Archive for the ‘Motorsport’ Category

Jaguar D Type

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Le Mans, Melbourne, Motorsport

Yesterday I was in Lygon Street where they were going to have a little display of classic motor cars, but unfortunately the weather was horrible so only a handful of cars were there. Fortunately there were a couple of Jaguar D Types.


This was shown this week on the UK edition of Top Gear. Apparently Bernie Ecclestone has decreed that the F1 footage shown in here is never to be broadcast again.

Just watching the Senna footage just reminds me of how great F1 was when I was a kid and how crap things are today in comparison, especially when you watch last week’s German GP. The tifosi may think that Schumacher is the greatest or that Alonso is the best driver today, but they just don’t compare at all, especially when you note that Schumacher and Alonso have made sure that their team mates are not challengers to them, while Senna went out of his way to be the team-mate of Alain Prost who at the time was considered to be the best driver of that generation, just so he could prove that he was better. Senna didn’t need his team mates (or anyone else) to be told to get out of the way so he could pass, he would just pull out some amazing overtaking manoeuvres.

Tortoise Beats Hare

Posted: June 14, 2010 in Le Mans, Motorsport

The Le Mans 24 Hours has again been run and again Audi has taken outright honours. Audi and their R15 TDI took the first three places while Peugeot’s four 908s all fell apart despite being quicker than the German cars. The quickest cars don’t always win at Le Mans and a car will never win if it doesn’t make it to the finish.

Unlike last year when they took victory it seems that the Peugeot drivers pushed their cars beyond their limits. I guess this is the problem when all your drivers are ex-F1 guys who are used to driving a whole race flat-out rather than pacing yourself.

Audi has continued their decade long domination of the 24 Hours. Last year was the first time since 2003 that an Audi had not taken victory at Le Mans so they acheived their revenge on Peugeot. It is also good that the R15 TDI can now join the two the R8 and R10 TDI as a winner of the 24 Hours.

Audi’s Record at Le Mans since 1999

1999 – 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8R. Neither Audi R8C (the basis for the later Bentley EXP Speed 8 ) finished.
2000 – 1st, 2nd & 3rd with the Audi R8.
2001 – 1st & 2nd with the Audi R8 (the Audi designed Bentley EXP Speed 8 finished 3rd).
2002 – 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 7th with the Audi R8 (the Audi designed Bentley EXP Speed 8 finished 4th).
2003 – 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8… but Bentley’s EXP Speed 8 that was designed by Audi, powered by Audi and run by the Joest Audi team finished 1st & 2nd.
2004 – 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 5th with the Audi R8.
2005 – 1st, 3rd & 4th with the Audi R8.
2006 – 1st & 3rd with the Audi R10.
2007 – 1st with the Audi R10.
2008 – 1st, 4th & 6th with the Audi R10 TDI.
2009 – 3rd with the Audi R15 TDI.
2010 – 1st, 2nd & 3rd with the Audi R15 TDI.

Since Audi started competing at Le Mans in 1999 they have never been off the podium which is a remarkable achievement.

Le Mans 24 Hours

Posted: June 11, 2010 in Le Mans, Motorsport, Sport

This week is a big one for sport with the World Cup football (soccer) beginning. The Canadian Grand Prix is also on this weekend as is the Le Mans 24 Hours. Qualifying for the 24 Hours is underway as we speak, and it looks as though the Peugeots will have the upper hand on their arch rivals Audi. Come race day it could be different as at Le Mans it is not always the fastest car that wins, but the car that has the least problems and Audi will no doubt want revenge on their defeat last year. The Aston Martin team may have a slight chance of winning if Peugeot and Audi run into troubles. 

Rubens Barrichello won last Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia to set up what is now an intriguing four way tussle for the 2009 World Driver’s Championship. The popular Brazilian has jumped to second place in the standings behind his Brawn team mate Jenson Button, leapfrogging the Red Bull duo of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

Even though the resurgent McLaren of the current World Champion Lewis Hamilton lead for most of the race, Barrichello took a flawless victory after the Brit was hampered by an uncharacteristically Ferrari-esque McLaren pit stop which handed Rubens the lead of the race. Ferrari’s mullet-man Kimi Raikkonen brought his red racer home in a solid third position.

Of the other contenders for the World Championship Crown only Jenson Button scored points with his sixth placing, extending his lead over Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Webber had a rather lackluster race finishing ninth, while Vettel’s race was wrecked by a pit stop bungle and then a blown Renault engine, the second that he suffered on the weekend.

The only other talking point of the weekend was the performance, or lack of, of Ferrari’s Luca Badoer, who is subbing for the injured Felipe Massa. Badoer was a major embarrassment for Ferrari, qualifying last on the grid and then plodding around at the rear of the field, making rookie errors and even spinning one time. Badoer has not competed in F1 for a decade and it was only expected that his racing would prove a little rusty. However while Luca’s lack of recent racing may explain some of his poor performance on the weekend it should be remembered that he was never a very good driver back when he was competing in Formula 1 in the 1990s. It is with very good reason that Badoer is still the driver who has the started the most races without scoring a single World Championship point. While he has been Ferrari’s test driver for ten years and apparently a big reason for the Prancing Horse’s success in the early 2000s we should also remember that the last time Ferrari needed a substitute driver in 1999 when Michael Schumacher broke his leg, team manager Jean Todt overlooked Badoer for Mika Salo. Apparently Luca has been an ultimatum to perform at Spa this weekend or else his F1 race career will be over. Still, I think that Ferrari would have been better off using their other test driver Marc Gene, who has been competing recently at LeMans with the triumphant Peugeot team, and has been a regular member of the successful Maserati team in the GT championship.

F1 Stuff

Posted: July 29, 2009 in Formula 1, Motorsport, Sport
Tags: ,

Sunday’s Hungarian GP was an interesting race… well more interesting than most Hungarian Grands Prix have been in the past anyway. Lewis Hamilton scored McLaren’s first victory since 2008 which was a major surprise considering it was just two races ago when Lewis was struggling around at the back of the field. This is a major form reversal and I wonder if this was due to the uniqueness of the Hungaroring rather than any recent improvements made in Woking. Ferrari too had a return to form in the race with Kimi Raikkonen taking second place. Once again I wonder if this improvement is due to the Hungarian track rather than anything Ferrari has done in the last month.

Mark Webber finished third and is now 18.5 points behind Jenson Button’s Brawn Mercedes. The Red Bulls have definitely been the form team in the second half of 2009, while I always thought that Brawn would eventually be caught by the other teams. The Brawns were the most developed cars when teams first gridded up at Albert Park in March, thanks to the fact that they started on their car much earlier than the other teams due to the fact that Honda was so horrible in 2008. Red Bull were the only team close to the Brawns pace and have now surpassed them due to improvements made, while it seems that McLaren and Ferrari could be catching them.

Having mentioned Honda and how Brawn have risen from the ashes of that team, I must now make mention of the sad news that BMW Sauber have announced that they will quit Formula 1 at the end of 2009. This year has been terrible for the Swiss based German team and one would be hard pressed to even guess that they placed third in the 2008 Constructors Championship with their lack of pace this year. Both Kubica and Heidfeld have really struggled and the team has often employed odd fuel strategies for their drivers to try to fluke some points.

I wonder which will be the next manufacturer to exit F1. Renault have had an awful season, despite Alonso’s low fuel pole position in Hungary, and they will endure more pain now that they have been banned from the European GP in Fernando’s backyard, Valencia, thank to his front wheel not being secured properly at the pitstop and then coming off. Renault’s position in F1 has looked quite shaky for a while now and this won’t have improved things much.

Toyota is another team who may leave F1 sooner rather than later. They were full of promise at the start of the season but have fallen into a hole since their pole position in Bahrain. Toyota has said that 2009 was a make or break season and apparently came close to pulling the pin on F1 in 2008.

With Heidfeld and Kubica being on the drivers’ market for 2010 it is interesting to see how the line ups will change next year. It will also be interesting if the FIA will accept another new team (Lola) to fill the void created by BMW’s departure. Here are my predictions. I will review these in a couple of months to see how close I am.

Predicted Teams/Driver Line Ups in F1 for 2010

Brawn GP

  • Jenson Button
  • Nick Heidfeld

Red Bull Racing

  • Sebastian Vettel
  • Mark Webber

McLaren Mercedes

  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Nico Rosberg


  • Kimi Raikkonen
  • Felipe Massa *


  • Nico Hulkenburg
  • Kazuki Nakajima


  • Jarno Trulli
  • Timo Glock


  • Fernando Alonso
  • Robert Kubica

Toro Rosso

  • Sebastian Buemi
  • Heikki Kovalainen


  • Sebastian Bourdais
  • Nelson Piquet Jr

Campos GP

  • Antonio Luizzi

Manor GP

  • Christian Klein

* Depends on whether Massa is able to race in 2010. It also depends on both Renault and Toyota remaining in F1 in 2010. Campos and Manor will both have pay drivers as their second drivers.

It has finally been confirmed that Fernando Alonso has taken pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix. After a long, frustrating time waiting to get confirmation of grid position, it has been confirmed that the Spaniard has taken his first pole for almost three years.

1 – Fernando Alonso – Renault

2 – Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull

3 – Mark Webber – Red Bull

4 – Lewis Hamilton – McLaren

5 – Nico Rosberg – Williams

6 – Heikki Kovalainen – McLaren

7 – Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari

8 – Jenson Button – Brawn

9 – Kazuki Nakajima – Williams

10 – Felipe Massa – Ferrari