Tag Archives: Williams

How’s he doing? Valtteri Bottas

29 Apr

We’re four races in to F1 2013 so lets see how the new drivers have been getting on.

Remind me, how did you rate him before the season started?

I expected him to pick up points and classed him as one of the most exciting new talents into F1 in a long time.

And how’s he got on so far this season?

No where near as good as everyone expected him to be, he hasn’t qualified higher than 15th and has failed to score points at every race so far.

How does that compare to his team mate?

Pastor Maldonado has also struggled to get pace out of his Williams he also hasn’t performed well in qualifying and has failed to pick up points, but Maldonado has had to retire from two races so he has got more excuses.

Since both drivers have really struggled to put in good performances in the Williams it appears that it’s more the car’s fault than anything else, but Bottas will need to really up his game if he’s to remain in F1 next season since he’s one of the few drivers not their due to financial backing.

How would you rate his performances so far?

5/10 I expected more of him and so far he’s been rather unimpressive.

New kid on the block: Valtteri Bottas

30 Nov

Williams have now confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna for 2013, so here’s some information about the young Fins history.

That name rings a faint bell, why?

Valtteri has spent this season as the Williams reserve driver and as such the young Finn has taken part in many first practice sessions over the year.

How’s he fared?

He’s had a very strong season, of the 14 practice sessions he’s competed in so far this season he’s been faster than Pastor Maldonado (one of Williams’ two actual drivers) on 6 occasions. His best performances in qualifying to date are his 8th fastest time in FP1 in Spa (although this sessions was heavily rain affected) and his 5th fastest time in FP1 in the Spanish GP.

What’s his life like off the track?

Valtteri was born in Nastola, Finland a town with a population of 15,000 and is located near the south of the country. But Bottas is currently living in Oxford here in the UK. Valtteri is currently going out with Finnish swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen.

So what feeder championships has he been through?

Valtteri is a very young driver (23) and as such only started competing in big series in 2007, so far he’s competed in:

  • 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC (races: 16 / wins: 2 / final position: 3rd)
  • 2007 Formula Renault 2.0 UK Winter Series (4 / 3 / ineligible due to only competing as a guest driver, otherwise he would have finished 1st)
  • 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup (14 / 5 / 1st)
  • 2008 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC ( 14 / 12 / 1st)
  • 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series (20 / 0 / 3rd)
  • 2009 British Formula 3 Championship (4 / 0 / ineligible due to only competing as a guest driver)
  • 2009 Masters of Formula 3 (1 / 1 / 1st)
  • 2009 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / 5th)
  • 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series (18 / 2 / 3rd)
  • 2010 Masters of Formula 3 (1 / 1 / 1st)
  • 2010 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / 3rd)
  • 2010 Started role of Williams test driver
  • 2011 GP3 Series (16 / 4 / 1st)
  • 2011 British Formula 3 Championship (3 / 1 / 17th)
  • 2011 Macau Grand Prix (1 / 0 / didn’t finish race)

As you can see Valtteri has a very impressive CV his biggest achievement being that he won the GP3 series at his first attempt. Of the 114 races Valtteri has competed in, he’s won 31, been on pole position 27 times, set 30 fastest laps and been a podium finisher in 58 races.

So he’s not new to the taste of champagne then. Could we see him in F1 in 2013?

There is currently intense speculation that Valtteri will be promoted to a race seat at Williams but this relies on Williams dropping either Bruno Senna or race winner Pastor Maldonado. If Williams don’t promote him then there’s a chance that Bottas could drive for Sauber of Force India next year.

How far is he expected to go?

I expect Bottas to score points in his debut season and I suspect Bottas will finish on the podium if not be a race winner at some point. If he’s given the right car though he could be a championship contender.

Vettel wins to put himself back in the championship hunt

23 Sep

Good day Bad day, Singapore 12.

Good Day:

Paul Di Resta: 9/10 S6 F4 #DriverOfTheDay

Paul lit up the race today, he wasn’t the most exciting driver to watch, but he picked up the big 12 points to show yet again why he should be on the wanted lists of the big teams.

Sebastian Vettel: 8/10 S3 F1 (S = started from, F = finished)

After a disappointing performance in qualifying yesterday the pressure was on for Vettel to pick up big points and he did just that, overtaking Maldonado at turn 2 before inheriting 1st from Hamilton due to Lewis retiring. Vettel is now 2nd in the championship and it would be a mistake to rule him out of a 3rd championship.

Felipe Massa: 9/10 S13 F8

After a disappointing qualifying session for Massa yesterday and a puncture on lap 1 it took some phenomenal driving skill to pick up 4 points. Massa gave a tutorial in overtaking today pulling a fantastic move on Senna despite being given little room to manoeuvre in. One thing that’s for certain we can’t rule Felipe out of driving for Ferrari next season.

Marussia: 8/10

With Timo Glock putting in a fantastic performance to finish 12th Marussia have moved into the very important 10th place in the constructors standings. If they can stay there then they will pick up a lot more money at the end of the year which will put them in a better position for next season.

Bad Day:

Lewis Hamilton: 7/10 S1 F ret.

Lewis hasn’t had a very lucky season and today’s incident may be the final problem in terms of the world championship. Lewis is now 52 points behind with 6 races left. Lewis had started the race brightly and was regarded by many as the favourite to win until the car lost drive and retired on lap 22.

Michael Schumacher: 3/10 S9 F ret.

Michael was on for a points finish when he lost concentration and just piled into the back of Vergne. In his defence he has had brake problems all weekend but I’d be very surprised if he isn’t disciplined after the race.

Williams: 6/10

Williams started today after getting a driver to the front row of the grid but the good form didn’t last. Senna had problems with his gearbox early on (despite taking a 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change) before Maldonado retired with hydraulics problems. Senna then almost received a penalty for an incident with Massa before hitting the barriers once too often to retire with 2 laps remaining.

Sauber: 7/10

Sauber were never expected to be strong in Singapore but I’m very surprised that none of their drivers managed to pick up any points in a weekend where rivals Mercedes and Force India picked up big points. Luckily Sauber are expected to be a lot stronger at Suzuka and we could maybe see another Sauber podium there.

 

 

Pastor Maldonado crashes out, again.

9 Jul

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

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q12 S17 F11

Kamui has been under the radar so far this season, but he been one of the strongest drivers of the year, despite having less points than his younger team mate. Kamui started his race spectacularly  and was running 12th after just 3 laps (which made up for his 5 place grid penalty he was given after causing a collision in Valencia. During the second stint Kobayashi was running up in 9th, but he came out of the second pit session worse off in 12th and if Hulkenburg hadn’t spun on the final lap he wouldn’t have finished 11th. If Kobayashi hadn’t had the penalty and had started 12th he’d have definitely have finished in the points.

Sergio Perez: 8/10 Q17 S15 F ret.

In my opinion there is no doubt that Sergio would have finished in the points had his race not ended prematurely when Maldonado hit him. Sergio was unlucky on saturday in qualifying, a big error saw him not go out after the red flags and Sergio dramatically drop from 1st to 17th. But this singled Sergio out as the F1F man to watch. It was an astonishing start for Sergio, in the first lap alone he flew to 9th place and then overtook Senna for 8th position, but Pastor Maldonado then struck, colliding with Perez to end Sergio’s race. Full marks for Sergio to speaking his mind after the race as apposed to preaching the PR.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q14 S12 F13

Daniel has fallen back since his early season successes, but in recent weeks the Toro Rosso has fallen to the back of the midfield. Ricciardo had a very slow start, falling from 12th to 17th on the first lap alone but he stuck at it and he finished off his race by overtaking team mate Vergne in the final laps.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q16 S23 F14

This year’s Toro Rosso line up is widely regarded to decide who will replace Mark Webber when he leaves, and if the first nine race of this season are anything to go by it will be Daniel not Jean-Eric joining Red Bull. Despite qualifying in 16th Jean-Eric had to start from 23rd after a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision at the European GP but he didn’t stay there long, ,moving back up to 16th on the first lap. It was the timing of the second pit stop that let Vergne finish 14th, his pit stop was earlier than most which helped him to 13th before a he was overtaken by Ricciardo late on.

Pastor Maldonado: 2/10 Q7 S7 F16

Maldonado received the hatred of the public again this weekend for colliding with Sergio Perez, this is one of many collisions Pastor has caused this year with many fans calling for him to have his license recalled.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q15 S13 F9

Bruno has struggled in the Williams car so far this season and it was a disappointing qualifying for the young Brazilian, but Senna threw himself into points contention at the start of the race, running 9th early on. But he didn’t have a good first pit stop session coming out back in 11th, but by going for a short second stint Senna was able to move back to 10th and in the points and it was because of the pressure Bruno applied that Nico Hulkenburg span out of the points on the last lap.

Riccardo Patrese: The Italian who refused to retire

30 Jun

Today marks day 6 of the Formula 1 Formula week of legends (25th June – 1st July). These legends are drivers who have been unsung but have completed achievements that deserve merit. Today’s hero is Riccardo Patrese a man who broke records with his 256 race starts.

At the Brazilian GP 1989 Riccardo Patrese made history becoming the most experienced F1 driver with 177 starts. One season later Patrese yet again broke a milestone, this time it was for being the first driver to reach 200 starts in F1. When Patrese retired at the end of 1993 he’d accumulated 256 race starts, here’s his story:

In 1977 Patrese made his debut with the Shadow racing team replacing Renzo Zorxi. It was a successful debut for Riccardo finishing 9th out of the 12 cars who finished the 1977 Monaco GP and most impressively beating Jacky Ickx. It was a wait before Patrese could impress again as he suffered four retirements in the next 7 races. Patrese managed to impress at the last race of the 1977 season in Japan, finishing 6th and getting a point. In 1978 Patrese moved to the Arrows team founded by Jackie Oliver who he drove alongside in 1977. It was a success.

At Arrow’s second race in South Africa Patrese came close to victory until an engine failure forced him to retire from first place 15 laps from the end, but success was waiting round the corner as Patrese finished 6th at the next two races (USA west and Monaco) to pick up 2 points in the drivers championship. It was another three races before Riccardo would pick up points, this time he finished 2nd at the Swedish GP, 34 seconds behind the victor, Niki Lauda. Patrese than suffered a disappointing spell of results, retiring from 4 of the next 6 GPs and filing to pick up any points, but at the season’s final race at Canada rising from 12th on the grid to finish 4th. Patrese finished 1978 with 11 points.

By all accounts 1979 was a season to forget, Patrese stayed with Arrows but could only pick up points with a 5th place at Spa. But 1980 was more successful, despite retiring from 7 of the 14 races. In his first finish of the season Patrese finished 6th in Brazil, and then at the 4th race of the season (Patrese’s second finish) he finished 2nd at the USA West GP this time 49 seconds behind Nelson Piquet. The rest of the season failed to impress with Patrese picking up poor finishes and retirements. Patrese finished 1980 with 7 points.

1981 was another season plagued by retirements, this time retiring from 9 of the 15 races. But it wasn’t all bad, Patrese finished 3rd in Brazil and 2nd at the inaugural San Marino GP. In 1982 he moved to Brabham to drive alongside Nelson Piquet. Despite retiring from the first two races Patrese finished 3rd at USA West, and three races later Patrese picked up a fluke win in Monaco after 4 drivers retired from 1st place in the last two laps. Patrese also set his debut fastest lap at Monaco. In Canada it was Patrese’s 3rd podium of the season finishing 2nd at Canada only 13 seconds behind Nelson Piquet. Overall Piquet finished 5 of the 15 races picking up points at 4 of them (Patrese finished 5th in Switzerland).

In 1983 Patrese stayed with Brabham, Patrese was set to finish 1st at the San Marino GP, but he spun off with 6 laps remaining. At the 1983 German GP Patrese finished 3rd but he was almost 2 minutes off race winner, Rene Arnoux. At the final race of the season Patrese managed to pick up an impressive 1st place in South Africa after starting 3rd. For the 1984 and 1985 seasons Patrese drove for Alfa Romeo, but it was a disappointing couple of seasons the only result worth mentioning was a 3rd place at the 1984 Italian GP. So for 1986 Patrese moved back to Brabham, but it a successful move, over the next two seasons Patrese only finished 10 out of the 31 races.

In 1988 Patrese drove for the team after driving for the team at the ultimate race of the 1987 season. Patrese finished in the points 5 times to finish the year with 8 championship points. 1989 was the year that Patrese finally managed to put his driving skill into action only retiring four times. After 3 pointless races Patrese picked up his first podium for four seasons finishing second in Mexico behind Ayrton Senna, Patrese then finished 2nd at the following two races in the USA and Canada making it a trip to North America to remember. With the return to Europe Patrese continued his successful run finishing 3rd at the French GP. At the Hungarian GP Patrese picked up his debut pole position but retired on lap 54 with a radiator problem. At the final two races of the season Patrese returned to the podium, finishing 2nd in Japan and 3rd in Australia. Patrese finished the 1989 season 3rd in the championship with 40 points.

After the fantastic 1989 season Patrese must have expected great things, but sadly the car didn’t have championship contending pace. It was the San Marino GP where Patrese stood on the podium, and it was his first time on the top step since 1983. Patrese drove strongly from 3rd on the grid, but Patrese probably wouldn’t have won had Senna not retired on lap 3. Overall in 1989 Patrese picked up 23 points to finish 7th in the standings.

1991 was Patrese’s 5th year driving a Williams, despite finishing 43 points behind Championship winner Ayrton Senna Patrese had a great season to finish 3rd in the championship. Every race Patrese finished he picked up points in, but he had five retirements. Patrese started his points haul in Brazil finishing 2nd, only 3 seconds behind Senna. In Canada Patrese started from pole, but could only convert it into 3rd. But at the next race in Mexico Patrese converted the pole into top step on the podium. Patrese’s second victory of the season came in Portugal where Patrese started 1st and finished 1st beating Ayrton Senna by 20 seconds. Patrese finished 3rd in the championship with 53 points.

1992 was Patrese’s most successful season, he finished 2nd on seven occasions, 3rd twice and top of the podium in Japan profiting from Senna’s and Mansell’s retirements. This record of podiums gave Patrese second place in the championship with 56 points, even if he was 52 points behind world champion Nigel Mansell.

For 1993 Patrese moved to Benetton to drive alongside Michael Schumacher, but he found it hard to work with Schumacher so he retired at the end of the season. Patrese picked up his final podium of his career at Hungary finishing over a minute behind the man who replaced Patrese at Williams, Damon Hill.

Since his retirement Patrese has tested a Williams F1 car in 2002, he raced in the now defunct Grand Prix Masters Series.

Throughout his career Patrese set the record for the number of race entries, 257. Of those 256 race starts he finished 126 (less than 50%). Patrese won 6 races, got 37 podiums, picked up 281 points, 8 pole positions and 13 fastest laps.

Bruno Senna was down, but not out.

25 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

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

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q7 F ret.

It was a promising weekend for Kobayashi, reaching Q3 and starting 7th, and Kamui performed well from the start to run in 4th. But unlucky timing saw Kamui having to pit twice before the safety car car came out, despite this Kobayashi looked like he could still pick up a good points finish before Kobayashi collided with Massa forcing Kobayashi to retire and meaning Kamui has a 5 place grid penalty for the British GP.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 Q15 F9

Couldn’t match Kobayashi’s pace in qualifying starting four rows further back on the grid, and things didn’t go well from the start. Sergio was running on the same strategy as Kamui Kobayashi with two pit stops before the safety car came out, but unlike Kamui Perez managed to finish the race, finishing in 9th after a late charge.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q17 F11

Ricciardo was one of the more aggressive drivers  of the race, colliding with Petrov, and although Ricciardo was largely unaffected Petrov really struggled. Most impressively about Ricciardo was that he was running 4th when the safety car came out. Ricciardo was set for 12th until Maldonado received a 20 second penalty to promote Daniel to 11th.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q18 F ret.

It was a short lived race for Jean-Eric, before a collision with Heikki Kovalainen forced Vergne to retire and brought out the safety car. Vergne was later punished with a 10 place grid penalty for the British GP for this collision.

Pastor Maldonado: 4/10 Q3 F12

I was amazed when Maldonado went 3rd fastest in Q3, but Maldonado struggled at the start of the race he lost two places early on, and it looked like he’d struggle. But he charged forwards near the end before hitting Hamilton whilst rejoining the track. Pastor was given a 20 second penalty for this, demoting him from 10th to 12th.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q14 F10

Again Senna was disappointing in qualifying, and started the race extremely unlucky, first he collided with Kobayashi forcing him to pit for a new front wing, and then the stewards – wrongly (in my opinion) – found him guilty for the accident and gave him a drive thru penalty, this left Senna a distant last. But once the safety car returned to the pits Bruno drove exceptionally to rise to 11th, this was promoted to 10th when Maldonado was given a 20 second penalty.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

 

Williams’ gearbox troubles

13 Jun

We may only be 7 races into the season but already Pastor Maldonado one of the Williams drivers has already had three unscheduled pit stops, including two in two races at Monaco and Montreal. Strangely whilst Pastor has lost 15 grid places because of these unscheduled pit stops team mate Bruno Senna hasn’t needed a single unscheduled gearbox change. Here I’ll look at the reason why this is:

To be fair to the team the change in Montreal was probably just due to Maldonado’s big incident in Q2 at the wall of champions, and there’s every chance the change in Monaco was because of the incident in FP3 the day before, but this is still bad for Williams because Pastor Maldonado is a driver who does put in the regular crash during practice, and if this is so likely to damage the gearbox then it will cost the team a lot of grid positions. This explanation would explain why Bruno Senna – who’s had less accidents this year- hasn’t needed an unscheduled gearbox change.

Another explanation for these problems is that Williams have for the past few years ran the car with a very small gearbox that is much smaller than the other teams’. Whilst last year it wasn’t a problem for the team, there is a chance that that’s the problem this year, maybe it isn’t working so well with the other components. But this explanation doesn’t account for why Bruno has been unaffected by this, though this could just be down to luck.