2013 Bahrain F1 Grand Prix – post-Qualifying

Many are asking: What happened to the Kimi-Lotus pace?

This is a race with high complexity.  It is not as if they all are not of intensive complexity, yet this season’s continued challenging tire management variability seems a confounding incremental bundle of variability to the otherwise complicated endeavour.

I feel intense complication into the first corner, with intense intra-team, and extra-team rivalries creating powerful stressors, increasing probabilities of destruction.

But if the safety car doesn’t have to come out…

I would normally expect Vettel to lead by the second corner, and a Ferrari.  Normally the knee jerk reaction would be to assume Fernando; but Filipe lines up behind Vettel, who, according to this theory, out-drags Rosberg to the first corner; Alonso behind Rosberg.  If one assumes the Ferraris and Vettel to get the better of Rosberg-Mercedes, Rosberg can block, one, or the other, but not both, and possibly neither.  This scenario continues with an intense Vettel-Alonso battle to Vettel’s first stop, around… what, lap 10 of 11?  Alonso drops the hammer for two, possibly three more, and likely, Massa having passed a topping or going Rosberg, by lap 14, certainly, takes the lead on the harder rubber.  In this hypothetical scenario, Massa holds his victory’s chances in his own hands!  Can he drop the hammer, and reel off faster and faster laps, from the front, maximum tire preservation, to what?  lap 22, maybe 23?  Expect Massa to be on a two-stop strategy, possibly to cover Kimi?!?  Kimi must pass Massa in the first stint to ave a viable chance of winning on a two stopper, which other close observers must have concluded, also.

After the first stop, there re just too many variables to really get a handle on a pattern of performance.  For example, the Force Indias are THE FASTEST down the straights, and they have been pretty darn good on tire management; a Force India could win tomorrow!  But…. there is such an intense, searing rivalry, burning beneath the surface, wil they get past the first corner intact, from a start where they are so close?

Their day could be here; maybe if good enough, a double podium?!?

And after all, why not Rosberg holding everybody back, take control of the race, manage the tires as far as anybody else starting on mediums, and advance dramatically on Massa still out on hards in a long-running first stint?  Go Nico, go!

But maybe Lotus has maximized Kimi’s already best preservational use of the primary constraining variable of this race, the rear tire wear.  Maybe that means he has a harder time, ‘digging-in’, on a single lap jam; then again, maybe he’ll go as far on the mediums as Massa on the hards.

There is just so much at play here, enjoy!

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Fernando DEFINITELY ON! 2013 Chinese F1 GP race results from Shanghai

The Prince of Astoria and Maranello is fully dialed in; so he takes a well-deserved race victory in the swamp surrounding the greatest urban den of humanity.

The Ferrari looks strong, at the moment; perhaps even more importantly, in this era of the development wars, trending positive at a comparable pace to their main rivals.

Alonso was the only racer beyond the gore-hungry horns of the Bull, Vettel’s soft-tire sprint to the chequered flag was awesome; but just  little too much and he skipped a tad deep passing the Caterham, loosening the choker on Hamilton, just enough, barely, for Lewy to hang on the flag.

Sensational stuff, even for Ontarians at 430am.

Intra-team tension, as predicted, and intriguing.  Force India woes continue.  Hulkenberg stomping dominance all over everything; too bad the car doesn’t look as convincing as the Force India.  But Ferrari engine customer, Toro Rosso, publically contemplating the switch to Renault power for 2014, score big in seventh with Ricciardo, who establishes himself as the guy who has so far delivered the points at Toro Rosso; incidentally, two seconds behind factory Ferrari, Massa, in sixth.  As written before, sad about the Webber continuing string of probablistically challenging string of incredible (in the true sense of the word) co-incidences.  For whatever unfathomable reason, I trust Ross Brawn, and so the lattice of consecutive negative outcomes for Nico Rosberg seem comparatively believable.

Kimi strong; we all can hang our hopes of even greater competitiveness on the under-spoken suggestion that Kimi would have been a lot closer to Alonso on race pace with an intact front wing; in front of us, on the horizon, Bahrain is looking good, from right now!

Way to go Lewy, hanging on for third; you must have hit the 200 beats per second rev limiter on that one!  I continue to be encouraged by the competitiveness of Mercedes and their favourable positive trajectory.

Likewise, McLaren are back in the hunt; they may be the weakest of the furious five, but at least they are back in that mix and Jenson is pulling away from the midpack.  I stand and take responsibility for my off calls, and so far, calling on Sergio Perez to outperform Button is looking a long way out.  Way to go Button; but just stick to driving, your random woe to pumped comments in the media make you look weaker than your driving so far; zip it and appear better.

Season prognosis: looking very good, with the four emerging title contenders, all representing different teams.

 

Pass of the race, Raikonnen, making it look unrealistically easy as he passed the Toro Rosso while making his undercut of Lewis, on the second pit stop, good, around the pit lane entrance to he track as Lewis sped in vain to come out in front of him; “beauty“, as we say here.

…they find the fastest path! 2013 April 13 – Chinese F1 GP Qualifying

The thing, about modern formula one, is that they come up with the formula, (I don’t know how they come up with the rules, but there is usually a lot of quacking and otherwise carrying-on), the specifications, the constraints, including the tires, and the teams try an almost unimaginable number of permutations …and they find the fastest path!

The whinging (good word Australia) about the tires, is tiresome, definitely!  (“tires, is tiresome”, yes, we can do that in Canada, within the formula.)

Hats off to Lewey, he won the qualifying.

As predicted, Massa would NOT beat Alonso.

Initially, I’d thought Ferrari look strong overall, but having taken a close look at their tire management, I don’t think they are ready to win; I think they’ll both have to take another set more than the team that wins, though Vettel could very conceivably do three stops, the last for softs, and sprint the last four or five laps to win.

Sad, what is happening at Red Bull; anybody who thinks this is a coincidence suffers from not paying attention and/or getting over the denial; it’s just too sharp to be a coincidence; it has design, and planning behind it; the all too rapid on-air report of the ‘problem’ and aggressive action to ‘quarantine’ it?!?  Give me break!  Oh well.

Hoping Mark will bust out of the back and take out Vettel (no injury) as he passes him on the final corner to win the Chinese GP, ahead of Massa, just for a bit of balancing in the kharma.

Everybody has the same constraints (though sometimes somebody finds a path around such constraints, especially when they can’t be policed).

So… tires… and funky, all-blowing-the-load-at-the-same-time, whatnot (in the qualifying today):
“…that’s what they do.”
At one level, when quite a few fans are expecting something (fairly specific), in this case, an hour or so on track dueling and striving, all these people are SO DISAPPOINTED!
But there are those paying attention, to the fascination of the these latest approaches; imagine completely abandoning significant blocks of time, for… retaining more options for during the actual race? Wow!

Fascinating.

People often complain about how the driver has been minimized in the equation, yet here, now, this format, right now, today, creates this intense, almost unbelievable pressure on the human operator, TO DELIVER!

There is no place to hide if you are left to a single timed qualifying run.

It’s amazing!

Getting over traditional expectations might allow some to gain a deeper understanding of the big picture, here.

Really interesting weekend, so far; I am hoping for high tension in the race tomorrow.

Even though the racing is slightly different from the mid-industrial era origins, it’s been a long time since there has been such volatility at the top.

I’m sticking with my outlying prediction of a Bianchi point, and hoping for a Kimi victory.

Late Update: 2013 April 13 21h32 NAEDT:

I just got a feeling that Rosberg must do well; so look for him to ‘get a bit of urgency’, and let’s see what he can do.  Go Nico, go!

Expect the unexpected! 2013 Apr 10 musings before the 2013 Formula One GP at Shanghai

I was writing this comment at James Allen on F1, in response to his excellent pre-race analysis; of course, it has little to do with the analysis, besides saying that pre-race analysis for this race is very difficult, and what you can actually understand from it should be, that it is very difficult for anyone to predict the results; so I’ll more appropriately put it down here:

Expect the unexpected!
Three weeks!?!
That is quite a while for several of the development departments of the top formula one teams.
However, we come from a base, three weeks ago, of:
a. Red Bull is the fastest car, can qualify at the top;
b. Ferrari is fast, can qualify good;
c. Lotus has had the lowest tire degradation over an entire race distance in the wet, probably won’t be able to qualify on the first two rows, and will be close on race pace;
d. Mercedes are fast, can qualify high (now), may be in the top two teams for tire management, and are the fastest improving team, just ahead of Red Bull, so far this season;
e. McLaren were trending positive from a poorly understood base machinery, and three weeks is long time for them to develop their car.

It looks wide open to me.
I still expect Red Bull to be the fastest.
I still expect Lotus and Mercedes to have the best tire management capability over dry race distance.
Everything else, to me, is open.
Which teams can out-drag their chief rivals, in the development game?
I anticipate warfare, impossible to hide, within at least one team.
When Alonso is out-qualified by Massa for five races in a row, I personally think, ‘way to go Massa!’ But that is irrelevant, because in the context of the environment of Formula One competition, right now, and in case you’ve not been paying attention, this really means that there is a problem with Alonso; and a problem with Alonso IS A PROBLEM AT FERRARI!  

So, that’s ‘kind of’ interesting; not that Ferrari hasn’t been in just about continual crisis mode since the beginning of last season.

I think McLaren could be closer this weekend; look for Perez in the top five, at the flag.

I’m looking forward to the intriguing battle between Sauber and Force India, and the intra-team intrigues there as well.  Some time, before the summer break, I expect Gutierrez to impress, and Bianchi to astound, any race now, for Bianchi; he should be on a top team.

We’ll also see how bad it is at Williams; hopefully not as bad as it was looking in the first two races.

For the cynics, who say/write something like: ‘blah, blah, blah, Vettel, Alonso, and/or Webber, and/or Lewis, boring, boring, boring, but maybe Alonso?’  I think you’re wrong.

Nobody really knows what the entire situation is at Red Bull, it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more of the key players in the drama were not entirely sure how they personally will react this weekend (but we can likely rest assured that Dr. Marko knows where he stands).

What is up at Alonso/Ferrari; couldn’t it only be something that we don’t know, or is it just that Alonso and Massa are comparable drivers?!?  Now, certainly, the Alonso Media Corporation would NOT be supporting that view of the universe, would they?  So, they would have to admit that something is WRONG!  Wouldn’t they?  Of course they won’t; this situation will be described as Massa at the top of his career, with indirect unspoken suggestions that ‘he’s on a streak (that can’t last).’  It certainly can’t last, one way or another.  All I can say is, ‘Go Filipe, go!’  and ‘Go for the world championship!’

Does anyone have credible information about any lasting affect of the Mercedes instructions?  (No need to answer, it’s totally rhetorical;) no one knows the fallout at Mercedes.

There’s tension at Force India.

Hulkenburg is on a mission to beat Force India, and anyone who gets in his way.  If Gutierrez is as good as I think he is, when he gets his F1 legs, he is going to be really good.

In summation, there are a lot of highly reactive ingredients in the recipe this weekend, and there could well be some explosive outcomes, and because of that, potentially drASTIC RESULTS.  iMAGINE bANCHI ON THE PODIUM!

2013 March 24 – Vettel wins ugly, and gracelessly, further complicating the intrigue…

It’s pretty ugly.
I have to say, after finally understanding and admiring Sebastian Vettel from his performances from Budapest, in 2012, my opinion of him is really bad now.
‘Fuck you’ to anyone comparing Vettel to the best driver of all time, (a Brazilian, born March 21, 1960, according to Wikipedia), and justifying Vettel’s actions; that is sick, in the good old-fashioned, messed-up-in-the-head, kind of way.
Neither do I buy the argument that the points difference in this race, between first and second, being greater than the margin between Vettel’s points total and the runner up, Alonso in 2012, justifies what Vettel did. If this was close to the end of the season, and the points landscape was similar to last season’s, I might feel differently about it. But this is the second of 19 races. Vettel has three world championships, fully deserved, but can’t he win it and be gracious at the same time? Also, the team component makes a difference down the stretch; I believe, ultimately, the cost for this cunning stuntery, will be much more than seven points. I think it will cost Vettel the championship; and it should!
I hope Mark works dedicated to himself for the rest of the season, and goes for it! Then, whatever happens, likely out of the ride at Red Bull, he’ll know that he took his best shot. It’s now or never Mark, go for it, knowing you’ve more than earned the right to focus on looking after yourself. Go for it, otherwise, you’ll be finished in Formula One never knowing… You are feral Mark. Stop repressing it. It’s time to let it out, and you just got the license to do it! Good luck mate.
Lewis and Nico did the right thing and I Mercedes is now looking pretty strong. Lewis is Lewis, but in a fair fight, if such a thing exists, I really don’t see too much between them; definitely within the distance of random chance playing a decisive role in the final outcome. I don’t think Lewis did anything wrong, at all! And I’d bet, that in a similar, but reversed situation, Hamilton will hold. He might not have done it before, but we’ll never know, because he’ll do it now, if it happensm at least one pay back time; who knows, maybe more. So I think Rosberg earned a lot with this payment of points. Rosberg could win the title this year.
I think Red Bull has opened the door for Mercedes to win the 2013 Formula One championship!
Sure it was Sebastian Vettel who actually made the move. But the attitude required to make such a move has surely been fostered by the ridiculous coddling of Vettel in the RB stable.
I’m loving the tires, by the way. Good job Pirelli!

The Red Bull controversy is really, really handy for Ferrari. For Red Bull, did ultimately come away from the race with first and second.
At Ferrari, we need the person who made the call to stay out, to stand up, and wear the ‘stupid’ hat; so we can all see who it is, before he or she gets rightly fired. No ifs, ands, or buts, there is no way around it, it was definitely only a matter of time the wing on Alonso’s car was going to break and go under the car; they were fortunate to get all of the way around TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THE PIT STOP! In fact, the gaping unforgivable defect of this call, in every way surpasses the Vettel decision, in the heat of the moment. but since I don’t want to lessen the outrageousness of that call, I’ll let the comparison slide. But make no mistake, it was THE WORST DECISION that I have knowledge of, in Formula One history.

Elsewhere, where was Lotus?
Is it more the case that Australia is more anomalous, or Malaysia is more anomalous?
Could Malaysia simply be a blip on the screen?
Hard to tell right now, but both their single lap pace and race set up looked like it was right up there with Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari. I think they may have gambled on dry, and got hung out when it turned out damp in Q3 and at the start of the race. I’m hoping.

Whatever Shanghai shows us, the complexity of the season before us has increased with the obvious strife at Red Bull, and the likelihood of points-affecting manouvres now very high, there.

2013 March 23 – Malaysia Grand Prix – post Qualifying Analysis

Interesting!
The crystal ball is pretty muddy; that’s because there are so many significant variables.
I get the feeling that the four permutations of:
1. a. qualifying set up versus b. race set up
and
2. c. dry set up versus d. wet set up
yield very different car capability.
Specific observations:
i. Mercedes is fast in one lap, dry
ii. Lotus is comparatively slower in the wet
iii. Red Bull are comparatively fastest over a single lap, wet or dry
iv. Ferrari are quite quick in wet and dry, single lap and race pace, but not the fastest in anything
v. Vettel-Red Bull is the fastest package over a single lap, MASSIVELY
vi. Ferrari start very close to the front with two cars together
vii. Lotus start together at the back of the top ten

Here’s the qualifying positions, as presented by James Allen on his excellent F1 web site:
“MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m49.674s
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.587s + 0.913s
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m50.727s + 1.053s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.699s + 2.025s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m52.244s + 2.570s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m52.519s + 2.845s
7. Kimi Raikkonen * Lotus 1m52.970s + 3.296s
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m53.175s + 3.501s
9. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m53.439s + 3.765s
10. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m54.136s + 4.462s

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.636s + 1.446s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m38.125s + 1.935s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m38.822s + 2.632s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m39.221s + 3.031s
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m44.509s + 8.319s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams no time

17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m38.157s + 1.348s
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m38.207s + 1.398s
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m38.434s + 1.625s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m39.314s + 2.505s
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m39.672s + 2.863s
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m39.932s + 3.123s

* Three place grid drop for blocking Rosberg”

It’s very difficult to tell how the race might pan out, but here are some of the things I’d like to see:
A. Kimi will start well, pass three to four cars in front, and steadily work his way to the front, likely requiring one less pit stop than any other team*
B. Hamilton will aggressively pass Alonso at the start and have an intense dual with Massa.
C. Red Bull will require one more tire change than Ferrari*
D. One Mercedes driver will take one less stop than the other one*
E. Bianchi will score a point
F. It will rain and the race order will get drastically shaken up
G. Vettel will not win
H. It will dry, after a rain, and the race order will get drastically shaken up,
I. Tires delaminating, fine chaos and mayhem

(*assuming dry race)

Kimi – Victory in Victoria – 2013 Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix race winner!

Sweet.
The only talk that counts.
That’s two race wins in the past five races, isn’t it?
Celebrating the victory of who I believe is the best driver is fun, but what is going on, in the championship?
Are there already any discernible trends?
As stated, repeatedly, in previous posts, “Tire management will determine this race outcome.” (see most recent, at: 2013 March 14, below).
Lotus has the best tire management, at least for the conditions in Melbourne, on 2013 March 17.
It looks like the trend is, Lotus have continued, as aggressively as any other team, to develop their tire management capability from a base of having the best tire management, overall, in 2012.
The Red Bull has continued the trend of being the fastest car.
Ferrari have a much faster car which has improved upon its tire management capability relative to most teams.
Mercedes has improved all areas of their car, relative to most teams, including tire management; at least considering a two-stop strategy suggests to me that they have much, much more confidence in their tire management capabilities, compared to last year. But they are still chowing their tires.
But Red Bull? Probably made a sound strategic decision to get the speed first, and push on tire management through the season; maybe they have a game-changing concept that is easy to copy, say, in three or four races; maybe they don’t want to show it before the summer break is over. How could they (AD) not have foreseen the priority of tire management capability? I don’t think it is a viable supposition.
It is good to see Massa look strong; I don’t know if I buy the Alonso get-by so?!?
Speaking on the object of adoration of the Alonso Media Corporation, he looks strong.
Woe to the team that decides to work the revolution rather than evolve last years fastest car on the grid. Cursed, however, are they that then bemoan it on and on to the Brit-o-centric F1 media circus.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll write it again, Jenson, shut up! Maybe you’re not such a wus, but if you are not, then you sure are presenting the world with your best wus side. Just drive, and do your best. Put your head down, and keep working, even if it doesn’t do too much.

Speaking of working and driving, and shutting up, you got to love that Kimi.

Here is an interesting pattern, from my post on the James Allen site:

AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Melbourne, 58 laps, Dry throughout
1. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1h30m03.225s
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari + 12.451s
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull + 22.346s
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari + 33.577s
5. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 45.561s
6. Mark Webber Red Bull + 46.800s
7. Adrian Sutil Force India + 1m05.068s
8. Paul di Resta Force India + 1m08.449s
9. Jenson Button McLaren + 1m21.630s
10. Romain Grosjean Lotus + 1m22.759s

Look at the pattern of time between the cars:
12, 10, 11, 12, (then anomally) 1, 20 (then similar cars) 3, 12.
10-12 seconds between positions in the top nine!
I don’t know what this means, but it seems significant.
I’ll be tracking.

Last year the Lotus was comparatively weakest on cold circuits. Mercedes’ weakness in tire management was minimized in the cold, like Shanghai, last year. Lotus had its greatest comparative advantage in the hot and dry.

Sepang will be hot and wet. I expect that we’ll see if Red Bull have really fallen back on their tire management against the likes of Mercedes, Lotus and Ferrari.
Will Ferrari be able to be the second fastest qualifying, and the fastest in the race?
How will the hotter conditions affect the apparent Mercedes advancement?

Or can Lotus, again, use one less set of tires, come from behind on the grid, and also get the fastest lap of the race on tires that they’ve driven further than any other team would dare?

Somebody will be working their program, paying attention, and driving better than anybody else.
I hope that guy wins… again.