Archive for May, 2009

Monaco: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

May 23rd, 2009 No comments

Jenson Button, Monaco, 2009While today’s qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix was a disappointment for Lewis Hamilton, who hit the barriers in Q1, it was pole number four for fellow Brit Jenson Button.

Below is a graph showing the actual top ten qualifying times as well as those times adjusted for the weight of fuel each car is carrying.  The graph assumes a standard lap time cost of 0.3 seconds per 10kg of fuel.

While the order looks roughly correct, it does seem like Sebastian Vettel is a little out of position.  He has the lightest car on the grid and his adjusted time is slower than his team mate Mark Webber’s who is a couple of rows behind him in eighth.

The graph does show how good Kimi Raikkonen was, though.  He was the only driver to really match the pace of the Brawns and it wasn’t because he was running light.  With his KERS equipped Ferrari on the front row, he will be a definite threat to Jenson Button’s race on Sunday.

2009 Monaco GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

Image: Brawn GP

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

What the drivers think

May 21st, 2009 No comments

Michael Schumacher, Monaco, 2003On Wednesday, a French court dismissed Ferrari’s attempt to prevent the introduction of new rules for the 2010 Formula One season.

Ferrari had objected to the introduction of a voluntary £40m budget cap that could produce a two-tier championship, where those teams opting for the cap would receive greater technical freedom.

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris found that the FIA did not have to get the Scuderia’s permission to change the rules and that “there is no risk of any imminent damage which should be prevented or obviously illegal trouble which should be stopped”.

So in the lead up to the most prestigious race on the Formula One calendar, once again the exciting on-track action is overshadowed by the off-track politics.  But what do the drivers think?

Fernando Alonso:

If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave F1 then I don’t want to race with the small teams, because it is not F1 any more, and there are many other categories.

For me, it is strange no one sat down and thought how much we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the last two months.  To have those three or four new teams and to lose seven of the big manufacturers, I cannot understand, and not just losing the seven manufacturers, but losing the 10 best drivers in the world.  F1 would not be interesting.

Kimi Raikkonen:

I am pretty sure that we [Ferrari] are not going to disappear from F1, but I cannot be 100 per cent sure.  I will still have a contract with them and they are racing in many different categories, so I think they will find something for me.

If Ferrari is not in F1 nor any other big team like BMW or McLaren, it is not good for F1.  They are the teams that make F1 and if you change the teams for other teams, new teams that come from GP2 or somewhere else, then it is not the same any more.

Felipe Massa:

We have a lot of fights on the political side, and in many areas.  For sure that doesn’t help the sport, because many of these fights made many people a little bit upset.  All I hope for is more sport and less politics.  We are here for racing, and to fight each other on the track, not outside.

People can say whatever they want, but if you lose Ferrari, F1 won’t be the same.

Mark Webber:

At the end of the day I’m very passionate about the sport, and the more they do to destabilise it and make it more difficult for teams or people that try to enjoy it and stick up for it at the bar every week, it’s difficult to keep talking positive about it when we wash our clothes in public so often.

I hope the sport is in reasonable shape next year in terms of teams competing.  There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet and some serious egos involved, so we’ll see.

They [Ferrari] are F1.  The red car has to be on the Formula 1 grid.

Sebastian Vettel:

We drivers are all here because we love cars and we love racing, because motor sport and F1 is our life. Formula 1 is the best platform to race on and we want the sport to continue, but it’s always difficult when it comes to making new rules.

Robert Kubica is trying to stay detached:

It’s true that lately I think around Formula 1 there are a lot of things happening that are not involved in the sport.  So I’m not directly involved in it as a driver, so I don’t really have the information to judge it.  I’m a racing driver, all I’m trying to do is to make our car faster and to prepare for each race.  What is going on, I cannot judge.

As you might expect, it’s hard to curb Jenson Button’s enthusiasm for Formula One these days.  He thinks the racing will make up for the politics:

I think the racing is a good message for the fans.  When the fans turn on the TV on Saturdays and Sundays, I think they get a great show.

What do you think?  Is there too much politics in Formula One?  Can Formula One survive without Ferrari?

Image: Ferrari

Categories: News Tags: ,

Prediction game: Round 6 – Monaco

May 20th, 2009 8 comments

Robert Kubica, Monaco, 200880 years ago, H.S.H. Prince Pierre of Monaco, grandfather of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, formally opened the circuit of the 1st Grand Prix de Monaco.  That race was won by Englishman (and special agent) William Grover-Williams, driving a 2.3 litre supercharged Bugatti 35.

This Sunday, two more Englishmen will be fancying their chances at winning the world’s most glamourous motor race on a track that has remained largely unchanged since 1929.

Jenson Button has won four of the first five races this year so he remains a favourite but Lewis Hamilton has a much better chance of finishing on the podium in Monte Carlo than he did in Barcelona.  McLaren have won at Monaco 15 times – more than any other team and it is Hamilton’s favourite circuit:

The sensation you get from racing up the hill at 175mph, trying to make as straight a line as possible between the barriers while just shaving them with the walls of the tyres is unbelievable – the best sensation you could ever have in a Formula 1 car.  There’s an expectation that Monaco will be another good circuit for our car package because the combination of low-speed corners and absence of any really fast stuff should suit MP4-24.

But the uniqueness of Monaco means that any of a number of drivers could score a the podium.

Adrian Sutil managed to drive his Force India up to fourth last year before an out of control Kimi Raikkonen ploughed into him.  A podium is unlikely but could Force India score their first points on Sunday?

Ferrari, like McLaren, are keeping the KERS on their car, although its effectiveness on the tight circuit remains to be seen.  Their pace looked good in Spain so if there are no more tactical screwups in qualifying the Red Cars might do well.

Red Bull is also a threat.  Sebastian Vettel is the only driver apart from Button to have stood on the top step this year and Mark Webber has done well on the streets of Monte Carlo in the past, finishing third for Williams in 2005.  If they can get the new double diffuser fitted to the RB5 in time it will only increase their chances of a good result this weekend.

Who do you think will win?

To make your predictions in round 6 of the f1buzz prediction game (and be in with a chance to win some nice prizes), just leave a comment on this post with your driver predictions for the race in the following format:

Fastest lap:

Remember, practice is on Thursday in Monaco and the deadline for entries is start of qualifying on Saturday.  Good luck!

Image: BMW AG

Categories: Prediction Game Tags:

Ferrari 250 TR sells for $12 million

May 19th, 2009 No comments

1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa

As predicted, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa has broken the record for the most expensive car ever to be sold at auction at the Ferrari Leggenda e Passione event in Maranello.

One of only 34 ever built, it went for $12,156,252 (€9,020,000).  That’s more than $2m more than the previous record set at the same sale last year.

With a Scaglietti designed body and striking black and red paintwork, chassis number 0714 was the fourth Ferrari 250 Testarossa built and was raced in the 1958 Cuban Grand Prix where Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by Cuban rebels.

The unique pontoon shaped fender design was said to be one of Scaglietti’s favourites, as the designer explains:

Formula 1 was the inspiration for the shape, there were pods on the sides of the F1 cars, (Ferrari Lancia D50) and while I wouldn’t call them aerodynamic, they went well. We used a similar idea by designing the body to bring air in towards the brakes to cool them. In many ways the Ferrari 250 Testarossa was a Formula 1 car with fenders.

I once saw a yellow one of these in San Francisco at the California Mille.  It is quite possibly the world’s most beautiful car.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

Bernie: Ferrari are idiots

May 18th, 2009 No comments

Bernie EcclestoneLast week Bernie Ecclestone was calling Ferrari and Formula One “a marriage made in heaven, one of those super things that work well”.  This was after Max Mosley’s suggestion that if Ferrari didn’t like his new rules they could sod off.

We know that Ferrari are Bernie’s favourite team but considering his recent divorce from former model wife, Slavica (possibly costing him £1 billion), I’m not sure he’s someone I’d want to be taking marriage advice from.

Tomorrow, Ferrari go before the French courts to seek an injunction preventing the introduction of the new rules.  They are relying on a secret deal made in 2005 between Ferrari and the FIA that gives the Scuderia veto power over any new regulations.  A deal that Max Mosley doesn’t seem to think is valid anymore.

Legal action.  Shady deals.  Threatened boycotts.  What ever happened to racing?

Luckily we have Bernie to lighten the mood.  Speaking to The Times, when asked about the court action, Ecclestone said:

It’s good, it keeps it in the bloody newspaper.  They should have done it before – idiots.