Tag Archives: sebastian vettel

2012 Malaysia GP Preview: McLaren Vs Red Bull?


The Australian GP a few days ago was a superb way to start the 2012 season as we finally got to see which teams have produced a competitive car. The Red Bull has been the clear dominant car of the past two seasons, but this year all indicators strongly suggest this is not the case. In fact, after Qualifying last Saturday, it seemed McLaren might be dominant, but Red Bull’s race pace showed they are very close to McLaren. So, will this continue at Sepang this weekend?

For the past two seasons, at least, Red Bull have performed well at circuits with high speed corners largely due to their exhaust-blown diffusers, so it will interesting to see if they are still best in class aerodynamically at these tracks, e.g. Sepang. The Barcelona track, where the F1 teams tested, is a much better indicator than Albert Park of performance at this type of track. If so, then Lotus could be much more in the mix than they were in Australia.

Mercedes look like they have a good qualifying car with their DRS system, but their race pace is not quite there. Williams looked refreshingly quick and that is great to see. Unfortunately, it is not good to see Ferrari struggling so much. I am sure they will bounce back, but it could take some time. Alonso’s drive in Australia was superb, all things considered, but what is going on with Massa?! He looked very ill at ease with the car, he was slow and was chewing up his tyres.

McLaren could perhaps be the dominant car this season as the close race in Australia masked them managing a fuel issue. So maybe this year’s championship will be Button Vs Hamilton? When they needed to up their pace, McLaren seemed to be able to do that easily in Australia, however, having said that, Hamilton struggled to have a go at passing Vettel after the safety car. If he was much quicker then he would have been a lot closer to Vettel’s rear wing. Perhaps the McLaren is quicker in the first few laps of a stint but once the tyres start to wear they are pretty close to the Red Bulls?

In any case, I will be at the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend, sitting in the stand at the first corner and will be able to report back. Here’s hoping for another exciting race!

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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!

Vettel to become 2011 World Champion in Japan


With one week to go until the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix and leading by 112 points, Vettel must know how close he is to becoming World Champion two years in a row. It is not a question any more of IF he can do it, it is now WHEN he will be crowned the 2011 F1 World Champion.

Vettel can become World Champion in Singapore if:


  • Vettel is 2nd AND Alonso is 8th or lower AND neither Jenson Button nor Mark Webber finish 6th or higher

  • Vettel is 3rd AND Alonso is 9th or lower AND neither Jenson Button nor Mark Webber finish 8th or higher
If Vettel finishes 4th or lower, he cannot become World Champion in Singapore, even if second placed Alonso fails to finish.
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So, if Vettel wins again in Singapore he stands a good chance of becoming World Champion, but it is more likely that he will officially become World Champion at the following race in Japan.
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What Needs to be Done to Beat Vettel?


by Jake McMillan

The 2011 Belgian Grand Prix yesterday was a very entertaining race, but another sight of the Vettel victory finger means that is now extremely difficult for anyone to stop him achieving another F1 Championship.

Yesterday’s result means that Massa (on 74 points) cannot win the Championship now, but there is still a mathematical chance for Webber (167 points), Alonso (157 points), Button (149 points) and Hamilton (146 points). A closer look at the mathematical position reveals the following:

  • The earliest Vettel could potentially win the Championship is in Singapore (2 races time)
  • If second placed Webber won ALL the remaining races, Vettel would need to average 4th place (12 pts) to still win Championship
  • If Alonso, Button or Hamilton won ALL the remaining races, Vettel would need to average 5th place (10 pts) to still win Championship (note: 10.4pts in case of Alonso)
The likelihood of one of these 4 drivers winning ALL the remaining 7 races is extremely unlikely and it is more probable that these will be split between them making it is very easy for Vettel to win the Championship. If he took a a very cautious approach and finished in 6th place at each remaining race, he would still be world champion even if Webber won 3 races and finished 2nd in the other four! 
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Even if he has one retirement (DNF), he can still average 6th place and will still likely be World Champion if the wins are shared between the other four drivers.
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Conclusion: For Vettel to be beaten to the 2011 F1 World Championship crown, the following has to happen at the very minimum:
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– Vettel needs at least one DNF
– Webber needs to win at least 3 of remaining 7 races
– Alonso needs to win at least 4 of remaining 7 races
– Button & Hamilton need to win at least 5 of remaining 7 races
– A miracle
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What was Webber supposed to have done?


The coming together of the Red Bull’s of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend has become a massive talking point, a somewhat controversial incident that has multiplied in size due to the poor handling of the situation by Red Bull management.

Today Vettel and Webber met with each other and senior Red Bull Racing management to talk through what happened and ‘draw a line under the incident’. Both drivers made positive comments and talked about moving on. Webber stated ‘Seb and I will make sure it doesn’t happen again’. However, for this to realistically happen, they must have agreed on how and why the incident happened.

Like many other F1 fans, I watched the incident live on TV and then have seen it again and again on replay from every angle (UK users only) and I keep coming back to the same conclusion: Mark Webber did nothing wrong. I really find it hard to understand any criticism of his part in the incident.

I must also stress that I am not a particular Mark Webber fan and admire both him and Vettel equally. In fact, ignoring my tongue-in-cheek post about Vettel’s heritage, I really quite like Sebastian Vettel, both his driving and the way he conducts himself as a person. He seems like a really nice and uber-talented guy. However, last Sunday he got it wrong.

There are two ways of looking at the incident, firstly, you can analyse what did happen and secondly, you can make the assumption that Webber was at fault and then assess what he should have done instead.

As we all have seen now too many times, Vettel made a pass to Webber’s left as they came towards turn 12 on lap 40 of the Turkish Grand Prix. Webber had spotted Vettel’s run at him and had stayed to the left, giving him just enough room on the left to make a pass but left lots of room to the right. Basically he was covering the inside line and if Vettel was going to pass, he wanted him to do it from the outside.

Once it was clear to Webber that Vettel was trying to pass on the left he stayed straight, his car did not deviate. Watch the footage and see how twitchy Vettel is in his car compared to Webber who maintains his line. Before they get to the 150m marker Vettel , who is not yet passed Webber completely, moves sharply to the right and they collide and have their accident.

Some have been critical that Webber was at fault because he ‘squeezed’ Vettel on the left hand side. Vettel chose the tight left hand side to pass Webber (he could have gone right where there was lots of space) and Mark simply held his course.

In Webber’s mind, if Vettel had to take the corner on a tighter line then he had a chance of braking later than him and overtaking him back. It is important to remember, the accident occurred because Vettel turned right quickly and Webber had no time to react to that. They had not yet reached their braking points so Vettel could have waited a little longer, until he was fully passed Webber, before moving over to the right to take a better line through turn 12.

So, from analysing what happened, it is clear to me that Vettel was at fault for the accident. Webber was hard but fair; something a racing driver should be with his teammate.

If we make the assumption that Webber was to blame, then we must have an answer as to what he was supposed to have done instead. It is argued he should have given Vettel more room. As soon as Vettel came up the inside he should have moved over to the right. This would have absolutely gifted the corner to Vettel as he could also move right and take a more normal line into turn 12. If Webber had done this, he would have been severely criticised for being a weak racing driver. He is leading the Championship and there is no reason why he should make it easy for his closest rival to overtake him.

Some have said that when Vettel moved right he should moved right too. However, Vettel moves across so quickly he did not have time to react and you can see him tying to move right when he realises Vettel is going to hit him.

Sebastian had made a good pass on Mark Webber, but he hadn’t actually finished the pass when he moved to the right, that’s why the accident happened. Mark Webber did not do anything wrong and if I was him I would be quite angry that he has been given any blame whatsoever for the incident. What else was he supposed to have done?

The Barcelona car updates, have the cars really improved?


After the first 4 ‘fly away races’ (Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia & China), the teams have been adding new bits and pieces to their cars to improve performance for the 2010 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona (circuit de catalunya). But how much have they improved, if at all?

This is rather hard to judge as there is no real baseline to compare. However, the teams all visited the Barcelona track at the final pre-season test at the end of February.

Comparing the fastest lap times from that 4-day test with their qualifying lap times at the Grand Prix shows some rather interesting results. Obviously the track conditions were not exactly the same in February, but their relative performance differences between the two times are somewhat revealing and also quite confusing.

You would expect that the times at the Grand Prix with dry and warm conditions when the drivers are really pushing it as much as they can in the new improved cars that their times would be a lot faster?

Driver Team Spanish GP Qualifying Time Pre-Season Best Time Change
Mark Webber Red Bull 1m19.995s 1m20.479s -0.484s
Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m20.101s 1m20.667s -0.566s
Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1m20.829s 1m20.472s +0.357s
Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.937s 1m20.637s +0.300s
Jenson Button McLaren 1m20.991s 1m21.450s -0.459s
Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.294s 1m20.745s +0.549s
Robert Kubica Renault 1m21.353s 1m23.175s -1.822s
Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.408s 1m20.686s +0.722s
Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.585s 1m20.539s +1.046s
Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1m21.725s 1m20.911s +0.814s
Adrian Sutil Force India 1m21.985s 1m20.611s +1.374s
Pedro de la Rosa Sauber 1m22.026s 1m20.973s +1.053s
Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1m22.131s 1m20.614s +1.517s
Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.139s 1m22.523s -0.384s
Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1m22.191s 1m21.413s +0.778s
Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1m22.207s 1m21.571s +0.636s
Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India 1m22.854s 1m21.056s +1.798s
Rubens Barrichello Williams 1m23.125s 1m20.870s +2.255s
Jarno Trulli Lotus 1m24.674s 1m25.059s -0.385s
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1m24.748s 1m25.251s -0.503s
Timo Glock Virgin 1m25.475s 1m25.942s -0.467s
Lucas di Grassi Virgin 1m25.556s 1m26.160s -0.604s
Karun Chandhok Hispania 1m26.750s DNA N/A
Bruno Senna Hispania 1m27.122s DNA N/A

Surprisingly only 4 teams (Redbull, Renault, Lotus and Virgin) had improved times at Barcelona this weekend. All other teams had slower times (Jenson Button being the only exception).

Redbull’s improvement is very impressive, with both drivers able to deliver times half a second quicker than they went at the end of February. Lotus and Virgin both show half a second improvement which suggests that Lotus’s new changes are not as advanced as they hoped for.

The biggest change is Robert Kubica’s Renualt with a nearly 2 second improvement, whereas his teammate Petrov was only able to achieve a 0.4secs improvement.

Williams have a lot to be concerned about as Hulkenberg was a massive 1.5secs slower and Barrichello a horrendous 2.255secs slower. The Force India cars were 1.5secs slower on average, Sauber about one second slower , Toro Rosso 0.7secs slower and Mercedes just over half a second slower. The Ferrari of Alonso and Hamilton’s McLaren were at least three tenths slower.

So does this mean the team’s improvements have actually made their cars worse? Well, track conditions have to be factored in, but certainly don’t explain all the difference. It could also be speculated that during the pre-season test some teams ran low fuel using a lower ride height (i.e. not also being set up for a full tank of fuel as they do in qualifying).

Whatever the reason, one thing is very clear, Red Bull are simply doing a better job at developing their car than anyone else.

Who YOU think will be leading the Championship after 5 races?


An interesting statistic was raised by the BBC Formula 1 coverage earlier today that whoever has been leading the Championship after only 4 races has gone on to be Champion in 15 out of the last 20 years.

From just before the start of the first Grand Prix in Bahrain until just before this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix I ran a poll on this blog asking who you think will be leading the championship after 5 races.

The voting was reasonably close, but Alonso emerged as a winner with 30% of you predicting him to be leading after the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Jeremy Clarkson’s son, Sebastian Vettel, came second with 22% of the votes and Lewis Hamilton third with 17%.

Although Massa is currently leading the championship (after 3 races) by 2 points, only 13% of you think he will still be leading in 2 races time. Michael Schumacher received a few votes, but his teammate Nico Rosberg, who has been outperforming him, received no votes at all. Neither did Mark Webber?