Monday, April 25, 2011

F1 Birthdays in April

Force India driver, Paul di Resta turned 25 on Saturday 16th April

Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa (Brazil) turns 30 on Monday 25th April

McLaren Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh will be 53 on Friday 29th April

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Update: F1/NASCAR swap

Further to #76 on this page Mobil1 has released clips of preparation for this NASCAR/F1 swap event due to happen in July 2011.

F1 News this week...

Rumours of Rupert Murdoch being interested in running F1

Bernie Ecclestone rejects F1 sale talks

F1 Drivers are top earners in respective countries

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chinese GP Race Summary: Fortune shines on Hamilton

"Thank you, Pirelli", ex-F1 driver-turned-BBC-commentator, David Coulthard said at the end of the Chinese Grand Prix. Pirelli are the new tyre manufacturers for Formula 1 cars and they were tasked with creating a tyre compound that degraded faster than previous year's Bridgestones.
This has meant teams spending more time planning their race strategy and trying to avoid the misfortune that befell Hamilton in Malaysia, when he started in 2nd position but finished 8th after 4 pit-stops and being unhappy with his team's tyre choices for him.

Mark Webber had his gremlins during Qualifying on Saturday which meant he started the race in 18th position. Lewis Hamilton's arrived just before drivers made their way to the starting line. Scenes of 'organised panic' in the McLaren garage were difficult to watch as engineers ran around trying to mop out excess fuel from the MP4-26. With 35 seconds to go, Hamilton made it onto the starting grid (3rd position) and didn't have to start his race from the pit-lane.

The 56-lap Chinese Grand Prix race was fun of action, starting with a double overtake of Vettel, the Red Bull driver in pole position by 2 McLarens by the first corner. At lap 15, both Button and Vettel pitted but the McLaren driver drove into the Red Bull space before realising his mistake and moved onto his team's spot. This error cost him a place as Red Bull finished work on Vettel's car before Button was released.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chinese GP: Qualifying

Qualifying for the Chinese GP was an interesting affair with lots of 'surprises' - not least the McLaren race suits*. Q1 casualties were the likely bunch of Hispanias, Virgins, Team-Lotus and .....a Red Bull? Mark Webber's car had been plagued with technical problems with KERS and just didn't have the pace on the day to get out of Q3. This meant both Williams' and Saubers (and 3 F1 rookies) made it past Q1.

Q2 also threw up some anomalies with Heidfeld, Sutil and Schumacher being outshined by their 'less experienced' team-mates. Renault's Petrov developed problems with his gear-box in Q2 and the session was red-flagged (stopped) with 2mins 2sec remaining.
This could have inadvertently ruined his team-mate's (Heidfeld's) Qualifying session as he hadn't set a time by then. The session resumed with Perez first out of the pits and several other drivers raring to get a good lap in before the end of Q2. However Heidfeld needn't have bothered because his best time was only enough to move him from 17th to 16th. Drivers who failed to progress into Q3 were SUT(11), PER(12), KOB(13), SCH(14), BARR(15), HEI(16) and MAL(17).

With Petrov's car out of action, it was left to 9 drivers in Q3 to populate the top 9 positions on the starting grid for tomorrow's race.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Malaysian GP Race Summary: Mixed bag for McLaren

What a difference a day makes.... Lewis Hamilton qualified 2nd on Saturday and finished 8th on Sunday (actually finished 7th but got a post-race penalty which pushed him to 8th).

Red Bull's Vettel dominated the race as expected but the biggest surprises of Malaysia were the Lotus-Renault who found good speed off the start and challenged both McLarens. Webber didn't have such a good start from 4th but fought hard not to lose to many places even though Red Bull's KERS stopped working early on in the race. Button's pit-stops were better timed than his team-mate and he seemed 'kinder' to his tyres which helped him finish in 2nd position from 4th place in qualifying.

Massa finished ahead of this Ferrari team-mate Alonso who was involved in a duel with Hamilton (which later resulted in a penalty for the Briton). Rookie Paul Di Resta also finished ahead of his experienced team-mate Sutil and adds another point to his tally.


Luckily for F1 fans, we don't have to wait too long for the next race. The Chinese Grand Prix is in 6 days time; not too long for Lewis Hamilton to make up for his Malaysia disappointment.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Malaysian GP Qualifying

First and Second practice on Friday saw Red Bull retain their spot at the top of timesheets, holding the McLarens behind them. They remained the team to beat especially as they are running the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) this weekend. However at 3rd Practice, Hamilton's MP4-26 was the fastest car at the Sepang track.


Maldonado (19), Kovalainen (20), Trulli, Glock (21), d'Ambrosio (22), Liuzzi (23), Karthikeyan (24) were the first casualties of the qualifying session. In contrast to Australia, both Hispania drivers will be on the grid having finished within 107% of the fastest time in Q1.

Michael Schumacher failed to get into the Top 10 shoot-out and will start at 11th on the grid tomorrow. Paul di Resta (14) 'out-qualifies' his team-mate Adrian Sutil, who starts in 17th place after a gear-box problem in Q2. The rest of the mid-field was made up of Buemi (12), Alguersuari (13), Barrichello (15) and Perez (16).

Q3 was an exciting affair with McLaren's Hamilton being the first out on track and he set an impressive time of 1min 35.000. All other drivers apart from the McLaren and RedBull drivers stayed in their garages till about 4mins to the end of Q3. Hamilton stayed on provisional pole even after Vettel and Webber completed their first laps. In the closing minutes of Q3, the top 4 drivers (HAM, VET, WEB, BUT) all went back out for another lap. Hamilton improved his time to 1min 34.974 to keep provisional pole but Sebastian Vettel crossed the line 0.104seconds faster than Lewis to retain 100% pole position qualifying for the 2011 season so far.

Final order of Top 10: Vettel (1), Hamilton (2), Webber (3), Button (4), Alonson (5), Heidfeld (6), Massa (7), Petrov (8), Rosberg (9) and Kobayashi (10).

With changeable weather, high tyre degradation, and high temperatures in Malaysia, tomorrow's race could be even more exciting than the season opener in Australia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hamilton and 'that drinks company'

Just a few days after Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko declared that Lewis Hamilton 'is always a topic' for Red Bull, the team principal Christian Horner has denied that the drinks company are interested in the 2008 WDC driver, currently signed to McLaren till 2012. But Horner admitted that one couldn't ignore a driver of his calibre.

These rumours have resurfaced ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix even though a fortnight ago, Hamilton is reported to have re-affirmed his commitment to his current team McLaren, by addressing team boss, Martin Whitmarsh.
"I've spoken to Martin [Whitmarsh] to reassure him I am here, I am committed to the team, [and] committed to winning"
If this is an attempt by the drinks company to unsettle the McLaren driver ahead of the race this weekend, we'll have to wait and see from his performance on Sunday, Malaysia. But it is difficult to see this 'stunt' affecting the usually calm and unflappable Brit.

Image from Red Bull Racing (c)

Friday, April 1, 2011

No Joke: Another Hamilton in racing

2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is making a 21,000km round trip to support his younger brother Nicholas Hamilton at his debut in racing this weekend.

Nicholas suffers from cerebral palsy but this disability has not hindered his aspirations to race competitively in motorsport. He will be racing at Brands Hatch this weekend in the Renault Clio Cup series with his team, Total Control Racing.

Click here for his interview with BBC Sport (UK viewers only)