Archive | April, 2012

Marussia’s Rookies

29 Apr

Ever since the team now known as Marussia joined the scene in 2010 the second seat in the team has always been filled by a rookie who lasts one season with the team before a new rookie is brought in. All of the rookies have come with big CVs Lucas Di Grassi had 3 times been a Renault test driver and had finished in the top three of the GP2 on three ocassions, Jerome d’Ambrosio had tested F1 cars for Renault and Virgin (the team that turned into Marussia) and finished 2nd in the 2008-09 GP2 Asia series and Charles Pic had finished 4th in the 2011 GP2 series. Despite these credentials and the potential they’ve shown over their season none of them have ever lasted more than one season. This post will see how this year’s rookie Charles Pic compares to the previous drivers in his position.

The numbers I’ll be looking at are how each rookie’s qualification time compares to Timo Glock’s, and then I turned this into a percentage so it’s easier to compare. So far we’re four races in and Charles Pic has been on average 0.34% slower than Timo Glock. After four races Lucas Di Grassi was on average 0.49% slower (not including his performance at Malaysia when his flying lap was hit by technical problems) and Jerome d’Ambrosio was on average 0.56% slower. By the end of the season though Lucas Di Grassi had lost some of his pace and was on average 1.71% slower whilst Jerome d’Ambrosio became quicker and finished on average 0.4% slower.

This shows that from what we’ve seen so far Charles Pic is the best Marussia rookie there has been, and maybe this year will be the year that Marussia keep their second driver for a second season.

This result though is definitely a surprise in my opinion as Charles had the least impressive CV of the three and had never been a test driver for a Formula 1 team before joining the team for the young driver testing last season.

Who can win the testing championship?

28 Apr

If you’ve been following the testing championship this is the post that will tell you just what each driver needs to win.

First here are the number of days each driver is driving for: Turvey* (McLaren) 2, Paffett* (McLaren) 2, Massa 2, Alonso 2, Rosberg 2, Schumacher 2, d’Ambrosio* (Lotus) 1, Raikkonen 1, Grosjean 1, Bianchi* (Force India) 1, Di Resta 1, Hulkenburg 1, Kobayashi 2, Perez 1, Vergne 2, Ricciardo 2, Bottas* (Williams) 1, Maldonado 1, Senna 1, Gonzalez* (Caterham) 1, Petrov 1, Kovalainen 1, Pic 2 and Glock 2.

* indicates test driver

There are a few more bits of information that are needed:

Red Bull haven’t yet announced which driver is driving which day, so the numbers are based on them each driving the maximum of 3 days.

McLaren had announced that it will just be their test drivers driving but Lewis Hamilton has expressed a desire to drive and so I’ve done the numbers based on Hamilton driving for one of the days.

HRT aren’t turning up for the Mugello testing session.

Here are the drivers that still have a chance of winning, their current points and the maximum points they could finish on.

Sebastian Vettel               17          (32)

Mark Webber                    8            (23)

Fernando Alonso             14           (24)

Michael Schumacher       9           (19)

Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi are exactly the same as Michael Schumacher

Romain Grosjean             15          (20)

Sergio Perez                       12          (17) so the best he can do is joint first

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo           10          (20)

I’m sorry that I haven’t put down what each driver needs to win but if I put all of it down this post would take days to read.

Teams:

The team championship is even more in the balance as each team could potentially pick up the maximum 27 points which would give them the victory. Despite this, in my opinion it is only between Lotus and Red Bull for first and second whilst Sauber, Force India, Toro Rosso, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari are all in the mix for 3rd.

 

A Quick Round Up of the Testing Championship

28 Apr

With the final testing session coming up next week I thought it would be a good idea to let you know what the standings are. The testing championship is a championship which takes place during testing. Each day of testing there’s 15 points up for grabs, 5 for the driver who sets the fastest time going down to 1 point for the 5th fastest.

Here are the drivers standings:

  1. Sebastian Vettel             Red Bull              17
  2. Romain Grosjean          Lotus                   15
  3. Fernando Alonso          Ferrari                 14
  4. Jenson Button                McLaren             12
  5. Sergio Perez                    Sauber                 12
  6. Nico Hulkenburg          Force India        11
  7. Kimi Raikkonen            Lotus                   11
  8. Jean-Eric Vergne          Toro Rosso        10
  9. Daniel Ricciardo           Toro Rosso        10
  10. Michael Schumacher   Mercedes             9
  11. Pastor Maldonado        Williams             9
  12. Nico Rosberg                  Mercedes            9
  13. Kamui Kobayashi          Sauber                 9
  14. Mark Webber                  Red Bull               8
  15. Paul Di Resta                  Force India        8
  16. Lewis Hamilton             McLaren             7
  17. Felipe Massa                   Ferrari                 3
  18. Bruno Senna                    Williams            3
  19. Jules Bianchi                  Force India        2
  20. Heikki Kovalainen         Caterham           1

Although on the face of things it appears that any one of the top 18 drivers could win this championship, but because not every driver will be driving every day only a few drivers have a chance of winning. To see which drivers these are and what each driver needs to win the championship look out for a post that will be called “Who can win the testing championship”.

Here are the teams championship:

  1. Lotus                26
  2. Red Bull           25
  3. Sauber              21
  4. Force India     21
  5. Toro Rosso     20
  6. McLaren          19
  7. Mercedes         18
  8. Ferrari              17
  9. Williams          12
  10. Caterham          1

So far only one team doesn’t have a chance of winning the constructors championship and that’s HRT who aren’t turning up to compete. To see what each team needs to win look out for the post  “Who can win the testing championship?”

Have Mercedes solved their race problems.

26 Apr

Before the Chinese Grand Prix one of the biggest talking points in the paddock was how Mercedes’ race pace was a lot slower than their qualifying pace. But after Nico Rosberg Grand Prix those fears have been put to sleep, but have they actually disappeared?

Well, every driver is slower in the race than in qualifying due to many things for example the increased levels of fuel and by the time there is the right level of fuel in the car the tyres will have been worn out. But if you take each drivers’ fastest lap time as a percentage of their fastest time in qualifying you can compare how much time each driver is losing between qualifying and the race. To see how Mercedes compare to the rest of their field I’ve averaged out the time of their fastest lap as a percentage of their qualifying lap for just both just the Mercedes drivers and then also for the rest of the field. Now these figures don’t include any driver who completed less than 30 laps in the race.

The average for rest of the field after Bahrain is 4.303%

Whilst the average of the Mercedes drivers is 5.387%

Now 1% may only look like a small amount, but in Formula 1 where every tenth of a second counts 1% is a big margin. So Mercedes do still need to work on improving their race pace, but what could be the reason for this big gap between qualifying and race pace?

Well here are a few reasons:

1. Mercedes’ W-duct or the double DRS makes a real improvement to their pace and as it’s use is unlimited in qualifying and can only be used a maximum of once (occasionally twice) per lap in the race. So a race lap will be a lot slower than a qualifying lap because you can’t use the W-duct as often.

2. Mercedes’ tyre woes are still present. From what we’ve seen so far of Mercedes’ tyres it appears they work better at colder temperatures than the optimum temperature for the other teams. This means that at many of the tracks Mercedes will be more off the pace than the rest of the field (although this wouldn’t affect the percentages).

The Fake Championship round up:

26 Apr

At the top of the Hamaya Practice Championship Lewis Hamilton managed to increase his lead by 3 points and the constructors lead also increased by 2 points after Nico Rosberg twice going first in practice sessions. In the constructors standings Sauber are still looking like a team who are stepping up to the plate and really taking the fight to the top teams. While Ferrari, widely classed as one of the top teams are seriously struggling team who are struggling to pick up points and only picked up 1 point this weekend, and Felipe Massa still hasn’t picked up any points since the opening weekend. Of the 12 practice sessions competed so far Hamilton has gone fastest in 6, Rosberg 3, Schumacher 2 and Rosberg 1.

The Sector Championship has become an even closer fight at the top, Hamilton’s lead has fallen from 5 points to only 1 as Rosberg was the man of the weekend picking up 16 points after being quickest in 1 sector and 2nd fastest in 2 others, and McLaren who were leading after China have not only lost their 11 point lead but are now a point behind Mercedes. Ferrari though are struggling in this championship as well as they still haven’t picked up any points and are the only established team to have picked up 0 points. Hamilton has been fastest in 4 sectors this year, Rosberg 3, Button 2, Grosjean 1, Webber 1 and Vettel 1

Sergio Perez is still top of the Speed Trap Standings, despite not picking up any points at all this weekend. This weekend though was definitely Lotus’ weekend, their drivers claimed a 1-2 through the speed trap moving the team from 21 points behind Sauber to 3 points ahead. Sauber were not one of big successes of the weekend after the previous championship leaders only managed to pick up 3 points. Force India picked up their first Speed Trap points last weekend, and they picked up 15 after Nico Hulkenburg went 3rd and Paul Di Resta managed 4th. So far Sergio Perez has been fastest in two weekends speed traps, Raikkonen 1 and his Lotus team mate Grosjean the final 1.

JKEA Qualifying Championship. Sebastian Vettel was the first driver to pick up the maximum of 13 points in a weekend last weekend which took him from a lowly 8th to 6th. In the teams championship McLaren hold an amazingly strong lead over second place Mercedes who are 25 points behind them. McLaren hold this lead because of their two drivers being the top 2 in the standings, who will be relieved to be out of the fight for 3rd place which sees 4 drivers within 2 points of each other.

With a 4th race winner in 4 weekends the Larsens Biscuits Eastern Championship is becoming a free for all and after the next race at Singapore (all the way away on the 23rd of August), any one of 7 drivers could be leading the championship, who belong to five different teams showing that this season is going to be one which could potentially go down to the wire. As well as this race being good news for Sebastian Vettel it was a good time for his team who due to McLaren’s poor form -only picking up 1 point- managed to steal a lead of 5 points to overturn being behind McLaren by 9 points pre Bahrain.

 

Eastern Championship round 4 standings:

25 Apr

This race marks the end of races in the east and we have to wait until the Singapore Grand Prix on the 23rd of August for that moment. For those of you who don’t know how this works this championship only covers the 9 races furthest east and is the same as the official world championships except the scoring system is that of pre 2010 (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1). Here are the current driver standings:

  1. Sebastian Vettel             22            Red Bull                (previously 5th)
  2. Mark Webber                 20            Red Bull                (3rd)
  3. Lewis Hamilton            19             McLaren              (1st)
  4. Jenson Button               18             McLaren              (2nd)
  5. Fernando Alonso         16             Ferrari                   (4th)
  6. Nico Rosberg                 14             Mercedes              (6th)
  7. Kimi Raikkonen           14             Lotus                      (8th)
  8. Sergio Perez                    9              Sauber                    (7th)
  9. Romain Grosjean         9              Lotus                      (11th)
  10. Bruno Senna                  8              Williams               (9th)
  11. Paul Di Resta                 8              Force India          (12th)
  12. Kamui Kobayashi         3               Sauber                   (10th)
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne          1               Toro Rosso           (13th)
  14. Pastor Maldonado        1               Williams               (14th)

Sebastian Vettel this week became the 4th leader of the Eastern Championship in 4 weekends (this stat is also true of the drivers world championship) and from this weeks standings we can see Red Bull appear to be back on the rise with Seb and Mark sitting in 1st and 2nd. Although Felipe Massa picked up his first WDC points this week he didn’t finish in the top 8 to pick up Eastern Championship points.

Teams:

  1. Red Bull              42            (previously 2nd)
  2. McLaren             37            (1st)
  3. Lotus                   23             (6th)
  4. Ferrari                16             (3rd)
  5. Mercedes           14             (5th)
  6. Sauber                12             (4th)
  7. Williams            6              (7th)
  8. Force India        5              (8th)
  9. Toro Rosso         1              (9th)

Bahrain may be a difficult circuit to overtake at but Lotus did fantastically well over the weekend rising from 6th to 3rd after Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean both picked up podium finishes.

JKEA Qualifying Championship round 4 standings

24 Apr

The heat increased in many ways for this weekends Bahrain Grand Prix and the JKEA Qualifying Championship is really hotting up. It takes place at every race in Q3, the driver who goes fastest gets 10 points 2nd 9 points down to 10th that gets 1 point. As well as this 3 bonus points are available for the driver who sets the fastest lap come the race. Here are the drivers standings:

  1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 38 (previously 1st)
  2. Jenson Button McLaren 33 (2nd)
  3. Mark Webber Red Bull 25 (4th)
  4. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 23 (3rd)
  5. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 23 (5th)
  6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 23 (8th)
  7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 17 (7th)
  8. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 15 (6th)
  9. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 10 (9th)
  10. Sergio Perez Sauber 7 (11th)
  11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6 (10th)
  12. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 6 (14th)
  13. Pastor Maldonado Williams 3 (12th)
  14. Nico Hulkenburg Force India 2 (13th)
  15. Paul Di Resta Force India 1 (-)

It wasn’t the weekend the Mercedes team will have wanted especially seeing as their cars are considered some of the quickest in qualifying. Their Schumacher picked up 0 points with his grid placement of 22nd and Nico Rosberg didn’t repeat his pole from China and so had to start 5th.

Teams:

  1. McLaren 71 (1st)
  2. Mercedes 46 (2nd)
  3. Red Bull 45 (4th)
  4. Lotus 32 (3rd)
  5. Sauber 17 (5th)
  6. Ferrari 6 (6th)
  7. Toro Rosso 6 (9th)
  8. Williams 3 (7th)
  9. Force India 3 (8th)

McLaren have built up a considerable lead over the past 4 races, and there has been a McLaren on the front row at 3/4 races so far this season. Ferrari on the other hand are still struggling, Felipe Massa still hasn’t made it to Q3 and Fernando hasn’t started any higher than 9th this season.