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.

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2013 Feb. 08 – First test, first thoughts…

Red Bull, relentless.
In terms of pace, one need look no further than Webber’s long runs, and Vettel’s mid-1:18 on HARD tires! No major technical issues at Red Bull either; the bull looms ominously!
After the bull, the black team is looking very good! Two days topping the timesheet may not be too meaningful, but the reliability at the first test, consistent long run times; Lotus really seem like they have the momentum, and right now, look the strongest to challenge the bull.
Ferrari!?! a spark of nothing less than dominance on day 3, but just like Filipe said, it doesn’t mean too much. The reliability of the red car is typical of a first test, yet, I bet many had hoped for clearer sailing to set a tone of challenge; that was missing for me. Also, the communications coming out of everything red seemed… well, just too scripted and consistent; I’m wary of this level of message control; if a team is so strong, read ‘red BULL’, the message is there for everybody to see for themselves, and so potent!
McLaren?!? a question mark for me. Yes Button did have that run, and wasn’t it on mediums? But I didn’t see the same level of consistency as the red bulls or black and gold flowers. I read a bit about how the new McLaren is a significant redesign, uhm… it doesn’t seem any more changed than the other top teams.
Maybe I have it wrong.
Mercedes, whoa or woe? Inner turmoil?!? Fires and massive mileage make-up. I don’t want to touch it. If the discussion (in the ENglish-language dominated British press, and their pet topics) wasn’t so absurdly focused on Lewis, and ‘how he’s feeling…’, or something, I’d think there’d be a lot of discussion about (h)ow! they’re looking at the backside of Force India, for sure, and maybe another team.
Am I too harsh?
This is Formula One! They sell their products to the aerospace industry! Mercedes is one of the primary marquee automobile and industrial brands in the world!
They ARE in the weeds!
Too many chiefs… it looks like, to me.

The usual scraps behind, except one is missing.

I still like Sauber, and prefer to believe them to be biding their time, working spartan-like through their programs, maximizing their resources.
Did I mention I like the look of the 2013 Sauber?

2012 Indian F1 Grand Prix Practice Analysis – not much changed

Sebastian Vettel leads, followed closely by team mate Mark Webber, and then… the rest brawl over the scraps.

It was actually Jenson who got closest to Vettel in the first practice, at only, 0.310 seconds back.  But by the end of the fast laps in the second session, Webber was 0.118 back in second, and the next fastest driver was Alonso, at a whopping 0.599 off Vettel’s pace!

Good news, some anyhow, for those duking it out behind the Bulls, race pace is similar for all of Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, and even Mercedes.  Also, Alonso hung on to end up with the fastest time on the hard tire compound, though probably because of late runs, during which the track adhesion had increased.

The track evolved continuously over the session, with drivers reporting increasing adhesion as the practice sessions went on.  There is no reason to believe that this will not continue, right up until the final qualifying run; therefore the later the run, the better the comparative timing, favouring the brave.

The prognosis:

It’s looking good if you are a blockheaded munchkin in a race car sponsored by a metabolism-increasing fizzy drink company, and designed by the greatest design guru who ever worked in the business.

Vettel is far and away the favourite here.  That being said, he has not won four races in a row (one web site states), and all the conditions are evolving, yet, and in this sport, in the words of a famous play-by-play man, “anything can happen, and usually does.

Webber pole at the 2012 Korean Formula One Grand Prix!

Yeah!

Keep it feral for the race, mate.

Webber is one of my favourites.

Webber heads four past Formula One world champions, and I think he is otherwise amongst his peers, and should be a world champion himself.

The start of this race is a nexus point for quite a few of the main plot lines in the 2012 Formula One campaign; those who have been paying attention can well understand this.  But for the rest of you, consider this small sample:

  1. Fernando puts the squeeze on Raikkonen at the start a week ago; this bad judgement costs him what could be expected to have been around 15 points, give or take three or so.  Now Alonso starts immediately in front of Kimi.  A hot spot, and an ICE COLD Finn.  Finns are cool, it’s a cool country, they speak a behavioural language that my kind understand; they are great hockey players, also, much admired around here.
  2. Over the course of the entire season to date, equipment comparative advantage has varied greatly, but overall, Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari have been extremely close, the difference between them, their immediate comparison; so Red Bull has a the slight edge, over an almost dead heat between McLaren and Ferrari.  The next chapter in this story is current race pace, a cliff hanger, to be certain!
  3. An epic continues with the Red Bull inter-team plot line of Sebastian Vettel, and Mark Webber racing into the first corner; I certainly hope that Mark Webber has NOT conceded the season yet; Australians are a cool people.  We have great affinity, they are like a warmer weather version of our culture (though driving on the wrong side of the road).
  4. For much of the season, the ice races threateningly, but never conquering the peak of the podium; now this curious viral campaign suggesting revelations for the next season on Kimi’s birthday, next week?!?  I don’t think we’ve seen it dropped into the next gear yet.

What I would like to see, Kimi first, Webber second, and a former Spanish double world champion taking out a German double world champion.

Why?  Great ongoing spectacle, of course; such an outcome would crank up even this, the best season in a long time.

Congratulations to all those who have made the 2012 F1 World Championship so good!

2012 Japanese F1 Grand Prix – after P3 before qualifying

Trend prediction for Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel accurate: Red Bull strong, and Vettel the fastest driver of the incredibly strong field of rivals!

But McLaren, what happened?

Was it a case of just not putting it all together and demonstrating their best, or something else?

If the Auto Motor Und Sport article, “…the entire wing to rotate about the transverse axis”, has credence, and it still most certainly is consistent with their recent performance advantage; but maybe it’s just their performance advantage, and no provable unfair advantage at all?

I give it a 50:50 probability of credence.

So, predictions:

One way or another, Red Bull performance and McLaren performance should come back into alignment from their comparative performance in FP3, Red Bull 1st 1nd 2nd (not bad), McLaren 8th, and 13th.

But Sebastian Vettel will be (a wayfaring appropriate usage of the word)  truly awesome, no matter where he qualifies; I must confess, I have not been a believer in Sebastian Vettel until the last five races, he is awesome, and the fastest driver right now!

I re-iterate my previous trend analysis that Sebastian Vettel will win the Japanese GP 2012, and go on to win the 2012 Championship.

tids and tads before Suzuka – 2012 Oct. 3rd

Going for wins in the current competitive environment:

I read an article in Autosport.com, at: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/103009 the headline: “Romain Grosjean: Victory not vital for Lotus in 2012“, though he was placed into some kind of context, “ “If we can win a race this year of course we will try to grab it,” he added. “But if it’s not this year I’m sure it will come next year.”  

Yet he is quoted further, “…  We have been consistently at the front, getting good data and good experience for the future.

It will be much easier next year to go to race weekends knowing the track, knowing the team, knowing what we did the year before and being ready straight away.”  

Next year is a long way away.  In the current competitive environment, you never know when you’re going to get as close as you are now.

I say, it does matter!  You must win if you are as close as Lotus have been.  

How come Romain doesn’t know this.

I bet Kimi knows it.

Comparative pace potential factor for Suzuka to watch for!

Also at Autosport.com (way to go Autosport.com), Martin Whitmarsh on , “… potential FIA flexi wing clampdown”, at: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/103022. They site an report in Auto Motor Und Sport. My google translation of the article, at: http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/streit-um-klappfluegel-bei-mclaren-und-red-bull-5819046.html ,reads, in part, “…the entire wing to rotate about the transverse axis.”  It furthermore suggests that Red Bull have similar since Singapore, and that Ferrari found out and alerted the FIA?!?

Whitmarsh is quoted by Autosport, ” “I think the regulations require the wings to be rigid, but of course no wing or aerodynamic surface is infinitely rigid.

“From time to time questions and disputes arise between teams, who feel that other teams are too flexible or whatever. I don’t envisage any particular problems for McLaren in that regard, and consequently I don’t think that it is anything that will harm us.” …  

Could there be anything to it?

I don’t know, but if there is, and it doesn’t apply to Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes, then we could have a race with a different complexion.

Furthermore, the race pace of McLaren and Red Bull, the fastest two teams at Singapore, suggest that they may have had some kind of an advantage.

In my opinion, the data matches this suggestion.

What to look for:

1. It will probably be in the news.  If it’s not,

2. It should show right away.  If true, I will look for them to not be as dominant on Friday.   Red Bull and McLaren dominated free practice and with Vettel taking P1’s and McLaren taking 2* P2 and 1* P3 (Alonso got the other P3), then qualifying McLaren P1 and P4, Vettel P3 behind Maldonado in P2.

Consequently, Ferrari and Lotus (especially if Lotus gets ‘the device’ hooked up, and it delivers), should have stronger comparative pace, and maybe Mercedes with their ‘Coanda effect’ exhaust.