Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chinese GP - Shanghai 2009

So, Brawn haven't managed to do it this time then. So much for their "super-diffusers".

I actually thought this was a bit of a boring GP, starting under the safety car, so no 1st lap-1st corner dramas. The only exciting part in my opinion were when Kubica thought he could steal a Toyota diffuser by trying to mate with Trulli's car, and took pretty much the entire rear off of the car!

Ferrari have had yet more problems, as it seems Massa had hydraulic problems, meaning his engine just went idle, whereas Raikonnen again, didn't do anything spectacular, but at least managed to finish the race this time.

Speaking of finishing the race, it was about time we saw Heikki Kovalainen actually do some racing! In the quite difficult wet conditions the Finn found his fin and managed to swim past his teammate Hamilton, to take a respectable 5th overall, bagging some much needed points for the team. Hamilton on the other hand, clearly wasn't the wet weather master that he showed he could be like in Silverstone last season, and span out several times. I think his car would've been much faster in the dry conditions, as he showed in the 1st Friday practice.

Red Bull clearly are on to a winner here, with a very decent car that has shown it is quick, and also WITHOUT that now fabled "double-decker" diffuser design, something which Adrian Newey doesn't think he'll have ready until at least Monaco. We can only wait and see how much quicker they will be once armed with this new design.

As for the diffusers, the FIA has published the following document outlining their reasons for declaring the diffuser designs legal, and their responses to the other teams arguments.


Pretty boring stuff, though it does contain a somewhat humourous obsession with the words "hole", "continuous", "impervious", "hard", "solid", and "rigid". I'll leave it up to you to decide why they chose these words...I also can't believe some teams thought using the words "against the spirit" would actually carry ANY legal weight whatsoever!

Renault had a pretty hard time, even if they were armed with a new diffuser design. Alonso made use of it "for sure" in qualifying, although shame about his end result. As for his teammate, well, he clearly did not. Qualifying P17, they were poles apart, and during the race, Piquet seemed to be like Michael Jackson, needing a nosejob every 15 minutes!

Vettel won the race. I wonder if Renault are eyeing him up as a replacement for Piquet? We'll see how long Red Bull are able to keep hold of him.

As for next week, I wonder if Brawn will show the half-second lead over the field like they did in the winter testing. This race certainly won't be wet. (Though it may be a test of how much those engines like to eat sand!)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

"For Sure"

A friend and I have noticed the proliferent use of the phrase "For sure"...
I think I counted it to be used around 25 times during the Malaysia weekend.

It is THE CLASSIC formula one phrase. Have you not noticed how often it is used? I mean, who uses the phrase in general conversation? I'm "for sure" that we all use similar phrases such as 'certainly' or 'regardless' depending on the context, but "for sure" seems to be a favourite phrase amongst the sport.

I'll gladly say, if I were to get £1 for everytime the phrase was used in formula one, I probably could've bought Honda F1 myself!

The next time a driver or team principal is interviewed, listen carefully, and i'm "for sure" that he'll use the phrase.

Malaysia GP 2009

Well, what can you say?

Jenson's done it again. He did race well, and Brawn got the strategy right, as they were clearly good in the untested wet conditions (other than the passing of champagne to the rest of the crew!). However, it is yet to be seen when Jenson actually wins a full, unhindered race, as he has pretty much followed the safety car to victory in both of the races so far. I also wonder if the No. 22 car is a lucky one, as Lewis won with a No. 22 car last season. Probably just chance. I bet Richard Branson is still laughing is virgin ass off.

Considering the race finished with those in the points scoring positions received half of the points they'd attain if the race progressed to at least 75%, then, I wonder what would've happened if Bernie's olympics-style medal system had been put in place? Half a medal? What a farce.

Regarding the diffuser conroversy, I found some interesting info on it. Ross Brawn, somewhat of a Formula one legend now, (or at least soon to be!) really is a genius. He stated back last year about the diffuser area of the regulations needing to be reviews, but subsequently got rejected. And, as he puts it, "there were things that you could do...but nobody was interested. They are interested now." Full article: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74282

As for Hamilton, KERS is becoming his favourite feature of the MP4-24, as without it, he would on doubt be one of the stragglers at the back. His fight with the Red Bull car was difficult as the pace of the Red Bull car is clearly faster, and Hamilton HAD to use KERS to recover his position.
As for the stewards' enquiry, all I can say is, Hamilton, STOP being such a puppet! Even the commentators said to Whitmarsh, Hamilton is a man, not a boy, or words to that effect. I see the team were "misleading" him again, as in his post race interview, he thought he was 5th, and then pulled a face of "oops, I shouldn't have said that!"...I mean, look where that got him last weekend! http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7984330.stm
His teammate meanwhile, seems to be taking the role of a test driver this season, with him not making the 1st turn in both races so far, but only doing practice and qualifying.

Heidfeld was 2nd again, for the 6th time in his F1 career. Seems like pole escaped him yet again. The broadcasting on BBC never seem to show BMW using its KERS system, so I wonder how effective it is on his car, especially considering his teammate doesn't use it, and didn't even get past the 1st turn.

Nico Rosberg really seems to be unfortunate, as he is able to put in decent lap times in the practice sessions, but seems to have a similar fate as the Ferraris, albeit not so fatal. It must be the car's sensitivity to fuel loads and tyres, for both teams.

Now, Ferrari. They really don't have it good do they? Their strategists really are messing up this season, so far. Massa, failing to make it to Q3, how embarrassing. They really need to sort themselves out, and this time, can't spend their way out of trouble, as they have done in previous years. So much for Massa loving the F60. Last year he was pole. This year, far from it.
As for Raikonnen, well. Did you see him when the race was stopped? He thought he was on holiday! Straight for the ice-cream, flip-flops and shorts!

I bet his ice-cream was "DNF" flavour, no doubt with a hint of smoked KERS battery.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Australian GP - The first race of the 2009 season

Hi everyone, and welcome to my very first Formula One blog.

Well, this year, has started off spectacularly. As you are probably aware, much of the rule changes from the last season have effectively given all of the teams a clean sheet to design a new car. Of course we all know this is both a good thing and a bad thing; good in that all teams are effectively starting from scratch to hopefully design a winning car, and bad in that the traditionally well performing teams now cannot use much of the experience and knowledge of their older cars for this new season. The main changes being slick tyres, reduced overall aerodynamic downforce, and increased mechanical grip, along with the much debated KERS system.

I won't dwell on these, as you probaby are all very familiar with these.

Onto my thought of the race itself...


Eddie Jordan said this is the stuff of fairytales, and I certainly agree. Brawn GP pulling a 1-2 in qualifying, and doing so without the (debateable) KERS. Let's just hope that the FIA don't rule against their diffuser design, otherwise things will turn sour, quickly.

Brawn GP (or maybe Virgin??)
Barichello got off to a rusty start, but his collision in the first turn is a testament to how good the Brawn cars actually are! Being able to put in respectable times with a damaged front wing. It was said in BBC's ecxcellent coverage that this is due to the wide nose, and how fat it is, giving much more support than, say, Vettel's car, which I would liken to being made of rice paper. So fragile with the long thin supports and thin nose cone. As for Barichello himself, great job! 3 weeks ago he didn't know whether his career had come to an abrupt end or not, and being the most experienced guy in the field, he certainly showed it today. I feel he's been in Schumacher's shadow in his time at Ferrari too long, and now's a great time to really show his skill as the most experienced driver this season.

Jensen Button, now he did a fantastic job, and, in this race at least, was able to show his skill as a professional Formula One driver. Qualifying first, and then going on to win the race, with reliability as his own own enemy throughout the entire race.

One last word on Brawn GP. I think they, despite laying off hundreds of staff, really are indebted to the guys in Japan, who created such a great car. It was Honda afterall, and I knew last year that their car this year would be competitive. So much for "the power of dreams" eh?

However, these incredibly quick lap times of Brawns cars may be due to the controversial diffuser design, as 3 of the teams appealed against. (Isn't it funny how BMW seemed to be the ones most irritated by it, yet not being able to submit their appeal as they did not submit their paperwork correctly?) This certainly got the attention of the McLaren team, as before the race started, you could clearly see many McLaren engineers crowding around the back of the Brawn cars, somewhat like teenagers trying to cop a look up the "virgin bride" dress. I don't blame them! McLaren certainly could do with some extra rear downforce, and this may be their ticket to producing a competitive car.

Speaking of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson must really be laughing his ass off. He picked an opportune time to help out Brawn GP, and my predictions are that he will go on to purchase the team, and change the team name to Virgin, as he clearly was delighted by the cars, and the teams performance today and yesterday. Best of luck to him I say, as he is, in my opinion, a fantastic entrepreneur.

Ferrari obviously didn't fair too well. Massa having problems, and Raikonnen crashing out. Whatever planet Ferrari said he's on, it certainly isn't earth driving like that!

As for McLaren, well we could all see the ear to ear grin on Martin Whitmarsh's face after the race, and it must certainly have gotten wider after Trulli's 25s penalty, making Hamilton achieve a podium finish. This was however, only due to the spectacular crash between Kubica and Vettel, but as a testament to his skill, working his way from the back of the grid, to finish on podium shows how great a driver Hamilton really is, despite having not such a competitive car. I bet he really enjoyed using the KERS system, despite it being used on a car that clearly isn't stable. Heikki really was unfortunate, as he crashed out on the first corner, and had to retire. I wonder if he'd have done a respectable job moving up the field?

Toyota...well. What can I say. First the "illegal diffuser" row, and then the demotion to last following a failure of wing flexing tests. I wonder how they fixes that overnight? I cannot believe the gall of them blaming their manufacturing, when they are meant to be one of the world leaders in manufacturing methods! That's totally unacceptable in my opinion. Makes me wonder wheter it was still flexible in the race, for him to finish third after starting in the pit lane.

Renault, now this is interesting. Alonso said, at some point, he's relying on a pile up in the first corner to get any chance of a podium, if I recall correctly. I really do wonder how long he'll stay in Renault with confidence like that! As for his team mate, Nelson Piquet Jnr, well, he hasn't shown the best of talents, and certainly hasn't shown he can race like his father did. A memorable moment from Singapore last year is where the team's tactic seemed to be "Piquet, you go kamikaze, and hold everyone else up, Alonso, get pole!" Similar to the way Barichello had to relinquish 1st place to Schumacher in his Ferrari days.

Sebastian Vettel. What a mistake. Adrian Newey clearly new he had a potentially race winning car, which first showed its pace in the testing. Despite not having a controversial rear diffuser design, really is a quick car! It's just such a shame that Vettel had to spoil it all by being too aggressive and taking out the both of them. Though what shocked me more was how they ordered him to continue, despite lacking an entire front wheel! The safety car was clearly deployed, yet he was dragging his wheel, and slowing everyone down. Damn right he should be penalised the 10 places for next race, and the team fined £35,000.

They are, however, looking to add the controversial split-level diffuser design, but only after it has been confirmed fully legal by the FIA. This should be exciting, as the car is already pretty quick, but moreso in that the unique pullrod suspension could possibly hinder the development, as it is a more complicated design.

Kubica really did show he is a good driver in this race, from fourth, he was in contention, arguably, for 2nd or maybe even 1st, as the Brawn cars moved onto the less useful soft compound tyres. He did this without running KERS. I really do wonder where he would've gotten if he was running KERS, and certainly if Vettel didn't take him out! Even the Brawn team were getting hot under the collar, as they saw Kubica's lap times decreasing with every sector... Watch this space. As for his teammate, who was running KERS, didn't seem to make too much use of it, or at least show its advantages in the BMW car. Maybe the supercapacitor BMW system isn't so great afterall? As with much of this new season, time will tell. I can however, make the conclusion that KERS, I feel, suits the more aggressive driver. Hamilton is my example, as I'm almost certain he wouldn't have made podium if it wasn't for KERS.

As for Williams. Well, judging by the Friday practice sessions, they seem to have a competitive car, however, only on the lighter fuel loads. Rosberg surely was disappointed, despite being in contention for podium with a relatively fast car. As for his teammate, Nakajima, that guy seems to have a death wish. Its the first time he's been able to put in any quick times in his career, yet he goes and loses it. How many DNF's does this guy rack up!!!

Well, I've come to the end of my (lengthy) blog post, and I hope you've enjoyed reading it. Thank you for reading it, and I'll leave you with a somewhat humourous comment from Sir Richard Branson, teasing Brawn GP, saying something along the lines of

"Not only do they get my money, they get these gorgeous Virgin girls".