Tag Archives: Force India

Vettel wins in Malaysia but not through fair play

24 Mar

Good Day, Bad Day, Malaysia 13.

Good Day:

Nico Hulkenburg: Q12 F8 8/10 – In a race full of errors Hulkenburg stood as a driver who – apart from the pit stop incident – refused to put a foot wrong, he showed he can start well, overtake and hold off guys in stronger cars. Hulkenburg is a fan of races where the surface is changing – as we saw in Brazil last year – and although the Sauber isn’t the most competitive car on track Hulkenburg’s talented enough to take it beyond it’s potential.

McLaren: 7/10 – This weekend signified a improvement for McLaren with Button fighting for 5th before the retirement and both cars making it into Q3. Having said this McLaren aren’t back yet, rain is good at evening out the field – if you want proof look at last season’s Malaysian GP won by Alonso – and both Button and Perez are better than average in the wet so the hard work isn’t over yet.

Jules Bianchi: Q19 F13 8/10 – Bianchi performed well on his debut and he’s continued in Malaysia yet again showing why he’s part of Ferrari’s development scheme, whilst the cameras were on the leaders Bianchi was working hard yet again, he was strong in qualifying (only a few tenths off the Williams in front) and maintained that today consistently setting fast lap times, with Bianchi Marussia should have a promising year.

Bad Day:

Red Bull: 7/10 – It’s going to take one hell of a diplomat to sort out this mess, if you missed the incident I’ll quickly paraphrase it for you: both cars had pitter for the last time and Webber was ahead of Vettel in a Red Bull 1-2, Horner told them to not race and to continue in those positions to the end of the race, Vettel then overtook. This led to the frostiest podium since Hockenheim 2010 and whilst in post race interviews Vettel did say he was sorry and didn’t mean too you’d have to be a Red Bull employer to swallow that, if he was sorry why didn’t he just give the place back? Apart from that though they did have a good race and looked strong throughout.

Nico Rosberg: Q6 F4 7/10 – Rosberg drove well today he was always on (or setting) the pace and showed Mercedes that he’s as good as Hamilton, despite this Mercedes also tried some team strategy today, this time telling the faster Rosberg to stay behind the fuel conserving Hamilton. Rosberg will fell aggrieved at that but his ability to follow team orders has brought him a lot respect from F1 fans (Vettel take note).

Fernando Alonso: Q3 F n/a 3/10 – It looked promising for Alonso this morning, he had a quick car, he’s a good starter and Malaysia has a long run to turn 1 but then it all went wrong, problems started at turn 2 when his tyres locked up and he gave Vettel a little shunt, this broke one of the columns supporting the front wing leaving him lacking downforce, but then the decision was taken by Ferrari not to being him in for a change of front wing (reason for this is probably that they wanted him to come in once it was time for slicks) and Alonso pretty much immediately ran over his front-wing (which lost him all control of the car) and beached it.

Kimi Raikkonen: Q10 F7 5/10 – After his phenomenal performance last week in Australia this race was a bit of a disaster he was penalised for blocking in Q3 yesterday and was pretty lack lustre today, if Raikkonen is to become a double world champion this year he needs more of what he did in Australia and less of what he did today.

Force India: 4/10: To say Force India were awful at pit stops today would be putting under-egging it they had a disaster every time one of their cars stopped, first they double stacked (where both cars come in at the same time) and sadly the rear left of Sutil (the first car in) refused to budge which meant the stop took an extra 16 seconds than normal, this also delayed Di Resta the 2nd car in the stack. Then when Di Resta came in for his second it took 2 minutes to remove the front left, and the for Sutil’s second stop they couldn’t remove the front left. Needless to say neither of them made it to the end.

Max Chilton: Q21 F16 6/10 – Whilst team mate Bianchi stars in the Marussia looks average at best, this is the second race where Chilton has been thoroughly out shone by Bianchi and if this is how he continues he could find himself back in GP2 next season, Daddy’s millions may have got him to the grid but remaining there is a problem that rests on Max’s shoulders.

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New kid on the block: Adrian Sutil

28 Feb

I’m sure that name rings a bell, are you sure he’s new?

You’re right, Sutil was a Formula 1 driver back in 2011 with Force India but was dropped back in 2011 but he’s now back with Force India for the 2013 season and at just 30 years old he could be back for a while.

What was his previous F1 career like?

Sutil started out in F1 with Spyker, first as a reserve in 2006 and then  in the race team for 2007, although his rookie season was spectacular it was solid even picking up points in Japan. In 2008 Spyker were bought out and renamed Force India, the new team kept Sutil for the 2008 season but reliability problems ruined the season. In 2009 Sutil stayed with Force India and in a much more reliable car finished 4th in the Italian GP. Sutil remained at Force India for both the 2010 and 2011 season regularly picking up, and although not phenomenally quick he definitely was consistent.

So why was he dropped?

Well as I just mentioned he wasn’t the fastest driver out there and although he did score points the majority were for finishing between 8 and 10 so it’s likely Force India wanted to see if they could find someone who would challenge for more points, but it didn’t help that he was involved in a court case were he was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and given a 18 month suspended sentence and a €200,000 fine.

That’s not good, so what did he spend last season doing?

Not much really, he didn’t compete in any racing series.

What was his racing career like before he joined the F1 scene?

Impressive, he’d won the Swiss Formula Ford 1800 and the All-Japan Formula 3 finished second in the Formula 3 Euro Series and the Masters of Formula 3 and had finished 3rd in the Macau Grand Prix.

How do you think he’ll do this season?

Sutil will be expecting to put in a strong season but I wouldn’t be surprised if he quickly found himself losing out to Di Resta, having said this if the car’s good I expect Sutil to score regularly near the end of the season.

How do you rate his chances?

7/10 There are definitely worse people Force India could have chosen and he’s already popular with the team, he just needs to prove he can return to his old form quickly.

Another week another McLaren pole!

8 Sep

3 winners and losers of qualifying, Italy 12.

Winners:

McLaren: no one was sure where McLaren would stand when the season resumed but it’s all been good for them, Button was pole to victory last week and Hamilton is pole this time. Despite the best car McLaren struggled early on but this change in fortunes could put them back in contention for the drivers championship.

Felipe Massa: When Felipe needs to perform he does. He’s really upped his performance this week to make himself the only non Brit in the top 4, if Massa can finish on the podium it will be the first time since Korea 2010.

Paul Di Resta: Paul has found him self 2nd best to team mate Hulkenburg over the last few races but he’s really found his form this weekend taking full advantage of Hulkenburg’s mechanical fault. The one blemish in Paul’s performance is that he’s got a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change and so will start 9th.

Losers:

Fernando Alonso: The crash last week may have completely ruined Alonso’s championship. The car has had to be completely rebuilt and after multiple mechanical problems yesterday a problem with the rear anti roll bar meant he couldn’t set a competitive time in Q3, leaving him 10th. Otherwise we could have seen Alonso on pole after going fastest in Q1 and Q2, a podium may be possible if he has a good start.

Nico Hulkenburg: After the elation of 4th last weekend it’s back to reality for Hulkenburg, mechanical problems meant he didn’t set a time and will start from the very back.

Red Bull: Since the season resumed qualifying has been a big problem for Red Bull, Vettel out in Q2 and Webber only 7th was a bad performance last week whilst it was Webber out in Q2 and Vettel only 6th this weekend. Unless Red Bull get their skates on they could find themselves losing the constructors championship which they’ve dominated this year.

It’s disaster for Alonso whilst Hulkenburg proves metal

2 Sep

Driver Ratings, Belgium, Pt.1, Caterham, Ferrari and Force India.

Heikki Kovalainen: 6/10 Q19 S18 F17

Heikki had a customary great start rising to 10th before the safety car, but as soon as the safety car returned to the pits Kovalainen found himself swamped by faster cars. Heikki would have been the fastest of the ‘new’ teams until a spin during a chicane saw him drop to the back, a place he would struggle to get out from until he pipped De La Rosa at the end.

Vitaly Petrov: 7/10 Q20 S19 F14

Vitaly profited from the turn 1 collision to rise to 14th and after inheriting 17th from Kovalainen it was a dominant performance by Vitaly to win the ‘new’ team race.

Fernando Alonso: 5/10 Q6 S6 F ret.

Would surely have finished high up in the points had he not been forced to retire, but it hadn’t been a dominant weekend for Alonso, despite going fastest in FP3. Alonso will need a better weekend at Monza if he is to keep him being the favourite.

Felipe Massa: 7/10 Q14 S14 F5

It hasn’t been the year Felipe would have dreamed of but Massa won’t be upset with his race today. It wasn’t a good qualifying performance but Massa drove a blinder of a race, the strategy was good and Massa drove well to pick up a vital 10 points.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q12 S11 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Nico drove phenomenally to show people why he should be regarded as the best driver at Force India, despite now shining in qualifying Nico negotiated the collision superbly to find himself in 3rd before overtaking Raikkonen to go into 2nd, only to find himself behind Kimi again after pitting. Maybe could have made the podium with some more luck.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q10 S9 F10

Performed impeccably in qualifying to make it to Q3, but couldn’t find that speed in the race and should have finished 6th if he’d performed to qualifying expectations.

Force India and it’s Drivers

29 Aug

When Force India announced it’s driver line up earlier this year there was much speculation as to which of it’s young drivers would impress more, now half way in we can compare how the two drivers have performed.

By looking at these stats it appears that Hulkenburg and Di Resta are very evenly matched. Despite this Di Resta has a good sized lead over Hulkenburg in points scored. This suggests that Di Resta has been the better driver over the season, but if you look at the graph below you may notice how in recent weeks Hulkenburg has been the better driver, in fact in the last 5 races Hulkenburg has picked up 12 points whilst Di Resta has picked up 6. This late charge can be put down to Hulkenburg not racing last season so he’d need to get re-accustomed to the car.

Either way you look at the numbers you can make a case for both of the drivers to have performed better so far, and we could be in for a cracking fight between Nico and Paul over the rest of the season.

Alonso loses lead in final laps whilst the old Massa returns

8 Jul

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

Heikki Kovalainen: 5/10 Q20 S19 F17

In the past Week Heikki has had lots of people talking about him driving for a quicker team next year but his race today will have silenced all that talk. It was average at best and it was hardly surprising the only drivers Kovalainen finished ahead of were the Marussias and HRTs, not a good race for the Finn.

Vitaly Petrov: 6/10 Q19 DNS

It had been a promising race for Vitaly, he qualified ahead of Kovalainen which hasn’t happened often this year. Sadly Vitaly never made it to the grid an engine problem on his way round.

Fernando Alonso: 9/10 Q1 S1 F2

It was an inspirational call for Alonso to start on the hard tyres, which were faster than the softs this weekend which saw him fly off at the start, and he would have finished that way had he done two extra laps a stint on the harder tyres. As it was he was found waning on the softer tyres and Webber overtook late on to record his 2nd British GP victory.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 Q5 S5 F4

It was a sublime weekend for a driver who’s regularly struggled in recent years, qualifying 5th (his highest this year) will have been a big boost, he was brave on the first lap going round the outside of Vettel but he suffered behind Schumacher and he’ll feel that if he could have cleared Schumacher earlier he could have been on the podium, as it was Massa pulled a great move on Schumacher. Sadly Massa’s first stop was a bit too late letting Vettel through and it was a good race for 4th place Massa.

Paul Di Resta: 6/10 Q11 S10 F ret.

Sadly for Paul it’s now two home GPs two retirements, this time after a small racing incident with Romain Grosjean which saw Paul pick up a puncture which forced him to retire on lap 2, Paul will just be hoping that he’ll perform better in Hungary.

Nico Hulkenburg: 7/10 Q9 S14 F12

Was unlucky to receive a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change but ‘the Hulk’ impressed during the race running in the points for most of the race. Sadly his tyres petered off at the end and a bag first corner to the final lap saw him slip from 9th to 12th.

Fernando turns P11 into P1 with a supreme drive

24 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

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

Heikki Kovalainen: 8/10 Q16 F14

What a lap Heikki drove on saturday to make it to Q2 and then he impressed further to start from 16th on the grid. Heikki’s race wasn’t so good, he had a rare bad start and then lost more time when Vergne collided with him. But a strong post safety car performance gave Heikki 14th place.

Vitaly Petrov: 8/10 Q20 F13

Qualifying wasn’t as impressive as Heikki, but it was a very impressive race by the Russian. He put in some great laps post safety car to find himself in 10th, but Caterham couldn’t pick up their first points as he was swiftly overtaken by Schumacher and Webber. Petrov was later swiped by Ricciardo which left Petrov needing to pit, but some quick last few laps saw Vitaly finish an impressive 13th place.

Fernando Alonso: 10/10 Q11 F1 #DriverOfTheDay

May have been dreadful in qualifying not making it to Q2 but Alonso was phenomenal in the race. He moved up to 8th at the start, but it was the charge after his first pit stop that  got people interested as he overtook for fun. He overtook Hamilton in the pits then was sublime overtaking Grosjean before profiting from Vettel’s retirement to finish first. Inspirational.

Felipe Massa: 6/10 Q13 F16

Really unlucky, only just behind Alonso in qualifying, and was running 10th early on, but after receiving a big hit from Kobayashi just after the safety car he was destined to run low down.

Nico Hulkenburg: 9/10 Q8 F5

What a drive from such a young driver, he looked promising early on but found himself down in 11th when the safety car came out. Hulkenburg then profited from drivers retiring and other pitting to find himself up in 5th. From there he looked set to finish 7th when Schumacher and Webber passed him, but Hamilton and Maldonado’s clash on the same lap saw him reinstated as 5th. Great job.

Paul Di Resta: 8/10 Q10 F7

Set great pace early on in the race, even finding himself up in 2nd at one point. He then put his one stop strategy to good use, to storm up to 6th. Like Hulkenburg he was passed by Schumacher and Webber but profited from Hamilton and Maldonado, Paul was very unlucky to lose 6th to Rosberg on the final lap to leave Di Resta to pick up 6 points for P7.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com