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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. 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.

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

    1. You now owe me 2mins29secs of my life Warley!!

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

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

    2. 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.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys
    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.

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

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        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.

        1. 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.

    2. 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!!

    3. 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

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        18th October 2009, 12:13

        Me, nervous? Never!

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

        1. 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!

          1. Prisoner Monkeys
            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.

          2. 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!

  5. What’s up with Slowalainen?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      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).

    2. Slowalainen?

      Our version in Brazil is ‘Kovalento’

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

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

    1. thanks, i hadnt watched it yet! =[

    2. Thanks for ruining my morning viewing.

  7. StrFerrari4Ever
    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!

  8. 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.

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

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

  9. 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.

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

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

    1. He’s done a damn good job if that’s the case.

  11. i think this race seems to go either in barrichello or kimi’s hands…both have got a strategy which can normally work in any of the conditions…wet or dry….but i hope its wet……i’m surprised…that F60 works better in wet…

  12. I really think it is better for Jenson to start from the pits or slot number 26 or something like that to avoid an accident.

    I remember Schumi having to start from the back of the grid (I think Japan 1998) and he opted to leave a big gap to the backmarkers so he started around 26 spot or so. I thought that was extremely clever.

    1. One tends to agree.

  13. Wow Buemi was impressive

    1. StrFerrari4Ever
      18th October 2009, 12:42

      Indeed he was I still have a feeling his got a setup favouring drier conditions if he has then he did a blinding job in Quali. This race will be about perfect strategy calls and drivers keeping a cool head when the going gets tough.

  14. i would really like to see sutil to be on pole as he has really work hard this season and really deserve to be on pole. i wish him Best of luck. i am sure he can do that just have to make sure he dont get in any mess.

  15. Go sutil GO ForceIndia !!!

  16. The sun is shining on track, so bad luck to wet setups.

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