Monthly Archives: July 2011

2011 mid-way driver rankings: 24-15

This is the bi-annual review of driver’s performances over the season. Improvements have been made from last year’s review, with an indication towards a driver’s performance the year beforehand being added.

This first article will tackle drivers from 25th to 16th place. Here are the bottom ranked 10 drivers:

Note: This article was written before the British GP, and so stats will not be fully up to date, and any performance from Silverstone will not be taken into account.

24 – Narain Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan was never going to set the world ablaze in a HRT

Karthikeyan was never going to set the world ablaze in a HRT

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

The 34-year-old’s return to F1 racing was never going to set the world ablaze, but with disappointing pace in a lacklustre car, a replacement driver was inevitable.

However, this may still be too harsh on Karthikeyan. The only driver he had to compete with was teammate Liuzzi. But, he has qualified behind Vitantonio at every race, and the average gap between the two is 0.639 seconds.

It is common knowledge that Narain excels in wet conditions. The only race where he has had an opportunity in this sense was Canada, but he still finished in last place, whereas Liuzzi scored HRT’s best ever finish.

With Daniel Ricciardo now at the wheel, perhaps both of HRT’s drivers can take the challenge to Virgin.

23 – Jarno Trulli

Trulli has lost out in his best skill - qualifying

Trulli has lost out in his best skill - qualifying

Ranking in 2010: 18th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 will tell us if he still has what it takes.”

Formerly regarded as a master of the one-lap qualifying run, Trulli has succumbed to being regularly beaten at every course by Heikki Kovalainen.

Long gone are the glory days of pole position and the win back in Monaco 2004. Jarno has been out-qualified by Kovalainen 6 out of 7 races so far, with the average gap being 0.34 seconds.

Two 13th places are better than Heikki’s best, but if his best asset is being soundly beaten, then retirement may not be too far off the horizon for Trulli.

22 – Pastor Maldonado

Without a single point, a bad review was always on the cards

Without a single point, a bad review was always on the cards

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

The 2010 GP2 champion had huge expectations on his shoulders entering the season, replacing Nico Hulkenberg. Unfortunately a disastrous start to his F1 career has left Maldonado second last in the driver’s championship.

A points finish was on the cards in Monaco, before a collision with Lewis Hamilton ruled the Williams out of 7th place. That kind of form has not been repeated anywhere else, with a 15th place in Spain being Pastor’s best result to date.

An impressive qualifying record has kept Maldonado from finishing last in this article. Pastor has qualified ahead of Rubens Barrichello 4 times, on average 3 tenths faster than the Brazilian.

However, if he is unable to turn this form into results, then there will be little future for Maldonado in Formula 1.

21 – Jerome D’Ambrosio

D'Ambrosio has been respectable so far

D'Ambrosio has been respectable so far

Ranking in 2010: N/A

Review from 2010 ranking: N/A

A first foray into F1 has not gone disastrously just yet for Jerome D’Ambrosio, with respectable results to his name, as well as occasionally beating his experienced teammate.

Two 14th places are slightly better than a solitary 15th managed by Timo Glock. In the 4 occasions where both Virgins have finished a race, D’Ambrosio has finished ahead of Glock 50% of the time.

He has out-qualified Timo on two occasions; however he has struggled in terms of the average qualifying gap (+0.56 seconds).

20 – Vitantonio Liuzzi

Liuzzi has done well in a poor car

Liuzzi has done well in a poor car

Ranking in 2010: 22nd

Review from 2010 ranking: “I would be hugely surprised if Force India were to retain him for 2011.”

The only car Liuzzi has properly raced against is Karthikeyan, and the Italian has done well in asserting himself as the number 1 driver in the team.

A clean sheet in qualifying, combined with beating Narain 4 times out of 5 in the races, proves Liuzzi’s good form. He managed a 13th position in the chaotic Canadian Grand Prix, achieving Hispania’s best ever result, one place off Lotus’ highest finish.

Many questioned the point of remaining in F1 after being ditched by Force India, but Vitantonio has done well to demonstrate his prowess in a dismal car.

19 – Heikki Kovalainen

Dominance over Trulli as expected, but Kovalainen is yet to challenge the midfield

Dominance over Trulli as expected, but Kovalainen is yet to challenge the midfield

Ranking in 2010: 15th

Review from 2010 ranking: “If Lotus deliver on their long-developed 2011 car, then Heikki will be the one to challenge the midfield.”

In 3 out the last 5 races, Heikki has out-qualified Jarno Trulli by over half a second. This dominance has allowed Kovalainen to become the driving force of Lotus in 2011.

2 mechanical retirements have beset Heikki, but he has still managed one 14th place so far this year. Despite his teammate getting one position better, Kovalainen has also led more laps so far this year ahead of Trulli.

With Lotus struggling to match the midfield’s pace, and Trulli’s future uncertain, it will be up to Kovalainen to secure 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship for the team.

18 – Timo Glock

Like Kovalainen, Glock excels in an underacheiving car

Like Kovalainen, Glock excels in an underacheiving car

Ranking in 2010: 21st

Review from 2010 ranking: “A much faster and reliable car is what Timo needs to get himself back up the grid next year.”

In similar fashion to last year, Timo Glock continues to push well above his weight in a very uncompetitive car.

While the Virgin team appear to be being pulled in by HRT, Glock has been chasing after Lotus, with varying results.  While he has only finished in front of one of these two drivers twice, three mechanical retirements have also held back Glock. Similarly, he failed to start the race in Turkey after losing fifth gear before the warm-up lap.

Despite these setbacks, he has consistently out-qualified D’Ambrosio, and is set to perform better as the season progresses.

17 – Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello has not unlocked the FW33's slight potential

Barrichello has not unlocked the FW33's slight potential

Ranking in 2010: 8th

Review from 2010 ranking: “Hopefully, Barrichello has a few more years left on the clock, and can lead Williams to their first win in years.”

A pair of 9th places is all the veteran has to offer so far, in one of the toughest F1 seasons in his 19-season career.

Once again, a horribly uncompetitive Williams is to blame for Barrichello’s slump, but being pushed by underperforming rookie Maldonado does not bode well for Rubens. The Brazilian is 3 tenths slower in qualifying on average compared to his Venezuelan colleague.

An ill-timed move on Nico Rosberg was the start to this poor season. Two mechanical failures have also undermined Barrichello’s hopes for points.

16 – Sebastien Buemi

Buemi hasn't underperformed, but much more is expected

Buemi hasn't underperformed, but much more is expected

Ranking in 2010: 17th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 is Buemi’s last chance to keep his race seat at Toro Rosso.”

With the news of Ricciardo joining HRT, Buemi’s seat is safe at Toro Rosso – for this year at least. While he has not been dominated by his teammate, many were expecting more from Buemi in his 3rd season.

Qualifying is where Sebastien gains an edge over Jaime Alguersuari. The Swiss driver has out-qualified the Spaniard 7 times out of 8, with an average gap of over 0.4 seconds.

However, finishing positions between the two appear to be generally the same, with Alguersuari having a slight lead on points. Toro Rosso have a tendency to drop drivers at the slightest sign of lack of pace, so many are asking why Buemi has been retained for so long.

However, it must be remembered that Buemi is well favoured by Helmut Marko, a man who doesn’t seem to mind leaning over one driver to serve the other.

Still, if Ricciardo impresses at HRT, then Buemi may still be under pressure for the race seat in 2012.

15 – Adrian Sutil

Sutil cannot let himself be beaten by Di Resta

Sutil cannot let himself be beaten by Di Resta

Ranking in 2010: 13th

Review from 2010 ranking: “2011 will be crucial if Sutil is to prove himself.”

Legal action with Eric Lux aside, there may be trouble on the horizon for Sutil. If Paul di Resta were to out-perform Adrian in the second half of 2011, then it could be a huge struggle for him to progress any further in Formula 1.

Di Resta has a huge lead in qualifying results, beating Sutil 6 times out of 8, with more than half a second in the average distance. Results haven’t gone the Scot’s way, so Sutil has an 8-point lead in the standings. However, it must be remembered that Di Resta, apart from being a rookie, has suffered poor luck in the races.

At times during his career, Sutil has been linked with a future drive for McLaren. However, if he is beaten by Di Resta in his first year, then Adrian will find himself shunted out of the way by the hotshot rookie.


Points standings after British Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 204
2 Mark Webber 124
3 Fernando Alonso 112
4 Lewis Hamilton 109
5 Jenson Button 109
6 Felipe Massa 52
7 Nico Rosberg 40
8 Nick Heidfeld 34
9 Vitaly Petrov 31
10 Michael Schumacher 28
11 Kamui Kobayashi 25
12 Adrian Sutil 10
13 Jaime Alguersuari 9
14 Sergio Perez 8
15 Sebastien Buemi 8
16 Rubens Barrichello 4
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
2425 Pastor MaldonadoTimo Glock 00

Constructor Standings

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 328
2 McLaren-Mercedes 218
3 Ferrari 164
4 Mercedes GP 68
5 Renault 65
6 Sauber-Ferrari 33
7 Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17
8 Force India-Mercedes 12
9 Williams-Cosworth 4
10 Lotus-Cosworth 0
11 HRT-Cosworth 0
12 Virgin-Cosworth 0

Sauber and McLaren fined for unsafe pit releases

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

Both McLaren and Sauber have suffered the wrath of the stewards after the British Grand Prix.

Both teams have received fines after seperate incidents in the pit lane, where Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi respectively were unsafely released from their box.

In Jenson’s case, the front right wheel was not secured before the lollipop was lifted. In Kamui’s case, a slow getaway meant his Sauber went alongside Rubens Barrichello, forcing Kobayashi to take evasive action – running over the Force India wheel guns in the process.

Sauber received a €20,000 fine, as well as the drive-through penalty sustained in the race. As McLaren’s mistake was much less dangerous, the Woking team will only pay €5,000.

Alonso takes commanding victory at Silverstone

Vettel beats Webber to the first corner

Vettel beats Webber to the first corner

Fernando Alonso took total command of the British Grand Prix, winning by over 20 seconds. Sebastian Vettel was 2nd, but was hounded to the flag by Mark Webber, who may have passed if not for team orders on the final lap. Lewis Hamilton was 4th, after a vicious battle with Felipe Massa to the flag. Nico Rosberg held off Sergio Perez for 6th, Nick Heidfeld was 8th, Michael Schumacher took 9th despite a stop/go penalty, and Jaime Alguersuari took one point. Here is the full report:

WIth one half of the circuit wet, the entire grid started out on the intermediate tyres. At the start, Webber bogged down, while a perfect start from Vettel launched him into the lead. Jenson Button moved up into 5th, while Lewis Hamilton overtook 2 cars around the outside to move into 8th.

Button soon began to lose pace, and was swiftly taken by his teammate, and Paul di Resta began to challenge him for 6th place. Once he was past, Lewis harrassed Felipe Massa for 5th, but running wide at the end of the Wellington Straight lost him track time.

Despite DRS being enabled on Lap 6, most of the frontrunners were split up by several seconds, and lost the opportunity to use the rear wing. Further back, Michael Schumacher lost control at Turn 6, and hit the back of Kamui Kobayashi, spinning the Sauber and forcing Michael to pit for a new front wing – which gave him the opportunity to be the first to take on soft tyres.

However, Schumacher instantly started setting fastest sectors, prompting Button and Nick Heidfeld to pit for slicks. A new fastest lap from Schumacher was the final indicator, as most of the field pitted for softs.

However, with Webber and Alonso pitting, Vettel and Massa were forced to stay out for one extra lap. They pitted on Lap 14, but for Massa, the damage was already done, dropping him to 5th. Sebastian, on the other hand, survived the conditions well to exit the pits comfortably in the lead.

Button was much quicker than Felipe, and made a fantastic move around the outside of the Ferrari. Similarly struggling with his tyres, Alonso fell prey to Hamilton, who moved up to 3rd.

As in Canada, Vettel seemed to lack pace in the slightly damp conditions. Webber began catching his teammate at a rate of 2 seconds a lap, and very quickly began challenging the world champion. Jaime Alguersuari made a series of passes in a few laps, getting past Kamui Kobayashi and Maldonado to move up to 12th.

Beginning to lose pace, Kobayashi’s race was ruined by a stop-and-go penalty for an unsafe release, having swerved into the Force India pits to avoid a Williams, ripping out a few wheel guns. However, the 10 second wait overheated his engine, forcing Kamui to retire a few laps later.

Alonso used DRS to the max, passing Hamilton for 3rd. With this, Lewis decided he’d had enough of those tyres, pitting on Lap 25. Vettel and Alonso pitted on Lap 27, but a mistake with a wheel gun cost Vettel the lead, dropping the Red Bull to 3rd place.

The order of the field was completely shaken up, with Alonso now leading Hamilton, Vettel and Webber. Fernando tore away with the lead, while Hamilton was pressurised by Vettel, with Webber keeping an eye on proceedings behind.

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

Jenson Button's wheel detaches as he leaves the pit lane

A brilliant battle emerged between the two for several laps, which ended when Vettel pitted with 15 laps to go. Hamilton followed the Red Bull’s strategy a lap later, but it was too late, with Sebastian moving into 2nd place. Alonso pitted 3 laps later, comfortably in the lead.

Button pitted at the same time as Fernando, but stopped at the end of the pit lane, with a wheel not attached properly. Replays showed that the mechanic went to change wheel guns, but Button was released before the wheel was secured.

The battle for the final podium spot began to heat up, with Hamilton instructed to save more fuel, allowing Webber to move closer to the McLaren. A DRS-assisted move pushed Mark up into 3rd, while Lewis was left fuming.

Hamilton pips Massa in an enthralling finish

Hamilton pips Massa in an enthralling finish

It was set to get even worse for Hamilton, as Felipe Massa began a last-gasp charge for 4th place, ripping away at the McLaren’s lead every lap. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was reeled in by Webber with 2 laps to go.

Both battles reached a climax on the final lap. Webber pushed Vettel to his limits, but was ordered by Christian Horner to stay behind his teammate. Meanwhile, the most incredible battle developed between Massa and Hamilton – at the last corner. Felipe dived around the outside, then Lewis slammed into the Ferrari with some force. Massa moved to the outside for the race to the chequered flag, but slipped and ran wide as he crossed the line, allowing Hamilton to rip 4th place out of his hands with milliseconds to go.

With such tension on the last lap, very few even noticed Fernando Alonso crossing the line to take his first win of the season. It was a supreme drive from the Spaniard, extending a 20 second lead to Vettel in 20 laps.

Alonso takes his first victory of the year

Alonso takes his first victory of the year

Vettel was surely releived to keep 2nd, while it remains to be seen how Webber will react after clear team orders. Hamilton was still annoyed at his team, but Massa must have been furious after being hit by Lewis at the final corner.

Webber pips Vettel in Silverstone qualifying

Mark Webber will start on pole position for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix. The Australian was 0.04 seconds ahead of Sebastian Vettel, while both Red Bulls were challenged by the Ferraris. Lewis Hamilton had a torrid qualifying, while Paul di Resta drove brilliantly to 6th position. Here is the full report:


Heikki Kovalainen got through to Q2

Heikki Kovalainen got through to Q2

After heavy rain on Friday, the track was certainly not in prime position. Instead of only one or two short runs, most of the field opted to take on heavy fuel and stay out longer, in order to help the track rubber in.

The times tumbled during the session, with Felipe Massa and even Pastor Maldonado leading at certain points.

Mark Webber went fastest with a 1:32.6 with 6 minutes to go. However, the rain returned once again, ruining the final laps of those in the drop zone. The Toro Rossos of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi suffered most, finishing 18th and 19th. Heikki Kovalainen pushed his way up to 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo failed to beat Vitantonio Liuzzi in his first qualifying session, falling away by 0.6 seconds. Nick Heidfeld just scraped through to Q2, finishing in 17th place.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Jaime Alguersuari – 1:35.245

19) Sebastien Buemi – 1:35.749

20) Timo Glock – 1:36.203

21) Jarno Trulli 1:36.456

22) Jerome D’Ambrosio – 1:37.154

23) Vitantonio Liuzzi – 1:37.484

24) Daniel Ricciardo – 1:38.059

107% time: 1:39.156


Pastor Maldonado edged through to Q3

Pastor Maldonado edged through to Q3

While the rain quickly stopped, the track remained damp as Q2 began. Several cars emerged from the pits on soft tyres, while both Mercedes drivers took on intermediates.

Rosberg and Schumacher were joined by Fernando Alonso on inters, while it became apparent that certain parts of the track were unsuitable for dry tyres. Despite this, the dry tyres soon became the way to go, as the times began to tumble again.

Both Williams drivers topped the timesheets for several minutes, before being beaten by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. Mark Webber, and then Adrian Sutil, thrashed that time by 2 seconds.

Fernando Alonso set a 1:31.727 to go fastest. Vettel went 4th, while Massa and Webber moved to the top.

With 1 minute to go, the times were still falling, as a last gap charge for Q3 began. Pastor Maldonado edged out Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez for 10th place, while Button leaped from 14th t0 4th on his final lap.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Adrian Sutil – 1:32.617

12) Sergio Perez – 1:32.624

13) Michael Schumacher – 1:32.656

14) Vitaly Petrov – 1:32.734

15) Rubens Barrichell0 – 1:33.119

16) Nick Heidfeld – 1:33.805

17) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:34.821


Webber broke Vettel's streak of pole positions

Webber broke Vettel's streak of pole positions

With more rain expected for Q3, the smarter drivers were the first out of the pits. Sebastian Vettel set a 1:30.431, while Mark Webber went 4 hundreths faster than his teammate.

The Ferraris went 3rd and 4th, while the McLarens were horribly off the pace. Button was 1.5 seconds off Webber, with Hamilton a further second behind.

Kamui Kobayashi and Nico Rosberg went 8th and 9th, with Hamilton relegated to 10th. Paul di Resta impressively went 6th, ahead of Pastor Maldonado.

With 3 minutes to go, the final runs were being prepared. However, the rain began to fall again, albeit not as intensive as before. While Jenson Button went out for a final lap time, he gave up before the end of sector 1. Nico Rosberg bravely tried a last-gasp run, but a slip entering the Hangar Straight ended his lap prematurely.

With no further fast laps to be set, Mark Webber was declared to have pole position, marginally ahead of his teammate. Alonso was one tenth off Vettel, with Massa and Button 4th and 5th. Paul di Resta put in a fantastic lap to go 6th.

Webber heads damp Friday practice in Britain

Kobayashi parks his broken Sauber

Kobayashi parks his broken Sauber

Mark Webber led the first practice session of the British Grand Prix weekend, as rain disrupted proceedings.

The session was initially damp, then rain fell within the hour, ensuring times would not go near those set last year.

Michael Schumacher suffered several off-track moments, but still led the session several times across the 90 minutes. Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso traded fastest laps, until the session was yellow flagged for Kamui Kobayashi’s crash.

The Sauber driver lost control at the exit of Club, spun and slammed into the barriers opposite the pits, almost rolling his car in the process.

Once the yellow flags were cleared with less than 10 minutes to go, the times fell, and Webber posted a 1:46.603 to go fastest. Schumacher stayed 2nd, while Rubens Barrichello was 3rd for Williams. Sergio Perez managed 4th place.

Sebastian Vettel had a troubled session, as his Red Bull was seen pouring smoke when in the pits. He was relegated to 13th place, not going out in the fastest part of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo’s debut drive for HRT went without incident, the Australian finishing last, 9 tenths off Jerome D’Ambrosio, and 1.2 seconds away from his teammate.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:46.603            19
 2.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:47.263  + 0.660   20
 3.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:47.347  + 0.744   23
 4.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:47.422  + 0.819   22
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:47.562  + 0.959   13
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:47.758  + 1.155   23
 7.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:48.161  + 1.558   16
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:48.549  + 1.946   21
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:48.598  + 1.995   19
10.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:48.678  + 2.075   22
11.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:48.730  + 2.127   18
12.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:48.778  + 2.175   18
13.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:48.794  + 2.191   21
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth      1:48.809  + 2.206   17
15.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:48.841  + 2.238   23
16.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault                1:48.941  + 2.338   20
17.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                1:49.603  + 3.000   15
18.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:50.133  + 3.530   17
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault          1:50.222  + 3.619   14
20.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault          1:51.119  + 4.516   17
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth        1:52.470  + 5.867   17
22.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth           1:53.143  + 6.540   20
23.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth        1:53.469  + 6.866   26
24.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth           1:54.334  + 7.731   24

DRS zone on Wellington Straight for Silverstone

One straight will be used for DRS in Silverstone

One straight will be used for DRS in Silverstone

One single DRS zone will be used for the British Grand Prix.

The activation zone will feature for the entire Wellington Straight, the back straight section that was added in renovations last year.

It will continue on until the braking zone of Turn 6 (corner numbers were changed after relocation of pit straight). The detection area will be in the braking zone of Village (Turn 3).

This DRS location will give drivers the opportunity to use DRS through the Turn 4 kink all throughout the weekend, so expect to see Red Bull making full use of this feature.

Williams to use Renault engines from 2012

The coveted Renault RS27-2011 engine which Williams will use next year

The coveted Renault RS27-2011 engine which Williams will use next year

Williams F1 have announced that they will switch to using Renault engines from the start of the 2012 season.

This will cause quite the case of nostalgia for the sport’s more experienced fans, as the last time Williams and Renault teamed up were the glory days of 1989-1997. In this time, the team won 5 constructor’s titles and 4 driver’s championships.

This new deal will cover 2012 and 2013. With the engine regulation change set for 2014, talks are already underway to extend the contract past this time.

Frank Williams has stated:

We are delighted and excited by our new partnership with Renault. This reunites the 
F1 team with a leading car manufacturer and complements our new relationship with 

At the same time, we are grateful to Cosworth: they have been a fair and reliable 
partner both on and off the track for the past two years and we look forward to 
working with them across our business in the future.

Our previous relationship with Renault was one of the most successful in Williams’ 
history but we will not allow ourselves to dwell too much on the past.

We must look to the future and continue to re-build our on-track reputation, which 
I am hopeful that today’s announcement will help us to do.

Apart from Williams themselves, who will now use the same power plant as world champions Red Bull, the biggest winner here is Renault. The French manufacturer will now supply engines to 4 teams next year, a third of the entire grid.

On the other hand, Cosworth have now been dealt a huge blow, with Virgin and HRT now their only customers, which will do them no good for their image.

Over the last few years, it has been believed that Renault have been allowed to make minor modifications to their engine package, despite the engine freeze since 2008. These changes were to balance the power output between their engines and those of Mercedes.

However, since the refuelling ban last year, it has emerged that the Renault engine is much more conservative in terms of fuel efficiency. It is claimed that teams with Renault engines can run with 10kg less fuel than their rivals (excluding modifications which increase fuel consumption, such as hot blown diffusers).

Hispania bought out by Thesan Capital

The troubled HRT team is set to undergo a third change of ownership

The troubled HRT team is set to undergo a third change of ownership

Hispania Racing has been bought out today by Spanish investment company Thesan Capital.

The team has confirmed that the investment group bought out a majority sharehold from current team owner Jose Ramon Carabante. This buy-out is similar to Genii Capital’s investment in Renault F1 last year.

Thesan Capital, a relatively new group, has stated that they intend to continue running the team as normal, in a statement released today:

Thesan Capital has reached an agreement by which it has acquired a majority 
shareholding in Grupo Inversor Hispania from José Ramón Carabante. Grupo 
Inversor Hispania is the main shareholder of Hispania Racing, owner of the sole
Formula 1 license in Spain, under which Hispania Racing races. Thesan Capital 
thus becomes the controlling shareholder of the Spanish Formula 1 team. 

The Spanish investment group will lead the development of Hispania Racing in the 
upcoming years, maintaining the current team and directors, which is one of the 
main assets of the company, and will try to develop and search for opportunities 
to optimize and improve the performance of the team in the upcoming seasons, 
alongside progressively making the team more Spanish and definitively settling 
the team in Spain.

The Thesan Capital team, who consider the acquisition of Hispania Racing as an 
opportunity to enter a sector with great prospects of growing, will work with
the aim of strengthening the strategic management of the group.

This is the third change in ownership since the team formed in late 2009. The outfit started out as Campos Racing, under the helm of Adrian Campos. However, the team was in turmoil before the 2010 season even started, and was rescued by Carabante and the Grupo Hispania, hence the name change.

While no other changes have been announced, rumours are abound that the team is set to link up with an existing Spanish operation, or construct their own Spanish factory, which is less likely. Epsilon Euskadi, the  team which just failed to enter F1 for 2011, and Addax (GP2 and GP3) are hinted to be favourites for a link-up.

FIA explain V6 decision in Q&A

The recent announcement of a 1.6 litre V6 engine by the FIA has not been universally commended, with many questioning the benefits of such a change.

With this in mind, the FIA have released a Q&A session, in which they explain the thinking behind the engine regulation change, as well as state the detailed engine specifications:

1. The World Motor Sport Council voted on 29 June 2011. What did it decide?

Following consultation with the various Formula One stakeholders  and the current Formula One engine manufacturers, the WMSC has ratified the adoption of a V6 turbo engine to be used in Formula One from 2014 onwards. This required changes to the regulations initially adopted by the World Council on 3 June 2011. The full regulations applicable to the 2014 season will be published in due course.

2. Will a V6 use more fuel, or have inferior economy compared with the original proposal?

No. To push the engineers to develop engine efficiency, the technical regulation imposes a fuel flow control. When evolving the regulation to fit with the manufacturers’ new request this parameter has not been changed. Thus the efficiency requirement will be unchanged.

3. Why has the rev limit been increased from 12,000rpm to 15,000rpm. Is this purely to enhance the sound of a Formula One car?

No. This parameter has been updated from 12000rpm to 15000 rpm to allow engineers more flexibility in power and energy management. However, as a consequence of the new architecture (V6) and the change in rev-limit, the engine will sound different, but will remain representative of Formula One.

4. Will the increase in rpm alter fuel consumption?

Absolutely not. As mentioned above, the fuel flow limit will stay the same. The technologies are the same and as a consequence any increase in rpm will constrain the engineers to work harder on reducing friction and gaining on engine efficiency. The challenge will be even bigger than originally planned and will therefore enhance the technological lead of Formula One.

5. Has the FIA  retained the energy recover devices originally intended to be used in conjunction with the I4 engine?

Yes, the concept initially presented is respected. All of the technology intended for the I4 is still present. This new power plant will be a dramatic step forward in both fuel efficiency and in energy management.

6. Will those manufacturers already engaged in the development of a four-cylinder engine face increased costs now they need to redirect their resources toward designing a V6?

To our knowledge, five manufacturers were working on the proposed 4-cylinder engine. They will all need to adapt their project and this will surely involve some additional costs, depending on how advanced each project was. This evolution has been proposed and supported by all four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One.

7. Why is the introduction of the new generation of engines now being delayed by year?

The decision to delay the introduction until 2014 comes at the request of the four engine manufacturers currently involved in Formula One. Their request for extra time is linked to the change in architecture but also to ensure their projects are more robust (one of the goals of the project is to enhance engine durability to c.4000km)

8. Will these energy recovery systems and other efficiency devices ultimately influence the development of road cars?

Yes. The clear need for the automotive industry to reduce emissions means energy management will increasingly become a key factor in the development of more efficient powertrains. Kinetic energy recovery is already applied in Formula One and the introduction of exhaust energy recovery will add another technology route to be explored. Formula One will also return to its role as a developer of turbo-charger technology. This research will have real-world benefits, contributing valuable knowledge that will be of use to future road car development.

Combustion engine specifications:

1600cc, V6
15000 rpm max
Direct fuel injection up to 500bar
Single turbocharger
Controlled fuel flow

Energy recovery and storage systems specifications:

Kinetic, 120kW on the rear wheels
Exhaust energy recovery linked to the turbocharger