Archive for June, 2010

Ferrari need Focus

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 by philcurryf1

Why did Ferrari lose the European Grand Prix? Because of a safety car? Because Lewis Hamilton made a mistake? Because the FIA were not quick in imposing a penalty on the British driver? Or none of the above?

Ferrari lost the race because of bad luck, coupled with the fact that a fuming Alonso wanted blood, rather than a penalty. His radio comments to the team “Get on to Charlie, that’s all you have to do this race” (quote not word for word, but the idea of it) shows that at that point, he didn’t care about clawing back positions, he cared about what happened to the McLaren in front. His continued questioning – “what position was he in? What position is he in now?” – shows how rattled he was. Did he lose focus? Did the team?

Ferrari seems to have a problem following other cars. Remember Bahrain, when Alonso was backed off from Vettel because of high temperatures. The same reason was given for why he fell away from Button in Canada. Coupled with the fact that the new exhaust system was untested (well, apart from a ‘promotional video shoot’ at Ferrari’s test track), there may have been a reason why Alonso couldn’t get close enough to Sutil and Buemi to overtake. Yet Sutil was able to overtake Buemi, and Kobayashi was able to overtake both Alonso and Buemi on the last lap – tyre advantage yes, but shouldn’t Ferrari have a car advantage?

The fact is that Ferrari feel an injustice was done. Firstly, they believe Hamilton held them up behind the safety car, and then they feel that the FIA were slow in giving a penalty, so the McLaren could rejoin in second. This is not the first time a penalty call has come late, and favoured a driver. Remember Singapore 2008? Apart from the race fixing scandal other things happened too. Nico Rosberg drove not just over the white line at the pit exit, but way outside it. The call for a drive thru came so late, he was able to take it, and rejoin second, having built a huge gap to third.

If Kobayashi had not managed to get himself into that position, then Hamilton would have had the pack on his tail, and would have lost badly after his drive through. That was luck – good for McLaren, bad for Ferrari. Had Hamilton not passed the safety car, He may well have still come out in front of Alonso when they pitted. Alonso would still have likely finished 8th – unless he felt he could follow Lewis through overtakes.

So why are Ferrari still angry? A move was made, a penalty was taken, there was a lot of luck. Some races you win, others you lose. They need to concentrate on why they couldn’t pass slower cars, rather than the exploits of other teams. Otherwise they are in real danger of the 2010 season turning into a two team race at the top.

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The 2010 Silly Season…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 by philcurryf1

Last year was possibly one of the best silly seasons ever in F1. We all believed Button would stay with Brawn, we knew that Alonso would go to Ferrari, but there was speculation surrounding McLaren and Kimi, while Rosberg would surely be partnering Button…

Then it kicked off. Kimi was not going to McLaren, but off to the WRC. Rumours started that Button had visited Woking, and it was soon announced that the Champion was off to partner Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg was confirmed at Brawn, which was then bought by Mercedes (despite the rumours of a 75% stake, no-one was completely sure). Then the questions as to whether Schumacher would come back, as indeed he did. Established drivers went to new teams, others pulled out, in the end, it was a veritable merry-go-round of driver moves.

So to 2010, and the speculation of next season. With Red Bull confirming today that Mark Webber is continuing to partner Vettel in 2011, it means the top teams have effectively closed their doors. McLaren, Mercedes and now the Bulls have drivers on contract, while Ferrari look ever likely to continue with Massa.

That just leaves the midfield teams. Kubica would most likely stay at Renault, while Hulkenberg is signed to Williams. Force India are expected to drop Luizzi for Paul Di Resta later this season, and there’s no sign of Torro Rosso signing a big name driver. Sauber may take Heidfeld on but the rest is just scraps.

After every great sill season, comes one of less epic proportions. Unless Schumacher retires again, or Button throws a hissy strop comparable to that of Alonso, or by some miracle Mass departs Ferrari, I’d rather look forward to the on-track racing, than the speculation off it.

Webber re-signs…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 by philcurryf1

So Mark Webber has re-signed for Red Bull, just over a week after the teams controversial collision both on, and off, the track. While the F1 world felt Vettel was wrong to move right into his team-mate, the higher plane of management at Red Bull decided otherwise.

So why has Mark agreed to another year in a team which seems to favour the rising German star?

Well, Mark wants to win races, and hopefully a championship. Where will he do that? McLaren have their line up sorted for next year, So to do Mercedes (who also seem to favour German drivers), and Ferrari look increasingly likely to give Massa another shot. Even if he did head to the famous Italians, by partnering Alonso, wouldn’t he be in danger of receiving the same treatment?

Mark is a driver who takes no bull (pardon the pun), and will not simply defer to a team-mate unless he has no mathematical chance of winning the title, and his fellow driver does. We saw this last year, and I’m sure we’ll see it again. Red Bull have also come out and said they were wrong to criticise him for the collision, and it is now water under the bridge.

If Mark wants to win a championship, Red Bull is currently his best bet. He is already leading the title, has outperformed Vettel this season, and it was probably Red Bull trying to ensure that he doesn’t ‘do a Button’ at the end of the year.

It wouldn’t surprise me however, if his contract had a few additional clauses added, in the Aussie’s favour, after the incident in Turkey…

When team-mates collide…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 by philcurryf1

Formula 1 is always more exciting when two or more drivers are fighting tooth and nail for the championship. Let’s face it, 2009 was not exactly a stellar year, Button winning six out of seven, then able to coast the rest of the way. He never fought at the front again, he didn’t really have to. Then there’s the Schumacher years. apart from his duel with Kimi in 2003, can you really say that his run in the early part of the decade was exciting?

Compare these to 2008, 2007, 2006, and then the 1990’s, where there was never really a dull moment (except the dominance of Williams in 1992). Formula 1 lives for driver battles. When it’s between team-mates, even better.

The chance to see two drivers, in identical cars, both using different driving styles to push their opportunities to the maximum, while utilising identical machinery to the guy they’re racing, really shows the skill levels involved. It also gives an insight into a drivers mental make up, when they are challenged in this way. We learnt a lot about Fernando Alonso in 2007, and indeed it is amazing how fast Eddie Irvine was when Schumacher broke his leg in 1999.

So when team-mates battle, one is winning, one is losing, there will always be a point when it comes to a head. We saw it in Hungry 2007, Japan 1989, even Silverstone 1987. Now we’ve seen it again, in Turkey 2010.

Who was to blame? Personally, I lay it with Vettel, who moved over too soon. Should Webber have given him space? There is the argument that if it were any other driver alongside, then no, but as his team-mate, and for the good of the team, he should.

No way.

Many F1 fans don’t really care about the Constructors Championship. We remember the drivers who won the title. How many people out there remember who took the Constructors trophy home in 1994, 1999, 2008? While the teams fight for those points, the drivers are fighting for themselves. That is what makes F1 a sport.

It has to be mentioned that the McLaren drivers also enjoyed a battle at the front, which was contended with respect, both drivers giving room but fighting hard. If Vettel hadn’t moved right, he may still have got ahead of Webber, but we’ll never know that outcome. Right now, both these drivers need to focus on their goal, and their positions within the team. I don’t believe Red Bull are favouring Vettel, I think they are upset that Webber didn’t give him room. It’s up to Mark how much room he gives however, and I didn’t see anything wrong with what he did.

This championship was interesting before, but it’s getting much, much hotter now…