Welcome in the world of F1

Welcome in the world of F1
If you are a fan of F1, but you don't have the opportunity to follow the races live...Follow my blog and you will be informed about everything that happened during each race.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Vettel wins again in the Malaysian heat - Summary of the Malaysian GP

"In the heat, we kept our head cool". This is what said Sebastian Vettel to his team through the radio, after crossing the finish line of the Malaysian Grand Prix, in Sepang. This is his fourth victory in row and the second of this season.
The young German starts the season better as in 2010 and has already a comfortable lead compare to the other drivers.

After setting again the fastest lap during the last session of the qualifying, being the only one to drive less than 1''35', Vettel managed to keep his position after the race start. Hamilton who started in second position couldn't reach the Red Bull and was also surprised by the Lotus Renault of the other German Nick Heidfeld. Both of the Lotus Renault did an excellent start and respectively moved up from 6th to 2nd position and 8th to 5th position. They surprised everyone. On the other Red Bull, Mark Webber, who started 3rd, missed his start and dropped to 9th position after the 1st corner. The Australian had a problem with his SREC system. Next to that, both of the Ferraris didn't do a perfect start either and they dropped one position.

After 3 laps the Williams of the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello had to stop in the pits due to a tyre defect. On lap 5 Red Bull team warned the leading Vettel, that some rain drops were expected but no proper rain. On the other hand, Mercedes team told Michael Schumacher that rain was expected in the 5-10 next minutes. Meanwhile, the car of Russian Vitaly Petrov went offtrack and dropped from 5th to 7th position. During the same lap, the other Williams of the novice Venezuelien Pastor Maldonado was out of race due to mechanical problem.
After 10 laps, the gap between Vettel and Heidfeld increased to 7 seconds and at the same time, Heidfeld battled with Lewis Hamilton to keep his position. Between lap 11 and 16 almost all cars did their first pit stop to change the tires. Unfortunately for the teams, the expected rain started just when drivers needed to change their tires. Situation was doubtful for some laps because in Malaysia you never know how long and how heavy it rains. Everyone was checking if the rain would last or not. But as Red Bull team said before it was only rain drops, it was not heavy enough to wet the track.
The standings after 19 laps of race was : Vettel / Hamilton / Alonso / Button / Heidfeld / Webber / Petrov and finally Massa.
We could see some battles on the track, for example for the 9th position between Schumacher and Japanese Kamui Kobayashi. They battled almost until the end of the race. Meanwhile the second wave of pit stops started. Between lap 23 and lap 30, again almost all the cars stopped to change tires. Lewis Hamilton was one of the few who changed the tire compound (soft to hard). During these pit stops, Rubens Barrichello was out of race due a mechanical problem. Just as in Australia, Williams team was out. Hard season start for them. On lap 27, Vettel was driving behind the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and after a short battle he managed to overtake him. This was really important for the German for his strategy. Short time later, we heard a radio communication coming from Alonso's car saying that his DRS (Drag Reduction System) on his rear wing was not working anymore. The DRS helps a car to overtake a slower opponent.
Coming to lap 30, both of the Mclaren were getting closer to Vettel, gaining important seconds lap after lap. Obviously something was wrong on Vettel's car because he was driving one or two seconds slower. On a radio communication his team asked him to not use SREC system fearing a defect just as Webber's car. While the Mclarens were getting closer to Vettel, Alonso with his Ferrari was getting also closer to the Mclaren of Jenson Button. Almost all the cars were getting faster and so we could expect the 3rd wave of pit stops. And so it was, between lap 37 and 41, the top 10 drivers stopped for a tire change.
On lap 41, the standings was : Vettel / Button / Hamilton / Webber / Alonso / Petrov / Heidfeld / Massa / Schumacher and finally Kobayashi.
Nevertheless Mark Webber's tires seemed to get damaged faster and he had to stop a 4th time on lap 44. At the same time, Heidfeld overtook Petrov and Massa did the same. For two laps, Hamilton and Alonso were battling for 3rd position. But the battle finished with a collision between the two drivers as Alonso hit the back of Hamilton's car, he lost a part of his front wing and couldn't continue so he had to stop to change it. Right before this collision, the novice Belgium Jerôme D'Ambrosio had to give up the race due to engine failure.
The end of the race was full of battles on the track, between Massa and Webber for 5th position, between Hamilton and Heidfeld for 3rd position. All the battles finished by overtakings. Webber moved up to 5th on lap 50 and Heidfeld to 3rd on lap 52.
4 laps to go before the end and Hamilton went offtrack in the second sector of the circuit, due to tire damage. Webber moved up to 4th and Hamilton had to stop in the pits for tire change. After the pit stop, Hamilton was 7th and his hopes to finish on podium were gone. Until the end of the race, Heidfeld struggled with Webber to maintain his 3rd position, which he did.
2 laps before the end, Vitaly Petrov went offtrack and unfortunately his car got bumped and flew over some meters before ending in the grass and with his steering wheel broken.

After 57 laps and 1h37 of race, Sebastian Vettel won the second race of the season, Jenson Button finished second and Nick Heidfeld with his Lotus Renault arrived 3rd. This is the second podium for the French team and it gives a lot of hopes for the next races.
After two races, the strongest teams during races are Red Bull, Mclaren and Renault.
We can notice that it is the second race without intervention of the safety car which also gives a lot of hopes for the season. There is no will to live heavy accidents on the circuit.

Race standings after finish :

1) S. Vettel (RBR Renault)
2) J. Button (Mclaren-Mercedes)
3) N. Heidfeld (Lotus Renault GP)
4) M. Webber (RBR Renault)
5) F. Massa (Ferrari)
6) F. Alonso (Ferrari)
7) L. Hamilton (Mclaren-Mercedes)
8) K. Kobayashi ( Sauber)
9) M. Schumacher (Mercedes GP)
10) Paul Di Resta ( Force India)

Alonso and Hamilton got a 20 seconds penalty after the race for the collision in lap 47. Hamilton dropped to 8th position.

Drivers standings after 2 races :

1) S. Vettel : 50pts
2) J. Button : 26pts
3) L. Hamilton : 22pts
4) M. Webber : 22pts
5) F. Alonso : 20pts
6) F. Massa : 16pts
7) N. Heidfeld : 15pts
8) V. Petrov : 15pts
9) K. Kobayashi : 6pts
10) S. Buemi : 4pts

Constructors standings after 2 races :

1) Red Bull Renault : 72 pts
2) McLaren-Mercedes : 50 pts
3) Ferrari : 36 pts
4) Renault : 30 pts

Next race will be in next weekend in Shanghai, China.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red Bull gives wings to Sebastian Vettel - Summary of Australian GP

The new season starts as it finished in 2010 for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. After setting the fastest lap time during the qualifying session on saturday, the German young driver won the first race of the season in Melbourne, Australia.

A few minutes before the start of the race, all the drivers and all the spectators respected one minute of silence in memory of Japanese people suffering of the earthquake that hit Japan some weeks ago.

Then it was time to race. 22 cars out of 24 took part in this race, HRT (Hispania Racing Team) got disqualified for not being able to finish in the 107% of the fastest lap of Vettel. During the 1st part of the qualifying session, every car that sets a time which is not within 107% of the fastest lap, gets disqualified and cannot race on Sunday.

This rule existed some years ago and the FIA decided to put it back in regulation, to avoid having too slow cars on track and to avoid accidents like in Valencia last year when Mark Webber's Red Bull hit the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen.

We all expected a tight start because on the 5 first positions there was 4 world champions. The Red Bull cars started 1st and 3rd, Mclaren-Mercedes started 2nd and 4th, Alonso's Ferrari 5th.
But again Red Bull did a brilliant start (as always) especially Sebastian Vettel who flew away already after 2 corners. Lewis Hamilton was able to follow Vettel, but Jenson Button with his other Mclaren missed his start and lost 2 positions, same as the Spaniard Alonso who got off road at the first corner and lost 3 positions as well.
The surprise came from Russian Vitaly Petrov with his Lotus Renault GP, who started 6th and gained 2 positions at the 1st corner. At the third corner, a collision between Michael Schumacher and Jaime Alguersuari forced both of the drivers to stop in the pits to change front wing and tires. At the same time, the Williams of Brazilian Barrichello got off-track while trying to avoid cars fragments.

Between lap 3 and lap 10, we could see a battle between Jenson Button's Mclaren and Felipe Massa's Ferrari. On lap 10, the duel turned to a trio with Alonso coming back on them. After only 11 laps we could hear complains on the radio from Red Bull drivers about the tires getting scrapped. They stopped in the pits on lap 12 and 13. The first driver who abandoned the race was Venezuelien Pastor Maldonado on his Williams.
During lap 15 the race stewards imposed a drive through penalty to Jenson Button for non-respect of track limits. He was trying to overtake Massa, he cut a chicane and didn't let Massa to pass him again. Between laps 15 and 22, almost all cars stopped to change their tires. Meanwhile on lap 16, Alonso set the fastest lap.
On Lap 22, Heikki Kovalainen on his Lotus gave up the race, following on lap 23 by the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher.

Unfortunately the next lap the other Mercedes of Nico Rosberg had to abandon the race as well after having a collision with Rubens Barrichello who hit him. Later on the race, Barrichello also got a drive through penalty for causing this collision.
Between lap 25 and 32, we saw the second wave of pit stops. At the same time, Lewis Hamilton damaged the bottom of his car, but he didn't have to stop to repair the car.

Between lap 43 and 50 was the third wave of pit stops. Standings were almost the same as the beginning, but surprise came from the novice Mexican Sergio Perez on his Sauber who was 7th and with only one pit stop. Meanwhile Button and Massa were again in battle and this time Button overtook Massa in a fair way. On lap 52, Rubens Barrichello retired from race and Williams team was out. 9 laps before the end of the race, Massa stopped a 3rd time in the pits and came out 10th. He battled for 9th position with the Swiss Sebastien Buemi, whom he overtook on lap 55.
Until the end of the race, the gap between Vitaly Petrov (3rd) and Fernando Alonso (4th) decreased from lap to lap, but the Spaniard couldn't make it to reach the Russian and race finished with a win of Sebastian Vettel, following by Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Vitaly Petrov (Lotus Renault GP). Alonso finished 4th and Mark Webber on the Red Bull finished 5th. His car seemed to have a problem because he couldn't bring back the car to the pits and had to stop on the grass right after crossing the finish line.

The most surprising was the 7th position of Sergio Perez for his 1st race in Formula One and also because of a good strategy (1 pit stop). Next to that, there was no safety car this time during the race and its a good thing, we can hope for having safe races without massive crashes this season.

Driver standings :

1. S. Vettel (Red Bull Renault) : 25pts
2. L. Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) : 18pts
3. V. Petrov (Lotus Renault GP) : 15pts
4. F. Alonso (Ferrari) : 12pts
5. M. Webber (Red Bull Renault) : 10pts
6. J. Button (McLaren-Mercedes) : 8pts
7. S. Perez (Sauber Ferrari) : 6pts
8. K. Kobayashi (Sauber Ferrari) : 4pts
9. F. Massa (Ferrari) : 2pts
10. S. Buemi (Scuderia Toro Rosso) : 1pt

Constructors standings :

1. Red Bull Renault : 35pts
2. McLaren-Mercedes : 26pts
3. Lotus Renault GP : 15pts

It was a good season opening today in Melbourne, the next race will be in one week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tonio Liuzzi may have a seat for 2011?


29 years old Italian driver Tonio Liuzzi is maybe about to sign a contract with the Spanish team Hispania Racing Team for 2011. HRT is the last team to have not named their second driver.

Liuzzi would start his 7th season in F1. He started his career in 2005 with Red Bull for 4 races, then runned for the "sister team" of Red Bull, Toro Rosso for 2 seasons. In 2008, he was named test driver for the team Force India and next year he signed a contract with them. He got replaced by the young Scottish novice Paul Di Resta, during the winter break in 2010.
After this, he was looking for a seat somewhere else because he didn't want to quit F1. But the only vacant seat still available was with HRT, which will start their second year in F1 after a pretty bad season in 2010. Liuzzi got in contact with the team and they accepted to have him for the private tests in Spain. He is experienced and could bring a lot to the team.

If the talks with the team will come to a contract, the Italian would be racing next to Indian Narian Karthikeyan. One thing that could cause problems to Liuzzi is that Karthikeyan signed for the team bringing an important financial support with the sponsor Tata. The Italian driver said again some days ago : "They would prefer a driver that brings money I guess, but it's not my case, I've never done it and I cannot start it now" (source : ESPNF1)

Nothing is concrete yet for Liuzzi's future and the negociations keep going on. All that we know is that the Italian driver is confident that HRT can be more competitive in 2011 but still not enough to compete with all the teams.

More to come in the following days...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nick Heidfeld to replace injured Robert Kubica

Lotus Renault Gp has named last week Nick Heidfeld as official driver of the team in replacement of Polish Robert Kubica who suffered of serious injuries after crashing his car during a rally in Italy. The Polish will miss most of the 2011 season and maybe he won't even be able to race this year, all that depends on his recovery.

Lotus Renault GP Team includes the Russian Vitaly Petrov and 2 tests drivers : the Brazilian Bruno Senna and the French Romain Grosjean. But both are still novice in F1 and the team expressed their will to have experienced drivers being able to win races. With Robert Kubica, the team had already their plan for the upcoming year...For the private tests in Spain, Lotus Renault Gp called the former German driver, Nick Heidfeld, to drive the car and see what he can do with it and as a big surprise he raced the fastest lap of the private test in Jerez, which was really promising for the future.

Nick Heidfeld had a complicated life in F1 for the past 3 years now since he didn't succeed to have a seat as race driver. He was named as test driver or replacements for several times and different teams. But now its official he will start his 12th season in F1 and race his 173rd race in Melbourne, Australia in about a month. Nevertheless, he will stay in the team only until Kubica will come back. This could be his chance to show that he is a talented driver with a good car and maybe save a seat for 2012.

During the tests in Jerez, Spain, the team decided to put Bruno Senna as well in the car, not to compete with Heidfeld but only to increase his experience in F1. Both drivers did a good job with the car, driving long runs of laps on the track with different tires. Now, Heidfeld has to wait two more weeks until the beginning of the season (since the Grand Prix of Bahrain got delayed due to the political crisis in the country).

The season will start on 25th of March in Melbourne, Australia and the German will be able to show that his fastest lap in Jerez last week was not only luck.


Bahrain's Grand Prix cancelled?


The new season of Formula One should start in about 23 days at Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain. But this might not happen if the situation in the capital Manama gets worse...For about some days, protests started in the capital against the government.
Reports are talking about five deaths and hundreds of injured persons...
This movement follows the success of the revolution that happened in Tunisia and Egypt and the situation in Bahrain gets more intense every day.
These protests will lead the FIA to make a decision next week and let know if there will be race or not.
Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of the F1, is in close contact with Bahrain's prince, Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, but none of them knows how the "crisis" will develop in Manama.
Obviously if the situation stays like that there will be no Grand Prix. Even the practices of the GP2 series got cancelled this week in Bahrain.

What could happen now? Will all the teams go straight to Melbourne, Australia for the 2nd round of the championship? Most probably yes...Will they race in Bahrain but later during the season? Not sure because the calendar is already full and we don't know how long will the protests last and also what will happen after the protests...Will they keep the race and risk that protesters might cause trouble at any time during the race only to have a world-wide media cover? It would be too risky even if the cancellation of the race will be a huge loss of money.

Lots of questions and no concrete answers yet, the F1 world is now in standby until next tuesday or wednesday to know if yes or no there will be a season opening in Bahrain.
In anyway this won't stop the pre-season tests of the teams and they will all start today a four-day practice in Barcelona, Catalunya.