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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

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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.