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Within this blog you can expect to find all the latest news related to Formula 1 & its Jr. series (GP2 & GP3) This is my first ever blog so feel free to leave comments on how I am doing or Tweet me @PhillipNunesF1 with your views.


Welcome to my Blog. This is my first attempt at blogging and I intend for it to be a success so please feel free to leave comments saying how I am doing and your opinion on the latest F1 news.

Everything written on this site is by myself - Phillip Nunes

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Fernando Alonso ""Win Changes Nothing"

Fernando Alonso ""Win Changes Nothing"

The second round of the Formula 1 2012 world championship did not disappoint. Sever wet weather which coursed an eventual red flag saw Fernando Alonso storm to victory, much like his win in Silverstone 2011. Alonso demonstrated the ability to say out of trouble but he was chased down by the massively impressive Sergio Perez who finished 2nd. Sergio would have been able to earn his first Formula 1 GP if the team had pitted the Mexican 1 lap earlier to slick tyres, or the driver himself hadn't ran wide at turn 10 whilst only 0.5seconds behind the Spaniard.

Fernando Alonso now leads the drivers world championship with 35 points, 5 in front of rival Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren. You would have been a brave man to say you thought Alonso would be leading the world championship after the two opening Grand Prix but the two time world champion has shown he can extract everything from a poor car & with half a chance he will snap up a race victory.

Despite winning the second round of the season & leading the WDC Alonso has made it clear this doesn't change anything for himself & the team.

"It changes nothing, to be honest, we are in a position that we don't want to be in - fighting to get into Q3. We want to fight for pole positons and victories. Finding ourselves off the pace at the start of the season, we did not want to lose too many points to the leaders."

The Spaniard then explained how himself & the team were not competitive in Australia or here but had the goal to achieve as many points possible to minimize the damage of a poor start. 

"We were not competitive in Australia or here, so the goal was to score as many points as possible. Today we scored 25, so it's unbelieveable. It's a great job from the team, from the track-side we maximised our potential."

Fernando spoke how the car has updates coming in the next few races so maybe this is that start of a Ferrari revival. If not this type of result is helping the buy more time to solve there problems.

"So this is the positive news about these first two races, but coming to China, Bahrain and Barcelona there is a lot of stuff coming to the car."

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Saturday, 24 March 2012

Malaysia Qualifying Report: McLaren Lock Out The Front Row Again

Malaysia Qualifying Report: McLaren Lock Out The Front Row Again

Round 2 of the 2012 Formula 1 saw the teams travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conditions were hot after FP3 and heading into Qualifying with an ambient temperature of 30degrees. Despite this the typical Malaysian weather offered a chance of rain but it never appeared throughout any part of the session and let the cars run in full dry set up.

The first qualifying session saw rookie Jean-Eric Vergne drop out in P18 after he severely locked his front right tyre heading into the final corner of his out lap. The flat spot was so obvious you could physically see the vibrations from the option tyre (medium compound) on the Frenchman's on board camera.

Vergne was joined by both Caterham's, Marussia's & HRT's who this weekend successfully qualified in the 107% rule. This means the Spanish team will have both drivers racing tomorrow despite the teams vocal worries about there ability to finish the entire race distance.

Heading into Q2 Felipe Massa was already under pressure due to his late escape from dropping out in the first session. The Brazilian driver completed multiple runs on the option tyre briefly holding a place in the top 10 but once again failed to get through and finished P12.

Pastor Maldonado will be feeling disappointed after showing great pace in FP3 & Q1. The Venezuelan Williams driver had a hair raising moment when on his first timed run in Q2. Maldonado ran wide at turn 10 after the rear of his car stepped out. The 2010 GP2 champion managed to avoid the barriers and returned to the track. Pastor finished a disappointed P11 but has good options for tomorrows race strategy.

Felipe & Pastor were joined by the two Sahara Force India's, the remaining Toro Rosso & the Sauber Ferrari of Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi. All of these drivers will be feeling they had the potential to enter Q3 but this is how tightly contested the field is this year.

Q3 saw a dramatic fight for pole with Lewis Hamilton setting the time for P1 on his first run an amazing 0.6seconds in front of Jenson Button after the first set of times. Kimi Raikkonen was P3 0.2seconds behind Button but the Lotus Renault driver had made several errors on his lap, so could go faster.

Both Mercedes only produced 1 timed lap along with Mexican Sergio Perez & Fernando Alonso of Ferrari. Rosberg's qualifying time was compromised with a flat spotted tyre after turn 1. This will also hurt him going into the first stint tomorrow. Schumacher was able to briefly hold P2 splitting the McLarens. Perez & Alonso collected the last two posistions of P10 & P9.

The second round of laps came and saw Raikkonen, Webber & Vettel improve. Critically Vettel is on the prime tyre (hard compound) which means tomorrow his lap time will be slightly slower, but he will be able to go longer into the first stint. Kimi was up into P5 but will take a 5 place grid penalty after a gearbox change deemed necessary by Lotus Renault. 

This left Button to jump up into P2 and complete the second front row lock out for McLaren this season. Both drivers will head into tomorrow confident of a race victory but they need to be wary of both Red Bulls, Mercedes, Lotus Renault's & surely the always impressive Fernando Alonso in the struggling Ferrari.

Qualifying Official Lap Times;

01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.219s + 0.149
02. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.368s + 0.172
03. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.391s + 0.242
04. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.415
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.439
06. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.634s + 0.445
07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.658s + 1.347
08. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.664s + 1.479
09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.566s + 0.242
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.698s + 1.370

11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.589s + 0.874
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.731s + 1.016
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.841s + 1.126
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.877s + 1.162
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.883s + 1.168
16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.890s + 1.175
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.069s + 1.354

18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.077s + 1.905
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m39.306s + 2.134
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m39.567s + 2.395
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.903s + 3.731
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.250s + 4.078
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.914s + 5.742
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.655s + 6.483

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Friday, 23 March 2012

Rising Stars - Sergio Perez

Rising Stars - Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez also known as "Checo" Perez is a 22 year old Mexican driver racing in his second season in Formula 1 with Swiss team, Sauber Ferrari. Sergio is a younger brother to Antonio Perez, NASCAR Corona Series champion, Checo is part of the Ferrari academy & backed by Mexican telecommunications company Telmex.

Sergio Perez's career started in 2004 when he entered the United States-based Skip Barber National Championships. Checo raced for a team sponsored by telecommunications company Telmex - which would later become his main career sponsor. Perez finished 11th in the overall championship standings and impressed everyone throughout the campaign.

In 2005 the 15 year old Mexican youngster moved to Europe to chase his dream of becoming a racing driver. He entered the German Formula BMW ADAC series for two years racing for Team Rosberg - founded by former Formula 1 world champion Keke Rosberg. In the first season Checo finished a solid 14th & in his second year improved into an impressive 6th posistion in the championship standings.

2006 saw Sergio Perez represent his country in the second season of the A1 Grand Prix season. Perez raced for A1 Team Mexico and was the third youngest driver in the championship but managed to help them finish a respectable 10th in the championship out of 24.

A year later saw Checo enter the British Formula 3 Championships with T-Sport - National Class. Sergio Perez dominated the whole campaign winning the drivers championships with ease. In the process of doing so Perez won 2/3s of the races & a similar proportion of the pole positions. The Mexican & T-Sport demonstrated incredible reliability only not completing to Grand Prix.

For the 2008 season Sergio maintained his spot in the British Formula 3 Championships with T-Sport but graduated up into the Premier Intentional Class. Checo continued his great form  out of 2007 leading the championship in the early part of the season but eventually finished a credible 4th.

Sergio Perez then entered the 2008-2009 GP2 Asia series with Campos Grand Prix partnering Russian driver Vitaly Petrov. The young Mexican once again demonstrated his impressive credentials winning from lights to flag. Checo also made history by being the first Mexican driver to compete at this level of racing since Giovanni Aloi who raced in Formula 3000 in 1990. Perez went on to add another win at Losail during the sprint race in Qatar.

2009 saw Sergio enter his rookie season in the GP2 main championship feeder series with Arden Intentional. He was partnered with fellow Formula 3 graduate Edoardo Mortara - an Italian racing driver. Perez was impressive throughout the entire season picking up a best result of 2nd in Valencia. Checo finished 12th in the championship standings which impressed teams throughout the paddock.

Sergio Perez was selected by Barwa Addax GP2 Team during the off-season to contest in the GP2 Asia series for them. Perez performed well and impressed the GP2 front running team which meant they offered him a seat for the main championship season in 2010. Checo won 5 races and finished 2nd in the championship standings  behind GP2 veteran Pastor Maldonado.

In October 2010 Sauber announced Sergio Perez would replace highly experienced German driver, Nick Heidfeld for the 2011 season. Perez also brought along the Mexican sponsorship of Telmex - who he first raced for in 2004 at the beginning of his career. Checo was only the 5th Mexican racing driver to compete in Formula 1 and the first since Hector Rebaque in 1977-1981.

Sergio Perez made his Formula 1 debut in incredible style finishing high in the points with an unbelievable 7th posistion. Sadly the finishing result was to unbelievable, both Sauber cars were later disqualified for infringing technical regulations to the obvious disapointment of Checo & the team

The 2010 Spanish Grand will forever be in the mind of Sergio Perez for good reasons. The Mexican racing driver picked up his first career points at Barcelona finishing 9th. This collected Checo & Sauber 2 points in the championship & to make it even sweeter Perez finished 1 place in front of his more experienced team mate Kamui Kobayashi.

The 2011 Monaco Grand Prix will also be remembered for Sergio Perez but for more negative reasons. Perez exited the tunnel in Q3 when his car hit a high spot on the track and he quickly lost control of the car. The Mexican driver was helpless when the Sauber headed towards the barrier. Perez's crash caused a red flag and it was obvious Checo wasn't in a good condition. He had suffered concussion and a bruised thigh. Sergio was unable to race in the Monaco GP & the Canadian GP.

Checo made a swift comeback after his huge accident and picked up a season best 7th in changing weather conditions at the British Grand Prix. Despite this highlight it was said the Perez was still suffering after his crash in Monaco. This was made obvious with a string of poor results in Hungary, Belgium, South Korea & Abu Dhabi to name a few.

On the 28th of July Sauber announced that Perez would retain his seat at the team alongside Japanese crowd favourite Kamui Kobayashi. Sauber tested well in Jerez & Barcelona posting good qualifying lap times, but also having strong race simulation pace.

The 2012 season opening Grand Prix in Australia saw Checo perform his magic trick of only taking 1 pit stop & managing to maintain his tyres to finish in the points positions. This year was even more impressive as Perez started 22nd due to a change of gearbox & the result stood unlike 2011 when the Sauber team were disqualified for technical infringement.

This outstanding performance for Sergio Perez of Sauber Ferrari has produced rumours that Checo - of the Ferrari young driver academy - may replace Felipe Massa during this season if the Brazilian does not improve his poor form. Checo carried out a Ferrari academy day on September 13th 2011 running the Ferrrari F60. Perez according to sources impressed greatly.

Formula 1 Career Statistics

Current Team; Sauber Ferrari
Car Number; 15
Races; 20 (18 starts)
Championships; 0
Wins; 0
Podiums; 0
Career Points; 18
First Race; 2011 Australian Grand Prix
Best Race Position; 7th (Silverstone 2011)

 If you have enjoyed this Rising Star career review of Sergio Perez please leave a comment of Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Stefano Domenicali Defends Felipe Massa

Stefano Domenicali Defends Felipe Massa

Scuderia Ferrari Team Principle Stefano Domenicali has today defended seemingly struggling Brazilian Felipe Massa. Massa has been out performed in every aspect of the race weekend since the arrival of Fernando Alonso to the team in 2010 & this trend has continued into the 2012 season.

Felipe Massa had a poor start to the season in Australia Qualifying a disastrous 16th & retiring during the race on Sunday after a collision with fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna in the impressive Williams.

Italian Stefano Domenicali explained to the world media that both drivers - Felipe Massa & Fernando Alonso - had been running different programmes in Friday practice 2 in Malaysia, hence the 10 place difference and a 1second gap splitting the 2 Ferrari drivers.

He then went on to explain that you can not judge Felipe's form this weekend until tomorrow when the drivers will be running similar programmes for Saturday practice & Qualifying.

"In terms of what we see today, we were working in different programmes for the different drivers. Tomorrow we see what the situation is - the work is to make sure Felipe has the best car in the best conditions.

Although all the right comments are coming out of Ferrari for Felipe Massa strong rumours throughout the Formula 1 paddock have linked Italian Jarno Trulli for a replacement of the Brazilian if his form doesn't improve. 

Also fellow 2012 driver Sergio Perez who has mightily impressed since his arrival into the sport last year has been linked as a replacement of Felipe Massa when the Ferrari board finally loose patience with the Brazilian. Perez is also critically a part of the Ferrari young driver academy which could see him as the number 1 replacement along with recovering Robert Kubica. 

Domenicali continued and stressed the point that it is key to make Felipe feel as comfortable as possible this weekend to help remove the negativity of the poor start in Melbourne. This is why the change of chassis was decided and also changing nearly every single component on the car to help remove any problems that may have been occurring of the Brazilians Ferrari F2012.

"In order to make Felipe comfortable in this particular moment we took different parts of what we had, so we changed to the spare chassis for Felipe and changed all the pieces to make sure there was nothing wrong with car he used in Melbourne.

When asked about Ferrari's main problems with the F2012 Stefano Domenicali revealed the team are struggling with key areas of the car such as traction in low speed corners, and speed. These problems mentioned are serious issues and may be related to Ferrari's confusion over the understanding of the F2012 & its seemingly poor working exhaust.

"The problems of the car are what I said in Sunday in Melbourne : mainly traction in low speed corners and speed. These are the two fundamental issues that we need to resolve."

Domenicali then stated he is of course disappointed with the car and knows the team will have to work hard over the coming months to rectify them. Despite this he is confident the engineer at Maranello are capable of doing so.

Stefano highlighted a key point by saying in such a tightly packed midfield any small improvements could gain you a lot. Therefore in this one week between Australia & Malaysia despite being unable to bring upgrades its important the team understand where they need to improve so they can bring upgrades to China.

"At home we need to push on the development of the car and I am confident our engineers will solve the issues we have as quickly as possible. In such a close field a little step makes a big difference."

"For sure I am disappointed by the performance of the car no doubt, it is an easy answer. But not to be happy does not help, and I ask the engineers to be focused on their job as that is what they have to do."

"In one week, it is important to say we have identified issues on car and we are working at home to resolve it. We need to maximise what we are doing on track and improve it."

Can you see Ferrari turning there season around in time to mount a title challenge? Let me know you opinion with a comment on the blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Alonso Certain Ferrari Will Have To Drive Defensive In Malaysia

Alonso Certain Ferrari Will Have To Drive Defensive In Malaysia

Spaniard Fernando Alonso has disappointed the Tifosi approaching the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend by saying he and team mate Felipe Massa will be forced to drive defensively during the weekend. This is after the F2012 demonstrated its pure lack of rear downforce and grip throwing both Alonso & Massa into gravel traps during the opening weekend of the season.

"In Malaysia, we will once again be racing on the defensive,"

Alonso added he feels even if the unpredictable F2012 reacts exactly like it did in Melbourne that the team will find it hard to adapt.  

"There's no other way we can go about it, given that the F2012 is practically identical to what we ran in Australia. We will have to try and adapt it as well as possible, knowing it won't be easy."
Stefano Domenicali, Pat Fry and other highly placed Ferrari technical employees have flown back to Maranello in between Melbourne & Kuala Lumpur to help try & push development on the F2012. Little can be done in this small time period but it shows Ferrari are not excepting the poor start and are pushing to improve there car.

Alonso believes on the F2012 there are two fundamental areas which needed attention. One being the compromise on aerodynamic balance, and the second being the degradation control of the Pirelli tyres. Both of these are basically how a car works, so its pretty shocking that Alonso is already wishing for special attention on these two point.

"There are two points we will have to work on with great attention: finding the right compromise in terms of the aerodynamic balance and the tyre degradation."

Team Principle Stefano Domenicali has also since the Australian Grand Prix revealed Ferrari have struggled with there exhausts in which they started with a radical design. They were unable to get the performance desired from this so reverted to a standard, simpler design. The team are wishing to bring an upgraded design of the original exhaust in the near future, but if it works is another matter.

Ferrari & Alonso performed well in Melbourne picking up a 5th posistion helping minimize the points loss to McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes & Lotus Renault. The Spaniard spoke that he is not interested about the predicted forecast of rain in Malaysia this Saturday & Sunday. This is because as seen in previous years, the weather in Kuala Lumpur has the characteristics to change in a blink of an eye.

"There is no other place in the world, the Formula 1 world that is, where it can go from sunshine to torrential rain in the space of a few minutes, not even at Spa is the variability so acute. Those on the pitwall will have to keep their eyes peeled and look at the radar carefully to be ready for any possible change in the weather."

What are your thoughts about Ferrari's poor start? Let me know with a comment or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Brawn Not Happy With Rivals Exhausts

Brawn Not Happy With Rivals Exhausts 

Ross Brawn of Mercedes GP has publicly vented his anger at rivals exhausts designs following his teams stressful opening weekend of the season. Mercedes came across massive criticism after there unique innovative "super f-duct" design, which is worked into there drag reduction system (DRS) on the W03.

This criticism arrived after rivals Lotus Renault & Red Bull believed the way the "super f-duct" operates does not comply with this season regulations. Threats of protests surrounded the opening weekend in Melbourne but Lotus Renault & Red Bull decided not to do so as they "wish to settle this behind closed doors"

Ross Brawn has voiced his unhappiness that his team is being singled out about technical designs this seasons. Brawn has also commented that he does not believe his teams "super f-duct" design is the main technical topic and is being used to take the spotlight off teams exhausts designs.

"Every year that I can remember, there is debate and argument,"

"And probably, to be honest, what we have done is taken the spotlight off the exhaust systems that people are running because they are nowhere near what was intended by the FIA."

Mercedes Technical Director Ross Brawn has also defended all the teams in Formula 1 saying the sport is highly competitive and if anyone spots a gab in the regulations, they will exploit it. This has been shown in the recent past with such innovations as the rear diffuser, f-duct, off-throttle blown exhausts & flexible front wings.

"F1 is very competitive, the people involved in it are extremely competitive, and it is the nature of F1. You have to work to written regulations and, if somebody can see a clever interpretation, then that is the nature of this business."

Despite Brawn confirming Mercedes GP have been told there design is within the regulations and are in no threat of it being banned, but he did reveal that he doesn't expect the exhausts to be banned after investigating.

"We have already been through the FIA and challenged the FIA to its interpretation, they told us that they are comfortable with what has happened, so we respect that.

"We are now looking at the systems people are using to see if we feel that they could be a benefit to us. I suspect they will disappear next year."
What are your thoughts? Let me know with a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Monday, 19 March 2012

Lotus & Red Bull Want "Super F-Duct" Clarification

Lotus & Red Bull Want "Super F-Duct" Clarification 

The opening weekend of the 2012 Formula 1 season was slightly tainted with the whispering of protests from within the teams due to Mercedes GP's innovation of the year. The German manufacture have been able to find a gap between the rules which allows the "super f-duct" to be legal, but despite this certain rivals feel it is both illegal and unsporting.

Despite this apparent discomfort from the legality of the design both Lotus Renault & Red Bull decided not to protest the result of qualifying & the race in Melbourne. Team principle Eric Boullier of Lotus Renault believed it would have been wrong for teams to ruin the beginning of the season with protests and wish to settle this matter behind closed doors.

"It would have been the wrong thing to spoil the race result to be honest, so the plan is to wait for next week. Let's see what happens."

"We are still talking with Charlie, of course we did not do anything here [in Australia], but we just want to have a fair understanding."

Red Bull Team Principle Christian Horner also added his unwilling to protest the opening the weekend of the season and stated like Eric Boullier he is still talking to Charlie Whiting .

"I think that there are different interpretations of the rear wing of the Mercedes. We have had some discussions with Charlie, and we chose not to protest it this weekend."

Technical Insight - How The "Super F-Duct" Works.

The well discussed Mercedes super -f-duct is a ingenious idea which cleverly - according to the FIA - slides totally within the rules of the 2012 Formula 1 season. The actual benefits of the design are only felt when the drag reduction system (DRS) is activated. This is why many Mercedes GP fans would have been disappointed on Sunday morning, this is because the team will only truly feel the benefit on all the other weekends sessions where DRS is allowed whenever the driver wishes (as long as the track is dry).

The design of the super f-duct means when the DRS is activated, slots on both end plates of the rear wing are exposed. The exposed slots then channel air from the rear wing down to the main plane. This creates a larger amount of rear end grip & a higher top speed when the DRS is in use.

This was shown in Australia when the drivers activated the DRS through the speed traps, but this is also where it gets controversial. At the beginning of  the 2011 Formula 1 season the teams were strictly told there are to be no driver activated devices apart from DRS/KERS and this is why both Lotus Renault & Red Bull are threatening protesting results until it is clarified.

Whats you view on this story? Let me know via a comment of Tweet me though the link below.

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Sunday, 18 March 2012

Round 2 Malaysia - Race Preview

Round 2 Malaysia - Race Preview

After the the opening round of the 2012 Formula 1 season the teams will now fly straight from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2nd round of the season is a week after the opening Grand Prix which is tough on the teams and drivers, but if you are in good shape you'll look forward to getting another solid race finish. On the other hand if you're struggling seemingly like Ferrari, you'll be wishing there was a weekend in-between so you could develop the car.

Kuala Lumpur is a drivers favourite as the twisty corners offer great direction change for the car, the addition of hot temperatures to this also makes fitness levels important and tyre maintenance even greater than in Melbourne. One team who this may not affect is Sauber Ferrari. They demonstrated for the second season in a row that there car is very kind to the Pirelli's by Sergio Perez picking up a solid 8th that could have been a 6th, and Kamui Kobayashi his team mate actually picking up the 6th.

One of the main characteristics are two long straights where the straight line speed advantage of Mercedes & Mclaren could help them in the battle against Red Bull, who struggled to secure a high top speed in Melbourne. Although the Mercedes couldn't threaten during the race, in qualifying where the use of the drag reduction system (DRS) is available when the driver wishes, the addition of Mercedes rear wing f-duct will bring them up the pecking order again.

Although Red Bull may not have the strongest straight line speed through the speed traps, they have in the last two years shown immense stability through long sweeping corners - such as Istanbul turn 8. The banning of off-throttle blown exhausts may hinder Red Bulls grip through corners but im sure they will still be strong through the weekend despite there lack of a top speed and banning of off-throttle blown exhausts.

In past years the weather has played a big part in the race weekends with high temperatures & sudden downpours its hard for teams to gauge how the weekend will unfold. Although the weekend is weather forecast is for dry high temperatures, a sudden rain storm can occur.

The predicted high temperatures will play a key role in the weekend in multiple ways. The Pirelli tyres - despite not degrading highly in Melbourne - will suffer from the high ambient and track temperatures, which in theory should create more graining and degradation as the surface of the tyre raises in temperature.

The weather also plays a huge part for the team including the driver. The drivers have to make sure they're physically prepared for the harsh conditions. This is because the stress of the forces and continuous strain of long corners creates a large amount of dehydration. In addition to drivers the team itself have to be aware of the high temperatures. Not many people can truly understand how hard and long mechanics, engineers and the whole squad work throughout the season. This is made worse by scorching temperatures which can create unpleasant working conditions, stress and illness.

Despite not qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix HRT will be determined to race in Malaysia. Before anyone bashes HRT its important to remember the team is under major reconstruction and mainly the car had no preseason testing due to earlier crash test requirements. The lack of testing would have left HRT counting on FP1 & FP2 for testing but the presence of rain would have scrapped those plans.

One team who had problem with HRT was Ferrari as Alonso was blocked in Q1 at Albert Park, but realistically that was the least of there problems. The Maranello based squad had what appeared to be major issues with rear grip on the F2012. This is reportedly due to there exhaust system which Stefano Domenicali says will be upgraded at the beginning of the European season at Barcelona but if anyone runs away with the championship could be to late.

Another team who will be looking to score points in Malaysia will be Williams who had a strong weekend but found themselves pointless & finish-less. Bruno Senna was working his way up the field but had a collision with struggling Felipe Massa - this accident was later called a "racing incident" by FIA stewards. Team mate Pastor Maldonado had a strong qualifying and was fighting with Fernando Alonso in the last laps when he ran onto the kerb on the exit of turn 6 and spun into the concrete wall dropping vital championship points for Williams F1 Team.

Its fair to say coming into the second round of the season there is going to be a lot more action in Kuala Lumpur. We could see perhaps another double DRS zone also and there are many variables elsewhere.

Pole Posistion - Lewis Hamilton
Race Winner - Lewis Hamilton
I still believe McLaren have the fastest car despite Red Bull showing good race pace. Along with this I feel even if a Mercedes or Lotus Renault jumps ahead in Qualifying, the McLaren car has the pace in hand to overtake them and beat the rest of the field in a race and with Lewis feeling angry after loosing to Button & Vettel I feel he will show dominance in Malaysia.

Driver to watch - Kimi Raikkonen
After learning from his mistakes of Q1 in Australia I believe Kimi and the pace of the Lotus Renault should be able to mount a challenge to the Mercedes and maybe the McLaren's & Red Bull's if either of them have a problem.

Team to watch - Sauber Ferrari
After showing once again that there car is soft on tyre degradation I believe Sauber will be able to perform in a race which is bound to have high temperatures and I assume tyre issues. Also Kamui Kobayashi scored 7th in Kuala Lumpur last season.

What are you expecting to see in Malaysia? Let me know by a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Alonso "Small Steps To Make A Difference"

Alonso "Small Steps To Make A Difference"

Fernando Alonso has commented after the opening weekend believing small steps can make a huge difference as the whole field is so tight. The Spaniard admits the Ferrari team are not where they want to be in the F2012 and that there is a massive amount of work to do before they can even start to think about race wins.

The Ferrari team suffered there worst Qualifying since 2010. Both Fernando Alonso & Felipe Massa were out in Q2 and the F2012 seemed to be struggling with rear mechanical & aero-dynamical grip. Massa confirmed the fears of the Tifosi when he said "its worse than we thought."

Despite this Fernando Alonso dragged the Ferrari car around Albert Park on Sunday and grabbed a vital 5th posistion, this helps himself and Ferrari not fall to far back in the championships after 1 round.

"Today we salvaged a lot more points than we expected. We only lost three or five to the favourites and a few more to Button, but maybe there will not be a clear dominator like last year and maybe no one will open such a big gap as Vettel did in 2011."

"That could be good for us. But we have look at ourselves and improve tenth by tenth. There are maybe 12 cars in the same second this year, so gaining two or three tenths is much more important than in the past. So that's what we have to do for Malaysia and China."

The 2005 & 2006 world champion also added he was sad to see Williams driver Pastor Maldonado crash out in his mirrors, but was also relieved that the pressure was off.

"I felt sorry when I looked in the mirror and saw he was out because he deserved fifth or sixth. But it was also a relief."

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Grosjean Argues Maldonado Braked Far Too Late

Grosjean Argues Maldonado Break Far Too Late 

Reigning GP2 champion Romain Gorsjean has commented after his early exit of the Australian Grand Prix, saying he feels Maldonado braked far to late. The Franco-Swiss driver stunned everyone when in Q3 yesterday on his final run, the newbie placed his Lotus Renault car 3rd on the grid. The impressive Grosjean was obviously ecstatic by the huge grin on his face throughout the top 3 drivers press conference.

This brilliant performance was quickly destroyed after Romain struggled to get off the line and dropped down into sixth before the first corner. Lotus Renault Technical Director Eric Boullier confirmed Gorsjean had an issue with 2nd gear getting off the line. This can be seen on the on-board footage, it shows the Lotus Renault driver hitting the limiter in specified gear.

Problems then got a lot worse for the now 6th placed Romain. Grosjean was entering turn 13 when Williams driver Pastor Maldonado stuck a maneuver down the inside and made the GP2 champion yield. Although the Lotus Renault driver obliged Pastor was very aggressive and continued forcing off Grosjean was ended up with them colliding. The damage was to severe for Romain as the steering had been damaged and he retired immediately - The well qualified Frenchman didn't even complete a single lap.

What are your views on the accident? Let me know in a comment or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Australia Race Report: Top 10 Drivers Review

Australia Race Report: Driver By Driver Review

1st Jenson Button
Jenson Button had a brilliant start to the opening Grand Prix and was able to get ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton. Button then never looked back & didn't look in any trouble until the safety car was deployed. This was due to Vitaly Petrov's abandoned car on the main straight, but Button was not phased and at the restart was able to quickly drop Vettel - like the German did last year to the rest of the grid. Button coasted in 2.1 seconds ahead of Sebastian to win the 2012 Australian Grand Prix in commanding style

2nd Sebastian Vettel
Current world champion and double world champion Sebastian Vettel successfully gained 4 places from his qualifying posistion. This started by jumping team mate Mark Webber & rookie Romain Grosjean at the start of the race, then chasing Michael Schumacher down and getting a free pass when the veterans car seemed to suffer a hydraulic failure. Vettel then optimized the safety car one lap after both McLaren's pitted splitting Jenson & Lewis until the end.

3rd Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying yesterday but quickly found himself down to 2nd after team mate Button jumped him at the start. Lewis was able to keep the gap to around 3seconds to Button & seemingly had Vettel under control. This was until he pitted straight after his team mate and the lap after the safety car was deployed. This meant Sebastian Vettel could get into the pits and get ahead of him due to Lewis being restricted to slower sector times by the FIA for safety reasons. Hamilton finished 3rd and seemed demoralized on the podium not spraying his champagne and just lifting his 3rd place trophy with 1 arm.

4th Mark Webber
Australian hero Mark Webber started 5th of the grid but quickly found himself down the grid and battling with fast starting Fernando Alonso & fellow slow starter Nico Rosberg. The Australian was locked stuck behind Nico Rosberg but after the 1st set of stops Webber was able to get in front of the German. He quickly closed the gap between himself and Alonso who was able to pull away during Webber & Rosberg's dual. Mark - like his team mate - was able to use the safety car and a pit stop just after it was deployed to jump a head of the Ferrari driver. At the restart Webber was able to stay on the back of Hamilton but couldn't get past.

5th Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso had one of the performances of the race. Dragging his apparent terrible Ferrari from 12th to a very respectable 5th posistion. Alonso jumped ahead of Rosberg & Webber at the start and was in a battle with them until around the 2nd pit stop period. The 2005 & 2006 world champion was unluckily jumped by Webber due to the timing of the safety car but he was able to loose Rosberg. Nervously though Pastor Maldonado attached himself to the rear of Alonso but on the last lap dropped the car into the concrete wall at turn 6 leaving the Spaniard to cross the line.

6th Kamui Kobayashi
The crowed favourite Kamui Kobayashi had an very strong race for Sauber and underlined they do have true pace. Sauber were unlucky yesterday & even McLaren team principle Martin Whitmarsh thought they could have easily got into Q3. Kamui was able to jump into 6th posistion after Nico Rosberg approaching the 2nd to last final corner rear ended Sergio Perez. This left the Japanese to fly past both them and grab some critical championship points.

7th Kimi Raikkonen 
Returning 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen struggled in qualifying only finishing a poor 18th but the Fin had a cracking race working his way up the grid. Kimi showed at times some mighty pace in the Lotus Renault car & also that he is not rusty pulling some good overtakes & battling well.

8th Sergio Perez
This time last year Sergio Perez made an outstanding debut whilst only doing a 1 stop on these high degrading Pirelli tyres and hes done it again. Perez performed the same strategy as last year only completing 1 pit stop and working his way from dead last (22nd) and to finish 8th collecting even more points for the Sauber team.

9th Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo started this season with very little Formula 1 knowledge, he had entered a small handful of Grand Prix last year with struggling HRT but comes into this season as pretty much a rookie driver. The young driver scored a solid 9th place after taking advantage of the Rosberg/Perez incident at the end of the last lap & to but the cherry on top, it is his home Grand Prix. The young Australian put in a solid shift and Toro Rosso might be counting themselves lucky after not looking like they would score points in this race.

10th Paul di Resta
Force India seemed to start this weekend strongly and were quoted as saying they wanted to score points in every race this season. Paul di Resta has got them off to this goal by clinching a scrappy 10th posistion after the incident on the last lap. The Force India showed good pace over the whole weekend and can look forward to Malaysia.

Going into the second round of the season you has come clear that both McLaren & Red Bull are clear front runners with a very close midfield behind them that has the possibility to throw up drama. Below I will state some of my thoughts of the Australian Grand Prix.

Team of the day: McLaren
McLaren performed immensely easily controlling the gap between themselves, Red Bull & the rest of the field. Despite Lewis loosing out to Sebastian Vettel, McLaren fans can feel confident heading into the 2nd round of the season.

Driver of the day: Sergio Perez
Despite Jenson Button winning in brilliant fashion I feel Sergio Perez had an outstanding race, performing only 1 stop but also still being fast and race involved. The Mexican seems to have fully recovered from his accident in Monaco & he is my driver to watch this season.

Team let down of the day: Mercedes GP
Mercedes looked second fastest in Friday & Saturday of this weekend but with Michael Schumacher retiring due to a reported hydraulic problem & Nico Rosberg just not seeming to have the pace shown earlier on in the weekend.

Driver let down of the day: Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa has struggled in the F2012 all weekend spinning off in Friday practice 1 & finishing 16th in qualifying. Massa also had another accident with a fellow driver when he tried slipping one down the inside of Bruno Senna at turn 4, but the Ferrari & Williams driver ended up locking together and both retiring due to damage sustained.

Moment of the day: Kimi Raikkonen
A little more comical on this section. My favourite moment of this race has to be when returning star Kimi Raikkonen radioed into the team asking why blue flags and being waved at him and what do they mean? The team simply replied "Kimi they are not for you!"

What did you make of the Australian Grand Prix? Let me know via a comment or Tweet me by the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Alonso "Ferrari Must React"

Alonso "Ferrari Must React"

A disappointed Spaniard has since qualifying been reported as saying he has Ferrari must react from this poor start to the season. The first Qualifying of the 2012 season saw the 16 time world constructors champions have a high profile exit of both drivers in Q2.

Felipe Massa of a set on new option tyres was just unable to get the grip out of the struggling - ironically named at the moment - prancing horse. This lead to Massa finishing 16th 0.6seconds off his team mate Fernando Alonso. Massa was in some ways lucky to break out of Q1 when he managed to stay 17th after Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus GP set two personal best sectors, but then went wide at turn 11 costing himself time.

On the other hand Fernando Alonso span off at turn 1 after mistakenly placing his left hand side wheels onto the grass. Alonso was able to keep his engine running but after frantic hand gesturing the Spaniard was refused and angrily got out the car and returned to the paddock.

"I think I touched the grass, I didn't realise obviously but looking at the TV the left tyres were on the grass so I spun putting the tyres there and qualifying finished unfortunately in the gravel." said Alonso
Although Fernando span off, he is trying to place a positive spin on the incident. The Ferrari driver feels tyres will play a crucial factor tomorrow and by having new sets it might help him out.

"I don't know what could be the position without the incident, maybe it was possible to go in Q3, maybe not, because the times were very close. If you go in Q3, you have no new tyres for tomorrow so at the end of the day maybe it's a good compromise to be P12 with new tyres."

The driver now in his 3rd season with Ferrari feels the Italian based team needs to improve quickly and can not afford a slow recovery like last season. He highlighted last year they had to wait until the 9th Grand Prix to win & this would not be acceptable this year if they are to challenge for the championships.

"If we improve the car quickly we can target important things like the championship, etc. If we don't improve the car quickly then we won't be able to do it," Alonso told reporters after qualifying."

"What happens is that we need to improve. Last year we were 1.4 seconds behind and we won the ninth race at Silverstone. This year we can't wait until the ninth race to win a grand prix. We have to do it much earlier."
   Can you see Ferrari turning there poor start around? Let me know with a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Quotes & sources from http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/98127

Twitter - @PhillipNunes

Australia Qualifying Report: A Dramatic Start To The Season

Australia Qualifying Report: A Dramatic Start To The Season

Finally the time had arrived to - as current world drivers champion Sebastian Vettel said - "pull down your trousers & show what you've got" The weather had significantly improved since Friday practice 1 & 2 and the teams had gained some crucial dry running time earlier on in the day in Friday practice 3 (FP3).

The first session started out with all competitors getting in some installation & banker laps on the white mark hard Pirelli compound to learn how the track felt. Nico Rosberg though of Mercedes GP stayed out and set the first timed lap of qualifying in the 2012 season. Interestingly it was rumoured both Lotus Renault & Red Bull Racing would appeal the results of qualifying due to there beliefs that Mercedes rear wing f-duct is in fact illegal.

Quickly arrived the final 5 minutes of Q1 and the arrival of the yellow marked soft tyre compound. The difference between this weeks compounds was thought to be 0.6s but the times started to tumble rapidly. This nearly caught out top dogs such as Mark Webber who thought they were safe with the time set on the hard compound.

Ferrari's troubles were highlighted once again as both drivers were forced to use a set of option tyres in Q1 to secure there place in Q2. Despite this Brazilian Felipe Massa still finished 17th and escaped a high profile exit in the first qualifying of the season.

Sadly for Kimi Raikkonen the Lotus Renault driver went wide onto the astro turf at turn 11 and lost time meaning on his return to F1 was knocked out with both Caterham's, Merussia's & the HRT's who didn't make the 107%. Despite this both Narain Karthikeyan & Pedro De La Rosa are expected to be allowed to race.

If HRT & allowed to race they could be facing penalties for both drivers Narain Karthikeyan if under investigation for 2 separate cases of blocking whilst team Pedro De La Rosa just the once.

Qualifying 2 started with both Ferrari's quick out the box on a set of used options to try and get a time in but this quickly turned into the first red flag of the season. Fernando Alonso placed the left hand side wheels on the grass upon entry of turn 1 and spun into the gravel trap. Although the 2005 & 2006 world drivers champion kept the engine going and frantically asking the marshals for a push, they refused and he was out and placed 5th at that time.

The session restarted after Fernando's car was lifted away and his team mate was first out, he was followed out by both Mercedes who were on new options as there attempt to play it call and leave it late ended up with them loosing a set of options when Alonso's off caused the red flag.

The chaotic final minutes approached and the whole of the midfield were digging deep to find the extra few tenths needed to edge into the top 10 shoot out. Both Sauber drivers who previously in Q1 looked mighty had a poor Q2 with Kamui Kobayashi finishing 12th (1 place below Alonso) and Perez who for unknown reasons didn't set a time.

When the clock reached zero and everyone completed there laps Romain Gorsjean, Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg & Pastor Maldonado were victorious in reaching the first top ten shoot out of the new season, getting there advantage over there team mate this weekend.

Shockingly both Ferrari drivers ended up out in Q2 with Fernando Alonso finishing 12th despite spinning off, and Felipe Massa just struggling for mechanical & aerodynamic grip.

The first shoot out of the season started with both Mercedes GP, McLaren & Red Bull drivers heading out to set there first timed lap. The Mercedes were restricted to a set of used options due to using an extra set in Q2, unlike both other teams who had the availability of new options. After the first run Lewis Hamilton lead the charge leading by 0.7seconds from second place.

It had come to light that the super lap everyone was expecting from Red Bull was not going to happen as Vettel & Webber were unable to get anywhere near the McLaren driver.

The midfield teams who got through to the last sessions all decided to make a strategical call and not run during Q3. This allows them to have more fresh sets of tyres tomorrow and opens up the options for there pit stop strategy tomorrow.

The final run had now arrived and Vettel entered his classic procedure of being last out on track, therefore last over the line. Despite this tactical call it didn't help the world champion. Jenson Button & team mate Mark Webber jumped ahead of Vettel on the time sheet - Webber by just 0.04seconds whilst carrying a KERS issue.

Nico Rosberg locked his front right tyre upon entry of turn 3 overshooting his breaking point - perhaps due to the use of his "super DRS" - and could only manage P6. This was until 2011 GP2 champion Romain Gorsjean impressively flew his Lotus Renault around Albert Park and earned a P3 just 0.380seconds off pole and bumped German Rosberg down to P7.

This left Brit Lewis Hamilton to coast into the pits and not even have to worry about finishing his 2nd flying lap. This is the first 1, 2 that McLaren have had with Jenson & Lewis at the wheel of a McLaren car.

What were your thoughts of qualifying? How do you see the race panning out? Let me know my leaving a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Pos  Driver                Team                  Time          Gap   
 1.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes      1m24.922s
 2.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes      1m25.074s  + 0.152
 3.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault         1m25.302s  + 0.380
 4.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes              1m25.336s  + 0.414
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault      1m25.651s  + 0.729
 6.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault      1m25.668s  + 0.746
 7.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes              1m25.686s  + 0.764
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault      1m25.908s  + 0.986
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes  1m26.451s  + 1.529
10.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    No time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m26.319s                                   Gap **
11.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m26.429s  + 0.960
12.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari               1m26.4942  + 1.025
13.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari        1m26.590s  + 1.121
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault      1m26.663s  + 1.194
15.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes  1m27.086s  + 1.617
16.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari               1m27.497s  + 2.028
17.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari        No time
Q1 cut-off time: 1m27.633s                                    Gap *
18.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault         1m27.758s  + 1.576
19.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault      1m28.679s  + 2.497
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault      1m29.018s  + 2.836
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth     1m30.923s  + 4.741
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth     1m31.670s  + 5.488
23.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth          1m33.495s  + 7.313
24.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth          1m33.643s  + 7.461

Friday, 16 March 2012

Australia FP1 & FP2 Review

Australia FP1 & FP2 Review

The 2012 Formula 1 season finally got underway in a damp and drizzly Albert park at 12:30pm local time & 1:30am GMT. The season had been highly built up but the season seemed to start with an anti-climax when the typical changing weather at Melbourne dealt the teams with a blow in the form of rain just before Friday practice 1 (FP1)

The weather was the least of Kimi Raikkonen's problems when his cars front end was in bits. The returning 2007 world champion was taking the chance of poor weather conditions to change the power of his power steering. Which according to sources he has not been happy with so far in the Lotus.

The weather didn't stop the teams and the first car on track was the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne. The rookie Frenchman was quickly followed by the the pack and they all ran through installation laps to make sure the car was working ready to go push on a fast lap. Although this early section of the practice sessions are not thrilling for the spectators it is crucial work for the team to confirm the car is fundamentally ready to run.

Slowly by slowly the teams moved out back onto the circuit on the green marked intermediate Pirelli tyres. The times kept tumbling due to the ever drying track and ever growing confident drivers. All the teams were out on track as although wet conditions are not ideal, being the beginning of the season they still need to do aero and this is possible in damp conditions.

Later on into the session the Sauber team unleashed Kamui Kobayashi onto the street circuit with dry hard compound tyres, marked by the white stripe.  Kamui instantly went 6seconds quicker than the current fastest times and the rest of the field soon followed the Japanese driver onto the track on the hard compound Pirelli's

The times were improving every lap and whilst Felipe Massa had just completed his fastest 1st sector the Brazilian spun at turn 9 after getting his rear tyre onto the grass whilst under breaking. This left the Ferrari driver 18th after the 90minutes of practice and feeling rather embarrassed.

This re-highlighted Ferrari's troubles and it was proven again by the highly talented Fernando Alonso nearly loosing the back end at the last corner of his last lap. He could manage a solid 4 posistion which seemingly with Red Bull's low key first practice left the 2 McLaren drivers to battle it out and Schumacher just behind;

1) Button 1:27.560s 11 laps
2) Hamilton 1:27.805 14
3) Schumacher 1:28.235 17
4) Alonso 1:28.360 21
5) Webber 1:28.467 21
6) Rosberg 1:28.643 22
7) Ricciardo 1:28.908 23
8) Maldonado 1:29.415 16
9) Raikkonen 1:29.565 8
10) Kobayashi 1:29.722 26
11) Vettel 1:29.790 21
12) Hulkenberg 1:29.865 17
13) Di Resta 1:29.881 18
14) Senna 1:29.953 21
15) Perez 1:30.124 22
16) Grosjean 1:30.515 16
17) Kovalainen 1:30.586 16
18) Massa 1:30.743 11
19) Vergne 1:31.178 17
20) Petrov 1:31.983 8
21) Glock 1:34.730 8
22) Pic 1:40.256
23) Karthikeyan No time 3
24) De la Rosa No time 0

The weather forecast predicted for Friday practice 2 (FP2) was meant to be dry but just minutes before the green light the heavens opened. This drenched the track and meant a very slow start to the second session with very few cars heading out.

When the cars did emerge from the garages they were all on the blue marked full wet tyres as there was clearly a lot of standing water left on the circuit. Like the first session the teams had to do the standard procedure of installation laps to confirm the car is ready and a chance for the driver to find how the track is feeling on grip.

The quiet spell on the track due to the weather allowed the newly designed HRT team to get some valuable mileage under the belt for Indian driver Karthikeyan. The HRT team had issues with Narain Karthikeyan's car who stopped in FP1 reportedly due to a drop in oil pressure.

Similarly to the 1st session the track dried out over the period of the first 60minutes whilst the grid ran intermediate tyres. This left the last section of the 90minutes for the teams to attack the track with some dry running.

Everyone was on track to get some crucial data of dry running going into the weekend. Interestingly unlike FP1 teams decided to allow there drivers to run on the yellow mark soft compound. This tyre is meant to be quicker but the white marked hard compound was delivering the fastest times in this session. This may be due to the tyre compound being able to reach operating temperature at a lower figure.

The times were getting quicker and quicker with both Sahara Force India's looking impressive but the P1 posistion went to 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher driving for this years dark horse Mercedes. Shockingly despite looking twitchy the prancing horse of Ferrari picked up another 4th from Fernando and a positive 7th from Felipe Massa.

It is key not to read to much into these times as the track was constantly drying and teams could easily be on different fuel loads which can affect the lap time massively but what we can see is that Mercedes & McLaren both look impressive in lap time and straight line speed but don't discount the others yet as teams historically will not show there true pace until FP3, if not later (Qualifying)

1) Schumacher 1:29.183 16 laps
2) Hulkenberg 1:29.292 19
3) Perez 1:30.199 23
4) Alonso 1:30.341 13
5) Kobayashi 1:30.709 14
6) Di Resta 1:31.466 13
7) Massa 1:31:505 14
8) Kovalainen 1:31.932 16
9) Rosberg 1:32.184 17
10) Vettel 1:32.194 19
11) Webber 1:32.296 20
12) Glock 1:32.632 17
13) Petrov 1:32.767 15
14) Grosjean 1:32.822 11
15) Button 1:33.039 18
16) Hamilton 1:33.252 11
17) Maldonado 1:34.108 21
18) Raikkonen 1:34.275 7
19) Senna 1:34.312 17
20) Vergne 1:34.485 29
21) Ricciardo 1:34.604 31
22) Pic 1:34.770 13
23) Karthikeyan 1:42.627 16
24) De la Rosa No time 1

What was your view of the first two practice sessions? Let me know via a comment on this blog or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mercedes Rear Wing F-Duct Deemed Legal

Mercedes Rear Wing F-Duct Deemed Legal

The Brackley based German team have had a stoke or good luck going into the season opener in Melbourne, Australia. There radical rear wing f-duct has been passed legal by the FIA after being highly questioned by rival teams throughout winter testing.

Mercedes only ran there 2012 spec car during two or the three preseason tests raising suspicions from Christian Horner & other team principles that the 2009 constructors world champions had a device up there sleeve. The W03 performed strongly during both tests in Barcelona confirming thoughts that the team has made a step forward this season and will be able to compete for strong finishes from the opening round of the 2012 championship.

The rear wing f-duct device works when the driver activates the drag reduction system (DRS). The air is vented through the endplates and into the rear wings main plane drastically reducing drag and creating a higher top speed in a straight line.

At the end of the 2010 Formula 1 season the FIA introduced a rule banning the use of driver operated f-ducts. This meant the old style activated f-ducts were strictly not allowed anymore but the new Mercedes style was because it was not operated by a move of the driver.

The controversy came after a meeting at the beginning of last season (2011) when it was clearly said driver operated devices were not allowed anymore. Although accordingly stated clearly a percentage of teams left the meeting believing that all f-duct systems were banned until told otherwise. This was not true.

"There was then a lengthy discussion in the TWG at the beginning of last year about that, to make sure everyone was clear about it. It seems a couple of teams went away from that meeting with the impression that F-ducts were banned in general. Whatever an F-duct is. But they are not."

Despite rivals clearly being unhappy with this, Mercedes are allowed to use there design & if a success others will be forced to copy and produce there own rear wing f-duct.

"Despite the way the system effectively makes use of driver movement when he activates the DRS, the FIA has no doubts that it complies with the regulations."

For more news & views follow me on Twitter via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Alonso "A Lot of Work Needed"

Alonso "A Lot of Work Needed"

Spaniard Fernando Alonso has stated that Scuderia Ferrari Team & himself  need to work on there understanding of the F2012. The Italian based team seemingly struggled during preseason testing this season whilst trying to learn about there new car and its "radical" design.

Alonso has also stated he needs to adapt to the new car and tyres as the lack of rear downforce & softer compounds of Pirelli tyres is proving difficult. The 2012 spec cars have a lot less rear grip due to banning of off-throttle blown exhaust. The Pirelli tyres have also made all there compounds softer meaning quicker loss of grip and the tyre manufacture has also closed the gaps between each tyre compound.

"We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tyres, is a bit harder to drive."

Along with Fernando stating the team needs to work hard to get the F2012 to the front of the grid Technical Director Pat Fry has ruled out a podium chance for the team in Melbourne due to the lack of understanding of the new car. Stefano Domenicali has also been quoted as saying the new exhaust design will not be ready until late may - which is roughly where the Monaco Grand Prix is scheduled. 

The 2005 & 2006 world drivers champion has tried to calm the tifosi's nerves by saying no one can tell the true pace of any team until Qualifying arrives at Albert Park.

"I know the fans always expect to hear me say that we can obtain such and such a result, but the truth is that we cannot say with certainty where we are. We must wait until Saturday evening at six, after qualifying."

Despite the continuing worries coming out of the 16 time constructors champion team rivals are refusing to rule the Italians out of the championship and a race win in Melbourne. There has been just as much media reporting Ferrari as sandbagging in preseason testing than there has been as labeling them off pace.

Where do you see Ferrari & Alonso being in Melbourne this weekend? Leave a comment explaining or Tweet me via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1

Monday, 12 March 2012

Rising Stars - Esteban Gutierrez

Rising Stars - Esteban Gutierrez

With the launch of the Sky F1 HD channel it brings all the action of Jr. series GP2 & GP3 to all the viewers so I thought I would take the chance to share with you some of the bright stars to keep a keen eye out on for the future. They are all young drivers aspiring to make there way into Formula 1 in the near future.

Esteban GutiƩrrez

Esteban is a 20 year old Mexican driver who has thrived in all the lower formulas he has entered impressing everyone with his outstanding racing mind and mightily quick ability in all types of car . Esteban has competed in many formulas winning the inaugural GP3 series in 2010 & also winning - two years earlier in 2008 - the Formula BMW series.

Gutierrez started his racing career in 2004 competing in the Mexican Rotax Max Challenge racing in the last 3 events of the season. Following this up he once again competed in 2005 & as well as this raced in the Grand Nationals in South Bend, Indiana where he finished an impressive 3rd. Finishing 3rd earned Esteban the chance to race in the World Finals where due to mechanical problems he could only finish 22nd.

After a busy 2005 the young Mexican had an equally exciting 2006 where he won all 5 races in the Camkart Challenge Mexico and once again raced in the Mexican Rotax Challenge and was entered into the Grand Nationals now in Zacatecas, Mexico this year.

2007 was the year where the impressive Esteban made the step up from go karting to single seaters and was entered into the Formula BMW USA series. Esteban has an immensely strong campaign finishing 2nd in the overall championship and earning Rookie of the Year picking up 4 wins, 8 podiums & 9 pole positions

After a strong season in Formula BMW USA Gutierrez made the moved across the pond and into the Formula BMW European series. This was the first "European" series after both the British & German series merged. Once again Esteban had a strong season but even more so than last year. He moved up 1 place in the championship standings compared to his last campaign finishing 1st in the maiden Formula BMW series. Within the season the impressive rising star won the championship by 26points from Marco Wittmann, adding another 7 race wins to his collection. To make the season extra special in the last race in Mexico City Esteban finished on the podium in 3rd.

For the 2009 season Esteban made another step up the series and entered the Formula 3 Euroseries with ART Grand Prix alongside - now Sahara Force India reserve driver - Jules Bianchi & - 2011 GP3 champion & Williams test driver - Valtteri Bottas. The rookie managed to finished a respectable 9th taking 2 podiums during the season.

2010 saw Gutierrez enter the newly created GP3 series. He had stayed with the same team and had faith with ART Grand Prix and was teamed with Pedro Nunes & Alexander Rossi. The faith he kept in ART Grand Prix payed of when the Mexican star took the championship with ease with 2 races to spare.

This impressive display saw Esteban move up to the GP2 series in 2011 with ART Grand Prix once again and being paired up with his 2009 Formula 3 team mate Jules Bianchi. Gutierrez had an impressive rookie season showing off all his talent and came an outstanding 11th in the Asia series. He managed to pick up his first ever points in GP2 during the first race at the Valencia street circuit and his first GP2 win the day after in the sprint race. This helped Esteban finish the GP2 series in 13th in his rookies series.

During 2010 Esteban was announced as Sauber F1 Team reserve driver and took part in the end of season young driver test. He finished a highly outstanding 4th with a time just 0.6s off Kamui Kobayashi's qualifying time. Sadly the young Mexican missed the chance to make his F1 debut in the Canadian Grand Prix. This evolved after Sergio Perez felt ill when Friday practice came to an end. This was due to his injuries from the heavy crash in Monaco qualifying the race weekend before.

Despite that disappointment Esteban is regarded as one of the most promising rising stars at the moment. This is highlighted by the Sauber reserve driver being backed by Telmex. A Mexican communication company that is responsible for over 90% of the countries telephone lines. The company is also backing Sauber F1 Team race driver Sergio Perez and have been an instrumental factor in his rise into an F1 race seat. 

If you have enjoyed this review please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on Esteban or another driver you feel is a Rising Star. Also share the same thoughts with me on Twitter via the link below.

Twitter - @PhillipNunesF1