F1 in 2011

It is another Bloggers Swap Shop post today, and while I’ll be writing for F1 Weekender, here is Kayleigh from Kayleigh’s Bits and Pieces about what she is looking forward too F1 wise in 2011.

When I write for my blog it’s easy, the posts write themselves as my thoughts and ramblings that have been going around my head for a few days come tumbling out onto the page. But to give me a bit of a challenge I thought it would be great to have the opportunity to write for someone else’s blog and so I signed up for The Bloggers Swap Shop. Luckily I ended up with the chance to write for the Northern Waffler, one the blogs I read regularly (and I’m not just saying that I promise RG!).

I have mulled over what to write for this post for a few days now, initially I was going to write about my favourite driver Kimi Raikkonen (using the link of making his debut in F1 all thanks to Peter Sauber), but to be honest I’m sure you all know it all anyway!

So instead of looking back I have decided to look forward, and tell you a bit about what I’m looking forward to in the 2011 F1 season.

1. Can anyone design a better car than Red Bull?

Over the past couple of seasons the Red Bull car has been pretty much the fastest car of the field, so I’m looking forward to seeing if any of the other teams can change that this season.

2. Technical Regulation Changes

The new season is bringing with it some new (and not so new) regulations. Back after a year on the sideline, KERS should allow the drivers more chances to overtake, with the boost of power that the system brings. For me this is only worthwhile when the teams are at different stages of their development. When they all have KERS working, then it is almost back to a level playing field.

Totally new for 2011 is the adjustable flap on rear wing (with an aim similar to the FDuct, affecting the air flow over the rear wing on straights to lose drag and make the car faster). The adjustable rear wing should make it easy to overtake the car in front, but the tight regulations about its use could see confusion.

3. Lotus Renault GP

This should be at number 1 really but I’m trying not to be too biased! I can’t wait for the season to start to see how good the Renault car is compared to the other teams. It’s going to be great watching Kubica in action again and hopefully Petrov can improve on last year, and with two points scoring drivers, we can fight for 3rd place (at least!).

4. Pirellis

New year, new rubber. For me the way the tyres hold up will make or break the season. Dramatic I know! The problem is tyre companies are in a difficult position. They want to look good by making durable tyres but as spectators we want the tyres to degrade quickly to make the racing more interesting. Pirelli are saying the right things about making the racing better so fingers crossed it doesn’t go too far the other way and the tyres fall apart too quickly causing accidents.

5. Media & the Lotus vs Lotus Saga

The whole Lotus Renault vs Team Lotus is going to drag and drag all season long and most F1 fans will have a strong opinion on this, as do I, but several fans are most definitely going to be confused. The media are vital in minimising this confusion, after all nobody gets confused with Red Bull and Torro Rosso. Obviously the Lotus situation is very different as they are entirely separate entities.

Lotus Renault GP is the full name of the rebranded Renault F1 Team and the important thing for me is that the car is still called Renault. Very few people called McLaren by their full Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, so I don’t see why the LRGP should be called anything other than Renault. I think it is clear that Group Lotus intend on being more than a title sponsor (after investing in the team), but I don’t think they should push the matter in this first year. Commentators and the media should call the team Renault so that the casual and confused fans can still see that the black and gold cars are Renault.

I think how the media portray this battle is going to be vital. Mouthing off in the press isn’t going to do anyone favours and building a good reputation will be important. Lots of fans see Team Lotus (Lotus Racing in 2010) as having the spirit of the original Lotus but all I see is a canny businessman trying to build a brand & a fan base very quickly, so bought a name thought would offer this. They are no more the ‘real’ Lotus than the Group Lotus backed Renault will be, so it is vital that nobody makes this claim.

6. Schumacher

I was never a Schumacher fan, I always happened to support his opposition (Hill, Hakkinen and then Raikkonen), but I realised that I missed him when I found myself cheering him on at a Race of Champions event. I was really excited for his comeback but unfortunately that hasn’t worked out as well as hoped. I’m interested to see what he can do next year – he will need all his experience to ensure that he gets on top of things very quickly this year or else I can see another dire year like 2010.

7. Can HRT make it to the grid?

I’m not so sure. Using the 2010 car in testing is not that unusual (remember we didn’t always get new cars till the European season kicked off a few years ago) but I can’t see how they will have a new car at all to race in 2011, never mind the resources to carry on as essentially a DTM team one week and an F1 team the next.

8. Will Wirth’s CFD approach work?

Wirth have used Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD for short) software to design extremely successful sports cars. I don’t think it’s the CFD approach that is hurting them so far (I think it is more the lack of current F1 knowledge – what works in sports cars doesn’t necessarily work in F1), so in 2011 it will be interesting to see how much they’ve improved. The difficulty will be whilst the Virgin car will be much better than the 2010 car, as always it’s the gap to the other teams that they will be judged on.

9. Hamilton vs Button

Last year I think everyone expected Hamilton to blow Button out the water, regardless of which is your preferred driver, because McLaren is built up around Hamilton at the moment & Hamilton is a great driver. Button more than held his own although he tailed off towards the end of year. This year I’d like to see him beating Hamilton all season!

10. Massa

Last year was a bad year for Massa. Not as bad as the year before of course but he really needs to show what he can do in 2011 and stand up to Alonso.

11. Politics

I love the politics of F1 & I am interested to see after a quiet 2010 what kicks off this year. There’s bound to be lots of it, with Lotus vs Lotus court cases, Ferrari threatening again to leave, 2013 rules to be agreed on and a new Concorde agreement. Still, with all this bubbling in the background I hope the majority of the action is on the track!

What are you looking forward to in Formula 1 in 2011?

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Posted on January 22, 2011, in General F1 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. As far as I am concerned, I’m obviously looking forward to Kovalainen’s season, hoping to see him back to points. I also hope Nico Rosberg will have a winning car, and will keep on beating Schumacher.

  2. Great post Kayleigh and much food for thought. I particularly liked your balanced approach to the Lotus v Lotus saga, perhaps we’ll hear more about this tomorrow when it hits the courts? Like you I am doubtful that HRT will be racing this season, they might have employed a guy to make a cool new logo but what they really need is a huge injection of cash and drivers with ability (not money to pay for a seat).

    One thing that did cross my mind on reading your list was on the re-introduction of KERS, you’re right that any new technology is quickly adopted by the other teams and so the benefit of any new development will be quickly lost. What I’d love to see is the newer team, those who didn’t score any points in the previous season being given a bit of a helping hand here to make thewm more competitive… for example, only those last 2 get KERS or some other bit of technical freedom that’s out of bounds to the other teams. Would that be fair, I don’t know, could they afford that technical freedom? That’s another unknown but it would certainly help to even the field and isn’t that what we all want, better racing?

  3. Benji – I agree on Kovy but not on Rosberg I’m afraid! Don’t know why but my gut feeling is he’s over-rated (last year proved me wrong on that!) and I want Schumacher to get back up to speed & beat him!

    Saltire – thank you 🙂

    I think the point about getting more technical freedom for the lower teams is interesting, and would certainly help them out. From the murkiness of my memory I thought that this was discussed along with the two-tier championship, but was quickly shot down as the teams would rather beat others on their own merits. I personally would have thought good results were more important!

    I also remember Lotus saying that there was more to gain in other areas of the car rather than KERS so perhaps they would still have the same point of view, given their limited budgets.

    Personally the more variation up and down the field, the better. I don’t like tight regulations, let the engineers do their best!

  4. I think Kayleigh has alluded to it in her post, but for me it is definatly how the new teams evolve this season. I have hopes of a good performance from Team Lotus and I reckon Virgin Racing will be a threat too. Hispania will be interesting to see how they perform if they even make it.

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