I just stumbled upon James Allen's blog and it's not as awful as I thought it'd be:
Why the drivers will make the difference this year
I love "insider" info.
On Monday I’m off to Barcelona for the test session. For many teams it is the final test before the season starts. For McLaren, Williams, Renault and Brawn GP there are another three days of running at Jerez from 15-17 March.
So it’s a pretty vital week for a lot of teams, most of whom will bring heavly updated cars. It’s a huge week for Ferrari, who have still not shown exactly where they are in the pecking order. Meanwhile McLaren have been having problems with the rear wing and although they have those extra days in Jerez, they will want to get on top of their problems as soon as possible this week.
Essentially the problem appears to be that McLaren’s 2009 rear wing is stalling and causing rear end instability. They tried two difference versions in Jerez, but also stuck with the 2008 win for quite a bit of the time. They were never well up the time sheets and they did the lowest mileage of any team at Jerez.
This is a far from ideal state of affairs, but being McLaren they will get it sorted, I’m sure. It’s quite a complex problem, but they have some amazing facilities and they will be running millions of calculations at the factory to find the answer.
Ferrari did not top the time sheets in Jerez last week and seemed to be focussed on working on set up and reliability. I hear from Italian colleagues that both drivers are now really happy with the balance of the car and with the way it works on the various compounds of Bridgestone’s new slick tyre. They also seem pretty confident in their KERS system, which is a huge relief to them.
In Barcelona therefore, I expect them to bring many development parts and their job there will be to unlock more speed, because at the moment it seems that they do not have their noses in front. Part of the reason for that is the cool temperatures in Jerez last week. In the higher temperatures of Bahrain they were faster. The forecast is for clear weather n Barcelona, I’m delighted to say, so a lot of work will get done this week.
Renault are starting to look strong and all the signs are that BMW are doing the trick they did last winter of running with extra fuel to mask true performance. They trundle around and then every now and then do some electric laps, which indicates that the car has a lot of speed.
Toyota have been probably the most consistent team so far with good reliability, high mileage and good speed. Red Bull also looks pretty fast, Vettel did a very fast quali special in Jerez and this could be interesting in terms of the grid, as Webber is a sensational qualifier and I can see him sticking his car right up the front in Melbourne, Vettel too.
It looks like Force India are going to move up the grid as well. They have improved their chassis and the Mercedes/McLaren drivetrain and hydraulics package is a step forward. They’ve had some reliability problems and they were quite late out so they could be struggling to get the cars to the chequered flag in Melbourne, but I think they will be solid midfield runners this year.
So who’s going to be at the back? Well team engineers I’ve spoken to are all surprised at how close the field is, the opposite of what everyone expected with such a massive rule change. They are starting to suggest that it will come down to drivers as to who’s up and who’s down. Yes, the field is that close, the drivers could well make the difference, especially with all the new responsibilities they have in the cockpit with adjustable front wings, KERS etc. If this is the case then it’s brilliant news and I fear for the rookie Sebastien Buemi, for Nelson Piquet and possibly for Kazuki Nakajima, although, like Piquet he had some really good days mixed in with the bad ones last year.
The drivers will make the difference and I’m sure that this is why Ross Brawn went for the experience and speed of Rubens Barrichello over Bruno Senna.
Edit: He needs an editor.
Last edited by teletubby-warrior; March 8th, 2009 at 5:18 AM.
Stewart working for free in 2009
07 March 2009
Sir Jackie Stewart is to work in F1 for no charge in 2009, following the large losses announced by sponsor Royal Bank of Scotland. Scot Stewart has been working with RBS since 2004, which has announced losses of £24bn for 2008.
Stewart, Formula 1 World Champion of 1969, 1971 and 1973, announced he is not expecting payment from RBS this year, in a bid to help the establishment recover during the economic crisis. In a press release issued by the bank, Head of Communications Andrew McLaughlin commented: "He has worked tirelessly and with great success for the group over a number of years. His commitment and loyalty at such a challenging time in the company's long history is greatly appreciated by everyone at RBS."
The bank has also withdrawn from its long-time sponsorship of the Williams team this year as well as with tennis star Andy Murray. McLaughlin added: "Having Jackie's energy and talent focussed on our customers, charity partners and communities in the coming period will be our shared priority."
The company will receive a free year of services from Stewart in 2009, whose current contract will not expire until 2011.
His blog is really great, James Allen needs to be in the BBC team.
As long as he stays away from the mic.
Hmm.. 2009 will sure be exciting to watch! All the preconceived notions of 'best teams' or 'filler teams' will all be gone. It's almost entirely everyone's game. Only 3 more weeks to go!
The first race is going to be great. Not long to go now.
It is very difficult to figure out who has performance and who hasn't. Ferrari and Mclaren should be at the top or at the very least near top. With the new rules we could see some underdog teams taking the lead at the start of the season It would be nice to see Red Bull and Vettel make some good results
3 more weeks to the first race. I'll start the 2009 season thread at the end of the last "winter" test. Devon will continue with the race threads, I'm sure...
Thank God I've got my own racing to think about. Waiting 3 more weeks without motorsport action would kill me.
what racing do you do, Cat?
I've been in talks with a team (run by a man who used to work with Jack Brabham and Jackie Stewart in F1) and he told me if I can get sponsorship, I can race their Mustang next year. It's an official Ford outfit, but not factory supported.
I'm also going to try and get some contacts in Ferrari 430 Challenge and see if I might be able to get something going there as well. It'll be more expensive than the Mustang, though.
Otherwise, other than the full season of regional karting, the only real cars I might drive are 1 or 2 Skippy Formula races and maybe some NASA stuff if I have the spare cash later in the year.
This year's going to kinda suck considering where I should have been right now (Koni Challenge). Still fun to be had in karting, though. If I win that championship I get a test/school session in a Formula 3 car (Formula Masters with an Evo 9 engine), so at least it's not wasting my time. It's good competition, too. A while back when I last raced it, one of the mid-pack guys (and almost always my sparring partner in practices) was the Pro Formula Mazda Western champion that year, and he was a rookie, too. So plenty of talent and good racing. I beat him.
Now look what you've done. I've written a biography.
Last edited by MadCat360; March 9th, 2009 at 1:33 AM.____________________________
hahaha well, it's very interesting to read, anyway. Being a professional driver does seem to be hard
But, you gotta do what you love, and if you love it enough, you should make it. At least that's what I'm hoping.
But I'm OT here, so I'll shut my gob.
Last edited by MadCat360; March 9th, 2009 at 7:39 AM.____________________________
Wow MadCat, that's very interesting to read! All the best with your racing career!
McLaren is quick in Spain!
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