Tag Archives: Caterham


Rossi lights up Abu Dhabi qualifying

American grabs top spot in dramatic session—
Alexander Rossi has dominated this evening’s qualifying session in Abu Dhabi with an educational display of driving under lights to claim pole position from Sam Bird and Jolyon Palmer, leading for most of the session to annex the front of tomorrow afternoon’s feature race grid.
With lights blazing all around the circuit, the darkness beyond had at least taken the sting out of the extreme heat from this morning’s practice session as Stefano Coletti set the early pace, but it didn’t take long before Palmer and then Rossi took over the running, with the American sawing away at his own times as his rivals tried in vain to keep up.
With six minutes remaining in the session most of the field were about to start their fast laps for another shot at the top spot, led on track once again by Rossi, as Daniel Abt slowed as first a wheelnut and then his left rear wheel detached from his car, prompting a red flag period much to the annoyance of his rivals.
The marshals made quick work of removing the stricken vehicles, and the field was soon out again and trying to get their tyres up to temperature: Marcus Ericsson looked to have done his job the best as he took the top of the timesheets, with Rossi pushing hard and finishing just 0.007 seconds behind the Swede and Palmer looking faster still until he missed his braking at the chicane and Bird slowing on his final run, but Ericsson’s time was soon cancelled for exceeding the track limits, promoting the others.
Title leader Fabio Leimer will line up in P4, immediately behind championship rival Bird on the grid but ahead of Johnny Cecotto, Jon Lancaster, Felipe Nasr, Stephane Richelmi and Dani Clos, with the closeness of the grid promising a scorching feature race.  
Abu Dhabi – Qualifying Session
Alexander Rossi
EQ8 Caterham Racing
Sam Bird
Jolyon Palmer
Fabio Leimer
Racing Engineering
Tom Dillmann
Johnny Cecotto
Arden International
Jon Lancaster
Hilmer Motorsport
Felipe Nasr
Stéphane Richelmi
Dani Clos
MP Motorsport
Mitch Evans
Arden International
Marcus Ericsson
Sergio Canamasas
EQ8 Caterham Racing
James Calado
ART Grand Prix
Rio Haryanto
Barwa Addax Team
Nathanael Berthon
Trident Racing
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs
Hilmer Motorsport
Stefano Coletti
Julian Leal
Racing Engineering
Simon Trummer
Jake Rosenzweig
Barwa Addax Team
Rene Binder
Venezuela GP Lazarus
Daniel De Jong
MP Motorsport
Daniel Abt
ART Grand Prix
Vittorio Ghirelli
Venezuela GP Lazarus

Motorsports Mondial


Photo: gp2media

Giedo van der Garde flies to Sakhir pole

Caterham Racing driver steals Davide Valsecchi’s thunder

Giedo van der Garde is a happy man: the Caterham Racing driver claimed today’s pole position at the Bahrain International Circuit in 1:42.451, one tenth quicker than Davide Valsecchi. Fabio Leimer took P3 in an thrilling qualifying session.

Esteban Gutiérrez was the first driver to take to the track in the session in Sakhir. He set the early pace with a 1:43.213, but Series leader Valsecchi on Prime Pirelli tyres claimed P1 after a stellar lap that saw him set the quickest times in sectors 2 and 3. The Italian’s rival Luiz Razia also improved and moved up to P2, two tenths behind Valsecchi.

The first ten minutes saw Felipe Nasr pushing hard, locking up Turn 10 and nearly coming together with Tom Dillmann. Max Chilton attempted to challenge Valsecchi but made a mistake in the second sector on both tries. The DAMS racer went for another quick lap, but hit traffic in the final part of the track and chose to re-enter the pits to switch to Option tyres. Leimer moved up to P3 ahead of Rio Haryanto and Dani Clos.

Chilton eventually found a way around Sector 2 and edged Razia out of P2. His teammate Haryanto also found some extra pace to take P3. Mid-session came and van der Garde lying then on P20 found a clear lap. On Option tyres, the Dutchman pushed hard and even made a small mistake in the final sector, but that was enough to do the job and take pole in 1:42.451, one tenth quicker than Valsecchi. Leimer also improved and moved up to P3 again.

As the clock ticked down, traffic intensified and Valsecchi was unable to match the Dutchman’s pace. He re-entered the pits one minute before the end of the session, along with Leimer which left van der Garde to celebrate and enjoy his first pole position of the season. Behind the top 3, Carlin’s pair Chilton and Haryanto ended up P5 and P6 respectively, ahead of Razia, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Clos, Marcus Ericsson and Dillmann.

Carlos Sainz claims pole position at Hockenheim

Photo: f3euroseries

Carlos Sainz (Carlin, 1:33.709 minutes) was fastest in Formula 3 Euro Series qualifying at the 4.574 kilometres long Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg and achieved a great comeback for his team Carlin in the world’s strongest junior racing category. Second fastest in qualifying, Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam, 1:33.995 minutes) was 0.286 seconds slower than his compatriot. Felix Rosenqvist (Mücke Motorsport, 1:34.045 minutes) ended up third, Michael Lewis (Prema Powerteam, 1:34.259 minutes) was fourth. In the ranking for the second-fastest laps, Sainz also came out on top and this will not only start the third, but also the first race of the weekend from pole position. All three races also count towards the newly-created FIA European Formula 3 Championship.

In the first qualifying of the year, Carlos Sainz and Daniel Juncadella had a thrilling battle for first place. With two minutes remaining, Juncadella was in the lead, but then was toppled by Sainz. On his final lap, the Carlin driver once again improved his own lap time. There was no way to hold the son of the two times’ world rally champion off his maiden Euro Series’ pole position.

With Alex Lynn (Fortec Motorsport, 1:34.371 minutes), the best-placed guest driver was fifth, followed by Sven Müller (Prema Powerteam, 1:34.446 minutes), the best rookie in the 18 drivers strong field. The lap times of the first ten drivers in qualifying were within less than a second.

Carlos Sainz (Carlin): “This wasn’t an easy qualifying, because there were many cars on the track and I hardly had a clear lap. With my first set of tyres, I tried to complete as many laps as possible, to get maximum insight. With the second set, it went particularly well towards the end.”

Daniel Juncadella (Prema Powerteam): “I am happy, because I am on the front row of the grid. With the second set of tyres, the balance of my car wasn’t that good anymore, so I wasn’t able to do any better. Now, we have to analyse what the reason was.”

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

Caterham F1 Team Rodolfo Gonzalez, Vitaly Petrov & Heikki Kovalainen for Mugello T04

Caterham F1 Team has confirmed that Rodolfo Gonzalez will be joining race drivers Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen at the fourth official test of the 2012 F1 season, taking place at Mugello, Italy from 1st to 3rd May 2012.

Gonzalez, currently competing with Caterham Racing in the 2012 GP2 series, will be in the car on 1st May. Vitaly Petrov will take over on 2nd May and Heikki Kovalainen on 3rd May.

Rodolfo Gonzalez: “I am very excited about getting back into an F1 car at the Mugello test, and want to thank Caterham F1 Team for this opportunity. It will be my third time in an F1 car with this team and it will be another good chance for me to further my experience at the top level of global motorsport. I took part in the young driver tests in 2010 and 2011 with the team, so to be able to help their development programme mid-season is another good step in my career and something that I can take lessons from back into my GP2 season with Caterham Racing.”

Riad Asmat, Caterham Group Chief Executive Officer: “Rodolfo is developing well and we are very pleased we are playing an active role in his growth as a driver. He did a good job for us when he took part in the young driver tests, and we expect him to work to the plans he is given, deliver what we ask him to on track, and provide the engineers with the sort of feedback someone with his experience should. His day with the F1 team in Mugello will also help his ongoing development in GP2 and that will be good news for Caterham Racing, so for everyone involved this is good news.”

Motorsports Mondial


The Bahrain Grand Prix will be the fourth event on the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship and takes place at the 5.412km Sakhir International Circuit. This year, the circuit layout has reverted to the shorter 2009 layout and not the configuration last raced in 2010.

There have been seven editions of the race, with Renault F1 Team winning in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso. Red Bull Racing-Renault’s Sebastian Vettel also started from pole in 2010.

Bahrain Grand Prix facts and figures

Engines are at full throttle for 50% of the lap in the race and 57% in qualifying. The 1000m pit straight leads into another 500m straight before a short straight between 10 and 11 and the final long drag between 13 and 14. As a result Sakhir sits in the middle of the table for the demands put on engines. With the DRS this year, the top speed down the pit straight will be around 310kph.

The twister back section from turns 4 to 8 and 11 to 13 shift the emphasis more into delivering mid-range torque. A smooth torque curve can help in this sector as it gives the driver a greater choice for gear ratio selection. With a wider power curve, the engine is able to pull a selection of gears instead of only the optimum, meaning that the teams do not have to opt for a set of race or qualifying ratios – one set does both. Low speed pick-up will be important at the exit of turns 1, 4 and 8.
High ambient temperatures have an obvious effect on cooling but there is also an engine acoustic tuning effect. When air temperature increases, the speed of sound also increases, so the length of the trumpets (which regulate the intake of air into the engine via the airbox) need to be increased as well for perfect engine tuning – very similar to the tuning of an instrument. Under the regulations teams are allowed to homologate three sets of different length inlet trumpets. The longest trumpets will be fitted for this event for optimal engine tuning, allowing the sound pressure waves to arrive at the inlet valve at the perfect time, therefore inducing more air into the engine and creating more power.

Ambient conditions in Sakhir are typically in the low 30s, but contrary to Sepang, this is a dry heat. The drier, less humid conditions are less detrimental to engine power, but teams will not benefit from an increased cooler efficiency, as they did at Sepang. This means that the bodywork may have to be slightly opened to aid the cooling configuration, but chassis engineers will no doubt be trying to limit the openings to negate any detrimental effect on the aero performance.

The circuit is located in the middle of the desert, meaning dirt and sand are often blown onto the racing line. This may be ingested into the inlets and cause damage to the internals of the engine. Only one air filter may be used under the engine freeze regulations so Renault Sport F1 has developed a filter that can be used throughout the year. This has been developed to deal with the ‘high grit’ races such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Hungary as well as the clearer races without any performance drop off.

Due to the higher ambient temperatures, tyre degradation is expected to more critical in Bahrain than one week ago at Shanghai. As such, it is important that the driver can accurately modulate the torque to reduce wheel spin and prolong tyre life. With tyre degradation, the drivers may also prefer to use engine support when braking to stabilise the rear end of the car. This prolongs the effective tyre life, but comes at the expense of increased fuel consumption – and thus a higher race start weight – as well as a small increase in coolant temperatures.

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham F1 Team
Bahrain is where I made my F1 debut back in 2010 so it’s a track that means a lot to me. From the driver’s point of view it’s a pretty technical circuit and getting the Renault RS27 to deliver the right torque level both into and out of the corner is crucial to getting a good balance to nail every apex. Fifty percent of the track is also long straights so top line power and effective KERS can also help in gaining positions.

Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Sakhir
The track is pretty tough on the driver, due to the heat and also the layout. On some of the corners coming out of the straights the driver will be pulling very high g-forces, but the twisty back section requires a very precise set-up so there’s not much chance to relax. For the engine, however, it’s not too severe. It is around 50% – 60% full throttle, depending on qualifying or the race, so sits in the medium bracket for engine usage and severity. Only the ambient conditions, such as the lack of water content in the air and the sand blown onto the track, make the severity worse, not the layout of the circuit itself.

That said, Friday in Bahrain could be one of the busiest Fridays of the whole season for us. This season we’ve seen Fridays need more work than before. The exhaust blown diffusers helped us with drivability last year, so trying to dial the engines in for every corner means we have to look a lot more at the torque levels and the settings. Furthermore, the new rules mean we can’t play with as many parameters as we did last year, so we’ll have to be smarter and use the possibilities open to us. On a track layout we haven’t used for three years, it is going to be very hard work.

All Renault powered drivers will be using the engine from China, save Vitaly Petrov who will use the unit from Malaysia. We are positive about the challenge ahead of us and hope we can deliver the correct response and drivability to our partners.

Motorsports Mondial

More Malaysian Grand preview.

Renault Sport F1 will be looking to work with its four partner teams to build on their respective strong starts to the season. Red Bull Racing scored a podium with Sebastian Vettel in Melbourne, with Mark Webber fourth, while Lotus F1 Team secured seventh with Kimi Raikkonen. Williams F1 Team had a competitive start to the year, with Pastor Maldonado racing in the top ten for the duration of the race, while Caterham F1 Team continued to edge closer to the midfield.

• The Malaysian Grand Prix presents a challenge for engines on account of the high ambient temperatures and humidity. Along with Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the temperatures can reach over 40°C, so engine cooling becomes crucial. The high water content in the atmosphere also displaces air that could otherwise be combusted, and slows the combustion process. These both act to reduce power output, but Renault Sport F1 recreates the climatic conditions on its test cells back at Viry-Châtillon to ensure the engine is fully-optimised for Sepang.

• Monza has the highest percentage of full throttle per lap at around 75% but Sepang features two long straights that are around 850m long. Although the drivers are at full throttle for around 60% of the lap in Malaysia, the race is relatively long in terms of time. As such, the total time spent at full throttle is actually equal, if not slightly more, than at Monza – weather conditions permitting…

• The two long straights run in opposite directions, which helps to dilute the effect of any change in wind direction. Seventh gear selection is also always a compromise between performance in the race and qualifying. Optimising 7th for qualifying will result in a gear that is too long at the start of a race, when the car has a full tank of fuel.

• Wet conditions always provide a tough test for the driveability of the engine. The RSF1 engineers will monitor the on-car torque sensor, to ensure the engine is always providing the torque requested by the driver. The driver can change pedal maps in wet conditions, to help him better modulate the torque application in slippery conditions.

• Keeping the fuel temperature under control is vital in Sepang. The high ambient temperatures can cause fuel to run over the recommended temperatures, meaning a lower grade fuel must be used by engine suppliers. Renault’s fuel partner, Total, produces two types of fuel for use with the RS27. Despite the high Malaysian ambient heat, Renault’s partners are still able to use the highest spec of fuel, as Total and its customers have made progress in understanding the chemical characteristics of the fuel, as well as fuel tank insulation.

• Engines enter the second race of their life cycle. The reliability and consistent performance of the RS27 means all Renault powered drivers will be re-using the Australian engines in Malaysia.

Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham F1 Team
As Malaysia’s one of our two home races we’re always given a very warm welcome when we come here and that’s extra motivation for the whole team to push on in what are clearly pretty tough conditions. As much as it’s challenging for us inside the cockpit, it’s also pretty hard on the car, with the two straights the only chance to relax through the lap. However, this year we’re running with KERS, so even that won’t be easy. We need the Renault engine to deliver responsiveness throughout the mid range, but power down those straights, plus of course the KERS to be on top form to make the most of any opportunities.

Head of Renault Sport F1 track operations Rémi Taffin gives his thoughts on Sepang
We are really looking forward to Malaysia after a competitive performance for all our partners in Australia. It’s not easy doing back to back races at such different tracks, but thanks to the support of the Viry factory and the work conducted on the dyno to optimise the RS27 for the unique Malaysian challenge, we feel very prepared.

Some 25% of the Sepang lap is comprised of straights linked by a hairpin. The straights are an average of 850m each, which means the engine will be at maximum 18,000 revs for approx 12.5 seconds of the average 1min 35sec lap. As a result, we need to deliver engines that have strong top end power. Additionally the straights also provide passing opportunities, so delivering fully functional KERS can be crucial to gaining places. In Australia we were disappointed that we had KERS issues with Red Bull and Caterham, but we have looked carefully at the reasons for the failures and feel we are on top of them now.

The corners either side of the two straights are largely fast and flowing, giving an average speed of 210kph, which also require RSF1 engineers to deliver driveability and responsiveness. This is typically one of the main features of the RS27 so we are quite confident going to this second round of the championship.

Motorsports Mondial

Photo: caterhamf1

Caterham F1 Team has today announced that Vitaly Petrov has joined the team as race driver, replacing Jarno Trulli with immediate effect.

The Russian was at the Anglo-Malaysian team’s factory in Hingham on Friday 17th February for a seat fitting ahead of his first run with the team at the second pre-season test in Barcelona, 21st to 24th February.

Team Principal Tony Fernandes: “We are all delighted to welcome Vitaly into our team and are very excited about the role he will play in helping us take the next steps forward in 2012 and for many years to come. When we first met it was immediately clear that Vitaly understands and shares our vision for how we want our team to grow. As the first Russian to race in F1 he carries the hopes of a huge nation with ease and his talents, experience with one of our current competitors and insights on and off track will play a huge role in our development as we fight to join the established teams ahead.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank Jarno for the absolutely pivotal role he played in the formation and progression of our team since he joined us in December 2009. Jarno knew that when he joined us it would be a very different environment to where he had been before, and when we gave him the package he wanted he absolutely shone. With that in mind it was not an easy decision to bring Vitaly in to replace Jarno, but it was one we made to ensure that we give fresh impetus across the whole team and with a realistic eye on the global economic market. Jarno has an incredible natural talent behind the wheel, and his winning record and longevity in the sport will bear testament to that talent in the Formula 1 annals forever, but now it is time to open a new chapter in our team’s story, and Vitaly is the right person to help us do that.

“We have reached agreement with Jarno to bring an end to our partnership with him, but he will always be part of our family. Now we want to integrate Vitaly as quickly as possible into the team, and we will do everything we can to welcome him in, give him a car he can use to showcase his skills, and keep up the rate of development that has seen us go from an empty factory with just four employees to a fully established Formula 1 team in just over two years.”

Vitaly Petrov: “This is a very exciting day for me. I would like to thank Tony, Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin for giving me the chance to join a team that made its F1 debut at the same time as me, and has grown from one of the new teams to a serious force for future honours. The passion and spirit that Tony and the whole team have to keep moving forwards is infectious, and I am honoured to be able to join them and play my part in helping the team mount a serious challenge to the teams ahead in 2012 and for many seasons to come.

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

Jarno Trulli: “I want to take this chance to thank Tony, Kamarudin, SM Nasarudin, Riad, Mike and everyone in the team for the two seasons we had together. From zero we built up and established a solid F1 team. I’m really proud to have been part of it. I understand the decision the team has made and I want to wish to the whole team the very best of luck for the season ahead.”`