F1weekly podcast # 373

 

Kimi winning

Kimi Raikkonen takes his fourth victory at Spa and Ferrari’s first this season.

Giancarlo Fisichella does an outstanding job bringing his FIF1 to second place.

Jenson Button fails to score again crashing out in the first lap.

Rubens Barrichello has a dreadful start almost stalling on the grid.

Did Nelson Piquet deliberately crash during last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.?

Podcast number 373 Clark and Steve take on Spa with a special guest…

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium;
44 laps; 308.052km;
Weather: Sunny.

Classified:

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1h23:50.995
2. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 0.939
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) + 3.875
4. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 9.966
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 11.276
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 32.763
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 35.461
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 36.208
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 36.959
10. Glock Toyota (B) + 41.490
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 42.636
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 46.106
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 54.241
14. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1:38.177

 

 

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/08-30-09f1weekly373.mp3]

Fisi on Pole

 

fisi FI

Giancarlo Fisichella gives Force India their first pole position at Spa!

All Italian front row as Jarno Trulli takes a strong second for Toyota.

Both McLaren’s out in second qualifying session.

Luca Badoer crashed at Les Combes leaving him last on the grid.

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:45.102 1:44.667 1:46.308
2. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:45.140 1:44.503 1:46.395
3. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:45.566 1:44.709 1:46.500
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:45.237 1:44.834 1:46.513
5. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:45.655 1:44.557 1:46.586
6. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:45.579 1:44.953 1:46.633
7. Glock Toyota (B) 1:45.450 1:44.877 1:46.677
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:45.372 1:44.592 1:46.761
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:45.350 1:44.924 1:46.788
10. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:45.486 1:45.047 1:47.362
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:45.486 1:45.119
12. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:45.239 1:45.122
13. Alonso Renault (B) 1:45.767 1:45.136
14. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:45.707 1:45.251
15. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:45.761 1:45.259
16. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:45.705
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:45.951
18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:46.032
19. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:46.307
20. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:46.359

Giancarlo Fisichella born January 14, 1973 in Rome, Italy, also known as Fisico or Fisi, is an Italian racing driver. He has driven in Formula One for Renault, Sauber, Jordan, Benetton and Minardi. He currently drives for the Force India Team.

Fisichella has won three races in his career to date, the first of which was at the chaotic 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, a race abandoned for safety reasons with 15 laps remaining. After much confusion regarding rules and technicalities (which lasted for several days) Fisichella was eventually declared the winner in the following week, and collected his trophy in an unorthodox ceremony at the following race. He was brought in to the Renault team to replace fellow Italian Jarno Trulli, and won his first race with the team in Australia in 2005. However, after that race it was his team-mate, the Spanish driver Fernando Alonso, that would win the greater share of races for Renault. Although highly rated as a driver, Fisichella was unable to keep pace with eventual champion Alonso, managing just one further race win since his debut. Outside of driving, he runs his own GP2 team, FMS International.

Fisichella has two children, Carlotta and Christopher, from his longtime domestic partner Luna Castellani.

1996: Minardi

In 1996, he made the move to Formula One, making his debut for the Minardi team. However he did not complete the full season since Minardi required a driver who could bring funding to the team, and replaced Fisichella with Giovanni Lavaggi.

1997: Jordan

For 1997 he made the move to Eddie Jordan’s eponymous team, where he drove alongside former F1 champion Michael Schumacher’s brother Ralf, himself a former Formula Nippon champion. Fisichella gained his first podium finish at the 1997 Canadian Grand Prix, and went on to finish higher in the points standings than his team-mate. At Hockenheim a victory looked to be within reach for Fisichella, but a puncture and the performance of an on-form Gerhard Berger denied him the win. Fisichella was able to show his talent again at the rain-soaked Belgian Grand Prix in which he finished a commendable second behind Michael Schumacher. Following this race, the Benetton team signed him for 1998.

1998 – 2001: Benetton

However, the timing of this move was unfortunate. Following Renault’s withdrawal from Formula One, Benetton would contest the 1998 season without "works" (factory-supplied) engines, instead using rebranded development versions of 1997 Renault engines. Despite not having the latest engines, Fisichella still managed second places at Montreal and Monaco, even being in contention for a victory in Canada until gearbox problems slowed him down. In Austria, Fisichella scored his first pole position, although an on-track clash with Jean Alesi during the race cost him any chance of a good result. He was then able to add only two more points to his total in the second half of the year as Benetton lost ground on their competition.

1999 proved to be a similarly inconsistent season for Giancarlo Fisichella. He did score some podium finishes, and again came close to a victory in the European Grand Prix, until he spun off whilst in the lead. This would prove to be his best chance of a victory for the next few seasons.

Fisichella’s season was to follow a similar pattern in 2000. He again gained some surprise podium finishes early in the year, but Benetton’s now unfortunately traditional poor second half of the season meant that he failed to score any more points. Since joining Benetton, Fisichella had comprehensively outperformed his Austrian team-mate Alexander Wurz, who would then leave the team to make way for British rookie Jenson Button in 2001. Renault had purchased the Benetton team by the start of the 2001 season, but their investment was too late to enable much progress with Benetton’s uncompetitive 2001 car, and as a result, Fisichella was battling for much of the season with teams such as Minardi and Prost. However, the efforts of technical director Mike Gascoyne and his staff did result in improvements over the year, culminating in a 4-5 finish at the German Grand Prix and a third place finish for Fischella at the Belgian race. Despite Fisichella gaining the team’s best results that season and consistently outperforming Button, he left the team to rejoin Jordan for 2002.

2002 – 2003: Jordan

Fisichella managed to score just seven points for 2002, although the Jordan-Honda car of that year was never truly competitive. After Honda withdrew their engine supply, Jordan switched to Ford engines for the 2003 season, but the team were still unable to compete with the top teams on the grid. Despite this lack of performance, Fisichella won his first race at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Battling with McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen amidst heavy rain and numerous crashes, Fisichella took the race lead on lap 53, soon before the race was red-flagged. However, he was demoted to second place on the podium, because (per regulations) Räikkönen was the race leader two laps prior to the red flag. Several days later, though, the FIA determined that Fisichella had already begun his 56th lap before the red flag, meaning that he, and not Räikkönen, had been leading the race two laps before its premature end, awarding the Italian his first F1 victory. For nearly two years (i.e. until his win in the 2005 Australian Grand Prix), Fisichella was the only F1 driver to have won a race without having stood atop the podium. He collected the winner’s trophy at the next race at Imola. Fisichella’s only other points finish of 2003 was to be a seventh place at Indianapolis.

2004: Sauber


Unhappy at the Jordan team’s performance, Fisichella moved to Sauber in 2004 in the hope of greater results, and of using the team as a way of gaining access to, and a drive for, 2003 World Champions Ferrari, who supplied re-badged engines to the Sauber team. Fisichella drove well all year, comfortably outpacing team mate Felipe Massa for much of the season.

2005 – 2007: Renault

His strong performances prompted former Benetton-Renault team boss Flavio Briatore to re-sign him for the 2005 season as partner to the young Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. A win at in the season’s opening race at Melbourne signalled the Formula One breakthrough that commentators had been predicting, but it proved to be something of a false dawn. A run of poor luck saw Fisichella fall behind his team mate in the championship standings, and at times the pair were achieving noticeably different lap times with the same equipment. It appeared that Fisichella simply did not have the pace to match Alonso.
Fisichella won the 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix for Renault.

The difference in pace between Fisichella and Alonso was noticeable, and while Alonso’s metronomic consistency helped him win the 2005 championship, Fisichella’s general bad luck was to cost him points finishes. He was overtaken and lost the lead on the final lap of the Japanese Grand Prix by McLaren driver Kimi Räikkönen, despite his race engineer urging him to avoid letting Räikkönen past. Nevertheless, his performances alongside Alonso throughout the season enabled Renault to win the World Constructors’ Championship ahead of Ferrari, the team that had won that title for each of the previous six seasons.

2006 proved to be a similar season for Fisichella. Having won in Malaysia, putting in a strong performance to win from the pole position, he failed to maintain that pace for the upcoming races, and even failed to reach the top ten in qualifying for two races. This form, in addition to a penalty in Monaco for allegedly impeding David Coulthard, meant Fisichella was again unable to challenge his team mate Alonso for the drivers’ Championship. Some strong results in the second half of the 2006 season, including finishing ahead of Alonso at the US Grand Prix, enabled Fisichella to obtain his best ever results: Fourth in the World Drivers’ Championship with 72 points, one win, and five podium finishes. After finishing third in the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix, Fisichella dedicated the result to his best friend, Tonino Visciani, who died of a heart attack on the Thursday before the race.
Fisichella assumed the role of team leader at Renault for 2007.

In 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella became Renault’s lead driver after the departure of Fernando Alonso. His team mate was the team’s former test driver, the young Finn Heikki Kovalainen, who was replaced as test driver by Nelson Piquet, Jr.

Renault did not demonstrate the same level of pace as in previous seasons, which had seen them win successive World Championships. It remains unclear whether the difference was due to the change of tyre supplier from Michelin to Bridgestone, the lack of Fernando Alonso as a driver, or simply being outpaced in off-season development by the other top teams. Another possibility is that the team’s wind tunnel was giving inaccurate data in late 2006 which affected the development of the 2007 car. This was cited by Pat Symonds in an issue of F1 Racing Magazine. In the early races, Fisichella obtained better results than rookie team mate Kovalainen, but in Canada and the USA it was the Finn who claimed the higher finishes. Fisichella was disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix, along with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, for exiting the pit lane while the traffic light was showing red, the purpose of which is to prevent cars rejoining the race ahead of the safety car. He later stated that he had been busy avoiding other cars in the pit lane and had simply not noticed the red light. The Renault team seemed to have made significant progress in terms of pace by the Spanish Grand Prix, but a series of fuel rig problems meant that neither driver was able to capitalise on this apparent increase in performance. Fisichella crashed into the Super Aguri of Anthony Davidson at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix which broke his rear suspension and forced him to retire.

Force India (2008-present)


With Renault signing Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet, Jr. Fisichella was announced as the number one driver alongside Adrian Sutil for the Force India F1 team for the 2008 season (This is the third stint for Fisichella at the former Jordan team) on January 10, 2008.[2] In the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix, he became the 9th driver to join the ‘200’ club for drivers to have competed in at least 200 Grands Prix. The only other active drivers in the club are Rubens Barrichello, who as of the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix is the most experienced F1 driver ever, and Jarno Trulli, who had his 200th start at Australia in 2009. David Coulthard, who retired after the 2008 season, had also competed in more than 200 Grands Prix.

Fisichella finished the season pointless, as did the Force India team. However, there were a few moments when he found himself in a points position, such as the Brazilian Grand Prix, where an early change to soft compound tyres saw him climb as high as 3rd. On 17 October, Force India announced they would keep Fisichella for the 2009 season.[3]

2009

With the new Force India VJM02 powered by a Mercedes-Benz engine and KERS system, Fisichella qualified 18th (promoted to 15th after both Toyotas and Lewis Hamilton were demoted) on the grid for the 2009 curtain-opener at Australia. In the race itself, he managed to finish 11th. In Malaysia, he qualified in 18th place, and was classified in the same position having spun off in the torrential rain that stopped the race on lap 33. On 29th August 2009, Giancarlo recorded Force India’s first ever pole position with a remarkable qualifying time of 1:46.308 to start the Belgian Grand Prix at the front of the grid.

F1weekly podcast # 372

 

Brian Redman

Podcast number 372 in post production.

Formula 1 Teams preparing to announce their driver line up, who goes where?

Motorsports Mondial with Nasir Hameed and special…

Interview with Brian Redman conducted at Laguna Seca’ Monterey Historic Races.

 

Brian Redman Born: March 9, 1937 in Burnley, Lancashire, Great Britain
Lives: Vero Beach, Fla., with wife, Marion
First Race: 1959, driving a Morris 1000 Traveler
First Pro Race Win: Nov. 4, 1967 at Kyalami (ZA) 9-hour in Mirage-Ford with Jacky Ickx
Final Pro Race: June 29, 2000 at Daytona in Grand-Am series Nissan-Pilbeam
Brian Redman has been a factory driver for the following teams:

* John Wyer Gulf Ford
* John Wyer Gulf Porsche
* Dr.Ing h.c.F.Porsche AG
* SEFAC Ferrari
* Group 44 Jaguar (USA)
* BMW Motorsport GMBH
* Proteus Aston Martin
* McLaren Racing. F1
* Frank Williams DeTomaso. F1
* Cooper Car Company. F1
* UOP Shadow. F1
* BRM. F1
* Chevron
* Haas/Hall Chaparral Lola F5000

He was very successful in sportscar racing and the World Sportscar Championship, winning the 1970 Targa Florio with a Porsche 908 and the 12 Hours of Sebring twice, in 1975 with a BMW Coupé and in 1978 with a Porsche 935. He was for many years associated with the Chevron marque, founded by fellow-Lancastrian Derek Bennett.

Redman drove for Shadow Racing Cars both in CanAm and in Formula One. He also appeared in McLaren, Cooper and Alfa Romeo cars. He dominated North American Formula 5000 racing in the mid-1970s winning the SCCA/USAC Formula 5000 Championship three years in a row (1974-1976) driving Lolas.

He participated in 15 World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on 1 January 1968. He achieved 1 podium in the 1968 Spanish Grand Prix in third place behind Graham Hill and Denny Hulme in a Cooper BRM, and scored a total of 8 championship points with two 5th places in the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix and the 1972 German Grand Prix driving a Yardley McLaren.

He was offered various other Formula One drives, but did not particularly enjoy the atmosphere of F1 even in the 1970s, preferring sports car racing.

He raced many Le Man 24 hour races and living in Florida is still active appearing at the 36th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races in August 2009.

Nick Heidfeld tops the times sheets in final Saturday practice.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) 1:45.388 17
2. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:45.462 + 0.074 18
3. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:45.677 + 0.289 20
4. Grosjean Renault (B) 1:45.878 + 0.490 18
5. Glock Toyota (B) 1:45.908 + 0.520 18
6. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) 1:45.987 + 0.599 18
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:46.040 + 0.652 19
8. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:46.114 + 0.726 21
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:46.301 + 0.913 17
10. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) 1:46.406 + 1.018 20
11. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:46.409 + 1.021 19
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:46.417 + 1.029 19
13. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:46.462 + 1.074 17
14. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:46.747 + 1.359 14
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:46.814 + 1.426 22
16. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes (B) 1:46.815 + 1.427 19
17. Alonso Renault (B) 1:46.926 + 1.538 14
18. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:47.055 + 1.667 20
19. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:47.078 + 1.690 19
20. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) No time 3

 

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/08-27-09f1weekly372.mp3]

Renault

 

Fernando at silverstone

Renault to reconsider KERS for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

McLaren convinced next years MP4-25 will fight for the world Championship.

Flavio finalizing Renault’s driver line up for the 2010 season, Grosjean and ?

Stay tuned for podcast 372 Clark and Steve talk Spa and Motorsports Mondial.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the venue of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix and the Spa 24 Hours endurance race. It is also home to the 25 Hours of Spa, run by the Uniroyal Fun Cup. It is considered to be one of the most challenging race tracks in the world, mainly due to its fast, hilly and twisty nature. Spa is a favourite circuit of many racing drivers and fans.

Designed by Jules de Their and Henri Langlois Van Ophem, the original triangle-shaped course used public roads between the Belgian towns of Francorchamps, Malmedy and Stavelot. The Belgian Grand Prix was held at Spa-Francorchamps for the first time in 1924. The old Spa circuit was essentially a speed course with drivers managing much higher average speeds than on other race tracks- a factor that made Spa very popular from the start of its inception and opening.

The previous 14km track layout

Back then, the Belgians took pride in having a very fast circuit, and to improve average speeds, the former slow uphill U-turn at the bottom of the Eau Rouge creek valley, called the Ancienne Douane, was cut short with a faster sweep straight up the hill, called the Raidillon. Until 2000, it was possible to travel over the race track when it was still a public road. At Eau Rouge, southbound traffic was allowed to use the famous uphill corner, while the opposite downhill traffic had to use the old road and U-turn behind the grand stands, rejoining the race track at the bottom of Eau Rouge.

The old race track continued after Les Combes towards Burnenville, passing this village in a fast right hand sweep. Near Malmedy, the Masta straight begins, which is only interrupted by the fast Masta Kink between farm houses before arriving at the town of Stavelot.

The Masta Kink was one of the most fearsome sections on any race track in the world, requiring skill and bravery in equal measure to get it right. After a long run from Malmedy, the cars would reach top speed before having to negotiate Masta, a high speed left-right chicane, and a good exit speed was vital as it is followed by another long straight run to Stavelot.

That Masta was lost to F1 racing after the 1970 race was partly its own fault. Jackie Stewart’s crusade to improve safety in racing was set in motion by his crash there in 1966, when his BRM ended upsidedown in the cellar of the farmhouse on the outside of the corner, with fuel gushing out of the tank onto Stewart, who had broken ribs to add to his misery.
The original 15km Spa layout

Another particularly gruesome story comes from the 1972, 24 hour touring car race during which three drivers were killed. During one of his pitstops at night, Hans-Joachim Stuck shouted to his co-driver Jochen Mass over the noise that he should "look out for body parts at the Masta Kink". Mass arrived there expecting to see bits of car all over the road but was appalled to discover it was in fact bits of a marshal.

After Masta, and at the end of the subsequent Holowell Straight, there used to be a sharp hairpin at the entrance to the town itself, which was later bypassed by a quicker, banked right hand corner. Another fast section of road in the forest leads to Blanchimont. Here, the new short Grand Prix track of 1979 joins the old layout.

Eighteen Formula One World Championship Grands Prix were run on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit’s original configuration, which was boycotted by F1 in 1968, before the revised circuit banished it to the history books in the late 70s. The lap record of the old triangle-shaped track is held by the French driver Henri Pescarolo, at an average speed of 262 km/h (163 mph).

Eau Rouge

The most famous part of the circuit is the Eau Rouge / Raidillon combination. Having negotiated the La Source hairpin, drivers race down a straight to the point where the track crosses the Eau Rouge stream for the first time, before being launched steeply uphill into a sweeping left-right-left collection of corners with a blind summit. Properly speaking, the Eau Rouge corner is only the left-hander at the bottom. The following right-hander that leads steeply uphill, which was introduced in 1939 to shortcut the original hairpin "Ancienne Douane", is called "Raidillon". The corner requires a large amount of skill from the driver to negotiate well and the long straight ahead often produces good overtaking opportunities for the best drivers at the Les Combes corner.

As former F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso explains: "You come into the corner downhill, have a sudden change [of direction] at the bottom and then go very steep uphill. From the cockpit, you cannot see the exit and as you come over the crest, you don’t know where you will land. It is a crucial corner for the timed lap, and also in the race, because you have a long uphill straight afterwards where you can lose a lot of time if you make a mistake. But it is also an important corner for the driver’s feeling. It makes a special impression every lap, because you also have a compression in your body as you go through the bottom of the corner. It is very strange – but good fun as well."[citation needed]

The challenge for drivers has always been to take Eau Rouge-Raidillon flat out. Regular touring cars can take the corner at 160–180 km/h, Formula One at over 300 km/h.This is due to the huge amount of downforce on the cars. World Champion Jacques Villeneuve once spoke of the effects of the downforces (in 1996, when they were much less than they are today) saying that to get through the corner they have to go faster as the faster the car is going the more downward force there is, thus explaining the phenomenon of Eau Rouge flat out. The years between 1989 and 1993 were arguably the last period where only the most able drivers were able to take the corner flat out, with those of lesser ability having to lift. Taking the corner flat out in a Formula One car is now the norm[citation needed], thanks to modifications made to the circuit, and the high downforce of modern Formula One cars.

Still, a loss of control in this section often leads to very heavy shunt as usually the rear-end of the car is lost and the impact is most of the times lateral. Eau Rouge has claimed several victims over the years, including Stefan Bellof in a Porsche sportscar, Guy Renard during the 24h of Spa-Francorchamps in 1990 in a Toyota Corolla GT and also caused Alex Zanardi’s in 1993 and Jacques Villeneuve’s spectacular off in qualifying in 1999, which he described as "My best-ever crash", followed by his team-mate Ricardo Zonta’s similar accident, leading cartoonist Jim Bamber to show BAR boss Craig Pollock telling Zonta: "Jacques is the quickest through Eau Rouge, so go out there and do exactly what Jacques does…"

Following the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994, the following F1 races saw the introduction of chicanes made of piles of tyres. The entry to Eau Rouge was obstructed in such a way in 1994, although it was returned to its previous glory the following year. The corner was slightly modified for 2002, but still retains its character.

Testimony to the fame and beloved character of the Eau Rouge corner can be found in fan reaction to the Istanbul Park circuit in Istanbul, Turkey. When fans first got to see the course configuration at the start of the weekend of the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix, many noted that an uphill kink on the back straight was very similar to Eau Rouge; many jokingly dubbed the kink "Faux Rouge" (a pun on the name of the original Spa corner using the French word "faux", meaning "false").

Blanchimont

The Blanchimont turn is one of the most fearsome turns in Formula One. This high-speed left-hand turn, present in both the old 14 km circuit and the new, shorter, 7 km track, is the final sweeping corner of the track before the Bus Stop chicane, which leads to the pit straight.

This turn and the approach to it have caused serious accidents over time, the most recent being in 2001, when Luciano Burti lost the front wing of his Prost due to a clash with Eddie Irvine’s Jaguar, losing front downforce and steering, leaving the track at 185 mph (298 km/h) and piling into the tire wall, the impact knocking him out and burying the car into a mound of tires. Problems have also occurred in lower classes of racing with Tom Kristensen having a very violent crash in a Formula 3000 car in 1997 after running wide on the entry to the Blanchimont turn and subsequently hitting the wall effectively throwing the monocoque back out in the middle of the track, where it was hit by numerous cars before coming to a complete halt.

The run-off area is narrower than in other turns taken at this speed, plus the fact that behind the protective barriers there is a 7-8 meter drop. This is the first turn taken by the cars after the new track rejoins the route of the old 14 km track. Blanchimont was also the scene where in 1992 after Erik Comas had crashed heavily during Friday’s session, Ayrton Senna stopped, disembarked his car and sprinted to help the injured driver, with other cars driving past at racing speeds.

 

Mad Man Motors

 

mad man motors

USTCC Round Four – Near Triumph from Near Defeat!

August 2nd, 2009 – Chittum suffers broken transmission, BTM comes through, goes on to Pole Position, and an unbelievable race

Working hard in the break between races, Mad Man Motorsports leveraged the full engineering talents of BTM Motorwerks to design new aero components that would reduce drag on the high-speed oval – infield configuration at California Speedway in Fontana CA.  With just a few warmup laps, Chittum immediately went to the top of the timesheets, seconds ahead of the other talented USTCC drivers in only his first trip to this particular track.

But luck was not with the team, as during first Saturday Qualifying, Chittum found himself with a transmission that quickly got worse and without a 5th gear he posted a mid-field qualifying result.  The team immediately got to work and within a few hours had the old transmission out and a new one in.  But after reassembly, the new transmission was still not working perfectly, and Chittum prepared for a difficult race with the goal of salvaging points and staying in the season championship.

With a few more BTM adjustments, Chittum was able to drive the car respectably in warmup, and the team agreed on two hot laps for qualifying to save the car for the race.  The first lap went well, Chittum quickly coming up to speed with the car, and the second lap was picture-perfect posting a qualifying time low enough to make up for the slow Saturday time,  putting the BTM Motorwerks car on pole by less than a tenth of a second.

But the race would prove to be just as drama filled for the underdog team.  Ailing gearbox notwithstanding, Chittum got the car off the line, but as the field passed 120 miles an hour on Cal Speedway’s oval in T2, the MBO Motorsports Dodge driven by 2007 series champion Curt Simmons came rocketing by.  For several laps Chittum dogged the powerful turbocharged car, the BMW faster in the infield sections, but unable to make up distance on the high speed oval.  Finally, Chittum blasted onto the front straight just inches off Simmons’ bumper caught the draft, and actually began to gain on the powerful Dodge.  Simmons saw Chittum coming high, and moved to block, but Chittum darted down low and took the lead, braking side by side from over 140 mph down into the tight 55 mph Turn 3.

For the next several laps, Chittum got a good lead going, resting the car when possible, and pushing to stay ahead when necessary.  But late in the race, with the transmission cooperating less and less often and a broken front splitter from contact with an errant cone, Simmons attacked.  Going two wide into the tight Turn 12 complex, the two cars split another backmarker who swerved away from the Dodge, leaving Chittum the choice of an off or hitting the barriers guiding cars back onto the front straightaway.  The crafty 2008 series Champion, Top Lepper, driving the Prima-Racing Acura TSX also took advantage of the moment putting Chittum down to a heartbreaking third place with just one lap to go.

But Chittum attacked, and by turn 9 had caught up to the wiley veteran.  In a surprise move, Chittum was able to fake an outside pass on the exit of the turn and parallel the TSX going into T10.  Chittum led through onto the straightaway and took a hard-fought 2nd place, finally beating the Prima-Racing team for the first time this year, gaining valuable points toward a 2009 season championship.

"We’ve really been working hard to get that first victory." Chittum said.  "We had the pace this weekend, but with all the things we had to come back from this weekend, 2nd place is a good result.  My hat is off to Brad and BTM Motorwerks, without whose support, we’d have been back on the trailer heading home before this race even started."   In addition to Brad, the weekend would not have been possible without the help of Jennifer Chittum and John Chittum at the track, Elton Wong, Ross Martindale, and the BTM Factory crew, and Kari Craighead for logistical support.

Mad Man Motorsports returns to competition September 10-12, at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele Utah where the USTCC will be racing in Group A at NASA Nationals.

For pictures of the weekend’s racing, please visit Ryan Chrystobal’s Flicker site at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryc-behindthelens/

F1weekly podcast # 371

 

Rubens helmet for Felipe

Podcast number 371, Clark and Steve on Valencia is live.

Rubens Barrichello takes his tenth Grand Prix victory at Valencia.

Lewis Hamilton seems to have lost this race in a controversial pit stop.

Second DNF for Sebastian Vettle sees his World Championship hopes fadding.

Talk of Toyota walking away from Formula 1 continue in the paddock.

Marc Gene says he is available if Ferrari wants to replace struggling Badoer.

Classified:

Pos Driver Team Time
1. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1h35:51.289
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 2.358
3. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 15.994
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 20.032
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) + 20.870
6. Alonso Renault (B) + 27.744
7. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) + 34.913
8. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 36.667
9. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 44.910
10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) + 47.935
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber (B) + 48.822
12. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) + 1:03.614
13. Trulli Toyota (B) + 1:04.527
14. Glock Toyota (B) + 1:26.519
15. Grosjean Renault (B) + 1:31.774
16. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) + 1 lap
17. Badoer Ferrari (B) + 1 lap
18. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) + 3 laps

Fastest lap: Glock, 1:38.683

Not classified/retirements:

Driver Team On lap
Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 42
Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 24


World Championship standings, round 11:

Drivers: Constructors:
1. Button 72 1. Brawn-Mercedes 126
2. Barrichello 54 2. Red Bull-Renault 98.5
3. Webber 51.5 3. Ferrari 46
4. Vettel 47 4. McLaren-Mercedes 41
5. Rosberg 29.5 5. Toyota 38.5
6. Hamilton 27 6. Williams-Toyota 29.5
7. Raikkonen 24 7. Renault 16
8. Trulli 22.5 8. BMW Sauber 9
9. Massa 22 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 5
10. Glock 16
11. Alonso 16
12. Kovalainen 14
13. Heidfeld 6
14. Buemi 3
15. Kubica 3
16. Bourdais 2

[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/08-23-09f1weekly371.mp3]