Brilliant Bahrain, This Week’s News & More…

Brilliant Bahrain…

image

Well! If you missed the first night race in Bahrain what the hell were you thinking!!!? FINALLY we had some proper wheel to wheel racing up and down the grid throughout the race and it wasn’t spoiled by crappy team orders, fuel saving or random rain storms! It was certainly a perfect way to celebrate F1’s 900th race.

Mercedes yet again dominated the whole weekend with Nico Rosberg taking pole position in qualifying, closely followed by his team mate Lewis Hamilton in P2, whilst Red Bull’s latest recruit Daniel Ricciardo was 3rd fastest (although due to his penalty from the last race, he started 10 places back on the grid!) but his team mate Sebastian Vettel could only manage P11 (and that’s without any penalties! Hehe)

It was nice to watch qualifying with dry weather conditions, it’s the first time we’ve really got to see the pace of the new era of F1 properly this year and we also got to see the benefits of the new qualifying format where drivers who appear in Q3 are now given an extra set of option tyres to ensure more running, which is so much better than having 7 or 8 cars running in Q3 whilst others save their tyres for the race and don’t even complete a lap in Q3! It makes it much more exciting and gives us action on track right up until the final seconds of qualifying.

So race day arrived and lets be honest, I don’t think anyone expected it to be as exciting as it was! With all the moaning about the new sound of F1 and Red Bull whinging about fuel flow meters (see more below) we really did need to bring the focus back to what F1 is all about… RACING!

Hamilton had the perfect start and managed to take 1st from Rosberg into turn 1, and right down the grid there was overtaking left right and centre from Lap 1! On Lap 16, Riccardo was right up Vettel’s backside for 6th and I think we all thought Vettel finally got a taste of his own medicine when his race engineer came on team radio and explained “Sebastian can you let Ricciardo past, he is faster than you.” Not really team orders as they were on different strategies but amusing all the same to hear Vettel being told to move out the way, and he had no choice but to oblige on this occasion!

image

By Lap 18, Rosberg had gained on Lewis and the amazing battle for 1st place really began between the two very talented team mates. They had us on the edge of our seats as Rosberg tried to overtake Lewis several times, and sometimes he managed to get into 1st but never for longer than a few seconds as Lewis would snatch the place straight back again, it was getting all too much for the team as neither driver was gonna give up easily and so thankfully Mercedes pit Lewis on Lap 20 to give them (and us fans!) a breather.

Force India had a fantastic weekend and both their drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenburg were on a flyer throughout the race. On the flip side Ferrari had another disappointing weekend and both Kimi Raikonnen and Fernando Alonso struggled to get anything out of the car and seemed to just slip backwards throughout the race as cars seemed to glide past them without any real defending power from the Ferrari drivers.

After some great racing earlier, Lewis was creating a comfortable lead with 9.554 secs ahead of Rosberg in 2nd when on Lap 41 his progress was wiped out when the safety car was deployed after Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber was flipped upside down by Pastor Maldonado (Lotus) whilst exiting the pits and heading into turn 1. It was a stupid and dangerous mistake by Maldonado and he received a 10 second stop and go penalty, a 5 place grid penalty (for the next race)  & 3 points added to his Super Licence for the collision. Thankfully Gutierrez was unharmed from the accident but it was bloody awful to watch the car flip upside down, bounce on the floor and then land again, it’s a true testament to how safe they build F1 cars these days!

image

Whilst the safety car was out, Mercedes Technical Director Paddy Lowe came onto team radio to both drivers and said “with 10 laps left to race, can we just make sure we bring both cars home” prompting many to assume that team orders were being sneakily made and we wouldn’t see anymore racing between the two of them… How wrong those pessimists were! For the final 10 laps we saw more incredible wheel to wheel action between Lewis and Rosberg for 1st but even with the (slower) medium tyres on, Lewis maintained 1st place and certainly earned his win in Bahrain! Some saying it’s even one of his best races of his career so far!

image

My driver of the day would usually have been Lewis however both of the Force India drivers did such a fantastic job with Perez taking 3rd and getting on the podium I have to say I was torn between him and Hulkenburg. They made their other rivals look like easy pickings with their overtakes and I’m amazed that Hulkenburg has never been on the podium during his F1 career as he’s such a quick driver, maybe it’ll be his turn this weekend in China?

Here’s a look at the full race result:

image

Some of my Twitter followers views of the race in Bahrain…

image

 

 

News This Week…

There’s been quite a bit happening this week in the world of F1! Thought I’d just cover the basics of each to keep you all updated!

USA Team to Join F1 in 2015?

image

Gene Haas (who owns his own NASCAR team) has confirmed his application to enter a team in F1 has been accepted by the FIA last week. Haas has already appointed Gunther Steiner as Team Principal (who has worked in F1 previously with Jaguar and Red Bull) but is unsure if his team will join F1 in 2015 or 2016 at the moment as he feels next year is too close and 2016 is too far away, he needs to make the decision soon though as the FIA have told him he needs to elect which year the team will participate in. Well, whenever his team does join the world of F1 I think it could be a great addition and I look forward to hearing who will be driving for the team and (possibly) more importantly who will supply their power unit?

Red Bull Lose Appeal (well, they never had much of that for me before!)

image

We can now hopefully put this ‘fuel flow meter’ saga behind us as Red Bull lost their appeal against Daniel Ricciardo’s exclusion from last month’s Australian Grand Prix where he was disqualified from 2nd after his car was found to have exceeded the maximum permitted fuel flow rate. The appeal was heard in Paris on Monday at the International Court of Appeal where Red Bull were joined by representatives of Mercedes, McLaren, Lotus, Williams and Force India, who all seemed ready to pounce if Red Bull had got away with the appeal! There’ll be a full outcome from the FIA later on but surely Red Bull will just have to put up and shut up about all this now!

Stefano Domenicali resigns from Ferrari!

image

I have to admit, this came as a bit of a surprise to me, but Stefano has resigned from his position as Team Principal at Ferrari with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Marco Mattiacci, who is currently the President and CEO of Ferrari North America. In a statement, Domenicali said he takes “responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation”. Yes, Ferrari have certainly been lacking so far this season but I think he was pushed into taking the flack and paying the price for the teams mistake. I’m not a fan of Ferrari so can’t say that I care either way but I did like the way he handled himself in interviews and I’ll be a little (ok, tiny) bit sad to see him go!

Here’s some of my Twitter followers reactions…

image

 

Up Next…

So after a week off, F1 is back this weekend and this time out it’s China! There’s been a different winner here for the past 3 years so who will it be this time? I’m hoping Lewis maintains the brilliant form he’s in and makes it a hat trick of wins!

Here’s a look at the track…

image

 

And Finally…

Lewis Hamilton tweeted a link to this earlier this week and it certainly made me laugh! Take a look…

 

 

 

Look forward to tweeting with you all during the race! Follow me on Twitter @PickletF1 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercedes Dominate Malaysia & More…

 

Mercedes Dominate Malaysia…

image

We had a very wet start to the race weekend with qualifying delayed by 50 minutes due to a heavy and prolonged shower, so everyone was eager to get out and set a lap time in Q1 early in case of further downpours. With just over 2 minutes left of Q1 Marcus Ericsson crashed his Caterham and caused the session to be red flagged, it looked worse than it was as driver error caused him to run onto the grass before clipping a barrier and taking out a polystyrene marker! Q2 barely got underway before it was red flagged again, this time due to a collision between Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Torro Rosso’s Daniil Kyvat. Alonso’s mechanics did a fantastic job fixing the front right suspension on his car in about 5 minutes to get him back out on track to set a competitive lap time.

The wet weather meant most drivers were having to set lap times on full wet tyres, with few braving the choice of the intermediates, and we saw a lot of Tokyo Drift style driving during a few hairy laps! Q3 got underway with Mercedes looking strong, as both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were quickest in the first two qualifying sessions. Red Bull surprised some, as Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel were setting quick times and definitely in with a chance of snatching pole position. Jenson Button seemed to struggle with tyre choice and limped into Q3 but being down in P10 he decided to risk keeping the intermediates on (hoping for the track to dry out before the end of Q3) but just couldn’t improve on his lap times, whereas everyone else opted to stick with the wet tyres and it was Hamilton that took pole (matching Jim Clarke’s all time British record with 33 pole positions) followed by Vettel in P2 (only 0.055 seconds behind Lewis) and Rosberg in P3.

Race day arrived and the rain stayed away for a dry race (although black clouds in the distance caused everyone to be on alert just in case!). Before the race started, Sergio Perez was forced to quit due to a gearbox issue with his Force India car. There was a minutes silence to pay tribute to the passengers on missing flight MH370 and a lot of the teams had tributes on their cars to show their respect.

image

Lewis Hamilton had a good start and maintained 1st, whilst both Rosberg and Ricciardo got passed Vettel in 2nd, Pastor Maldonado got caught by Jules Bianchi (who was handed a 5 second stop and go penalty) and was forced to retire his Lotus car from the race (Bianchi then retired on lap 13 anyway!). Kevin Magnussen clipped Kimi Raikkonen causing a puncture to Kimi’s Ferrari which meant he had to pit early and left him battling at the back of the pack, and Magnussen also received a 5 second stop and go penalty for the collision.

By halfway through the race Hamilton had a comfortable lead and it was clear that unless something mechanical broke, Lewis was easily going to win the race, it wasn’t an overall exciting race to be honest, we had a few more retirements (Jean Eric Vergne for Torro Rosso and both Esteban Gutierrez & Adrian Sutil for Sauber), including the most dramatic retirement in the race by Ricciardo. It all started during his pit stop when a front tyre wasn’t secured properly and the engineers were forced to roll Riccardo back up the pit lane to sort it out, then when he rejoined the track he clipped a kerb and seemed to dislodge his front wing causing him to pit again (meanwhile receiving a penalty for unsafe release in the pits which meant a 10 second stop and go penalty AND a 10 place grid drop at the next race!!!) and by lap 53 he was forced to retire, when it rains it pours, and the Red Bull No2 driver curse strikes again! (Insert your own conspiracy theory here!)

There was plenty of overtaking (although not all thrilling) throughout the race, but just as we had last year (we all remember Multi-21) it was team orders that got us talking, this time involving Williams. As early as lap 8 there was tension between Bottas and Massa. “Did you see what he did? He crashed me,” said Massa (talking about Bottas), Williams then told Bottas to hold station until Massa had passed Magnussen in front, but Bottas yelled back “Then tell him to go through. I have more pace.” A couple of pit stops later and on lap 53 we then heard “Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you.  Do not hold him up” and “you’re faster than Massa, overtake him“… Needless to say Massa seemed to suffer with selective hearing and didn’t allow Bottas through, ignoring team orders. I prefer it when team mates just have a good old fashioned scrap for position rather than the “I’ll just allow you to pass and move out of your way” attitude that Massa endured at Ferrari!

I saw some comments on Twitter calling it ‘double standards’ for cheering on Massa for ignoring team orders and yet hating Vettel for the Multi-21 saga last year, but this is a different scenario in my eyes. When Vettel ignored team orders to stay behind Webber both drivers were supposed to be reserving fuel and in effect taking it easy round the track which is just what Mercedes did with Lewis and Nico, even though Nico complained he could go faster than Lewis, once Ross Brawn explained so could Lewis but he was saving fuel, Nico did the right thing, respected that fact and stayed back. Vettel however, took advantage of Webber (who again could of gone faster had he been pushing) and ignored team orders thus taking Webber unawares and stealing the victory. This time out however both Bottas and Massa were racing for position, both pushing and therefore I feel it was unfair to tell Massa to move over easily for Bottas, let Bottas fight for it I say! I don’t think I was the only one that was happy for Massa sticking to his guns, here’s a look at what some of my followers on Twitter thought…

image

It was a perfect weekend for Mercedes. Lewis won the race with ease (getting the hat trick with pole position, the win, and fastest lap of the race!) and Nico finished 2nd, making it the first 1-2 for Mercedes since Monza in 1955! Mercedes are certainly the team to beat so far this season!

Nico Hulkenburg had a good race for Force India finishing in 5th but didn’t give 4th place to Alonso easily, and rookie Kyvat picked up another point in 10th for Torro Rosso and I think he’s doing a great job for the team so far, but it seems Lewis was driver of the day…

image

 

Here’s a look at the full result of the race…

image

 

 

Bahrain Up Next…

We don’t have long to wait for the next race! I love it when we have back to back race weekends! Bahrain is up next but this time it’s gonna be a night race! I can’t wait! I think there’s added excitement when the race is held under the nights sky!

Vettel has won the last two races here but I think we could have someone else on the top step of the podium this time out!

Here’s a look at the track…

image

 

And Finally…

A couple of things caught my attention this week, firstly a really interesting feature from BBC F1 with former F1 driver Mark Webber, who shows how he used to prepare for racing in extreme heat and humidity to prevent him “getting cooked in the car”.

image

Take a look… Mark Webber – getting cooked in the car

Finally, *warning some readers may feel slightly sick after reading the following…

So the latest F1 relationship rumour circulating is that Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner is dating former Spice Girl (and now my former childhood hero) Geri Halliwell!!! It’s only been reported in the likes of Daily Mail (so not necessarily true!) but when there’s smoke there’s fire and all that!

image

 

 

Look forward to tweeting with you all during the race weekend! Follow me on Twitter @PickletF1 and feel free to leave comments on here or tweet me and let me know what you think!

Pictures and result info from http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk & http://www.formula1.com/default.html

 

 

 

Superb Season Opener, Fuel Flow Fury & More…

Superb Season Opener…

image

Well! Have we all recovered from not only the ridiculously early start (here in the UK a 5am alarm on a Sunday is true commitment!!!) but the exciting season opener in Melbourne? Wow! We all knew it was going to be different but from qualifying to 5 hours after the finishing flag on Sunday we were given lots to talk, cheer and boo about!

On Saturday, we not only got to truly hear the new sound of F1 with the V6 turbo engines but we had rain to spice things up for qualifying. Before Q1 even began we had the first penalty of the season being handed out to Valtteri Bottas as his Williams car needed a gearbox change and things were even worse for Lotus as both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado (who’s cars were still in bits at the start of qualifying!) didn’t even set a proper lap time and were knocked out in Q1.

image

Sebastian Vettel is certainly starting the season off the way I would like him too… struggling! He was knocked out in Q2 in P13. He was throwing his dummy out the pram all weekend with frustrated and arrogant remarks to his engineer over team radio. I won’t hide the fact I’m thrilled he’s not getting it all his way from day 1 this year, with the new changes in 2014, this gives him the perfect opportunity to show his haters (yes, that includes me) that he really is a worthy World Champion, and not just the guy driving the fastest car from the front.

It was Lewis Hamilton that took pole position snatching it away from Red Bull’s latest addition Daniel Ricciardo in P2 (which raised some eyebrows as both the Red Bull cars had been struggling so much since testing) and Lewis’ team mate Nico Rosberg took P3.

So race day was upon us, the first race of the season was just about to start and already Marussia’s Max Chilton had stalled starting the formation lap, I started to get butterflies in my stomach then… LIGHTS OUT… Oh no, wait, the other bloody Marussia had a problem now, so the start was aborted and everyone made their way around again whilst Jules Bianchi was wheeled to the pit lane (and didn’t make it back out), things also went from bad to worse for Grosjean who, already starting from the pit lane was slapped with a drive through penalty for leaving his garage before the 15 minute signal! Then…. LIGHTS OUT and they were off!

image

Poor Kamui Kobayashi, (who did a great job in qualifying for Caterham and started P15) had a cracking start, but suffered a rear brakes failure and shot off track, taking William’s Felipe Massa out with him on the first corner, as Rosberg took advantage of Lewis’ dreadful start and bolted off into the distance in P1, Mclaren’s rookie Kevin Magnussen also overtook Hamilton on the first lap and you could tell something wasn’t quite right for Lewis. His engineer ordered him to retire from the race, then immediately told him to stay out giving all us Hamilton fans a mild panic, then all of a sudden he came into the pits and parked up. I was gutted! Seems a misfiring cylinder was to blame… Damn it!

It was as though only one driver of each team was going to finish the first race with Kobayashi (Caterham), Massa (Williams), and Hamilton (Mercedes) out of the race already, and on lap 6 Vettel’s luck ran out and he was forced to retire due to engine failure, leaving his new team mate Ricciardo battling for P2.

Bottas was on a real flyer but clipped the wall on lap 10 and lost his rear tyre in the process, which was a shame as I think he could of been batting for a podium spot, but ended up having to limp back to the pits for an extra tyre change, and the debris on track caused the first appearance from the safety car this season. Jenson Button made a last minute decision to pit as he saw the safety car was out and managed to jump two positions to P6 with the call.

When the safety car came in and racing got back underway we lost more cars from the race with rookie Marcus Ericsson (who was doing well for Caterham) retiring due to oil pressure issues and Lotus ended a dreadful weekend with both Maldonado and Grosjean retiring with failed ERS.

With so many cars dropping like flies, which we all expected let’s be honest! We did also get some great racing and with the aborted start and safety car, fuel saving didn’t seem to be an issue for anyone and we got to see the cars actually racing for position instead of just settling. It was a day for the youngsters in F1 to shine and all the way down the grid we had battles with Magnussen chasing Riccardo for P2 to Daniil Kyvat in a Torro Rosso fighting with Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari for P10.

image

Rosberg coasted to victory with a 26 second lead, but even though impressive, it was the order behind him that everyone was looking at! The whole race was exciting from start to finish and although I prefer wheel to wheel action or at the very least a good racing incident like a botched overtake or unpredictable weather to cause a stir, the reliability issues certainly helped mix it up a bit with only 14 cars completing the race!

On top of all that, 5 hours after the race had finished the result was about to change! The FIA disqualified Ricciardo from the race for exceeding the maximum permitted fuel flow rate of 100kg per hour. Which meant Magnussen was moved up to 2nd place (an amazing achievement for his first F1 race!) and Button moved from 4th to 3rd (shame he didn’t get to stand on the podium!).

Here’s a look at the results for the race:

image

Fuel Flow Fury…

As soon as Ricciardo was disqualified from the race, Red Bull made it clear they would appeal the decision by the FIA and on Thursday it was made official and their appeal hearing will take place on April 14th in Paris.

image

Red Bull are adamant they haven’t broken any rules and although on the surface it seems a clear cut case of cheating, in reality have Red Bull just found a sneaky loophole in the regulations?

Here is the full outcome from the FIA, which clearly states the team were warned they had exceeded the fuel flow limit and they chose to ignore that warning, going with the argument that they believe the FIA fuel flow meter provided was faulty so used their own findings.

 

Sooo…. A lengthy outcome from the stewards as they clearly knew Red Bull would appeal! I was watching the F1 Show on Sky Sports F1 and they made a very interesting point, did Red Bull break the rules or just ignore a ‘technical directive’ from Charlie Whiting, which technically isn’t a rule!?! Ted Kravitz mentioned the fact the rules do not mention a regulated fuel flow meter or the fact teams must adhere to mid race corrections, but is that just clutching at straws?

It’s definitely something that needs to be resolved ASAP but with the appeal not being heard until after 2 more races (Malaysia & Bahrain) what will the team decide to do, stick to their guns and use their own fuel flow meter and risk being disqualified from more races, or DO THE RIGHT THING and just obey by the FIA’s readings like all the other teams have done and potentially lose some speed on track (LIKE OTHER TEAMS HAVE DONE!) let’s see what happens but it’ll be chaos in the pit-lane if Red Bull get away with this latest interpretation of the rules.

The New Sound of 2014…

We finally got a good listen to the new sound of F1 although we did have to turn our TVs up to hear it! I admit, I’m not hating the sound but I’m not loving it either. Don’t get me wrong, F1 isn’t ALL about the sound of the cars but it does help with the atmosphere and excitement. It’s all just a little underwhelming. The weirdest thing for me is the sound being so quiet you could hear the tyres screeching when they locked up (which happened a lot) and also hearing the sound of the crowd was bizarre! (Although hilarious when Vettel retired and the Aussie crowd went wild).

There’s a real mixed bag of opinion although Bernie Ecclestone has been very vocal and said he was “horrified” at the lack of sound and said he wants an investigation ASAP to make them sound better! We’ll see Bernie, with weight restrictions could you imagine teams wanting to add speakers to the cars? Haha!

Here’s what some of my Twitter followers think of the new sound…

image

Next Up – Malaysia…

It’s been rubbish this weekend with no race to look forward to but Malaysia is coming up next week and I can’t wait! How many cars will make it across the line this time out? I’m sure plenty of teams will bring upgrades to Sepang but will they make a difference? Mercedes are certainly looking like the best power unit out there so I predict not only Hamilton and Rosberg fighting for the win but don’t count out the likes of Massa and Bottas too!

Here’s a look at the track…

image

And Finally…

I love Twitter for finding out news first hand from people, and this week Lewis Hamilton cleared up the rumours circulating that he had proposed to off/on again girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger. The rumours started flying when he posted a pic of him and Nicole on Instagram and referred to her as his ‘wifey’*…

image

*FYI ‘wifey’ is not a literal word for wife you plonkers! It’s slang for ‘my other half’ ‘my girlfriend’… Get down with the kids yo! Lol 😉

 

Look forward to tweeting with you all during the race weekend! Follow me on Twitter @PickletF1 and please leave any feedback on here or tweet me your thoughts!

2014 New Year, New Engines, New Rules…


image

F1 Returns…

So the 2014 season is nearly underway! Testing is over and we have only got a couple of weeks before the first race in Melbourne! Are you all as excited as me?! I can’t WAIT to have F1 back on my tv!

There’s so many changes this year from driver line-ups to new engines, don’t know about you but I’ve struggled to keep up at times and there’s LOTS to take in!


Pre-Season Testing…

I have to be honest, I’m not an avid follower of pre-season testing usually. In my eyes (as a non-techy F1 fan) I find you can never really tell much from them and teams test out so many bits and bobs the car usually looks different or is made up a bit better by the first race weekend anyway. However, with all the new changes this year it has certainly given us a sneak peak at some of the issues the teams could find themselves facing.

Unlike last year when ‘TYRES’ seemed to become a swear word in F1 with all the issues, I predict ‘RELIABILITY’ will be this year’s nominated word! Even Red Bull’s Team Principal, Christian Horner has said he wouldn’t be surprised if half the field retired from the first race in Australia.

I admit I did have a little chuckle to myself when I heard how much Red Bull have struggled over all of the tests, with rumours circulating Finger Boy, aka Sebastian Vettel, even having a hissy fit at the state of play (which I can fully believe!).

image

In Jerez, Red Bull only managed to complete 21 laps in the four days there and it seems other Renault powered teams (Toro Rosso and Caterham) had similar issues with their new power units too with all 3 Renault powered engines clocking up a total of only 151 laps. (Lotus F1 team skipped the test in Jerez).

However, Mercedes and Ferrari powered teams had a better first test getting in plenty of laps and with Ferrari’s three teams getting a total of 444 laps in with Mercedes having the most reliable four days with their four teams getting a much better 875 laps done.

Kevin Magnussen, driving for Mclaren, raised a few eyebrows too by setting the fastest lap of the week and he certainly seems confident and focused on his first F1 season.

In Bahrain, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and also Felipe Massa for Williams, all set quickest times over the final testing days. Red Bull got more laps in than their disastrous efforts in Jerez but got caught out by new problems and Lotus seemed to struggle early on but on the final day of testing, they ironed out some issues and put in 59 laps.

Sauber had a positive start in Bahrain with Esteban Gutierrez racking up 151 laps but then the team found a chassis problem and Marussia had the worst luck with only 30 laps completed across four days as they were hit with numerous issues from IT problems to fuel system difficulties.


Turbos & A Dodgy Nose…

Have we all heard the new sound of an F1 engine? Do you like it?

With only a limited amount of TV coverage for pre-season testing we haven’t really got a chance to hear the sound of this new V6 turbo engine. From the bits I have heard, it’s very different, a lot quieter and reminds me of the sound of a plane’s jet engine especially when the car is shutting down!

With this new engine, or ‘power unit’ as we have to call it, there’s a few more abbreviations we have to get used to hearing. We all know what KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) is but now we have ERS (Energy Recovery System), MGU-K (Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic) and MGU-H (Motor Generated Unit – Heat) to remember and learn about! (You still with me, nope, I’m lost too!)

The most obvious change to the cars this year is the look of them. With rule changes to the front wing and fitting in all the new parts for the engines etc teams all took to slightly different styles of ‘noses’ to fit in with regulations. From prongs to penises we’ve had a range of descriptions for them so far!
Here’s a look at some of the team’s choices…

image


Who’s Where in 2014?

So! There’s lots of changes to the line up of the teams this year, here’s a look at where everyone is for 2014…

Red Bull
Power Unit: Renault
Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (1) Daniel Ricciardo (3)

Mercedes
Power Unit: Mercedes
Drivers: Nico Rosberg (6) Lewis Hamilton (44)

Ferrari
Power Unit: Ferrari
Drivers: Fernando Alonso (14) Kimi Raikkonen (7)

Lotus
Power Unit: Renault
Drivers: Pastor Maldonado (13) Romain Grosjean (8)

Mclaren
Power Unit: Mercedes
Drivers: Jenson Button (22) Kevin Magnussen (20)

Williams
Power Unit: Mercedes
Drivers: Felipe Massa (19) Valtteri Bottas (77)

Force India
Power Unit: Mercedes
Drivers: Sergio Perez (11) Nico Hulkenburg (27)

Torro Rosso
Power Unit: Renault
Drivers: Jean-Eric Vergne (25) Daniil Kvyat (26)

Sauber
Power Unit: Ferrari
Drivers: Adrian Sutil (99) Esteban Gutierrez (21)

Caterham
Power Unit: Renault
Drivers: Marcus Ericsson (9) Kamui Kobayashi (10)

Marussia
Power Unit: Ferrari
Drivers: Max Chilton (4) Jules Bianchi (17)


In Our Thoughts…

Over the past couple of months there has been some very sad news in the world of F1.

imageMichael Schumacher was seriously injured in a skiing accident on 29th December and is still currently in a medically induced coma. There’s been little progress or updates on his condition and although personally I was never a fan of his during his time in F1, I can’t help but feel awful for him and his family and he’s certainly in my thoughts and I hope he makes a full recovery.

image

Also, Jenson Button’s father John Button passed away on 12th January, he was 70 years old. He was well known and loved around the F1 paddock and beyond and it was very sad to hear we had lost ‘Papa Smurf’ as he was so sweetly known to all.

imageAt the end of January, two Mclaren employees died in a car crash just outside Mclaren’s Headquarters in Woking, Surrey. Ollie Bourton and Darren Hayes were just 22 and 19 years old. My thoughts are with their family and friends.

imageAnd, although nothing to do with F1, I also wanted to express my sadness over the death of Paul Walker who was not only a film star but also a racing car driver. I fell in love with him in the Fast & Furious films and was so upset when I heard he had died as a passenger in a car crash in January, it’s sadly ironic. I’m glad the makers of the latest Fast & Furious film decided to go ahead and finish the project (which was in production when Paul died), it’s not out until 2015 but the poster for it certainly seems to show a respectful way to say goodbye to Paul’s character, what do you think?

image

And Finally…

Although there has been some sad news over the winter, on a happier note Jenson FINALLY proposed to long (suffering) term girlfriend Jessica Michibata last week. About time Jenson!!! 😉 congratulations to them both!
image
Finally, it’s usually Lotus F1 that make me giggle with their light hearted tweets and now they’ve made this viral ad…

BUT Mercedes have also done a good job with their own viral ad featuring a confused Nico & Lewis! Lol 😉

Look forward to tweeting with you all during the race weekend!
Follow me: @PickletF1 and let me know your thoughts! 😉

Suzuka, Farewell Friends & More…

Suzuka Roundup

Image

It wasn’t a bad race in Suzuka, a track that so many of the drivers love to race around and where the fans are so passionate about the sport. I think it helped that we didn’t have Sebastian Vettel starting in 1st place and driving off into the distance (even though he eventually won the race!), instead Romain Grosjean got a fantastic start and flew into 1st, ahead of Mark Webber who started on pole. Lewis Hamilton attempted a move on Vettel early but suffered a puncture on the first lap from the overtake attempt and by Lap 9 had to retire due to damage caused by the puncture. Mercedes’ race didn’t get any better when Nico Rosberg was hit with a drive through penalty for an unsafe release in the pits which nearly caused him to crash into Sergio Perez, who along with his team mate Jenson Button, suffered separate pit stop wows when both cars suffered wheel nut issues.
It was all about strategy for a podium spot and yet again we found ourselves looking further down the grid for some good old fashioned wheel to wheel racing. Esteban Gutierrez had a great little race and seemed to come alive at this track, after so much talk surrounding his Sauber team mate Nico Hulkenberg recently, Esteban decided it was time to show what he could really do, and even managed to gain his first Championship points finishing 7th.
Image
Grosjean managed to drive a very mature and focused race, leading for most of it and didn’t allow the two Red Bulls behind to pressure him into a mistake. I think it was all down to pit stops and strategy that allowed the victory to be snatched from Grosjean. By Lap 30, Vettel had the lead after Grosjean pitted early and pushed him back to 3rd, where he eventually finished. Red Bull are great strategists and know exactly how to get Vettel the win without him having to do much actual racing, (even if it means denying their other driver at least one win in his last year in F1!).
Even with Vettel taking the win yet again, it was a fairly decent race and seemed most of my Twitter followers agreed…
Image
Here’s the results of the race:
Image
Farewell Friends…
We sadly lost two people in Motorsport this week in tragic circumstances.
On Friday Spanish racing driver Maria De Villota was found dead in a hotel room in Seville, Spain. She had survived a very tough year after losing her right eye in a crash in July 2012 and it has been confirmed she died as a consequence of those injuries she suffered during the crash where she was an F1 reserve driver, testing for Marussia.
Then on Tuesday, British racing driver Sean Edwards was tragically killed when he was a passenger in a Porsche which hit the barriers during a private test session at the Queensway Raceway in Australia. Edwards is currently leading the Porsche Supercup Championship, a series which supports F1 races and he is the son of former F1 driver Guy Edwards, who pulled Niki Lauda out of his burning Ferrari after a crash at the Nurburgring in 1976, and Edwards recently played the role of his father in Ron Howard’s movie Rush.
Such sad news and my thoughts and prayers go out to Sean and Maria’s family and friends.
Image
It’s India Up Next…
So after two weeks in a row waking up at stupid o’clock, we now have to wait until the end of the month for the next race. This will be the 3rd race at this track and seems after winning the past two races here, Vettel will probably wrap up the the Championship title this time round too.
Image
And Finally…
Did anyone else see this picture of Mark Webber this week? Absolutely perfect snap in my eyes and just about sums up how I expect him to feel about Red Bull!
Image
That’s all from me this week, tweet me your thoughts – @PickletF1 😉

Crazy Korea and More…

 

 
Image
 
Crazy Korea….
 
We were warned earlier in the week that a typhoon threatened to hit Yeongam this weekend and could of seen the race cancelled! Although there wasn’t even a drop of rain, we were certainly provided with some entertainment in Korea, but not really for the racing.

 

When I sat watching the race after waking up at an unholy hour of 5am (what us F1 fans do for the love of the sport!) I felt myself getting bored pretty early on, the race seemed to be drifting into the usual predictable procession with Sebastian Vettel out in front, that we’ve seen so much of lately. However, after Romain Grosjean overtook Lewis Hamilton early on for P2 he wasn’t letting Vettel drive off with the win easily, he tried his best to keep up with him and although Grosjean finished 3rd (behind his team mate Kimi Raikkonen in 2nd), I think he had a brilliant race and is starting to really prove himself as a competitive F1 racing driver.

 

Image
 
On Lap 26, Paul Di Resta ended his race in the barriers after only just pitting for fresh tyres a lap earlier. He isn’t doing himself any favours in showing he’s ready for a decent drive next year with today being his 5th race in a row where he’s clocked up a DNF. Di Resta’s odd crash seemed to kick start a series of bizarre incidents! Nico Rosberg’s front wing suddenly failed and he created his own fireworks display with sparks flying off the car forcing Nico to pit and causing delay in Lewis Hamilton’s pit stop with Lewis showing his frustration over team radio asking his engineer “When are you bringing me in man? My tyres are fucked!”...

 

Then on Lap 31, Sergio Perez had a nasty shock when, after suffering a big lock up coming out of Turn 1, caused a big flat spot on his front right tyre it suffered a huge blow out. It originally looked similar to what happened at Silverstone earlier this year, and as the whole tread ripped off it caused a large amount of debris on track and the safety car was deployed. 
 
As the race restarted Adrian Sutil made a stupid mistake and spun out taking poor old Mark Webber with him, which then caused Webber’s car to catch fire. Mark didn’t seem that fussed as he stood watching his Red Bull car go up in flames whilst the bumbling Korean marshals seemed to take forever to get into action and put the fire out!
 
Image
 
Then the most bizarre thing of the race happened, all of a sudden we saw a Jeep on track (which was apparently the Fire Car) coming out in front of Vettel leading, and the other F1 cars behind, who are still racing at this point, and the safety car appears at the back of the pack! It was just a total mess and was like watching something out of Wacky Races!
 
 
Image
 
Race Control insist they didn’t give permission for the Jeep to go on track and someone certainly got a telling off from Charlie Whiting for that stupid and potentially dangerous decision! 

 

My followers on Twitter didn’t seem too impressed with the officials efforts either…
Image

 

Once finally in position, the 2nd safety car backed the cars up nicely and once the race got going again we seemed to finally get some great racing action down the grid. There was some good battles between the middle pack including for 10th place at the time, between Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutierrez, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa (who had been at the back after suffering a spin at the start of the race).

 

Nico Hulkenberg had to be one of my Drivers of the Day. He managed to hold his own on track and after a great qualifying session saw Nico through to Q3 he started the race from P8. He had some great battles with former World Champions Fernando Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen throughout, ending up in an impressive 4th place for the struggling Sauber team. He’s certainly raising some eyebrows and showing why he deserves a drive in a top team next year.
 
Image

 

Yeongam hasn’t impressed as an F1 destination since it’s debut. Although the design of the track is quite good and most drivers enjoy racing round it, fans don’t to want to go there and so many grandstands were empty on Saturday. There were rumours that free tickets were handed out to locals to fill the grandstands (and even then they still looked pretty empty!), and the isolated location of the track doesn’t help. I really don’t think we’ll be back to Korea again and, although I think the more races the better next year, I hope Bernie thinks twice about keeping it on the calendar for 2014 because it really lacks the atmosphere that F1 fans bring to a race weekend.

 

Here are the results for the race…

 

 Image

 

Drivers Dieting for 2014?

As we now approach the final part of the season, we look further into the big changes coming into play from next year. This week there has been a lot of discussion about the weight of drivers and how this will work with the changes to the weight of the cars with the new 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines for 2014.

 

The minimum weight for both car and driver at the moment is set at 642kg, however next year the FIA are increasing this to 690kg to allow for the changes to the engines, it seems the new engines are a lot heavier than teams anticipated and this means drivers height and weight becomes even more crucial and could see some drivers struggling next year for a seat as Jenson Button explained “You could have a very talented driver who could be missed for his height and weight, if he is over the weight by five kilos that is 0.2 seconds a lap and it is the end of your career.” 
 
Jenson, who is currently about 70kg (11st) (and in my eyes rather bloody skinny, although has a perfectly toned body!) was also quoted as saying “In the past three years, I have probably had four races where I have lost half-a-tenth or a tenth of a second because I have been overweight, it sounds small but in qualifying that could be a position or two and in the race it could be five or six seconds. It is a big deal and something that goes unnoticed.”

 

Image
 
Lewis Hamilton has been working really hard on his physique this year, even training every day in the summer break, and has gained weight in muscle going from about 68kg to 71kg this year. It would be a shame after all that hard work to improve fitness in his sport, to then have to try and cut weight for next year just as to not loose too much speed in the car!

 

It’s bad enough we’re talking about teams having to ignore talent and experience in F1 and take on inexperienced paid drivers next year to cope with the financial strains of the 2014 changes but if we lose talented current F1 drivers because of their weight or height, it could be a slow puncture in the future success of F1.  Surely something has to be done soon and I hope teams and drivers fight for their voice and concerns to be heard by the FIA to avoid such things unfolding. 

 

 
And Finally…

Silly season still rumbles on and this week we had confirmation that Sauber were in talks with Rubens Barrichello to make a return to F1 with them for next year. Although the rumours seem to have died down a bit Rubens himself tweeted this during qualifying on Saturday, and I for one would love to see the nicest guy in F1 return to the sport!

Image 

 

That’s all from me this week! Fancy leaving some feedback? You can post your comments on here or I can be found on Twitter @PickletF1 if you enjoy a bit of banter about F1 and more! Another race this coming weekend in Japan, looking forward to it! 😉

 

 

 

Singapore, Vettel The Villain & More…

 

 
Image
 
Race Round Up….

 

 When Sebastian Vettel took P1 in qualifying I think we all let out a groan that yet again it would be a predictable race in Singapore, and we weren’t far off! 

 

 Fernando Alonso had another incredible race start going from P7 to P3 by the first corner. He is an absolute master at it! For a split second we had a glimmer of action for P1 when Nico Rosberg took the lead from P2 but immediately went wide and gave the place back to Vettel, almost panicking that he took P1 at all and lost his concentration, so the one man race began and we didn’t see much of Vettel after that with the usual perfect scenario race for him we keep seeing so often, he drives off into the distance with no issues and perfect pit stops, and we all look to who is battling for 2nd place and beyond.

 

 Image

 

It wasn’t until Lap 25 (at which point we were all labelling the race as another borefest) when Daniel Ricciardo lost control and crashed at Turn 18 causing the safety car to be deployed. Allowing the cars to squeeze back together and give us fans some hope that we could still have a race on our hands.

 

To be fair, we had some racing action down the field including a scrappy battle between a slightly desperate Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenburg at one point, and as the race started to draw to a close in the last 10 laps finally the drivers woke up and started to fight for position and championship points.

 

Nico Rosberg really annoyed me when he received a team radio message telling him to push, to which he replied “Why do I need to push? I don’t want to push more than I have to round here,” Ummmm…. Excuse me Nico but you’re a RACING driver. You get paid to RACE!!! He then insisted on keeping Lewis Hamilton behind him for the rest of the race and, after throwing his toys out of his pram, he then started overtaking here, there, and everywhere (with Lewis hot on his heels the whole time) to go from P13 ending in P4! Maybe he was just hot and bothered but seriously Nico, shut up and get on with it in future!

 

Lewis and Jenson Button did a good job in the race, Lewis finished where he started in P5 even after complaining about his tyres a bit, and playing follower the leader with Nico towards the end of the race, and Jenson (who held Kimi at bay for P3 for a while before his tyres started giving way and causing him to become a sitting duck in the closing laps) ended up in P7.

 

Mark Webber yet again got stuck with the car issue for Red Bull and was P4 with two laps to go, but ended up stopping on the last lap with his gearbox on fire! FOM didn’t even seem to care about poor Mark as they cut from him, to Vettel crossing the line and the fireworks display starting, while Mark then hitched a lift back to the pits thanks to Alonso, a moment that a lot of fans enjoyed seeing (but against the rules), and both drivers received reprimands for it which now means with 3 reprimands this season, Webber now faces an automatic 10 place grid penalty in Korea. Shame really, bit of a stupid rule I think! 

 

 Image

 

It seriously frustrates me it always seems to be Webber’s car with the issues, in his own words, “KERS, gearbox, you name it,” Webber has had an issue with it this season! If only he had some of Vettel’s luck (or Horner/Helmut’s support) 😉

 

For me the driver of the day was Kimi Raikkonen. After suffering with back pains all weekend, and only managing to qualify 13th, nothing was going to stop him charging for a podium position, he is such a mature and consistent driver. Kimi just puts his head down and gets on with it, and even the Ice Man himself seemed happy with his own performance and managed a smile or two on the podium after finishing 3rd. He’s setting himself up for an interesting battle at Ferrari next year alongside Alonso who finished 2nd.

 

 Here’s a look at the result for the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix:

 

Image 

 

 

 

 Vettel the Villain – To Boo or Not To Boo….

 

Again, as Vettel collected his trophy and was named winner of the race, he received more booing from the crowd below. It’s now becoming a given that when Vettel wins, he gets booed. Christian Horner seems to be finding every excuse under the sun for it, saying Vettel was booed at Silverstone because of British fans wanting British drivers to win, and in Monza it was because the Italian fans wanted Ferrari to win. Well, there isn’t a team or driver representing Singapore, so sorry Christian, but stop being so bloody naive.

 

Vettel gets booed because he has portrayed himself as the panto villain, and as such, is getting treated as one. Some people are saying he’s getting booed for the incident in Malaysia, or that it’s because he wins races all the time but I think it’s more than that.

 

 Image

 

Comparisons keep getting made between Vettel and other dominating sportsmen like Usain Bolt who constantly finish ahead of their competition. The main difference being that Bolt is a LIKEABLE character that everyone LIKES, Vettel seem to have a cocky, smug attitude and his immature nature off track and during interviews doesn’t help his cause. He just doesn’t seem like a nice guy to hang out with, a fair team mate, or a true racing driver who, in my opinion, doesn’t deserve the 3 World Championship titles he owns (as I’ve said previously on my blog).

 

I admit, when I was at Silverstone this year I booed him when he came on stage after the race. As did the majority of the crowd, and I would boo him again because I don’t like him and I don’t see how starting from P1, and driving the fastest car around a track in clean air deems you the best racing driver. 
 
As you can see below, a mixed opinion on my timeline about the booing in Singapore, but I agree that if I’m spending the sort of money it costs to attend an F1 race, I will cheer and boo who the hell I like, if you don’t like it, tough! We are all entitled to show our passion for the sport and I respect everyone’s views (even if I don’t agree with all of them!).

 

 Image
 
 
The Other Brits….
 
I’m a Lewis & Jenson supporter and always concentrate on their progress over a race weekend but thought I’d take a look at what’s going on with the 2 other Brits in F1, Marussia’s Max Chilton and Force India’s Paul Di Resta. Seems both of them are having a pretty hard time this season.
 
Max had his best finish this weekend in Singapore finishing 17th (3rd from last) when he’s only ever managed 2nd to last at best all season. Yes, he’s in a crap car, let’s not beat about the bush, but looking at his racing past he’s never really set the world on fire and only ever won twice in the GP2 series which he was in for 3 years. Just think he’s been swallowed up playing with the big boys in F1 and is one of those drivers that’ll be forgotten about pretty quickly.
 
Image
 
Di Resta’s season started off quite well. Force India have been more competitive this year and had a car that worked well with the Pirelli’s tyres. Paul started the season with consistent, point scoring finishes in the top 10 (except for his wheel nut issue in Malaysia) but when the urgent tyre changes came into effect after the tyre safety issues at Silverstone, that’s when it started to go down hill for Paul with no points in the bag since and he’s crashed out of the last three races, making some silly judgements. Di Resta could do with a change of luck because, although I don’t see him winning races, he is a consistent driver and is still a young lad, I don’t think he has much of a personality and previously I’ve accused him of having no passion for winning but this season he seems to have a bit of fire in him and although as I understand it, he has a contract with Force India for next year, I wonder what he could do in a better team in the future.
 
Image
 
 
 
And Finally…
 
Lewis has a new female in his life, a gorgeous little puppy called Coco! He tweeted a pic of the latest edition to the Hamilton household a few days ago, isn’t she cute!!!?
 
Image


That’s all from me for this week! Follow me on Twitter – @PickletF1 for light hearted F1 chat and more! Let me know what you think of my blog! 🙂

 

Feeling The Rush but No Doping!

Feeling The Rush….

 Image

 

We’ve all seen the adverts, the many features and interviews on TV leading up to the release of Rush and I just couldn’t wait to see it, so got my tickets booked for one of the first showings and wow!!!! It didn’t disappoint!!!!
 
Ron Howard has done a fantastic job of bringing the excitement of F1 to the big screen. As soon as the film started it had me hooked, Chris Hemsworth played James Hunt brilliantly and had me melting in my seat with his charm and wit (yes, and he’s VERY easy on the eye!). Daniel Brühl did a great job as Niki Lauda too. I found myself going “aww” at scenes with Niki and his wife, showing a softer side to someone who seems so emotionless and disciplined most of the time! 

 

The hospital scenes showing Lauda’s recovery after his horrendous crash were the most emotional to watch, it must of taken an incredible amount of strength to go through what Niki did and I’m sure it was tough for the real Niki to re-live when he saw the film. The ending sums up the story of the rivalry between the two incredible drivers perfectly and had me sitting there wanting it to start all over again.

 

It’s definitely a film for all. While ‘Senna’ was a fantastic documentary it’s more for the F1 fan, whereas Rush brings a perfect blend of F1 action and off track drama. I highly recommend it to everyone and seems most who have seen it already agree it’s a great film!

 

 Image
Image

 

 

 

 Massa Out, Kimi In…
 
So, finally the worst kept secret so far this year has finally been confirmed! Felipe Massa is out and Kimi Raikkonen is in! The rumour seemed to rumble on for forever but Massa was the first to confirm movement at Ferrari next year when he posted on his Instagram page that he wouldn’t be driving for Ferrari next year. I respect Ferrari that they allowed Massa to bow out with dignity and in his own words before they announced next years line-up.
 
Image
 
So it’s Kimi vs Alonso next year. Sky Sports F1 gave us a glance at how they compare…
 
Image
 
I can’t imagine Kimi conforming to “Kimi, Alonso is faster than you” type commands but Ferrari have said that they will have equal status, believe of that what you will, but Ferrari have always been very clear with their team strategy to concentrate on Driver No1 and I am looking forward to the battle to determine who will obtain that advantage next year.
 
I really want Kimi to give Alonso a hard time next season (which I’m sure he will) and I think IF Ferrari have finally realised that towing and team orders aren’t everything, then they could actually have both drivers in the Drivers Championship fight next year.
 
Now the rumour mill has Massa moving to Kimi’s soon to be ex-team Lotus next year, tis the fun of Silly Season! We all love a driver change up and there’s still plenty of contracts coming to an end this year and seats to fill in 2014, I’m sure there’ll be more announcements coming very soon!
 
 
Doping In F1….
 
This week both Valterri Bottas and Max Chilton tweeted they’d both been woken up early for a doping test for the first time in their racing career.
ImageImage
 
I kind of forget that such things happen in a sport like F1 but after the latest controversies in sport with cyclist, Lance Armstrong and more recently Olympic athletes like Asafa Powell being banned for doping I thought I’d take a look at how the FIA tackle the issue.
 
I found that the FIA actually offer a 30 minute E-Learning course ‘Race True’ for drivers which I thought was interesting. Helping drivers learn the key points on anti-doping and making them aware of the risks.
 
Image
 
In the film Rush, there’s a scene where James Hunt is passed a spliff and a glass of champagne just before he gets into his race car, although a scene in a film, I’m sure similar things did used to happen and the most recent F1 related doping story I could find was when Tomas Enge was disqualified from a Formula 3000 race in Hungary (which he won) where he tested positive for cannabis, he had previously driven as an F1 driver in 2001.
 
If you wanted to read more about doping regulations, here’s where I found the info, quite interesting how many substances are banned! – http://www.fia.com/sports/anti-doping
 
 
Singapore Sling No More….
 
I do enjoy this street circuit set under the beautiful night sky and sparkly lights of Singapore but a little disappointed that apparently the chicane at Turn 10 as we all lovingly know as the ‘Singapore Sling’, has been removed this year and replaced with a single-apex left hand bend. (Although the FIA track picture below still shows it), it was a tough chicane and never failed to cause chaos and yes, it will make the lap time quicker but it’ll loose some of the excitement that annoying little chicane brought during races!
 
Image
 
Sebastian Vettel has won this race for the past two years. I really hope we have another face on the top podium next Sunday. We’re all a little over the ‘finger boy’ dominating (as he’s known on my timeline anyway). He’s running away with the WDC title again but I want to see the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Kimi & Alonso really put him under pressure and show him what REAL racing is.
 
Image
 
 
And Finally…
 
Did everyone see Lotus F1’s tweet about Kimi leaving? So random and totally out of the blue but made me laugh and thought I’d share it with you! They’re certainly worth a follow!
 
 Image
 
 
 
 Tweet me, @PicketF1 for feedback and follow me for F1 chat and general ramblings on! 😉

 

Mundane Monza & More…

 

Mundane Monza…

 

Image
 
Normally known as Magical Monza we were let down yet again by a classic European F1 track this weekend. Another race with Sebastian Vettel flying off into the distance in P1 and having a Sunday afternoon drive whilst we didn’t really see much action from anyone down the grid until about lap 50 when Lewis Hamilton made some good and fast overtakes to go from P14 ending up in P9 just ahead of Jenson Button in P10. My Twitter timeline was full of the same opinion of a total borefest of a race.
 
Image 

 

Is this another Vettel washout? 7 races left of the season and a 53 point lead we’d all like to hope that the battles not over and I’m sure Fernando Alonso and others will be fighting until the end but yet again Vettel seems to be edging further away from his competition.

 

 Image 

 

 
 
As we all pretty much guessed, Daniel Ricciardo was confirmed as moving to Red Bull next season. I’m pleased for him as it’s the career progression he’s been aiming for as part of Red Bull’s young drivers programme. However, the fact Red Bull have said he will get equal status I think is a bit of a joke. We all know Helmut Marko’s support for Vettel and whilst he pulls the reigns of Red Bull, Vettel will always be driver No1.  Let’s see how Daniel does, he’s certainly been giving it his all this season so far with Torro Rosso and I wish him luck.
 
Image
 
Now that Mark Webber’s old seat has been taken the rumour mill turns back to Kimi Raikkonen’s plans for next year. His manager says he ultimately wants to stay at Lotus but we all know Kimi loves money and the way things have been going with rumoured delays in paying wages, have Lotus got the funds to keep him? More rumours this weekend of a move to Ferrari and even an apparent announcement of Kimi joining Ferrari next year by Wednesday, lets wait and see! 

 
On Saturday, Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, said costs for teams next year will practically double with all the changes coming into play and switching to V6 engines so with teams like Lotus and Sauber already struggling financially how will they cope next year?
 
Sauber have decided to inject money with a paid driver, Sergei Sirotkin from Russia. Thanks to his daddy’s money (and other Russian investors), the 18 year old has been confirmed to be racing for them next year on the basis he receives his superlicense in time (he needs to complete 300km at the wheel of an F1 car in two days to gain the necessary licence to race in F1). 
 
Image
 
I can see a lot of teams going down that route as the only way to afford to stay in F1 but I worry that paid drivers lack the experience and talent to compete in F1 and can see a lot more incidents on track in the pipeline with inexperienced drivers if teams decide it’s the only way forward. Is that what we really want to see?
 
2014 Shaping Up…
 
A draft of the 2014 Race Calendar was released this week, although Bernie Ecclestone seems confused and says the FIA haven’t released anything yet. There are 21 races on the calendar (again Bernie disagreed with this saying he has 22 at the moment and teams have signed a contract for only 20!)
 
As a fan of F1 I say the more races the better! I’m glad to see the season kicks off in Australia as previous talks of Bahrain hosting the first race of the season didn’t seem the right choice to most but rumours this weekend suggest Bahrain will be a night race later in the season which sounds interesting. Mexico has popped up, I hadn’t really heard about F1 racing there again but we all knew about Austria and Russia confirming races from next year.
 
Image
 
 
The Next F1 Film….
 
I’m sure you’ve all seen the adverts for the new Ron Howard film ‘Rush’ about James Hunt and Niki Lauda’s fight for the World Championship in 1976. As I’ve said previously I’m quite a newbie to F1 and I’m still learning about the history of the sport and didn’t appreciated the incredible events that have happened over the years. I have to say the Sky F1 channel has really helped me learn more with their documentaries and re-runs of classic races. The story of these two incredible race drivers is something out of the movies and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the film so far and can’t wait to see it!
 
 Image
 
 
Clever Tech….
 
This weekend we had a new camera view of the thermal imaging camera which was on Paul Di Resta’s car. Wow! I was so impressed and really hope we see them used more (especially as poor Di Resta crashed out on the first lap of the race so didn’t see much of it!). It was so interesting to see how much heat those tyres really get in them and how they cope round the track.
 
Image
 
 
And finally….
 
This weekend saw the return of Roscoe, Lewis Hamilton’s beloved pet dog to the F1 circus. He had been suffering with pneumonia last month but from the looks of this picture he seems to be back to full health (that’s the dog, not Lewis!).
 
Image
 

Hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on, I’m grateful for any feedback & love to chat about F1 & more on Twitter, follow me @PickletF1 😉

 
 

 

First F1 blog…

Well, here I am, my first ever blog! I’ve been filling people’s timelines on Twitter since 2009 with my (very) honest & tongue-in-cheek tweets about F1 so thought it time I made a blog so I can waffle on to my hearts content without a 140 character limit! 😉

 I’ll start by making it clear I am in NO way saying I’m an expert in F1! In fact I’m quite the newbie. I only got into F1 in 2007/8, I can’t remember who won, where the race was or why I even flicked onto the channel it was on but I was hooked straight away and if I’m being honest it was all down to Lewis Hamilton, he got me excited about the sport, the way he races around the track just amazed me & I wanted to see more of it & I couldn’t wait to watch another race.

 I remember being a child & staying with my cousin who was a massive F1 fan, I remember her always watching the races live if she could (before the days of Sky+!) & although I didn’t pay much attention as I only had interests that involved ballet shoes or Care Bears at that age I do remember her hatred for the Schumacher brothers. I remember one time, pretty sure it was a Monaco race, one of them crashed out of the race & my cousin was cheering so loudly & I thought, ‘how awful!’ someone’s just crashed & she’s happy?! – oh, how times have changed! (The reaction I now have if Vettel suffers a similar fate).

Anyway, back to my point. My blog is purely my point of view, an F1 fans view, please take what I say with a pinch of salt & let me know what you think!

So, as its my first blog, I thought I’d just give my opinion on the top teams so far this season….

 

Red Bull

Image

As you’ll get to know, I HATE Sebastian Vettel. I think he’s completely overestimated & I guarantee he would not of won 3 World Championships had he been in any other car. Adrian Newey deserves those trophies. I’ll give him credit, his racing ability has improved slightly over the last year but he still struggles in any position except P1 & can’t handle the pressure when overtaking. He’s a poor mans Schumacher.

 Mark Webber is another one of my favourite happy chaps leaving F1. We all miss Ruebens Barrichello and I know it’ll be the same next year without Webber. I think he’s a good driver & unfortunately his talent has been suffocated by Red Bull’s support for Vettel. We all remember Multi 21 now!!! I think he doesn’t give two shits about team orders now & I hope he ends his season on a high with another win before he goes to Porsche.

 

Ferrari

Image

 Fernando Alonso is an incredible racing driver. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NO fan of Ferrari. I think the way they manage a team is wrong on so many levels. They have the FIA by the balls and don’t they love to twist the rules to suit. However, after the recent arse-licking for Vettel that we have seen so much of over the past 3 years I’ve really learnt to respect Alonso’s true racing style. Yes, he is a complete cock & spits his dummy out whenever it’s not going his way BUT his race starts for example are just perfect! We all know Ferrari have not delivered the car to win a title but Alonso sure is showing us he’s driving that car to the max. Not sure if he can win this year but he’ll be in the hunt til the end.

 Ever since Felipe Massa was injured in that freak accident during qualifying in Hungary 2009, he’s never been the same racing driver & seems to have lost his mojo. He came back and assumed the position of Alonso’s bitch and he ain’t turned back. He’s driving better this year but I think it’s too little too late & I don’t think he’ll have another year at Ferrari. 

 

 Mclaren

Image

Oh Jenson, Jenson, Jenson! What has happened to Jenson Button this year?! Mclaren are having a terrible season! I love Jenson & he’s such a smooth driver but showing no competitiveness this year. He seemed to be getting his mojo back at Spa but still nowhere near a podium position. I really feel for him and hope we have some more changeable/rainy conditions coming up because that is when I think Jenson really shines as a driver. Canada 2011 being one of my favourite races I’ve seen!!!

Sergio Perez was like that cartoon character Speedy Gonzalez last season, zipping in & out overtaking here there and everywhere (ok some not so successfully completed!) but now he’s playing with the big boys at Mclaren he seems to have become a timid little mouse! He’s had a few clashes with Jenson which have made us all a bit ‘bums on edge of seats’ but really that’s about it, he doesn’t seem to be hungry for it like Lewis was when he was given such an opportunity. I really feel like Mclaren are ‘missing’ Lewis, they seem really lost as a team & Whitmarsh looks constantly knackered. Hope they have a serious game changer for 2014, because this season is a total washout!

 

 Lotus

Image

Kimi Raikkonen – the Ice Man. Who doesn’t like Kimi? I mean, he’s just a cool guy isn’t he? His team radio messages never fail to make me laugh, my favourite being “Kimi, it’s Dave”… he’s a good racing driver who just turns up, shuts up and gets the job done. Surprised he hasn’t won more races but think that’s the car holding him back. All this gossip about what team he’s going to next season is crazy, I personally think going to Red Bull would be a huge mistake, whilst Vettel is there & Helmut whatshisface is in charge anyone else will be driver No2. He could surprise us all this year and win the Championship, it’ll be a good battle.

 Romain Grosjean has grown up this season. He’s got married & had a baby! Not only that but he’s relaxed a lot in his racing style. He was like the smiling assassin last year, he was a total mess. However, I think he learnt his lesson & I’ve gotta respect Lotus for giving him another chance. He’s no World Champion but he gives it a go.

 

 Mercedes

Image

 So, how right was Lewis?! I don’t think anyone including me, his most loyal of fans & Lewis Hamilton himself knew how well this season was actually gonna go. I don’t know if he knew something we didn’t at the time of making such a dramatic decision to leave Mclaren and taking a step back almost by going with Mercedes, with, lets face it a pretty shit effort for the past couple of years but Ross Brawn, Niki Lauda & the 50 other board members/directors have done something right this year. Lewis is an incredible, emotional & honest racer. He, in his own words, wears his heart on his sleeve. A lot has happened in his personal life this past year & it’s certainly made him grow as a person & look at himself for once & concentrate on No1. It’s a big ask for him to win the Championship this year but he’s certainly not giving up & it’s great to see his passion back again.

 Nico Rosberg hasn’t made it easy for Lewis this year. He seems alot more competitive with Lewis as his teammate than he was with Schumacher. He’s another consistent driver that doesn’t get into too much bother but hasn’t set the world on fire with wins just yet.

 

 I’m looking forward to the next race at Monza, one of those classic European tracks, we’ve had Lewis, Vettel, & Alonso win here in the past 3 visits so who will it be this time? I really hope Lewis keeps his focus & gets another win there because if Vettel sneaks another win it’s making that gap in the WDC points bigger and I don’t want him to walkway with the title for the 4th year! 

Image 

Well, I’ve waffled on enough for one day 😉 look forward to tweeting with you all during qualifying & race day!