Mar 17, 2013, 9:02 AM EDT
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.
Jun 19, 2013, 8:04 PM EDT
Tracy Krohn’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race week got off to a rough start with this accident Wednesday at the Esses at Circuit de la Sarthe. The American lost control of his trademark “Krohn green” No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 Italia, which competes in the GTE Am class, and went through the gravel…
Jun 19, 2013, 6:30 PM EDT
Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is next up in the 2013 series of INDYCAR 36 shows on NBC Sports Network, produced by IMS Productions. The crew followed Dixon at Texas two weeks ago, and it will air on Thursday night, June 20, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Texas offers more downtime than most events…
Jun 19, 2013, 5:45 PM EDT
It’s “scandal eve” in Formula One, as the results of Mercedes’ secret tire test at Barcelona will be revealed at an FIA Tribunal on Thursday. With “Tiregate” first and foremost on the minds of the F1 paddock, it’s nice that it’s been a few years since such a political scandal has emerged. We take a…
Jun 19, 2013, 4:58 PM EDT
This weekend marks the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the most prestigious races worldwide. Here’s a few tidbits on what has made it what it is, and what to expect for this year’s running on June 22-23. A further resource guide with race times, schedules and a spotters guide,…
Jun 19, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT
Patrick Dempsey is back at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. That sentence is enough to make the entire French countryside swoon. The actor’s racing career has really taken off in the last five years since his initial appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2009. He raced a GT2-class Ferrari F430 to…
Jun 19, 2013, 2:59 PM EDT
One week after he tragically was killed in a dirt track racing crash in New Jersey, the motorsports world said goodbye to Jason Leffler on Wednesday. An overflow crowd packed Grace Covenant Church in Cornelius, N.C., for Leffler’s funeral service. About 600 miles to the north, Indianapolis Motor Speedway paid tribute to Leffler by illuminating…
Jun 19, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT
NASCAR and Formula One have embraced social media. But IndyCar is struggling to keep up with its motorsports counterparts. In a Wednesday story on IBJ.com, Indianapolis Business Journal sports reporter Anthony Schoettle gives a social media breakdown that shows IndyCar is trailing in the Twitter world. “In terms of Twitter followers, NASCAR is king, with…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT
Danny MacAskill isn’t a household name in the world of motorsports, but he’s a star when it comes to doing outlandish stunts on his BMX bicycle. The Island of Skye (part of Great Britain) native can do things on two wheels that most people can’t do on four wheels — or even two legs, for…
Jun 19, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
For the second year in a row, the Iowa Corn Indy 250 field will be determined by a series of heat races. Wanting to make some changes to their usual oval qualifying format – and perhaps nodding to the state of Iowa’s strong heritage of short-track racing – INDYCAR instituted the heat format last season…
Jun 19, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT
On the surface, Tuesday’s announcement by International Speedway Corp., promising a palatial $400 million makeover of Daytona International Speedway sounded great. But the fact the track will have 46,000 less seats once the project is completed in 2016 — a decrease of more than 30,000 from its current capacity of 147,000 — has caused at…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT
As NASCAR’s Nationwide Series prepares for its fourth go-round on the challenging and twisting 4.05-mile, 14-turn road course at Road America in central Wisconsin this Saturday, a report Wednesday suggests that Indy cars may soon return there, perhaps as early as next season. SpeedTV.com’s Robin Miller reported that the open-wheel series is considering hosting a…
Jun 19, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT
NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace was wise to mimic Richmond International Raceway when it came time for him to help design the Iowa Speedway in the early 2000s. Like RIR, Iowa is a short track that “thinks” like a superspeedway and boasts a decent amount of banking that enables drivers to embrace that mentality as well.…
Jun 19, 2013, 10:23 AM EDT
There may be a new name on the 43-car starting grid of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway. That is if New Mexico native Alex Kennedy manages to qualify the No. 19 MediaMaster/Dream Factory Toyota on the twisting 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Driving for Humphrey Smith Racing, Kennedy, 21, hopes to…
Jun 19, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
As the IZOD IndyCar Series returned to the NBC Sports Network for this past weekend’s Milwaukee IndyFest, so too did we check in with our resident NBCSN driver analyst Townsend Bell for his take on the 250-lapper at the historic Milwaukee Mile. Since Bell’s last “Ten with Townsend” after Brazil, he’s finished fourth in the GT…
Jun 18, 2013, 8:58 PM EDT
Brian Vickers loves to race, any time, anywhere. He also loves to travel. He’ll get more than his share of both this weekend, as he’s the only driver who will attempt to race in Saturday’s Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 (no, we’re not making that name up) at Road America and then double up by…
Jun 18, 2013, 7:37 PM EDT
Nationwide Series crew member Ryan Hess has been suspended by NASCAR for the second time in 10 months for failing a random drug test, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday. In a brief statement, NASCAR said: “Ryan Hess, a crew member in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning…
Jun 18, 2013, 7:09 PM EDT
Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards have apparently toned down their post-race rhetoric against each other following Biffle’s win Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. “We’re going to sit down and talk about it, just expectations, what can you do to help another competitor,” Biffle said during NASCAR’s weekly media teleconference call on Tuesday. “I’ve backed up…
Jun 18, 2013, 5:52 PM EDT
When New Hampshire Dragway opened its doors in 1966, its goal was to eventually play host to a National Hot Rod Association national event. It may have taken nearly 50 years to fulfill that goal, but drag racing fans wanting to see the sport’s biggest stars will finally get that opportunity in this weekend’s inaugural…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:43 PM EDT
Big changes are on the way for NASCAR’s most famous racetrack, Daytona International Speedway, with the most significant facelift since the track opened 54 years ago in 1959. Home of the season-opening Daytona 500 and the early July Coke Zero 400, the track will undergo a multi-phase update that will break ground July 5, the…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:59 PM EDT
You’ve heard of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, the Orange Blossom Special and the Wabash Cannonball. Now you can add the NASCAR Express to the list, as fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/SaveMart 350 race and activities at Sonoma Raceway will have a rather unique way to say they’ve arrived — at the racetrack,…
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