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.

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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!

2013 March 14 22h24 EDT – Here we go! F1 2013 BEGINS!!!

The first practice session, in Melbourne, is now well underway. Kimi has five laps in.
The Lotus looks very good, but only Button, of the other top guns, has gone out.
Webber goes second.
Rosberg bumps him.
It could be even more than ten drivers have a good chance of winning. All drivers on top five teams are extremely good; the competition has reached a very high level.
Good for us!
Tire management will determine this race outcome.
Would have liked to see Bianchi racing DiResta in similar machinery.
Hoping for spectacle matching last year’s high level from Sauber team; if they maintain their 2012 tire management comparative to other teams, then those drivers will be outside shots to win!
Vettel now taking charge of the top spot on the timing board.
Go Filipe; trounce the Alonso Media Corporation; I would mind one bit if you won the championship; or Webber.
Enjoy.

2013 March 02 – Good old Ross Brawn sandbagging?

I admit it here, to all that read these posts, none but myself probably, that when Lewis Hamilton decided to make the move to Mercedes, to elevate the team like his idol, a German with the initials MS, I thought it was laughable.  Lewis is just not that kind of guy!

Well, I’m not backing off that thought, though I thought he move was bad for Lewis, and good for Mercedes.  Now, there has been quite a bit of shit happening at Mercedes F1 these days, and it looked like they were ‘in the weeds’; but now I’m not so sure.

Besides by differentiating itself as the ugliest car on the grid, second year running (though I think the Caterham is challenging this year), I thought they had gone down a dead end route.  I thought, incredulously, Ross Brawn had finally lost the Midas touch.

Since Lewis is the racing pride of most among the POM, we, the Formula One fans, have been inundated with the most minute reports of how Lewis and Mercedes are doing, one minute, very poorly, then the next, inspiring.  Well, we’re at a inspired moment, in the long stream of uni-directional time flow.  Could it be that the old limey has one more sandbag up his sleeves.

Obviously, I’m a big believer.  Mercedes have gone to the bank to ‘get serious’ about improving their standing in F1, hiring a raft of top F1 cronies, in an attempt to redress the unbalance Adrian Newey makes to all other teams.  I have thought this approach inefficient, if not ineffective, and with the seemingly almost self-appointment of the perpetually criticizing Austrian, non-executive chairman (I wonder how much money they spent on the consultants coming up with that title – lol?), I really thought Mercedes was completely losing their marbles.

But as the great Murray Walker is reportedly to have said, “I’m applying intelligence and observation to the situation…”, and I am realizing the truth in his saying, “Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does”.

It will be interesting if one or more of the Mercedes drivers can haul it up on to the podium.

I still think that Red Bull are quietly, and assuredly constructing a right bower, left bower, (they definitely have an) Ace (up their sleeve), king and queen (the personages of which I leave to your discretion; though one might keep in mind a board game, in which the queen is the most powerful player).

In other words, though I hope for a very interesting season, with closely fought battles, butteri with proper mounts, fast and crashing flowers, winning Spanish-speaking silver arrows, and coloured three point stars, the bulls will gore.

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?