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Qualifying results and car weights

1.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:35.058  1:33.784  1:35.181
2.  Trulli       Toyota                (B)  1:34.745  1:33.990  1:35.273
*** 3.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:34.935  1:34.276  1:35.518***
** 4.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes        (B)  1:34.681  1:34.387  1:35.651**
5.  Glock        Toyota                (B)  1:34.907  1:34.258  1:35.690
6.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:35.083  1:34.547  1:35.750
7.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault      (B)  1:35.027  1:34.222  1:35.797
8.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:35.166  1:34.562  1:36.106
9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari               (B)  1:35.476  1:34.456  1:36.170
10.  Alonso       Renault               (B)  1:35.260  1:34.706  1:37.659
11.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber            (B)  1:35.110  1:34.769
12.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota       (B)  1:35.341  1:34.788
13.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:35.280  1:34.905
14.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  1:35.023  1:34.924
15.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:35.507  1:35.431
16.  Massa        Ferrari               (B)  1:35.642
17.  Piquet       Renault               (B)  1:35.708
18.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:35.908
19.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  (B)  1:35.951
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  1:36.107

***dropped 10 places due to engine change**

**dropped 5 places for gearbox change**

Car weights

1.  Button       Brawn-Mercedes         660
2.  Trulli       Toyota                 656.5
3.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault       647

 4.  Barrichello  Brawn-Mercedes         664.5
5.  Glock        Toyota                 656.5
6.  Rosberg      Williams-Toyota        656
7.  Webber       Red Bull-Renault       656
8.  Kubica       BMW-Sauber             663
9.  Raikkonen    Ferrari                662.5
10.  Alonso       Renault                680.5
11.  Heidfeld     BMW-Sauber             692
12.  Nakajima     Williams-Toyota        683.4
13.  Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       688
14.  Kovalainen   McLaren-Mercedes       688.9
15.  Bourdais     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     670.5
16.  Massa        Ferrari                689.5
17.  Piquet       Renault                681.9
18.  Fisichella   Force India-Mercedes   680.5
19.  Sutil        Force India-Mercedes   655.5
20.  Buemi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari     686.5

It was another fantastic qualifying performance from Button today. Again he got pole position with more fuel than his immediate rivals. He will also be pleased that the first KERs car was only 7th.

However Toyota will give Brawn GP a fright tommorrow. It’s much closer than it was last weekend. Button should just be able to edge ahead but Trulli or Glock will push him all the way. Also Toyota have a proven reliability record. Brawn GP could have an issue with reliability here in these hot conditions.

If Raikkonen can utilise his KERs system and get a decent start then he could get involved in the battle for the victory.

Massa will have to make full use of his KERs system back in 16th place. Ferrari were extremely complacent. I am sure they won’t make that error again next time.

My prediction for the podium

1. Button

2. Trulli

3. Raikkonen

However if it rains then it could turn into a real lottery.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Brawn GP’s success isn’t a surprise

Leaving Australia there was no doubt who the weekend belonged to. Brawn GP confirmed that their winter test pace was real by dominating qualifying, and rounding it off with a 1-2 finish in the Grand Prix itself.

The scary thing is that Jenson didn’t even need to push 100%. The safety car period, and a fumbled second pit stop made it look closer than it actually was in reality. He had far more pace up his sleeve had he needed it

It will certainly go down as one of the greatest stories in F1 history. There was a real “feel good“ factor about this result just like there was in Monza in 2008, when Vettel won in the rain for Toro Rosso.

Many people in the F1 paddock have been left stunned at the pace of Brawn GP. However when we  take an in-depth look at the team should we really be that surprised? Should we have perhaps have seen it coming instead?

Why have Brawn GP done so well?

There are a whole host of reasons as to why Brawn GP are so strong.

The main reason that stands out is the amount of time that has been spent working on this car. As soon as Ross Brawn came into the team (in November 2007) he decided that the 2008 car was slow. It had so many problems, that there was no point in trying to improve it. It was going to be virtually impossible to close the huge gap on Ferrari and Mclaren with this car.

With the unique opportunity that the huge 2009 regulation changes presented, Ross Brawn decided to waste no time whatsoever. The 2009 rules were like starting from a fresh piece paper. With the 2009 regulations the teams were starting again at the same level again. Think of it as pressing the reset button.

Brawn GP invested far more time on the 2009 car than any other team. They had at least a 6 month head start on all the other teams. Reports suggested that the team had up to 4 wind tunnels working overtime throughout 2008 just on the 2009 car.

With all this time that the team has had, has allowed them to put a lot of thought into this car. Just looking at the car, you can tell that it has been a long time in the making. You can see the sheer detail everywhere on the car. The front wing has lots of little details on it and the sidepods are beautifully sculpted. The fresh 2009 rules ment there were many different development routes, which could have been taken. Ross Brawn, and his team of engineers have clearly gone down the right route. They have adapted to the new aerodynamic rules brilliantly, and have just done a better job than all the other teams.

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | Main Features | 1 Comment

What we learnt in Melbourne

Last weekend was one of the most highly anticipated opening races in F1 history. With so many rule changes, and the old pecking order being ripped up there were so many questions coming into this race.

So what have we learnt from the Round 1 of the F1 season?

Brawn GP’s pace is real

Throughout winter testing many held the view that Brawn GP were running underweight, and refused to believe how quick the car was. This weekend confirmed that this is a very quick car, and Brawn GP have to be considered serious contenders for the 2009 world championship. Their one lap pace was particularly impressive. Jenson Button’s pole position lap was 0.6 tenths quicker than the first non-Brawn GP car, and Button was on a fairly heavy fuel load.

In the race I don’t think Brawn GP showed their true pace. The safety car made the race closer, and gave the advantage to the cars that started on the unfavourable super soft tyre. Also a fumbled second pit stop lost Jenson at least 4 or 5 seconds.

Despite these difficult moments Button was calm, and had the race perfectly under control. He dealt with the last stint on the super soft tyres with superb ease. I think he could have gone quicker if he needed to.

Rubens Barrichello also did very well to fight back to 2nd after a very poor getaway.

This 1-2 result for Brawn GP is an absolute fairytale, and shows that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.  It’s amazing that a team that was all but dead a few months ago, has come back to deliver this incredible result.

Mclaren’s woes are also real

Mclaren’s poor pace over winter testing was another story, which fans were very sceptical about. Some suggested they were sandbagging and playing games. As a Mclaren fan I was hoping the people who held these views would be proved right.

As it turned out in Australia Mclaren do have a lot of work to do, if they want to be challenging for race victories later this season. The Mclaren at the moment is around 1.5 seconds off the pace of the Brawn GP cars. That is a huge chunk of time to make up, even for a team with the huge resources and brains of Mclaren.

Looking at the onboard shots of the Mclaren it didn’t seem like too bad a car to drive. It seemed quite well balanced. The handling wasn’t as dreadful as a lot of other cars I have witnessed in F1. The drivers were able to hit the apexes on each corner. The problem is that the car is lacking the downforce and the speed. The car isn’t nailed to the track.

In a way the fact that the car doesn’t handle too badly is a nightmare situation. If the car handles badly then it’s something the team can quickly rectify, and immediately gain a healthy chunk of time by doing so. However the handling isn’t the car’s biggest issue issue. The car is just slow, and lacking downforce. It won’t be easy for Mclaren to find the time they need to gain on the frontrunners.

Some insiders at Mclaren say they have a huge upgrade planned for Spain (the 5th Round of the season), and that the car will fly there. I have my doubts whether that will happen. Let’s wait and see.

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April 2, 2009 Posted by | Race reviews | 1 Comment

The Vettel/Kubica incident – Who was at fault?

This was an unfortunate incident. Both drivers were on a for a brilliant result today. A podium for both of these drivers would have been a brilliant result. Kubica even had a chance of challenging Jenson Button for the win is he was on the prime tyre at the time.

These are two very keen young guns who didn’t want to yield their position, and therefore collided.

I have watched the replay alot of times now, and I would say Kubica was more at fault. He simply didn’t give Vettel enough room. Vettel has nowhere else to go other than to hit Kubica. The only other place Vettel could have gone to was onto the grass.

Vettel’s 10 place penalty for the Malaysian GP next weekend is extremely harsh. Losing 3rd place today I feel is already a big enough punishment.

The race stewards shouldn’t give a penalty every time two cars make contact with each other. These guys are racing each other very hard, and sometimes they will collide with each other.

That is racing!!

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Race reviews | Leave a comment

My Driver of the day

There were alot of great drives throughout the field today.

Jenson Button obviously did a great job. He got the pole position, got a great start and controlled the race from there. There were a couple of dodgy moments including the restart after the safety car, and the second pit stop but he held it altogether and won the race. There is no doubt that he deserved this victory. I am sure he could have gone quicker if he needed to. He did a great job at looking after those softer tyres, which no doubt is down to his very smooth style of driving.

Sebastien Buemi really caught my eye today. Many questioned the decision to put him into the seat. However he comfortably beat Bourdais in qualifying and the race. He drove a very mature race, made no errors, and showed no fear whatsoever. He happily battled with the Ferraris, and took no prisoners. For quite a long time he also had a very quick Nico Rosberg behind him, and soaked up the pressure with ease. To finish 8th on his debut in a car that has had its problems for far was a fantastic job. I was one of the ones who questioned Toro Rosso’s decision but Buemi has proved me and alot of people wrong.

Lewis Hamilton  however was my man of the race today. Throughout the weekend he has stayed very positive and kept his team’s spirits high. He hasn’t walked around with his head down at all. He has been used to racing at the front in a great car. This weekend was the start of a new challenge for him, and he adapted to it brilliantly. He managed to get through to Q2, and if it hadn’t been for that gearbox failure then who knows how much furthur he may have got.

As it was he started from the back of the grid, and battled gallantly through the field pulling off some great moves on drivers who were ment to have a much quicker car than the Mclaren. The likes of Nelson Piquet and Nico Rosberg for example. Getting third place may have been a little bit lucky but clearly he kept his head whilst a few others lost theirs. Australia is often a place where we get a race of attrition, and Hamilton made the most of that. He pulled off a great drive in a poor car. It could be one of the best drives of his career.

Lets see what he can acheive in Sepang and Bahrain. It will be very hard to repeat today’s result I feel, but if he can pick up the odd point here and there then he still has an outside chance of the title if Mclaren get the car sorted.

So there you go. Lewis Hamilton is my driver of the day.

Thumbs up for Jarno Trulli as well who came back from the pit lane to third. Unfortunately he got a 25 second penalty for overtaking Lewis under SC conditions. Without this incident Trulli may well have got my driver of the day award.

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Race reviews | 1 Comment

Australian GP Race Result

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                      Time
1.  Button        Brawn GP              (B)  1h34:15.784
2.  Barrichello   Brawn GP              (B)  +     0.807
** 3.  Trulli        Toyota                (B)  +     1.604**
4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      (B)  +     2.914
5.  Glock         Toyota                (B)  +     4.435
6.  Alonso        Renault               (B)  +     4.879
7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota       (B)  +     5.722
8.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +     6.004
9.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B)  +     6.298
10.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +     6.335
11.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber            (B)  +     7.085
12.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari   (B)  +     7.374
13.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +     1 lap
14.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault      (B)  +    2 laps
15.  Kubica        BMW Sauber            (B)  +    3 laps
16.  Raikkonen     Ferrari               (B)  +    3 laps

Fastest lap: Rosberg, 1:27.706

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                      On lap
Massa         Ferrari               (B)    46
Piquet        Renault               (B)    25
Nakajima      Williams-Toyota       (B)    18
Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes      (B)    1

**Trulli got a 25 second penalty for overtaking Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car**

There will be more features here about the race later on today and tommorrow.

March 29, 2009 Posted by | News articles | Leave a comment

Car weights declared

Pos. Driver                  Car weight
 1.  Jenson Button           664.5kg
 2.  Rubens Barrichello      666.5kg
 3.  Sebastien Vettel        657kg
 4.  Robert Kubica           650kg
 5.  Nico Rosberg            657kg
 6.  Felipe Massa            654kg
 7.  Kimi Raikkonen          655.5kg
 8.  Mark Webber             662kg
 9.  Nick Heidfeld           691.5kg
10.  Fernando Alonso         680.7kg
11.  Kazuki Nakajima         685.3kg
12.  Heikki Kovalainen       690.6kg
13.  Sebastien Buemi         675.5kg
14.  Nelson Piquet           694.1kg
15.  Giancarlo Fisichella    689kg
16.  Adrian Sutil            684.5kg
17.  Sebastien Bourdais      662.5kg
18.  Lewis Hamilton          655kg
19.  Jarno Trulli            660kg
20.  Timo Glock              670kg
Each car's minimum weight including the driver is 605kg so anything over that is fuel.
Therefore we can see that Brawn GP are heavier than the cars behind them. Their qualifying pace is real.
They didn't achieve a front-row lockout by going light on the fuel.
Kubica is the lightest so therefore his lap wasn't as impressive as might havwe thought.
The Mclaren drivers are doing different strategies. 
Hamilton is going light and aggressive, and Kovalainen is brimmed up with fuel.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | News articles | 1 Comment

Toyota excluded from qualifying

Toyota have been stripped of their qualifying positions and will now both start at the back of the grid. This is due to the fact they were running flexi wings, which of course is banned in F1.

Statement from the FIA: The Stewards have heard the explanation from a representative of Panasonic Toyota Racing and have examined the cars in question.

“The Stewards concur with the opinion of the Technical Delegate and find the cars contravene the requirements of Article 3.15 of the 2009 Formula One Technical Regulations.

“It is the Stewards decision that cars number 9 and 10 be excluded from the Qualifying Session Official Classification.”

Article 3.15 of the technical regulations states that wings must not have ‘any degree of freedom’ and ‘remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.’

Toyota will now have to fight their way through the field, which should be interesting. This may show us if its easier to overtake or not.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | News articles | 2 Comments

Qualifying – Brawn GP confirm Testing pace was real

1.  Button      Brawn-Mercedes        (B) 1:25.211  1:24.855  1:26.202 19
2.  Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes        (B) 1:25.006  1:24.783  1:26.505 21
3.  Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      (B) 1:25.938  1:25.121  1:26.830 21
4.  Kubica      BMW-Sauber            (B) 1:25.922  1:25.152  1:26.914 19
5.  Rosberg     Williams-Toyota       (B) 1:25.846  1:25.123  1:26.973 21
6.  Glock       Toyota                (B) 1:25.499  1:25.281  1:26.975 19
7.  Massa       Ferrari               (B) 1:25.844  1:25.319  1:27.033 21
8.  Trulli      Toyota                (B) 1:26.194  1:25.265  1:27.127 20
9.  Raikkonen   Ferrari               (B) 1:25.899  1:25.380  1:27.163 21
10.  Webber      Red Bull-Renault      (B) 1:25.427  1:25.241  1:27.246 20
11.  Heidfeld    BMW-Sauber            (B) 1:25.827  1:25.504           14
12.  Alonso      Renault               (B) 1:26.026  1:25.605           12
13.  Nakajima    Williams-Toyota       (B) 1:26.074  1:25.607           16
14.  Kovalainen  McLaren-Mercedes      (B) 1:26.184  1:25.726           15
15.  Hamilton    McLaren-Mercedes      (B) 1:26.454  no time             5
16.  Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B) 1:26.503                     10
17.  Piquet      Renault               (B) 1:26.598                     12
18.  Fisichella  Force India-Mercedes  (B) 1:26.677                     10
19.  Sutil       Force India-Mercedes  (B) 1:26.742                      9
20.  Bourdais    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    (B) 1:26.964                     10

**Hamilton will start from the back due to a gearbox change***

That was certainly a thrilling session full of surprises. Brawn GP’s performance was absolutely fantastic. The car appears to be working brilliantly, and it should be even stronger over the race distance. It’s a fairytale performance. It’s amazing to think Button and Barrichello didn’t have a drive a few weeks ago. Now they are sharing the front row.

Vettel did extremely well to get third, and that is in a car without one of those diffuser systems. He had a tough weekend up to that point, so he did brilliantly.

Toyota and Ferrari will be quite disappointed with their performance. Both teams were hoping to be challenging at the front. They are furthur back than they would want to be. It will be interesting if KERs helps them at the start. Although it has to be said that overall KERs didn’t turn out to be much of an advantage at all. 5 of the 7 KERs cars didn’t even make it to the top 10 shootout.

Mclaren had a really bad day. 14th and Hamilton now at the back is a terrible result. Onboard the car didn’t look dreadful to drive. It’s just lacks grip, and overall speed. Hamilton will have to fight extremely hard tommorrow, but points look very unlikely.

Renault will be very unhappy too. Piquet didn’t even make it past Q1 just like he often did last season, and Alonso made an error, whichs means he didn’t make Q3.

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Friday Practise Session Times and Analysis

Free practice session one

1.  ROSBERG       Williams      1m26.687s

2.  NAKAJIMA      Williams      1m26.736s

3.  RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       1m26.750s

4.  BARRICHELLO   Brawn         1m27.226s

5.  KOVALAINEN    McLaren       1m27.453s

6.  BUTTON        Brawn         1m27.467s

7.  MASSA         Ferrari       1m27.642s

8.  GLOCK         Toyota        1m27.710s

9.  SUTIL         Force India   1m27.993s

10. ALONSO        Renault       1m28.123s

11. HEIDFELD      BMW           1m28.137s

12. TRULLI        Toyota        1m28.142s

13. KUBICA        BMW           1m28.511s

14. FISICHELLA    Force India   1m28.603s

15. BUEMI         Toro Rosso    1m28.785s

16. HAMILTON      McLaren       1m29.042s

17. WEBBER        Red Bull      1m29.081s

18. PIQUET        Renault       1m29.461s

19. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    1m29.499s

20. VETTEL        Red Bull      1m32.784s

 

Free practice session two

 1.  ROSBERG       Williams      1m26.053s

2.  BARRICHELLO   Brawn         1m26.157s

3.  TRULLI        Toyota        1m26.350s

4.  WEBBER        Red Bull      1m26.370s

5.  BUTTON        Brawn         1m26.374s

6.  GLOCK         Toyota        1m26.443s

7.  NAKAJIMA      Williams      1m26.560s

8.  VETTEL        Red Bull      1m26.740s

9.  SUTIL         Force India   1m27.040s

10. MASSA         Ferrari       1m27.064s

11. RAIKKONEN     Ferrari       1m27.204s

12. ALONSO        Renault       1m27.232s

13. FISICHELLA    Force India   1m27.282s

14. HEIDFELD      BMW           1m27.317s

15. KUBICA        BMW           1m27.398s

16. BOURDAIS      Toro Rosso    1m27.479s

17. KOVALAINEN    McLaren       1m27.802s

18. HAMILTON      McLaren       1m27.813s

19. PIQUET        Renault       1m27.828s

20. BUEMI         Toro Rosso    1m28.076s

It’s been a very interesting day in Melbourne. It was great to see all the cars in anger on the track for the first time. First impressions are that the new cars look great. You get used to them very quickly. I even started to get used to the sight of the Renault after a while.

Who’s hot and who’s not?

In terms of who impressed today, there is no doubt that the 3 teams with question marks over their diffuser (Williams, Brawn GP and Toyota) all look in extremely good shape. All 3 of these teams have performed consistently well throughout the day. Williams are probably the most pleasant surprise of Friday practise, as Nico Rosberg topped both sessions.

Throughout testing it looked as if they were going to be stuck in the midfield. However on their final day in Jerez they set a very fast time, the fastest time set in Jerez all winter. It looks as if they may have brought that form with them to Melbourne. Let’s hope they can keep this pace up throughout the weekend.

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March 27, 2009 Posted by | News articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment