F1 Fanatic round-up: 30/1/2010

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Yesterday was a very busy day for me heading to and from the McLaren launch and trying to juggle keeping the site updated with getting as much as I could out of the event.

Salty suggested I should do a ‘behind the scenes’ article on my day at the launch. Is that something you’d like to see? If so, leave a comment below.

It’s been encouraging to see so much activity on the site – we’ve broken our traffic record the last two days in a row and I’ve been reading dozens of pages of comments. Thanks to everyone who’s contributed and welcome to our new readers!


Bottas named as test driver (Williams)

Formula Two champion Andy Soucek had been tipped for the test role at Williams but it’s gone to Finnish F3 driver Valtteri Bottas instead. Bottas is managed by Mika Hakkinen.

Raikkonen crashes on Arctic Rally

Kimi [R?ikk?nen] and co-driver Kaj Lindstrom were unhurt in the incident, but their C4 World Rally Car sustained damage to its right-hand front corner. With help from spectators the pair eventually got the car back on the road and underway again, but the episode cost them more than 15 minutes on the stage, and more than 20 minutes of penalty time.”

Comment of the day

Dan Bigham takes a close look at the front nose structure of the MP4-25:

This is an extract from the MP4-25 tech spec off the McLaren website ǣBodywork Carbonfibre composite. Separate engine cover, sidepods and floor. Structural nose with integral front wing. Note Structural nose with integral front wing. Granted that could be just describing that the front wing is integral with the nose, but technically it is detachable and bolted together, so i think that is hinting towards the integral wing underneath the nose shown in the pictures.

Quite an interesting feature, very similar I think to the old central spoon scoops of the pre 2009 regs front wings. Circumventing the regulation that limits the central 500mm section of the wing between the lowest plane and a set distance above it to be an aerodynamically neutral shape pre-determined by the FIA.

Another feature of it is that it aims airflow towards the sidepods, considering the intakes are unusually small, it could help force feed air into the ducts.

Make sure you read the full comment and have a look at the pictures.

Site updates

I haven’t received any more complaints from people saying they aren’t able to see the site, which suggests that the server changes have refreshed complete and everyone can see it now. I’ll ask people again on Twitter tomorrow.

Later today I intend to take a look at the broken forum and hopefully get that fixed, or at least get a temporary one up in the meantime.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

This time 12 months ago we were also talking about changes to the points system – but on that occasion it was Bernie Ecclestone’s controversial gold medals plan.

49 comments on “F1 Fanatic round-up: 30/1/2010”

  1. Behind the scenes, please!

    Funny thing is, I’ve been warming more to Bernie’s idea – not the daft medals, but the “winner takes all” system. In tandem, change the points to 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. This is perhaps more a reflection of my dislike for the new system than thinking Bernie was on to something…

    1. Behind the scenes please…most of us will never get the chance to go to one of those.

      1. CounterStrike
        30th January 2010, 5:37

        Behind the scenes, please!

        And the excerpt from the Sir Johnathan Legard interview please :P

  2. Behind the scenes please! :-)

    1. +1

      Regarding site updates, any chance we can get a mobile theme for people visiting from smartphones? Like what WP-based blogs automatically provide.

      1. inc0mmunicado
        30th January 2010, 5:00

        I’m on a dumbphone and I get the WP-based mobile version even after the updates… you might be able to find a link to the mobile version somewhere at the bottom of the page. Make sure cookies are turned on, and restart your browser, I can’t switch between the mobile and regular site w/o a restart (using opera mini).

      2. The mobile version has been temporarily deactivated because of the server move but I’ll try to get it back up again this weekend.

  3. Yeah it all work wells on my fone but I cant comment frm my fone ,only view stuff,great work keep it up.Man v new McLewis looks great so now, u no that another thing ,someone was sayin v cars hydrogen fuel cells yeah absulutly y no anything in that vein.thats v direction they should be goin in.U no i saw a program here in Australia a couple of years ago and basicly,these guys,real revhead typs had some sort of battery powered drag car,sedan, and they recconed that it was doin v quarter mile in 14secs.They just were gettin fed up and wanted 2 show that new tecnologies can work.yeah that points scheme would b pretty cool easy 2 understand keep things interesting.I dont see any negatives with it.V best driver will ajust 2 that points system acordingly and still become champion each year.Ciao 4 mow

    1. brilliant :)

  4. F1fanatic is in good health. absolutely love it!
    a behind the scenes article would be great.
    I must agree, Dan Bigham’s comment was excellent too. great stuff! :)

    1. I posted this against Dan’s comment:

      Yup – it’s effectively a more developed version of the Williams’ snow plough. Sitting at that height it is above the bargeboard exclusion zone. It has two functions – create low pressure below the nose and divert air to the sidepods.

      You’ve got to be quite careful about what you do under the nose because that is the easiest way to trash the airflow to the floor.

    2. Thanks. John has a very good point though, if their diffuser is as extreme as they say they better be able to feed it. Limiting air flow to it to direct air to other less critical areas could be a compromise too far.

  5. inc0mmunicado
    30th January 2010, 5:26

    Let me get this straight – the new wing under the traditional one is integral to the monocoque then? I guess this radical Mclaren nose design is predicated on their two drivers not ripping their regualar front noses off and a piece of the monocoque with it. It’s not like they would, since they are the last 2 WDCs. But this is something the backmarker teams won’t want to copy as their drivers are more prone to crashing.

    I think I commented a few weeks ago that the refuelling ban would change pit strategies alot for repairing damaged cars. It is apparent now that changing a front wing like it has been will effectively end your race. Before it would have taken anywhere from 4 to 13 seconds to refuel. Now with only 2.5 seconds to change tires, there’s only so much you can afford to fix in that time period. Teams are either going to develop something conservative–a simple wing that can change out rapidly or something very agressive like Mclaren that cant be changed or damaged.

    1. I think the nose scoop/plow is attached to the underneath of the nose, which detaches the same way as always from just infront of the wishbones. So I rekon changing front wings shouldn’t be anymore difficult. It would be rather ill thought out if the scoop/plow was attached to the monocoque and therefore required bonding a new piece on if it broke. Front wings are always going to take a bashing and the ease at which they can be changed could save seconds in a pit stop, so it’s an area well worth developing and simplifying.

  6. CounterStrike
    30th January 2010, 5:41

    An useful analysis regarding all the teams mimicking the RB5


    1. Cool I like Matt Scarborough’s stuff, is he not writing for Autosport any more?

      1. Yup – he is but he occasionally posts on his own blog. It’s actually a really old site that one …

    1. nice, but clearly the ‘spying’ is staged.

      1. Totally agree – hands holding the canvas open are wearing team gloves.

  7. The Times says rumours in the Italian press claim the F10 is off its performance targets:


    Seems very early to make that kind of judgement, perhaps they’re just over-reacting to Ferrari not having done their shakedown yet. I’ll have a look at some of the Italian sites later.

  8. I would love to read anything you write about your time at Mac. I am so jealous… I would so love to be there.

  9. Behind the scenes sounds interesting! I was thinking that the new McLaren has a touch of the FW26 Walrus about it? That’s a good thing in my book! :-)

    I really hope the F10 isn’t off on it’s performance!

  10. Behind the scenes would be great! (honestly, did you expect anyone to say no to tha offer?!)

    The site seems to be working fine for me now, although the sooner the Forum is back the better. And the gravatars, I miss them too!

  11. Very sentimental and passionate behind the scenes article, please! :-D

  12. I 30th the behind the scenes article. Stunning work on the site over the past while, Keith, this has become by far the best 1-stop shop for F1 news and features of late. The GP Update site you’ve been running ads for is also good for odd stories that haven’t been picked up by the other sites.

  13. Bottas as the new Williams tester, I thought it would be Andy Soucek, I hope Soucek still gets a testing seat at Williams

    1. Is Soucek any good though? He blitzed F2 but his competition wasn’t that great. With GP3 coming in, I think the FIA needs to do more about its lower-formulae series otherwie they could end up becoming the reject series as the GP series take over.

      1. The problem is there’s simply too many “junior” formulae in the first place.
        GP2, GP3, F2, F3, F3000, Formula Renault, GP2 Asia, Formula Nippon etc etc etc, how many do we really need?

        Where’s the clear career and training path of F3 -> F2 -> F1? It goes all over the place.

  14. Hey Keith,
    Just remember,
    If you write it, they will come!

  15. Very OT, but I can’t get the forum to work (keeps giving a database error message), and I think this is important news:

    Heidfeld to Mercedes?!?


    1. A rough translation from the Spanish article:

      “Mercedes has signed Heidfeld as a test and reserve driver to complete their national team, reveals the Bild newspaper.
      It seems that the German team was by all means searching a third reserve man, thinking first and foremost in the likelihood that Schumacher could suffer a relapse to his neck and head injuries from 2008.
      Heidfeld, aged 32, is in fact a veteran, since he has run a total of 167 races, although hes never won one
      The German drove last season for the BMW-Sauber team, but, after the retreat of the Bavarian motor works from competition, was left in the cold.

      Nick Heidfeld already served for the luxury sports cars factory from Stuttgart as a test driver for the McLaren-Mercedes team between 1997 and 1999, and also ran his first official race with that team (SIC).”

      1. Sorry but,this is OLD news.

        1. Wesley, I did a search on this site and couldn’t find anything about it, so i thought it was important…

          1. We had a long discussion in the forum about it.(but, you can’t see that now because it is down)

            If you haven’t visited the forum,you really should.You would be surprised how fast people on this site are on top of stories.Very informative.I believe the Heidfeld story started at Bild.

  16. Keith I can’t view the forums anymore!! First I got an error, now it’s gone!!

    1. i think he’s removed it on purpose until its fixed again.

  17. Many people have been saying the mp4/25 has a similar nose to the BMW f1.09 so can you make a photo showing the comparison between them like you did for the mp4/25 and mp4/24!

    1. I really should have said please!!!

  18. Definitely definitely do a “behind the scenes”.

    That would be class!

    Loving the new Mclaren. Looks very spaceship-ey.

  19. The GO trio!! hahahaha

  20. Apropos the site. All seems much faster now – no lag on posting comments. Good luck with getting the forums back up, can imagine a few lost souls loitering in the hope they back soon.

    With 2 launches tomorrow and monday’s testing hot on the heels, things are starting to get toasty. Obviously there isn’t any testing TV feeds, but any team timing links would be awesome – I know, pushing now ;)

  21. No forum so I’m putting this here but Petrov is apparntly set to be confirmed at Renault

    1. Just pointing this out…everyone was saying USF1 is hurting financially because Lopez paid $8 million for his drive. According to the article Steph90 posted Petrov is paying Renault well over $10 million. So is Renault worse off financially than USF1? According to the logic of USF1 bashers, yes Renault should practically close shop already!!

  22. I don’t think USF1 is hurting at all! I also don’t understand the logic to USF1 ‘bashing’. They haven’t even driven the car yet! If there is a hatred it derives from a hatred of the country and not the team. Besides, Peter is British sort of.

    Good point though. None of the teams are hurting financially. People are hurting financially all over the place but we still manage to attend F1 grand prix’s! Its easy for us to get caught up believing all the hype surrounding budgets and so forth, but the budgets are much much lower now. So low that several nothing teams are entering into the fray. There are so many young drivers with sponsors and there are so many F1 vets that can acquire sponsors to bring to teams that it wouldn’t make sense for drivers like Heidfeld to stay as a test driver. The fact is that he can’t win a race. Petrov and Lopez are in drivers seats because they are young, fast and determined. At 32 Nick is thinking about his family and how he forgot to put the clothes in the dryer before heading to work. He’s too comfortable and bosses know it. Its a shame though because I fear that all the inexperience is going to cause some potentially fatal crashes- Algesuari style.

  23. It would be scandalous (smiles) for you not to have a ‘behind the scenes article’…

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