Sunday 8 July 2012

Webber Wins the British Grand Prix

The sun did shine long enough for a dry race at Silverstone today and Webber fought a brilliant strategic race, winning from second on the grid. Webber looked after the tyres and struck a few laps from the end as Alonso was suffering from blistering. Mclaren went Hard Soft Hard with Hamilton doing just eight laps on the softer tyre, but was unable to match the pace of Red Bull and the Ferraris finishing eighth. Button had a disappointing weekend having failed to get beyond Q3, but managed to finish tenth and in the points.

Meanwhile Pastor Maldonado is waiting outside the headmaster’s study after an incident which took Perez’s Sauber off. Maldonado was defending a corner and appeared to lose fraction as Perez challenged around the outside. Maldonado has been involved in some questionable moves this year, but we think this is a racing incident. The over-taker has to expect the defender to push and you are always more exposed overtaking on the outside.

The wet weather meant that the teams would have been stuck on a wet set up and perhaps Mclaren were betting on a wet race to bring Button further up the field. As far as we could see most teams were in the same position, but Lotus seemed to have the pace over McLaren today. Mercedes had a good race but do not seem to be able to make the tyres last.

On the technical front Red Bull have further modified the changes made for Valencia which involved significant changes to the end floor plate which has become the focus for most of the teams. Fro Silverstone they have modified the airflow from the side-pods and exhaust. They have also modified the rear suspension assembly and moved the position of the brake calliper to provide more space for the aero package alterations. Other teams have been concentrating on the front of the car. Mclaren and Ferrari have been tweaking the front wings with even more elements to get broken! Whilst Williams have been increase cooling by altering their front brake assembly. Those F1 Workshop Manuals, must be very big by now.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Marussa Test Driver Injured in Testing

Marussia test driver Maria de Villota is being treated in a Cambridge hospital for what is described as life threatening injuries following a low speed impact with a support truck at Duxford airfield. Witnesses at the scene said that the car slowed down and then accelerated hitting the vehicle.
The accident took place on Tuesday (3 July). As at Thursday 5 July she is described as being in a stable but critical condition and continues to be treated for what appears to be serious head injuries which has resulted in the loss of an eye.
Speaking yesterday Marussia team principle John Booth said "We are grateful for the medical attention that Maria has been receiving and her family would like to thank the Neurological and Plastics surgical teams.”
"However, it is with great sadness that I must report that, due to the injuries she sustained, Maria has lost her right eye. "Maria's care and the wellbeing of her family remain our priority at this time. Her family are at the hospital and we are doing everything possible to support them."
The incident raises questions about the suitability of the location for testing and the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are carrying out an investigation which is standard practice in this situation. Although we need to understand the circumstances surrounding the incident we would also expect the FIA to study the findings of the HSE to see what lessons can be learnt. The FIA continue to look at ways of improving cockpit safety following incidents involving Massa and the sad loss of Henry Surtess in an F2 race.

Saturday 23 June 2012

European Grand Prix 2012

Technical Update
Ferrari continue to make progress since their radical technical design changes at the start of the season. In Canada they went a step further forward and in someways back to a revised exhaust exit which is now much lower and similar to the other top teams, notably Mclaren. They have also adopted the upright fins on the front break ducts Red Bull also complied with the FIA ruling by changing the layout of the floor area in front of the rear wheel. No picture yet, but it is similar to those of other cars as on the example below

Practice sessions at Valencia have delivered strong performances from Force India who have been knocking on the door for a while now. Lotus too I feel are ready to bloom if thy can deliver more consistency from both drivers.

Friday 22 June 2012

Win for Hamilton in Canada

Hamilton became the eighth different winner in as many races in Montreal and the FIA ruled that the holes in front of the rear wheels on the Red Bull cars were not legal despite an earlier indication that they were OK.

The F1 technical regulations, like the UK tax rules are complex and open to interpretation . For the casual observer it is difficult to understand what all the fuss is about. However, the introduction of a winglet here and slit there are enough to clean up the overall air flow across the bodywork enough to gain a few 10ths, which in turn can be the difference between hero and zero.

The interest has switched to the rear of the cars were there is still scope to reduce the drag effect of the airflow around the wheels converting that drag to more effective use keeping the car glued to the track. This is a complex task particularly when the car is constantly changing direction and speed. Ferrari got it badly wrong at the start of the season, but seem to be quite literally back on track now. As for Red Bull they have also been told that their system for taking air through the brakes is doing more than cooling. It has been suggested that the airflow has an areo dynamic effect which is also illegal.

We are now off to Valencia. Will it be 9 different winners?

Sunday 27 May 2012

Webber wins in Monaco

All Images © F1atHome.Com

Red Bull pull off three race wins in three years at Monaco. Mark Webber won after starting from pole. However, the race itself was not so straightforward. Mark fought hard to maintain a small lead whilst managing the tyres. Team-mate Vettel had started on the harder tyre and managed to stay out well beyond the expected 30-35 lap limit. He led for a while but Webber was back in front and did well to keep the car on the track during a shower of rain towards the end.

Nico Rosberg came in second with Alonso, who now leads the championship, third after a magnificent pit stop brought him out in front of Hamilton.

Webber is the sixth different driver to win in six races. The championship is wide open at the top.

Friday 25 May 2012

FIA Close to anouncing head protection

The FIA have for some time been testing systems for reducing the risk of drivers being struck by wheels. The immediate response was wheel tethers which hold the wheels close to the car after a collision. Since the death of Henry Surtees in July 2009 the F1 governing body has announced that it has been looking at shields and roll bars forward of the driver,similar to those found on Drag Racing cars.

Tests are still continuing, but so far shields similar to those found on fighter jets have visibility issues as the material distorts the vision for the driver.

All the teams are looking forward to Sunday and Williams have announced that they have recovered following the fire. 

Monday 14 May 2012

Fire in Williams Garage

More details are emerging about the fire that engulfed the Williams garage following their win in Barcelona yesterday, 13 May 2012. 31 people were treated at the track medical facility.27 were later released. In a statement Williams confirmed that 3 team members were being treated for burns and the effects of smoke. The cause has been reported locally as a KERs system or a faulty fuel rig. Failsafe systems prevent rig leakage, but the FIA will be watching the investigation carefully to avoid any repeat of what must be regarded as an incident which could have had devastating consequences.

Sunday 13 May 2012

First Win for Maldonado & Happy birthday Frank

Dramatic scenes in Spain after qualifying as Lewis Hamilton is striped of 1st place on the grid because of a technical infringement. Hamilton was ordered to stop the car on the return lap to ensure he had the required litre of fuel for testing, or to you and me he ran out of petrol. The FIA came down hard on the team placing Lewis last on the grid.

Although harsh, I think the reasoning is clear. There is an advantage to be gained in running low on fuel and although in this case it is unlikely that the gain was enough to make the difference, I am sure that the stewards would argue that the situation was completely under Mclaren’s control. No only do they know how much fuel they should need they also have control of the level of usage during the laps. The other reason for the FIA coming down hard will be to avoid other teams thinking they can run less fuel and stop just over the line. This would be difficult to manage, be dangerious and potentially mean there were very few cars on the grid if there was less than a litre of fuel for testing.
As for the race itself we saw a rejuvenated Ferrari passing William’s Maldonado for first place on turn one. This lead was however short lived as Maldonado used an early stop to get the better of Alonso. An excellent result for Williams on Frank William’s 70th Birthday and I thought those things only happened in films. There was also quite a serious fire in the Williams garage after the race for added drama but back to the race itself and those all important technical improvements.
At the beginning of the season Ferrari had a difficult to control car. They started the changes in Malaysia by stiffening up the chassis by adding a bar a short way behind the filler nozzle towards the rear wheels as shown by the black line on the photo of an older car. In China they added a few winglets around the radiator inlets. In Bahrain they added a new rear winglet under the main rear wing and in Spain introduced a whole new rear wing assembly including the mini central wing and many more slits at the top side element.

The interest seems to have shifted from Mercedes who seem to have found a theretical advantage through a hugely complex F-duct type system using the DRS for operation. The FIA have ruled it legal but Mercedes can’t seem to convert improved qualifying positions into raceday results. The crutial difference is that in qualifying you can make use of the DRS at anytime, whilst in the race it is restricted to two locations.
No dramatic changes seem to have been made to the Williams cars. We reported earlier in the year that they had made changes to the front brake ducts and for Spain that have made some tweaks at the back. An interesting C shaped element forward of the rear brake hub.
Also in Spain we have seen a change to the McLaren which now features a higher nose. Other changes in Spain saw Red Bull introducing a ventilated front brake and Sauber with a newly positioned exhaust.

First Win for Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

A well deserved first Grand Prix win for Nico Rosberg in China after the FIA had ruled the controversial air displacement system legal.
The system which makes use of DRS activation to increase speed had previously given Mercedes a strong qualifying positions only to fade in the race because of a combination of poor tyre degradation and limited opportunity during the laps for DRS to be deployed. The jury remains out on whether this is a turning point for Mercedes,but all are agreed this was a well deserved win for Nico.

First win of the season for Vettel

We have recently had our own technical problems which have cause problems uploading some content some has been rescued but all will be well for Spain.

Meanwhile Ferrari are working hard to make more improvements in time for testing and the next race in spain. 

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Newey Receives OBE

Living legend Adrian Newey was at Windsor Castle on Thursday 5 April to receive an OBE for services to motor racing. The Red Bull designer has been involved with f1 and indycars in the usa. Currently the only designer to have designed three championship winning cars for Williams,Mclaren and Red Bull, Newey received a Red Bull f1 car in recognition for his achievements. Newey is also competitive behind the wheel and can be seen in action in historic racing series. A well deserved honour for an all time F1 legend.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Surprise Win for Alonso in Malaysia

Ferrari managed to beat the odds to win the second race of the season. McLaren had some bad pitstops with Lewis Hamilton which put him third overall whilst team-mate Button finished fourteenth after a lost front wing and four pitstops.

Rain dominated the race and as the cars started on intermediate tyres it was clear that the rain was falling much heavier Perez was one of the first to stop for full wets which put him in contention after the race was stopped due to the weather. Perez was challenging for the lead as Alonso's car seemed to be fading. However, a trip of the kerb meant that Perez had to settle for a brilliant second place and Sauber's highest finish since parting company with BMW. The Ferrari's appeared to be much better in these conditions, but not Merecedes who were slipping backwards during the race. Schumacher got tagged on the first lap which put pay to a competitive afternoon, but Rosberg also suffered, slipping backwards.

Technical Update
Both Williams and Sauber have been working on brake ducts. Most teams have large ducts on the front to pull in air into the brakes to assist in cooling as shown on the picture below. However Sauber and Williams have closed up the gap and used a vertical fin to provide more aero stability. Williams have even used the fin to mount a small winglet to aid downforce. Both teams show early promise so far this year.

Old Duct configuration on 2010 Williams

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Malaysia Preview

Lotus and Red Bull have sought clarification from the FIA on the status of the Mercedes rear wing Aero system. This has two purposes. One, it means there will be clarity about the interpretation of the rules and also the formal determination will contain a lot of technical detail which will allow Red Bull and Lotus to begin to build and test similar systems. The truth is that nobody knows exactly what the system is. There has been a lot of speculation and even official sources have come up with two versions. So we will have to wait for the verdict, but what is all the fuss about?

Mercedes Rear Wing showing location of duct under DRS activated Flap

The underside of the F1 car has been a battlefield for many years. First. It was skirts and the so called ground effect cars that glued themselves to the track. Powered by turbo breathing engines they produced the holly grail of speed and good handling
Skirts and turbos were outlawed and since then there have been many changes of the rules to keep the speed down which has been countered by tweaks by the teams to aid the airflow under the car. For those not familiar with the underside of the car there is a large wooden plank which is there to manage the ride height. looking under the car at the front there are a large array of vanes and fins to guide the air smoothly down the length of the car. This is why a trip across the grass can be so costly. lost or broken parts can mean all the difference these days.

Underside of 2010 Williams with Front Wing Removed

Saturday 17 March 2012

Button Wins in Austrailia

Button found a gap into turn one off the line to seal his fait. Hamilton looked set for second until Vettel managed to get in front as a result of a pit stop after the safety car was deployed. Red Bull are still right up there with a second and forth place finish, but Mercedes were unable to convert their good qualifing position into a decent result because of gearbox problems which put Schumacher out from third. Ferrari did better than expected with Alonso finishing a creditable fifth. Sauber proved that if you keep pushing and get both cars in the. Points, you can beat the big teams. Sixth and eighth warmth them third place in the team title ahead of their engine supplier Ferrari. The dominant teams to look out for next week are Mercedes lotus and Williams, who all failed to deliver a finish for both cars, and of them only Mercedes suffered a mechanical failure.

Australia Qualifying

The first F1 qualifying session of 2012 got underway in dramatic fashion as Alonso spun out and qualified twelfth, whilst Massa qualified a lowly sixteenth. Clearly Ferrari are not sandbagging, and they have some serious issue to deal with before the next race.
Meanwhile Hamilton put in a blistering first lap in Q3 to nail the top spot and that enough to secure the top spot with team-mate Button in second followed by Romain Grosjean in the lotus Renault.

Michael Schumacher has returned to the top in a Mercedes which is causing controversy because of a system that harvests air from the rear spoiler and directs it to the front of the car to aid breaking. Sounds all very strange and we can’t wait to understand how this is achieved. For now other teams are asking the FIA to take a fresh look at the system which they feel contravenes article 3.18 of the technical regulations which outlaws the use of a driver operated system that alters the airflow. Mercedes maintain this system is in someway linked to the DRS and therefore not a separate system. Mclaren thing the system is legal which means either they are confident that they have a much better car....or they are working on a similar system!

See Martin Whitmarsh’s comments here:

In the run up to the Malaysian Grand Prix we will be looking under the cars to try and understand what is going on in this complex area of aerodynamics.

No mention of Red bull in this piece yet. They are further down the grid than expected,but they too have some interesting things going on at the rear.

Friday 16 March 2012

Austrailia Post Practice Report

First practice is out of the way and the first qualification session is closing in. This year we will be concentrating on the cars, Lifting the lid on the in season developments as they come on line.
It is easy to think that the cars have been built over the last winter, but the truth is most of the development has been started midway through last year or earlier. These days cars evolve and there has been talk over the winter that the teams will continue where they left off.
The story of race one will continue to be the exhausts. The rule changes to the defusers should limit the amount of additional downforce. However, Red Bull have introduced a lot of ducts around the back wheel area. Mclaren as mentioned earlier have gone high with their exhausts. Ferrari complain that they don't yet understand the car. They went for a more radical approach to the build as last years car was not fully competitive. Q3 will prove if they have been sandbagging.

See Practice one here:

Monday 5 March 2012

Almost there!

Less than a week to go until the first f1 race of the season and there is already drama in the pit lane as two teams failed to test their cars in pre season testing. The rest of the 2012 grid have been testing in Spain and there are signs that a lot of work has gone into design features at the back of the cars. The controversial blown defusers are outlawed in 2012 an the small print says that any areodinamic effect must be incidental. This as always is up for interpretation but the smart teams will have been working with the FIA technical people to avoid any risk of complaints from other teams.
As you would expect Red Bull have exhausts that remain low whilst Mclaren have gone higher which we presume may derive some down force from the rear wing. Mclaren have a similar configured nose to last year whilst most others have gone flat. All have had to amend the front end to meet new safety rules.

Sunday 1 January 2012

London to Capetown Rally

48 entrants arrived at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge today (1 Jan 2012) for a pre-start briefing before being waved off at 4pm to make their way to the start at the Houses of Parliament at 7pm.

Over 2,000 people packed the museum complex on what has become one of the largest New Years gatherings of classic and historic cars in the South-East.

For more information and to track the cars go to: