2015 Archive

Yes the most glamorous venue of the 2015 season

is set and ready for the one race that seems to epitomise Formula One racing at its best and most exciting…

Monte Carlos and the Monaco Grand Prix.

What is Alonso up to?

There were some well known historical tensions between McLaren chiefs and Alonso, which was thought to have been cleared and settled before he resigned for the start of the 2015 season! However, surely there will be questions raised about his commitment to the team since he will be missing the Grandest day of the F1 season, the opening race in Australia? Which to this day remains unexplained.

Of course Alonso was in a well publicised pre-season crash on one of the test days, spending 3 nights in hospital, but miss the first race?? Come on! We have seen huge and dramatic crashes where the driver received treatment then got back in the car. This is the first race of the season and it is Fernando Alonso that twe are talking about, one of the toughest fighters on the track.

It does not help speculation from all quarters when no official explanation is given, which is acceptable to anyone over the age of 5.

McLaren initially described the incident as a "normal testing accident". However, following Alonso pulling out of the first race, it quickly became apparent that it was anything but normal.

Despite safety advances, there is always the risk of head injuries in the slightest of F1 crashes, but F1 has the worlds best medical facilities at hand for all drivers, which only adds to the mystery, indeed, we have seen Alonso smiling and walking.

Taking extra precautions is admirable, the last thing any fan wants is to have a driver suffer any disability due to 'Gun Ho' attitudes, all that we have asked for is an explanation that F1 fans can appreciate. There may be nothing amiss, but F1 is a hotbed of gossip and speculations at the best of times even in a single team!

So..What about the accident?







One of the known facts is that it happened on the exit of Turn Three at the Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya.

Two lap data shows that Alonso had achieved the fastest lap personally on the previous lap. On the lap of the crash he had braked deeper into Turn One and came out wider. That naturally changes the line to Turn Two which has a kink, and again draws out a wider line into Turn Three, which is a two part corner taking the driver to the edge on exit, and with potentially greater speed at a wider agle. Alonso entered Turn Three faster that on the previous lap. Alonso keeps his wider line throughout the corner and of course would have more of the car ron the kerb and loses control of the car at 134mph +/- a mph.

Some have said that this speed was slower than norm but is about what others say was expected at that point. It is known that the was off line and faster at that point on the lap than his previous fastest lap.

McLaren confirmed that Alonso lost control because his outside rear wheel was on the Astroturf at the outside edge of the corner, plus there had been complaints all morning of gusty winds which could have played a significant part on a vehicle streamlined to atmospherics at every level. Alonsonso then decelerates heavily after losing control before hitting the wall.

Having examined GPS data, engineers Engineers say the deceleration trace is virtuqally identical to that for braking into the hairpin of Turn Four. Alonso didn't maintain any specific lower speed for any significant amount of time, and although a small blip in the data shows where the deceleration levels out, that was for only 0.2 - 0.3 seconds.

It has not been possible to confirm the speed at which Alonso hit the wall.  McLaren chairman, Ron Dennis said -'There were two G readings, when his head hit one side of the cockpit and then the other side of the cockpit.'

We don't know why Alonso with his experience and at a home circuit, actually lost control, McLaren have put this down to Alonso being off line and the gusty conditions.

Speculations have included Alonso having a medical condition whilst driving that caused him to lose control, but he was certainly conscious as he was braking at maximum force - equivalent to 75kg or more as well as changing gear.

Ron Dennis has said that Alonso's team mate, Jenson Button has looked at the telemetry from the car and found it unusual. Ron Dennis went on to say 'Every single input into the car was normal, Changing down gear, steering and braking… there is nothing we can see that is abnormal'. 'Jenson looked at the figures and said 'Well, that's a bit strange'. But exactly what does that mean when you are struggling with a car.....

A highly respected engineer has said: ' Nothing I can see in the GPS data makes me think it was anything other than him going too fast and losing control', adding that it was ' a bit odd' that Alonso would suddenly slam the brakes on in this manner if he had lost control. And it still remains unclear as to why a conscious driver would not avoid slamming into the wall.

All that is needed is an official update with grown up explanations.

Kevin Magnussen will drive the second Honda McLaren in place of Alonso. So, what a perfect opportunity for Magnussen to shine.

McLaren Honda 2015 formula 1 season car Honda formula 1 car for the 2015 season with McLaren

A sneaky peep at the Honda F1 2015 model

As the world of F1 is gearing for the launch of the 2015 season, a season which has become increasingly longer with each passing year, the governing body of F1, the FIA, has admitted to there being a loophole in the regulations which have now allowed the ‘current F1 manufacturers’, to continue the development of their respective engines during the 2015 season.


    

F1 teams can develop engines in season after FIA admits loophole


CONTINUE

BUTTON: ‘The first 30 laps were the scariest of my life ‘

‘Every time I touched the throttle at any speed, the rear was just gone. It wasn't normal. In low-speed corners it was just slow, but high speed, very scary’

Alonso retired at lap 26 when his brakes seemed to have all but vanished! This was clearly evident when he drove into his pit lane only to knock the jack flying as his car failed to stop despite Alonso clearly pumping away on the brakes! Thankfully the Jack-man was quick on his toes and stepped aside in a manner that would have made Wayne Sleep proud!

Q::  WHY??

A::  The brake problems were caused by a visor tear-off blocking the right rear brake duct of his McLaren MP4-30..OFFICIAL.

McLaren-Honda must be pleased with the development of the team and cars. It was clear from the outset of the season that the learning curve would be severe, as is the case with most other teams that advance. The coalition of Jensen Button and Fernando Alonso could however not have been better. Two professionals who manage to get on and work closely for the advancement of the team without the common childish snipes and bickering.

NEXT RACE

Monte Carlo

 22-24 May

MONACO GRAND PRIX

Spanish Grand Prix

Honda always faced a challenge with their revolutionary engine development for the 2015 season with McLaren. As with all such huge leaps, which the other teams will probably be looking to emulate for the 2016 season, lessons are hard learnt in the only place it can be…In public view during the actual races themselves. Most of the ‘in the know’ people were aware that 2015 would not be the year of wins but of development, perhaps that is why few people are looking let-down. With Button and Alonso Honda also has 2 of the best, so each race is a step forward, not necessarily a step to the podium.

Fernando Alonso was forced to retire on lap 13, demonstrating the reliability problems still being experienced. Each race is a LIVE development period, but when an engine designer such as Honda, makes unique and forward thinking developments, which are with all probability going to be copied by others for the 2016 season, teething problems are only to be expected regardless of pre season testing.

One of the major advantages that McLaren Honda does possess above all other teams in such a situation, is clearly the calibre of the 2 drivers of Jensen Button and Fernando Alonso.

We don’t need to go back too far to recall how many drivers revert to throwing toys from their prams at the first sign that the season won’t follow their expectations. Not too dissimilar from Beckham kicking down the opponents when his ego wasn’t being allowed to be the main player on the field, but such is sport when talent doesn’t match requirments.

This is why we all start talking of Senna, Schumacher, Fangio, Prost etc. Drivers and sportsmen who not only possessed the talent to meet expectations, but often surpassed them.


Fernando Alonso penalised five seconds for colliding with Nico Hulkenberg when passing him on lap one.

When asked if hen thought the penalty to be fair, he replied;

‘Of course not, I am in Turn Five on the inside, Hulkenberg on the outside where probably you need to back off. To give penalties randomly like this is strange, but it is what it is’::

Germany dropped from 2015 season.

The FIA issued a revised F1 2015 season calendar in which Germany has been wiped off! Germany was to host the 10th race between July 17th and 19th, but now without Germany, the season will have 19 races.

There had already been a delay in deciding which German course would be the German host for 2015, Nurburgring or Hockenheim?  Now that decision has been made by deciding upon neither altogether.

Without Germany, there will now be a 3 week rest between the Great British and Hungarian grand prix races.

BUTTON: "There's been improvement all the way except for today. Today is a tough day but it was always going to be really tough for us due to the layout of the circuit. Hopefully we'll be back on track in Austria.

Having to be penalised due to mechanical changes at Montreal, there was little point in wasting tyres by running in the qualifying period. Staring from the pit lane was the only realistic option.

BUTTON:"when you start last and have a drive-through on your first lap it's tricky because you get caught by the leaders”

"The car didn't feel too bad, but you are getting lapped and saving fuel and you are on your own, so it's not a lot of fun”.

Alonso retired with car troubles in the last three races and has yet to score a single point this year. Despite that, he is confident he made the right move to leave Ferrari in 2014.

ALONSO:"All the things I see coming for future races make sense, the programme for developing the car is quite positive”

"I know it is a difficult time for our fans because they need to be very patient but they need to believe because something good is coming”

After making an “amateur” comment over the radio, Alonso Clarified "When you are surrounded by cars trying to overtake you and you are in the middle of battles, fuel is a low priority in that moment and you will have time later on in the race to save fuel.

CANADA

Well, we have called the 2015 season boring after just the 4th race.. Now it seems others are agreeing!


In an article he went to say that an ‘INDEPENDENT’ adviser could help’ Improve Formula One at a time when the sport is being quite rightly criticised for having a lack of excitement..

Horner believes that having an experienced F1 figure such Ross Brawn, could help develop the future of the sport.

Christian added "The strategy group is fairly inept. Maybe you need an independent observer, someone like Ross Brawn. He understands the challenges and knows the business to write a specification for what a car or technical regulations should be."

As the YAWN factor has taken over F1 with Mercedes leading what is often little more than a procession, with Nico Rosberg being the only team member to show race skill beyond that of ‘we are the fastest and will lead from the front’! Or ‘blue flag, tell him to get out of my way, I don’t want to have to race for position’!

Christian Horner went on -"I keep saying it and I will repeat it again now. It is for the commercial rights holder and the governing body to decide what F1 should be, and then put it on the table to the teams and say this is what we want the product to be, these are the rules, this is the entry form."

Back in May, a range of changes targeted at making Formula One exciting once again, were agreed upon by the sport's strategy group, which includes Jean Todt, president of the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and teams including Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull, Williams and Force India. However, the agreed changes need to be approved by two further legislative stages. Will there be any real fans watching by the time they get around to it??

   Fairly inept’

Red Bull Boss, Christian HORNER calls the F1’s STRATEGY GROUP

AUSTRIA

ALONSO is taken out by Raikkonen..

BUTTON retires as a precaustion..but says ‘nothing was broken but something was wrong’

Having changed engines for the weekend and having taken the pit-STOP-GO penalty, there was little chance of scoring points and more for testing new elements of the car. However, once things were going wrong, protecting the engine was essential and indeed pointless to risk.

Well, again the McLaren-Honda team failed to finish, which was disappointing as both cars had different strategies connected with their individual packs newly introduced for testing over the Austrian event. Alonso being crashed into by Raikkonen who then was dramatically perched on top of Alonso’s car inches from his head as the piggy-backing cars rolled on along the barrier until they stopped, was a misfortune deserved by no such great driver.

The British grand prix was changed a few years back to avoid the commonplace scenes of spectator cars stuck in mud on their way to the car parks.

After this weekend of yet another round of F1 cars following one another as though having forgotten that it is a race…perhaps they should have left the calendar where it was, as at least car parking problems, mud and rain would have added a degree of interest and talking points.

F1 TV audiences are dropping like the proverbial fly!

Whilst motor racing audiences are increasing, that is not the case in F1.  ‘The yawn factor will kill of the sport’ said a former driver, unless action is taken. One commentator suggesting that Hamilton adds a touch of Hollywood, just shows to what detached depths the entire event has sunk!

So many of us were ardent fans, following practice through qualifying then race day…Now, an honest comment commonly heard is ‘so who won?

What a shame….Constant tinkering has turned this ultimate drivers sport into an often boring game of follow the leader. Whatever happened to drivers being drivers??

And the gossip is off again on who will remain and indeed retain any seat for the 2016 season.

With McLaren-Honda, the question of Button for 2016 is doing the rounds. At a time when the team have yet to make its mark, is there anything to base such rumours on? Alonso has failed to make any more of an impact and both drivers have stated their commitment to the team and their progress, which does seem slower than expected.

BRITISH GRAND PRIX

Alonso finishes 10th and laped

Button retires after 1 lap

Long expected addition of Azerbaijan to the F1 season confirmed for 2016

The Azerbaijan race will be at Baku in July.

Further changes to the 2016 season include the return of Germany after having been pulled from the 2015 without much notice.

The Russian Grand Prix has been moved from October to May, making it the 4th race of the 2016 season.

Malaysia has been moved from March to September, in effect remaining in the same zone to follow the Singapore Grand Prix.

There has long been critics of the logic to having a races all over the world with little concern of the travel implications and pollution caused, when it would be perfectly possible to have several races in one zone, one after the other, and not zapping all over the world like some flea! Of course weather must be a consideration, but then that would also apply to neighbouring Grand Prix locations.

Confirmed calendar for F1 2016

Fernando Alonso started at grid position 15

Finished race at 5th.

Jensen Button started at grid position 16

Finished race at 9th.

Just some 18 seconds between the 2 drivers for McLaren Honda

MAGYAR F1

The fact that Fernando broke down during qualifiers is nothing new, indeed to any team.

However, that a driver of his quality then jumps out and begins pushing the dead car towards the pit lane which was still way out of view, is an action which just goes to highlight his commitment and outstanding quality as a team player. Button and Alonso, both WORLD CHAMPIONS are a credit to the sport at a time when others are counting their value in financial terms and not sport. What a great blast of fresh air that was, well done.

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