Daily Archives: May 24, 2011

FIA to enforce Monaco tunnel DRS ban

DRS will be banned in the tunnel in Monaco

DRS will be banned in the tunnel in Monaco

After safety complaints from many of the drivers, the FIA has made the decision to ban the Drag Reduction System in the tunnel of the Monaco Grand Prix street circuit this weekend.

To prevent drivers taking risks at the sharp right-hander, race director Charlie Whiting has decided to ban the use of DRS in between two specific points on the circuit.

The distance markers 1350m and 2020m (the area of the tunnel) has been specified as an area that DRS cannot be used in.

Otherwise, the device is free to be used around the track during practice and qualifying, and the start/finish straight will soon be confirmed as the race location for DRS use.

In a letter to the Grand Prix Drivers Association on Monday, Whiting claimed that the FIA’s initial tough stance on DRS in the tunnel (they believed there was no safety concern) has since softened.

While most drivers are pleased with this announcement, Renault team principal Eric Boullier doesn’t see the point:

"Some feel that the incentive to benefit will force drivers to take unnecessary risks.

My own view is that the drivers will build up their confidence gradually during free 
practice and by the time qualifying arrives they will know in how much of the tunnel 
they can safely use the DRS wing.

Often in the past the tunnel has been very tricky to take flat out at the start of 
the race weekend when the track is poor.

"This has not caused the drivers to crash, they have simply built up their pace 
gradually until they were confident that it could be taken flat - I think the same 
approach will emerge with the DRS."

Points standings after Spanish Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 118
2 Lewis Hamilton 77
3 Mark Webber 67
4 Jenson Button 61
5 Fernando Alonso 51
6 Nico Rosberg 26
7 Nick Heidfeld 25
8 Felipe Massa 24
9 Vitaly Petrov 21
10 Michael Schumacher 14
11 Kamui Kobayashi 9
12 Sebastien Buemi 6
13 Adrian Sutil 2
14 Sergio Perez 2
15 Paul di Resta 2
16 Jaime Alguersuari 0
17 Rubens Barrichello 0
18 Jarno Trulli 0
19 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
20 Heikki Kovalainen 0
21 Pastor Maldonado 0
22 Timo Glock 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan 0
24 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0

Constructor Standings:

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 185
2 McLaren-Mercedes 138
3 Ferrari 75
4 Renault 46
5 Mercedes GP 40
6 Sauber 11
7 Toro Rosso 6
8 Force India-Mercedes 4
9 Williams-Cosworth 0
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 Virgin-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0

Vettel holds off Hamilton in Spain

Alonso pushes the Red Bulls out of the way at the start

Alonso pushes the Red Bulls out of the way at the start

Sebastian Vettel held off a resurgent Lewis Hamilton in the final 20 laps of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.

It wasn’t a straightforward win, however – Vettel had to fight his way back to the lead, after Fernando Alonso snatched the lead from Mark Webber at the start. Mark lost out to his teammate at the first corner. Kamui Kobayashi suffered a puncture after a trip into the gravel.

A roar of approval from the Spanish crowd wasn’t enough for Fernando though, as he struggled to shake off the Red Bulls and Hamilton.

An early pit stop for Vettel on Lap 8 prompted a dive into the pits for Alonso and Webber. Lewis delayed his stop, and emerged behind Webber in 3rd.

The same strategy worked much better at the second stop, with Vettel taking control of the lead, and Hamilton dispatching of Webber. Alonso resigned the lead, and slowly began to slip down the order.

A torrid race ended prematurely for Massa with a gearbox failure

A torrid race ended prematurely for Massa with a gearbox failure

Jenson Button made the call to retain a 3-stop strategy, putting him out of sync with the frontrunners. After the others’ second stops, Button made a daring pass on Webber at the first corner to move into 3rd place.

Vettel and Hamilton began to tear away, while a switch to hard tyres proved disastrous for Alonso, as he began to slide away from the leaders, eventually becoming lapped near the end.

An intermittent KERS problem put Sebastian under huge pressure from Lewis. A DRS advantage wasn’t enough for the McLaren though, as the difficult final sector of the lap gave the Red Bull enough breathing space.

Fernando was unable to stem the massive loss in time under the prime tyres, and succumbed to Webber by the end of the race. His teammate was even worse off, spinning and being passed by Nick Heidfeld and Sergio Perez.

Schumacher and Rosberg were unable to match McLaren and Red Bull, and quietly toured the circuit in 6th and 7th. Heidfeld and Perez were 8th and 9th, while Kobayashi recovered well to take a point.

Vettel was superb and on the pace all day long

Vettel was superb and on the pace all day long

Vettel held on by 0.6 seconds to Hamilton, and took a well-deserved win. He now holds a 41-point lead over Hamilton, who is the only driver to finish ahead of him in any race this year.

Massa eventually retired with a gearbox issue, joining Vitantonio Liuzzi (gearbox) and Heikki Kovalainen (crash) on the sidelines.

Pastor Maldonado slumped after his top 10 start, and was 15th. Meanwhile, Perez became the first Mexican in 30 years to score points in Formula 1.

Also, I apologise for the late updates this week. I was away during the weekend, and was in Dublin for Barack Obama’s visit. Well worth it though.