Trulli in strong position to beat Fisichella (Belgian Grand Prix fuel and strategy)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jarno Trulli's heavier fuel load should work to his advantage
Jarno Trulli's heavier fuel load should work to his advantage

Giancarlo Fisichella’s light fuel load could leave him vulnerable to attack from Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld in tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Trulli is carrying 8.6kg more fuel than his fellow Italian who he shares the front row of the grid with. Here’s the fuel weight in full and a look ahead to tomorrow’s race:

Grid Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 Giancarlo Fisichella 648 43 12
2 Jarno Trulli 656.6 51.6 15
3 Nick Heidfeld 655 50 14
4 Rubens Barrichello 644.5 39.5 11
5 Robert Kubica 649 44 12
6 Kimi Raikkonen 655 50 14
7 Timo Glock 648.5 43.5 12
8 Sebastian Vettel 662.5 57.5 17
9 Mark Webber 658 53 15
10 Nico Rosberg 670 65 19
11 Adrian Sutil 678.5 73.5 22
12 Lewis Hamilton 693.5 88.5 27
13 Fernando Alonso 684.4 79.4 24
14 Jenson Button 694.2 89.2 27
15 Heikki Kovalainen 697 92 28
16 Sebastien Buemi 685 80 24
17 Jaime Alguersuari 704.5 99.5 30
18 Kazuki Nakajima 706.1 101.1 31
19 Romain Grosjean 704.7 99.7 30
20 Luca Badoer 691.5 86.5 26

The Red Bulls also stand to gain positions as they are fuelled at least as heavily as all of the cars in front of them.

However Timo Glock will be ruing qualifying five places behind team mate Trulli despite carrying considerably less fuel.

Trulli looks like Toyota’s best hope of finally winning a Grand prix. The prospect could hardly come at a better time – the company’s budget for 2010 will not be decided on until November and there are fears its parent company could pull them out of F1.

Jenson Button, who starts a dismal 14th, is running a long first stint in the hope it will help him gain places on his championship rivals.

The start

The short run to the La Source hairpin has caused plenty of trouble for drivers in the past. So how will the start unfold this year?

Fisichella will start from the right-hand side of the grid – i.e. with the inside line for the first corner. The racing line cuts diagonally across the grid and so the ‘clean side/dirty side’ effort is not especially pronounced here.

Inevitably these days you look for the KERS-powered cars to make the biggest moves at the start, and once again these are the Ferraris and McLarens.

In the last four races Kimi Raikkonen has gained at least two places at the start and at the Circuit de Catalunya he made up six. Getting into the lead from sixth on the grid will be a bit of a stretch, but with the long straight towards Les Combes to use it’s definitely possible.

Further back the two McLarens have a lot of places to make up from 12th and 15th. Jenson Button will be hoping Lewis Hamilton can get in among the Red Bulls – but he’s probably already resigned himself to losing a place to Heikki Kovalainen at the start.

How do you think the Belgian Grand Prix will unfold? Have your say in the comments.

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96 comments on “Trulli in strong position to beat Fisichella (Belgian Grand Prix fuel and strategy)”

  1. This just gets weirder… I thought Barrichello would be the heaviest (Brawn is really having trouble this weekend). Good race for Trulli and for Vettel, if he can pass Glock and Raikkonen before the first round of pits…

    1. My thoughts exactly, that Bar would be the last to pit of the top 5. now that we see it, Rosberg, Trulli, Raikonen are the ones that will have the upper hand, but if rain strikes, Hami, Button, and Alonso would do well granted they pick the right strategy.

  2. WOW!!!
    RB is the lightest in the grid, and take a look at button!
    Another big change in what we must consider strong. No Brawns, no Red Bulls, no Mclarens….
    Very weird…

    I’ll hope it’ll rain!
    Cheers

    1. No Brawns, no Red Bulls, no Mclarens….

      Vettel has good possibilities. Fuel corrected he was 2nd, Trulli 1st.

      Tomorrow we will have an amazing 1st stint!

  3. Rubens Barrichello 644.5kg 39.5kg 11 lap

    ***?? so light??

    not too bad for fisi though :)

    even kimi is light, i thought he would be carrying atleast 20 laps worth fuel.

    hamilton is in 12th & carrying a petroleum refinery, if he can jump four places i.e to 8th ahead of vettel, he’ll definitely end up winning this race.

  4. 30 laps? that’s 66% of the race!

  5. 30 laps? that’s 66% of the race! some really are hoping for rain and safety cars, to make it a no pit stop race (Grosjean, Alguersuari)

  6. I’ll go for Kimi.

  7. Fisichella looks good for podium, not a totally unrealistic strategy by Force India.

    Trulli looks very good for the win though :-)

  8. Rubens Barrichello 644.5kg 39.5kg 11 lap

    what the hell?? so light??

    not too bad for fisi though :)

    even kimi is light, i thought he would be carrying atleast 20 laps worth fuel.

    hamilton is in 12th & carrying a petroleum refinery, if he can jump four places i.e to 8th ahead of vettel, he’ll definitely end up winning this race.

    1. After the KERS start I doubt he’ll be able to keep up with the faster and lighter cars in front, they’ll just build a huge gap in no time.

      Trulli is looking very good for the win and it would be very nice for Toyota who are rumoured to consider dropping out. Raikonnen is likely to be very strong during the race here again and I think Vettel might be able to pull something off, his car is much heavier than those directly in front.

    2. Its not that bad considering this is only a 44 lap race… that’s 25%

  9. I really don’t think that Fisichella will be playing for P1. Force India must be aware of this and they will look to score few points instead of doing something fancy.

    1. It may be unlikely that Fisi will win… but everyone said the same thing about Vettel at Monza last year, and we all know what happened that day.

      I reckon Raikkonen has a great chance tomorrow, but the man I really want to win is Nick Heidfeld. He may not quite be top draw, but he’s definitely underrated, and he’s waited long enough now. So go Quick Nick!

      1. hear….hear !!

        GO NICK!!!!

        But,my bet is on the Iceman for the win.He is in good condition and ready to pounce.He is strong at this track.

  10. As an old Fisi fan IM SHOCKED!

    But i also think the strategy, even if it’s an aggressive one, it’s realistic!. The car was fast all weekend, if they can keep it up, it’ll be very interesting!

    Let’s not forget Trulli is not what we call “a fast driver” on sundays!

    1. Exactly… on paper Trulli may be the favourite to win, but how often does he improve on his grid position when it really matters?

      1. I smell another trulli train, if that happens fisi will win!

  11. Fisi should drive for Ferrari in Monza, a great way to end a career…

    1. The way things are going at the moment, the Force Indias might actually be quicker cars than the Ferraris at Monza. How very emabarassing it could turn out to be for Ferrari if the replacement for Fisi at Force India beats Fisi when he’s driving a Ferrari.

      1. I mean IF he’s driving a Ferrari…

      2. Still is a super prize for Fisi.

        Driving for Ferrari is his dream.

        1. It’s hard saying no to those red cars…

  12. I think Heidfeld will get a better start from top three and then probably Kimi will surprise everyone from behind (i hope he does)….and trulli with a heavier fuel load on third will be fighting with kimi…..hiedfeld and fisi fighting….meanwhile if it rains it will either be trulli or heidfeld for victory and barrichello , fisi or kimi for podium..

    1. What will hapen with Kubca? He cant just disappear.

  13. This is going to be a phenomenal race.

  14. I’m surprised of Barrichello very light car.
    For the rest all the firs six/seven cars are really light, if they will not be able to carry a good pace at the beginning they risk to be attacked by the “mid of the group” (I mean Button, Hamilton, Alonso) at the first pit stop round.
    If it rains it will be even more hard.
    I think it is the most uncertain race of the year.

  15. i hope kimi performs well, it will bring tears into my eyes if i see him win

  16. Luca Badoer will win :D

    1. Dose he have KERS fitted?

    2. Don’t rule it out…

      If a Force India can take pole, Badoer can win…

  17. Can we have some stats on fuel penalty at Spa, Keith?

    Being the longest track, 3 laps here are probably equivalent to 5 at any other track, I am guessing.

    1. RB twittered on Friday night that it was 0.4 seconds per lap

      1. actually he said 10kg of fuel is equivalent to 0,4s
        one lap consumes 10kg there?

        1. 3.125kg of fuel in a Williams car apparently, so I guess it’s the same for the Toyotas as well.

          http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/4137/weights.jpg

  18. It will be interesting where Kers equipped cars will use the extra power: if you use it all at the start you can suppose to gain more position…but Eau Rouge, Raidillon and Kemmel straight is a longer “all flat” section and you can really use all the power.
    Guess what?

    1. Hamilton said he was using it at the exit of turn 1 and at the back straight.

  19. Bigbadderboom
    29th August 2009, 17:33

    I can see Lewis getting a podium, a very long 1 stopper, i think this will be the best race of the year.

    1. I don’t want to tempt fate, but I agree, this race has to be good!

  20. Heidfeld generally starts well, i wonder if he could be leading by the end of the first lap :)

  21. spa is the best.

  22. heidfeld possible……
    he’s a better driver in wets too

    I imagine where kimi will land

  23. I think if Kimi/Ferrari are going to win a race this season, this is going to have to be it. But then, the same goes for Toyota. And BMW. And Force India :D But, as a Kimi fan, I have to admit I’m pinning my hopes on some Kimi magic at the start and in the second lap. Regardless, it will be an interesting race :)

  24. Btw, is the Toyota so frugal that it can do an extra lap on 1.5 kg of fuel? That is really quite good.

    1. I’d say the extra 1.5 kg just pushes him over the threshold of being able to make another lap.

      For example one might be able to do 14.8 laps, but if you can’t reach the start/finish line it doesn’t really count does it? So the extra 1.5 kg might bring them to 15.1 or something along those lines.

  25. "Indian-Italian Force"
    29th August 2009, 17:50

    Strategically, Force India looks to be best placed of them all. It has very good chance of one its car on the podium at least & both cars in good points scoring positions, barring accidents.
    Sutil has to be as good as Fisichella.

  26. I’m praying for rain on lap 20. That should make things very interesting.

    1. "Indian-Italian Force"
      29th August 2009, 17:52

      RAINMAN!!!

  27. Nick and Jarno are looking good. If Kimi make the usual good KERS aided start, it could end up pretty close between those guys for the first 3 places. Fisi has a great chance of serious points and there’s the possibility of a podium if he drives really well and all goes right. Disappointment for Rubens, but expect the Red Bull’s to move up to better points. Jenson, Lewis and Fernando are going to have to hope for a safety car or some rain, because under normal conditions I don’t think any of them have the raw pace to really capitalise and make it into good poitns positions.

    This is shaping up to be a brilliant race. If Jarno wins, it might just secure his and Toyota’s future. If Heidfeld wins, it will boost the chance of finding a buyer for the team and improve Nick’s chances of staying on. Both drivers and both teams are racing for their respective futures, and I really hope they finish well!

  28. Heidfeld might actually have a chance of winning a race here… God Forbid!

  29. C’m Jarnp:)

  30. sorry meant c’mon Jarno:P
    Heidfeld seems to be biggest threat to Toyota

  31. i hope force india atleast get a few points. There not my favourite team but i do hope they do well :D

    1. "Indian-Italian Force"
      29th August 2009, 18:20

      Not only few points, it will get a podium & good points.

  32. 19 cars to go out on the first lap and the last one to crash on lap 2

  33. I bet raikkonen will be leading at les combes, provided its dry!

  34. I really hoped for the rain, but after qualifying like that, I hope it will be dry, as it’s gonna be interesting enough anyways.

    What’s the weather prediction anyways?

    1. It looks to be the best race of the year so far. If we’re lucky our hopes will be fulfilled.

      Weather forecasts at Spa are good for about five minutes, if that. Even looking at the radar doesn’t mean much there.

  35. Yorricksfriend
    29th August 2009, 18:12

    This is going to be a fantastic race -salivates-

  36. I have a strange feeling that this is going to end up like Nurburgring ’99. It would be LEGENDARY!

  37. I expect Raikkonen to finish the first lap third, behind Trulli and Fisico. I don’t think Trulli will end up in the podium, he’s not too fast on Sundays.

    After qualifying and seeing the weights, my prediction would be Raikkonen arriving in first place, Heidfeld in second, and Fisichella in third.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      29th August 2009, 20:48

      Mmm. Maybe. I agree with oyu that Kimi will win, but I think Sutil is one-stopping (as is Hamilton), so I expect to see one of them on the podium as well.

  38. "Indian-Italian Force"
    29th August 2009, 18:24

    Kimi & Ferrari has history of spoiling Force India’s chances.

    Wishing good luck for Kimi as well. Pls spare Force India this time.

    1. Kimi Raikkonen has no mercy. He attacks Force India’s no matter what position they are in

      1. Only if the FI is driven by Sutil… :D

  39. @Superbus: Amen

  40. Trulli is definitely on a good strategy and he should really push hard for that magical first win that will motivate Toyota to stay.
    If Trulli fails this time then he doesn’t deserve to be in F1 any more or at least with Toyota. I think with Glock’s stunning race pace, he also have a chance of a podium.

    Also very surprising Barrichello is lighter than Force India.

  41. go fisi! not a winning strategy for sure, but certainly one that can get FI their first points ever.

    Trulli to win – I don’t really think Raikonnen has the pace. He’ll come in second.

    1. Trulli
    2. Raikkonnen
    3. Barichello
    4. Vettel
    5. Heidfeld
    6. Webber
    7. Fisichella
    8. Kubica

    Anyone else care to venture a top 8? It’s going to be a weird one however it turns out..!

    1. Paige Michael-Shetley
      29th August 2009, 22:15

      I’d expect Hamilton to score given his strategy and the KERS boost at the start. Plus, McLaren aren’t bad on primes and seem to have some decent long-run pace.

  42. I’d like to see Rubens win this and Button to score no points, but more than anything else I want to see some proper wheel-to-wheel actoin for once.

  43. For me the biggest surprise of all is that Fisichella is heavier than expected… we can surely say he’s in a “normal” race strategy, rather than running ultra-light, to stop at the 5th lap or so… He did a spetacular job, and, like many of you said, looks good for a podium, at worse…

  44. What a day for Fisi, first he hits a rabbit and damages his front wing and then he gets pole :p

  45. By the way, if anyone picked Fisi in the predictions championship then they should win outright!

  46. Paige Michael-Shetley
    29th August 2009, 22:14

    It’s going to be a very weird race tomorrow. Vettel, who is in the quickest long-run car on the grid according to many, will have two overlaps on at least two runs even though he’s starting in a less-than-optimal position. I see this one as very hard to predict, although things are looking good for Trulli, Raikkonen, and Vettel for the win.

    I think Hamilton is actually in a really good place strategy-wise. The McLaren is pretty good on prime tires and seems to have it in long-run pace, even if sector two isn’t very good. Hamilton will likely get into the top-10 on the start, and if history is any indication, he’ll be making his first pit stop after other drivers make their second one. If it rains, he’s in very good shape.

  47. Red Bull will finish one and two with VET coming first and WEB second. This will be made possible because RAI will end up doing his ‘take out a Force India’ thing by accident going into turn one.

  48. If Fisi, Trulli, or Heidfeld can win I will be jumping for joy! I pick Heidfeld because he is so long over due a win. But a first win for Force India or Toyota would be a great sight to see!

  49. Hamilton is indeed in a good position. But I like Vettel’s chances. I forsee Kimi right on Trulli’s wing by Lap 2, i.e., in first-class on the Trulli train. With BAR, KUB, GLO packed into economy class. Trulli is conveniently running just longer than his pursuers. Vettel may be able to jump the whole train by lap 17, or be in a good position to pick off the stragglers after the second stops. If Hamilton can get a few spots into the hairpin and LesCombes and can stay in reach of Vettel/Webber he may be looking very good too.

    1. Paige Michael-Shetley
      29th August 2009, 23:19

      Well, I think the pace of the Toyotas is actually genuine this weekend. They seem to have liked high-speed circuits all year.

      Still, I just don’t see them or anyone else running away from the Red Bulls. Fisichella was four tenths quicker than Vettel on five laps less fuel. He’d have to be two seconds quicker than him int he first stint just to come out ahead of Vettel, and I just don’t see that happening in the slightest. And if Fisi can’t pull that off with low fuel AND clean air at the start, then no one can.

      Vettel FTW.

  50. It will be between Trulli & Barrichello

  51. sorry I made a mistake it will Trukki VS Raikkonen not Barrichello

  52. I’m pulling for Fisichella i think he can win

  53. There´s no way Trulli can win this. He´s has no pace never on sundays. In normal circumstanses it will be hard battle between Vettel, Heidfeld and Kimi. If I could repredict, it would be Vettel , Kimi, Heidfeld(in that order).

    There is still possibility for Fisi, if Trulli train is deployed and he holds everyone else behind and Fisi runs away.

    Also have bad feelings for first corner, hoping everyone make it so we can have spectacular race.

  54. I like Jarno. However, he won’t win. Just think its the luck of the Toyota. He will be on the podium if he finishes. Fisi won’t win either. Although it would be the coolest thing to happen since Brawn arrived on the scene if he does. He could be on the podium too if he finishes. I think at this point it will be Kimi or Vettel on the top step. Webber held Vettel up and the bad juju is on him this weekend. Maybe it wasn’t on purpose maybe it was, but he did. I don’t see Marc on the podium. Hamilton will make a sterling drive though. Also, if Fisi ends up on the podium you can count on him driving a Ferrari at Monza. How cool is that.

  55. Oh Yeah, I forgot to mention that if Trulli can win this thing it just might guarantee Toyota staying in the sport next year. That is one big reason to be pulling for him.

  56. Not sure why there is so much expetation from Vettel in the predictions, yes he is a fast driver but its not like he is a passing machine. When was the last time he made a true on track passing manouver against another competative car. I predict he will get stuck behind Kubica and Trulli and have his pit strategy ruined. I would rate Webber much higher in this situation as he has a better ability to actully pass on the track.

    If its dry i think Trulli Heifield Raikonnen. Fisi picking up 4th or 5th

    If it rains i would not be surprised to see Hamilton on the podium, Remember he would have won Monza last year had the curcuit stayed wet. It was only because he had to pit for drys that he missed out. Other than that the wet at Spa is a lottery on who can keep it on the island.

  57. William Wilgus
    30th August 2009, 1:49

    F-1 Live gives somewhat different estimates of how many laps each driver will be able to make on their fuel loads—higher in all cases and significantly so in some. For example, it estimates that Nakajima would be able to go 43 laps!

    http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090829183921.shtml

    1. F1 Live reckon Nakajima will go 43 laps on 101.1kg of fuel, which is 2.351kg per lap.

      I’ve based my calculations on Williams’ own data for fuel consumption. They say it takes 2.25kg of fuel to cover 5km at Spa. The lap is 7.004km long, so 3.151kg per lap.

      Added to which, their scenario has Nakajima making his first stop for fuel on the penultimate lap of the race. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to happen!

  58. wow im realy looking forward to this go toyota

  59. StrFerrari4Ever
    30th August 2009, 6:48

    This is set to be a unbelievable race so many things could happen my money is on Vettel I just feel that if he can hang on to the cars in front through S1 then in S2 he’ll be picking them off there if all goes well he could be set for the victory. But he has to pass loads of cars before that can come to pass.

  60. Heidfeld
    trulli/kimi
    barrichello/vettel

  61. Assuming it is a dry race I don’t think Fischella, Trulli or either BMW driver will win, I am surprised that Barrichello is the lightest but then Brawn haven’t been on form this weekend. As long as they have reliability I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner was Raikkonen, Vettel or Webber.

    Raikkonen should be able to make up a few places at the start with KERS and then use it to help overtake during the race.

    Although it seems unlikely I am still hoping for rain though.

  62. This is my bet.

    1. Vettel
    2. Kimmi
    3. kubica
    4. Ham
    5. Fisi
    6. Bar
    7. Truli
    8. Alonso

  63. Forgot to post this (not that anyone ever reads it):

    Belgian GP (Spa); Comparing predicted and actual pit stops.

    Grid . . kg . .Pred. Actual . . . . Fin
    .. . . . . . . La. T La T La T La T 44Laps
    01  FIS  43.0  12  s -- - 14 s 31 m 02
    02  TRU  51.6  15  m 01 - 21 - 22r  RET
    03  HEI  50.0  14  m -- - 14 - 33 - 05
    04  BAR  39.5  11  s 01 m 28 m -- - 07
    05  KUB  44.0  12  s -- - 13 m 31 s 04
    06k RAI  50.0  14  s -- - 14 m 31 s 01
    07  GLO  43.5  12  m -- - 13 s 33 - 10
    08  VET  57.5  17  m -- - 16 m 35 s 03
    09  WEB  53.0  15  - 14 - 19d  35 s 09
    10  ROS  65.0  19  m -- - 19 m 34 s 08
    11  SUT  73.5  22  - 01 - 25 - -- - 11
    12k HAM  88.5  27  - 01!  -- - -- - STOP
    13  ALO  79.4  24  m -- - 25 s 27r  RET
    14  BUT  89.2  27  m 01!  -- - -- - STOP
    15k KOV  92.0  28  s -- - 27 m -- - 06
    16  BUE  80.0  24  m -- - 22 m 31 - 12
    17  ALG  99.5  30  - 01!  -- - -- - STOP
    18  NAK 101.1  31  - -- - 29 - -- - 13
    19  GRO  99.7  30  - 01!  -- - -- - STOP
    20k BAD  86.5  26  - -- - 25 - -- - 14

    k = KERS, m = medium tyres, s = soft tyres
    (medium favoured at start)

    Safety car: laps 2,3,and 4.

    Fine and dry. No rain anywhere on circuit.
    Temp. air: 17 C, track: 32 C
    Wind: 3 m/s

    Order at end of first lap:
    FIS, RAI(+4), KUB(+2), GLO(+3), WEB(+4), HEI(-3), ROS(+3), VET, ALO(+4), KOV(+5), BUE(+5), NAK(+6), BAD(+6); Pits: SUT, TRU, BAR; Stop: BUT, HAM, ALG, GRO

    INCIDENTS
    (1)On grid BAR almost stalls, ALO’s wheel contacts SUT’s front wing in melee; at Les Combes GRO hits BUT, ALG hits HAM, all four out (13)GLO long stop (fuel rig), (16)WEB pulls out in front of HEI in pit lane, gets drive-through penalty, (20)TRU slow stop (tyre not ready, fuel rig) (25)ALO slow stop (damaged spinner), (22)TRU retires, (27)ALO retires (left front wheel), (43)BAR engine starts smoking, burns in parc ferme.

    UNSCHEDULED PIT STOPS
    (1)BAR, TRU (nose cone), SUT, (19)WEB (drive through penalty)

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