Monthly Archives: April 2012

Bahrain Grand Prix, Roundup

I’ll try to avoid the thorny issue of politics as I quickly review the race and what it means to the scoreboard, suffice to say I don’t agree that the race should have been on the calendar in the first place.

It’s been a very unpredictable season so far with 4 winners at the first four races and even more unusually four different constructors, that’s not happened in a VERY long time.  This has meant it’s very tight in the standings with nobody being able to build much of a lead and it’s still very much anyone’s for the taking.

Vettel took a dominant win today and rarely looked troubled, ominously Red Bull look to be back to their best, but from the previous two races perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it. 

Both Lotus cars were able to compete on race pace with the Red Bull and had they qualified better then perhaps we would have seen Kimi Raikkonen making a comeback win here.  He certainly had a chance to take the lead and by battling through from 11th on the grid I may have to revise my prediction that he wouldn’t win a race all season.  I wonder if there’s ever been a season where 5 different constructors won the five first races?

Lotus are very good value, as are both drivers if you fancy bringing them into your team, but can they maintain their current form?

McLaren are having problems at the moment, they were off the pace in the race and had serious problems getting the wheels back on the cars at the stops.  If there is one team that can bounce back quickly, then you’d have to say it’s McLaren.

Ferrari seem to have made a bit of progress as both their drivers had a good battle through the field to score solid points, while Mercedes seem to have fallen back a little, although they should still be capable of scoring good points.

Paul di Resta was one of the better performances today, have Force India made a step forward?

It appears that tyre wear and temperature is critical and with something so difficult to master, perhaps we will see more unpredictable results this season, certainly I have no idea who is going to win in Spain.

Rosberg was lucky to get away without any penalty today and what happened to the Ferrari unsafe release of Alonso?

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Bahrain Unrest

I remember being sceptical about the Bahrain Grand Prix when the calendar was released back on 13th December 2011 as there’s been continued unrest for several months now.

There was a worrying incident last night when four Force India team members were caught up in the trouble, it was sufficiently serious for them to decide to leave the country:   http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/19042012/58/force-india-member-leaves-bahrain-fire-bombing.html

I’ve always believed that politics and sport should be kept separate but I now believe that is a naive point of view.  Formula 1 is being shown up in a bad light and this should never have been allowed to happen, the organisers have let everyone down.  It was madness to put the race on the calendar as the unrest was still very much in evidence and the guarantees from the regime in Bahrain count for nothing.

Hopefully there will be no further incidents, I fear there will be and things will get worse, not better.


Mercedes Upsurge

After the dominant win by Nico Rosberg in China on Sunday, it looks like Mercedes have solved the problem they had regards excessive tyre wear.  It may of course just be that the track and temperatures that we saw suited them, it was cooler than usual in China and so perhaps the warmth we will see at Bahrain, if the race goes ahead, will see them struggle again.

If they genuinely have solved the wear issue then Mercedes will be strong for the rest of the season and should be able to challenge for wins and even the title.   This makes the team and both drivers a bargain at the moment and the teams that did well last race were those with Rosberg and Mercedes elements – unfortunately Schumacher was let down by his pit crew or he would almost certainly have picked up a podium and probably 2nd place.

With regards to the next race, there is still ongoing unrest in Bahrain so time will tell if the Grand Prix will go ahead or not.

 


Epic Race in Prospect

You usually expect to get interesting grid positions for the race after a wet qualifying session and while rain did threaten for a time at Shanghai, it stayed dry.  While you wouldn’t necessarily consider a Mercedes front row to be exactly “topsy-turvy”, their race pace of late means you’d expect them to struggle to stay there in the race.

I genuinely couldn’t tell you who is going to win tomorrow and that’s before you consider the fact that there is a 20% chance of rain!

The bookies agree with me as they’ve got 5 drivers with shorter odds than 10/1 and nobody shorter than 3/1 so worth a flutter if you feel lucky just don’t ask me for a tip.

Rosberg and Schumacher are both fairly evenly matched in race pace so despite Rosberg’s titanic lap in qualifying, either of them could win the race.  However, the Mercedes is really hard on its tyres so I doubt they’ll be leading once they’ve pitted for their first stops that are likely to be amongst the earliest of everyone, of course rain will be a big help to them here.

Kobayashi in third in the Sauber is stunning, normally I’d say he’ll drop back quickly through the field but if you look at the speed trap times http://literalf1.com/2012/04/14/china-2012-qualifying-analysis/ he’s going to be very hard to pass even with DRS.  The Sauber has been soft on its tyres this season so again that’s in his favour, unless it’s wet. Kobayashi must be careful to not run into anyone early on in the race and the he should be fine.

Raikkonen is 4th and while there are some question marks over the Lotus race pace, he’s the kind of driver to be pumped up enough to have a shot at the win if the opportunity presents itself.

Button starts 5th and is the highest place driver with a pedigree of winning races, in a car that has a history of recent wins.  Normally I’d say he’s favourite but he’s been complaining about his set up all weekend and slower than Hamilton by a fair margin.  Has a good chance though, but not favourite.

Webber must have been smiling when he saw Vettel not making it into Q3 and he has a good chance to win tomorrow with the Red Bull being quicker in race trim than qualifying so far this season.  Has the experience of last season when he came through from the back of the grid to be 3rd at this very track, that overtaking experience will be useful.

Hamilton must rue his 5 place grid penalty for the gear-box change or he would certainly start as strong favourite tomorrow.  Even back in 7th he has a good chance to win but I have a funny feeling he’ll claim his hat-trick of 3rd place finishes tomorrow.

Perez back in 8th is probably the highest placed driver who you say has almost no chance to win, but bear in mind how well he drove at Malaysia and his speed trap times, combined with the Sauber’s ability to tip-toe on the tyres and he must be in with a chance of a podium at least.

Alonso starts 9th and is likely to improve on that as the Ferrari is better in race trim than qualifying, the mercurial Spaniard will take advantage of any situation and could win if it’s wet like he did last time out in Malaysia.

Finally 11th placed man Vettel must have a chance even from that far back, especially if it’s wet, Red Bull seem to have a lot of down-force on that car.

I like to have a flutter on the races, the bookies are being very stingy though so I will wait for the weather tomorrow, but Alonso and Vettel are both at 25/1 so a small each way bet might be worthwhile.


Bahrain and Hamilton

Well, Bahrain is on again according to Bernie, does he not read the news?

There is still unrest in the small kingdom and while I agree that sport and politics should not be confused, it doesn’t portray the sport in a good light that it is still hell-bent on putting on a show when people are being badly mistreated by those supposed to be protecting them.

Once again it’s set to be shown up in a bad light when the event is cancelled again for the second year running, or worse still if there’s some kind of security incident or more trouble with the race as the focal point of it.  Better postpone the event until the country is secure again, whether that’s with the current regime or not.  This decision should have been made before the calendar for 2012 was put together so we wouldn’t be in this situation once again.  But as usual with the leaders of the sport, money comes first.

Anyway, looking forward to the Chinese race, looks like Lewis Hamilton is going to struggle as he’s got a 5 place grid penalty for the race and even if he managed to be quickest in qualifying, something he’s never managed to do for 3 consecutive races, he would start in 6th place at best.

I’ve been asked to clarify the rules in such situations, if he does end up quickest in qualifying would he gain the 10 points for those teams who have chosen him as being the pole-sitter?

I’ve decided to stick with the original note in the rules section, I will use whatever rules are published on the F1.com website and let them make that decision, a bit of a cowards way out but there you go.  I suspect that they will show him as being in 6th on the grid if he did get the quickest time and so whoever was 2nd would be promoted to pole and therefore get the points. we shall see, I can’t remember the last time a pole-winner elect had to take a grid drop for the race.


Come on China!

Apologies for my lack of updates of late, but to be honest I am so bored waiting for the next race to come along, it seems like ages since Malaysia!

Thankfully there’s only another 4 days or so until the Chinese Grand Prix and it should be very interesting.

It’s hard to say based on the first two races, who is the dominant team and if anything it looks fairly evenly matched between McLaren and Red Bull.  Ferrari still seem a bit off the pace to me in the dry but of course when you’ve got a genius like Alonso behind the wheel, any unusual circumstances can bring him into play.

Mercedes have dissapointed so far as they look pretty quick in practise and qualifying but seem to be too hard on their tyres and both drivers have made too many mistakes already, which is odd as Rosberg at least was very consistent last season.

Based on what I’ve seen so far I really couldn’t say who will win in China, if it’s dry I’d favour Hamilton but I’m not going to be placing any bets that’s for sure!

Not much has happened regards developing the website, but it has been running much smoother than last season which is a good thing.

The only issue I know about is the rename team feature that I added was causing some problems so I have temporarily disabled it.  I plan to have this fixed hopefully in time for the Chinese Grand Prix so you can rename your team, change your email address and password etc.