Posts Tagged ‘2010 Formula One World Championship’

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Vettel Steals Title in Abu Dhabi

November 14, 2010

Sebastian Vettel stole the 2010 Formula One World Championship from under Fernando Alonso and teammate Mark Webber’s noses this afternoon, after winning the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Vettel, who started from pole got a clean getaway, keeping second-place starter Lewis Hamilton behind him into turn one, while Jenson Button claimed third from championship leader Alonso.

Within just a few corners Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher made contact, the latter finding himself in a spin, and while the rest of the field tried to tip-toe around him, Vitantonio Liuzzi found he had nowhere else to go and his front wing ended up on top of Schumacher’s car.

The safety car was deployed and the mid field peeled into the pits, including Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov. At the restart at the end of lap five, Vettel led Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Webber, and after unsuccessfully trying to pass Alonso, Webber pitted on lap 12 to switch to the harder of the two compound tyres. He rejoined the track in 16th, behind Jaime Alguersuari, and spent the next couple of laps trying to pass him.

Ferrari tried a new tactic on lap 14, pitting Felipe Massa from fifth to try and get him ahead of Webber and ruin his race, to increase Alonso’s chances of taking the championship, but Massa rejoined behind Webber, just before Webber passed Alguersuari for 14th.

On lap 15, seeing that Webber and Massa were a fair bit faster on the medium compound tyre, Ferrari pitted Alonso to cover off Webber, and while they got him out ahead of the Red Bull driver, it proved to be what decided the title, as Alonso found himself staring at the back on Petrov’s gearbox for the rest of the race, unable to pass on a circuit which has proved in its two years to not open up many overtaking opportunities, and therefore meaning he couldn’t score enough points.

As Alonso got stuck behind the Renault, Red Bull and McLaren then chose to keep Vettel, Hamilton and Button out instead of bringing them in for fresh tyres – the aim to ensure they stayed ahead of Kamui Kobayashi and Robert Kubica in fourth and fifth respectively, and both of whom were running long into the first stint on the harder compound tyre.

McLaren eventually chose to pit Hamilton on lap 23, and he rejoined behind the squabbling pair. On lap 25 Kubica passed Kobayashi, with Hamilton following suit on lap 26, but after that Hamilton was unable to pass Kubica. On lap 25, Vettel pitted, but unlike Hamilton was able to stay ahead of Kubica.

Button took the lead of the race until lap 39, when McLaren pitted him, realising he wasn’t going to pull out anymore of a lead over Kubica. He rejoined behind Hamilton, and the pair continued their fight against the Renault driver.

On lap 46, Kubica finally pitted for his mandatory pit stop, and having built up a 23 second lead over the Petrov-Alonso-Webber chain, he was able to rejoin the track ahead of them all, causing yet another headache for Alonso. Hamilton and Button regained second and third, and from then Vettel had the race under control.

As he crossed the line he had no idea his win meant he had won the championship, until Alonso and Webber crossed the line in seventh and eighth behind Rosberg, Kubica and Petrov in fourth, fifth and sixth, and the team told him he was the new champion. Alguersuari and Massa rounded out the top ten.

Vettel’s win gave him a final total of 256 world championship points, four ahead of Alonso on 252, with Webber on 242 and Hamilton on 240.

Following his win and being told he had won the title, Vettel let out all his emotions, crying both over the radio and on the podium. Despite the mistakes that he has made this season, in the last few races he has proved he really deserves this title.

McLaren have secured second in the Constructors’ Championship on 454 points, with Ferrari on 396, 102 behind Constructors’ Champions Red Bull on 498.

So that’s it for the 2010 season. The 2011 season will begin in Bahrain next March.

 

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Alonso Takes First Victory of 2010 for Ferrari

March 14, 2010

Fernando Alonso won his debut race for Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon, with teammate Felipe Massa making it a one-two for the team.

It had been Sebastian Vettel who had taken an early lead from pole position in the Red Bull, but exhaust problems for Vettel in the second half of the race enabled Alonso to pass him at the end of lap 34. Alonso had been biding his time up until that point and had managed to get the original 5 second gap Vettel had pulled out in the first stint, down to a second before finally making his move. Massa made his move into turn one on lap 35, and by the beginning of lap 38, Lewis Hamilton was also able to pass the German.

Alonso said of his race: “It was a special day for me. Coming back to the top of the podium is always special.” Referring to his first win for the Ferrari team, he said: “There is no better way to start the relationship.”

Alonso had made his first move of the race, passing Massa for second in the first corner. At the same time, Nico Rosberg, who started fifth for Mercedes, was able to pass Lewis Hamilton for fourth, after the McLaren driver ran wide trying to pass Massa into turn four for third. Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, who had started sixth, fell back after a smoky first couple of corners and Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button were able to gain a place each from him, getting up to sixth and seventh, but Webber quickly claimed seventh back off Button.

In the first round of pitstops, after being held up by Rosberg, Hamilton was able to retake fourth, while Button was able to claim seventh back off Webber. With Vettel, Alonso and Massa then retaining their positions as the front three, it was then Hamilton who led Rosberg, Schumacher, Button and Webber into the second and final stint.

From there, things stayed pretty constant until Vettel’s problems began to persist and the Ferraris and Hamilton were able to pass. Rosberg was unable to pass Vettel in the last lap, despite closing the gap, and Vettel finally finished in fourth. Rosberg was able to continue his form for the weekend, remaining ahead of his seven-time world champion teammate, Schumacher, with the two finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Button was able to keep Schumacher firmly in his sights throughout the race, but unable to pass the German, the reigning champion had to settle for seventh overall. Despite Adrian Sutil and Robert Kubica qualifying in the top ten, both fell back down the pack in the opening stage of the race, and it was Vitantonio Liuzzi and Rubens Barrichello who were the last of the points scorers in ninth and tenth respectively.

Further down the pack, and out of the three new teams, Lotus were the only one who were able to finish the race, with Heikki Kovalainen finishing 15th, and Jarno Trulli 16th, both keeping their laptimes to within three seconds of the frontrunners at times. Karun Chandhok was the first retiree in the HRT, while Bruno Senna retired with a sick engine later on. Lucas di Grassi and Timo Glock failed to finish for Virgin, while Kamui Kobayashi, Vitaly Petrov, Pedro de la Rosa and Sebastien Buemi were the other retirees of the race.

Alonso’s impressive win on his debut for Ferrari sees him take 25 points, with Massa taking 18. The two together put the Ferrari team in a strong position in the constructors’ championship early on, with the team taking a maximum 43 points. McLaren take 21 points from Hamilton and Button’s third and seventh positions, with a solid fifth and sixth for Mercedes putting them third on the constructors table with 18 points, with Red Bull just behind on 16.

The Australian Grand Prix is in two weeks time, with qualifying on Saturday 27th March at 6am (GMT), and the race live on BBC1 at 7am on Sunday 28th.

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Welcome to the 2010 Season

March 12, 2010

After four and a half months without it, Formula One returned to our screens today, with the first two practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Adrian Sutil was the first to top the timesheets for Force India in Practice One, while Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time in Practice Two for the newly-named Mercedes team and reigning constructors champions.

So while the season kicks off this weekend, what has changed, who’s who on the grid, and what is the first controversy of 2010?

BMW Sauber were the first to announce mid-way through the 2009 season that they would be leaving Formula One. Soon after came Toyota’s decision to follow suit and quit the sport. Then came the 2009 world champion’s switch to McLaren, and after weeks of where will Kimi Raikkonen go now Fernando Alonso has taken his seat at Ferrari, the 2007 world champion announced a sabbatical from the sport. And that was all in the midst of digesting the new 2010 rules and regulations. But what happened to last year’s teams and drivers? Here’s a quick recap…

– Despite BMW’s planned exit from the world of Formula One, the team were eventually taken over, and returning to the sport under the wing of Peter Sauber once more, the team were pulled from the precipice, and with the exit of Robert Kubica to Renault, Pedro de la Rosa was confirmed as the veteran driver for the team after making a return to a race seat, with Kamui Kobayashi, who impressed at Toyota in the last two rounds of 2009, replacing Nick Heidfeld. Heidfeld is now a reserve driver for the newly-named Mercedes team.

– Toyota pulled out of the sport at the end of the 2009 season, and it was, as it were, replaced by not one, not even two, but three new teams. The Lotus name makes its return to Formula One, and Richard Branson and the new Virgin Racing team join the grid. HRT (Hispania Racing Team), despite no pre-season testing, head to Bahrain for this weekend’s race, rounding off the three new teams.

– Brawn GP came back from nowhere at the beginning of 2009 to take both the drivers and constructors titles after an impressive season, and in fact it was so impressive, German car manufacturer, Mercedes, ended their partnership with McLaren taking a 75% ownership of the Brawn team, which was quickly remained. The team, having parted company with both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, signed Nico Rosberg, and eventually delighted fans when they announced their second driver would be none other than seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

– Button departed Brawn for McLaren to team up alongside fellow Brit, and 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton. The new all-British team with its back-to-back world champions meant that Kimi Raikkonen, who had been looking at signing with McLaren, after parting with Ferrari, was left with no race seat, and he eventually announced he would be leaving F1 for rallying.

– Fernando Alonso was confirmed as Raikkonen’s replacement at Ferrari before the end of the 2009 season, and he begins his quest for his third title alongside Felipe Massa, who returns to the driving seat for the first time since his horrific accident in Hungary last season.

– Fernando’s old seat at Renault was given to Robert Kubica, while Alonso’s former teammate, Romain Grosjean, leaves the sport to be replaced by Russian Vitaly Petrov.

– Button’s former teammate, Barrichello made a straight-forward swap with Rosberg, leaving Brawn for the Williams team. GP2 winner, Nico Hulkenberg joins the veteran at the team, making a step up to an F1 race seat.

– For Force India, Red Bull and Toro Rosso, not much has changed between the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi return for Force India, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber remain at Red Bull, and Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari stick with Toro Rosso.

– In the three new teams, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen join Lotus, while Timo Glock joins Virgin with newcomer Lucas di Grassi. At HRT, Ayrton Senna’s nephew returns the Senna name to F1, with Karun Chandhok taking the last confirmed race seat for 2010.

– With the mixture of old faces returning, and the new faces joining F1 for 2010, several of last year’s drivers have either left the sport or stepped down from their race seat to become reserve drivers. Raikkonen, Grosjean, and Kazuki Nakajima have all left the sport, while Heidfeld joins Mercedes from BMW as a reserve driver, and Giancarlo Fisichella takes up his post as reserve driver for Ferrari.

So that’s the teams and driver changes for 2010. Other changes this season see the return of the refuelling ban and an amendment to the points system, among other things. The refuelling ban has posed the biggest problem for teams as it has meant changing other parts of their cars. As well as the larger fuel tanks, and the extra race fuel, the brakes and the tyres have to be taken care of, particularly in the early stages of the race when the drivers will have more weight as they brake to slow down the cars.

A change to the points system means the top ten finishers will be awarded points, with the winner taking 25 points, the second-placed driver taking 18, third 15, fourth 12, and fifth down to ninth, ten, eight, six, four and two points, with the tenth place finisher taking one point.

And then for the first controversy of 2010. McLaren are at the heart of the latest debate, with their rear wing design being called into question. The air vent, which stalls the rear wing and increases straight-line speed, has been confirmed to be legal by the FIA, but some of the teams are still unsure about the design. A change to the regulations and the introduction of homologated parts means it will be hard and very costly for the other teams to create a similar design to keep them in line with McLaren. As the rest of the weekend develops, expect to see this controversy continue…

For now, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes all look to be in a good position for the first pole and first win of the season. Button and Hamilton finished FP1 in fifth and sixth respectively, with Hamilton second and Button fourth in FP2. Alonso and Massa featured highly in the top ten in both sessions, while Rosberg was faster than teammate Schumacher in both, finishing fastest in FP2, with Schumacher in third.

The third practice session begins at 8am (GMT) on the BBC Red Button tomorrow, with qualifying on BBC1 at 11am (GMT), and the race at midday on Sunday.