21/09/2012

What's happening this weekend?

What's happening this weekend? Well, it's the start of a mad few weeks in motorsport. Three series in action this weekend and a massive six series in action next weekend. Not to mention that this weekend is the Singapore GP which marks the start of a hectic run of seven F1 races in just nine weeks.

Formula One
The championship situation heading into this weekend is as follows:

Constructors championship (5th-8th)
5) Mercedes (126 pts)
6) Sauber (100)
7) Force India (63)
8) Williams (54)

For P5:
SFI need: an average of 9 points more than Mercedes needed each race.

For P6:
SFI need: an average of 5.29 points more than Sauber needed each race.

The good news for the Indian team is that they do have a quicker car than Sauber - or at least they did in the last race. The only real difference between the two teams this season is Sergio Perez, he's very good on the Pirelli tyres and the current regulations suit him so well. This is reflected in the drivers' championship standings for the two teams:

Drivers championship (Sauber & Force India)
9) Perez (65 pts)
12) Kobayashi (35)
13) di Resta (32)
14) Hulkenberg (31)

In all honesty, to beat Sauber, the team need Sergio to do badly in races. If the Mexican performs to his best, he will get podiums and he will, sadly, help Sauber pull away from Sahara Force India. Nevertheless, SFI need to keep pushing with their car. If bad luck does befall Sergio then we MUST be there to take advantage.

(Nico Hulkenberg previewing the Singapore GP)

I'm expecting a bit of an unpredictable race this weekend. Tyre wear will be very crucial; teams need to do as fewer stops as possible because Singapore his the longest pit lane of any circuit currently on the F1 calendar. The track consists almost of constant turns which means it's a huge challenge in terms of driver fitness & also mechanical reliability, especially the breaks.

The main reason this race could be unpredictable though is because of F1's biggest fan; rain. Every season the Singapore GP has been held there has been a threat of rain - but it has never actually happened. However this weekend, it looks like we'll see the first ever wet, night race! As we've never had this situation before, we really don't know how the drivers will cope. Some people have said that the reflection of the floodlights on standing water may make it impossible for the drivers, causing a red flag.

Actually, as i am writing this (just under a few hours before FP1) a thunderstorm has hit the circuit:

(A thunderstorm in Singapore. Note: It looks dark because of the clouds, it's actually still daytime!).

Actually i guess this gives us some idea of how rain will affect things in the race, the Ferrari Challenge cars were on track when this storm hit a few moments ago - there have already been two hefty crashes! Speaking of crashes, safety car probability around this track is 100% (according to the stats anyhow). There has been at least one every time the race has been held - it could certainly mix things up! But back to the rain, this track dries very slowly so it is likely FP1 will be held in wet/damp conditions.

Let's give the final F1-word to Narain Karthikeyan. He had a promising weekend in last time out in Monza. Narain managed to out-qualify his Spanish teammate for the first time this season and he generally had good pace for the whole weekend. Let's hope he can do this again on the maximum downforce circuit of Singapore.

You can read preview quotes from the SFI drivers, SFI team principle: Vijay Mallya, Narain Karthikeyan & other F1 personnel here.

Elsewhere ...
Shahaan Engineer is in action in Formula Renault 2.0 (Zandvoort, Netherlands) & Armaan Ebrahim takes part in GT1 (Nürburgring, Germany). We'll have a preview on these series shortly.

Meanwhile, Karun Chandhok was having fun yesterday. He did a shakedown test in the championship-dominating Williams FW14B. This car won a massive ten races of out sixteen in 1992. Karun said he had "the honour of fulfilling a lifelong dream".

(The FW14B. Notice Karun's helmet in the background?)

I had the pleasure of getting up close to this car earlier in the year; Karun is right, it really was an honour!

(Me with the magnificent FW14B)

And with that, it's time for me to watch the GP2 practice session. We'll have an update post-FP1, check back for that! :-)

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