Monthly Archives: October 2011

Button stays on top in Suzuka second practice

Button again topped the timesheets in Suzuka

Button again topped the timesheets in Suzuka

Jenson Button continued to lead proceedings for the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.

The McLaren driver headed Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel in second practice. The second McLaren was down in 8th place, 1.3 seconds off the pace.

Bruno Senna and Michael Schumacher both fell prey to Turn 1, with both cars having off-course excursions. Rubens Barrichello spun out at Degner after clipping the grass, while teammate Pastor Maldonado suffering technical problems. Kamui Kobayashi had a scary moment at 130R, nearly losing control, but he just wrestled the Sauber back onto track.

Times from second practice:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:31.901   	   32
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:32.075   0.174  33
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:32.095   0.194  35
 4.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:32.147   0.246  28
 5.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:32.448   0.547  34
 6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:32.710   0.809  26
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:32.982   1.081  27
 8.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:33.245   1.344  26
 9.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault               1:33.446   1.545  36
10.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:33.681   1.780  33
11.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:33.705   1.804  25
12.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1:33.790   1.889  36
13.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:34.393   2.492  35
14.  Bruno Senna           Renault               1:34.557   2.656  27
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:34.601   2.700  33
16.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:36.038   4.137  33
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1:36.225   4.324  35
18.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1:37.123   5.222  14
19.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth       1:37.440   5.539  30
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1:38.093   6.192  30
21.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1:38.387   6.486  16
22.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth          1:38.763   6.862  36
23.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault         1:39.800   7.899  24
24.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth          1:42.480   10.579  4

Button leads Suzuka first practice while Vettel crashes out

Button led his teammate in first practice

Button led his teammate in first practice

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton headed the timesheets for first practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The most notable event of the session was championship leader Sebastian Vettel spinning out near the end of the session. The Red Bull driver ran wide at Degner 2, slid onto the gravel and made light contact with the barriers, ending his session.

Earlier on, Vettel was seen admirably using DRS at the 130R corner without backing off.

Despite his incident, he still went 3rd, behind the two McLarens. Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber were 4th and 5th respecively.

Vettel walks away after minor impact with the barriers

Vettel walks away after minor impact with the barriers

Toro Rosso have shown promising pace, with Jaime Alguersuari 6th and Sebastien Buemi 8th. Bruno Senna evaluated Renault’s new bodywork upgrades, but finished just behind his teammate in 11th.

Pastor Maldonado was another driver caught out by the Suzuka track. The Williams ran wide at Turn 6, and pulled over shortly afterwards. It was a poor session for the team, with Maldonado and Rubens Barrichello completing only 19 laps between them.

Nico Hulkenberg took over Adrian Sutil’s Force India, finishing 12th. Both Karun Chandhok and Narain Karthikeyan drove their teams’ cars, and ended the session just behind their respective teammates.

Times from Friday Practice 1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.634           20
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.725   0.091   18
 3.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:34.090   0.456   22
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:34.372   0.738   24
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:34.426   0.792   25
 6.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.937   1.303   23
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:35.585   1.951   27
 8.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:35.590   1.956   25
 9.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:36.033   2.399   22
10.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:36.370   2.736   18
11.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 1:36.487   2.853   18
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    1:36.700   3.066   21
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:36.948   3.314   24
14.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:36.949   3.315   22
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:37.103   3.469   29
16.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:38.197   4.563   18
17.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:38.331   4.697   11
18.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:38.446   4.812    8
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:39.168   5.534   10
20.  Karun Chandhok        Lotus-Renault           1:39.946   6.312   22
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:40.872   7.238   13
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1:41.019   7.385   24
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:41.106   7.472   25
24.  Narian Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1:41.775   8.141   25

DRS zone on main straight for Suzuka

DRS details for the Japanese Grand Prix

DRS details for the Japanese Grand Prix

The main straight will play host to the DRS zone for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

The detection zone will be located just after the 130R corner, meaning chasing drivers will have to push hard to stay within the one second limit.

The DRS activation point begins after the final chicane, and cuts out just before the turning/braking point for Turn 1.

Button signs long-term contract with McLaren

Button will stay on at McLaren for an undisclosed amount of years

Button will stay on at McLaren for an undisclosed amount of years

Jenson Button will stay on in the long term for the McLaren team, having signed a multi-year contract extension today.

The 2009 world champion joined the squad in 2010, and has won 4 races so far, and is currently leading teammate Lewis Hamilton in the driver’s standings.

This contract has been rumoured for some time now, and the McLaren team finally confirmed the deal today.

Button was full of praise for the British team, saying that he is confident of winning more world championships:

"I've never felt more at home at a team than I do at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. I've 
won four of the greatest races of my life here, I'm currently lying second in the 
drivers' world championship, and I feel that I'm driving better than ever.

You can only achieve that with the right level of support - and I truly believe that 
the passion and determination to win are stronger here at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 
than anywhere else.

As a grand prix driver, those are incredibly powerful feelings to share and be part 
of, and they've only reinforced my desire to commit my long-term future to this team.

I've made no secret of my ambition to continue winning races and world championships, 
and I fully believe this is the place where I can achieve those aims."

It is not clear at the moment how long the new contract will last.

GP2 follows F1 with new tyre and points changes

The GP2 feeder series will mimic F1 in its tyre regulations

The GP2 feeder series will mimic F1 in its tyre regulations

The GP2 series has followed F1 in the introduction of “prime” and “option” tyres for the feeder series in 2012.

As well as this, the series will also adopt the 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 points system – for the Saturday race only. On the reversed grid (top 8 drivers only) Sunday sprint race, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points will be awarded.

The Saturday pole position driver will receive 4 bonus points, with the driver taking fastest lap in either race earning 2 points.

In similar fashion to F1, GP2 drivers will now have to carefully manage their tyre supply over a race weekend. 3 sets of “primes” – the harder tyre – and one set of “options” – the softer compound – will be allocated to each driver for the weekend.

The prime tyres must be used at some point in the Sunday race, and the mandatory pit stop for the Saturday race remains unchanged.

GP2 CEO Bruno Michel explained the changes, citing both relevance to F1 and cost reduction as reasons for the new regulations:

"Our series’ main goal has always been to prepare them [drivers] to Formula 1, and 
so far we have been very successful at it.

More than ever, tyre management is key to how quickly young drivers can adapt to 
the pinnacle of motorsport. However, although we will introduce a second compound, 
we have decided to keep only four sets of tyres per race weekend in order to control 
the costs.

It will be interesting to watch as our teams will put in place the best possible 
strategy. It will add even more suspense, but it will also make tyre management all 
the more delicate."

In comparison, F1 drivers each receive 11 sets of dry tyres (6 prime, 5 option), as well as 4 sets of intermediates and 3 sets of extreme wets.