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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Season Summary - Stats Talk !!!

While the results that matter are out and well “fought over” .Some statistical data of how the season panned for various teams.

Thanks to Nico (Crash)berg & Technical issues Williams finds itself having dubious record for the years maximum DNF. Point to be noted is
Engine was never Achilles heel for Williams team most of their DNF were due to other technical reasons ( fuel pressure, gearbox, transmission, cooling to name a few) and Ni(Comet) always fell upon the other Williams , unlike the good old days when Pizzonia, Klien took out rivals ( Klien did take out DC once in 2005)
Another interesting stats : While Ferrari-Renault engines did 19500-19700 rpm in races , and Hondas and Mclaren did 19000-19300 rpm, only engine on grid that would do 20000 rpm during race was Cosworth V8.

Sir Frank has a lots of repairs to do if he wants to see the glory days of 90’s.

Honda has done most testing in the season; it’s a mystery that all their work on test track never reflected in Races. (other than when rain-gods played dice at Hungary)
With teams agreeing to testing restrictions agreed upon by the teams for 2007 the onus is back on the Sunday Drivers to make most of the Friday free pracs to work with their engineers to get best setup for Sunday ,like they did in days of Prost & Senna.

Honda (Read Button) has challenge from their sister team Super Aguri ( and Sato), if Taku San’s performance at Interlagos is reflection how much the Aguri team has evolved in course of 9-10 months. Next year Taku will be driving car which Button drove at Brazil and best part is the car will be setup as per his preference,unlike the BAR Honda Days when Taku suffered silent humiliation on 2005 grid with Car Designed as per Jenson’s preference

End of 2005 season ,buoyed by 2005 success, Toyota wanted to implement the Japanese Quality principle of Kaizen in their F1 program and as such was the first team to release their 2006 contender ,but that “Continuous Improvement” never took place. They also start 2007 with a big deficit in as they lose services of Mike Gascoyne.

BMW was in a way most progressed team of the season : The BMW campaign of 2006 season reminds me of Japanese way of keeping the fishes transported to make Sushi fresh ( As per the talks they keep the fish in company with bigger fishes who prey upon them ).While personally the way Dr. T culled Newton ( JV) was a sore point , the Polish replacement of Canadian has shown lots of promise having started late in 2006 , and now Quick Nick finds himself in Canadian’s position. As long as Dr. T is honest about the car he gives to his pilots ,his expectation for the pilots to deliver is valid one . Interesting point with the team was the Driver who was delivering better than Quick nick got the boot and now with even faster rookie in team , the incumbent German Pilot has to be alert on performance ,and if Mario T doesn’t follow double standards in this case ,nobody should complain

Red Bull decided to keep all their eggs in same basket,as they shut the shop on 2006 car and are focusing on 2007 car designed by Adrian Newey, hope their gamble pays off , as it is almost final that they will be running Renault engines in 2007 , lets hope that Renault are as professional to their customers as they are with their own teams needs. It would be an interesting battle to see Renault Vs Renault powered Redbull on the grid.

Interesting story from reliability perspective is STR the Jr. Redbull team(Another Cosworth client), which completed more race laps than likes of Mclaren and Toyota who have done more testing than the Faenza based squad. While Renault is expected to be more professional with their clients ,History of Ferrari doesn’t reflect that , never ever have Ferrari Customer Cars run on same revs as Ferrari in races , maybe its time Ferrari Clients put those Service Level Agreements clauses in their contracts and get fair bang for the buck they pay. Else it will just be story of Ferrari using customers as guinea pigs to keep themselves at top of the game on Engine Reliability front

Midland-Spyker – All through the season the team was more of talking point on whether Alex Schnaider will sell Midland or not , after all the denials ( typical F1 style) ,finally they were bought by Spyker and now they are to become Spyker F1 , Biggest coup was Spyker acquiring services of Mike Gascoyne. Personally Trevor Carlin- Gascoyne would have been right combination to take the team in right direction in 2007 . As such how Colleen Kolles lets Mike to have free reins in team matters would be an interesting point to track in 2007 . On Engine Front Ditto as STR, Ferrari Guinea Pigs part - ii

Mclaren – This Corporate house on the Grid (Greed) needs a mention as we summarize the 2006 season. For the team who was ahead of Renault at end of 2005 something went terribly wrong over the winter , was that terrible thing the lost focus amidst frenzy to woo new sponsors and world champion driver ,where the basics were overlooked ,existing drivers destabilized. The results (especially on speed front) in 2006 should bring them to ground reality. Looking at their 2006 results, personal opinion here is Mclaren 2005 pace was Michelin’s success story of making peerless tyres to last 300+ miles, which now it looks like was one main weapon missing in Ferrari’s armor in 2005.
For Ron Dennis:, End of the day racing is all about building reliable and fast car ,and having fastest drivers to drive them. Mr. Dennis you had two of those for better part of two year. Now you have one. So the ball is in your court, back to basic of building reliable and fast race craft

With FIA reverting back to changing tyres in race rule – Ferrari was immediately in groove in 2006 , but had forgotten the race winning ways in early part of season, after a slow start ,they connected the dots after Imola , and Schumacher and Massa didn’t miss a beat for better part of 2006 , When we discuss Ferrari ,inadvertently topic drifts to FIA and hence controversy , While Ferrari did every thing needed to comeback strong after dismal 2005 campaign,FIA did come to aid by pestering Renault at crucial juncture of campaign with Mass Damper controversy ,For a lay person who is new to sport its difficult to understand how a part that was legal for better part of 2005 and 2006 season suddenly was illegal from FIA perspective. How Alonso who had only one lap to qualify after being forced out of track at Monza gave him puncture, and when he was more that 2 car lengths ahead of Massa could be penalized for blocking Massa , For someone whose priority is to put a timed lap ,it was difficult to judge why “Blocking Opponent” can become more important task .

In last two instances , roles of Technical committee , and stewards becomes important and its high time FIA brings about some transparency and neutrality on this front.

For Lay followers the last two instances were driving factors when taking sides , it was a movie plot of fight of good vs evil and defeat of Renault would have been loss of side which was treated wrongfully.

And like it happens in the Holly wood dramas , fate played its role at Suzuka and Interlagos to ensure the Renault who have showed the paddock a good demonstration how to balance Professionalism ( departing driver effect, restricted finances of parent company for the project , result based support to the project) and love of racing & yet deliver the results. Briatore has a new project in hand in form of Heikki Kovalainen & to produce yet another World Champ in him. While Fisichella had some sympathy in 2005 for all Renault mishaps happening to him, this year departing Alonso beat him fair and square in straight fight, infact in a lesser spec car in final race.

Alonso apart from the final outbreak against his own team showed thorough professionalism, to meet personal and organizational goals (as they say in the corporate jargon)