Daily Archives: May 9, 2010

Stats and facts from the Spanish Grand Prix

Mark Webber took his third Grand Prix victory this weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix. Here are some more stats and facts from this weekend’s racing:

  • As you already know, this is Red Bull’s fifth pole position of the year, all of the races so far. The record for most pole positions in a season goes to McLaren in 1988, where they took pole in 15 of the 16 races (94%) that year.
  • Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap, the 138th for a McLaren driver.
  • Mark Webber took his third career victory. This puts him alongside Mike Hawthorn, Giancarlo Fisichella, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Didier Pironi and Johnny Herbert.
  • This was Red Bull’s 8th win of their history, which puts them only 1 behind Brawn GP.
  • This was the tenth year in a row, at the Spanish Grand Prix, that the pole sitter has won the race. On the other hand, this is the first time in 2010 that the pole sitter has won.
  • This was the first time in 2010 that Kamui Kobayashi and Timo Glock made it to the chequered flag.
  • Mark Webber got incredibly close to the Grand Schlem (pole, fastest lap, and lead the race from start to finish), but Lewis Hamilton took the fastest lap near the end of the race.
  • For the first time in 12 races, there was no Mercedes-powered car on the podium.
  • This was the 40th race of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Spanish Grand Prix in pictures

Here is a selection of photos from the Spanish Grand Prix:

Teams agree to ban F-ducts for 2011

Sauber's interpretation of the F-duct system

Sauber's interpretation of the F-duct system

The Formula 1 teams have agreed to ban the F-duct devices on the F1 cars for 2011, despite pleas for McLaren to keep the innovation.

McLaren had taken the lead in the development of the F-duct early on, when they had their system ready by the season opener in Bahrain. All of the other teams have since been trying to catch up on McLaren’s advantage, by creating their own F-duct systems. However, since the teams’ chassis are homologated for this season, many teams complained that they were struggling to make their own devices.

Since Bahrain, Sauber, Ferrari, Mercedes and Williams have all managed to run blown rear wings, but the rest of the teams were concerned that these devices could go out of control next season, on cost and safety grounds. Therefore, at the FOTA meeting at Barcelona after the race today, a decicion mas made to ban the F-duct for 2011, despite McLaren trying to convince the team principals to keep it.

The CEO of Mercedes GP, Nick Fry, explained that the F-duct system was both dangerous and brought little to the sport:

"I personally think that it is sensible to nip in the bud 
technologies that, on the face of it, don't really have a relevance 
for use outside of F1.

By the end of the year I know we, and I am sure most of the other 
teams, will have an F-Duct on their car and that neutralises the 
advantage of having it.

The engineers have already come up with ideas for next year that are 
zany in the extreme, and it is difficult to see how they would be 
used elsewhere. Plus they would be expensive.

I know it is disappointing for those who invent these ideas, but I 
think what people have to get used to is, like the double diffuser 
idea, they may be fairly short lived.

You get your pay back for the year when you have got it and other 
people haven't - and if it isn't a useful technology then it comes 
off.

What we should be encouraging is stuff that we can be using 
elsewhere, and I am personally a big proponent of KERS because 
of that."

A very good move by FOTA here, in my opinion. If you were watching the BBC analyse qualifying and the race this weekend, you would have seen footage of Fernando Alonso driving dangerously, with both hands off the wheel at some points. His left hand was operating the F-duct, while the right hand was changing the brake bias, and looking down at the same time. I know that driving an F1 car is supposed to be an extreme challenge, but this is just stupid.

Anyways, it does bring very little to the sport, whatever way you look at it. The double-decker diffuser was banned (2011 onwards) on the same basis. Technical innovation, in modern F1, should be intended for environmental, high performance or “improving the show” (sorry) purposes. The only one of these the F-duct gets close to is performance, but since it really is an unecessary device, there’s no reason for it to be in Formula 1.

Webber dominates at Spanish Grand Prix

Mark Webber had a dominant performance to take his first win of 2010, at the Spanish Grand Prix today. He led the entire race, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who suffered several problems during the race.

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

Mark Webber defends from Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso at the start

At the start, Webber was forced to defend his position against Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton, who all took different routes to try and take the lead. However, none of them prevailed, and the top four kept their starting positions. At the back, Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa collided, meaning the Sauber driver punctured his back left wheel, and was forced to pit. Also, Bruno Senna crashed into the barriers at Turn 3, although it is unclear what caused the incident. Sebastien Buemi lost his front wing in a separate incident.

Heikki Kovalainen never even started the race, as before the formation lap, his car’s gearbox was unable to select a gear, even with the help of the team’s laptops. A quick fix was impossible, so the Finn sat out the race.

Jaime Alguersuari and Felipe Massa made good starts, while Robert Kubica fell down to 10th. At the front, Mark Webber pushed on, and set fastest lap after fastest lap to push away from team-mate Vettel. Until the first set of pit stops, gaps appeared between the top 10 runners, while the back markers battled amongst themselves.

Nico Rosberg was doing reasonably, until his pit stop ruined his race. He left his box before his front left wheel was securely fitted, and he was forced to stop, and have his car pushed back for his wheel to be fitted again. He fell to 16th place, and never really recovered after that.

Many of the drivers pitted around Lap 18. The two who benefited from these stops were Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, who got up to 2nd and 5th respectively. Lewis had to work for his position though, as he battled with Sebastian Vettel, while Lucas di Grassi lended a hand. The Virgin driver slowed to let them past at Turn 1 while Hamilton was exiting the pit, and Vettel was forced to run wide to avoid Di Grassi, which handed Hamilton the position.

Meanwhile, a fight was developing between Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher. The German was lapping very slowly after his switch to the harder tyres, in the 1.28 zone. While Button was considerably faster, he was unable to make a pass. This was mainly down to Schumacher’s excellent defending, meaning Jenson couldn’t make a move, as we saw so many times at Turn 1.

An incident soon occured between the frontrunners and the backmarkers. While Felipe Massa was trying to get past Karun Chandhok before the final chicane, he lost control and clipped his front wing off the HRT. While Felipe initially wanted to pit, he soon started setting personal best laps.

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

Felipe Massa loses control and hits the back of Karun Chandhok

But, as soon as one backmarker incident was over, another happened. Jaime Alguersuari had just lapped Chandhok, and swerved straight in front of the HRT. Jaime lost control and lost a lot of time, while Karun was forced to pit for a new front wing. It was a dangerous and pointless move, and Alguersuari swiftly received a drive-through penalty.

On Lap 41, Lewis Hamilton asked his team how his tyres were, and whether he should pit or not. The team opted to keep him out, something which may come back to haunt him later. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was told that his front wing flap adjuster was stuck, which hampered his performance for the rest of the race. On Lap 45, Sebastien Buemi pitted for a long time, then soon retired.

As the race entered its final stage, it became clear that overtaking was still incredibly hard around this track. Button was still stuck behind Schumacher, and a large train of cars was forming behind him. Nico Rosberg couldn’t make progress up the field, and was stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg for a huge portion of the race.

On Lap 54, Vettel pitted for the second time, which confused many people, as his tyres seemed to be OK. He switched to the softer tyre, and everyone soon saw the problem: his brakes were absolutely destroyed. The Red Bull team urged him to conserve his brakes, by backing off considerably before heavy braking areas. He struggled until the end of the race, and kept Michael Schumacher at bay, as he only lost 10 seconds to him until the end.

In the last few laps, Webber was leading, with Hamilton second, Alonso third, Vettel fourth, and Schumacher still leading the train of cars behind. But, with only 2 laps to go, disaster struck for McLaren. Lewis Hamilton’s front left tyre deflated at Turn 3, meaning he undesteered and smashed into the barriers, throwing away his potential podium finish. The upside (for the spectators anyways!) was that local boy Fernando Alonso was promoted to second, while Sebastian Vettel, despite his ailing brakes, clinched third position.

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Fernando Alonso celebrates his second position

Mark Webber crossed the line first, 24 seconds ahead of Alonso, who was a further 27 seconds ahead of Vettel. Mark was delighted with his first win of the year, Fernando pleased the crowd with the most popular second place ever (probably), and Sebastian was happy to get a podium considering all of his problems. Further back, Adrian Sutil did well to get 7th, Rubens Barrichello improved well on his qualifying to get 9th, while Jaime Alguersuari got another point to add to his collection, despite his previous drive-through penalty.

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel on the podium

The drivers’ and constructors’ standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Pictures, gallery and stats and facts will be added as soon as possible.

Full result from the Spanish Grand Prix:

Driver Team Gap # of laps
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 56
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.0 56
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 51.3 56
4 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 62.1 56
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 63.7 56
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 65.7 56
7 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 72.9 56
8 Robert Kubica Renault 73.6 56
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1 Lap 55
10 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
11 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1 Lap 55
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1 Lap 55
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1 Lap 55
14 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 2 Laps 54
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 2 Laps 54
17 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
18 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 3 Laps 53
19 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 4 Laps 52
DNF
20 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 24 Laps 32
21 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 39 Laps 27
22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 48 Laps 18
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 0 Laps 0
24 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth DNS DNS
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