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Monday, 12 December 2011

GP2 Feeds F1

For 2012, Lotus Renault F1 will have two new drivers.  Fresh from his winning the 2011 GP2 Championship, Romain Grosjean will take the second seat joining Kimi Raikkonen who makes his return to F1 after straying into rallying.

Grosjean will join the 2010 GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado on the grid.  Maldonado will remain at Williams for 2012.

2009  GP2 winner and runner up, Nico Hulkenberg and Vitaly Petrov have no confirmed F1 seat for 2012.  Grosjean was 4th in GP2 in 2009 with Maldonado 6th.  Hulkenberg has been rumoured to have a seat at Force India next year.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Become an F1 Publisher

Do you fancy yourself as an F1 publisher?  How would you like to make your views known to over 3,000 readers per month?

This blog, web domain and twitter feed is for sale for £3500.  PM me on to log your interest.

Webber Marks His Card

Mark Webber closed out the 2011 F1 season with a win in Brazil.

After Vettel struggled with a gearbox malfunction, Webber took the opportunity of this rare lapse in his team mate's car to take victory.

This result meant Webber secured third in the drivers standings, behind Button who finished third and ahead of Alonso who came home fourth.

Webber also took fastest lap with 1:15.324 ahead of Button on 1:15.580.

Felipe Massa was the highest finishing Brazilian in fifth.  Lewis Hamilton retired with a failed gearbox.

So the season is over.  Next year there will be yet another former world champion in the form of Kimi Raikonnen who has signed a two year deal with the Lotus Renault team.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Vettel Takes 15th Pole

Sebastian Vettel broke the 1:12 second barrier with a 1:11.918 to take his record breaking 15th pole position of the season.

Mark Webber completed a Red Bull lock-out of the front row with last gasp 1:12.099.

McLaren took second row with Jenson Button beating his team mate with 1:12.283 and Hamilton on 1:12.480.

Fernando Alonso took 5th with 1:12.591 in front of Nico Rosberg on 1:13.050.

So Vettel ends the season a full second faster than the sixth place man and looks good for tomorrow.  He will be hoping his tyres hold up this time.

Friday, 18 November 2011

McLaren Will Start Next Season Ahead

Martin Whitmarsh has stated that they want to start the season at the front rather than playing catch up for six months.

It is true to say that McLaren have one of the best success rates at in-season development.  They have ended the season with a car ahead of or on a par with all their competitors including Red Bull.  However that has proven to be too late with the championship already decided two races or more ago.

Another view is that Adrian Newey is, at any given time, six months ahead of the game in his thinking - on aerodynamics in particular.  Although they have a clear idea of what are the basics of next year's car,  to start next season at the head of the field, McLaren will need to know what was in Newey's mind six months ago for the 2012 Red Bull.

For a sports competitor to be described as ahead of his time is rare - Colin Chapman and Jim Clark in F1, Martin Peters in football.  Adrian Newey fits that definition.

Ferrari and Alonso have also voiced the opinion that they need to innovate and not merely imitate in order to lead the field next year.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Abu Dhabi Blow Out

Lewis Hamilton pounced on the opportunity afforded him when Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull picked up a puncture on the first lap.

Vettel was heading for a two second gap and maybe over did it over a kerb in the process.  Whatever the reason he ended his 100% record at the Yas Marina circuit.

Hamilton drove a storming race, holding back a hard charging Fernando Alonso.  Jenson Button came in third despite have his KERS unavailable for half the race and being chased hard by Mark Webber.

Lewis looked very happy for the first time in recent memory and said he was looking forward to smiling all the way home.  He was cheered on at the circuit by his mum who also looked very proud of her son as he swept to victory.

According to 41 accidents have been caused by tyre blow outs this year in Abu Dhabi.  A coincidence no doubt...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Abu Dhabi 2011 | F1 Yas Marina Circuit

Memory is short lived, especially in Formula 1.  The top places at Abu Dhabi in November 2010 were Vettel, Button, Alonso, Webber, Schumacher, Rosberg then Hamilton.  

So on reflection, this year's form has not been much different from last.  Whether the same proves to be the case this weekend remains to be seen.

With the major teams having either slowed down or stopped development of their 2011 cars, there seems little hope of a surprise advance in engineering to give anyone other than Vettel a chance of a win.

So we may be left to look in awe at the engineering and CAD/CAM advances that have made the architecture of the circuit so breathtaking to look at.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Indian GP a Great Success

So the inaugural Grand Prix of India has come and gone.  By all accounts it was a great success.

Most of the drivers were very positive in their praise of the circuit - another Hermann Tilke initiative.  The teams too were positive in their assessment of facilities both for engineering and guest entertainment.

The race itself could have been better.  Whilst we are all overjoyed at the sight of Sebastian Vettel on full song and taking yet another victory, he is racking up statistics in a manner that is becoming all too predictable.

Whilst Vettel is undoubtedly one of the most talented current F1 drivers, what is needed is an engineer to arise to challenge Adrian Newey.  The drivers are there - with Button on his best form, Hamilton quick if rather erratic but now with a new focus on driving alone.  Alonso is as quick as ever and just needs a Ferrari to match his skills and commitment.

It is particularly interesting to see the Caterham name being the livery of an F1 team next year now the Lotus naming issues have been settled.  Caterham took over the original Lotus 7 production and have retained the design as still one of the most exciting production cars.  Colin Chapman penned the design in the 50s.  If they can find a modern day Chapman then maybe Adrian Newey will see a challenge from a similarly humble source in the same way that Ferrari, BRM, Maserati and Porsche did in Chapman and John Cooper's early days in the late 1950s with their simple, lightweight and radical F1 designs.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Indy Can Learn from F1

Following the untimely death of Dan Weldon, former Indy 500 winner, Tomas Scheckter's father Jody has described IndyCar as the most dangerous motorsport in the world.

Another former Indy 500 and F1 champion Nigel Mansell stated that Formula 1 safety measures can teach the Indy Series a great deal.

Weldon was a contemporary of Jenson Button and moved to the USA as an option he could achieve without the funding imperatives of F1.

With the Indy title already decided in favour of fellow Briton Dario Franchitti, the race was a prize fund arrangement at the end of the season with a larger field than normal and higher top speeds than F1.

Our thoughts are with Dan's family at this difficult time.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Korea Win for Vettel

Lewis Hamilton followed Sebastian Vettel home today in front of Webber Button Alonso and Massa.

He looked a little happier than after qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel whooped for joy as he took another win and fastest lap as if it was his first race win.

This consolidated not only his place as 2011 world champion after last weekend but also, with the points today from him and Mark Webber, the constructors title is Red Bull's hands for the second year in succession.

Ferrari and McLaren and now talking up their chances of starting next year being competitive from the start.  The rules are stabilised with higher exhaust exits and front wings.  Fernando Alonso stated that Ferrari need to be more aggressive and innovative rather than simply following the ideas of others.  Unless they innovate they will always be in a position in races of being a following team.

Red Bull will have some more innovations via Adrian Newey for next year.  He remains the man to beat as head designer.

Meanwhile the GP series moves to India the week after next for the inaugural race at the new circuit.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Vettel in a Big Mac Sandwich

Vettel failed to win pole in Korea today.

Lewis Hamilton found his form again and nailed pole position with his team mate Jenson Button third behind Vettel but ahead of Mark Webber.

Felipe Massa finished qualifying ahead of Fernando Alonso who rounded out the first three rows in sixth.

Michael Schumacher failed to make the top 10 coming in twelfth while his team mate Rosberg qualified seventh.  Petrov,  di Resta and Sutil were 8th 9th and 10th.

Lewis Hamilton was far from ecstatic on the post race interviews, preferring to keep calm and let a race win do the talking tomorrow.  Button was reasonably please with third while admitting that a pole was his goal unsurprisingly.

The start will be incredibly exciting as the top three face the short chase down to turn 1.

Massa appears far enough back in fifth for his magnetic Ferrari not to attract Hamilton this time.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Button wins | Vettel Weltmeister

Jenson Button won an emotional Japanese Grand Prix.  He was in front of a very supportive crowd and his Japanese girlfriend Jessica Michibata.

Meanwhile as Sebastian Vettel came home third behind Fernando Alonso, he became the youngest ever double world champion.  He took the one point he needed to do so and added another 14 in the process.  This takes his lead to 324 points in front of Button's 210 and Alonso's 202.

Lewis Hamilton could manage no better than fifth behind Mark Webber.  He suffered a puncture in the race.

Button seemed to be going from strength to strength, has been rewarded with a multi-year contract at McLaren and expressed the view after the race that this will not be his last contract in his career.

Michael Schumacher came in 6th.

With the McLarens split in Japan by four places, the Ferraris by five and the Mercedes by four, the season seems to be becoming a battle between drivers.  Vettel has clearly been dominant within Red Bull this year,  Massa seems more prone to tangling with Hamilton than rivalling his team mate and Jenson Button's calm, smooth style is dominating over Hamilton's increasing erratic and inconsistent performances.  Michael Schumacher seems to have found a way of dealing with Nico Rosberg's pace and whilst not having a winning car, is starting to put in some convincing race results and is now only 3 points behind Rosberg.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Vettel Almost There

After a fairly comfortable victory at Yas Marina.  Now only Jenson Button can take the title off him.  To do so Vettel would need not to finish which seems very unlikely to say the least.

Jenson Button drove an impeccable race to take second place in front of Mark Webber.

Lewis Hamilton was again surrounded by controversy and drew a sharp rebuke from Felipe Massa after the race for cutting into his rear tyre with his front wing and creating a puncture.  Hamilton had a stop-go penalty which dropped him to 5th behind Fernando Alonso.  Looking closely at the video shows that Hamilton had the position then Massa braked late, Hamilton's left front wheel locked causing his car to veer into Massa's right rear - a racing incident.

Possibly Hamilton will be reviewing his options with his management company who also manage David Beckham and Andy Murray.  The USA Indy series may be looking an attractive option.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Eine Kleine Nachtrennen | Singapore Nightracing

When Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote A Little Nightmusic, he clearly did not have Formula 1 in mind.

The gentle, lilting melodies are rather different from the howling exhausts of an F1 car.

Mozart's repeated melodies and strong thematic emphasis can be sympathetic with a peaceful night of relaxed meditation.

Sebastian Vettel's repeat pole positions and race victories are taking on a rather musical resonance.  He snatched another pole in the Singapore night racing event or Nachtrennen.  His ability to focus and deliver is becoming very predictable and takes on a repetitive theme.  Maybe he thinks of Mozart when he closes his eyes to focus before launching on yet another unreachably fast qualifying lap.

Mark Webber completed a Red Bull front row with Jenson Button eclipsing Lewis Hamilton by 5/1000ths of a second!  Webber was 0.35 seconds behind his team mate.

Despite moving their focus to 2012, Ferrari are still competitive, at least in Fernando Alonso's hands.  He came in only 7/100ths behind Hamilton, a full second in front of his team mate Felipe Massa.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Vettel Victory

So the season continues.  Another Vettel victory after a dominant pole position.

There were some highlights to the race however.  Firstly Adrian Newey is to be congratulated on producing an aero package that worked on this high speed, low downforce circuit.  Vettel was able to overcome the relatively low top speed of his car in relation to the Mercedes engines by good traction out of the bends.  This was achieved with a skinny rear wing balanced with high underfloor and front wing downforce.  Truly an engineering masterpiece.  Vettel also drove absolutely on the limit of course too.

Michael Schumacher have an object lesson to anyone who has a slower machine at the office kart outing. His car positioning to frustrate Lewis Hamilton lap after lap was faultless.  So faultless that he escaped any kind of penalty for driving in a manner that appeared to stretch the very boundaries of the rules preventing multiple blocking moves in the same manoeuvre.  He was rewarded with 5th place.  This obstruction however ended any chance of Hamilton staying with the leader.  Hamilton had to be content with fastest lap and still managed 4th place.

Jenson Button drove a brilliant race, slicing through the field to second place on the podium.  Unlike Hamilton he was able to pass Schumacher with apparent ease.

Alonso took more solid points with third place in a less than competitive Ferrari.  Ferrari have since announced a halt to 2011 development in favour of a better start to 2012.

So whilst Vettel is looking pretty for his second world championship, the rest of the season will still produce some interesting racing.  The DRS system has produced a little more overtaking with Button leading the way in that area this season.  The Mercedes continues to improve and Schumacher is looking a little more relaxed and Rosberg even leading a race for brief moments at Spa.  Hamilton will still be looking for some results after a frustrating and relatively cautious Monza.  Button is in the form of his life and may snatch a victory before the year is out.

Singapore next for the night race...

That completes the 300th post.  Big thanks to all the followers and readers.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Monza 2011

Last year Lewis Hamilton regretted his decision to run a low downforce rear wing.  He described the car after qualifying only fifth as  'sliding everywhere'.
Meanwhile Jenson Button took his first front row of the season alongside Alonso on pole.
Massa came in third and Webber fourth. Button's larger wing enabled him to brake later and corner at higher speeds.  This more than offset the greater drag on the straights.  Alonso was delighted with his pole in front of the tifosi.
On race day, Fernando Alonso put in a fine performance to take victory in his first Italian Grand Prix for Ferrari at Monza 2010.  After Jenson Button beat him to the first corner, Alonso had to focus hard to regain the lead he took with his pole position.
Webber regained his championship lead with his sixth place after Hamilton was overly aggressive in trying to pass Massa on lap one and damaged his car, retiring ignominiously into the gravel trap with his front right wheel flapping like a sail.
Alonso took his place behind Hamilton and Webber with 166 points to Hamilton's 182 and Webber's 187.  This left Button one point behind Alonso with Vettel two points behind Button.
At that stage last year it was one of the closest title fights in F1 history.

How different things are this year.  Sebastian Vettel has a margin of 92 points and some feel this is unassailable.

In practice, Lewis Hamilton dominated the first session with a time of 1:23.865, almost second ahead of his nearest rival,  Jenson Button.  In the second session, Vettel topped the times with 1:24.010, followed by Hamilton on 1:24.046 and Michael Schumacher on 1:24.347.  So ex-Ferrari man MSc led Massa and Alonso in 4th and 5th times.

Of course Friday is for set up, especially wing settings on this highest speed circuit in the F1 season.  Actual qualifying will be a brilliant spectacle no doubt at all.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Did you know that the 1905 French Grand Prix included a cycle race?

Well it did.  Did you also know that Felice Gimondi won the Tour de France at his first attempt in 1965 and the Giro d'Italia 11 years later in 1976?

For those F1 fans who are also into race cycling and its history - here is a fine bike to go out and reminisce on.   Maybe like me you cannot buy a Lotus 19 but still have fun with an original lightweight steel tubed frame decked out in original alloy Campagnolo components.

Did you know Enzo Ferrari worked with Campagnolo in the 1970s using their F1 car wheels and helped them design their bike wheels?  They also worked with Alfa Romeo and supplied the Lamborghini Espada wheels.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

1960s | F1 Autographs

Can someone make me a sensible offer for my 1960s F1 autographs?

I have held onto them since I got them all personally as a young lad and they must go before the drawer mice take an interest. Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees, Phil Hill etc etc.

Email for further details or with a sensible offer and I may let them go...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Button Driver of the Day

As Vettel led a one-two by Red Bull, he provided the perfect response to the idea that his winning run was over.

Vettel led from pole position and took control of the race.

Jenson Button completed the podium behind Mark Webber having fought from 13th place on the grid and a low of 19th in the race.  A mix up in qualifying meant he ran out of time to set a competitive lap and ended out of the top ten shoot out.  However while Lewis Hamilton failed to finish after another accident - this time while dicing with Komui Kobayashi - Button again kept his head to end the day respectably for McLaren.

Another titanic result was that of Michael Schumacher.  He came in a creditable fifth from a miserable 24th (last) in qualifying having failed to set a lap time.

So Red Bull continue their charge for the title.  According to Niki Lauda the title race is over already.  He should know.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Belgium | Spa | Weather

The weather for this weekend predicts rain for qualifying but a dry race.  However The Ardennes circuit is legendary for its unpredictable weather.

To remind you of last year have a look at this bbc video which shows the Vettel - Button collision at Spa.

There were echos of the Senna/Prost collisions and Hill/Schumacher ones when they were battling for the world championship.

Follow this link for last year's story.

Of course Vettel went on to take the title and this year is looking almost unassailable.  However he will only stay where he is if he continues to finish races.  History shows that rarely can a driver finish every race.  Three wins would put Webber, Hamilton, Alonso or Button within striking distance if Vettel matches this with three DNFs.  There remain eight races to go and 200 points available.  Vettel is sitting on 234 points from races to date.

Whilst Ferrari have confirmed that they are working flat out on their 2012 car, they will continue to press hard to give Alonso a fighting chance of a win.  Webber's own self respect will drive him to take victories off Vettel.  McLaren will not lie down without giving Button and Hamilton a competitive car for the rest of the year.

There will be no scenes of cars taking Eau Rouge flat out with no DRS for safety reasons.  After the entry compression good downforce is needed to keep the car on the track as the bend sweeps uphill.

The weather will play a part at Spa as it always does...

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hungary Button

Jenson Button again proved his mastery of changing conditions.

On a drying track with intermittent showers, Jenson Button reeled in both his team mate Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel to win the Hungarian Grand Prix.

His smooth driving style and tyre control gave him the edge again.  Meanwhile Hamilton had to take a stop-go penalty for a doughnut in front of Paul di Resta as he recovered from a spin.

Meanwhile Michael Schumacher retired with transmission issues.  His next career is possibly triathlon following in Button's footsteps.  This bizarrely familiar photo from 1905 is for sale on Ebay right now in the cycling sports memorabilia section.  As you can see the poster is titled Le Grand Prix de l'A.C.F.  i.e the GP of the automobile club of France although it depicts a cyclist.  Looks like a very interesting research project which may turn up an ancestor of the great MSC on a bike.

Vettel took second place in front of Alonso and Webber came in behind Hamilton in fifth.

Ironically, although the Vettel stranglehold has been broken again, he has now a greater points lead than at any time this season.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Normal Service is Resumed

It has been a very long interlude but today at the German Grand Prix we saw a McLaren victory followed by a Ferrari with the Red Bulls struggling to live with the pace.

Red Bull's dominance in dry conditions has seemed unassailable for so long that it is easy to forget the days when Ferrari or McLaren fought it out at the front in most races.

Lewis Hamilton described this as one of the greatest drives of his life and few would argue with this.

After a front row qualifying position alongside Mark Webber, Hamilton drove a storming race.  Even he was surprised by the McLaren's pace.  He was followed home by Fernando Alonso.  Mark Webber was able to beat his team mate.

It looks as if the second half of the season may be very different from the Vettel dominated season so far.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

NewsCorp and F1

There are rumours remaining that News Corporation may yet takeover F1 despite the current difficulties.

The controversial conversation which started with 'Fernando is faster than you' was the result, not of hacking but the open team radio of Ferrari.

As Silverstone we overheard Webber being told to 'maintain the gap' by his Red Bull team.

These kinds of conversations are routinely in the public domain in the sport.

How F1 news is reported is part of the attraction of the sport, 'free to air' and open.

Of course we know that drivers rarely say what they really feel, accompanied as they are in front of camera by a press secretary after each race.  Occasionally, the frustration and emotion post-race of a perceived injustice gives glimpses of the true picture.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

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Monday, 11 July 2011

Down Under

Mark Webber has every reason to be fed up after the British Grand Prix.  After a fine pole position he ended up third.

In the same week his team manager, Christian Horner said 'having two world class drivers in one team would not work'.  He was referring to the rumours of Hamilton joining Red Bull of course.

Then he is asked to hold station when in a position to take second place from Seb Vettel.

He will surely come back fighting next race - such is his character and grit.

What he will do next year remains to be seen however...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Silverstone 2011

Qualifying was somewhat unusual at Silverstone...

The teams were in and out of the FIA camper van debating what rules would and would not be acceptable for the race.  Don't forget that the cars were designed and homologated prior to season start and that never before have rules been changed so dramatically mid season.

Is an exhaust blown diffuser, controlled electronically when off throttle, a variable aerodynamic device?  To what degree is the Renault engine assisted in relation to Mercedes? After a good curry, wind can indeed be an issue.

In the end Red Bull offered a deal which was accepted.  We will switch off our blown diffuser settings for this race only provided that things return to normal for the next race,

That is it essentially.  It was later confirmed after much to-ing and fro-ing that for the rest of the season all will return to normal.

Meanwhile McLaren seem to have slipped of the pace.  The team later attributed this to tyre choice in the limited time they had during an erratic qualifying session to decide when to go out on intermediates.  Some were suggesting that the hasty rule changed would benefit Ferrari.  As it transpired Red Bull still achieved a remarkable 1-2 on the grid with Webber on pole this time followed by Alonso and Massa.  Jenson Button kept McLaren respectable followed by a remarkable sixth for Paul di Resta in his Mercedes powered Force Indian.

Sunday Silverstone will probably bring wind and rain as normal so Jenson Button will benefit and Lewis Hamilton will provide a spectacle as he attempts to come through from 10th without taking out his team mate.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Big One! - Silverstone 2011

So it has come round again.  The venue nearest to all the leading teams apart from Ferrari and the hearts of most F1 fans- Silverstone!

Looking forward to seeing 'The Wing' in the pit lane?  It is already looking retro.  Just cross Vauxhall Bridge in London going South and you will see a terminal building that predates the wing by years.

I still get emotional about the acres of scaffold grandstands.  There is something strangely beautiful about galvanised tubing.  Maybe it reminds me of the old time tubular frames of the Lotus 11 or Maserati Birdcage.  Or maybe I am just plain sentimental.

As we predicted long ago post Simon Fuller taking over Lewis Hamilton's management - there is mounting speculation  about Lewis Hamilton moving teams.  It is so similar to the David Beckham story.  Will he stay at Man United, will he go to Real Madrid, will he end up in America?  Will his pop star wife come out of his shadow or outshine him?  Victoria or Nicole?  Already Lewis has tried out a 'Nascar'.  Will Indy be next?  He has (allegedly) flirted with another team (Red Bull).

Jim Clark and Graham Hill tried (and succeeded) in America but still stuck with F1 until they were cut short in life.

All that really matters is talent and technology and in the 1960s both were raw and restricted scantily by rulemakers.  Dont forget to that they had tiny 1.5 litre engines and miniature bodies that look like F3 nowadays.  But there was overtaking in abundance and they sounded great too!  So why the worry over new smaller engines??

Speaking of historic F1 drivers check this out!!  It is probably the finest collection of 1960s F1 and touring car driver autographs on sale anywhere right now!!!  I should know - I was there and met them all!

Friday, 1 July 2011


People who like motorsport and classic cars also are interested in vintage and classic goods generally.

Goodwood is coming up this weekend - a feast for those who appreciate historic motorsport.

Have a look at this website we found -

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Valencia Walkover

After Sebastian Vettel's walkover in the European Grand Prix at the Valencia street circuit, the hope is that Silverstone will produce a more interesting spectacle.

The points system does exaggerate the figures and make Vettel look unassailable.  However neither Button nor Hamilton have given up on the title race. What they really need are three consecutive victories to arrest Vettel's stranglehold.

There are still 11 races to go - so 275 points are up for grabs.  Vettel has already amassed 186 points to Button's 109 and Hamilton's 97.  Dont forget that Webber also has 109 points - his own pride will motivate him to try to take points off Vettel -  he needs to recover last year's form when he took three victories and five pole positions.

Last year, the only winners were Vettel, Webber, Button, Hamilton and Alonso and this appears unlikely to change this season.

Button has never made the podium at Silverstone but this year only he and Hamilton have beaten Vettel.

McLaren have new improvements for the car to bring to the Northamptonshire circuit.

From the British Grand Prix and for the rest of the season, off-throttle exhaust-blown diffuser assistance will be limited to 10%.  From 2012, exhaust pipes will need to exit in a zone behind the rear 'axle' line.  This will dramatically reduce rear downforce although as always teams will no doubt  find another way to recover the losses.  Designs like Renault's where the exhaust exits in a forward direction will be outlawed.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Five German Drivers in Top Ten

As Seb Vettel took another pole today in Valencia for the European Grand Prix tomorrow,  he led the five German drivers in the top ten.

The order was:-


Jenson Button after his fine victory in Canada and a confident final practice, struggled with oversteer in the key qualifying session.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Kubica on The Mend

After seven operations, F1 Renault driver Robert Kubica is walking again.  He will try simulator work with a possible drive in the last race of the season according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

His right leg is progressing well.  His arm remains a concern.

The simulator tests will test his reactions and general levels of alertness.  Of course the G forces experienced in an F1 car will be the ultimate test as they are for any F1 driver.

Overall he remains positive and optimistic which is a reflection of his strong character recognised by his medical team led by Mario Rossello and Riccardo Ceccarelli.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Button Flies

After SIX pit stops Button made his way through to third on lap 64.

He then took second from MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (who was having his best race since his return.)

This left Vettel only three seconds ahead of Button with four laps to go.

On lap 67 Button was 1.5 seconds a lap quicker than Vettel.

Webber took third from MSC on lap 68.

With two laps to go Vettel led by 1.06 seconds.

Lap 69 and Button is within 1 second of the lead and can use his DRS.  Button sets fastest lap.

Button took the lead on the final lap as Vettel goes wide and our prediction was fulfilled.  Possibly Button's finest drive.

Button's driving revoked memories of Nigel Mansell (see NewsLDN).

Alonso Confident For Race

In the post-qualifying press conference Alonso expressed confidence for the Canadian Grand Prix today.

He said 'Well we feel good, we feel confident. I think let’s go step by step.

We concentrate in qualifying on Saturday and it is the best result of the year for the team, second and third, and as you said two-tenths or one-and-a-half tenths behind Red Bull which is a much better result than we expect.

Or a much better result that in the first six races so extremely happy with today’s performance from the car and the whole weekend has been very smooth for us so looking forward for tomorrow. As Seb said, conditions are likely to change so maybe it is the less important qualifying of the year. Unfortunately we had the first row of the grid but it is always better to start at the front and tomorrow I think all the cards are on the table and I think we will have a chance to win the race for sure.'

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Alonso Close

Fernando Alonso grabbed a last minute second place in Canada.  He will be hoping for another brilliant start tomorrow to lose pole-sitter Vettel on the first corner.

Button Rosberg and Schumacher all shared 1:13:8.

The grid is -Vettel Alonso Massa Webber Hamilton Rosberg Button Schumacher.

Red Bull set pole and fourth even without KERS working and hope to have it sorted by tomorrow.

After expressing confidence that qualifying pace would be better than in previous races, McLaren disappointed.

Button on Pole in Canada

On a slippery track, smooth driving will be critical. This may play into the hands of McLaren driver Jenson Button.

In practice, Alonso and Rosberg have set the pace.

As qualifying starts in a few moments, the other teams need to focus on closing the gap on Red Bull this race.  That is what may be the case tomorrow - an end to Red Bull's dominance.

Lewis Hamilton is recovering from his faux pas after Monaco, spoken in post-race frustration.

Fernando Alonso will be very keen to set a benchmark after a good result in the last race but still seeing Vettel claim victory.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

India Pushed to Back of the Grid

The inaugural Indian Grand Prix has been pushed back to December by the reintroduction of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

This however appears likely to be temporary.  The formula one teams have indicated that they would not support racing in Bahrain this year.

Whether India is reinstated to the October 30th slot pencilled in for Bahrain remains to be seen.

According to, four milion tons of earth have been moved to make way for the new circuit.

Karun Chandhok's father Vicky is president of the Federation of Motorsport of India.  He is adamant that the circuit will be ready for October.  Karun is cuurently reserve driver for Lotus and a BBC commentator.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Monaco GP 2011 | Vettel Saves Tyres

Just 2 1/2 seconds separated the top three to end the Monaco Grand Prix.

Vettel came home in front of Alonso and Button.

On lap 72, the race was stopped under a red flag.  This enabled Vettel, whose tyres were about to expire, to change his tyres outside race conditions and retain the lead at the restart. He had been on the same tyres since lap 16 and was surprisingly heading to the end of the race without another tyre change.  Both Alonso and Vettel were convinced they could pass him before the end up to that point.

This result leaves Vettel with 143 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton's 85 in second place in the standings.

This race had been Hamilton's opportunity to close up but the qualifying accident of Sergio Perez gave him no time to set a competitive pole lap.  Then in the race he was given a stop go penalty for overtaking in a manner considered dangerous by the stewards.

Red Bull lead the constructors tables with 222 points from McLaren's 161.  Fernando Alonso expressed the view after the race that the title is 'nearly won'.  However with the new points system couple of DNFs by Vettel will close the gap again to the other drivers.  Red flags, yellow flags, aborted qualifying, penalties, tyre problems etc can happen at any race.  There are 325 points to play for with 13 races to go.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Monaco 2011

Lewis Hamilton was denied a potential pole lap when Sergio Perez lost control existing the Monaco tunnel and hit the barriers.  The qualifying session was stopped.

This left Sebastian Vettel with yet another pole position as no one was able to improve on their times when qualifying restarted for a brief few minutes.

Perez was conscious and taken to the medical facility for further tests.

The order for tomorrow is : Vettel Button Webber Alonso Schumacher Massa Hamilton.

All the other top drivers put in an early banker lap.

Update: Hamilton has been demoted to 10th following an allegation that he cut the chicane in qualifying.
All in all a sorry day when Hamilton.   He was showing all the signs that he had a pole lap in him to give Red Bull some serious competition at last.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Alon so Quick of the Mark

After an excellent start by Alonso which took him from third to first, he was able to control the race for 20 laps.
Then Vettel dived into the pits.  He had an excellent out-lap which got him back ahead of Alonso but behind the new leader Hamilton.

Lap 49 and Hamilton pitted from the lead giving up first place to Vettel but in front of Button and Webber.  Alonso sat in fifth in front of Schumacher.

Webber set a fastest lap on lap 51.

Lap 55 saw Hamilton on Vettel's rear wing for corner after corner with clear sight of the lead, and DRS and KERS available to him.

By lap 57 Hamilton appeared to have superior grip levels in his tyres but still could not get by.  Button trailed him by 35 seconds in third, controlling Webber behind him.  In contrast Vettel looked under severe pressure in the lead.

Hamilton would not want to take the lead too near the end of the race and let Vettel past with his own KERS and DRS.  With three laps to go however he looked to have left it too late.  Vettel was not using KERS in the final laps.

With one lap to go another race win for Vettel looked a forgone conclusion and so it proved to be - another win for Vettel followed by Hamilton, Button, Webber, Alonso and Schumacher.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Vettel Noch Mal

Sebastian Vettel again dominated the field today.

This time the venue was Turkey but the agenda was the same.  A clear pole position followed by a peerless race.

His team mate Mark Webber followed him home in second place.

Ferrari has cause for optimism with a third place for Fernando Alonso.

Driver of the day however was Kamui Kobayashi who fought through from last on the grid to a fine 10th place.  Nico Rosberg slipped from third on the grid to 5th in the race splitting the two McLarens of Hamilton and Button.

As the drivers move on to Barcelona, Vettel leads the championship with 93 points from Hamilton's 59.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Hamilton Wins!

Lewis Hamilton will now feel more content with his current team.  In winning the Chinese Grand Prix the dominance of Red Bull has been broken.

It was Jenson Button who went to the Red Bull team - albeit temporarily.  He pitted for a tyre change but parked his car in the Red Bull bay before realising he need to drive forward to the next garage.  He lost his lead by this error and could manage no better than fourth.

Mark Webber went out in 'quali 1' and ended 18th on the grid but fought up to third place behind his team mate Vettel.

A great drive by Hamilton who was understandably very emotional immediately after his win.

Lewis Hamilton Leaving?

When a sports star starts to slip behind his peers he generally looks for a move.

For example, a football player who is replaced in the first team by a colleague whether taken off the field prematurely, or used a substitute only.

Left alone, feelings of neglect are often easily dissipated by being back in the first choice line up again in a team sport or another win in an individual one.  However in these days of ever more professional management, a need is cultivated to be first, visible, winning.  Sponsors need to be appeased and brand links require prominence and media exposure.

It is in this environment that Manchester United players leave for Real Madrid and F1 drivers move to other teams.

One of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp's strengths is noted to be making his players feel wanted, important, even when they don't make the first team starting line up.  Other managers make it clear that the team is the thing and individuals need to fit in to whatever suits the team's best interests.

So when celebrity management moves into sport, the concept of 'the joy of taking part' and being loyal to the team comes into conflict with the need to promote the individual.

It is in this context that sportsmen say there is no interest in being with a team for life.  Exceptions like Ryan Giggs are rare.  Transfers make headlines and money for management and the individual.  He needs to be publicised as a winner.

That is why Lewis Hamilton will find it hard to tolerate being led by his team mate in the last race or being behind him on the grid in China.  A move may become inevitable if the season continues in this way.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Massa Beats Alonso

Team hierarchy is starting to take shape...

Felipe Massa beat his team mate Fernando Alonso in Malaysia.
Jenson Button beat this team mate Lewis Hamilton.
Sebastian Vettel beat Mark Webber and won the race.
Renault's Nick Heidfeld beat Vitaly Petrov.
Schumacher beat Rosberg.

This of course is not consistent with the race results in Australia.  However, the result was influenced by uncharacteristic mistakes and unforeseen issues.  Alonso collided with the back of Hamilton's McLaren; Hamilton was given a retrospective time penalty for weaving;  Webber lost use of his KERS system but Vettel had his second victory sewn up anyway and retained his 100% points record this year.

A very entertaining battle took place between Schumacher and Kobayashi, with Kobayashi showing what a fighter he is and coming in ultimately two places ahead in seventh.

Button's second place gave him great encouragement and he was visibly delighted after the race, talking up this season as having championship potential for him.

Webber had the consolation of fastest lap and fourth place.  Heidfeld brought Renault their second podium of 2011 with third place.  After his own third in Australia, this time out Petrov broke his steering mount by attempting a vault over the kerb from the grassy side.  Massa may have eased the tension over his place at Ferrari by his fifth place result.  Alonso managed sixth with his new nose and Hamilton was demoted to eighth.

Schumacher slipped into the top ten with 9th and rookie Paul di Resta brought his Force India home in 10th - his second finish in the points and one place ahead of his team mate.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Lewis Looking for Fuller Future

Interesting take on the Lewis Hamilton story on
Some sources have him on his way out of his boyhood team...

Well, the ultra-quick Kimi Raikkonen was going to drive Nascar trucks so anything can happen.
Who knows what goes on in a world class driver's mind?

Jenson Button has stated that for Lewis to leave would be a bad idea.  These two close friends may therefore have at least discussed the possibilities.

Meanwhile we head on to Sepang this weekend.

McLaren and Red Bull are expecting Ferrari and Mercedes GP to be more competitive this weekend.

The weather will play a big part so Pirelli tyre choice and pit stop timings will be a major factor again.

With Jenson Button looking the more settled of the two McLaren drivers, his smooth style may prove decisive.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Schumacher Retires

Well in a sense but not yet in another...

So much was promised in pre-season testing.

The Australian Grand Prix was to see a competitive Michael Schumacher racing wheel to wheel with Vettel, Webber, Hamilton and Button.  Maybe Alonso - the man in Schumacher's old armchair - would also have seen a tussle with the great MSc as wing flaps and KERS were deployed and tyre degradation became a major issue.

However in the race, a Sauber finished with one tyre stop only, Vettel was in another league (without KERS) as he stormed to victory like a man who had forgotten his family were with him on his way to the beach.  There was little obvious tyre degradation.  Schumacher went out with a puncture and retired when his suspension became dangerous after being butted up the rear end.

Lewis Hamilton was in the best of moods after the race as he mixed surprise with elation that his car had suddenly been fixed after pre-season woes.  His second place was a pleasant surprise to him and his long-term buddies at McLaren.

So what was learned from the first race?  Pirelli need to work out why their tyres did not wear out; Sauber need to get their protractor out and see if the 100mm radius intended was actually built into their rear wing;  Renault are very quick - for the second race running Petrov finished ahead of Alonso picking up third in the process;  Mercedes need to get all their quick components working at once; Ferrari need some speed.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Vettel's Floating Wing

As Seb Vettel flew to pole position in qualifying today, his front wing seemed to be as mobile as last season from the on-board shots.

While no doubt the wing is legal, it appears that again the rise and fall between the straights and the braking zones was as impressive as that of a pro ballroom dancer.

Behind him the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton slotted in to complete the front row of the grid just short of 8 tenths behind Vettel.

After pre-season promise, Schumacher could do no better than 11th behind his team mate Rosberg in 7th.

Kobayashi was impressive in his Sauber in 9th.  Mark Webber split the two McLarens to come in third.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Australian Grand Prix

The top six cars were separated by 0.73 of a second in today's practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

The two McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton led the way from Alonso, Vettel, Webber and Schumacher.  Massa was 7th quickest.

Jenson Button has won the last two races in Australia and seems to be looking good for a third win.   However we will see whether Red Bull can pull out the extra margins when it counts again this year when qualifying starts tomorrow.

It is good to see McLaren being competitive after their testing problems.  Mercedes GP have continued their pre-season promise.

Practice informs us of little in relation to proper qualifying and still less the likely race outcome.  However, assuming both cars in each team were on similar setups then we are starting to see a pattern of who will be quick in each team in relation to his team mate.   Also despite good times for Williams, Sauber and Renault in testing it is still McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull who are making the pace.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Schumacher for Australia

Most people in the know are predicting Adrian Newey's latest air-bending design for Red Bull to dominate in the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

So just to be different we will stick our necks out and back Michael Schumacher to be at or near the front of the grid and win through Ross Brawn's strategy, Mercedes reliability and the intelligent use of tyres.

WMSC | New F1 Engines

From 2013 F1 engine capacity will be reduced from 2.4 litre V8s to 1.6 four cylinder.

There have been cries of complaint from several quarters that this will result in a sport bereft of engine noise and power.  A particular reason given is that the rpm limit will reduce from 18,000 rpm to 12,000.

However please listen to a 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine limited to 12,500 rpm - the 1980s BMW F1.

Intelligent exhaust tuning and limit state engineering will ensure that the spectacle will not be lost.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pirelli F1 2011

2011 F1 tyre supplier, Pirelli have revealed their colours for the new season.

There are to be six colours:-

Wet - Orange
Intermediate - Light Blue  
Supersoft - Red 
Soft - Yellow  
Medium - White
Hard - Silver.

At the first Grand Prix, Silver and Yellow tyres will be on view.

Pirelli's Motorsport Director stated in his press release,

"We are very excited by the prospect of returning to Formula One for the first time in 20 years, and we are aiming to be a proactive and colourful parter in Formula One."

Pirelli's strategy is to make the differences between prime and option tyres more pronounced.  They will do this by providing a step of at least one compound between the tyres nominated for each race.

The most intelligent users of tyres will come to the fore - in recent years this proved to be Jenson Button.  
Brawn and Schumacher also have solid history to prove they can make the most of tyre stops and put in race determining times as tyres come to the edge of their wear limits.

F1 2011 | One Week to Go Go Go!

The new F1 Season is about to start.  Dont we know it!

Adrian Newey is the acknowledged master designer in the F1 paddock.  This year he will be seen to have produced yet another winning design for his current team Red Bull.

Equally however, when it comes to strategy, Ross Brawn is the acknowledged master.  With more pitstops for tyre changes, strategy will come to the fore.  Added to this Michael Schumacher was fastest in the pre-season tests in Barcelona.  So this year there will be challenges for the podium not only from Red Bull but from Mercedes GP who Schumacher elected to join when he chose to come out of retirement. 

To add to the mix, Renault have an innovative forward-facing exhaust to drive blown air over the rear diffuser in an effort to reclaim some of the downforce lost following the new regulations which have outlawed double diffusers.  Nick Heidfeld is standing in for the injured Robert Kubica who continues his recovery from a serious rallying accident during the closed season.  He has adapted to the new car very quickly.

Ferrari have been the most reliable outfit in pre-season testing and have two quick drivers including ex-world champion Fernando Alonso who narrowly missed out on the world championship last year to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Following the cancellation of the GP in Bahrain, the season starts next weekend in Australia.  The season promises to be more enthralling than ever.

Now McLaren are being vocal to those who have been ruling them out based on pre-season performance.  Martin Whitmarsh has explained that due to their policy of pushing innovations to the limits this has resulted in delays and some component failure.  He wants the team to be viewed as a serious threat from race 1.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Schumacher Fastest | Mercedes GP

1:21.249 !

That is the new benchmark set by Michael Schumacher in Barcelona testing today.

Is Red Bull's dominance still a done deal?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

F1 Testing Times | Barcelona

On day two in Barcelona yesterday, Sebastian Vettel set a seemingly unassailable time in his Red Bull of 1:21.865 - a full second quicker that Hamilton.

Most voices were saying hastily that Red Bull will be radically faster than the rest of the field this year with the possible exception of Ferrari.

However today new boy Sergio Perez in his Sauber Ferrari set a time of 1:21.761

He was followed by Felipe Massa with 1:22.092 and Mark Webber with 1:22.466.

With differing tyres and fuel loads and some teams concentrating on pace over long stints, times can still be misleading.  However Vettel's 'unmovable benchmark' has quickly been eclipsed by a rookie in a Sauber so things may be more open than appeared to be the case.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Pirelli Tyres - Smooth is Quick

Lewis Hamilton has been bemoaning the new Pirelli tyres and other rule changes, saying that they have made the cars slow and 'boring'.

He asserts that tyre saving will be the most significant aspect of race craft this year.

If this is the case then the smooth drivers will benefit.  Jenson Button is renowned for his smooth driving style and ability to make intelligent use of tyres and tyre choices.

Jackie Stewart always used to repeat the expression that smooth is quick.  Jim Clark and Stirling Moss had that style too.

Remember too the many races where Michael Schumacher was driving in third or fourth spot when following a spate of pit stops he came out in front.  Ross Brawn's strategy was often given the credit along with Schumacher's ability to put in two or three hot laps preceding the tyre stop.  Maybe the Brawn/Schumacher combination reunited since last year with Mercedes will come into its own again this year.

Monday, 21 February 2011

F1 News | Bahrain Grand Prix Cancelled?

Due to continuing uncertainty in the country an announcement is expected today that the March 11th to 13th 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix will be called off along with the testing due on March 3rd to 6th.

It may be rescheduled however to later in the year.

If this proves to be the case F1 fans will need to wait until March 25th to 27th as the teams move on to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

F1 News | Kubica Showing Encouraging Signs

After his serious crash in the Ronde di Ancora rally, Robert Kubica is showing encouraging signs.

He has been able to move his injured right hand.  On Thursday he will have a further operation to stabilise his right shoulder.  His surgeon Mario Rosello stated initially that up to one year will be needed for recovery.

Flavio Briatore commented after visiting Kubica that he looked better than he first thought and predicted a sooner return.

Kubica had been quickest in the pre-season F1 testing in Valencia with a time on day 3 of 1:13.144 ahead of Sutil 1:13.201.  Fernando Alonso was third quickest with a time set on day 2 of 1:13.307.  He was looking at a promising season this year.

Kubica is well respected and known to be one of the most talented drivers on the grid.  In 2008 he led the F1 championship up to mid season at which point BMW stopped development of the car.

Picture Credit:

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Lotus Name Still in Dispute

On January 24th 2011, Judge Peter Smith declined to grant Group Lotus (2011 Renault title sponsors) summary judgement against 1Malaysia Racing team (the 2010 Lotus Team).

Group Lotus acquired an equity stake in the Renault F1 Team in December 2010 and intends to race as Lotus Renault GP.  1Malaysia Racing Team plans to race as Team Lotus, (Colin Chapman's historic F1 team name) with the permission of Team Lotus Ventures.  TLV claim to hold a number of trade mark registrations but Group Lotus challenges TLV's rights to use the name.

The link below gives some of the history of the application for further reading by those interested.

Source Credit:

Saturday, 22 January 2011

What's In a Name?

Group Lotus and Team Lotus are seeking a summary judgement next week to avoid a costly and protracted legal process over naming rights.

What can be said without any contradiction is that this is definitely a Lotus.

Will the legal judgement settle the issue as unequivocally?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Brundle the new Walker

Martin Brundle will be the lead commentator for the 2011 F1 coverage on the BBC.

His animated style and memorable remarks are reminiscent of the last great character to do the job - Murray Walker.

Brundle's insight and understanding of the sport will be a welcome backdrop to the excitement on the tracks.

Fortunately he will still be doing his famously entertaining and energetic grid walks and then rush to the commentary box to join his likely co-commentator David Coulthard.

See Murray and Martin together on youtube in 1984.

Picture Credit: