Tag Archives: Monaco GP

Pirelli announce tyre compounds for Turkey, Spain and Monaco

Pirelli will bring soft and hard tyres to Spain and Turkey

Pirelli will bring soft and hard tyres to Spain and Turkey

Pirelli have announced their choice of tyre compounds to bring to the Turkish, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix.

The hard and soft tyres will be continued to be used for Turkey and Spain, the same compounds that have been used all so far this season. It is also the same choice that Bridgestone made last year.

The Monaco Grand Prix, meanwhile, will see the introduction of the super-soft tyre, accompanied by the soft tyre.

This means that the medium tyre will be the only tyre that hasn’t been used yet this season.

Also bear in mind that from the Turkish Grand Prix onwards, Pirelli will be using a new system to differentiate the softer tyre from the harder tyre, although their system has not been announced yet.

Mercedes to ditch Schumacher appeal

Schumacher passes Alonso on the final corner, because of confusion over racing and safety car conditions

Schumacher passes Alonso on the final corner, because of confusion over racing and safety car conditions

Mercedes GP have announced that they are not to appeal the decicion to hand Michael Schumacher a penalty at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix. This means that the provisional result, with Sebastien Buemi now entering the points, will now stand.

However, the team have still called Schumacher’s penalty “disproportionate”, and that they are to discuss the terms of Article 40.13 with the FIA, the rule which was used to penalise Schumacher after the incident. They also announced their approval of having a former F1 driver on the stewards panel. Damon Hill, who some criticised for being a former rival of Schumacher, and therefore maybe wouldn’t have been fair, received hate mail after their punishment was handed out.

Mercedes’ statement is as follows:

On the final lap of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes instructed
our drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, to race from
safety car line one until the finish line as permitted under
articles 40.7 and 40.11.

Mercedes were fully aware of article 40.13 which states that no
overtaking is permitted if the race finishes under safety car
conditions. However we believed that the combination of the race
control messages ‘Safety Car in this lap’ and ‘Track Clear’ and the
green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line
one indicated that the race was not finishing under the safety car
and all drivers were free to race.

This opinion appears to have been shared by the majority of the
teams with cars in the top ten positions who also gave their drivers
instructions to race to the finish line.

It was clear from our discussions with the stewards after the race
that they understood the reasons for our interpretation and
acknowledged that this was a new and previously untested situation
but ultimately disagreed with our interpretation.

Mercedes would like to emphasise that we fully support the inclusion
of past drivers on the stewards panel and are completely satisfied
that the Monaco Grand Prix stewards acted professionally,
impartially and properly in this matter.

The FIA has agreed to include article 40.13 on the agenda of the next
Sporting Working Group for discussion and to consider the scale of
post race penalties. We believe that the 20 second penalty imposed
on Michael to be disproportionate in the circumstances.

Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased that the
FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation. Therefore in
the best interests of the sport, Mercedes will not be submitting an
appeal.

Seeing as how many appeals against these sort of penalties fail, I’m not surprised to see Mercedes give up. Still though, I’m not sure if they were in the right or not.

We have come to the conclusion that when the safety car pits on the final lap, the cars should go across the finish line with no overtaking. But, there were green flags being waved, and Fernando Alonso did seem to be quite aggressive exiting La Rascasse, whch showed that he was still racing (even if it was what cost him the place). Force India, Renault and Red Bull all instructed their cars to race until the finish line as well, so there’s still plenty of fuel for debate here.

Here is the incident again:

Monaco Grand Prix stats and facts

The Monaco Grand Prix was Mark Webber’s 4th of his career. See more stats and facts from the Monaco Grand Prix here:

  • This was Red Bull’s sixth 1-2 finish in their history, their second this year.
  • This was Mark Webber’s fourth pole position of his career, which puts him level with Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Didier Pironi and Mike Hawthorn.
  • This was also Webber’s fourth win of his career which puts him level with Eddie Irvine, Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney.
  • This was also Sebastian Vettel’s fourth fastest lap of his career, which puts him level with Jean Alesi, Jo Siffert, Partick Depallier and Jean-Pierre Beltoise.
  • This is the first ever time that both Force India cars have finished in the points together.
  • There are now only two drivers who have scored points in all the 2010 races so far: Mark Webber and Felipe Massa.
  • This was the first time in 51 years that an Australian has won the Monaco Grand Prix, the last time was in 1959 by Sir Jack Brabham.

More stats and facts will be added soon.

Monaco Grand Prix in pictures

Here is a selection of pictures frim today’s Monaco Grand Prix:

Schumacher given 20-second penalty, Mercedes to appeal

Michael Schumacher has been handed a 20-second penalty for his opportunistic move on Fernando Alonso at the end of the Monaco Grand Prix. On the last corner, when the safety car pitted, Schumacher dived down the inside of Fernando Alonso, believing that racing conditions had resumed.

However, the stewards brought Article 40.13 of the Sporting Regulations into the equation:

If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the
pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the
chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

However, this year, the FIA opted to bring in the “safety car line”. This is a white line that, if you pass it when the safety car pits, you may then drive under racing conditions, which means overtaking is allowed. When Schumacher dived past Alonso, he had already passed the safety car line, which meant that, under the specific rule of the safety car line, the move was legal. In case you’re looking for the safety car line in the replay I have provided, it it below the green electronic flag on the left of the screen.

But, Article 40.13 won the argument, and Damon Hill, the former F1 driver of the stewards in Monaco this weekend (this year, there is 1 F1 driver in the stewards panel every race), decided that a penalty was necessary, and handed Schumacher a 20-second penalty.

This means that Michael drops out of the points to 12th place. Fernando Alonso is elevated to 6th place, and Sebastien Buemi now enters the points. Mercedes have announced their intention to appeal, and a date will be set soon.

Personally, I think it was a stupid decicion. The safety car line was put in this year for a reason, and Schumacher made excellent use of it. It was very sneaky, but an inspired move at the end of a boring second half of the race. Fernando, as you can see in the replay, was still pushing hard, which caused the mistake, which meant that he beleived he was racing under normal conditions as well.

My main argument for this is that Michael only passed Fernando at the start of the Anthon Noghes corner, which is well beyond the safety car line.

What do you think? Is it the fault of Michael to try and bend the rules too much, or was it just very clever and within the regulations? I’ll put a poll up in a few minutes. For the while, have a look at the replay and have a look for yourself (it’s Dailymotion because there’s no chance of it being taken down :) )


Webber takes Monaco Grand Prix win

Mark Webber took a well-deserved win at the Monaco Grand Prix today. It wasn’t handed to him on a plate though, as 4 safety car periods repeatedly ruined his leads.

At the start, all 23 cars (and Alonso) made it through the first corner without incident. However, in the tunnel, Nico Hulkenberg appeared to have a mechanical failure, and smashed into the left barrier, bringing out the safety car on Lap 1. This prompted Fernando Alonso, who started the race from the pit lane, to switch to the harder tyre for the rest of the race. This was to prove a decicive moment, as he could now try to complete the entire race on this set, without having to pit again.

Nico Hulkenberg crashes in the tunnel, causing the first safety car

Nico Hulkenberg crashes in the tunnel, causing the first safety car

Jenson Button retires due to an overheating engine

Jenson Button retires due to an overheating engine

On Lap 3, still under safety car conditions, Jenson Button pulled over with an overheating engine. After a while, it was revealed that McLaren had left a radiator cover on the left sidepod, which meant the engine couldn’t cool itself, and the car overheated, which is a pretty poor excuse for a retirement for an F1 team.

The safety car pitted on Lap 8, and the racing commenced. All eyes focused on Fernando Alonso, who had to work his way up from 20th position. He got cracking soon, and within a few laps, had got past Lucas di Grassi, Jarno Trulli, Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen. On Lap 18, Lewis Hamilton was the first of the frontrunners to pit, switching to the harder tyre. He emerged just in fron of Alonso in P15, leading many to believe that McLaren were trying to cover Alonso.

Within a few laps, the entire field reacted. Barrichello, Schumacher, Liuzzi, Buemi, Kubica, Petrov, Alguersuari, Sutil and de la Rosa all pitted. But, there was a problem with Pedro’s stop, as he was stationary for over a minute, before the team finally retired him. Judging by what I saw on the TV screens, it looked like de la Rosa repeatedly stalled the car.

Webber pitted from the lead on Lap 24, and retained his advantage ahead of Nico Rosberg, who had yet to stop. Timo Glock suffered suspension damage on track, and retired soon after. On Lap 28, Rosberg, Trulli, Kovalainen all pitted. Rosberg fel to 8th place behind team-mate Schumacher, but there was a disaster at Lotus. On both occasions, the back right wheel gun jammed, meaning both Trulli’s and Kovalainen’s stops were 26 and 12 seconds long respectively.

By Lap 31, everybody had made their first stop, but the safety car quickly put a stop to most strategies. Rubens Barrichello had suffered a back left tyre failure, and hit the barriers at Turn 3. In anger or panic (we don’t know which yet) he threw his steering wheel out of the car onto the track, which was run over by either a HRT or a McLaren. It is yet to be seen whether Rubens will get a penalty for that incident.

When the safety car peeled in on Lap 34, it became apparent that the order of the field was starting to be set. Fernando Alonso had made his way up to 6th position, still behind Hamilton, while Kubica was pressusising Vettel for 2nd. For the next few laps, gaps started to appear between the cars, until the third safety car ruined all of that.

This time, there was a loose drain cover at Turn 3. Within a lap, the stewards had decided that it was all right, and had secured it properly, and the racing recommenced. On Lap 61, both Heikki Kovalainen and Bruno Senna pitted, but neither made it out of the pit lane. Senna was retired instantly, while Kovalainen had a gearbox problem, which meant he couldn’t select a gear to exit his box after his stop.

From there until the end, most drivers decided to settle for their position, and conserve their cars, Everyone except Robert Kubica, who was doing a great job of sticking behind Sebastian Vettel in the battle for 2nd. Unfortunately, thanks to the tight and twisty nature of the Monaco track, Kubica was unable to make a move.

But, just when everyone thought it was over, Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided heavily at La Rascasse. Jarno tried to dive down the inside of the corner, a dangerous move, and his car launched itself over the HRT car, going extremely close to Chandhok’s head. With two wrecked cars and debris lying over the track, the safety car was forced to make its fourth appearance, and led the cars until the finish.

So, Webber crossed the line first, well ahead of Vettel in second, for another Red Bull 1-2. This meant that Webber and Vettel are now equal on top of the drivers’ championship, both on 78 points. Since Webber has taken 2 wins compared to Vettel’s one, it means that the Aussie leads his team-mate. Red Bull also took the lead in the constructors’ championship, to top off a great race for the Austrian team.

Interestingly enough, Michael Schumacher passed Fernando Alonso on the precise safety car line, the line that you must pass before you can overtake when the safety car pits. It was an extremely opportunistic move, but I’d say Schumacher will get away with it.

Another fantastic performance from Webber, which gives him a fulls deserved lead in the championship. In my opinion, it is now turning into a battle between Webber and Vettel for the title, unless Ferrari and McLaren can improve their cars in time. Robert Kubica did a great job for another podium finish, and Force India did well to get a double points finish.

The standings have been updated, you can view them here.

Monaco Grand Prix qualifying in pictures

Here are the pictures from today’s brilliant qualifying in Monaco:

Webber takes stunning pole in Monaco

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica after Monaco GP qualifying

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica after Monaco GP qualifying

Mark Webber took pole position for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, with a stunning lap at the end of the session. He was battling with Robert Kubica for the entire session, and Sebastian Vettel was behind these two. Here is the report in full.

Q1

At the start of the session, it became clear that Fernando Alonso would not be able to compete in Q1, due to his crash in Saturday practice. He will therefore start from the pit lane, since the team are still working on the car.

All of the cars went out very quickly as the session started, as nobody wanted to be caught out by backmarkers. Robert Kubica set the initial pace, but was soon held up by one of the Virgin cars. Felipe Massa set a 1.15.6, to take the top of the timesheets, and Lewis Hamilton was soon 0.01 seconds behind. Nico Rosberg was setting fastest sector times in S1 and S2, but was constantly being held up in S3, so he was unable to set a fast time in the first half of the session. Once he did get a time in, he set a 1.15.1 to lead the session.

It was only momentary though, as Massa blitzed a 1.14.7 only seconds after Rosberg. As the session continued, most drivers improved as the track cleared, which was indicating that the new teams would all be knocked out in Q1. Kamui Kobayashi took a risk by setting all of his times on the harer tyre, which is half a second slower than the soft tyre, although he was able to get into Q2.

Heikki Kovalainen tried his best to go faster than Kobayashi, but spun at Mirabeau, and then at the Casino hairpin the next lap. Despite the new teams’ efforts, all of them were knocked out in Q1, in the usual order. Despite this, the Lotus cars were only 3 seconds off the pace, which is a good improvement.

Drivers knocked out in Q1:

18) Heikki Kovalainen

19) Jarno Trulli

20) Timo Glock

21) Lucas di Grassi

22) Bruno Senna

23) Karun Chandhok

24) Fernando Alonso

Q2

Again, like Q1, all cars went out instantly at the start, to try and avoid traffic. Vitaly Petrov went first, and set an impressive 1.15.5. Michael Schumacher used good tactics to give himself plenty of space, but wasn’t able to set the pace at the start. Again, Robert Kubica was the fastest man on track, with a 1.14.9.

Very soon, Schumacher matched that time, and Kubica then went 3 tenths quicker. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton were very close out on track, and on their first laps they went 5th and 6th. Felipe Massa went one hundreth faster than Kubica, and then Rosberg smashed another 3 tenths off that time.

While Sebastian Vettel was up at the top, he wasn’t fast enough to take the lead. Jenson Button was struggling with 7 minutes to go, as he was sitting in 11th place. His next lap put him into 10th place, but only just (0.006 seconds), as he was slightly held up by Pedro de la Rosa.

Vitaly Petrov was going for a fast lap, as he was in 13th place, but he crashed at the Snt Devote corner, and brought out the yellow flags, ruining many drivers’ laps. However, the stewards were excellent in getting rid of the broken Renault in less than a minute. Once the car was cleared, everyone had one lap remaining to set a time.

However, none of the top 10 drivers were displaced by the other 7. Having said that, it was a very good session, as the top 7 were seperated by only 3 tenths of a second.

Drivers knocked out in Q2:

11) Nico Hulkenberg

12) Adrian Sutil

13) Sebastien Buemi

14) Vitaly Petrov

15) Pedr de la Rosa

16) Kamui Kobayashi

17) Jaime Alguersuari

Q3

As Q3 started, it was very clear that is was going to be an incredibly close session, with many drivers gunning for pole. Both Robert Kubica and Vitantonio Liuzzi started the session on used super-soft tyres, to conserve another set for the race. It didn’t stop Robert though, as he quickly set a 1.14.7 to take top spot. Lewis Hamilton’s first time was 6 tenths slower than this.

But, in an instant, Kubica pulled out a stunning lap, a 1.14.2, to go an entire second faster than anyone else. All 10 cars then went out with 5 minutes to go, to try and knock Kubica off the top. Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button were first, but were miles off his time. However, when Jenson Button went round the last corner on a fast lap, he was hugely held up by Felipe Massa, who may well be penalised for that move.

As car after car set their lap, nobody got near Robert. Lewis Hamilton got within one tenth, but everyone else was still an entire second behind. Robert Kubica set another brilliant lap, but everyone was competely shocked when Mark Webber came out from nowhere to take provisional pole by a few hundreths. But, when many thought it was over, Webber set another stunning lap, a 1.13.8, to rip pole position from Kubica’s hands.

Sebastian Vettel still wasn’t entirely on the pace, but still took 3rd on the grid. Michael Schumacher was only 7th while team-mate Rosberg was 6th. Massa and Hamilton were 4th and 5th respectively, while Jenson Button was 8th after being held up by Felipe. Rubens Barrichello was 9th, and Liuzzi 10th. It was a stunning Q3 session, although Kubica must be dissapointed with 2nd after setting so many fast laps.

Full times from Monaco qualifying:

Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1.15.035 1.14.462 1.13.826
2 Robert Kubica Renault 1.15.045 1.14.549 1.14.120
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1.15.110 1.14.568 1.14.227
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1.14.757 1.14.405 1.14.283
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.676 1.14.527 1.14.432
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1.15.188 1.14.375 1.14.544
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1.15.649 1.14.691 1.14.590
8 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1.15.623 1.15.150 1.14.637
9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1.15.590 1.15.083 1.14.901
10 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1.15.397 1.15.061 1.15.170
11 Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1.16.030 1.15.317
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1.15.445 1.15.318
13 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.15.961 1.15.413
14 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1.15.482 1.15.576
15 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1.15.908 1.15.692
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1.16.175 1.15.992
17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.16.021 1.16.176
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1.17.094
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1.17.134
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1.17.377
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1.17.864
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1.18.509
23 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1.19.559
24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari

Monaco Grand Prix preview

Having practice sessions on Thursday makes it much easier for us to preview the Monaco Grand Prix easier. With what we have learned from yesterday on board, let’s have a look at this weekend’s race:

The track

There is little doubt that the Monaco track is the most difficult and punishing of the F1 tracks. This is mainly because of the barriers, which drivers are forced to scrape every single lap as they struggle for pace. The slightest mistake will result in their car flying into the barriers, putting them out of the race instantly. We saw this in practice to Kamui Kobayashi.

The Snt Devote corner is one of the most challenging corners on the track. At the start of the race, it is notorious for a pile-up at the back of the field, though oddly enough this hasn’t happened in recent years. Expect that to change though, as the heavy fuel loads and cold tyres at the start, paired with inexperienced drivers at the back, could well mean several drivers could get taken out. If they do, the safety car will be a certainty.

Next up is Massenet, or Turn 3. This is a long blind entry left hander, which requires good turn-in of the car to take it quickly. Understeer would be preferable here, as oversteet would result in the car spinning and hitting the outside barrier, as Karun Chandhok did yesterday.

Another difficult turn this year will be the Harbour Chicane, Turn 11. This is after the tunnel straight, and enters a heavy-braking area, where the track also goes downhill. Then, a quick left, then right, and the car is on the way to Tabac corner. The biggest danger here is losing control in the braking area, and possibly hitting a car in front. We saw loss of control here many times in practice, most noticeably by Jaime Alguersuari, who did very well to stop the car from crashing. This is also the only opportunity for overtaking, but don’t expect to see much of it.

The next difficult turn is the last one, Anthony Noghes. This is a bumpy right-hander, which requires maximum speed to keep going quickly on the pit straight. Several drivers went very close to the right barrier here yesterday.

As usual, Red Bull have their own analysis of the Monaco street circuit:

Tyres

Bridgestone are supplying the super-soft and medium tyres for this race. By the data we got yesterday, some teams are struggling with tyre wear on the super-soft compound. The medium compound, on the other hand, is quite a bit slower in terms of pace, though we are not sure by how much. However, there is not too much difficulty with warming them up either.

If drivers do opt for the super-soft tyres for the first stint, then they will only last for about 12 laps. After this, medium tyres will be the preferable choice, but it is unknown if they will last the distance.

Weather

A few days ago, many people were predicting rain for Thursday, but very little for the weekend. So far, we have only seen very slight rain on Thursday. Most weather services are only predicting for a chance of rain on Sunday, but not much of a chance. Therefore, it will probably be a dry weekend.

Air temperature will be around 20C, track temperature around 25C. There will be a slight wind on Saturday, which may cause problems with the drivers in places, but it will slow down by Sunday.

Drivers to watch

Fernando Alonso – After topping both Friday Practice sessions, and the Red Bulls being not as competitive, I would tip Alonso for the pole and win this weekend. The Ferrari has good pace here, despite the lack of the F-duct, due to good mechanical grip. Felipe Massa will only pose a threat to Fernando if he qualifies in front of him, which I doubt.

Michael Schumacher – There’s no denying that the Mercedes team are slowly working the car in Schumacher’s favour rather than Rosberg. Regardless of our opinions, it means that Michael will have a better chance this weekend, thanks to the chronic understeer being mostly fixed. A win is still out of the question, but I think it is within the car’s ability to challenge for a podium. Just as long as he doesn’t forget how to take La Rascasse.

Robert Kubica – Monaco is a circuit that often brings the gap down between the teams, since aerodynamic grip has very little effect here. Because of this, having a slower car won’t disadvantage Robert Kubica too much. He is still the outsider in the title race at the moment, and a good performance in Monaco would certainly help his cause. I’d saty that he has the ability to get a podium this weekend.

Adrian Sutil – Like I said about Kubica, the Force India’s disadvantages are made smaller at the Monaco circuit. In practice, we have seen Sutil do quite well, whereas team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi has been in the lower end of the midfield pack. His skill is undeniable, and he is improving in terms of keeping the car out of the barriers. A few points wouldn’t be too bad here in Monaco.

Monaco Grand Prix practice in pictures

Here are some photos from the Monaco Grand Prix practice from today:

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