Archive | May 2012

Hamilton calls off negotiations

Lewis Hamilton has asked his management, XIX Entertainment, to call off contract negotiations with the Mclaren team for the time being.

It was another disappointing race weekend for the Brit in Monaco. A poor start and pitstop saw him drop from third on the grid to finish 5th, behind his main championship rivals. After the race Lewis was left reeling, complaining about his team, he said: “The team have definitely got some work to do because we are falling behind race by race. The others are picking up some serious pace. If we’re not lucky then it will fall away from us.”

Lewis struggling in Monte Carlo

Hamilton is unhappy with errors out of his control, which have led him to lose a firm grip on the championship. It is possible that the Englishman will now ask his management to look around for other suitors like Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.

It comes after the media reported that Mclaren had laid down an offer on the table for Lewis before the Monaco GP, worth around £95 million for 5 years. It has been a year since he was seen holding talks with Christian Horner in the paddock at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2011.

Lewis currently sits 4th in the Drivers’ Championship, 13 points behind leader Fernando Alonso and is the only one of the front runners yet to win a race this 2012 season.

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Friday in Monaco

You may be wondering why the two practice sessions for the Formula One take place on Thursday at the Monaco Grand Prix instead of the usual Friday slot.

It is to allow the streets to be open again to the public. It also used to be a day for the markets in Monaco, and although that does not occur today, it is seen as somewhat of a tradition to keep to the Thursday sessions. There will however be a GP2 race on the Friday.

Monaco at Night

This ‘spare’ day also means that the drivers and all the team mechanics and crew members get to have a day off. It is likely that they will be required in the late morning to make changes to the cars in the garages.

All of this of course means that Thursday night on the Monaco harbour, is party night, and many do not finish until the early hours of the morning.

Other Monaco Facts

  • There are over 20 miles of safety barriers.
  • There is around 20,000 square metres of catch fencing.
  • 1,100 tonnes of grandstands.
  • There are almost 3,600 tyres used in the tyre barriers.
  • 10 cranes are positioned around the racetrack.
  • There are 650 marshals, waiting to pounce on stricken cars over the weekend.
  • 120 firemen are on standby.
  • There are over 500 fire extinguishers around the circuit.

Marshall on Standby

 

Kubica to undergo further surgery

According to some internet reports, former Renault F1 driver Robert Kubica is expected to undergo further surgery in the coming week.

It was expected that the Polish driver would require one more operation. It now appears he will undergo the small procedure to improve the mobility of his right hand.

This should be the last operation for Robert, who will continue his rehabilitation afterwards – in a bid to make his Formula One comeback for the 2013 season. Kubica has now ruled out a potential move to be racing in F1 before the end of the 2012 season.

BOTTAS – what does it mean?

You may have seen several media outlets and journalists talking about the Williams Reserve Driver, Valtteri Bottas, in a different and unique style over recent weeks.

The new ‘fad’ of writing the drivers surname in capitals originated from Autosport’s F1 editor Jon Noble over the winter testing. He posted this picture below, showing the Finnish drivers names emboldened and in capitals.

BOTTAS

Starting off as an office joke, it has now become a small sensation in itself. At the Malaysian Grand Prix, Jon Noble asked F1 fans to see if they could get the hashtag #BOTTAS to trend worldwide on Twitter, seeing as he was driving the car in Fridays first free practice. A feat that was easily achieved and can be seen below.

#BOTTAS – Trending Topic

Formula One journalists and media personnel are now also taking it upon themselves to write the drivers name in capitals. Many F1 fans too, are beginning to use this strange way to say the Finns name. It has been accepted that it can be a useful way to get the drivers name into not just the media domain but also the public and worldwide one, as he hopes to gain a drive with a team for the 2013 season.

Maybe you at home will now use #BOTTAS, when describing him. Take a look at what Twitter has to say below:

https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23BOTTAS

2012 Pirelli’s – Help or Hindrance?

Ever since the Italian tyre manufacturer Pirelli was drawn into the sport at the start of last season, they have either been lauded or critisised for creating a confusing and highly complex tyre, which evolves and degrades in abnormal patterns.

Praise tends to come from the Team Principles, the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and of course the fans, as the tyres allow for unpredictable races and results, none more so than this year, with 4 different drivers from 4 different teams winning the first 4 races. This increasing unpredictability allows for a much highers global TV audiences as well. More racing, more fans. I mean who wants to remember the US Grand Prix in 2005?!

2012 Pirelli Tyres

However the criticisms are slowly beginning to creep in, and mainly from the drivers. Many of which, welcome unusual results, but not at the cost of actual driving ability. The problem that has become apparent this year is that to make a soft tyre go a few laps longer on the first stint, you have to drive off the limit, taking every corner smoothly and sacrifice perhaps up to 2 seconds per lap. Thats not racing now is it?

As Fernando Alonso rightly put it last week, “It’s like Real Madrid, Barcelona and AC Milan suddenly playing with the budget of Cesena.”

Normally racing in a 60 lap Formula One race should consist of 60 laps of F1 drivers, proving their worth as the finest in the world and driving the cars on the absolute limit of adhesion. But today’s Formula One consists of a driver trying to preserve a tyre and run around slightly conservatively so he wont have to make an extra pit stop during the race. It appears that losing 15 seconds saving a tyre is better than losing 20 seconds in the pit lane.

But Pirelli are only doing the job they were asked to do. It is not their fault, it is now up to the drivers to determine whether to run at maximum race pace or to run conservatively. No one can argue that the first 4 races, which have offered up to 4 different winners and results are great for the sport. But has it become somewhat artificial?

Marbles

Another issue with the Pirelli’s is the sheer amount of marbles going off-line on the track throughout a race. It is ruining the racing. Drivers are now no longer wanting to overtake in certain areas, in fear that they will damage their tyres by going  over the marbles. We saw it in Bahrain, where Kimi Raikkonen decided not to take to the inside of Sebastian Vettel at Turn One for the victory, as it was too slippery due to the excessive marbles on the track.

Paul Hembery of Pirelli summed it all up perfectly, “Racers are winners; they’re not happy unless they’re winning.”