Archive for April, 2009

Bahrain: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

April 25th, 2009 No comments

Trulli, Bahrain qualifying, 2009The FIA now publish the declared weights of the cars at the start of the Grand Prix.  Those cars that made it through to the third qualifying session are weighed directly after qualifying while others have their weights declared by the team shortly after the session.

The top ten cars must use the fuel they qualified with while the rest of the field may refuel before the race.

As every Formula One car weighs the same without fuel (605kg), knowing the weights of the cars allows us to predict when drivers will have to stop and also whether the time set in qualifying is indicative of race pace.

Below is a graph showing the actual top ten qualifying times as well as their times adjusted for the weight of fuel they are carrying.  The graph assumes a standard cost of 0.3 seconds per 10kg of fuel.

The graph shows just how fast the Toyotas are.  Even allowing for the fact that they are carrying less fuel than the Brawn GP cars, Jarno Trulli’s fuel-adjusted time was about half a second faster than Jenson Button.  Will Toyota score their first Formula One victory on Sunday?


Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Historic Toyota front row in Bahrain

April 25th, 2009 No comments

JarnoAll the winter testing at the Sakhir circuit seemed to pay off for Toyota on Saturday as Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

This was the first pole position for the Japanese team since Ralf Schumacher at the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix and the first time Toyota have started from first and second position on the grid.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel will start from third next to the Brawn GP of Jenson Button.

Fresh from his second place finish in last week’s Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel’s team mate Mark Webber returned to his usual unlucky form. He was badly blocked by a swerving Adrian Sutil in the final corner of the first session and ended up in 19th place.

When asked if he would be protesting, Webber didn’t seem to think there was much point:

It doesn’t make any difference.  My race is screwed.

Nelson Piquet Jr has been under a lot of pressure to perform and with the help of an interim diffuser he managed to lift himself out of the first qualifying session but could manage no better than 15th.

2009 Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:33.431
2 Timo Glock Toyota 1:33.712
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:34.015
4 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:34.044
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.196
6 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:34.239
7 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:34.578
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:34.818
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:35.134
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:35.380
11 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.242
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:33.348
13 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:33.487
14 Nick Heidfeld BWM Sauber 1:33.562
15 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:33.941
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.753
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:33.910
18 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:34.038
19 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:33.722
20 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.159

Update: Sutil penalised three places for blocking Webber in qualifying.

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,

Rosberg tops practice again

April 24th, 2009 No comments

Nico Rosberg, Bahrain, 2009When will Nico Rosberg translate his practice performance into race pace?  The Williams driver has been consistently at the top of the time sheets in practice this year but so far has failed to deliver on race day.

While Lewis Hamilton went quickest in the first practice session for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg set the fastest time in the second session.

Fernando Alonso had been running high fuel loads and concentrating on race setup and so had been at the bottom of the order but he put in a flying lap at the end to go second fastest as Pat Symonds, Renault’s Executive Director of Engineering, explains:

The Bahrain circuit is our first hard braking circuit of the year and ranks among the hardest for the total braking system. In view of this, we spent a lot more time today on heavier than normal fuel loads, concentrating on our set-up for Sunday.

Here are the times from the first two practice sessions:
First Practice

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.647
2 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:33.907
3 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:33.938
4 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:34.227
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:34.434
6 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.502
7 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:34.531
8 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:34.589
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:34.827
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.827
11 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:34.880
12 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:34.938
13 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:34.974
14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:35.021
15 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:35.036
16 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:35.042
17 Timo Glock Toyota 1:35.333
18 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:35.348
19 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:35.353
20 Sebastien Buemi Torro Rosso-Ferrari 1:35.369

Second Practice

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:33.339
2 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:33.530
3 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:33.616
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:33.661
5 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:33.676
6 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:33.694
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:33.763
8 Timo Glock Toyota 1:33.764
9 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:33.885
10 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:33.899
11 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.994
12 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:34.025
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.127
14 Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.366
15 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:34.411
16 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:34.564
17 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:34.605
18 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.670
19 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:34.764
20 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:34.790

Image: LAT

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Sandstorms forecast for Sakhir

April 23rd, 2009 No comments

Felipe Massa waits for the sandstorm to pass, Bahrain, 2009Andrew points to a tweet by James Allen saying that sandstorms could disrupt the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.

In February, Ferrari, Toyota and BMW headed to the Sakhir circuit hoping to escape the storms that had washed out winter testing in Europe.  Instead, they found themselves twiddling their thumbs waiting for a different kind of storm to pass.  It wasn’t neccessarily that the track was undrivable in the dusty conditions but visiblity was such that the medical helicopter was grounded and therefore testing was red-flagged until the sandstorm passed.

Let’s hope it is a clear day on Sunday.  We are yet to see a ‘normal’ race this year and, while rain always has the potential to make an interesting race, if sandstorms hit the Sakhir circuit the race would have to be red-flagged until the air cleared.

Bahrain could also face the same problem as Malaysia in that the race starts at 3:00pm local time.  With the sun setting at about 6pm that doesn’t leave much time to delay the race before running out of light.

Categories: 2009 Season Tags:

Prediction game: Round 4 – Bahrain

April 23rd, 2009 8 comments

Jarno Trulli testing at Bahrain, 2009This weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix looks set to be the first ‘normal’ Grand Prix of the season; Australia finished under the safety car, China started under the safety car and Malaysia was a total wash-out.  The weather forecast for Bahrain though is hot and dry which should favour the Brawn GP cars.  As long as there are no sand storms…

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had the measure of Brawn in the wet last weekend but Button and Barrichello were faster in qualifying so they go to Bahrain as  favourites.

Ferrari tested in Bahrain over the winter so they will be hoping that experience will give them an advantage but if the Red Cars finish out of the points again it will make for Ferrari’s worst start to a Grand Prix season in history.

Force India are the only other team yet to score a point but they will be taking a new diffuser with them to Bahrain as well as some other aero updates.  Even so, team boss Vijay Mallya isn’t confident of scoring on Sunday:

As usual, we know points are going to be very difficult to achieve and we should not set this as a goal for Bahrain. Instead, we need to focus once more on reliability and consistency and look to be there if circumstances allow.

Will Brawn GP return to their winning ways or will Red Bull score their second win?  Will McLaren continue their improvement from China or will they suffer some crazy penalty from the race stewards?  Will Ferrari remember how to go fast or will Kimi Raikkonen not even bother to race and sit in the garage eating ice creams and looking bored?

To have your say in round 4 of the f1buzz prediction game, just leave a comment on this post with your driver predictions for the race in the following format:

Fastest lap:

The deadline is start of qualifying on Saturday.  Good luck!

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