Category Archives: Circuit de Monaco (Monaco)

Red Bull deemed illegal

The Red Bulls of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will have to undergo changes before the Canadian Grand Prix after an important aerodynamic device that had been on the car since Malaysia was deemed illegal by the FIA.

Red Bull had been running with holes in the step plane of the floor. While other teams have used a similar device, they have been using slots to the edge of the floor; Red Bull’s holes are fully enclosed, and therefore illegal.

In an FIA directive issued to the teams on Friday, Charlie Whiting (FIA technical chief) said:

“It has been argued that, as it is not explicitly stated that fully enclosed holes cannot be located in a surface lying on the step plane rearward of a line 450mm forward of the rear face of the cockpit template, then they may be located in such areas.

“We disagree with this view and consider it implicit that fully enclosed holes may not be located there.”

There had been rumours of a protest after Mark Webber won the Monaco Grand Prix, but the teams preferred a clear resolution in time for Canada on 8-10 June.

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.

Advertisements

2012 calendar finalised

The FIA have announced the finalised calendar for the 2012 Formula One season. The Turkish Grand Prix, overwhelmingly panned due to a lack of local support, has been dropped; Bahrain makes a return after political protests resulted in the cancellation of the 2011 season opener in Sakhir. The calendar will boast a record 20 races, with Formula One making a return to the United States at the new Circuit of the Americas.

Important points to note are the double-headers of: Australia/Malaysia, China/Bahrain, Germany/Hungary, Belgium/Italy, Japan/Korea, India/Abu Dhabi, and USA/Brazil. India and USA have been moved to cooler climes, having originally been scheduled for the summer highs, where temperatures would have exceeded 40C. We can also see that the traditional summer break has been extended to five weeks, which with seven races in the last ten weeks will be much needed by the teams. It may also be the case that there will be a mid-season test session during this period.

16-18 March – Australia (Melbourne)

23-25 March – Malaysia (Sepang)

13-15 April – China (Shanghai)

20-22 April – Bahrain (Sakhir)

11-13 May – Spain (Barcelona)

24-27 May – Monaco (Monte Carlo)

8-10 June – Canada (Montreal)

22-24 June – Europe (Valencia)

6-8 July – Britain (Silverstone)

20-22 July – Germany (Hockenheim)

27-29 July – Hungary (Hungaroring)

31 August-2 September – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)

7-9 September – Italy (Monza)

21-23 September – Singapore (Marina Bay)

5-7 October – Japan (Suzuka)

12-14 October – Korea (Yeongam)

26-28 October – India (New Delhi)

2-4 November – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)

16-18 November – United States (Austin)

23-25 November – Brazil (Interlagos)

Testing details have yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that there will be three pre-season tests, one mid-season test, and the post-season young driver test.

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here) or like us on Facebook (click here). Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.

Europe: McLaren Preview

Lewis Hamilton

“For me, Valencia will be a weekend of consolidation after two disappointing results in Monaco and Canada. Those two races were particularly frustrating for me because we showed we had the pace to win both of them, yet I only came away with eight points.

“Still, I’m really pleased that Jenson drove a brilliant race to win in Canada; after his bad luck in Monte-Carlo, he more than deserved this result. It’s a great result for the team, too.

“I’ve always gone well at Valencia, finishing second there in every race, and I really enjoy attacking the track. It’s a difficult circuit with no let-up, but that won’t deter me as I’m really keen to get back on track and get back in the points. This race will  be our third street circuit in a row, so hopefully it’ll give me the chance to reverse the bad luck I’ve encountered in the previous two!

“We’ve arguably had the fastest race car in the last three races, and that’s really encouraging because I know that, when it’s put to best use, I should be able to finish at the front.

“As always, that will be my goal next weekend.”

Jenson Button

“It’s been a fantastic week in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix. I had a few days’ break immediately after the race, which was perfectly timed as it gave me the opportunity to take in all the positive memories of a crazy weekend, and to reflect on an incredible race.

“I wouldn’t say that winning in Montreal has given me extra motivation, because I was already totally committed, but I think it will help to sharpen the focus and conviction of everyone in the team. We’ve proved we can challenge and beat Sebastian [Vettel], and we know we can fight for this world championship.

“I’m looking forward to Valencia. I had a good race there last year and I think the track shares some of the characteristics of Montreal and Monaco, so I’m confident that we’ll be competitive again. The trick will be to find enough performance in the race to overcome any potential difficulties in qualifying. It’s a hard place to pass and, even though there will once again be two DRS zones, I don’t think that’s going to make it much easier during the race.”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Jenson’s fantastic last-to-first result in Canada last weekend proved beyond doubt that, as a team, we never give up. That victory was a great fillip for the entire organisation and shows that our tireless efforts to bring constant upgrades to the track are really paying off.

“As a team, it’s particularly satisfying that our upgrade ‘hit-rate’ has been successful and that we’ve really been able to translate the results we’ve seen at the factory into concrete performance at the track. Again, that’s the result of good teamwork, and is what will successfully carry us through this championship fight.

“We’ve typically gone well around the Valencia street circuit but we’ve never won there before. I think we go into the weekend feeling encouraged and motivated by our performance, but still realistic that Red Bull remains the pacesetter – particularly in qualifying.

“We’re now into the heart of the season and need to ensure that we’re regularly delivering performance to the car. We’ve shown time and time again that this is one of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ key strengths and I’m confident we can continue to deliver. For Valencia and beyond, our aim is clear: we want to win.

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); or like us on Facebook (click here). Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here).

Picture Credits: Hoch Zwei

21 races in 2012

The World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) of the FIA met today, with a number of items on the agenda (including Bahrain and the 2013 regulations). One such item was the calendar for the 2012 Formula One season, which is set to include an unprecedented twenty-one races.

With 2011 set to see twenty Formula One races, the return of the United States Grand Prix at a new facility in Austin, Texas has added further pressure to an already-packed calendar.

11/03 BHR Bahrain
18/03 AUS Australia
01/04 MYS Malaysia
08/04 CHN China
22/04 KOR Korea
06/05 TUR Turkey *
20/05 ESP Spain
27/05 MCO Monaco
10/06 CAN Canada
17/06 USA United States
01/07 ESP Valencia, Spain
15/07 GBR Great Britain
29/07 DEU Germany
05/08 HUN Hungary
02/09 BEL Belgium
09/09 ITA Italy
30/09 SGP Singapore
14/10 JPN Japan
28/10 IND India
11/11 ARE Abu Dhabi
25/11 BRA Brazil

The Korean Grand Prix has moved from the end of the calendar, to the fifth round.

Turkey is only listed as a provisional date. This is because their contract has expired and the Turkish government are not keen to pay an increased fee to Formula One Management (FOM). It is unlikely to be missed, although if the race were not to be held it would create a gap of around a month between the Korean and Spanish Grands Prix. Expect, therefore, further changes to be made to the calendar.

Formula One’s traditional summer break has been retained with four weeks between the Hungarian and Belgian rounds.

It remains to be seen how the teams will respond, with many concerned about the increased workload placed on their staff given the global spread of the sport, combined with the cost-cutting – and thus staff-cutting – measures that have been implemented in recent years.

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.

Hamilton vs Maldonado: the evidence

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton came in for much criticism at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after serving two drive-through penalties for what the stewards deemed to be “causing an avoidable collision”.

Hamilton’s detractors have been quick to criticise the Briton, and as the FIA stewards never explain the reasons behind their actions, they have been allowed to get away with this.

Not this time, however. Thanks to one eagle-eyed viewer named Bernard, we have the following two images which compare Hamilton’s successful pass on Michael Schumacher early on in the race, with the unsuccessful move on Pastor Maldonado towards the end – both into Ste. Devote. What they illustrate makes for interesting reading.

The image above shows the position of the cars involved. From the top half, we can see that the position of Hamilton’s car for both moves is almost identical – as are the cars of Schumacher and Maldonado. In the bottom half, we can see, thanks to the green grid lines, that Maldonado has turned into Ste. Devote earlier than Schumacher did. As can be seen, Hamilton’s car is in a similar position, whilst Maldonado is half a car width further to our left (his right).

This shows that, far from being a reckless lunge by Hamilton, the McLaren driver was the victim of a rookie mistake by Maldonado – he turned in early whilst Schumacher had the experience to leave enough room.

Not convinced? Then take a look at the second image, taken from Hamilton’s onboard camera.

We can see in the top half that the images were taken from the same spot (note the tree on the right hand side of the track). Hamilton’s car is clearly in the same position in both images, as noted by his left front tyre.

The interesting point here is looking at Hamilton’s position in relation to Schumacher and Maldonado. In the top half, we can see that Hamilton was behind Schumacher prior to the successful overtaking move, whereas he is in line with Maldonado’s sidepod for the unsuccessful attempt.

The bottom half shows Hamilton to be in a similar position relative to Schumacher and Maldonado a fraction of a second later – except (remember from the first image) Maldonado has started to turn into the corner. Hamilton is clearly alongside the German and the Venezualan.

Looking at these images, Hamilton’s penalty does appear to be harsh. The difference between these two moves seems to be the experience of Schumacher versus the inexperience of Maldonado. However, saying that, I don’t believe that Maldonado should have been penalised instead of Hamilton. This was a clear racing incident – albeit I would cast the blame 70/30 to Maldonado.

In fact, were it not for the close proximity of the barriers at Monaco, I doubt any fuss would have been made about this incident.

Source: ‘Bernard’ via Joe Saward’s Blog

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.

Picture credit: Hoch Zwei

Sergio Perez Monaco Update

Sauber rookie Sergio Perez was taken to the Princesse Grace hospital on Saturday after a major crash in the third qualifying session saw him plough side-on into the barriers at the Nouvelle chicane.

While qualifying was halted for eleven minutes as the Mexican was extracted from the wreckage, the onboard footage showed Perez not to be moving following the accident – raising concern around the paddock.

However, news then broke that Perez was conscious and was speaking to the FIA doctors. The Pitstraight has acquired the following statement from the Sauber team on Perez’s condition.

After having spent a good night at the Hospital Princesse Grace in Monaco, Sergio Pérez underwent some further medical examinations on Sunday. The 21-year-old Formula One driver from Mexico suffered concussion and a bruised thigh in his heavy accident in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix. The medical staff want to keep him in hospital for another night under observation and to carry out another scan on Monday.

Everyone will be wishing Perez a speedy recovery ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix in two weeks.

For the latest news, follow The Pitstraight on Twitter (click here); like us on Facebook (click here); or subscribe to our email list. Alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (click here). Keep an eye out for The Pitstraight Podcast on iTunes and other podcasting software.

Picture Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG