FIA published the car weights at the start of 2009 Chinese Grand Prix. The numbers reveal that Fernando Alonso is very lightly fueled. The Red Bull cars have a bit more fuel on borad but still much less than Brawns or Toyotas. Likely the lightly fueled cars will start the race on super soft tyre and then switch to the medium one for two longer stints. On the other hand there are some extremely heavy cars out there – Kovalainen, Massa, Piquet. Will see how the strategy will play out especially with the about 60% chance of rain tomorrow. The fuel consumption per lap in Shanghai is somewhere around 2.5 kg so make your own math .
Sebastian Vettel in Red Bull will start the Chinese GP from the pole position, Fernando Alonso will line up next to him on the front row. Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello form the second row ahead of Button and Trulli. It will be interesting to see the car weights later on today as the gaps between the top 10 cars are quite big.
Saturday free practice is now over. The fastest time in the final practice session belongs to Nico Rosberg, ahead of Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton. The Brawn cars were probably running heavier than the others focusing more on the Q3 than on Q2 …
Red Bulls did not do much running as the team did some precautionary repairs. Fernando Alonso started the session with new rear diffuser but there obviously were some problems because he spent most of the FP3 in garage.
The usual order was restored in the second free practice with Jenson Button fastest, Nico Rosberg 2 hundreds behind in second and Rubens Barrichello 3rd. The times of Button and Rosberg are about 7 tenths quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position last year …
Lewis Hamilton was the fastest driver out there in the first practice, with Button and Barrichello behind him. Ferrari cars seemed to be struggling a lot with their tyres during the first session. The temperatures in Shanghai were rather cool during the first session, about 18 degrees ambient and 33 degrees track. It was all sunny though.
This week F1 circus moves to Shanghai for the 6th Chinese F1 GP. This will be the first time the Shanghai race is happening at the beginning of the F1 season instead of the usual end of season October date.
The Chinese GP is now only a week away. Here is a short video preview that also includes brief look back at the rainy Malaysian GP action, few photos showing the different side of the Shanghai International Circuit as well as the usual animated track intro:
Canadian GP organizers ended talks with Bernie Ecclestone
As it is often case in Formula 1 the money and greed prevailed, the sport and fans are the loosers. Following the news coming out of Montreal on Sunday the chances that the Canadian GP may reappear on 2009 F1 calendar when its final version is released in December are now close to zero. Finding themselves far away from meeting demands from Bernie Ecclestone the organizers of the Canadian GP ended the talks aimed at keeping the Formula 1 race in Montreal.
Québec province’s Minister of Economic Development, Raymond Bachand:
This may be bad news for Bernie Ecclestone and good news for promoters of the other Formula 1 races. Organizers of Chinese GP are evaluating the feasibility of hosting the race ahead of expiry of their contract. Shanghai Grand Prix was first time hosted in 2004 and the organizers have two more races to go before the original contract runs out in 2010.
One would think that money does not matter in country like China. But things change … There is a chance that the Chinese GP may be dropped.
Canadian Grand Prix still missing from the 2009 calendar
Another version of 2009 Formula 1 calendar was agreed on today at the World Motorsport Council meeting in Paris. Some changes were expected following last month’s cancellation of the 2009 French GP. The season was shortened by 2 weeks with final race now moved to November 1 instead of previously planned November 15. The biggest chnage is Chinese GP moving to a new slot – Shanghai race will now be the 3rd race of the season after Australia and Malaysia.
I was probably not alone hoping that following the talks between Montreal officials and Bernie Ecclestone we may see the Canadian GP back. Well, that hasn’t happened yet. The revised again calendar still features only 17 races, none of them in North America ….
2009 Formula 1 Calendar – Revised on November 5, 2008
The smog covered 2008 Chinese GP was a boring affair that brought us back to the dull F1 reality. The quickest car started from the pole position and bar some mishap it never looked like anybody was going to challenge Lewis Hamilton. There is very little to say here. Hamilton was simply the best for the whole weekend and he won the race. He extended his championship lead to 7 points. This is the same lead he had last year ahead of the final race of the season and so same as last year it is now Hamilton’s title to throw away.
His team mate Heikki Kovalainen had again all the bad luck. First the tyre failure then retirement. But, again, as often this year, even without the bad luck he was disappointing. While Hamilton in the same car was pulling away from everybody Kovalainen was clearly outpaced by both Ferraris and even Fernando Alonso’s Renault. I am wondering if the 1 year extension of his contract with Mclaren is not just a stop gap before Nico Rosberg’s contract with Williams is up …
Lewis Hamilton kept out of trouble and recorded the his 5th win of the season and the first Chinese GP race win for McLaren. None of te Ferraris, with or without the shark fin, could find the answer to Hamilton’s pace. Felipe Massa kept the title fight alive with second place. Kimi Raikkonen finished 3rd after letting Massa ahead with 8 laps to go. Both Renaults and BMW Saubers finished in points but Kubica’s 6th place means he is now officially out the championship fight. So it is only between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa now. With 7 points separating them it is advantage Hamilton. Massa will now have to win the Brazilian GP and hope Hamilton will finish 6th or lower in the final race of the season (or if Massa finishes Brazilian GP 2nd he needs Hamilton to finish 8th or worse). What are the odds ? Well, Massa has won 5 races this season and Hamilton finished 5 times 7th or worse .
Jean Eric VERGNE
2014 F1 Calendar
14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi