Archive for October, 2009

Abu Dhabi: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

October 31st, 2009 No comments

Lewis Hamilton, Abu, Dhabi, 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.

Looking at these weights we can see that while everyone is roughly in position, Lewis Hamilton really is a lot faster than anyone else. It’s hard not to imagine Hamilton driving off into the distance on Sunday leaving everyone else behind.

Trulli looks quite fast so a podium for him isn’t totally out of the question but it is more likely a McLaren and two Red Bulls will take the final podium positions of 2009.

2009 Abu Dhabi GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Car Weights

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Hamilton takes last minute pole in Abu Dhabi

October 31st, 2009 No comments

Heikki Kovalainen, Abu Dhabi, 2009The McLarens have looked strong all weekend in Abu Dhabi but while Heikki Kovalainen stopped in Q2 with drive problems it all came together for Lewis Hamilton as he took a stunning pole position for Sunday’s season-ending Grand Prix.

Lewis looked completely at home on the new circuit and as twilight faded quickly to darkness he was nearly a second faster than the two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber behind him.

Speaking after qualifying, Lewis said:

The car is the best it has been all year. It was a smooth lap, and it just kept getting better and better.

Rubens Barrichello beat his team mate, and new World Champion, Jenson Button to fourth place on the grid.

Jarno Trulli got his Toyota up into sixth place ahead of the two BMWs with Rosberg and Buemi rounding out the top 10.

Ferrari had a disappointing session with Fisichella dropping out in Q1 in last place and Raikkonen only making it to P11.

2009 Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Qualifying Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 01:40.948
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 01:41.615
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 01:41.726
4 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 01:41.786
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 01:41.892
6 Jarno Trulli Toyota 01:41.897
7 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 01:41.992
8 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 01:42.343
9 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 01:42.583
10 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:42.713
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 01:40.726
12 Kamui Kobayashi Toyota 01:40.777
13 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 01:40.983
14 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 01:41.148
15 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 01:41.689
16 Fernando Alonso Renault 01:41.667
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 01:41.701
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 01:41.863
19 Romain Grosjean Renault 01:41.950
20 Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 01:42.184

Image: McLaren

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: ,

Prediction game: Round 17 – Abu Dhabi

October 27th, 2009 4 comments

Lewis Hamilton, Brazil, 2009And so we come to the final race of 2009!

Abu Dhabi will be a race of firsts and lasts. Not only will it be the first time Formula One will visit the new Yas Marina circuit but it will also be the first time a Grand Prix has started at twilight and finished at night time. The race will start at 5pm local time and the flood lights will be on throughout the race so a consistent lighting level is maintained.

The last race of the calendar, Abu Dhabi will play host to a number of other lasts.

Some time during the race a car will make the last stop for fuel in a Grand Prix; refuelling is banned for 2010.

McLaren are hoping it will be the last win for a KERS powered car on Sunday. While KERS is still allowed under the 2010 rules, the teams have agreed not to use the energy recovery technology next year.

BMW Sauber will be contesting their 70th and last Grand Prix this weekend and unless one of the other new teams fails to show up on the grid next year it is unlikely the team will carry on under new owners Qadbak.

With the driver market still in a state of flux it is not known how many drivers will be making their last appearance on Sunday. If everything goes to plan, Giancarlo Fisichella will make way for Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year while Kazuki Nakajima and Romain Grosjean both look likely to miss out on a race seat.

Jenson Button and Brawn GP may have clinched both Championships in Brazil but with McLaren and Ferrari battling for third in the Constructors’ and Barrichello and Vettel freed from worrying about the Championship, Sunday’s race should provide plenty of excitement.

To make your predictions in round 17 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 13:00 GMT.

Good luck!

Image: McLaren

Categories: Prediction Game Tags:

Toyota considering Kobayashi for 2010

October 23rd, 2009 No comments

Kamui Kobayashi, Catalunya, 2008Toyota boss John Howett is considering offering Kamui Kobayashi a race seat next year.

The 23-year-old filled in for the injured Timo Glock in Brazil last weekend and managed to finish a respectable 10th.

Not only that, he wasn’t afraid to go wheel to wheel against World Champion Jenson Button (who described him as “absolutely crazy.”)

There is a lot of uncertainty in the driver market at the moment and Toyota are waiting until a board meeting on 15 November to make the final decision on whether to keep racing in F1.

Apparently Jarno Trulli has promised Toyota chairman Tadashi Yamashina that he would not make any decisions on 2010 until after that meeting but I get the impression Jarno’s seat at Toyota is not as secure as he would like. Howett said of Trulli’s position:

We don’t exclude the possibility, but there need to be one or two issues that we get straight.

I’m a bit surprised at the cool reception Howett gave Kobayashi after Brazil, saying he was “a little bit off the pace,” but compared to the efforts of Grosjean and Alguersuari I think he did a great job in his first Grand Prix.

Personally, I would like to see Kobayashi given a drive next year. I was always a fan of Takuma Sato and I can see shades of Takuma’s Banzai spirit in Kamui.

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Bernie: Senna’s death good for F1

October 19th, 2009 No comments

Ayrton Senna, 1994When people get older they tend to say whatever comes to mind without passing it through the common sense filters that most of us have.

Take the Duke of Edinburgh, for example. Here’s a man who asked a native Kenyan woman who presented him with a gift: “You are a woman, aren’t you?”

HRH may have a long and distinguished history of gaffes but Bernie Ecclestone is rapidly catching him up. The trouble with Bernie is that while the Duke’s comments are frequently hilarious — “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” (in 1994, to an islander in the Cayman Islands), Bernie’s are usually in poor taste — and not in a funny way.

The latest glimpse into the bizarre world that Bernie inhabits is his comment that the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994 was “good for F1.” This was given in an interview with Brazilian paper Folha de S.Paulo:

It was unfortunate. But the publicity generated was so much… It was good for F1. It’s a shame we lost Ayrton. He was popular, but many people became interested in F1 because of the publicity generated by his death.

Putting aside the wisdom of declaring this in a Brazilian paper, I can’t believe Bernie could say such a thing.

If anything positive came from Senna’s tragic death it was that safety has now been improved so much that Felipe Massa can be hit in the face with a piece of suspension and be back in a car a few of months later but to declare it a good thing?

Maybe something was lost in translation but Bernie has sunk to a new low with this one.

Image: Williams F1

Categories: What's Bernie said now? Tags: ,