March 27, 2011

2011 Australian GP Executive Summary

OZ11-Q_ 1580
photo: Alex Comerford

The 2011 F1 season starts off where 2010 left off, with domination from Red Bull and with the best drivers still Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso.

I don't want to get bogged down too much about it: it's a long season and 2010 taught that early domination means little, but I'm not sure I'm a big fan of how Red Bull is behaving with regards to their obviously flexing front wing and, especially, with their not running KERS at all.
While it's perfectly legal for them not to use KERS, it seems to me that if there was an agreement among the major teams to run this expensive green technology fig leaf with all the packaging and reliability compromises it entails, Red Bull stuck it to everyone by choosing to run without it. That means less cooling, and more flexibility in balancing the car. Clever... again.

The movable rear wing seems to only kind of work, certainly it's not as dramatic as advertised. What I did notice was that, at least on this track, cars were able to run much closer together in the turns.

A big thumbs up to Mexican rookie "Checo" Perez for his excellent driving in the opening lap chaos, shame Sauber were later excluded on a technical infraction.
Big thumbs down to Barrichello who, in his 308 GP start, drove like you might expect a rookie pay driver might: he went off in qualifying, in the race he went off in the second corner and later managed to destroy the only remaining Mercedes of Rosberg with a divebomb maneuver usually seen at local arrive & drive kart tracks.

Finally the question everyone is asking, Petrov did a great job finishing third but what if Robert Kubica had been there?

Pass of the race? No contes:, Alonso's outside pass on Kobayashi on the fasters turn on the track. Brilliant.

Pos Driver Team Time

1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1h29:30.259
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 22.297
3. Petrov Renault + 30.560
4. Alonso Ferrari + 31.772
5. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 38.171
6. Button McLaren-Mercedes + 54.300
7. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 1:05.800
8. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1:16.800
9. Massa Ferrari + 1:25.100
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
11. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
12. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap
13. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap
14. Heidfeld Renault + 1 lap
15. Trulli Lotus-Renault + 2 laps
16. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 3 laps

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:28.947

Link to the song used

end of post


  1. The best part of the video is in Victory Lane. Watching the three drivers shake hands and seeing Lewis Hamilton checking out his car and then looking at Vettel's tire. Very cool. Not something you ever get to see. Thanks.

  2. I feel really confused about Red Bull's flexi wing.
    Ok, it's flexing a lot, and only blind supporters can deny it, but from the other side I think that they must be congratulated.
    The FIA made modifications to wing flexing checks in order to make them harder to pass, and despite this Red Bull is still achieving this results.
    It's obvious that they have a deeper understanding of the matter compared to all the other teams, they are ahead in pure technology. And isn't Formula 1 all about this?

  3. Agree with Zizzo. Rules are rules, and if RB/Newey complies with them in a clever advantageous way then all kudos to him! I think its great that they only use a lightweight KERS start-only system that clearly shows there's little advantage to those type of devices yet over a whole lap. Or is it, as Ive read somewhere else, that the RB car is so far ahead in aero that they can afford not to run it?
    That's the essence of F1... Its not a Spec series. That's why its hard to tell who the better drivers are. IMO Alonso is still on top. Great result on not a very fast car.... and the biggest questions are:
    - Was Schumi ever really that good?
    - What if Kubica jhad been there?

  4. RB did not run KERS at all, my point was that if they all decided they would go along with this politically correct technology this season, not running it when inconvenient opens the door to all other teams doing the same...
    Kubica must

  5. @CG: what a right point you made! I'm sure that Petrov has improved from last year, with one season behind his back everything will be easier, and throughout his career he showed glimpses of real talent, so he may have a decent potential. Anyway, Kubica is from another planet and if what Renault showed in Melbourne is real, this car could be a winner in his hands. What a pity that he has to watch races on TV.

    On Schuey, I disagree. The early Schumacher, the Benetton years + the early Ferrari era, was just incredible.
    He was competitive in 1992 and 1993, when Benetton was nowhere as competitive as Williams, and in 1994 he would have been a tough match for Senna, again in a slightly inferior car, especially if we compare the Ford engine with the Williams powerplant.
    And then remember where Ferrari was without him: he played a big role in the Maranello renaissance, i don't think that the Todt-Brawn-Byrne trio would have been so successful without him.

  6. OK, I stand corrected. Havent seen Horner's confirmation that they did not run KERS at all! So, is it in the rules that they have to use it? or just a "Moral" agreement among teams that they HAVE to use it. or maybe WOULD APPROVE the use of it during 2011?

    In other words, they just just violated the "gentlemen's code"... which IMO there's not much of it in modern F1 with types like Bernie running it and win at all costs mentality like R Dennis (and political masterminds like Montezemolo).

  7. I think that McLaren should be able to close the gap to RB. Their turnaround in the last 2-3 weeks has been amazing, showing up with Titanium plate parts as a placeholder, and achieving the lap times they did is pretty much speaks to their ability. I just wish that they get up to speed with strategy and decision making; they should have radioed Jensen immediately to let Massa by! Come on now, you can't just hand Ferrari an easy one like that!
    Overall not a particularly exciting race, but at least on the paper this should be an exciting season, we shall wait and see... Thanks Axis for great post so far!

  8. Red Bull did not USE the KERS. They did have it on the car though no one knows if it was start-only or full-on KERS.

  9. I don't think Hamilton used KERS either. I think it was after Qually that the BBC commentators told Button (some, if not all) pole sitters didn't use KERS. Button was shocked and confused haha

  10. I don't believe a word of what Horner says anymore..

  11. @AC - you dont have to believe what Horner says. The FIA broadcast showed a charged KERS from both Red Bulls and the fact that they did not use it on either the pole lap or the start.

  12. I don't believe a thing that comes out of Horner's mouth either. They've done so much to cast doubt on themselves in the past year, especially the second half of 2010. Bendy wings that no one can figure out yet provide such a humongous performance advantage... Webber's car is much slower than Vettel's yet Horner "has no idea why..." and they sacrifice Webber's chance at the title to lure Alonso into pitting in Abu Dhabi, which conveniently works out to win Vettel a title... anybody who thinks Red Bull is any less manipulative than Ferrari, Mclaren, Bernie, or the FIA is fooling themselves.

    On the Red Bull in Melbourne they would have had to provide the signal from the ECU to the BBC computers to show the KERS as fully charged, since all cars have a full charge at the start. The fact that you saw it on your screen does not say whether they actually had it on the car or not. Horner said they did not use it at all, but I can't find anywhere that says whether they removed it or just didn't use it.

    The biggest thing I took away from Melbourne was how useless the DRS was. Cars that were less than .5 seconds behind could use it to make a clean pass that they could probably have made in a plain old slipstream anyways. Cars that were more than a half second behind, it didn't seem to help at all. Button couldn't pass get around Massa until lap 48, even though Massa was much slower.

  13. Great great great film, Axis! Been looking forward to "Executive Summary" all winter. Keep it up, looking forward to future editions.

  14. I'm going to agree with DRS being a huge flop. Yes, it works; against an obviously much slower car when the passing car uses DRS and a full KERS boost, half the straight for a slipstream, and late braking.... what? You used to be able to pass just because you were faster, now you have to be faster, have DRS active, slipstream, and blow KERS (even against cars without KERS). It's a failure and needs to be addressed if they want to keep it in the show.

    I'm also getting a bit miffed at all the, "But what if Kubica was in the Renault!". Well, hate to be the one to say it, but he's not -- because he decided to rally in the off season and nearly severed his arm off. Petrov didn't, he trained and practiced and kept his arm in tact and put in a hell of a drive. He deserves a lot more credit then "What about Kubica!".

    Also, I'm not sure what the big mystery is that Webber's car was slower then Vettel's and Button's slower then Hamilton's. Um, they're slower drivers.... they always have been. Mark and Jenson are more consistent and controlled, but they're slower... always have been... why is this suddenly news?

  15. @tekniq well, Webber has about as good a chance to get #1 driver status withing RB as Massa does within Ferrari

  16. @AC:
    Absolutely. He's a fantastic #2, just like Massa was until he lost his groove. Consistently place top 5, but can't beat your teammate. That's the perfect second driver to any team -- get us the constructors but don't hamper our young star with tons of sponsor money! Their whole "our drivers have an equal chance" went out the window when they pitted Webber early to make Ferrari goof and chase him so Vettel could win.

  17. can i know the name of the intro song?

  18. Thank you very much. I'm on a camping trip last weekend and missed the GP, your Executive Summary is really a saviour. Very surprised to see Ferrari, racking up the most mileage in testing but end up being a very twitchy car. Look like they were driving a HRT!

  19. These summaries really are fantastic. Chock full of onboards and no commentary. They're perfect. Thanks so much for making them!


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