Tag Archives: Renault

2012 European Grand Prix Results and Maria de Villota Update

In my last piece, I wrote that Valencia needs to be gotten rid of because it is just a parade lap with the same weather, but lack of history and theater that makes Monaco so special still. Well, I know when I am wrong. And how wrong I was! Did I need to wait this long to write this? No. Was I just lazy and not willing to sit at my computer for a few minutes to write this? Yes. But now I am and it was a phenomenal race that had me yelling and screaming and jumping and fist-pumping throughout. In a few words, it was the best race we have seen this season. As if we didn’t have enough of a wild ride already with seven different winners in the first seven races, Fernando Alonso comes through from 11th on the grid (with the aid of some bad luck for other runners, including two alternator failures on the Renault and the Renault powered Red Bull, and another horrendous pit stop for Lewis Hamilton). Plus, it was a remarkable showing for both Michael Schumacher, making his way to third on the podium, and Mark Webber, who started a lowly 18th to finish fourth. Overall, quite the exciting race, and one that will hopefully propel this season forward to continue as one of the greatest ever.

1. Fernando Alonso

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Michael Schumacher

4. Mark Webber

5. Nico Hulkenberg

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Paul di Resta

8. Jenson Button

9. Sergio Perez

10. Bruno Senna

In much sadder news, it was revealed today that the test driver for Marussia F1, Maria de Villota, after a freak accident during testing wherein she crashed into one of the team’s support trucks, is in critical, yet stable, condition, but has lost her right eye. No doubt the car she was driving is being inspected and picked apart and having loads of information culled from it to see just what happened to destroy this promising young woman’s racing career in one fell swoop. Marussia will hopefully find the problem and things will be done to correct it, but it no way can replace what would have been a very big achievement for a woman race car driver. I wish Maria all the best in her long recovery. Because of this accident, I have to believe that the FIA will take an even harder look and do more testing on the front roll cage. After Felipe’s freak accident and now this (along with many other freak roll-over and tire detachment accidents), there might be some more new rules coming down the pipeline shortly.Maria de Villota

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2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Results

Turns out that only one protester was killed during the Grand Prix weekend. So all in all, not too bad for Bernie I guess, although F1 was marred by sharing headline space on the international papers with the goings on in Bahrain when they should have stayed out once again. No matter the result of this race, F1 did not gain any new fans.

Also, how freaking insane is this season so far? Four races and four different winners. I think next week might see the fifth if either Hamilton or Raikkonen can get to the front of the pack. Who knows? Anything seems possible this season. Hell, it’s so crazy I didn’t have even one position in the top 10 correctly called! Usually I can hit on at least one of them, but nothing is for certain in 2012. Also, if anyone noticed, the previous race featured an all Mercedes podium, while this one featured all Renault powered cars. And the race before that almost featured all Ferrari powered vehicles… well, not almost, but 2/3 of the podium isn’t bad. Seriously, anything can happen. Should be the slogan for this season. The Spanish Grand Prix is up next.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Kimi Raikkonen

3. Romain Grosjean

4. Mark Webber

5. Nico Rosberg

6. Paul di Resta

7. Fernando Alonso

8. Lewis Hamilton

9. Felipe Massa

10. Michael Schumacher

2012 Malaysian Grand Prix Predictions

After the McLaren of Jenson Button dominated the field in Australia, they are clearly the class of the field. The Red Bulls are slightly behind, but will begin to show their true pace on the sweeping curves of the Sepang Circuit. Unless something truly screws up the starting order (RAIN) or something happens during the race (ALSO RAIN) I don’t see any way that a McLaren doesn’t win this race. But which one? This time out, I’m picking Lewis to have a flying start and run away from the field. If it rains, then I would still pick him, as he has proven in the past to be very good at feeling his way around a wet track. The only thing that could slow him down this weekend would be the abrasive track surface, as we all know that Hamilton is not the gentlest driver when it comes to preserving tires. That accolade would go to his teammate Button, but I just don’t see Lewis losing this one, but I think it will be a close fight between him and Vettel. Farther down the field is going to be much harder to call this year. The Mercedes are fast, but eat their tires up. The Ferraris are slow, but Fernando punches above his weight. And both of the Lotus cars could be well represented, but Kimi has a grid spot penalty and Grosjean is an unknown after not finishing in Australia. Regardless, it’s going to be a good race, and will be an absolute stormer should the rain start to fall.

1. Lewis Hamilton

2. Sebastian Vettel

3. Jenson Button

4. Mark Webber

5. Michael Schumacher

6. Fernando Alonso

7. Kimi Raikkonen

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Felipe Massa

10. Romain Grosjean

Italian Grand Prix Predictions

Well, this is getting a little embarrassing now. In fact, this season is turning into such a domination by the German driver Sebastian Vettel, that you would think it was 2002 all over again and this is just a mini-Schumacher in the cockpit and the red car had held its breath too long and turned blue. But that was how he has been advertised, and he’s certainly living up to the hype. Sebastian Vettel once again grabbed pole position, his 10th of the season, ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. His lap time was half a second quicker than the McLarens of Hamilton and Button. I find that astonishing. He is supernatural sometimes and I am pegging him for the win. At some point I am sure he will be passed, as there are two separate DRS zones this race, but in the end, his Red Bull will simply be too strong for all the other cars. As for the other runners, Ferrari is obviously now fully committed to their 2012 car and whatever points they can scrape together are just to be spoiling other racers days, but in the end, they will not be placing additional modifications on the cars come other races. The Renault of Petrov was surprisingly quick, beating out both Mercedes, but it’s a long race and I think that the Mercedes will move their way up the board. I also think that the Force India cars, which have always been known for being very fast in a straight line and not that quick on twisty circuits, will come up a bit and Sutil will get some points.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Jenson Button

5. Mark Webber

6. Felipe Massa

7. Michael Schumacher

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Adrian Sutil

10. Vitaly Petrov

 

Belgian Grand Prix Results

Well, I called both Vettel and Alonso’s finishing positions correctly this time, but that’s about all. The 2011 Belgian Grand Prix saw a frantic start to the action, and then, about halfway through, became just another normal race.

From the start, it looked like this could actually be an interesting race, and for the first 20 or so laps, it was. The run down to the first corner, La Source, is a short one, but it is very tight and there is a lot of runoff room on the other side, so many drivers go into there with too much speed to try and make the most of the run to Eau Rouge afterward. However, Bruno Senna came in way too hot and busted up Jaime Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso, causing a huge flurry of cars streaming out of the way as shards of carbon flew all over the track. In the end, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg made an impressive getaway from fifth to first, with the Ferrari’s of Massa and Alonso following closely behind championship leader Vettel. Mark Webber, in the other Red Bull, made his typical horrible start and bogged down from third to eighth.

As the race progressed, it became apparent that Vettel had made the correct call on his choice of tires, despite all of the blistering that was occurring on his front tires. The Ferrari of Fernando Alonso looked to be in the pound seat for a good podium, but the car came under fire from both Mark Webber and Jenson Button to end up fourth. It’s so odd that the Ferrari does really well at the beginning of the race, but can’t hold station. However, Jenson made the most of his starting position of 13th to end up third. The biggest loser of the day has to be Lewis Hamilton, who was another person to be in a great position for either the win or, at the very least, a nice podium, but didn’t realize he wasn’t all the way by Kamui Kobayashi, and the two came together spectacularly at Les Combes. The best drive of the day, aside from Button, has to go to Michael Schumacher. In this, his 20th year in the sport, he started from 24th and dead last, to quietly come all the way up to fifth! That is a hell of an effort and one that just goes to show that maybe he still has something left in the tanks after all. Here then, is how they finished.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Mark Webber

3. Jenson Button

4. Fernando Alonso

5. Michael Schumacher

6. Nico Rosberg

7. Adrian Sutil

8. Felipe Massa

9. Vitaly Petrov

10. Pastor Maldonado

Belgian Grand Prix Predictions and Senna Film

Well, Formula One is back on, and it’s no surprise who is at the top of the list after qualifying. Usually I make my predictions on Friday, but I was busy yesterday seeing a little documentary called “Senna.” But I will get to that in a moment. Spa is one of those racetracks, much like the old Nordschleife, that can have changeable conditions almost minute to minute. Yesterday it rained, and for qualifying it also drizzled and the track was a bit damp in spots. This meant that getting the ultimate lap could happen for almost anyone at any moment. Plus, when you add in the length of the lap, every little mistake is magnified that much more. What this means is that the grid for this race is sometimes more of a crapshoot than other races would be and it is very unpredictable. However, with Vettel leading the way ahead of Hamilton, I know who I’m picking to take victory in this race.

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Lewis Hamilton

3. Felipe Massa

4. Fernando Alonso

5. Mark Webber

6. Bruno Senna

7. Jenson Button

8. Nico Rosberg

9. Jaime Alguersuari

10. Vitaly Petrov

I feel that Vettel is just going to be too fast on this track. Alonso got himself in a bad grid spot to start with and he has never won here, and won’t this year. It should be a tight fight up front between Vettel and Hamilton, as Hamilton always seems to do pretty well here, but I think the Red Bull will be just too fast this weekend. Also, I think Bruno Senna will have a really good showing. He needs to prove to the team that he is more than just the nephew of the best Formula One driver of all time. And I think that he will do a great job tomorrow.

I feel that Bruno will do such a good job because his race weekend coincides with the opening of the documentary on the life of his uncle, Ayrton Senna. I saw it yesterday and it was a very moving and tragic story. Of course I knew how it ended, but that didn’t take away any of the drama or the way it still hits you. That final weekend at Imola is so tense all the way through, that I was sitting forward in my seat, just waiting for that final impact. It’s still hard to watch and think that he could have been racing for years to come still. I never saw Senna race other than in videos, so it was a revelation some of the archival footage that was attained for this film. However, his race in Donington in 1993 in the wet is one of the greatest first laps ever, and they didn’t show that. This omission isn’t that huge a deal, but it simply added to his mythos and would have made audiences who didn’t, or don’t, know who he was, more aware of his amazing skills. I can only hope that with the release of the Blu Ray, there will be some archival footage that wasn’t shown in the film. I highly recommend you see the documentary if you get the chance, as it is something every Formula One, and sport in general, fan should witness.

 

Senna In and Ferrari’s F150 Italia Out

In an odd bit of coincidence with the release of the documentary on his uncle titled “SENNA” in Minneapolis (where this is being written), Bruno Senna will take over the Renault seat from the underperforming – and now badly nicknamed – “Quick” Nick Heidfeld. Apparently, the veteran Heidfeld wasn’t going along quite like his moniker suggests and the Renault team are seeing to it that he is replaced by Senna for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend. The team is, of course, without their number one driver Robert Kubica this season after an accident before the start of the season, and now the team will field Vitaly Petrov as the number one, and Senna as the number two driver after bringing in Heidfeld at the start of the season because of his knowledge and superior driving record.

In other team news, it seems as though Ferrari has finally decided to throw in the towel for this season and are now working on what they are calling a “very innovative” 2012 title challenger. Although they say that they are not giving up on this season’s vehicle, the reality is that they will have very, very few new upgrades to it as they begin to pour all their resources into next season’s vehicle. Team principal Stefano Domenicali is saying that work on the 2012 car is already well under way and that it will be very innovative, and has to be, because their goal is to win right out of the gates. After slow starts the last couple of years, Ferrari need all the help they can get and with them having a quick car next season, from the start, it should be a nice three – or four if Mercedes can get their act together – way fight from when the lights go out.