Monthly Archives: February 2012

Marussia Fail FIA Crash Test

Marussia F1 team have confirmed that they will not take part in next weeks test after their Chassis failed the FIA Crash Test.

The team who had run the 2011 car for the first two tests held the FIA crash test today (Monday) and have announced that they failed to pass the test.

“The Marussia F1 Team is disappointed to confirm that the planned first test of its 2012 race car – the MR01 – has been delayed as a consequence of not passing the final FIA crash test.” Marussia said in a statement.

“All cars are required to pass 18 FIA-observed tests for homologation to be granted. Despite the fact that the MR01 has passed all 17 of the preceding tests, the regulations require the car to have completed all of the tests before running commences.”

“The team will now not take part in the final pre-season test in Barcelona later this week (1-4 March) and will instead focus its efforts on repeating the crash test at the end of the week.”

Testing continues on Thursday.


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Catalunya: Day 3

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado has amazingly topped the time sheets today at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain. The driver who is entering his second year in the sport, drove for 106 laps today, and that was more than enough to earn him top spot by nearly a full second. He also beat the previous fastest testing time (Held by Nico Hulkenberg) by 3-tenths of a second!

In 2nd place was Michael Schumacher. Schumi brought the MGP WO3 around in a lap time of 1.23.384 after 127 laps.

In 3rd place was Saubers Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver completed 99 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya in which he set a fastest lap time of 1.23.582.

Jenson Button in the MP4-27 was fourth overall. The Brit who came 2nd in last years championship and is expected to be Vettels number one rival for this year, brought the car around in 1.23.918 and racked up 114 laps.

Toro Rosso’s rookie, Jean-Eric Vergne completed 78 laps during the day during which he set a best lap time of 1.24.433.

Mark Webber took over from team mate Sebastian Vettel today and came in 6th. The Aussie completed 97 laps of Catalunya, but suffered from a Gearbox problem for most of the day and failed to extract the full potential from the car. He achieved a best lap of 1.24.771.

Felipe Massa driving for Ferrari completed 84 laps and achieved exactly the same time as Mark Webber in 6th place – 1.24.771.

In 8th place, Paul Di Resta completed 83 laps with a fastest lap of 1.25.646. In 9th place was Timo Glock for Marussia who achieved a fastest time of 1.26.173 after 108 laps.

Russian Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham brought up the rear with 1.26.448 after 70 laps.

Lotus and Hispania did not compete in the tests. Lotus withdrew after a problem with their chassis and Hispania did not come to Catalunya because they have still not passed the FIA Crash tests.

Just a reminder, The testing times are not to be taken as a good guide to the teams. The teams are completing various tests and may be sandbagging to not give away their real pace.

Unofficial Thursday test times from Barcelona:
1. Pastor Maldonado, Williams, 1:22.391, 106 Laps
2. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 1:23.384, 127 Laps
3. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:23.582, 99 Laps
4. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:23.918, 114 Laps
5. Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, 1:24.433, 78 Laps
6. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:24.771, 97 Laps
7. Felipe Masssa, Ferrari, 1:24.771, 84 Laps
8. Paul di Resta, Force India, 1:25.646, 83 Laps
9. Timo Glock, Marussia*, 1:26.173, 108 Laps
10. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 1:26.448, 70 Laps

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Catalunya: Day 2

German driver Nico Hulkenberg has continued his strong form by topping the timesheets in Catalunya. The driver who is returning to F1 with Force India, after spending a year as a reserve driver, was 2nd fastest in yesterday’s test. Today, he completed 112 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1.22.608.

In 2nd place was Sergio Perez in the S31. The Mexican driver racked up 85 laps with a time of 1.22.648, just .040 off Nico Hulkenberg.

In 3rd place was defending world champion Sebastian Vettel. The German who topped the time sheets yesterday completed 104 laps of Catalunya before setting a lap time of 1.22.891.

Fernando Alonso driving for Ferrari came in 4th place with a lap time of 1.23.981 after 87 laps. Behind him, Daniel Ricciardo in a Toro Rosso completed 50 laps and had a fastest lap time of 1.23.639. McLaren’s

Lewis Hamilton in the MP4-27 for McLaren completed the most laps of anybody today – 120 laps – but could only manage sixth place with a lap time of 1.23.806, 1.2 off Hulkenberg’s fastest time.

In 7th place, Nico Rosberg brought the MGP WO3 around Catalunya in a time of 1.24.555 after 82 laps.

Behind Rosberg was Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas in eighth. He completed 117 laps of Catalunya with a fastest lap time of 1.25.738.

“I really enjoyed today.” Bottas said. “The FW34 again showed good reliability, as we completed 117 laps while doing some interesting tests with the car set-up. I’m looking forward to assisting the team at race weekends this season and can’t wait to drive the car again.”

In ninth place is Vitaly Petrov who was confirmed at Caterham last friday. The russian had a short enough day and only ran 69 laps. After the session, he had secured a time of 1.26.605.

In last place for today was Charles Pic in the Marussia. He was running the 2011 car as they still have not launched the 2012 car.

Hispania and Lotus did not take part in the test. Hispania have yet to pass the FIA crash test after failing halfway through testing at Jerez. Lotus have a problem with the sidepods and have withdrawn from Catalunya to fix them.

1. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:22.608, 112 Laps
2. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:22.648, 85 Laps
3. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:22.891, 104 Laps
4. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:23.180, 87 Laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:23.639, 50 Laps
6. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:23.806, 120 Laps
7. Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, 1:24.555, 82 Laps
8. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, 1:25.738, 117 Laps
9. Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, 1:26.605, 69 Laps
10. Charles Pic, Marussia, 1:27.343, 108 Laps

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Catalunya: Day 1

Defending world champion Sebastian Vettel has topped the time sheets as the 2nd pre-sesaon tests begin. The Red Bull star completed 79 laps to achieve a top time of 1.23.265.

In 2nd place was Nico Hulkenburg in his return to F1 in a Force India. The German completed 97 laps which was enough to beat Lewis Hamilton in 3rd. The 2008 World Champion racked up 114 in his MP4-27 in which he achieved a best lap time of 1.23.590.

In 4th place was Daniel Ricciardo in an STR7. The Australian was happy with the day. “It was a good day with 76 laps under my belt,” said the Australian. “In the morning, apart from working on the overall development of the car, we were also getting ready for Melbourne, running through various procedures, working to a set time scale, as if it was a race weekend. That went well and in the afternoon, we did some race-type runs which were successful until the car stopped with just the final hour to go.”

Fernando Alonso was next in the ferrari. He completed 75 laps, one less than the man ahead of him and secured a 1.24.100 lap time.

Seven time world champion, Michael Schumacher was 6th in the MGP WO3. Throughout the day, he racked up just 51 laps and this earned him a 1.24.150 lap time, just off the Ferrari of Alonso.

In 7th place was Sergio Perez for Sauber. The mexican brought his car around 66 laps of Catalunya and at the end of the day, his best time was 1.24.219.

Bruno Senna in the Williams was next. He competed 97 laps during the day and brought the Willaims up to 8th out of 11 on the time sheets.

Heikki Kovalainen driving for Caterham followed Senna. Kovalainen completed just 31 laps in the CT-01.

“We had a rear track rod failure on Heikki’s third run this morning which brought him to a halt on track,” explained Caterham’s chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. “As soon as we had the car back in the garage we identified the issue and managed to fix it on site, and we have more parts coming out tonight to make sure we don’t have the same problem again. We know that this car is fundamentally reliable, so the aim for the next three days is to complete the plan for this test and put ourselves back on schedule.”

Romain Grosjean completed 7 laps before a problem with the sidepods caused Lotus to abandon the week of testing.

In 11th was Charles Pic with 121 laps.

Hispania did not have a car at the track as they still have not passed the crash test.

1. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, 1:23.265, 79 Laps
2. Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, 1:23.440, 97 Laps
3. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:23.590, 114 Laps
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, 1:23.618, 76 Laps
5. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:24.100, 75 Laps
6. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, 1:24.150, 51 Laps
7. Sergio Perez, Sauber, 1:24.219, 66 Laps
8. Bruno Senna, Williams, 1:25.711, 97 Laps
9. Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham, 1:26.035, 31 Laps
10. Romain Grosjean, Lotus, 1: 26.809s, 7 Laps
11. Charles Pic, Marussia*, 1:28.026, 121 Laps

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Petrov takes Trulli’s seat at Caterham

Russian driver Vitaly Petrov has replaced Italian Jarno Trulli at caterham, the team said on friday.

Petrov was dropped by Lotus (Renault) At the end of 2011 in favour of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean and failed to find a seat. There was much speculation a few weeks ago that Petrov would by the seat from Trulli but Jarno repeatedly assured the press that his seat was safe.

The Russian was at the team’s factory in Hingham on Friday for a seat fitting ahead of his first run with the team at the second pre-season test in Barcelona next week, Caterham said.

“I have been training hard all winter and am ready to get back into the cockpit and go to work,”  Petrov said “From what I have seen already, our new car is another good step forward from 2011 and now I cannot wait to see how it feels when we get to Barcelona. I would also like to take this chance to thank all my fans and partners for their support and their patience.”

“We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come,” Team principal Tony Fernandes said.

“When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead.”

The Formula one season gets underway in Australia on 16th March.

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Pirelli announce tyre compounds for first three races

Official Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli have announced the tyre compounds that will be used by all twelve teams in the season-opening Australia, second round at Malaysia and third round at China.

For Australia and China, The slick tyres will be White Medium and Yellow Soft compounds. For Malaysia, Pirelli will supply Silver Hard and White Medium.

There are four possible slick compounds, Silver Hard (Most durable), White Medium (Less durable), Yellow Soft (Even less durable) and Red Super-Soft’s (Least durable). Pirelli decide what tyres are used based on tyre characteristics, the track and predicted temperature.

There is no choice in wet tyre choice, with the Green intermediate’s and Blue full wets.

The season starts on March 18th when the lights go out for the Australian Grand Prix

Australia: 16-18th March
Malaysia: 23-25th March
China: 13-15th April

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Charles Pic

On Charles Pic’s 22nd birthday, Ben Sweeney’s F1 Blog looks back on his rise through the feeder series. Usually on a drivers birthday, we write an article on their F1 career such as Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichelllo, but hopefully next year we can write a new article about Pic in F1 and his hugely successful 1st season! Enjoy.

Charles Pic was born on 15 February 1990 in Montélimar, France. He is the brother of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 driver Arthur Pic.

Charles had a successful run in Karting with him winning some races and minor championships. He came close to winning the European Championship ICA Junior.

In 2006, Pic raced in the Formula Renault campus. He finished 3rd overall. Pic raced in the Championnat de France Formula Renault 2.0 (Where he finished 4th) and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 (Where he finished 3rd) in 2007.

In early 2008, he was signed to Formula Renault 3.5 team Tech 1 racing where he raced alongside fellow french-man Julien Jousse. Pic finished the season in 6th place with 69 points and two wins, Le Mans and an amazing performance at Monaco where he dominated the whole weekend.

He stayed with Tech 1 for 2008 and also joined the Renault Driver Development programme. He had a slow start to 2008 with a retirement in the first race but he recovered and secured two race wins, at Silverstone and Nurburgring. Pic finished 2009 3rd overall with 94 points.

In 2009, Pic graduated to GP2 Asia with Arden International, stayed with them for two years and continued with the team into the 2010 GP2 Series season. Pic claimed his first victory for the team, winning the sprint race of the first Bahrain round and also won the first race of the main 2010 season at the Circuit de Catalunya. He finished tenth overall with 28 points.

For 2011, Pic moved to Barwa Addex team where he partnered dutch Giedo Van Der Garde, who is Caterham’s reserve driver for 2012. He didn’t score points in the Asia series but he scored a main series win at Catalunya, leading home team mate Garde for a 1-2 for the team. He won in Monaco which moved him up to 3rd place in the championship. He qualified on pole for Valencia but retired from both races and dropped back in the championship. He finished the season in fourth place with 52 points, 3 points ahead of Garde.

In November 2011, He took part in the young driver test at Abu Dhabi for Marussia Virgin racing. After the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix (Which ended the F1 season) It was announced that Pic would replace Belgian rookie Jerome d’Ambrosio for the 2012 season. He will drive the number 25 car and partner German Timo Glock.

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