Bahrain GP Preview

Mercedes and Nico Rosberg took advantage of Ferrari’s strategy blunder to win in Australia, but will Ferrari bounce back in the desert in Bahrain.

31/04/16

Mercedes now hold the advantage over Ferrari by making the right strategic move and made Nico Rosberg win but will Ferrari bounce back and take the fight to Mercedes this weekend?

History of the Bahrain GP

Bahrain first held it’s first grand prix in 2004 and made history as the first race held in the Middle East. Fernando Alonso won on his first race with Ferrari back in 2010 and that was his 3rd race win round the desert circuit. In 2014, it changed to a to a night race which witnessed the race long battle with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Sergio Perez’s 3rd place and Force India’s 1st podium since the 2009 Belgian grand prix and Esteban Gutierrez’s flip down at turn 1 caused by Pastor Maldonado.

Most Wins

Fernando Alonso has the most wins with 3, winning in 2005, 2006 and in 2010. Felipe Massa, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton all have 2 wins each.

Ferrari have the most wins here with 4 while Mercedes and Red Bull have 2 wins each. McLaren have not won round here but have the fastest lap set in 2005.

Track facts

  • Lap record: 1:31:447, Pedro de la Rosa, 2005
  • Laps: 57
  • Circuit length: 3.362 miles
  • Race distance: 191.53 miles
  • Corners: 15

New qualifying system to remain for Bahrain

After being heavily criticised after it’s hugely disappointing debut on Saturday for the Australian Qualifying, it is to remain for Bahrain. After Qualifying, Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolf said that the new format was “pretty rubbish” and Red Bull Team boss, Christian Horner, apologised to fans and viewers for getting it wrong. Surely the format can’t get any worse?

Alonso out on Medical grounds

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will miss the upcoming Bahrain grand prix after doctors ruling him out on medical grounds due to his crash during the Australian grand prix. 2 chest CT scans were taken and showed that Alonso had not recovered fully from the crash. A further chest scan will be taken ahead of the Chinese grand prix. McLaren reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne will make his grand prix debut replacing Alonso. Vandoorne already has several test days with McLaren most recent experience at Paul Ricard in January.

Mercedes VS Ferrari Round 2

One thing we learnt from the Australian grand prix was that the gap from Mercedes to Ferrari has shrunk. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has classed Ferrari as a “huge threat” for Bahrain and the season ahead. But which team come out victorious on Sunday?

The midfield shake out

Mercedes and Ferrari are way out in front but who is leading the midfield fight? Right now the midfield is made up of Williams, Red Bull, Torro Rosso, Force India, Haas, Renault and McLaren. Then behind you have got Sauber and Manor.

This weekend should give us more of an idea of who is where when it comes to the midfield battle.

Qualifying is on Saturday the 2nd of April with the Race on Sunday the 3rd of April.

 

 

 

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After Round 1 Standings

After the Australian grand prix, Nico Rosberg leads the Drivers Championship and Mercedes lead the Constructors Championship.

24/03/16

Drivers Championship

  1. Nico Rosberg 25 points
  2. Lewis Hamilton 18 points
  3. Sebastian Vettel 15 points
  4. Daniel Ricciardo 12 points
  5. Felipe Massa 10 points
  6. Romain Grosjean 8 points
  7. Nico Hulkenberg 6 points
  8. Valterri Bottas 4 points
  9. Carlos Sainz Jr 2 points
  10. Max Verstappen 1 point
  11. Jolyon Palmer 0 points
  12. Kevin Magnussen 0 points
  13. Sergio Perez 0 points
  14. Jenson Button 0 points
  15. Felipe Nasr 0 points
  16. Pascal Wehrlein 0 points
  17. Marcus Ericsson 0 points
  18. Kimi Raikkonen 0 points
  19. Rio Haryanto 0 points
  20. Esteban Gutierrez 0 points
  21. Fernando Alonso 0 points
  22. Daniil Kvyat 0 points

Constructors Championship

  1. Mercedes 43 points
  2. Ferrari 15 points
  3. Williams 14 points
  4. Red Bull 12 points
  5. Haas F1 8 points
  6. Force India 6 points
  7. Torro Rosso 3 points
  8. Renault 0 points
  9. McLaren 0 points
  10. Sauber 0 points
  11. Manor 0 points

The Bahrain grand prix weekend takes place in Sakhir for round 2 on the 1st – 3rd of April.

Australian Race Round 1

Nico Rosberg wins the Australian grand prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as huge crash for Fernando Alonso brings out the red flag.

20/03/16

Tyre choice

Due to the new Pirelli tyre rules, drivers outside of the top 11 can choose their starting tyre. Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg, Jenson Button, Valterri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutierrez will start the race on the Soft compound tyre. The rest of the grid will start on the Super Soft tyre.

Formation lap

The drivers go round for their compulsory formation lap and they work their way around the track. As everyone slots into their grid position, Red Bulls  Daniil Kvyat doesn’t and is going nowhere so he gets out of his stricken car. The drivers are made to go round for another formation lap as the marshals push the Red Bull car into the pits and off the track. It looks like an electrical problem and hopefully Red Bull will get him back out and racing. Despite Red Bulls best efforts, they don’t get Kvyat back out.

Race

The lights go green for the first time in 2016 and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel makes a great start from 3rd and goes right through the gap of Lewis Hamilton on the left and Nico Rosberg on the right. Hamilton, who started on pole, goes to the outside of the track and Rosberg on the inside locks up and steers into Hamilton, both drivers don’t touch but are both over taken by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Vettel leads ahead of Raikkonen, Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Felipe Massa and Hamilton. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen is going slowly and has a puncture.

Lap 3, Hamilton still down in 6th, is now 6.5 seconds behind Vettel. Lap 4, Hamilton goes down the inside of Felipe Massa at turn 3 and Hamilton completes the move by the exit of turn 4. Lap 8, Hamilton has now closed up right behind Max Verstappen and is now 8.2 seconds behind Vettel. Lap 10, Vettel leads by 2.5 seconds ahead of Raikkonen in second as Daniel Ricciardo passes Felipe Massa down into turn 1 for 6th. The pit window opens and Massa, Pascal Wehrlein and Marcus Ericsson pit for the Soft tyre on lap 12. Rosberg, Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso and Jolyon Palmer head into the pits on lap 14. Vettel responds to Rosberg and pits at the end of lap 14.

Lap 18, the camera cuts to Esteban Gutierrez who in the gravel trap at turn 3 and up against the crash barrier, is the left over of what was a McLaren Honda of Fernando Alonso. The Red flag is out and the replay shows Alonso was making a move on Gutierrez, who brakes earlier than Alonso expected on the entrance to Turn 3 and the McLaren’s front right tyre collides with the rear of the Haas and Alonso is vaulted into the gravel, rolling into the barrier. The car is in a complete mess and Alonso gets out of the upside down McLaren. Alonso and Gutierrez are fine and waving to the crowd, which is a good sign after a huge crash. Could this crash now have the FIA think more about closed cockpits?

In the frantic couple of minutes, Raikkonen and Hamilton have pitted with Raikkonen going onto the Supersoft and Hamilton going onto the Medium tyre, a bold move by Hamilton and Mercedes. The Safety car comes out and leads the cars into the pits and to a complete halt in the order that they were in before the accident. The marshals pick up the final bits debris left from the crash. It looks like that Rio Haryanto’s race is over as the car is wheeled back to the garage. While the cars are in the pits, they are allowed to change tyres, with Rosberg going onto the Medium tyre as the Ferrari cars of Raikkonen and Vettel are still on the Supersoft tyre. Vettel leads ahead of Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Sainz and Hamilton as the the race gets going again on lap 20. Lap 24, Raikkonen is trundling down the pits with his Ferrari on fire! The pits in his box as the fire starts coming out of the air box. Raikkonen gets out the car and the Marshals put out the fire.

Lap 26, Marcus Ericsson has been given a drive through penalty for the Sauber mechanics ‘working on his car in the 15 second signal’ before the restart. Lap 29, the big benefit of the red flag is Romain Grosjean, currently in 8th place in the Haas, what a result for the new team if they finished in the points. Lap 35, Vettel should be pitting right now as his tyre are going off and the gap to 2nd place Rosberg is now just over 1 second.Lap 36, Vettel finally pits and goes onto the Soft tyres and into 4th place behind Rosberg, Ricciardo and Hamilton.

Lap 39, Hamilton took 1 second out of Rosberg’s lead and is now catching 3rd place Daniel Ricciardo. Lap 40, things are hotting up at Torro Rosso as Verstappen pleads the team to let him pass Sainz as Sainz is slow and stuck behind Jolyon Palmer. Verstappen is not happy as he is quicker than team-mate Sainz but Verstappen just can’t pass. Lap 43, Hamilton passes Ricciardo into turn 1 as both, Sainz and Verstappen pass Palmer in turns 1 to 3. Ricciardo pits having lost 2nd place to Hamilton and takes the Supersoft tyres. Lap 45, Hamilton puts in the new fastest lap and is now just over 10 seconds behind Rosberg. Lap 47, Ricciardo passes Massa into turn 1 and is now up to 4th place. Lap 51, Vettel is closing down Hamilton in 2nd and the gap is just 2.4 seconds. Lap 54, tensions reach boiling point as  Max Verstappen doesn’t have time to react as Carlos Sainz locks up just ahead of him and Verstappen clips his team-mate, sending him into a spin. Lap 56, Vettel makes a mistake as he runs wide at the penultimate corner and is battle for second is over. Lap 57, Rosberg wins the Australian grand prix ahead of Hamilton and Vettel.

Race Result

1.Rosberg  2.Hamilton  3.Vettel  4.Ricciardo  5.Massa  6.Grosjean  7.Hulkenberg  8.Bottas  9.Sainz  10.Verstappen  11.Palmer  12.Magnussen  13.Perez  14.Button  15.Nasr  16.Wehrlein   DNF Ericsson, Raikkonen, Haryanto, Gutierrez and Alonso   DNS Kvyat

Drivers Championship

  1. Rosberg 25 points
  2. Hamilton 18 points
  3. Vettel 15 points
  4. Ricciardo 12 points
  5. Massa 10 points

Race Facts

  • Romain Grosjean’s sixth place ensured Haas became the first brand-new team to score points on their Grand Prix debut since Mika Salo finished sixth for Toyota in 2002.
  • Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place finish equalled the best result for an Australian driver on home soil – a tie with Mark Webber’s fourth place in 2012.
  • On Saturday, Lewis Hamilton joined the Michael Schumacher in becoming one of just three drivers (the other being Ayrton Senna) to have scored 50 or more pole positions in F1 racing.

 

 

 

Australian Qualifying Round 1

Lewis Hamilton takes pole position to kick off his title defence in Melbourne ahead of Mercedes’s team-mate Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel as new Qualifying format disappoints.

19/03/16

Q1

Lewis Hamilton is the first car on track and is followed by a huge train of cars behind him as everyone wants a fast and clean lap. Nico Rosberg is the first car on a flying lap and runs wide at turn 1 which ultimately spoils his lap. Hamilton is quickest with 11 minutes to go and the elimination begins.

Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein is the first driver to be eliminated and is followed by team-mate, Rio Haryanto. Both Haas drivers, Esteban Gutierrez and Romain Grosjean are both eliminated and then its Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr is eliminated and its down to Renault’s Jolyon Palmer to set a quick time or he is eliminated. His time is better than the other Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and Ericsson is eliminated.

Out: Wehrlein – 22nd, Haryanto – 21st, Gutierrez – 20th, Grosjean – 19th, Kvyat – 18th, Nasr – 17th and Ericsson – 16th.

Q2

Q2 starts and the elimination begins. Renault’s Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer are eliminated then its the improved McLaren Honda’s of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Williams Valterri Bottas can’t make it through and both Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez are also eliminated. Hamilton is quickest in this session

Out: Magnussen – 15th, Palmer – 14th, Button – 13th, Alonso – 12th, Bottas – 11th, Hulkenberg – 10th and Perez  – 9th.

Q3

For the new Qualifying format, this session is where it all went wrong in terms of excitement and intensely for me.

Q3 starts and both Mercedes and Ferrari cars are both on track. The 1st laps are in and Hamilton leads from Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg. The elimination process begins and home favourite, Daniel Ricciardo is out for Red Bull. Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz is next and is followed by the Williams of Felipe Massa and the other Torro Rosso of Max Verstappen are all eliminated. Both Mercedes cars of Hamilton and Rosberg go out for one more flying lap but both Ferrari cars don’t and they are eliminated. Rosberg is quick but Hamilton is quicker still and finishes that lap under 1 minute and 23 seconds.

There are still 3 minutes left in the session and the action is over. Just 2 minutes and 30 seconds to go and both cars of Hamilton and Rosberg are back in the pits and getting out of their cars. The chequered flag falls and Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel are preparing for the press event that interviews the top 3 drivers.

Out: Ricciardo – 8th, Sainz – 7th, Massa – 6th, Verstappen – 5th, Raikkonen – 4th

Top 3: Vettel – 3rd, Rosberg – 2nd and Hamilton- 1st.

Qualifying Results

1.Hamilton  2.Rosberg  3.Vettel  4.Raikkonen  5.Verstappen  6.Massa  7.Sainz  8.Ricciardo  9.Perez  10.Hulkenberg  11.Alonso  12.Button  13.Palmer  14.Magnussen  15.Ericsson  16.Bottas*  17.Nasr  18.Kvyat  19.Grosjean  20.Gutierrez  21.Wehrlein  22.*Haryanto

* Bottas qualified 11th and received a 5 place grid penalty for an engine change. 11th – 16th.

*Haryanto was given a 3 place grid penalty for a collision with Romain Grosjean in the pit lane in Practise 3. 21st – 22nd.

Reaction from the new Qualifying format

After Qualifying, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, Toto Wolf said that the new format was “pretty rubbish”, Red Bull Team boss, Christian Horner apologised to fans and viewers for getting it wrong and Sky F1’s Johnny Herbert said the anti-climax finish had been “embarrassing”. Drivers, team bosses and pundits have called for change for the next race in Bahrain to go back to the old system of 3 sessions and all the slowest drivers at the end of the session would be out.

Lets hope that the disappointing new qualifying format improves the Race is on Sunday 20th March.

 

 

 

Australian GP Preview

The F1 2016 season kicks off in Melbourne and everyone will be excited and hopefully ready to go when the lights go green on Sunday.

18/03/16

Pre season testing is done, so now F1 gets down to business as we head for the race of the season in Melbourne, Australia. For new teams and drivers, Melbourne is considered tough for them starting out.

History of the Australian GP

The country first held its first grand prix in 1985 in Adelaide. One year later and Nigel Mansell’s tyre blow which cost him the world championship that year. In 1994, Adelaide also saw Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher collided and saw Schumacher take his first world championship.

The venue for the Australian grand prix changed to Melbourne in 1996. 19 races held here have been season openers.

Australian’s home race luck?

The best place for an Australian driver was Mark Webber’s 4th place in 2012. Technically, Daniel Ricciardo’s 3nd place in 2014 was the best, only for a while as he was excluded from the race for a fuel infringement.

Best debut drives

  • Kevin Magnussen – McLaren – 2014 – 2nd
  • Lewis Hamilton – McLaren – 2007 – 3rd
  • Mark Webber – Minardi- 2002 – 5th
  • Felipe Nasr – Sauber – 2015 – 5th
  • Kimi Raikkonen – Sauber – 2001 – 6th

Most wins

Michael Schumacher has the most wins round Melbourne with 4. Jenson Button has 3 wins in 2009, 2010 and 2012. Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen have 2 wins each. With Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg all have 1 win each.

Track facts

  • Lap record: 1:24:125, Michael Schumacher, 2004
  • Laps: 58
  • Circuit length: 3.295 miles
  • Race distance: 191.117 miles
  • Corners: 16

Historic F1 weekend

This weekend for F1 will see two major rule regulation changes with the new Qualifying and Pirelli tyre rules put into place. Along with the two major rule changes are 3 new drivers making their debut this weekend are: Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto at Manor and Jolyon Palmer at Renault. F1 also sees a new team entering the sport by the name of Haas F1.

Qualifying is on Saturday 19th March and the Race is on Sunday 20th March.

Still confused about the new Qualifying and Tyre rules? Look back at some previous blogs to get an idea of what they are about.

New to F1 and this blog? All the teams, drivers and regulation changes are there waiting in the Menu button at the top of this blog called Guide To F1 2016. Also there is information about this blog and myself in the Menu button as well called Blog Information.

 

 

 

 

New Qualifying Changes

The FIA have now confirmed that the new qualifying changes will come into place for the first round of the 2016 season in Australia.

13/03/16

The FIA have introduced the new qualifying format to spice up the races and make Saturday’s qualifying more interesting and less predictable.

From my view, this is too complicated. With the new tyre rules introduced by Pirelli and now these changes to qualifying. I think this will confuse fans. But this also means that we should see more cars out on track during qualifying.

How will it work?

The three knockout sessions system remains, but instead of a number of drivers being eliminated after set time periods, the clock will start ticking during each session.

Q1 will run for 16 minutes. After seven of them the current slowest car will be eliminated. This process will repeat every 90 seconds until 15 cars are left.

Q2 will last for 15 minutes, and after six the 90-second elimination periods will start again until only eight cars are left.

Q3 will then see all eight cars running, but after five minutes six further cars will be eliminated over 90 second periods until only two cars are left in a head-to-head fight for pole position.

Although

Formula one boss, Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is unsure about the changes to qualifying.

But reigning world champion, Lewis Hamilton believes the fans should judge whether the new format works or not.

Pirelli’s new tyre rules

For 2016, tyre manufacture, Pirelli have introduced a new tyre compound and new rules on how to use the tyres over a race weekend. 

11/03/2016

Pirelli’s main reason to change the rules is to spice up the strategy’s between drivers in hope to get more action on track.

Pirelli have introduced a new tyre called the Ultrasoft, marked purple. This is now the fifth tyre compound Pirelli have introduced along with the Hard, Medium, Soft, Supersoft tyre.

At first, I did not understand the new rules and I had read and watch videos to get an idea of what they have done.

New Rules

  • The drivers are allocated 13 tyres for the whole weekend.
  • Pirelli pick 3 tyre compounds for that weekend.
  • The drivers have to pick their own tyres 8 weeks before an European race and 14 weeks before am non European race.
  • The drivers can chose from the Hard, Medium, Soft, Supersoft and Ultrasoft tyre.
  • Of the 13 tyres allocated tyres for that weekend, 2 sets will be reserved for the race then 1 set of tyres will be reserved for Q3.
  • The drivers can now pick from 10 sets of tyres.
  • Drivers can pick from the 3 sets of tyres Pirelli bring to that race weekend. Example: 2 hard, 2 medium and 6 soft tyres.

 

Hand back tyres

Once you give back a tyre, you can’t get it back!

The drivers have got to give back these tyres to Pirelli:

  • 1 set of tyres 40 minutes into Friday Practise 1.
  • 1 set of tyres at the end of Friday Practise 1.
  • 2 sets of tyres at the end of Friday Practise 2.
  • 2 sets of tyres at the end of Saturday Practise 3.
  • The drivers now have 4 sets of tyres for the Qualifying and Race.
  • The set Pirelli set aside for Q3 is given back and you start on the compound of tyre you sat your quickest time in Q2.