Here we go then, 19 races of me taking extra interest in what the BBC are showing in the fifty to sixty minutes before qualifying and the race. What I’ll basically do is go through it team by team and then add it up in a nice little table so you can all understand it. Great, then throughout the season I’ll make graphs and charts (probably the same thing), about interesting trends and by the end of the season we’ll see which team gets the most screen time. Sorted, lets start then.
|Red Bull Racing (02.18)|
|Season Preview (00.54), David Coulthard walking around RB7 and subsequent talk with Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan (00.55), Sebastian Vettel interview in Pirelli feature (00.05), Mark Webber interview behind garages (01.34), Christian Horner pre-qualifying talk (00.44)|
|Season Preview (00.27), Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button interview after FP3 (00.59), Jenson Button trackwalk with David Coulthard (04.00), BBC team discussion about Button (01.05)|
|Season Preview (00.31), Ferrari discussion with BBC team (00.25), Alonso in Rule Changes feature on the change to team orders (00.04)|
|Season Preview (00.30), Mercedes interviews featuring Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn (02.19), Interview post VT with Ross Brawn (02.27), Mercedes personnel involved in Pirelli feature (00.20)|
|Season Preview (00.39), Feature on Robert Kubica missing out in 2011 (02.18), Renault engineer featuring in Rule Changes feature (00.55)|
|Season Preview (00.28)|
|Force India (06.41)|
|Season Preview (00.33), Paul di Resta interview at BBC House (03.57), di Resta interview trackside (02.01)|
|Season Preview (00.33)|
|Toro Rosso (00.29)|
|Season Preview (00.29)|
|Team Lotus (00.35)|
|Heikki Kovalainen involved in Pirelli feature (00.07), Season Preview (00.28)|
|Hispania Racing Team (00.31)|
|Season Preview (00.31)|
|Marussia Virgin (00.25)|
|Season Preview (00.25)|
|Red Bull Racing (13.20)|
|Qualifying Report (00.57), Sebastian Vettel interview (04.18), Red Bull talk with BBC team (01.11), Gridwalk talk with Sebastian Vettel along with look at RB7 (03.29), Christian Horner pre-race talk (01.48), Vettel pole lap (01.37)|
|Qualifying Report (00.42), BBC team talk about McLaren (01.00), Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button battle with Humphrey and Jordan in truck (06.00), Gridwalk talk with Button and look at McLaren (01.45)|
|Qualifying Report (00.29)|
|Nick Heidfeld profiled in Driver Changes (00.09), Gridwalk talk with Vitaly Petrov (00.21)|
|Pastor Maldonado profiled in Driver Changes (00.09)|
|Force India (01.01)|
|Paul di Resta profiled in Driver Changes (00.15), BBC team talk about di Resta (00.28), Qualifying Report (00.18)|
|Sergio Perez profiled in Driver Changes (00.11)|
|Hispania Racing Team (01.22)|
|Both drivers profiled in Driver Changes (00.20), Qualifying Report (00.15), BBC team discuss Hispania predicament (00.47)|
|Marussia Virgin (00.11)|
|Jerome D’Ambrosio profiled in Driver Changes (00.11)|
Australian Grand Prix Totals (And Effectively Totals So Far)
|2||Red Bull Racing||15.38|
|6||Hispania Racing Team||01.53|
I’d say it’s probably too early to make any firm judgements, but its clear which teams got the preference on the opening weekend, with both McLaren and Red Bull Racing amassing over half an hour of the footage over the weekend. This closely followed by Force India, focusing mainly on new Brit Paul di Resta. Interesting to note Hispania got more (albeit just a bit) coverage than Ferrari in the pre-race build up. Who’d have thought it?
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!).
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.
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!
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.
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?
Sunday 14th March 2010, 12pm GMT, while I play in an obscure football match, 24 cars will be lining side by side each other in Bahrain, in anticipation for the start of the new Formula 1 season, which only 8 months ago looked in doubt whether the best teams would be in it, as controversy reigned supreme. The usual really.
Then deals were signed, three new teams entered, two regulars pulled out, the champions bought out, another new team came in, one more returned and a new team dropping out. And the amount of driver changes has been massive as well, with only three teams keeping the exact same team that finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in November (Red Bull, Force India and Toro Rosso).
The new teams have sadly took the most of the attention away from what should be a very exciting title fight. Back in the Summer, Manor Motorsport, Campos Meta 1 and USF1 were all chosen from a massive group to be the three new teams to compete for the 2010 championship. Ironically, none of those teams have kept that identity now. Manor are now Virgin Racing, Campos are now Hispania and USF1 fail to exist at all.
Then, with the departure of BMW Sauber, the familiar name of Lotus returned, despite really being anything but Lotus, quite frankly the only thing in common is the name Lotus, and the sort of desperate attempt of copying the old style livery. Managing to get in two one-time race winners in Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, will surely help the team, especially regarding the hiring of Trulli, the qualifying expert who will be most likely be the first driver from the new teams to get into Q2.
Hispania (Or HRT for the lazy people) were so close to not making it at all, Adrian Campos dream of owning a F1 team shattered weeks before Bahrain. But it was the best for the team and the FIA selection committee, as they wouldn’t have made it in any case. With the chassis made by Dallara, they could have been one of the best new teams this season, instead, with delays, lack of money and crucially, no testing. The lack of money shows, the hiring of well-paid drivers Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna will give them the stability, probably not the results.
And finally there is Virgin Racing, the clever little team trying to use computers and not wind tunnels. The snazzy Red and black car has unfortunately been in the wars more times than they hoped. Timo Glock managing to last just ten minutes before the front wing came off in their first test session. They did do well in bringing in Timo Glock, the German who manages to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (notably at Toyota for the last two years) and Lucas di Grassi, a solid little GP2 driver.
In all fairness, the new boys are unlikely to score a point. You only have to look at Force India and the fact it took them 19 races before their first points in Belgium, that was with 2 less cars as well. It is hard to see how they will get any points at all, unless there is a repeat of the 1996 Monaco GP. Which must be a very rare chance.
Toro Rosso this year are going to be in a league of their own. Not exactly in too good a sense, whilst they will be better than Virgin, Lotus and HRT, they won’t be as impressive as the rest of the field. The team remain with the young drivers in Buemi and Alguesuari, who last season picked up just a few points, mainly from Buemi (and a couple from Bourdais). The team have an updated RB5 under them, which should help, but I don’t think the drivers are good enough to do anything with it.
Last year for Force India was quite impressive, albeit if the amazing moments came in just two races. Giancarlo Fisichella stunned the world when he put that Force India on pole, then stunned them even more when he finished 2nd. That was followed up by Adrian Sutil in Italy and his 4th place. Vitantonio Liuzzi could have got some points in the same race, if he had some more luck. This year, little has changed on the car, it looks likely it will be the same one trick pony good on the tracks like Spa-Francorchamps or Monza. Its a shame for a decent driver like Liuzzi, its standard for an overrated driver like Sutil.
If you know me well, you would know that the end of last season wasn’t easy. It looked likely that my favourite team in F1 would cease to exist, with no one seemingly pulling out and the anonymity of the new owners QADBAK. Then, two miracles in one happened. Toyota pulled out, freeing up a space and then the legend that is Peter Sauber regained control. Despite no name change (although it sounds like Sauber Motorsport is the likely choice). Testing seems promising, although that may be the fact I’m refusing to listen to anyone who says its just low fuel laps to generate sponsors. They might not be one of the top 4 teams, probably 5th or 6th overall, but I’m still confident the team can do something pretty special at some race this year. Despite the unique paring of Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, I think the experienced and youth duo can help each other and despite the small chances of it all, I think it’ll blossom.
Then there are Renault, a team I have absolutely no idea how to talk about them. Despite new ownership, the team name remains, but Alonso and Grosjean are out. Replacing them are the first Pole in F1 Robert Kubica and the first Russian in F1 Vitaly Petrov. I fully expect Kubica to impress in the car, which will probably be distinctly average. Petrov on the other hand, is a tough cookie to predict. Having seen exactly nothing of him and my only previous mention of the name was to spread a big rumour around the internet. He might get the odd point, but I don’t think there will be anymore. Probably all before he quietly slips out of F1 to be replaced by someone else with some promise (and money).
Williams seem to be knocking on the big four door. They have a neat little car, two very impressive drivers and a strong shout of improving on some poor recent years. Testing has looked promising for them. Rubens Barrichello may have been in F1 since 1993, but last year showed he still had it in him to win races. Nico Hulkenberg won the GP2 championship, all the GP2 champions have gone on to do very well the following season in F1 (except for Giorgio Pantano). I think Williams could sneak a win in this season, watch out for them, they are the Tottenham Hotspur to the Premier League top 4, the Wigan Warriors to the St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos domination in Rugby League. Threats. And big ones at that.
As mentioned thousands of times, there is a distinct big 4 this season. McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. These are the four teams with probably the best 8 drivers on the grid, all who could win a race, some who have experienced winning a championship, others coming very close. Some have the determination and others have skill. From these 8, I would not be surprised if all 8 win at least one race.
Red Bull set the standard for one of the best cars of 2009. It won plaudits and has been copied by many teams for this year. But some feel this years version hasn’t advanced far enough. Sebastian Vettel looks good once again, and with Mark Webber finally getting wins on the board, will he now take the battle to Vettel. The only concern for the team is reliability, which is what they suffered from last season.
Ferrari had a poor season by their high standards. While some would love to finish in 4th, it is somewhere Ferrari haven’t been since 1993, when they had Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger. Last year was marred by the awful accident to Felipe Massa, but he returns along with two time champion Fernando Alonso. For the first time in two years, Alonso has been given a competitive car and a competitive team mate. The Alonso-Massa partnership will be under scrutiny from the word go, we all know how Alonso fared with Lewis Hamilton in 2007. But a competitive team mate should bring out the best out of Alonso and Massa. The two might not get on too well, but Ferrari could reap the benefits out of it all.
This time last year, Ross Brawn had saved the Honda team, kept Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello and plonked a Mercedes engine on the back of the Honda designed car. Little did anyone know that in 9 months time they would be World Champions (including me, who also this time last year thought they only had quick times in testing due to getting sponsors in and such). It was just a one year stand for Brawn GP as Mercedes bought the team out. Out goes Champion Button and Barrichello. In comes Nico Rosberg from Williams, and a certain Michael Schumacher from retirement. Hardly anyone saw it coming, but his failed return for Ferrari last year showed his desire to return to racing at the highest level. There is no doubt from testing that he is equal if not better than Rosberg. Despite the team saying they will not be winning races straight away, I think they might nick off with a few points before winning in Spain or Monaco. They won’t win the championship, but they will be a very good challenge.
And finally, we move from Team Germany to Team Great Britain. McLaren offer a patriotic feel to it all, with 2009 Champion Jenson Button and 2008 Champion Lewis Hamilton at the team. Couldn’t possibly have got a better team I don’t think. Hamilton is an excellent driver and better than Jenson Button. But Button will be determined to prove everyone wrong. As well as that, they’ve sneaked in some aerodynamics that could put them on top, just.
So that’s my recap of the 2010 grid. Whilst its not all positive (imagine if Stefan GP had made it?), I hope it helps to show my views on the runners and riders. And now, a definitive list of predictions right from the World Champion to the winner of the Wooden Spoon.
- Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
- Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
- Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
- Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
- Jenson Button (McLaren)
- Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
- Mark Webber (Red Bull)
- Rubens Barrichello (Williams)
- Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
- Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
- Nico Hulkenberg (Williams)
- Robert Kubica (Renault)
- Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber)
- Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India)
- Sebastian Buemi (Toro Rosso)
- Adrian Sutil (Force India)
- Vitaly Petrov (Renault)
- Jaime Alguesuari (Toro Rosso)
- Timo Glock (Virgin Racing)*
- Lucas di Grassi (Virgin Racing)*
- Jarno Trulli (Lotus)*
- Heikki Kovalainen (Louts)*
- Karun Chandhok (HRT)*
- Bruno Senna (HRT)*
*All 0 points **In assumption of driver changes, this is the order as if there were none
- First driver to be sacked: Jaime Alguesuari
- First crash of the season: Petrov, di Grassi, Kovalainen, Sutil, Senna, first corner, Bahrain
- First new team to reach Q2: Lotus (With Trulli)
- Maiden Winners: Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi
- Big Controversy: 2010 Chinese Grand Prix
And there we have it, my season preview completed. Free Practice 1 starts at the ridiculously early time of 7am GMT. Or for those who see sense, Qualifying starts at 11am GMT, just before the Tottenham v Blackburn game, so you won’t miss that.
I’ll get back to you in a months time, when I note that a prediction has been horribly wrong. Its going to be like 2009, but more insane.