Circuit de Cat”ch up on sleep”alunya

In recent times the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya has been something of a snore fest. The tracks main overtaking oppurtunity has been ruined by modern aero dependance as the cars can’t follow closely through the last corner and go wheel to wheel (a la Mansell and Senna circa 1991) down the main straight. The addition of a chicane before the corner has done little to help the problem (other than spoil a good series of corners)

To me it makes more sense to tighten up turn 10 to make that straight into a real on the brakes overtaking shot. Would love to hear your thoughts on what ammendments could be made!

But to highlight the problem the race has been won from pole for the last 10 years, so many are saying this will be a real acid test of the new tires, KERS and DRS 2011 rules as the track is so aerodependant due to the fast corners. Charlie Whiting has picked the main straight and all of the main straight as the DRS zone, which is even longer than Turkeys which produced 112 overtakes during the race, 40 of which were DRS (thanks to James Allen and Merecedes F1 for that!) so it should produce some overtaking. How exciting it will be however I dont know, the reason ovals never took off in Europe is the constant meaningless changes of position.

But finally on the subject of DRS the teams have yet again failed to tackle the real problem head on. The move to ground effect and a massive increase in aero efficiency (IE reducing drag and the turbulence issues) has been thwarted by FOTA as they basically dont want to risk it. DRS only exists because the cars are creating massive wakes, which create turbulence for the cars trying to follow. Its a real shame as it could see a huge amount of downforce for very little wake, which really now has to be the challenge for the sport to come up with aero efficient rules.

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The “new F1”

Lots of people have been talking about this new breed of F1 racing and theres a few things im confused about and here they are:

First of all people said malaysia was too busy and crazy? Was it, im pretty sure there was more overtaking in China and didn’t really ever settle down. Also people said they bored and turned off last year, really? Last season was vintage with a title fight to the wire. Im not saying that this year isn’t better but last year was hardly a snore fest, even webbers arial antics livened up the damp sqiub that is Valencia.

Furthermore expect these teams to get a handle on these rules and the strategy required to maximise the race and the races to be so crazy. I think its better to start a tad bit heavy handed with the rules because the teams will get their heads round them.

I hope you all enjoyed the race this weekend and this season is looking really lively with the midfield very competitive (mark webber wasn’t miles behind in 15th which is why he could make up the time – in years gone by he might of been lapped nearly by the time of his first pit stop) Red Bull and McLaren going at it hammer and tongs. With three weeks off now until the next race it will be interesting to see the developments from Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari and see if they can really come and join the fight at the front. The first european race is traditionally when teams bring a large package upgrade so expect the pecking order to change a bit, for most teams they tend to bring a big update for the first race, first european race, after the summer break (for the faster lower downforce races) and then sometimes the start of the flyaways. These upgrades will address the problems that the teams have had on the road and the ideas they’ve nicked off the other teams.

Sod the quali, lets race

We leave the first set of flyaway races with a very different Formula 1 in 2011. So far the DRS can be considered a sucess and some epic races have ensued with great action due to the DRS and mostly the Pirelli tires. Interestingly it could spell the end for qualifying, as mark webber showed parking it up in Q1 and saving tires is a useful tactic.

Even if this is the case expect it to further improve the racing as people will be carving through the field come sunday. It is likely to return to the days of running race fuel in Q3 where people could go for glory or the long game with their Qualifying strategy.

So close but yet so far (no sir I wasn’t copying – see)

Details have emerged that the DRS straight will be the pit straight again in Sepang (note the most expensive tickets) but with back to back drags it will be interesting to really see how much difference it makes this weekend.

Second up is the details of the differences in the cars, with Renault and Red Bull using 10% more fuel to make their diffusers effective, which goes someway to explain their one lap pace compared to their race pace. The other teams have got blown diffusers that do not use extra fuel and McLaren especially seem quite close.

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Hold on in Jerez as we head to Sepang!

Last weeks Moto GP was pretty epic, the on track over taking was not massive by Moto GP standards but it was a thrill a minute with Rossi taking out Casey Stoner, then leader simoncelli having a high side. Colin Edwards, Cal Crutchlow and Ben Spies all slid off into the gravel allowing Nicky Hayden to pick up a podium for Ducati with Lorenzo taking a home win.

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Quick Nick Flounders while the rocket from Russia collects a podium

Well we’ve had our first race of the year and while not a vintage Austrailian grand prix it still was a good watch. The DRS system seemed ok, obviously teams still have to sort it out but the tires also played their part too. But the drive of the day has to go to Vitaly Petrov picking up his maiden podium bring the renault home in 3rd place beating Ferraris and a red bull on the way. People have been asking what Robert could of done in the car and im not sure the top two steps were quite within reach. Vettel had a storming drive, perfectly in control throughout.

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KERS? HRT? DRS? Acronyms galore in Melbourne

Well we’ve finally seen the drivers take to the track with low fuel and battle each other outright with their best efforts, or have we? Despite Sebastian Vettel’s massive pole position gap he wasn’t using KERS and nor was team-mate Mark Webber. This is impressive as the system is worth up to 3 tenths round albert park, and the team were not deploying it. One assumes they have the system in their car as they cannot simply add it after qualifying due to the park ferme conditions.

Read on after the break

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