Tag Archives: Fernando Alonso

#RunIntoOrbit and the Gentle F1 blog

28 Jan

Currently, as it stands I have run 27km of my run into orbit challenge, that’s about 16 miles or so, which is pretty awesome in my book!

I’ve only had to repeat one week of my training plan because I was a bit ill, but at least it means I’m not hurting myself like I was before! I’ve also learnt that by SLOWING DOWN you can run a lot further, yeah I’m not sprinting but it’s still running!!

Onto a different note, easing you in gently, the first F1 test of the season has just finished in Jerez in Spain, and far from any major surprises as it could be. The redbulls, Lotus and Ferrari were all fast, whilst the drama and attention that Lewis Hamilton died away quite quickly after he did a typical Mercedes driver stunt of parking badly. Granted it wasn’t his ego that took up 6 car parking spaces, but a rear break pressure failure that cases him to skid across the gravel into a tyre wall.

Not much else could be said that happened, Paul DiResta is still a lonely meme theme at Force India and the new drivers at Marussia are impressing as was to be expected, they both did well in GP2.

A shame for Davide Valsecchi who couldn’t find a seat in F1 even after winning its feeder series. Not too much of a surprise though, as although he seemed to be a lovely guy, he had a washboard personality….

Our beloved DLR managed to gain a seat in a Ferrari as well, it’s just a shame that it lasted but a few laps before the gearbox blew. A sign to come perhaps? Or not, at least, Fernando Alonso wasn’t worried enough to tweet positive things about it to hide his underlying fear!!

My bet for this year? Why, Mark Webber to win the WDC. Obviously. Hamilton to only make a second place and for Perez to almost win the championship. Just for giggles.

I won’t get started on livarys. McLaren=chrome….. RBR has PURPLE ON IT and the Sauber looks alright now. Yep I think that sums it up!!!

Today: Cheltenham Science Festival

15 Jun
Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix.

Mike Gascoyne at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cheltenham Science festival, somewhere I have never been, something I have never heard of, with someone I didn’t expect.

I moved to Cheltenham in November 2011, and the festivals they hold annually were all becoming an interesting adventure. Adventures I didn’t really have tome to go on. Until my fiance Charlie sprung surprise tickets for me and him for the science festival.

Expecting an obscure lecturer talking about a new exciting subject, I was thrilled. But I never knew just how thrilled I would be. Sponsors GE Aviation were there, and as i approached the tent the familiar noise of an F1 car filled my ears.

It was none other than Caterhams Chief Technical officer Mike Gascoyne being interviewed by BBC radio 5 lives F1 commentator James Allen.

I loved it, I honestly couldn’t fault the interview. We found out how he effectively lucked his way into what turned into a very lucrative F1 career, how he met a long-haired 18 year old Spaniard called Fernando Alonso, and how the mute button at Jordan Grand Prix was a useful tool when dealing with Eddie Jordan.

There was even time for a Q&A session from the audience, and I’ll run through a couple of questions that I remember, as not only did I find the questions interesting, some of Mike Gascoyne’s answers were very telling of an incredibly intelligent man.

Question 1 was about more woman on F1. Not only drivers, but as team members as well. The question came from a woman in the front row, who obviously (or what seemed to be) was trying to get a generic “well boys are stronger than girls” answer. But his response was different, far from a political answer about fairness and equality, he went down the ‘hired on merit’ route. Which is correct. The fact of the matter is, there are more male’s doing engineering than females, more males who prefer motorsport, and so the odds are stacked against us in making up any form of majority.

James Allen also pointed out that there are plenty of girls in karting, but it is a challenge to get to the physical fitness, and to get the sponsorship. Something that is a struggle for both sexes.

The next question i remember was regarding innovation and the budget cap. Mike Gascoyne lis in favour of this budget cap, however the person asking the question also asked if he was in favour of scrapping all the limiting technical regulations. Something which Gascoyne said no to.

“…all regulations are to do with speed. The drivers body may survive a high speed impact but his internal organs would be scrambled…”

Seems legit to me.

Another question related to the one above, about the budget cap, but was related more along the sponsors route. This flustered Mike Gascoyne and from what I could tell there was no actual answer to the question. He skirted around it whilst mentioning resources from GE aviation and the resources of RedBull and Ferrari.

My opinion? GE are providing alot of ‘in-kind’ contributions if the budget cap goes ahead.

The final question was just annoying because somebody hadn’t done their research. It mentioned specific formula one degrees. Which there are none, there are motorsport degrees, which won’t become redundant after 1 season, which is what she was suggesting. Someone just wanted to ask a question…

i loved it all. I’m gutted I didn’t get to ask my question regarding tyre testing and practice sessions, but my desire to work in science and engineering has been re-ignited. Thank you Cheltenham Science Festival!

Today: An unexpected result

12 May

Watching Qualifying for the Formula One today, I was expecting a Redbull pole with Ferrari yet again under performing whilst only one of the Mercedes cars made an impact.

So… I was right… but totally wrong.

I say I’m right because in all intense and purposes, if these scenarios were reversed then I would be right.

Redbull didn’t get pole and in a strange event, Sebastian Vettel didn’t even try and be last to cross the line with the fastest lap. settling for a more conservative approach, a better result that my favourite driver however, Mark Webber, who falsely assumed his safety in Q2, and watched as his time was smashed and smashed again. Finally starting in P12.

Mclaren were a team of 2 halves, whilst Lewis Hamilton topped each of the qualifying sessions, Jenson Button had a fluke change of heart towards his car, suffering understeer through out. Something the FOM thought would be useful to mention in every session. Not. Pole for Lewis Hamilton, 0.5 seconds ahead of his nearest rival and 11th for Jenson Button who apparently had an understeer problem…

Ferrari were expected to just be on the track. Nobody expected anything, and Felipe Massa delivered that prediction, quite successfully by starting in 17th. Fernando Alonso seems to have received black magic from his home crowd and starts 3rd…

The rest of the field is quite predictable with 2 exceptions, Williams were again a story of 2 halves where Bruno Senna qualified 18 after encountering alot of traffic and spinning on his final flying lap, parking up in the gravel, Pastor Maldonado however parked his car on the front row with Lewis Hamilton. Good luck Pastor, if you do go backwards at the start please don’t do a Daniel Ricciardo.

Sauber hit it good as well with both cars in the top 10, showing good pace for the race!

i’m excited for the race, we will have to see why Lewis Hamilton had to stop on track, as if it is something like say… a gearbox change as the rumours around the track are saying, he won’t start on Pole! Maybe Maldonado won’t go backwards? Hopefully Mark Webber will just go forwards.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m just watching the rest of GP2 (basically Formula One but without the manners), Sky really have opened up motorsport to the wider commmunity!

Today: Formula One returns.

28 Mar

This weekend saw the second race weekend of the 2012 calender and what a couple of races it has been! Australia was full if drama right up until the flag, and Malaysia produced a surprise result that caught the entireity of Italy offguard.

A bonus for me as a Mark Webber fan is that he out-qualified Sebastian Vettel twice, and finished in the points both races, unlike the young double world champion, which after a season full of not being on the same playing field as his team mate, is a massive relief and makes this season even more exciting for me!

However the drama was nothing compared to what Felipe Massa is going through now, its now a case of ‘will he won’t he’ be racing for the entirity of the season, after finishing outside the points whilst Fernando Alonso took a surprising victory with a car that ferrari has admitted isn’t the best, and Sergio Perez of the ferrari young driver program took a second place in what was an epic battle for the line. Till he took a trip round the curb to add a few more seconds to the gap he had closed. This was after he got told to ‘be careful’ by his engineer, but we aren’t pointing any fingers at the young ferrari prodigy who drives for sauber who have ferrari engines. Nope…

It all kicked off with Sebastian Vettel and Narain Karthykaen (whose name I have spelt wrong… Sorry I’m on my phone!) When seb.decided to show an unfamiliar finger to the ‘young’ Indian driver, they then seemed to exchange insults via the media for the world to see. I can’t even remember the petty incident they are stropping about but for sure (I could be a formula one driver now) will this not be an easy thing to shake. Vettel has been called a bully, Narain has been branded a cry baby and neither of those is a good name to have. Personally I don’t really care what they call each other. As ling as they respect each other on the road. Yes that means moving out the way for the lapping car, but also not moaning if the slower car is in a fight for position. They should just cuddle and say that it was all heat of the moment, which it was.

I’m excited for China, if the current track of results is anything to go by then, for sure (driver in the making right here) it will be an awewome race.

Today: The Fresh Prince with Bad Hair

29 May

Thanks to @charliestyman (twitter) For this rendition of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘!

“Now this is a story all about how,

Monaco Grand prix didn’t go well,

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I became a fool with bad facial hair.

After qualifying started ninth and raged

By the forum blamed it on my race not age.

Chilling out, racing, looking all cool.

It all went ok, until lap thirty four.

Saw a couple of guys, and thought nothin’

Till they made trouble about the hairpin

Webber came first, then Massa turned in, On radio

I said “It was on purpose” hoping officials listen in

I finished in sixth, and when I came in,

I spoke to Lee McKenzie without a big grin

If anything I should say the officials are fair

But I thought “nah forget it I want this on air”

I pulled up all my knowledge of Ali G.

‘maybe its cause I’m black” I yelled to ‘Kenzie

Looked at her reaction, I was finally there

Just a sore loser, with bad facial hair.”

Today: It’s because i’m black

29 May

Monaco GP.

The most exciting queue of traffic on the calender. Not known for it’s overtaking todays race quite certainly broke the mould.

Safety cars, a red flag, race restart and drive through penalties. Some people seem more hard done by than others.

Lewis Hamilton made the mistake of running on the inside of people whilst others had the racing line, causing an avoidable accident (twice) which then led to the retirement of the 2 drivers.

Now, i know Lewis Hamilton is such a sore loser, i have made fun of this fact several times because he really is like a child who has had his ice cream taken from him. However i think his ‘jokes’ went a bit too far this time.

He hasn’t had a good weekend. He got a penalty for cutting the chicane and demoted to 9th in qualifying, i’m surprised he didn’t complain about the track not being straight enough, then he tried to take himself through the inside of the slowest corner of the track alongside Massa, and ended up colliding. Massa then seemed to throw his toys out the box and get all out of shape and drag himself along the wall.

He had it coming! He was a naughty boy and he deserves every penalty he gets. In his frustrations he then blames the team for calling him in and just not being ready…

Martin Brundel hits it perfectly;

“With Lewis, it’s always someone else’s fault”

But today he seems to be afflicted by the stewards so much that he has to be arrogant enough to say “i dunno, maybe it’s cuz i’m black“. Horrendous things to  say – he did say “that’s what Ali-G says” but does that really allow him to say things like that? Granted this thing has probably been blown right out of the water, but he should be aware that he is a hero to alot of people.

Tact Lewis. We get you’re mad, but maybe you should have just downed a few Tequila shots like the rest of us, instead of slyly suggesting the FIA are racist…

Today: The Reality

16 Nov

Sunday saw the final race of the F1 season, and before i go into a brushed over analysis of what i thought about the race, firstly I would like to say a big congratulations to Sebastian Vettel. Who, against the odds, against the bookies, (and mainly against Fernando Alonso and the oddly on-pace McLarens) defeated all the rivals to end up on top. 4 points is apparently the defining difference that makes this years WDC, and he got it!

Yes as a Mark Webber fan i was bitter, i was heart broken – much less than i am sure the man himself was – but i just sat in silence, knowing that the team i have become rather attached too has just been made a double world Champion for the 2010 season.

Knowing alot of Vettel fans, i was delighted to see my twitter feed rammed pack full of delighted (and one instance @tommyb89, drunken) messages of joy. It was nice to see that they didn’t even expect it either! And thankfully, I have come around to being happy for them, which if you’re a highly competetive person, is a very hard thing to do!

The race itself saw the championship contenders in a bit of a mix. The McLarens who have been distinctly off-pace the last few races seemed to glide over the lightly dusted surface, and almost rain on Vettel’s parade. Mark Webber was limping behind in an almost heartbreaking 5th and then Alonso was there somewhere too…..

There are a few key things to note from the race, 1- Liuzzi is probably the most UNLUCKIEST driver of this season, with the incident with Schumacher, thankfully both survived unscathed!

The resulting safety car saw numerous people pit…. then after….. O MW…. o FA….. strategy gone wrong? response gone wrong? hindsight is one of those things i don’t particuarly want to think about now. Fact is, they got held up behind Algesuari, (ish), then Petrov, in one of his drives of the season, didn’t put a foot wrong for almost 3/4 of that race. Decimating any title hope that Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber had.

Kubica also succeded in annoying another championship contender – Lewis Hamilton. For a LONG time. and it was only when he pitted that Hamilton managed the jump.

The race in itself was dull, the fact that the title was being decided there made it ever more frustrating. Not an amazing race to end the 2010 seaon on. But definately a good result. Who honestly saw that one coming ehy?

The 2011 season starts in around 110 days and with that it seems a lot of new drivers are coming in. Hulkenberg has lost his race seat for next year, HRT has lost the deal with toyota, Di Grassi has lost his seat….. questions are still being raised over the fate of young Petrov and Mr Liuzzi, and then we’ll also be losing Nick Heidfeld.

Although the driver transfers are all part and parcel of the F1 criteria, it is a sad fate to see such young talented individuals leave. However it does seem like people are planning on leaving in 2012. So who knows! maybe we’ll just get an out-flux of golden oldies leaving and no young drivers?

Keep an eye out on the young driver tests this week. Today RBR‘s Daniel Ricciardo (My future favouritest driver) topped the timesheets in the RB6. That’s above di Resta, who has been driving a Force India for half the season’s FP1’s.

Future star right there? DEFO.

I’ll leave you with these images, the first chmpionship that RBR has ever won. The 2010 constructors. And Sebastian Vettel, 2010 WDC.

2010 Constructors with a 1- 2 in Interlagos, Brazil.

The first real shower of a World Champion

Today: Frenzied

14 Nov

Today is the last race of the season.

 

And is you hadn’t have guessed it’s going to be a fight to the finish. Mark Webber starting in 5th with Fernando Alonso stroking his cat in front of him will surely kick up some interesting over-takes (hopefully)

Alonso is using his engine from Monza (as far as i’m aware) so I’m hoping for a minor (major) failure on the straight. or a turn. or on the starting grid.

For all his skill on the race-track it’s a shame that if Alonso wins by less than 7 points, it will be tarnished by the events that happened in Hockenheim. Surely he would have passed Felipe Massa in the coming laps? – Past events.

Lewis Hamilton. Twitter new-boy and it seems he has found the pace this weekend! Granted nobody could remove pole from Sebastian Vettel, but he sure put in the hard work. Only a miracle can allow him the title. But the race win is in his grasp.

Not much needs to be said on the Red Bull Drivers, and if i started having to discuss them i’m sure i could go on for at least a novel. Or a series of them…..

Although the battle at the front is going to be intense, it shouldn’t be forgotton that Vitaly Petrov out-qualified Robert Kubica this weekend. AND didn’t put his car in the wall. which is always a good thing! There is still a battle amongst the mid-field teams for prime positions – battles which could affect the race leaders.

So whilst Martin Brundle goes on about how this is a race for the 4 remaining title challengers, It’s more ofa race for the people behind. Who will not just be fighting for points/a finish, but also for Race seats. – which to be honest, you kind of need to beable to challenge for anything.

Today: The F1 Wash Cycle

7 Nov

So, we’re coming to the end of the season, the colours have been separeated from the darks, and the whites are first in the wash cycle.

So when it came to saturday, and the white cycle was mid spin, we catch a glimpse of a blue sock. SHOCK. we cannot stop the cycle and open the door, surely the damage is already done?

The blue sock in the white wash? how would the whites feel about that? their cycle being tinged by the sock!

Will the sock run through the rest of the cycle without hindering the whites? Or will the sock run its colour and taint the whites cycle?

————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Nico Hulkenberg qualified a surprising pole position, granted in the changeable condtions Interlagos offers, but a fantastic lap, 1.1 seconds ahead of the unmistakenably fast Red Bulls, and trumping Ferrari as well as his Williams Team Mate Reubens Barichello.

Much Like Sebastian Vettel did in his rookie year for Torro Rosso, when he started on Pole Position he held the position to take the victory – again in the wet.

Hulkenberg has a hefty challenge ahead of him, a dry race prediction and the 4 championship contenders breathing down his neck, I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t want to look into his mirrors before the lights drop tomorrow. However he seems to have the dryest set up of all the front runners, hence his jaw dropping achievement in qualifying yesterday.

The race today will throw up some interesting results, if the top 5 manage to survive past the first corner the rest of the race should yield a few surprises.

However much i want Mark Webber to finish up on the top step, and however much I want Red Bull to wrap up the WCC, Wouldn’t it be nice to have a blue sock thrown in the mix?

Today: A small room, 5 F1 fans, and work to be done

15 Oct

Physics is a rather abstract degree choice for most ‘normal’ people. Infact i wouldn’t say anybody is normal on my course…

As a third year I currently have a project to complete, worth a double module, and I get to do something fancy with a spectrometer, take pretty pictures, then fret about why my image suggests that stars aren’t even hot enough to start fusion. I’m predicting alot of calibration time will be required…..

I have been located on the 5th floor of my building – mainly to protect the rest of the physics department from unfortunate distraction, but also because that’s where pretty much where all the stuff is i’m going to be using. Putting a telescope in the basement isn’t particuarly useful (but a good location to store the broken ones). I am in a room with 5 other people, now out of the 100 or so people in my year, there are a couple of people who like F1 (we’re the wierder of the wierd people, but not the worst) and yes, all but 2 of them are located on the 5th floor, in a tiny room, for 7 hours on a Monday, and 4 hours on a Thursday, every couple of weeks there is at least a 2 hour discussion on anything BUT our projects.

Thankfully our supervisor hasn’t quite figured this out, when i say our supervisor, i mean theirs. Mine leaves me to it most of the time!

What type of things do we like discussing? Well they are all McLaren fans and have all come to the same conclusion that I think most people have: They don’t want Alonso to win, they would prefer Vettel or Webber to take the crown – favourite there is Webber, and they have silently given up any realistic hope on either Button or Hamilton making it to be WDC.

As McLaren fans, i’m going to generalise them into thinking that they still think they have a mathematical chance. They do, but with Hamilton’s current record in finishing his races, al i have to say is “LOL”.

I do feel pretty gutted for Hamilton, he had a good race in Suzuka after suffering that gearbox change, then lost 3rd gear…. I’d check with the supplier Lewis.

Button barely made an impression on the TV, same for Alonso. Infact whenever the tv crew decided to film the front runners, boring doesn’t really describe it.

The beginning was where the action happened, Petrov got away to a good start (as the Renault’s generally do) but then did a Vettel and pulled in just a tad to quick. Bad luck there i say, Stewards say 5 place grid drop. Massa just got most things wrong. Driving incidence yes, but an unfortunate end for Liuzzi. Not what the Italian really needed! Then during the safety car period, poor Kubica who made it past Mark Webber (who had a SHOCKING start again) had a tyre fall off. A fate which would soon be experienced by Rosberg later in the race.

The bonus of Rosberg going out? Lotus have made it to 10th in the constructors championship. Lotus are my adopted new team, most people who have watched F1 have ‘adopted’ a new team to follow, The 5 who reside up on the 5th all have different choices, mainly split between Virgin and Lotus ( I Like green….) with HRT being the team we discuss most about. Confused? yeah… we all are too.

The problem with being 5 scientists talking about F1 is that we all think we’re right, I normally am. It’s the mentality we have been brought up with throughout uni, you have to believe you are right to get anywhere with anybody, when deciding through problems we have to justify what we have done, so we have to talk like we are incredible.

Exhausting.

Korean GP next week, looks like the track is down, and cars can you know… drive round it. They say they just have some ‘landscaping issues’ left to deal with. I think building grandstands and putting places for the fans to watch is pretty important but then again, i’ll be watching from under my duvet as it will be 2am/6am again.  So i won’t really notice anything except the sultry sound of Ant Davidson and Karun Chandhok commentating saying how er… lovely the track is looking!