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Posts Tagged ‘germany’

Massa moves over for Alonso

July 26th, 2010 No comments

At the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, at the height of Michael Schumacher’s dominance of the sport, Ferrari ordered Rubens Barrichello to give up his race lead and let Schumacher past to take the victory. Barrichello duly slowed at the final corner of the last lap and let his team mate pass him just before the finish line.

The crowd didn’t like it. There was jeering during the podium ceremony which was made even more awkward when Schumacher encouraged Barrichello to take the top step and handed him the trophy for first. Both Barrichello and Schumacher were fined one million dollars for their behaviour and a new rule was introduced banning so-called team orders.

39.1: Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited

Such is the clear intention of this rule that many were surprised at Ferrari’s blatent imposition of team orders at Hockenheim on Sunday.

Having led the race from a fantastic start, Felipe Massa was told by his engineer, Rob Smedley:

OK, so, Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understood that message?

There was silence on the radio but confirmation was given when Massa obviously slowed at the exit of turn 6 and allowed Alonso to pass. Smedley then told Massa:

Good lad. Just stick with him now. Sorry.

The stewards fined Ferrari $100,000 for the move although the race result still stands. The stewards have also referred the issue to the World Motor Sport Council which may take further action against Ferrari.

This is the second time Alonso has picked up a victory due to the blatant altering of the race by a team mate. While not as dangerous as Nelson Piquet Jr’s deliberate crash in Singapore, Massa’s move was equally unsporting and like Singapore, Alonso doesn’t seem to treat his win as anything less than fully deserved.

There has been a lot of debate about whether team orders should or shouldn’t be allowed but the fact remains that there is a specific rule forbidding them and Ferrari willfully broke that rule.

As to the question of whether team orders should be allowed, I think it is clear that the fans don’t want them – no matter how much the teams may.

There is an inherent conflict of interest in a Formula One team. Both drivers are hired by the team to drive for the team but when it comes down to it, each driver is driving for themselves. There can be only one champion and every driver wants it to be him. And while Ferrari have legions of supporters devoted to the Scuderia I don’t think the fans want to see race results manipulated even if it is for the good of the team.

What made Sunday’s result even worse was that it was the first anniversary of Massa’s terrible accident at Hungary. A win for the Brazillian would have been a fitting and well-liked result. Instead Ferrari showed clear Alsonso favouritism and did nothing for the Spaniard’s popularity.

All the talk of Alonso being faster than Massa is specious. A similar point was made about Webber and Kovalainen at Valencia but the reality is that Formula One is not just about who has the fastest car. It is also about who is the best driver and it can be just as exciting to see a skilled driver holding off a faster car as it is to see overtaking. If it was only about speed then why bother racing at all? Why not just have each car set a lap time on its own and then rank them accordingly?

I think team orders are wrong but it is not the use of them in this case that I find as distasteful as the obvious lying by Ferrari after the event.

Categories: 2010 Season Tags: ,

Prediction game: Round 9 results

July 15th, 2009 No comments

First corner, Germany, 2009The prediction game results are up and Andrew has managed to take back the lead from Sergio.

A few people thought Mark Webber would score a podium on Sunday but only Andrew and I predicted he would be standing on the top step (and no, I didn’t peek at your predictions first, Andrew. ;-)).

Andrew also equals Miguel’s record for the highest score ever; 23  points out of a potential 34.

While there were a couple of predictions for McLaren and Renault no-one seemed to have hopes for Ferrari, despite Massa’s strong performance at Silverstone.  Ferrari have now scored two podiums this year and are running fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Ironically, now that Ferrari is starting to look stronger, team boss Stefano Domenicali told the BBC they are getting ready to stop development on the 2009 car and concentrate on next year’s challenger:

We’ve already started work on the new project and in the next couple of weeks we will move on to that. We want to start with a different pace compared to this year.

Image: Red Bull/Getty

Categories: Prediction Game Tags:

Mark Webber: f***king beauty!

July 12th, 2009 No comments

Mark Webber, Germany, 2009No other Formula One driver has had to wait so long to score their first Grand Prix victory.  Rubens Barrichello took 124 starts, Jarno Trulli, 117 and Jenson Button, 113.  For Mark Webber it took 130 races and eight years but he finally did it.

And boy was he relieved.

We get a lot more of the radio communications being broadcast now and it’s always interesting to hear the conversations that go on between the teams and drivers.  During the race we hear drivers argue about whether to pit or not or give advice on which tyres to use next.

After the race the director always switches to the winning driver.  Usually there will be much congratulating between team and driver, perhaps with the occasional shout of victory, but of course it is being broadcast live so you can never be sure exactly what is going to be said.

For Mark Webber, as Martin Brundle commented, there was nothing scripted about his reaction to claiming his first Grand Prix victory and becoming only the third Australian ever to win in Formula One.

Best.  Radio communication.  Ever.

Audio MP3

Image: Red Bull/Getty

Categories: Drivers Tags: , ,

Webber takes maiden victory at Nürburgring

July 12th, 2009 No comments

Mark Webber, Germany, 2009Fifty years after Jack Brabham won his first Grand Prix race in Monaco and twenty-eight years after Alan Jones’s victory in the US Grand Prix West, Mark Webber has finally broken his Formula One duck.

Despite making contact with both Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton before the first corner and then suffering a subsequent drive-through penalty, the Australian went on to win the German Grand Prix ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished third and claimed his first podium of the season.

The third 1-2 finish for Red Bull places the team less than twenty points behind Contructors’ Championship leaders Brawn GP.  It also boosts both Red Bull drivers ahead of Rubens Barrichello in the Drivers’ Championship.  Vettel is 21 points behind Jenson Button and Mark Webber is just 1.5 points behind Vettel.

After eight years in Formula One Mark Webber was clearly delighted to finally win a race:

It’s an incredible day. I wanted to win so badly after Silverstone, as I thought I had a good chance there, then after yesterday’s pole I knew I was in a good position to try and win the race today. The only thing that I thought was going to test me was the rain, but even that held off.

Lewis Hamilton made an incredible KERS assisted start to almost lead going into the first corner but a puncture from clipping Mark Webber’s front wing put an end to any podium hopes he may have had.

Starting from a career-best seventh on the grid Adrian Sutil looked to be having a good day but in shades of last year’s Monaco Grand Prix Kimi Raikkonen turned in on Sutil after the German exited the pits forcing Sutil to stop again for a new nose.  Force India have been looking stronger and stronger this season but it seems their first points will have to wait for another race.

But the most pissed-off driver award goes to Rubens Barrichello.  After taking the lead at the start he finished in sixth behind team mate Jenson Button and his comments after the race clearly show who he thinks is at fault:

I did all I had to do. I went first on the first corner and then they made me lose the race. If it is really what’s going on, we’re going to end up losing both championships. I feel sorry for myself, the team. To be very honest, I wish I could get on the plane and go home. I don’t want to talk to anyone in the team. It will be all ‘blah blah blah’ and I don’t want to hear that.

2009 German Grand Prix Race Results

Pos Driver Team Grid Time Points
1 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1 1:36:43.310 10
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 4 1:36:52.562 8
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 8 1:36:59.216 6
4 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 15 1:37:04.409 5
5 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 3 1:37:06.919 4
6 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 2 1:37:07.798 3
7 Fernando Alonso Renault 12 1:37:08.166 2
8 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 6 1:37:41.402 1
9 Timo Glock Toyota 20 1:37:44.710 0
10 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 11 1:37:45.210 0
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 18 1:37:45.637 0
12 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 13 1:37:46.187 0
13 Nelson Piquet Jr Renault 10 1:37:51.638 0
14 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 16 1:37:52.865 0
15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 7 1:37:55.210 0
16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 17 1:38:13.510 0
17 Jarno Trulli Toyota 14 1:38:14.210 0
18 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 5 1:38:14.210 0
RET Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 9 1:38:14.210 0
RET Sebastien Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19 1:38:14.210 0

Image: Red Bull/Getty

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,

Germany: Fuel adjusted qualifying times

July 11th, 2009 1 comment

Mark Webber, Germany, 2009The FIA now publishes the weights of each car after qualifying on Saturday.  Those cars that make it through to the final qualifying session must use the fuel they qualified with while the rest of the field may refuel before the race.

Below is a graph showing the actual top ten qualifying times as well as those times adjusted for the weight of fuel each car is carrying.  The graph assumes a standard lap time cost of 0.3 seconds per 10kg of fuel.

From these weights we can see how Brawn GP have been struggling with the temperatures this weekend.  Both cars were fuelled light and although they will be starting behind them on the grid Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton (!) actually posted faster fuel-adjusted lap times.  With more fuel in in his car than the Brawns and KERS onboard, a podium for Lewis Hamilton doesn’t look out of the question.

But Mark Webber’s maiden victory is looking ever more likely.  Starting from pole position and with the same amount of fuel as his team mate he is in a good position.  Webber is only 3.5 points behind Vettel in the Championship and a win on Sunday could see him overtake his team mate in the standings.

2009 German GP Q3 (weight-adjusted)

2009 German Grand Prix car weights

Image: Red Bull/Getty

Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , ,
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