Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lewis Hamilton in Tom Hanks' shoes

It was announced on Monday 28th that racing driver Lewis Hamilton will star in the new Disney movie "Cars 2". His twitter posts read: "Take a look at my car, This is Wicked". He later disclosed that he recorded his lines for the animated movie in the same spot as Tom Hanks recorded his for the Toy Story Trilogy.

The 2008 F1 World Drivers Champion is also expected to make an appearance at his brother's racing debut in the Renault Clio Cup at Brands Hatch on Sunday 3rd of April.

2011 Season Opener: Australian Grand Prix

The Formula 1 season finally got under way at Melbourne, Australia on Sunday 27th March. Qualifying on Saturday was a mixed bag and had a few surprises. Red Bull's Vettel got pole position with lap time of 1min23.529 but his team didn't dominate the front row. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton had a late charge and clinched the 2nd place on the grid. The second Red Bull car driven by Webber was 3rd, Button (McLaren) 4th, Alonso (Ferrari) 5th, Petrov (Lotus-Renault) 6th, Rosberg (Mercedes) 7th, Massa (Ferrari) 8th, Kobayashi (Sauber) 9th and Buemi (Toro-Rosso) making up the Top 10 qualifiers.
Noticeable omissions were both drivers of Hispania Racing who were victims of the new 107% rule i.e. they were not within 107% of the fastest qualifying time.

Race Day
After observing a minute's silence in remembrance of those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the 58-lap race began with the 22 drivers who made it through qualifying.
Vettel had a good start, Hamilton and Alonso didn't but although the McLaren driver managed to retain his 2nd place position, Alonso wasn't so lucky - dropping back from 5th.

Biggest gain by the 3rd corner was Renault's Vitaly Petrov who had moved from 6th to 4th behind Webber. Button got 'stuck' behind Massa and tried to pass him several times, in fact being the first driver to deploy the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and the new Drag Reduction System (DRS) or Adjustable Rear Wing, but the overtake manoeuvre was unsuccessful. Button was later penalised with a drive through penalty for cutting a corner while battling with Massa and Alonso.
Mercedes GP didn't have a good day, with both cars failing to finish the race. Rosberg was hit by William's Barrichello during an 'amateurish' overtake move by the Brazilian. He too was to serve a drive-through penalty for causing this collision.

Webber was the 1st of the front runners to pit for fresh tyres on lap 12. Petrov was now 3rd behind Vettel and Hamilton, and Webber fed back into 7th place. Vettel pitted in lap 15 returning onto the track behind Button who was unable to 'hold the RedBull driver' behind him. Hamilton pitted a lap later and regained his starting position behind Vettel.
Hamilton's car sustained damage 0n lap 32 in its under-tray after an excursion off the track but his lap times were generally unaffected.

Second set of tyre changes for the race leaders were around lap 36, Alonso pitting on lap 43 and leapfrogging Webber (who previously had a terrible lap) to get into 4th position. Massa overtook Toro Rosso Buemi with 3 laps to go, and the race ended with no other changes to the order.
1) VET, 2) HAM, 3) PET, 4) ALO, 5) WEB, 6) BUT, 7) PER, 8) KOB, 9) MAS, 10) BUE.
Sergio Perez, new Sauber driver, stunned the everyone by his excellent tyre management and required just 1 pit-stop (i.e. only used the mandatory minimum tyre allocation of two).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome back, Formula 1

133 days have passed since we packed up in Abu Dhabi on 14th November 2010. In case you have been stuck in a cave somewhere, here are 133 things that have happened in F1 during the 'unusually and unbearably long' off-season period, which thankfully ends on 27th March 2011 in Australia. Enjoy!


1. McLaren launches MP4-26 in Berlin on 4th February 2011

2. Ferrari’s F150* makes it debut in Italy

3. Renault F1 (Fernando Alonso and Flavio Briatore’s old team) is now called Lotus-Renault and the new car is R31

4. Team Lotus retains its name (for now, pending the High Court hearing to decide whether or not both Lotus entries – Fernandes’ Team Lotus and Lotus Renault GP, formerly Renault F1 – should be permitted to use these names), and their car is T128

5. Virgin racing has new co-sponsor and is now called MarussiaVirgin Racing, 2011 car is the MVR-02

6. Force India’s team-name remains the same, but the new F1 car is called VJM04

7. Williams' new offering is the FW33

8. RB7 is the Red Bull 2011 car

9. Hispania Racing have returned in 2011 with the F111

10. Sauber finally get rid of 'BMW' and their car is called the C30

11. Mercedes GP's "MGP W02" easily wins the trophy for the longest F1 car name

12. Toro-Rosso return in 2011 with the STR6

Rule Changes

13. Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) makes a re-appearance this season

14. Adjustable rear-wings are now allowed

5 days to Friday Practice

The wait is almost over. Drivers are beginning to arrive in Australia for the 1st race of the 2011 F1 Season (we all know what happened to Bahrain!).

Friday practice begins in 5 days..... It has been a long 'winter-break'!