Author: hannahough1

Jonathan Rea named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year for third year in a row

Jonathan Rea has lifted yet another trophy as he was named Irish Motorcyclist of the Year at last night’s Cornmarket Bike Awards.

The three time back-to-back World Superbike Champion took home the Joey Dunlop trophy for the third time in the row, becoming only the second rider ever to do so – the other was Dunlop himself. Rea has now won the award five times having previously been given it in 2007 and 2008. It comes after he placed second in BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in December.

It was a successful night for the Reas at the annual awards – held once again at the Ramada in Belfast – as TT winner Jonathan Rea Snr was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Kawasaki stalwart and Jonny Rea Jnr’s crew chief Pere Riba was also presented with an Outstanding Achievement award.

The presentations were kicked off with a Special Recognition Award for the Enkalon Motorcycle Club – the group who originally founded the Bike Awards – who are due to step away from motorcycle racing after over 40 years of service. The club were presented their award by Eugene Laverty.

Glenn Irwin won two awards including the Greenlight TV Special Recognition Award. The BSB rider won at both the North West 200 and Macau Grand Prix in 2017 and was given the award for entertaining on the track. He also picked up the award for Race of the Year after the North West 200 Superbike race was voted the best by fans. It was a thrilling battle between Irwin, Seeley – who was also there to receive the award – and Ian Hutchinson. Graeme Irwin was also victorious as he won Off Road Rider of the Year.

2017 Irish and Ulster Supertwin, Supersport, and Superbike Champion Derek McGee picked up the award for National Road Racer of the Year after a highly successful year on the roads. Peter Hickman – whose 2017 road racing results included a hat-trick of victories at the Ulster Grand Prix – was named International Road Racer of the Year.

Philip McCallen was on hand to present his sponsored award to the Young Rider of the Year Richard Kerr. Kerr finished fourth in this year’s Motostar British Championship just six points off third place. Cornmarket’s founder Sam Geddis received the Services to Motorcycling Award.

Last year’s British Supersport champion Keith Farmer won the award for Best Rider on British Short Circuits. Jason Lynn, who was recently named Young Rider of the Year at the Masters Superbike Championship awards at the end of last year, picked up the award for Short Circuit Rider of the Year after winning the Masters Supersport championship. Tyco BMW were named Team of the Year.

 

 

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Formula One (Part Three)

Part three of unravelling the complicated world of Formula One

GATES

There have been a number of scandals in recent years, and while these are best left in the past they are often mentioned by fans or referenced to by other people, so it is useful to at least understand what they are.

1) 2007 – Spygate

Involving: McLaren and Ferrari

This came about when it was alleged that McLaren were in possession of confidential technical information belonging to the Ferrari team. McLaren were called to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) in July of 2007 for being in breach of Article 151c (bringing the sport into disrespute). They were found guilty, however there was no penalty as there was insufficient evidence. The matter was then referred to the FIA Court of Appeal as others found that the no penalty was unfair as McLaren were clearly breaching rules.

E-mails between Fernando Alonso (McLaren driver at the time), Pedro de la Rosa (test driver at McLaren) and Mike Coughlan (senior engineer) were presented as evidence and the result of the second hearing was that McLaren were fined $100m and excluded from the 2007 Constructors’ Championship.

In 2008 both teams released a statement saying that all disputes are now over between them (however, seperate court proceedings were continued against Nigel Stepney, the Ferrari engineer implemented in the case).

Rivalry between McLaren and Ferrari has always been big (see later section) so this particular incident was also big between McLaren and Ferrari fans and occasionally some references are still made to 2007.

2) 2008 – Crashgate

Involving: Renault

During the 2008 Singapore GP, Renault ordered Nelson Piquet Jr to crash, meaning that the Safety Car would come out and team-mate Fernando Alonso could subsequently use it to his advantage. Piquet Jr crashed on lap 14 off the lap, at the time shrugging it off as a mistake. Because of the position of the crash, a Safety Car was a necessity and Fernando Alonso, having made his pitstop, used this to his advantage and went on to win the race.

When Renault let Nelson Piquet Jr go after the Hungarian GP of 2009, he made his allegations that Flavio Briatore (Managing Director) and Pat Symonds (Executive Director) had ordered him to crash deliberately. Renault were called to face an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC, and just before this hearing Renault announced they would not be contesting the charges and that Briatore and Symonds had left the team.

At the trial Renault were handed a two year disqualification, however this was suspended for two years and would only be carried out if they were found guilty of a similar offence. Briatore was handed a permanent ban from working in F1 or any other FIA goverened motor sports, while Symonds received a five year ban. Both bans were later overturned in court, however neither can work in F1 until 2013, or other FIA sports until the end of 2011.

3) 2009 – Liegate

Involving: McLaren and Toyota

In Formula One, if the race is under Safety Car conditions you are not allowed to overtake. An incident on the last couple of laps of the Australian GP in 2009 brought out a Safety Car, which in turn led to ‘Liegate’. Jarno Trulli (Toyota) was in third place, with Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) behind him. Trulli went off the track, meaning Hamilton had no choice but to overtake him, however, Trulli soon regained the position. After the race, the stewards said that Trulli had overtaken under the Safety Car and added 25s to his time, demoting him from his podium position of third to 12th. Trulli stated that Hamilton had slowed down and pulled over, so he had overtaken under the impression that the McLaren driver had a problem. Hamilton told the public that the team had told him to let Trulli repass. Hamilton then changed his story and told the stewards that the team had told him no such thing and he had not consciously let him pass.

Both drivers were summoned to a stewards’ inquiry before the Malaysian GP. Hamilton continued to insist that the team had not given him orders to let Trulli repass and that he had not intentionally let him pass, despite being played audio from his team radio which clearly showed that he was not being honest. In the end the stewards disqualified Hamilton from the race, and excluded McLaren from getting any constructor’s points from that race due to the fact they had misled them. McLaren’s Sporting Director, Dave Ryan, was suspended and McLaren once again found themselves in front of the FIA for being in breach of Article 151c. They were handed a suspended three race ban which would only be enforced if a similar offence was committed. Dave Ryan was later sacked and Hamilton issued an apology for his part in the scandal.

4) 2010 Team-ordergate

Involving: Ferrari

Team orders have been banned in Formula One since 2002, after an incident which saw Jean Todt (then team boss of Ferrari)  told Rubens Barrichello to pull over and let team-mate Michael Schumacher pass him so that Schumacher could win the World Championship. During the 2010 German GP, a similar incident appeared to take place on track. Ferrari driver Felipe Massa was leading the race from team-mate Fernando Alonso (who was closer to his rivals in terms of Championship standings). The controversy started when Massa received a message over the radio from his engineer Rob Smedley. The message “Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm that you understood that message?”. It appeared that Massa did understand the message as, at the next hairpin, he slowed considerably and Alonso was able to take the lead. Smedley then reappeared on the radio and said “Ok, good lad. Sorry”.

Ferrari denied that team orders had been used. Tensions were obviously high and Massa looked uncomfortable in the post race press conferences, attempting to side step the issue when questions were asked.

Later Ferrari were fined $100,000 for the use of team orders, and had to face the FIA at an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC. The fine stood, but Ferrari kept their points.

Article 39.1, which forbade team orders, has since been removed from the regulations after it was agreed that team orders are always going on in one way or another in teams, just not as blatantly as the Ferrari incident. However, Article 151c is still in place, so teams cannot abuse team orders.

Anyway, those are the ‘gates’ of the past four years. As said at the start, these are best left in the past but are sometimes brought up or referenced. So now you know!

RIVALRIES

Obviously all 24 drivers are fighting each other on track for position and there are rivalries between teams and drivers, but some have been more prominent than others. In the past there has been Prost vs Senna and Schumacher vs Hakkinen, but more recently there have been rivalries between Alonso and Hamilton, and Webber and Vettel and the most famous one of all: Ferrari vs McLaren.

Fernando Alonso vs Lewis Hamilton

This rivalry started when they were team-mates at McLaren for the 2007 season. Fernando Alonso joined the team, having just won the 2006 World Championship with Renault, his second successive title in two years. He could be forgiven for believing he would be number one at McLaren, and this was certainly what it said on his car. However, he didn’t bargin for having Lewis Hamilton has a team-mate. Hamilton had been involved with McLaren from a young age, and after successfully winning the GP2 Championship, he graduated to F1 in 2007, becoming McLaren’s number two driver. Hamilton finished on the podium for the first nine GPs, winning his first F1 race in only his sixth race. He soon launched himself into a strong challenging position to fight for the Championship.

While there were suggestions of tensions between the team-mates throughout the year, it became clear at the Hungarian GP that relationships were really falling apart. During Qualifying for the event, Alonso held up Hamilton in the pits, meaning that Hamilton didn’t have time to set another qualifying lap and therefore lost out on pole (which went to Alonso). It came out afterwards that Hamilton had been the one to initially ignore an order from the team to let Alonso pass him. However, Alonso was punished for his pitlane move and was relegated to sixth on the grid, promoting Hamilton to pole.

This is where tensions also appeared to be fraught between Alonso and then team boss Ron Dennis, as more started to come out about ‘Spygate’ (see above). Despite the fact he was contracted for 2008, Alonso left McLaren and returned to Renault at the end of the 2007 season.

Mark Webber vs Sebastian Vettel

Back in 2007, during a wet race at the Japanese GP, Sebastian Vettel recklessly crashed into Mark Webber, ending both of their races when they were in podium positions behind the Safety Car. Webber was obviously annoyed, and said after the crash “bloody kids, f*cking it up”.

During Sebastian Vettel’s Championship winning year in 2010 (Red Bull were also Constructor’s Champions) there were obvious tensions between the team-mates, as both were in close contention for the title.

Rule number one of Formula One: do not take out your team-mate!

During the Turkish GP in 2010, Webber was leading a Red Bull 1-2. Vettel tried an overtaking move, but appeared to move across too soon, sending Webber and himself into a spin and off the track. Webber was able to continue, but Vettel was out of the race. The collision also handed a 1-2 finish to McLaren.

Another incident occured at the British GP, when, after Vettel damaged his wing in practice, the team took the decision to take Webber’s (new) front wing and give it to Vettel, suggesting that Webber was definitely the number two driver. Webber went on to win the race and after doing so, came on the team radio to say “not bad for a number two driver”.

In many interviews toward the end of the season, Webber insisted that he would never be best friends with Vettel, but at the end of the day they are there to compete with each other as both want to win the championship. Both Webber and Vettel will continue with Red Bull for the 2011 season.

Ferrari vs McLaren

The rivalry between Ferrari and McLaren goes way back. It has been heavily publicised as things have heated up between them on and off the track. In recent years we have seen them fight against each other for the Championship (2007 – Kimi Raikkonen vs Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, 2008 – Felipe Massa vs Lewis Hamilton). In 2009, a year which saw Brawn GP (now Mercedes GP) and Red Bull Racing fight it out for the Championship, both Ferrari and McLaren found themselves playing catch up and their rivalry continued against each other for third in the Constructors’ Championship – McLaren won that particular battle). There is also a traditional rivalry between fans of Ferrari (the Tifosi) and McLaren.

These are just a few of the key rivalries in Formula One at the minute, however there are of course more.

COMING UP IN PART FOUR:

– Overtaking

-Memorable crashes



A Beginner’s Guide to Formula One (Part Two)

Part two of unravelling the complicated world of Formula One

THE GRIDWALK

Before most races, BBC commentator Martin Brundle goes out onto the packed grid and interviews people including drivers, team personnel, VIPs, Presidents and random people. The gridwalk is a definite highlight of the pre-race coverage.

VIPs and Presidents

On his gridwalk, Martin Brundle will often encounter ‘VIPs’ who are there as guests of particular teams or drivers. Occasionally these guests are not really sure what is going on so are not talked to for long. Bernie Ecclestone (the boss of F1) will also bring Presidents or Royalty of the country to meet Martin on his gridwalk – including the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the President of Australia.

“I was having a sh*t”

Sometimes on live television, unexpected things happen such as Kimi Raikkonen’s infamous “I was having a sh*t” quote from Brazil in 2006. Seven times World Champion Michael Schumacher had announced his retirement and was being presented with a trophy by Pele on the grid before his final race*. Martin was doing his gridwalk, and found Kimi Raikkonen at the side of the grid, standing with his race engineer under an umbrella, away from the sun. When asked by Martin if he would get over missing the presentation, Kimi responded with “Yeah, I was having a sh*t” which caused Martin to laugh and thank him for sharing. Martin then commented how they then knew that his car would be nice and light. (This was before the refuelling ban which is currently in F1).

* Michael Schumacher returned from his retirement in 2010, racing for the Mercedes GP team.

Tanja Bauer

Tanja Bauer, a German TV presenter, and Martin Brundle frequently meet on the grid, quite often fighting each other for interviews.

The Brundle Curse

Over the years, many drivers that Martin Brundle has talked to on his gridwalk have had unfortunate accidents or bad luck in the race. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it has happened and now driver interviews are becoming less frequent on the grid – have they finally realised that if they talk to him their race could be ruined? An example of this is, during Lewis Hamilton’s rookie season he requested that nobody interviewed him on the grid before races as he wanted to remain “in the zone” and BBC respected this. However, at the Chinese GP Martin talked to Lewis on the grid for the first time that year and in the race Lewis suffered his first DNF of the year – coincidence?

Random People

Sometimes Martin finds and interviews random people who he knows nothing about, just to find out who they are and what they’re doing there.

At some races it is not feasible for Martin to do his gridwalk as it is too far from the commentary box, where he needs to be for the start of the race. Occasionally he will be accompanied by either Eddie Jordan or David Coultard.

FOR SURE

You cannot watch Formula One without understanding and knowing about ‘For Sure’. For Sure is a phrase used by all drivers and is used in pre-race interviews, post-race interviews and press conferences. It is unusual you will hear any interview with an F1 driver without the mandatory ‘for sure’ thrown in. Fans all over the world have all noticed the excessive use of it and two years ago, one team even had a ‘For Sure World Championship’ on their website Felipe Massa, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel are particularly fond of the ‘for sure’ phrase. An example of how it would be used:

“For sure I had a good race”

or

“It was difficult for sure”

‘For Sure’ continues to be a prominent phrase in Formula One and does not appear that it will be fizzling out any time soon.

DRIVER TRAITS/PERSONALTIES/NICKNAMES

A number of drivers in the paddock have particular traits/mannerisms or nicknames.

Sebastian Vettel and his finger

Look at any picture of Sebastian Vettel after he has secured pole position/won the race and he will undoubtedly have his index finger raised to indicate that he is number one.

‘Quick’ Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld is known around the paddock and amongst fans as ‘Quick Nick’.

Nico ‘Britney’ Rosberg

Nico Rosberg is known as Britney, possibly because of his longish blonde hair. Last year, Nico tweeted a picture of his passport which someone had taped a picture of Britney Spears to over his own photograph.

Jenson ‘JB’ Button

An obvious one, but he is often referred to as JB. He is also known for his ‘smooth’ driving, so listen out for that word a lot when JB is being talked about.

Nico ‘The Hulk’ Hulkenberg

Another fairly obvious one. The Hulk is reserve driver for Force India.

Michael ‘Schumi’ Schumacher

Michael Schumacher is sometimes called Schumi. In the past he has also been known as the Regenmeister (rain master) as he was often very successful in wet races. There are other drivers on the grid now who could also take this title. He also used to have a signature jump when he won races before he retired in 2006, since his return in 2010 he has not won so it is unclear as to whether he still does the jump.

Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok, former HRT driver, was a popular addition to the F1 grid in 2010. The Hispania Racing Team changed their drivers a number of times throughout the season and when Chandhok was sidelined he sometimes joined the 5LiveF1 commentary team for Friday Practice, and gained the nickname ‘Karunipedia’ due to his extraordinary knowledge of everything F1.

Felipe Massa

Ever since the Malaysian GP of 2009 (see below), fans have continued to refer to Massa as ‘Felipe Baby’.

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi is well known for his overtaking, at times getting extra close or touching other cars on his way past. For a while he was known as ‘Kobaybashi’. He is also sometimes referred to as Koby.

Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli used to be referred to as the ‘one lap specialist’ as he was able to pull out stunning qualifying laps and qualify well. However, when it comes to raceday, commentators are talking about the ‘Trulli train’ in that he gets in front of other cars and they all get stuck behind him because he is not on the pace/difficult to overtake.

F1 AND WEATHER

Weather conditions in Formula One can really mix up a race. When rain is forecast, the anticipation of waiting for it to arrive is almost too much sometimes. Every team has a high tech weather radar which can predict when rain is coming, however this will not always be entirely accurate. A prime example of this was during qualifying for the Malaysian GP in 2010. It was a wet start to qualifying but some teams were convinced that the rain would pass and track condition would improve. However, it didn’t and big names such as Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa found themselves out after failing to set a fast enough time.

Quite often when a driver gets a “rain in 10 minutes” message over their radio, rain will not appear. Even with all the technology in the world, sometimes all you can do is wait for the rain to actually fall.

When it rains, drivers can use Intermediate tyres or Extreme Wets (for very wet weather), however if they are on track on slicks and it begins to rain then they have to be careful not to slide off the track on their way round to the pits.

Examples

2007 European GP

There was chaos during the opening laps of the 2007 European GP at the Nurburgring when many drivers were on Intermediate tyres rather than the Extreme Wets they should have been on. This resulted in a very expensive car park at turn one as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi found themselves in the gravel (in quick succession), with Anthony Davidson aquaplaning off the track as well but managing to keep it out of the gravel. Nick Heidfeld, who managed to keep his car on the track, was heard on the radio complaining to his team that it was “undriveable”.

2009 Malaysian GP

Heavy rain caused the Malaysian GP 0f 2009 to be red flagged and cancelled and half points were awarded as the required 75% had not been covered. During the red flag period (before it had been decided that the race would not be restarted) Kimi Raikkonen was spotted in the Ferrari garage helping himself to an ice-cream. Meanwhile team-mate Felipe Massa was requesting a white visor as he couldn’t see anything, which prompted the “Felipe baby” response from race engineer Rob Smedley.


2010 Korean GP

The inaugural Korean GP proved to be a dramatic one as it rained heavily before the race was due to start, causing the race to be started under the safety car. The safety car stayed out for a number of laps as drivers reported back to the their teams via the radio that the weather was too bad to start in. Lewis Hamilton, however, was urging them to properly starting the race, stating that he had dealt with much worse. When the race was restarted, Mark Webber lost control of his car and ended his own and Nico Rosberg’s race.

Wet, but wet enough?

Sometimes rain showers can be light and not last for very long – meaning drivers could stay out on the slick tyres, but they would have to drive extra carefully. During the Belgium GP in 2010, raing arrived towards the end of the race, however it wasn’t wet enough for Intermediate tyres so most drivers stayed on slicks. Race leader Lewis Hamilton found himself off the track and in the gravel due to the slippiness of the track, however, he somehow managed to keep the car going and went on to win the race.

Sometimes, as the track conditions improve, it is a case of waiting to see who blinks first to change tyre compounds. Jenson Button is particularly well known for picking the right tyre at the right time and it has helped him win races.

The Brazilian GP of 2008 is a great example of how quickly the conditions can effect the tyres and turn races on their heads. Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton were the two championship contenders going into the race, and as the race neared it’s end Felipe Massa was winning with Lewis Hamilton in fifth, which had it ended like that then Hamilton would have become World Champion. Rain started to fall on lap 63 of 71 meaning many drivers pitted to swap to Intermediate tyres as the rain became heavier. Timo Glock (Toyota) was fuelled to finish the race (in the days of re-fuelling) and he stayed out on his slicks, hoping that the rain would not become so bad that he would have to pit anyway. Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel found themselves behind Glock, and as Hamilton fought to fend off Vettel, to hold onto the position he needed to win the championship he slipped off the track and allowed Vettel through. With two laps to go it looked like the championship had slipped away from Hamilton and would be Massa’s for the taking. However, on the last lap, in the final couple of corners of the race, Glock found his tyres were no longer suitable for the current weather positions and was struggling, allowing Vettel and Hamilton to pass and for Hamilton to consequently take the championship.

COMING UP IN PART 3:

-Gates

-Rivalries

-Memorable crashes/accidents

-Overtaking


A Beginner’s Guide to Formula One (Part 1)

Ever sat down to watch an Formula 1 race and wondered what on earth was going on? Want to know why a race is more than just 26 cars going round and round a track? Read on to find out all you need to know about the world’s leading motorsport.

THE BASICS

24 drivers, driving for 12 teams, take part in 19 rounds*, visiting 18 different countries** in 9 months, with 1 goal: the Formula One World Championship.

At each race there are four sessions: two one and a half hour long practice sessions on Friday, one hour long practice session on Saturday, Qualifying on Saturday and the all important race on Sunday.

*There were supposed to be 20 rounds, but it is as yet unknown as to whether or not Bahrain will be rescheduled or completely cancelled

**19 countries if Bahrain goes ahead

Practice

During the Friday and Saturday practice sessions teams have the opportunity to test parts on their car and run as little or as much as they want. Sometimes a team will run their test/reserve drivers on the Friday. During the Saturday session it is more likely you will see a true indications of the pace of the cars.

Qualifying

Qualifying is split into three parts: Q1, Q2 and Q3. Q1 lasts 20 minutes and in that time all 24 cars take part, trying to set as fast a lap time as they can. At the end of the session the slowest seven cars will be knocked out, and they will start the race in the order they finished that session. So, for example, if a car ended the session 20th fastest then they would start the race in 20th (bar any penalties, see later section).

For Q2 all of the times are wiped and the remaining 17 cars go out for a 15 minute session. As before, the slowest seven cars will be knocked out and they will fill grid positions 11-17.

The final 10 minutes, or Q3, is the pole position shoot out when the remaining 10 cars all attempt to secure pole position. The fastest three drivers will then feature in a press conference after the session.

Race

Before the race the drivers will do a lap of the circuit, otherwise known as the parade lap. Do not be alarmed when the cars start weaving suddenly from side to side as this is standard procedure – it helps to warm up the brakes and tyres before the race starts. When all of the cars are back in their grid positions Charlie Whiting, the race director, will turn the lights on, and when the lights go out the race is on. There are points awarded to the drivers who finish in positions 1-10 (25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1). If a team’s two drivers finish in, for example, second and seventh place then the team will score 18 + 6 points towards the Constructors’ Championship.

If a race runs less than 75% full distance (perhaps due to adverse weather conditions or a bad accident) then half points will be awarded.

If there is an accident that leaves debris in a dangerous position on the track, or a car stops on the track then the Safety Car will be deployed. This controls the pace of the race and slows the cars right down until the danger has passed. There is no overtaking allowed behind the Safety Car and a driver who does so will be penalised.

Penalties

If a driver is deemed to have blocked another driver in qualifying (therefore hindering their lap time) they could receive a 10 place grid drop. They can also receive grid drops of five places if they change their gearbox after Qualifying if it has not completed the set number of races it must do/if a team uses more than their allowed eight engines.

During the race drive through and ten second time penalites can be handed out to drivers if they commit any of the following offences: jumping the start, causing an avoidable accident, blocking another driver unfairly, ignoring blue flags or impeding another driver when being lapped, speeding in the pitlane or gaining an unfair advantage by leaving the track. If an incident occurs in the last five laps of the race, the driver could receive 25s added to their time which could send them right down the standings.

Flags

There are a number of flags you may see being waved during the race by marshalls:

Chequered Flag

Shows that the practice session/qualifying session has finished. Also waved when the winner of the Grand Prix crosses the line.

Yellow Flag

A single yellow flag indicates that a driver should slow down as there is danger ahead (such as a car stopped on track). Double yellows indicate that drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop. Overtaking is NOT allowed under yellow flag conditions.

Red Flag

This means that the race or session has stopped – due to an accident or poor weather or track conditions.

Green Flag

A green flag means that drivers have passed the danger zone as indicated by the yellow flag. They can return to race speed and are allowed to overtake.

Blue Flag

This indicates to a driver that he is about to be lapped. If a driver ignores three blue flags then he may receive a penalty.

Yellow and Red striped Flag

Indicates oil on the track or a slippery surface.

Black Flag with an Orange Circle

Shown to an individual driver, it indicates that they must return to the pits as their is a mechanical problem with their car.

Half Black, Half White Flag

Again shown to an individual driver it warns of unsporting behaviour.

Black Flag

Signals to a driver he has been excluded from the race and must return to the pits.

THE PITWALL

During the race key team personnel such as drivers’ engineers, team bosses and strategists can communicate with the drivers via team radio. Some of this radio is heard on the television broadcast, however the transmission is sometimes delayed and does not necessarily correspond with the action you may be seeing on track at the time. Over the past few years there have been a number of radio transmissions which have stuck in the mind:

“Fernando is faster than you” – Rob Smedley’s (Felipe Massa’s race engineer) coded message to his driver, which resulted in Massa allowing team mate Fernando Alonso to pass and consequently win the race. Ferrari received a fine and appeared in front of the World Motor Sport Council.

“Bloody kids, f**king it up!” – Mark Webber’s exclamation after an error from Sebastian Vettel (before they were Red Bull team-mates) behind the Safety Car cost them both podium positions at a wet Japanese Grand Prix.

“Not bad for a number two driver” – Another Mark Webber radio moment, after he won the British Grand Prix. Many felt that Red Bull favoured Sebastian Vettel during the year.

“Felipe baby, stay cool!” – Rob Smedley’s reassuring words to Massa, after Massa frantically requested a white visor during a wet Malaysian Grand Prix while the race was red flagged.

Also on the pitwall it is not uncommon to see worried faces and people constantly on the radio to their drivers, letting them know every little thing about how the race is unfolding.

WHERE TO WATCH?

(UK) BBC provide comprehensive coverage of all the Practice sessions, Qualifying and the Race. Friday and Saturday Practice are broadcast live on the Red Button service or you can also follow it online at the BBC F1 website with commentary from the 5LiveF1 team. Qualifying is shown live on BBC1 as is the race.

The coverage is fronted by Jake Humphrey, and he is accompanied by ex team boss Eddie Jordan (who always wears vibrant shirts and sometimes dodgy trousers) and ex-F1 driver David Coulthard. This year DC (Coulthard) also takes up the role of commentator, alongside lead commentator Martin Brundle. In the pits Lee McKenzie and Ted Kravitz will be getting all of the latest information how and when they can by speaking to people in the paddock and pitlane. Lee is always on hand to get a quick chat with drivers who are no longer in the race.

The 5Live team is led by popular commentator David Croft and he is normally accompanied by driver Anthony Davidson. They have proved to be a popular duo. Quite often they will be joined by other people including “Karunipedia” (Karun Chandhok), a popular driver who made his F1 debut in 2010 with an astounding knowledge of his sport.

Coming up in Part 2:

-The Gridwalk

-For Sure

-Driver traits/personalities/nicknames

-F1 & Weather

Testing: Barcelona 18th-21st February

This weekend teams were at the Circuit de Catalunya, home of the Spanish GP, for the penultimate test of the pre-season. The times for all four days of the test are as follows:

1. Massa 1:22.625
2. Rosberg 1:23.168
3. Vettel 1:23.315
4. Webber 1:23.442
5. Petrov 1:23.463
6. Alguersuari 1:23.519
7. Buemi 1:23.550
8. Heidfeld 1:23.657
9. Hamilton 1:23.858
10. Alonso 1:23.978
11. Barrichello 1:24.008
12. Maldonado 1:24.057
13. Sutil 1:24.177
14. Kobayashi 1:24.243
15. Perez 1:24.515
16. Button 1:23.923
17. di Resta 1:25.194
18. Trulli 1:25.353
19. Kovalainen 1:26.421
20. D’Ambrosio 1:26.501
21. Glock 1:26.598
22. Liuzzi 1:27.044
23. Schumacher 1:27.079
24. Mondini 1:28.178 (HRT)
25. Ricciardo 1:28.329 (STR)
26. Karthikeyan 1:28.393
27. Teixeira 1:31.584 (Team Lotus)

There was rain during the test which allowed the team to collect data on the Intermediate Pirelli tyres. Ferrari and Red Bull Racing looked particularly strong through the test as both teams carried out race simulations with similar lap times through out. McLaren continued evaluating their new car, however, suffered with some reliability issues which compromised the number of laps they could run. The Lotus Renault continued to perform while Mercedes GP appeared to be overcoming their reliability issues.

The test also saw the return of ex-Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi who is currently without a drive for the 2011 season. He was testing for HRT and it is expected that discussions will take place between himself and the team to try and secure the race seat.

Testing was overshadowed slightly by the news of the current situation in Bahrain. Questions were raised about whether or not it would be safe to hold the opening race of the season there on March 13th, just under three weeks away. There were also doubts about whether the final pre-season test, due to be held in Bahrain the week before the GP, would go ahead. The GP2 Asia race was cancelled last weekend amidst fears of safety. On Monday 21st February, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa confirmed that organisers of the Bahrain GP had decided to cancel the event. It is unclear whether the race will be rescheduled, but with a jam-packed calendar it looks likely the event could be missed out altogether. The pre-season test was also cancelled.

A further test has been scheduled for Barcelona for 8th-11th March, two weeks before the season opener in Australia.

Testing: Jerez 10th-13th February

Pre-season testing continued this weekend, this time in Jerez with every team in attendance (apart from HRT). McLaren, Force India and Marussia Virgin Racing had their 2011 cars on the track for the first time. The main talking point this week in Formula One was Robert Kubica‘s rally accident which left him with multiple fractures to his hand, arm and leg. After successful surgery it was thought he would face at least a year out of the cockpit, however, Kubica himself vows to be back racing in 2011. With a replacement driver looking to be a more long-term thing, Lotus Renault GP called on experienced driver Nick Heidfeld to test in Jerez. They also gave one of their five reserve drivers, Bruno Senna, a run in the car. There has been no official confirmation as of yet, but it is likely that Heidfeld will secure the seat and drive alongside Vitaly Petrov.

The four days of testing were repeatedly interrupted by red flags with many drivers stopping on track, or taking excursions into the gravel. On the final day the session was interrupted by a light rain shower allowing teams to test the intermediate tyres. However, because this rain appeared in the last half an hour of the test there was not enough time to gather any meaningful wet weather and intermediate tyre data.

The times from all four days of the test are as follows:

1. Barrichello 1:19.832
2. Schumacher 1:20.352
3. Heidfeld 1:20.361
4. Massa 1:20.413
5. Alonso 1:20.493
6. Kobayashi 1:20.601
7. Button 1:21.009
8. Hamilton 1:21.099
9. Buemi 1:21.213
10. Alguersuari 1:21.214
11. Senna 1:21.400
12. Perez 1:21.483
13. Webber 1:21.522
14. Vettel 1:21.574
15. Kovalainen 1:21.632
16. Ricciardo 1:21.755
17. Sutil 1:21.780
18. Rosberg 1:22.103
19. Glock 1:22.208
20. Vitaly Petrov 1:22.493
21. Pastor Maldonado 1:22.591
22. di Resta 1:22.945
23. D’Ambrosio 1:22.985
24. Trulli 1:23.216

As always, times cannot be read into too much as we do not know what programmes teams were running. Drivers carrying out longer heavy fuel stints on the Pirelli tyres noticed a huge drop off in performance and lap times. Williams continued to have problems with their KERS system, while Nico Rosberg suffered more reliability issues with his Mercedes GP car.

The penultimate pre-season test commences on the 18th February in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya, the home of the Spanish GP.

What’s new for 2011?

There are once again a number of changes in Formula One as we head into a new season. These are outlined below.

RETURN OF KERS

KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) was first used in 2009, but it was mutually agreed by all teams to drop it for 2010. It has been re-introduced for 2011. KERS stores the energy produced under braking which can then be used for an added ‘boost’ in acceleration. Each driver can only use a certain amount of this per lap, and this will be reset every time they cross the line. The downside of KERS can be that, because of the extra weight distribution, taller or heavier drivers may be at a disadvantage. (Minimum car weight has been raised from 620kg to 640kg which reduces the disadvantage). It also provides a challenge for engineers, as this time out fuel tanks are bigger due to the refuelling ban during races – in 2009 the fuel tanks were smaller, therefore it was easier to accomodate the KERS system.

ADJUSTABLE REAR WINGS

In 2011 drivers will be allowed to adjust the rear wing from the cockpit – when enabled the gap between the main plane and and flap will increase from 10-15mm to 50mm. Drivers will be able to use this system at any time during practice and qualifying, however come race day it cannot be used in the opening two laps and will only be activated when a driver is less than one second behind a car ahead at a pre-determined part of the track.

It is hoped that both the use of KERS and adjustable rear wings will improve overtaking.

F DUCTS AND DOUBLE DIFFUSERS BANNED

In 2011 the use of any system or device which uses driver movement to alter the aerodynamics of the car is banned. This means the F Duct (originally pioneered by McLaren, it required the driver to cover a strategically placed hole to alter the airflow to the rear wing) is no longer allowed. Double diffusers (Brawn GP’s race winning concept) are also banned for 2011, however, single blown diffusers are still allowed.

WHEEL TETHERS

To increase safety and reduce the chances of wheels coming loose, cars are now required to place a second tether on every wheel. The tethers are bigger, stiffer and have to pass a bigger load test. Each tether must be contained in a seperate suspension member.

RETURN OF PIRELLI

Pirelli become the sole supplier of tyres for Formula One after Bridgestone decided to leave after 13 years in the sport. As well as the new tyre supplier, the allocation of tyres has also been reduced for 2011 with drivers now having 11 instead of 14 dry weather tyres available to them for the weekend.

During Friday Practice drivers will receive three sets of tyres (two prime and one option) and they must return one of these sets after FP2. They will then have a further eight sets to use for the remaining sessions, however, one of each specification must be returned before qualifying.

A driver must use both specifications of dry weather tyres during the race, or face being excluded from the results. If intermediate or wet weather tyres are required, drivers do not have to use both specifications of dry if they have only used one. If a dry race is suspended and a driver has not used both types of tyre, then 30s will be added to their race time.

GEARBOXES

Gearboxes must now last five race weekends rather than the previous four.

107% QUALIFYING RULE

In Q1 drivers must set a lap within 107% of the fastest time, or they will not be allowed to start the race. In exceptional circumstances, such as if the driver set a suitable time during practice, the stewards may allow the car to start.

TEAM CURFEWS

A curfew is being introduced, meaning that team personnel will not be allowed into the circuit to work on the cars between midnight and 6am (when practice starts at 10am) and 7am if practice starts at 11am. Every team is permitted four exceptions to this rule during the season.

PENALTIES

Stewards will have greater power to impose more penalties for driving and other rule transgressions. They can now impose time penalties, exclude drivers from race results and in extreme cases suspend them from subsequent events.

TEAM ORDERS

The FIA have dropped the clause in the sporting regulations which banned team orders. However, teams found being in breach of Article 151c (bringing the sport into disrespute) will still find themselves being penalised or in front of the WMSC. While team orders are now technically allowed, this rule is not to be taken advantage of.