Saturday, October 29, 2011

Indian GP: Qualifying

Narain Karthikeyan replaces Tonio Liuzzi in the HRT to be the only Indian on track for the inaugural Indian Grand Prix. In the drop out zone after Q1 were KOB, KOV, TRU, RIC, KAR, DAM, GLO. 

Solo Indian at inaugural Indian Grand Prix

Out of Q2 were: PET, MSC, DIR, MAL, SEN, BAR, PER and the top 10 were VET, HAM, WEB, ALO, BUT, MAS, ROS, SUT, BUE, ALG.

The Indian Grand Prix starting grid looks like this after penalties have been applied:
Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Button, Hamilton (3 place grid drop), Rosberg, Sutil, Buemi, Alguersuari, Schumacher, di Resta, Maldonado, Senna, Barichello, Petrov (5 place grid drop), Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Perez (3 place grid drop), D'Ambrosio, Riccardo, Karthikeyan (5 place grid drop), Glock.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Inaugural Indian Grand Prix: Preview

As one of the fastest growing economies of the world and a sport-loving country, it is no surprise that India is the latest country to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix, the pinnacle of motorsport. There is already a huge amount of interest in Formula 1 in India; from the sale of Spyker to Force India (headed by Vijay Mallya of the Kingfisher Group), two Indian drivers (Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan) and an Indian-born Monisha Kaltenborn being the CEO of Sauber F1 team.

Preparations began for this momentous event began several years ago and there has been several promotional events to get the locals 'buzzing with excitement'. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Daniel Ricciardo (HRT/Toro Rosso) are two drivers who have recently participated in sponsor promo days in Banglalore and Delhi.

Ricciardo in India

Several Twitter accounts including @IndianGPF1 and @IndianGP have been updating fans of the event and regular photos have been posted by locals. Demo cars have been on display at Delhi airport for several weeks; the Force India car proving popular as it seems to have been 'harassed by fans' as this photo from @abrahamRohan shows it being held together by superglue!

F.India demo car stuck together with superglue
RedBull/Toro Rosso test driver Neel Jani (a Swiss of Indian descent) drove on the Buddh International Circuit a few days before the press and drivers arrived (see video below).

Video by NextgenAutoVideos

Track Preparations
Just 19 days ago, the track looked like this. The first wave of foreign visitors to the track have not been complimentary about the facilities, but teething problems are not uncommon on new tracks.

Video by PropertyWala

But the work is almost finished and @5LiveF1 posted these photos on Wednesday 26th October 2011.

Pit Lane (photo by @5LiveF1)
Safety Car Indian GP (photo by @5LiveF1)

Indian(s) on Track
Narain Karthikeyan (Indian driver) will replace Vitantonio Liuzzi for HRT, but unfortunately he'll be the only Indian on track during Sunday's race as Team Lotus decided NOT to let their Indian reserve driver and a big promoter of the Indian Grand Prix, Karun Chandhok race - to the dismay of several fans and F1 pundits. He will however participate in Friday's Practice session.

More details and photos to come soon.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Korean GP: Race Summary

Lewis Hamilton started from pole position but he lost the lead to recently crowned Double World Drivers Champion, Sebastian Vettel by the fourth corner of the first lap. A collision between Vitaly Petrov and Michael Schumacher on lap 18 caused the deployment of the Safety car and the cars 'bunched' up behind Vettel.

However at the restart, Vettel retained the lead and Lewis Hamilton spent the second half of the race fighting to fend off Webber and stay in 2nd place. A final-lap overtake by Alguersuari on Rosberg (who seemed to be running out of fuel) bagged the young Spaniard 7th place and the accolade of "Driver of the Day". Paul di Resta was the only rookie to score points in this race.

Winner's Trophy (photo by @leeStevo1)
The top three drivers were Vettel, Hamilton and Webber. RedBull's 1st and 3rd clinched them their 2nd World Constructor's Championship and two weekends of partying. Hamilton seemed content (he only managed a wry smile) to have finished 2nd and ahead of his team-mate, and even managed a quip at the start of his interview with BBC's Lee McKenzie.

Petrov got a 5-place grid drop and a reprimand for his collision with Schumacher. See Stewards' press release here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Korean GP: Qualifying

Both Friday practice sessions were in the wet but Saturday morning was dry and gave the drivers a better indicator of their true pace.

Korean GP (photo from @MyTeamLotus)

Out after Q1 were Barrichello, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, D'Ambrosio, Liuzzi, Ricciardo. Ricciardo did not set a time as his car developed a problem before Qualifying.

In the second Qualifying session, Alguersuari, Schumacher, Buemi, Kobayashi, Senna, Maldonado, Perez qualified 11th to 18th, leaving Hamilton, Vettel, Webber, Button, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Petrov, Sutil and Di Resta to fight for the top 10 places.

Fight for top 10 resulted in this order for tomorrow's race: Hamilton (1:35.820s), Vettel, Button, Webber, Massa, Alonso, Rosberg, Petrov, Di Resta and Sutil. 

Top 3 drivers at Korean GP (photo by @thefifthDriver)

Vettel is not in the middle (photo by @thefifthDriver)

Hamilton breaks RedBull streak of pole positions and this is on the weekend his team celebrates their 700th Grand Prix. Hope a race win tomorrow can finally bring a smile to his face. Goodness knows, he needs a great deal of a morale boost.

Addendum: Sebastian Vettel took a shortcut while racing back to the pits in preparation for a last run in Q3. The stewards ruled that no penalty would be applied since he started with 17 seconds before end of session. See photo below for Stewards' ruling.

Stewards Ruling (photo from @F1Kate)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alternative Definitions in F1

In preparation for the lull in the F1 season, I have decided to create ‘An Alternative F1 Dictionary’ inspired by a game on my favourite BBC Radio comedy show ‘I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' (ISIHAC). The game is often called the 'Uxbridge English Dictionary', Twitter hashtag #ued.

"Yes, I said 'Destroy' but I meant it in a nice way"
Just a bit of information for those who don’t know about this game; you take an English word and find a different humorous definition for it, based on its pronounciation. Examples can be found on this ISIHAC fan site and this one, and a small sample is provided here:

GHOULISH (n): A little bit Goulash
CIRCUMSPECT (n): Point of view of a Rabbi
FLATULENCE (n): An emergency vehicle that picks you up after you’ve been run over by a steam-roller
CELIBATE (n): A Virgin fish
WALLABY (n): Someone aspiring to be a kangaroo
DENTIST (n): Guy who fixes your car

So this got me thinking about an "Alternative F1 Dictionary" and if you would like to submit words used in F1 (or Driving in general), which can be defined in a different way.

General rules:
  • It must be an English word related to F1 or Driving
  • Its definition may or may not be related to F1 or Driving
  • The new definition must be humorous and non-offensive
  • Where possible, include links or videos to quotes or a possible use of the word in a sentence 
      We have about 5 months before the start of next season, so please send in as many words as you wish. The best will be selected and will appear on my blog and reTweeted if the author is on Twitter. Post them as comments on this page or use hashtag #aF1D so I can find your entries on Twitter.

      Example of F1/Driving Alternative Definitions are:

      TARMAC (n): Scottish Gratitude
      HYDRAULICS (n): To conceal the things that you rest your oars in
      PISTON (n): Humiliated
      INTERCONTINENTAL (n): One who has wet themselves all over the world

      First entry is from @andrewdobbUK: DESTROY (v) - to like and get close to
      A good one from @angryshopMan: RACIST- someone who hates racing
      One from me @duskyblogF1: MANOEUVRE (v) 
      Another from @elenaF1: WHEELNUT (n)
      Smelly one from @duskyblogF1: PITSTOP (n)
      Drag Reduction System: removing dresses and make-up from drivers' luggage
      Pole Position - wherever Robert Kubica is 
      CROFTY - a cunning attempt to imitate 'Tomb Raider'
      Alguersuari - what Sean Connery would call a party for algae
      Qualifying - what F1 bosses do when they think they've said something they shouldn't.
      Q1/Q2/Q3 - where you wait at airports for check-in, baggage checking and the airport gate respectively.
      Overtaking (1) - when out of a whole group, one person ate all the pies.
      Overtaking (2) - default state of powerful money-orientated people.
      Rev Limiter: A bouncer at the local church (by @duskyBlogF1) 
      Drive Through - what Massa does to Hamilton and vice-versa (by @duskyBlogF1)
      Traction - "Repulsion" (i.e. Not At-traction) (by @duskyBlogF1)
      Supervisor (n) - On front of super crash helmet (by @TomFoxTom)

      Wings - What RedBull claims to give you, but RedBullracing never will (to their competitors!)

      A bit odd - Rubbish e.g. Karun Chandhok: "The pit exit (Korean GP) is a bit odd"
      Chassis and Spare Chassis: Wife and Mistress e.g. "The chassis was looking a bit tired so I took the spare chassis out for a spin"
      I give up - as said by Fernando Alonso at penultimate lap of 2011 Korean GP means "Don't you f***ing dare leave me behind Felipe again" by @F1Zone
      Headwind (n): The breaking point of a relationship

      Sunday, October 9, 2011

      Japanese GP: Race Summary (Vettel wins 2nd WDC)

      Fireworks and Champagne greets Vettel in Japan, as he became the youngest ever Double World Champion. He finished in 3rd position behind Button and Alonso, scoring 14 points more than what he required to secure the title.
      In 2010, Vettel took Hamilton's title of being youngest ever WDC and this year, Alonso's youngest double WDC record has been broken by almost a year (Vettel is 24 years and 98 days today).

      Vettel already holds the record for being the youngest polesitter at 21 years, 72 days old when he qualified in first place for the 2008 Italian Grand Prix and for being the youngest WDC runners-up. According to German publication Bild, Vettel will receive a £5million pound bonus for winning his 2nd title.

      As the lights went out, Vettel moved right to cover Button's brilliant start and pushed the McLaren driver onto the grass. This gave Hamilton some room to to move up close to Vettel and he held 2nd position until a slow puncture forced him to pit for new tyres. Button later regained 1st place during the pit stop phase.

      Massa and Hamilton had a coming together which resulted in parts of the Brazilian's Ferrari to break off but the stewards decided not to investigate the incident further. Clearing up this debris resulted in a Safety car deployment and Button managed the snake of cars behind him skillfully.

      There was only one retirement of the race; Sebastian Buemi's tyres were not fitted properly and he had to retire. Rosberg who started from 23rd and had his full tyre allocation at his disposal, drove well to finish 10th.

      Top 10 drivers were: BUT, ALO, VET, WEB, HAM, MSC, MAS, PER, PET, ROS.

      Saturday, October 8, 2011

      Japanese GP: Qualifying

      Japanese Qualifying had some elements of surprise but not for who got pole position. McLaren's Hamilton found some good pace that he didn't have during Practice sessions. Jenson had been fastest in Friday practice and seemed at ease at his 'second home Grand Prix'.

      Nico Rosberg's car developed a hydraulics failure and he starts tomorrow's race in 23rd position. The general concensus in the paddock was that Hamilton had the pace for pole position but an 'misjudgement' error meant he didn't make it to the start/finish line in time to put in a lap-time which could have toppled Vettel off pole position. Button's qualifying time was 9/1000th off Vettel's pole lap time of 1min 30.466.

      Top 3 Qualifiers (photo from

      Top 10 drivers were: VET, BUT, HAM, MAS, ALO, WEB, KOB*, MSC, SEN, PET. 

      *Kobayashi (the only remaining Japanese driver on the grid) was 'promoted' to 7th place even though he didn't set a time but because he had started a flying lap by the time the chequered flag fell.Click here for the rules on Qualifying rules for drivers who don't set a time.

      Vettel just needs one point to win the 2011 World Drivers Championship but the McLaren drivers will try their utmost to delay the Red Bull celebrations as much as possible and to take the World Constructors Championship down to the wire.

      Wednesday, October 5, 2011

      Byte Blog: BadgerGP Debate

      I submitted a response to @BadgerGP's 'Scrutineering Bay' feature on their website. Here is the piece I wrote which is currently on their website too.

      "Would Lewis be beating Seb if both were at Red Bull?"

      The short answer is UNEQUIVOCALLY YES.

      The long answer is most teams adopt a 'split strategy' i.e. sign two drivers with different driving styles, run different strategies with tyre choices etc to cover most eventualities and maximise their 'success rate'. 

      I think Vettel and Hamilton have quite similar driving styles and although both of them at Red Bull sounds like an interesting prospect, it will probably never come to be.

      Nonetheless if Hamilton was at RBR in a car designed by Newey, he would have THE best car on the grid. Compared to Vettel, I'd say he is marginally more aggressive in seizing opportunities to overtake but he'd be doing very little of that since he'd be qualifying on pole. Both drivers are skilled in wet conditions but Hamilton has a slight edge on Vettel, as the following video demonstrates...
      Japanese Grand Prix, 2007

      So their relative performance would come down to their Race Starts and Tyre Management. Tyre Management is considered by most as Hamilton's weakness but his race starts are fairly good.

      So with all this considered, I'd say Lewis would be beating Sebastian but the gap wouldn't be as big as the chasm between Vettel and Webber at the moment!

      Sunday, October 2, 2011

      Drivers' Meeting at Suzuka

      Given Lewis Hamilton's several issues this season, it is unsurprising that some drivers feel his driving is too aggressive and that he could be a danger to them. One of those drivers is Felipe Massa who had some 'choice words' for Hamilton after the Singapore Grand Prix (click here for articles [1] [2] [3]).

      Also, Italian blog "Autosprint" and the BBC website reported that Formula 1 drivers had called a meeting with Charlie Whiting in Suzuka to discuss Hamilton's driving. According to F1 blogger Kate Walker, (from girlRacer and, these meetings are not uncommon but there is a lot of attention on this one because it will be about an exciting yet controversial driver.

      I tweeted Heikki Kovalainen to enquire if all drivers would attend this meeting and the Finn (a straight-talking driver who regularly interacts with his followers and fans on Twitter) replied to say: 
      "I'm not, I have no problem" - click here for Twitter quote
      RacingNewsFlash website also reported his remarks (Finnish website).

      Heikki speaks his mind
      If this meeting does go ahead, it would be interesting to know what 'recommendations' - if any - the race director makes to Hamilton and his team, even though Hamilton has repeatedly declared that he has no intention of changing the way he drives.

      Addendum (4th October 2011):
      James Allen spoke on TalkSport about this 'meeting'. Listen to the interview here (courtesy of @iamlewis4fake)