Posts Tagged ‘Ferrari’


European GrandPrix – What to expect?

In Opinion on June 22, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


It has been a week since the Canadian Grand prix, which was one the most memorable races in F1 history. There is already a huge frenzy around the upcoming European Grand prix in Valencia. The foremost question in mind is what to expect? Well, Formula One this year has been anything but predictable and Valencia is going be no different. With ‘Fog’ as the forecast for the entire race weekend, it is going to be interesting to watch how the race pans out for Formula One cars do not have headlights and neither is the track prepared for lighting unlike Singapore.

After the race weekends of Monaco and Canada, one would like to believe that Mclaren, Ferrari and Mercedes probably have it in them to take the race to the red bulls. However, we have to remember if we move ahead of the last 2 races, the only other race a Red Bull has not won is the Chinese Grand Prix. That was also because of Hamilton had an extra set of ‘new’ options to switch to.

At the outset, I think it is clear we can rule out Ferrari and Mercedes from the equation because they have not been consistent enough. Michael Schumacher showed some of his class, but I still think Mercedes is still not at the top of its game. Ferrari have been on and off the pace and at Valencia they will have to bring all the aerodynamic package that they can put their hands on. With Fernando piloting the car, one cannot write them off, but it appears less probable now.

That said, the only strong contender to the Bulls seem to the Mclarens of Hamilton and Button. While Hamilton will be under a lot of pressure to finish the race, leave alone winning it will be interesting to watch his strategy. In the past, he has delivered when it mattered the most. The kind of talent he is and with the car that is only next to the Red Bull, he stand a very good chance to topple the Bulls. It is interesting to note that Hamilton finished just 0.6 seconds behind Vettel in the race.

The other McLaren of Jenson Button has been amazing the last two races, thanks to his totally different strategy of more tyre changes and faster lap times. It is interesting to note that, even though he has been adopting this strategy from the second race, he was successful only in Monaco and Canada, where there were a record number of Safety cars. Assuming, there are no safety cars, like we had in the first few races, his strategy might lead to being lapped by the race leader. Even in the Spanish Grand Prix, the leading pack was lapping Fernando Alonso who finished fifth. Such is the pace generated by the bulls.

While it appears that McLaren have closed in on the gap, the last 3 races were clearly not favorable to the red bulls, both in terms of the incidents in the race as well the circuit layout. Valencia is a known Red Bull strong hold and even this year, they seem to be ahead on the aerodynamic package. It will be a acid test for McLarens if they really have it in them to give Red Bull a run for their money, or if it is going to be game Red Bull.

My bet would be on Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel. Whom would you lay your bets on? Do drop your thoughts in the comments below.



Class Prevails over aggressiveness… Formula One gets as interesting as it can get!!!

In Thoughts on June 13, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


You self admit that your chances in this Grand Prix are minimal and go on to explain how Mercedes are best suited to compete, qualify behind your team mate at 7th Position. On race day find out it is a completely wet track, once the race starts, you collide with your team mate in which he is out of the race, move on to intermediate tyres only to find out that heaviest of rains are yet to come, get a drive through penalty for over speeding behind the safety car, go into change to wet weather tyres only to find out the race is red flagged, once the race restarts you make the first move to switch to intermediate only to have a puncture and limp your way to the pit stop, to get another set of intermediate only to find out again that a safety car is deployed, all in all making a record 5 pit stops… after all of this, yes indeed after all of this.. only in the wildest of dreams you go on to win the race.. unbelievable isn’t it? This is exactly what Jenson Button did in Canadian Grand Prix!!! Indeed a very sweet win. A classic example of class is permanent and form is temporary!!!

Following the opening 5 races where there was not a single Safety car deployment, the last 2 races at Monaco and Montreal have made up for the shortage of safety cars in the first few races. Both the races red flagged and had multiple instances of safety car deployment. At the end makes F1 the spectacle it is expected to be. Accidents, mechanical failures, punctures, over-takings, contact incidents, rain, shine, chases everything was there to seen in the last 2 races.

Thanks to the DRS and KERS, while the safety has also improved, the racing has reached new heights with results being undecided until the last moment. A great example of this was the fight between Felipe Massa and Kamui Kobayashi for the 6th and 7th position, which Massa eventually won right down at the chequered flag. Ofcourse, the spanish grand prix was an entertainer too, moving away from the dull and monotonous race it used to be: courtesy the DRS and KERS.

In Canadian Grand Prix, we saw another master racer show his master class. Michael Schumacher was at his racing best and showed his class and mastery over his skill, that is racing. If only Mercedes can provide a fighting machine to this master, he still can reach greater heights. He showed he still prevails in wet conditions and he still has it in him. The way he stole the 2nd position away from Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa just goes on to show his experience and that his burning desire to race is still left in him. Though it is disappointing to see him not making to the podium and had to see him settle down for the 4th position, I wonder where he would he if Mercedes had not goofed up the two initial pit stops before the race was red flagged.

Well Schumacher clearly was not thinking like a champion in the initial stages of the race when he pitted twice to switch to intermediate and back to wet weather tyres only to find out that the race would be eventually red flagged. I think that is where he must have put to use his enormous experience. Clearly, if Schumi had stayed back on the track without pitting at all, there was a good chance that, he would have won this race. Another reason why he lost out 2 positions towards the end of the race was because of DRS. The DRS advantage is already huge for the car behind, giving that advantage twice, pretty much closes the door for the other car to mount a fight back. As was evident in Canadian Grand Prix, Button was able to gain an advantage of about 4 seconds in the 2 DRS zones over Schumacher, which IMO is a unfair advantage over the other driver and can turn out to be a spoil sport going forward into the season. Nevertheless, for now, that is what it is and the drivers and fans alike have to learn to live with it.

Away from the leaders, Force India was another big disappointment, where the lack of experience clearly showed in both the drivers who went on to spoil the races for themselves from very strong positions. Elsewhere, Kamui Kobayashi showed that he is indeed championship material in terms of both strategy and track racing, however was a bit unlucky as Massa, stole the 6th position and 2 valuable points away from him, thanks to the DRS.

Clearly, this was a race of Buttons and Schumachers; they showed that class prevails over pure aggressiveness. Hamilton and Alonso, both just gave away what could have turned out to be very strong finishes for both of them. Hamilton has been a bomb ticking since Monaco, now he has had 4 serious incidents in 2 races. Nicki Lauda was very vocal against Lewis suggesting that, if, he keeps going at this rate, he is going to get someone killed soon. There is a thin line between aggressive driving and foolish driving and I think both these drivers crossed that line today. Ironically, the driver who was disadvantaged by both these driver’s actions, kept his calm and went on to win the race.

Though Sebastian Vettel was almost perfect for the most part of the race, he lost his cool when it mattered the most and lost out on the race. While he is still way ahead on the championship points, this championship is anybody’s guess. So stay tuned in to the rest of the season which has a long way with 12 races to go!!!

Button excited after the Win.

hamilton damaged car

Hamilton’s damaged car after collision with Teammate Button

safety car 

Safety car being deployed in the race



Hamilton’s shunt with Webber



Vettel was leading the race for all laps except for the lap that mattered the most!



Schumacher in a pit stop


image  The race is red flagged.


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This is what I am talking about.. Superb Race

In Opinion on May 13, 2011 by shsmani Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

“This is what I am talking about” seem to Seb’s favourite quotes. These words hold true not only for Sebastian Vettel or Red Bull but for Formula One sport as a whole. What a race it was at Istanbul, overtakings, position changes, still no huge accidents. And the other three races in Australia, Malaysia and Shangai were no less in terms of excitement and action.

With about 1/5th of the races for the season behind us, there is no way of predicting the champion of this season. Sebastian Vettel appears to be a strong contender, but last years championship is still fresh in our memories where in Seb came from behind to win the championship while he had never led the points all along in the season. This season, McLaren seem to be very competitive though they missed out in Istanbul because of messy pit stops.

Talking about Ferrari, it is clear they are lacking Genuine pace, both in terms of Engine power and aero dynamic package, but Alonso chauffeuring one of the Red Horses, they are far away from being written off not to forget Ferrari’s technical strength in bouncing back mid season.

Mercedes GP with Rosberg and the Schumacher is a bit of enigma, they seem to be on and off the pace and are lacking consistency. My doubts are that Mercedes lacks the genuine pace and are just carrying out a marketing Gimmick by running lower fuel levels in practice and also in races to get more TV exposure. Look at the standings, they are behind Renault. I think their true pace was at display at the second race in Malaysia, everything else appears to be far from their real pace. The fact that teams lose out in millions in sponsorship for every position they lose seem to support this theory. But it is surprising that Mercedes is adopting this strategy because during the season the truth is likely to come out, maybe they believe they can some how have a miracle with 7 time champion in their team.

Renault with the Lotus branding has been going from strength to strength this year. With the absence of Kubica with a tragic accident they started off the season with uncertainty, however Vitaly Petrov has proved that he has it in him to lead from the front. Renault is a team to watch out for this year.

Force India doesnt seem to be in the reckoning at all, from being a mid fielder to giving Renault a run for their money last season, this year they are at the back of the pack with the fear of losing out to teams like Toro Rosso and Sauber. Not sure what seems to be the problem but they just don’t seem to be getting the setup right. They can depend on tracks like Belgium to always give them an edge, they have to develop their machines to suit the other tracks as well.

Williams have nothing to write home about with the worst starts to a season in a long time. HRT brings up the end of the pack with Indian Narain Karthikeyan ‘Driving’ the car around the track rather than racing…

The biggest difference to this year has been the tyres. Pirelli has done what it was supposed to do which doesnt come as a surprise because its purpose this year was to make sub standard tyres which degrades much faster. This is a funny parody because F1, which is considered the pinnacle of Motor sports and one that strives towards technical advancement and excellence has opted to take a move like this to make it a better sporting spectacle. Agreed, it has delivered the results, increased and renewed interest and excitement on and off the track, but I would think F1 as a sport has taken a step backward rather than forward with the tyre strategy. No wonder Bridgestone wanted to exit the sport as it would be detrimental to their company. On the other hand, for Pirelli, it doesnt matter as they are in their comfort zone 🙂

There a number of other measures that F1 could have taken to increase the competitiveness in the race, like multiple tyre vendors which puts the teams on different strategy and the last time we had this with Bridgestone and Michelin, it was certainly a great season in terms of competition. Another way is to tweak the qualifying format, very simply they could reverse the order in which the competitors start. The winner of the first race starts last and the last position starts first. Some fans would consider this extreme, in which case we can divide the track position into 3 segments 1-8, 9-16, 17-24 based on their championship positions and apply this order within the segments.

The other star of this season has been the DRS – Drag Reduction System. This has not only increased overtaking opportunities in the races, but also reduced the accidents. This has been possible because with the Drag Reduction System activated at the car trying to overtake, the car being overtaken is no match in terms of pace. This has been a major factor because before the straights come to an end the the car has moved over completely from behind to the front of the other car, there by reducing chances of contact between the two cars.

So far this season, while Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull are pulling ahead of the pack, the heroes have been the DRS and the Degrading tyres from Pirelli. This season will no doubt be one of the most interesting F1 season in recent times. I wont be surprised to see a two way or  three way tie going into the final race or as a result of the final race itself.

F1 Fans.. This is one season you would not want to miss!!!