Sunday, 14 November 2010

Vettel takes it, as Webber and Alonso cock it all up.

So there we go then. It all ends much as it started, with a dull race that promised so much.



It should have been fantastic. All five of this year’s title contenders where up the sharp end of the grid after qualifying three. Vettel putting in an electric performance to take the pole by the knats proverbial testical from Hamilton. Webber choked on the big occasion as he has done on so many occasions over the years and ended up behind Button AND Alonso. How could he win the championship from there?



When it came to the race we’d all forgotten that last year’s race was a horrible dull affair with cars in a long procession and precious little spectacle to be seen. And so it proved again this year. Off the line and Button got the drop on Alonso to take third whilst Webber despite previous history managed to avoid hitting anyone or anything to sit behind Alonso, something he was destined to do for a very long time.



Meanwhile, Rosberg made a move on Schumacher and so surprised the disappointing German seven times world Champion that he spun in the middle of the chicane and then Liuzzi with nowhere to go attempted to mount the stricken Mercedes in a very forceful way. The result was a lengthy pace car period whilst the work experience marshals watched each other dither around trying to get Liuzzi's car off the top of Schumacher’s car. There was a bit of half hearted pulling of pieces and comedy attempts to clean up with the only two brooms in Abu Dhabi, before racing was allowed to continue.



I say racing but what we actually got was almost an hour and a half of dull tedious chess. Webbers had cooked his tires behind Alonso so had to make a very early stop for new boots. Which prompted Ferrari to take their eyes off the main challenge of Vettel and follow Webber into the pits. After the usual slick pit work, Alonso dived out in the exhaust smoke of Petrov. Normally a reliable cove to crash before half distance but this time amazingly that, after also changing his tires early, was driving a fine race. Thus had no need what-so-ever to get out of Alonso’s way.



And that, as they say, was that. Hamilton and button tried to take the race to Vettel, but he was having none of it and pretty much cruised to the win. Leapfrogging both Webber and Alonso in the table and taking his first World F1 Drivers Championship. Redbull does indeed, it would appear, give you wings. (If you’re German and had been brought up on the stuff since birth).



An early pit stop was how it all ended. But we did get to see a Driver take the chequered flag and take the main prize for a change. It’s kind of nice when that happens. Rather than finishing in the middle of the pack and winning by default as so often happens.

So Vettels wins in Abu Dhabi. The thorny question of “does Vettel deserve the drivers’ championship” I’ll have to ponder for a few months. Was he the best driver of the year? No not really for me, he crashed too often in unforced situations and I still maintain that he can only win when he’s at the front of the field. Luckily for him the Redbull has been the class of the field and given him ten poles this year. Even Webber with five poles couldn’t fail to be a championship contender. So to win from yet another pole is kind of what Vettel has done all year. If he didn’t crash or hit someone, he won. This is pretty much what you have to do.



Lewis gets a deserved 2nd place with a car that was at best 5th best behind the Redbulls and Ferrari’s. He never gave up and has raced when all looked lost for him. Great wins in Spa, and Canada and a gifted win Turkey kept him up there and if he hadn’t got all Leary in Monza he would have had a better shot coming into Abu Dhabi. But this is only his 4th year in F1 and the 3rd time he’s been a title contender. The next few years are going to be fantastic as Vettel and Hamilton fight it out to be the best there is.



3rd for Button who’s retained his credibility with great wins in Australia and China when the changeable conditions played into his hands, he didn’t seem able to take the fight to the others with poor qualifying performances all year. But he didn’t disgrace himself with some storming runs to pick up points when all looked lost. Considering that the Media was planning the memorial service when Hamilton buried him, he’s done a good job to be nobody’s number two this year.



Rosberg grabs 4th with yet another good solid drive, much the same as he’s been doing all year. He showed Schumacher how to do it all year and hasn’t been phased by the ex world champions attempts at mind games. Jolly well done to him, Redbull would do well to grab him when Webber throws his final hissy fit and storms off.



Kubica in 5th had “problems” in qualifying and didn’t make it to Q3. The problem being he’s rubbish. The last of my top division drivers, okay he’s all right and in a better car would probably get podiums and stuff, but he’s like Boutsen all those years ago, fine now and again but he’s no world champion. If Massa flounces off I think he’d be mad to hide in Alonso’s shadow at Ferrari, but he may feel he has more of a chance to prove himself over there.



6th for Petrov who doesn’t hit anything for a change and made Alonso look very ordinary all evening. I don’t think he’ll be back next year because he’s not really achieved much this year. He’s got a bit of Russian money behind him, but not enough for a top team to bother with. He may well end up in a Force India or one of the tail end Charlies, but his Renault days are numbered I suspect.



7th for Alonso, oh what could have been, someone at Ferrari HQ is going to get the kicking of their life on Monday morning. They had to cover what Webber was up to, if he got ahead of Alonso they would lose the title and if Vettel won with Alonso lower the 4th he’d lose the title. Webber was the closest challenger so it made sense on paper to cover what Webber did to avoid that scenario and hope there was enough time to get back to 4th. Except they missed the fact that Petrov and Rosberg had already changed their tires and were not inclined to get out of the Ferraris way. Queue much forehead slapping as they realised Alonso was going to be stuck in the midfield.

I didn’t mind Alonso winning it all to be honest. I like Ferrari and had no problem with the team orders thing in Germany. All the other teams do it to a greater or lesser extent, it’s just Ferrari aren’t too sneaky about it. It’s a team game, it’s always been a team game and the tiny fine Ferrari got from the FIA is an admittance that it was a stupid rule anyway. In the end it didn’t matter, something Massa will no doubt point out in his resignation letter. Redbull didn’t seem to feel the need for blatant team orders and they had two drivers with a shout. Rather than one strong shout and a rather pissed off second driver. Oh wait hang on!



8th for Webber who hasn’t delivered since Hungary. Ultimately he hasn’t been the best all season and only took the points when Vettel got it wrong. He seemed to complain endlessly all season that he wasn’t being given the same equipment or a fair crack of the whip, whilst Vettel just kept quiet and got on with it. The remark in Silverstone about being a number two driver goes against the evidence I saw. The team has been pretty fair all season to both drivers. Yet Webber has felt the need to tell all and sundry that he’s having to do it all with a comedy eye patch, an arm tied behind his back with no food and only 5 cylinders and it’s all soooo unfair boo hoo. Truth is he made it difficult for himself and felt the need to blame others as he didn’t deliver. I’m sure he’s a really nice bloke, but he lost this all himself.



9th for Alguersuari, in a Torro Rosso of all things!



Finally 10th for Massa. The German win that was stolen from him didn’t matter in the end. Which isn’t going to make him feel any better is it? It’s been a long and difficult season for the likable Brazilian, but the fire wasn’t in the eyes after Germany, maybe even from China when Alonso carved him up into the pits. He must have seen the writing on the wall that Alonso had arrived and the team was no longer his. Which he must have suspected would happen all along. I don’t think he’ll stay for much longer, he must know that Alonso would never play second fiddle to a team mate, look how that turned out at McLaren. Alonso now owns Ferrari and that means Massa either goes back to being understudy as he was to Schumacher and Kimi or move on to ... I don’t know, Renault perhaps.



So that’s the season then.

Vettel

Alonso

Webber

Hamilton

Button



These 5 have fought hard in what has been a tremendous season. The Redbulls have without doubt been the best car all year, I still question its legality, but we’ll never know what they were doing. Maybe it was all within the rules and in a few years I doubt any one will remember wobberly floors and suspicious ride heights. The racing has been at times exceptional and at others extremely dull. But you’ve not know from race to the next just who was going to take the ultimate prize. The FIA has managed to keep its oar out of things with the Drivers Steward being a great success and no stupid penalties getting in the way of the racing.

Next year see the return of KERS and Pirelli as the sole tire supplier after a 20 year absence. New for 2011 will be adjustable rear wings, although how they’re going to work has yet to be finalized.



But for now we can reflect on the youngest world F1 Champions and a new name on the Constructors cup. Redbull have finally arrived and put their mark on the sport we all love so much.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Yas Marine ... as last

Right I have an open bottle of red wine to help ... let’s go

It’s been a long hard road to reach the Yas marine in Abu Dhabi, 18 races spanning the globe from Europe, to America the Far East and now the Middle East to crown the 2010 Formula One world champion. There are three drivers in with a chance to take the spoils and lift the ultimate Cup in motorsport, Alonso, Webber and Vettel could take the title.

Alonso has had a blinding second half of the season out scoring all and sundry. But Ferrari got nailed for calling team orders in Germany before it was really acceptable. The FIA fined them and then ignored the howls of self-righteous indignation from the media. The other teams mostly shrugged and said, “We all do it ... just not so obviously” and got on with it. Redbull kept mentioning it now and again, generally when their boys weren’t leading the championship.

I don’t mind Alonso winning. When he’s good he’s a great driver to watch and you have to admire his ability to drive a team forward and make them work for him. But like Schumacher before him, his ruthlessness makes it hard to like the man.

Redbull have tried very very hard indeed to lose the Championship. But managed to sneak the constructors in Brazil last week, and might just take the drivers in Abu Dhabi. Depending on where Alonso is, Webber can ... or ... should take the title here. He has the fastest car and should be able to cruise it. But Vettel might yet throw a spanner into the works. If he’s leading and is required to move over to allow Webber to win and get enough points, do you think he would? The team say’s it’s up to the drivers to do the right thing. But Webber and Vettel dislike each other with a passion apparently. There’s no happy McLaren mateyness between drivers in this garage. After Webber basically claimed they all hate him at Redbull last week, I suspect they all now hate him. He’s been there since day one so to turn round and say they don’t want him was a bit disingenuous I though.

The thing with Redbull is you feel they should have won this month’s ago, yet have somehow missed every opportunity. Their drivers have hit people, the cars have had problems, engines have let them down but no more than Alonso’s Ferrari has.
Would I like to See Webber as the Champion? No not really, he’s done far too much whinging for my liking. He driven into other drivers and been overly aggressive when it wasn’t needed. Oh yeah he’s held his hands up when he was wrong, but then he’s whined that the team doesn’t like him and it’s all so unfair. Blah blah blah.

Vettel I don’t think is all that either. He ONLY seems to win when he’s on the front row of the grid. He’s not had a storming midfield run to claim a podium in a car that should on paper be able to cream the opposition. In Hamilton or Alonso’s hands that car would have been champion after Spa. And he waves his finger around when he wins a race. It’s only a small think and its ridicules to get annoyed by a German waving his finger around. But it get’s right on my tits.

There is also the sneaking suspicion that the Redbull car isn’t playing by the rules. Nothing has been proved, but after the floors and front wings of the cars started getting testing in Monza, Ferrari started winning more races. It might all be down to the blown diffuser and the rear end suspension, but at times they’ve been over a second faster than anyone else. That’s a country mile by today’s standards.

So Ferrari might have been really obvious about their “Cheating”, Redbull have been very clever about theirs.

Hamilton was undone by a single corner in Monza. If he’d not dived under Massa into the first chicane on the first lap, then he might be coming with a better chance of the win here. As it is, he’s going to need Webber to driver into Vettel (not unreasonable this year) and Alonso’s last engine to go bang before the final flag of the year. Which is not too farfetched, well okay it is. But it would make for a fantastic end to the season.

I’d love Hamilton to win the championship. I think he’s the only driver that just got on with it this year. Yeah he’s made mistakes, but he’s tried to win. He’s tried to overtake and make a race of it, but he’s also come up short and cocked it up. But just for telling Charlie in Korea that the track was fine and they should all be on inters as the rest of the Nancy drivers complained it was too scary, was the highlight of the year so far for me. He said in the BBC interview before the race in Brazil that motorsport should be dangerous, he is right. Motorsport is about speed and danger. Not parking it up when the track get’s a bit damp. I doubt he’ll win here. But I’d love it if he did.

Button hasn’t done too badly this year. A few good wins and safe comfortable year picking up points and not arsing around hasn’t set the world on fire. But he’s done the job McLaren wanted him to do. They needed a driver who could collect the points whilst their star driver went for the glory. Kovalinium couldn’t do that last year for them, and Button might just have sneaked the title if things had gone his way.
Considering almost everyone said he was going to get buried by Lewis, I think he’s come out of the year with his head held high and credibility intact. He’s still a pretty nice bloke and the fact both Lewis and Jenson are talking to each other still is probably down to Jenson more than Lewis. The team have harmony and two fast drivers. It’s just unfortunate that Lady Luck didn’t like their brand of Champagne.
So there you go.

That’ll be you top five, not necessarily in that order though.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Max says ......


Naaaah i don't want no jive ass FIA job brah. It be dope.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Brazil, falling down but still fun.

Here we go then, it’s make or break time for those wanting to take part in the Abu Dhabi race for the chase for the cup for the thing.

Brazil, it’s old, it’s tired and you’ll get mugged on the way to the circuit. But it has a raw passion this place, fuelled by fans every bit as vocal as the Tifosi and as informed as the British. Except they’re all whacked up on home brew and the samba beat. It’s doesn’t stop them having a good time and cheering anything that’s loud, fast and driven with some passion though, not even the predicted rain is going to put a dampener on this party.

Brazil is all about the big long run up the hill and the start/finish straight, Its foot flat to the floor from Juncao to the Senna S.

Alonso is in the driving seat and this weekend it’s going to be all about how close to The Spaniard you can get for the final race. More than 25 points adrift after Brazil and its goodnight sweetheart welcome to the tail gunner seat.
Now Alonso lucked into the win in Korean, Vettels Redbull had the measure of the Ferrari driver and had the Redbull not spewed bits of Renault engine all down the road, would have won easily. Alonso has used all of his engines up for the year, so can’t afford to blow his last one up. If he does he’ll get a grid penalty for Abu Dhabi and that’ll make things harder.
So he doesn’t need to win here, but he can’t afford to be much lower than 4th or 5th. A Third would be great and a win fantastic. He has an 11 point lead over Webber which isn’t comfortable, but it does give him breathing space, as long as Webber doesn’t beat him with wins. I think Ferrari will aim for 3rd and not stress the engine too hard. They have to hope that Massa will be on form to play tail gunner for Alonso.

Webber had a hard time of it in Korea with a school boy error into the wall in the rain. He needs to be ahead of Alonso to take the championship lead back. Something he should be able to do with his brand new engine. Realistically it’s a straight fight between these two now, but nerves, mechanical reliability and Lady Luck might yet decide this.

Hamilton is now 21 points behind Alonso and will need both the Ferrari and Redbull drivers to cock it up to stand a chance. He’s got nothing to lose so may as well just go for it and when they’re the odd Hamilton always goes for it. The hill and the first sector will suit the McLaren but the rest of the lap will see the Redbulls pull back any advantage. A win is unlikely but if it’s raining then you never know, personably I’d like to see him get a win so that the final race is more exciting.

Vettel, who is now 25 points behind Alonso, needs to win and all the other to hit trouble to stand a chance, that’s unlikely. What’s more likely is that Vettel is going to be leading and Webber will be behind him with Alonso in 3rd. THEN the question is going to be “will Vettel let Webber past to guarantee at least one championship for Redbull” place you bet.

Finally Button who is 42 points behind Alonso and whilst not mathematically out of it should not be making any plans for a big home coming bash any time soon. Oh yes he could still win the title, but he’ll need Lady luck to have an epiphany and come skipping down the road for that to happen.

Massa and Kubica are the drivers that could spoil the party here. Massa has always gone well here and despite a lack lustre season I see no reason why he shouldn’t be in the top five here. He needs to be ahead of Webber and Vettel to help Alonso out, and I suspect keep his job at Ferrari next year. Now would not be a good time to grow and pair and take the win ahead of Alonso.
Some people of my acquaintance are under the mistaken belief that Kubica is a better driver than Button ! But they are idiots and should be jeered whenever they turn up for work. If Jimmy McWrong of the Wrong people suddenly hit on the idea to use his head to nail the picture to the wrong wall, he would still be in a whole world of more right than to suggest that Kubica is better than Button.
“Oh, but it is the Reanult that has let him down with its mechanical frailty” they wail, bollocks he’s crap, get over yourselves.

Rosberg will beat him this time out. As long as Webber doesn’t hit the German again.

Mickey always used to like this place, if he can be arsed.

So really, Alonso could do with being ahead of Webber, but his engine is a bit suspect. Hamilton needs to win ahead of button and the other to not finish. Vettel and Button need a miracle. Rain could provide that. It’ll depend on where Lady Luck will be hiding from the downpour.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Bernie bigging up the slow boys

Bernie in "mindless bollocks yet again" shocker

In an astonishing outburst, F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has lambasted 2010 newcomers Lotus, Virgin and Hispania (HRT) as 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment' – and accused them of doing 'nothing' for the sport.

The British billionaire's remarks are even more extraordinary given that he played a leading role in trying to attract new entrants onto the grand prix grid this season by way of financial incentives. However, almost eight months on and the best of them – Lotus – is still languishing around 1.5 seconds adrift of its closest rival and some 3.5 seconds shy of the outright benchmark. HRT is regularly more than five seconds off the pace, and none of the three have come even close to scoring points.

Whilst acknowledging that with Red Bull gearboxes and hydraulic systems and a widely-anticipated engine-supply deal with Renault, the ambitious, Anglo/Malaysian Lotus effort deserves to remain in the top flight for a second consecutive campaign, Ecclestone criticises Sir Richard Branson for not investing more money into Virgin – and makes no mention at all of Hispania.

“They do nothing for us,” the recently-turned 80-year-old told the Financial Times. “They are an embarrassment. We need to get rid of a few of those cripples. Richard should put some money in there (Virgin), shouldn't he? He could do what (Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz) has done and put some money in.”

Ever the canny businessman himself, Ecclestone went on to confess that he would like to see one of Red Bull Racing pairing Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel clinch the drivers' crown this season, as there would then be five world champions in the field in 2011 – a factor that could only serve to boost F1's popularity.

Adding that there is 'no truth' in rumours that he is lining up disgraced former Renault F1 managing director and 'Singapore-gate' protagonist Flavio Briatore as his successor on the commercial front – with speculation that GP2 Series director Bruno Michel and Prodrive chairman David Richards are similarly in the running to eventually assume the helm – he explained that he has no intention to retire despite his advancing years, vowing to stay 'as long as I can deliver'.

“Somebody will emerge when I'm not there,” he mused. “I think two or three people may come out of the woodwork, but I don't think it could be carried on in the same way as it has.”

Finally, having attempted to float F1 on the stock market back in 1997 – only to be blocked by a number of teams' refusal to sign a long-term contract in the absence of a higher percentage of the sport's income, controlled by his Formula One Management (FOM) company – and again in 2000, when he was scuppered by an anti-trust investigation that had been launched by the European Commission the previous year, Ecclestone insisted he would never try to do so again.

“There's no way I would sit in front of a load of share-holders,” he urged. “It wouldn't float under me.”

F1's parent company Delta Topco is owned 5.3 per cent by Ecclestone, and 63.4 per cent by private equity investor CVC Capital Partners, who likewise are understood to be uninterested in selling a business that is worth in the region of £3.8-£4.4 billion.


It's not often that I'll agree with Bernie. But he is right about Virgin and Bransons actual interest in the racing. He was all over the paddock last year in his linen suits having a laugh with a cheeky smile and a ready bottle of champers.
This year I'm struggling to recall his gurning mug on the TV biging up his brand investment.

But what the heck,I've enjoyed the new young bloods at the back of the grid. It's given Trulli something to do without getting in everyone's way. Mr Fernandes has proved to be a jolly nice bloke and has tried very hard to be professional and not cock around too much with the Lotus name.

HRT, well yes, all rather embarrassing I'll admit. But you have to admire their pluck and it looks like they'll make the end of the season. A considerable achievement when you consider that the car is the very same car that started the season and is only held together with gaffer tape and a pair of Colin Kolles braces he left in the factory one night.

10 years ago Redbull were a rather rubbish Jaguar racing. Today they look set to win at least the constructors championship. Given time even the most stupid of ideas can bear fruit.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Break out the storm laterns, there are cars out there somewhere

Lady luck can have a very strange sense of humour at times. She can take a liking to a driver and shower him with poles, fastest laps and wins galore. Fantastic wins in a claustrophobic Monaco and the windswept fields of Silverstone for Webber, she can rewards the brave balls out drivers of Canada and a soggy Spa for Hamilton. Even Button has impressed her enough to sneak wins in Australia and China.
But what ever Vettel does he just can seem to impress this fickle lady with a liking for Champagne. In fact the whole Redbull team should have had both championship sewn up weeks ago, they are so much faster than anyone else yet the have had bad luck after bad run. Webber has hit most of the field and Vettel has had pretty much every part of his car fail at some point this year. Time is fast running out and Lady Luck is starting to look quite minx in Ferrari Scarlet.

I have to say it was a better race than i was expecting. The track looked okay, if a little ugly and boring. I imagine for a normal dry race you wouldn’t get much in the way of over taking, but throw in the rain and a track that was only laid 11 days again and you get an exciting race. Hurrah! I always though Silverstone was in the middle of a windswept nowhere. But the Koreans have found the only ugly bit of a windswept coastline next to a shipyard and some interesting looking mountains in the world. If they get the money the they’ll build a city and a marine around the track, for now though it looks like the marsh in the middle of nowhere with a half build track on top of it. Spactator wise, they all turned up latre and left early. The stands had punters but there were still big empty gaps. Especially the darker it got.

Vettel made pole look easy on Saturday and after almost 2 hours of sitting around behind the safety car start and being bored on Sunday afternoon he disappeared off into the mist and gloom of the race. Hamilton who had looked pretty fast all weekend (behind the Redbulls) spent most of his time behind the safety car start complaining that it was fine to drive and they should all be on interes anyway. Once they were released to race, he got passed by Rosberg in the Merc that had had a few tweaks on the grid whilst they waited for a break in the rain. Everyone tip toed around for a few laps before Webber ran wide on turn 7, hit the wall and as he crossed the track backwards, collected Rosberg. Which left Vettel behind yet another safety car ahead of Alonso then Hamilton, Schumacher and Massa
Once they’d cleared Webber and Rosberg off the track we had a bit more racing. Until Buemi tried to take out first Kovalainen then Glock before ending up beached on the kerbing minus a wheel and several areo bits. Hamilton managed to jump Alonso for 2nd as the pack pitted during the safety car, but once it all got going again he overcooked the first turn and let Alonso back into an important 2nd place. And that looked like being it for the rest of the day. Sutil attempted to hit both of the Saubers with some horrendous overtaking moves. Actually you’d struggle to call them overtaking manoeuvres, they were more like desperate lunges at non existent holes in an embarrassing attempt to look like a bankable driver for next year. What he ended up looking like was an arse.

Then suddenly Lady Luck got tired of sitting in the rain and gloom at Redbull and wondered off to see if their was any free champagne down at the Ferrari hospitality rooms. The Engine of Vettel gave a rather strangled cry and blow a couple of Renault pistons out the side of the block, depositing a large quantity of oil, water and chunks of metal down the straight until he ground to a halt. There you go nine poles and 3 wins so far this year. It didn’t look like a particularly tough circuit for engines this one, especially in the rain where they’re nowhere near caning it on the twisty bits. Lady luck was then to be seen getting slightly tipsy in the back of the Ferrari garage as Alonso cruised off into the growing darkness, followed by Hamilton who was struggling on very used rubber and Massa who was taking it very carefully in 3rd.

Schumacher didn’t hit anyone this time out and made it to 4th ahead of Kubica who couldn’t live up to any of his hype in 5th.

Liuzzi slipped and slithered where his team mate couldn’t and ended up in 6th ahead of Barrichello who struggled for a long time on used tires to grab 7th and was thankful that it was all over.

Kobayashi had a more subdued race than last time, a few brave moves but the kamikaze stuff was left to the Torro Rosso and Force India boys this week. He picked up 8th mostly by luck and not hitting anything.

Behind his team mate and out of a job next year already, Heidfeld did alright but it was nothing special in 9th. Mostly he just avoided getting clouted but Sutil.

Hulkenberg the soon to be ex Williams F1 driver if rumours are to be believed was 10th after a late tire change as he’d ran the rubber down to the canvas. I’ve not been overly impressed with the lad, he’s not delivered when given the opportunity and Barrichello 200 years his senior has shown him the way home too often.

Other notable exits, Petrov had a big one into the final corner and his seat might not be a safe as he though it was. Unless he can come up with a whole shed load of used tenners, he may well be fighting it out with the Virgin and HRT boys for a seat for next year.

With so many so called worlds best drivers and Trulli cocking around in the wet, Kovalainen comes home ahead of Both of the HRT boys. Okay the lotus was a lap down and the HRT’s two laps back but they finished when the Redbulls didn’t and you have to give them some credit for that.

So the Red machine profits from Redbulls double retirement and Alonso now leads the drivers championship. If you consider that he was 47 points behind the lead half way through the season, you have to consider him as one of the favourites now. He’s taken the most points this half of the championship, the only fly in the ointment is the lack of engines he has left, with a slender 11 point lead over Webber it’s not over by any stretch of the imagination. Lady luck has could still change here mind yet.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

And so it begins.

Apparently the track surface is already breaking up and will need relaying at least once. Expect gangs of Korea equivalent Irish navies to be patching the thing up on Sunday morning.

What a shower of shit !

This is all Bernies fault. We're only here to line Bernie and CVC's pocket and nobody wanted this race except them. There are hundreds of circuits around the world that could host an F1 race, but we're in South Korea at a circuit that the drivers can't even drive on.

it's a fucking joke.

Will there be hot as well as cold warter in Korea ?

Okay then after much ho har and Bernie threatening to throw his toys out of the pram, we’re off to Yeongam county for the inaugural South Korean Grand Prix. Which apparently is all perfectly fine and dandy and just waiting to hold it’s most important event ever right now.

The highlight of this weekend is going to be listening to the commentators picking the place apart. Extra points for spotting every time the Legard says “Still needs a lick of paint here and there but ….. “, and then saying some moronic statement or other.

It’s another FIA Tilke design as usual, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’ll be dull, lifeless and only there so Bernie and CVC can line their pockets with Korean money, no sir-e-bob.

This place is still a building site and it’s going to be another “spot the spectator” event for sure. They might be able to build all of the worlds landfill tat, but I doubt they can rustle up more than a handful of spectators that have “South Korean” stamped on their passport.
Anyway the final tarmac layer got laid about 2 weeks ago so it’s still curing effectively. Normally a circuit has to run a few FIA sanctioned events before it can call itself an F1 circuit. Even some chavs in a selection of stolen escorts and Saxos would be nice, but as far as I’m aware the only thing bedding this place in is construction equipment rushing to build the stands.

So the surface is going to be like a skating rink for the first two test session. Expect at lest one high profile name to crash test the scenery at some point on Friday and with home grown marshals rather than plucky English marshals, it might be a bit dicey if they do his the wall. Given just how slippery it’s going to be I have a fiver on the ex snow racing champion Petrov to go quite well here. Also the HRT’s should be okay because they handle the same whatever the conditions, as everyone else tries to find some grip the HRT boys will be wondering what all the fuss is about.
The track itself looks kind of like a cross between Malaysia, Valencia and Canada. A couple of blindingly fast straights, linked with a hairpin and then a noodles back section with sweeping corners and stuff, there’s not much of an elevation change and not a lot to look at. It’s got Redbull stamped all over it really.
So the podium is probably going to be between Webber, Vettel and Alonso. Hamilton could get a tilt at it, but Lady Luck appears to have the humph with him at the moment. Alonso has been talking up his chances of late and Ferrari are very much behind him, Massa has been doing a good PR job of telling all and sundry that he’s a Ferrari man through and through and is only there to help Alonso win. But I think this is a Redbulls drivers to loose now. Vettel is right back in the hunt with a couple of good results and Webber has been consistent enough. It could well come down to qualifying and that has been the preserve of Vettel this season. If he can get a pole here then he’ll avoid the carnage that will undoubtedly happen on the first lap.

Everyone that isn’t in a Redbull, Ferrari or McLaren has pretty much stopped developing this years car, so they’re looking to pick up points where possible.

Kubica keeps fighting with Rosberg for the best of the rest title, Schumacher might get a result here as it’s a new track for everyone.
Hulkenburg is looking less and less likely to keep his seat for next year, whilst Petrov might get another year now the F1 circus has signed to go to Russian for a GP in 2012.
The chaps down at Force India are getting worried as neither, Sutil or Liuzzi has a contract for next year at the moment. The Word is Sutil is off to Williams in place of the Hulk, but other rumours have him getting the boot into the doomed “test driver” roll for some one after underperforming this year. There are a lot of Gp2 drivers getting linked to all sorts of seat at the moment. So there are lots of drivers looking over their shoulders rather than were the tarmac is going.
Meanwhile back at Ferrari, the word on the street at the moment is that Smedley is the one looking to move on after his boy got shafted by the Alonso machine. If he does go then Massa is probably going to follow him, Renault is the favourite at the moment with a swap for Kubica. I don’t see why Kubica would ditch the number one at Renault for a definite number two at Ferrari, but money can be a great incentive to some.

Predictions updated before thurdays midnight please, there’s still plenty to play for.

Good luck.

Qualifying kicks off at 5am on Saturday, the race is at 6am Sunday I think, the BBC is being a bit vague.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

It's petrol head fest of motorsport and by God i'm tired.

Ooooh what a weekend.

First off I'm up at some ungodly hour of Saturday Morning to watch the BBC try to make a very very wet Japanese track look exciting. I switched off at the point Eddie Jordan handed over two paper boat and tried to have a race in the stream running through the pit lane. It was just not going to improve from there really.

Which left Qualifying to be run at 2am British time. Which was excellent news as it meant i had a reason to stay up and watch the Ozzy Bathurst 1000km which started at 12.30 am and didn't finish until 7am, when the F1 race started in Japan.
It was motor sport heaven. An hour and a half of big grunty Australian V8's motoring up Mount Panorama is truly a site to behold, like Le Mans, Monaco and the Indy 500 i think it's one of those races a Petrol head has to have on their list of things to do before they die. Bathurst is like a mini Nurburing, It's narrow, dangerous and very fast. On the opening lap, after tagging a slow starting car off the line, driver Fabian Coulthard lost control of his Holden at 300kph into the chute corner and barrel rolled his car six times before he came to rest in the gravel trap. Just think about that. 300kph a little over 185 mph and he turns in to find he has a rear puncture and he has no steering or brakes at this point. The car was completely destroyed. All that remained was roll cage bolted to an engine. Mr Coulthard, once the car had come to rest, made sure all his arms and legs were still in place than calmly climbed out of what remained of his car and walked off to the pits.
They build them strong in Australia.




By 2am I'm ready for some F1 and thankfully it's a dry track in Japan. I'm not sure, the red wine and port had kicked in by 2.30am but i think it was a pretty dull qualifying with all the usual suspect in the right place. Vettel looked miles faster than the rest, only Webber, Kubica and Alonso looked like keeping him honest. Hamilton did well but after hitting the wall in practice he'd had to change his gearbox so got knocked back 5 places to 8th for the afternoon race. He was putting a brave face on it, but i think his title chances have pretty much gone now.

I had planned to watch the V8's, but the red wine had other ideas and I passed out at 3.30am, i think.

But not before setting the alarm which woke me up just as the cars are setting off on their formation lap. A quick check on the V8's and some one in a vodaphone had won and I'd missed it all for yet another year.

The F1 start kicked off almost immediately, with Petrov taking out Hulkenburg off the line, then Massa got lost on the way into turn one and speared across the track into a hapless Liuzzi. With Di Grassi crashing before he'd even got to the line we were 5 cars down before the end of the first lap. Then as Kubica was following the safety car behind Vettel as they cleared up the carnage, the poor Polish chap lost his right rear wheel and stopped halfway round the track . Six cars out, the Redbulls off in the distance and no one really taking the fight to them.

Button had gone for starting the race on the harder tires, hoping to stay out longer and try to gain some places. But the Redbulls just pitted, then caught Button and waited for him to pit. Alonso had a bit of a go, got the fastest lap a few times, but each time he did Vettel just went faster. Once Hamilton lost the use of the first three gears in his new gearbox, all the fun was over up front. Thankfully Kobayashi kept us all entertained with a few wild over taking moves, and Rosberg crashed with a few laps to go.

So it's Vettels third win of the season and put's him right back in contention. Eddie Jordan believes that he can now go on and win the last 3 races. He was all over this track all weekend and never once looked like being beaten. Webber doesn't yet have enough points to cruse to the title so it's going to come down to these two and how they get on. If they start taking each other out, Alonso could still sneak it. But Vettel who looked dead and buried 4 races ago is right back in the hunt. He was fast and confident all weekend and didn't need any luck to keep this win. A pretty easy pole and but for Webber getting all racy at the end he'd have had the fastest lap too. But it all only seems to work for him when he's at the front and the car holds together.

Webber, once again got lucky that Kubicas wheel fell off so he didn't have to racer him. But the luck didn't quite hold out to Vettel giving him the win. The pressure is now on the Ozzy to keep the lead in the championship. He needs the others to slip up or get some wins in the remaining races. He nicked fastest lap on the final lap to prove to Vettel that he's still a wheel failure away from the title. But i think the pressure might just be starting to tell on the Ozzy.

Alonso did what he could on a circuit that wasn't supposed to suit the Ferrari. He was there or there about all weekend, but never looked as fast as the Redbulls. He claims the next three races are going to be his for the taking, but i really doubt it. The Ferrari just couldn't match the Redbulls on the fast or the slow bits and Alonso was really just racing Hamilton until his gearbox got the gremlins.

Button in 4th benefited from Hamilton's gearbox problems, tried to be a bit tricksy in qualifying with hard tires for the start. But even that couldn't help him take the fight to the Redbulls. He's pretty much out of the championship now.

Hamilton is lucky to bring the car home in 5th. He was chasing Alonso down with fastest lap after fastest lap, until the new gearbox 3ed gear box went pop and locked him into 4th to 7th gear. He still managed to be faster than the two Mercedes behind him, but Button cruses up to him and passed with ease. He's still the best driver on the grid in my opinion and I'm sure he can win again. Abu Dhabi or Brazil could easily be his with a bit of luck. It just seems that Lady luck has got the huff with him at the moment.

Mickey Schumacher makes it to 6th after Rosberg's rear wheel fell off. Mickey couldn't get past Rosberg for a whole bunch of laps and looked ordinary as usual. This result goes some way to make up for the mess of Singapore but not by much.

Kobayashi drove a great race to get from 14th on the grid. He passed car after car going into the hairpin and i suspect he actually planned to pass a few of them. He certainly put on a show for the home crowed and has certainly emerged as a bonafid racing star this year. He's tied into a Sauber contract for the next few years, but you have to wonder why he hasn't been picked up by the likes of Renault while drivers like Petrov cock around. He didn't look he was going to be satisfied with just tooling around this weekend and he went for every gap presented to him. Avoided the carnage at the start of the race and fully deserves he points.

Heidfeld picked up 8th behind his team mate. Considering this is only his second race of the year, that's no mean feat.

Barrichello in 9th get's this weeks "was he there i missed him entirly" award. No, i tell a lie, i saw him being passed by Schumacher and Kobayashi.

Buemi in 10th well done him.

There you go then, I'm knackered. It's been a long weekend of motor sport an i need some sleep.

Hopefully we'll all be back for Korea in two weeks time, but given the pictures of the circuit floating around the net, i don't think it's going to happen. I've seen the layout and it looks like an interesting place, but they've only just put the top layer of tarmac on so it'll be like a skating rink for the race. But we'll see how much money they're prepared to pay Bernie i suppose.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Will Justin have tickets in Japan ?

It’ll an early start or a late night depending on how old you are or how much Petrol there is in your veins. Yes it’s the first of the late nighters (if Korea goes ahead next, that is) in good old Suzuka, Japan.

I like Suzuka, it’s pretty much old school non-Tilke-dull-a-thon perfection for me, mostly because it’s just dangerous. There are not acres and acres of run off, or miles of waste land with a lone marshal and no spectators in sight. The Japanese really love their motor sport and turn up in their droves to this proper circuit.

The thing about Suzuka is that it’s been the scene of many a moment in Formula 1. It used to be the last race of the season, back in the day Hill Jnr won his championship here in 1996 beating Villeneuve by 19 points. Schumacher won numerous championships for Benetton and Ferrari at Suzuka.

But there is one event here that has really come to define what modern F1 racing is and what is acceptable from a racing driver.
It was 1990, Prost and Senna were fighting for the championship and both came to Japan with a chance to win. Now you need to understand that Prost in the Ferrari and Senna in the McLaren did not like each other, they loathed the very existence of the other in fact. It defined F1 racing during the 80’s and meant every championship for ever after had to have a hero and nemesis (Hamilton v Alonso for instance). You also need to know that Senna felt that the FIA, controlled by one Jean Marie Balestre in those days had it in for the Brazilian driver. This was good old fashioned paranoia of the best kind.

So it’s all very tense coming Suzuka and there’s is a lot of “I’m the big I AM, me” type stuff coming from Ferrari and McLaren and after qualifying Senna had got pole with another of his brilliant laps and Prost had got second with another of his boring controlled laps. But pole put Senna on the dirty side of the track which meant Prost would probably take the first corner and win the championship.
Senna went to the stewards and said “can we swap sides on the grid. I don’t want to be on the dirty side”. The race stewards said, “Yeah sure ... no worries”. And everyone one went to bed happy.

Except when Balestre heard what had happened he called the stewards up and said “the hell you change the Grid, I’m French, the FIA is French and we say what happens round here. Tell Senna to shut up and do as he’s told. You move the pole back pronto sunbeam…. Merde!!”.

At the drivers meeting the next morning Senna was told that his request was now rejected and he had to start on the dirty side. He greeted this news in a calm collected manner and stormed out of the meeting claiming it was all a huge conspiracy and they were all out to get him. He then went to the press and ... “vowed that if Prost (starting second) got the advantage into the first corner, which most were sure he would, he would never make it into the first corner”

When the race started that afternoon, everyone watched Senna to see what he’d do. Would a world champion drive another competitor off the road to win a championship ? we got out answer 30 seconds later as Prost shot off the line and into an mediate half a car length lead. As the right turn rushed up, Senna on the inside but behind the Frenchman made no attempt what so ever to brake and turn into the corner. He ploughed into the side of the Ferrari spinning them both off into the kitty litter. The result meant Senna had enough points to take the world Championship and a new chapter in F1 began.

The FIA did nothing, not a thing. There were a few harsh words and bit of handwringing, but ultimately Senna had said he was going to drive Prost off the track and he did. Because the FIA did nothing drivers started to accept that dangerous driving for a Championship was now acceptable, that it was okay to bang wheels and intimidate other drivers because it was all in the name of entertainment.
Four years later Schumacher drove Hill off the track to take his first World Championship in Australia, then tried to drive Villeneurve off the track to win another in 1997. Now Drivers like Webber, can “aggressively defend” a corner or a line. Because the FIA won’t throw the book at them. Because it’s entertaining.

Anyway, I have no idea who’s going to win this weekend.

Alonso is talking down his chances, claiming the track doesn’t favour the Ferrari, which is usually code for “We’re going to cream this one buddy” He’ll be the first driver to get 3 on the bounce this year if he does win. I fancy his chances, he’s got that glint in his eye again

Webber is keeping things low key but is still most peoples favourite to take the title, if the luck from Singapore hold out he should be a top 5. He doesn’t need to go for wins at every race now, but he still needs to keep the points rolling in. He’s not one for looking at the bigger picture though, and mistakes can happen when he takes his eye off the main prize.

Hamilton is vowing to do what he does best and go balls out for wins. If we’re not going to Korean in two weeks time them he HAS to win here to stay in with a shout. But two duff races must have dented his confidence, will he over compensate this time out ?

The same goes for Vettel and Button, points are fast running out and these two will need the other three to drop points to be in with a realistic shout.

Last year rain threw qualifying into chaos and left the grid all mixed up for the race, Vettel stormed off into the lead and never looked like being caught. It’s a track he seems to like where aggressive driving will reward the brave and the bold.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Singapore Slings

Singapore.
Well there you go.

What have I always said about winning a Championship ? No, not “ that you need to pay Bernie a shed load of cash”. What I always say is that to win the F1 World Championship you have to be consistent and keep Lady Luck in an awful lot of champagne. She’s a game old lass and she knows a good racer when she see one. But get her a bit tipsy and she’s all yours and now, has got down off the pit wall and is cosying up to that rough old Ozzy chap in the Redbull garage. But in a rather sneaky way, she’s keeping her eye on her once favorites down at Ferrari.

So Alonso nails Singapore and takes the pole, the win and the fastest lap just for good measure. He took the pole on his first Q3 run on Saturday and then keeping it when Vettel brushed the wall on his final run, and never looked back from there really. Come Sunday and he “defended” the lead when the lights went out. If he had defended the line like that against Webber, chances are he’d have got a load of Webber up the back side. But Vettel knew what was best for him and backed out nice and early. Leaving Alonso to pretty much cruse up to the flag, Vettel kept him honest all race, but apart from a bit of traffic never looked like troubling Alonso for the win. That’s two on the bounce for the grumpy Spaniard and you would be a brave man to bet against him for the title. He won on the balls out speed circuit of Monza and now on the technical street circuit of Singapore. Given the circuits left to race, the Ferrari looks to be in good shape.

Vettel in 2nd then and he should have got pole and then lost the lead at the start before he’d even got it. Redbull tried to keep him out for as long as possible, but Ferrari had them covered all the way. It’s nice that he finished a race without hitting anyone or anything for a change and it’s done his championship no harm. But they had the car to win and but for a two foot section of Armco on Saturday, they would have. Are they faster then the Ferrari? yes, probably, maybe. We’ll see. But i still don’t think Vettel can win the championship.

3rd for Webber the luckiest man in South East Asia right now! He should be off down the casino right now to put all his money on the first number he sees. So after a rubbish qualifying left him down in 5th he prayed for a safety car and when that dully arrived he was in for the hard tires with an hour and 40 left on the clock. A couple of niffy passes saw him move him up the field, so that by the time the top six came in for tires he was right back in contention. When the second safety car came out he was almost jumped by a battling Hamilton. Now I’m going to be partisan because i like Hamilton and I think Webber is too ready to “strongly defend” his racing line. If there’s a 50/50 he’s not going to back out and that means he’ll hit the other car. Hamilton had taken advantage of Webber getting caught up with the Virgin of De Grassie , i’ll be fair and say that Webber had better track position coming into turn 5, but he could see Hamilton was ahead into the corner. Yes i know he’s chasing a world title. But he was lucky that Hamilton didn’t take them both out, Hamilton was ahead, turned in and gave Webber enough room “if” Webber had braked and moved over the rubble strip. But Webber being Webber never brakes early and “Strongly defended” the corner as usual from a driver than couldn’t see him. The Result Hamilton out and Webber with a wonky wheel.
You could argue that Hamilton, knowing Webber wouldn’t give him the room, should have given him more room, but you’re wrong and Webber is too ready to drive into other cars. And he needs a shave, Seriously. So he’s still leading the race for the chase for the cup for the thing. But it’s all starting to look a bit tight now.

Button in 4th get’s this weeks “was he there at all “ award. He got told that Webber was cruising on used hard tires and still didn’t get any closer.

Rosberg 5th, demonstrates that you don’t have to drive into other people to get a result here. Please take note Mr so called seven times world champion Schumacher. Who is rapidly turning into an arse as well as a smug German git.

Barrichello starts 6th and finishes 6th, another boring race for him.

Kubica has a barnstormer of a race. With a late puncture he ends up in 13th behind Algy, Petrov, Massa, Hulkenburg and Sutil, who he dully passes in the next 10 laps or so to record an excellent 7th place. I’ve been hard on Kubica over the years, never really believing that he has what it takes to go for the win and do something. Admittedly he was on new tires when the others were on very old tires, but you know he still had to get past the other guys who were all fighting for points.

Now, Adrian Sutil crossed the line ahead Hulkenburg and Massa in 8th. But the FIA have decided that he gained an advantage at the very start of the race on Lap 1. He Went off the circuit at turn 7 and therefore at the end of the race he should get a drive through penalty of 20 seconds, which moves him back down to 10th and Hulkenburg up to 8th.

Massa therefore crosses the line in 10th but is given 9th place which is a pretty good result for a driver that started at the back of the grid after the car gave up the ghost on it’s first qualifying lap. Not a bad result for a driver that has looked out of sorts all year long.

So Sutil ends up in 10th and is lucky or unlucky depending on how you did in the Prediction game.

There you go then, it’s all still tight at the top with 25 points still coving the top ten, and as Hamilton has shown it’s easy to get clunked by another driver and shoved into the armco. So it’s not all over just yet for Button and Vettel. But Hamilton needs to get a win or podium soon and. Whilst Alonso is on the move and Webber holds on by the skin of his teeth.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

It’s time for Singapore and the first night race of the season.

It’s still nip and tuck at the top of the table with Webber leading Hamilton 187 to 182 points, Alonso on a charge up to third and 16 points behind Hamilton on 166 points. Button did his chances no end of good with last weeks 2nd place and is only one point behind Alonso on 165 points. Vettel can still take the spoils with 163 points two points behind Button.

So 24 points cover the top five places. That’s just one win in new money and means none of the contenders can afford anymore slip ups.

For weeks now the feeling has been that Webber was the man with the momentum to carry him past the winning post. He’s the favourite for a lot of people. But Alonso is coming up on the inside rails fast. Ferrari would seem to have got the blown diffuser, wobbly wings and f-duck to work together and on top of a grunty engine that takes some beating in a straight line. Which means the pressure is on Webber to deliver a good result at a track expected to deliver a Redbull result, because if he doesn’t you can bet that Ferrari will have Alonso there to pick up the pieces.

Meanwhile Hamilton needs to put a frighteningly bad performance in Monza behind him and go and drive the cahonas off the car. Street circuits seem to be Hamiltons natural habitat. Both Monaco and Valencia have been happy hunting grounds over the years for Lewis and Singapore is no exception. Given a good run he has to be a podium contender this weekend.

Button showed in Monza that he’s not beaten yet. He went with a radical setup and almost kept the Tifosi quite, well those that hadn’t fallen asleep anyway. He was beaten in Italy by cold tires on an out lap and Alonso just nailing it when it counted. The feeling is that McLaren had talked themselves into loosing before the pits stop and where the first to blink. When the car is really working for him Button can be unbeatable, but the street circuits are not normally a place he excels. His smooth driving style never quite beats the aggressive drivers. Top five this weekend, if the others have trouble.

Vettel is having a tough time of it at the moment. He’s not really delivering, with two 3rd places a 15th and a 4th he’s getting results but not the podiums you need for a championship. A mistake at Spa earned him the nickname of the crash kid from McLarens boss. Then despite an engine glitch in Monza he still beat Webber. He’s 24 points off the lead, so not down and out by any means. But, well you just don’t feel he’s got it in him to win this year. Though he did do well in Valencia and Monaca, like Hamilton he really likes a street circuit, so this could be the race he turns things around. But ... well.... can he ?

There are some other drivers to watch this weekend. As ever the ever present Kubica was 8th in Monza after the podium at Spa. Further back and a 5th at Valencia and 3rd in Monaco would suggest a top 5 could be on the cards here. Renault have been talking this weekend up and have just signed some Russian ship yard or other up as a main sponsor for the rest of the season. So they’re riding high. The more adventurous pundits have been talking of a Renault win this weekend. But i have my doubts.

If Kubica can’t deliver than Rosberg will. He should have got a podium here last year but cocked up the pit exit and lost a hat full of points. He’s not shown well on the street circuits in the Merc thus far, but he has always gone well here were aggression and passion can get you a result. He’s comfortably beaten Schumacher so well that the word is the insufferably smug German seven times world champions is going to pack his toys away and hang up his helmet yet again at the end of the year. Whilst Rosberg will be given the head boy badge and told to get on with it. I like Rosberg and would love to see him get a result here. However, and it’s a big However, Ross and the boys have been talking about how much they’re looking forward to their 2011 car this week, which is usually code for, “they’ll be no more racing from us, don’t crash the car lads”

Other names to watch; Barrichello if the eye sight is up to it, this old lag knows a thing or two about street circuits. Petrov has almost done enough to keep his seat for another year, with Kimi asking for a fat pay check, Petrov’s Russian rubbles should see him safe. Kobayashi is joined by Nick Heidfeld from the rest of the season at Sauber after Pedro finally got the old heave ho for being slow and old and rubbish. I doubt Heidfeld will be on the pace here, but Krazy Koby could battle his way into the top ten.

At the back of the grid and it’s just a matter of time before HRT shut up shop and start selling the family silver off to the highest bidder, two rubbish drivers and a piss poor car to boot. What could Prodrive have delivered you wonder.
It’s looking increasingly likely that Branson is going to walk away any day now, just when Virgin are moving ahead of Lotus. This might be because Lotus has ditched the Cosworth engine for next year and are busy developing that car rather than patching this dog up. Virgin still feel there’s a reason to go racing for last place this year so are continuing to develop this years car, which means is might well beat the Lotus this time put.

But this is a street circuit people, at night and with lots of nasty walls and stuff, anything could happen.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

It's a full chat blat round Monza, Forza.

Rightyho then, it's off to Italy and the fastest race of the year.

Monza.

It's about as fast as it gets theses days. A good old no holds bared, "what do you mean safety" full chat blat through the Italian countryside. Cleaver aero bits and flexible wings are not going to help too much here. It's all about just how fast can you go in a straight line. Grunt and plenty of it is what's required.
Based on what we saw in Belgium I'd say it could be a straight fight between the McLaren boys here. Yes i know Button didn't finish, but he managed to keep Vettel behind him, whilst driving with a broken front wing. Even with no front end grip through the twisty bit, he could hold Vettel off until the dopey German driver got it all wrong into the bus stop.

Also based on the result from Spa, you have to look at the Renaults as a possible winner here. They appear to have found some straight line speed from somewhere. It might have been their f-duct that kept them ahead of the Redbulls, but it was grunt that kept them close to the McLarens. I can see Kubica back on the podium this weekend. maybe, with a fair wind and a bit of luck he could win this. Maybe.

I'm also expecting the Force India's to be up there this weekend too. It's another low downforce track that seems to suit their car and both Sutil and Liuzzi scored in Spa, Liuzzi more by luck, but sometimes that's all it takes.

Ferrari always want to go well here, it's their home track after all. The Tifosi will be expecting Alonso to deliver something here, after a lot of whinging and not a lot of delivering. However, Ferrari have to face the music over the "team orders" storm in a teacup FIA trial today (Wednesday) and the FIA may feel the need to throw the book at Ferrari for no good reason other than they're cheating Italians. There has been a lot of "Rules interpretation" this year from the teams, with flexible wings and floors, ride heights that change in park ferme and suspension systems that do more than suspend. So the FIA may feel that it's time to swinging the FIA BAN HAMMER OF DOOM around to remind all the teams that pushing rules is one thing but blatant cheating in a real obvious way is quite another thing.
I don't think they'll get much more than a points deduction, but the FIA do take a dim view of teams getting bad press for not putting on a show and they might put the team on probation or ban them for a race. What bigger example of your power can you give then banning Ferrari from it's home race. It's unlikely I know. But this is the FIA we're talking about.

Anyway. Over at the Redbull garage the boys are looking at a damage limitation race. Both cars will have new engines but they just don't have the straight line speed of the over contenders. I don't even think they'll get pole this time out. Unless they can bring something very special to the party, i suspect they'll try to stay with the Ferrari, Mclaren Battle as long as possible and try to beat the Renaults. This race may very well decide which of the Redbull drivers is going to get the nod from Horner. A podium or top five for Webber would put Vettel pretty much out of the running with 5 races to go. If Vettel could win and Webber be back in the pack then his tilt at the title is still on. So both drivers are going to be looking around for each other, whoever is closest to Hamilton will be the favored son.

As for the rest, Williams have called time on this years car, but Barrichello could make up for Spa and get a top 10 here. The Torro Rosso boys could be top 10 is the Williams boys have an off day. Algy what's it had a 10th spot until the FIA intervened in Spa after all. Over at Sauber and Krazy Koby has been signed for another year and De La Rosa looks more and lore likely to be fired any day now. Koby is a feisty little racer and i wouldn't be surprised if he makes the top 10 if the Likes of Petrov and Barrichello make a mess of it. He's good enough, but the car can be temperamental at times.
Lotus and Virgin are both bringing new bits this weekend both teams want to beat each other and maybe Torro Rosso with a bit of luck. Points mean survival down this end of the pits. I think maybe Virgin will have the edge here. It's a speed track and the Virgin is faster than the Lotus, if it can hold together then i think Glock can beat Trulli and Kovalainen.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Vettel, still a cock, shocker

Well that was all jolly exciting wasn’t it? Throw in a little bit of unpredictable rain and it doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in a wind tunnel or how many gazillions of Euros you throw away on man hours and computer hardware. Stick a car on a wet track and the lord only knows where it’ll go. Petrov found out the hard way the just because the track looks dry, the painted curbs may very well not be. Barrichello found out that just because you’ve done 300 races you still have to break earlier in the wet and that a Ferrari does not make for a good emergency break. Whilst Webber found out that being on Pole is no guarantee of a clean start and an easy race.
Hamilton made it all look easy in the end, but for a missed apex in turn one of qualifying, he’d have cleaned up with Pole, fastest lap and the win. As it was Webber grabbed pole before the Rain on Saturday and then failed yet again to turn it into a win.
Off the line on Sunday he forgot to engage 1st gear and got swallowed up by the pack as it swept down the hill into Eau Rouge for the first time. Hamilton accepted the open goal and drove off into the distance, only to be caught out with the rest of the field into the bus stop chicane at the end of the lap, the promised rain had duly arrived on time to make the bus stop and start/finish a skating rink
Luckily he didn’t come a cropper and continued on. Barrichello in his 300 GP failed miserably to react in time, when he hit the brakes the Williams locked up and ploughed into Alonso who had started in 10th after gambling on a wet set up. Alonso got spun and ended up at the back of the field and dived into the pits for wet weather tires. As it turned out this was the wrong move and he had to return for slicks not long after to begin a very long afternoon.
This left Button behind a disappearing Hamilton with Vettel, Kubica, Webber and Massa behind. Button had clipped Kubica and broken his front wing at the start, so was holding up the faster Vettel through the twisty middle section until lap 16. When Vettel, in a moment of utter stupidity, attempted to sell Button a dummy into the bus stop tripped over himself and speared into the side of the unfortunate Brit taking Button out and dropping the German to the back of the field.
This left Kubica and Webber to try and catch Hamilton who was 10 seconds up the road. They chased hard but never really got close enough to challenge. Meanwhile Petrov who had started at the back of the grid was making his way back into the top ten and Mickey who had been dropped 10 places on the grid for trying to kill Barrichello before the break, was attempting to drive his team mate off the circuit this time out.
It was pretty quite then until the rain started falling with 10 laps to go. Hamilton ran out of road at Malmedy, but kept it going and made it back just ahead of Kubica and Webber in 3rd. Hamilton and the McLaren boys managed to stop and fit the inters with no problems at all. Kubica however, forgot that slick tires on wet road man break earlier, clattered into his pit crew and lost 2nd place to Webber who, like Hamilton had no dramas.
And that as they say was it. Alonso capped a miserable afternoon but slowly spinning at the top of the hill and collected the barrier, breaking the suspension whilst denting pride and the chance to win the championship. Meanwhile Vettel, not content to take Button out for which he’s got a driver through penalty for being a cock, but he drove into Liuzzi and then tried to drive the car on full wets in a light shower. He was lucky to make 15th in the end and championship chances are looking very shaky these days.
So Hamilton wins and tricky race with a fine drive and now leads the championship.
Webber picks up 2nd with a bit of luck and a fair wind. It’s starting to look like a 2 horse race between these two now, though the tracks to come are weighted in favour of the Redbull rather than the McLaren.
Kubica misses 2nd but a wet pit road and it still pretty happy with 3rd. It’s a good result and shows the Renault is now one of the big boys. No chance of a championship, but he can still take points away from the top 5 and may have a part to play in the races to come.
Massa gets 4th after Alonso cocks it all up. He didn’t look like taking the fight to the McLaren, Redbull or Renault, but kept it on the island and that’s what counts.
Sutil in 5th avoided the carnage and kept more fancied runner behind him all day. The Force India has a lot of grunt in a straight line and should go well at the next race in Monza as well.
Rosberg in 6th despite losing bits of his front wing when Mickey chopped him at the top of the hill, he drove a solid race from the back end of the grid following a gear box change on Saturday and continues to beat his 7 times world champion team mate with ease.
The former great 7 times world champion comes home in 7th after trying to drive his team mate off the track. When will he just go home?
Kobayashi continues to pick up points for Sauber in 8th. Japanese drivers normally go to pieces in the rain and cause all sorts of mayhem. But Kobay’ kept it all sweat and didn’t make a mess of anything.
Petrov does a good job of showing how good the car is in the right hands in 9th. Fell off the circuit on the first lap of qualifying, but made amends and drove through the carnage to salvage some pride at least. But it’s still points lost in a top 5 car.
10th for Liuzzi after Alguersuari is given a 20 seconds penalty for something or other, I have no idea what a frankly don’t care anymore. I’ve been writing this for hours and I want to go to bed.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Pack the wet weather gear, it's Spa again.

Hello and welcome back to part two of the championship. There’s everything to play for with three constructors up for a fight and five drivers in with a shout of the silverware. Anyone of them could take it, it’s all going to come down to whoever has been schmoozing lady Luck the hardest.

It’s been depressingly quite for the last four weeks with hardly a peep out of the teams. Lauda popped up to tell the FIA to throw the book at his old partners in crime at Ferrari, for the team orders storm in a teacup. Never one to miss a chance to annoy everyone and fan any flames in sight, Max pooped up and told anyone that would listen that he always knew Ferrari were a bunch of cheats and should be fire from a catapult in to the North sea and left to drown. The FIA has remained resolutely quite on the matter and are rather hoping it all dies down I suspect.
Meanwhile down under the Ozzy’s gave Hamilton an almost embarrassingly low fine for something that never needed to get further that a finger wagging and “Don’t do it again lad” telling off. The courts fined the over exuberant F1 world champion £500 for “hooning” whatever that is. High spirits we call it this side of the world and give a hearty laugh.

Liuzzi has been telling anyone that will listen to him that he’s going to stick the Force India on the podium at Spa. Whilst the team look mystified, shake their head and say ... realistically a top 10 would be nice. The wolves are obviously starting to circle the grumpy Italian and he’s looking to talk himself into a seat for next year. Good luck there lad.

Redbull have been feeding the hungry press pack with stories of how they “Don’t think the long straights of Spa hold any fear for us”. The feeling is that Ferraris grunt and McLarens F’aduck will give them a better top speed on this long circuit. This is just miss direction, as we all know the Redbulls work brilliantly on the high speed corners where grip is all you need. Spa is about the corners, and keeping the momentum onto the straights. If the Redbull is four car lengths ahead coming onto the straight they’ll be two car lengths ahead at the end of the straight.
Well that’s if it doesn’t rain of course, and it always rains in Spa. Once that happens, it’s anyone’s game.
Hoping to go well will be Massa and Kubica. Both could do with a bit of a lift. Massa got nobbed in Germany and could do with a bit of love form the team, he’s 40 odd points behind Alonso in the championship so it would take a miracle to win it from there but you never know.
Kubica needs to start delivering some of this potential he keeps showing. People will start thinking it’s all about the car being there because others have failed to finish, not because he’s dragged the car up there. I’m still to be convinced he is the next big thing. Ferrari don’t appear to want him and i can’t see any of the other big teams knocking on his door.

Further back and the perennial “must try harder’s” at Williams are bringing new wings to Spa in an effort to beat the Force India boys. Barrichello is having a wonderful time with the boys from Didcot and this will be his gazillionth GP, making him the most highly experience driver to never win the world championship, well done him.

Not in a happy place at the moment is Mr Schumacher. He’s been keeping a very low profile these last four weeks, rather hopping that all will be forgiven in Belgium this weekend. Expect a very public attempt at a hand shake with Rubens in the Williams pit on Friday, hopefully the Didcot boys will smack the smug German in his smug face and throw him out.

Meanwhile the new boys in the cheap garages are all making the usual noises about “in it for the long haul” and “a learning year” bluff. Yamamoto is keeping his seat at HRT for another race, which means Senna gets the nod and Chandhok is pretty much fired from F1. A rather ignominious way to go in the end, he was a country mile faster than Yamamoto; he just didn’t have the readies to back it up. Shame really.

So, i think it’ll be the usual suspects up front. A Redbull for the pole with a Ferrari for the fastest lap maybe. Throw some rain in and the McLarens should be contenders, but it’s hard to see beyond a Vettel win in the rain.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Well that was pretty dull wasn't it.

Come on yes it was, if there had been no safety car, then it would have been a Vettel walk in the park and maybe a Webber getting second. Even with the safety car Webber never really looked like losing the lead. If you watched the live timing, then you'll have seen Webber put in fastest lap after fastest lap. Once Vettel had caught Alonso it was all over for the Ferrari driver, who had to concentrate on keeping Vettel behind him so couldn't push to take Webber when he stopped. Also given clear air the Redbulls were in a totally different race, over a second faster than anyone else. Webber lapped everyone up to 6th. Yamamoto and Di Grassi got lapped 4 times, that's how rubbish they were and dominant the Redbulls were.

The only high light was Schumacher demonstrating once again what an arrogant tosser he can be when he wants to be. Barrichello and he were fighting it out for 10th spot the last of the points paying positions, pride is all that's at stake here really. Barrichello was on new tires and easily about 2 seconds a lap faster, he's been all over the back of Schumacher for 3 laps and was going to pass eventually. Schumacher makes a mistake in the final corner so Barrichello is up his gear box onto the long start finish straight. Gets a good tow down the track, Mickey starts to drift right to cover the racing line into turn one, fair enough he's in front and has the right to do that. Barrichello pops right and is along side Mickey by about half distance, he's easily past and in a faster car that will brake later than the Merc. But Mickey keeps moving right, squeezing the Williams towards the pit wall. and on and on ... hang on he's not going to stop here. Barrichello comes about a knats left tactical from hitting the end of the pit wall and taking both cars out.
Then the smug German git had the audacity to claim that;

"I knew that he was coming so, from my point of view, I was moving over to the inside to make it very obvious and clear to him 'go on the other side, there's more space for you.' He didn't choose to, so it got a bit tight."

Which is just utter bollocks, because he knew Barrichello was coming down the right hand side, he'd watched him in his mirrors from the moment they left the last turn. If as he says he was giving Rubens room, why not get out of his way when he realized Rubens was along side, rather than drive him into the wall ? Mickey goes on to say without a hint or irony;
"We know certain drivers have certain views and then there is Rubens," said Schumacher, speaking to the BBC.

"As a driver, you have the ability to change the line once. That's what I was driving to. Obviously there was space enough to go through [because he did]. We didn't touch, so I guess I just left enough space for him to come through.

"I'm known not to give presents on the track. If you want to pass me you have to fight for it, and so it was [here]."

Seriously. Just who does he think he is ? He's got a rubbish car, which he can't drive as well as Nico and yet he is still willing to drive another driver into the wall to attempt to defend a single point. You might say "good on him for trying to get single point, rather than giving up" and I've championed Lewis when he's go out to get every point of fail trying. But as Alonso showed it is easy to defend a place round here if you don't make mistakes. You don't need to try and kill some one over a single point. There are more important things than being a cock and an arrogant smug German cock at that. I never really liked Mickey i respected his dedication and skill, but he has now driven to many drivers into the wall and been a dirty cheat too often to be one of the greats anymore.


schweinhund i vill never let you past !!!

Anyway, enough vitriol, he's been given a 10 place grid penalty so should be somewhere near the back in Spa

Webber gets the win, well done him in one of the fastest cars on the track. Stayed out on the prime tire when everyone else was playing silly buggers in the pits during the safety car. Didn't hit anyone and kept it on the road doing fastest laps when he needed too. He now leads the championship and it'll be brave man to count him out of the title race at the end of the season.

Alonso second , did all he could but never really looked like taking the fight to the Redbulls. Profited from Vettels drive though and held the Redbull back to claim a comfortable 2nd place

Vettel comes home third after failing yet again to turn Pole into a win. Fell asleep during the safety car period at least twice and dropped back further than the permitted 10 car length (about 150m i'm told) It was his own stupid fault and that of the teams. They all claimed that there had been a radio problem and he didn't know that the safety car was coming in when it did. But he did get the message to come into the pits when the safety car for thrown, and then to come in for his drive through. Looked like a bulldog chewing a wasp on the podium and thoroughly deserved to do so. Read the rule book next time laddie. He did get the fastest lap on the final lap of the race as well. Once again if he's done that a bit earlier he might have been able to take Alonso.

4th for Massa who spent most of the race on his own and never troubled the race for the podium.

5th for Petrov who does enough to keep his seat for a few more races. Got the jump on Lewis off the line then cocked it up and made a school boy error to loose the place back to Lewis. After that kept it on the island and did what he was told to.

6th Hulkenburg, another driver looking to keep his seat for next year and doing alright. Needs a few more results to go his way yet through.

7th Pedro De La Rosa. profited from the big boys playing silly buggers in the pits, but was there or there abouts in qualifying so deserves this result.

8th Button who was all at sea in qualifying and only just made the top ten with a lucky pit stop as the safety car got called out as he went in. with Lewis having a rare mechanical failure Button was the only McLaren in the top ten. Not a very good weekend for the boys from Woking.

9th for Kobayashi. After missing park ferme in qualifying they busted his ass all the way to the back of the grid. So to get it into the top ten is a pretty good result for him and the team. He is defiantly turning into competent little racer. How long before one of the bigger teams comes knocking on the door.

10th and justly rewarded Barrichello.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hungary, pray Webber hits someone to liven this one up.

Just enough time to catch your breath and we’re off to Hungary for the next F1 race of the season. Though to be honest, given how usually dull the Hungarian GP is, don‘t get too worked up about this one.

Baring mechanical or Webber brain failure, whoever gets pole here (it’ll be a Redbull ... maybe a Ferrari) will win this one. They always do, there’s just nowhere to overtake. It’s dusty and tight off line and it’s a stupid noodley circuit with only one straight worth the name. Watch the qualifying and then catch the highlights, unless you want a couple of hour’s kip on Sunday afternoon.

McLaren have been waving the white flag this week, talk of “struggling to take the fight to Redbull and Ferrari”, it might be bluff, but I suspect they’re expecting a tough weekend. Redbull seem to have a reliable car now, and only mismanagement is keeping them from clean sweeping everything. Whilst Ferrari have got a fast enough car to beat the bench mark Redbull with ease it would seem. Alonso has been given the Head boy badge and Massa told to collect his bags then go and eat with the other servants at the back of the pits. No surly talk of “doing all right for a number two” here. It’s a straight forward “get out of the way lad, and know you place”. That’s how you do it Horner!

So really it’ll be the Redbulls and Alonso up front with the Woking boys looking to spoil the party. Hamilton can hustle the car better than Button, so I’d plump for him. Massa, well how much did Germany take out of him. Will he go for glory at the circuit that almost killed him a year ago, or retreat into his shell and fail to deliver? He’s come a long way in 12 months but last weekend probably didn’t help. You could say that just being here is a victory in its self however heart warming stories don’t put points on the table.

Kubica up next with a Rosberg, both of whom have been fighting for the 5th spot this year. Rosberg can make it further up the heap, but Mercedes appear to be switching development away from this year’s car. Having admitted that it’s not the Brawn of last year, they’re looking to get points where they can, but not at the cost of losing next year’s title. Kubica meanwhile has shut up and got on with things, consistently in the top 10 he’s doing a good job. Considering that the owner of Renault F1 went cap in hand to Bernie last week for an advance on next year’s money, you have to wonder just how long Kubica will be able to stay in the top 10. The Williams boys have finally got a good car under them and are looking to improve on a rubbish first half of the year.

Krazy Koby has also popped up on the mid season radar with good solid drivers in Valencia and Britain in a very rubbish car, his stock has defiantly risen in the last few weeks. With Kimi thumbing his nose at Renault and Petrov failing to deliver anything like the performance he was hyped too. Koby is starting to look like a shoe in for the soon to be available Renault seat. Hungary could be another good race for the likable Japanese chap.

Talking of rubbish cars, Bernie has been sticking his crazy old man oar into things and come up with “at least two teams won’t make the end of the season” That’ll be HRT obviously who have fired both of their original drivers once, rehired one and fired the other again. To replace them with a very much 4th rate driver, who doesn’t even have that much money with him? The car is utterly rubbish, it’s not even good enough to win a GP2 race, where is will undoubtedly end up next year in fact.


"they're all a shower of shits mate, nar'what I mean!"

Meanwhile the wolves are starting to circle the Virgin boys. Neither driver has been signed for next year so far and Glock is being linked to the Renault seat. Di Grassy is nothing special and will be no big loose. Glock I will always like, just because he gave Hamilton his first world championship. Seriously though, if a team turns up with a petrol tank too small to do the job, you have to ask how professional they are. Lotus have been good in patches, but always looked pretty professional. It’s not the fastest or most exciting car on the grid, but it’s not blown up after 5 laps of failed to make qualifying so far.

I dislike Branson who turned up last year, schmoozed around and won a Championship by luck after putting no money into it really. He then ditched Brawn “because I like to support the underdog” bollocks and set his own team up with some old mates. These old mates have turn out to be rubbish at running an F1 team and Branson has come to realise that F1 is pretty much the same as business, you can buy success, but it will cost you a lot of money. You don’t see his smug face and stupid goatee quite as often this year as you did last year do you.

Anyway yes Hungary. Well you pays your money and takes your chances. Bet on the percentages with Redbull and Webber, take a punt with Alonso or sweat like a desperate man with the McLarens. But don’t expect an interesting race, even the rain is staying away.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The dirty cheating Italians are at it again.

There you go then, a leopard never changes its spots does it. Alonso turns up, and a yeah okay Alonso is further up the championship table than Massa was, but there are a shed load of points left to play for. Why does Massa have to get out of the way so early in the championship? A win here and maybe the roll gets going and before you know it he’s hunting the McLaren and Redbulls down. The Ferrari is obviously a good car that can take the Redbull on for a win. Yet they still tell Massa to get out of the way to let the Spaniard through. Considering I though Massa was going to be nowhere near the sharp end, it was a cracking race by the Bionic Brazilian. He makes it past Vettel off the line and then drives away from the Redbull, keeps Alonso behind him when he struggles on the new hard tires, to then turn round and tell him to give the place back and claim to the worlds press that “he wasn’t as fast as Alonso” then Alonso to say with an absolute straight face “I don’t know why he slowed, it’s a narrow circuit and I took my chance to over take him” is just a kick in the teeth to Massa and two fingers up to the paying punters.

The other teams will tell drivers not to race and to keep it on the island. Ferrari will tell a driver to get out of the way and let the “team leader” through. He almost gets his brains turned to pulp and he still have to get out of the way.

Other than that .... It was pretty dull race. I spent the day at the Farnborough air show with my son and thank God I did, it meant I could fast forward the dull start, the dull middle bit and the dull end. Ferrari’s synchronized racing and McLarens “holding station, to defend the points” do not really make for a particularly exciting racing.

But Ferrari ... really. Do they still need to be doing that in this day and age? According to the FIA no they don’t, a $100,000 fine (a slap wrist of the loosest kind) and a “we’ll think about giving then a stiff talking to later” statement suggest the FIA are worried about bad publicity, but not a lot more. If they get the random ban hammer out to "adjust the result" I shall be very very surprised indeed.

Let’s see then if you fell asleep the result was:

1st Alonso, given the result, but was still there or there abouts all weekend.

2nd Massa got robbed of the win. A good result for driver whose struggled so far all weekend.

3rd Vettel, got pole by the width of a knats left tactical. Then failed yet again to convert it to a win

4th Hamilton still leads the points table. Damage limitation result

5th Button, lost out off the start line, made places in the pits. Didn’t drive into this team mate.

6th Webber was never going to get past the McLaren boys. Didn’t look like going for the win all weekend

7th Kubica never looked fast, best of the rest result again.

8th Rosberg, yet again beat the 7 time world champion.

9th Schumacher looked very smug when asked about Ferrari team orders, the happiest he was all weekend in fact

10th Petrov. Will still get fired any day now.

Vettel gets the fastest lap, further embarrassing Ferrari. Lotus drop the ball and Virgin come up with it this time, well done them.


the next race is this weekend an the utterly dull Hungarian GP. Who ever gets pole will win. i can guarantee it.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

I blame chpaman for this.

So Mr Lopez the new owner of Renault has gone cap in hand to Bernie to ask for a bit of up front cash.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't go racing to further your business interests unless your going racing to win. F1 is not about glad handing punters to network your portfolio, it's about developing the nuts off the car so it beats the next sucker in the next garage along.
If you take your eye off the game to shake Mr Bladry De'blahs hand from the pink Elephant Corp, McLaren, Ferrari and Redbull will have redesigned their suspension and will be 2 seconds up the road.

Lopez is the same as Branson and Fernadez. Playing around for a few year, drink a little champers, make a few friends than high tail it the moment it all gets a bit expensive.

I fully expect Petrov to get fired before the end of the season for "not performing well enough". Whilst Branson will bring up some performance clause before the end of the year and sell up to to some other flyby nigh two bit wonder. Maybe he'll pay for next years car until that fails after 3 races.

To be Fair to Mr Fernadez, he does appear to be in this for the long term, well 3 years at any rate. After which point he will discover that being a jolly nice chap does not move you up the grid past similar jolly nice chaps like Peter Sauber.

It all started to go wrong when Chapman sold out to gold leaf.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Germany, ruthlessly efficient but cold.

Germany.



Well where’s your money going to go this time then ?



Silverstone was supposed to be all about McLaren. But Redbull showed that they’re not ready to give up the championship just yet, yes they’re trying hard to stab each other in the back and sow discord and disharmony where ever possible. But the Redbull is still the fastest, most planted car on the grid today. Until McLaren or Ferrari can get their trick blown diffuser to work and not cook the rear suspension, I can‘t see either taking the Redbull in a straight fight.



In the Redbull camp, they’ve had yet another “clear the air” meeting and the drivers have once again agreed to “work together and deliver the championship as a team” blah blah. It’s all rubbish and if I was Horner I’d be hoping that it’s not a Redbull one – two after qualifying. It has to be said that Webber has had the better first half of the season, if he thinks he’s getting number two treatment there are many in the pit lane who’d like the same treatment. He’s had all the luck with the car and only retired when he’s hit other people. Vettel has had chassis break, spark plug fail and noses fall off randomly. Webber appears to be in one of those “right place right time right Luck” moment that odd drivers get. Like Nigel and Hill and even Button last year, he’s got the right car and his head is tuned into winning and believing he can win. He’s even got the right amount of paranoia that can make him think everyone is against him. That is always difficult to beat, whatever the driver thinks the team is doing behind his back



Bridgestone are bringing the super soft and super hard to the party this weekend. Just like in Canada, this is going to sort the men from the boys, more specifically the men who can nail a fast qualifying lap and keep their tires in good shape for the start of the race. Because the softest will grain up pretty fast and loose grip at the start of the race, whilst the hards will struggle to get up to temperature in the forecast cool conditions. You want a driver that can stroke the car for the first half then spank it to within an inch of its life in the second half (I don’t have to spell that out for you do?). The Mercedes boys will be delighted by this news, as they won’t have to explain why they’re rubbish, just shrug and point at the tires and then walk off. The same goes for Massa, another one that can’t get his hard tires to work these days.



Ferrari have been talking up their race this weekend, I think they’re rather hoping that Lady Luck finally stops flicking the V’s at the boys from Maranello and shows them a bit off love. I don’t think Massa will be anywhere near the sharp end this weekend, but providing Alonso can get his act together he should be there or there about. They have a car capable of mixing it with the McLarens and even the Redbulls with a bit of luck. Alonso just needs to calm down, stop blaming all and sundry for his bad luck and do a bit of racing.



McLaren will be trying the blown diffuser again in Germany, along side the regular diffuser in a back to back test which is a brave move.

It’s effectively writing off the Friday practice and banking on taking the Friday setting into qualifying on Saturday. The boys from Woking must feel confident that they’ve sorted the issues that plagued them at Silverstone.



So Germany, it’s back to Hockenheim this year, the rather neutered course used to be a flat out full chat race through the forests. High speed corners with silly little chicanes, into a grandstand stadium section that twisted and turned to give the fans something to watch. Now the Fast section has been cut in half and a stupid hairpin added at the top of the circuit. It’s still fast, but requires more downforce than it used to. As I’ve mentioned tires are going to be the critical feature of the race. Looking after soft tires on a green track and getting the hard tire up to temp. Hamilton won a barn stormer the last time they were here.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Ozzy bounces back, Vettel cocks it all up this time.

Well that was a pretty exciting race wasn’t it? We’ll not if you’re a Vettel fan, or a Ferrari fan for that matter. But as a Brit and an unashamed McLaren, Hamilton fan, I think that was a pretty good race.

It wasn’t the McLaren one – two I was hoping for, the much heralded blown diffuser turned out to be a bit of dud, so much of a dud in fact they took the thing off and bolted the old under floor back on. Giving the boys a couple of hours to get ready for qualifying, with pretty much new cars on Saturday. As a result Hamilton was lucky to make it to 4th and Button all at sea down in 14th. Meanwhile the Redbulls looked like they were in a race of their own. Alonso tried to make a fist of it but he was still miles away leaving yet another Redbull one two. The only interests came when it was revealed that the new nose the Webber had been taken off and given to Vettel before qualifying. A storm in a tea cup you might think, but apparently not and more than noses had been put out of joint by team orders.
Given that at that stage Webber had already said on Friday he didn’t really care about the new nose and Vettel was leading the championship. You’d think that Webber would have shrugged and gone, “oh sure no worries mate, stick another shrimp on the barby mate ... ripper” etc. But no, “boo hoo I’m not the number two it’s soooo unfair.. blah blah blah”.

Anyway Come Sunday and there is a certain simmering tension in the Redbull camp, whist the McLaren boys are thinking about the race and Alonso is eyeing up a win or a podium at least. Most people are looking at the Redbulls and wondering if Webber will take out Vettel off the line.

When the red lights went out, Webber nipped past Vettel, who attempted to drive him into the wall, Alonso forgot to engage first gear and got swamped by the top 6. Hamilton managed to get up behind the fast starting Webber, Vettel cut back in to stop Hamilton and looks to have clipped the front wing of Hamilton’s’ car with his right rear and punctured the tire. Game over and good night sweat heart. Vettel limped back to the pit, his chance of a victory up in smoke.

That was pretty much it in terms of the race for the win. Webber never looked like being challenged by Hamilton, who kept him honest but never got a sniff of the lead in two hours of racing. Webber felt it was just reward for being labelled the Number 2 at Redbull. It would have been a more interesting race if Vettel hadn’t lost the lead off the line. But it was only ever going to be a Redbull victory this one.

So Webber wins, after almost being killed last time out. Which is nice for him. He didn’t do anything wrong, was fast when it required it, dealt with the safety car well and keeps his chances of a title just about alive.

Hamilton gets second and did the best job he could do under the circumstances. Vettel hit him, he didn’t have anywhere to go when the German cut back in on him. Profited from Alonso forgetting to select first gear at the start and never really looked back. He tried to take the fight to Webber, but never really got anywhere near him. Considering they had to rebuild the car on Friday night and set the car up in a short practice before qualifying, I think he can thank the team for these points.

Rosberg avoids the fun and games and gets a very well deserved podium in 3rd spot. Once again beat his team mate in qualifying, the seven times world champions Mickey Schumacher don’t forget. Then showed that the car isn’t a dog and if you just shut up about the tires being different to what you’re used to, you can beat the others. There is definitely a bit of needle between the two Brawn drivers. Mostly because Rosberg isn’t following the script. But you know what, I like Rosberg and I think he’s having a storming season which a car that’s a bit pants.

4th for Button who drove the nuts off the car and made up six places off the line, stayed out when everyone ahead dived in to the pits and ended up in 4th. Once again a good result for him thanks mainly to the team and a bit of nifty driving. Whilst Redbull arse around telling everyone that the McLaren boys are going to have a fight any day now then stabs each other in the back. The McLaren boys just get on with it and pick up the points.

5th for Barrichello who shows that the updates they bolted on in Valencia were actually very good and it wasn’t just luck. The oldest man in the field battled hard and gets the reward. I do have a soft spot for the Williams boys, and in a week when Frank finally stepped down, it’s good to see them back in the two ten.

6th for Kobayashi. Based on driving ability this time, he stuck at it and didn’t need a safety car this time. He is starting to pop on the bigger teams’ radars now. A Japanese driver who isn’t here on Yen alone. I think we could be seeing more of Krazy Koby this year.

7th for Vettel who managed to pass the slower cars and then a few of the midfield until he got as far as Sutil and then he struggled. He should have won this really, ignore the smoke and mirrors of the nose issue and think about the fact that he clearly has the fastest car on the grid, and can qualify on the front row with ease, But then the red lights go out and he just can’t seem to dominate and pick up the points with any consistency. Rather than accept Webber had gone past him he had to fight. He needs to accept that there are two hours of racing and 19 races to the title. Not 100 yards to the first corner and victory. So points saved, but more points lost.

8th for Sutil who was unlucky to lose a place to Vettel at the end. He has the measure of the Redbull driver for lap after lap then got mugged as Vettel driven down the inside at Brooklands. Still, not too shabby from the midfield team. Importantly much better then Liuzzi yet again.

Sorry this is rather long .... The world cup final is dragging on. We’re into extra time now.

So yeah, Mickey shoes makes it to 9th, 1 place ahead of where he qualified. Those seven world titles.... it was definitely the car not the driver. He got mugged by Vettel and Sutil. This is more than just rusty, this is rubbish. And it’s not the car because Rosberg is on the podium.

10th for Hulkenberg who shows that the new Williams is a good car.

Still nil nil, oooh Spain have a corner.....pfft more rubbish

This week’s “What are you talking about Alonso?” moment. Whilst fighting Kubica for position, he managed to get up alongside the Pole into vale corner, then realised he’d run out of room and took to the run off area. Taking the position in the act. “Well that was pretty obvious, he’ll be giving that place back then” but no, instead he get on the radio with all his usual injured pride and claimed Kubica had driven him off the circuit. “Excuse me, I’m sorry? Do you not have any brakes young man?” Kubica blew his engine not long after that and Alonso thought he was safe. But the creeping hand of the FIA reached out and as the safety car got called out, decided that Alonso should have a drive through penalty after the safety car had been called back into the pits. Putting the whinging Spaniard at the back of the field, he had enough time to pass a few of the new boys and get the fastest lap. But that was all. 14th and out of the points after qualifying on the second row. He got bumped by his team mate and was made to look ordinary yet again. Get you act together, you’re worse than the Spanish team who have just ended the first half of extra time still goalless.

More extra time. Sorry if they’d scored this would be all over.

The New boys, Lotus take the spoils as Virgin lose one car and HRT fire a driver, then don’t fire him, then can’t decide if he’s going to be back for the next or just “more”. His replacement, Sakon Yamamoto was utterly rubbish when he drove for Jordan and Super Aguri and spyker and true to form was utterly rubbish here. He must have just a sack load of money … if not a small shed too.

Well the Dutch have just had a player sent off (at long last the dirty cheats) so it looks like it could be all over pretty soon. If not penalties and I don’t think I can be bothered with that.

So it’s the end of the first half of the F1 season and it’s a case of what should have been for Redbull and well done to McLaren. Ferrari, and more importantly their big summer signing Alonso have been a comedy of error and newbie mistakes. Whilst Brawn so dominate last year are casting around with a well below par old timer and young gun. It’s been a pretty good first half of the F1 season, five different winners in ten races.

Hurrah Spain has scored at last … about bloody time. It’s been a nasty vicious match with fouls aplenty. I don’t think Football is the winner with this game.
And that’s the world cup over. And I’ve written three pages here. Without a bottle of red anywhere near me either.