Monthly Archives: March 2012

Button storms to Australian Grand Prix win

The drivers pose before the start of the race

The drivers pose before the start of the race

Jenson Button has won the first race of 2012, leading the Australian Grand Prix to the final lap. He inherited the lead on the first lap, getting by teammate Lewis Hamilton, who eventually finished 3rd. The Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were 2nd and 4th. Here is what happened:

At the start, Button squeezed past Hamilton to  take the lead, while Fernando Alonso tore up to 8th. Romain Grosjean slipped to 6th, and Bruno Senna spun to the back.

Button slices past Hamilton at the start

Button slices past Hamilton at the start

Sebastian Vettel made an incredible move around the outside of Nico Rosberg, while Pastor Maldonado clashed with Romain Grosjean, leaving the Frenchman on the sidelines.

Vettel began to close on Schumacher in 3rd, but a slip at Turn 1 lost him time, and put him under pressure from Rosberg behind. However, a failure on the Mercedes car allowed Sebastian to slip into 3rd place.

Felipe Massa suffered serious tyre degradation, and stopped at Lap 12. Rosberg, who began to hold up Fernando Alonso, stopped a lap later – whose on-track rival took on mediums.

Webber had had enough of his tyres by Lap 15, and switched to the primes. Button and Vettel pitted on Lap 16, with Hamilton stopping a lap later. Good pace from Fernando Alonso on the primes prompted the leaders to follow his strategy, with only Vettel using the option compound.

Hamilton’s race was quickly being torn apart, as he was held up by a 1-stopping Sergio Perez. He eventually got past, but the gap to Button was now 11 seconds.

Schumacher suffers a car failure under braking

Schumacher suffers a car failure under braking

Perez finally pitted on Lap 25, as Lewis began to repair the gap to his teammate. Meanwhile, Felipe Massa was trounced by Kimi Raikkonen and Kamui Kobayashi in quick succession.

A struggling Rosberg allowed Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado to move up behind. After holding up the Aussie for several laps, Nico stopped on Lap 31 for primes.

With the McLarens backing off to conserve tyres, Sebastian Vettel was ordered to push, in order to catch Hamilton. The team opted to stop both cars on the same lap, which just about paid off. They stopped just at the right time, as the safety car was deployed for a stranded Caterham on the start/finish straight.

A quick stop by Vettel allowed him to slice past Hamilton, and get up behind Button. Webber got past Alonso in a similar situation, while the lapped cars in the pack were allowed to overtake the safety car – a new addition to the 2012 F1 rules.

Pastor Maldonado crashes his Williams on the final lap

Pastor Maldonado crashes his Williams on the final lap

The safety car pulled away on Lap 42, and Button streaked away from the pack. Kamui Kobayashi put an impressive move on Kimi Raikkonen for 9th, while Webber kept stuck to the back of Hamilton’s gearbox. Back in the battle for 13th, Massa clashed with Bruno Senna, dishing out heavy damage to both cars. Felipe retired, while Senna stopped for repairs.

As the race entered the final 10 laps, Webber got right up behind Hamilton, but failed to faze him. Behind, Pastor Maldonado binned his car on the final lap chasing Alonso, setting off a chain of accidents around the track. Nico Rosberg damaged his steering against Sergio Perez, backing up a large line of cars. Jean-Eric Vergne slipped, and Daniel Ricciardo went around his teammate. Paul di Resta slipped past the Toro Rosso in a drag race to the finish, snatching the final point.

Button takes a deserving lead in the championship

Button takes a deserving lead in the championship

It was a crazy end to an entertaining race, as Jenson Button crossed the line to take a well-deserved victory, with Vettel, Hamilton and Webber all close behind. Alonso was pleased to take 5th, while Kobayashi took a surprise 6th. From there on, the order – Raikkonen, Perez, Ricciardo and Di Resta – was shaken up on the start/finish straight on the final lap.

With this, Vettel’s stranglehold on the driver’s championship has been broken, and the 2012 championship battle is well and truly on.


Perez dropped to 22nd after gearbox change

Perez will start from 22nd

Perez will start from 22nd

Sergio Perez has been relegated to 22nd on the grid after qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Mexican driver was forced to change his gearbox after Q2, and will be dropped 5 places for tomorrow’s race. It was this gearbox issue that halted him from setting a time in Q2.

Perez said that he was still adjusting his car in Q1 when the failure occurred:

"We made some set-up changes to the car today and in Q1 I was busy adapting my 
driving style a bit.

In Q2 I knew exactly what to do but then I could not shift any more because of 
a gearbox problem. It is a true shame as there was a lot more to come from the 
car and from myself."

Perez was disqualified from last year’s Australian Grand Prix result following a rear wing technical infringement.

Seeing as neither HRT will start the race, Sergio will be the last driver on the grid.

HRT not allowed to race in Australia

Neither HRT will start the Australian GP

Neither HRT will start the Australian GP

HRT will not race tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix after failing to qualify.

The troubled team failed to qualify within the 107% rule by over a second, and the stewards threw out their request to take part in the race.

This is the second year a row that HRT have failed to qualify for the first race of the season. Narain Karthikeyan, who was 1.4 seconds off the 107% rule, blamed DRS and hydraulics failures on his F112:

"I didn't have the DRS working and had issues with the power steering, so we 
could have easily been in.

The DRS alone is worth about nine tenths [of a second], and the power steering 
is virtually non-existent, it's almost impossible to drive. I think the problem 
is that the hydraulics are getting so hot, the viscosity of the fluid is thinner."

Interestingly, Karthikeyan also claimed the team would struggle massively in Malaysia. He cited cooling issues on the F112, combined with Kuala Lumpur’s extreme temperatures, as the reason for this.

Hamilton back on top in Australia qualifying

The 2012 F1 season’s first qualifying session kicked off with a bang, as Lewis Hamilton will start on pole position for the Australian Grand Prix. Teammate Jenson Button was a tenth of a second behind, resulting in a McLaren 1-2. Romain Grosjean took a very impressive 3rd, while Nico Rosberg ruined his final lap and will start 7th. Here is the full report:


Raikkonen's mistake left him 18th

Raikkonen's mistake left him 18th

Timo Glock’s Marussia kicked off the first qualifying session of 2012.

Sebastian Vettel felt the need to go out early, running onto the outside kerbs during his lap, followed by Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso was badly held up by a HRT as he attempted to set a flying lap.

The two McLarens tussled for several laps, before being beaten by Nico Rosberg. Many midfield teams soon felt the need to take on the soft tyres, as the Force Indias escaped the drop zone.

Felipe Massa put on the soft tyres, and yet was only 16th. Kimi Raikkonen made a mistake on his final lap, and incredibly was out of Q1. Both Caterhams were 19th and 20th, while Timo Glock was ahead of Charles Pic. Both HRT cars were miles outside of the 107% rule.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Kimi Raikkonen  Р1:27.758

19) Heikki Kovalainen – 1:28.679

20) Vitaly Petrov – 1:29.018

21) Timo Glock – 1:30.923

22) Charles Pic – 1:30.670

Outside 107% rule:

Pedro de la Rosa – 1:33.495

Narain Karthikeyan – 1:33.643


Felipe Massa's dismal pace left him 16th

Felipe Massa's dismal pace left him 16th

Paul di Resta’s Force India kicked off Q2. Vettel was the first to break the 1:26 barrier, but was quickly beaten by Lewis Hamilton.

The red flag put an end to this battle, though. Fernando Alonso was the latest driver to make a mistake, spinning into the gravel at Turn 1. The Spaniard was already 6th fastest, but would have no further part in the session.

As the green flag went out, Rosberg went in front of the McLarens, with Schumacher only a tenth behind. Romain Grosjean was an impressive 5th, while Mark Webber only went 7th.

Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo jumped into the top 10, shoving Alonso down to 12th, with Massa a disappointing 16th. Sergio Perez failed to set a lap time.

Drivers knocked out of Q2:

11) Jean-Eric Vergne – 1:26.429

12) Fernando Alonso – 1:26.494

13) Kamui Kobayashi – 1:26.590

14) Bruno Senna – 1:26.663

15) Paul di Resta – 1:27.086

16) Felipe Massa – 1:27.097

17) Sergio Perez – No time


It's a McLaren 1-2 followed by Grosjean

It's a McLaren 1-2 followed by Grosjean

Nico Rosberg was the first out of the pits on used option tyres. However, due to a mistake in the final sector, he ended up behind Vettel, Schumacher and Button.

Lewis Hamilton’s time of 1:24.922 set the benchmark for the final set of runs. Mark Webber was next up, setting a 1:25.651 to put him second – for the moment.

In the final two minutes, 9 of the frontrunners set one more fast lap, with Ricciardo opting to stay in the pits.

A lock-up at Turn 3 ruined Rosberg’s chance of pole, leaving him 7th. Michael Schumacher took 4th, while Romain Grosjean shocked the entire paddock by snatching 3rd.

The battle for pole position was between the two McLarens. Button’s time of 1:25.074 was just off Lewis’ previous time, leaving the McLarens 1st and 2nd for the race tomorrow. Mark Webber pipped his teammate by 0.017 seconds for 5th.

Pastor Maldonado did well to qualify half a second ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, with Daniel Ricciardo saving a set of options for tomorrow’s race.

Schumacher tops Australian second practice

Schumacher topped another rain-affected session

Schumacher topped another rain-affected session

Michael Schumacher put Mercedes on top of second practice for the Australian Grand Prix.

Like first practice, this session began wet, but slowly dried out over the afternoon.

As the track was even wetter than before, there was very little dry running for the teams. Schumacher pipped Nico Hulkenberg by a tenth of a second near the end of the day.

Sergio Perez spun his Sauber into the gravel at Turn 14, but was able to continue. Mark Webber, Jean-Eric Vergne, Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo all had off-track moments in the tricky conditions.

Marussia improved well compared to FP1. Timo Glock managed 12th, just behind the Red Bulls, and ahead of the McLarens.

However, HRT had another dismal session. Pedro de la Rosa did a single installation lap, while Narain Karthikeyan was 13 seconds off the pace after 16 laps. The team struggled massively with hydraulic problems.

Kamui Kobayashi had a spectacular end to the session, weaving manically for control exiting the final corner before spinning 180 degrees.

Times from FP2:

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:29.183          16
 2.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes    1:29.292  +0.109  19
 3.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:30.199  +1.016  23
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:30.341  +1.158  13
 5.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:30.709  +1.526  14
 6.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:31.466  +2.283  13
 7.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:31.505  +2.322  14
 8.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault        1:31.932  +2.749  16
 9.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:32.184  +3.001  17
10.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:32.194  +3.011  19
11.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:32.296  +3.113  20
12.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth       1:32.632  +3.449  17
13.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault        1:32.767  +3.584  15
14.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault           1:32.822  +3.639  11
15.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.039  +3.856  18
16.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:33.252  +4.069  11
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault        1:34.108  +4.925  21
18.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault           1:34.275  +5.092   7
19.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault        1:34.312  +5.129  17
20.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.485  +5.302  29
21.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:34.604  +5.421  31
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth       1:34.770  +5.587  13
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth            1:42.627  +13.444 16
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth                               1

Button ends Australian first practice on top

Button started off his season well

Button started off his season well

The 2012 Formula 1 season kicked off this morning in Melbourne, with Jenson Button finishing the first practice session on top of the timesheets.

Massa ended the session in the gravel trap

Massa ended the session in the gravel trap

Lewis Hamilton completed a McLaren 1-2, going 0.2 seconds off his teammate’s pace.

The session began wet, catching out Nico Rosberg on his out lap. However, the track soon dried out, and the last half hour allowed for use of the slick tyres.

After half an hour, HRT’s only car for FP1, being driven my Narain Karthikeyan, stopped out on track with an engine issue. Pedro de la Rosa’s car was still being assembled during the day, and has been granted immunity from scrutineering by the FIA.

Kimi Raikkonen spent most of his day in the pits complaining of steering problems. He eventually made it out to set 8 laps, finishing 9th.

Felipe Massa touched the grass of Turn 9 under braking, and spun into the gravel trap. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, held a slide on his Ferrari on his final lap at the last corner. So far the F2012 appears to be a handful for both drivers.

Times from FP1:

 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:27.560           11
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1:27.805  +0.245   14
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1:28.235  +0.675   17
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1:28.360  +0.800   21
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1:28.467  +0.907   21
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1:28.683  +1.123   22
 7.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.908  +1.348   23
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1:29.415  +1.855   16
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1:29.565  +2.005    8
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1:29.722  +2.162   26
11.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1:29.790  +2.230   21
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1:29.865  +2.305   17
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1:29.881  +2.321   18
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1:29.953  +2.393   21
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1:30.124  +2.564   22
16.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1:30.515  +2.955   16
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1:30.586  +3.026   16
18.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1:30.743  +3.183   11
19.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:31.178  +3.618   17
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1:31.983  +4.423    8
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1:34.730  +7.170    8
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1:40.256  +12.696  11
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           N/A                 3
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           N/A                 0

F1 2012 season opener preview

There’s only a few days to go until the Formula 1 season kicks off again – the off-season really does fly by.

But there’s no time to waste. With everyone gearing up for a much closer title fight this year, it’s time to take one last glance at the pack, and try to predict how the teams will fare in Melbourne:

Red Bull

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Red Bull may well battle with McLaren for 2012

Nobody can deny that Red Bull will be at the front this year – it’s almost a given.

However, that’s not to say that the Adrian Newey-designed RB8 will run away with the title again. The ban on exhaust-blown diffusers has cut their advantage to the other teams, and further restrictions on front wing flexibility put them under greater pressure over the winter.

Sebastian Vettel is still the team #1 after back-to-back world titles. While Mark Webber is gearing up to challenge his teammate, I don’t think the Australian is up to the challenge. The best indicator of Webber’s performance will be in Australia, where Mark has never finished higher than 5th. If he can break his streak of bad luck, then he may be in with a chance.

Still, I predict a Vettel pole position in Australia – after that nobody can be certain.


The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

The MP4-27 may well being McLaren back to winning ways

Pre-season testing has indicated that the Woking squad are back in top form in 2012.

However, they have a mighty challenger in the form of Red Bull. Both teams have tested out radical innovations on their cars, and it is still unclear who possesses the faster car. While Red Bull appear to have good qualifying pace, McLaren have performed well in long-fuel runs, similar to the 2011 season.

Lewis Hamilton’s well-publicised problems from 2011 appear to be behind him. The Brit has admitted he spent many nights partying during the 2011 season, which may well explain his loss of focus. There’s no doubt that Lewis is a fantastically talented driver, but there is also no excuse for underperforming in 2012.

His teammate, Jenson Button, will be looking to capitalise on a relatively successful 2011 season, and is hoping to beat Lewis again. However, if Hamilton has tackled his personal issues, then there may well be a brilliantly tight battle between the two this year.


Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

Ferrari are yet to understand their F2012

While the front two teams have already established themselves as title contenders before the season opener, Ferrari are still unsure as to their pace. How they react to their radical F2012 will be fascinating.

Fernando Alonso will continue to push the team – and the car – to the limits, and there is little doubt that Felipe Massa will be left trailing behind. Ferrari have a perfect team leader in Alonso, and Felipe’s #1 spot at the team (inherited in 2007) has been well and truly taken away from him.

With such a differing driver line-up, the constructor’s title is already out of reach for Ferrari. However, depending on how Ferrari react to developing their F2012, Alonso may challenge for the driver’s title later on.


Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

Mercedes will be looking to challenge the top 3

If Ferrari even stumble, Mercedes appear poised to snatch 3rd place in the constructor’s table from them.

After two disappointing years following the Brawn GP fairytale, things appear to be coming together for Mercedes. Team principal Ross Brawn has assembled some of the sport’s finest engineers to work on the W03, which showed good pace in pre-season testing.

Despite his age, Michael Schumacher may still be a force to be reckoned with. Nico Rosberg meanwhile will be looking to take his first ever race victory – compared to Michael’s colossal 91 wins.

It is unlikely that the team can challenge for the titles this year, but nobody can fully rule them out. Starting the season at the front is absolutely crucial.


Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

Lotus will be looking to establish themselves

With a new name and new driver line-up, Lotus are the midfield team to keep an eye out for.

The Enstone squad have one of the most exciting driver combinations on the grid – a former world champion and current GP2 title holder. It is more than likely that Kimi Raikkonen will assert himself as #1 in the team, but Romain Grosjean may well keep him on his toes.

What’s of more importance to the team is moving up the grid. After the frontal-exhaust disaster last year, the E20 appears to be much faster and more reliable, despite the chassis issue that ruled the team out of 4 testing days.

Like Mercedes, they are unlikely to make a massive jump up the grid, but I would be very surprised if Lotus were to finish any lower than 5th.

Force India

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Force India are looking to stay on top of the midfield

Lotus aren’t the only team looking to make progress in 2011. After several impressive performances last year, Force India will be looking to push their way to the top of the midfield.

Adrian Sutil has been ditched after 5 years of faithful service, and his F1 career appears to be over. He has been replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who gets another shot in F1 after a good 2010 campaign with Williams.

The team have recently received a $32m cash injection from owner Vijay Mallya, so finances aren’t an issue. What the team want is a progressively faster car than last year – the VJM05 appears to be delivering so far.

Alongside Paul di Resta, this is another exciting driver line-up. This battle is much more difficult to call, but I think Di Resta will stay just on top.


Sauber may struggle in 2012

Sauber may struggle in 2012

Another midfield team looking to make progress, Sauber may find themselves squeezed out this year.

While their driver line-up of Kobayashi and Perez is an impressive one, I fear the team has not kept up with the development of the rest of the grid. The team saw a massive slide in pace during the second half of 2011, and the loss of James Key was a massive blow.

With teams like Force India and Lotus looking to move up the grid, there may be no improvement from Sauber in 2012.

Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

Ricciardo and Vergne will battle it out at Toro Rosso

The latest batch of Sebastian Vettel wannabes are in, and look set to provide an exciting battle for 2012.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are in, ousting Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, who had well and truly overstayed their welcome. With little to no F1 experience (several races for HRT doesn’t do much for Ricciardo), we have no idea who will end up on top.

The STR7 looks solid, but doesn’t seem to be pushing the team up the order. Most of the focus this year will be on the driver pairing, to see can either of them join Vettel at Red Bull.


Williams look set for another dismal season

Williams look set for another dismal season

After a dismal 2011 season, it appears unlikely that Williams will recover this season.

The Fw34 has been disappointing in testing, frequently ending up at the back of the pack. Bruno Senna brings a fresh face to the team, but Pastor Maldonado stays on, and frequent readers of this site know how I feel about him.

They may prove me wrong, but I see little improvement for Williams this year.


Caterham must make progress in 2012

Caterham must make progress in 2012

After two years stranded in F1’s no-man’s-land, Caterham will be looking to push forward and join the midfield.

Failure is not an option for this team – they have spent way too much money to continue to fall behind teams like Williams and Sauber. Unlike HRT and Marussia, Caterham invested financially according to where they thought they would finish in several years, not where they would end up in the beginning. Banking their future on FIA payouts is risky, but it’s been done in F1 before.

Vitaly Petrov replaces the direly slow Jarno Trulli, and may give Heikki Kovalainen a run for his money.


Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

Another season at the back for HRT - but that's all that's needed

After finally turning a wheel before the opening race for the first time in their history, HRT have made ever so slight progress towards stability – albeit at the back of the grid.

With the oldest driver line-up on the grid, the team will be sorely lacking in pace. However, the most important thing for the team is that they stay afloat – many new teams collapse within the first two years, particularly back in the 1990s.

A neat livery may gain them some fans, but otherwise it’s business as usual at the back of the pack. They may struggle to reach the 107% rule in the opening rounds.


Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

Marussia will be looking to beat HRT

After finishing last yet again, Marussia will be looking to pull themselves ahead of HRT in the standings in 2012.

Rookie Charles Pic will find it most difficult, having little to no experience of the MR01 before Melbourne. I would be surprised if he were to survive the 107% chop in Q1.

Timo Glock, after proving his worth against all his teammates so far, deserves better than to be languishing in 23rd place all year, and the future of the team may well rest in his hands. No pressure, of course.


Of course, all of these predictions could fly out the window by the first corner in Melbourne! Either way, it’s looking set to be another fantastic season of Formula 1. I’ll be here to cover it every step of the way.

Reviewed: Meet Sebastian Vettel

"Meet Sebastian Vettel"

"Meet Sebastian Vettel"

Considering how popular the top Formula 1 drivers are across the world, it’s surprising how little of them have English biographies on them.

The only two exceptions would be Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. However, after his much publicised successes in recent years, Sebastian Vettel has joined the oddly exclusive club.

However, his book is not much to write home about. Considering his already-illustrious career in F1, and the vast background of his junior racing career, it was severely disappointing to see this book was only 142 pages long.

A lot of this is taken up by glossy photos – some very nice ones, it has to be said. However, the text that remains is not particularly impressive. It sweeps over many important points of his career – half a paragraph is given to his collision with Mark Webber in Turkey 2010.

His domination of the 2011 season is dealt with in two pages. There is very little depth, and little to be learned for the enthusiastic F1 fan. The vaunted exclusive interview with Sebastian is less than riveting stuff, featuring questions such as “Do you live in a house or a flat” – not exactly what we were looking to know.

One interesting segment is a short but sweet interview with Giorgio Ascanelli, technical director of Toro Rosso. Here, we get a slightly oblique look at Vettel, and learn facts that we normally wouldn’t know – exactly what I want from a biography.

Unfortunately, there are few other plus points. With such little depth, it completely fails to invigorate the reader, and will leave most F1 fans frustrated.

As an F1 fan, I read through the book with a certain interest, but quickly realised that little was to come of it. For a casual fan, “Meet Sebastian Vettel” would be completely vapid and uninteresting. Either way, it’s not a book to recommend.

Rating: 2/10

Two DRS zones for Australia

Melbourne will feature double DRS next week

Melbourne will feature double DRS next week

The first Grand Prix of the 2012 season in Melbourne will see the use of two DRS zones.

The first zone will be similar to last year. The detection zone will be located at Turn 14, while the activation zone will be down the start/finish straight.

However, the second zone activates almost immediately afterwards, from Turns 2 to 3.

Unlike several double DRS zones last year, these two activation points have separate detection areas.

Barcelona and Valencia to alternate from 2013

The Circuit de Catalunya will soon alternate with Valencia

The Circuit de Catalunya will soon alternate with Valencia

The Circuit de Catalunya and the Valencia Street Circuit are to alternate hosting the Spanish Grand Prix from 2013 onwards.

Both venues have run into financial trouble in recent months. The Spanish government’s financial woes completely rules out any government interference, so an alternating track system was decided to be the best approach.

Bernie Ecclestone broke the news to Spanish radio station Cadana Ser today. He also clarified that both races would continue in 2012 as planned.

Barcelona hosted the Spanish Grand Prix from 1991 onwards, while Valencia is a relatively new addition to the Formula 1 calendar, joining in 2008. Neither circuit has proven popular with fans in recent years, due to frequently dull races and no scope for overtaking. It is not clear which track will be ditched for 2013.

The Spa circuit is also looking at a similar deal, with the Circuit Paul Ricard in France. The birthplace of motorsport, France has not hosted a Grand Prix since Magny Cours was dropped after 2008.