Archive for the ‘2010 Season’ Category

Another racy weekend in China

April 18th, 2010 No comments

Those people who declared Formula One dull and processional after the opening round in Bahrain must be eating their words now.

Today’s rain-splashed Chinese Grand Prix proved to be yet another exciting race with Jenson Button powering to his second victory of the season thanks to another successful tyre strategy. While team mate Lewis Hamilton made a sudden dive into the pits for intermediates, Button stayed out on slicks. Hamilton said:

Jenson made the better choice on the tyres. It wasn’t easy making the call when to change the tyres. I chose very late halfway around the last corner. Clearly it wasn’t the right choice.

But while it may have been the wrong decision, Hamilton again showed what an amazing talent he is by charging back through the field to finish second despite four pit stops.

And is it just me or is the quality of the stewards’ decisions much better this year? There was a mighty battle between Hamilton and Vettel as they both struggled to regain lost places; a battle that continued down the pit exit when Hamilton was released at virtually the same time as Vettel.

Hamilton got exuberantly sideways as he tried to dive in front of Sebastian and the German then proceeded to squeeze Hamilton perilously close to the wheel guns of the other pit crews.

In previous years this probably would have resulted in a post-race 25 second penalty or place drop, potentially altering the very result of the race itself. As it turned out the two drivers only got a stern talking to.

It seems the policy of having an experienced race driver to advise the stewards at each race is a big improvement.

There is now a mini holiday in F1 which is just as well as the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajoekull volcano continues to close European airspace. Until it reopens the teams are stuck in the Far East.

2010 Chinese Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 5 1:46:42.163 25
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 6 +00:01.530 18
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 4 +00:09.484 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3 +00:11.869 12
5 Robert Kubica Renault 8 +00:22.213 10
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 +00:33.310 8
7 Vitaly Petrov Renault 14 +00:47.600 6
8 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2 +00:52.172 4
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 7 +00:57.796 2
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 9 +01:01.749 1
11 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 10 +01:02.874 0
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 11 +01:03.665 0
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 +01:11.416 0
14 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 21 lapped 0
15 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 16 lapped 0
16 Bruno Senna Hispania-Cosworth 23 lapped 0
17 Karun Chandhok Hispania-Cosworth 24 lapped 0
18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 20 retired, 26 laps 0
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 22 retired, 8 laps 0
20 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 17 retired, 7 laps 0
21 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 13 crash, 1 laps 0
22 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari 15 crash, 1 laps 0
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 18 crash, 1 laps 0
24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 19 retired, 1 laps 0

Image: Greg Baker/AP

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: ,

Formula One is alive and well

March 28th, 2010 2 comments

The reports of Formula One’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

I said after the Bahrain Grand Prix that judging the entire Formula One season after one race was premature and the thrilling Australian Grand Prix just proves that Formula One is far from dull.

The race was filled with action throughout and one could argue that it was the new rules that added to the excitement. Without having to stop for fuel, drivers had to decide whether to come into the pits for fresh tyres and risk losing places or stay out on worn tyres and hope to maintain their position.

An early gamble on switching to slicks and a smooth driving style meant that Jenson Button only had to stop once and was able to dominate the race from an early stage.

Further back in the field there was all kinds of action. Lewis Hamilton drove spectacularly well and if it wasn’t for a questionable decision to stop for fresh tyres and Mark Webber running into the back of him on lap 56 there would almost certainly have been two McLaren drivers on the podium.

Schumacher had another disappointing race spending most of it fighting with the Toro Rosso of Alguersuari. At one point he was even passed by the newcomer Lotus and Virgin cars.

Lewis’s charging drive also provided a classic bit of Brundle commentary:

It was an invitation to pass and Hamilton RSVP’d immediately.

Kubica’s second place finish is encouraging for both Renault and the talented Pole and Felipe Massa’s refusal to yield to his team mate shows that after only two races there is no number one driver at Ferrari.

The Australian Grand Prix proves that Formula One is still as exciting as ever, perhaps even more so. Let’s hope the excitement continues in Kuala Lumpur next week.

2010 Australian Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 4 1:33:36.531 25
2 Robert Kubica Renault 9 +00:12.034 18
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 5 +00:14.488 15
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 3 +00:16.304 12
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 6 +00:16.683 10
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 11 +00:29.989 8
7 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 13 +00:59.847 6
8 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 8 +01:00.536 4
9 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2 +01:07.319 2
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 7 +01:09.391 1
11 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17 +01:11.301 0
12 Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Cosworth 14 +01:14.084 0
13 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 19 lapped 0
14 Karun Chandhok Hispania-Cosworth 24 lapped 0
15 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 21 retired, 41 laps 0
16 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 22 retired, 26 laps 0
17 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1 retired, 25 laps 0
18 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 10 retired, 9 laps 0
19 Vitaly Petrov Renault 18 retired, 9 laps 0
20 Bruno Senna Hispania-Cosworth 23 retired, 4 laps 0
21 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 12 crash, 1 laps 0
22 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 15 crash, 1 laps 0
23 Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Cosworth 16 crash, 1 laps 0
24 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 20 retired, 0 laps 0

Image: Renault F1

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: ,

Bernie talks sense

March 17th, 2010 No comments

So what to make of the Bahrain Grand Prix?

If you believe some of the press, at least in the UK, the race was one long procession, only mildly more interesting than watching paint dry.

I agree it wasn’t the most exciting of races but I don’t think it was that bad. There was some overtaking although admittedly a few of those passes were like taking candy from a baby when Vettel’s engine broke a spark plug.

Perhaps it was because expectations had been pumped up so high: four world champions, three new teams, the second coming of Michael Schumacher.

I think we need to give it a couple of races before passing too much judgment. Bahrain was the first race under the new refueling ban and the teams were obviously being careful with tyres and fuel. I think a lot of the drivers were holding something back and not pushing as much as they could have. Who knows whether Alonso would have mounted a successful attack on Vettel in the closing stages of the race if the German hadn’t had engine trouble?

I hope in the future we will see more agressive driving and race strategy.

Schumacher, obviously disappointed with 6th, questioned the new rules saying

Overtaking was basically impossible unless somebody made a mistake.  That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy.

Even race winner Alonso thinks the refueling ban will encourage processional races.

But let’s not forget one of the reasons the ban was introduced was to take away the option teams had of ‘passing’ in the pits. I don’t think anyone prefers to see positions made or lost in the pits as opposed to out on the track. When you look at the number of actual on track passing moves (rather than ‘passing’ in the pits) in Bahrain was it that much worse than previous races?

I say let’s wait and see. For a change, I agree with Bernie Ecclestone:

The first race with new regulations was always going to be a learning curve for them all. Now they know they can make improvements and be a bit bolder and we will get more action.

I had a meeting with the teams and tried to explain to them what our business is about – racing and entertaining the public. It’s not about playing with computers and going fast over one lap.

Image: Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic

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What’s new in 2010?

February 15th, 2010 4 comments

2009 saw one of the biggest shakeups in the Formula One regulations for many years. New aerodynamic rules changed the shape of the cars dramatically. Slicks made a return after ten years of running on grooved tyres. KERS was introduced along with driver-adjustable bodywork.

Some teams like Brawn GP and Red Bull adapted quickly to the new regulations. Others like Ferrari and McLaren took a while to return to their winning ways.

There are not as many changes for 2010 but some are just as significant.

Perhaps the biggest change is the ban on refuelling. Mid-race refuelling is only a relatively recent tradition, having been re-introduced to the sport in 1994. I’m reserving judgement on this change until we see how the races play out. On the one hand I think refuelling can add excitement to a pit-stop (especially when they get it wrong) and it can also introduce an element of strategy to the race. On the other hand, drivers will still need to stop to change tyres at least once and it may well introduce an exciting new aspect to the race as drivers struggle with a heavy car off the line and also have to manage their tyre wear throughout the race.

We will also see some fantastically fast stops. Who will be the first team to break 3 seconds for a pit stop this year?

The cars will remain basically the same in 2010 although most have grown to accomodate the larger fuel cell. KERS is gone as are those ugly wheel covers but the driver adjustable flaps remain. It would be nice to have some kind of onboard graphic to see when the driver is actually using these as at the moment they really add very little from the viewer’s point of view.

The other big change is the points system. Last year Bernie Ecclestone wanted to introduce a medals scheme to encourage drivers to go for wins instead of points. Thankfully that didn’t come to pass but in 2010 the points system has been modified to give greater emphasis on winning a race. The new points system for both Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles is now like this:

1st : 25 points
2nd : 18 points
3rd : 15 points
4th : 12 points
5th : 10 points
6th : 8 points
7th : 6 points
8th : 4 points
9th : 2 points
10th : 1 point

With 26 cars (hopefully) and four World Champions on the grid, 2010 is shaping up to be one hell of a season. It all kicks off in less than a month in Bahrain.

Can’t wait!

Image: Mercedes GP

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