Huh? Sorry I feel asleep

There was some racing on this weekend but I may have been on the sofa after a night of partying and a BBQ for lunch so Valencia did little to keep me awake, I sort of slept on and off throughout the back part of the race. It wasn’t particulary interesting, no one got it wrong, its very hard to overtake and everyone finished. Boring.

The problem with the Valencia track is there is not enough overtaking oppurtunities and its not challenging enough for drivers to be pressured into mistakes (like in monaco say). The McLarens were off the pace in the race due to the heat and their rear downforce level (which they have been running quite high to protect the tires), however with the extreme heat on sunday the downforce level was too much and the car chewed its tires. To be honest thats all there is to say on the matter, the rule change this weekend about engine mapping was never going to change the pace much. In fact its a stupid rule change:

All the teams were expressly permitted to change engine mapping between qualifying and the race, therefore they were ALL doing it. It does mean that some teams have an advantage over others in qualifying which creates a grid thats out of their race pace order, its a silly change (unlike a interpertation of the rules to ban the blown diffuser) that has done nothing and was never going to do anything. As for the blown diffuser it really does remain to be seen how that will effect the order of the teams, it will be interesting to see towards the back of the field if it has much effect. One thing to remember is the McLaren was fast with their patchwork job in Austrailia which had a very poor design so I’d expect them to still be on the pace in Silverstone. The main challenge for all the teams will be the change in balence to the cars and the loss of off throttle downforce, it could make the cars very tricky to drive as you’ll suddenly lose a lot of rear downforce once you lift off the throttle.

I should think that Silverstone will be a very different kettle of fish to Valencia.

In other news Ben Spies (2009 superbike world champion) has won his first Moto GP at Assen on Saturday, which is some feat. The Americian had an astounding rookie year last year with the Tech III team before being moved up to the factory Yamaha squad to partner Lorenzo this year. Simoncelli crashed again on the first lap wiping out Lorenzo, leaving Spies to stride away from the chasing Hondas and win the historic race (which was first run over 80 years ago!)

Bahrain Blood Money and 21 races!

So the world motor sport council met on Friday last week and im sure you’ve heard the mind boggling decision to reinstate Bahrain this year, which is stupid because the sponsors dont want to go and the teams cant at the moment get any insurance so they will not be going. (There’d be all sorts of corperate negligence issues with going without insurance so the UK based teams – Williams, McLaren, Red Bull, Force India, Virgin, Team Lotus, Mercedes – will not at this stage be able to go). Its not going to happen, teams will pull out and we’ll either end up with some hilarious farsical race of Ferrari and HRT against each other while the country continues to melt down. It also now means the season will end of December 4th or 11th in India, the latest finish to a season till 1963!

In better news the calendar will at the moment contain 21 races next year with the addition of the United States Grand Prix and nothing else falling off the calendar, however the Turkish race is subject to confirmation. Also the FIA announced a new world endurance series centered around LeMans and a combined GT world championship, both good steps for fans of those series. Furthermore the Monte Carlo rally will return to World Rally Championship after 3 years in some other minor rally series.

Finally there was some rumblings that the FIA may delay the new 2013 rules, I dont really see why. The manufactuers already in the sport dont want it to change because its extra money but no-one new is going to enter the sport as we’re expecting the engine rules to change. (Theres also the new LIFE engines in development for 2013)

Weekend catch up!

Hey once again sorry for not posting up my thoughts on the blog but with it being bank holiday I’ve been rather busy. I hope you all agree it was a really interesting Monaco Grand Prix!!

Theres been lots of people saying this or that about Lewis Hamilton and whether he should be penilised. Its hard to say, there has been some analysis shown that Maldonado did turn in on Lewis however I think the overtake attempt on Massa at the hairpin was always going to end in tears. In my not very educated opinion it was simply a lunge from too deep much like the Paul Di Resta attempt, who did try and run Force India out of spare parts.

The race saw great drives from Kobayashi and Adrian Sutil (5th and 6th respectivly) which will earn them some decent points. We were also robbed of a proper ending due to the red flag, although I do agree with red flagging an event rather than run 6, 7, 8, 9 laps under the safety car which is a bit pointless. It was the first appearnce from the Safety car all season which actually brings the point that the racing afforeded by DRS and the Pirrelli rubber makes the sport safer as drivers are taking less half-chances (although thats about the best you can get at monaco.

Next up is montreal which has pretty much always delieverd a great race regardless of the F1 rules. Its mix of long straights, tight turns and street/permenant course provides a real set-up challenge. Also for the next two races there will be two DRS straights, which at Valencia might work great but Montreal could be mesmerising.

Elsewhere Davide Valsecchi picked up a maiden win for Team Air Asia (Run by Tony Fernandes of Team Lotus fame) in the GP2 feature race and Charles Pic picked up the sprint race hounours, which throws the GP2 title race wide open with Grosjean and Sam Bird tied at the top on 23 points and only 2 points seperating the top 5 drivers in the series. GP2 standings

Britian Dan Wheldon won the Indy 500 on a big weekend for motorsport, his second victory in the iconic race (the first being in his 2005 title year).

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.

Farewell dear new friend?

This weekend see’s the F1 circus roll into Europe (even though Istalbull Park is in Asia) for the main meat of the season. With the exception of the little trip to Canada, this will see the teams in the motor homes and trucking across the continent until the Autumn. This will be the first major upgrade package that the teams bring, as its the first non flyaway race.

However this weekends action at Istanbull Park could be the last for F1, the Turkish simply dont turn out of the race and the country doesn’t want to pay the high fee’s. Its a shame, the track is already regarded as a vintage track and certainly Tilke’s best. Even the Germans harshest critics have to conceed that the undulating, fast circuit is a classic track including the awesome turn 8. Tilke has made some awful tracks but this is certainly his finest hour and worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as Monaco, Silverstone, Monza, Spa etc.

With this years new rules (which I’ve said far too much about in this blog) it could be a thriller and definatly a tire killer with Pirreli bringing the same compounds as the previous 3 races despite the high tire wear at Turkey. Read on for some catch up and preview stuff.

Continue reading

Could Tilke be redeemed the season?

Hermann Tilke is the man responsible for a lot of the tarmac on the F1 calendar. All the new tracks since Sepang have been designed by him (Sepang / Bahrain / Shanghai / Istanbull Park / Marina Bay / Valencia / Yas Marina /  Korean International and this years Jaypee Group circuit in India all designed by the man)  as well as major modifications to established circuits (Hockenheimring, Circuit de Catalunya, Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Nürburgring). Therefore the mans style of tracks feature heavily on the calendar, one of his classics is a tight hairpin following or leading into a straight.

Read on to find out why this might be no bad thing in 2011

Continue reading