Sunday 27 May 2012

Webber wins in Monaco

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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.