Tag Archives: Ferrari

Kubica suffers return setback after injuring leg

Kubica's return has been delayed again

Kubica's return has been delayed again

Robert Kubica’s already fraught return to the Formula 1 paddock, after the Polish driver broke his leg in a fall today.

Reuters claims that the 27-year-old slipped on a patch of ice in the town of Pietrasanta in Tuscany, Italy. He was taken to the local hospital for a scan on his right leg, which had suffered in his rally crash almost a year ago.

He then requested to be moved to the Pietra Ligure clinic, where he was rehabilitated after his horrific crash in 2010.

Although there has been no official statement from Robert’s manager Daniele Morelli, Autosport claims that the Pole has re-opened a fracture in his right tibia (bone below the knee).

After being ousted from his seat at Renault, and being left with no drive for the 2012 season, I fear that it is improbable that we will see Kubica back in F1 this year.

If he is to return any time soon, it has been rumoured that Ferrari are willing to test him in their 2010 or 2011 F1 car later this year.

Update: BBC reports that Kubica will need a metal screw inserted just above his ankle, and faces another month with his leg in plaster.

2011 final driver rankings: 3rd – 1st

This is the final article in a 4-part series, ranking all 28 drivers this season. As you would expect, this post tackles Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.

3rd – Jenson Button

Button is a drastically improved driver from last year

Button is a drastically improved driver from last year

Previous ranking: 3rd

Review from previous ranking: “He has shown himself as a more complete driver this year, and unlike his teammate, shows restraint where necessary.”

In the first few races of 2011 it appeared that Jenson was still a step behind Lewis Hamilton in terms of performance. A single podium in the first 4 races was earned because of his trademark tyre conservation, not because of outright pace.

However, from Monaco onwards, the balance of power had shifted at McLaren, and Button is now comfortably ahead of his teammate in all areas.

He has scored double the amount of podiums compared to Hamilton this year (12 against 6). As well as his damp/wet weather skills, he was able to keep his car out of trouble – a complete contrast compared to Lewis. His two retirements were not caused by his hand, compared to two silly crashes by Hamilton.

He seems to have a sixth sense in changeable weather conditions. His drive in Canada was outstanding, overtaking the entire field in a matter of 30 laps. In Hungary, a straight fight between the McLarens, Lewis fell apart while Button cruised to victory.

In Suzuka, he was able to scrape a win deep in Red Bull territory – a remarkable feat considering the pace of the RB7.

Many doubted that Jenson could withstand Lewis when moving to McLaren. However, he has proven us all wrong by becoming the first driver to beat Lewis on points while in the same team, by 43 points – and it should have been a lot more.

Not only this, but he has firmly put himself in the elite group of top racing drivers.

2nd – Sebastian Vettel

Vettel was at the front 99% of the time, and seemingly unstoppable

Vettel was at the front 99% of the time, and seemingly unstoppable

Previous ranking: 1st

Review from previous ranking: “Nearly utterly faultless all season, Sebastian is more complete a racing driver.”

Sebastian Vettel is vastly changed from 2010. Barely a single foot put wrong all season, the German deservedly took back-to-back world championships – but still pushed himself the entire way.

He could have backed off on the first lap in Monza, but he didn’t. Taking to the grass at Curva Grande, he sliced past Fernando Alonso to take the lead in style.

He could have backed off in Spa, but again he didn’t. Vettel is the first driver in recent history to make a pass around the outside of the fearsome Blanchimont corner. I honestly can’t remember the last time a driver did this.

The dropping of points were almost always out of his control. His retirement in Abu Dhabi was mechanical, while gearbox issues in Brazil cost him the win. There is very little to fault Vettel with this season.

So the question is – why is he second instead of first?

Obviously, we saw the making of a top-class driver this year, but I feel there’s more to it than just raw pace. The Red Bull tactic of sticking the car on pole and tearing away in the first few laps, to remain out of sight for later, isn’t the most desirable tactics we’d like to see – especially if it’s done 90% of all the races.

He has the scope for overtaking moves, but this simply doesn’t define a season. Webber’s pass on Alonso in Spa proves that a ballsy move doesn’t earn you Driver of the Year on merit.

As well as this, whenever the slightest variable moves in the car, Vettel’s driving falters. Germany was the prime example of this, where a suspension change resulted in Sebastian’s pace falling off a cliff. He was lucky to finish 4th considering the pace he had.

There’s no denying that he is a world class driver, and one of the best drivers in F1′s history. But the absolute perfect team/car set-up cannot last forever, and when it slips away, Vettel’s talent will be severely tested. However, we still have one more driver, who has shown that he can still rip up tarmac while well outside of his comfort zone…

1st – Fernando Alonso

In similar machinery, Alonso thrashed anyone who stood in his way

In similar machinery, Alonso thrashed anyone who stood in his way

Previous review: 2nd

Ranking from previous review: “If there’s anyone on the grid who can [challenge Vettel] it will be Fernando Alonso.”

After the last two years I can easily say that Fernando Alonso doesn’t need the best car to inspire terror in his fellow drivers. While his championship challenge failed to materialise, he pushed maximum performance out of a lifeless car, and put that Ferrari where no other driver could.

As Felipe Massa proved, an average driver will produce average results from an average car. But Fernando is not an average driver. When the opportunity arose to take a single win in 2011, Alonso was there, snatching the victory while his teammate was half a minute behind.

Even when the car was nowhere near its best, Fernando was always ready to fight for whatever scraps Red Bull and McLaren had left behind. He made an astonishing start in Spain to grab the lead from 4th on the grid, and only the prime tyres proved to be his downfall.

When Vettel was out of the running in Germany, Alonso was primed to take another victory, but was thwarted by an excellent pass by Hamilton after his pit-stop. Without that move, it could well have been another win.

With such a dog of a car, the only driver we can effectively compare him to is Massa, and that’s a pretty easy comparison. Alonso has destroyed Felipe in every possible sector this year. While Fernando has taken 10 podiums this year, Felipe has none whatsoever. What’s more impressive is the fact that Alonso was out of the top 5 only twice this year (considering that Red Bulls and McLarens would dominate the top 4 according to car pace), while 5th was all that Massa could achieve at all.

This shows the gap between an ordinary driver and an extraordinary one. If I were to criticise him for anything this season, it would be  an ill-judged defense of his position in Canada, resulting in his only retirement of the year.

Despite this, Alonso is capable of pushing his car well beyond what it would achieve with any other driver at the wheel. His long-term contract with Ferrari shows that he has faith in the Scuderia, and the prospect of a competitive car next year will undoubtedly set us up for a brilliant showdown against Red Bull and McLaren.

For achieving what no other driver could in a dismal car, Fernando Alonso is my driver of the year.

2011 final driver rankings: 18th – 11th

This is the second article out of 4, ranking all 28 drivers from this season. This section includes drivers such as Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari.

18th – Felipe Massa

The Pirelli tyres brought no improvement to Massa's form

The Pirelli tyres brought no improvement to Massa's form

Previous ranking: 14th

Review from previous ranking: “Ferrari need a second driver who can consistently take podiums, not struggle for 6th.”

The one thing I find more frustrating than Felipe Massa is those who keep praising him despite his disastrous pace. Every single year, we are promised a return to form by the Brazilian, and every year is a let-down.

This year, it was the Pirelli tyres that were to catapult Massa to the top, which of course never happened. While teammate Fernando Alonso took 10 podiums, one of which was a win, Massa was never higher than 5th.

A clear sign of his ineptness at the Ferrari was in India, where he was the only driver to find trouble with the kerbs – and did it twice. as well as this, he was not blameless in the spat with Lewis Hamilton – turning into the McLaren in India was ill-judged to say the least.

The best indicator of a driver’s pace is their performance relative to their teammate, and Massa didn’t even get half of what Alonso won. Even Mark Webber, who had a shocking season by his standards, was able to beat this.

Renault and Ferrari have, in recent times, shown that it is entirely plausible to end a driver’s contract prematurely. Why they haven’t done this with Massa yet, we’ll never know.

17th – Bruno Senna

Senna's first race was ruined by his own hand

Senna's first race was ruined by his own hand

Previous ranking: 24th (2010 half-way rankings)

Review from previous ranking: “Senna’s potential is still unclear.” (2010 half-way rankings)

After spending 2010 lingering at the back of the grid, the Senna name was thrown into the midfield of the grid, after Nick Heidfeld was given the boot. So far, Bruno’s impact has been unconvincing to say the least.

He qualified an excellent 7th at his first race of the year in Spa, but bottled it at the first corner. A pair of points were scored at Monza, but that was the only top 10 finish of the season.

Despite this, he showed interesting flashes of pace, generally being faster than Vitaly Petrov, and driving well at his home race in Brazil, before clashing with Michael Schumacher – the first time since 1993 that those two surnames have collided.

As the Renault and its radical front exhausts fell apart, it became clear that Senna was unable to demonstrate his prowess. I’m unsure as to his full potential, but many feel that despite the circumstances, he should have performed better in 2011.

16th – Vitaly Petrov

A single podium was the only high point of Petrov's season

A single podium was the only high point of Petrov's season

Previous ranking: 9th

Review from previous ranking: “It will be up to Petrov to take the majority of Renault’s points this year.”

As the Renault car became more and more hopeless, Petrov began to falter, and was being worryingly out-paced by new recruit Senna by the end of the year.

A podium in Australia was undoubtedly the standout moment of the year, but there wasn’t much to talk about after that. In Malaysia, a mistake by Petrov resulted in a spectactular launch into the air, which was the last race the team had any chance of racing at the front.

Apart from a 5th place in Canada, he was only able to snatch 9th and 10th places throughout the year, and only had 3 points more than Nick Heidfeld – who missed the last 8 races.

It was an improvement from 2010, but not improvement enough to keep his seat for next year, and I can’t complain about that.

15th – Sebastien Buemi

The wheels came off Buemi's season in the second half

The wheels came off Buemi's season in the second half

Previous ranking: 16th

Review from previous ranking: “Of Ricciardo impresses at HRT, then Buemi may still be under pressure for the race seat in 2012.”

After the unceremonious dumping of both drivers, Toro Rosso have indicated that they have had enough of their drivers. Buemi and Alguersuari tussled for the lead in the team throughout the season, but ultimately the better driver came out on top.

Sebastien had the upper hand in the first few races, adapting well to the Pirelli tyres. He was able to out-qualify Alguersuari, and conserve his tyres better in the races. However, when Jaime turned his season around, matching pace from Buemi was nowhere to be seen.

It must be considered that he suffered more than his fair share of technical problems, but the general consensus is that Buemi should have achieved more after 3 years in Toro Rosso, which is considerably more than what many other drivers got.

14th – Kamui Kobayashi

A difficult second half of the season for Kobayashi

A difficult second half of the season for Kobayashi

Previous ranking: 6th

Review from previous ranking: “Kobayashi continues to punch well above his weight with scintillating drives.”

The fans’ favourite overtaker suffered a disappointing second half to the season, while his teammate took the limelight.

The first half of 2011 was spectacular, with Kobayashi finishing in the top 10 7 races in a row, something that neither of the Mercedes drivers could achieve.

However, his qualifying pace began to falter alarmingly, and teammate Perez began to take control. Finishing the season with 2 points finishes was impressive, and helped him end the season with double what Perez achieved. However, it must be considered that Sergio missed out on two races which I feel he would have performed well in.

Overall, it was a decent season, but improvement is still necessary for Kobayashi.

13th – Jaime Alguersuari

A spate of points-scoring finishes was not enough for Alguersuari

A spate of points-scoring finishes was not enough for Alguersuari

Previous ranking: 12th

Review from previous ranking: “Alguersuari came very close to being replaced, but several good drives have rescued his career.”

Not good enough, I’m afraid. An impressive improvement came in the second half of 2011, but Alguersuari was still dropped at the end of the year.

A series of 18th-to-points runs were entertaining to watch, and a pair of 7th places in Monza and Korea were the high points for Jaime. Qualifying 6th in Spa was also an excellent performance, before he was cruelly taken out by Bruno Senna.

In the end, he was comfortably ahead of his teammate, where he deserved to be. However, holding up Vettel in Korean practice did him no favours with Red Bull, and earned him an severe dressing-down from Helmut Mark0 (which I’ve heard will be featured in the F1 review DVD).

Whether this politics hurt his chances at retaining his seat, we’ll never know.

12th – Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld was a casualty of Renault's demise

Heidfeld was a casualty of Renault's demise

Previous ranking: 11th

Review from previous ranking: “Reliable driving has helped him in the races, but a lack of raw pace is holding Nick back.”

A surprise ditching by Renault saw Heidfeld out of a drive halfway through the season. Because of this, we will never know how he was to handle with the deteriorating R31.

A magnificent start in Malaysia, as well as holding up the McLaren drivers, saw Nick take a well-deserved podium. As the Renault slipped down the order, Heidfeld was able to take as many 7th and 8th places as he could. He was taken out on the first lap in Germany, and an exploding sidepod took him out in Hungary, which proved to be his last race.

I’m still confused as to why Renault bothered dropping Heidfeld, considering Petrov could hardly amass his points total with an extra 8 races in hand. He was a safe pair of hands, and consistently got the job done, aside from a calamitious error at the Nurburgring.

His main weakness was dire qualifying, which principal Eric Boullier was particularly angry about. Still, I feel that Renault was worse off without Heidfeld.

11th – Heikki Kovalainen

Kovalainen far exceeded the car's potential

Kovalainen far exceeded the car's potential

Previous ranking: 19th

Review from previous ranking: “It will be up to Kovalainen to secure 10th place in the Constructor’s Championship for the team.”

With HRT and Virgin constantly falling further behind, and Jarno Trulli proving lacklustre, it was always going to be up to Kovalainen to prove Lotus’ worth.

I admit that I had nearly given up on Kovalainen after his dismal years at McLaren – he recently said that those two years had drained all his confidence. In that light, going back to basics was the best possible move for Heikki. With little pressure around him, he has been able to re-invigorate his racing spirit.

Whenever a midfield car faltered, it was Kovalainen who snatched the opportunity to move into Q2, which he did three times. He absolutely demolished his teammate in every sector – qualifying (16 successes out of 18), and races, where he often finished half a minute ahead of Trulli.

A 13th-placed finish in Monza secured 10th for Lotus in the constructors’ championship. With luck, the team soon to be known as Caterham can finally improve to the midfield, with Kovalainen the driving force of the squad.

FOTA in doubt after Red Bull and Ferrari pull out

Red Bull and Ferrari are to leave FOTA in February

Red Bull and Ferrari are to leave FOTA in February

The future of the Formula One Teams Association is in doubt, after both Ferrari and Red Bull Racing announced their departure from the group.

Disputes have arisen over the last few weeks regarding the future of the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), which has attempted to limit how teams spend their money in Formula 1.

However, the top 4 teams – Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari – have all been accused recently about overspending and breaking the RRA. The departure of two of the largest teams in the sport confirms that a deal has not been found, and F1 will have a brand new controversy to talk about over the winter.

It must be noted that a team must serve a 2-month notice before it is to leave the association, so Red Bull and Ferrari will technically leave the group in February, providing some time to try and find a solution to this issue.

Ferrari attempted to explain their reason for leaving:

"Ferrari has informed FOTA President Martin Whitmarsh that it is leaving the 
organisation made up of the teams competing in the Formula 1 World Championship.

It was a difficult decision and a great deal of thought went into it. It was 
taken reluctantly after analysing the current situation and the stalemate when 
it came to debate on some issues that were at the core of why the association 
was formed, indeed with Ferrari and Luca di Montezemolo as the main instigator 
and promoter of ideas. It’s not by chance that the President of the Maranello 
company held that same position and job title within FOTA up to the end of 
2009.

Some of the major achievements of the association during these years, also 
worked out in conjunction with the FIA, centred around cost reduction, which 
was of significant benefit to everyone, the big teams and the small ones.

Ferrari was on the front line in this area, even before the birth of FOTA and 
it intends to continue down this route to ensure the sustainability of the 
sport in the long term. Now however, it is necessary to find some new impetus 
to move it along because FOTA’s drive has run its course, despite the excellent 
work of current President, Martin Whitmarsh in trying to reach agreement 
between the various positions for the common good.

Ferrari will continue to work with the other teams to make the current RRA, 
Resource Restriction Agreement, aimed at controlling costs, more effective and 
efficient, modifying it to make it more stringent in key areas such as 
aerodynamics, to rebalance some aspects such as testing and to expand it to 
areas currently not covered such as engines.

Formula 1, like the rest of the world in fact, is currently going through a 
delicate period. Ferrari wants to work with all parties for the future of a 
sport that expresses the highest level of motor sport technology.

We must return to a situation where Formula 1 is really a test bed for 
advanced technological research, the results of which can be transferred to 
Granturismo cars. In addition, we must not forget that this sport must become 
more user friendly and more accessible to the general public and furthermore, 
it cannot be the only professional sport where it is practically impossible to 
do any training: the number of days of testing must be increased so that the 
drivers, especially the young ones who lack experience and the teams, can be 
adequately prepared, as well as providing more opportunities for them to come 
into contact with spectators and sponsors."

Autosport has stated that these top 4 teams are to meet privately to try to reach an agreement.

The last time FOTA was in such a crisis was 2009, when Williams and Force India were thrown out of the organisation, in the midst of the budget cap controversy.

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

Alonso bemoans slow Ferrari

Fernando failed to keep up with the McLarens and Red Bulls

Fernando failed to keep up with the McLarens and Red Bulls

Fernando Alonso has said that a 3-stop strategy would not have helped his challenge for a podium today.

Today’s Chinese Grand Prix saw a mix between 2 and 3-stop strategies, and Fernando finished down in 7th after a lacklustre performance. However, the Spaniard feels that the car simply isn’t fast enough, no matter what the strategy:

"It's very easy to choose the strategy when you have the fastest car and it's very 
hard when you are slow. Webber today showed qualifying is not very important.

The most important thing is to have a good tyre degradation and a good strategy, 
and this year we can overtake. As I say, the easiest thing is to have a quick car, 
like Red Bull, you pit three, two, one times and you end up on the podium.

We need to improve the car above everything. I don't think it would have changed 
much. We were much slower than the cars we had in front so we would ended up with 
a similar result."

Alonso also claimed that his race never had much potential:

"We just weren't fast at any point during the race and we kept on losing positions 
little by little.

Then we opted to go for two stops so it looked like we were in a good position 
during some points of the race and others where they were flying like bullets from 
behind. We had to try to hold on and finish the race in whatever position."

Fernando is currently 5th in the points standings, 42 points away from Sebastian Vettel.

How the teams are shaping up after testing – Part 1

After the conclusion of testing in Barcelona, we now have only 12 days until the start of the 2011 F1 season in Melbourne. The cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix has given us more time to examine the new fleet of cars, and the season outlook varies drastically for some compared to others.

This is part 1 of a 3-part preview for the 2011 season.

Red Bull

Red Bull go into 2011 as firm favourites

Red Bull go into 2011 as firm favourites

Despite clashes between their drivers, reliability issues, and the odd spot of bad luck, Red Bull still deserved to take the title last year.

They move into the 2011 season with improvements to make, but with aerodynamics guru Adrian Newey on board, the RB7 looks as revolutionary as ever. Without the double diffuser, the Red Bull has lost a certain amount of rear grip, but most believe that it is a smaller loss compared to other teams.

In testing they have shown good pace throughout, and with less relaibility worries than expected. Most personnel are confident, with Mark Webber stating a week ago that the team were “ready to go” to Australia.

Tactical expertise shown last year should also help, with the new 2, 3 or even 4-stop races shaking up the formbook for the leading teams.

With world champion Vettel looking to continue his form, and Webber looking to put one over his team-mate, Red Bull are without a doubt the team to beat.

McLaren

Just like with their 2009 car, McLaren may well struggle this year

Just like with their 2009 car, McLaren may well struggle this year

All is not well in McLaren, and a brief look at the testing timesheets tells the story.

Having completed the least miles out of all the 2011 cars (excluding HRT), McLaren were already on the back foot. That, combined with reliability woes, and much less knowledge about their car compared to their rivals, the MP4-26 may well be another disaster for the team.

It’s happening unusually often for such a professional team. 2009, 2006 and 2004 saw the team enter the season with disastrously off-the-pace cars. A substansial re-design saved face in 2004 and 2009, but their radical designs do not seem to work as often as many would have hoped.

Having said that, several aspects may work to their advantage, particularly KERS. The McLaren unit was by far the most efficient of the 2009 season, and it should be the same in 2011.

Despite this, 2011 may well be another year of playing catch-up.

Ferrari

Ferrari look likely to rival Red Bull

Ferrari look likely to rival Red Bull

Just like in 2008, Ferrari suffered a last-gasp loss at the season finale, with Fernando Alonso losing out to Vettel and Red Bull in Abu Dhabi. This year, testing form indicates that the Scuderia are on course to be battling with Vettel and Webber at the front once again.

A technical reshuffle over the winter has revitalised the team, as well as the additions of Pat Fry and Neil Marting, both from rival teams.

Fernando Alonso is clearly the team’s lead driver at the moment, commanding the team with a presence not seen since the glory days of Michael Schumacher. Stunning victories such as his one in Singapore prove he is on top form. Felipe Massa suffered a torrid 2010, being shunted out of a win by his own team, and losing momentum after that. This year, he hopes that the Pirelli tyres suit his driving style better.

A huge asset to the team has been the ridiculous amount of mileage they have completed so far this year. With over 6,000km in testing, Ferrari have already completed more than an entire season’s worth of laps. This, as well as bulletproof reliability, will bolster the team as they look to win their first championship trophy in 3 years.

Part 2 will be up soon.

Valencia testing day 2: Alonso leads

Fernando Alonso led Day 2 of testing in Valencia

Fernando Alonso led Day 2 of testing in Valencia

Fernando Alonso led the second day of testing in Valencia, as Lotus ran their TL11 for the first time.

The session was stopped twice – once for Paul di Resta spinning early on, and the second for when Rubens Barrichello stopped out on track with an electrical problem.

Sebastien Buemi stopped near the pit lane with 15 minutes to go, and Lotus only got 15 laps in with Heikki Kovalainen, after a power steering issue. The team have said that it is a mechanical failure, and the part will have to be sent back to England for repairs.

Both Red Bull and Williams shared their cars between their drivers, though Mark Webber only got 40 minutes of driving in today.

Lewis Hamilton took distinct interest in the “massive degradation” of the Pirelli tyres, hoping that they will spice up the stretegies:

It was quite easy to get into but they’re not easy to drive. They (the tyres)
fall off quite quick and over a long run it’s interesting.

Obviously last year we had one pit stop and now the degradation is massive 
on these tyres. It might be for some people they have to do two or three pit 
stops, for example.

I didn’t actually like doing one pit stop last year, I think it wasn’t as 
exciting as it has been in the past when we did two pit stops or three pit 
stops.

So I’m hoping that we have to do a more this year, it adds a little bit 
more excitement to it.

Despite his troubles, Heikki Kovalainen was still happy with his first impressions of the TL11:

"I'm very positive. The feeling and the sensation from the car was totally 
different compared to last year.

It has a lot more potential than last year's car; it's just difficult to say 
how quick it is yet because we didn't give it a single lap to set a time. It 
(today's test) was just to check the installations. Tomorrow we will get a 
better idea."

Times from Day 2:

Pos  Driver       Team                Time             Laps
 1.  Alonso         Ferrari                1.13.307           108
 2.  Vettel         Red Bull Renault       1.13.614  0.307    43
 3.  Di Resta       Force India Mercedes   1.13.844  0.537   111 
 4.  Hamilton       McLaren Mercedes       1.14.353  1.046    83 
 5.  Kubica         Renault                1.14.412  1.105   104
 6.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1.14.645  1.338    69
 7.  Glock          Virgin Cosworth        1.15.408  2.101    34 
 8.  Barrichello    Williams Cosworth      1.16.023  2.716    51
 9.  Perez          Sauber Ferrari         1.16.198  2.891    42
10.  Maldonado      Williams Cosworth      1.16.266  2.959    29
11.  Buemi          Toro Rosso Ferrari     1.16.359  3.052    46
12.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso Ferrari     1.16.474  3.167    64
13.  Webber         Red Bull Renault       1.17.365  4.058    17
14.  Karthikeyan    HRT Cosworth           1.17.769  1.165    80 
15.  Kovalainen     Lotus Renault          1.20.649  7.342    15

Ferrari F150 launched

The new Ferrari F150

The new Ferrari F150

The first of the 2011 Formula 1 cars have been revealed, with Ferrari showing off their newest challenger: the F150.

The 150 in the name is in recognition of 150 years since Italy’s unification. It was launched today at the team’s base in Maranello.

The new Ferrari F150

A front-angle view of the Ferrari F150

In technical terms, it’s certainly a case of evolution over revolution. The shark-fin engine cover has been dropped, in favour of the conventional engine cover. The nose cone is much higher than the F10, and becomes wider near the front. The entire rear wing is now mounted to the central pylon.

Several new sections on the rear wing of the Ferrari F150

Several new sections on the rear wing of the Ferrari F150

Eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the front wing is exactly the same as the one used at the end of last year, seeing as it has the adjustable section (which is banned for 2011). This probably means that we will see an interim 2011 front wing in testing.

The top rear wing flap is new, presumably to be used as the adjustable rear wing section. The bottom section of the rear wing has also been rounded off.

Other aerodynamic pieces, such as the turning vanes and bargeboards, remain the same.

The livery is generally the same, apart from the new Ferrari logo on the engine cover, replacing the barcode design of last year. The Italian flag colours new feature on the back of the rear wing.

In an interview, Stefano Domenicali said that there are “too many very good teams” and that their team “would not underestimate anyone”:

Here is a video walk-around of the F150:

 

Changes made to Ferrari team for 2011

After huge criticism regarding their strategy fumble in Abu Dhabi which cost Fernando Alonso the 2010 world championship, Ferrari have announced several changes to the structure of the team.

The biggest switch made is that Chris Dyer, the head of race engineering, has been replaced with Pat Fry. Dyer has been described as the “master of all strategists”, having previously been the race engineer for both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen. He was also behind the famous 4-stop strategy that Schumacher utilised to win the French Grand Prix in 2004.

However, he appears to have been blamed for the disaster at Abu Dhabi, and his “role within the company will be redefinied within the next few days”. Fry, the man who replaces Dyer, moved to Ferrari from McLaren back in June 2009.

Also, Neil Martin, who has worked at McLaren, and more recently Red Bull, has been appointed as the head of the new operations research department. He will report directly to Aldo Costa, Ferrari’s technical director.

In related news, Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he almost quit the team after Abu Dhabi. In an interview with La Repubblica, he stated:

"After Abu Dhabi I raised the issue personally. I asked whether it was right 
or not that I stayed.

But I reached the conclusion that resigning would be a mistake. I know the 
team and I know that I am the right person to capitalise on all we have sown 
in these months."

 

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