears to go into the season as the title favourite for the moment. Then there is Felipe Massa. The Brazilian who returns to the cockpit after his horror crash in Hungary last year will have a point to prove. He's grown up and matured as a driver since debuting for Ferrari in 2006 and certainly out performed Raikkonen in 2008 and up until his accident last year. He knows how Alonso reacted when Hamilton outperformed him in 2007 and I'm sure he will want to give the Spaniard the same surprise, and he's well capable of it. Red Bull finished runner up to Brawn last year so they go into the new season hungry for success. It was obvious last year that Vettel will accept nothing other than victory so expect to see him more determined than ever in Bahrain. Webber notched up two race wins last year and had a good season by his standards but this season he’s up against a lot of tough competition and out of the eight drivers in the top teams he's probably in the bottom two.

Moving down the order we have Williams, Force India, Sauber, Renault and Torro Rosso. Sauber have impressed me the most in pre-season testing, they seemed to be up at the top end of the time sheets and seem to have a good package. This could be a good opportunity for Pedro De la Rosa who had some good performances with the Mclaren team when he substituted for Montoya a few years ago. Kamui Kobayashi impressed me a lot in the two races he competed in last year, he put up a good fight against Button in Brazil and overtook him in Abu Dhabi, admittedly it does go a bit down hill when you mention that he ran Nakajima off the road but you live and learn! He has the opportunity to really shine this year. He has a car that looks capable of scoring good solid points and maybe steal a podium or two. Force India is a team that I'm definitely excited about. They made amazing improvements last year and if they have carried that pace over to this year they can definitely be an example for the new teams to follow. They have the same driver line up as the end of last year so the drivers have the advantage of being in a familiar set up, a luxury a lot of drivers don't have this season as we have had a lot of moves. Williams have signed up Barrichello for this season and with that they have signed a driver with a lot of experience. They have mixed that with the fresh youth of Nico Hulkenberg, who won the GP2 title last year. A nice mix which could deliver a lot of points. Let’s hope they can improve on their recent record. As for Renault they go into a very important season for them. The team isn't even the full works Renault team any more as Genii Capital has taken them over. The have recruited Vitaly Petrov as (from where I'm standing) nothing more than a pay driver. Robert Kubica seems to be there light at the end of the tunnel. The 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner has the talent and is now the clear lead driver in a team; hopefully he can deliver the results. Torro Rosso come in to the new season as a full constructor for the first time. I'm really interested to see how the car will perform this season. Like Force India they also have retained their driver line up so fingers crossed they can do the business.

Finally we come to the new teams, and lets face it, it doesn't look like there is going to be a repeat of Brawn GP's story. Virgin and Lotus were well off the pace in pre-season testing and HRT's car hasn't even turned a wheel!!! It seems in Bahrain these cars are just going to make up the numbers but reliability will be their biggest strength particularly at the first race. If they can keep their cars in the race while others around them fail them they could score points. I am looking forward to seeing Bruno Senna. Hopefully the fact that he hasn't tested the new car won't hinder him too much. He claims the car is faster than Virgin and Lotus but even if that’s true no testing means that this weekend will probably be plagued by teething problems.

Whatever happens it’s a season that I'm really looking forward to and the long winter break is nearly over. So many questions will soon be answered so make sure to tune in at the weekend!! Only six days to go!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Final Entry list

Well I guess we can finally close the chapter regarding the 2010 entry list. USF1 are dead and gone and Stefan GP are left in the cold, as far as I'm concerned ITS A TRAVESTY!!!! Stefan GP should have gotten the last place on the grid, they were ready for it, it just doesn't make sense. The result from all of this is that we have twenty four cars lining up in Bahrain. On a different note Campos have been renamed Hispania F1 after their take over. Well at least with the uncertainty over who will be racing out of the way we can get down to the business of racing. The difference in time between the top teams and the bottom teams is going to be a lot bigger from last year so expect to see Virgin and Lotus and probably Hispania F1 struggling to make it out of Q1 which by the way will see cars from seventeenth to twenty fourth being eliminated as opposed to cars from eighteenth to twenty sixth. I'm hoping that it is not going to be like past seasons, 1995 for example,  when we had the likes of Forti something around ten seconds of the pace!! Remember Jean Denise Deletraz? He was so slow in his Pacific that he was lapped after just seven laps!! With regards Bruno Senna his place seems to be secure althought there is nothing official. I think its so important to get the Senna name back into F1. As Martin Brundle says when he lifts up his visor he looks exactly like Ayrton. Hopefully it will also help us get over the embarrassment that has been the USF1 fiasco. Lets have a look at the front. At the moment it seems to be between  McLaren and Ferrari with Red Bull and Mercedes slightly behind them. There are a number of upgrades coming for different teams at Bahrain so we wont really now the true pace until qualifying on the Saturday. I'm excited by how well Sauber and Force India are shaping up. Force India are a team I really admire. They started out in 2008 as a back marker failing to score any points and as they went through 2009 they made great strides in their development and ended up with a second place finish in Belgium and a few other points finishes as well. If  they can keep that momentum going into this season I think we will regularly see them in the points.  Just over a week to go!!!!!