Daily Archives: December 4, 2010

F1 2013 engine specs set to be revealed

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul

During the World Motor Sport Council meeting this Friday, speculation is mounting over the possible announcement of the 2013 engine specifications for the F1 grid.

The general belief is that 1.6 Litre, 4 cylinder, turbocharged, direct injection engines will be the ones to be used. Compare this to the current spec of 2.4 Litre, 8 cylinder engines, non-turbocharged engines the grid are currently using.

Scarbs F1 is  reporting that further details include: “88mm bores, 100kg\h fuel flow rate.”

Power output is expected to remain around the same (if not slightly lower), and fuel efficiency should drastically improve by up to 50%. These changes are not to reduce the actual CO2 output of the grid, rather to encourage environmentally friendly engines to be used on road cars.

600 bhp is expected to come from the actual engines, while 150 bhp may be supplied from energy recovery systems such as KERS, and the possible introduction of an engine gases recovery system.

The one disappointing stat from this expected announcement is that engine revs will be reduced (naturally, not limited) to about 10,000 rpm. Further details should arrive in the next few days.

2010 final driver rankings: 15 – 6

Here, in the second post out of three, I will look at the midfield drivers of 2010, and review their performances accordingly. Part 3 will be up by next week.

15: Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki was the best driver of the 3 new teams

Heikki was the best driver of the 3 new teams

4 months ago:

“Without a doubt, I would put my money on Kovalainen to out-qualify some of the drivers in the midfield this year, and maybe get a point.”

Now:

Heikki has performed excellently in his first year at the back of the grid with Lotus, and has been the best driver of the 3 new teams without a doubt. Constantly quick race pace shot him well ahead of Jarno Trulli, and was crucial in securing Lotus’ 10th place in the championship.

While he never got the points finish, Kovalainen certainly did what was expected. He never finished lower than 18th, and his highest race was 12th, which gave Lotus the spot of best new team of 2010. He is as reliable as ever, not retiring since Germany, and has vastly out-classed team-mate Trulli in the races. In qualifying, Jarno still holds the edge, but this is only a very small dent on Heikki’s year.

If Lotus deliver on their long-developed 2011 car, then Heikki will be the one to challenge the midfield with it.

14: Felipe Massa

Felipe had a torrid year, completely overshadowed by Alonso`

Felipe had a torrid year, being completely overshadowed by Alonso

4 months ago:

“Significant improvement is needed to justify his new 2012 contract.”

Now:

Felipe Massa was, to me, the biggest disappointment of 2010. After recovering from his horrific head injury last year, many had hoped that he would return fighting fit and raring to go, but he wasn’t. From the get-go in Bahrain, Massa was left behind while Fernando Alonso sailed away into the distance. He held his team-mate up badly in Australia, and was punished by a clever overtaking move by Fernando in China.

Much blame can be placed on the team, who showed their hand by ordering him to move over in Germany for Alonso. While it was certainly wrong, Felipe was still much slower than Fernando at that race, and showed no backbone by allowing him through. Since then, I have seen no inspiring drives, nor glimmer of hope from the Brazilian.

At the end of the day, his season can be summed up when you look at the fact that his points total was more than 100 less than the other Ferrari. Only 4 podiums, no race wins, no pole positions, no fastest laps, and no hope for 2012 if he doesn’t improve fast.

13: Adrian Sutil

Adrian impressed initially, but then dropped sharply near the end

Adrian impressed initially, but then dropped sharply in form near the end

4 months ago:

“There is a great chance of his first ever Formula 1 podium finish.”

Now:

A huge string of successive points finishes raised the bar for Adrian Sutil in 2010, but a very disappointing end to the season has dampened his hopes to ascend to the the top teams – for now at least.

From Spain to Britain, Sutil was always in the points, with two 5th places his best result. While the Force India car was not enough to trouble the frontrunners most of the time, Adrian was still making good work out of his machinery.

But, from Italy onwards, a huge slump in form dropped him well down in the championship, with a 9th in Singapore his only top 10 finish. A disastrous performance in Korea nearly threw away all the maturity he had gained in 2010, and his reputation has not been helped by it.

I doubt that he can move up to the big teams for 2011, even if there was a space. 2011 will be crucial if Sutil is to prove himself.

12: Michael Schumacher

Schumacher has struggled badly against Rosberg this year

Schumacher has struggled badly against Rosberg this year

4 months ago:

“His lethal move on Rubens Barrichello in Hungary was the icing on the cake of his retirement party.”

Now:

As I was writing this piece, I was looking at a Wikipedia page of Schumacher’s F1 results. On the 2004 column, his results from Round 1 to Round 13 read: 1st,1st,1st,1st,1st, Ret, 1st,1st,1st,1st,1st,1st,1st. Move forward six years, and he hasn’t even got himself a podium. How times change…

2010 has arguably been the worst season of Michael Schumacher’s career. From lacklustre performances, from being beaten by a team-mate who hasn’t ever won a race, to a new list of controversies to add to his legendary tally. A good ending to the season spells hope for 2011, but there is no denying that 2010 was a disaster.

His fall from grace was evident in the wet conditions in China. Normally the type of weather he excels in, a simple 10th, after holding up many, was all he could manage. Monaco, though, showed us that he still has that sixth sense for overtaking, when no other driver even dared to try a move on the last corner of the last lap. It was an illegal move, but still an excellent demonstration of the daring that made him champion.

But of course, the incident in Hungary with Rubens Barrichello overshadows most of this. Immaturity at its finest, many believed, myself included, that Michael’s comeback was over as quickly as it started. Mercedes clearly failed to deliver on its W01 car, so Schumacher’s 2011 campaign entirely hinges on whether the W02 can solve the terminal understeer that has supposedly held him back.

11: Nico Hulkenberg

Despite his pole position, Hulkenberg has failed to impress Williams

Despite his pole position, Hulkenberg has failed to impress Williams

4 months ago:

“It seems as if he will be retained for one more year by Williams, but improvement is needed.”

Now:

I feel it’s odd that a rookie driver taking his pole position in only his 18th race would be dropped by his team that year. However, Nico Hulkenberg still impressed me over the year, and hopefully can get a drive with another team next year.

True, his pace in the first half of the season was very poor, with only one points finish in 9 races. However, in the second half, Nico has shown excellent form, taking a shock pole position in Brazil by an entire second, and getting a career best 6th in Hungary.

Several poor showings, such as repeatedly running wide at Monza, may not have helped him, but nevertheless I would have thought that Nico should have stayed on.

10: Vitaly Petrov

Petrov has been one of the best rookies of the year

Petrov has been one of the best rookies of the year

4 months ago:

“A few more points finishes will seal his seat for next year.”

Now:

A disappointing start to 2010 was worrying for Petrov, but with several points finishes in the last few races, Vitaly has hugely impressed me with his driving this year.

His defensive driving, particularly against Fernando Alonso in Turkey and Abu Dhabi, was excellent for a rookie, and he was not slouch in the pace department either. 5th place in Hungary was his well-earned best result of the season, leaving him with 27 points in his first year.

More points would have been attained, if it wasn’t for an unnecessary crash in Korea, and for colliding with Alonso in Turkey. He was nowhere near the pace of Robert Kubica, but I don’t think anybody expected him to be. 2011 should see Petrov improve even more.

9: Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi showed even more incredible passing skills

Kobayashi showed even more incredible passing skills

4 months ago:

“As the car has improved, has shown us dazzling performances that makes him one of my favourite drivers.”

Now:

Though it was no fault of him, the start of 2010 was an absolute disaster, with retirements and a terrible car at Kamui’s disposal. However, with James Key guiding the way for Sauber, Kobayashi has been the driving force of another amazing year for the Japanese driver.

Once again from 2009, stunning overtaking moves were the way to go. In Valencia, even Alonso learned this the hard way, and Buemi was beaten by Kobayashi on the last corner of the last lap, even though Kamui had no idea the race was ending. Silverstone saw another inspired drive, with a 6th place being a good reward.

Similarly, a charge up the field in Suzuka, all though dives at the hairpin, shot the Sauber up to 7th place. The end of the season was slightly disappointing, being overtaken several times in Interlagos, and having no pace whatsoever in Abu Dhabi. Despite this, Kobayashi has breathed fresh life into Formula 1 with his “unique” style, to say the least.

8: Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello led his team well in another tough year for Williams

Barrichello led his team well in another tough year for Williams

4 months ago:

“Barrichello has impressed me this year, comfortably beating his team-mate to be the driving force of the Williams team.”

Now:

While Hulkenberg grabbed the headlines, taking a shock pole position in Brazil, Barrichello was the one constantly getting points, and seems to be doing very well in his role of team leader at Williams.

Consistency was the key for Rubinho this year, with only 2 retirements, and 10 points-placed finishes. 10th place in the championship seems low, but is all that the FW32 could manage.

4th place in Valencia, in particular for me, was Rubens’ best result of the year. 5th in Britain and 6th in Singapore were also admirable drives from the 38-year-old. Hopefully, Barrichello has a few more years left on the clock, and can lead Williams to their first win in years.

7: Jenson Button

Button was quick at the start, but raw pace soon lacked

Button was quick at the start, but raw pace soon lacked

4 months ago:

“Button has proved his critics completely wrong, and has made the best possible move to defend his title.”

Now:

I’ve always thought this year that Button moving to McLaren was the setting up of a Prost vs Senna rematch, this time between two Britons: Button and Hamilton. Jenson’s characteristics seem to match some of Prost’s as well: Calm and tactical, and super-smooth driving style. Unlike Prost though, Button has dropped off the pace rapidly in the last few races, with qualifying showing his raw weaknesses.

Tactics won him races in Australia and China, but it doesn’t win you the title. Damp and tricky conditions only come up a certain amount of times, and the rest of the time Jenson was generally lacking in speed compared to Hamilton and his other rivals. Being knocked out of Q2 was occurring shockingly often, and this left Button at a huge disadvantage in the races, which eventually caused him to lose out in the title battle.

Podiums in Italy and Abu Dhabi were impressive, but nowhere near enough to justify his driving in the second half of the year. The McLaren car was far better than what Button delivered, and this must be improved on for 2011.

6: Nico Rosberg

Rosberg has soundly beaten his team-mate

Rosberg has soundly beaten his team-mate

4 months ago:

“Competition from Renault and Force India may well dampen Rosberg’s second half of 2010, as the car appears to go backwards.”

Now:

Fantastically consistent, almost always on the pace, and a good thrashing of a 7-time world champion team-mate in the other car: 2010 hasn’t gone too badly for Nico Rosberg.

It could have been much better though. Three podiums is far less than what Rosberg would have wanted, but the terminal understeer, as well as weight balance issues with the Mercedes W01, held the team back all year, and they stated development on their 2011 successor abnormally early, leaving them no chance of a fightback in the second half of the season.

Despite this, Nico has done the best job he could have. He never crashed on his own (Webber in Korea doesn’t count, it wasn’t his fault), only finished out of the points twice, and a brilliant qualifying in soaking conditions in Malaysia proved he has the talent when it counts most.

The final part in this series will be up next week.

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