Monthly Archives: May 2011

Button on top in Turkey Friday Practice 2

Button put McLaren on top in the dry conditions

Button put McLaren on top in the dry conditions

Jenson Button headed up the timesheets in second practice for the Turkish Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel was stuck in the pits after his crash this morning.

Nico Rosberg continued his impressive form with 2nd place, less than a tenth off the McLaren. Lewis Hamilton was a further half second behind in 3rd.

The first dry running of the weekend saw much less tyre degradation than expected.

Michael Schumacher survived a scare at Turn 11 to finish 4th, with Mark Webber and Felipe Massa 5th and 6th. Felipe briefly led proceedings early on, but the three-time winner here failed to maintain his pace.

His teammate Fernando Alonso was hampered by a hydraulic issue. A spin later on confined him to 11th.

Williams had a turbulent session, with Rubens Barrichello pulling out after KERS problems. Pastor Maldonado spun on a damp patch at Turn 8, damaging the front of his car, also ending his day prematurely.

At the back of the field, the Virgin cars spent most of the session at the very back, before quicker laps near the end put Glock and D’Ambrosio ahead of HRT.

Times from Turkey FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1.26.456             26
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1.26.521  	0.065	29
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1.27.033  	0.577	31
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1.27.063  	0.607	21
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1.27.149  	0.693	31
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1.27.340  	0.884	37
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1.27.517  	1.061	37
 8.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1.27.725  	1.269	37
 9.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1.27.844  	1.388	32
10.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1.28.052  	1.596	37
11.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1.28.069  	1.613	27
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1.28.153  	1.697	36
13.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                 1.28.475  	2.019	35
14.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1.28.765  	2.309	32
15.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1.28.828  	2.372	19
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1.28.946  	2.490	20
17.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1.29.409  	2.953	39
18.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1.29.637  	3.181	27
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1.30.281  	3.825	37
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1.31.035  	4.579	28
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1.31.221  	4.765	22
22.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1.31.320  	4.864	29
23.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1.31.989  	5.533	30

Vettel crashes out of wet Friday Practice 1

Alonso put Ferrari on top

Alonso put Ferrari on top

Sebastian Vettel crashed out of Friday Practice 1 for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso was comfortably fastest in a soaked session, setting a 1.38.670, over 1.4 seconds faster than Nico Rosberg.

Vettel lost control on the exit kerb of Turn 8, and slammed into the barriers, ending his day after only 5 laps. He was running on intermediate tyres at the time, despite the track being near saturated with water. On the previous lap he had run wide at Turn 11.

Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado, Timo Glock and Sebastien Buemi also all ran wide at Turn 11.

Schumacher was behind his teammate in 3rd place, ahead of the Renaults of Heidfeld and Petrov. Daniel Ricciardo was 8th, beating Buem, who was 9th.

Nico Hulkenberg took over from Adrian Sutil, and was 10th, while Paul di Resta finished 13th.

Mark Webber was 11th, having only set 5 laps. Vettel was 17th after his crash. Neither of the McLarens set a competitive lap time, with Button and Hamilton 23rd and 24th.

Interestingly, Alonso reported that the wet tyres wore out much quicker than he expected.

Here is a video of Sebastian’s crash:

Times from FP1:

 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1.38.670           13
 2.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1.40.072   1.402   14
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1.40.132   1.462   18
 4.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1.40.338   1.668    9
 5.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1.40.401   1.731   10
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1.40.421   1.751   16
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1.40.697   2.027   14
 8.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.41.094   2.424   18
 9.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.41.178   2.508   22
10.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1.41.347   2.677   16
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1.42.564   3.894    5
12.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1.42.597   3.927    7
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1.43.525   4.855   11
14.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1.43.913   5.243    5
15.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault          1.43.986   5.316    6
16.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1.44.787   6.117   20
17.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1.44.954   6.284    4
18.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1.45.183   6.513   15
19.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1.45.237   6.567   11
20.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1.48.461   9.791    8
21.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1.51.676   13.006   6
22.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1.55.791   17.121  13
23.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       2.00.666   21.996   4
24.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       N/A                 1

Shorter DRS zone for Turkey

The DRS zone for the Turkish Grand Prix

The DRS zone for the Turkish Grand Prix

The FIA have set the DRS activation zone for the Turkish Grand Prix.

While a specific figure has not yet been announced for the activation point, it appears to be much shorter than in previous races.

The detection zone, where cars must be within 1 second of the car ahead, is in the braking zone of Turn 9. The DRS device can be deployed just before Turn 11, a right-handed kink on the main straight.

Tomlinson and Michael make way at Williams while Mike Coughlan returns to F1

Former Ferrari engineer Mike Coughlan has returned to F1

Former Ferrari engineer Mike Coughlan has returned to F1

Today has seen the technical director of Williams, Sam Michael, and chief aerodynamist Jon Tomilson both announce they will be leaving the team at the end of the year.

After a disastrous start to the 2011 season, not scoring a single point in 3 races, and the worst start in the team’s history, Williams have begun a reshuffle of the top heads in the team.

At the same time, the squad has also hired Mike Coughlan, who was banned for two years from F1 for his part in the 2007 “spygate” scandal.

He will join Williams as chief engineer next month.

The following statement has been issued for Michael and Tomlinson:

"Williams F1 today announced that technical director, Sam Michael, and chief 
aerodynamicist, Jon Tomlinson, have resigned from their positions within the company, 
to take effect at the end of 2011.

Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams 
over 10 and five years respectively.

Nonetheless, they have recognised that the team’s performance is not at the level 
that it needs to be and have resigned in order to give the team the opportunity to 
regroup and undertake the changes necessary to get back to the front of the grid.

Both will continue to work in their present positions through until the end of the 
year to ensure that the team maintains focus and momentum during the 2011 season.
We are very grateful to Sam and to Jon for their professional approach."

Meanwhile, Coughlan will rejoin the Formula 1 paddock since he was banned in 2007. He was thrown out after he was discovered exchanging confidential information with Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney. The Ferrari engineer claimed that Coughlan had transmitted information about McLaren’s set-up, pit-stops, weight distribution and other details.

However, Williams believe that Coughlan can still contribute to the team:

"Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula 1 and 
both civil and defence engineering.

He left Formula 1 in 2007 because of conduct which he acknowledges was wrong and 
which he profoundly regrets. His two year ban from the sport expired some time ago 
and Mike is now determined to prove himself again.

Williams is delighted to be able to give him the opportunity to do this and we are 
very pleased to have one of the most talented and competitive engineers in the 
sport helping us to return to the front of the grid. This is the first step in 
re-building and strengthening our technical group. We will announce the next steps 
as they develop."

In 2008 the FIA advised all top level motor sport teams not to hire Stepney “without conducting appropriate due diligence regarding his suitability for involvement in international motor sport”.

Ferrari have refused to comment on this signing, stating “We’ve nothing to comment about other teams’ choices”.

FIA allows 1 month Bahrain deadline extension

The 2011 Bahrain GP still appears uncertain

The 2011 Bahrain GP still appears uncertain

The FIA has allowed the Bahrain Motor Federation an additional month to decide the future of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.

With the original deadline expiring yesterday, rumours mounted that the Grand Prix was in serious doubt for 2011. However, after encouragement from Bernie Ecclestone a few days ago, the FIA is giving more time for the event organisers to make the call.

Violent protests against the Bahrain government caused the race to be cancelled in March, and since then the country has been in a state of emergency.

This one-month extension is being granted to assess the condition of the state’s political climate, which is currently tense to say the least.

With this, it seems almost certain that, if the race is rescheduled for 2011, it will take place after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and before the Brazilian Grand Prix. This is because the 4-week break in the summer is too close to organise a race, and the 20th November seems to be the only achieveable target for the race to go ahead.