Abu Dhabi Preview

So, the championships have been decided but there is still one race to go.  However, this race will not be a complete dead rubber because we are visiting a brand new and exciting circuit in a country we have never visited before.

In fact, there are plenty of firsts with this track, some of which sound good, some sounding bad, and some completely unknown.  For example, the race has been completely sold out and will start in twilight and finish in darkness under floodlights, which sounds cool.

However, the layout does look a little too much of a Tilke-template (even if the surroundings look gorgeous) and the pit lane exit is tight and underground – the drivers have to go through a tunnel to get back on the track.  This sounds dangerous to me and I think there is a high probability of seeing a red flag because of an accident blocking the track here.  We shall see… Continue reading

Fantasy Racers – Brazil

What a fantastic race! Loads of action and overtaking, topped off with Button winning the title! It was probably the best race of the year and proved that the older circuits are still the best…

There was so much focus on the battle between Jenson, Rubens and Sebastian that nobody really noticed who was running at the front, so here is a picture of the podium:

The three podium finishers: Kubica (2nd), Webber (1st), Hamilton (3rd) – PicApp.com Continue reading

Driver Consistency – Brazil

It’s Driver Consistency time for the Brazilian Grand Prix – who sizzled under the Samba sunshine and who had too many caipirinha’s before the race?

Race Recap

Wow!  What a race!  The first lap was crazy, with Sutil and Trulli pushing each other off the track and then pushing and shoving each other arguing about it.  For my money, it was Trulli’s fault as Sutil had the corner… but the net result was that it brought out the safety car, which was good for a lot of drivers – Button had avoided all the carnage to move from 14th to ninth, Raikkonen had damaged his wing but limped in for a pit stop with the McLarens, who all switched to one-stop strategies.  Barrichello stood to lose out as he had a light fuel load…

But disaster struck when Heikki’s lollipop man got too excited and let him go too early – ripping the fuel hose off and spraying fuel all over Kimi – which erupted in a flash fire!  Thankfully, apart from petrol getting into his eyes and making them sore, Kimi carried on and had another decent race.  Barrichello kept the lead until his first stop, when he got stuck in traffic which ruined his strategy.  Webber took the lead while Button and Vettel charged through the field – making four very brave passes, including a duel with impressive rookie Kamui Kobayashi in the Toyota which ended in a ballsy overtake.  It was clear Button wanted to win the championship today and he drove like a man possessed!

Button dives down the inside of Kobayashi (PicApp.com) Continue reading

Brazil Qualifying – Throwing Out the Baby With the Bathwater?

Wow – what a qualifying session today!  We all knew what each of the championship challengers had to do – but nature intervened as the heavens opened in a downpour not dissimilar to that of Malaysia this year!

Summary

Qualifying was delayed after a torrential downpour in FP3, and when Qualifying finally started, Q1 was stopped after Fisichella spun early on in the session.

After a lengthy delay, it restarted, but conditions were so difficult it became a lottery with both McLarens and Vettel dropping out.

F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - Qualifying

Vettel’s Championship chances look grim at best (PicApp.com) Continue reading

So it’s all come down to this…

So… two rounds to go in this weird and wonderful F1 season.  Like the last few years, we have been spoilt in that the championship will go down to the wire – and even more so in that three guys could take the crown.  There are loads of unknowns, random events and combinations – so here is a quick rundown on what the possibilities are (remember that with two races to go, there are 20 points on offer):

1.  Jenson Button, 85 points

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice

Jenson’s not listening to his critics – he knows he can do what it takes! (PicApp.com) Continue reading

Making Up The Numbers…

Quite often I am asked why I have a blog and what makes me want to write it.  Well, the truth is that I really enjoy using my number-crunching and presentation skills to look into the data behind a Grand Prix  – and explain it in a clear and concise way that everyone can understand and enjoy.  I decided early on that I would make my analyses according to what you guys wanted to see, because it’s no use writing stuff for an audience that doesn’t like it ;) Continue reading

Japanese Grand Prix – Did Rosberg Gain An Unfair Advantage?

As mentioned in my Driver Consistency post for Japan, there was an incident near the end of the race that caused considerable controversy and has sparked debate all over the internet, even on this blog!

The issue I am referring to is of course whether Rosberg gained an unfair advantage under the Safety Car or not – and this post will investigate the timing data and other available information to find out what really happened and see if we can settle the issue once and for all.

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Race

Rosberg at the front of the train during the Japanese Grand Prix – PicApp.com Continue reading

Driver Consistency – Japan

It’s Driver Consistency time for the Japanese Grand Prix – who was hot like Wasabi and who was soft like Tofu?  Let’s have a look at the lap times to find out!  If you need more info on my calculation methods then please refer to my post on Driver Consistency Explained.

Driver Consistency

Here is a graph showing the average lap times and standard deviation for the Japanese Grand Prix:

jpn09_race_laps_av

(Note: The laps where race was run under the Safety Car have been excluded as these are not considered ‘Racing Laps’) Continue reading

Fantasy Racers – Japan

So the Japanese Grand Prix is over, Button isn’t champion, Barrichello nibbles a little out of his lead and Vettel scored a dominant win from flag to flag.

Sadly, there was little action on track other than the pit stops – A couple of good overtaking moves but the racing was largely processional.  However, there was some controversy at the end of the race.  Alguersuari had a bad accident at the 130R (but is OK) which brought out the safety car.  Rosberg used this opportunity to make his planned pit stop and jump ahead of both the Brawns and Heidfeld.

However, after the race, Button suggested that Rosberg drove too fast before the safety car and gained an unfair advantage.  At the time of writing, Brawn have complained to the stewards as Williams have had to explain themselves.

Now, I only have the lap times and gap times from the FIA Media Centre – and I can tell you that on the lap where the safety car came out, these were the following lap times:

  • Rosberg: 1:39.697
  • Button: 1:45.382
  • Barrichello: 1:45.686

Rosberg’s lead was 24.559 seconds and his pit stop took 24.888 seconds – so he would not have made the positions up on the track without the safety car.  Rosberg is adamant that he kept the correct pace on the way to the pit lane, however the gaps suggest to me that he did gain an advantage and so I would not be surprised to see him penalised.  So that’s the second race in a row where he makes a fundamental and costly pit lane error.

Driver Scores

But how does that translate into the Fantasy Racers scores?  Let’s have a look at the driver scores from the Grand Prix today. By the way, for more information on my calculation methods, please visit my page on Fantasy Racers Explained

Jpn09_FR_race_points

(Note:  Once Danny has set the scores, they will not be changed if penalties are applied afterwards, in accordance with the Fantasy Racers rules…) Continue reading

Japan Qualifying – We are Confused!

Time for Qualifying Analysis for the Japanese Grand Prix.  What a qualifying session today!  Cars going off left, right and centre, three red flags, penalties all around and poor Glock getting injured!

To be honest, there’s way too much info to summarise but I will give it a go anyway.  Webber could not qualify as he damaged the car in the morning practice session, Alguersuari went off at Degner in Q2, causing the first red flag.  When Q2 was restarted, Glock went off at the last corner after the Casio chicane before anyone could set a time.  He sustained a wound on his left leg and was airlifted to hospital.  The car was wrecked and he may not be able to race tomorrow, but at least he is OK.

This meant that there was a mad rush to set a time in Q2, with most drivers leaving it late with only one run.  This plan fell apart because Buemi hit the wall coming out of the Spoon Curve and caused a yellow flag.  Button, Barrichello, Alonso and Sutil did not lift off through the yellow flag in order to set a time and have all been given 5-place grid penalties as a result.  As Buemi drove his damaged car back to the pits and impeded other drivers, he was also penalised 5 places.  However, this was after qualifying and Button, Barrichello, Buemi and Sutil all progressed into Q3.

Q3 was also manic – Kovalainen, who is under pressure to deliver this weekend in order to secure a drive in F1 in 2010 had a scrappy qualifying session, barely making it out of Q1 after spinning at the Degner curve.  This curve proved to be his undoing in Q3, as he spun again and hit the wall, causing the final red flag of the day.

So only eight drivers set times in Q3, and this is what they looked like:

Jap09_q3times

(Note:  I have decided to run my analysis before the penalties were issued – it is too confusing otherwise.  The final grid will be addressed at the end of the post) Continue reading