Thursday, March 22, 2012

Analysis for Australia 2012

This does not mean dominance, but just who performed where on the grid.
Brief, team by team.

Qualified 1 & 2          
Result: Jenson Button: 1 & Lewis Hamilton: 3

The team had looked confident coming into the first Grand Prix and it was perfect and they appear to have the best car on the grid. A 1:2 qualifying, thought didnt match the race, although the safety car may have put paid to Hamilton’s chances. Button was amazing and happy, though Hamilton looked grumpy about being third, so performance between the two will decide who will be the No.1 driver.
Red Bull         
Qualified 5 & 6         
Result: Sebastian Vettel: 2 & Mark Webber: 4
No domination like last year, though Vettel looked quite happy in the following interviews and the car was better in racing conditions and certainly close enough to the McLaren. Webber, the home boy could have finished higher, but the safety car made it a little too predictable towards the end.

Qualified 12 & 16      
Result: Fernando Alonso: 5 & Felipe Massa: DNF
ALONSO. Ferrari are so lucky to have this guy in the car. The car is horrible and doesnt seem to move at all.  No matter how the car is, Alonso just gets the best out of it. Massa looks to have started where he started off last year, and if he carries on like this, we can see a driver change at Ferrari before the end of the season.  Need a certain re vamp if they are to have any chance.

Qualified 13 & 17      
Result: Kamui Kobiyashi: 6 & Sergio Perez: 8
They certainly look like contenders in the mid field and both Kamui and Sergio look good for a good season.  

Qualified 3 & 18        
Result: Kimi Raikkonen: 7 & Romain Grosjean: DNF
They have the speed, they have a reliable machine and they have Kimi and Romain who look certain to amongst the big names and probably beat them too.  Kimi had a strong race, and Romain did start strong and if they build on this performance they could be in the top 4 this season.

Toro Rosso
Qualified 10 & 11      
Result: Daniel Ricciardo: 9 & Jean-Eric Vergne11
Th car has shown some initial pace and this could be a very interesting year for the team by the look of it.  Both the drivers have soon some consistency and did have an incident free race.
Force India    
Qualified 9 & 15       
Result: Paul di Resta: 10 & Nico Hulkenberg: DNF
Should be a very disappointed team leaving Australia, though Paul did manage to get into the points. They have some work to do and by the looks of it, they have a strong team with good drivers so they should only get better from here. 

Qualified 4 & 7         
Result: Nico Rosberg: 12 & Micheal Schumacher: DNF
Expected to lead the pack in Australia, with strong pre season testing and a good qualifying stint, but let down during the race. With one DNF and the other clearly struggling, things did not go as per plan, but can be expected to bounce back. 

Qualified 8 & 14        
Result: Pastor Maldanado: 13 & Bruno Senna: 16
Though classified, both the cars failed to finish the race. It could have been a great weekend, if not for Pastor's over ambitious drive to move up. The car though is a great improvement from last season with speed and top finishes will be a regular for this team.  

Qualified 21 & 22      
Result Timo Glock: 14 & Charles Pic: 15
Glock finished the race, and Charles completed about 53 laps, which should bring them joy, but they are expected to remain amongst the back markers again. 
Qualified 19 & 20      
Result: Heikki Kovalainen DNF & Vitaly Petrov DNF
Not a great weekend for the team, and even with the KERS system are still expected to be at the back.
Qualified 23 & 24      
Result: Narain Karthikeyan DNS & Pedro de la Rosa DNS
No Pre Season tests, not within the 107% qualifying time meant that the car was not going to race. They did do some laps in the new car, but this could become a regular activity if they do not get the car up to speed with the grid.

So Looks like its going to be Redbull vs Mclaren at the top, peppered with Lotus who look the surprising package and if Ferrari get their heads together and give a better car to Alonso, they can get close up to the top.  Mercedes seem close and Williams are back to the midfield and this only means a very very close grid and all this means an amazing season of 2012. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

F1 2012 Driver Line Up: A different take

The 2012 Driver Line up in a funny take:

“The Kid who names his Car" Sebastian Vettel and No.2 Driver Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing

"I couldn’t be in a better place" Jenson Button and “Moved to Monaco to stop partying” Lewis Hamilton for McLaren

"I give Up" Fernando Alonso and Felipe "Baby" Felipe Massa line up for Ferrari

7 Time World Champ and probably his last season in his second stint Michael Schumacher and "The Reason why more woman watch F1" Nico Rosberg for Mercedes

The "Iceman" and "I was taking a shit" Kimi Räikkönen lines up with "Racing alongside a World Champ with boost my performance too” Romain Grosjean in Lotus

Thanking their favourite gods and a "No flying Kingfisher clause" are Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg for Force India

"KAMIKAZE” Kamui Kobayashi and "I escaped a horror crash in Monaco with concussion and thigh sprain" Sergio Perez for Sauber

"Not sure how we got a driving seat" are Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne for Toro Rosso

"Friend of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez" Pastor Maldonado and "Ayrton Senna's Nephew" Bruno Senna for Williams

"Retaining" his seat is Heikki Kovalainen and the "only Russian F1 Driver" Vitaly Petrov for Caterham

"He is always around" Pedro de la Rosa and "The fastest Indian" Narain Karthikeyan for HRT

"I scored a World Championship point in my first Formula One race" Timo Glock and "Rookie" Charles Pic for Marussia

Let’s hope, they give us more reasons to smile this year. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Preview: Australia: 16 March to 18 March 2012: No Leader

For the first time in many years, we start a new season with no clear front runner with mixed pre season training times. The return of Kimi has spiced the grid up, and if times set by Lotus during the  practice session are any indication, then we can look at a 5 way team fight at the top - Red Bull, Mclaren, Merceedes, Ferrari and Lotus. But the first hurdle for the Aussie GP will be the wet weather.

All the teams are looking at the 2 DRS Zone enabled, 58 lap Albert Park to know who has the better car, and Pirelli havent made it any easy. Apparently, this year, the tires are even softer and will need smoother driving style from the drivers.The four tire colors for 2012 are red (super soft), yellow (soft), white (medium) and silver (hard). 

6 World Champions on track and that only adds to the excitement. The front runners will be the Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mclaren duos, but do not rule out Kimi Raikkonen and his Dark Horse, the Lotus, while Schumi and the rejuvenated Merceedes could pose a problem for the grid. 

The midfield looks very positive and look to move into regular TOP 10 positions, as Sahara Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams have all enjoyed good pre season tests. Caterham, HRT and Marussia, hopefully will look to do better than 2011, though they didnt have any decent pre-season sessions.

The most noticeable feature of the 2012 cars, though, remains the ugly 'platypus' step nose on all but the McLaren and Marussia. The noses will long forgotten if the season is close and competitive. 

The weather though might create challenges of its own, as rain is expected over the entire weekend. 

Well, so many World champions, the quality of the field and pre testing not giving anything away, it is going to be a really exciting season and could be one of the best and tightest seasons in a long time.

 starting at 11:30am IST.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ferrari on the top podium at World Motor Sport Council!

Well, well well, if it isn’t Ferrari again! After managing to stay out of the F1 controversy headlines for a considerable amount of time, the prancing horse’s latest trick has brought them back to the forefront. What have they done this time? Deliberately swapped their two drivers positions during the German Grand Prix. But can you also ignore Alonso who has had his fair share of controversies. The two F’s together have made a pitstop at the FIA headquarters and now are on the podium at the World Motor Sport Council.
As F1 fans will remember the Ferrari controversy in Austria 2002 where Barrichello was ordered to move over and let teammate and championship leader Michael Schumacher through for victory. Soon after that the FIA stepped in and ordered that such events be banned from Formula One.
Though 8 years later Ferrari at Hockenheim through Rob Smeadly Massa’s Race Engineer communicated to Massa “Alonso is faster than you please confirm you received that message!". Massa let Alonso through and Ferrari finished 1-2 with Fernando on the top Podium. Looking at the points it’s clear to see why Ferrari made the decision; Fernando was several points and positions ahead in the championship.
A lot of people have now started debating this overtaking/ giving way tactics at the German Grand Prix by Ferrari. There are two sides to the story a) Asking your driver to give way is punishable and this kind of move is now against the rules. It takes away the spectacle of racing and the fans have been robbed of a good battle between the two teammates. b) Previously Webber and Vettel got into a tangle trying to race each other, and what was to be a RBR 1-2 ended up with Webber finishing 3rd and Vettel being classified DNF! Why would Ferrari want to risk a situation like that?

Video Clip No1: Alonso - Massa Incident!

If you followed the race closely, Fernando was lapping faster than Massa and was catching him up! With traffic to follow and Vettel closing in, Ferrari took the decision to let Massa know that Alonso behind him was faster. Ferrari said “Alonso is faster than you i.e. The guy behind you is faster!!! If it’s your teammate u let him go ahead, if it’s someone else u drive out of your skin!! There have been so many instances where a rival team member is behind and the same message is communicated. Just because Massa gave way, doesn’t mean you take it as a team order issued to Massa. How many so called “team strategies” before the race actually communicate the same to their drivers.
I agree Felipe Massa was driving a strong race and if Fernando Alonso could not get past then I’m afraid maybe he doesn’t deserve the points. What’s the point in watching a racing league where drivers are ‘gifted’ victories without having to fight for them? But that’s the fan in me asking that question. Looking at the investments in the cars and the drivers, this was the most sensible thing to do! If Massa could match up to Alonso’s speed then why did he let Alonso through or not catch Alonso as the race progressed?

Massa’s engineer Rob Smedley said ‘good lad’ and ‘sorry’ to Felipe as soon as he had allowed Alonso past. After the race, both Rob and Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said that Alonso simply ‘passed’ Massa on his own merit. Was Massa’s sorry face because he let Alonso overtake him or because Alonso was really quick. The pre-tests and qualifying showed Alonso to be the fastest man on the circuit. Well yeah, Smedley could have made the announcement much less obvious and Massa’s face after the race confirmed his anger.

The incident has the FIA fining Ferrari $100,000, and they will have to face the FIA World Sports Council where the fine could be higher.

Was this a case of real unsportsmanlike by Ferrari or fans feeling disappointed that a great race was ruined by Ferrari?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kimi Matias Räikkönen - Will we see him again in F1?

There have been so many greats in F1 like Schumi, Senna, Prost, Fangio, Brabham and others. All of them had a distinctive character that separated them from the rest but nearly all of them courted controversy regularly. Even Alonso, Hamilton and the current pack of drivers have also had their brush with controversy. Amidst all this one man stood out - Kimi Räikkönen. Known as the Iceman for his cool composure pre, during and post the race.

Kimi made his debut for Sauber in 2001, though the FIA was against giving him a super license to drive a F1 car due to his inexperience. Kimi scored his first points in the season opener in Australia and as per sources Kimi was still asleep 30 minutes before the race.

Kimi was always seen as the guy with a "no attitude problem". Never spoke to much, never laughed a lot, never let him emotions get the better of him, and let his driving do the talking.

It's been about 10 years since Ive been watching F1, there has never been a driver with the class that Kimi showed. He starts 17th and finish on top of the podium in a McLaren that wasn't reliable in 2005. While growing up, all i saw him was in the silver overalls of the Mclaren where he missed being World Driver Champion because of an unreliable Mclaren in 2003 and 2005. No other driver other than Kimi suffered shunts, suspension failures, engine break down all in the final laps of a grand prix. His move to Ferrari was probably best for his because he won his first WDC after a great season of some great driving.

There are many moments in F1 which Kimi will be remembered for. His final lap overtake of Fisichella, his 4 victores at spa earned him - The King of Spa, Eating an ice cream wearing shorts and flip flops in the pit garage when all the others were sitting on a wet Malaysian track waiting for a restart, promising to drink the champagne rather than spray and waste it, the innumerable heart breaks at the dying moments of the race - Spa will be one of the many, driving through a wall of fire, driving through a wall of smoke with no visibility and flat out at Monza, winning the last two races in a row in 2007 to secure his first and only WDC, driving an unsuitable Ferrari to victory in SPA in 2009 after they had already started work on the 2010 car.

But he is famously remembered for The Brazilian Grand Prix quote which was the final race of the 2006 F1 season and also Michael Schumacher's last ever race. The most successful driver in F1 history was presented a trophy from the legendary Pele. When asked by Martin Brundle why he wasn't at the presentation, Kimi Räikkönen replied (On live TV) "I was taking a shit!"

After being one of the best drivers, Ferrari cut his contract short to bring Alonso and Santander into the team, he could not land a deal in 2010, and has since then moved to WRC, doing a pretty decent job as a rookie and will be staying there for another season.

Given the current crop of drivers who are individualistic, though talk about team spirit a guy like Kimi Matias Räikkönen is sorely missed in the paddock. While the drivers heave a sigh of relief, the fans are one who lose out.