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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Canadian Grand Prix Preview

With Canadian GP F1 circus travels to the other side of Atlantic.Not many intestring developments have happened between Silverstone and now other than Renault going public with their intention to Fisichella leading their 2007 campaign

The Circuit:

Montreal has a high attrition rate and is very hard on the cars, particularly on brakes and transmission. The track is made up of straights and low speed chicanes, so engine power counts for a lot. After Monza it is one the hardest circuits on brakes. The circuit is only used once a year (Champ car series uses this circuit but after F1 race in August) and the surface is usually very slippery. The level of fuel consumption is quite high. The circuit suits a very soft tyre.

Overtaking manoeuvres : mainly into the hairpin and the final chicane.

Points of Interest: With team trusting Fisi for 2007 , will Fisichella who has done well at Montreal beat Alonso to win his second race of season. Alonso is using his final season in Renault car to complete his to do list ,to win on the circuits he has not won before , and Montreal is one of them. Incidentally this is where we have seen 2005 Champ scoring his only DNF in 2005 ,his last one for that.

Ferrari has been showing better straight line speeds than their competition ,will this help them to ace Montreal race , which has lots of straights ,will be a point of interest for the fans.
Mclaren has continued to improve after their Barcelona Debacle , Monaco and Silverstone has shown their return to form, they have been doing their preparation for highspeed American circuits with Ferrari at Paul Richard, how much that has helped their cause will be known over the weekend.
Sauber BMW has shown tremendous improvement in British GP with both Nick & JV finishing in points. This form has made team boss Mario Thiessen to claim that they are the fourth best team on the grid after Renault-Ferrari-Mclaren. The claim will be validated at Montreal, and the local fans will indeed be rooting for Homeboy Jacques Villeneuve to perform well.
Williams are traveling to the American leg of the campaign with complete upgrade of their package which they have tested by running 2500 kms in recent tests at Monza. How much returns Canadian and Indy races give to the team will be known. The team has been tad too unlucky especially Webber who has retirements while running in strong positions this seasons, fans must be rooting for change of luck for mark & Team Williams.

2005 Podium
K. Raikkonen / M. Schumacher / R. Barrichello

5 Previous Winners
- K. Raikkonen (McLaren Mercedes, 2005).

- M. Schumacher (Ferrari, 2004).
- M. Schumacher (Ferrari, 2003).
- M. Schumacher (Ferrari, 2002).
- R. Schumacher ( BMW Williams, 2001).

Fastest Lap
R. Barrichello - 01.13.622 (Ferrari, 2004)

2005 Pole

J. Button - 01.15.217 (BAR Honda, 2005)


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Alonso turns on the heat at Silverstone.

Driving in his characteristic workman like style Alonso got another win for himself, his first one on this circuit. After the 5 red lights turned off and Fernando was not challenged by both Kimi & Schumi on the first corner, the outcome of race was pretty much evident. The only minute of revelation was when Schumacher blitzed past Kimi ,emerging from second pitstop thanks to stunning outlap after his own second stop. In the midfield , STR’s Scott speed contributed by finishing race of Ralf Schumacher who in turn took down Mark Webber who had good start after starting 17th on grid, Another gainer on race start was Nick Heidfield who swooped past.
Other than this there was not much of interest from spectator perspective.
yet another feather in cap for Alonso and team, and on their current form the team is on right track for their second consecutive title. At this point the competition , doesn’t have necessary confidence in their own capabilities when it comes to take more risks to dislodge Renault from their leading position

Ferrari : After a dismal season that they had in 2005 ,Ferrari are surely proving that they are the top team amongst the rest , whether they are happy with this is a different question, at the moment though they can hope like one “Mr. Ron Dennis” who was hoping that Alonso slips in shower in second half of 2005 season

SauberBMW : Showed good form through out the weekend , and ended with both their drivers ending in points finish. If not for the gear problem which delayed “Quick Nick” on his first stop he was very much in position to consolidate on the brilliant race start he had when he leapfrogged struggling Montoya.

Mclaren: had a mixed bag with Kimi losing out to Schumi on his P2 start during his second pitstop finishing 3rd and Montoya finishing 6th . After Kimi’s DNF at Nürbürgring in 2005the team who claimed “ Finishing second in race means you are first among the losers”, Kimi and Mclaren needed to show more balls and pressurize Alonso on race start like Montoya had done at Silverstone and Interlagos last season. While everyone on grid knows that Fernando always plays is safe and finishing race in points is his first priority at this point, Kimi should have forced the issue.
Montoya and his car never came to terms with the windy conditions in free practice and starting midfield on P8 didn’t help much after racing incident with Villeneuve damaged side pod of JPM’s car, never the less 3 lucky points will keep him in striking range of his team-mate

Losers: There is a long list amongst the rest of the teams that can be put under this heading, but biggest losers are again the audience who are witness to monotonous Renault victories and pathetic attempts on Fernando Alonso to “Bring Fun to F1” in his victory lane celebration, Somebody has to tell this guy his antics look very tacky and are in no league of spontaneous celebrations of Rossi in MotoGP

01 F. Alonso Renault 1:25:51.927
02 M. Schumacher Ferrari + 13.951
03 K. Räikkönen McLaren + 18.672
04 G. Fisichella Renault + 19.976
05 F. Massa Ferrari + 31.559
06 JP. Montoya McLaren + 1:04.769
07 N. Heidfeld BMW + 1:11.594
08 J. Villeneuve BMW + 1:18.299
09 N. Rosberg Williams + 1:19.008
10 R. Barrichello Honda + 1 laps
11 J. Trulli Toyota + 1 laps
12 D. Coulthard Red Bull + 1 laps
13 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso + 1 laps
14 C. Klien Red Bull + 1 laps
15 C. Albers Midland F1 + 1 laps
16 T. Monteiro Midland F1 + 2 laps
17 T. Sato Super Aguri + 3 laps
18 F. Montagny Super Aguri + 3 laps
Did not finish
19 J. Button Honda + 51 laps
20 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso + 59 laps
21 R. Schumacher Toyota + 60 laps
22 M. Webber Williams + 60 laps


Saturday, June 10, 2006

British GP Qualifiers

Interesting grid for tomorrows race, while Alonso,Schumi is becoming a regular feature on top spots of grid, Kimi did a brilliant last sector to get Mclaren’s first front row after qualifiers. While Car setup issues didn’t go well with JPM in final qualifying session with race fuel onboard ,biggest losers from the qualifiers are Home boy Button for Honda and “Mr. Consistent Webber” .
Having said that Silverstone has always thrown up brilliant races,lots of overtaking ,so there is lots to look forward to in 60 laps on Race day

01 F. Alonso Renault 1:20.253
02 K. Räikkönen McLaren 1:20.397
03 M. Schumacher Ferrari 1:20.574
04 F. Massa Ferrari 1:20.764
05 G. Fisichella Renault 1:20.919
06 R. Barrichello Honda 1:20.943
07 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:21.073
08 JP. Montoya McLaren 1:21.107
09 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:21.329
10 J. Villeneuve BMW 1:21.599
11 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:21.442
12 N. Rosberg Williams 1:21.567
13 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:21.699
14 C. Klien Red Bull 1:21.990
15 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:22.076
16 T. Monteiro Midland F1 1:22.207
17 M. Webber Williams 1:23.129
18 C. Albers Midland F1 1:23.210
19 J. Button Honda 1:23.247
20 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:26.158
21 F. Montagny Super Aguri 1:26.316
22 J. Trulli Toyota no time


Monday, June 05, 2006

British Grand Prix Review

After an Interesting racing weekend on streets of Monaco, The F1 circus moves to Silverstone, the home of British Grand Prix. The British GP is falling earlier this year than usual to avoid clashes with the Soccer World Cup. Silverstone, now regarded as one of the most challenging tracks remaining on the calendar, is a home Grand Prix for the majority of F1 teams

The Circuit:

A very challenging circuit, requiring a medium to high level of downforce. Car setup should be made to make the car that is very responsive to change of direction, stable around fast corners and has good traction with minimum understeer for the last part of the lap. Another challenge for the engineers at Silverstone will be to track any changing conditions, particularly the wind which can have a big effect on the car. The circuit is also quite hard on tyres so relatively hard compounds need to be used.

Points of Interest: Last race was run on street circuits and hence not a true reflection of current form of the teams and their pilots. So it would be very optimistic to expect a Redbull Podium finish . Based on how the season has panned out , Renault and Ferrari will still be expected to be competing for the top three finishes, while Mclaren will lead rest of the field and closely follow the top two teams of the season so far.

Of course all of the teams/drivers will have lots of inspiration to draw from their past races at the venue, In 2005 season Silverstone marked the return to form for Montoya,who had won his first race for team Mclaren Mercedes here, while Kimi Räikkönen had a amazing run to 3rd place after having to start the race from middle of grid last year.

For WilliamsF1 team the home race was the stage for the team’s very first victory twenty seven years ago as well the 100th Grand Prix win, achieved in 1997. Over the years, the British Grand Prix has proved to be a most fortuitous track for Williams with over 70% of the races held at Silverstone yielding at least a podium finish for the team.

This weekend will also mark the 200th Grand Prix as a Formula 1 constructor and they have a interesting Tiger Theme on their livery to depict “guardian figures that, in ancient Chinese tradition, accompanied the emperor on the battlefield.” Team Principle Briatore has gone in press to mysteriously back Fisichella for the race win at Silverstone. Whether its just pulling a fast one on Journos or indeed there is some internal arrangement done to that effect will be something to watch for this weekend

5 Previous Winners
- JP. Montoya (McLaren Mercedes, 2005).
- M. Schumacher (Ferrari, 2004).
- R. Barrichello (Ferrari, 2003).
- M. Schumacher (Ferrari, 2002).
- M. Hakkinen (McLaren Mercedes, 2001).

2005 Pole
F. Alonso - 01.19.905 (Renault, 2005)


Friday, June 02, 2006

Monaco GP Review (in a rush).

How often does this happen to you, that you wait for the moment patiently and when it actually happens you are not there to witness it. Mahesh and yours sincerely experienced this while watching the Monaco GP (on the Telly) when we couldn’t resist the temptation of going out to grab a coke and when we returned Kimi had done his usual exit routine from the Monaco GP.  That was probably the only moment of importance during the GP, and I am not so sure that I wanted to see it.

Another highlight was Schumaches relegation to the last place for his qualifying antics, and rightly so, because he was braking in a zone where even Alex Yooung would have had to accelerate to keep the pace up, because the corner is just so darn slow. Schumachers deliberate attempt to mess up the qualifying of other drivers brought a lot of disrepute to himself and Ferrari.

The driver of the race for me is a toss up between DC and Webber. Both drove an excellent race and though Webber didn’t get any reward for his performance (well some praise from Flavio), DC got himself onto a podium, the first one for RedBull.

Alonso was his usual calculative self, and with clockwork precision he went about the task of keeping Kimi behind him. Overtaking is impossible at Monaco, and this was an advantage, which Alonso used well.

On an average the race was better than the one we saw at Spain.

Race Highs: DC’s podium
Race Lows: Not exactly a race low, but Schumachers qualifying shunt was a total disaster.

Power Figures for Monaco
Pace: 10 Reliability: 10
Pace: 9 Reliability: 10
Pace: 9.5 Reliability: 5
Pace: 8 Reliability: 0
Pace: 7.5 Reliability: 9
BMW Sauber
Pace: 7 Reliability: 8
Pace: 8 Reliability: 10