F1Weekly podcast # 568

Photo: gp3media

F1weekly podcast number 568 china preview.

On the GP3 front MW Arden’s Mitch Evans quickest on day two at Silverstone

The final pre-season test concluded in Silverstone today before the GP3 Series heads to Barcelona next month to kick start the 2012 season. The session got underway under dark clouds on a chilly morning at a slippery circuit which was declared wet at the start of the test. Maxim Zimin stepped into the Jenzer Motorsport and was fastest for the first hour until Tio Ellinas in his Marussia Manor Racing car took control of the timesheets. The morning test was eventful: five red flags occurred with several drivers getting caught out in the tricky conditions.

Antonio Felix Da Costa went top as the times continued to improve on a drying track as the drivers switched from wet tyres to slicks. Aaro Vainio then shot to P1 as the session was red flagged when Kotaro Sakurai spun off into the gravel. Ocean Racing Technology’s Robert Cregan suffered a technical issue when he was forced to stop on the circuit, giving a premature end to his morning test.

The position at the top of the timings then changed numerous times before Felix Da Costa regained his place back at the head of the standings. Conor Daly and Ellinas jumped up to P2 and P3 ahead of William Buller who was confirmed as driving for Carlin for 2012 this morning. David Fumanelli, Marlon Stockinger, Vainio, Daniel Abt, Matias Laine and Kevin Ceccon completed the top ten.

Following the one hour lunch break, it was the fastest man from day one, Mitch Evans who set the early pace in the afternoon. The New Zealander quickly improved on his best time from yesterday by a tenth of a second setting a lap of 1’50.150. Buller then made a trip into the gravel, thus causing a halt to proceedings. As the rest of the drivers concentrated on long runs and some pitstop practice, Laine had a quick, therefore a red flag arose. Within the final forty-five minutes, the rain began to lightly fall, as the session came to a close with Evans heading the pack again. Robert Visiou was a late addition to the top ten and went P2 in the dying stages ahead of Vainio, Fumanelli, Abt, Ellinas, Stockinger, Daly, Laine and Alex Brundle.

GP3 Series is next on track when the 2012 campaign begins at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on 11-13 May.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: HRTF1team

HRT Formula 1 Team presents driver Ma Qing Hua at the Shanghai International Circuit

The official presentation of Ma Qing Hua took place this morning at the Shanghai international Circuit. The Chinese driver joins HRT Formula 1 Team’s driver development programme with the team intending on creating a platform for the formation of professionals in the pinnacle of world motorsport.

The 24 year-old driver born in Shanghai has taken part in various categories of national and international motorsport over the years and, after competing in competitions such as Formula Campus, Formula Renault and F3, Ma Qing Hua reaches Formula 1 at the hand of HRT. Ma says he feels honoured by this opportunity presented by HRT and feels ready to take the step into the pinnacle of motorsport and become the first Chinese driver in Formula 1.

Alongside Ma Qing Hua were Luis Pérez-Sala, HRT Team Principal, and Xiang Tong Chun, Secretary of the Federation of Automobile Sports of China.

Ma Qing Hua: “First of all I must say thank you to everyone for their support and for giving me the opportunity to share with you how honoured I feel because of this opportunity presented to me by HRT Formula 1 Team. I know that I will learn a lot from everyone, especially my teammates, who will surely pass on to me their experience and knowledge. From now on my main objective is to study and learn a lot quickly, I must extract as much information as possible and take in both the most basic concepts and the most technical and specialized ones of Formula 1. Thank you very much to everyone for all the support you have given me”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “This year we have two experienced drivers, Pedro and Narain, who we’re very happy with, since they’re helping us to develop in the path that we wish to follow. We also have a driver development programme which started with Dani Clos and that Ma Qing Hua has joined in order for him to develop alongside us. I’ve spent years forming young talents and that is why I know Ma from a few years back and I know what his potential is. Before incorporating him we tested him on our simulator in Barcelona and with a World Series car in Valencia. The data which we obtained proved what we already believed, that he is a very good driver. He’s very secure, sensible in the car and has a strong and balanced mentality. Because of all this we believe that we can help him in his development as a Formula 1 driver, we want him to test as much as possible and, if possible, for him to take part in the young driver tests this year”.

Xian Tong Chun, Secretary of the Federation of Automobile Sports of China: “Before anything I must thank everyone for attending this event, I welcome you all to Shanghai. I want to congratulate Ma Qing Hua for this new stage in his professional career that starts at the Spanish outfit HRT Formula 1 Team. In 2004 China entered Formula 1 with the inauguration of this circuit in Shanghai and I thought to myself that in ten years we could maybe see the first Chinese driver inside a Formula 1 car. Not that many years have had to pass for that to practically come true and because of that I am extremely proud to see what Ma Qing Hua has achieved. He is an excellent driver, who has taken part in numerous championships, national and internationally, and last year he won the Chinese Touring Car Championships, so I don’t doubt his potential. I must thank his representative for having discovered this great driver and HRT for giving him this opportunity to form a part of their driver development programme”. 

Ma Qing Hua started racing at the tender age of 8 and won the youth National Karting Championship when he was 12 years old. He continued to race and achieve successful results in karting until 2004, when he entered the Asian Formula Renault Series and won the championship. In 2005 he represented Team China in A1 Grand Prix. From here he would move on to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, before competing in Formula 3 Spain and Formula 3 Spain Copa de España, managing two podiums this season. One year later, the Chinese driver took part in various events of the British Formula 3 International Series. In 2010 he represented Team China for two races in Superleague Formula before moving onto the Chinese Touring Car Championship in 2011 where he came away with the title after four wins and four podiums in the eight-race season.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: susiewolff.com


The Williams F1 Team today confirmed that Susie Wolff will join the team as its Development Driver.

Born in Scotland, Susie Wolff has had the classic racing career, beginning in karting and then moving to junior single-seater series and was twice nominated for the prestigious Young Driver of the Year Award before moving up to DTM. In 2012, Susie will contest her seventh season in DTM.

Frank Williams, Team Principal of the Williams F1 Team:  “Susie is a talented, successful and highly professional racing driver who competes in one of the world’s most fiercely-contested racing series. Susie will join Williams as a Development Driver, in which capacity she will assist us with the development of our simulator and other technical challenges. Susie will also undertake some aerodynamic testing of the FW34 and a full track test in the coming months. Susie will also attend a number of races with us. I should add that, as Susie is married to Toto Wolff, a Director of Williams, her appointment was carefully considered and then approved by the Board, with Toto recusing himself from the process.”

Susie Wolff:  “I would like to thank Sir Frank for giving me this opportunity both on and off the track. I must also thank Mercedes Benz AMG and HWA for supporting me to take up this new experience with Williams. Formula One is the ultimate challenge for any racing driver and it offers me the chance both to apply and to improve the skills I have developed racing in DTM. In return I shall be offering some of my own technical insight and experience – coming from a different discipline – and helping the team engage with its partners. I hope also to demonstrate that women can play a role at the highest levels of motorsport and I shall be working closely with the team on its social responsibility programme in the areas of education and road safety.”

Bernie Ecclestone, Chief Executive of Formula One, welcomed the announcement: “If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that she is very intelligent. I am really looking forward to having her in Formula One.”

Motorsports Mondial


Photo: Williamsf1


Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Having secured our first points of the season in Malaysia with what is a much improved and competitive car the team are eager to move onto Shanghai as soon as possible. The fundamental characteristic of the circuit is that it is aggressive on the tyres and the track will prove a stern test for the FW34 and will be a good indication of how improved our tyre management is compared to last season. Pirelli are bringing the medium (white band) and soft (yellow band) tyres as the prime and option respectively. Whilst having one of the highest maximum speeds of any circuit, overall brake severity is low to medium and most other performance metrics are of a medium severity. The loss through the pit lane is high and the chance of a safety car is quite high too, with typically one per race. The weather can be pretty changeable in Shanghai with large temperature swings and the chance of rain – although hopefully not so dramatic as that encountered during the last race in Kuala Lumpur!

Pastor Maldonado: Shanghai is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar so I am really looking forward to the race. The circuit has a nice combination of slow and medium speed corners and good sequences that are fun to drive. It is also very challenging because it is difficult to get close to the car in front to take advantage of the long DRS zone. We have shown good pace in the first two races and hopefully we can continue to improve here and pick up some points.

Bruno Senna: The car is performing well and showing strong pace so I am confident about our chances in China. I have not raced there for two years so I will have to work hard to re-learn the track, but I have good memories of the circuit because it has a good mix of high speed and low speed corners and good overtaking opportunities. I had a good race in Malaysia and hopefully I can continue that form in Shanghai.

Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: Shanghai is quite a different challenge from Sepang, with the long straight at the back of the circuit and the pit straight raising the percentage of time spent at full throttle. The slower corners, particularly the first complex, however mean the engine is used at relatively lower revs for the rest of the lap. We used the intervening time between Malaysia and China to thoroughly investigate the engine failure we had on Pastor’s car in Malaysia and quickly identified it as a piston failure. As a result we are looking to put in place safeguards to prevent it happening again to Williams or our other clients.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: For China, we’re bringing the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres, which we think will be well-suited to the circuit. Last year, we witnessed one of the best races of the season in China, so there is a tough act to follow. Nonetheless, we’re confident that the choices we’ve made should put an even greater emphasis on strategy – and will form a different challenge to Melbourne, when we first used this combination.


Motorsports Mondial


Photo: lotus f1

HRT F1 team Chinese Grand Prix Preview

It was mission accomplished for HRT Formula 1 Team in Malaysia a couple of weeks ago after both cars qualified and completed their first race of the season after a hard start. The F112 accumulated many kilometres and data on the track and the engineers had a lot of information to work on during the two week period between the race in Sepang and China. Having met the team’s targets last time out, HRT now aims to progress from where it left things in Malaysia and continue improving.

The Shanghai International Circuit is made up of sixteen turns, with nine being right-handers and seven left-handers. Cars reach maximum speeds on the 1.2km straight between corners 13 and 14, where they try and take advantage of the length of the straight to overtake. In China, the team will have a new member on board, Ma Qing Hua, who will be joining the outfit for the first time as a member of the driver development programme at his local Grand Prix.

Pirelli have elected their soft and medium tyres for this grand prix.

Pedro de la Rosa, #22: “After these first two Grands Prix we arrive in China much better prepared, with more mileage and having learned a lot, especially after the Malaysian GP. All the data gathered in the last race is very important for us, as we mustn’t forget that we didn’t have a preseason. Now we have a better insight on the areas where we must improve, but the most important thing in this initial stage is to finish races. That is the prime objective in order to learn and improve race by race. The hardest part comes now but we are better prepared. China is a circuit where I have always done well and a place I know well, both in dry and wet conditions. It’s not a particularly hard track for the car or the driver, but aerodynamics are fundamental”.

Narain Karthikeyan, #23: “We took a step forward in Malaysia and our aim is definitely to carry the momentum into China and rest of the season. Although we managed to finish the race, cooling was still an issue at Sepang and once we have it sorted out completely we’ll be able to unlock some more performance from the car. The back straight at the Shanghai circuit is of course one of the longest on the calendar and the tightening first corner is uniquely challenging since the corner entry is in top gear and by the time you exit you’re in second. Plus there are a fair amount of technical slow-speed corners as well, and the high-speed direction change of turns 7/8. Given these mixed characteristics, it is a demanding circuit for traction, aero and braking stability in equal measures”.

Luis Pérez-Sala, Team Principal: “The start to the season was very complicated because we were behind schedule with regards to the other teams. We had to put in a colossal effort to be able to get on track in Australia and improve our performance just one week later in Malaysia. There’s still plenty to do and many areas to improve on to be where we should be but at least in these two weeks we’ve had a bit more time to analyse data, prepare and recharge batteries, therefore I’m confident that we’re arriving in China in a much better situation. We mustn’t forget that the F112 is only taking its first steps and, as of today, what we must do is progress without stopping. In Shanghai we’ll have some small updates to optimize cooling and aerodynamics, and the target for this weekend is to check that these adjustments work. To sum up, we have to get more out of the car but must als o improve on teamwork and coordination”.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: motogp.com

Jorge Lorenzo took his first premier class victory at the Losail International Circuit to open the 2012 MotoGP™ season in the best possible manner, after battling reigning World Champion Casey Stoner and the Australian’s Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa for the duration of the 22-lap race. It was also a superb start to the new 1000cc era in MotoGP, as the CRT machines also made their debut in an action-packed race.

Starting from pole for the first time since the US Grand Prix last July, Lorenzo held the lead until the third lap before Stoner assumed first position with a pass on the start/finish straight. Lorenzo then followed Stoner for the majority of the race before passing his rival with three laps to go, and he eventually crossed the line 0.852s ahead of Pedrosa who placed second as Stoner ended the race third.

After a difficult weekend which had seen Pedrosa qualify in seventh the Spaniard shot from row three of the grid into third position on the opening lap, and on lap 20 passed his team-mate Stoner with a superb move on the brakes going into Turn 1 to take second. Stoner, who had won in Qatar for four of the past five seasons, took his 16th successive podium finish as he got his title defence underway.

With the leading trio involved in an eye-catching contest for the podium positions at the front, an excellent duel between Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso played out in their wake. The Italian, in his first race on the M1, was in front with his British team-mate all over his exhaust until lap 17, when Crutchlow got past Dovizioso and held out for fourth to equal his best-ever MotoGP result.

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was the highest placing Desmosedici, beating Álvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) to sixth by just 0.033s on the Spaniard’s debut with the team, and 2011 Moto2 World Champion Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) capped an impressive debut MotoGP ride with eighth place.

Héctor Barberá (Pramac Racing) had been in the hunt for sixth but ran off when he pushed too hard in the closing stages and the Spaniard finished ninth, and the final spot in the top 10 went to Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) who had appeared to be struggling with his Desmosedici GP12 in the early stages of the race.

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies ended the race in 11th, whilst the honour of the highest placing CRT went to Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Team). The American held off the challenge of Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar) to place his BMW-Suter 12th, with Yonny Hernández (Avintia Racing MotoGP) and Aleix Espargaró (Power Electronics Aspar) taking the last points on offer.

Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing), Danilo Petrucci (Came Iodaracing Project) and Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini) all suffered the disappointment of not finishing the race.

The MotoGP class returns to action in just under three weeks, for the Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez, which takes place from April 27-29.

The Premiere Motorsport Podcast