May 9, 2009

One Ferrari Hunted, the Other Did Not...

Most of what you'll read will undoubtedly have to do with Ferrari, for the second time this season, making a inexplicable strategic error keeping Raikkonen in the pits while everyone else set faster times.

Blame it on an equally baffling desire to save a set of tires for a hypothetical Q3 run or blame it in Michael Schumacher being in the pits again... (funny how strange things always happen when he's there isn't it?) it is important to realize that Formula 1 this year is so close that in today's Q1 session the top 17 cars were all within 1 second. No excuse for Ferrari but it gives you an idea of how close things are as far as ultimate lap times. Rounding up the all figures that is a 75m stretch of the Circuit de Catalunya filled with 17 Formula 1 cars which must be about 5 m long....

Massa is on the second row, a big improvement in the car is evident even without the new lightweight chassis given to Raikkonen. Ferrari added a version of the double layer diffuser as they can implement it with their mechanical layout. The had opted for a gearbox placed as low in the car as possible and this limits what they can do.

BMW also showed some improvement with their B-spec car looking quite radically different. Reports that Kubica burned though half of their allotted eight engines for the season is not especially good news for Bimmer fans.

Mclaren have stepped backwards, if Ferrari's troubles are strategic, Mclaren's are more fundamental, Hamilton did not have the speed to make Q3 and Kovalainnen was just nowhere.

For tomorrow, Ferrari will be the only KERS car up front and that will be Massa's only chance for the race, Catalunya is a place where nobody passes much and the wins have come from pole.

(diffuser drawing via, I added the arrows for clarification)

Pos  Driver       Team                       Q1        Q2        Q3
1. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:20.707 1:20.192 1:20.527
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.715 1:20.220 1:20.660
3. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:20.808 1:19.954 1:20.762
4. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:20.484 1:20.149 1:20.934
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:20.689 1:20.007 1:21.049
6. Glock Toyota (B) 1:20.877 1:20.107 1:21.247
7. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:21.189 1:20.420 1:21.254
8. Alonso Renault (B) 1:21.186 1:20.509 1:21.392
9. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.745 1:20.256 1:22.558
10. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:20.931 1:20.408 1:22.685
11. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 1:20.818 1:20.531
12. Piquet Renault (B) 1:21.128 1:20.604
13. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 1:21.095 1:20.676
14. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:20.991 1:20.805
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.033 1:21.067
16. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:21.291
17. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:21.300
18. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.675
19. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:21.742
20. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 1:22.204

All Timing Unofficial


  1. It is amazing how close the times were from Q1 and Q2. But part of that is down to the fact that the teams and driver test here so much that they have the setups and track perfectly memorized.

    It will be interesting to see what Massa can do from P4 with KERS. I would have to guess he should be side by side with Button entering T1, but the outcome is yet to be decided ;)

  2. Here are the pit in lap calculations from the given weights and 2.75KG/Lap of fuel usage. It looks to be like Massa might have a chance at victory :D

    Button - Lap 15
    Vettel - Lap 16.7
    Rubins - Lap 16
    Massa - Lab 18.2

  3. that Ferrari was relatively heavy is great, very impressive. The Raikkonen situation is just baffling, Qualifying now has become all about getting out of Q1 and for a car to be sitting in the garage when the time splits are so close is inexplicable. For sure the car had the speed...

  4. And I'm having a hard time believing Ferrari would let him decide not to go out again...

  5. And how hilarious were Barrichello's comments that he was "Surprised by Button's pole" . Rubens thought he had it in the bag but it his his destiny to complain, be bitter and frustrated as the eternal #2... Sorry Rubiño, maybe it can be another chapter in your tell all book, how the British plotted to have Button beat you.. :o)

  6. lol yes, poor Rubens. I want him to have success as I feel he did get treated unfairly at Ferrari, but then again when Shumi is your teammate with his uber-speed, that is to be expected.

    One other thing I dont like about qualifying is that they are limited on the number of tires at 4 softs and 4 hards between race and qualifying. I mean why?? These guys spend millions of dollars on food alone over the course of the years, whats another 4 sets of each tire compound so you dont have to ration the faster tires between qual and race? WTF FIA lets these boys go at it with as many softs as they want.

  7. I guess that goes with the FIA's directive to Bridgestone that they make two very distinct compunds, essentially forcing them to make one good tire and one bad one in the name of "spectacle" which it never turns out to be. In races it always turns out that one of the tires is just plain bad.

    if they wanted to save they should just have everyone run the whole quali on one set of tires, or maybe one per session.


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