Tag Archives: Singapore GP

Vettel takes control of second practice

Sebastian Vettel assumed top spot for second practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Unlike first practice, the troublesome damaged kerbs were removed in between the two sessions, and will be replaced overnight.

While on the soft tyres, Vettel was in complete control of the running order, leading by up to an entire second. After most drivers switched to the super-softs, Fernando Alonso challenged the Red Bull.

Lewis Hamilton aborted several runs before finally taking 3rd place. Felipe Massa was 4th, with Mark Webber 5th. The rest of the field were over 2 seconds behind Sebastian.

Jenson Button’s session was prematurely ended, after the McLaren made a mistake at Turn 14, and was unable to engage reverse gear to return to the track. The Briton finished the session 10th.

Sebastian Buemi was the only driver to make major contact with the wall, taking off his front right suspension and wheel.

Times from FP2:

 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault        1:46.374           33
 2.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                 1:46.575   0.201   28
 3.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes        1:47.115   0.741   22
 4.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                 1:47.120   0.746   23
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault        1:47.265   0.891   28
 6.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes                1:48.418   2.044   27
 7.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes    1:48.866   2.492   32
 8.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari          1:49.578   3.204   27
 9.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari          1:49.730   3.356   29
10.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes        1:49.751   3.377   10
11.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:49.792   3.418   14
12.  Bruno Senna           Renault                 1:50.241   3.867   31
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes    1:50.345   3.971    8
14.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault                 1:50.399   4.025   29
15.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes                1:50.790   4.416   28
16.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth       1:50.897   4.523   24
17.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth       1:50.937   4.563   30
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault           1:51.950   5.576   26
19.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari      1:52.257   5.883   15
20.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault           1:52.489   6.115   25
21.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth         1:53.579   7.205   25
22.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth         1:54.649   8.275   25
23.  Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth            1:54.754   8.380   29
24.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth            1:55.198   8.824   26

Damaged kerbs disrupt Singapore first practice

Kerbs are repaired, delaying first practice

Kerbs are repaired, delaying first practice

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in a reduced first practice session in Singapore.

The session was suspended for half an hour at the beginning, as plastic sections of the kerbs were peeling away from the track. Once the track was repaired, the time limit was reduced to 60 minutes instead of the usual 90.

An extremely dusty track then slowed the cars down for much of the hour, before Lewis Hamilton set a 1:48.599 to take first place.

Mark Webber made contact with Timo Glock, the Red Bull failing to pass the Virgin at the final corner, and damaging the front wing. Mark pitted for repairs, while Timo was left with a puncture.

A bolt breaks off a kerb halfway through the session

A bolt breaks off a kerb halfway through the session

At the halfway point of the session, Heikki Kovalainen had a spot of deja vu, as his Lotus caught fire for the second year in a row in Singapore, this time due to an overheating front left brake.

After a red flag to remove the Lotus car, the stewards were forced to stop the session again with 8 minutes to go, as a bolt broke off another kerb. A green flag allowed the cars to attempt one last run, but Lewis’ previous time was left unbeaten.

Sebastian Vettel was second, with teammate Webber a further second behind. Jenson Button split the Ferraris, who went 4th and 6th. Renault abandoned their bodywork and sidepod adjustments due to overheating problems, leaving Senna and Petrov 16th and 18th.

Narain Karthikeyan drove Vitantonio Liuzzi’s HRT for readjusting to the car before he drives at the Indian GP, and was just pipped by Daniel Ricciardo in the final few moments. Both HRTs were 10 seconds off the pace of Hamilton by the end of the session.

Times from FP1:

 1. Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1:48.599          10
 2. Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1:49.005  0.406   15
 3. Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1:50.066  1.467   16
 4. Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1:50.596  1.997   11
 5. Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1:50.952  2.353   12
 6. Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1:52.043  3.444   14
 7. Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes  1:52.251  3.652   13
 8. Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1:52.416  3.817   12
 9. Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1:52.435  3.836   13
10. Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1:52.815  4.216   13
11. Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth     1:52.991  4.392   17
12. Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:53.050  4.451   17
13. Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth     1:53.399  4.800   18
14. Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        1:53.703  5.104   19
15. Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1:53.749  5.150   12
16. Bruno Senna            Renault              1:53.765  5.166   17
17. Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1:53.785  5.186   16
18. Vitaly Petrov         Renault               1:54.736  6.137    8
19. Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault         1:54.821  6.222    9
20. Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault         1:56.198  7.599    8
21. Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth       1:57.798  9.199   13
22. Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth       1:58.792  10.193   6
23. Daniel Ricciardo      HRT-Cosworth          1:59.169  10.570  17
24. Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1:59.214  10.615  18

Sam Michael to leave for McLaren after Singapore

Sam Michael will depart from Williams after Singapore

Sam Michael will depart from Williams after Singapore

Williams technical director Sam Michael is to leave the team after next weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

The Grove-based team have endured a horrendous season, possibly their worst in their Formula 1 history, with only 5 points to their name. After much pressure over the last few months, Michael has now stepped down.

He won’t be missing from the paddock for long though. It has also been announced that he will be joining the McLaren team. A team statement has explained that he “will join the senior management team in addition to taking specific responsibility for the development and management of the team’s trackside operations.”

Michael has stated:

"I already know and respect many of the team’s senior technical management figures, 
and becoming a member of that excellent working unit was one of the prime 
attractions of this new position.

Equally, for some time I’ve closely observed and greatly admired both Lewis 
[Hamilton] and Jenson [Button] as grade-one drivers, and therefore regard it as an 
enormous privilege to be able to work with both of them.

Sam had spent 8 years in Formula 1 before joining Williams in 2001. He has been technical director there since 2004.

5-place grid penalty for Liuzzi in Singapore

Vitantonio Liuzzi will take a 5-place grid drop for the Singapore Grand Prix after causing carnage on the first lap in today’s Italian GP.

Liuzzi took to the grass (not out of necessity) on the approach to the first chicane, but on returning to the track he moved to avoid a slower car, and spun. His HRT then slammed into Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov further up the field.

The stewards have concluded that the accident was avoidable, and Liuzzi will almost certainly start from the back of the grid in two weeks time.

Here is a video of the accident (sorry for the awful music):

Klien to replace Yamamoto for Singapore GP

It has been announced today that Christian Klien will replace Sakon Yamamoto for the Singapore Grand Prix weekend. It appears as if Yamamoto is suffering from food poisoning, although there will be questions raised as to why Karun Chandhok was not put back in the race seat.

Team Principal Colin Kolles said:

"It looks as if Sakon Yamamoto has a food poisoning, and he 
doesn’t feel well. Because of this, Christian Klien will be 
driving the car this Friday and the rest of the Singapore 
Grand Prix. I hope Sakon gets well soon and is able to drive 
at his home Grand Prix in Japan."

Klien has previously driven for Hispania in practice sessions at the Spanish and European Grands Prix, but has not been competing in any races so far this year.

This isn’t bad news, seeing as Yamamoto is gone for one race, but it’s very disappointing to see the team continue to snub Karun Chandhok, who Bernie Ecclestone said last week needed a better car to prove his talent. Unfortunately, after this, I can’t see him driving at any time this year.

Changes made to Singapore circuit

The Singapore Grand Prix circuit has seen several small changes to the track, ahead of its third race next weekend. These adjustments have been made primarily to improve safety and driver comfort.

The Singapore Grand Prix track has been revised for this year

The Singapore Grand Prix track has been revised for this year

One of the most famous facts about the Singapore track is its notorious bumps, which are severely demanding on the car’s suspension and the drivers. After complaints from many drivers, the track has been resurfaced in 2 places: Between Turns 3 and 7, and between Turns 14 and 19.

The Turn 10 chicane, otherwise known as the “Singapore Sling”, a series of tight left-right twists, which caught out Kimi Raikkonen in 2008, have been changed again, after the final turn of the corner was revised in 2009. This year, the kerbs have been reprofiled, to reduce the chance of the cars being speared into the barriers if they go over the corner too fast.

The pit lane has been lowered by 1 centimetre compared to last year, which should make it easier to rejoin the track. Nico Rosberg running wide of the white line last year showed the instability of the pit lane exit.

Also, the aesthetic image of the track will be improved by the track walls now being painted in bright colours, and run-off areas also changed to look better.

Overall, good changes, but I would be disappointed if the track turned out to be nearly as smooth as many of the other tracks on the calendar. The bumps (and sparks from the cars) are part of many of the spectacles of Singapore, and it would be a pity to see it go just because the drivers are uncomfortable.

Piquet: Massa still blames me for lost championship

Nelson Piquet Jr has revealed that, because of his actions at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Felipe Massa still blames him to this day for losing the 2008 Driver’s Championship. Felipe lost the title by a single point to Lewis Hamilton, and lost 10 points in the Singapore Grand Prix, after a mistake in the pit lane, which was caused by a safety car deployment, which in turn had been caused by Piquet Jr.

If it was a mistake by Piquet that had brought out the safety car, then nothing would have been said of it. But as we all know, Nelson deliberately crashed his Renault, specifically to bring out the safety car to help his team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

The problem with Massa’s pit stop had been caused by the Ferrari traffic lights operator releasing Massa too early, causing the fuel rig to be ripped out and was still attached to the car as Felipe left the pits. It has been well acknowledged that this mistake by the light operator was caused by the chaotic nature of the pit lane, which of course was triggered by the safety car.

In my mind, despite other losses of points in other races that year, Massa deserves to blame Piquet for what he did. Nelson, however, seems surprised, in an interview with Portugese magazine Istoe (translation has been verified):

“Massa was very upset with me because he thinks, to this day,
that he lost the 2008 championship because of me.

It is no use arguing that he had a DNF in Hungary, that he and
Ferrari made mistakes. Not to mention his lack of luck. For the
love of God, that last lap in Interlagos was pure luck for
(Lewis) Hamilton (who was the champion) and bad luck to him.

But he is still very upset. I have never talked to him again.
We stumble upon each other every now and then, but we don’t
keep on touch.”

He did not remain on the defense, however, as he soon went on the attack, as he criticised Massa for his actions at the German Grand Prix this year:

"Generally you’d want to make such arrangements in a subtle 
manner. At the end of the straight, a driver breaks a little 
early into a corner, let the team mate close the gap and 
overtake. Alright, with the fight for the first place it is 
harder to make it subtle, but it didn’t have to be so blatant. 
There is where Massa surprised me.

He wanted to expose Ferrari’s team game to cause a bit of a 
mess. Because the situation itself is normal. The most common 
code is the one Ferrari uses, that your team mate is faster 
than you. Massa understood, but wanted to make sure that, if 
it was for him, there would be no overtaking.

Ferrari will never miss the opportunity to let one of its 
drivers close the gap to the championship leaders. If Massa 
does not want that to happen, he needs to accept he is slower 
and race faster. He needs to work to get faster than Alonso. 
There’s no other way."

I’m particularly interested at the part where he says: “Generally you’d want to make such arrangements in a subtle manner.” Well he would certainly know about it wouldn’t he? I can understand his comments on the German Grand Prix debacle, but when it comes to the Crash-gate saga again, I don’t even want him to open his mouth.

For those of you who are interested, Piquet has been racing this year in the, erm, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (a world series held entirely in America, I should note). He has competed in 4 races out of 15, and finished in the top 10 3 times. Before you think that’s impressive, it’s only pickup trucks he’s been racing.

Extreme gap in tyre compounds for German GP

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone F1 tyres

Bridgestone have announced that they are to bring a 2-step gap in the tyre compounds in the tyres that they will bring to the German Grand Prix, in an effort to mix up tyre strategies. Following the Canadian GP, the Japanese company had said that they would be more radical with their tyre compound choices.

For the race in Hockenheim, Bridgestone are to bring the super-soft and hard tyres, meaning that there will be a 2-step difference in tyre compounds, the first time that this has been done this season. Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone’s head of motorsport tyre development, said that the characteristics of the Hockenheim circuit allowed this extreme tyre variation to go ahead.

However, for the next 4 races after this, there will only be 1 gap between tyre compounds. In Hungary, the super-softs and mediums will be used, and similarly for Singapore. The soft and hard tyres will be used for Belgium and Italy.. Hamashima explained these choices:

"The Hungaroring requires a softer allocation as finding grip is 
always a target there. Spa and Monza are high speed tests for 
cars and tyres, needing a harder allocation because of the heat 
durability requirements. Singapore is a high-speed street course 
where the softer allocation is suited."

Personally, I think that a 2-step difference is dangerous, as performance in the cars will vary wildly across the race. What do you think? Is this a step too far to “improve the show”, or is a simple and effective way of spicing up the racing?

Singapore considering track layout revisions

The Singapore Grand Prix

The Singapore Grand Prix

The organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix have said that they are considering revisons to the circuit, to make it faster.

Both of the Singapore Grands Prix have run nearly two hours long, which is the FIA’s mandatory limit. Significant changes are being considered, to speed up the 3.152 mile track’s laps.

The current lap record was set by Fernando Alonso, a 1m48.240s. It is too late to make revisions to the 2010 circuit in time, but the Singapore Tourism Board are looking at making the changes by the 2011 race.

Justin Chew, the Singapore Tourism Board’s executive director, said:

“We are always looking to see how we can improve the Singapore Grand Prix. If it is for the good of the race and makes it more exciting for fans and drivers, we will consider it.”

The two modifications being considered are cutting Turns 7 to 9 into one 90 degree left-hander around the War Memorial, instead of through it. Also, the bus stop chicane that runs underneath the grandstands may be completely removed. Interestingly enough, this would get rid of the infamous Turn 17, where Nelson Piquet Jr intentionally crashed in 2008.