Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ricciardo to drive for HRT from British GP onwards

Ricciardo is expected to alternate drives with Liuzzi and Karthikeyan

Ricciardo is expected to alternate drives with Liuzzi and Karthikeyan

Daniel Ricciardo, former test driver for Toro Rosso, has been confirmed as a race driver for HRT, starting from the British Grand Prix.

Oddly enough, the team statement did not explain which of their drivers would be replaced, suggesting that their 3 drivers may shuffle positions for the rest of the year.

The deal was made between Hispania and Dr. Helmut Marko, a senior figure in Red Bull Racing. This will further fuel rumours that Ricciardo has been hand-picked to race for Red Bull in several years.

The statement from the team reads as follows:

"Hispania Racing and Red Bull Racing signed a collaboration deal today which allows 
young Australian talent Daniel Ricciardo to join the Spanish team as its official 

The current Formula 1 World Champion team has shown trust in Hispania Racing’s 
project and has chosen José Ramón Carabante’s team as a support for the formation 
and development of its driver.

Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, who was behind the steering-wheel in every first 
practice session of the eight grand prix up to now, will finally see his dream come 
true and become a Formula 1 race-driver starting from next week’s British Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo joins Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi as official drivers 
of the Spanish Formula 1 team, Hispania Racing."

This is practically a repeat of what happened last year with Hispania, where Sakon Yamamoto replaced Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok from the British GP onwards.

While it has not been yet confirmed, it is expected that Narain Karthikeyan will make way for Ricciardo, considering teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi’s domination over him this year. However, if this is the case, it is almost certain that Karthikeyan will still race at the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo has test driven with Toro Rosso at every first practice session so far this year. He was poised to replace either Sebastien Buemi or Jaime Alguersuari. However, in recent races, the two have improved and are currently level on points. The fact that Ricciardo has been shipped off to HRT indicates that Toro Rosso is still pleased with the performance of their drivers.

FIA approves V6 engines for 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

Current F1 engines are set for an overhaul in 2014

The FIA has today approved the change in engine regulations for the 2014 season.

The move will see the sport switch from 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines to more efficient 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 power units.

It has also been confirmed that this new engine formula will feature several energy recovery units, though this detail has yet to be elaborated on.

The last time turbocharged engines were used in F1 was back in 1988.

A statement issued today from the FIA reads as follows:

"Following a fax vote by its members, the World Motor Sport Council has ratified the
engine regulations recently drawn up in consultation with the main stakeholders in
Formula 1.

“he new power plant will be a V6 1.6 turbo unit with energy recovery systems. This
new formula will come into effect as from the start of the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world
championship season."

It has been revealed that the original push for 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, which was rejected several  days ago, was being put forward by Audi, a prospective engine supplier to F1 teams from 2013 onwards.

The switch to efficient turbocharged engines is not a surprise, considering the FIA has been keen to improve the “green” aspect of the sport in recent times. It is currently unknown how this regulation change will affect total power output, but it is expected that the energy recovery systems (KERS, exhaust gas recovery units) will compensate for any loss in engine power.

Update: The FIA has confirmed today that these new engines will use a 15,000 rpm rev limiter.

European Grand Prix stats and facts

The 2011 European Grand Prix set a new Formula 1 record for most finishers in a race – 24. It is also the first time that every car has finished a race since Monza 2005. Here are more stats and facts from this weekend:

  • Sebastian Vettel has now set a new record for the best start to an F1 season, with 6 wins and 2 second places in the first 8 races.
  • This was Vettel’s 13th front row start in a row, which has run from Singapore 2010 to the present. This is one more than Michael Schumacher (1994 Europe – 1995 Germany). The current record holder is Ayrton Senna with 24 front row starts in a row (1988 Germany – 1989 Australia).
  • Similarly, this was Vettel’s 10th consecutive podium finish, one more than Jim Clark, Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Michael Schumacher (twice) or Lewis Hamilton ever achieved.
  • If Sebastian gets a likely podium in Silverstone, then he will match Lewis Hamilton (2007) for 9 podiums in a row from the start of the season.
  • Jenson Button has now finished 101 races in the points out of 197 starts, the 6th highest in F1 history.
  • Vettel has scored 93% of his possible points so far this season. The record for an entire season is 84.71% by Michael Schumacher in 2004.
  • Oddly enough, this is only the second “triple” (pole, win, fastest lap) that Vettel has achieved. The previous feat was Silverstone 2009. He was one lap away from a Grand Slam (lead every race from pole with fastest lap), but Felipe Massa led for one lap during the pit stops. Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are the only two drivers on the grid to have achieved a Grand Slam.
  • Out of 459 racing laps, Vettel has led 368 of them. The safety car has driven 40 laps (all of which can be added to Vettel’s and the total’s tallies), with the closest rival, Jenson Button, having only led 31 laps. Teammate Mark Webber has yet to lead a lap this year.
  • While Jaime Alguersuari has been knocked out of Q1 in the last 2 races, he has bounced back to finish 8th on both occasions.
  • With the record amount of finishers in a race, Narain Karthikeyan has the unenviable record of being the only F1 driver to have finished 24th.
  • Only Fernando Alonso and Vitantonio Liuzzi have outqualified their team-mates at every race so far this year.
  • This was the 50th points-scoring finish in a row for Renault engines – a record that spans back to the inaugral Valencia GP in 2008.

Points standings after European Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 186
2 Jenson Button 109
3 Mark Webber 109
4 Lewis Hamilton 97
5 Fernando Alonso 87
6 Felipe Massa 42
7 Nico Rosberg 32
8 Vitaly Petrov 31
9 Nick Heidfeld 30
10 Michael Schumacher 26
11 Kamui Kobayashi 25
12 Adrian Sutil 10
13 Jaime Alguersuari 8
14 Sebastien Buemi 8
15 Rubens Barrichello 4
16 Sergio Perez 2
17 Paul di Resta 2
18 Pedro de la Rosa 0
19 Jarno Trulli 0
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
21 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
22 Heikki Kovalainen 0
23 Narain Karthikeyan 0


Pastor Maldonado

Timo Glock



Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 295
2 McLaren-Mercedes 206
3 Ferrari 129
4 Renault 61
5 Mercedes GP 58
6 Sauber-Ferrari 27
7 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 16
8 Force India-Mercedes 12
9 Williams-Cosworth 4
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 Virgin-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0

Vettel dominates European Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel took his 6th Grand Prix victory of the year at the European Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso was 2nd, ahead of Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton struggled in 4th, while Massa and Button were 5th and 6th. Jaime Alguersuari impressed by finishing 8th. Here is the full report:

At the start, the Red Bulls held their lead into the first corner, while Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa challenged Mark Webber. Both Ferraris sweeped past Lewis Hamilton, who slipped to 5th.

Jenson Button, who had been pushed down to 7th, began to pressurise Nico Rosberg for 6th place. However, the Mercedes’ superior traction managed to hold the McLaren off, despite Jenson’s use of DRS.

The move finally came in a non-DRS zone. Nico struggled for grip at the first turn, allowing Button to squeeze past at Turn 2.

The traditional routine of Vettel tearing off into the distance quickly slipped away – after only 6 laps. Both Ferraris began to reel Mark Webber in, but the DRS proved to be ineffective on the straights.

Nick Heidfeld was the first to put on a second set of options, followed soon by Kamui Kobayashi. With Hamilton down in 5th, McLaren decided to pit him early. Mark Webber dived into the pits the following lap, also taking on more options.

On fresher tyres, Hamilton breezed past Michael Schumacher. Vettel and Alonso pitted, with Fernando failing to jump past Webber. A broken front wing for Schumacher dropped him to the back of the field, after a collision leaving the pit lane with Nick Heidfeld.

Heidfeld continued while Schumacher pitted, and the Renault soon passed Sergio Perez for 10th. The Mexican was the only driver not to have stopped, and on the same lap he was overtaken by Rubens Barrichello.

Mark may have been challenging Sebastian for the lead, but being held up in the high-speed section by a Hispania dropped him back by 2 seconds. This allowed Alonso to move right up behind Webber, and on Lap 21 Fernando scythed past the Red Bull on the back straight.

After burning out another set of tyres, Hamilton stopped again on Lap 25. It was obvious that the McLaren was on a 3-stopper, but the rest of the field didn’t react for several more laps, ensuring that Lewis was out of sync with the rest of the field.

Webber pitted on Lap 29, aiming to undercut Alonso. Fernando pitted a lap later, but a poor in-lap resulted in the Ferrari losing 2nd to Mark. Vettel pitted, and emerged in front of the group behind. Felipe Massa, who hadn’t stopped yet, ended up holding up Webber and his teammate, before he stopped the following lap.

Jaime Alguersuari, by making only one stop after 40 laps, had silently moved his way up to 7th place. However, his rear tyres soon began to suffer degradation in the hot conditions, and Nico Rosberg soon found a way past the Toro Rosso.

Mark Webber was the first to take on the medium tyres, followed by Lewis Hamilton. Interestingly, the medium tyre held up well for the first few laps compared to the worn softs the other frontrunners were using.  Unfortunately, Mark failed to get his front tyres up to temperature, and soon began to fall away from Vettel.

Ferrari held back for a few laps, then stopped Alonso on Lap 46. A quick stop ensured he emerged ahead of Webber, but the Ferrari’s tendency to struggle on primes came back to hurt Alonso. Vettel pitted 2 laps later, and the struggling Ferrari failed to close in on Sebastian.

This continued on until the end, and Vettel had a considerable lead by the time he crossed the finish line. Alonso survived the dreaded primes to finish second, 5 seconds ahead of Webber. A 3-stop strategy failed to move Hamilton any higher than 4th. Massa and Button were 5th and 6th, with Jaime Alguersuari taking 4 points in 8th, the same result as 2 weeks ago.

Unfortunately the race failed to live up to expectations after the drama of Canada, with Vettel further extending his championship lead. Interestingly, this was the first race in Formula 1 history to have 24 finishers, the previous record being 23, at the Chinese Grand Prix earlier this year.

Vettel takes 7th pole of the year in Valencia

Sebastian Vettel took his 7th pole position of the year at qualifying for the European Grand Prix today.

The Red Bulls locked out the front row, with Mark Webber one tenth of a second behind. Lewis Hamilton was 3rd, and Fernando Alonso 4th. Here is the full report:


Fernando Alonso cancelled his first run early on in the session. Sebastian Vettel set a 1.39.9, half a second faster than his teammate.

Alonso’s first fast lap was 2 tenths off the Red Bull, despite several mistakes in the last corner. Button went 3 tenths faster than Vettel, while Lewis Hamilton remained in the pits.

Lewis eventually went out, and swiftly took the top spot, but the Mercedes cars struggled, with Rosberg 1.5 seconds away in 7th, and Schumacher another 6 tenths off..

Perez, Maldonado, Buemi and Alguersuari all waited until the final 5 minutes to set their laps. Sergio lept up to 4th on the softer tyres but was quickly replaced by Buemi. Jaime went 9th, and Pastor took 5th.

With a few minutes to go, eyebrows were raised as both Mercedes drivers and Felipe Massa felt the need to take on soft tyres in Q1. Schumacher went 2nd, with Rosberg 4th. Kamui Kobayashi escaped the drop zone, moving into 16th.

Surprisingly, Massa could have been knocked out of Q1 if he hadn’t taken on the new tyres. His newer soft rubber easily moved him into 1st.

Jarno Trulli ruined his final run by spinning at the final corner. Jaime Alguersuari was the casualty of Q1, while Mark Webber was incredibly close to a shock exit, finishing only 16th.

Drivers knocked out of Q1:

18) Jaime Alguersuari

19) Heikki Kovalainen

20) Jarno Trulli

21) Timo Glock

22) Vitantonio Liuzzi

23) Jerome D’Ambrosio

24) Narain Karthikeyan


Felipe Massa was first out on the soft tyres, setting a 1.38.5. Alonso beat his teammate by 6 tenths, but Vettel was quick to take back first spot.

However, the red flags were soon thrown, as Pastor Maldonado’s Williams was stranded out on track. This ruined several laps, most notably Felipe Massa’s, as he was on his 3rd lap on the same set of tyres.

Once the session resumed, both Kamui Kobayashi and Rubens Barrichello locked up at the final corner, ruining two laps and their sets of tyres.

The top 5 drivers remained in the pits for the final few minutes. Adrian Sutil pushed Vitaly Petrov out of 10th place, while Paul di Resta failed to improve from 12th.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Vitaly Petrov

12) Paul di Resta

13) Rubens Barrichello

14) Kamui Kobayashi

15) Pastor Maldonado

16) Sergio Perez

17) Sebastien Buemi


Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were the only drivers who left the pits as the session started. Alonso seta 1.37.4, while Massa was 4 tenths further off.

Lewis Hamilton improved by 0.07 seconds, while Vettel smashed the 1.37 barrier, setting a 1.36.975.

Nico Rosberg was 1.2 seconds off the Red Bull’s time. With 2 minutes to go, all drivers bar Nico left the pits for one final run.

Mark Webber was the first to set his time, but failed to unseat his teammate, going 2nd. Alonso gave up on his final run, followed swiftly by Vettel. Massa only went 5th, so pole position went rather easily to Vettel.

Neither Nick Heidfeld or Adrian Sutil went out in Q3 at all.

Top 10 results:

1) Sebastian Vettel – 1:36.975

2) Mark Webber – 1:37.163

3) Lewis Hamilton – 1:37.380

4) Fernando Alonso – 1:37.454

5) Felipe Massa – 1:37.535

6) Jenson Button – 1:37.645

7) Nico Rosberg – 1:38.231

8 ) Michael Schumacher – 1:38.240

9) Nick Heidfeld – No time

10) Adrian Sutil – No time

Alonso takes control in Valencia second practice

Alonso was the fastest man in second practice

Alonso was the fastest man in second practice

Fernando Alonso set the pace in second practice for the European Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was the first driver of the weekend to break the 1m.38s barrier, setting a 1.37.968 halfway through the session. His lap time came despite a heavy lock up at the final corner.

Lewis Hamilton was second, holding off Sebastian Vettel in 3rd. Both Renaults managed to get into the top 10 again.

Paul di Resta was restricted to 7 laps, after his car was repaired following Nico Hulkenberg crashing the Scot’s Force India in FP1.

However, he managed 7 more laps than Jaime Alguersuari, who spent the entire session in the pits with an engine problem.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1.37.968           35
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1.38.195   0.227   26
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1.38.265   0.297   31
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1.38.315   0.347   30
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1.38.443   0.475   32
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1.38.483   0.515   30
 7.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1.38.531   0.563   26
 8.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1.38.981   1.013   33
 9.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1.39.040   1.072   35
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1.39.586   1.618   27
11.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1.39.626   1.658   31
12.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1.40.020   2.052   34
13.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1.40.301   2.333   34
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1.40.363   2.395   7
15.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.40.454   2.486   32
16.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1.40.531   2.563   37
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1.42.083   4.115   34
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault          1.42.156   4.188   39
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1.42.239   4.271   25
20.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.273   4.305   21
21.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1.42.809   4.841   36
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1.44.460   6.492   29
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           1.46.906   8.938   16

Webber heads Valencia first practice

Mark Webber continued Red Bull’s dominance of 2011 so far, by leading first practice for the European Grand Prix.

The Red Bull was 8 tenths faster than Vitaly Petrov, whose Renault was marginally ahead of Fernando Alonso.

Webber’s teammate Vettel did no low fuel runs, and was 16th. An impressive session for Renault was shown with Nick Heidfeld 5th.

Jaime Alguersuari in 10th headed Daniel Ricciardo in 12th by 2 tenths, as the Australian stood in for Sebastien Buemi.

A dusty and slippery track surface caught Nico Hulkenberg out, sliding under braking at Turn 12, and damaging his Force India’s left rear section. Massa, Kobayashi, Kovalainen, Schumacher and Maldonado all had off-track excursions as the session continued.

A spin by Timo Glock in the final few minutes ruled out any last-gasp improvements from the rest of the field, as his Virgin was beached in the middle of the track.

Karun Chandhok was the only driver not to set a time, as his Lotus was stuck in second gear.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1.40.403 	    22
 2.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault               1.41.227   0.824   20
 3.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1.41.239   0.836   22
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1.41.510   1.107   23
 5.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault               1.41.580   1.177   24
 6.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1.41.758   1.355   23
 7.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1.41.926   1.523   14
 8.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1.41.955   1.552   20
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1.42.043   1.640   22
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.42.216   1.813   29
11.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1.42.270   1.867   26
12.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.42.412   2.009   27
13.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1.42.704   2.301   23
14.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1.42.738   2.335   20
15.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1.42.841   2.438   28
16.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1.42.941   2.538   21
17.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1.43.201   2.798   18
18.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1.43.769   3.366    7
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1.44.136   3.733   17
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1.45.026   4.623   17
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth       1.45.221   4.818   19
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth          1.45.494   5.091   24
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1.46.926   6.523   27
24.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault         		     2

F1 to delay new engine rules until 2014

Formula 1 looks set to delay new engine formula

Formula 1 looks set to delay a new engine formula

Formula 1 chiefs have today agreed to postpone the introduction of new engine regulations, which were due to be enforced in 2013.

The original plan was to use 1.6 litre 4-cylinder engines, with turbochargers and various energy recovery units featuring. However, after mixed opinions from engine manufacturers, the FIA has agreed to change the new regulations, and delay them for a further year.

The new plan is to use 1.6 litre V6 engines, but still retaining the “green” technology that the FIA has been keen to introduce. Turbochargers are expected to remain as well.

While this change will not be enforced for some time, it has already been approved by the F1 Commission, which is made up of the teams and other of the sport’s representatives. The regulation change will now go to a vote at the World Motor Sport Council.

Mercedes and Cosworth were concerned about the cost of developing new engines, while Ferrari disagreed with the proposal of 4-cylinder engines. Only Renault was in favour of the original plan, however they have since agreed to the new engine formula.

Double DRS remains for Valencia

Two seperate DRS zones will be used in Valencia

Two seperate DRS zones will be used in Valencia

Two uses of the Drag Reduction System zones are to be retained for the European Grand Prix in Valencia. However, the use of only one detection point is also to remain.

The detection area will be 130 metres before Turn 8. However, in this weekend’s case, the two DRS zones will be further away from each other. The first activation area starts 285 metres after Turn 10, and is expected to last for the rest of the back straight.

The second zone occurs after a series of slow corners, 35 metres after Turn 14. While the end points have not yet been announced, it is suspected that this zone will also run the length of the second back straight.

While it eventually didn’t come to light because of the rain, the use of double DRS in Canada caused concern among many, amid fears that a driver who used DRS to pass could easily move away at the next activation zone.

Here in Valencia, where rain is a minimal possibility, and the DRS zones are further apart, this risk will be amplified.