Category Archives: F1 Previews

2013 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

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The wait has been long for the Formula 1 fans throughout the world for the third race of the season. Three weeks ago Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing took the honors at Malaysia, though Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber have negotiated to an extent, Sebastian Vettel has clearly come out and said that he had no regrets for winning the race three weeks ago and that is what is was being paid to do.
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Last time this year in China, the Silver Arrows team locked out the front row with Nico Rosberg on pole and Nico Rosberg took it all the way to the chequered flag without putting a foot wrong giving himself and Mercedes their first Grand Prix victory since 1955.

However, this year is different from last year.Last year the team made use of their unique Double Drag Reduction System (DDRS) giving them the boost on the straights and top speed. This year too they are contenders for winning the race as they have the second best car after Red Bull in qualifying trim and race trim. It wouldn’t be surprising if they beat the Bulls on Sunday using a clever tyre strategy and look after them for a longer time during a stint.
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Lotus too are expected to challenge the above two teams as they can win the tyre preservation game very well.

Ferrari are bringing updates to this race and will be testing them on Friday, they are expected to be quick in qualifying.

McLaren after their dismal start to the season, for the first time since 2009 are bringing a raft of updates and the team has already told both their drivers that they have no time whatsoever to waste on Friday. The team believe that they have pinpointed the exact issues with their 2013 challenger and are hoping it to fix it this weekend.

Among the midfield teams Force India are expected to be good around the Shanghai International Circuit as their cars have good straight line speeds.

Sauber too have decided to bring test parts to this race and examine them on Friday.

Williams are expected to continue with their problems and are not expected to come over them.

Toro Rosso are still where they were last year and are not expected to challenge teams like Force India and Sauber just yet.

Marussia with Jules Bianchi have impressed so far this season with a car which he has driven for a very less duration of time in testing. The team have said that they will be bringing updates to this race and close the gap further more to teams such as Toro Rosso.

Caterham on the other hand have been on the last row ever since the start of the season and are making slow progress, the team is expected to remain where they are even this weekend.

A lap around the Shanghai International Circuit

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Turns 1 and 2 make up a very long right-hand curve which leads immediately into turns 3 and 4, a very long left-hand curve. One and two are far more difficult – a lift on entry followed by various taps of the throttle and brakes are needed so the car maintains balance throughout. It also becomes blind towards the middle of the corner. Three and four are nowhere near as difficult but a good exit is needed to gain speed down the following straight and through turn 5. Turn 6 is a second gear, right-handed hairpin with plentiful run-off. Turns 7 and 8 make up a high speed chicane – the left-right complex sees a constant G-force of 3 and a minimum speed of about 100 mph. Turns 9 and 10 immediately follow – two slow left-handers which require a good exit to gain speed down the next straight. Turns 11 and 12 effectively make up a slow left-right chicane where the use of kerbs are important but traction is low. Turn 13 is a very long right-hander which becomes less and less tight, and a very good exit is important as the longest straight in F1 follows. It is the equivalent to 11 football pitches laid end to end, or the same length as three and a half of the world’s biggest aircraft carriers Turn 14 is a hairpin at the end of the straight – the second gear corner is a prime overtaking spot as DRS is available in the run up to the corner. Turn 16 is the last corner – a fourth-gear left-hander which requires a quick tap on the brakes – braking early can be more effective as you can then carry more speed through the corner and then down the pit straight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVGnmXc5eBE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The total length of the circuit is 5.451 km (3.387 mi), which is about average for a Formula One circuit. The lap record was set by Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher in 2004. He completed one lap of the circuit in 1:32.238.

From the weather point of view it is expected to be 100% dry throughout the weekend which is crucial for teams such as McLaren.

From the tyre point of view Pirelli are bringing the Pirelli P Zero yellow (soft)and Pirelli P Zero White (medium). The driver who nurses his tyre will be standing on the top step of the podium on Sunday.

An excited race is in the waiting for all the fans around the world.

2013 Malaysia Grand Prix Preview

After an exciting start to the season thanks to Kimi Raikkonen and the Lotus team’s performance last weekend, its time to head to another continent, another island nation Malaysia. Malaysia is a tropical country known for its afternoon monsoon like showers, usually around 15:00 (local time). Its either the showers or the blistering temperatures reaching 50°C.
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The Malaysians since 1999 have always been excited about motorsports and attend all kinds of races held at the Sepang International Circuit, be it local racing events, Moto GP, GP2 or Formula 1.

The next question arises as to how are Malaysia and Formula 1 linked to one another? Major involvement comes from Malaysian businessman Mr.Tony Fernandes, owner of Air Asia, Tune group and Caterham cars. He owns the Caterham F1 Team.
Another involvement is from Oil & Natural gas giant who are the title sponsors to Mercedes AMG F1 Team. A huge public interaction is not wrong to expect at all.
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About the track: Sepang International Circuit is a built for racing track unlike Albert Park, Australia which is a street circuit.

The main circuit, normally raced in a clockwise direction, is 5.543 kilometres long, and is noted for its sweeping corners and with straights. The layout is quite unusual, with a very long back straight separated from the pit straight by just one very tight hairpin.

A virtual lap

Last year it was a McLaren front row lockout in qualifying, this year it looks highly unlikely for them to repeat that kind of performance. Looking back at the previous race in Melbourne last weekend, the Red Bulls were the best team on a single lap performance with Mercedes and the Ferraris very closely matched. but when it came to race trim, the Ferraris and Lotus are were far more better than the Red Bulls. The Lotus especially is not hard on its tyres, whereas the Ferrari slightly is. This weekend the car with the better aerodynamic package will fare better. The temperature is expected to be 30°C higher than what it was in Melbourne.

On the tyres front, Pirelli have decided to debut The P Zero Orange hard & P Zero White medium for Sepang, the latter was already seen in Melbourne last weekend. The two hardest compounds in Pirelli’s range are ideal for the extreme temperatures and abrasive surface of Malaysia.
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More about the The P Zero Orange hard tyre: The P Zero Orange hard tyre has a high working range, whereas the P Zero White medium has a low working range. This makes it an ideal combination that can deal well with any eventuality. The durability characteristics of the new hard tyre are close to those of last year’s medium tyre, resulting in lap times that are around 0.4s-0.5s quicker than the 2012-specification hard.

“We would describe Sepang as genuinely ‘extreme’: both in terms of weather and track surface,” said Hembery.

“This means that it is one of the most demanding weekends for our tyres that we experience all year. For the first time we see our new Orange hard compound in competition, with this colour chosen to make it more easy to distinguish from the white medium on television.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery : “The nomination we have for Malaysia is the same as last year, but the compounds themselves offer more performance and deliberately increased degradation this season, Last year three stops proved to be the winning strategy in a mixed wet and dry race, with a thrilling finish between Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez that was all about tyres.

“We’d expect three stops again but once more it’s likely to be weather that dominates the action. Even when it isn’t raining, the drivers can expect humidity in the region of 80 per cent and ambient temperatures of more than 30 degrees centigrade.”
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The weather forecasts suggest that it might be cloudy but dry on Friday, but rain with thunderstorms are expected for Sunday’s race. If its a dry race on Sunday, you can expect the Red Bulls, Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes to shine and the team/driver who caresses their tyres tin best can stand on the top step of the Malaysian podium, but assuming its a wet race, you can expect the unexpected like last year, strategy calls at the right time will give the driver and his team the honours they deserve. One thing certain is that it won’t be a boring race, lot of overtaking can be anticipated.