Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Narain Blasts Vettel calls him Cry baby

Narain and Vettel were involved in an incident in Malaysia where Vettel's rear left tyre got punctured while overtaking Narain. Stewards penalised Narain with a 20 second penalty, though many experts believed Vettel moved back too quickly. During the post race interaction with Media, Vettel had showered choicest of abuses on Narain saying he is a "cucumber" and "idiot".

Narain has blasted Vettel while talking with Hindustan Times. Narain said "For a world champion to say things like that is shameful". Calling Vettel unprofessional, Narain further added "For a driver who has achieved so much to take out his frustrations on me just because he is having a difficult year is really sad. One does not expect a professional sportsperson to be such a cry baby.

Nico Hulkenberg of Force India said that "I have seen the incident and it wasn't Narain's fault." Hulkenberg further added "It was a bad day for him. He had no points. He is emotional."

After watching the incident, it came as a surprise that Narain was penalised for the incident because Vettel had slightly moved towards Narain. The drivers of leading teams are known to try and bulldoze the drivers in slower cars. However, the stewards penalising Narain and going by the version of Vettel was surprising. Many commentators blamed Vettel for the incident and others like David Coulthard had said it is a racing incident. Narain expressing his unhappiness about the Stewards not listening to him said "They didn't care about what I had to say because Mr. Vettel told them God knows what when he went and talked to them."

The details of the incident and revised positions for Malaysia can be found here:

Sebastien Vettel showed a finger to Narain Karthikeyan after the incident.

It is shocking that past world champions can be so rude and unprofessional. This kind of action immediately invites action in sports like Cricket and Footbal. Unfortunately, in Formula 1, this is accepted.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Revised Classification for Malaysia

Narain Karthikeyan of HRT team was slapped a post match penalty of 20 seconds due to the collision with Vettel. Though many analysts and commentators were of the view that the collision happened when Vettel moved aside too soon before fully overtaking Narain Karthikeyan, the stewards felt otherwise. So they handed over the penalty to Karthikeyan. This has resulted in Narain Karthikeyan dropping down to 22nd in the classification behind his team mate Pedro de la Rosa.

The revised classification for the Malaysia race is as follows:

Race Time
Fernando Alonso

Sergion Perez
Lewis Hamilton
Mark Webber
Red Bull
Kimi Raikkonen
Bruno Senna
Paul di Resta
Force India
J. Eric Vergne
Toro Rosso
Nico Hulkenberg
Force India
Michael Schumacher
Sebastien Vettel
Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo
Toro Rosso
Nico Rosberg
Jenson Button
Felipe Massa
Vitaly Petrov

+1 lap
Timo Glock

+1 lap
Heikki Kovalainen

+1 lap
Pastor Maldonado

+2 laps
Charles Pic

+1 lap
Pedro de la Rosa

+2 laps
Narain Karthikeyan

+2 laps

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wet Malaysia GP gives surprise win to Alonso

A wet Malaysia GP threw many surprises. Alonso came as the winner, though the Ferrari is no where among the top cars this year. He was followed by Sergio Perez in second place. Sergio Perez was within 2.2 seconds of Alonso and could have closed the gap if he didnt go wide.

The third place was taken up by Lewis Hamilton, who despite starting from the Pole again had the bad luck of losing out. He had a bad pit stop. His team mate and winner in Australia, Jenson Button banged into Narain Karthikeyan and had to change the nose of his car. That pushed him down the grid and out of the points paying position.

Just before the race started, the Rain Gods started pouring. All the cars were on intermediates, except for the full wet of a few cars. Narain Karthikeyan, due to this inspired choice of tyre was as high as 10th postion in the 8th lap. However, as we know that this HRT is far slower in pace than the other cars, it was never going to be a points giving finish even in such inclement weather. And Jenson Button's mistake and the resultant accident with Narain ensured that both of them had to have a pit stop.

Michael Schumacher who started in 3rd position spinned as he was hit from behind by Grosjean. And from that point onwards it was sure that he would remain in the midfield. However, he could score 10th position and his first points for the season. It was the first points for the Mercedes team as well, as Nico Rosberg finished in 13th position.

Narain Karthikeyan finished his race at 21st position, albeit 2 laps down. His team mate Pedro de la Rosa was 22nd.

Pos Driver Team Laps Race Time Delay
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 56 2:44'51.812  
2 Sergion Perez Sauber 56 2:44'54.075 2.263
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 56 2:45'06.403 14.591
4 Mark Webber Red Bull 56 2:45'09.500 17.688
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 56 2:45'21.268 29.456
6 Bruno Senna Williams 56 2:45'29.479 37.667
7 Paul di Resta Force India 56 2:45'36.224 44.412
8 J. Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 56 2:45'38.797 46.985
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 56 2:45'39.704 47.892
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 56 2:45'41.808 49.996
11 Sebastien Vettel Red Bull 56 2:46'07.339 +1'15.527
12 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 56 2:46'08.640 +1'16.828
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 56 2:46'10.405 +1'18.593
14 Jenson Button McLaren 56 2:46'11.531 +1'19.719
15 Felipe Massa Caterham 56 2:46'29.131 +1'37.319
16 Vitaly Petrov Marussia 55   +1 lap
17 Timo Glock Caterham 55   +1 lap
18 Heikki Kovalainen Williams 55   +1 lap
19 Pastor Maldonado Marussia 54   +2 laps
20 Charles Pic HRT 55   +1 lap
21 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 54   +2 laps
22 Pedro de la Rosa   54   +2 laps

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Michael Schumacher gets his first top 3 in qualifying

Michael Schumacher was 3rd in Qualifying in the Formula 1 qualifying held at Sepang, Malaysia.. He was the fastest of all the drivers in the Sector 1, however, he lost time in the Sector 2. He did a great Sector 3. He did only one lap and saved his tyres for the race. Lets see how much benefit he gets for running only one lap in the Q3 and saving his tyres. 

Lewis Hamilton again scored the second Pole position this season and the second slot on the grid was taken by  his team mate Jenson Button.

In an interesting strategy, Vettel chose to use hard tyres and hence will start on the hard tyres in the race. So he is expected to drive for a longer time before coming in for the first pit stop. Lets see how this strategy helps him. If there is a crash in the first lap or second lap and the safety car comes in, then the advantage of others using the medium compounds will be neutralised. 

Final Times:

01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.219s + 0.149
02. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m36.368s + 0.172
03. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m36.391s + 0.242
04. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.415
05. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m36.461s + 0.439
06. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m36.634s + 0.445
07. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m36.658s + 1.347
08. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m36.664s + 1.479
09. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m37.566s + 0.242
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m37.698s + 1.370
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m37.589s + 0.874
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m37.731s + 1.016
13. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m37.841s + 1.126
14. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m37.877s + 1.162
15. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m37.883s + 1.168
16. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m37.890s + 1.175
17. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.069s + 1.354
18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.077s + 1.905
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m39.306s + 2.134
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m39.567s + 2.395
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m40.903s + 3.731
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m41.250s + 4.078
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m42.914s + 5.742
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m43.655s + 6.483 

Narain Karthikeyan qualifies for Malaysia F1 race

Narain Karthikeyan has qualified for the Formula 1 race in Sepang, Malaysia which is to be held on Sunday. He and his HRT teammate Pedro de la Rosa could not qualify for the season opening race in Melbourne, Australia last week. So this qualification has come as a welcome relief.

Unfortunately, Narain Karthikeyan has qualified at 24th place as he was slower than his team mate by a massive 0.741 seconds. Narain Karthikeyan's best effort was timed at 1.43.655 vis-a-vis the best laptime of 1:42.914 by Pedro de la Rosa.

However, Narain Karthikeyan will not start at 24th on the grid because Heikki Kovalainen who qualified at 19th position had earlier been handed a 5 slot grid penalty.

The 107% time was 1:43.974. I am sure the HRT team will start improving with more testing. Narain's ability to give feedback was highly rated by his engineers in Williams team and Pedro de la Rosso is a proven ability in developing the car. So I am sure the HRTteam and Narain Karthikeyan start becoming competitive soon and beat their nearest competitors Marussia and reduce the gap with other teams. 

Third Practice in Sepang Malaysia

Nico Rosberg stole the show from his illustrious team mate Michael Schumacher and the front running McLaren by setting the fastest laptime in the Third and Final Practice in Sepang Malaysia in 2012. 

He was followed by Sebastien Vettel, Mark Webber, Kimi Raikkonen, Grosjean, Button, Maldonado, Schumacher. 

Narain Karthikeyan of India was leading his team mate as well as one of the Marussia cars of C. Pic till the last moments when both of them overtook his timing. The good news is that both the HRT cars are within the 107% qualifying times and give hope that there will be a full grid of 24 cars on Sunday's race.

The Final Times:
01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:36.877 16 laps
02 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.320 0.443 15 laps
03 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:37.338 0.461 12 laps
04 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:37.356 0.479 13 laps
05 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:37.382 0.505 13 laps
06 Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.404 0.527 12 laps
07 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:37.455 0.578 13 laps
08 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:37.663 0.786 15 laps
09 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:37.776 0.899 8 laps
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:37.977 1.100 17 laps
11 Bruno Senna Williams 1:38.091 1.214 20 laps
12 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:38.178 1.301 15 laps
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.246 1.369 17 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.285 1.408 16 laps
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:38.423 1.546 13 laps
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:38.640 1.763 11 laps
17 Paul di Resta Force India 1:38.794 1.917 18 laps
18 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.209 2.332 16 laps
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:39.704 2.827 15 laps
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:40.189 3.312 14 laps
21 Charles Pic Marussia 1:41.901 5.024 14 laps
22 Timo Glock Marussia 1:42.007 5.130 14 laps
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:42.464 5.587 14 laps
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:43.378 6.501 17 laps 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sepang Malaysia GP Practice 2012

Hamilton came up tops in Practice 1 and 2.
Both the HRT cars came within the 107% qualifying time. In the Practice 2 Lewis Hamilton clocked 1:38.172 and accordingly the qualifying time was 1:45.044

Narain Karthikeyan was faster than his team mate in both the sessions despite clocking less number of laps. My estimation, he will consistently be faster than his teammate.

Michel Schumacher was 2nd in the 2nd Practice. This year the Mercedes has got a good speed in one lap distances. Hope it translates into good race pace as well.

The detailed times for both the practices are given below.

Practice 1 Times:
01 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:38.021 19 laps
02 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:38.535 0.514 21 laps
03 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.813 0.792 21 laps
04 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.826 0.805 19 laps
05 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:38.919 0.898 17 laps
06 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:39.092 1.071 20 laps
07 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:39.128 1.107 22 laps
08 Paul di Resta Force India 1:39.298 1.277 23 laps
09 Jenson Button McLaren 1:39.323 1.302 15 laps
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:39.440 1.419 19 laps
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.724 1.703 23 laps
12 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:39.783 1.762 23 laps
13 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:39.896 1.875 16 laps
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:39.910 1.889 21 laps
15 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:39.980 1.959 23 laps
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.099 2.078 23 laps
17 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:40.247 2.226 19 laps
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:40.469 2.448 23 laps
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 1:40.857 2.836 25 laps
20 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:41.085 3.064 23 laps
21 Timo Glock Marussia 1:43.170 5.149 18 laps
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:44.580 6.559 14 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:45.360 7.339 8 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:45.528 7.507 18 laps

Practice 2 Times:
01 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:38.172 28 laps
02 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.533 0.361 34 laps
03 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.535 0.363 30 laps
04 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.696 0.524 34 laps
05 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:38.853 0.681 33 laps
06 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.891 0.719 27 laps
07 Mark Webber 1:39.133 0.961 29 laps
08 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:39.297 1.125 33 laps
09 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:39.311 1.139 22 laps10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:39.402 0.514 25 laps
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:39.444 1.272 35 laps
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:39.464 1.292 26 laps
13 Paul di Resta Force India 1:39.625 1.453 20 laps
14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:39.687 1.515 16 laps
15  Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:39.696 1.524 29 laps
16 Felipe Masa Ferrari 1:40.271 2.099 28 laps
17 Bruno Senna Williams 1:40.678 2.506 34 laps
18 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:40.947 2.775 33 laps
19 Vitali Petrov Caterham 1:41.464 3.292 25 laps
20 Timo Glock Marusia 1:41.681 3.509 20 laps
21 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:42.594 4.422 18 laps
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:42.874 4.702 24 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:43.658 5.486 18 laps
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:43.823 5.651 22 laps  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Narian Karthikeyan hires Schumacher's ex trainer

Narain Karthikeyan has hired Michael Schumacher's former trainer Balbir Singh.

Balbir Singh's role will help Narain Karthikeyan not only in improving his physical fitness, which is of paramount interest in F1 where you face multiple G forces, but also in mental conditioning.

Balbir Singh is a naturalised German citizen and had come into the F1 scenario when Michael Schumacher stepped into Formula 1 after getting a break in the Jordan team.

Narain had reportedly been very happy after Balbir Singh worked with him during the inaugural Indian GP in Oct 2011. Lets hope this will be a great association and it will reflect well in Narain's performance in F1.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

HRT Apply for permission to race in Melbourne

HRT team whose both cars failed to qualify within the 107% rule have now sought permission from the stewards to race in Melbourne. The 107% rule states that all the cars have to qualify within the 107% time of the time set by the car in first position in that session. However, cars can be allowed to race at the discretion of the stewards.

HRT team has completed a total of 45 laps. They could not take part in the pre-season testing. They could only do a filming run after the barcelona testing was over. The filming run was for 10 laps at reduced pace using demo tyres.

It would be pertinent to mention that HRT was in a similar situation in the previous year and was not allowed to race by the Stewards. I don't believe the Stewards will allow them to race. It would be good for the HRT team if they can get permission to race. It would be a miracle and will help them to test the car and fine tune. Else, they have to do modifications based on whatever limited running they had in melbourne and fine tune the car before next week's Malaysia race.

Politics on Resource Restriction Agreement

The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) has collapsed due to disagreement over the voluntary Resource Restriction Agreement that was agreed upon by the FOTA members. It was reported that Red Bull had spent much more than other teams in order to be competitive and win the championship.

There was no unanimity among the FOTA members on this issue as Red Bull and its sister firm Scuderia Torro Rosso didn't agree to the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA). So barring Red Bull and Torro Rosso, other momembers of the now defunct FOTA have written to the FIA to implement it. They have asked for implenting penalty to teams who violate this agreement by either docking points or deducting grid places ie. pushing them down the starting grid in races. This move is seen to put pressure on Red Bull.

It would be pertinent to mention that HRT had pulled out of FOTA as it didn't want to even pay the membership fees of FOTA and also because it thought FOTA is for the interests of big teams.

When smaller teams are struggling to cobble together the required finances, it becomes difficult for them to compete with other teams who spend much more than them. Naturally, the successful teams attract much more sponsorships than the smaller teams. So it is a vicious cycle as well.

Let us wait for FIA to respond to this request for implementing the RRA. 

Disappointment for India's Only F1 driver

The season opener in Melbourne came as a big disappointment for India's only F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan, as the two HRT cars came last and beyond the minimum 107% time of 1.32.214 seconds. Both the HRT cars were over one second slower than the minimum 107% of the fastest time required to qualify. So like last year, this year too both the HRT cars won't be able to participate.

One had hoped that this year the HRT team would do better. However, despite the ownership changing hands, the team is struggling for fiances. A majority of the previous team members have left. So no wonder the team is really struggling to even build the car.

Narain Karthikeyan's car was ready for a day after the barcelona testing. So the HRT team missed the entire pre season testing. They got about 10 laps for a filming day which had severe restrictions of using demo tyres and slow speeds.

The HRT team struggled to put together Pedro de La Roa's car for the mandatory inspection before the First Practice. Unfortunately, Narain only got 3 laps in the First Practice on friday and his engine blew out.

In the qualifying they could get only 6 laps. No idea why the team only ran for 6 laps. Given this performance, it would be virtually impossible for the team to even qualify for the race in Malaysia.

I think it is time before Ratan Tata steps in and buys this HRT team so that the much needed finances can be brought in and the entire team is revamped. If not Tata Motors, Ratan Tata can put in his personal stake. This would be a way for Indian companies to get into F1 and really evolving in terms of competitiveness and getting the global coverage.

I was surprised that Pedro de La Rosa was faster than Narain. In an untested car, this would not be of much significance. However, Narain had matched the pace of Daniel Ricciardo and was also faster than him. So I am surprised that this time Pedro was faster than Narain. I am sure, with the passage of time, HRT will get more funds, more mileage and Narain will shine.

The Qualifying times in Melbourne GP:
01. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.922
02. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m25.074 + 0.152
03. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m25.302 + 0.380
04. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m25.336 + 0.414
05. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m25.651 + 0.729
06. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m25.668 + 0.746
07. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.686 + 0.764
08. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m25.908 + 0.986
09. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m26.451 + 1.529
10. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari No time
11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m26.429 + 0.960
12. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.494 + 1.025
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m26.590 + 1.121
14. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m26.663 + 1.194
15. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m27.086 + 1.617
16. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m27.497 + 2.028
17. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time
18. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m27.758 + 1.576
19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m28.679 + 2.497
20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m29.018 + 2.836
21. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m30.923 + 4.741
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m31.670 + 5.488
23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m33.495 + 7.313
24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m33.643 + 7.461