Monthly Archives: June 2010

Webber drops to 7th after gearbox change

Mark Webber will now start 7th because of a gearbox change

Mark Webber will now start 7th because of a gearbox change

Mark Webber has dropped to 7th position on the grid, thanks to an overnight gearbox change which resulted in a 5-place grid penalty. This promotes Sebastian Vettel up to 2nd place, alongside Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix.

This will cause problems for his tyre strategy, as he is starting on the medium tyre. The only other two drivers in the top 10 on that compound are Vettel and Robert Kubica, who is on the same row as Webber, in 8th place. Also, this promotes Vitantonio Liuzzi up to 5th place, his highest qualifying position so far in Formula 1.

If Lewis Hamilton cannot manage his tyres at the start, then I feel that Sebastian Vettel is the best choice for the win today, after what happened to Webber.

Canadian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the first time this year in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix. Here are the pictures from today:

Hamilton takes pole position in Canada

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel

Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix tomorrow. He will start ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, who will both start on the medium tyre. Here is the full report:

Q1

The Virgin of Timo Glock was first out, while most others waited in the garage for a few more minutes. Vitaly Petrov set the initial pace with a 1.20.210, before being unseated by Jarno Trulli soon after. Fernando Alonso was the first of the frontrunners to set a time, on the medium tyres, with a 1.17.864.

Mark Webber decided to go out on the super-s0ft tyres, and set a 1.17.988, which was quite surprising, as it was predicted that they would be conserved until Q3. McLaren revealed that they would be using used super-soft tyres for Q1. Fernando Alonso improved on his earlier time, before being beaten by Mark Webber, who was instantly beated by Vitantonio Liuzzi. However, this only lasted for about 10 seconds, as Lewis Hamilton was the first driver to get into the 1.16 zone.

Sebastian Vettel, also on the super-soft tyres like his team-mate, ended up 2nd on his first run. But, Hamilton blitzed a 1.15.889, and became the first driver of the entire weekend to get a 1.15 time. Robert Kubica was the last driver to set his first lap, which was a 1.16.853 to take 9th place.

With 5 minutes to go, the battle to survive Q1 was between the Toro Rosso and Sauber drivers. When both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi improved their times, it became clear that Kamui Kobayashi was going to fall at the first hurdle. He was knocked out alongside the Lotus, Virgin and HRT cars.For a moment, it appeared as if Heikki Kovalainen was going to be the first of the new teams to beat an established team, but Kobayashi just scraped past him to finish 18th.

Karun Chandhok set an awful time, a 1.27, as his car had a problem. Seeing as he had been given a 5-place penalty for a gearbox change, he elected not to go out again.

Amazingly, in this session, the Lotus cars were only 2.2 seconds slower than the fastest laps, which is an excellent improvement.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kamui Kobayashi

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Jarno Trulli

21) Timo Glock

22) Bruno Senna

23) Lucas di Grassi

24) Karun Chandhok

Q2

Vitaly Petrov was the first driver out, on the super-soft tyres, although he ditched his first attempt. The first fast lap was set by Vitantonio Liuzzi, which was a 1.17.726, which was 1 tenth faster than Fernando Alonso’s first attempt. Mark Webber than got a 1.16.292, before Sebastian Vettel set a 1.16.163 to take 1st place.

But, it was short lived, as Lewis Hamilton recorded a 1.16.053, and Fernando Alonso got a 1.15.954. Then, Robert Kubica got the fastest lap of the weekend so far, with a 1.15.6, before Vettel took top spot again with a 1.15.556. Nico Rosberg went 4th, beating his team-mate Schumacher, although he did crash his car over the final kerbs a bit.

Jenson Button was particularly unimpressive, getting 9th place, while Hamilton took 1st spot again with a 1.15.528. Mark Webber was next up out on track. He was very close to Hamilton’s times in the first sector, although he messed up the second half of the lap, and ditched that attempt. Sebastian Vettel also went out for another run, but was unable to improve his time.

Nico Hulkenberg was quite poor in Q2, and couldn’t improve from 17th at the moment. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher was in danger of being knocked out, as he was only 10th. With his next attempt, he failed to improve. He and Jenson Button were struggling, and were in danger from 12th placed Liuzzi. His final lap, a 1.16.423, knocked Michael down to 11th. Then, Schumacher’s next lap got him into 10th, at the expense of Button.

Jenson’s final lap got him into 7th place, which again pushed Schumacher into the drop-out zone. Then, a faster lap from Nico Hulkenberg shoved him down to 12th, and he stayed there, and was knocked out in Q2. Rubens Barrichello’s last-gasp attempt got him 11th, alongside Hulkenberg, which is an improvement for Williams. Also, Force India did well to get both cars into Q3.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Rubens Barrichello

12) Nico Hulkenberg

13) Michael Schumacher

14) Vitaly Petrov

15) Sebastien Buemi

16) Jaime Alguersuari

17) Pedro de la Rosa

Q3

As the lights went green to signal the start of Q3, no car made a move for at least a minute, until both McLarens were the first out. Button’s attempt was very poor, and Hamilton beat him by an entire second, with a 1.15.500. Fernando Alonso was up next, although his first attempt was more of a warm-up. Both Red Bulls and Robert Kubica opted for the medium tyres, while Alonso’s lap was well behind Hamilton.

Webber’s first lap was only a few tenths behind Hamilton, which isn’t bad considering he was on the harder tyre. His next attempt was very close to Lewis, but he was still in 2nd. Vettel cut the final chicane after a mistake, which ruined his main attempt. Robert Kubica went 5th fastest, while Nico Rosberg was 7th.

Fernando Alonso finally knocked off Hamilton, just before Webber went even faster with a 1.15.373. Lewis’ final attempt was too slow, and he didn’t improve. Felipe Massa went 5th, and Button got 4th. Then, as the session neared the ending, Vettel went 2nd, and it was all down to Hamilton. His final lap was a stunner, a 1.15.1, which clinched him pole position, ahead of the two Red Bulls.

Vitantonio Liuzzi had a fantastic qualifying performance, possibly a career-saving one, to take 6th place.

But, as he celebrated, his team went on the radio to inform him that he didn’t have enough fuel to enter the pit lane, and he had to stop out on track. He then proceeded to delight the fans by cutting out the engine and pushing the car down the back straight! It certainly was a unique way to celebrate beating the Red Bulls to pole position for the first time this year.

Canadian Grand Prix Friday Practice in pictures

Here are the pictures from today’s practice sessions in Canada:

Vettel heads Canadian Friday Practice 2

Sebastian Vettel topped FP2 for the Canadian Grand Prix today

Sebastian Vettel topped FP2 for the Canadian Grand Prix today

Sebastian Vettel led the second Friday Practice session of the Canadian Grand Prix today. His time of 1.16.877 was a tenth of a second faster than second placed Fernando Alonso, who was followed by Nico Rosberg in 3rd position. Most of this session was dogged by severe graining on drivers’ tyres.

This session was a bit of a disaster for the McLaren team. Lewis Hamilton was 7th, and 0.6 seconds off the pace, with Jenson Button back in 11th. Lewis said on the team radio that he was “about to crash the car” as his super-soft tyres were disintegrating rapidly, before he pitted and switched tyres. Jenson was unable to set a fast lap with the super-soft tyres on a heavy fuel load, and ended up halfway down the pack.

Mark Webber and Felipe Massa improved from FP1 to finish 4th and 5th respectively. Adrian Sutil was only 0.014 seconds behind Massa in 6th, while Hamilton was 7th. Robert Kubica and Michael Schumacher were 8th and 9th, while Vitantonio Liuzzi topped off the top 10.

Jenson Button was 11th, while the two Williams cars of Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg were 12th and 13th respectively. Vitaly Petrov was 14th, and the two Saubers of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi were 15th and 16th. The Toro Rossos of Buemi and Alguersuari were the slowest of the midfield.

Once again, Heikki Kovalainen was in 19th place, only 3 seconds slower than Vettel. Also, yet again, HRT comfortably beat the Virgins, as Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna were 20th and 21st. Their critical lack of downforce has actually considerably helped them on the straights this weekend.

Jarno Trulli was 22nd, although he had electricalm problems, and could only get 10 laps in. It was another disastrous session for the Virgin team. While both Timo Glock and Lucas di Grassi managed to get proper stints in, they were more than 4.5 seconds off the pace, and filled the back of the timesheets in FP2.

While Vettel and Alonso set their final fast laps on the super-soft rubber, nearly all of the other drivers were reporting severe graining on that compound. Many drivers were forced to stay on the medium compound near the end, as the super-softs were falling apart. As the track rubbers in tomorrow, it should become less of a problem.

Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t working properly tonight, as my usual chart for driver times isn’t going on the page properly. It will be up as soon as possible.

Button leads Canadian Friday Practice 1

Jenson Button led the way as Formula 1 returned to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time in 2 years.  Michael Schumacher was an impressive 2nd, ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the other McLaren. However, the track was reported to be incredibly greasy, as the track hasn’t been raced on in years.

Because of this, the times were much slower than anticipated, as Button’s fastest lap was a 1.18.127. Lewis Hamilton was with Button for most of the session, before Schumacher displaced him near the end of the session, by 0.067 seconds. Nico Rosberg was 4th, while Sebastian Vettel was a further 2 tenths behind in 5th place.

Robert Kubica beat Fernando Alonso for 6th and 7th, and Vitantonio Liuzzi helped himself by beating his team-mate Adrian Sutil by getting 8th. Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello were impressive with 9th and 10th respectively. Adrian Sutil was 11th.

Felipe Massa was dissapointingly slow, as he tends to be in Friday Practice sessions, in 12th, and was 1.3 seconds slower than Button. Vitaly Petrov was 13th, and Mark Webber was 14th, nearly 1.5 seconds off the pace. However, it has been reported that he was on a different setup compared to Sebastian Vettel.

Kamui Kobayashi was 2 seconds back with 15th, ahead of Sebastien Buemi and Pedro de la Rosa. Jaime Alguersuari was 18th, and Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams with 19th. Karun Chandhok was very impressive, as he was only 3.8 seconds off the pace, and was 20th, 6 tenths ahead of the Lotus of Jarno Trulli.

Bruno Senna was 22nd, ahead of Timo Glock’s Virgin. Lucas di Grassi was unable to set a time, as he pulled over after only 4 laps out. With Timo Glock 4.5 seconds off the pace it was a very poor session for Virgin.

The slippery track made is very difficult for the drivers, with many going off track. Karun Chandhok claimed it was “the greasiest track I’ve ever raced on”. Also, Rubens Barrichello had a technical problem during this session, and had to be pushed back to the garage.

Unfortunately, WordPress isn’t working properly tonight, as my usual chart for driver times isn’t going on the page properly. It will be up as soon as possible.

More F1 2010 game photos – featuring 2010 spec cars

More photos have been released for the upcoming F1 2010 video game, which is due for release in September. Unlike other photo releases, these ones finally feature the 2010 cars, showing us that Codemasters are well on the way to finishing off the game.

This is great news for me, and I’m seriously looking forward to the game in September. Here are the photos:

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

F1 2010 photos

Canada 2008 flashback: Kubica takes first ever win

As there was no Canadian Grand Prix in 2009, due to contract issues, I will instead focus on the 2008 race. It was a completely different situation back then, with Lewis Hamilton leading the championship by 3 points to Kimi Raikkonen, who was 2 points ahead of Felipe Massa, who was a further 2 ahead of Robert Kubica.

The track requires repairs overnight

The track requires repairs overnight

In qualifying, the entire grid was hampered by the track, which literally started to rip up and desintegrate in certain places. Hamilton managed to survive though, and put himself on pole position, ahead of Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber. While Mark Webber got through to Q3, he was unable to set a time, as he had damaged his car on the broken track in Q2 on his in lap. Three corners (2, 10 and 11) had to be resurfaced overnight, albeit very cheaply, and the track had to be inspected by Charlie Whiting just before the race start.

Lewis Hamilton leads the field into Turn 2

Lewis Hamilton leads the field into Turn 2

The track survived the inspection, and Lewis Hamilton led the field into Turn 1. Robert Kubica tried his best to keep up with him at the first stint, but he simply couldn’t keep up, and Lewis opened up a 5-second lead by Lap 16. However, soon after this Adrian Sutil had a brake failure, and was forced to park his car in a dangerous position. The safety car had to be called out while the car was being removed, and this was just before the pit stops, meaning a headache in terms of strategy.

When the pit lane opened a few laps later, Hamilton, Kubica, Raikkonen, Massa, Rosberg and Alonso all opted to stop, while everyone else stayed behind the safety car. Though Hamilton was eager to retain his lead, his pit stop was longer than everyone elses. Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica emerged from their pit boxes side by side, but as there was a red light at the end of the pit lane (the field was still passing the start-finish straight) they were forced to stop alongside each other. Lewis approached from behind, and disaster struck.

He failed to notice the red light and stationary cars, and braked far too late to avoid them. He swerved, but ended up harpooning into the back of Kimi Raikkonen’s car, ripping off the front of Hamilton’s front wing and suspension, and taking off Raikkonen’s rear wing. Both cars retired on the spot, and Nico Rosberg made situations even worse by hitting the back of Hamilton’s stationary car, breaking off his front wing, though he was able to continue.

Hamilton and Raikkonen retire on the spot, while Rosberg continues with a broken front wing

Hamilton and Raikkonen retire on the spot, while Rosberg continues with a broken front wing

Now the race was turned on its head. Two of the main contenders were out, and then it emerged that Felipe Massa’s fuel rig had failed, as a joint in the fuel line was broken. He was forced to pit again, and fell well down the pack. This left Robert Kubica leading the race. However, he had to pit soon enough, as he was on a 2-stop strategy.

Over this section of the race, there were 7 different leaders of the race, as each leader was forced to pit. Toyota were the biggest gainers, as both drivers had a stint leading the race despite starting in the midfield. Halfway through the race, and Nick Heidfeld was leading the race, though he hadn’t stopped yet. When he pitted, he still emerged in the lead, though just ahead of team-mate Kubica and Fernando Alonso. Robert had to stop one more time, and needed to get ahead of Heidfeld to take the win. So, he made his move.

Kubica overtakes Heidfeld, while Alonso keeps a close eye on the pair

Kubica overtakes Heidfeld, while Alonso keeps a close eye on the pair

Within a lap of Heidfeld emerging still in front, Kubica snatched the lead from him at Turn 1, and set about blazing a trail away from the German. He needed to be about 25 seconds ahead of Nick by his second stop, so he had to push. Though Alonso was 3rd and in contention for a podium, he soon spun out, handing 3rd place to David Coulthard.

Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was fighting his way back up the field after his botched first stop. One of his finest overtakes was at the final hairpin, where he managed to do a double overtake, on both Rubens Barrichello and Heikki Kovalainen. After he pitted for the third time, he flew past Barrichello again, and set about catching the Toyotas. With only a few laps to go, he managed to get past Jarno Trulli to take 5th place.

There were many other incidents across the race. Nelson Piquet Jr crashed on Lap 39 (surprise) because of excessive brake wear. Kazuki Nakajime broke his front wing after hitting Jenson Button, and subsequently retired when the front wing was lodged under his chassis when he entered the pit, lost steering control and crashed in the entry of the pit lane. Also, Giancarlo Fisichella spun out from last place with a few laps to go.

Kubica had built up such a huge lead that he was completely unchallenged after his second stop. He crossed the line first ahead of team-mate Heidfeld, who was 16 seconds behind. David Coulthard was first, in his last ever podium finish in his career. He ran out of fuel 50 metres before parc ferme, and had to run the final stretch to the podium, quite similarly to Jenson Button in Monaco 2009.

This was the first time that Robert Kubica (or a Polish driver) had ever won a race, and it was the only win and 1-2 finish for the BMW Sauber team. It was the first time since Malaysia 2006 that neither a Ferrari or McLaren was on the podium, and the first time since USA 2006 that a McLaren hadn’t scored a point. It was also the first win for a German constructor since the 1962 French Grand Prix (Porsche), and the last ever victory (to date) of a BMW engine winning a race.

Kubica and Heidfeld celebrate their 1-2 finish

Kubica and Heidfeld celebrate their 1-2 finish

After this shock result, Robert Kubica was now leading the drivers’ championship with 42 points. Both Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton had 38, and Kimi Raikkonen was still on 35 after his retirement. Ferrari was still leading the constructors’ championship, but only by 3 points to BMW Sauber.

From then on, Kubica was pressurising his team to continue development on the current car, rather than the 2009 spec version. However, soon enough the team resisted his plea, and it is the main reason why he couldn’t fully challenge for the title in the end. But, his first ever victory still signaled that he had major talent for the future.

Full FOTA fan survey results released

The results of the FOTA fan survey, which was started back in February, have been fully released today. The survey was the largest of its kind, with over 85,000 fans taking part. The most interesting results were concerning watching F1 online, HD broadcasting, and coverage of the sport.

Instead of releasing these results in paragraphs, I’ve written them in bullet points within sections, to make it easier to read:

Fans’ interest in F1

  • 61% of F1 fans are located in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), 27% in Asia Pacific and 12% in the Americas.
  • 38% of fans surveyed have been watching F1 for over 10 years. 16.4% have been following it for less than a year.
  • 27.2% watch between 1-3 races per year, 17.4% watch 4-9 races, 9.3% watch 10-12, 33.5% watch more than 12, and 12.6% do not watch F1 races on television.
  • 43% of fans who watch a race watch it from start to finish. 25% see most of the race, while 18.1% watch some of it. 5.9% watch a little bit, 1.5% for only the start, and 6.5% only watch the highlights.
  • Amazingly, 77.5% of fans have not attended a race in the last year. 13.3% have gone to 1, 5% have gone to 2, and 4.2% have attended 3 or more.

Analysis: Most of these results are good news. The fact that 68% of all fans will watch most or all of the race is great, as it proves that F1 is interesting to watch – to most viewers anyways. Also, the fact that 16.4% of fans have joined this sport in the last year shows that 2009′s rule changes have helped to improve the sport’s image to a new audience.

However, I’m annoyed that 77.5% of people don’t (can’t?) go to a single race in a year. This is undoubtedly because it is too expensive, when you consider travel, accomodation, food, and the actual tickets. Many venues have empty grandstands because the tickets are far too expensive, so this needs to be sorted out.

Media and Formula 1

Unfortunately, I can’t write about the section that reads “How frequently do you access Newspapers/TV (races and qualifying are split into 2)/Radio/Magazines/Streaming on websites/F1 blogs or forums/Email and Mobile updates for Formula 1?” Each one of those media outlets has its own chart, and I’d be here all week if I were to analyse it all. However, you can have a look yourself, at the link at the bottom.

  • 24.8% of fans would be very interested in watching races online, and 27.6% would be quite interested. 24.4% would not be very interested, and 20.2% would be not at all interested. 3.1% didn’t know.
  • Use of Formula 1 apps on the phone appears to have been shunned, as 46.3% would be “not at all interested” in using F1 mobile apps.
  • Also, the majority of fans do not want to be part of an F1 online community. 36.4% are not at all interested, 28.3% not very interested, 20.7 are quite interested, and 11.4% would be very interested. 3.2% don’t know.
  • HD broadcasting is very important, as 39.4% are very interested in watching F1 in HD, while 26.3% would be quite interested. 16.2% and 15.1% would be not at all interested and not very interested respectively.
  • There is a bit of division as to would fans be interested in downloading races to watch. While 30.4% would be not at all interested, 21.4% and 21.1% would be quite and very interested respectively.

Analysis: I’m not surprised that HD broadcasting and online access are the two main topics here, as this is where Formula 1 is sorely lacking in comparison to other sports, like NASCAR (in HD) and IndyCar (IndyCarNation race control). Although I’m surprised to see that many fans wouldn’t download races online, I don’t think Bernie and FOM would allow it anyway.

The image of Formula 1

Which three of the following words/phrases do you think best describes Formula 1?

Advanced Technology 47.5% Competitive 40.9% Exciting 33.6% Risk Taking 30.6% Global 29.3% Prestigious 20.2% Entertaining 19.1% Popular 15.1% Exclusive 14.8% Innovative 14.0% Predictable 11.2% Stylish 8.6% Respected 6.8% Leader 6.0% Accessible 2.3%
  • 42.3% of fans strongly believe that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. 39.4% say that the sport showcases the best drivers.
  • Oddly enough, only 23.8% would strongly agree that F1 coverage on TV is informative and engaging. 30.5% mildly agree, and 24.9% neither agree nor disagree. 6.3% would strongly disagree.
  • While 14% strongly disagree that F1 has an important role in promoting environmentally friendly initiatives, only 16.4% would strongly agree. Most fans do not agree or disagree with this question.
  • The same goes for F1 having an important role in improving road safety. 13.6% strongly disagree, but 16.5% strongly agree.
  • Here’s a good one – the majority of fans strongly agree (29.8%) with the fact that there is too much focus on politics in Formula 1.
  • 51.9% strongly agree that F1 showcases the most advanced technology in motorsport.
  • The overwhelming majority believe that F1 has the right balance between technology and safety.

Analysis: I’m very happy with the first result here, as the true characteristics of F1 are the highest rated, like technology, competition and excitement. Having said that, the 11.2% who said that F1 was best described as predictable need to wake up and actually watch some races this year, just not Bahrain.

    F1 Technology

    • 32.4% strongly look forward to technological innovations each season.
    • 25.8% strongly agree that F1 technology has helped to improve safety in road cars.
    • 26.9% would only mildly agree that F1 has the right balance between technology and driver skill.
    • “Technological innovations have led to more competitive racing”. 24.6% strongly agree, while 22.3% mildly agree. 22.5% neither agree nor disagree, and 12.6% mildly disagree. 12.7% strongly disagree, and 5.3% have no opinion.
    • 20.7% strongly believe that technology is the most exciting aspect of F1, while 11.1% strongly disagree.

    Analysis: There would be little doubt that there is a lot of disagreement when it comes to F1 technology. Innovations in this sport are great, in my opinion, but casual fans can often get confused by them, such as KERS and the F-duct systems.

    The Grands Prix

    As with the section earlier on F1 media, I can’t do the next section. This is about the current amount of broadcast features shown during a race, and whether they should be shown more or less. These results are accessible from the link at the bottom of this post.

    • If a race is on too early or too late in the day, then 15.3% would frequently record the race and watch it later. 26.4% would do it occasionally, and 58.3% would never do this.
    • 31.7% would like to see a lot of analysis on steward decisions, and 28.6% would like to see some.
    • 36.9% would like to see a lot of split-screen coverage, and 30.1% would like to see some.
    • 33.4% would like to be able to follow a specific car, although 39.1% had no opinion on this one.
    • 34.8% would like to follow a car of their choice for the entire race, although 33.9% had no opinion.
    • 43.3% feel that it is driver safety is extremely important to them.
    • 37.3% feel that diversity of circuit venues is extemely important to them.
    • 53.8% would say that overtaking is extremely important in a race.

    Analysis: The fact that very few would record an F1 race is another incentive to have more night races. This way, people can watch more races live, instead of failing to watch them because it was on at the right time. Also, the implementation of broadcasting features (split-screen coverage, follow a specific car, etc) would require a digital service from all broadcasters involved, and I think that would be difficult to bring in. Having said that, it would be great if it could happen.

    The future of F1

    • 57.3% strongly agree that F1 needs to continue to deliver exciting racing and overtaking.
    • 37.9% strongly agree that Formula 1 must continue to return to classic venues like Silverstone and Monza.
    • 44.2% would strongly agree that more emphasis must be placed on driver skill.
    • 53% strongly agree that F1 must be more affordable for fans attending the race.
    • 39.3% strongly agree that F1 must be the pinnacle of technology.
    • 37.9% strongly agreed that the sport should always have technological innovations to look forward to.
    • 41.2% strongly agreed that the sport should connect more with fans
    • 40.8% strongly agreed that races that test driver skill should be introduced more.
    • 31.7% would neither agree nor disagree that more races should be included on the calendar.
    • 15.7% strongly disagreed that F1 should go to new markets at the expense of European races.
    • 50.5% strongly agreed that F1 must continue to go to classic venues.
    • There was much diversity when it came to the night races. Although 19.1% strongly agreed that it would make them watch more, 19.9% mildly agreed, 27.9% didn’t agree nor disagree, 10.45 mildly disagree, and 14.4% strongly disagree, while 8.3% have no opnion.
    • 19.7% would strongly disagree with ditching classic venues in favour of new countries.
    • 27.4% would neither agree nor disagree that their interest in the race is affected by the circuit.
    • While 15.8% strongly want more street races, 15.4% strongly disagree with this.

    Analysis: There isn’t much surprise here, apart from the night and street races part. Personally, I think there should be less street races, and only 1 or 2 more night races, as otherwise they lose their exclusivity after a while.

    Other

    • 52% felt that Monaco was the most important race on the calendar, followed by Italy (50.6%), Britain (42.9%), Germany (38.8%) and Belgium (29.4%).
    • Amazingly, 25.7% of fans had no idea of what KERS was. 21.8% said that not every team used it, so it was hard to measure its success.
    • 18% strongly agreed that KERS had a positive impact on the 2009 season, though 16.9% strongly disagreed.
    • 23.2% strongly agreed that KERS should returm to F1, but 17.6% strongly disagreed.
    • 24.8% would have high interest in attending the annual car launches and presentations.
    • 44.9% think that the 2010 points system was a good idea, with only 14.2% thinking it was a bad idea. However, a massive 40.9% had no opinion. Oddly enough, avid F1 fans were more likely to dislike the new points system. Infrequent fans were much more likely to have no opinion.
    • 61.9% think that there should be a greater points difference between 1st and 2nd place, so there is more competition for the win.
    • 44.4% have definitely heard of FOTA, though 34.8% definitely haven’t.  20.8% think so.

    Analysis: The fact that more than a quarter of fans don’t know what KERS is is a shock to me. Obviously, they weren’t paying much attention last year, or it wasn’t explained well enough. I’m not surprised that many fans haven’t heard of FOTA, as they are never mentioned on live broadcasts. They only really appear in F1 blogs online, and this needs to improve so as to improve FOTA’s image with supporters.

    Favourite moments of 2009:

    Force India in Spa 18.8% Jenson Button in Brazil 14.7% Brawn 1-2 in Melbourne 11.6% Monsoon in Malaysia 9.5% Webber’s 1st win in Germany 8.2% Vettel’s win in Silverstone 6.7% Opening lap of Brazilian GP 6.4% Hamilton’s drive in Singapore 5.6% Vettel’s pole and win in China 5.3% Button’s run to the Monaco podium 5.0% The twilight Abu Dhabi race 4.3% Japanese GP qualifying 3.9%

    Analysis: This is one of my favourite results, as the best moments of 2009 are at the top. It would have been very easy to vote for accidents such as the Japanese GP qualifying, but they didn’t, and preferred moments such as Force India’s pole position and P2 in Belgium, which is personally my best moment of the year.

    Overall, I would have thought that these results were to be expected, such as fans wanting more exciting races, HD broadcasting, better coverage, etc. However, I’m surprised at the lack of respect given to safety in Formula 1, as it should be the most important factor in the sport. Still, hopefully some of these results can be used to change F1 for the better, but it’s up to FOTA to do so.

    I wasn’t able to include all of the results, such as the brand factor in F1, but you can view the entire FOTA report here.

    Massa’s Ferrari contract extended until 2012

    Felipe Massa will continue to drive for Ferrari until the end of the 2012 season

    Felipe Massa will continue to drive for Ferrari until the end of the 2012 season

    Felipe Massa’s contract with the Ferrari team has been extended until the 2012 season. In an announcement today, the Brazilian said that he is able to continue racing with his “second family”. This is despite him being out-performed in many races this year by team-mate Fernando Alonso.

    Felipe spoke today about his new deal with Ferrari:

    "Throughout my entire Formula 1 career, I have always raced with an 
    engine made in Maranello and it is a matter of pride for me to be 
    able to continue working with a team that I regard as a second 
    family."

    Also, team principal Stefano Domenicali added:

    "Felipe has been part of Ferrari for almost a decade and together 
    with us, he has grown as a driver and as a man, going through some 
    very difficult times as well as giving us moments of great 
    happiness. We wanted to show proof of stability for the future, 
    believing in the worth of a driver pairing that is without equal 
    in terms of talent, speed and its ability to work together for 
    the good of the team."

    While this isn’t totally unexpected, I’m a little bit surprised by this news. Felipe has been beaten by Fernando 4 times out of 7 races so far this year, and it would have been more if it wasn’t for Fernando’s crash in Monaco, Massa holding him up in Australia, and Alonso’s engine failure in Malaysia.

    With Ferrari having an unchanged line-up for the next 2 years, McLaren not going to change drivers any time soon, and Renault and Mercedes looking solid as well, this means that there will be very little driver transfers for next season. More on this later.

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