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THE WEEK IN F1

All the facts, fiction, rumour and innuendo….

Well let’s say it, the Hungarian Grand Prix was a BORE!!! The only thing that livened up proceedings was the decent into chaos at McLaren. It all started quite normally on Friday with the usual suspects all being at the front of the field after first practice, except that BMW had put Kubica on soft tyres and bugger-all fuel which left him at the top of the time sheets by just under two tenths from Massa. In the afternoon session Alonso was the only one to drop under the 1minute 21 barrier ahead of Kovalainen in the Renault. The Ferrari’s were starting to look like they may struggle for a race win here with the pair of them being over half a second back.

For the new boys, Vettel was showing off his class by being immediately on the pace of Toro Rosso team mate Liuzzi but Yamamoto in the Spyker was showing the downside of having no car time since last year and was consistently around two seconds slower than Sutil.

Apart from that most teams were about where you would expect them to be although the much revised, “all will be better soon” Honda was woefully slow.  Saturday mornings practice session didn’t change that much although the Ferraris looked much happier. And then came qualifying………

Session one saw Hamilton on top from Kovalainen followed by Kubica, Massa, Alonso & Raikkonen. At the other end of the spectrum, both Hondas missed the cut along with Sato, Vettel and the Spykers. Yamamoto would not have made it into the top 16 but may have been a bit closer to Sutil had he not been held up by Fisichella for almost an entire lap when he was supposed to be on a quick one. This was to have more telling consequences for Fisichella than Yamamoto come race day.

Session two saw a Ferrari fiasco reminiscent of the old days. Massa had a moment of his first flying lap which left him outside the top ten and when he pitted for another set of tyres, the team failed to put in any more fuel. He made it to the end of the pit lane before stopping and had to be dragged back to his pit box to top up. By this time his nicely warmed tyres were cold and in the end he could do no better than 14th and out of the top ten shoot out. Another one to miss out was a thoroughly confused Kovalainen who after changes to his Renault, dropped from P2 in Q1 to 12th. At the top of the list stood Hamilton and Alonso in the mid 1m 19s followed by Trulli, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Heidfeld and Webber.

There has been trouble brewing for a few months now between the McLaren drivers with Alonso feeling that he has not been getting the respect he deserves from within the team and that Hamilton has not been playing the team game. And on this day it all boiled over. It all began with Hamilton refusing to obey his teams instructions that he move over to let Alonso past. Alonso was supposed to be at the front of the queue at the start of the session, fuelled a bit heavier and it was intended that he would do at least one more lap in the fuel burn stage. He had a slight problem starting the car however and Hamilton beat him to the pit exit. Hamilton’s excuse that he didn’t move over because he didn’t want to let Raikkonen by did not amuse team boss Ron Dennis and Alonso was rightfully furious.

Then came the final light fuel runs. After one each, Hamilton was a tad faster. Alosno was first into the pits for fresh tyres while Hamilton crawled in behind him. Hamilton arrived to find Alonso still in the pit box despite having been reshod waiting for his engineer to tell him to leave. What ever you believe, Alonso waited/was kept waiting for around thirty seconds with Hamilton parked behind him. By the time Hamilton had his new tyres bolted on it was too late for him to complete another flying lap and Alonso had pole.

Within minutes the stewards announced that the matter was under investigation and eventually Alonso was bumped down to sixth place on the grid for impeding another competitor.  (See STEWARDS REPORT HUNGARY 2007 for full details of the decision).

This meant that Heidfeld had his first front row start for the year in the BMW with Raikkonen and Rosberg sharing the second row. Fisichella was also dropped from eighth to thirteenth for his blocking of Yamamoto. Much as had Alonso’s chances of winning gone, so had Fisichella’s of scoring points.

After all that, the race was the typical Hungarian yawn fest. Hamilton led from start to finish with Raikkonen never more than four seconds away but with no chance of passing on this awful circuit. Alonso made up a couple of places early but got stuck behind the much slower Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota and it took until the final pit stops for him to take that place. Heidfeld finished in third, ahead of Alonso who was followed home by Kubica, Ralf, Rosberg, Kovalainen and Webber, who would have probably scored a point or two had the Red Bull team not made another bad strategy call. Instead of swapping to a two stop strategy like most other teams, they left Mark on a three stopper and he had to stop from seventh with 10 laps to go to refuel. The Hondas were so good that the only one to finish, ran last for most of the race and finished…….. last.

To complete McLaren’s misery they were also docked constructors championship points for this race although that is likely to be appealed. Also rumour has it that Alonso will not be staying put at the end of this year. It has been suggested that if he doesn’t land another competitive drive he may well retire.

So the Hungarian Grand Prix is over for another year. Unfortunately lots of drama, but not much real racing. 

 

Race results

70 laps; 306.663km;
Weather: Sunny.
Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                 Time 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     1h35:52.991

 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari              +     0.715
 3.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           +    43.129
 4.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes     +    44.858
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber           +    47.616
 6.  R.Schumacher  Toyota               +    50.669
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      +    59.139
 8.  Kovalainen    Renault              +  1:08.104
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault     +  1:16.331
10.  Trulli        Toyota               +    1 lap
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault     +    1 lap
12.  Fisichella    Renault              +    1 lap
13.  Massa         Ferrari              +    1 lap
14.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota      +    1 lap
15.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda    +    1 lap
16.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   +    1 lap
17.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari       +    2 laps
18.  Barrichello   Honda                +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:20.047

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                            On lap

Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   Electrical43
Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda    Accident   42
Button        Honda                Engine     36
Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari       Spun        7
World Championship standings

Drivers:                    Constructors:              1.  Hamilton      80        1.  McLaren-Mercedes     138

 2.  Alonso        73        2.  Ferrari              119
 3.  Raikkonen     60        3.  BMW Sauber            71

4.  Massa         59        4.  Renault               33

 5.  Heidfeld      42        5.  Williams-Toyota       20
 6.  Kubica        28        6.  Red Bull-Renault      16

7.  Fisichella    17        7.  Toyota                12

 8.  Kovalainen    16        8.  Super Aguri-Honda      4
 9.  Wurz          13        9.  Honda                  1
10.  Coulthard      8
11.  Webber         8
12.  Rosberg        7
13.  Trulli         7
14.  R.Schumacher   5
15.  Sato           4
16.  Vettel         1
17.  Button         1

  

 

 

AVIATION AT THE 2007 GOODWOOD REVIVAL

 

A RARE SELECTION OF PRE-1967 AIRCRAFT LINE UP FOR THE FREDDIE MARCH SPIRIT OF AVIATION AT THE 2007 GOODWOOD REVIVAL

The world’s most authentic historic motor race meeting, the Goodwood Revival, is firmly on target to reach new heights this year with an additional aeronautical attraction that recalls the style and excitement of flying as it used to be.

The Team Principal, together with the team manager and both drivers were called before the Stewards and asked to explain their actions. Reference was made to video and audio evidence. The facts and the explanation given by the team are as follows:At the commencement of the third period of the Qualifying practice it had been agreed within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team ("The Team") that Fernando Alonso would leave the pit exit ahead of Lewis Hamilton in order to benefit from the possibility for purposes of fuel burn allowance of being able to complete an additional lap.

In the event, the car driven by Lewis Hamilton arrived at the pit exit before that of Fernando Alonso and when the pit lane opened he left in front of Alonso. The team required Hamilton by radio communication to allow Alonso to pass in order that he might endeavour to complete his extra lap. Because of the proximity of the Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen, however, Hamilton declined to allow Alonso to pass despite repeated requests from the team to do so.

Reference to the radio communications passing between the team and its two drivers shows that the team told Hamilton at 14:56:44 to "box this lap" and required him to do a "hard in lap" but advised him some 32 seconds later to "slow the pace a little, just lose a couple of seconds before the end of the lap because Fernando is pitting in front of you".

At 14:57:34, just 18 seconds later Alonso was told that when he pitted "we are going to hold you for 20 seconds".At 14:57:46 Alonso's car arrived at his pit stop position, his tyres were changed and the jacks removed just 6 seconds later. The car then remained in position from 14:57:52 to 14:58:12 when the signal known as the "lollipop" was raised indicating that the driver was free to leave.

By this time Hamilton's car had arrived and stopped immediately behind that of Alonso. Alonso, instead of leaving his pit in order that his team-mate Hamilton could complete his pit stop, remained in position for a further 10 seconds. He then left the pit lane in sufficient time to reach the Control Line before the end of Qualifying, completed a flying lap in which he set the fastest time and secured pole position.

Because of the delay caused by Alonso, Hamilton was unable to complete his pit stop in time sufficient to enable him also to complete a flying lap.The team were asked to explain why having indicated to Hamilton that he must stop at his pit on the next lap, they then informed Alonso whilst he was still on the track that when he also pitted on the next lap he would be held for 20 seconds.

The team stated that they frequently give estimates as to duration of pit stop to their drivers before they pit and that the reason the car was in fact held for 20 seconds was that it was being counted down prior to release at a beneficial time regard being given to other cars on the track.

Alonso was asked why he waited for some 10 seconds before leaving the pits after being given the signal to leave. His response was that he was enquiring as to whether the correct set of tyres had been fitted to his car. When asked why this conversation did not take place during the 20 second period when his car sat stationary all work on it having been completed, it was stated that it was not possible to communicate by radio because of the countdown being given to him.Reference to the circuit map shows that at the time Alonso was told he would be held for 20 seconds there were but 4 cars on the circuit, his own and those of Fisichella, Hamilton and Raikkonen. All but Raikkonen entered the pits such that there can have been no necessity to keep Alonso in the pits for 20 seconds waiting for a convenient gap in traffic in which to leave.

The explanation given by Alonso as to why at the expiration of the 20 second period he remained in his pit stop position for a further 10 seconds is not accepted. The Stewards find that he unnecessarily impeded another driver, Hamilton, and as a result he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions.

The explanation given by the team as to why they kept Alonso stationary for 20 seconds after completion of his tyre change and therefore delayed Hamilton's own pit stop is not accepted.

The actions of the team in the final minutes of Qualifying are considered prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally. The penalty to be applied is that such points (if any) in the 2007 Formula One Constructors Championship as accrue to the team as a result of their participation in the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix wilt be withdrawn.

The team is reminded of its right of appeal.

FIA STEWARDS REPORT - HUNGARY 2007

During the final minutes of Qualifying, the car driven by Fernando Alonso remained in its pit stop position at the completion of his pit stop notwithstanding the fact that his team-mate Lewis Hamilton was waiting immediately behind him to commence his own pit stop. The delay prevented Hamilton from being able to complete his final flying lap of Qualifying.

The Team Principal, together with the team manager and both drivers were called before the Stewards and asked to explain their actions. Reference was made to video and audio evidence. The facts and the explanation given by the team are as follows:At the commencement of the third period of the Qualifying practice it had been agreed within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team ("The Team") that Fernando Alonso would leave the pit exit ahead of Lewis Hamilton in order to benefit from the possibility for purposes of fuel burn allowance of being able to complete an additional lap.

In the event, the car driven by Lewis Hamilton arrived at the pit exit before that of Fernando Alonso and when the pit lane opened he left in front of Alonso. The team required Hamilton by radio communication to allow Alonso to pass in order that he might endeavour to complete his extra lap. Because of the proximity of the Ferrari driven by Kimi Raikkonen, however, Hamilton declined to allow Alonso to pass despite repeated requests from the team to do so.

Reference to the radio communications passing between the team and its two drivers shows that the team told Hamilton at 14:56:44 to "box this lap" and required him to do a "hard in lap" but advised him some 32 seconds later to "slow the pace a little, just lose a couple of seconds before the end of the lap because Fernando is pitting in front of you".

At 14:57:34, just 18 seconds later Alonso was told that when he pitted "we are going to hold you for 20 seconds".At 14:57:46 Alonso's car arrived at his pit stop position, his tyres were changed and the jacks removed just 6 seconds later. The car then remained in position from 14:57:52 to 14:58:12 when the signal known as the "lollipop" was raised indicating that the driver was free to leave.

By this time Hamilton's car had arrived and stopped immediately behind that of Alonso. Alonso, instead of leaving his pit in order that his team-mate Hamilton could complete his pit stop, remained in position for a further 10 seconds. He then left the pit lane in sufficient time to reach the Control Line before the end of Qualifying, completed a flying lap in which he set the fastest time and secured pole position.

Because of the delay caused by Alonso, Hamilton was unable to complete his pit stop in time sufficient to enable him also to complete a flying lap.The team were asked to explain why having indicated to Hamilton that he must stop at his pit on the next lap, they then informed Alonso whilst he was still on the track that when he also pitted on the next lap he would be held for 20 seconds.

The team stated that they frequently give estimates as to duration of pit stop to their drivers before they pit and that the reason the car was in fact held for 20 seconds was that it was being counted down prior to release at a beneficial time regard being given to other cars on the track.

Alonso was asked why he waited for some 10 seconds before leaving the pits after being given the signal to leave. His response was that he was enquiring as to whether the correct set of tyres had been fitted to his car. When asked why this conversation did not take place during the 20 second period when his car sat stationary all work on it having been completed, it was stated that it was not possible to communicate by radio because of the countdown being given to him.Reference to the circuit map shows that at the time Alonso was told he would be held for 20 seconds there were but 4 cars on the circuit, his own and those of Fisichella, Hamilton and Raikkonen. All but Raikkonen entered the pits such that there can have been no necessity to keep Alonso in the pits for 20 seconds waiting for a convenient gap in traffic in which to leave.

The explanation given by Alonso as to why at the expiration of the 20 second period he remained in his pit stop position for a further 10 seconds is not accepted. The Stewards find that he unnecessarily impeded another driver, Hamilton, and as a result he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions.

The explanation given by the team as to why they kept Alonso stationary for 20 seconds after completion of his tyre change and therefore delayed Hamilton's own pit stop is not accepted.

The actions of the team in the final minutes of Qualifying are considered prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally. The penalty to be applied is that such points (if any) in the 2007 Formula One Constructors Championship as accrue to the team as a result of their participation in the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix wilt be withdrawn.

The team is reminded of its right of appeal.

EXPAT EXPLOITS 1-8-07

This week round the Globe

 Only one major motor sport event this week involving Aussie drivers. Having retired from the previous week’s event at Edmonton, Will Powers Champ Car race at San Jose didn’t begin much better. After being baulked badly in qualifying Power began the race back in 12th place, but due to the clumsiness of others, Dan Clarke in particular made a clot of himself by plowing up the back of Wilson under yellow flags, was up to sixth after just a few laps. This became fifth with a fine pass on Bourdais and then fourth after Rahal suffered from rottenpitstopitis. Although never having true front running pace Power intelligently, and some of the other noted “stars” of Champ Car could take a lesson here, ran just quick enough while saving fuel to hold off those behind. All those but Doornbos that is, and since he drives for Paul Stoddart’s Minardi USA team, we will include him here. After a dozy first corner bingle that left his nose cone attached to the top of another car, he drove an absolute blinder to, with the aid of some fine pit strategy, take out a comfortable victory. So, Australian owned cars first, fourth and tenth (Pagenaud) and Power finishing ahead of title leader Bourdais and thus reducing the points gap, all made for a good day in San Jose. All for but dim Dan Clarke in the second Minardi USA car who removed two nose cones in less than two laps of green flag running and retired because there were no more spares.

Aussies had mixed results in the lower categories. In Formula Renault, Daniel Ricciardo finished in 12th place in both heats of the Italian championship race at Misano. Daniel quailed in 19th place for the opener and 17th for the second and may have made it into the top 10 if not for a blistered rear tyre. Meanwhile at Assen, Nathan Caratti came home a fine ninth in the first race in the Northern European Cup round but could only manage a distant 20th in the second race.

Swinging down to Indonesia now for round three of the Formula V6 Asia championship at Sentul where James Winslow finished third in race two, his third podium finish in the last four races. James started race one from eighth on the grid and moved up to finish fifth and had a fine drive in race two to take that final step on the podium, just in front of another Australian, Adil Saryaguna Hermanto in fourth. All this means that Winslow and Hermanto now lie second and third in the championship.

Also at Sentul in round three of the Carrera Cup Asia, Christian Jones had his best finish for a while coming home in third place in race one, and taking victory in race two after the leaders took each other out. An even better day was had by Peter Boylan who took out both race victories in class B.

All in all, not a bad weekend. Next week we will see if Webber’s Red Bull can survive two race weekends in a row, whether Bayliss, Corser et al can come back at James Toseland in the Superbikes and if Chris Atkinson’s luck will finally change as the WRC heads to Finland for the 1000 Lakes Rally. Should be fun.

Sam Snape
01/08/2007 

EXPAT EXPLOITS 8/8/07

This week around the globe

 

  Another weekend, another Grand Prix and another completely reliable race for the Red Bull team. In Hungary, for the second race in a row both cars finished without any mechanical woes although this time, neither scored any points. Coulthard never really looked likely to do so but Webber fell foul, once again, to bad strategy from the team.

This week around the globe

   Another weekend, another Grand Prix and another completely reliable race for the Red Bull team. In Hungary, for the second race in a row both cars finished without any mechanical woes although this time, neither scored any points. Coulthard never really looked likely to do so but Webber fell foul, once again, to bad strategy from the team. It wasn't nearly as bad as that atrocious pit stop call in Canada, but the decision to leave Mark on a three stop strategy when most of his rivals switched to two stop races definitely cost him at least one point, if not two. Webber again out-qualified his team-mate to take 10th place and a spot on the dirty side of the grid. "I'd have been happier to qualify 11th" was his view of the result. After being 7th quickest in the 2nd qualifying session he had hoped that he would have had been a bit further up the grid. The outlook improved over night though when Fisichella was penalised for blocking Yamamoto (why?? - not why was he penalised but why in God's name would you bother?) during qualifying and so lined up 9th on the starting grid and now on the grippier side of the track. He made a fine start, getting past Trulli to end the first lap in eighth place and briefly bounced up to seventh when he passed Alonso who had run wide at the final turn. Alonso soon got back through and Webber ran the rest of the first stint in a solid and safe eighth. This became third for a while during the first pit stop window as he ran a few laps longer but when he stopped, the team turned him around quickly, not changing his three stop strategy as had most of the other teams. This call ended his chances. Through the remaining two stints Webber ran quickly and comfortably in seventh and eighth but had to pit from seventh for a final fuel stop with just 10 laps to go. A stop that dropped him to ninth behind the Renault of Kovalainen, and on a track on which Alonso in a McLaren, who was regularly two seconds faster, could not get past Ralf Schumacher's Toyota, Webber had sod-all chance of getting back into the points. Good to see that they seem to have their reliability issues sorted out but in the end, a wasted opportunity.  Heading north to Finland and the 1000 Lakes Rally where Chris Atkinson’s Subaru team-mate, and former champ Petter Solberg had yet another retirement. Poor Petter actually looked scared from the cars handling and this time at least, was probably happy that his rally ended early. Chris Atkinson, on the other hand, started beautifully. He won the First stadium stage and then ran consistently in fourth place, increasing his lead over Petter's brother Henning with each stage. True, he also lost time to the three leaders on each stage but when those three are Loeb, Gronholm and "hairy" Hirvonen this is no disgrace. If you are wondering about the "hairy" nickname, just check out the footage of his sideways moment on day two. How he didn't roll beggars belief. On the final day Chris extended his lead over fifth place Henning Solberg through three blindingly fast stages and equalled his best finish this year to take fourth. This leaves him in seventh place in the championship with 20 points, just six behind team-mate Petter Solberg and only eight away from 4th place.  Meanwhile over at Brands Hatch the Superbike boys were in action. Race one was dominated by James Toseland, but behind him was all sorts of fun. For the first few laps there was a fine squabble between Haga, Corser and Pole man Bayliss until the latter lost the front end trying to out brake Corser into Druids. After being taken out in the last round in Brno by Muggeridge, this was another blow to Bayliss's title hopes. The first three then settled down to a fairly steady pace each separated by about a second. Behind them was a fine duel between the two Suzuki lads until Kagayama lost it in a big way at Clearways leaving Biaggi in forth. This became third, and Corser moved into second when "Nitro Nori" Haga'd himself going off the road at the exit of Surtees and dropping well down the field before fighting back to seventh. Series returnee Steve Martin finished 11th on his Yamaha while Muggeridge was classified 19th, two laps down on his Honda.  Broc Parkes turned things around for Australia by winning the Super Sports race on his Yamaha taking the lead after pressuring Craig Jones into dropping it at Clearways on lap 5. Parkes was then untroubled to the finish. Josh Brookes on the other hand retired after starting back in 15th.  Race two of the Superbikes was another easy win for Toseland with the best of the Aussies, again Troy Corser finishing just behind his team-mate, Nitro Nori, in third. Bayliss had another troubled race slipping back to seventh by the finish. Muggeridge managed to finish this time, but back down in 14th and Martin could only manage 16th. This has effectively ended any chance of an Australian champion this year with Bayliss now lying fourth, 97 points in arrears with just six races to go. Corser lies fifth another 31 point back.