Daily Archives: April 17, 2010

Cooper Avon in negotiations for tyre supply in 2011

It has emerged that Cooper Avon is in negotiation with FOTA about supplying tyres for next season, despite the fact that a provisional deal appears to already have been agreed with Michelin in principle.

For a tyre supplier to be allowed into F1, they need the unanimous support of the teams (FOTA), Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA. Michelin are currently looking for a chance to supply tyres in F1 again, but with certain conditions. They want at least one other manufacturer to battle with, and it is believed that they want 18-inch wheels on the cars instead of 13-inch wheels at the moment.

It has been reported that Bernie Ecclestone is not in favour of a deal with Michelin, possibly because of the conditions attached, and that he wants a different manufacturer instead. It is possibele that Cooper Avon would be able to use former Bridgestone employees to service the tyres, and ensure they are up to F1 standard.

It is currently unknown what FOTA’s stance on the situation is, as they are currently in negotiation with Cooper Avon, and they have provisionally agreed a deal with Michelin, so they may want both manufacturers in the sport next year.

A meeting with Bernie Ecclestone has been orgainised with FOTA representatives at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, as he has not yet told the teams what he wants to do for 2011. FOTA appear to want to know what tyres they will be using next year by the Spanish Grand Prix.

I’m not yet sure who I would prefer to see supply tyres next year. As we have already seen, tyres are critical this year, and that would tip toward Michelin, as they have plenty of recent Formula 1 experience, up to 2006. While Cooper Avon can get former Bridgestone employees to work with them, I still think Michelin would be easier.

But, the French company has brought their own conditions, something which has not impressed Bernie Ecclestone. At first, wanting another manufacturer looked like it could be possible, but asking for 18-inch wheels as well is asking for quite a bit. Having said that, I still think they will get a supply contract next year, possibly with Cooper Avon competing against them.

Vettel takes pole for second time in China

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for tomorrow’s race for the Chinese Grand Prix, by pulling out a stunning lap out of the bag at the end of Q3. He will be joined on the front row by Mark Webber, meaning it will be the second front-row lockout by Red Bull so far this year in 4 races.

Here is the breakdown of what happened:

Q1

As expected, the new teams were the first to be knocked out in qualifying. Both Karun Chandhok and Heikki Kovalainen has spins while out on flying laps. However, Timo Glock was the fastest of the new teams, followed by Jarno Trulli.

Vitaly Petrov took until the final few minutes to set his lap time, as his mechanics were fixing his car after his crash in Saturday morning practice. By his first lap time, he was 1.4 seconds behind the fastest lap set by Lewis Hamilton.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was the unlucky driver who was knocked out alongside the new teams, and he will start 18th on the grid. Because Karun Chandhok qualified last, his 5-place grid penalty for having his gearbox opened will not be applied.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Vitantonio Liuzzi

19) Timo Glock

20) Jarno Trulli

21) Heikko Kovalainen

22) Lucas di Grassi

23) Bruno Senna

24) Karun Chandhok

Q2

Vitaly Petrov was the first to go out on track in this session. Despite this, he was unable to match his team-mate, and he ended up in 14th place.

Michael Schumacher was complaining of a lack of rear grid throughout the session. He struggled and therefore only got 10th place in Q2, by 3 hundreths of a second. The Williams of Nico Hulkenberg suffered the same problem, as he was forced to short-shift in order to keep rear traction. He therefore only qualified 16th.

The Saubers struggled again, with Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa getting 15th and 17th respectively.

Alguersuari and Buemi for Toro Rosso both got 12th and 13th respectively.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Rubens Barrichello

12) Jaime Alguersuari

13) Sebastien Buemi

14) Vitaly Petrov

15) Kamui Kobayashi

16) Nico Hulkenberg

17) Pedro de la Rosa

Q3

Fernando Alonso was the first to go out on track, and immidiately set a lap of 1.35.065. Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg instantly got within 7 hundreths of a second, before Sebastian Vettel beat Alonso’s lap time by 1 tenth.

Michael Schumacher messed up his first lap, and never had the pace to keep up with the frontrunners, qualifying 9th. Robert Kubica never really shined either, and got 8th.

Adrian Sutil, as he usually does in Q3, took on the harder tyres, so he got 10th place, although he will have a different strategy for the race tomorrow.

Lewis Hamilton was carrying slightly more fuel than required, so his first run only got him 5th. His second run, on fresh soft tyres, got him 2nd place, 6 hundreths behind Vettel’s time. Jenson Button got within 9 thousands of the Red Bull, and replaced Hamilton in P2. Fernando Alonso instantly took that second place off Hamilton with his final lap.

Mark Webber then took P1 with a 1.34.806, before a last-gasp run by Sebastian Vettel got him a 1.34.558, to give him pole position. That was the final lap of Q3, so it was another Red Bull front-row lockout this season.

Full times from qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.36.317 1.35.280 1.34.558
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.35.978 1.35.100 1.34.806
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.35.987 1.35.235 1.34.913
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.35.952 1.35.134 1.34.923
5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.36.122 1.35.443 1.34.979
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.35.641 1.34.928 1.35.034
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.36.076 1.35.290 1.35.180
8 Robert Kubica Renault 1.36.348 1.35.550 1.35.364
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.36.348 1.35.715 1.35.646
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.36.671 1.35.665 1.35.963
11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.36.664 1.35.748
12 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.36.618 1.36.047
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.36.793 1.36.149
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.37.031 1.36.311
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.37.044 1.36.422
16 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.37.049 1.36.647
17 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.37.050 1.37.020
18 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.37.161
19 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.39.278
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.39.399
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.39.520
22 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.39.783
23 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.40.469
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.40.578
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