Archive for July, 2009

Hungary: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

July 25th, 2009 No comments

Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso, Hungary, 2009The FIA now publishes the weights of each car after qualifying on Saturday.  Those cars that make it through to the final qualifying session must use the fuel they qualified with while the rest of the field may refuel before the race.

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.

From these weights we can see that Alonso’s time was only possible because he was running on fumes.  He has the lightest car on the grid.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber can take comfort from the fact that they set the fastest fuel adjusted times and Nico Rosberg is also quicker than his time would suggest.

Jenson Button is carrying the most fuel of any of the top ten but even allowing for this he just wasn’t as fast as the Red Bulls or even the McLarens.

His Championship is looking less and less certain.

2009 Hungarian GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

2009 Hungarian Grand Prix car weights

Image: Getty

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Alonso grabs first pole since 2007

July 25th, 2009 No comments

Fernando Alonso, Hungary, 2009In an eventful qualifying session for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso secured his first pole position since the 2007 Italian Grand Prix.

All the timing screens went blank right at the end of the third session so for a while no-one knew what position they were in.  This led to the bizarre situation of Fernando Alonso asking each of the drivers who had pulled into parc ferme what their lap time was.

It soon became apparent that Alonso had clinched pole position by less than four hundredths of a second from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.  Mark Webber will line up alongside a resurgent Lewis Hamilton on the second row with Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen on row three.

Despite being on pole, Alonso is not sounding too confident:

We will try (to win) but being honest and realistic, our target is to get some good points. After the last four races where we only scored points in the Nurburgring we need some points for the constructors’, and we know if we start very heavy we go around 8th/9th position.

So it could be that he is running light; we will know more when the car weights are published.

The biggest threat to Alonso and the two Red Bull cars are the KERS equipped McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen who have looked strong all weekend.  Vettel may be starting on the front row but he knows who is just behind him:

For sure the biggest challenge is the threat from cars behind with KERS. The KERS cars are somewhere there, it is a question of where they will pass, left or right, down into Turn One. We will see tomorrow.

The warmer temperatures in Hungary did little to help the Brawn GP cars with Jenson Button qualifying in eighth and Rubens Barrichello failing to make it through to Q3.

The session was stopped briefly after a piece of suspension flew off Rubens Barrichello’s car and struck Felipe Massa in the head causing him to go straight on into the tyre wall at turn four.  Massa escaped serious injury but the 175 mph impact caused the G-warning indicator to light up on his Ferrari and he was airlifted to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.

This comes just a week after an accident in the Formula Two race at Brands Hatch claimed the life of Henry Surtees, the son of former World Champion John Surtees, when he was hit in the head by a wheel that had come off another competitor’s car.

2009 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Fernando Alonso Renault 1:21.569
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:21.607
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:21.741
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.839
5 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:21.890
6 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.095
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:22.468
8 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:22.511
9 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:22.835
10 Felipe Massa Ferrari No time
11 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.002
12 Jarno Trulli Toyota 1:21.082
13 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:21.222
14 Timo Glock Toyota 1:21.242
15 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 1:21.389
16 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:21.738
17 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:21.807
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.868
19 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 1:21.901
20 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.359

Update: Felipe Massa will not race on Sunday so all drivers from P11 move up a place.

Image: Renault

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Prediction game: Round 10 – Hungary

July 23rd, 2009 7 comments

Mark Webber, Hungary, 2008A little later than usual but it’s time for Round 10 of the F1 Buzz Prediction Game.  The Hungarian Grand Prix is only a few days away.

Two weeks ago the German Grand Prix shook up the order and proved that the Championship is not going to be a one (or even two) horse race.

Mark Webber finally scored his first victory after eight years of trying and kept the Brawns on the back foot.  After a couple of races where the White Cars have struggled for grip will the traditionally warm Hungarian Grand Prix allow Button and Barrichello to bounce back or is the Red Bull the best car on the grid now?

The Hungaroring is the scene of Jenson Button’s first victory in 2006 so he is looking forward to the race:

Hungary is always one of my favourite races. Even more so this year as it should finally be a return to some real summer temperatures. The circuit holds some very special memories for me as the venue of my first Formula One win three years ago.

But Webber is hoping Button’s run of good luck has come to an end:

Jenson has had a flawless season, in terms of bad luck or accidents or whatever, and the law of averages says he has to have one of those sooner or later. No-one goes through a whole season like that.

To make your predictions in round 10 of the F1 Buzz 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, the deadline for entries is start of qualifying on Saturday, that’s 12:00 GMT.

Good luck!

Image: Red Bull

Categories: Prediction Game Tags: , ,

Jaime Alguersuari to be the youngest ever F1 driver

July 20th, 2009 No comments

Jaime AlguersuariThe worst kept secret in Formula One is now official.  Jaime Alguersuari will replace Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso from the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

The Spaniard has been competing in World Series by Renault and is the reigning British F3 Champion.  He will also be 19 years, 4 months and 3 days old on Sunday 26 July.

This will make him the youngest ever driver to compete in the Formula One World Championship, beating the previous record held by New Zealander Mike Thackwell of 19 years, 5 months and 1 day although this record is debatable.

Thackwell did line up on the grid at the 1980 Dutch Grand Prix but he was involved in an accident on the first lap which caused the race to be restarted.  According to the regulations, if a race is stopped on the first lap, that lap is annulled and the race is started again.  As Thackwell’s car didn’t make it to the grid for the restart, technically his first race was not until four years later.

This means the record was really held by Ricardo Rodríguez, the brother of Mexico’s only Grand Prix Winner Pedro Rodríguez, who was 19 years, 6 months and 27 days when he started the 1961 Italian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel remains the youngest Formula One driver to appear at a race weekend, though.  In August 2006 he was BMW’s Friday driver at the Turkish Grand Prix when he was just 19 years, 1 month and 22 days old.

It is going to be hard for Alguersuari to make his debut half way through the season when he has never driven the car before and will have zero testing time but he seems to know what he is getting himself in for:

I am aware that I’m facing a very tough challenge, because coming into Formula One is never easy, coming into Formula One in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult. But already I feel that I am getting great support from the team, who have quite a reputation for looking after rookie drivers.

Team boss Franz Tost seems to have limited expectations anyway:

I do not expect anything from him for at least his first three races, during which he has to get used to the car, the team and to the Formula One environment.

It seems a strange choice to me to drop (an admittedly struggling) Sebastien Bourdais for a rookie halfway through the season.

Toro Rosso will be bringing their new double diffuser to the Hungaroring this weekend.  It will be interesting to see what the two young drivers can do with it.

Image: Getty

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Formula One drivers on Twitter

July 18th, 2009 No comments

According to a Nielsen survey, from February 2008 to February 2009 Twitter grew 1,382 percent and now has close to 2 million users.

And it’s not just your mates tweeting about what they had for breakfast, either.  Everyone from Barack Obama to Paris Hilton is using Twitter and a few Formula One drivers are, too.

There are official team Twitter pages like McLaren and Brawn GP, but some of the drivers also have their own Twitter accounts which can be a bit more personal.

Today there was this little exchange between Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet Jr:















You can follow F1 Buzz on Twitter, too.  If you know any other drivers that are using Twitter I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Categories: Drivers Tags: , , ,