Monthly Archives: August 2010

Belgian Weather Sees Kovalainen Extend Lead

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, BELGIUM - AUGUST 27: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland and Lotus drives during practice for the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on August 27, 2010 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Belgian Grand Prix

Spa never disappoints and there was no difference this year as the weather helped to provide one of the races of the season.

Qualifying was crazy enough. Q1 saw rain disrupt the session, with Timo Glock being as high as 10th and even Sakon Yamamoto in 13th for a while. However as the track dried out they tumbled down the order, but mistakes from Sauber drivers Kobayashi and de la Rosa, as well as the early session spin from Petrov, allowed Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen to qualify for Q2 for the second time this season. Elsewhere there was contact between Jarno Trulli and Lucas di Grassi which saw no action for Trulli.

In Q2, Glock was outqualified by Kovalainen after no real shocks. However it wouldn’t end there as Glock would be penalised five places for ‘blocking’ Yamamoto. Other penalties meant Lotus would line up in 13th and 15h. Yamamoto started in his seasons best 19th while Glock ended up in 20th.

It was a crazy start to the race and by the time the safety car had come out the order was all over the place. The advantage held by Kovalainen had been lost and drivers found themselves in the mix alongside seasoned drivers and team. Eventually they were left alone apart from the occasional visit from Vettel after his penalites/pit stops.

The only retirement from the six was Bruno Senna, who spun out early on and eventually retiring in the pits.

Towards the end, Jarno Trulli was all set for winning, but a spin cost him massively, allowing his team mate Kovalainen through for yet another win.

Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 16th 10
2 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 17th 6
3 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 18th 4
4 Jarno Trulli Lotus 19th 3
5 Sakon Yamamoto Hispania 20th 2
6 Bruno Senna Hispania Ret. 0

 

Standings

Drivers Championship

It is looking very one sided at the moment. Heikki Kovalainen has now got a 20 point gap on his team mate. Karun Chandhok has finally lost his second place as Trulli moves up into second, and with the two Virgin Racing boys just behind, he is looking likely to be down to 5th by the end of the European leg. The spin by Trulli cost him eight points and is now just 4 points ahead of di Grassi and Glock. Bruno Senna is comfortably in 6th and Sakon Yamamoto is well at the back.

  Driver Team Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 66
2 Jarno Trulli Lotus 46
3 Karun Chandhok Hispania 45
4 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 42
  Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 42
6 Bruno Senna Hispania 22
7 Sakon Yamamoto Hispania 5

 

Teams Championship

I feel we should just hand the trophy to Lotus. Now a 28 point gap to Virgin. The three are much more spread out now, with a it being clear who is the quicker.

  Team Points
1 Lotus 112
2 Virgin Racing 84
3 Hispania 72
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The World Invited

4875858472_6ce750595c_o For a few months now, you may have noticed a little red box at the side of this page saying ‘Back The Bid’. This is something that the whole nation seems to be getting behind, whether you are in any of the eleven host cities or just in England in general. This is backing the bid for the 2018 World Cup to be held in the so called home of football.

Yes, England has hosted it once before, back in 1966 for the only time the World Cup has reached these shores. I’m sure everyone is aware of it, even if you were not born back then, with the fans on the pitch and they think its all over. It was a success, but still 1966 is the one time England have hosted the World Cup.

Italy have hosted it twice, Germany have hosted it twice, France have hosted it twice, Mexico have hosted it twice and Brazil will be all set to host it twice come 2014. It is time that England has the chance to be able to do things all over again for the second time in the 88 year history of the tournament in 2018.

And you know what, everything is all perfectly set up to allow England host the World Cup.

The host cities and all the venues are more or less perfectly set up. And this is why each and every place is perfect.

The structure for eleven of the venues is pretty much already there, Wembley, Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium need no development to it. Then there is the City of Manchester Stadium which can go up to 70,000. The two north east stadiums of St. James Park and the Stadium of Light are all set to be bigger than 60,000 and there is the improvement of Villa Park, Elland Road, Hillsborough, Stadium:mk and Home Park to make it suitable for World Cup standards.

And then there are the new stadiums. In London, the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium has been proposed, a promising looking stadium to be the third venue inside the capital, and if that doesn’t work, there is always the possibility of the Olympic Stadium, which is all scheduled to still be in use after the games in 2010, with West Ham looking to be likely owners. And then there are the new stadiums planned for Nottingham and Bristol, all set to be built if England win the right to host these games.

All the stadiums are fantastic (yes, even the Emirates), all will be modern. Some retain the traditional style of English stadiums, the likes of Villa Park and Anfield. Without doubt, England has the best set of stadiums of any of the potential 2018 and even 2022 candidates.

Sure, the USA have all their stadiums, but they won’t be full. Right now the average MLS attendance at each of the 16 teams in the league is only 16,595 (calculated by mls-daily.com). The World Cup will bring in new fans and of course foreign support, but empty seats looked bad at South Africa this year, there is no chance that you can realistically achieve 70,000+ attendances for all 64 games, especially if the likes of Greece and South Korea decide to play each other.

There is only two other bids that concerns me, I like Spain-Portugal. But one thing for sure is that there is a seemingly lack of venues coming from Portugal, which could affect them in the long run and the fact it would be the Spanish third world cup they have hosted. And there is Russia, a bid which I reckon will run England close. Russia is an improving football nation, the performance at Euro 2008 was impressive, they are getting into this sport, they’ve got some good venues planned, and more importantly, like the way they did with South Africa, is breaking some new ground, Russia is the biggest county on earth, give it the World Cup and it could boost football massively there.

But in the end, there is only one seemingly logical option, and that is England, home of the best places in the world. London, the capital, the centre of the bid. The beauty and totally football mad location of NewcastleGateshead. The youthful feel of Milton Keynes and the sporting city of Birmingham. Even Sunderland is brilliant.

Transport is good, with the airports and roads more than capable to handle to influx of visitors to each of the host cities. Infrastructure is perfect, what more do you want. Eight years until the proposed games and everything is already pretty much set up.

The big names are behind it, from the president of the FA Prince William, to cricketer Andrew Flintoff and golfer Lee Westwood and even that famous predicting octopus from Weymouth, Paul.

Everyone in England should be behind this, from the Olympics in 2012, the two codes of Rugby having the World Cup here in 2013 and 2015 and the Cricket World Cup in 2019. What better way to top it all off than the FIFA World Cup in 2018. A perfect decade of sport.

England United, and the whole world is invited.

New Team Championship Mid-Season Review: The Drivers

It’s the summer break, twelve races down and just seven more to go in this season. Now, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and the like can battle all they like for the World Championship, the only one I care about however is the one involving Lotus, Hispania and Virgin Racing. Its been an interesting twelve races, some have been mighty impressive, others have failed to shine. So here we look at the seven drivers who have raced so far this season:

Sakon Yamamoto:

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 24: Sakon Yamamoto of Japan and Hispania Racing Team prepares to drive during qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 24, 2010 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images) Hispania. 7th place, 3 points.

He could go down as one of the most unpopular drivers on the grid. None his own doing, he just happens to have a bag of cash to help the struggling Hispania along. But he replaced two of the most popular drivers on the grid and compared to both of them, has looked distinctly average. He has set the slowest time in all three of his races and was last in both races he finished. The race in Germany was a particular low, switching on the pitlane limiter to start the race and retiring by pressing the fire extinguisher switch. Not impressive at all.

Bruno Senna:

July 29, 2010 - Budapest, Hungary - BRUNO SENNA (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT), Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations.

Hispania. 6th place, 22 points.

It is a slow car the Hispania, but Karun Chandhok has shown how to score high points despite all of that. Sadly however, Senna hasn’t managed to match the reliability of Chandhok. He has six retirements to his name in just eleven races, the worst start to finish ratio out of anyone. Sure his lack of race seat at Silverstone didn’t help, but he would still be comfortably in sixth place either way. The issue with Senna is when he does finish, so does everyone else.

Lucas di Grassi:

Apr. 01, 2010 - Sepang, Malaysia - (L to R): Bruno Senna (BRA) Hispania Racing F1 Team (HRT) with LUCAS DI GRASSI (BRA) Virgin Racing..Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations.

Virgin Racing. 5th place, 36 points.

Looking at the facts, it hasn’t been too bad for di Grassi. Only recently has his team mate overtaken him and the standings and he certainly hasn’t been humiliated by him either. Yes, his qualifying record stands at a dysmal 1-12, but come race time, that changes to 5-7, that is fairly close. But the thing with that is Glock’s poor finishing record, when Glock has finished, di Grassi has only finished ahead of him once. He is second best to the German clearly.

Timo Glock:

May 27, 2010 - 05963608 date 30 05 2010 Copyright imago Crash Media Group Thursday Timo Glock ger Virgin Racing VR 01 Turkish Grand Prix 28 30 May 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK motor aviation men Formula 1 F1 F World Cup GP Turkey Istanbul Portrait Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd.

Virgin Racing. 4th place, 38 points.

If we look at pace, Timo is up there with the Lotus cars, his qualifying has always been the third best of the new teams and in Hungary he even managed to get above them. But when it comes to the race he has been poor. He didn’t even finish one until the Spanish Grand Prix, ever since then he has been solid, and so far has yet to pick up less than 4 points from when he has finished, an achievement only managed by the current leader. Good times should be coming for Glock and the top 3 isn’t too far away.

Jarno Trulli:

June 13, 2010 - Montreal, Canada - Jarno Trulli (ITA) Lotus on the grid...Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, Canadian Grand Prix, Race.

Lotus. 3rd place, 42 points.

I’m not really too sure what to make of Trulli’s performance so far this season. They have all been very mixed. He has his good performances, but then also has his bad ones. Our best bet is to compare him to his team mate Heikki Kovalainen. His strength in qualifying is being beaten by Kovalainen. Race wise he is also well behind. He may be top 3 but I don’t think he is having the best season that he could be having, is Jarno Trulli way past his best?

Karun Chandhok:

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 24: Karun Chandhok of India and Hispania Racing Team is seen before the final practice session prior to qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheimring on July 24, 2010 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images)

Hispania. 2nd place, 45 points.

The lovable Karun Chandhok, the fans favourite but ultimately not Hispania’s favourite. His ten races have been brilliant, if we forget Bahrain. He has retired just the twice, and for a new team, and in a Hispania, that is impressive, and one of those being the fault of another driver. This series rewards consistency more than speed, this is why Chandhok looks good, he has treated the Hispania car so very well and even after missing two races, Trulli, Glock, di Grassi, they still haven’t caught up with him. Sadly though, with the improving reliability of all three teams, even if he is in the car at Spa, I can see him sliding down the order.

Heikki Kovalainen:

NORTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 08: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland and Lotus talks to the media in the paddock during previews to the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone on June 8, 2010, in Northampton, England. (Photo by Malcolm Griffiths/Getty Images) Lotus. 1st pace, 56 points.

One word, brilliant. You want another one? Dominant. Five wins and one second place. When he has finished, he has finished well. He is the quickest out there by a mile, even if he has one of the worst reliability records. I said on Chandhok this series is based on reliability, well Kovalainen has made the statement look irrelevant. The fact he has a habit of not finishing races is the only reason why he isn’t over 30 points in front.

Lotus Win as Everyone Finishes

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 31: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland and Lotus drives during qualifying for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 31, 2010 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Hungarian Grand Prix

They’ve managed to do it. Yes, for the first time all season, all six cars have managed to reach the chequered flag. No matter how many laps down they were in the end, they got to the end. I’m even a little happy for them.

It was a brilliant start for Timo Glock who managed to stun Lotus by putting his car in front of them. Kamui Kobayashi’s 5 place penalty saw him move alongside Sakon Yamamoto, who continued to be rubbish.

But it was Lotus who took advantage on the start, Trulli getting in front of Kovalainen, Senna and Glock, di Grassi and Yamamoto were at the back. The safety car shaked a few things up, Kovalainen getting the jump on Trulli with the rest being Glock, Senna, di Grassi and Yamamoto.

The continued racing of Yamamoto still made us show is ineptness. Lucas di Grassi was forced to make an extra pitstop compared to him and still finished a lap ahead, in fact, even his team mate Bruno Senna, in the same car lapped him.

I know I should really be unbaised in these posts but the fact Yamamoto is still allowed to race is beyond me. He is not helping the Hispania team at all and they are suffering because of it. Surely Chandhok can get some money in for the Belgian Grand Prix, and I hope he does, he is clearly a better driver than him, and must be so much marketable. Japan have got a rising star in Kobayashi and he isn’t backed, Chandhok is Indian and an Indian in F1 is good, he should be getting money and is much a better idea to back than a slow, hopeless driver in Yamamoto.

Despite Yamamoto being useless, Lotus took another 1-2. Virgin, who look like they are catching Lotus up in terms of pace saw Timo not too far behind. Bruno Senna has been improving all season and was much better than his team mate. Di Grassi and Yamamoto complete the backmarkers.

Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 14th 10
2 Jarno Trulli Lotus 15th 6
3 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 16th 4
4 Bruno Senna Hispania 17th 3
5 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 18th 2
6 Sakon Yamamoto Hispania 19th 1

 

Standings

Drivers Championship

It looks very good for Heikki Kovalainen. He is a race win and a point in front of Karun Chandhok now, who must be very frustrated. Jarno Trulli is now right on his tail, two points behind. The only positional movement sees Glock overtake di Grassi and go in front by two points. Senna is very comfortable in 6th and Yamamoto is way back.

  Driver Team Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 56
2 Karun Chandhok Hispania 45
3 Jarno Trulli Lotus 43
4 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 38
5 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 36
6 Bruno Senna Hispania 22
7 Sakon Yamamoto Hispania 3

 

Teams Championship

Lotus are 25 whole points in front and are approaching triple figures. Virgin extend advantage to Hispania by two more points.

  Team Points
1 Lotus 99
2 Virgin Racing 74
3 Hispania 70

 

Next Race

F1 is going on a summer break and won’t return until the last weekend in August. The venue is the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. As of now nobody knows who will be racing for Hispania. I assume Virgin and Lotus will remain the same.

In predictions, I think Virgin will match the performance of Lotus and I think it could be their best chance to beat them on the track as well.

And lets hope Chandhok is racing too.