Tag Archives: Bahrain GP

Bahrain Grand Prix in doubt?

Next month's Bahrain Grand Prix is in doubt

Next month's Bahrain Grand Prix is in doubt

After days of violence in Bahrain, speculation is growing over the potential cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place in less than a month’s time.

Tomorrow’s GP2 Asia race has already been cancelled after violence in the region. At least 6 people have been killed, and hundreds injured.

At the moment, journalists are being turned away at Bahrain airports, meaning that if the situation does not improve soon, it would be impossible to hold an F1 race there. Those who had already entered the country for the GP2 race have already started to evacuate.

Though there is no official word yet, some speculation has hinted that if the violence does not quell by next Wednesday, the F1 paddock will be forced to postpone the season opener. At the moment, there are no medical crews at the circuit, as they have all been deployed to hospitals around the country.

Testing in Bahrain, which begins on the 3rd March, is also in serious doubt.

While I’m as eager as many to get the 2011 season underway, this sport also has a responsibility to secure the safety of its drivers, team personnel, media, and spectators. In this current political environment, hosting a Grand Prix is putting everyone involved in danger. And at the end of the day, it’s not like we’re going to lose an exciting race…


Bahrain GP to switch to old layout for 2011

The Bahrain Grand Prix venue will revert to its old layout for the 2011 races onwards, the organisers announced today. This came after the 2010 race was raced on the new “endurance” layout, which included a new section, but was considered a complete failure by many.

The Bahrain International Circuit, which will revert to its original layout for 2011

The Bahrain International Circuit, which will revert to its original layout for 2011

The endurance section was initially touted as a chance for overtaking opportunities, according to the circuit organisers, which was clearly going to fail as it as twisty and narrower than the rest of the track. Now that the orignal layout has been revived, the length of the track will fall from 6.299km to 5.412km.

Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa of the Bahrain International Circuit explained the decicion:

"One of the major tasks we undertook to mark this milestone 
(60th anniversary of F1, start of 2010) was implementing 
changes to our FIA approved track layout, giving the 
participating teams of the Bahrain Grand Prix a completely 
new challenge.

It was an enormous task given the time frame we had to 
implement it, but one that demonstrated Bahrain's 
characteristics as a race promoter prepared to continually
 ake changes designed to heighten the awareness and 
increase the levels of presentation associated with the 
sport of Formula 1."

What he means, I think, is that the new endurance circuit was designed as a new challenge, as well as changing the characteristics of the track to benefit overtaking. Since that clearly didn’t work this year, as overtaking was as rare as rain in Bahrain, there really wasn’t much point in retaining the lengthened track.

HRT targeting Australian race finish

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

Colin Kolles (left), team principal of HRT

After the somewhat dissapointing end to HRT’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the team are looking for improvements ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next weekend. According to team principal Colin Kolles, the team is targeting a race finish. He said:

“We have worked extremely hard since the Bahrain season opener. We have worked 
long hours and successfully with Bridgestone, Cosworth and Xtrac learned from 
our first laps with the car and found a good basis from which to start
preparation for our second Grand Prix in Australia in a few days.

We have successfully repaired the damage sustained by Karun Chandhok’s car and 
focused on building our car’s reliability. Our goal is to improve steadily and 
the next step is to work towards our first race finish. I am confident we will 
achieve this goal very soon and having seen how we came together as a team in 
Bahrain I can see just how much potential and commitment we have.”
Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

Bruno Senna, before a radiator leak causes him to retire

First driver Bruno Senna did get 17 laps in the race, but then the car overheated thanks to a radiator leak, causing retirement. However, the Brazilian is happy with the team’s performance in Bahrain, an hopes to build on that in Melbourne:

“We need to continue building on what we achieved in Bahrain. We put two cars 
together and ran successfully in Bahrain. Now we must continue to work as a 
team. I came early to Australia to acclimatise to the time difference. I love 
Australia more and more, as I spend more time here! I have already driven on 
the Melbourne track, back in 2006.

I did the F3 support race for F1 back then and had a fairly successful weekend. 
I won! Now, I must work with the team to continue learning about the car. I 
have enjoyed working long hours with the team so far and I will be giving my
all as I really want to progress and guarantee them good results.”
Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Karun Chandhok just after his crash on Lap 2

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok had a much harder time. He wasn’t able to run the car in Friday practice thanks to technical problems. He drove the car for the first time in qualifying, and was only 1.7 seconds behind his team-mate after only 2 laps in the car, which is pretty impressive. He still wasn’t used to the car, however, and crashed on Lap 2 of the race. Chandhok is now looking forward to the race in Australia:

“I am really looking forward to my second F1 race this weekend. I have never 
driven in Melbourne, but I am a very quick learner. I was able to work on a 
team’s simulator before the Grand Prix so that will help my familiarisation a 
little bit! Our next step with the team’s engineers is to make the car 
reliable for the race. The secret of good racing preparation is to complete 
as many laps as possible on Friday to see where we are with the car. Finishing the
race would be a fantastic achievement we will strive for.”

With the complete lack of track time, HRT did what they could in Bahrain. I don’t actually think they will, nor do I expect them to, finish in Melbourne, because of the track’s car-breaker record. Still, if they can set consistent laps for about 20 laps or so, then I would be happy with them. Naturally, with much more track time, I’m hoping for at least one finish each from Lotus and Virgin. All of this will change by Barcelona  (Race 5), and I will be expecting race finishes by all three teams by then.

Stats and facts from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Ferrari have now scored over 5,000 constructor points

Ferrari have now scored over 5,000 constructor points

Here are some stats and facts from the weekend in Bahrain:

  • Fernando Alonso joined Nigel Mansell, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mario Andretti and Kimi Raikkonen in the list of drivers who won their first race for Ferrari.
  • Alonso took his 22nd Grand Prix win, which puts him joint tenth overall alongside Damon Hill.
  • He also took his 14th fastest lap, putting him 18th overall.
  • Sebastian Vettel took his sixth pole position. This puts him level with Emerson Fittipaldi, Phil Hill, Carlos Reutemann, Ralf Schumacher, Jean-Pierre Jaboiulle and Alan Jones.
  • Lewis Hamilton got his 28th podium in 53 race starts.
  • Ferrari got their 80th 1-2 finish, and their first since the 2008 French Grand Prix.
  • Because of the 1-2, Ferrari also claimed the most points scored for a constructor in one race- 43 points. Technically, a maximum of 817 is possible this season.
  • Rubens Barrichello has now matched Graham Hill’s record of starting 18 Grand Prix seasons.
  • Since 2005, there have been 5 different teams and 6 different drivers who have taken pole (In order: Alonso, Schumacher, Massa, Kubica, Trulli, Vettel). Of these 6, only 2 of them have won that race they got pole in.
  • In 16 of the past 20 seasons, the winner of the first race has gone on to win that year’s world championship. Oddly enough, those who won the first race but not the title all started the season in Melbourne.
  • This is the 4th consecutive season opener where Robert Kubica has failed to score a point.
  • Ferrari have now scored 5,038.27 points in their history.
  • This race was the first featuring a 24-car grid since the 1995 Pacific Grand Prix.

If you have any more statistics, let me know.

Engine changes for both Ferrari drivers

Both Massa's and Alonso's cars require engine changes

Both Massa's and Alonso's cars require engine changes

Ferrari have announced that both Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso’s cars require an engine change before today’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Data analysis after qualifying showed “some abnormal parameters” on Felipe Massa’s car, which soon showed up on Alonso’s car as well. After many discussions, it was decided that both cars were to undergo an engine change.

Since both drivers are at the start of their 8-engine allowance for the season, Ferrari feel that they can use the old engines in other practice sessions in other practice sessions across the season.

Bahrain Saturday qualifying gallery

Today we saw Sebastian Vettel take pole position for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. We also saw Karun Chandhok driving the HRT car for the first time, and a few former champions return to celebrate 60 years of Formula 1. Here is the gallery for Saturday:

Vettel on pole in Bahrain

Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso after Bahrain qualifyingFelipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso after Bahrain qualifyingFelipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso after Bahrain qualifyingFelipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso after Bahrain qualifying

Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso after Bahrain qualifying

Sebastian Vettel took pole position for the first race of the season in Bahrain today, with a great lap that put him ahead of the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.

Here is the news from all 3 sessions:


Karun Chandhok in his first laps for HRT

Karun Chandhok in his first laps for HRT

Fernando Alonso set the early pace, but was soon beaten by Massa. Button and Hamilton traded very close laps as usual, while Sutil also got in the mix. Alonso got another fast lap at the very end to take top spot.

It was very worrying for Sauber, as Kamui Kobayashi struggled to get through to Q2, and his best time only got him 15th place. Pedro de la Rosa was no better.

As expected, Senna and Chandhok of HRT failed to get through, and qualified at the back. The onboard cameras showed the cars sliding about on the track, a clear sign of a lack of downforce. None of the Lotus or Virgin cars got through to Q2 either, but showed quite a bit more pace. Jaime Alguersuari was the one midfield man who was caught out, and ended up 17th.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Alguersuari
19) Glock
20) Trulli
21) Kovalainen
22) di Grassi
23) Senna
24) Chandhok.


Sebastian Vettel set the early pace. Schumacher and Button struggled on their first run. Like Q1, the Saubers of De la Rosa and Kobayashi struggled, only getting  .

There was a slight lag of action with 5 minutes to go, as many of the cars opted  to wait until the last minute. When they all went out, Jenson Button just about got through to Q3, ending up 10th. Schumacher failed to improve on his earlier lap, and qualified 9th. Compare this to their teammates, Rosberg and Hamilton, who qualified 5th and 6th respectively.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Barrichello
12) Liuzzi
13) Hulkenberg
14) de la Rosa
15) Buemi
16) Kobayashi
17) Petrov.


Sebastian Vettel after taking pole position in Bahrain

Sebastian Vettel after taking pole position in Bahrain

This time, the drivers had the choice of setting a faster time on the softer tyre, or go for race durability with the medium tyres. The near-universal choice was for soft tyres, which gives a big advantage to Rubens Barrichello, who lies 11th on medium tyres.

Like Q2, many drivers waited until the last second to get their time in. Fernando Alonso took provisional pole, but was knocked off in the final set of laps. Mercedes’ last lap-runs didn’t go to plan, with Rosberg and Schumacher taking 5th and 7th respectively.

Vettel’s fastest lap of 1.54.101 was enough to see him past Felipe Massa, who was 0.141 seconds behind, while Alonso was another 4 tenths back. Lewis Hamilton took 4th, followed by Rosberg, Webber, Schumacher, Button, Kubica and Sutil.

Full times from Q1, 2 and 3:

Position Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 S. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.55.029 1.53.883 1.54.101
2 F. Massa Ferrari 1.55.313 1.54.331 1.54.242
3 F. Alonso Ferrari 1.54.612 1.54.172 1.54.608
4 L. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.55.341 1.57.707 1.55.217
5 N. Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.55.463 1.54.682 1.55.241
6 M. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.55.298 1.54.318 1.55.284
7 M. Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.55.593 1.55.105 1.55.524
8 J. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.55.715 1.55.168 1.55.672
9 R. Kubica Renault 1.55.511 1.54.963 1.55.885
10 A. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.55.213 1.54.996 1.56.309
11 R. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.55.969 1.55.330
12 V. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.55.628 1.55.653
13 N. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.56.375 1.55.857
14 P. De la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.56.428 1.56.237
15 S. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.56.189 1.56.265
16 K. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.56.541 1.56.270
17 V. Petrov Renault 1.56.167 1.56.619
18 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.57.071
19 T. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.59.728
20 J. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.59.852
21 H. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2.00.313
22 L. Di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2.00.587
23 B. Senna HRT-Cosworth 2.03.240
24 K. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 2.04.904

Bahrain Friday practice gallery

The annual photograph of all the F1 drivers

The annual photograph of all the F1 drivers

As Formula 1 kicked off again this weekend, there are many great photos of Friday practice. Here is the gallery for today:

Bahrain Friday practice analysis

The first 2 practice sessions of the 2010 F1 season concluded today, and we have much to learn from it. Without further ado, here are the main points we have learned:

Massa’s consistency

In FP1, it was apparent that Ferrari had a very good long-distance package in their car. Here, my graph shows the consistency of his lap times (certain laps have been omitted because of stoppages in pits etc):

Apart from a few slips, Massa's laps were very solid

Apart from a few slips, Massa's laps were very solid

If you leave out the slower laps, you will see that all of Massa’s other laps are nearly exactly the same all the time. Here, we can see how Ferrari are more geared towards full-race setup, rather than McLaren and Red Bull’s qualifying setup.

Lotus vs Virgin

The battle of the new teams has begun, and it appears that Lotus is currently in the lead. Here, we compare the times of Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock and Di Grassi across both sessions:

Lotus vs Virgin - Friday Practice 1

Lotus vs Virgin - Friday Practice 1

Lotus vs Virgin - Friday Practice 2

Lotus vs Virgin - Friday Practice 2

The first graph doesn’t show much difference between the two, bar Glock’s last lap. However, FP2 is where the gap between the two teams begin to show. While Kovalainen and Trulli got quicker and quicker, di Grassi was going nowhere, and Glock was unable to set enough laps to properly count.

Hamilton vs Button

This time, it’s a battle inside the team, as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button fight for the top spot in the team. Here are their times from FP1 and FP2:

Button vs Hamilton - Friday Practice 1

Button vs Hamilton - Friday Practice 1

Button vs Hamilton - Friday Practice 2

Button vs Hamilton - Friday Practice 2

Near perfect symmetry. That is what anyone would use to describe the two session performances, especially FP2. Bar the one slip, which both had, the times are incredibly close, with Hamilton just edging Button in more laps.

Clearly, there is going to be no whitewash in McLaren this year. If these statistics carry on into the rest of the year, get ready for an extremely close battle between the two Brits.

Rosberg heads Friday practice 2

Nico Rosberg in Friday Practice 2 in Bahrain

Nico Rosberg in Friday Practice 2 in Bahrain

Mercedes power continued their assault at the top of the timesheets today, with Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes on top.

Mercedes-powered cars took the top 4 spaces on the timesheets, with Hamilton, Schumacher and Button behind Rosberg. Meanwhile, Sebastien Buemi got no running with his Toro Rosso due to a problem, as well as Karun Chandhok, who also had technical issues.

It was another poor session for Red Bull. After slow times in FP1, the team were looking to improve in the afternoon. But, Sebastian Vettel was caught out twice in the final corner, while Webber was sidelined for most of the session because of a driveshaft problem.

Sauber improved a bit from this morning, as both of their drivers got 10th and 11th best times respectively. Their tyre managment seemed pretty good today, so it seems that Bridgestone’s analysis was correct.

Lotus established themselves as the quickest of the three new teams today, with Trulli and Kovalainen taking 18th and 19th places, with Glock and Di Grassi of Virgin just behind them. The fact that Timo Glock got even a half-respectible time was impressive, seeing as he only got 3 laps in. HRT improved slightly from FP1. Although Chanhok has still yet to set a lap, Bruno Senna managed 17 laps, although he was 11 seconds off the pace. But, near the end of the session, his car lurched and skidded off the road at the heavy-braking Turn 1. It later turned out that a wheelnut had broken off.

Times from Friday practice 2:

Position Driver Team Fastest lap Difference # of laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.55.409 23
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.55.854 0.445 22
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.55.903 0.494 23
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.56.076 0.667 28
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.56.459 1.05 18
6 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.56.501 1.092 26
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.56.555 1.146 30
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.56.750 1.341 26
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1.57.140 1.731 25
10 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.57.255 1.846 24
11 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.57.352 1.943 27
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.57.361 1.952 29
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.57.452 2.043 21
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.57.833 2.424 29
15 Robert Kubica Renault 1.58.155 2.746 29
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.59.799 4.39 31
17 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2.00.444 5.035 12
18 Heikki Kovalanien Lotus-Cosworth 2.00.873 5.464 23
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2.00.990 5.581 14
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2.02.037 6.628 3
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2.02.188 6.779 21
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2.06.968 11.559 17

Analysis of the two sessions today should be up later tonight.