Mar 16 2013

Formula One 2013: Albert Park Qualifying


So it’s that time of year again where we jet from time zone to time zone joining the Billionaires in their boxes for an orgy of excess as we spiral our way to Global Apocalypse in no small part due to the belching monoxide fumes of our chariots in these last, decadent days of empire.

Nothing has changed.

Coverage is on a new network, the NBC affliated NBC Sports. Will Buxton, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett will ALL be back (yay I guess).  They’ll be offering 100 hours of coverage and while I’m not sure it will persist and be consistent, here is the example weekend schedule from Albert Park-


  • midnight Practice 1 (this is new)
  • 1:30 am Practice 2


  • 2 am Qualifying (you’re soaking in it)
  • 1:30 pm Qualifying (repeat)
  • 10:30 pm Practice 2 (repeat)


  • midnight Qualifying (repeat)
  • 1:30 am Pre-Race
  • 2 am Albert Park
  • 4 am F1 Extra
  • 1 pm Albert Park (repeat)
  • 3:30 pm F1 Extra (repeat)
  • 10:30 pm Qualifying (repeat)


  • midnight Albert Park (repeat)
  • 2:30 am F1 Extra (repeat)


  • midnight Albert Park (repeat)
  • 2:30 am F1 Extra (repeat)

If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read below the fold.

There will be only 19 races, Turkey, Austria, Europe, Dubai, Portugal, France, London, and New Jersey have been dropped, at least temporarily.  Argentina is preparing a bid.

There will only 11 teams, HRT has been dropped and sold to a parts liquidator.  Qualifying has been changed in response from 7, 7, and 10 to 6, 6, and 10.

Pirelli has totally changed the design of their tires (no, they’re not square but more than reformulating the compounds).  On offer at Albert Park will be Softs and Super Softs.

Drag Reduction Systems may only be used during Practice and Qualifying where they are during the race.  This is more significant than you think because during Practice they could be used to gather data about the mechanical grip of the chassis and during Qualifying to effect your position.

There is now a “modesty plate” to cover the platypus nose step that everyone considered so ugly (as if the great honking front wing wasn’t ugly enough on its own).  There are new ‘testing’ procedures for the front wing (yeah, right).  Mercedes ‘double diffuser’ (which spoils the down force on the front wing when DRS is deployed) has been ruled illegal while McLaren’s hasn’t… yet.

Speaking of Mercedes and McLaren, the big news in driver changes is Lew Hamilton.  Good luck with that.  He is replaced by Sergio Perez.  Sauber replaced both drivers with Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez.  Hulkenberg is replaced at Force India by Adrian Sutil.

Kamui Kobayashi is dropped because he couldn’t raise enough money to bribe his way into a seat (What?  You didn’t know that about Formula One?).  Williams is replacing Bruno Senna with Valtteri Bottas.

Caterham dropped both Heikki Kovalainen  (we hatessss him) and Vitaly Petrov (bribe not big enough) and replaced them with Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde.  Marussia dumped Timo Glock (bribe not big enough) and lost Pic and is  replacing them with Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi.

HRT withdrawing leaves Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan on the beach.


Please remember I am uniformly wrong.

There is no reason to believe that Red Bull will not dominate again.  Ferarri is confident that now they’ve fixed their sucky wind tunnel they’ll be competitive instead of of relying on Alonso miracle driving.

McLaren will not suddenly be better because Hamilton is gone, nor Mercedes because he is there.  They will be duking it out with Lotus (Renault) for third.  Sauber and Force India will stuggle for respectability as will Williams to avoid losing it entirely.  Caterham and Marussia will eat clag.

The podium will be Vettel, Webber, and Alonso in no particular order.  Perhaps Button or Hamilton might sneak in, but I doubt it.


It will take me a while to get up to Speed on using the online tools for commentary, I hope you’ll forgive me.

Most information from Wikipedia.

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