F1weekly podcast # 501

Podcast number 501 Grand Prix of Turkey recap.

The “EUROFORMULA VOLANT” 2010, last weekend took part in the second leg of the ALPS Championship on the IMOLA track and stepped up on the third podium for the first race after a nice fight for victory. It seems Italian air suits our young driver well!

Paul Loup CHATIN still had a few regrets though because he broke the anti-roll bar with his second set of new tyres, which prevented him from improving his position. He had to be satisfied with a 3rd and 4th place on the grid for the two races.

After a nice first race, the “EUROFORMULA VOLANT” started the second race with high ambitions. Blocked behind 3rd though he had to pass him quickly in order to get on the “right carriage” and not lose the lead. Unfortunately, when he took on the driver in front, Paul Loup CHATIN found himself in the dirt and span out. Taking off again more than 10 seconds behind the last car, he got back up to a nice 6th place.

Actually 5th in the general provisional ranking of the ALPS Championship, Paul Loup CHATIN, “EUROFORMULA VOLANT” 2010, believes in his hopes for victory at the end of the season:

“Even if I lost some precious points in the second race, I still have every chance in the championship. We’re very competitive and the championship has a way to go. This second podium boosts my confidence and the times I made in the race bode well for the future. I hope to climb on the podium again for the next race which will run on the PAU track and rise some more in the general ranking of the championship.”

Laurent FRADON, Director of EUROFORMULA, is also very satisfied:

“Paul Loup again showed all his qualities this weekend, most notably when he moved up from last to 6th position and scored more points in the championship. He has the essential mind set to hope for a career in motorsport. Victory isn’t far away and I think he’ll be able to make it a reality in the next races.”

Next meeting for Paul Loup CHATIN on 23 and 24 May on the legendary track of PAU where his heart will be set on reaching the top step of the podium.

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Motorsports Mondial

Storm brewing at Toro Rosso. Red Bull’s policy of giving and clipping wings may claim another victim before the 2011 season is over. Their Bull-evard of Broken Dreams is well travelled; Christian Klien, Scott Speed, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Sebastien Bourdais.

And that is just from the Barber of F1-ville. A look down the feeder series show victims ranging from a Kiwi to a Canadian. Brendon Hartley, Mirko Bortolotti and Robert Wickens – all championship winning drivers – have been shown the emergency exit faster than a New York minute.

The clock may now be ticking in Perth, Western Australia. They are already a day ahead, and so is their local boy, Daniel Ricciardo.

Ricciardo is now on the famous Red Bull fast track performance. Last Friday he enjoyed his fourth outing at an official Formula 1 event. He had the same feeling last November when he took part and went very quick in post-season testing at Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

In Istanbul Ricciardo recorded eighth fastest time while the past and current legends of German motorsports went off-track. Crucially, and even more important, Ricciardo’s time was just ahead of Toro Rosso’s current driver Sebastien Buemi.

It is hard to imagine that both Toro Rosso drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Buemi, will see a third season in Faenza. These are the same people who once declared ‘we are not running an F1 kindergarten here.’

Alguersuari, who compared his entry into F1 sans testing like ‘going to the slaughterhouse,’ did provide a championship winning season for Red Bull in British F3, beating then Red Bull colleague Brendon Hartley.

Buemi, on the other hand, played second fiddle to fellow Swiss (now French) driver Romain Grosjean, in both F3 Euro Series and GP2.

Red Bull may decide at the end of this season to let one Australian go as Mark Webber’s contract expires this year, and bring in another, Ricciardo.

The mood of Dr Marko will again determine the fate of a young driver.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Dingo Day Afternoon Regards.

Motorsports Mondial

Turkish Delight For Vettel

Photo. Reuters

Istanbul. Formula 1. Four races, four poles and three wins. Welcome to the new Vettel order. The reigning world champion put in another flawless and commanding performance for 58 laps to win the Turkish Grand Prix and now leads the championship with 93 points.

“You beauty, Seb,” congratulated team principal Christian Horner on radio and said later, “It is a sweet victory today; excellent from the drivers, fantastic pit stops, great strategy and a great race.”

Vettel bounced back strongly from his Friday crash to grab pole and victory number 13 of his still young F1 career.

Teammate and fellow front row starter Mark Webber joined him on the podium in second place. Back-to-back podium finishes has put Mark third in the championship with 55 points. The Australian also recorded the fastest lap of the race, 1:29.703, on lap 48.

Ferrari star Fernando Alonso started his fourth consecutive race of the season from fifth on the grid and made his first podium appearance this year in third.

Lewis Hamilton, winner of last round in China, was fourth, placing him second in the championship with 59 points.

Nico Rosberg again out-qualified and out-raced his illustrious teammate, Michael Schumacher. Much was expected from Mercedes driver after Rosberg started from third on the grid behind the two Red Bull cars. High five was all he could achieve in the end.

Jenson Button paid the price for a three-stop strategy in the words of team principal Martin Whitmarsh, and finished sixth.

Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov both brought their Renaults in the points, the German finishing ahead of his Russian teammate after some too-close-for-comfort dicing between the two.

Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi was ninth for Toro Rosso and Kamui Kobayashi put in his usual spirited drive to finish tenth and pick up the final championship point, very impressive after starting the race from back of the grid.

P2. Frenchman Romain Grosjean won Saturday’s feature race from pole position. He was pushed hard in the closing stages by Sam Bird. The Englishman landed second and third was another French driver, Jules Bianchi.

Sunday’s sprint race winner was Stefano Coletti of Monaco. Dutch driver Giedo van der Garde was second and Bird came in third.

In the championship, Grosjean and Bird share 13 points each. Behind them with 10 points each are Coletti and Garde.

Photo. GP3 Media


GP3. Second-year Dutch driver Nigel Melker won the first race of the weekend on Saturday. Italian Andrea Caldarelli was second and French pole-sitter Tom Dillman was third.

Sunday’s race two saw victory for English rookie Alexander Sims. Dane Michael Christensen was second and Melker made his second trip of the weekend to the podium in third.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Topkapi regards.

Motorsports Mondial

Sebastian Vettel is unstoppable with Victory at Istanbul.

Mark Webber with a late pass on Alonso takes second.

Ferrari with great race pace puts Fernando on the podium.

Is there too much passing in Formula One?

Sebastian Vettel: “All in all I am very happy. On Friday I had an accident and crashed the car badly. All the guys, even Mark’s guys helped and fixed the car. It meant some extra hours which I am sorry for, but yesterday and today made up for it. I am pleased with the results and a big thanks to the team.

It wasn’t easy from the start to know what is going to happen,” he said. “You have an idea about the tyres and how long they will last, but you have to wait for the first and second stints to see the trend.

I could have stayed out on primes but if the safety car comes out you are on used tyres, so I had a another short stint. I was very much in control, I am very happy with how we communicated with the race and how we reacted.

I am very pleased and since China we have definitely made a step forward. We have learned our lesson and have to make sure we keep momentum into the next race.”

Fernando Alonso: “I think we did a good weekend overall,” said Alonso. “The car performed a bit better than what we did in the first three races of the championship, so finally we enjoyed racing again and we enjoyed a race fighting for the podium positions, changing position through the race. Finally we can enjoy racing again.

We lost a little bit of time behind Rosberg at the beginning, and we did not feel the possibility to fight for P1 anymore, so we concentrated on P2,” he said.

I had a little bit of advantage in terms of tyre degradation compared to Mark, we used the DRS and I was able to overtake him, and in the last part of the race it was more or less the opposite.

“It was okay, fighting with Red Bull these days is difficult. It was close but we’ll try again.”

Pos  Driver        Team                       Time
 1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h30:17.558
 2.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +     8.807
 3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +    10.075
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    40.232
 5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +    47.539
 6.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +    59.431
 7.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +  1:00.857
 8.  Petrov        Renault                    +  1:08.168
 9.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:09.300
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +  1:18.000
11.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:19.800
12.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +  1:25.400
13.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +     1 lap
14.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +     1 lap
15.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +     1 lap
16.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +     1 lap
17.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +     1 lap
18.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +     1 lap
19.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +    2 laps
20.  D'Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    3 laps
22.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +    5 laps


Photo: gp3series

Sims cruises to Istanbul win

Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims won a lights-to-flag victory from pole position at Istanbul Park today.

In what was an action packed race full of overtaking maneuvers, Alexander Sims made the perfect getaway and kept a cool head to build up a comfortable lead during the 16-lap race. Sims’ teammate Antonio Felix Da Costa stormed off the line from fourth and made up two spots to take second from RSC Mucke Motorsport’s Michael Christensen. MW Arden’s Mitch Evans slotted into fourth ahead of Lotus ART’s Valtteri Bottas.

With Sims putting in fastest laps at the front, the rest of the field were left to battle for the remaining two podium spots. Yesterday’s race winner Nigel Melker was the man on the move – the Duchman made up one spot at the start and was quickly fighting his way through the field. A battle with Tech 1 Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli ensued for sixth, and Melker then set his sights on a struggling Valteri Bottas in fifth. The Finn from Lotus ART lost three places in quick succession as Caldarelli and Dean Smith also found their way past.

The Mucke duo of Christensen and Melker continued to make their way through the field, and both made quick work of passing Evans for third and forth respectively. By lap 12 as the race entered the final stages, Sims was comfortably in the lead by over four seconds, but what hope the Irish team had for a one-two finish were dashed as Da Costa went wide allowing both Christensen and Melker to slip past.

With Sims now 7.4 seconds in the lead the podium all but written, Da Costa and Caldarelli battled it out in the final laps for fourth spot. The Portuguese driver kept the Italian behind him ahead of Addax Team’s Smith who had made his way through the field from ninth on the grid, Evans, Bottas, Tom Dillmann and Rio Haryanto in tenth.

Melker leaves Istanbul heading the drivers’ championship by three points from Caldarelli. RSC Mucke Motorsport is six points ahead of Status Grand Prix in the teams’ championship.

The GP3 Series will be back on track in two weeks for Round 2 in Barcelona.

Motorsports Mondial

Vettel takes another pole position for the Grand Prix of Turkey.

Mark Webber will start along side his team mate in second.

Nico Rosberg out qualifies Schumacher with P3

Sebastian Vettel: “I am very happy with the result. We did not have a trouble-free morning, so we had a bit to catch up. I like the track so that helps and it was nice to see that without that many laps I was able to come back and find the rhythm.

It was funny because Mark and myself decided to skip the second run. It is strange the feeling. The others are on track and you know they can beat you.

You can just watch and there is nothing you can do. It is good to save a set of tyres but it is an odd feeling. I’m very happy.”

Of course we talked about it before qualifying, we talked about what can happen, you never know, you don’t know how quicker the others will be, how much fuels the others have on board.

We saw in the last race and in the other races, we see this year the races have changed and important to handle the tyre situation, for both of us after the first run we had the feeling that we might be safe but you never know, you do that again until the day arrived, and other people prove you wrong.

“In the end you never know, if it works you are a hero if it doesn’t you are not.”

Pos  Driver                Team                 Time         Gap 
 1.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault     1m25.049s
 2.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault     1m25.454s  + 0.405
 3.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes             1m25.574s  + 0.525
 4.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes     1m25.595s  + 0.546
 5.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari              1m25.851s  + 0.802
 6.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1m25.982s  + 0.933
 7.  Vitaly Petrov         Renault              1m26.296s  + 1.247
 8.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes             1m26.646s  + 1.597
 9.  Nick Heidfeld         Renault              1m26.659s  + 1.610
10.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari              No time
Q3 cut-off time: 1m26.740s                                   Gap **
11.  Rubens Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1m26.764s  + 1.154
12.  Adrian Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1m27.027s  + 1.417
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes 1m27.145s  + 1.535
14.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Cosworth    1m27.236s  + 1.626
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari       1m27.244s  + 1.634
16.  Sebastien Buemi       Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m27.255s  + 1.645
17.  Jaime Alguersuari     Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1m27.572s  + 1.962
Q3 cut-off time: 1m28.321s                                    Gap *
18.  Heikki Kovalainen     Lotus-Renault        1m28.780s  + 1.767
19.  Jarno Trulli          Lotus-Renault        1m31.119s  + 4.106
20.  Jerome D'Ambrosio     Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.445s  + 3.432
21.  Tonio Liuzzi          HRT-Cosworth         1m30.692s  + 3.679
22.  Timo Glock            Virgin-Cosworth      1m30.813s  + 3.800
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth         1m31.564s  + 4.551
24.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari       No time



Photo: gp3series

Rookie Tom Dillmann took a last gasp pole position for Carlin at Istanbul Park by just 0.029 seconds.

The first qualifying session of the season got underway in Istanbul in bright and sunny conditions, and after yesterday’s second practice session it was impossible to tell who would come out on top. All thirty cars hit the track as soon as the lights turned green, with Valtteri Bottas, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Alexander Sims swapping best times.

After setting the second quickest time in the first half of the session, yesterday’s quickest man Nigel Melker was one of the first to stop for new tyres with just ten minutes left on the session. The Dutchman went top with a 1:45.541 laptime, with Bottas hot on his tail – the Finn was visibly pushing hard all session.

With most of the drivers now on new rubber, the session came alive. Status Grand Prix’s Alexander Sims moved up in to second with Dillmann in third, ahead of Bottas. With just minutes left on the clock RSC Mücke Motorsport’s Michael Christensen, Addax Team’s Dean Smith and MW Arden’s Williamson were both on hot laps. Christensen moved up into second, with Smith third, but it Williamson who put himself top, and the Brit’s teammate Mitch Evans followed suit, moving into third.

With the end of the session in sight Bottas was setting purple sectors and looked set to go top, but the Finn just couldn’t find enough time in the final sector. Sims briefly went to the top of the timesheet, but it was Frenchman Dillmann who put together the perfect 1:45.391 lap and will start this afternoon’s race from the front row. Lining up behind the Carlin driver is Sims, Williamson, Caldarelli, Melker and Bottas.

The GP3 Series will be back on track this afternoon at 17:20 (local time) for Race 1.

Photo: gp2series

Grosjean powers to Istanbul pole

Romain Grosjean has picked up where he left off in the GP2 Asia Series by claiming the first pole position for this year’s main Series, ahead of Sam Bird and Luca Filippi, this afternoon at the Istanbul Park circuit.

The Frenchman’s best lap of 1:34.398 was the target for the final 20 minutes of the session, and although Filippi went close and then Bird closer still to be within a tenth of pole, three red flag periods broke the session up sufficiently for Grosjean to hold on for the first points of the season.

Qualifying opened under dry but still cold conditions, with Fabio Leimer, Dani Clos, Grosjean and Jules Bianchi swapping best times, and Bird close but held up by traffic. Grosjean put himself on the top of the timesheets just prior to Davide Valsecchi stopping on the circuit and then rolling backwards, forcing a red flag stop for the field.

Bird and Filippi were among the first drivers back on track, and made good use of the space: the Italian ran just three tenths short of Grosjean’s target with Bird splitting the pair just seconds later, but when Mikhail Aleshin hit the wall hard at the end of the back straight there was no option but to bring out the red flags once again.

When the track cleared the session got under way once more, but the cool temperatures meant there was little more to be gained and, when Michael Herck replayed Aleshin’s incident in the final minute, the red re-emerged and the session was closed. Lining up on tomorrow’s grid behind the top three are Bianchi, Clos, Luiz Razia, Charles Pic and Valsecchi: with rain now expected to hold off tomorrow, the opening round of the 2011 calendar promises fireworks.

Motorsports Mondial

F1, GP2 & GP3 start their European campaign in the Asian part of Istanbul

Photo: Yahoo/Eurosport

Istanbul may have been Constantinople, but Turkey’s greatest city and once the home of mighty Ottoman Empire, still lies on two continents. It is on the Asian side of Kurtkoy area where Hermann Tilke’s masterpiece is located, the Istanbul Motorsports Park.

The magnificent Turn 8 and elevation changes seem to overshadow poor attendance, and the natives are now getting restless about the $25m plus renewal fee being requested by Mr. E.

Good news is the sun will come up tomorrow, despite the threat of rain, and the grid will be determined for Formula 1 and its ‘official feeder series’ GP2, which in turn, since last year, has its own ‘feeder series,’ the GP3.

Formula 1

It was here last year that Red Bull experienced runaway in-house stampede after Sebastian Vettel ran into teammate Mark Webber while battling for the lead. The names are reversed if you happen to be sipping the energy drink while listening to the version of their Motorsports Maestro, Dr Helmut Marko.

In the end Red Bull did give little wings to their German wunderkind who last year in Abu Dhabi erased Lewis Hamilton’s name as the youngest Formula 1 World Champion.

Hamilton returned the favor last time out in China and prevented a Vettel triple play to start the 2011 season.

Mark Webber’s tremendous drive to a podium finish in Shanghai has raised hope Vettel will have more than Hamilton to worry about in search of his Turkish delight.

Jenson Button last year had two wins early in the season after moving to the “House of Hamilton” before Lewis landed a victory. The 2009 World Champion is known for his smooth style and not-so-many mistakes per season as his illustrious teammate. Button will be a strong candidate for victory on Sunday, especially if the race is run in changing conditions.

Ferrari. With rumors now flying that Felipe Massa may move to another team before his contract expires in 2012, teammate Fernando Alonso does not need a text or voice message from Rob Smedley to know his position in the team. The two time world champion is eager to get his hands on a competitive package before it is too late to mount a charge for the championship.

Renault will continue to miss Robert Kubica until they win a race this season. Comrade Vitaly Petrov has shown flashes of brilliance and crashes of inexperience but his podium finish in Australia must have given him high confidence he can deliver for Mother Russia and Genii Capital. His vastly experienced teammate and Kubica’s replacement, Nick Heidfeld, is in search of that elusive first F1 win and, with a little help from mother nature and some lucky breaks in a race, could make it to the top of the podium this season if not in Turkey.

Photo: GP2 Media


French Revolution. It is hard to imagine anyone but Romain Grosjean or Jules Bianchi winning the GP2 Championship this season. The tone was set in the shortened GP2 Asia Championship earlier in the year. Bianchi won the opening race in Abu Dhabi, and Grosjean clinched the title with victory at Imola Yes, the GP2 Asia raced in Europe thanks to the political upheaval in Bahrain.

Grosjean raced and won in main GP2 series before replacing Nelson Piquet Jr in the Renault F1 team. Bianchi’s rookie season was last year; he was impressive despite going winless. Both understand the importance of winning the championship in their second year.

British driver Sam Bird was Bianchi’s teammate last year and took his maiden win at Monza. He is most likely to disrupt the expected Grosjean/Bianchi French march.

Other drivers hoping to impress in their second year include Swede Marcus Ericsson and Swiss Fabio Leimer, both won races in Spain last year, Ericsson in Valencia and Leimer in the season opener at Barcelona.

Time may be running out for GP2 veterans like Luca Filippi and Davide Valsechhi of Italy, and Dutchman Giedo van der Garde.

Esteban Gutierrez is among the top rookies and may surprise a few. His teammate at Lotus ART is Bianchi.

Photo: GP3 Media


It was Gutierrez who went down in history last year as the winner of the inaugural GP3 Championship. While Gutierrez and talent like Alexander Rossi and Robert Wickens have moved on, the new crop is very talented and the winner of this year’s championship will stand out as one of the top talents of the season in junior formulae.

Advantage in handling the turbo-powered neat looking cars will be with second year drivers. Leading the charge is Nico Muller. He quietly won races last year and finished a very impressive third in the overall standings. Much is expected of Muller this year and smart money will be on the Swiss to deliver.

Dutchman Nigel Melker was quick but winless last season. He is expected, along with Indonesian Rio Haryanto, who won in Turkey last year, to be among the front runners all season long.

The 2011 GP3 rookies are that only in name and it will not come as a big surprise if one of them takes the title.

Valtteri Bottas, shown in photo above, won the Formula Renault Euro Cup over Daniel Ricciardo in 2008 and was Rookie of the Year in the 2009 Formula 3 Euro Series. Now a Williams’s test-driver, the Finn has the speed and experience and a nice personality to make him a popular champion.

Alexander Sims has been battling Bottas the last few years and their rivalry will be worth watching in GP3 this season.

— Nasir Hameed

Greetings and Byzantium regards.

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