Mar 17, 2013, 9:02 AM EST
The aerodynamically superior Red Bull Racing RB8’s lined up in P1 and P2 for the race start after dominating the early part of the weekend, but couldn’t match Lotus on its tire management at the Australian Grand Prix.
The main story of the weekend, and indeed 2013 so far, is all about the Pirellis and their absolute requirement to operate in a very specific temperature window.
Melbourne was cold on Sunday, in stark contrast to the hot temperatures we saw earlier in the week and it’s impossible to overstate the impact that has on the way the cars and their tires behave.
Kimi Raikkonen drove a great race to win and the E21 continued where its predecessor from 2012 left off in being ‘light’ on its rubber. Running longer than others on each of his three stints meant he could make one less stop than his main competitors and still have life left at the end. The degradation was so minimal, in fact, that he was able to set the fastest lap time of the race just a lap before the checker flag.
Last year’s Lotus was also considerably better in hot conditions, struggling to get heat into the tires when it was colder. We head to Malaysia in just a few days time, where, if that holds true once more, we could see another very competitive display from the team.
Ferrari look to have a good car. The F138 is more manageable and easier to find the sweet spot in terms of setup. Last year’s struggles forced the team to dig pretty deep to find technical solutions to a host of issues and it looks promising so far.
It’s a desperate time at my old team, McLaren. After going pretty radical with their concept design for this season, they’re really struggling to make it work. At the pre-season test in Spain in February, the car looked quick on the first day, but then has struggled since. Martin Whitmarsh confirmed yesterday that a front suspension part had been incorrectly fitted on that first day, running the car too low. It worked for them there and on that day, but they can’t now replicate the effect with settings that are feasible elsewhere.
The car’s difficult in all areas right now and the team won’t rule out a switch back to last year’s MP4-27 should the disaster continue.
Must just say things are looking up for Force India. A great showing for them with a car that was competitive amongst the front-runners. It’s a car that’s been developed from a technical partnership with McLaren and uses the same gearbox and Mercedes engine. After race one, it could be McLaren needing the technical assistance, not the other way round.
It’s important to remember this is only part one of a nineteen race calendar and I’m pretty sure that the Red Bulls will be strong in Malaysia. Tires will be key again, but conversely to Melbourne, the issue won’t be getting them up to temperature, but stopping them from overheating in the tropical heat.
Australia’s given the teams a lot of data to work through, but with race two only a few day away, it’ll be setup and operational tweaks, rather than technical upgrades that make any differences this time next Sunday.
Marc Priestley can be found on Twitter @f1elvis.
Dec 9, 2013, 5:10 PM EST
After an arduous 2013 season, it appears Formula One tire manufacturer Pirelli will have ample opportunity to get it right for 2014. As part of the FIA’s raft of regulation changes issued today, Pirelli was given the green light to stage a three-day test session next week at the Bahrain International Circuit. All F1 teams…
Dec 9, 2013, 3:28 PM EST
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Dec 9, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
All three Andersen Promotions-run series in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000, are underway in the Chris Griffis Memorial Road to Indy test this week at Barber Motorsports Park. Some news and notes about the driver/team combinations to follow: INDY LIGHTS USF2000 drivers Michael Epps and Alexandre Baron will…
Dec 9, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
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Dec 9, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
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Dec 9, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
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Dec 9, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Running ninth on the final standings table this…
Dec 9, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Coming up eighth after earning his first berth…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Finishing seventh following a…
Dec 9, 2013, 11:00 AM EST
FIA Formula E is bringing in some star power for the 10th and final team for its inaugural season, which begins in September 2014. Venturi Automobiles announced a partnership with award-winning actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio to create the new Venturi Grand Prix Formula E Team. DiCaprio will work in partnership with Gildo Pallanca Pastor, founder of…
Dec 9, 2013, 10:23 AM EST
NASCAR’s planned test at the Charlotte Motor Speedway was originally set for today, but has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 11 due to inclement weather. Teams will still have the option to be on track from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the afternoon, Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development and…
Dec 8, 2013, 6:00 PM EST
“Red Bull driver No. 1 wins another championship in 2013″ is a headline that can be applied to not just four-time Formula One champ Sebastian Vettel, but also to Australian V8 Supercars legend Jamie Whincup. Whincup captured his fifth V8SC title Sunday in Sydney, for his third straight title at age 30. Whincup won Saturday’s…
Dec 8, 2013, 4:00 PM EST
He may have missed out on one drive, but Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa won’t be rideless in 2014. Following a successful first test, da Costa was named to BMW’s DTM program for 2014 as part of the manufacturer’s annual year-end ceremony in Munich. An official release confirmed him as one of two new…
Dec 8, 2013, 2:00 PM EST
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Dec 8, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
Prior to Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the always-entertaining “After the Lap” event for fans took place earlier in the week in Las Vegas. And it was there we learned Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a fever … and the only prescription is more eBay. Dale Jr. already has the popular vote locked…
Dec 8, 2013, 10:36 AM EST
Target Chip Ganassi Racing appears close to unwrapping an early Christmas present, in the form of the replacement for the retired Dario Franchitti in its No. 10 Target Chevrolet for 2014 in the very near future. Reports from both Autosport and RACER this week have more or less narrowed the field of contenders, at least…
Dec 7, 2013, 7:00 PM EST
A few minor bits and pieces of news around the IndyCar Series and the Mazda Road to Indy have popped up over the last couple weeks. Here’s a quick roundup, since the last one we did a couple of weeks ago: Besides Tony Kanaan having his first running in Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar machinery, Francesco…
Dec 7, 2013, 5:00 PM EST
After a successful first season racing in the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland in Germany, Connor de Phillippi has been retained by the German manufacturer for a second season as a Porsche Junior driver. De Phillippi spent three seasons in Star Mazda here in the U.S., but when options failed to materialize for an advancement to…
Dec 7, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
Jimmie Johnson accepted his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at the season-ending Awards Ceremony with humility, class and thanks for his predecessors and the people around him that push him to be better. In opening, Johnson tried to draw off his peers with at least that many titles, the pair of legendary seven-time champions…
Dec 7, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
Jay Mohr opened last night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2013 Awards Ceremony with a monologue that pulled no punches, yet left the room in Las Vegas in stitches. No one was spared, as the at times controversial 2013 season was captured in comedic genius for the better part of 14 minutes. To open, Mohr recounted…
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