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Virgin Begin To Catch-Up

2011 Hungarian Grand Prix - Sunday
Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary
31st July 2011
World Copyright:Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic
ref: Digital Image _Q0C5432 While I was out sunning myself in Italy, Formula 1 decided it couldn’t stop just for me and in spite of my decision, they decided to make me miss two races. So, this is a sort of special post for you lot, or, just a catch up, but special also sounds quite nice.

German Grand Prix

Pre-Race

As per usual, the German Grand Prix likes to alternate between the sleep-inducing Hockenheim and the fairly action-packed Nurburgring. Thankfully for everyone, it was the turn of the latter in 2011.

There was more driver changes in place for Germany, as mentioned previously on this very blog to my massive dismay, New Teams Championship leader Jarno Trulli was replaced with former Hispania driver Karun Chandhok for one race only.

At Virgin Racing, Timo Glock was confirmed to be continuing on at the team for 2012, and no doubt you don’t need me to tell you that it is a massive waste of talent.

Sadly, my prediction for Karthikeyan replacing Liuzzi proved untrue, as the Italian and Ricciardo remained in the Hispania.

Qualifying 

In a massive shock, Heikki Kovalainen once again was the quickest of the six cars. However his team mate, with Trulli usually a few tenths of a second behind, this time was just under a second slower than Kovalainen, starting behind the Virgin of Timo Glock, who had set a stunning lap time.

Jerome D’Ambrosio was right behind Chandhok, while Ricciardo had closed the gap up to Liuzzi, almost setting identical times. However thanks to a gearbox replacement for Liuzzi, Ricciardo was promoted a position.

Thanks to technical infringements found on the car of Sebastian Buemi, his car was declared illegal and his times deleted, forcing him to start 24th and moving everybody below up a position.

Race

Sadly I’m unable to perform an indepth review of every single detail for the backmarkers, because I couldn’t understand a single word of what the RAI commentators were saying. And when Liuzzi retired on lap 37, he unkindly spoke to the pit reporters in Italian, which, again, didn’t help. How ungrateful.

The cause for this retirement would be an electrical fault, and prove to be the only retirement from the six.

Nothing much of note really happened for the remaining cars. Chandhok struggled in his first race in 2011, spinning off the track at one point and coming a further two laps behind Kovalainen, as well as a lap behind the remaining finishers. A poor showing by the Indian which won’t help his cause for full time employment.

So Heikki Kovalainen would come home in first place, ahead of Glock, D’Ambrosio, Ricciardo and Chandhock.

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 16th 10
2 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 17th 6
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 18th 4
4 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 19th 3
5 Karun Chandhok Team Lotus 2oth 2
6 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania Ret 0

Karun Chandhok (20th): “"Honestly, that probably wasn’t the race I wanted -I had a couple of high speed spins and I think I need more time to get used to the tyres. When they start to go off there’s very little give compared to last year’s rubber, but that’s all part of the learning process and I’m glad I got the car home and did the best job I could.”

Timo Glock (17th): “After a positive start to the day with the announcement about my future with the team, it was quite a difficult race today. I struggled with the braking system from the middle of the race onwards and I wasn’t able to push late on in the race, so we have to look into the problem. Otherwise thanks to the team for a good weekend at my home Grand Prix.”

Vitantonio Liuzzi (Retired): “It was a shame because, even though the penalisation for the gearbox meant we had to start from P23, we had a strong start where we passed a few cars on the first lap and had good pace.  A few laps into the race we started to suffer some problems with the brake balance and we lost quite a bit of pace. After the pit stop, with the tyre change, we recovered our strong pace until an unfortunate electronic issue forced us to retire”

Hungarian Grand Prix

Pre-Race

After an indifferent week in Italy which saw some rain, Formula 1 moved to Hungary where it was greeted probably by that exact same rain. The only noteworthy thing was that Jarno Trulli was back in the Team Lotus car, and delighted with the power steering. That is noted correctly, not unhappy, but delighted. Words you’d never thought I would get the chance to write.

Qualifying 

In a result nobody could predict, Heikki Kovalainen was the quickest of the new teams for just the tenth time this season. He was followed closely by his team mate yet again, with Trulli still not quite at the same speed of the Finn.

It was however a poor showing by Jerome D’Ambrosio, as he found himself dead last and the only driver of the six not to benefit by the five place grid drop handed to Sebastian Buemi.

Race

Changeable conditions in the rain saw some shock movements. A crazy start allowed Kovalainen to end up as high as 15th, holding up four cars who were struggling to overtake him on the wet track. Elsewhere, Timo Glock had managed to get ahead of Trulli and several other cars, before the track began to dry out, while Ricciardo also made a terrific start.

Trulli’s race would not last long, a water leak forcing him out after just 17 laps. Meanwhile his team mate continued to frustrate the cars behind him, driving superbly to stay ahead. However his pitstop would make him unstuck, initially losing positions and then being fooled by a brief shower, coming in for Intermediate tyres when they weren’t required, this in effect ruined his afternoon.

Kovalainen was not the only driver to make this mistake, Jerome D’Ambrosio also coming into the pits for Inters when they weren’t required. However it would be his mistake coming into the pits that would give him the television attention, somehow managing to spin the car at pit lane speeds, wasting time for his mechanics to get him in the box and change tyres.

Daniel Ricciardo was impressive though, driving far better than his team mate and finishing in the end a good 50 seconds ahead of him and D’Ambrosio who never really made up for his mistakes.

Kovalainen’s excellent afternoon would become unstuck with ten laps to go, with his car suffering the same fate as Trulli’s. It was unfortunate, but ultimately fails to come away from the weekend without any points.

All of this ultimately meant that Timo Glock would once again benefit from a Team Lotus double retirement for the second time in three races. The reliability of the Lotus cars could be given as a cause of concern, with eight retirements to Hispania’s four and Virgin’s two.

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 17th 10
2 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 18th 6
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 19th 4
4 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 20th 3
5 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus Ret 0
6 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus Ret 0

Timo Glock (17th): “A very interesting race today, I have to say, and very good fun. I got a great start and got ahead of Heidfeld and some other guys in faster cars and was able to stay in front of them. They obviously were able to get past me after it started to dry and I just concentrated on my own race, managing to hold the gap behind me. Then when it started to rain, we made the right decision, staying on the slicks. It wasn’t easy to stay on track today as we saw, but we got the right result in the end.”

Daniel Ricciardo (18th): “Overall, I’m satisfied with my race and the best finish in three races. During the race, I wasn’t really sure where I was on track because a lot of cars made quite a few pit stops so in all honesty I didn’t really know how I was doing. Towards the end I felt we had quite a good balance in the car and I was able to do some good times. I’m sure there are things I could have done better so we’ll look into that to keep on improving. But again I feel we are progressing well.”

Heikki Kovalainen (Retired): “Having seen how close we were in race pace to the midfield I’m not disappointed – it’s just another step in the growth of the team and we’ll pick up where we left off in Belgium in a few weeks time.”

Standings

Drivers Championship

Although there has been very little movement, something I didn’t expect to happen has: It’s starting to look very exciting. Timo Glock has managed to edge ahead of his team mate with an impressive 16 point haul from the two races. Heikki Kovalainen has benefitted from the fact Trulli hasn’t scored points in the last three races being just three points behind. Glock is a further three points behind the Finn with D’Ambrosio ten points behind. So the top four drivers are all within ten points, that’s a race win. Hold on while I rub my hands with glee.

Daniel Ricciardo has only been in three races, but already is on the same number of points as the former Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan, while Karun Chandhok is dead last and will remain that way no doubt for the rest of the season.

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 55
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 52
3 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 49
4 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 45
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 26
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 12
7 Daniel Ricciardo Hispania 12
8 Karun Chandhok Team Lotus 2

Teams Championship

In even further excitement, Virgin are closing the gap on Team Lotus, now just 15 points from top spot. All they need is a 1-2. Just putting the possibility out there.

    Team Points
1 Team Lotus 109
2   Marussia Virgin 94
3   Hispania 50

Next Race

It is the summer break and we all have to wait until the end of August for the Belgian Grand Prix, traditionally the place where upgrades are tried out and shown to the world. Team Lotus realistically need to up their game and start finishing more races, otherwise they could face a real shock and see the Virgin Racing drivers sail up the leaderboard leaving them behind.

The temperamental conditions at Spa-Francorchamps last year saw both Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock make Q2, something which could happen again this year. Kovalainen would go on to lead a Lotus 1-2 in the race.

And who knows, there will be no doubt some sort of really annoying driver change that ruins this Championship. At least those Javier Villa rumours are dying down now.

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Kovalainen Begins to Hunt Down Trulli

European Grand Prix

Yeah, about my next update for the New Teams being after Italy, I’m a terrible liar.

So, what did we have in Valencia? A poor, slightly dull race which was a let down after such a terrific start to the season. Heikki Kovalainen was once again quicker than Jarno Trulli in qualifying, Timo Glock was quicker than Jerome D’Ambrosio and Vitantonio Liuzzi was quicker than Narain Karthikeyan. No surprises there.

And apart from a stunning start from Glock, in which he jumped both Lotus cars at the start, very little else happened. The German fell below both Kovalainen and Trulli in the next 20 laps, just making sure that the remaining laps were dull for the new teams.

The only real incidents of note were the Hispania drivers reaction to the blue flags, critisced by Virgin for failing to see them and their unique way of dealing with the leading cars.

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 19th 10
2 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 20th 6
3 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 21st 4
4 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 22nd 3
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 23rd 2
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 24th 1

Standings

Drivers Championship

Things have got a bit tighter in the standings. The gap from Kovalainen to Trulli has been reduced to 13 points. The Virgin boys have also closed up on themselves, the gap between the two of them is just 8 points, while the Hispania drivers are slowly making up the numbers once more after an impressive Canada.

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 55
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 42
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 31
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 23
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 19
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 12

Teams Championship

The Lotus domination continues. Virgin pull away from Hispania and there is really nothing more which can be said

    Team Points
1 Lotus Racing 97
2   Marussia Virgin 54
3   Hispania 33

Next Race

It’s another two week gap to Silverstone, which has had another renovation and has a new start line for 2011. The last two races at Silverstone haven’t been the best, so after Canada, I’m not expecting much more entertainment.

Last year Hispania made much controversy by replacing Bruno Senna with Sakon Yamamoto at the last moment. Unsurprisingly he finished last, while at the front, Jarno Trulli had one of his few moments that season where he finished in front of his team mate Heikki Kovalainen.

Kovalainen has possibly the best history at the circuit, starting on pole in 2008, although failed to make much of the opportunity.

I believe its a further chance to see Lotus move away from the other two, although the new rules could make things closer. Could. (Probably won’t.)

Whatever Happened to The New Teams?

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A year ago I was updating my blog on the fortunes of the three new teams, Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and Hispania. In the end, Heikki Kovalainen romped away with the Drivers Championship, a long way ahead of the battling trio of Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli. It was a similar story in the Teams Championship, glory for Lotus, in a dull battle with Virgin clearly in second and Hispania clearly last.

For this year I thought to step away, safe in the assurances that they may have actually improved and be nearly caught up with the midfield teams.

If anything, they have got worse.

So, I thought to take a look at what the tables would be looking like if I had kept on doing it. It takes some interesting reading and makes me wish I had bothered to carry on. (Don’t worry, I’ll continue to look at this at thirdly intervals.)

What’s New for 2011?

Only three drivers from 2010 remain, the two Lotus cars of Kovalainen and Trulli, as well as Glock. F1 veterans Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi joined Hispania, while the only rookie of the six was Jerome D’Ambrosio in the Virgin.

Apart from that, everything was the same. Apart from Marussia buying into Virgin and Lotus Racing now being called Team Lotus, and nothing else. But that was just trivial stuff.

Drivers Championship

After Round 7 of 19

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 49
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 32
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 28
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 19
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 17
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 11

 

Jarno Trulli
1st – 49 points
Despite being beaten 6-1 in terms of qualifying against Heikki Kovalainen, Trulli is slaughtering the opposition in his Team Lotus this season. Five times he has beaten Kovalainen in the race, including four ‘New Teams Championship’ wins, and don’t think its down to the Finn’s poor reliability either, in the occasion both cars have finished, Trulli has finished ahead both times. This guy still has it by the looks of things.

Heikki Kovalainen
2nd – 32 points
It looks bad reading for Kovalainen compared to Trulli. He has a superior qualifying record but the Team Lotus car is letting him down badly. Heikki in fact has the most retirements (three) out of any of the six cars, only one down to his own fault (crashing in Spain). If he can get more reliability, it will be interesting to see if he can catch up to his team mate.

Jerome D’Ambrosio
3rd – 28 points
Marussia Virgin have looked dreadfully slow this season, and he should be far worse off compared to his experienced team mate Timo Glock. But the Belgian is constantly finishing and giving off impressive performances, and is even in reaching distance of the reigning champions.

Timo Glock
4th – 19 points
Glock is struggling. Whether he doesn’t want to be a part of Virgin anymore or the car does not suit him, he can’t seem to be anywhere near his inexperienced team mate, which looks embarrassing. Five times he has finished behind D’Ambrosio in a race, this is out of seven, its not looking good for the German.

Vitantonio Liuzzi
5th – 17 points
I think it is fair to say a Hispania shouldn’t be two points off a Virgin, but they are. The car looks and performs awfully, but Liuzzi, out of nowhere, finished 13th in Canada, ahead of everyone else. Lets repeat that, ahead of everyone else. In a Hispania. Madness. Credit must go out for managing to guide that car around the track in one piece nearly every single Sunday. It isn’t a job I would want to do.

Narain Karthikeyan
6th – 11 points
The Indian hasn’t embarrassed himself at all this season, again the car isn’t in his favour and he is managing to get it around a track in one piece every Sunday. OK job so far.

Teams Championship

    Team Points
1 Lotus Racing 81
2   Marussia Virgin 47
3   Hispania 30

 

Team Lotus
1st – 81 points
I’m not going to lie to you, I think Team Lotus can afford to open the champagne*, it looks easy and out of anyone they are probably the most likely to score an actual World Championship point (which is ironic considering they are the last team I want to do that). Easily the fastest in qualifying and the race. It is a walk in the park.

Marussia Virgin
2nd – 47 points
Oh dear. The performance of the Virgin has slid so far downhill that in Canada they hit rock bottom (being outqualified by a Hispania and being saved by the stewards in terms of 107%). The consequences have been harsh on Nick Wirth, sacked ahead of that race, and drastic change is needed to make sure they don’t finish last here, which is ever so possible if Hispania keep their pace up. With news attention is soon to focus on 2012, this could turn to humiliation.

Hispania
3rd – 30 points
They failed to qualify in Australia, lucky to just get in in Malaysia. The laughing stock of the grid, but they have went up the gentle incline of improvement. Not by long they have reached the pace of Virgin, upgrades have been made, the drivers aren’t doing too shoddy a job, things are actually looking up for once (even if they have the worst livery on the grid).

What Next?

I could probably guess, but the next seven races (next update will be after the Italian Grand Prix) will probably go like this: Team Lotus drivers to continue to swap wins, Hispania to become clear second best team, Marussia Virgin to flirt with 107% each qualifying session.

Though, as that is probably what is expected, it probably won’t happen.

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?

The End

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It comes around so fast, back in March I set up the idea as a bit of fun, and as an experiment in a way. Simply to see who is the best new team, forget the Red Bulls, Ferraris of the world, who really does care about them anyway? Its all for a number 1 on the car for next season frankly.

19 races later and its all over. Done, completed, finished. Heikki Kovalainen won the Drivers Championship in Japan, Lotus Racing won the Teams version a race later. The rest of the season has been done for pride, and three drivers vying for second place, Timo Glock, Lucas di Grassi and Jarno Trulli. In my aim to find something interesting to talk about at least.

So the final race, my final race report I’d imagine. It has been a fun season to talk about, ups and downs for all eight drivers (half of them coming from Hispania). And in reality, it was status quo for qualifying in Abu Dhabi. Jarno Trulli out qualified Heikki Kovalainen for the 11th time and considering Kovalainen’s domination in the races, shows how poor Trulli has been during the races. Then there was Timo Glock, third place, ahead of Lucas di Grassi who might as well have 22nd engraved on the grid spot. And finally, Bruno Senna out qualified Christian Klien for the first time, and possibly for the last time, as it doesn’t look like either will stay at Hispania for next season.

You may have noticed I’m waffling. That is true, as there is so little to actually talk about during the race. The start saw Michael Schumacher and Tonio Liuzzi cause a Safety Car, which saw di Grassi, Senna and Klien all pit. Kovalainen headed the pack in front of Trulli and Glock.

In reality there was little to note, Trulli first suffered from front wing issues and then had a rear wing failure towards the end of the race. Luckily for him, he was still classified, albeit last of the finishers.

It would have been fitting if all six cars would finish the race and for a while it looked like that would happen, but sadly it wasn’t to be, Glock suffered gearbox issues and had to pull out of the race. Five were to finish, meaning the only race to have all six finish was Hungary.

So, for the final time Kovalainen won the New Teams race, who knows how well his car will perform next season. Lucas di Grassi came in second ahead of Bruno Senna, Christian Klien and Jarno Trulli.

For the final time my friends, the results.

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 17th 10
2 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 18th 6
3 Bruno Senna Hispania 19th 4
4 Christian Klien Hispania 20th 3
5 Jarno Trulli Lotus 21st 2
6 Timo Glock Virgin Racing Ret. 0

 

Final Standings

Drivers Championship

And that is that. Heikki Kovalainen’s final total stands at 118, just under double of the second place points. Lucas di Grassi benefits from Timo Glock’s gearbox problem to finish in second place, just one point ahead of both Glock and Trulli. Glock finishes third on the count of finishing 1st three times, compared to Trulli being 1st just the twice. Karun Chandhok was a threat to Kovalainen, but his replacing mid season sees him finish in 5th, ahead of Bruno Senna who had significantly more races than him. Sakon Yamamoto was poor, and struggled to impress. Klien had little time to do that, propping up the table, but in fairness, he was always going to do that anyway.

    Driver Team Points
1 C Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 118
2   Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 61
3   Timo Glock Virgin Racing 60
4   Jarno Trulli Lotus 60
5   Karun Chandhok Hispania 45
6   Bruno Senna Hispania 38
7   Sakon Yamamoto Hispania 15
8   Christian Klien Hispania 5

 

Teams Championship

The less interesting side of things. Lotus were a gap ahead of Virgin, who were a chasm ahead of Hispania. Nothing more to discuss.

    Team Points
1 C Lotus 178
2   Virgin Racing 121
3   Hispania 103

 

Final Thoughts

And we are done here. No doubt I will put up a few posts about more or less everything, you will just wait and see what. I have loved covering the new teams, every single race and the progress they have clearly made has been fantastic, and in a way, I’m pleased for everyone involved in Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and Hispania.

Thank you to everyone who has commented, retweeted (especially Virgin Racing and Heikki Kovalainen) and just generally read the updates.

I suspect this will be the end of this. Next season I can imagine Lotus and Virgin at least being at the same level of Toro Rosso. Who knows what Hispania will bring, a quick car or a re-sprayed 2010 car. I might find something to waffle about.

On the other hand, I might just wait till the next batch of new teams wonder unsuspectingly into the world of Formula 1.

Virgin Strike Back

Sports News - May 07, 2010

Spanish Grand Prix

It might have been a bit of a dull race, but the results have certainly spiced up the Championship being fought by the new teams. Virgin are back in the game and Hispania are struggling again.

It was a bad start to the race for current leader Heikki Kovalainen, who didn’t even start the race after his gearbox failed to work. It wasn’t much better for Bruno Senna, who was hit in the rear during the first lap and retired.

A solid race for the rest of the drivers followed, with the only over drama was when Jaime Alguesuari cut back onto Karun Chandhok too early, making Chandhok lose his front wing. A lap later, Chandhok was out of the race.

Despite a good battle between former Toyota team mates Trulli and Glock towards the end, it ended pretty much as it started in the first place.

Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Jarno Trulli Lotus 14th 10
2 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 16th 6
3 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 17th 4
4 Karun Chandhok Hispania Ret. 0
5 Bruno Senna Hispania Ret. 0
6 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus DNS 0

Standings

Drivers

Driver Team Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 30
2 Jarno Trulli Lotus 19
3 Karun Chandhok Hispania 16
4 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 14
5 Bruno Senna Hispania 10
6 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 6

Teams

Team Points
1 Lotus 49
2 Hispania 26
3 Virgin Racing 20

Battle of the New Teams

Much focus was on the new teams before the start of the race. From the farcical USF1 to the problems in testing surrounding Lotus and Virgin Racing. At least those managed to get some testing in, Hispania turning up on Friday with the practice sessions at Bahrain the equivalent of their testing time. Karun Chandhok not even turning a wheel until qualifying.

So, to honour the new boys, I’ve created a new championship. I present to you, The Northern Waffler Only Trophy You Are Getting This Season Championship. Catchy, I’m sure you will agree.

The basic rules, are, simply very basic. The 6 drivers in the three new cars (Lotus, Virgin Racing and HRT. It is a good time to stress Sauber and Mercedes are returning team and have more cash in any case) are all competing for the Drivers and Teams Championship. It is a simple 10-6-4-3-2-1 points format, just like the good old days. Whichever of the drivers comes top of the rest, they pick up all the points. And, just like F1, you must finish 90% of the race to get any points at all. Over to the new header for the results.

Bahrain Grand Prix

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 15th 10
2 Jarno Trulli Lotus 17th 6
3 Bruno Senna HRT Retired 0
4 Timo Glock Virgin Racing Retired 0
5 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing Retired 0
6 Karun Chandhok HRT Retired 0

Despite the race being less than impressive, for the first 20 laps there was a good battle between Lotus and Virgin. Poor Karun Chandhok unfortunately crashed out on the first lap. But problems with Virgin Racing and Bruno Senna’s HRT see all four pick up 0 points from the first race. It looks rosy for Lotus at the top, basically running away with it. But it wasn’t all plain sailing, as Jarno Trulli stopped on the final lap. But a good start none the less.

As you can see, this championship is going to benefit reliability, which is crucial for the new teams to have. It is not about pace at the moment, just getting that car to the finish line in one piece and not looking ridiculously slow.

If you have any thoughts about this, please, do share in the comments, I am intrigued to find out if you like the idea or if you think it can be improved.

Top 5 2010 F1 Liveries

I’ve previously mentioned my top 5 F1 liveries of all time. But since there is a new season of Formula 1, it seems logical to compliment, criticise and generally rule over the why they are the best of the best this year in terms of livery. And the most interesting question, would they make it onto my top 5 all time liveries. Lets countdown.

5: McLaren MP4-25

world champ in trining

Lets have a look, what have they changed to the livery? Lets look at the sidepods, no that is the same. Front wing, that is also the same. Ah, the rear wing will be different, oh, it appears it isn’t. McLaren have changed nothing to this car, and by the sheer fact that the other seven cars are even worse, it makes it into the top 10 at number 5. There is nothing to write home about, it is a decent enough livery, if lacking any inspiration for change. At least they have got the silver effect working on this car (isn’t that right Mercedes). Looking the same as Mercedes though might not help, some were hoping for a Renault-esque retro livery, it didn’t happen, but in reality, why change something that looks alright in the first place?

4: Ferrari F10

F1 Testing - Day Three

And as the Santander army march into Ferrari, the effects are immediately visible. I heard the cries of ‘White on a Ferrari, oh my’ and ‘It should be all red’. But, I like it. I don’t know why, some people hate the look of the car, I on the other hand see it as a nice change to the standard splodge of red every single year. Thank you Santander.

3: Toro Rosso STR5

F1 2010 - Preseason Testing in Barcelona

Like with what I said with McLaren, why change something that is already alright? I have made it clear in the past, I love the Toro Rosso car. With at least ten times more imagination of a Red Bull, the bull looks striking on the side of the car. I could actually go on about how much I love this car all day, but to spare you all, I’ll just leave you an image.

2: Hispania Racing

Spanish F1 team

The former Campos Meta 1 team launched their car with Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna earlier today. The showed the world their new car, with just the one sponsor that Senna had brought in with him, a dark grey, white and orange livery was revealed. Somehow, I don’t know how, it has managed to look amazing. Some sort of combination of picking the right shade of colour, putting the right lines where they needed to be. It is just amazing.

1: Virgin Racing VR-01

F1 Testing - Day Three

Despite having the least reliable car on the grid, and the most un-F1 shape on the grid as well, Virgin do at least win the best livery on the grid. The red and black stand out against each other really well, and is helped by the fact it is an unique design. The inclusion of a Yorkshire rose on the front and rear of the car is also beautifully placed on the car. It is such a shame it is going to be at the back.

The Rest

Here comes the part where I say sorry to the top 5 for being in the same post as the following rant. Awful, unimaginative, ugly, just three words I could use to describe the remaining seven cars. Everyone raves on about Lotus, I can’t see that in it, the yellow looks horrible, the two colours don’t work and I do not like what they have done on the rims.

The second retro gone wrong goes to Renault, who almost pulled off a top 5 finish, and ruined it with red, followed by everything else. The colours do not work on the car, it is not nice at all. BMW Sauber has basically copied off last year and doesn’t help my cause of claiming the team is returning to the sport, instead of continuing on from 2009. The same can be said of Force India and Williams, who returned with another unchanged and dull effort.

And please do not get me started on Mercedes GP. Dark silver and turquoise do not work.