Grosjean attitude win at all costs, Petrov confident of Caterham drive, Mercedes and Ferrari pass crash tests, Ferrari wind tunnel progreses, Kimi approves of 2013 DRS rules, Kimi says drivers do not make teams better, Maldonado most penalties in 2012

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Grosjean attitude win at all costs: Romain Grosjean thinks he is ready to take a more mature approach to Formula One. He did of course have an abortive start to his career at the scandal ridden Renault in 2009, the young Frenchman gained a second chance with Lotus in 2012.

He clearly proved himself to be a very quick driver with 3 podiums by the middle of 2012, but as we know became the focus for media vilification following the dramatic events at the start of the Belgian GP – for which he received a race ban for Monza.

After much wrangling with their petroleum sponsor ‘Total’, the management of Lotus have resigned Romain for a second consecutive year and this has led to some introspection from the French driver. “I had figured Formula 1 was hard, but not that much,” he admitted to Sport24. Gradually I realised that the difficulty of the challenge was at least a multiple of two compared to what I knew at the beginning”.
“For sure I have been criticised a lot, but if you had told me at the start that I would finish eighth with three podiums, I would have signed for it immediately. Yes, I made rookie mistakes for wanting to do things too quickly, for example, I wanted to get their (Lotus’) first win at all costs”.

“I hope I’ve learned now and grown up although there is still work to do,” added Grosjean. I expect a different pressure now, I cannot commit the same mistakes over and I’ll try to score points as often as possible. I hope to demonstrate the same pace as this year but be more consistent”.

“In terms of the standings, I would rather not set any targets, that would be another mistake,” he concluded. Some drivers say the right things but you know it’s PR – I think Romain is as genuine and heart on the sleeve as we have seen for some time in an F1 driver.

I’m really excited to see Romain driving for a top team for a second year. I like his humility (like Lewis used to be) and I love the fact that he shows his emotions and at times weakness – utterly dejected and crestfallen – yet what I love most is he is a real potential to challenge Vettel and Hamilton – in terms of absolute speed.

More than one person who knows something about natural driving instinct at the highest level and raw talent (far better than I do) have told me his potential is to be even better than Lewis and Vettel. Further, gaining a second consecutive season driving in F1 is crucial as appears this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. This opportunity is crucial to develop and build on circuit learning and a whole host of other things that Hulkenberg will testify took him several races to get to grips with again when driving and racing in 2012.

Okay, he needs to take a more measured approach at times – a la Alonso – but that ‘win at all costs’ attitude is priceless and not as prevalent in racing drivers today as you might think.

List of driver penalties for 2012: Many saw Grosjean as the bad boy of F1 driving standards in 2012, and of course being the first driver banned for 18 years added to that reputation. Yet that was coming to anyone soon as the stewards toughen up their stance on driver behaviour. Here’s the table of penalties issued…

Pastor Maldonado (Williams): 15
Sergio Perez (Sauber): 8
Sebastian Vettel (RBR): 8
Michael Schumacher (Mercedes): 7
Mark Webber (RBR): 5
Nico Hulkenberg (Force India): 5
Charles Pic (Marussia): 5
Pedro de la Rosa (HRT): 5
Romain Grosjean (Lotus): 4
Jean-Eric Vergne (STR): 4
Bruno Senna (Williams): 3
Vitaly Petrov (Caterham): 3
Kimmi Raikkonen (Lotus): 3
Narain Karthikeyan (HRT): 3
Felipe Massa (Ferrari): 2
Jenson Button (McLaren): 2
Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber): 2
Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): 2
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren): 2
Paul Di Resta (Force India): 1
Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham): 1
Daniel Ricciardo (STR): 1
Fernando Alonso (Ferrari): 0
Timo Glock (Marussia): 0

Petrov confident: Russian sources’ report that Vitaly Petrov is set to keep his Caterham Formula One drive seat for 2013, claims Turun Sanomat. The Finnish newspaper reports today Oksana Kosachenko (manager) as saying: “I believe Vitaly’s race in Brazil securing tenth place in the manufacturers’ championship helps us to stay where we were.”

Also playing in Petrov’s favour is a recent visit to Caterham’s headquarters of his sponsor Russian Helicopters, and Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to have a local driver on the grid when Russia hosts its inaugural Grand Prix in 2014.

Crash tests: The monocoque of two more Formula One teams’ 2013 cars have passed the mandatory FIA crash tests following Sauber C32 last week. Auto Motor und Sport reports the Mercedes’ W04 is now legal and that ‘the silver arrows’ will have a new and smaller gearbox, totally different sidepods for the Coanda exhaust, and rear suspension designed to be flexible to geometry changes if required to suit Pirelli’s new tyres.

Meanwhile, Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo said Ferrari’s 2013 car has also passed the FIA’s monocoque crash tests. For those of you interested, here’s a 5 minute video on F1 crash testing.

Ferrari wind tunnel: Work is progressing well on the new Ferrari wind tunnel, but for the time being they are exclusively using the old Toyota teams facility in Cologne. Ferrari will develop the aerodynamics of its 2013 Formula One car exclusively in Cologne. After encountering problems with its Maranello facility this year, Ferrari’s wind tunnel will re-designed and ready to go for the aero work on the 2014 car in August.

Asked why Ferrari chose Cologne exclusively, team boss Stefano Domenicali said: “Because working in two wind tunnels would be too risky.” Il Padrino adds, “We will develop the 2013 car exclusively in the Toyota wind tunnel to avoid confusion and mistakes.”

There have been question marks over whether this facility is really up to date since Toyota withdrew from F1 over 3 years ago. Yet interestingly, McLaren have also been using the wind tunnel regularly and Toyota Motorsport GmbH’s Rob Leupen believes, “Our clients are very happy with our wind tunnel services.”

However, I’m told the McLaren use of the Cologne wind tunnel is for cross comparative purposes, in other words to check results from their own facility – which is of course a little different from Ferrari’s ‘eggs all in one basket’ approach.

Kimi gives FIA his approval: Banning the use of the Formula One drag reducing moveable rear wing innovation DRS on the Friday and Saturday of a race weekend is a good move according to Kimi. The reason that DRS when introduced was allowed to be used freely in all sessions on Friday and Saturday was because the FIA feared that set-up compromises would minimise the effectiveness of the system – which they had to make work for the ‘F1 show’ to be improved.

The rules for 2013 have meant DRS will only be used in ANY session in the given DRS zone(s). “It’s a sensible change” said Kimi, “It had been going more and more in the direction of everyone trying to take advantage all the time to use DRS earlier and earlier”.

“At some point it was going to cause a big crash. The drivers wanted this change.” The Finn also told Turun Sanomat newspaper the DRS clampdown could also be useful for another reason. “Probably it will reduce the advantage of the better cars, where for example the Red Bulls were able to drive through some corners with the DRS open, while others could not.”

Meanwhile, Raikkonen has a sly dig at the theory of a driver moving to a team with the sole motivation to drive them to improve. “If it was true, you wouldn’t need engineers anymore,” he said. “That’s just rubbish. Of course we as drivers say our opinion and the engineers listen. We try what they come up with and see whether it works or how good it is or not.

Kimi is dismissive saying, “But it’s not right that they ask the drivers how to build the car.”

On this day in F1, Dec 28th

The final race of the season was held at South Africa’s East London circuit – two months after the previous round in Mexico. Although Jim Clarke had already secured the championship, for both himself and his team Lotus, he didn’t stop racing. Clark took command of the race from pole taking an easy win. This was his seventh win in a ten round season – setting a new record. Dan Gurney recorded his and the Brabham team’s first fastest lap on his way to second position.

Many think Schumacher too old to race, yet on this day a prosperous farmer and wool merchant, Philippe Etancelin was born in Rouen, France. He raced in 12 grand prix between 1950 and 1952 and was one of the over-50s gang who lined up on the grid at Silverstone in 1950 for the first-ever World Championship round. Famed for his back-to-front cloth cap, he had starred for Bugatti in the 1930s and had won the Le Mans 24 Hours for Alfa Romeo in 1934, with Luigi Chinetti. The following year he was injured in an accident when his car overturned. He raced an aged Lago-Talbot in 1950, yet still scored two fifth place finishes, before retiring in 1952. Any one know how many over 50’s raced that day?

I have put 1950 Silverstone vidoes up before, but I don’t think this is one of them. Silverstone 1950, the very first Formula 1 GP.



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10 responses to “Grosjean attitude win at all costs, Petrov confident of Caterham drive, Mercedes and Ferrari pass crash tests, Ferrari wind tunnel progreses, Kimi approves of 2013 DRS rules, Kimi says drivers do not make teams better, Maldonado most penalties in 2012

  1. Good blog! One correction in this post I noticed. Talking about the pit garages in Austin, there are actually 3 feet in a metre so the garages would have been built 300% or 3 x smaller so maybe they were meant to be huge 😀

  2. . . . and thanks also for your embedded videos. I don’t have time to surf for these and much appreciate seeing them here.

  3. Some websites reporting that sutil has been signed to race with Force India with special clause in his contract he can’t visit any night club during the period.

  4. With regards to Ferrari’s exclusivity at Toyota’s windtunnel, is that F1 exclusivity or general coverage?
    One can’t imagine the Toyota / Oreca squad would be overly happy that their factory LMP1 programme would be locked out of their own facility.

  5. Interesting stat on the penalties… Hasn’t seen that elsewhere. Significantly, Alonso had no penalties, or 8 less than Vettel…

    Does anyone think Ferrari can be title contenders with this clearly unsatisfactory wind tunnel sat up? I don’t.

    • Truly Alonso’s season was a master demonstration of playing the percentages. No penalties another example of that.

      Maldonado vs Grosjean eh? He really must raise his game in 2013

  6. But there should be a distinction between the different kinds of penalties. A lot of those penalties were operational penalties, like gearbox changes or team mix ups. Alonso had none meaning his car was very reliable even if not very fast. Hence, the bulk of those penalties are team penalties.

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