11/06/2012

Weekend sweep-up

F1
Results: di Resta 11th, Hulkenberg 12th, Karthikeyan DNF.

A very confusing race for strategy; some cars made a one-stopper work, some guys made a two-stopper work.

Sahara Force India tried a two-stopper with both cars but it didn't really pay off, however having analysed the data the team actually made the right decision.

Like other teams, initially the plan was for both drivers to go as long as possible in the first stint then decide on strategy - unfortunately both cars, particularly Nico, experienced high tyre wear and had to pit earlier than expected. Nevertheless both VJM05's were still in a promising position at that stage, the pace had been very good.

The problem came in the middle stint. The pace dramatically dropped off on both cars despite different tyres at the time (Paul on softs, Nico on super-softs). The reason for this was that the track dropped in temperature, the VJM05 just could not keep enough heat in the tyres to keep performance high.

The third stint was okay from both drivers, but by that time the damage was already done.

Given the high tyre wear a one-stopper would have been even worse for the Sahara Force India boys, laptimes would have been so far off the pace; so the team did make the right decision - points were just not possible in all honesty.

So to sum up, no points due to:

- high tyre wear (particularly on soft tyres): Paul di Resta did 31 & 26 laps on his two soft tyre stints, Nico did 21 & 28 on his two stints whereas Perez managed 41 laps, Massa 46 laps and Grosjean 49 laps on their respective soft tyre stints.
- inability to keep the tyres warm enough causing a drop in performance (due to a drop in track temperature).

It wasn't really a fault with the strategy, race winner Hamilton was on the same strategy as di Resta ... even with all this data it's hard to come up with a different strategy that would have allowed us to score points. The car was just not capable of performing when the track temperature dropped.

I have to say i was pretty disappointed with the result on a weekend which had promised so much, but then i took a look at the constructors standings:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (69pts)
6) Sauber (58)
7) Williams (44)
8) Force India (28)

After looking at this i'm not actually that worried. The teams' target is 5th place, currently the team is 41pts behind that. In a season as crazy as this, that's nothing to be honest - that gap will close so quickly following a couple of good results; there's still 13 races to go - that's 325pts left to play for - there really is no need to worry at all! What is worth remembering too is that Sahara Force India do get stronger as the season progresses due to good in-season development and the tracks from race #9 (Silverstone) onwards suiting the car more, we know this from previous seasons. I'm still sure that 5th place will be ours come the end of the season :-)

Looking towards the end of the grid, a brake failure caused Narain Karthikeyan to have a spin and eventually retire. His teammate also retired from the race with a brake failure. The roomer in the paddock (and it is just a roomer, not confirmed) is that HRT actually knew the brakes wern't durable enough to complete the race distance. Although even if that's true they'll probably never admit it. Despite the retirement it was a promising weekend for Narain, in some sessions he was ahead of Glock and Pic in the Marussia's, proving he still has pace, he's just limited by his slowly-improving machinery, unfortunately.

Post race quotes from the main players can be read here.

British GT Championship
Result: Bolisetti DNF

A VERY close qualifying session saw Sailesh Bolisetti & Phil Glew line up 2nd in their class, they were just 0.042s behind polesitters Jody Fannin & Warren Hughes in that session!

A great start to the race for Phil Glew saw him lead his class for a long period of time and then he handed the car over to Sailesh Bolisetti. Unfortunately within one lap, Bolisetti had to come back to the pitlane with a broken drive shaft - the car had to be retired.

Nothing either driven could have done, just one of those things unfortunately.

This DNF does really disadvantage the team in the championship:

Championship standings (1st-3rd)
1) Jody Fannin/Warren Hughes (112.5pts)
2) Zoe Wenham (82.5)
3) Sailesh Bolisetti/Phil Glew (71)

Nevertheless, they'll keep pushing, the title is still definitely a possibility!

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