Tag Archive | Romain Grosjean

Grosjean’s Hungarian GP ruined by the stewards

Romain Grosjean in action for Lotus at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team)

Romain Grosjean in action for Lotus at the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix (Andrew Ferraro/Lotus F1 Team)

Romain Grosjean’s Hungarian Grand Prix was effectively ruined by a drive-through penalty for “exceeding track limits” when he passed Felipe Massa around the outside of turn 4. It was a superb move, displaying the level of skill worthy of a top F1 driver. But the stewards deemed it illegal and Grosjean had to drive through the pits at 80km/h as a result.

Grosjean got a good run on Massa on the outside leading up to turn 4, held his nerve to attack round the outside, made the pass and ran a couple of centimetres off the track on the exit of the corner. The pass was done by that point. He certainly did not need to run off the track to make the move stick. If anything, he needed to give Massa a little bit of space, as the Ferrari was always going to drift towards him.

The rules are that the white lines mark the limits of the track and the drivers are required to keep at least one wheel within those lines at all times. So from that perspective, Grosjean could be penalised. But then the stewards should have been looking at all of the other instances of drivers running wide at a number of corners on the race track. It wasn’t just Grosjean. It was all of the drivers.

The penalty showed a total lack of consistency from the stewards. It was unnecessary and unjustified and cost him a potential podium finish. Such a shame, as he was having a brilliant race.

Of course, Grosjean was involved in another incident, when he drove into Jenson Button, where a penalty was absolutely justified. The stewards decided that one had to be investigated after the race, and when they got around to it they added 20 seconds to his race time. He was more than 20 seconds ahead of Jenson Button at the end of the race, and therefore the penalty had no effect whatsoever.

Here’s a video analysing the two incidents (Apologies for the poor sound):

Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying Results

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 10 Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.363 1:19.862 1:19.388 15
2 1 Vettel Red Bull 1:20.646 1:19.992 1:19.426 12
3 8 Grosjean Lotus 1:20.447 1:20.101 1:19.595 15
4 9 Rosberg Mercedes 1:20.350 1:19.778 1:19.720 16
5 3 Alonso Ferrari 1:20.652 1:20.183 1:19.791 15
6 7 Raikkonen Lotus 1:20.867 1:20.243 1:19.851 17
7 4 Massa Ferrari 1:21.004 1:20.460 1:19.929 15
8 19 Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:21.181 1:20.527 1:20.641 14
9 6 Perez McLaren 1:21.612 1:20.545 1:22.398 16
10 2 Webber Red Bull 1:21.264 1:20.503 No time 13
11 15 Sutil Force India 1:21.471 1:20.569 17
12 11 Hulkenberg Sauber 1:21.028 1:20.580 13
13 5 Button McLaren 1:21.131 1:20.777 10
14 18 Vergne Toro Rosso 1:21.345 1:21.029 12
15 16 Maldonado Williams 1:20.816 1:21.133 15
16 17 Bottas Williams 1:21.135 1:21.219 13
17 12 Gutierrez Sauber 1:21.724 11
18 14 Di Resta Force India 1:22.043 11
19 20 Pic Caterham 1:23.007 8
20 21 Van der Garde Caterham 1:23.333 7
21 22 Bianchi Marussia 1:23.787 8
22 23 Chilton Marussia 1:23.997 8
Q1 107% Time 1:25.974

Pole position battle brews in Hungary

Romain Grosjean will be aiming for his first F1 pole position in Hungary (Charles Coates/Lotus F1 Team)

Romain Grosjean will be aiming for his first F1 pole position in Hungary (Charles Coates/Lotus F1 Team)

With just over an hour to go to qualifying at the Hungaroring, there is no clear favourite for pole position. That’s quite unusual for 2013, a season in which all of the 9 pole positions so far have been taken by Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton (evenly shared with 3 each).

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber set the pace on Friday for Red Bull, but did not feature at the front in FP3 this morning. That in itself is not an indication of a lack of pace – they could simply have been running more fuel than their rivals – but it does raise the question: have they sacrificed qualifying pace in favour of race pace, perhaps assuming qualifying supremacy beyond what is realistic?

In FP3, Romain Grosjean topped the times with the fastest lap of the weekend so far, 1:20.730, half a second quicker than Vettel went yesterday. Grosjean is looking perhaps a little bit quicker than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen this weekend, at least on short runs. Raikkonen’s strength this season has been his race pace, which is quite difficult to gauge in practice. Lotus are, nonetheless, in the hunt for pole position. Grosjean has never had a pole position in F1, and Raikkonen has yet to top qualifying since he returned to the sport at the start of 2012. Can they break those two ducks today?

Ferrari are also looking quick. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have both been within a few tenths of the front-runners throughout the weekend. Massa did not appear to get the maximum out of his Ferrari in FP3, but Alonso was on top of his car as ever. He set the second fastest time in FP3, just 0.168 seconds behind Grosjean, and will be looking to carry that speed into this afternoon’s qualifying session.

The big question mark for qualifying is over Mercedes. Both drivers struggled in Friday practice, but Lewis Hamilton seemed to have rediscovered his confidence this morning after some overnight setup changes. He set the quickest time in FP3 on medium tyres, but could not hold onto the top spot when the soft tyres went on. Could Mercedes have been hiding more pace in Hamilton’s car? He went just 8 tenths quicker on the soft tyres, while those around him improved by over a second in many cases. It could be that Mercedes know they have found some speed in Hamilton’s car, but they are choosing to hide it until it counts in this afternoon’s qualifying session.

A pole-sitter from any team other than Red Bull, Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes would be a massive surprise. The top four teams are sufficiently far ahead of the rest to be quite sure of front-row dominance. But it is close at the front. Any one of the 8 drivers from the top four teams could be on pole in Hungary.

Hungarian Grand Prix – FP3 results

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:20.730 20
2 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.898 0.168 13
3 6 Sergio Perez McLaren 1:21.052 0.322 10
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:21.125 0.395 27
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.151 0.421 14
6 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.158 0.428 19
7 2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:21.254 0.524 17
8 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.356 0.626 23
9 5 Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.499 0.769 15
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India 1:21.519 0.789 20
11 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus 1:21.589 0.859 17
12 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:21.646 0.916 19
13 14 Paul di Resta Force India 1:21.963 1.233 21
14 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1:21.964 1.234 21
15 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:22.180 1.450 18
16 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:22.423 1.693 19
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.028 2.298 16
18 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:23.975 3.245 21
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham 1:23.987 3.257 19
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:24.298 3.568 20
21 23 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.122 4.392 20
22 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber No time 2

Hungarian Grand Prix – FP2 results

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:21.264 34
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:21.308 0.044 42
3 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:21.417 0.153 40
4 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.426 0.162 34
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.544 0.280 37
6 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:21.802 0.538 42
7 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.991 0.727 40
8 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:22.011 0.747 32
9 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.180 0.916 41
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:22.304 1.040 41
11 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.526 1.262 39
12 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.529 1.265 37
13 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:22.781 1.517 36
14 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.837 1.573 42
15 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:22.841 1.577 39
16 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:23.369 2.105 34
17 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:23.411 2.147 41
18 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:23.646 2.382 34
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:24.325 3.061 38
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:25.065 3.801 36
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:25.143 3.879 39
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:26.647 5.383 33

Lotus appoints Valsecchi as third driver

Davide Valsecchi has been announced as the Lotus team’s third driver for the 2013 season. The 26 year old Italian was Team Lotus (now Caterham) test driver in 2011, and made his F1 weekend debut at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix when he replaced Heikki Kovalainen for the first Friday practice session. He then went on to win the GP2 championship in 2012 and tested for Lotus at the Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last season, impressing the management and engineers sufficiently to secure a more permanent role with the team.

English: Formula One 2011 Rd.2 Malaysian GP: D...

Valsecchi driving for Team Lotus (now Caterham) during FP1 in Malaysia 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said, “… we have tested Davide during our Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi, so we could have a clear picture about what he is capable of and what he is doing… I think he did perform well, but not only performing, he did the job the engineer was expecting him to do, so that was a clear tick in the box.”

“I’m really happy that the team want me on board and I’m excited about the future,” Valsecchi said. “I hope that this is a really good start to a career in Formula 1.

“Every day I will do the very best job that I can to give Lotus F1 Team the same passion and commitment that I showed last year. My last season in GP2 in 2012 was something I really focussed on, and in the end I succeeded. Now in Formula 1 my target will be a little different, but my focus to do the very best is still the same.

“I very much hope, step by step, to get into Formula 1 as a race driver, and being here as third driver is as near as you can get. It’s a great opportunity here – If I do the best job I can this year then it will open up my chances for the future, and we’ll see if I’m good enough.”

The Lotus driver line-up seems to be continually expanding – Valsecchi is now the team’s third driver, joining current reserve driver Jerome d’Ambrosio, development driver Nicolas Prost and race drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean to bring the number of drivers at the team to five. With testing limited to just 12 days in the pre-season and only some limited straight-line testing during the season, the three non-race drivers are unlikely to spend much time in the E21 that was unveiled yesterday.

New Lotus to launch on 28 January

Lotus are set to be the first team to launch a 2013 Formula One car. The new Lotus, named the E21, will be revealed in an online launch on 28 January 2013 at 19:15 GMT. The launch can be watched live on the Lotus F1 Team YouTube channel.

The E21 will be powered by a Renault 2.4 litre V8 engine, and raced by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Based on the team’s 2012 form – Raikkonen finished third in the drivers’ championship and Lotus came fourth in the constructors’ championship – this should be a competitive car. How good the new car is will begin to become clear when testing gets underway in Jerez, Spain on 5 February, but the real pecking order will not be known until the first race in Melbourne on 17 March.

English: The F1 Lotus Renault.

The black and gold livery of Lotus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In terms of appearance, the E21 car is likely to do away with the stepped nose that characterised the 2012 cars, as new regulations permit the teams to cover the step. The black and gold livery, which has been on the cars for the last two seasons, is likely to be retained. Most of the aero development will be focused on the rear end of the car, where the exhaust exits will be designed to direct the hot exhaust gases towards aerodynamic pieces around the rear floor. Those changes will deliver performance, but will not be visible to the casual observer, particularly when the cars are at speed. The most noticeable change will be the smooth nose.

Lotus have already fired up the engine in the E21 in preparation for the launch and start of testing. The sound of the engine being fired up for the first time can be heard here.

The schedule of launches (as revealed so far) and testing can be found here.

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