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    Bahrain GP

    So, first two practice sessions are over.

    It's still difficult to know where the teams stand because, no doubt, some were carrying more fuel than others and some were putting in slower laps to keep other teams guessing.

    The only disaster appears to have struck Kimi (AGAIN!) who had an engine failure. If he needs to have an engine replacement at some stage, he will face a 10 place grid penalty. Poor Kimi has such rotten luck.

    It seems the Ferraris didn't hold back. It looked like they want to show the other teams that this year they mean business and are up there pace-wise.

    I think McLaren are definitely struggling. Both Kimi and JPM's times were so close together, the only conclusion I could draw is that that is what they are capable of. Their times in 2nd Practice were too close together to think that they deliberately held back. Maybe they were both told to set their rev limiters at the same level but otherwise to go as fast as possible.

    It seemed pretty obvious that Renault and Honda are playing a guessing game.

    Antony Davidson put in a truly blistering lap to lead 2nd practice. Clearly Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are holding back knowing they have the pace. They just don't want to show Renault what they can do yet.

    Likewise, it seemed like Renault were keeping a lot in reserve. They seem very confident. They KNOW they have a great car again this year. In fact, according to the interviews I have been reading with both Fernando and Giancarlo, they feel their car is even better handling-wise and reliability-wise than last year - which is some feat!

    I think they can really lower their lap times if they need to. It seems to be a Renault tactic. They deliberately don't strain the car unless they face a threat from another team. Then suddenly they unleash the extra potency of their car (e.g. turning up the rev limiter, adjusting downforce etc) to eek out a bit more performance and hey presto - they're back on top again. Very shrewd!

    I think it really could be a battle between Renault and Honda with Ferrari desperately trying to cling on. McLaren appear not to have the reliability to pose a season-long threat.

    The big injustice I should mention is STR-Cosworth. Scuderia Toro Rosso have been allowed to use a V10 with limited revs. WHY? They may be a new team but Minardi were not! Plus they have all the technical know how from RBR from 2005. Also, Cosworth is their engine supplier. If Cosworth can supply Williams perfectly adequately with a V8 then why not STR?? This year's FIA rules seem a bit unfair and they are unduly flattering perfectly nice but mediocre drivers like Vitantonio Liuzzi.

    On the subject of intrigue, it seems Kimi has been offered a 3 year 72 million euro deal by McLaren. Ron Dennis wants Alonso and Kimi as partners in 2007. Ouch! That could be painful. More likely, Kimi will replace Felipe Massa at Scuderia Ferrari next year with King Michael's reign probably drawing to an end depending upon how this season goes.

    One of the most exciting teams in 2006 has got to be Honda. With Barrichello and Button they have an incredibly strong team. I heard that Jenson has done over 6000km in Winter Testing whereas most other drivers have done 3000km. Honda has done a staggering 27000km in testing this Winter.

    Amazing how a team can be so single minded for victory. Hats off to Honda. Look at BMW Sauber F1 who are already saying things like "we don't expect miracles this year". What a contrast! Honda would never say anything like that. They are an awesome team who only know one language....success or nothing.

    I just can't contain my excitement and sense of expectation at this season.

    Although Bahrain is technically demanding - e.g. brakes, ambient temperature, dust in air intakes compromising engine cooling, tyre wear etc etc - it's a strange track where the crowds are far away from the action and the TV cameras seem like they are zooming in from a great distance. There isn't the same sense of immediacy - like you're in the heart of the action - as there is with some other tracks. This is a shame but I guess it's the modern trend with tracks like Malaysia, Bahrain, Istanbul, Shanghai all being designed this way. Herman Tillke may be a genius but he isn't perfect!

    Anyhow, sorry for going on and on. F1 is like an injection of life-force into my veins. The winter felt so desperately long without the sound of an F1 car at 19000 revs screaming by the microphone.

    BTW my nephew is organising a VIP trip to the Monaco GP. Let me know if any of you would like to go.

    Here's to a great new season in 2006!! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I intend to!!!

    My G*d do I love F1!!

    Re: Bahrain GP

    It turns out that Kimi's problem was not engine related after all. He had a burnt wiring loom - an electrical problem which can be easily fixed.

    More worryingly however, JPM was running the same rev limiter setting as Kimi and yet he was maxing at 7kph less than Kimi. Not a good sign for this weekend for poor JPM.

    Re: Bahrain GP


    Yeah, definitely an excellent distraction for us 'waiters." Thanks for the update- seem to only show NASCAR 24/7 here in the States! F1 rocks baby!


    Re: Bahrain GP

    easy_rider911 said:
    It turns out that Kimi's problem was not engine related after all. He had a burnt wiring loom - an electrical problem which can be easily fixed.

    More worryingly however, JPM was running the same rev limiter setting as Kimi and yet he was maxing at 7kph less than Kimi. Not a good sign for this weekend for poor JPM.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    I like F1's the pinnacle of motorsports.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    It won't be the pinnacle of motorsport technology for long if that old buzzard Max Mosley (President of the FIA) gets his way. He wants to cut costs to make it easier for poorer teams to join F1. It's unfair for Ferrari and Toyota to have US$700 million budgets.

    So, we have voluntary limits on testing, engine size/power reduction to cut the cost of engine development, elimination of turbos and driver aids (e.g. traction control) to keep development costs down (and also to spice up the racing).

    Most irrationally, the FIA has reintroduced tyre changing for 2006. Michelin has already complained that it now has to supply 300 more tyres for each race weekend. If the decision to have one set of tyres for qualification and the race in 2005 was so right (and defended satunchly throughout the season by the aforementioned old buzzard) then why make a U turn in 2006?

    BTW a buzzard is a bird not an illegitimate person so please don't flame me!

    Re: Bahrain GP


    Thanks for the update, F1 comes on at 3:00AM here in the western United States. Thank God for DVRs.

    Luckily, Sunday, we have the tape delay on SPEED Channel...

    (so sick of NASCAR! )

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Yeah, what is it with Nascar and Indy? They just go round and round and don't seem to turn much at all. I know they're doing high speeds but F1 is the real deal.

    I still feel so angry about what happened at last year's US GP. It was such a fiasco. Hope the US Rennteamers here will forgive.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Last season was terrible! There should be no repeat of the race in US now that there is only one tyre maker in F1.
    I hope to see Ferrari back on top and untouchable where they belong. I also wish toyota well as they are the upstarts.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Nope, both Bridgestone and Michelin are official tyre suppliers in 2006. My understanding is that there will only be a single tyre supplier in 2008 but that Michelin has decided unilaterally to pull out of F1 in 2007.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    easy_rider, strange results-don't you think!?
    Schumy first, Massa second, race tomorrow will be very interesting... What is happening with Toyota?
    And, what about Kimi?

    Re: Bahrain GP

    they should stop all regulations and whoever goes around the track faster wins. only regulation should be that it has to have 4 wheels.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Branimir said:
    easy_rider, strange results-don't you think!?
    Schumy first, Massa second, race tomorrow will be very interesting... What is happening with Toyota?
    And, what about Kimi?

    I don't think the results are that strange: we have Ferrari, Honda, Renault, McLaren in the first three rows - also the gaps are quite close (of course we have to wait until tomorrow to assess the tactic/fuel amount).

    IMO biggest disappointment: Toyota (I've no clue yet what's the reason for the bad performance: engine/chassis ?)

    Most positive impression: P. Massa being able to drive at Schumi's level (at least in the quali-sessions) right from the start of the season (no one of Schumi's team-mates of the past has been able to show such a performance).

    Longest string of bad luck: poor Kimi

    I guess (and hope) the race will become a thriller

    Re: Bahrain GP

    It's the first race, guys. We often see some odd results and then after a few the trends become clear. From the reactions of Schumi and the team, though, I'd say they didn't expect to be on P1 and P2.

    Massa is obviously the man to watch. Mind you-having said all that did you notice how Schumi at one stage of qualifiying was nearly 0.5 secs faster in the first half of the lap-then overcooked it on the last corner. Then he waited unbtil the last session near the end and put the really fast one in. Classic Schumacher

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Very surpising about Ferrari and Schumacher. Heck even Massa coming so close is surprising.

    The knockout thing is bad, IMHO, because you have cars outside the top 10 that were quite a bit quicker than many cars in the top 10. Villenuve set the 7th best time but is starting 11th.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Massa is a very underrated driver in my opinion. I was glad to see him do so well today.
    Another record for Schumacher (or tie at least) with 65 poles.
    It will be interesting to see what kind of fuel loads the teams are using tomorrow.
    What a disappointing day for Toyota.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Tactics will be interesting to see with the new cars. And reliability-or lack of it. Apparently McLaren have been blowing engines in testing more often than fireworks going off.

    Honda's pace was impressive as well.

    Anyway it will be interesting to see if Massa is as good in the race as he looked in practice.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    I'm happy to see that Bridgestone is back, but i'm very sad for Kimi, i definitely think he should move to Ferrari.

    I wish a very good grand prix to every Rennteamer

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Here's my take on the race:


    Kudos to Alonso, Schummi, Kimi and Rosberg!

    Poor performances by Team Aguri, Toyota (what are they doing?!?) and Massa.

    The race really came down to the final pit for Alonso. His team got him out in 7.7 which is blisteringly fast. That margin of .3-.5 seconds pretty much allowed him to edge off Schumi through the straightaway after pit row. Phenomenal pit job (unlike what Ferrari did for poor Massa ).

    All this talk about favoritism being leveled against Alonso back for Fisi....Well I guess that's out of the question .

    Fisi ran into some bad luck with hydraulics...tough day.

    What a race by Kimi! This race really showed the power of the new McLaren team. From dead last to 3rd is really a testament of some superb driving skills (and some lack of decision making by JP Montoya who got bogged down in a battle with Jenson Button).

    What is clear from this race:

    With the return of the tire-change rule, Bridgestone (and thusly Ferrari) are back into the hunt, really making this season a 4 headed monster (Fcars, McLarens, BAR Honda and the defending champs Renault). Ferrari really can do some damage if they can get their tires up to temp in under the 5 laps it usually takes them (which is cutting their pace out after pits). Of course this can be avoided through strategic driving, but you can't when your pit-block strategy gets ruined by a 2nd turn pass by Alonso .

    What isn't clear:

    McLaren reliability/luck issues still up for debate. Can they get their product under some standard of quality control (Kimi in his pre-race interview didn't sound so optimistic).

    Can Felipe Massa, a young and pretty "reckless" driver, aide team Ferrari when they need saavy and experienced tactics to help pull down points? He was pretty unable today, but not all to his fault (save the spinout).

    Will Nico Rosberg be able to continue his impressive showing into some points?

    Overall, a great start to, what appears to be, a promising season in F1!

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Looks like a good season ahead. Too early to call. It will be interesting to see if the engines last the required 2 races...

    Re: Bahrain GP

    I felt really bad for Fisichella- IMHO he is just as good as Fernando. Thw Williams semmed to do well, didnt Rosberg set fastest lap? Hondas were a little disappointing, but Riakonnen was sensational.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    It was a great race. Alonso fully deserved his victory. What a great drive by Rosberg too.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Hurst said:
    ..Fisi ran into some bad luck with hydraulics...tough day..

    Nobody and I mean nobody should talk about bad luck after what happened to Kimi yesterday and All of last year.

    Re: Bahrain GP

    just last year? I think the figure is 30 mechanically defaulted races since 2001 for Kimi. The bad luck has been plaguing him

    Perhaps its the McLaren (and perhaps that's why he's not signing a 3 year 72mill euro contract ).

    Re: Bahrain GP

    If Kimi has better luck, this could be a great, great season- so much competition!

    Excellent analysis as usual!

    Re: Bahrain GP

    Hurst said:
    just last year? I think the figure is 30 mechanically defaulted races since 2001 for Kimi. The bad luck has been plaguing him

    Do you believe in coincidences?
    Do you believe in THIRTY coincidences?
    We have a saying here, 'Norocul si-l face omul' - One makes his own luck...

    Re: Bahrain GP

    I feel so bad for him Brunner, because he is a fearless and exhilirating driver...

    I remember listening to Pete Windsor talking about the whole "luck element" and he brought up an example of Alain Prost (imo one of the best F1 drivers ever). He would always have his mechanical/technical "bad luck" issues before the race, never during...

    Before we bury Kimi, we might want to see what he can do in Scuderria Ferrari

    Re: Bahrain GP

    The question as to whether Kimi's bad luck is indeed that or a result of hard treatment of the car is one that is yet to be answered. I really could not say. I hope in fact that is not the case, because I really like Kimi as a driver and yesterday's performance was superb.

    The bad luck/hard treatment question did remind me of a quote by Rob Walker that I always liked (forgive my paraphrasing though - this was from 1982 when Piquet and Patrese were teamates):

    "Nelson's gearboxes are probably good for a few races whereas Ricardo's are good for one race plus a lap..."



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