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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Kimi Raikkönnen wins the Australian GP in Melbourne ahead of Alonso and Pole setter Vettel.
Raikkönnen was driving unobtrusive through the whole race.
The key for his win was the 2 stop strategy, nearly everybody was on 3 stop strategy because their tires lost more grip.
Alonso and Vettel were on a 3 stop strategy. Alonso had a better pace then Vettel, that why he could drive to 2nd.
The driver of this race was clearly Massa. I was surprised by his pace during the race, he was even faster than his teammate Alonso. Massa had 4th postion as result.
Mercedes is fast during Quali but not in the race
Hamilton had a good start, but started to struggle with his car and lost positions through the race- P5 was the result.
His teammate Rosberg had more bad luck. Rosberg was on 6th position till his engine gave up the ghost.
But the W04 is better than the last years car and Mercedes has a good base.
This car has much potential and i think there’s more to come.
McLaren and Williams way to slow
Button had a difficult race with a difficult car.
He managed to bring his car into the points, in 9th, but McLaren has a lot of work to do if they want to keep up with the front runners.
Perez race ended in 11th, outside the points but still with an solid debut with McLaren.
Williams has even more problems than McLaren with their FW34.
Maldonado crashed out, not having a good start to the season.
Rookie Bottas completed his race in 14th, but the most important thing is that he managed to stay on the road.
Not a good race for Ricciardo and Webber in their home Grand Prix
Webber started the race in 2nd place and ended it 6th position and why? Yes you have guessed right, he made an awful start and lost a couple of places.
He was driving unobtrusive through the GP and maybe he’s last in Australia.
Ricciardo had to retire his Toro Rosso in 12th position.
Overall good start to the 2013 season
We had many overtakes with many different drivers having a chance to win the race.
Sutil had an amazing drive in his first race after Sao Paulo 2011.
He was even leading the race for a short amount of time, but this were his very first leadkilometres in his career.
We didn’t had many incidents in this race, we didn’t even had any contact going on at the start (Grosjean learned his lesson). We had a fantastic race with three world champions on the podium.
The next race is only in one week, the Malaysian GP in Kuala Lumpur.
Result of the Rolex Australia GP in Melbourne:
|3||1||S. Vettel||Red Bull||58||+0:22.346||+0:09.894||204,083|
|6||2||M. Webber||Red Bull||58||+0:46.800||+0:01.239||203,167|
|7||15||A. Sutil||Force India||58||+1:05.068||+0:18.268||202,488|
|8||14||P. di Resta||Force India||58||+1:08.449||+0:03.381||202,363|
|12||18||J. Vergne||Toro Rosso||58||+1:23.857||+0:00.490||201,795|
|13||12||E. Gutierrez||Sauber||57||+1 lap.||+1 lap.||200,315|
|14||17||V. Bottas||Williams||57||+1 lap.||+0:07.451||200,041|
|15||22||J. Bianchi||Marussia||57||+1 lap.||+1:01.527||197,804|
|16||20||C. Pic||Caterham||56||+2 laps.||+1 lap.||197,288|
|17||23||M. Chilton||Marussia||56||+2 laps.||+0:34.359||196,045|
|18||21||G. van der Garde||Caterham||56||+2 laps.||+0:26.626||195,093|
Lotus presented yesterday their new Lotus E21 for F1 in 2013. It’s the first F1 car from 2013 that has been officialy announced.
The E21 has still black and gold on the livery, but there are also some red splashes on it (because of the sponsorship with burn).
The front and rear wing has been revised, the car has also a new exhaust system (no double DRS) on the back of the car.
The teams target for this year is, as teamboss Eric Boullier said before the presentation, the 3rd place in the constructeurs table.
The car is looking good and the driver lineup also looking pretty competitive to do it (Grosjean has to switch his brain on at the start of a race to make this happen though).
Last years Lotus E20 had seven podiums and one Grand Prix win with Kimi Räikkönnen at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber will both have new race engineers in 2013 after a swap between Lotus and Red Bull.
Mark Webber will have a new engineer for the 2013 Formula 1 season, with Ciaron Pilbeam being replaced by Simon Rennie.
Ciaron Pilbeam moves to Lotus to become chief race engineer. Mark Webber and Pilbeam have worked together since 2007 at Red Bull, with Pilbeam having worked for BAR prior to joining the team in 2006.
Simon Rennie moves to Red Bull , having previously worked with Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen last season.
A Red Bull press release said: “We can confirm that Ciaron Pilbeam has left the team to take up a new position with Lotus.
“We’re pleased to welcome Simon Rennie to Red Bull Racing who will be Mark Webber’s race engineer.”
Since the launch of F1Head in late june this year, a very good response has been received since then. The website crossed 18,700+ views since its launch. We would like to share with you the most read posts in the website’s six month tenure. Here are F1Head’s ten most read posts from the year gone by….
1. 33 Classic Kimi Quotes (OCTOBER 18, 2012) To celebrate Lotus’ Iceman turning 33 today, I have put together 33 Kimi Raikkonen quotes from over the years.
2. 2013 F1 Constructors entry/participation fees (DECEMBER 1, 2012)
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5. Heikki Kovalainen won’t bring sponsorship money to Caterham (NOVEMBER 6, 2012) Heikki Kovalainen says that he will not be able to bring any sponsorship money to Caterham next year even if it is a necessity.
8. United States Grand Prix: Grid girls (images) (NOVEMBER 18, 2012)