Early pit stop could compromise Barrichello (Brazilian GP fuel strategies)

Rubens Barrichello has gambled on a slightly shorter first stint

Rubens Barrichello has gambled on a slightly shorter first stint

Rubens Barrichello won’t have everything his own way tomorrow as the fuel weight for the Brazilian Grand Prix revealed he will have to stop two laps earlier than Mark Webber and Adrian Sutil.

Jarno Trulli, who starts fourth, will also make his first stop later than Barrichello. Here’s the fuel weights in full:

Fuel weights

Grid Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 Rubens Barrichello 650.5 45.5 22
2 Mark Webber 656 51 24
3 Adrian Sutil 656.5 51.5 25
4 Jarno Trulli 658.5 53.5 26
5 Kimi Raikkonen 651.5 46.5 22
6 Sebastien Buemi 659 54 26
7 Nico Rosberg 657 52 25
8 Robert Kubica 656 51 24
9 Kazuki Nakajima 664 59 28
10 Fernando Alonso 652 47 22
11 Kamui Kobayashi 671.6 66.6 32
12 Jaime Alguerusari 671.5 66.5 32
13 Romain Grosjean 677.2 72.2 35
14 Jenson Button 672 67 32
15 Sebastian Vettel 683.5 78.5 38
16 Heikki Kovalainen 656.5 51.5 25
17 Lewis Hamilton 661 56 27
18 Nick Heidfeld 650.5 45.5 22
19 Giancarlo Fisichella 683.5 78.5 38
20 Vitantonio Liuzzi 680 75 37

Jenson Button is starting on a similar strategy to the cars immediately in front of him – he will need to work is way past them if he is to have any chance of scoring well tomorrow.

The two McLarens are fuelled aggressively and will be able to use KERS to make progress. Sebastian Vettel, however, has settled on a long first stint in the hopes of moving up the running order.

Trulli could be a dark horse for a strong result here, as the heaviest of the top four. But a fast-starting Kimi Raikkonen could upset his race.

Sebastien Buemi also has a very respectable fuel load having qualified an excellent sixth for Toro Rosso.

The start

Barrichello will have to fend off Webber at the start, but he can at least take heart from the fact that this highest KERS car – Raikkonen’s – is four places back and not likely to give him too much grief.

Button will be having nightmares about that 14th place grid slot tonight. The Senna ‘S’ is a devillish funnel that’s just made for first-lap accidents – such as the one that eliminated David Coulthard on the first lap of last year’s race.

Worse, Button has F1’s three least experienced drivers right in front of him – Kamui Kobayashi, Jaime Alguersuari and Romain Grosjean – and the fast-starting McLaren duo just two rows back. And his other title rival Vettel in his wheel tracks. The pressure on Button at the start will be gigantic.

Wet set-ups

The teams are restricted in terms of the changes they can make to the cars between qualifying and the race. So the other big question mark ahead of tomorrow’s race is what kind of set-ups the drivers have gone for – who’s gambling on wet weather, and who’s leant towards a dry set-up.

On the face of it Vettel seems the most likely to have taken the gamble. Normally so at ease in wet conditions, he was unable to do better than 16th in the first part of qualifying.

Also the McLaren drivers were quick to blame their failure to progress beyond Q1 on the shortcomings of the MP4-24. Although the cars’ downforce levels are poor, 17th and 18th is still somewhat worse than one might expect, suggesting something else might be responsible for their low starting positions.

Update: Vitantonio Liuzzi has been given a five-place penalty following an engine change. This is more bad news for Button, as Vettel now starts alongside him and the KERS-powered Mclarens start one place closer.

Brazilian Grand Prix

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88 comments on Early pit stop could compromise Barrichello (Brazilian GP fuel strategies)

  1. marcus said on 18th October 2009, 0:52

    dont think 2 laps more will matter in this race. rubens just needs to keep flooring it and extend the gap and drive a solid race. webber is his only problem here since Sutil will be more worried from kimi getting in his way and slowing him down. A accident is just waiting for jenson in the first corner and i can smell spa all over again for jenson.

    • Weather tomorrow will pbviously play a big part. Light rain, and the top lot may drive away. Heavy rain, who knows. Dry… many at the front may end up moving backwards – possibly even out of the points. A dry car set-up will pull loads out of a wet car every lap… on the long straight alone it is probably a couple of tenths.

      A dry race… Hamilton will be on the podium I reckon.

    • I forgot to add… at least button has experienced drivers behind him.

  2. sato113 said on 18th October 2009, 1:13

    watch for VET vs BUT tommorrow! EPIC

    • Maciek said on 18th October 2009, 1:56

      You mean watch for Button easily letting Vettel past at the first sign of pressure, methinks.

    • In two or three laps Vettel will be behind lewis, Heikki and Jenson. He is very, very heavy…

      • Patrickl said on 18th October 2009, 7:51

        I think it’s clever though. Now he doesn’t care if Hamilton and Heikki get past him. He is so heavy that he can just run flat out and still be slower than the people ahead of him.

        When he does his stop he will have free track ahead of him and he can make time up.

        More importantly, he won’t have to overtake cars on track, but he can wait and hope that strategy will do the overtaking for him.

  3. Reubens has a great chance to take charge of this championship. Jenson has got to be freaking out. Frankly, I think you can see the pressure wearing on him. Jenson is in the twilight zone…does he go for it or try to stay safe & finish & see what happens ahead of him. Tell you what, Vettel will be going for broke to get around Jenson and get to the front! Building to be a great finish. Bernie is going to get his title decider at Abu Dahbi.

  4. anakincarlos said on 18th October 2009, 1:58

    On coreccted fuel weights webber is fastest and with a two lap advantage barra will not hold him back. well, in a dry race anyway!

  5. David A said on 18th October 2009, 2:07

    Red Bull seem to be fastest ‘fuel corrected’ (God I hate that term) for every race this season, and yet they have never won when not on pole.

  6. wasiF1 said on 18th October 2009, 3:12

    Trulli have a shot for podium,but can Roseberg do anything?Button is in a dead trap,not only he have rookies around him but also Vettel & the two KERS Mclaren.

  7. siibarragi did the theme for the victory of Rubens Barrichello check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDRwgg5Kfuk

  8. Okay, Button is trying to win without racing, good luck on no safety car tomorrow … before lap 33, that is.

    All the grid will need 2 pit stops and Button 1 and he will run for much of the race with less weight than the others.

    The one pit stop approach did him good in Italy, it’s not a surprise he would go for it here. Vettel will keep up with him (34 laps to pit) so it could be a Vettel win and Button second or third which would give him the title.

    I don’t know if any of the greats would back into the title by sandbagging during qualifying, but there it is. I don’t believe any of the tire nonsense coming from Brawn, either. Nevertheless, Prost and Senna both wrecked their way into the championship; it’s not like Rubens will crash while Button is in the pits.

    Well, is it?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th October 2009, 10:06

      I don’t think he was sandbagging at all, I just think he wasn’t quick enough. Barrichello wasn’t on intermediates but he made it into Q3.

      • by ONE second, how come?
        Is Bernie “calibrating” the timers or what?
        Rubins had to say were light twice to dispel any conspiracies.

    • hollus said on 18th October 2009, 11:45

      Button will be running with less fuel than the others for 10 laps or so… and with more or the same fuel, at one point much more fuel, for the rest of the race. Poor tyres.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 4:30

    I know it’s a terrible thing to say … but I’m kind of hoping that the Curse of the Home Race will befall Barrichello. It happened to Button in Britain and Vettel in Germany, and Barrichello needs to have his turn. plus, he’s never had that much luck in Brazl, and I so want Button to win.

    Steph does, too.

    • mp4-19b said on 18th October 2009, 4:55

      That was totally terrible!!! You sadist!!! :P

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 6:16

        If Button doesn’t get the title, then no-one should. No-one else has made a convincing argument for their being champion.

        • Overcoming a 26-point deficit when no one car has/will have been consistently the fastest over a period of 3 races not good enough? And if it’s only circumstance that enables them to do that, what was having the fastest car for 6/7 races with your team-mate having brake issues, plus a myriad of other events mostly going your way throughout the season?

          I think by this point in time whatever has gone around has come back around. Whoever wins will be the most deserving, and yes even as a critic of championship challenge I do include Button in that. Only a champion can get himself out of this situation now – that or accidents/gremlins, which no-one wants to decide the title.

    • sumedh said on 18th October 2009, 5:51

      You see, Jenson dominated Webber’s home race. Webber dominated Vettel’s home race. Vettel dominated Jenson’s home race. By dominated, I mean Pole + Race win.

      As this triangle is complete, it leaves Rubens free to dominate his home race :D :D. And he has done part of the job already, Pole!!

    • Steph90 said on 18th October 2009, 9:51

      Lol! We’ll see what he can do PM, though he does have strategy advantage…
      And don’t be mean to poor Rubens :P There is still Abu Dhabi after this even if Rubens does win. Are you getting nervous Prisoner Monkeys? :P

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 12:13

        Me, nervous? Never!

        Even if Button is score-less and Rubinho wins, it’s still advantage JB.

        • Steph90 said on 18th October 2009, 12:41

          True but Bar may just keep the momentum going in Abu Dhabi and that will be a new track with rookies, any sort of issue could happen to JB!

          • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 12:48

            Just as any sort of issue could happen to RB. For example, tripping over his own front wing on the start line and then being collected by a charging Rrrmmmmnnn Grrrjjjnnnnn.

          • Steph90 said on 18th October 2009, 12:57

            True PM, suppose we’ll wait and see! If Button wins the title then I will admit I am happy for you and Button fans to get your wish and your champion even if we still disagree :P
            I still think this will go to Abu Dhabi and while I had little hope for Rubens before, I have a lot more now.
            The highlight of my race will be Felipe waving the flag no matter what the outcome is!

  10. mp4-19b said on 18th October 2009, 4:37

    What’s up with Slowalainen?

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 18th October 2009, 4:51

      McLaren are gambling on a dry race, it seems. Apparently they’re running a dry set-up, and they cannot make changes to the car after a certain time (which doesn’t afford them enough time to make the required changes).

    • Slowalainen?

      Our version in Brazil is ‘Kovalento’

    • al_amana said on 18th October 2009, 9:03

      I think it’s the same problem as Blame-ilton.

  11. absolutely awesome day for australia if webber can win. casey stoner just won the motoGP at phillip island. GO WEBBER!!!

  12. StrFerrari4Ever said on 18th October 2009, 7:19

    Mmm very interesting indeed Rubens could get done by Webber on the first lap out of the Senna S’s or from the long run from Juncao. Vettel & Button well they’ll probably have a battle on track which I hope doesn’t end in tears for Seb as I want to see him drive an Epic race. And a quick mention on Buemi I’m still unsure as to what setup his running wet or dry? maybe a setup inbetween that he can use for changing conditions , if thats the case his got a strong chance of pushing for some big points today just watch this space!

  13. Salty said on 18th October 2009, 9:35

    Great job by Rubens. Got to say though, given his clutching issues on starts and the forecast showers throughout the day, can’t really see him maximising by bringing home the win today – he’s a fabulous driver, but not really noted as a wet specialist – his result at Silverstone last year was all about the call made by Ross.

    Hope I’m wrong, but can see Rubens only bagging enough to just scrape it to the last race. Maybe a 3rd or 4th place.

    Can see Webber, Sutil and Kimi finishing ahead of Rubens.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th October 2009, 10:09

      It’s a tricky start at Interlagos as well as the track curves uphill. There’s big pressure on Barrichello today.

      • Hakka said on 18th October 2009, 11:09

        And there’s no clean-line advantage for the pole-sitter either, because of the showers – he’s got a lot to be worried about.

        You should do a poll in the Live-Blog just before the race asking how many people think Rubens will drop the clutch too fast and stall at the start today.

        • James said on 18th October 2009, 11:32

          I dont wish bad luck upon anyone, but as a Button fan, I would like Rubens to have some sort of failure at the start! Button really should have done better yesterday and been half way there to wrapping up the title.

          I reckon Mark Webber is in the best position to win it. The car seems faster, he has 2 laps extra fuel (possibly a little more if the rain falls) and seems completely on the ball – particuarly as he hasnt got any pressure on him regarding the title. Constructors is without a doubt out of the window now and Vettel is just too far back to have any effect on the drivers.

          Jenson, you need to get your game on!

  14. John H said on 18th October 2009, 10:19

    Jenson Button is starting on a similar strategy to the cars immediately in front of him – he will need to work is way past them if he is to have any chance of scoring well tomorrow.

    Those 3 drivers are the three most inexperienced on the grid. I won’t be surpised if Jenson loses a nose or similar at the Senna S.

    • He’s starting where DC started last year, which isn’t a good omen. Even worse, he’s right near Grosjean…

  15. John H said on 18th October 2009, 10:21

    Perhaps Alonso has a dry setup and will be strong just looking at those fuel weights.

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