Archive for September, 2009

Is Kimi going back to McLaren?

September 20th, 2009 1 comment

Kimi Raikkonen, Australia, 2005According to an article in the Mirror, Kimi Raikkonen has already signed an agreement to race for McLaren next year — as long as Ferrari will pay him his £30m salary for 2010.

It seems certain that Fernando Alonso will drive for Ferrari in 2010 which means the Scuderia will have way more drivers than they need; 5 if you include Michael Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella (7 if you also include Badoer and Gene.)  The trouble for Ferrari is that Raikkonen still has another year left of his contract.

There are always lots of rumours this time of year and I wouldn’t necessarily place too much confidence in the Mirror, especially as the article says:

Paddock sources say the Finn, 29, has signed an outline agreement to return to the car he won the world title with in 2007.

Raikkonen did indeed win the Championship in 2007 but I seem to remember him driving a Red Car that year…

This tweet from McLaren’s FifthDriver seems to suggest no decision has been made so as usual we will just have to wait for official confirmation.

As much as I like Heikki and think he deserves to keep his seat for 2010 I can’t deny I would love to see Kimi back in one of the Silver Arrows.  He was criticised earlier in the year for an apparent lack of interest in F1, but since then he  has scored 5 podiums including a win in Belgium.  That doesn’t seem like someone suffering from a lack of commitment.

I also think the team of Kimi and Lewis would work.  Raikkonen clearly doesn’t care who his team mate is, he just gets in the car and drives fast. Some think that Hamilton needs to be number one but I’m not so sure.

Both Hamilton and Raikkonen are awesome talents.  They have each won a world Championship and I would love to see them pushing each other all the way through 2010.

Image: McLaren

Categories: Drivers Tags: , , ,

Italy: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

September 12th, 2009 No comments

Heikki Kovalainen, Italy, 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, while they may be on the third row, the two Brawns look quick.  They will be one-stopping and Hamilton will have to really fly off the start to prevent being jumped in his second stop.

Interestingly, the two McLarens seem to be on different strategies.  Kovalainen looks to be one-stopping and, adjusted for fuel, he was the fastest man in qualifying.  Starting on the second row, a podium or even a win looks a real possibility for Heikki on Sunday.

2009 Italian GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

2009 Italian Grand Prix car weights

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Force India in front again

September 12th, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton, Italy, 2009Force India carried their strong pace from Belgium into qualifying at Monza with Adrian Sutil putting his car on the front row for tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix.

Sutil had looked strong all weekend and the German only narrowly missed out on claiming Force India’s second pole in a row after Lewis Hamilton put a perfect lap together in the closing moments of the third qualifying session.

Kimi Raikkonen managed to get his Ferrari onto the second row ahead of Heikki Kovalainen but Giancarlo Fisichella found the Ferrari F60 a bit of a handful and was knocked out in Q2.  Fisi will start from 14th tomorrow – behind both Force Indias.

The two Brawns will start alongside each other on the third row of the grid and look very strong considering Ross Brawn has said they will be driving a one-stop strategy.  We will have to wait for the published car weights but it is likely all the cars in front of them will have to stop twice.

Despite being surrounded by KERS cars, Adrian Sutil is confident he can still fight for a podium:

We have a great package, this circuit suits us very well as we have an incredible top speed and also a good downforce package so the efficiency of the car is really good. I’m starting on the front row with Lewis for the first time since F3 and I’m really happy he is next to me, he’s a good friend but we will fight hard for it.

Sunday’s race will be split between those stopping once and those stopping twice and we will only really be able to get a clear picture once everyone has made their final pit stop.  It should be interesting…

2009 Formula One Italian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:24.066
2 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:24.261
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:24.523
4 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 01:24.845
5 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 01:25.015
6 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 01:25.030
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 01:25.043
8 Fernando Alonso Renault 01:25.072
9 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 01:25.180
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 01:25.314
11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 01:23.611
12 Romain Grosjean Renault 01:23.728
13 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 01:23.866
14 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 01:23.901
15 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 01:24.275
16 Timo Glock Toyota 01:24.036
17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 01:24.074
18 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 01:24.121
19 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:24.220
20 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:24.951

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,

Prediction game: Round 13 – Italy

September 9th, 2009 7 comments

Kimi Raikkonen, Italy, 2008Two weeks ago, an eventful Belgium Grand Prix saw Force India pick up their first pole position, points and podium.

However, the man that delivered all three of those firsts will be driving a Red Car on Sunday.

With Giancarlo Fisichella moving to Ferrari, Force India’s test driver, Tonio Liuzzi, has been promoted to a race seat alongside Adrian Sutil and he is keen to show that he is worth a full time drive.

Speaking to Autosport he said:

This is a good opportunity for me to show what I can do.  It will be really important for me to show a good performance.

But while Force India were strong at Spa, they may find it hard to keep up with the KERS powered McLarens, Ferraris and Renaults (who are refitting the device for Monza.)

Mercedes motor sport boss Norbert Haug thinks the Italian Grand Prix will be the closest race of the year:

Together with Monaco, Monza is the most untypical Formula One track.  But whilst Monaco is a street course with the lowest average speed, Monza is a high-speed circuit at more than 250kph average, whilst the top speed in the dry will probably exceed 350kph this year.  During the forthcoming race we will possibly see the closest field in Formula One history.

The last six races have seen six different drivers on the top step so predicting who is going to take the chequered flag at Monza is not going to be easy but to make your predictions in round 13 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: Ferrari

Categories: Prediction Game Tags: