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F1 2011 Launch Catch Up – McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Renault…

Catching up on the launches in one mega post.  Here in you’ll find quick interviews with senior members of the team and photos from the Red Bull, Sauber, Renault Lotus, Toro Rosso, Mercedes and McLaren launches.

Apologies for being somewhat late, the whole blog isn’t running at full power until the season starts again.

Red Bull RB7

The world champions launched their new car, named the RB7.  A clear advancement on the hugely successful RB6, hopes are high that this machine can deliver once again.

“This year is no different to any other,” said Christian Horner, team principal of Red Bull.

“I think if we had not have won either championship last year there would have been that expectation and obviously the pressure that comes with that. We’ve achieved that and achieved that in a short space of time and I think it is like winning your first grand prix.

“Out of that comes confidence but not arrogance, but the team goes into this year very, very motivated and very committed but you have to remember we are still an independent team with a customer engine that achieved some remarkable things last year and that is our target again, again, obviously this year.”


Sauber C30

The independent Swiss team pulled the covers of their new car, the C30 marking the second incarnation of the team in its modern era.  The new car is backed heavily by Mexican giants Telmex and will be raced by Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez.

Former Force India but now Sauber technical director James Key said: “Our aim in the development of the Sauber C30-Ferrari has been to build on the strengths of the C29 and to eliminate its weak points.

“In addition, it is also important for us to go into winter testing with a car we understand, and we have worked hard on ensuring the characteristics of the car are heading in a direction we believe in. There will be much to learn about the new Pirelli tyres and in this respect we want to ensure there are no surprises with the way the car is handling.”

“My rookie season was a very challenging, very exciting period,” Kamui Kobayashi commented at the launch as he enters his second full season of racing.

“Now it’s still exciting but it’s a different role. It’s more the experienced driver in the team. I am thinking how I can bring a good level to the team.

“I have to be ready to lead the team. That’s why Peter Sauber and the team chose me for this year. This is definitely my challenge and let’s say I am ready to be the leader for the team.”


Renault Lotus R31

Newly backed by Group Lotus, Renault pulled the covers off their new car – the R31 – to a mass of media wondering what the final paint scheme would look like, and wondering how the Lotus name debate would go on.  The debate on the name may still be rumbling, but there is no debate over how fabulous the car looks in classic JPS brown and gold.

Featuring front blown exhausts, it looks fast and could be a title contender.  And with Bruno Senna as a spare driver, it harks back wonderful memories seeing the yellow helmet inside a JPS liveried Lotus.

“I’m happy that we had some creative designs on the car. We clearly back our team and definitely our technical team because we want to be fast, we want to be at the front.” said team principal Eric Boullier

“We know it takes time. You have to be creative. You have to find different ways of creating downforce or performance points. We have been taking this path because we believed, quite early in 2010, that we could find more gains going this way.

“In the wind tunnel, or on paper shall we say, the car already has more performance than 12 months ago. If it’s on the car it’s because we believe it works. But we will see on the track.”

Meanwhile Robert Kubica, the number 1 driver was somewhat cautious on their chances “I think realistically speaking is far too early to say what will be possible to achieve this year,”

“Last season was quite disappointing and let’s hope this year will be different. I think definitely we are more prepared this year, because of the more stable situation in the team than last winter, when I joined the team.

“The winter of 2009 and 2010 was very difficult for Renault and I think this year the engineers and designers had a much easier time and much more time to design the car and I think they have done a really good job.”


Scuderia Toro Rosso STR6

Toro Rosso, always in their senior brothers shadow has brought a new design to the table and hopes it will deliver them more success this season in the capable hands of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi.

The pairing are aiming for 6th place in the Ferrari powered beast.

“My expectations are to do a decent year and we have to have the target to be eighth and as I said, we are good to be ninth but we have to do better. And at the end of the year we have to bring back an eighth place,” said Giorgio Ascanelli.

“Last year we didn’t have a wind-tunnel, the CFD was not mature in order to define the car,” he added. “Therefore, we did not change very much apart from those elements linked to the change of regulation between 2009 and 2010.

“This year the tools which design the car in its performance aspect, which are again the wind tunnel and CFD, are more mature, which means that although we are still learning how to make the best of them I think we have started using them properly.

“For this year, we have to aim for eighth place, because that is our target and I didn’t think that was possible if we had gone with some sort of conventional car.”


Mercedes Benz WO2

Mercedes Benz will be hoping that their second modern F1 car can deliver them some more success than last season.  With Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg behind the wheel they have plenty of potential.  A well sponsor backed car now features the light green of Petronas merging into the brushes silver paintwork.  Ross Brawn, the technical mastertmind behind multiple drivers world championship wins will be eager to deliver the German squad some success.

“It is always a thrill to see a new car ready to take the track for the first time and this year is no exception,” said Brawn. “After our first year as the Mercedes-Benz works team, we are now seeing the benefits of our chassis and engine groups working well together.

“With a good technical structure and a strengthened race engineering organisation, both at the factory and the race track, I am confident that we have done and will continue to do a better job this year in all key areas.

“We want to be setting the standard right from the start but if we are not, we will respond very strongly to get ourselves into the game. Everyone is excitedly waiting to see what the new season will reveal.”

Meanwhile top driver Michael Schumacher was upbeat on the chances of the car delivering him a record breaking 8th world championship.

“I very much look forward to the new season. We have said it several times already but again, we are really to building up something big together. I am very confident that this season we will be standing on the podium much more regularly; ideally in the middle!”


McLaren MP4-26

McLaren launched their radical new car in Berlin in a ceremony hosted by lead sponsors Vodafone.  The car will be raced by two former world champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

The new car features L-Shaped sidepods, and a two tier floor amongst other technical advancements.  The squad are already looking at incorporating a front blown exhaust similar to the Renault Lotus’ design.

Lewis Hamilton was very happy with the machine on launch day.

“I hope the car proves just as innovative once we take to the track next week,” said Hamilton. “I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind.

“I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.

“Having spent the past few weeks talking with our designers and engineers, I feel extremely happy that we’ve created a car that will once again allow us to fight at the front.”





Japanese GP 2010: Vettel Wins Japanese Grand Prix As Title Stays Wide Open

Sebastian Vettel took the flag and the full 25 points in a thrilling Japanese Grand Prix from Suzuka.  The Red Bull driver led his team mate, Mark Webber over the line.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso finished in 3rd.

Race Review

There was carnage before the start of the race today, when on the way to the dummy grid Lucas di Grassi lost control of his Virgin and smashed into the wall at the 130R.  The Brazilian got out of the wrecked VR01 unscathed, but his chances of retaining that race seat for next year are looking slimmer.  A shame for the Brazilian as he had enjoyed a good weekend, out qualifying Timo Glock.

The start of the real race wasn’t much better either, a charging Vitaly Petrov cut across the front of Nico Hulkenburg and smashed into the wall in front of the main grandstand.  He was out, along with the Williams driver whose car had multiple bits of large damage.

Felipe Massa got caught up in the action too, he went too hot into turn 1, and ended up on the grass.  Out of control he slammed straight into Vitantonio Liuzzi’s Force India, wrecking the Mercedes engined machine and knocking them both out of the race.

A safety car was called for due to all the carnage.  There was more excitement when that was out as Robert Kubica’s Renault decided to part company with its rear right tyre as he approached the hairpin, the Pole retiring from the race after just a handful of laps.  A shame for the Enstone based team, as he had been running in 2nd.

From there on though, the action did slow a little.  Red Bull really ran away with the race at the front, with Fernando Alonso clinging on to third place for dear life.

Jenson Button decided to start on the harder prime tyre and ran longer, allowing him a 10 lap or so opportunity to lead the Grand Prix.  When he emerged from the pitlane he was behind team mate Lewis Hamilton down in 5th.  Hamilton had been racing forward to try and catch Fernando Alonso after his pitstop, but he couldn’t make it and would have to settle for 4th on a poor weekend for the 2008 champion.

Further down field, Michael Schumacher was having a heck of a good Grand Prix.  Having already pulled a lovely overtake on former team mate Rubens Barrichello, the Silver Baron as he is now known, was hassling team mate Rosberg.  He really tried to get passed, some lovely slipstreaming and racing for many laps.  A hint of the Michael of old there, perhaps he is beginning to find form – hopefully he can carry it through to 2011.  Sadly though the fight between Rosberg and Schumacher was cut short when Rosberg smashed into the barriers on the Esses.

Home favourite Kamui Kobayashi had a GP to remember too, passing people left right and centre.  He eventually finished 7th, with some questionable barging and slipstreaming moves.  I think he had been playing F1 2010 on the Xbox before getting in the car today!

So as Vettel took the flag, the championship fight remains wide open.  Its Webber’s to lose now, as we head into the final 3 rounds of the year.  Hopefully, Korea’s circuit will be finished by the time the circus arrives in 2 weeks…

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault
2 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +0.905
3 F. Alonso Ferrari +2.721
4 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +13.522
5 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +39.595
6 M. Schumacher Mercedes +59.933
7 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +1.04.038
8 N. Heidfeld Sauber Ferrari +1.09.648
9 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1.10.846
10 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.12.806
11 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap
12 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +1 lap
13 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +2 laps
14 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth +2 laps
15 B. Senna HRT Cosworth +2 laps
16 S. Yamamoto HRT Cosworth +3 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
N. Rosberg Mercedes 48 Crash
A  Sutil Force India Mercedes 45 Engine Failure
R. Kubica Renault 4 Rear Tyre Failure
N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth 0 Crash
F. Massa Ferrari 0 Crash
V. Petrov Renault 0 Crash
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 0 Crash
L. di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 0 Crash – Pre Race

Mercedes To Launch Investigation Into Hungarian GP Pit Mistake

Mercedes Benz team principal Ross Brawn has said he will be launching a full investigation into the mistake in the pitlane at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which led to the rear tyre of Nico Rosberg’s car becoming detatched.

Rosberg came into the pits under the safety car, along with many others in a relatively standard move.  However the rear right hand side wheel change went totally wrong when the wheel nut flew off the car just before he was released.  While the rear gunner tried to scramble it back on, the lollipop man and rear jackman let Rosberg leave the pitbox, and the rear tyre subsequently became detatched and flow down the pitlane.

The loose tyre raced away, nearly knocking one Sauber mechanic over, before flying into the air after hitting a Williams mechanic who suffered cuts and bruises.  It was finally caught by a brave Sauber mechanic.

Mercedes were fined $50,000 for the incident.

“It appears that as the guy came off with the wheel gun, it spat the wheel nut but he didn’t see it disappear,” said Ross Brawn.

“He went back on, fired the gun and realised the nut was no longer there so came back out to grab the other gun and the rear jack guy thought he had finished, so he dropped the car and away he went.

“I think we understand what happened and we will clearly look at how we can prevent it happening again.”

He added: “When the gun went on to take the nut off, the gun hadn’t engaged properly so the nut was off the axle and it spat it out. The guns are so quick and powerful now you don’t see the nut travelling at the speed of light.”

Hungarian GP 2010: Webber Wins As Strategy Pays Off

Mark Webber took victory in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix thanks to a good strategy and some fantastic laps following a safety car period which turned the race from sedate to absolute chaos.

Fernando Alonso came home in 2nd place, a good points haul for the Ferrari driver while pole position sitter Sebastian Vettel failed to convert his grid place into a race win.

Race Review

Hungarian Grand Prix are not known to be particularly exciting, and following the first few laps it looked like nothing would be different today.  Jaime Alguerusari was an early retirement thanks to a major engine failure, and to add insult to injury the young Spaniard dropped oil all over the circuit.

Sebastian Vettel provided majority of the early entertainment with some scorching laps, pulling away from Fernando Alonso who had the pick of the starts slotting himself ahead of Mark Webber despite being on the dirty side of the grid.

Another notable start was from Vitaly Petrov, the young Russian who managed to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton.  He slid off and threw that away though, but it was promising from him, we like his style.

On lap 13, a piece of Tonio Liuzzi’s front wing came off and a safety car was called out to retrieve it.  Vettel’s lead was gone and everyone dived into the pits.  Chaos ensued, with Robert Kubica being let out of his pit box straight into the path of Adrian Sutil.  They collided, Kubica would later be penalised with a 10 second stop/go.  While this was going on, Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes parted company with its rear right tyre which bounded down the pitlane at high speed, missing mechanics, hitting one and eventually being caught by a brave Sauber man.  Unbelieveable stuff.

Mark Webber chose not to pit, and with some help from Vettel backing the pack up the Australian pulled away, his soft compound Bridgestone’s lasting longer and longer.

Vettel was then given a penalty for not staying close enough to the safety car, exceeding 10 car lengths.  He had to serve a drive through penalty, something the young German was not happy about.  He flailed his arms around like a baby throwing its toys out of the pram – not very sportsman like.  Still, this meant he was now down to third and with easily the fastest car he set about chasing Fernando Alonso.

However despite catching him rather quickly, Vettel was unable to dispatch the Ferrari of Alonso and eventually finished 3rd.  Alonso’s team mate, Felipe Massa, finished 4th a good points haul for the Scuderia.

Right at the end of the race we had an exciting battle with old wounds being opened, between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.  The Brazilian fought to get passed Schumacher, his former team mate and arch nemesis and with a handful of laps to go he tried to squeeze down the inside of Michael.  Schumacher, in typical style, forced Rubens into a corner and gave him just enough room.  At about 200mph, Barrichello was milimeters away from hitting the pitwall, a manoeuvre that he called “Erratic” and “Ridiculous”.  However Schumacher defended the move, and has been handed a 10 place grid penalty for the next race.

Webber’s win puts him right back in it thanks to Lewis Hamilton’s break down.  It means that Alonso too is only a matter of points away from the top, as Red Bull and Ferrari slog it out at the top.  McLaren will certainly be hoping for a turn in their fortunes after the summer break.

Race Result

Pos Driver Team Time
1 M. Webber Red Bull Renault
2 F. Alonso Ferrari +17.821
3 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +19.252
4 F. Massa Ferrari +27.474
5 V. Petrov Renault +1.13.100
6 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +1.16.700
7 P. De la Rosa Sauber Ferrari +1 lap
8 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +1 lap
9 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +1 lap
10 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1 lap
11 M. Schumacher Mercedes +1 lap
12 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1 lap
13 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +1 lap
14 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +3 laps
15 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +3 laps
16 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth +3 laps
17 B. Senna Hispania Cosworth +3 laps
18 L. di Grassi Virgin Cosworth +4 laps
19 S. Yamamoto Hispania Cosworth +4 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 25 Gearbox
R. Kubica Renault 25 Unknown
N. Rosberg Mercedes 17 Wheel Failure – Pitlane
A Sutil Force India Mercedes 17 Pitlane Incident
J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 2 Engine Failure

Penalties – Post Race

Team/Driver Penalty Reason
M. Schumacher 10 Place Grid – Next Race Dangerous Driving
Mercedes Benz $50,000 Fine Wheel falling off Rosberg’s Car
Renault $50,000 Fine Releasing Kubica into Sutil’s path causing accident in pit

British GP 2010: Webber Wins As Ferrari Stung Again

Mark Webber took a commanding victory today at Silverstone in the wake of controversy surrounding his status at the team.  Webber believes he should have not had his new front wing taken off him and handed to Sebastian Vettel, believing the team were favouring the young German.

However all that emotion that was so clear on the Australian’s face yesterday was saved for the first corner where he forced Vettel off the circuit onto the run off at turn one, where Vettel’s luck ran out and he got a puncture.

It was all going on at the back too, with Alonso’s poor start hampering him down the field, before he made contact with team mate Felipe Massa who joined Vettel at the back with a puncture on his Ferrari F10.  Michael Schumacher made it up 3 places to 7th too.

Hamilton was hassling Webber in 2nd, and their pace was surprisingly good as they racked home fastest laps.  They pulled well clear of Kubica, Rosberg and Alonso who formed the front of a long processional line of traffic that was only broken by the first round of pit stops.

Schumacher gambled on an early stop which didn’t pay off, his team mate Rosberg’s strategy to stay out longer than Alonso and Kubica who pitted one lap after Michael, worked a treat and the young German found himself in 3rd position.

Alonso closed the gap significantly to Kubica and as the pair came into Vale, Alonso dived around the outside, but Kubica forced Fernando off the circuit.  However Alonso was still in front as he rejoined at Club, where he stayed as Robert Kubica’s Renault gave up with a differential problem and he retired.  However, course steward Nigel Mansell believed Alonso had cut the circuit – not avoiding an accident as the majority of viewers, and former driver Martin Brundle believed, and Alonso got a drive through penalty which he had to serve straight after a safety car period so the Spaniard once again got heavily stung by the FIA.

The safety car was brought out by a battle between Liuzzi and De la Rosa.  The Italian tagged the rear of the Sauber and the rear wing disintegrated on the Hangar Straight.  It brought the new safety car rules into play, with the SLS AMG Mercedes of Bernd Maylander waiting to pick up the lead car, there was confusion and many backmarkers ended up getting in the way – the new rules might need to be tweaked again.

Further back, Sebastian Vettel was tearing through the field, and would go on to score points passing German rivals Michael Schumacher and Adrian Sutil.  Schumacher had a slightly better weekend, but the former 7 time world champion really hasn’t dialled down back to his great racing of the past just yet.

Liuzzi later tagged Alonso giving him a puncture and putting the icing on a failure cake for Ferrari – neither car ended up in the points.

Rubens Barrichello had a stellar day though for Williams, their second consecutive high point score.

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 M. Webber Red Bull Renault
2 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +1.360
3 N. Rosberg Mercedes GP +21.307
4 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +21.968
5 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +31.456
6 K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari +32.171
7 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +36.734
8 A  Sutil Force India Mercedes +40.932
9 M. Schumacher Mercedes GP +41.599
10 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +42.012
11 V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes +42.459
12 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +47.627
13 V. Petrov Renault +59.374
14 F. Alonso Ferrari +1.02.385
15 F. Massa Ferrari +1.07.489
16 J. Trulli Lotus +1 lap
17 H. Kovalainen Lotus +1 lap
18 T. Glock Virgin Cosworth +1 lap
19 K. Chandhok Hispania +2 laps
20 S. Yamamoto Hispania +2 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 45 Crash
P. De la Rosa Sauber Ferrari 30 Rear wing failure
R. Kubica Renault 20 Differential
L. Di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 10 Hydraulic


Webber and Rosberg Raise Kerb Concerns At Silverstone

Nico Rosberg and Mark Webber, both front running drivers have raised concerns about the new “high-kerbing” used in parts of the refurbished Silverstone Circuit at this weekend’s British Grand Prix

Rosberg believes that the kerbing could well be potentially dangerous, but did admit the new circuit design was very good.

“I think the track overall is good,” said Rosberg. “The first complex is always exciting, which is still the same.

“I like the layout a lot, and there is no particular area, but I think they have done a good job with it. The only concern is those high kerbs, which we need to discuss in the drivers’ meeting.

“From my point of view there are some safety concerns with that. There are some big kerbs on the insides, big lumps – like half sausages.”

Webber was concerned that cars could hit the high kerbing and get thrown into the air, completely out of control.

“I think at Becketts there are a few larger sections behind the main kerbing, if you like, which the drivers are certainly not a fan of,” he said.

“We don’t feel the necessity to have this type of kerbing in high speed corners because the main aim of that kerbing is to keep us inside the circuit, for example, like Monza and Canada.

“So to have them in fifth and sixth gear corners isn’t particularly necessary. We’ve seen here many cars in the past aquaplaning across Maggotts and Becketts out of control.”

Mercedes To Run Radical Engine Cover

Mercedes Benz have unveiled their radical new engine cover which they hope will propel them to the top of the podium in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The German car manufacturer has been struggling with its car against the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, however weeks of hard work and technical advancement have led to the team launching swathes of upgrades including an extended wheelbase and this new engine cover.

The cover has a very thin roll bar, and two large ducts on either side as opposed to the normal circular engine duct seen where the roll hoop is.  It will also be used in conjunction with an F-Duct.

Michael Schumacher shook down the new car in a filming event last week and will be looking to get more comfortable following a difficult return to F1.

China GP 2010: Button Wins Chaotic Race

Jenson Button won a chaotic Chinese Grand Prix today, as he battled through variable rain and dry conditions steering his McLaren to a second win of the season.

His team mate Lewis Hamilton battled on into 2nd place, and they were joined on the podium by Nico Rosberg who led for part of the Grand Prix.

Race Review

Fernando Alonso appeared to get the best start, jumping the two Red Bull racing cars of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.  However jump was appropriate as the Spaniard had been judged to have jumped the start, and was handed a drive through penalty.

The cars spent the early few laps snaking around the circuit as light rain spots fell making it difficult for some.

Tonio Liuzzi got it all wrong on the first lap and slammed into Kamui Kobayashi and Sebastien Buemi, nearly knocking Rubens Barrichello out of the race too.

Some of the teams decided to pit for intermediate tyres, and some stayed out.  Those that remained on track seemed to have played a brilliant hand, as Nico Rosberg on the slicks set far and away better lap times than many others, including his own team mate Michael Schumacher who admitted he jumped onto the wet tyres too quickly.

As their intermediate tyres wore down they were forced to pit again, and those at the front, including Rosberg and Robert Kubica pulled well clear of the ailing field.  By this point, Fernando Alonso had been into the pits an astonishing 3 times, but the final time he had managed to slip passed his team mate on the pit entrance to get a better position and not be held up at the stop.

Speaking of dangerous pitstops, it is of great surprise Sebastian Vettel nor Lewis Hamilton were penalised for their pitstop incident where Hamilton was released into the path of Vettel, yielding slightly he raced neck and neck down the pitlane with the German forcing him towards air guns and mechanics before drag racing down to the first corner.   Hamilton once again not penalised, nor was he for forcing Mark Webber off track when the safety car came in following Jaime Alguersuari’s accident with Bruno Senna.

That safety car restart was a congested one as new leader Button forced everyone to standstill at the hairpin before the main straight causing a big back up and nearly some huge accidents.  Uncalled for, and in contravention of rules once again.

Drivers battled through from the back and Lewis Hamilton managed to squeeze into 2nd place, with a great battle with the ailing former hero Michael Schumacher who seemed to go backwards all afternoon in the Mercedes eventually clinging on to one point.

Fernando Alonso had a stellar drive into 4th, unlucky to miss out on a podium.  Kubica ended 5th with team mate Petrov 7th.

Red Bull really threw this race away and only ended up in 6th and 8th.  A poor afternoon by all accounts.

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 J. Button McLaren
2 L.Hamilton McLaren +1.530
3 N. Rosberg Mercedes GP +9.484
4 F. Alonso Ferrari +11.869
5 R. Kubica Renault +22.213
6 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault +33.310
7 V. Petrov Renault +47.600
8 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +52.172
9 F. Massa Ferrari +57.796
10 M. Schumacher Mercedes GP +1.01.749
11 A Sutil Force India Mercedes +1.02.874
12 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1.03.655
13 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.11.416
14 H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth +1 lap
15 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +1 lap
16 B. Senna HRT Cosworth +2 laps
17 K. Chandhok HRT Cosworth +4 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth 27 Hydraulic
L. di Grassi Virgin Cosworth 9 Unknown
P. de La Rosa Sauber Ferrari 8 Engine
S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 1 Accident
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 1 Accident
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 1 Accident
T. Glock Virgin Cosworth 1 Unknown

Post Race Interviews

Jenson Button (McLaren) – 1st:  “For me, it is my best victory – every one you win becomes your best victory but this was was pretty tough conditions.  The good thing is our pace was very good today. It wasn’t just the call of weather, it was good pace. At the end we were two seconds a lap quicker than other people. We will don’t know where we are in the dry, but we will forget about it at the moment.”

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) – 2nd:  “I had quite an eventful race.  Congratulations to Jenson, he did an incredible job and made a better choice on tyres.  It was tough at the beginning, the weather was not easy for making the call to change tyres. I chose very late when I was halfway around the corner and clearly it was not the right choice.  We both did a tremendous job, and it’s down to the awesome job the team are doing. We are working very well and it’s great for the team.”

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP) – 3rd:  “I think it was good call [To stay out on the slick tyres].  I took the advice from the team and my engineer and eventually decided to give it a go and stay out and it turned out to be really good. Out there you want it to stop raining, it was so on edge.  That went really well and it was nice to be leading the race for a long time from there. I got a little more tyre degradation than Jenson.  I made a mistake so he came by, but in general I am really, really happy it is a good step in the right direction.”

Robert Kubica (Renault) – 5th:  “It was an exciting race today and it’s good to have scored some more points.  At the start of the race I made a bad start and lost a lot of positions, but we made the right decision to stay out on slicks when it started to rain and I was able to move up through the field into third place.  However, the critical moment of my race was when the safety car came out, which ended my hopes of a podium because I lost the big lead I had to the cars behind me.  So although I’m happy to finish fifth, I still feel a bit frustrated to have missed a podium.”

Mark Webber (Red Bull) – 8th:  “We got blown away so it was a very difficult grand prix for us.  We weren’t quick enough, simple as that.  They were changeable conditions but it’s the same for everyone, and the car is very sensitive in these conditions if it is not going one way or the other for you. Interesting grand prix.  We know (where we lose out in these conditions) and we have got to improve it.”

Pedro de La Rosa (Sauber) – Ret:  “Of course I am deeply disappointed.   We made all the right tyre decisions. I started on slicks and managed to stay out in the drizzle. I enjoyed overtaking and then I was in fourth.  When you are in a situation like this you really have to finish. We missed a great chance today.  I don’t know what exactly happened.  I felt there was something wrong with the engine and then stopped in Turn 9.”

Tony Fernandes – Team boss of Lotus: “I’m really happy today as we’ve accomplished what we said we’d do,” said Fernandes after Heikki Kovalainen finished in 14th position, one place head of Nico Hulkenberg.  We wanted to see at least one car cross the line for the first four races, and we’ve done that, but it’s kind of bitter sweet today.  It’s obviously a great result for Heikki but a real shame for Jarno as he seems to take the brunt of the issues – it’s a bit odd as it does seem to be just his car.  The conditions today made it very tense out there and it’s very satisfying, and shows how we’re progressing, that today we were racing Williams, who we beat on track.”

Malaysian GP 2010: Red Bull Romp Home 1-2 As Rivals Struggle In Malaysian Heat

Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber led home a dominant 1-2 finish in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix as their major rivals from Ferrari and McLaren suffered, and many fell by the wayside with reliability problems.

Nico Rosberg was 3rd, proving Mercedes Benz with a much needed podium finish.

Race Review

The rain that was expected did not come today in Malaysia, instead it was a very hot and dry race.  With the big guns starting at the back overtaking was expected, but as we dived into the first corner it was Sebastian Vettel off the front who took advantage of Mark Webber’s poor driving early on and took a beautiful gap to get 1st place off the Australian, a position the young German would hold until the end of the GP.

Michael Schumacher took advantage at the start too, his wide line allowing him to get up into 6th place, while others at the back had to avoid the stranded Rubens Barrichello who stalled on the line.

The McLaren’s and Felipe Massa made good early overtakes, but Fernando Alonso got a bit stuck on the outside of turn 1, and his lack of drive and overtaking meant that spectators were concerned for a problem with the Ferrari, and indeed there was one as Alonso’s gearbox was broken on the downshifts.  He continued to race however.

Timo Glock lost the car early on, spinning and hitting the Lotus of Jarno Trulli, knocking the German out of the race.  Later on Heikki Kovalainen made a very poor overtake on Lucas di Grassi damaging both of their cars and later forcing the Finn to retire at Lotus’ home GP.

Lewis Hamilton cut through the field with a series of quality overtakes, while the other big 3 were still stuck at the back.  His tactics in weaving across the road to block Vitaly Petrov, the young Russian, were unfair and only earnt him a warning when in truth it should have earnt him a drive through penalty.  That was the only blemish on his good record today.

Jenson Button’s early pitstop proved there was pace on the option tyre, which led many to be surprised that Ferrari left Massa and Alonso out for so long knocking around doing very slow laps on the hard tyre.  When the pair finally pitted, they were brilliantly quick and made up positions.

Kamui Kobayashi looked to have good pace this weekend but once again the reliability of the sauber was poor and he had to retire, his team mate Pedro de La Rosa retired before he even got to the grid with engine failure.  Tonio Liuzzi and Vitaly Petrov both retired from good races with seeming engine troubles at one of the hottest Grand Prix of the year.

Michael Schumacher had a good race until his retirement, a loose wheelnut which flew off early on causing the former 7 time world champion to make evasive action to bring the Mercedes under control.  He will be bitterly disappointed as his pace is nearly there.

Late on in the race while challenging Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari finally gave up, sparks flew out of the back into turn 1, before plumes of smoke and bits of Ferrari engine were deposited around turn 2 and the straight into turn 3, the Spaniard’s disappointing day ended on a grass verge.  His team mate managed to salvage points and is now in the lead of the constructors championship.

Jaime Alguersuari completed some fantastic overtaking moves, and scored his first ever career points, team mate Sebastien Buemi got 11th.

HRT managed to get both cars to the finish with Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna completing a solid, if slow race to 15th and 16th.

Classified Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 S. Vettel Red Bull Renault
2 M. Webber Red Bull Renault +4.8
3 N. Rosberg Mercedes Benz +13.5
4 R. Kubica Renault +18.5
5 A. Sutil Force India Mercedes +21.0
6 L. Hamilton McLaren Mercedes +23.4
7 F. Massa Ferrari +27.0
8 J. Button McLaren Mercedes +37.9
9 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.10.6
10 N. Hulkenberg Williams Cosworth +1.13.0
11 S. Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari +1.18.9
12 R. Barrichello Williams Cosworth +1 lap
13 F. Alonso* Ferrari +2 laps
14 L. Di Grassi Virgin Cosworth +3 laps
15 K. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth +3 laps
16 B. Senna HRT-Cosworth +4 laps
17 J. Trulli Lotus Cosworth +5 laps

* Fernando Alonso did not complete the race due to engine failure but is still classified as he was far enough ahead of the other drivers below him.


Driver Team Lap Reason
H. Kovalainen Lotus Cosworth 46 Damage due to puncture
V. Petrov Renault 32 Mechanical
V. Liuzzi Force India Mercedes 12 Engine
M. Schumacher Mercedes Benz 9 Wheel nut failure
K. Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 8 Engine
T. Glock Virgin Cosworth 2 Accident
P. de La Rosa Sauber Ferrari 0 Engine*

* Pedro de La Rosa’s engine faliure occured on the pre-parade lap.

Post Race Interviews

Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Renault (1st):”What a day.  Yesterday was extremely difficult. We had a magnificent car, and the key once again was to pace yourself, but Bridgestone did a good job bringing two compounds here that worked fairly well.  At the end of the day a very good result for us and for myself after two races where I didn’t finish where I wanted to be. It was crucial for the team not to panic and to stay relaxed. It is a long season but this is the best result we could get and on top of that Mark getting second place is a big plus for the team and a lot of points.”

Mark Webber – Red Bull Renault (2nd):“We know these days with the strategy and the way the race unfolds the first part of race is crucial. I got a little bit of wheel-spin and on the run to first corner Seb had a big tow.  I didn’t really know where Nico was either, I didn’t know whether to go middle or left, so I braked late, I had a bit of a better exit and the fight continued up to Turn 4.  We had a chat with Christian Horner at start and he said ‘Behave yourselves’ and we did. The spirit and chemistry in our team is awesome.”

Nico Rosberg – Mercedes Benz (3rd): “It is a fantastic result for us today.  I am quite pleased but unfortunately the start didn’t go too well, it was quite a lot down to me, I got too much wheelspin and lost out.   Once onto prime tyres I was comfortable. I was a bit worried about [Lewis] Hamilton initially and I was expecting him to be fast but he didn’t get past people behind me.  I have to thank the team for the work put in over the winter. We definitely need to push on as we are not where we need to be.”

Adrian Sutil – Force India Mercedes (5th):  “The race was exciting and fifth place in the end was a great achievement.  I was hoping for a good race as we were so close in the first two races but then had a little bit of back luck that stopped us scoring. It was a good overall performance from the team.  It was always very close with Lewis just behind in the closing stages but I knew that if I didn’t make any mistakes I wouldn’t have any problems, so it was just trying to concentrate. I had to push, of course, but it was under control.”

Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes (8th):  “I got a terrible start and I think I made a mistake going to the option tyre because I had no rear grip at all. In the high speed it was terrible.  So I just couldn’t overtake. I lost a lot of time at the start.   I never realised fighting for eighth was going to be so difficult, but it’s good to get some points. I went for the outside at the first corner and it wasn’t the place to be. I lost a lot of places there.”

Jaime Alguersuari – Toro Rosso Ferrari (9th):  “I am very happy to have scored points today and I have to say I never expected to do it so early in the season.  A big thanks to everyone in the team who have worked so hard to achieve this result.  Step by step, I have improved my performance, but this weekend was very tough because I didn’t know the track. I enjoyed this race, especially the fights I had with some of the others: I think I learned a bit about the art of fighting with Michael (Schumacher) last weekend in Melbourne.  Towards the end, I was a bit worried about how the tyres would last, as I was on the soft ones, but I had no degradation. It is very satisfying and I feel a lot more confident now going into the upcoming races.”

Rubens Barrichello – Williams Cosworth (12th):  “I don’t know what happened at the start, I’ll go through that with the team.  From there I went to the back of the field. We tried a different strategy to get us back up, but our car was just not competitive.  We lost a nice opportunity today.”

Fernando Alonso – Ferrari (Ret):  “From the start things went wrong.  On the formation lap my gearbox broke and I had no clutch during the race, so I had to brake in a weird way.  I had to first gear down and then push the throttle hard so it would engage the gear for that corner.  So it was probably the hardest race of my whole life in terms of driving, because I had to improvise for every corner. But even so we were going to get a few points, which in the end was not possible because of the engine.  But if the gearbox and then the engine are going to break, it’s better than in happens when you are ninth than when you are leading and you lose 25 points.”

Eric Boullier – Team Principal of Renault:  “We just raised our point of view [about the Hamilton weaving and blocking].   Very frankly, it is very clear in the regulations that you can have one change of direction, so when you do three in a row something is wrong.  He got a warning for dangerous driving, but I am not sure it is enough. It is definitely clearly written in the regulations that you can not do any more than one direction change, and it is something you should not be doing.”

Bahrain GP 2010: Alonso Wins On Ferrari Debut With Impressive 1-2 For Scuderia

Fernando Alonso got his Ferrari career off to the perfect start with victory in the first round of the 2010 season in Bahrain.

The Spanish driver was followed across the line by team mate Felipe Massa, making it Ferrari’s first 1-2 finish in some time.  The joy was evident on the faces of the mechanics post-race.

Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion was 3rd.

Race Review

The anticipation pre-race was unbearable, following the drivers parade we discovered Ferrari replaced both engines and that the Hispania drivers would start in the pits.

The start of the race was fast and furious as expected, with Fernando Alonso managing to squeeze past Felipe Massa as the Ferrari boys snaked through the first few corners behind Sebastian Vettel – who would go on to pull away into a phenomenal lead.

Further back, Mark Webber’s car blew out lots of smoke with excess oil burn off, blinding Robert Kubica’s path and forcing him and Adrian Sutil to spin off.  In the carnage, Michael Schumacher made the most of it and worked up into 6th, also making a good effort was Vitaly Petrov who ended up on the cusp of the top 10.

On the second lap, Hispania’s Karun Chandhok bowed out of his debut after crashing.  Not the start he hoped for.  A matter of laps later, Nico Hulkenberg another rookie spun off, just managing to save his Williams from the gravel trap.  During this action, Lucas di Grassi pulled off and retired with hydraulic failure – something that would stop a lot of cars today.

The laps counted down, without much action until Robert Kubica pitted for harder compound tyres and lit up the track.  The leaders soon pitted as Kubica’s times tumbled, this first and only pitstop for the majority of the field.  The stop allowed Jenson Button, the current World Champion to get past Australian Mark Webber who had been struggling to keep a good pace following that oil blow off on the first corner of the race.

Kamui Kobayashi retired around this time with a hydraulic issue, the same issue would stop his team mate Pedro de La Rosa on lap 30 – the pair hadn’t had a brilliant weekend although De la Rosa had hooked up good pace in race trim.  On lap 14, Vitaly Petrov retired in his pitbox with front wishbone failure – how it got broken is still a mystery.

The pit stops were quick, with the top 3 all being under 4.5 seconds.

From there on in it was relatively trouble free with only two more retirements, of Bruno Senna whose Cosworth engine sounded rather worse for wear, and just before Timo Glock who retired we believe due to a hydraulic failure.

All was going well for Vettel, despite Fernando Alonso attempting to gain on him after the Ferrari drivers were told to slow down as their engines were overheating in the dirty air.  However, Vettel’s exhaust cracked and the Red Bull driver lost all power, Alonso caught him like his car was on fire and powered on passed – the clean air aiding the Ferrari’s cause.

This clean air allowed Alonso to put in a series of amazing hot laps, he is definitely the one to watch for these first few fly-away races.

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton managed to get passed the ailing Vettel but he did hold off the Mercedes’ of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher who were making large gains on his Red Bull towards the end.

Button and Webber followed Schumacher over the line, and it was Tonio Liuzzi in 9th who had a quiet but consistent race.  Rubens Barrichello held on to 10th to take advantage of the final new point scoring position.

Kubica and Sutil recovered to 11th and 12th respectively following their earlier spins, ahead of Alguersuari and Hulkenberg.

Heikki Kovalainen had a good consistent race for Lotus, overtaking and without technical problems.  He finished ahead of Buemi who retired on the final lap, and Jarno Trulli who struggled to the line with a mechnical issue and also seemingly a seat fitting issue – the Italian was holding his back in pain after getting out of the car on the final lap.

While Alonso will take the glory, and will become the Ferrari fans new hero it is worth mentioning Felipe Massa’s performance finishing 2nd in his first race back following that terrible accident in Hungary last season.

Roll on Australia!

Race Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 F. Alonso Ferrari
2 F. Massa Ferrari +16.099
3 L. Hamilton McLaren +23.182
4 S. Vettel Red Bull Racing +38.713
5 N. Rosberg Mercedes +40.263
6 M. Schumacher Mercedes +44.180
7 J. Button McLaren +45.260
8 M. Webber Red Bull Racing +46.308
9 V. Liuzzi Force India +53.089
10 R. Barrichello Williams +1.02.400
11 R. Kubica Renault +1.09.093
12 A.  Sutil Force India +1.22.958
13 J. Alguersuari Toro Rosso +1.32.656
14 N. Hulkenberg Williams + 1 lap
15 H. Kovalainen Lotus + 1 lap
16 S. Buemi Toro Rosso + 3 laps
17 J. Trulli Lotus + 3 laps


Driver Team Lap Reason
P. De la Rosa Sauber 30 Hydraulic
B. Senna Hispania 18 Engine
T. Glock Virgin 17 Hydraulic
V. Petrov Renault 14 Suspension
K. Kobayashi Sauber 12 Hydraulic
L. di Grassi Virgin 3 Hydraulic
K. Chandhok Hispania 2 Accident

Fastest Lap: F. Alonso 1.58.287

Post Race Interviews
F. Alonso – Ferrari (1st):  “A very special day for me.   Coming back the top of the podium is always special but even more special with Ferrari. We have history behind the team and all the expectations a driver has when he drives for Ferrari.  There is no better way to start the relationship. This is the best team in the world, we worked hard all winter, the guys did a very good job in winter testing.  We have done nothing so far – we only won the first race but to be first and second is the result that the guys in Maranello deserve because they have been working day and night to give us this fantastic car.  This first victory is dedicated to all the people in Italy, the mechanics here and president di Montezemolo. This result is very, very positive.”

F. Massa – Ferrari (2nd):  “First of all I think it is fantastic to be here, so thanks a lot that everything is great.  Being here with a competitive car and going through the whole race with good pace, so thanks to God I am fine and thanks to everybody who was supporting me in a difficult time.  The race was really good and fantastic for us. For sure I didn’t have a good start, I lost an important position to Fernando at the first corner. After that the race was perfect for me on the soft and with the hard.”

L. Hamilton – McLaren (3rd):  I had quite a good race, unfortunately I lost a bit of ground, locked up into Turn 4 and went wide, got in a bad position and Rosberg got past me.  I was then much faster but it’s difficult to follow here and look after the tyres. If I was ahead of him maybe I would have been able to follow the train these guys [the Ferraris] were creating.  It is a strong result for me and the team,” he said. “It was more than we expected. We need to continue to push to keep up with these guys.”

S. Vettel – Red Bull Racing (4th):  “All in all it was a positive except the failure this weekend.   Under any conditions from Saturday morning onwards we were the quickest. I think we had very good control of the race, we had a very good strategy, I knew how my tyres were.  We had quite good control of the tyres and the brakes, everything running smoothly.  I think it was 15-20 laps to the end I just lost power. I don’t know what it was but I think something mechanical broke. Luckily we could continue but we should have won really.”

M. Schumacher – Mercedes Benz (6th):  “It’s the start and then after it is just sort of go your pace and not do mistakes.  Overtaking is basically impossible, other than if somebody makes a mistake – Lewis had a little one so Nico was able to pass him, but got back past at the pitstop. That’s about it.  That’s the action we are going to have with unfortunately this kind of environment of race strategy.  But, anyway, it was good fun. Especially the beginning and now we are going to work forward in order to catch up what is in front of us.”

Robert Kubica – Renault (11th): “All our hard work this weekend was undone by the incident on the first lap.  I think Sutil just didn’t lift off because he couldn’t see anything and he hit me. I spun during the incident and that cooked the rear tyres: they were overheating from that point onwards and I eventually stopped very early on lap 12.  I completed the rest of the race on hard tyres, and that was a big challenge: I just set myself the goal of finishing in the points, but we didn’t quite make it. Without the incident on lap one, I think we would have had a very strong points finish because we showed the pace to fight well.  Overall, it was a positive weekend for us”

Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus (15th): “It was a good race for our team.  To get both cars to the finish is a great achievement. My car didn’t have a single problem, I know Jarno did and managed to nurse his car to the end, but the primary goal was to get both cars to the end and we achieved that. So far the team has reached every goal we set ourselves, so that is fantastic.”

P. De la Rosa – Sauber (Ret):  “I actually had a good start, but then lost positions when I had to go off the track to avoid colliding with other cars. On the grass I lost acceleration and some cars were able to pass, so when I arrived at turn four I had lost several positions.  Then I felt we had a car that was good enough to fight for points, and there still was a chance to achieve this when I was called into the pits on lap 29 because of an hydraulic problem.”

Bruno Senna – Hispania HRT (Ret): “It was certainly a relief to have been in the race for so many laps.  Everything was going well. I felt I had a little too much understeer. I had a good base set-up now after these laps and my engineers will have a better starting point to work from for next race.  There was a vibration from the back of the car a lap earlier and then the car suddenly stopped. We’ll have to investigate what happened.  But I am very happy for the whole team for their incredible hard work to ensure we are in a position to be racing again in Melbourne.”

Lucas di Grassi – Virgin Racing (Ret): “I got a great start and the car was feeling pretty good. I think we could have had a good race with the car that we had but then just a few laps into the race I had to pull over in turn 9 and my race was over before it had really begun. There’s no point being downhearted. We’ll be back in Melbourne with some new developments and a fix for the problems we experienced here. It’s race one of 19 and there’s a long way to go yet. I would like to thank the team for an incredible job here and over the past few months. It’s been a huge effort and I hope for a better result for the whole team in Australia in two weeks’ time.”