Daily Archives: May 12, 2010

American Cypher Group hoping to apply for 2011 grid spot

The American Cypher Group, who are planning to submit an entry for 2011

The American Cypher Group, who are planning to submit an entry for 2011

The American Cypher Group, which is a group of Formula 1 engineers, is hoping to build up a budget to apply for the grid spot for 2011.

With USF1 failing to make it to the grid this year, the American Cypher Group are now hoping to take advantage of the empty grid spot for the 2011 season. They would be based in North Carolina if their plan went ahead, but they have no links with the dead USF1 team. However, they are stressing that their plan is in a preliminary phase at the moment:

"We will only place a full application should we achieve fully the 
budget we believe is required to do this properly.

Even though we have some ex US F1 members in our mix, Cypher Group 
was not born of disgruntled ex US F1 employees. Cypher Group and 
its international members simply saw the potential of a US-based F1 
team, the disappointment of the fans and the dreams of many young 
American engineers of having a home team. Hence we wish to give 
America the shot it deserves.

Again we recognise that the time frame is not ideal, however we feel 
it has to be done now, due to the availability of a grid slot. But 
as we have stated, we will not submit a full entry unless we can 
fully achieve the budget we believe is required to do this properly."

This is strange, as I don’t think anyone has heard of them. I had a look around, they do have Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as a website, which is about as far as USF1 got. Still, if they are good engineers, then I’ll give them a shot. Not give them the spot, mind you, but give them a chance to get a budget together and to get started on the car.

I really can’t say much otherwise at the moment, knowing so little about them. What do you think?

2009 flashback: Tyre mastery gives Button a flawless win

The Formula 1 paddock rolled into their most glamorous venue: Monaco. Jenson Button led the driver’s championship, 14 points ahead of Rubens Barrichello, as he had taken 41 points out of a possible 45. Brawn were still the force to be reckoned with, even if the other teams were fighting back.

Red Bull had upgraded their RB5, including a new double-decker diffuser. Force India had added new front and rear wings, in an attempt to score their first ever points. Other teams like Toyota and BMW Sauber had changed thei cars for more mechanical grip.

Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying at Mirabeau

Lewis Hamilton crashes in qualifying at Mirabeau

In qualifying, the first event was Lewis Hamilton crashing in Q1, at the Mirabeau corner, and damaging his suspension. He had already set a time, but was still knocked out in 16th place. But, he also changed his gearbox, and had to start 19th. In Q3, Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel dominated the session, until Button cam in with a stunning lap to take pole position. The KERS-equipped Kimi Raikkonen started 2nd, a clear sign that the Ferraris were starting to be competitive.

Before the start, Vettel and both Brawn drivers took on the super-soft tyres, while everyone else stayed with the softer compound. At the first corner, Raikkonen lost second place to Barrichello, despite his KERS advantage. For the next few laps, the main concern was how the super-soft tyres would hold up.

After the start, Felipe Massa was trying to work his way up the field. He had qualified 5th, but failed to make any progress despite his KERS. He tried a move on the 4th placed Sebastian Vettel at the Turn 11 chicane, but locked his tyres, and cut the corner. He accidentaly overtook Vettel, and was instructed to hand the position back to Sebastian, but at the same time keep an eye out for Nico Rosberg behind. But, when Felipe slowed to allow Vettel through, Nico made a daring move to squeeze himself past Massa as well.

On Lap 10, Sebastien Buemi was battling with Nelson Piquet Jr at the back of the field. Buemi missed his braking point at Snt Devote, and smashed into the back of the Renault, taking off Piquet’s rear wing. Both drivers were forced to instantly retire. Piquet was furious at Buemi’s mistake afterwards.

Buemi misses his braking point and takes out Piquet

Buemi misses his braking point and takes out Piquet

Soon enough, it became apparent that the super-soft tyres were disintegrating at a rapid pace, after Lap 12. The Red Bull of Vettel was most harmed by this, as the Brawn cars were more easy in terms of tyre wear. On Lap 15, again at Snt Devote, Sebastian locked his rear brakes, went too quickly into the corner, and crashed. Barrichello had the same problem of heavily worn tyres, and pitted soon after.

Button, on the other hand, was able to perfectly manage his super-soft tyres, and pulled out fantastic laps with them even when they began to wear. He soon pulled out a 15 second advantage over Barrichello after the first pit stop.

However, behind Button’s dominance, it wasn’t a classic race. After the first pit stops, the next piece of action came on Lap 51, when Heikki Kovalainen crashed his McLaren at the Swimming Pool complex, due to a lack of traction exiting the corner. His team-mate Hamilton was having a torrid race also. He brushed with Nick Heidfeld on Lap 10, and couldn’t make progress after that. It couldn’t be a greater difference from 2008, and the same could be said about Jenson Button.

Jenson Button takes one step further to please the fans!

Jenson Button takes one step further to please the fans!

Despite Kazuki Nakajima crashing on the last lap at Mirabeau, nothing could stop Button taking the win. Once he crossed the line, he shouted the famous line: “Monaco baby, yeah!” The only mistake he made all day was after the finish, when he accidentaly parked his car in parc ferme, instead of on the main straight like the top 3 finishers in Monaco are supposed to do. He therefore got out of his car, and ran down the pit straight to the podium! It was an unusual ending to the race for Prince Albert 2nd, who was forced to wait with Barrichello and Raikkonen at the podium while Button casually legged it!

Jenson Button celebrates with Nick Fry after the race

Jenson Button celebrates with Nick Fry after the race

This victory gave Button plenty of records. He now held the third best-ever start to a season in F1, with 5 wins and 1 third place in 6 races. It was also the first time in modern F1 that a single engine won 3 races in a row, the first time since the 1950’s. Also, this was the first time since 2006 that a driver had won 3 races in a row.

Button now stretched out his lead in the standings, with 51 points compared to Barrichello’s 35. Vettel was a further 8 back on 23, while Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli had 19.5 and 14.5 respectively. Brawn now had 86 constructor’s points, ahead of Red Bull (42.5), Toyota (26.5), Ferrari (17) and McLaren (13).

Next up was Turkey, where Button would aim to equal the greatest start to the first 7 races of an F1 season.

Here is the official race review:

Senna claims HRT chassis is damaged

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna's recent poor qualifying may have been caused by chassis damage

Bruno Senna believes that his HRT chassis may be carrying a problem, which has been causing him difficulties in recent races.

His team-mate, Karun Chandhok, out-qualified him in Spain by 4 tenths of a second, and Bruno believes that this may have been caused by damage to the chassis. He is quoted by Brazil’s Globo as saying:

"There is something wrong at the back and we have still not found 
what it is. I only know that it has been eating up the tyres.
Perhaps the floor is loose, we don't know, but whatever it is, it's 
serious. If we don't find what it is then it is possible I will 
have to make several pitstops, because the tyres are not going to 
last. (referring to Spanish GP)"

It may well explain why Chandhok has out-qualified him in 2 out of the last 3 races. If it was the case, I would be amazed as how to the HRT mechanics haven’t spotted it yet, especially if it with the floor as he suggests.

Driving the worst car on the grid must be extremely challenging for Senna and Chandhok, and problems like this really don’t help at all. For Monaco next weekend, their critical lack of downforce will mean they will almost certainly be stuck at the back.