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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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!

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.

2013 February 28 – first day of the last pre-season test

As previously stated in these pages, Red Bull is ominous in form.

But, hey, don’t get those razor blades over your wrists yet, teams haven’t played all their cards yet.
There are very significant changes coming for Melbourne; assume the Ferrari is a data-gathering draught horse, not the Arabian Stallion they’ll be making their challenge with.
Prediction: We (most of us) haven’t seen Ferrari’s real 2013 car!
I don’t think we have a fully functional Lotus, on Thursday (Feb. 28th).
I don’t think we have the Melbourne-spec McLaren.
And we probably haven’t seen the complete 2013 Red Bull, either!
I think Sauber still have a significant functionality/component to turn-on/enable.
The Williams by-line was something to the effect, “we’ll have to bring an upgrade to every event”, probably suggesting a new upgrade for Melbourne, thus will not be seen this weekend in Barcelona.

So there is a long, long way to go to figure out the running order.

Yes, it will likely be another year of the running of the Bulls, but HEY, doesn’t it happen that some guy beats the running of the bulls, in Spain? Does that mean it’s most likely a Spanish guy?

2013 February 23 – second test, and the crystal ball is still muddy…

We’ve had the second test, at the race track that the teams have the most experience on, and therefore the teams have the best knowledge, of all the tracks on the Formula One schedule.  Yet, there is scant information to predict comparative pace of the competitors.

What we know:

  1. The new tires behave and degrade in new patterns from their behaviours and degradation patterns of last season, which itself varied greatly over the course of the year; they are at least as sensitive and variable as last year; it looks like they are more sensitive, and more variable than last year. Therefore, prediction: tire management will be at least as important as it was last year.

That’s about it.  That’s all I learned.

I did notice that one team did a race simulation; it seems to have been highly regarded by all on the pit lane, to have done one!  That’s probably relevant for the first few races, anyhow.

 

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?

Yellow flags at Interlagos during the 2012 Brasil Formula One GP

They’ve been over the footage of the Vettel-Kobayasi pass under variable flagging.

First there is a yellow light next to a slippery surface flag.  Then there is a green light!  Then there is a yellow light again, Vettel passes, Kobayashi IMMEDIATELY goes into the pits.

Based on the complexity of the situation, multiple flags, extreme conditions, and Kobayashi immediate entry into the pits, you’ve got to call this a racing incident.

Even if Vettel were to (inappropriately) get the maximum penalty for this, he would only go back one position, and stil win the championship.

So why lay the penalty?