Vettel takes commanding victory in Melbourne

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel kicked off his 2011 season with a perfect start by winning the Australian Grand Prix in his ‘Kinky Kylie’.

It was a comfortable victory for the German, his eleventh career Grand Prix win and Red Bull Racing’s first in Melbourne. Vettel’s victory was more than 20 seconds from Lewis Hamilton, underlining the speed advantage with the RB7.

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix proved intriguing but to be honest, did not deliver the level of drama many predicted especially with the new Drag Reduction System and the Pirelli tyres.

Lewis Hamilton finished in second position for McLaren despite a damaged underfloor, while the star of the race was Renault’s Vitaly Petrov. The Russian made the most of his excellent start and thanks to a clean, consistent driving Petrov achieved his maiden podium in third.

While the top trio made it to the finish on a two-stop strategy, the idea of stopping three times were consigned to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber. This gamble didn’t work out and the pair finished in fourth and fifth respectively.

For Alonso, he was able to recover following a bad start in which he was pushed down to ninth at Turn 1. As for Webber, the home crowd favourite, he was unable to match the pace compared to his team-mate and fifth was the result. Equalling his finishing position the Australian scored for Minardi in 2002 and for Williams in 2005.

As for Jenson Button, the McLaren driver was only sixth after being penalised with a drive-through penalty for an incident with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.

Vettel broke away from the 22-car field in the opening stages of the Australian Grand Prix, leading by three seconds after just two laps, with Hamilton and Webber holding second and third.

Petrov had made an excellent start to blast through to fourth, with Button and Alonso going wide at Turn 1 as they went three-abreast with the Renault, allowing Massa to slip ahead of Button and leaving Alonso right down in ninth by the time he got off the kerbs and grass.

Alonso made very swift progress past Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg, and was soon catching Massa and Button – whose battle for fifth place was frantic. With his Drag Reduction System making little difference, Button tried all kinds of creative racing lines to get ahead the Ferrari, with no success until lap 10, when he went around the outside into the fast left-right Turn 11/12 at the end of the back straight, but had to take to the escape road and cut the second part of the corner to complete it.

That would lead to a drive-through penalty, while Alonso immediately pounced and passed his Ferrari team-mate into Turn 13 as the Brazilian regained momentum after his near-miss with Button.

Before he took his penalty, Button had a brief battle with Vettel, who had made a relatively early pit stop on lap 14 and emerged behind the McLaren. Hamilton had reduced the flying Red Bull lead down to 1.5 seconds by then, but staying out two laps later before his first tyre stop cost the McLaren time to the leader rather than being an advantage – as even after having to battle past Button around the outside of Turn 4, Vettel was 6.5 seconds clear of Hamilton once both were back up to speed.

That time gap rapidly grew to 12 seconds over the next stint – and the reason became clear when sparks started shooting out from under the McLaren, the front part of its floor having become detached and started rubbing on the ground. Aside from a trip over the Turn 1 grass, Hamilton did a remarkable job to keep his MP4-26 both on the road and near the lead pace – though his chances of pressuring Vettel were over and the German cruised to an ultimately comfortable victory in the RB7.

Webber was unable to keep up with the leading two and by half-distance was 26 seconds adrift and only just ahead of Petrov and Alonso. Both the Red Bull and Ferrari chose to make three pit stops, while Petrov – like Vettel and Hamilton – changed tyres just twice.

Alonso got ahead of Webber at the third stops, helped by the Red Bull running wide at Turn 3 on its out-lap. With Webber on the softer ‘Option’ tyres for the final stint, he was able to attack Alonso at first, before the Ferrari pulled out some breathing space. Both charged up behind Petrov in the final laps, but the Russian had just enough in hand to hold on and take a brilliant third. Fifth-placed Webber parked his Red Bull on the grass immediately after crossing the line.

Button fell to P12 following his penalty but recovered to sixth, finally making it past Massa again with 12 laps to the flag. The Ferrari then made a late tyre stop, leaving Massa ninth behind the Saubers.

Sergio Perez took an impressive seventh on his debut, having managed to get through the full race distance with just a single tyre change on lap 23. That left the Mexican not far adrift of Button, and clear of Sauber team-mate Kobayashi.

Sebastien Buemi took the remaining point for Toro Rosso, edging out the Force Indias of Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.

For Paul di Resta, to finish in his maiden Grand Prix in P12 was a solid performance from the DTM champion. His drive was consistent and if he keeps this performance up, the Scot will be scoring championship points soon.

In fact, Paul di Resta was rewarded his first championship point following the disqualification of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi over a technical infringement post-race. See comments below for further details.

Rubens Barrichello provided plenty of entertainment in the first half of the Grand Prix, as he recovered from a first-lap trip over the Turn 3 gravel and scorched through the field with a series of overtaking moves.

But a wild dive down the inside of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes at Turn 3 on lap 23 was just too bold, and left Barrichello spinning, needing a new front wing and earning a drive-through penalty. Rosberg had to retire in a cloud of smoke, his cooling system seemingly damaged in the impact, while Barrichello eventually parked his car too.

His Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher sustained a puncture when hit by Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari on the first lap, and eventually retired due to the after-effects after 19 laps trailing around at the back. Alguersuari needed a new front wing and finished P13.

Petrov’s Renault team-mate Nick Heidfeld made little progress from his poor grid position and was only P14 ahead of final finishers Jarno Trulli in the Lotus and Virgin Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio. Timo Glock’s Virgin, Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams all retired with mechanical issues.

It wasn’t a classic Australian Grand Prix despite the pre-season hype and the new rules introduced this season to make overtaking that bit easier. Still, it was a great result for the world champions Down Under. Can the others catch Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing in the next Grand Prix in Malaysia? Lewis Hamilton and McLaren hope so, in order to challenge for the world title.

Australian Grand Prix, 58 laps:
1.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           1h29:30.259
2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +22.297
3.  Petrov        Renault                    +30.560
4.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +31.772
5.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +38.171
6.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +54.300
7.  Massa         Ferrari                    +1:25.100
8.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
9.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
10.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
11.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
12.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +1 lap
13.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +2 laps
14.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +3 laps
DSQ. Perez Sauber-Ferrari +1:05.800*
DSQ. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari +1:16.800*

*Disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix over a technical infringement. Rules: 3.10.1 and 3.10.2.

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:28.947

Not classified/retirements:
Glock         Virgin-Cosworth              50 laps
Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth            49 laps
Rosberg       Mercedes                     22 laps
Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault                19 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     19 laps
Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth            10 laps
Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth                 1 lap
Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth                 1 lap

World Championship standings, round 1:

1.  Vettel        25
2.  Hamilton      18
3.  Petrov        15
4.  Alonso        12
5.  Webber        10
6.  Button         8
7.  Massa          6
8.  Buemi      4
9.  Sutil          2
10. di Resta           1

1.  Red Bull-Renault           35
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           26
3.  Ferrari                    18
4.  Renault                    15
5.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari             4
6.  Force India          3

Next race: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang. April 8-10.

15 thoughts to “Vettel takes commanding victory in Melbourne”

  1. After taking his eleventh career Grand Prix victory, Sebastian Vettel is being realistic for the rest of the season as the defending world champion. has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel says he is keeping his feet on the ground despite a perfect start to his title defence in the Australian Grand Prix.

    The Red Bull driver, last year’s world champion, secured a dominant pole position yesterday and completed a great weekend with a commanding victory in today’s race.

    Vettel finished over 20 seconds ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

    The German was a delighted man after the race, but warned Red Bull to keep its feet on the ground.

    “I tried to keep saying to the team that we need to keep our feet on the floor,” he said. “We got a lot of points which is very important and we enjoyed ourselves, which is even more important. It is a long year and a lot of things can happen.

    “The guys sitting next to me, plus Ferrari is always very strong, Mercedes did not have a great start but they will come back stronger than last year.

    “It will be very close but it is important to finish, so big, big compliments to the people back at the factor. The car was quick but also reliable and that is the key. It’s the first time I have finished the Australian GP as well so I am very, very happy.”

    Vettel denied the race had been easy despite his dominance, the world champion admitting his flawless start was crucial.

    “It was not an easy race,” said Vettel. “The start was crucial. I had a good getaway but didn’t know if it was enough until I saw Lewis and Mark battling for position. On the first stint I trying to hold a gap and then at some point you reach a cliff and the tyres see some degradation.

    “Lewis caught up and we came in. I could not have done more laps and after my stop it was crucial to get past Jenson, which I could do immediately so that was very, very important. After that the second part of the race I didn’t know what was going on behind Lewis and with him dropping off in terms of amount of pressure I could control the situation a bit better.

    “There were a lot of things to learn today and we need to have another look at the race.”

    He also praised the innovations introduced in Formula 1 this year, and hailed Pirelli for its work.

    “Very positive. We have to make give compliments to Pirelli. After the tests we were all a bit scared and we came here and in the end we did not see as many stops as expected and all in all it was a smooth race.

    “The rear wing is very fresh. Turn 1 is not the best place for overtaking in the whole year, but it helps to come closer. So far it worked as expected and I can only judge what happened with me, not behind.”

  2. Pre-race rumours were suggesting that Red Bull Racing will be using their KERS only at the start but in the end, Christian Horner revealed that Sebastian Vettel didn’t use it. has the story.

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed after Sebastian Vettel’s season-opening victory in Melbourne that the team did not have KERS on its RB7s from Saturday onwards.

    There was speculation after Vettel took pole position that the team was planning to use an innovative ‘start-only’ KERS, but Horner told the BBC that the team had been concerned with reliability on its conventional system and merely opted not to run it.

    “We haven’t had KERS on at all this weekend,” said Horner. “We didn’t want to tell anybody, but looking at the start … It didn’t look like we needed it.

    “We were a bit nervous about telling everybody before the race. We ran it on Friday and we weren’t happy with the reliability, we felt it was a potential risk, so we took it off both cars and didn’t race it at all this weekend.”

    “We made a decision with the KERS, he added. “It’s quite a complex system, it’s an interesting technology, but Adrian [Newey] being Adrian would not compromise the car around the system so it has had to fit into his aero shape and that’s presented some bigger challenges.

    “But the guys have done a fantastic job in Milton Keynes and testimony to their hard work that we’ve turned out and been reliable and dominated the race.”

    Horner said that he was delighted with Vettel’s dominant throughout the Australian GP weekend culminating in a crushing victory for the world champion over the rest of the field.

    “It’s been a fantastic day for Sebastian and the team to start this championship, on different tyres with the regulation changes we’ve had,” he said. “He was dominant yesterday and totally dominant today as well. It’s a shame for Mark [Webber], but a great team result.”

    Webber finished a distant fifth, having employed a three-stop strategy to Vettel’s two. The Australian was outpaced all weekend by his team-mate, and pulled off the track at the end of the pitlane as soon as he finished the race.

    “Well it’s a very unusual gap to see such a big difference between the two guys,” said Horner of Webber’s pace compared to Vettel. “We need to go through things with a fine toothcomb and understand where those differences are.

    “Mark’s performance today – he was very hard on the tyres – that created more degradation. We need to find out if there’s something perhaps in the car that is contributing to that. We couldn’t find it yesterday, but we’ll certainly have a very, very good look before Malaysia.”

  3. Despite nursing his floor damaged McLaren to second position, Lewis Hamilton was thrilled with the team’s performance in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix following a difficult pre-season testing. has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton hailed his second place in the Australian Grand Prix as a ‘great achievement’ for McLaren given its poor winter testing form and last-minute redesign.

    Following a build-up during which it looked unlikely to even break into the top 10, McLaren shelved its radical exhaust system and brought a new exhaust and floor to Melbourne for the season-opener.

    That transformed its performance, and Hamilton was able to qualify and finish second in Australia, while his team-mate Jenson Button started fourth and came home sixth following a penalty.

    “I think we can definitely take this and be very proud of ourselves,” said Hamilton.

    “The guys did a great job coming into this weekend. A week or two ago we were not expecting to be anywhere near top five, to come away with second and the car more reliable, I think it is a great achievement for us guys.

    “We were clearly catching Seb [Vettel] earlier in the race. Strategy is one for sure we can work on but we have a good pace and I am looking forward to the next race.”

    Hamilton achieved his podium finish despite the front part of his McLaren’s floor achieving to partially detach during the race.

    “The plank and the part of the floor is massively damaged,” he said. “I don’t know when it happened.

    “I was losing quite a lot of downforce with that, so was trying to nurse the car home for points as we need them for later in the year.”

    He also credited McLaren’s KERS for allowing him to keep second place at the start, after Mark Webber’s Red Bull got a better getaway from third.

    “I got quite a bit of wheelspin, there was nothing I could do to catch Seb but with KERS I could hold second,” said Hamilton.

  4. By finishing in third position, Vitaly Petrov achieved his best result after twenty races as a Renault F1 driver. The Russian believes this season’s Renault has potential. has the story.

    Vitaly Petrov believes his third place in the Australian Grand Prix is an indication of what the 2011 Renault is capable of, though he admitted he was not sure quite how good the car was before the race.

    The Russian qualified an impressive sixth, grabbed fourth at the start, and then secured third by making his tyres last through a two-stop strategy while main rivals Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso pitted three times.

    “I am happy to be here sitting with these guys,” said Petrov after joining Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the podium.

    “All weekend was pretty good but after that we didn’t know where we are. Coming here we had some new parts and from Friday practice our car looked very strong, and qualifying was not too bad.

    “Then we focused on our race, and today did everything perfectly and we must be proud of our place today.”

    Petrov’s fast start took him into the first corner three-abreast with Jenson Button and Alonso, but the Russian held his ground as the more experienced drivers slid wide.

    “The start was not bad and I tried to attack Fernando and then saw Jenson Button in front, so why brake earlier?” said Petrov.

    “I eased the brake and tried to pass both of them which was great.”

    When its lead driver Robert Kubica was seriously injured in a rally crash earlier this year, Renault decided it needed another experienced racer to take charge so drafted in Nick Heidfeld alongside Petrov rather than using official reserve Bruno Senna.

    But Heidfeld had a poor weekend in Australia and was comprehensively overshadowed by Petrov.

    Asked if this meant he could lead the team, Petrov replied: “I think I don’t need to answer anything, you can see it also. But yes!”

  5. Jenson Button admitted getting stuck behind Felipe Massa ruined all his chances of a strong result at the Australian Grand Prix.

    The McLaren driver was overtaken by Massa at the start, and despite being much faster the Briton was unable to find a way to pass him.

    He eventually overtook Massa by cutting the chicane on Turn 12, something for which he was given a drive-through penalty, as the Brazilian pitted right after that and Button was unable to give the position back.

    Button went on to finish in sixth and admitted it had been a frustrating day.

    “I got an okay start and I was surprised to see Petrov on the inside. He forced me wide and then I got stuck behind Massa,” Button told reporters after the race. “And that was the worse move of the race, because he was so slow, and he’s the most difficult person to overtake.

    “He blocked very well but it just slowed us down massively. Then I tried to overtake him I think at Turn 11 or 12 and he went so deep into the corner. He pushed me wide. I couldn’t go around the corner anymore, so I cut it. I was in front before I entered the corner and then I didn’t know what to do.

    “The team said ‘stay where you are, we’ll see what the stewards say’, but as soon as Ferrari saw that happen they pitted Massa and as soon as that happens you get a drive-through.

    “I don’t know if that was done on purpose or not, but I got a drive-through and I had to find my way through, which was quite fun but being that far back is very frustrating because the pace was much better than that.”

    The 2009 world champion was still encouraged by McLaren’s form, although he was left lamenting not having been able to maximise it.

    “I just wish I could have got the best out of it, but Lewis did a good job today. Still it wasn’t the perfect race for him, as he had a bit of an off and damaged the floor. Red Bull’s pace is very good but it was nice to see that he could hold on.”


  6. Competing in his second season at Mercedes GP, Michael Schumacher was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix following a collision with Jaime Alguersuari. has the details.

    Michael Schumacher retired from the Australian Grand Prix for safety reasons after sustaining damage in a collision with Jaime Alguersuari on the first lap of the race in Melbourne.

    The Toro Rosso hit the rear of the Mercedes into Turn 3, giving Schumacher a puncture which then damaged the rear of the car as it broke up on the German’s return to the pits.

    Schumacher returned to the race, but ran last and off the pace before finally giving up after 19 laps.

    “I had quite a good start and made up quite a few positions, I was already passed Kobayashi, and then at Turn 1 it got a bit tight and I had to slow down,” Schumacher explained to the BBC.

    “That was okay, I got going again and got running down to T3, but turning in somebody knocked on my right rear, I don’t know the circumstances.

    “But the consequence was that I had a puncture, and that meant that it destroyed the rear tyre and that destroyed the rear of the floor. When the tyre is punctured it will fall into pieces and that broke off bits and pieces around the tyre and that was quite substantial.

    “On top of that I’m pretty sure we had a bent suspension because I had a funny behaviour between left and right corners, so that was a bit entertaining for the 20 laps that I did,” he added.

    “But it wasn’t worth it and I think the team quite rightly decided for safety reasons to come in and not risk anything.”

  7. Rubens Barrichello says he was not trying to pass Nico Rosberg when he made contact with the Mercedes GP driver during the Australian Grand Prix.

    Barrichello crashed into Rosberg’s car in what looked like an optimistic passing move at Turn 3. Rosberg was forced to retire while Barrichello continued only to be forced out on lap 49.

    The Williams driver said he was actually defending from Kamui Kobayashi when he crashed into Rosberg, and blamed the different tyre grip for the crash.

    Barrichello was nonetheless encouraged by the pace of his car during the race.

    “It was a tough race for us,” said Barrichello. “I was pushed out a little bit at the start, but then I had a good rhythm going and was doing quite a lot of overtaking until the incident with Rosberg. I wasn’t planning on overtaking him at that point, I was defending from Kobayashi.

    “I think we have one tyre with grip and one with less and so we have different braking points. Rosberg braked earlier, and was already in the middle of the corner before I could stop the car. The ’33’ was competitive today, which is positive going into the next race.”

    Team-mate Pastor Maldonado also retired from his first Formula 1 race, the Venezuelan stopping on track after just 10 laps.

    “We don’t know exactly what happened with the car; we will have to look into the problem with our engineers,” he said. “There was no warning, we just stopped and that was it for us.

    “The start was great though. There were some big moments going into the first two corners, but I came through them ok. I was then getting settled into the race, everything was feeling ok in the car, I felt good and then it went. I’ll now just look forward to getting back out there again in Malaysia.”


  8. The only driver to make a single pit stop was Sauber’s Sergio Perez although the he didn’t plan it. Despite that, Perez finished seventh in his maiden Grand Prix. has the story.

    Sauber rookie Sergio Perez says he did not plan to go through the Australian Grand Prix on just one tyre stop, after making an unfancied strategy pay off to score points in his maiden race.

    Perez said that having to preserve his front tyres through track position circumstances allowed him to finish the race on Pirelli’s soft option rubber, securing himself a strong seventh place.

    “It was a dream start for me, to be in the points, to have such a nice race, a good strategy and everything fine so it is a debut I will remember forever,” he told the BBC.

    “To be honest we never thought we could do only one stop. In the briefing we spoke about two or three stops depending on how the race was going. But then I did a very long stint on the prime. Everybody was on options which is why I lost some positions, but then I was very consistent.

    “When I put the option on I thought it was going to last 10-15 laps, so I really pushed. I had Sebastian Vettel in front of me for some time – which eventually cost me the sixth position to [Jenson] Button because I lost around eight seconds. So when he was in front of me I tried to save a lot, because I was losing a lot my fronts by getting behind him, and then he pitted.

    “I overtook him and then I managed the tyres quite nicely, I was not going to the limit and still my pace was three or four tenths off what I could do so… I am really happy for the team.

    Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi, who ensured it was a double-points finish for Sauber with eighth place, said that Perez’s strong performance would only motivate him to try harder, which would be good for the team.

    “It’s a great performance and especially in this winter we have seen a really great job from the team,” he said. “I’m very happy and my team-mate was strong as well in this race – which was a surprise.

    “Overall I think we have done a really great job this winter and I appreciate it. Sergio had a really great performance today and I know that he is strong and he is fast. I think we are now very good team-mates to be together and strong all the team, and I think that is really great.

    “We still don’t expect to be on the podium, but it is a good chance to be consistently in the points and this is always our target.”

  9. Home crowd favourite Mark Webber struggled to match the pace of his Red Bull Racing team-mate in the race and the Webber plans to investigate why he finished a distant fifth position. has the details.

    Mark Webber says he plans to investigate all aspects of his Australian Grand Prix in a bid to understand why he finished a distant fifth, more than 41 seconds behind race-winner and team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

    The Australian has been uncharacteristically outpaced by the world champion throughout the weekend and was 0.8s slower than Vettel in qualifying as well, and seemed to be much heavier on the Pirelli tyres than the German.

    Afterwards, Webber admitted that he was disappointed with his performance in Melbourne.

    “A tough race, to be honest,” said Webber, who employed a three-stop strategy, which compare to the three podium finishers Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Vitaly Petrov, who all opted for two.

    “I was pushing as hard as I could but I wasn’t getting much back so I don’t know why.

    “It was similar to yesterday. I haven’t been on the pace all weekend and obviously we will look into why.”

    Asked by the BBC whether he thought there might have been something wrong with his car, he replied: “I don’t know.

    “Of course you have got to look at everything, including yourself. Obviously to finish that far behind is not really usual so I don’t know what happened.

    “Let’s stay cool, it’s the first race – disappointing not to get a much better result here because it was certainly possible but in the end everyone deserved the result they got today and that’s what they got.”

  10. Sauber drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi have been disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix over a technical infringement.

    Perez, making his grand prix debut, had finished in a strong seventh position, one place ahead of his Japanese team-mate Kobayashi.

    After the race, however, the race stewards excluded both cars over the infringement of technical rules 3.10.1 and 3.10.2.

    The infringement occurred in the uppermost rear wing element.

    Article 3.10.1 reads: “Any bodywork more than 150mm behind the rear wheel centre line which is between 150mm and 730mm above the reference plane, and between 75mm and 355mm from the car centre line, must lie in an area when viewed from the side of the car that is situated between 150mm and 350mm behind the rear wheel centre line and between 300mm and 400mm above the reference plane. When viewed from the side of the car no longitudinal cross section may have more than one section in this area.

    “Furthermore, no part of this section in contact with the external air stream may have a local concave radius of curvature smaller than 100mm.

    “Once this section is defined, ‘gurney’ type trim tabs may be fitted to the trailing edge. When measured in any longitudinal cross section no dimension of any such trim tab may exceed 20mm.”

    3.10.2 states: “Other than the bodywork defined in Article 3.10.9, any bodywork behind a point lying 50mm forward of the rear wheel centre line which is more than 730mm above the reference plane, and less than 355mm from the car centre line, must lie in an area when viewed from the side of the car that is situated between the rear wheel centre line and a point 350mm behind it.”

    The exclusion of the Sauber drivers means Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is elevated to seventh, ahead of Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi, and Force India duo Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta.

    The Sauber team has signalled its intention to appeal its disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.

    The Swiss squad’s drivers Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were excluded from the Melbourne race after the stewards found the car was in breach of the technical regulations.

    More specifically, the infringement occurred in the uppermost rear wing element of the car.

    Sauber confirmed on Sunday evening that it had lodged a statement of intent to appeal its exclusion from the race.

    “This is a very surprising and disappointing result,” said technical director James Key.

    “It appears that there is a question over the top surface of the uppermost rear wing element, this area is not the working surface of the component and therefore relatively unimportant to its function.

    “Certainly this has not led to any performance advantage. We are checking the design of the parts now to better understand the situation and we intend to appeal the decision made by the stewards.”

    Sauber will conduct a detailed investigation at its factory into how its rear wing failed to comply with the technical regulations at the Australian Grand Prix, before it decides whether to keep pressing ahead with its appeal.

    The Swiss-based team has submitted its intention to appeal against the disqualifications of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi from the Melbourne event for a rear wing breach.

    The rear wings did not comply with Articles 3.10.1 and 3.10.2 of the F1 Technical Regulations that demands wing parts do not have ‘a local concave radius of curvature smaller than 100mm.’

    This addition to the F1 regulations was introduced this year to prevent teams from running F-duct type systems. Its compliance is tested by the FIA using a 100mm ball template – which must remain in contact with the wing at all points.

    Should the wing be too curved, as the Sauber design used in the race appeared to be, then the ball will have a gap between it and the wing.

    Sauber technical director James Key said that he was seeking answers from the team’s Hinwil factory as to why the design used in Melbourne had not passed the test.

    “We didn’t know anything about it until after the race,” said Key in Melbourne. “It’s possibly an oversight, certainly not intentional, and is nothing to do with F-ducts or anything else that circumvents the regulations. It is also not performance enhancing, as what happens on top of the element is incidental.

    “How it has arisen needs to be investigated internally, and that is the process that we now need to go through.”

    Key added that other design specifications of wings that Sauber had available were all checked after the race and did comply with the rules.


  11. Following the disqualification of the Sauber drivers, Paul di Resta was rewarded his first championship point in his maiden Grand Prix. But despite getting a point, di Resta said it worth the wait to race in Formula One. has the story.

    British rookie Paul di Resta says his Formula 1 debut was ‘definitely worth the wait’ after a strong showing in his maiden grand prix for Force India.

    The 24-year-old Scot outqualified his more experienced team-mate Adrian Sutil, and then ran ahead of the German in the race before moving over twice to allow for varying strategies.

    Di Resta finished in 12th bu was elevated to 10th after the Sauber drivers were disqualified.

    Afterwards the DTM champion declared himself satisfied with his performance over the weekend.

    “It was quite productive for a first race,” said di Resta on the BBC’s red button review programme. “I made a reasonable start and really had just had a reasonable battle with Kamui Kobayashi. But I didn’t come off the best from that battle and I think our speed showed where we finished.

    “Relatively looking at it our performance was better than we expected this weekend. Coming into this we knew it was going to be hard for the first three grands prix until some new upgrades come in and a new philosophy from our design department.”

    Di Resta added that he made a few errors in his first race, but said that he intended to learn from his experiences moving forward to Malaysia.

    “Physically I wasn’t too bad, I would have said that I had more problems with the race simulation at Barcelona, but I think this one is well-known for not being too hard,” he said. “I think the concentration level, and everything that is going on in the cockpit, and when you can use the rear wing, the KERS and just managing it all.

    “I did make a few mistakes, especially on in-laps with the procedures that you have to go through. It didn’t look so much from the outside but I lost enough time to make a difference of me challenging other people.

    “But it’s new and so long as I don’t make the same mistake twice, I can move on from that.”

    Asked what it would take to establish himself over Sutil, di Resta replied: “I think this weekend given that I missed the first free practice, it’s been quite a big job to stay in front.

    “I managed to qualify in front of Adrian and I was in front of him at the start of the race as well. I think my own performance is what needs to be worked on and certainly in qualifying, learning how the track improves and how it is at low fuel and stay in front of him.

    “It’s just about being on the top all the time and using your engineer to predict what the car is going to be like going into a qualifying session, what the track is going to be like and how it evolves.”

  12. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso may have missed out on a podium finish but the Spaniard has said he is not worried by Vitaly Petrov, as Fernando believes he is not a championship contender. has the details.

    Fernando Alonso says he is not worried about being beaten to the podium in the Australian Grand Prix by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov – because he does not see the Russian as a title contender.

    Despite a difficult weekend in Melbourne, where Ferrari particularly struggled to get speed from the hard tyre, Alonso salvaged fourth place with a three-stop strategy that left him within sight on Petrov.

    And although that meant for the second race in succession that Alonso has been frustrated at the end by Petrov, the Spaniard said that it was important to look at the big picture instead.

    “For the journalists it is a very interesting race having Petrov and me, but I was looking in the mirror because I had a title contender behind me, and I was happy to have [Mark] Webber behind me,” said Alonso.

    “To finish fourth, I lost points with [Lewis] Hamilton today, I lost points with [Sebastian] Vettel, but the points with Petrov I am not so stressed.”

    With Ferrari having not shown enough pace to match Red Bull Racing and McLaren over the Australia weekend, Alonso reckoned that fourth was probably as much as he could have hoped for.

    “At the start I did a very good one today,” he explained. “I was side-by-side with Button, and Petrov risked in the first corner to push Button to the outside. Button pushed me to the outside to avoid Petrov, but it was not a problem.

    “It was just an unlucky situation which didn’t change too much the race because it made the race more stressful, instead of starting fifth and finishing fourth I was tenth and I finished fourth. I just had to do some extra overtaking.”

  13. So after what felt like an eternity which was made worse by the fact Bahrain was cancelled (thank God).

    Was it worth the wait? Well yes and no.

    While the race was not exactly the best we’ve ever seen at Melbourne, as predicted, it was still much anticipated. All the new rules and regs, the much talked about adaptive rear wing, KERS, and tyres all made for captive viewing…until the race started!

    The tyres while made for a good change were not degrading all that much, the KERS wasn’t used by everyone and yet Red Bull who weren’t using it are miles faster and of course the rear wing fell flat on it’s face. It did eff all!

    To be fair to the FIA, in theory, all this should have worked brilliantly. But it was all a bit of a let down.

    It was great to see three different teams on the podium though and hopefully this will continue. Petrov had a great drive and one has to wonder if this a true demonstration of the pace of the new Lotus Renault (how confusing is that team?!?!), just how much can they mix up the grid or indeed challenge for the title had Kubica not done some silly high risk racing.

    But the biggy for me was the new commentary team. Much was made of David Coultard’s Red Bull bias, and of course most forgot that he is a professional and knows exactly how to conduct himself. I thought both he and Martin did a great job. Very informative, no interruption, and I only heard one mistake. Very good and will stay with them I think for the time being. Five Live version is still excellent as always but I wished it didn’t sound like they were talking inside of a tin can.

    However, when Dc isn’t in front of camera when the Beeb are in the pits it means we just get Jake and Eddie. Now I do like Eddie most of the time. He grabs people for an impromptu interview that he really shouldn’t do, and has no problem in saying what he thinks;which is a refreshing change in F1. But without an opposite counterpart he will get a bit much to take. Jake will do his best, but he is the front man and so presenting will come first. This will mean he’ll have only so much power to rein Eddie in. But at least we get to see them all on TV which is something we never saw from Legard.

    Mclaren must be breathing a HUGE sigh of relief that that don’t have another hunk of junk for a car. Just goes to show, sometimes “Keep It Simple Stupid” works a treat. But again, they completely SUCK at judging errors and refused to let Jenson let Massa gain his place back. Having said that, Ferrari pulled an absolute BLINDER in swapping Alonso and Massa immediately. I know Massa was slow, but move WAS on purpose. If Jenson had to give the place back, then I guess he would have to let both the “Red disappointments” through. I didn’t get to see the Red Button Forum to see the replays or anyone’s thoughts on this, but I’m sure I’m right.

    So apart from that and Rubins laughable attempt at an overtake or his excuse for it not being a bad manoeuvre, not much happened. but that doesn’t mean we should have “fake rain” Bernie!!!!

    So it’s onto Malaysian GP. Hmmmm, oh well!

  14. Thanks for the comments Yink and Invisiblekid. We waited for a long time following the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix and even though the new rules to improve the on-track action proved to be hit and miss with the Drag Reduction System, KERS and Pirelli tyres, I believe this season could be full of drama and excitement over the course of the year.

    It was the perfect start for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing in Australia. Team boss Christian Horner is quite confident that the team will maintain this winning performance and the full story can be read below courtesy of

    Red Bull Racing is unruffled by Lewis Hamilton’s bold claims that its margin at the front of the field will definitely be wiped away over the course of the year.

    Despite a dominant performance from Sebastian Vettel in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, runner-up Hamilton said after the race that he had ‘no doubts’ his McLaren team would be able to close the gap over the campaign.

    However, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner said he had seen nothing from McLaren over the past few seasons to suggest the outfit was any better at development that his own squad.

    When asked about Hamilton’s claims, Horner said: “Of course he is going to say that, otherwise he may as well not turn up at the next race – but whether he believes it or not is another thing.

    “They [McLaren] have made massive steps, they are a great team and they always have a strong development during the season. But we out-developed them last season, we did it the year before and we will be determined to do it again this year.”

    Horner says his outfit has taken huge confidence from its strong form in Australia, and sees the team in much better shape for clinching this year’s title than it has ever been before.

    “I feel that we are better equipped than last year to deal with the championship and the undoubted pressures that will come,” he said. “I don’t think we can expect another 18 races like we saw here, because you know McLaren will come back strong, you know Ferrari will come back strong.

    “McLaren certainly won’t sit still. They made a big step coming here this weekend, but we got some good stuff in the pipeline and the way the team is working is fantastic.”

    Speaking about his feelings on Vettel’s victory, Horner said: “It was a fantastic start to the season. Sebastian has been in unbelievable form all weekend, dominated qualifying yesterday and then drove an excellent race.

    “It was a bit of a voyage into the unknown because nobody fully knew how the tyres were going to react. But I think we got our strategy just right and it was great to win Pirelli’s first race back in F1.

    “There was one crucial stage where, after the first stop, Sebastian emerged behind Jenson [Button], who got a drive-through penalty anyway. Tactically if they could have held Sebastian up it would have put us behind Lewis after the stop.

    “But Sebastian made a fast and fair move on Jenson and that was decisive for the rest of the race. Then it was a matter of controlling his pace. We were unsure if we were going to do an additional stop or not. But, as it was, the tyres worked out very well and we got away with a two-stop.”

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