October 11, 2010

2010 Japanese Grand Prix Executive Summary


Not very much to say about the Japanese Grand Prix, aside from the first lap carnage and the various odd failures, it was a Red Bull domination and a set piece. I think it was clear Webber was not attacking Vettel, probably an understanding between the two drivers and a good strategic move by Red Bull for once.

Damage limitation for Alonso, Massa's future seriously in question. Mclaren not up to speed and still not sure who made the call on Button's tire strategy. Disaster for Hamilton whose brand new gearbox broke, meaning yet another five spot grid penalty for the next race. I stand corrected on that, see comments. For the life of me I cannot figure how that regulation makes any sense...
Schumacher showed some of the old form with a great, clean pass on Barrichello at the "Senna-Prost" chicane. Kubica and Rosberg's races ruined by wheels coming off their cars.

The highlight of the race, undoubtedly Kamui Kobayashi's hairpin haikus, which were brief moments of awesomeness in between boredom and silly crashes. Suzuka is still a great track though I think 130R might have to be renamed 130ZZZ if the guys can keep going through it flat and with only one hand on the wheel!

Championship now looks more like a three way fight, though Hamilton and Button are not out out of it by any means.


Pos Driver Team Time

1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h30:27.323
2. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 0.905
3. Alonso Ferrari + 2.721
4. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 13.522
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 39.595
6. Schumacher Mercedes + 59.933
7. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:04:038
8. Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari + 1:09.648
9. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 1:10.846
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1:12.806
11. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
12. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth + 1 lap
13. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth + 2 laps
14. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 2 laps
15. Senna HRT-Cosworth + 2 laps
16. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth + 3 laps
17. Rosberg Mercedes + 5 laps

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:33.474

World Championship standings, round 16:

Drivers: Constructors:

1. Webber 220 1. Red Bull-Renault 426
2. Alonso 206 2. McLaren-Mercedes 381
3. Vettel 206 3. Ferrari 334
4. Hamilton 192 4. Mercedes 176
5. Button 189 5. Renault 133
6. Massa 128 6. Force India-Mercedes 60
7. Rosberg 122 7. Williams-Cosworth 58
8. Kubica 114 8. Sauber-Ferrari 37
9. Schumacher 54 9. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 11
10. Sutil 47
11. Barrichello 41
12. Kobayashi 27
13. Petrov 19
14. Hulkenberg 17
15. Liuzzi 13
16. Buemi 8
17. De la Rosa 6
18. Heidfeld 4
19. Alguersuari 3


  1. ". Disaster for Hamilton whose brand new gearbox broke, meaning yet another five spot grid penalty for the next race. "

    There's no penalty... http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/9079977.stm

    "The regulations dictate that if a grid penalty is taken then a new 'four-race' gearbox can be fitted from the next event, meaning that Hamilton will not take further pain in Korea for a new gearbox"

  2. hahaha @ schumi comment! these are always brilliant, please keep making them!!

  3. Great Alonso's move over Button on the start.

  4. Hamilton was unlucky not to get more from the weekend. He drove brilliantly to qualify in 3rd despite having no time to set up the car. A good battle with Alonso was looking likely until he lost 3rd gear.

  5. Too bad we didn't have about 5 more laps. Alonso was taking like half a second per lap out of the Red Bulls towards the end. Red Bull had mentioned before the race that they were worried about the Ferrari race pace. Sounds like their advantage came just a little too late.

    Too bad Hamilton broke too, he was inching towards Alonso as well. I think a 5th place finish is way more than he could ask for after a broken gearbox and a ridiculously stupid crash on Friday.

    How he gets away with two new gearboxes and only one penalty, god only knows. I'm sure the British motoring press will announce that that is 100% fair.

  6. @Ben: I doubt 5 more laps would have changed anything. Webber surely was aware of Alonso's pace and was doing only what needed to be done to bring the horse home.

    Besides, Webber put up Fastest Lap on the last lap of the race. Clearly he was able to turn up the heat when he wanted to.

    Webber HAS to prodium rest of the season or he will lose it. Alonso is just too poised.

  7. My heart says Webber, my head says Alonso, hes just got way too much momentum, and the Ferrari is killing it, only problem is engines.

    I was discussing this with a mate, the whole race it looked like Webber was driving around at 90%, he could have pushed a lot harder and challenged Vettel more.
    However, at the end of the day it would have been pointless, doubt he could make it past, and Red Bull probably team ordered no stupidity this race.

    I don't like saying it but I don't think Webber has it in him to win/podium next 3 races.

  8. Red Bull are crazy for not backing Webber the last few races.

    Those points Vettel has taken will have cost them the championship if Alonso wins.

  9. I agree, the Red Bulls were just going as fast as needed at the end, You all heard Alonso on the radio...he was trying...
    As far ar RB not backing Webber, yeah, they don't want Webber to win, or rather, they would prefer Vettel win and they will just not do a thing to help Mark out. Now Webber has to play the statistics game, not sure that's going to work for him.

  10. I think the Webber fastest lap on the last lap was very telling. He's got it covered. It's his championship to loose.

    Ben, it's probably 100% fair because that's how the rules are written - probably to annoy non-brits with a bhip on their shoulder! ;)

  11. Article 28.6(a) "Should a driver use a replacement gearbox he will drop five places on the starting grid at that Event and an additional five places each time a further gearbox is used... Unless the driver fails to finish the race, the gearbox fitted to the car at the end of the Event must remain in it for three further Events."

    Martin Brundle is the only person saying otherwise. However Martin Whitmarsh made a publicized statement saying they "hope to avoid" a penalty in Korea. This is likely because, according to Mclaren, the failure was the 3rd-gear dog, which are replaceable once per event per article 28.6(d).

  12. Hmmm...so I was right to begin with? I thought so, what sense would it make to get 2 gearboxes out of a penalty?

  13. @Ben: Whitmarsh: "It was third gear and probably a dog – but it won't be a problem for the next race. We've taken the penalty for this weekend so we had a free gearbox change for the next race." - http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/87416

    About regulations: you need to look only on second paragraph from 28.6a (which you completely ignored), because Hamilton use replacement gearbox and take five places drop.
    "Any replacement gearbox must be fitted with the same gear ratios that were declared under d) below and will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event in question. Any change to the gear ratios declared under d) below will incur a further five grid place penalty. In either case a new four race sequence may start at the following Event."

    Since Hamilton use replacement gearbox and drop only five places his case is:
    "Any replacement gearbox must be fitted with the same gear ratios that were declared under d) below and will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event in question."

    Note: "and will only be required to complete the remainder of the Event"

    Felipe Massa have new gearbox for Japan race in same fashion. He have replacement gearbox for Singapore and new one in Japan - which is clear from race report (http://fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Documents/jpn-race-report.pdf). You can look at race report where you can see: "The following drivers will start the sixteenth Event of the 2010 Formula One World
    Championship with a new gearbox:
    07 Ferrari Felipe Massa - The above driver had to replace his previous gearbox during the last Event for a spare gearbox and this was before the four consecutive Events expired. Therefore he may use a new gearbox at this Event and the four consecutive Events will start here in accordance with Article 28.6a of the 2010 Formula One Sporting Regulations."

    As far as I know this rule is for limit number of gearboxes which every team bring for race and lower expenses. Now they bring two for each driver - one for friday (which then become spare or replacement) and one for fp3, qualifying and race (which must last for four races). Before they bring 3 gearboxes per driver. One for friday, one for spare and one for fp3, qualifying and race.

    Cheers :)

  14. f1fen: 28.6(a) refers only to the replacement gearbox. It is saying that if the team does not use the replacement gearbox at the race after the first time it was used, they will not be penalized with another grid penalty, provided they use another gearbox that is alotted to them under standard procedure. What Whitmarsh is saying is that the first gearbox that broke in Japan was on its fourth race; the replacement lasted one race, so they are using the next gearbox that is alotted to them for the next four races. If Hamilton's gearbox (his last one) breaks in Korea, Brazil, and/or Abu Dhabi, he will take a grid penalty for every race that he has to use another gearbox.

    But, like I pointed out above, this replacement gearbox that failed but survived in Suzuka could be used again because the failed part (the 3rd gear dog) is legally replaced.


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