Summer day 4 – Timo Glock

Timo Glock – 24
Let’s be honest, Timo Glock doesn’t deserve to be 24th in the championship. But bad luck has meant that he hasn’t finished as well as his teammate where it counted – he was not classified in the Australian Grand Prix which claimed a lot of big scalps, and he finished below Jerome in the Canadian Grand Prix. He has also had a DNF, though the Virgin is the most reliable of the newer teams this year.
Timo has signed a long-term contract with Virgin Racing, which is good news for the team as he is a great driver. Hopefully if they progress well now that they’re no longer on a CFD-only strategy then they’ll be able to get faster and catch up with the back of the midfield in 2012.
Overall Timo has only lost out twice to his teammate in normal circumstances, and in qualifying he has a 10-1 record. Jerome managed to put his car ahead of Timo only in China.

Worst qualifying: 22
Best qualifying: 19
Worst finish: 21 (China)
Best finish: 15 (Canada)
Average difference: 2.1
Laps completed: 547/681 (80%)
Average race position: 18.88 (Best: 16.9 Canada; Worst: 21.0 China)

F1, FR3.5 birthdays: 9/7/2011

Today we celebrate a Japanese driver’s birthday. Having spent several races behind the wheel for Hispania in 2010, Sakon Yamamoto is now tagging along with Virgin as their reserve driver. Today he is 29 years old.
He began his career trying Japanese and European formulae. His best results came on home territory In 2005 he was Jordan’s test driver, and in 2007 became a Super Aguri driver for a few races. He also did a few for Spyker in 2007.
The next year he moved to GP3, and test drove for Renault alongside GP2 in 2008. Finally in 2010 he had another chance and did 7 races for HRT in 2010. Now he’s back with Virgin.

It is also Daniel de Jong‘s birthday today. The Dutch Formula Renault 3.5 driver for the Comtec team has struggled so far and stands 30th with no points.
He is still getting used to the series, having moved up from Eurocup FR 2.0 where he finished 9th last year in his second season. Perhaps he moved up a little bit early, but I am sure the 19 year old will soon pick things up. He’s only young!

Virgin vs Hispania

Virgin will be updating their car for the last time at the British Grand Prix before focusing on their 2012 car following the change in direction that the team have decided to take. Hispania are beginning to move ahead of their rivals, with Liuzzi outqualifying the Virgins today in Montreal, and they are also slightly more reliable, which should see them take eleventh in the championship by the end of the season, just as they did last year.

Race

H avg qual

V avg qual

H avg finish

V avg finish

H ret

V ret

AUS

23.5

21.5

N/A

14

N/A

0*

MAL

23.5

21.5

16

2

1

CHN

23.5

21.5

22.5

21.5

0

0

TUR

21

22**

21.5

20

0

1

ESP

21.5

21.5

21

19.5

1

0

MON

22.5

20.5

16.5

15

0

1

CAN

22

23

*Glock retired for a short while before coming back out of the pits. He finished but was not classified.
**D’Ambrosio was demoted five places.

Canada is the first time in qualifying that – without any penalties – a Hispania has qualified ahead of a Virgin. Having started off not even being able to qualify, Hispania have come on in leaps and bounds. Continuing to develop their car, Canada has definitely been an improvement for them. Okay they’re still way off Lotus. It remains to be seen whether they will maintain the qualifying performance in the race, or how they will do in other races.
Virgin of course will struggle if they don’t update. They may not be able to meet the 107% rule as other cars continue to develop, and this will cost them. As a bit of a Hispania fan, I hope the Spanish team continue to improve. I don’t see them matching the Lotuses this year, but who knows for 2012?

Wirth loses his Virginity

Williams have managed a great comeback after their initial disappointing start to the season. Virgin, however, haven’t managed to come out from their position between Team Lotus and Hispania. They have therefore departed company with Nick Wirth their technical director. Pat Symonds, former Renault engineering director, can’t work in F1 just yet, but he is consulting for the team and helping them for the future.
They will be dumping their all-CFD approach for the near future, and are also expected to be looking at establishing their own technical base. There are also reports that they are looking at working with McLaren or Mercedes, which would mean dumping the Cosworth engines. A similar partnership helped Force India out in the past.
The developments that have already been developed with Wirth Research will go on the car, but they are going to be beginning to focus on their 2012 car. This should hopefully be much better. Unfortunately, CFD hasn’t yet developed to the point where it renders wind tunnels unnecessary, though it is getting better all the time.

Lotus Cars looks set to lose up to 99 members of staff from its Norfolk base following money problems. The company has been struggling ever since Dany Bahar became CEO and began an agressive plan to launch five new models in the middle of the recession. They have also lost a lot of money over the Lotus v Lotus court case. Dany has massive ambitions for Group Lotus, but unfortunately they do not seem to work with everyone else. His position of power has caused a lot of pain and destruction in relations within the company, and between Group Lotus and Team Lotus. Proton and the higher-ups at Group Lotus and Renault F1 back Bahar. Everyone else seems to be pissed off.

Virgin take on GP3 Adrian

In GP3/F1 news, Adrian Quaife-Hobbs had great fun doing an aero test for Virgin in Spain at the weekend. The British driver was a natural choice for the team as he is competing for Manor Racing in GP3 for the second season in a row. Last year he finished fifteenth with 10 points, having had one podium and two fifth-place finishes in an otherwise quiet year. Currently he is 19th in the 2011 championship.

Now, all the teams for the three series are preparing to head out to Barcelona. Well, except for Hispania. They’re already there! They’ve put a picture on their Facebook wall of the empty garages waiting to be filled.

If you’re in the UK and for some reason you missed it, there was an RB6 and a T127 on Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections last night. He was doing an episode on Formula One. The episode also features Mike Gascoyne, the Team Lotus technical director, and David Coulthard driving around Silverstone. The BBC clearly loves these teams more than any other. Anyway, you can check it out on iPlayer.

China GP 2011 Summary – Rookies

Starting of with the rookies again, you might notice that the tables change slightly each time I do this. That’s because I keep thinking of ways to improve them; the underline indicates the better result. With the gap between races, I’ve been able to put these off a bit too.

Driver

Adrian Sutil

Paul di Resta

Difference

Practice 1

N/A

1:41.610

N/A

Practice 2

1:38.735

N/A

N/A

Practice 3

1:36.125

1:36.370

0.245s

Qualifying 1

1:36.092

1:35.702

0.390s

Grid Pos

11

8

3

Finish Pos

15

11

4

Fastest Lap

1:41.157

1:42.614

1.457s

Average Pos

10.61

9.07

1.54

Laps ahead

5

51

46

By far Paul di Resta is the best rookie of 2011. He said before the season that he was not to be underestimated, and here he has proved it. I can honestly see how he has been able to compete on the same level as Hamilton and Vettel in F3 Euroseries. DTM is good training. But it’s now Sutil who has work to do to keep up with his teammate!

Driver

Rubens
Barrichello

Pastor
Maldonado

Difference

Practice 1

1:41.939

1:41.222

0.717s

Practice 2

1:39.925

1:39.667

0.258s

Practice 3

1:37.007

1:37.304

0.297s

Qualifying 1

1:35.911

1:36.121

0.210s

Grid Pos

15

17

2

Finish Pos

13

18

5

Fastest Lap

1:42.031

1:41.702

0.329s

Average Pos

14.39

18.02

3.63

Laps ahead

56

0

56

Pastor Maldonado has not shown that he deserves to replace Nico Hulkenberg. Pastor Maldonado has barely shown that he deserves to be in F1. In all honesty I am biased against him, but he finished behind a Lotus and a Sauber with two drive-through penalties. Not good. Yes, he’s been faster in practice sessions, but that needs to extend to qualifying and the race.

Driver

Kamui Kobayashi

Sergio Perez

Difference

Practice 1

1:43.792

1:41.189

2.603s

Practice 2

1:39.538

1:39.953

0.445s

Practice 3

1:36.582

1:36.596

0.014s

Qualifying 1

1:36.147

1:36.046

0.101s

Grid Pos

13

12

1

Finish Pos

10

17

7

Fastest Lap

1:42.577

1:41.643

0.934s

Average Pos

10.49

13.43

2.94

Laps ahead

47

9

38

Maybe it was because he had a massive hole in the front of his car, but Kamui Kobayashi had a fantastic race and finished by overtaking Paul di Resta for the final point. Sergio Perez was trying to overtake like his teammate, but only earned himself penalties and got stuck behind Kovalainen’s Lotus.

Driver

Timo Glock

Jerome
d’Ambrosio

Difference

Practice 1

1:44.438

1:44.089

0.349s

Practice 2

1:44.747

1:44.008

0.739s

Practice 3

1:39.938

1:39.998

0.060s

Qualifying 1

1:39.708

1:39.119

0.589s

Grid Pos

22

21

1

Finish Pos

21

20

1

Fastest Lap

1:44.381

1:44.806

0.425s

Average Pos

20.95

20.67

0.28

Laps ahead

28

28

0

An impressive weekend for Virgin’s rookie, d’Ambrosio took the fight to his teammate and won. Hopefully he will keep up the pressure!

Malaysia 2011: Rookie comparisons

Driver

Rubens Barrichello

Pastor Maldonado

Difference

Practice 1

1:40.581

1:40.443

0.138s

Practice 2

1:39.187

1:38.968

0.219s

Practice 3

1:38.681

1:38.597

0.084s

Q1 time

1:38.163

1:38.276

0.113s

Grid pos

15

18

3 places

Final pos

Ret

Ret

N/A

Fastest lap

1:45.516

1:45.689

0.173s

Avg pos

22.0

17.1

4.9

Comparisons are difficult with the struggles Williams have been having for race reliability, though they have looked strong in practice. Qualifying was a disaster for Maldonado, and the race was a disaster for everyone. The stock price of the team has completely dropped off. They’ll be hoping for better in China, but seeing as ‘better’ is ‘finishing a race’, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Driver

Adrian Sutil

Paul di Resta

Difference

Practice 1

1:40.734

N/A

N/A

Practice 2

1:39.809

1:39.625

0.184s

Practice 3

1:38.464

1:38.864

0.400s

Q1 time

1:37.693

1:38.045

0.352s

Grid pos

17

14

3 places

Final pos

11

10

1 place

Fastest lap

1:42.973

1:42.883

0.090s

Avg pos

11.3

15.1

3.8

Di Resta might have finished ahead, but I believe Sutil had the best race of the drivers after a forced front wing change put him in 23rd. He came all the way down the field to finish 11th. However, for the Scotsman it’s a good record and if he gets into the points in China then he will have managed a feat only Hamilton before him has done. To be fair, Hamilton managed this when there were only 8 point-finishing positions, and he did it for the first 9 races!

Driver

Kamui Kobayashi

Sergio Perez

Difference

Practice 1

1:40.872

1:41.642

0.770s

Practice 2

1:39.398

1:39.603

0.205s

Practice 3

1:38.059

1:38.448

0.389s

Q1 time

1:36.994

1:37.759

0.765s

Grid pos

10

16

6 places

Final pos

7

21

14 places

Fastest lap

1:42.095

1:43.298

0.203s

Avg pos

8.9

14.3

5.4

Perez wins the award for ‘strangest retirement’: Buemi’s car continued to lose things, and hit the Sauber. The electrics were damaged, and the fire extinguisher went off! Before that he had been running well. Meanwhile, Kobayashi was in good form and finished a revised 7th after Hamilton’s penalty. He was also doing well with overtaking in his usual way, even making a daring move on Schumacher and not worrying too much about the state of the track. Sauber have their stolen 5th place restored to them, though with 6 points instead of 16.

Driver

Timo Glock

Jerome d’Ambrosio

Difference

Practice 1

1:42.154

1:42.540

0.986s

Practice 2

1:40.866

N/A

N/A

Practice 3

1:41.414

1:41.215

0.199s

Q1 time

1:40.648

1:41.001

0.353s

Grid pos

21

22

1 place

Final pos

16

19

3 places

Fastest lap

1:45.357

1:45.346

0.011s

Avg pos

17.7

19.2

1.5

Custard/d’Ambrosio had been running reasonably well, though behind his teammate, until he crashed off the track. Glock finished the race a long way behind Kovalainen’s Lotus. The Virgins haven’t got the pace they need. Is it time to forget about CFD?