Archive for March, 2012

F1: Malaysia positives and negatives

March 29, 2012

The changing conditions at Sepang produced an interesting and eventful race with a surprising victory for Fernando Alonso and a brilliant second place for Sergio Perez.

Those are obviously the first two positive highlights. It’s not easy to choose a third one from the various contenders but in the end Jean Eric Vergne is probably a worthy pick. He drove magnificently in a wet track with intermediate tyres en route to his first world championship points.

It’s much easier to highlight negatives.

Felipe Massa, who finished 97 seconds behind his teammate in 15th place, must be starting to think that he could be better off somewhere else, like Sauber (who gave him the first opportunity to drive in F1). Of course, that is assuming that Sauber would choose him to replace Perez in a straight swap, instead of going for Adrian Sutil or Jaime Alguersuari.

Mercedes were appalling in the race and could only manage a point for Michael Schumacher after Pastor Maldonado’s retirement near the end. Surely there some German big cheeses in Stuttgart must be wondering why Mercedes has a works team in Formula 1.

The final negative mention has to go to Sebastian Vettel who is seemingly losing it after a poor race – not something we have seen last year. It will be interesting to see whether Red Bull can close the gap to its rivals and Vettel can regain a more positive mood over the next races.

The next battle in China should provide plenty of artificial DRS overtaking in the long straight and potentially interesting tyre management strategies.

Indycar: Turbo nostalgia, what a sound…

March 26, 2012

Great sound from James Hinchcliffe’s new 2.2L turbo Chevy engine.

Looking forward to the return of turbos to F1 in 2014.

F1: Australia positives and negatives

March 19, 2012

As usual, Melbourne produced a decent race and some surprises. Here is a compilation of the main positives and negatives from the weekend.

Positive #1 has to go to Jenson Button. He dominated the race and looked comfortable at all points. It’s going to be an interesting year at McLaren with Jenson increasingly taking the leadership of the team and Hamilton charging back to regain that role.

Positive #2 goes to Sauber, who managed to get two drivers in the points with Sergio Perez looking particularly impressive and Kamui Kobayashi benefiting from the disruption in the last lap.

Romain Grosjean deserves Positive #3 with his strong qualifying performance – would be interesting to see what he could have done in he race without his unkucky incident with Pastor Maldonado.

The main Negative goes to Ferrari who clearly is only the third fastest car at the moment and continues to rely on Fernando Alonso’s brilliance to produce average results. Felipe Massa never looked a strong contender to even score points and everyone including him must feel that these are his final days with the team.

Negative #2 goes to Williams and Pastor Maldonado in particular. No one was expecting them to challenge for the podium but both drivers spent way too much time off the track or bumping into other competitors. Maldonado had a great drive and was putting pressure on Alonso for fifth towards the end but losing good points by crashing on the final lap is hardly what the team needs a the moment.

The final Negative mention is awarded to HRT who again decided to do their pre-season in Melbourne, failed to set a time below 107% of the fastest Q1 time and was correctly denied the opportunity to participate in the race. Narain Karthikeyan in particular looked like a mobile chicane during qualifying – it will be interesting to see if they are able to make the cut in Malaysia and if they don’t bets will start to be taken on whether they will be around at the end of the season.