Tag: Formula One

F1: Monza

Ferrari on the front row.  Well, first and third.  Good for them as the hometown team I suppose.

In fact Ferrari is a team in trouble and has threatened to concentrate on next year’s development if they don’t get a good result.  Frankly no result is going to move them beyond an eventual 3rd place because they’re just too far behind.  Also, that’s what they did last year and look where it’s got them.

It’s not only that the car isn’t fast, their engine is not reliable and almost every team that uses it, including Ferrari, is on their last one with 6 races to go (including this one).  If you use any above the allotted 8 for the season there’s a 10 spot Grid penalty and starting position is very important in Formula One.

They’re not the only ones with engine problems, for some inexplicable reason Mark Webber from Red Bull has elected to race a used engine when almost every other team has switched to a new one.  Not just that, but this engine has had 2 problems during the practice sessions and inexplicable because he has 2 spares.  The reason this is significant is because Webber and Hamilton are the only ones with a realistic shot at the Drivers’ Championship and Red Bull and McLaren are only 1 point apart in the Team Championship.

The other technically interesting point is the dueling aero setups.  Some drivers and teams have opted for a larger wing and are relying on F-Ducts to spoil the airflow over it to reduce drag on the parts of the track where you don’t need so much downforce.  Everyone else is just going for a smaller wing all the way around which has the additional advantage of being lighter.  You can see this play out on the McLaren team where Button, using the F-Duct, is starting 2nd and Hamilton, using the small wing, is starting 5th.  Hamilton was a little squirrely during Qualifying.

All of the top ten are starting on Option (Soft) Tires that only have 2 or 3 laps on them, but they won’t last and because the field is so closely matched it’s unlikely that anyone is going to be able to gain enough of a lead to pit without losing position.  This is somewhat of an advantage for Button who has shown an uncanny ability to tread (heh, heh, get it?) lightly on his tires, but were I a back marker like Schumacher or Petrov I’d start Primes and drive them into the ground.

My Qualifying Commentary, Speed Channel Racecast, Formula One Official Website.

Starting Grid and Standings below.

F1: Monza Qualifying

Race 14 of 19 and the last one in Europe this year.  Monza is reputedly the fastest track and has hosted more races (60) than any other.  Like most of the classic tracks it’s been shortened considerably though it is still 3.6 miles a lap.  They’ve added some chicanes in recent years but it’s still full throttle most of the way around.

All the teams have reworked their aero for this race and during yesterday’s practice most were sporting a ‘Flow Viz’ paint job that subtly ripples under pressure so the engineers can see where the air is going.  There are 2 aero strategies going on, one using the F-Duct to spoil the downforce on the rear wing and the other simply using a noticeably smaller wing.  McLaren tested both, sending out Button with the F-Duct and Hamilton with the small wing.

It’s also notoriously tough on brakes and the drive trains, but those are most likely tomorrow issues when they’ll be carrying 300+ pounds of fuel at the start (unless, of course, someone blows up or parks it today- FLAMING CHUNKS OF TWISTED METAL RULZ!).

Being Monza the stands will be packed with Ferrari fans.  The final ruling by the World Motor Sport Council is that the $100,000 fine for the Team Orders violation at Nurburgring is the only penalty they will suffer for that incident.  In other off track news, no new Team qualified to participate next year (leaving it at 12) and they officially added a race in India bringing the total number of races to 20.

The results at Spa were pretty devastating for Vettel and Button who find themselves 31 and 35 points (respectively) behind the leader Hamilton.  On the other hand they were pretty good for Alonso who is only 10 points out of third.  In the Team standings McLaren is but a single point behind Red Bull, with Marlboro UPC a distant third.

As always don’t let my prattle keep you from making your own observations.  I have to take notes because Richard gives a quiz after the race.  bmaz’s F1 trash talk is here.  There will be no re-broadcast of qualifying, tomorrow’s race package starts with GP2 at 6 am, pre-race at 7:30, start at 8, all on Speed.

F1: Spa

Spa is race 12 of 18 and the next to last one in Europe this year.  As I mentioned yesterday it’s been kind of hard to tell if teams have made any improvements during the 3 week summer break because of the weather which is again forecast for showers though it is clear and dry as I write.

If it rains it’s going to put some pressure on the teams, most of whom have used 2 of their 4 sets of Intermediate rain tires.  Many teams are also experiencing engine shortages.  You’re only allowed 8 for the entire season and Ferrari powerplants have proven less than reliable.  Some teams are on their 7th while the Renault factory team is only on its 5th.

The penalty for going over the limit is you lose starting grid position and there were a number of changes to that in this race from the Qualifying finish for racing infractions at the last race in Hungary that I hope are included in the table below.  I used the latest and greatest info from Speed.

I’ve also included tables for Team and Drivers standings.  You can follow Speed’s Commentary here.

F1: Spa Qualifying

Well, if you’re a Ferrari fan (and there are lots of them) you’ll be encouraged by the podium finish of Alonso at the Hungaroring.  Alas the drivers and constructors standings don’t justify much optimism as this year looks like a fight between Red Bull and McLaren with the advantage currently to Red Bull.

It’s been 3 weeks and the floppy Front Wing has been studied (though technically you’re not supposed to do any work on vacation) and many teams are sporting new aero bits where the rules allow them.

The efficacy of which remains to be seen.  Spa is notorious for its rain and much of the running in practice has been on Intermediates and Wets and the strategic question for the teams has been how much to ruin them because like the Primes and the Softs you get just so many sets but unlike them you can’t replace them between Practice and Race Day (they issue a full compliment of Softs and Primes today for Qualifying) and running used up Intermediates when it really is damp is a good way to end up in a wall.

As always your participation is welcome and desired, but you’ll have to tolerate my rambling regardless as I need to take notes to prove to Richard I’m paying attention.  I’ll attempt to highlight any surprises like Hamilton washing out in Q2.  This Qualifying is repeated on Speed at 2:30 am.  Tomorrow’s pre-race starts at 7:30 am preceded by GP2 on the same track at 6 am.

Need.  More.  Coffee.

F1: Hungaroring

Hmm…  Maybe this isn’t as suitable for blogging as I hoped.

I really don’t have much to add to yesterday’s set up except that the flex wing may be more significant than I thought.  The Red Bulls and Ferraris that are using it are 1.2 seconds a lap faster than everything else on the track.

Here’s a link to the Speed Racecast commentary.

Below the fold is the starting grid.

F1: Hungaroring Qualifying

Well, I have to be up and take notes anyway since Richard and Emily are off attending a wedding in upstate New York (not that one).

Join me below the fold.

Load more