02/09/2012

Saturday Analysis

Formula One
Qualifying results: di Resta 10th (will start 9th)(1:48.890), Hulkenberg 12th (will start 11th)(1:48.855), Karthikeyan 24th (1:54.989).

I've been looking on various Internet forums/message boards and it seems as if most Sahara Force India fans are disappointed by toady's result; this surprises me.

I guess i can understand the disappointment to a certain extent as our rivals qualified so highly (Sauber 2nd & 4th, Williams 6th). However there are a few things people should remember:

1) Points are awarded for Sunday only, not Saturday.
2) Both drivers pretty much maximised the performance of the car today*.
3) The nature of the Spa track is that sectors one and three are about top speed/low downforce whereas sector two is about cornering/high downforce. Both our close rivals; Sauber and Williams, set their car up for high downforce. Force India have gone for low downforce. This means that in the middle sector our rivals have considerably more pace than us (about 1s more). BUT in the 1st sector and 3rd sector, we are slightly quicker. What this means is that over the course of one lap, our rivals will be quicker. However, over a race distance we will be quicker. I hear you asking: "if they are quicker over one lap, why will they not be quicker over a race distance?" - well, it's a good question! First of all, tyre degradation will mean that they can't be consistently quick in the middle sector, they will lose pace. Whereas even with very high tyre wear, cars can still reach their top speed on a straight (sectors 1 & 3) which plays into Sahara Force India's hands. Additionally on the straights, the VJM05's should be able to breeze past their opposition whereas when Sauber/Williams come across traffic in their strong point, they won't be able to pass as easily (passing in sector two at Belgium is hard due to the way the corners flow). Not to mention the position of the DRS zone which is placed on the long Kemmel straight in sector one. It will help to maximise our strong area and limit any distance our rivals can pull out in sector two.

This is how the constructors championship currently stands:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (106 pts)
6) Sauber (80)
7) Williams (53)
8) Force India (46)

Sahara Force India need an average of 6.66 points more than Mercedes each race to equal P5 at the end of the season. For P6 it's 3.77 points more than Sauber on average each race.

*Nico missed out on Q3 by just 0.075s, unlucky that he did not squeeze in really! In Q1 the German driver got held up by Maldonado (who received a three-place grid penalty for the incident). As for Paul, he didn't do his best possible lap in Q3, but if he had, he wouldn't have gained any positions anyway; P10 was the maximum (P9 after Webber's gearbox penalty).

Sahara Force India pictures from Saturday can be found here.

Narain Karthikeyan had a poor qualifying session, a huge 1.9s down on teammate de la Rosa and 0.5s down on Pic in 23rd. Initially i assumed the huge gap was down to some sort of car problem but as it turns out, it was traffic on Narain's hot lap that slowed him down.

For sure it's going to be a very exciting race tomorrow, can Sahara Force India use their racey setup to catch Sauber/Williams? Can Narain Karthikeyan beat his teammate in the race? It's going to be fun finding out!

Post-qualifying quotes are here.

Formula Renault 2.0 NEC
Qualifying one results: Engineer 18th (1:33.890, +1.257 on the leader)
Qualifying two results: Engineer 14th (1:32.859, +0.867)
Race one results: Engineer 15th (6 points)

Disappointing results for Shahaan today, he will have been hoping to be in the top ten. The only positive to draw on though is that he improved his final position in the race in comparison to his qualifying (18th -> 15th). Two more races tomorrow.

GT1
Qualifying Results: Ebrahim 9th (1:35.381, +1.295s on the leader)

Both Ebrahim & teammate Lariche are new to the series this weekend. It didn't take them long to get on the pace! In practice one & two the Sunred team was bottom of the pile (11th out of 11 teams). But then in Q1 Sunred managed P9, their normal position in the series - this means that Ebrahim & Lariche we're already achieving the cars potential. They also secured P9 in Q2, so that's where they will start tomorrow.

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