Tag Archives: 2012

2011 Vs 2012 Cars


by Jake McMillan

As we are now 6 races into the 2012 F1 season, we can start to make a comparison of the speed of 2012 cars compared to 2011. Rule changes, e.g. banning of engine-blown diffusers, led people to predict 2012 cars would be significantly slower, but no one was sure by how much? Some suggested blown diffusers gave an advantage of 1.5-2 seconds a lap. However, the relentless pace of technology and development in F1 means this would be recaptured to some degree through new innovation.

By comparing pole positions and fastest laps of races this year with those of last year we can begin to get an understanding of the relative pace of the cars. Of course, comparing times from one year to the next is not exactly comparing like for like as track temperatures, tyres and other variables will be different. However, we can analyse if any trends exist and make conclusions from that.

The first 4 races (ignoring Bahrain as there was no race there in 2011) in 2012 showed that pole position in each case was 1.3-1.4 seconds slower than the 2011 pole positions. The pole at Monaco this year was only 0.745 slower than in 2011 and this could reflect the improvements in the cars or perhaps the smaller gap is explained by Monaco relying more on mechanical grip than aerodynamic grip.

The fastest laps this year have been closer to 2011 times than pole position times. The fastest laps in Malaysia and Australia were only 0.15 and 0.24 secs, respectively, slower than the fastest laps set the previous year. However, at China it was almost a second slower, whereas in Spain the fastest lap was actually half a second quicker than the 2011 time. Monaco was slower than 2011 by just over a second, but this could partly be explained by most teams only one-stopping.

The trend seems to suggest that in qualifying mode, F1 cars are about 1.3secs a lap slower than last year but in race trim are only 0.2secs a lap slower. We shall monitor this as the season progresses.

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Interview with Fernando Alonso


by Jake McMillan

I visited Maranello yesterday and caught up with Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso in a quiet cafe to chat to him about the upcoming 2012 F1 season and life in general.

JM: Mr Alonso, always good to see you. How are you feeling about the upcoming season?

FA: Jake, you can call me Ferdie, you know this [touches my leg]

JM: I told you! [removes hand] Not whilst we are working.

FA: But Jake baby, you know you make my inner bull crazy [tries to touch leg again but JM smacks it] okay, I am looking forward to this season as much as I am looking to forward to our sexy time.

JM: Fernando!!

FA: I love it when my little torito gets all angry … okay, Jake baby, I tell you, then we do boom boom. I was pleased how things went at the test in Jerez, we got through all our testing programme and understand better how to set up the car.

JM: A lot of people say the stepped platypus nose of this year’s Ferrari is rather unnattractive.

FA: Well, some say this, but then my nose is not that pretty and I am super quick and I know you think I am beautiful, don’t you? My little torito baby.

JM: Fernando! Do you think this year’s championship will be closer than last year’s?

FA: Absolutely. Red Bull will be quick of course, but because we don’t have blown diffusers I expect McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all to be very close. Even some other teams may be up there. Lotus looked quick straight out of the box.

JM: With the return of Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus, there will be 6 World Champions on the grid. Does this make it more exciting?

FA: Not quite as exciting as your cheeky face, my little torito, but yes very much. We are in a golden era of Formula 1 with many top level drivers. It will make it difficult to win, but then you get the greatest satisfaction from achieving a great result against the greatest competition.

JM: Will Ferrari win at the first Grand Prix at Australia?

FA: I hope so, we will try very hard. … Can we finish now? Me have horn of giant bull.

JM: Sure, get your pants off.

2012 F1 Testing Begins!


by Jake McMillan


Hoorah, with the 2012 Formula 1 testing beginning at Jerez tomorrow we will finally get a little bit of F1 action! However, as I have warned before, we all need to be very careful about over-analysing the relative performance of the teams. Testing is exactly what it says with teams testing and fine-tuning the performance of the cars. Some things will work and some won’t.

Unless one team is significantly much faster throughout a test session, or is significantly off the pace, we will not know which team is really quickest until we get to Melbourne next month. Despite knowing this, we all get sucked in every year, trying to guess which team will be the fastest. This is okay as long as we  remember that it is just a guess:

  • Teams will be running different fuel loads from each other
  • Teams seeking sponsorship will inevitably want to appear quick by doing more low fuel runs
  • The cars will be developed further between the tests and the first race so until we get to Melbourne we really don’t know
  • All teams ‘sandbag’ to varying degrees

F1 2012 – Time to Start Getting Excited


by Jake McMillan

It seems like it’s been forever since we had the last F1 race, but with the first F1 Pre-Season Test only two weeks away, it is time to start getting excited. In fact, there are a number of reasons to get excited about the upcoming 2012 Formula 1 Season:

  • Teams more closely matched: As the rules have not changed massively for 2012 everyone expects the teams, especially at the top, to be more closely matched than in 2011. It’s very unlikely we will see the dominance of one driver or one team like we did with Vettel and Red Bull last year. Ferrari and Mercedes are both expected to do better this year. But will they?
  • The return of Kimi Raikkonen: He’s unlikely to be quick from the get go, but it will be fascinating to see how he gets on in his first season back in F1. Will he have the hunger? Will he smile?
  • A Senna back in a Williams: Although it is a time for rebuilding at Williams, it will be great to see Bruno Senna in a more competitive car and with a very professional team to see what kind of potential he really has?
  • Rivalries: So many of them up and down the pack – Can Webber be more on pace with Vettel this year? If Massa doesn’t run Alonso closer this year then he will likely be out of Ferrari at the end of the year; Will Massa and Hamilton manage to avoid touching each other? Button Vs Hamilton, who will come out on top this year? Schumacher Vs Rosberg; Paul di Resta Vs Hulkenberg … the list goes on.
  • How will Caterham do? Caterham (formerly Team Lotus) were floating between the teams at the back and the mid-runners last year. They expect, as do most of us, that they will be closer to, if not part of, the middle of the pack in 2012. Would be good to see.

Plus there is the Malaysian Grand Prix to be excited about. Well, for me, anyway, as I am going to Malaysia to watch it for the first time and I cannot wait!