Tag Archives: Robert Kubica

The Felipe Massa Problem

27 Aug

Since 2006 Felipe Massa has been a devoted servant to the Scuderia. But ever since the crash 3 years ago Felipe has struggled to pick up points, and every season since the crash there have been calls for Massa to be replaced. Here I shall look at the possible replacements:

Felipe Massa

  • May not have had a great start to the season but if he keeps up his current form then it’s likely that Ferrari will retain him for another season.
  • Negatives: it shows that Ferrari aren’t willing to change and could jeopardize their chances of a constructors championship next year.
  • Positives: already knows the team and is currently reviving his season.
  • Chances: There’s every chance Massa could get a 8th season with the Scuderia.

Sergio Perez

  • One of the stars of the season with two podiums, despite driving for Sauber.
  • Negatives: Luca di Montezemalo (Ferrari’s owner) has already come out and said that Sergio is too inexperienced.
  • Positives: there is definitely world champion potential there, Sergio is a member of the Ferrari drivers academy so he’s had experience with the team, he’s light on his tyres and Sauber get on well with Ferrari (they’ve done deals before and Sauber use Ferrari engines) and so are more likely to accept a Ferrari deal as apposed to a different team.
  • Chances: despite Montezemalo’s comment Sergio should be the favourite.

Jules Bianchi

  • Jules has been spending this season as the third driver for Force India and despite his inexperience has performed well.
  • Negatives: If Perez is classed as too inexperienced then Bianchi will be too (he hasn’t started a GP).
  • Positives: A member of the Ferrari drivers academy, he’s young and burtsting with potential and he has had some F1 car experience this year with Force India.
  • Chances: Unlikely but could have a chance in a few years time.

Sebastian Vettel

  • Reports have said the Vettel’s signed a contract with the team for 2014, but Red Bull are denying it.
  • Negatives: Although there’s no previous history between Alonso and Vettel it’s unlikely they could work together at Ferrari, a team famous for having a designated number two driver.
  • Positives: If the car’s up to scratch they’d be unstoppable and would dominate like Senna and Prost did at McLaren, sadly they’d probably get on like Senna and Prost did.
  • Chances: If Vettel is going to sign for Ferrari it will be as a replacement for Alonso when Fernando retires.

Nico Hulkenburg

  • Despite having a year off Nico has been a star of the midfield and despite a slow start he’s now the better driver at Force India.
  • Negatives: Nico is much more likely to replace Schumacher at Mercedes, still inexperienced and he probably isn’t a future world champion.
  • Positives: Potentially a future race winner and the perfect number two for Vettel if Vettel joins Ferrari. A strong qualifier, qualified 4th in Valencia and Germany.
  • Chances: Should make it into the final shortlist but unlikely to make it into the team.

Robert Kubica

  • Despite not having driven a car since 2010 Robert has been making good progress to recover from his rally crash.
  • Negatives: Hasn’t driven an F1 car since 2010 and it;s unlikely Ferrari will take the risk after seeing how a big crash affected Massa.
  • Positives: Definitely use to be a championship winning driver and gets on well with Fernando Alonso.
  • Chances: Almost impossible.

Paul Di Resta

  • After a good start to the season in recent races the Scotsman has been out performed by his team mate.
  • Negatives: Unlikely to ever be a world champion and is questionable whether he’s good enough.
  • Positives: A consistent driver who would definitely fill the role of second driver to Fernando Alonso.
  • Chances: much more likely to drive for McLaren or Mercedes than Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton

  • After driving the car to beat for the first part of the season various problems have stopped Lewis from leading the championship.
  • Negatives: They may be trying to make it seem like Alonso and Hamilton now get on but it would be a poor decision to risk them together again, also Lewis is close to signing a new deal with McLaren and he’s been very inconsistent since he won the championship in 2008.
  • Positives: He’s a talented driver who could give Alonso competition for his number one seat.
  • Chances: It’s not going to happen.

Jenson Button

  • It’s not been a good season for Jenson and the press have already ruled him out of winning the championship this year.
  • Negatives: One of the grid’s worst qualifiers and is unlikely to be wanted by Ferrari’s management.
  • Positives: The best driver in changing weather conditions.
  • Chances: If all the other candidates break their legs then he may have a chance.
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In the lions den

19 Mar

Well yesterday the F1 season came back with a bang. Lots of new discussions were started and some of the old ones came back, in particularly should Ferrari drop Massa. Here I evaluate the possible contenders.

Picture courtesy of Andrew Scott (http://www.flickr.com/photos/asphotos/)

Nico Hulkenburg:

  • Hit the scenes with a bang in 2010 claiming pole position at Interlagos, but couldn’t raise the funds to race in 2011. Returns this year with Force India and is definitely a man to watch.
  • Positives: he’s very quick, has a style that would suit Ferrari (both on and off the track)
  • Negatives: inexperienced (this is his second season in F1 and between them he had a year off)

Sergio Perez

  • Sergio joined Sauber last year and straight away looked competitive collecting 14 points in a year where both Saubers went backwards during the year. What’s more Sergio is a member of the Ferrari drivers academy.
  • Positives: he’s fast, light on the tyres, a member of the Ferrari drivers academy and you could picture him in the team.
  • Negatives: he too is inexperienced (also his second season) and last year his driving in the wet was pretty awful.

Jules Bianchi

  • This is Jules’ first year in F1 (he’s the Force India reserve) but Jules has turned heads at every category he’s been in and like Perez is a member of the Ferrari drivers academy.
  • Positives: he’s Italian so would be loved by the Tifosi and would silence Ferrari’s critics that they don’t do enough for Italian drivers, he’s quick and he’s in the Ferrari drivers academy.
  • Negatives: even more inexperienced than Nico and Sergio.

Robert Kubica

  • Always been talented and was maybe a future world champion, but we don’t know how the crash has affected him, despite this rumours still circulate that Ferrari are tracking his progress.
  • Positives: He is amazingly quick and takes cars above and beyond their potential and he’s a good mate of Ferrari lead driver Fernando Alonso.
  • Negatives: 2 years ago there were no problems, now though no one knows how he’ll recover from the crash.

Mark Webber

  • Almost a world champion having nearly claimed the title in 2010 and has always been Red Bull’s rock.
  • Positives: Hasn’t got much of a career with Red Bull and so should be easy to get, he’s quick, gets on well with Alonso and he’s a likeable character.
  • Negatives: There will always be people who say he’s too old and he may not have the pace of some of the other guys on this shortlist.

Jenson Button

  • Despite claiming to be happy with McLaren and could be in with winning this year’s championship whenever this debate comes up about replacing Massa his name is always thrown in the mix.
  • Positives: Works the tyres well, experienced, like Webber he’s likeable and could provide good competition for Alonso.
  • Negatives: He still seems happy with McLaren and could be on the verge of his second championship.

Felipe Massa

  • What’s to say Ferrari won’t do what they’ve always done and just stick with Massa?
  • Positives: knows the team and has pace somewhere but no one knows where it is.
  • Negatives: This is his third chance and I can’t see Ferrari giving him a 4th and he is really struggling with the tyres.

Picture courtesy of Andrew Scott (http://www.flickr.com/photos/asphotos/)

 

Told you it would be Nick!

10 Feb

After Kubica’s crash I said that the replacement would either be Nick Heidfeld, Nico Hulkenberg or Pedro De La Rosa. Well, Nick Heidfeld has been handed the chance to do this weeks testing. Nick has had 11 years of experience, so he’s the  man to tell Renault what they need.

They’ve also announced they’ll be using Bruno Senna as well as Vitaly Petrov in the testing, so I think it will be one day each. One good thing we can get out of this, is to see how Senna compares to the other drivers, as last year his car was too slow to be able to tell.

Kubica is recovering well after his crash in Italy, but doctors are warning that he may never race again, and if he does it may not be until 2012.

Kubica crashes!

6 Feb

The driver from Poland was taking part in a rally near Genoa in Italy. He has fractured his right arm, leg and hand, and although the injuries aren’t life threatening he may never drive in F1 again as he already has titanium bolts in his arm after a road crash in 2003 when he was passenger. It’s almost certain he won’t make Bahrain, and it’s odds on for either Bruno Senna or Roman Grosjean to drive in the testing next week. If he can’t make the start of the season then Renault will need to find another driver, here is my shortlist: Nick Heidfeld, advantage: lots of experience, disadvantage: may not be as skilful  as other candidates; Nico Hulkenberg, advantage: probably the best driver on my shortlist, disadvantage: almost no experience; Pedro De La Rosa, advantage: he’s experienced disadvantage: he’s got the least skill of the lot and Kimi Raikkonen, advantage: he’s experienced, he was linked to Renault earlier in the year and skilful, disadvantage: he’s just signed a deal with the Red Bull rally team.

I wish Robert and all his friends and family my sympathy at this time and I hope that he’ll be ok to drive again, if he never drives again then F1 has lost a star.

Testing Fastest Times.

6 Feb

By now you should have a vague idea of the standings from last weeks testing. But, over the days the track will have got more rubber put on it, so times on the 3rd day should be quicker than the 2nd and the 2nd quicker than the 1st. Because of this I’ve decided to try and estimate the times as if they were all on the first day, to do this I collected the results for all 3 days. If there were any drivers who’d driven on days 1 and 2, I would get how much they’d improved by. I’d then find the average (mean) for these improvements. I did the same for the second and third days. But as Nico Rosberg improved by over 5 seconds between days 1 and 2 (because he could only do 9 laps at the start of day two before the car suffered hydraulic problems) I have excluded his result as it is an anomaly. For laps on day 2 I got an average of 1.273 seconds which I add onto their day 2 times, and for times on day three they add 2.460 seconds (1.273 + 1.187), that way everyone’s time is as if it was set on the first day. Here are the results, it goes driver name, team name, what year the car was build for and  day 1 time.

Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull – 2011 – 1:13.769

Nico Hulkenberg – Force India – 2010 – 1.13.938

Gary Paffett – McLaren – 2010 – 1.14.292

Paul Di Resta – Force India – 2010 – 1.14.461

Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – 2011 – 1.14.553

Robert Kubica – Renault – 2011 – 1.15.604

Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber – 2011 – 1.15.621

Lewis Hamilton – McLaren – 2010 – 1.15.626

Adrian Sutil – Force India – 2010 – 1.15.661

Narain Karthikeyan – HRT – 2010 – 1.15.740

Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – 2011 – 1.15.918

Jerome D’Ambrosio – Virgin – 2010 – 1.16.003

Jenson Button – McLaren – 2010 – 1.16.013

Vitaly Petrov – Renault – 2011 – 1.16.351

Mark Webber – Red Bull – 2011 – 1.16.396

Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – 2011 – 1.16.450

Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 2011 – 1.16.477

Timo Glock – Virgin – 2010 – 1.16.677

Pastor Maldonado – Williams – 2011 – 1.16.689

Sergio Perez – Sauber – 2011 – 1.16.929

Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso – 2011 – 1.17.214

Sebastian Buemi – Toro Rosso – 2011 – 1.17.761

Rubens Barrichello – Williams – 2011 – 1.17.796

Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus – 2011 – 1.21.922

Top 10 Drivers of 2010

5 Dec

The drivers that have impressed me most this year:

10. Rubens Barrichello                                                                                                                                                                           Rubens is one of those drivers who always tries his hardest, and that’s why he started his 300th Grand Prix this year (but when exactly is up to discussion). Throughout the whole of the season you could tell just how good the car was by seeing how far off the top he was. He finished 10th in the table, but drove superbly almost managing to up his points up to 654 points -more than 2 a race for his career- he may not have many more seasons in him, but on thing you can count on is that he will stay in the top 10 every year until that happens.

9. Heikki Kovalainen                                                                                                                                                                                     Heikki has been unlucky with his career up to date, moving to McLaren with not enough experience and then being left in the scrapheap after only picking up one win. This year showed why he was at McLaren picking up the best result of the new comers with a 12th at Suzuka. He was always leading -or near there – the rest of the newcomers and has defiantly deserved is seat for next year.

8. Nico Hulkenberg                                                                                                                                                                                        The incredible  Hulk created one of the biggest surprises of the championship by getting pole in Brazil. Sadly despite being arguably the best rookie of the year he couldn’t keep his seat, because he wouldn’t bring in the same money at Maldonado. He picked up 22 points and by the end was looking much more mature than the rookie he was picking up his best result of the year in Hungary (6th) when the car was at it’s best. After his great first season we can only hope he’ll find himself a team for next year with rumours going around he may drive for Force India although that is looking less likely as time goes by, he’s also been linked as a reserve driver for Mercedes.

7. Kamui Kobayashi                                                                                                                                                                                        Made some of the races much  more exciting by his rules on overtaking. You can do it anywhere but mainly where it’s classed as dangerous, had an amazing lap at Valencia where he overtook both Alonso and Buemi in the final lap. Had only raced two races before this season and you could tell by those races that he would achieve great things by frustrating Button on his debut by holding him up and jeopardising his Button’s chances. Will next year have to play the experienced drivers role and we only hope he can. If he keeps up his current form though he may be the first Japanese driver to win a F1 race.

6. Lewis Hamilton                                                                                                                                                                                           Lewis had a much better season compared to last year, but it still wasn’t anywhere near as good as his first two seasons. Although he was still in it to the very end it never looked likely going into Abu Dhabi 24 points down. He led for 4 races on the trot midway through, but after Monza and Singapore he never looked like winning the championship, he had a good charge late on but it was too little to late. Something he can be pleased about though is that if you get the average grid positions he’s third behind the Red Bulls.

5. Nico Rosberg                                                                                                                                                                                               Another strong season from Nico started off with 2 podiums in the first four races, with the other results being 5ths. But this momentum soon ran out and the results started to drop, only getting one more podium in the rest of the season -another 3rd-. He finished two points behind Massa, but he could have beaten him if it weren’t for the double retirements at Japan and Korea both of which he was taken out by another driver. He should be much stronger next season though as of his 16 finishes he only failed to finish in the points once (Catalunya).

4. Mark Webber                                                                                                                                                                                                 Mark’s best season of his career ended on a low, having always been ahead of his team mate from race 10 where (incidentally it was the same race as the team let out Mark was the number two driver) he couldn’t hold the other drivers off and in the end finished 3rd. I don’t think Mark will ever get his chance for the title now, this was his best chance and once he lost the championship lead in Korea -after hitting a wall- he never looked like he would get it and Vettel was thought by the pundits to have the better chance despite being lower in the season. Mark will drive for Red Bull again, but this could be his last season with them as there is a lot of tension between him and Sebastian, and with his age ever increasing and his title hopes diminishing it probably won’t be long till we see a younger driver in his place, possibly  Daniel Ricciardo the young star who beat Vettels pole time at Abu Dhabi in the young driver testing.

3. Sebastian Vettel                                                                                                                                                                                           Despite winning the championship Seb’s points on a graph go up very much like a staircase, marking the inconsistency of  the youngest ever championship winner. Red Bull have now announced that in the future the team will be built around Sebastian, but they will need to hope he can get enough experience to make his driving more consistent, which will be necessary if he and the team are going to win future championships. He led the most number of racing laps in the year -382-, but only led the championship once, right when it was needed.

2. Robert Kubica                                                                                                                                                                                                 After his amazing season in 2008 where he picked up 75 points winning one race and finishing joint 3rd in the drivers standings every knew Robert was going to be amazing. Now with Renault Robert is still proving he’ll go far after qualifying on the front 2 rows for the 3 hardest grand prix circuits, Monza Spa and Suzuka, and would have won at least one of these races if he hadn’t been so unlucky with technical problems (a problem that also hit Red Bull who use renault engines).

1. Fernando Alonso                                                                                                                                                                                           Lets go back in time to Silverstone for the grand prix in 2010, Alonso finishes 14th saying we will win the championship, everyone laughs this driver is almost 50 points behind the leader Hamilton and has only picked up 3 podiums in the first 10 races. Now forward to Germany two weeks later, Fernando is on top of the podium after winning, the press are outraged and call him a cheat Fernando stays calm picking up a 2nd place in Hungary a week later. In fact after Britain Alonso gets 4 firsts one second and two thirds only failing to finish on the podium twice once in Spa and the other in Abu Dhabi, the latter costing him the championship. He was 7 points up going into Abu Dhabi and if it weren’t for a tactical blunder from Ferrari Sebastian Vettel would still be searching for his drivers world championship. If he keeps his form up and gets a competitive car from Ferrai Fernando is going to be the man to  beat next season.