Archive | March, 2012

The Other Championships

29 Mar

This weekend brought us the second round of all the support championships and gave the drivers their first opportunity to change places. This post will be a weekly round up of all that’s happened, and the news with it.

– Firstly from now on all the championship standings will be published on either monday or tuesday. On monday it will be the Fastest Sector Championship, The Hamaya Practice Championship and the Speed Trap Standings, and on tuesday I’ll release the standings of the JKEA Qualifying Championship and either the Larsens Biscuits Eastern Championship or the Peniston Oil Western Championship depending on where the race is.

In the Hamaya Practice Championship both the drivers and the teams standings have changed leaders, Hamilton now leads the drivers competition by 1 point after going fastest in both of the friday practice championships. Sebastian Vettel was the biggest gainer this week rising from 15th to 6th whilst Alonso lost the most places this week falling from 4th to 8th. After 6 practice sessions so far Hamilton has been fastest in 3, whilst Button, Rosberg and Schumacher have been fastest in 1 each. In the constructors Mercedes had taken the lead from McLaren and now lead by 3 points. Lotus improved the most last weekend moving up 3 places to go 4th after Raikkonen and Grosjean picked up 15 points between them. Ferrari only picked up 3 points between both drivers and so have fallen from 3rd to 5th. To see the full standings click here!

In the Speed Trap Standings the lead is currently shared by Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean and the other places are equally close, 3rd is shared by three drivers, Hamilton, Rosberg and Raikkonen. This track is just about the top speed the car can reach and if last year’s anything to go by Ferrari should be scoring well in this championship whilst Red Bull aren’t expected to score much at all, they were 21st and 22nd in the speed trap this weekend. As you’d expect the constructors championship is also quite close and Lotus only lead by 6 points from Sauber and Mercedes who are tied in second. To see the full standings click here!

The sector championship gives us an idea of how cars perform in different sections of the track and straight away Mark Webber has got the lead, but it’s not all good for Red Bull as Mark’s teammate Vettel is 9 points behind him in 7th. Nico Rosberg is second but he’s only 2 points behind the lead. In the constructors championship Mercedes lead Red Bull by 1 point. Ferrari are the only big team so far not to have picked up any points. To see the full standings click here!

The JKEA Qualifying Championship is dominated by McLaren as Jenson Button is leading Lewis Hamilton by just 1 point, despite Lewis taking pole at every track so far, Jenson leads therefore because he took the fastest lap in Australia. Behind the 2 McLarens Michael Schumacher is a whole 5 points behind the two McLarens. Kimi Raikkonen gained the most places this week, going from 0 points to 7th place, whilst Ferrari picked up their first points last weekend as Fernando Alonso qualified 9th. Just to clear up a problem this championship is only based on the qualifying times and grid penalties do not affect this. In the constructors championship McLaren lead 2nd place Red Bull by 18 points and if they keep this up they should still be leading come November. To see the full standings click here!

Despite Ferrari’s poor performance in every other fake championship it’s a Ferrari driver who’s taken the lead of the Larsens Biscuits Eastern Championship. Fernando Alonso took the 10 points you get for winning to rise from 5th from 1st. Fernando’s team mate though (Felipe Massa) still hasn’t got any points. Another major gainer was Sergio Perez who finished 2nd in Malaysia to rise from 8th to 5th. Last weeks’s leader, Jenson Button fell from 1st to 3rd after failing to pick up any points in Malaysia. Another driver who didn’t get any points in Malaysia was Sebastian Vettel who fell from 2nd to 6th. In the constructors Sauber are still miraculously in 4th and only 2 points behind Ferrari on 14. At the top McLaren still reign due to the consistency of their drivers and this has given them a 4 points lead over Red Bull. To see the full standings click here! 

5 problems F1 will face in the next few years.

27 Mar

Crude Oil: To put it simply it’s running out and this will have an effect on Formula1 as oil is needed all over the Formula 1 car. When it runs out teams will have to change to other types of oil e.g. Rape Seed Oil.

Green Capacity: Similar to the last point but F1 is heavily under pressure to stop using petrol in their cars and use a cleaner fuel like electricity or hydrogen. Green Capacity is the reason that teams have to change to smaller engines after 2013.

Too many races: We’ve got contracts to go to everywhere, Sochi starting in 2014, we’re expected another USA F1 race in the next few years and if we carry on at this rate we’ll have to either have too many races or drop races from the calendar and this could mean we lose some of the better tracks like Melbourne which may get dropped for not being able to afford the sky high prices.

Bernie Ecklestone: No doubt he’s a business genius who’s saved the future of Formula 1, but he’s now starting to ruin it, last year he started campaigning for sprinklers on the tracks to come on at random points, he’s forcing great tracks out of the calendar because they can’t afford to pay his ridiculous prices and he doesn’t seem to care about the smaller teams.

Lack of Sponsors: The economic climate has forced us to lose sponsors and the less money the teams get from sponsors the more they feel they have to accept drivers who come with money behind them or otherwise the car will be uncompetitive. This is also being affected by SKY’s F1 coverage as that reduces the viewing the teams get and so they have to charge less for sponsorship.

 

Fantastic Fernando wins as McLaren slip up

26 Mar

Double world champion Fernando Alonso returned to the top of the world championship standings for the first time since the Brazilian grand prix in 2010, after an error-free race gave him a much needed win. In a second rate car Alonso led Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton over the line to claim his first win in 11 races. British star Lewis Hamilton took his second pole position in 2 races to lead a McLaren front row with teammate Jenson Button starting 2nd.

 

The race started with a bang as thunder echoed around the track and only 8 laps in a red flag was shown to stop the race, after Michael Schumacher and Romain Grosjean spun off. Had the race stopped at this point HRT would have picked up their first points as driver Narain Karthikeyan was running 10th. There were some other surprises at this point as Jean-Eric Vergne was running in 6th.

 

After a pause of 50 minutes the race was restarted (albeit behind the safety car) and as soon as the safety car period stopped the action was everywhere. Button stopped to pit only to come out and pit again after crashing into Karthikeyan and a slow pit stop left Hamilton running behind Alonso, before Perez got past with an ingenious pit stop strategy to take second, and had he not been unlucky he could have won the race (he had a slightly mistimed pit stop and fluffed an opportunity to overtake Alonso later on).

 

This race has furthered the question of whether Felipe Massa can still cut it at Ferrari and this must strengthen the calls for Sergio Perez to replace him which wouldn’t be a surprise as Sergio is a member of the Ferrari drivers’ academy and his team Sauber use Ferrari engines. The final Brit, Scotsman Paul Di Resta, came from 14th on the grid to finish above his teammate taking 7th place.

 

After the race Narain Karthikeyan who was crashed into by both Button and Vettel got a penalty for being crashed into by the two world champions, it’s a funny old world eh?

Driver Ratings Malaysia 12, Pt.4 Sauber Toro Rosso and Williams

25 Mar

Sergio Perez: 10/10 (sadly I can’t give him more) Q9 F2 joint driver of the day

Phenomenal strategy decisions made on the Sauber pit wall gave the hottest prospect in F1 his first podium, and although some guys are saying his strategy won him the race Sergio drove the car to it’s max and looked like a Ferrari driver in the making. There are rumours going round that Ferrari will replace him but at the moment but only time will tell. Viva Checo.

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q17 DNF

It was a good day all round in the Sauber garage and until he had to retire because of his brakes he looked like he could pick up points. But on the positive side for Kamui he was back to his overtaking tricks overtaking Michael Schumacher on the outside at a corner where little overtaking happens.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q15 F12

He came in for his first pit stop too late  and this left him 18th when the red flags came but once he’d had his 3rd pit stop he was a different driver and had he drove like that all race he’d have been in the points for the second time this season.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 8/10 Q18 F8

He was astonishing in the first 8 laps and was the only driver not to change to full wets before the red flag which let him have a free change of tyres and restart from 7th, and an inspired decision to change to slicks let him get his first ever championship points.

Pastor Maldonado: 7/10 Q11 DNF

Unlucky not to make it to Q3 but he made up for it from the start as he took 4 places in one lap and although he mistimed the first stop he was still in with a shout of points from the red flag. Another mistimed stop left him well down in 20th but he drove fantastically for the rest of the race and had the engine not started spewing smoke I think he’d have picked up points.

Bruno Senna: 9/10 Q13 F6

He looked out of it when the red flags came as he was lying second to last but he drove an errorless second half of the race to pick up 8 points for Williams, which is double the number of points they picked up all season last year.

Driver Ratings Malaysia 12, Pt.3 McLaren, Mercedes and Red Bull

25 Mar

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 Q1 F3

Lewis dominated the weekend, he was fastest in both friday practice session and took his second pole in 2 races sadly he also got his second 3rd place finish in 2 races. He started much better this time and was leading till the safety car went in but a slow pit stop ruined his race and left him 3rd.

Jenson Button: 5/10 Q2 F14

Did well to qualify 2nd and even better to still be 2nd come red flag. But a disastrous few laps saw him pit crash into Karthikeyan and then pit again saw him have to fight his way up from 21st to finish 14th.

Michael Schumacher: 6/10 Q3 F10

His saturday performance gave fans hope that he’d pick up his first podium since the comeback but it wasn’t to be as a first lap from hell saw him down in 15th when the red flag came out. Despite this he drove well once the safety car had come in and to pick up Mercedes’ first point.

Nico Rosberg: 5/10 Q7 F13

Would you believe this was meant to be the year when Mercedes really joined the top. He moved around a bit in the first part of the race but Nico was still riding in 6th when the safety car restarted the race but a badly timed 3rd pit stop ruined his race and after that 13th was a good finishing position.

Sebastian Vettel: 6/10 Q5 F11

Red Bull haven’t been competitive with McLaren so far this season and for Vettel to only manage to qualify 5th shows the problems they’re in. Once the red flag was over Vettel looked set for 4th until he collided with Narain Karthikeyan picked up a puncture and was left for dust. Near the end of the race he livened up the viewing with problems about whether he should retire.

Mark Webber: 7/10 Q4 F4

Unsung man of the weekend and Mark is really showing the Red Bull management that he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He fought he overtaked and he managed to out qualify Seb for the second time in two races.

 

Driver Ratings Malaysia 12, Pt.2 HRT, Lotus and Marussia

25 Mar

Pedro De La Rosa: 5/10 Q22 F22

Couldn’t start the race from the grid but HRT’s decision to start both cars on the full wets was inspired and let Pedro restart from 17th once the red flag period was over, but sadly he soon found HRT’s natural position and he ended up last aided by a drive through penalty for team personnel on the grid.

Narain Karthikeyan: 9/10 Q23 F21

Like Pedro he started on the full wets and this let him run in points positions for a few laps and when the race was stopped he was 10th! Had the race then been stopped permanently HRT would have picked up their first points s they’d pick up 0.5 points (half points as they hadn’t completed 75% of race distance. After the restart Narain was back in the action as he was crashed into by first Jenson Button and second Sebastian Vettel which has given Narain a penalty. It’s a funny old world eh?

Kimi Raikkonen: 7/10 Q10 F5

The iceman suffered during the first bunch of pit stops to be sitting down in 13th when the race was stopped but he found time in the second bunch of pit stops to fly to 6th and from there it took some strong wet weather driving to finish 5th.

Romain Grosjean: 6/10 Q6 DNF

Couldn’t find the speed of Melbourne in qualifying but still performed well to park the car in 6th and flew from the start to move up to 3rd. But the rain caught him out and 2 spins in 2 laps forced him yo retire.

Timo Glock: 7/10 Q20 F17

I’ve always regarded  Timo as a wet weather specialist and he didn’t fail to impress finishing ahead of Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham which is not only faster but also turned up for pre season testing.

Charles Pic: 5/10 Q21 F20

Was doing well to run in 14th for a lap but it was a disappointing weekend for Pic who finished on the same lap as both HRTs. Before the Chinese Grand Prix I intend to run a post on how Charles compares to Virgin’s other rookies Lucas Di Grassi and Jerome D’Ambrosio.

Driver Ratings Malaysia 12, Pt.1 Caterham, Ferrari and Force India.

25 Mar

Heikki Kovalainen: 7/10 Q24 F18

Having had to start with a 5 place grid penalty for a previous safety car infringement Heikki had a dream start to move up to 14th in only 4 laps but then he fell back 21st before the race had to be stopped. As soon as the race restarted he had a period of around 15 laps where no one could tell where he was as he constantly varied between 21st and 16th, sadly he finished a disappointing 18th behind the Marussia of Timo Glock.

Vitaly Petrov: 7/10 Q19 F16

Vitaly was practically anonymous today and must be going home disappointed after having a disastrous few laps to slip down from 14th to 18th, before a late surge brought him back up to finish 16th.

Fernando Alonso: 10/10 Q8 F1   joint driver of the day

This Ferrari is second rate until you put the worlds greatest driver in it and suddenly with a bit of luck Alonso won. Before the race the car was well off the pace, Alonso only took it into the top 10 in practice once and it only just managed to qualify 8th. Alonso had to settle with 5th when the red flag came but a phenomenally quick pit stop (22.864 seconds) gave him first place and then a lot of luck and Alonso magic managed to make it finish that way.

Felipe Massa: 5/10 Q12 F15

He pitted earlier than most and many thought that it could have helped him finish in the points but sadly this was not to be as poor timing for his 3rd stop left him fighting with the midfield. Yet again Massa is well off the pace.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q16 F9

Another solid race by the German and after only 8 laps he was running in 11th. But a relatively uneventful final 36 laps saw him finish 9th.

Paul Di Resta: 8/10 Q14 F7

He’s equalised to make it 1-1 in the battle of the two Force India protégés. He was a place behind Nico when the red flag happened but he came out of the 2nd pit stop much higher up which gave him the foundations he needed to finish 7th.