All the Formula One news

Posts tagged “Melbourne

McLaren apologize for Webber’s start gremlins, problem caused by new ECU


By Berthold Bouman

McLaren apologize for Webber’s start gremlins, problem caused by new ECU - Photo: Red Bull RacingMcLaren have apologized for Mark Webber’s starting problems during the Australian Grand Prix, Webber had already indicated it was a software-related problem, and today McLaren said in a statement that the ECU (Engine Control Unit), produced by McLaren Electronic Systems and supplied to all Formula One teams, caused the problem that cost Webber at least five places during the start of his home Grand Prix.

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh yesterday said he would look into the matter. “We’ll put our hands up if it’s a fault that’s derived from the hardware or the BIOS,” he said, adding, “You can also inflict ECU problems on yourself by how you set it up, but I will look into it.”

But today McLaren said in a statement, “The electronic units themselves ran without incident in Melbourne, but there was a software-related issue that meant that Mark Webber’s Red Bull Racing car’s garage data system had to be re-started during the formation lap. That disrupted his preparations for the start of the race, for which Mark and the team has our apology. We are working together with them to prevent any recurrence.”

About his unfortunate start Webber later commented, “It wasn’t a good start, and we’ll look into why that happened. But when you find yourself in the middle of the pack and you don’t have KERS [in this case the ECU shut down KERS as well], you’re in a really hard place. You can’t attack and it’s hard to defend through the DRS zones.”

Sixth place for Webber during his home Grand Prix - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Sixth place for Webber during his home Grand Prix – Photo: Red Bull Racing

“My goal was to finish on the podium, but things went against me from the start: we had no telemetry on the grid, we had no KERS for the opening 20 laps and the car fell off the jacks at the first pit stop, costing me time.”

A new revised standard ECU was introduced this season and during pre-season testing there were already a few software problems which meant several teams were not able to properly record the stream of car and engine data the ECU produces.

According to McLaren, “An ECU comprises several thousand parts, tens of thousands of solder connections and hundreds of thousands of lines of software. It is a very complex piece of equipment that controls the powertrain and DRS, and acts as a car’s primary data system.”

The standard ECU was introduced by the FIA in 2008, and the old version ran four years without problems. The new version will also power the 2014 V6 turbo-charged hybrid engines, the new control units are not only used in Formula One, but also in the NASCAR and IndyCar series.


Australian GP: Dismal performance hurts McLaren, expects long road to recovery


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Dismal performance hurts McLaren, expects long road to recovery - Photo: McLarenWhile Ferrari were celebrating the 30 points they scored in Melbourne during the Australian Grand Prix, and Kimi Raikkonen celebrated his 20th career win, there was really not much for McLaren to write home about.

Ninth and 11th place in FP1, 11th and 13th place in FP2, and 17th and 18th place during the third free practice session at the Albert Park Circuit, a dismal start of the season to say the least. Qualifying didn’t bring much improvement, Jenson Button qualified as tenth, while his Mexican team colleague Sergio Perez didn’t make it in the top ten and started the race from 15th spot on the grid.

It seems McLaren is in the same position, if not worse, as Ferrari was at the start of the 2012 season, and Button even admitted the two points he scored today didn’t ease the pain. It will be a long road to recovery for the McLaren team.

“I scored two World Championship points today,” said the 2009 World Champion, adding, “Which makes 1001 in my career I’m reliably informed, and to be honest I don’t think I could have scored any more than that. But, although that’s a nice stat, it doesn’t ease the pain caused by the knowledge that our car still needs a lot of work done before it’s properly competitive.”

Jenson Button during one of his pit stops - Photo: McLaren

Jenson Button during one of his pit stops – Photo: McLaren

The main problem were the tyres, Button said. “I think we should be happy with how we went about the race. People find it very difficult to overtake me — that’s why I finished where I did — but we thought the super softs were going to last for about two laps so we set them up to last for three laps and as soon as lap four started everyone else’s tyres started getting good but mine were just … I could see the fronts throwing rubber off everywhere!”

Perez was certainly very disappointed with his McLaren debut, 11th place and no points. The McLaren MP4-28 simply doesn’t have the pace, “I got a good start, which is always a bonus, but, after that, even though the team did a great job with the strategy, we just didn’t have enough pace to make significant further progress,” said the 23-year old ‘Checo’ Perez.

He thinks he could have scored points today, but it didn’t happen, “I nearly managed to score a point, but in the end I couldn’t quite get up to 10th place at the end. To finish 11th is never really satisfying, but I think Jenson and I both drove pretty good races today.”

Sergio Perez climbs in his car just before the start of the race - Photo: McLaren

Sergio Perez climbs in his car just before the start of the race – Photo: McLaren

The only thing Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh was happy about today, was the fact his drivers didn’t make any mistakes, which would have worsened the situation for his team. “A ninth-place finish and an 11th-place finish don’t constitute much of a result by our sky-high standards, and ultimately the 2013 Australian Grand Prix weekend must therefore go down as a disappointing one for all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” said Whitmarsh.

“Our car simply hasn’t been quick enough here, but undoubtedly our drivers and engineers got the maximum out of it this afternoon and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Despite the kind words of his team boss, Button still expects a tough week, and an ever tougher weekend in Malaysia. “I think we’re going to have a tough week. Malaysia is next weekend and we can’t do too much before then. We’re not suddenly going to be competitive. If we came away from Malaysia with the same number of points, we’d be ecstatic — but that’s not McLaren. We should be further forward,” he said to the BBC this afternoon.

“Hopefully we can understand the car a bit more after the race today and extract a bit more performance. It’s going to be a long night doing the debrief …”


Australian GP: Ferrari thrilled to be back at the top again


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Ferrari thrilled to be back at the top again - Photo: FerrariAlthough Kimi Raikkonen won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne today, Ferrari are in the lead of the 2013 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship, as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were second and fourth respectively, which means the Scuderia have bagged 30 points at the Albert Park Circuit.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo must be pleased with the result, last year the Maranello-based team scored only 10 points during the first race of the year, and were playing catch-up for almost the entire season. But Ferrari is back at the top and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is also happy with today’s result.

“After winter testing, we had said we were aiming for a podium in Australia and I am pleased we have reached this first objective. This is only the first of nineteen races and we are happy to see Scuderia Ferrari at the top of the constructors’ classification: it is an encouraging start on which we must continue to build our championship,” Domenicali said in a team statement.

Alonso gets in his car, he finished second today - Photo: Ferrari

Alonso gets in his car, he finished second today – Photo: Ferrari

Alonso agrees with his team boss, and is also pleased to see Ferrari has returned to the top. “We can claim to have started this season on the right foot, immediately in the fight with the best. Along with the results from winter testing, it is a very encouraging sign that we managed to get the most out of a weekend that was full of unknown factors, both in qualifying and the race,” said the Spanish double World Champion.

Alonso was adamant the three-stop strategy was the right one, “With the degradation we had, it would have been impossible to manage on one less and bringing forward the second one by a few laps meant I was able to pass Vettel and Sutil.”

But he still thinks Red Bull is very quick, and remarked, “Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest.”

He’s already looking forward to the next race in Malaysia, “We can expect another weekend with very changeable weather and one that also puts a lot of stress on the cars from a mechanical point of view and on the drivers, from a physical one. But we can tackle it calmly on the back of this good result.”

Massa can relax a bit, he was fourth today - Photo: Ferrari

Massa can relax a bit, he was fourth today – Photo: Ferrari

Massa was also happy, he even led the race today and he is also upbeat ahead of the next race, “This is definitely a very positive start to the season, especially because this is a track where I have always suffered. We have shown that our car is competitive, with a good race pace and that is down to all the hard work done during winter testing.”

The Brazilian reckoned he could have been on the podium as well, “I had an attacking start to my race, in which I was immediately fighting for the top places. Maybe if we had brought forward the second stop, as Fernando did, the podium would have been within my grasp, but I am still very happy with my result.”

And of course, the man who designed the Ferrari F138, Technical Director Pat Fry, was also pleased with the progress Ferrari has made. “This afternoon, we had a good race pace and both drivers performed well without making any mistakes.”

But there’s still work to be done and the Briton said, “We are aware that we still have a lot of work to do if we want to continue to improve. Maybe we could have risked a two stop strategy, but given the unknowns linked to tyre degradation, we preferred not to do that. In the next races, it will be vital to understand the tyre behaviour, in order to choose the best strategies.”


Australian GP: Kimi Raikkonen — This was probably one of my easiest wins


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Kimi Raikkonen - This was probably one of my easiest winsKimi Raikkonen celebrated his 20th career win this afternoon, as he won the Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the 2013 season. Clearly, the pit stop strategy of the Lotus team gave him the advantage, he stayed out very long on the super softs, and only made two stops, while his rivals needed three stops to finish the race.

“Our plan was to do two-stop and it’s always difficult, especially the first races, to really know when to stop, and not doing it too early and not too late. We got it, like he said, exactly right. The team worked very well and we had a good plan, and we follow the plan and it worked out perfectly for us,” the Iceman said during the post race press conference.

And he added, “I could save the tyres and I could go fast if I needed and I could really drive very easily. One of the easiest races I’ve done to win the race. Hopefully we can have many more of this kind of races.”

Asked about the fastest race lap he set on the penultimate lap, he said, “Fernando [Alonso] was catching me at some point, when I was taking it a bit more easy and there was some traffic, so I just wanted to make sure that if the rain comes or something happens we have a bit more [of a] gap. I was still taking it pretty easy. Like I said, the car has been very good all weekend and it was a pretty nice race, not so difficult.”

First win of the season for Kimi Raikkonen - Photo: Lotus F1

First win of the season for Kimi Raikkonen – Photo: Lotus F1

A great way to start the season, isn’t it? “You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way,” Raikkonen said.

“I’m happy for the team and for myself also. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the setup how we wanted. I had a good feeling that we would be ok with the tyres after practice and the team got the strategy perfect.”

Also very pleased with today’s result was Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier, “I’m very happy. After Kimi’s great start we were hoping that we could achieve a podium finish, then as the race unfolded and we saw the other teams pitting — showing that they were on three-stop strategies — our position became stronger and stronger. It’s a fantastic feeling to open the season in this way!”

And the Frenchman added, “This win is a further testament to all the hard work which goes on at Enstone and we owe tremendous thanks to each and every employee. We head to Malaysia in the best position we could be.”

Romain Grosjean makes a pit stop - Photo: Lotus F1

Romain Grosjean makes a pit stop – Photo: Lotus F1

Asked about what happened with Romain Grosjean, who finished in tenth place and scored only one point, he said, “Romain had a difficult race and we have to analyse what went wrong for him.”

Grosjean himself also agreed there was something wrong with his car, “Something felt wrong with my car, so I have to sit down with the team and analyse where the issue came from. It felt so good all weekend until the race itself, but in the end the race was long and quite difficult for me.”

But, there’s another chance next weekend he reckoned, “We know that Albert Park can be a tricky circuit and the weather has certainly not helped today. It’s been a great weekend for the team with Kimi’s win so it’s clear there’s pace in the car. Let’s hope I can unlock that pace too next weekend in Sepang.”

Also Technical Director James Allison was elated with the first win of the season, “It was a splendid thing we saw today. It’s a day like this which make everything about this job worthwhile and that will be true for everyone involved with the team. It’s great!”


Australian GP: Raikkonen and Lotus convincingly win the first race of the season at Albert Park


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Raikkonen and Lotus convincingly win the first race of the season at Albert ParkKimi Raikkonen won the first race of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne. The Finn won the race thanks to a two-stop strategy, while his rivals Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, who were on a three-stop schedule, took second and third place respectively.

The Iceman, who secured his 20th Grand Prix win today, was this time a bit more talkative and said after the race, ‘I’m happy for the team and for myself also. We’ve had a quick car all weekend and there were no issues with it either, so we could just focus on trying different things and getting the set-up how we wanted.”

According to the Finn, it was his easiest win in his career, “I made a few places at the start and then had a good battle with Lewis [Hamilton] but after that it was quite simple; probably one of my easiest wins. You can’t start the season much better than winning the first race and of course we hope we can be fighting at the front of the Championship, but there’s a long way to go still and we need to keep pushing hard all the way.”

Ferrari relieved to be on the right pace - Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari relieved to be on the right pace – Photo: Ferrari

Not a bad start of the season either for Ferrari, the Scuderia were on the right pace all weekend and were able to follow leader Vettel during the first stage of the race, and when Vettel pitted for the first time, Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso were briefly leading the race.

“We can claim to have started this season on the right foot, immediately in the fight with the best. Along with the results from winter testing, it is a very encouraging sign that we managed to get the most out of a weekend that was full of unknown factors, both in qualifying and the race,” a relieved Alonso stated after the podium ceremony.

After the start of the race, Vettel was leading, but Mark Webber in the second Red Bull had another of his disastrous starts, he was seventh after completing the first lap at Albert Park. Vettel, who was a bit disappointed not to win the race after he had claimed pole position in the morning, commented, “We had a good day today with a pole and a podium — but in the race we were a little too aggressive with the tyres and lost the front and the rears, while others did a little better.”

Fifth place for Hamilton at Albert Park - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Fifth place for Hamilton at Albert Park – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton was fifth for Mercedes, while Nico Rosberg retired due to electrical problems. Hamilton started from third on the grid, and was pleased with today’s result. “It’s much better than we expected for the first race of the season. The car felt really good out there; I had a strong first stint and was able to make the super softs last longer than most of the others. We’d planned for two stops but converted to a three-stop strategy during the race,” he explained.

And he added, “The important thing is that we have a car that we can really work with and the team have done a fantastic job to get us to this position.”

Star of the race was without a doubt returnee Adrian Sutil, who after 20 laps led the race for Force India, thanks to an alternative pit stop schedule. On his medium tyres the German could easily keep the Red Bulls and Ferraris behind him, but later on the super soft tyres slid down the order, and finished in seventh spot.

“What a fantastic race and a great feeling,” Sutil said, adding, “The pace was quick and the car felt very good on the medium tyres so I was able to keep up with the guys in front of me, who I knew were going to pit early.

A perfect comeback for Sutil who further commented, “My final stint on the super softs was much more difficult because the tyres started graining and I lost a few places. I was thinking I might need to pit again, but fortunately the tyres came back to me for the final few laps so I could save the seventh place.”

Bad day for McLaren, Perez making a pit stop - Photo: McLaren

Bad day for McLaren, Perez making a pit stop – Photo: McLaren

Ferrari were of course relieved to be on the pace, while McLaren found out they were slow, very slow, and Jenson Button and Sergio Perez were hardly able to defend their initial positions in the top ten. However, Button was satisfied with the result. “I think we should be pretty satisfied with what we achieved here in Melbourne today. It was a tricky race, and our car isn’t yet quick enough, so I think the team did a great job to achieve even as much as we did,” said the 2009 World Champion.

It was also a difficult race for Perez, who made his debut for McLaren and finished in 11th place. “I got a good start, which is always a bonus, but, after that, even though the team did a great job with the strategy, we just didn’t have enough pace to make significant further progress,” the Mexican said. And he duly added, “Our engineers are aware that our car isn’t yet as quick as it needs to be, but I know I’m now part of the best team in Formula One so I’m certain they’ll improve it fast.”

Mixed results for Toro Rosso, Daniel Ricciardo had to retire with an exhaust-related problem, but Jean-Eric Vergne finished the race in 12th spot, just a few tenths of a second behind Perez.

“It was a hot start, I was pushed to the outside and I ended up going through a gravel trap at one point,” Vergne said, and he added, ”After that, the first stint on the Option [super softs] was only average, but the last two sections on the Prime tyre were very good and competitive and I was even in the points for a couple of corners right at the end.” But he thinks the STR8 is basically a good car, “Overall, I think the weekend showed we have a good car with which we ought to be able to go hunting for points in every race.”

Esteban Gutierrez made his F1 debut - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez made his F1 debut – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Also not a good day for Nico Hulkenberg, who could not start the race due to a fuel system problem, he was already on his way to the airport when the race started. For rookie Esteban Gutierrez, however, it was a good Formula One debut, as he finished in 13th place.

“My main goal was to finish the race, and to achieve that is really enjoyable,” said the young Mexican. “I want to thank the whole team, because yesterday in qualifying we had a good chance and today we were able to recover some of what we lost yesterday. We have a good base and in the future we will try and push forward.”

Further down the order in 14th place was Valtteri Bottas, the only Williams driver to finish the race, as Pastor Maldonado made a mistake at Turn 1 and ended up in the gravel trap after completing only 24 laps in the ‘undriveable’ Williams.

Bottas, however, was pleased with his Formula One debut. “We got the maximum performance we could from the car today and although the pace isn’t there yet, there are still some positives to take away. The next race is only a week away, so we will work very hard to prepare as best we can and try to score our first points of the season,” the Finn commented.

The last four places were for Marussia and Caterham, Jules Bianchi in the Marussia was 15th, again showing he’s much faster than his team colleague Max Chilton, who was 17th, one lap behind Bianchi.

“I am very happy with my race today and really can’t imagine a better start to my first season of Formula One,” Bianchi said. “Generally everything went very smoothly in the race and we worked our way through the tyre management issues as well as we could in order to maximise the possibilities.”

Charles Pic was 16th for Caterham, and told his story. “We started on the super softs and our pace was ok for the first stint but the tyres dropped off very quickly.” And he further explained, “In contrast, when we went onto the mediums the degradation levels were very good so we were able to push the second stint much longer than we’d planned and that gave us a chance to fight. Unfortunately towards the end of the race we had a KERS failure which obviously cut our outright pace and prevented us from taking full advantage of the good tyre wear we saw on the primes.”

Also Giedo van der Garde was pleased with his Grand Prix debut, “For me that was a reasonable start to my Formula One career. It was really important to finish my first race and that’s exactly what I did so I’m pretty happy with how it ended up.”

For round two of the 2013 championship, the Formula One circus will move to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit next weekend.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Australian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Australian GP Results (Opens in new window)


Australian GP: Vettel grabs first pole of the season for Red Bull Racing


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Vettel grabs first pole of the season for Red Bull Racing - Photo: Red Bull RacingAfter qualifying on Saturday was postponed until Sunday morning due to the rain storms in Melbourne, triple World Champion Sebastian Vettel did what he usually does and grabbed the first pole of the season with a lap of 1m27.407s on an almost dry Albert Park Circuit.

The last qualifying session Q3 turned into a shoot-out for pole, but it was Vettel who was the smartest and he made good use of the conditions of the drying track. “Obviously I was very happy with the result, but with the adjusted schedule we can’t be too euphoric right now — in a few hours the race is coming up, so it’s head down again to get on with that,” said the pole-sitter.

Polesitter Vettel with the press - Photo: Red Bull Racing

Polesitter Vettel with the press – Photo: Red Bull Racing

Mark Webber put the second Red Bull on second place of the grid, thus Red Bull will start from the front row this afternoon. “It was slippery yesterday and we came back again today for a very short explosive session; it’s all over in a flash. We needed to get things right, I would have liked two laps but we finished up the grid at the right end. The weather can change very quickly here, so it’s always hard to make a call,” said the Australian driver ahead of his home Grand Prix.

Yesterday, during Q1, Pastor Maldonado, Esteban Gutierrez, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic were already eliminated from the rest of qualifying, thus 16 drivers battled for pole this morning.

Lewis Hamilton surprised friend and foe by taking third place for Mercedes, he was 0.680s slower than Vettel, while Nico Rosberg was sixth. Both Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso took fourth and fifth place respectively, albeit over a second off the pace.

Third place for Hamilton and Mercedes - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Third place for Hamilton and Mercedes – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Seventh and eighth place were for Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. It was a difficult to set a decent time in just one lap, Raikkonen later said, “It was an okay qualifying session. We had just one lap on the dry tyres and I got a bit sideways at the end on a damp patch which meant I lost some time so that was a bit disappointing.”

Paul di Resta was ninth in the Force India, and the Scotsman commented, “We came here with intentions of reaching Q3 so it’s a good way to start the year. I think we got most things right today, especially the timing of the switch to a fresh set of intermediates towards the end of Q2. Ninth position is a good place to be starting and it’s on the cleaner side of the track too.”

Jenson Button was lucky to get in Q3, but finished the day on tenth spot, while Sergio Perez in the second McLaren didn’t make the cut and the Mexican will be starting from 15th place on the grid this afternoon.

Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo, Perez and Valtteri Bottas also didn’t make it into Q3. It wasn’t an easy day for rookie Bottas, “It wasn’t the easiest qualifying session to start my Formula One career. It was good to get through Q1 yesterday but the conditions were tricky again today as it was getting drier all the time. We tried the super soft tyre, but unfortunately it didn’t allow us to improve our lap time.”

Difficult qualifying for McLaren - Photo: McLaren

Difficult qualifying for McLaren – Photo: McLaren

Sutil reckoned he switched to the slicks too early and commented, “The track conditions were much better this morning, but it was still tricky and I didn’t feel that comfortable on the damp track. The key to Q2 was the timing of your lap and we probably changed a bit too early to the new intermediates because there was only one quick lap in those tyres. I had time for another lap, but my tyres were going off and I could not improve.”

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Australian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Australian GP Results
(Opens in new window)


Australian GP: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morning


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Rain causes havoc, qualifying postponed until Sunday morningQualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit has been postponed until Sunday morning, as rain storms caused havoc on the Melbourne track, the start of the first session was already postponed due to the rain, after several accidents the FIA decided to continue qualifying on Sunday morning.

During Q1 several drivers crashed, yellow flags came out several times and in the end FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting decided to postpone qualifying as the conditions on track became too dangerous. When qualifying was stopped, Nico Rosberg was leading Q1 for Mercedes.

Both Caterham drivers Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde lost their front wing, Pic’s crash was worst as his car sustained a lot of damage when it hit the barrier at high speed. Miraculously, both drivers made it back to the pits with their damaged car.

Pic commented, “We made the call to switch to inters with about five minutes left of the session and for the first lap it was very tricky — there was a lot of standing water and it was hard to keep the car on track, but it improved pretty quickly and I was starting to push before I touched the white line which caused me to spin and I made contact with the barrier which meant I had to pit.”

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Hamilton crashed during his first qualifying for Mercedes – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Felipe Massa was the next driver to crash, he lost it at Turn 11 and the Ferrari F138 smashed into the barrier twice, despite the damage, the Brazilian was able to limp back to the garage for repairs.

Not much later Lewis Hamilton lost it at Turn 2 and hit the barrier backwards. He was able to get his beached Mercedes on track again, and later said, “It was pretty straightforward really, I just lost the back end and was in the wall.” And he added, “Fortunately I got going again — I was beached actually, I was stuck and luckily I put it in reverse and reversed half way up the bloody track! I can dust those kind of things off and keep looking forward to tomorrow.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the same spot Massa had earlier crashed, Turn 11, he touched the white line, and spun into the barrier, causing a lot of damage to his brand new Sauber C32. Gutierrez said about the crash, “Unfortunately I made a mistake and feel sorry for the whole team. I feel very comfortable with the car and this is something that is a step forward for me. Now, of course, I need to avoid this kind of mistake and try to make the most of my potential.”

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 - Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Esteban Gutierrez crashed hard at the end of Q1 – Photo: Sauber Motorsport

Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado made a trip through the grass, but were able to bring their cars back to the garage. Perez said, “I think the FIA stewards made the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3. The conditions were becoming too dangerous — in terms of low visibility as well as low grip.”

Jenson Button agreed and added, “I believe the FIA had no choice. It was the right call to postpone Q2 and Q3 until tomorrow, for safety reasons.”

Q2 will start at 11am local time tomorrow, hopefully, under more favourable conditions, the local weather forecast says it should be dry tomorrow morning at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.


Australian GP: Grosjean fastest in rainy final practice session in Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Grosjean fastest in rainy final practice session in MelbourneRomain Grosjean was fastest for Lotus this morning during the final free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, the Frenchman set his time in the rain, just before the rain came down even harder, others were not able to go quicker on the soaking wet Melbourne track.

Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F 138 was just 0.071s slower than the Lotus driver, the Spaniard was followed by his team colleague Felipe Massa who finished the morning in third place, confirming Ferrari are on the right pace from day one this season.

Paul di Resta was fourth for Force India, six-tenths of a second behind Grosjean, while Adrian Sutil was this time eighth, after completing 18 laps on a wet circuit. The second Lotus piloted by Kimi Raikkonen was in fifth place, he was followed by the Toro Rosso’s of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, the Toro Rosso STR8 certainly looks quick in the rain.

Eric Boullier and Romain Grosjean - Photo: Lotus F1

Eric Boullier and Romain Grosjean – Photo: Lotus F1

Nico Hulkenberg was the fastest Sauber driver, he took ninth place after completing 18 laps, while his team colleague Mexican Esteban Gutierrez was tenth, both set exactly the same time and lapped the circuit in 1m28.253s.

Nico Rosberg was 11th for Mercedes, while Friday pace-setter Sebastian Vettel took 12th place, followed by his team colleague Mark Webber, who was 13th during the third and final practice session for his home Grand Prix.

The rain was an advantage for the slower teams, a point proved by Jules Bianchi, who was 14th in the Marussia, right behind the Red Bull duo. Also Caterham did well in the wet, as Dutchman Giedo van der Garde was 15th, and his French team mate Charles Pic took 16th position.

Not a good start for McLaren, also in the wet they were quite off the pace, Jenson Button was 17th, while Sergio Perez was 18th. The last four drivers on the board were not really able to set a representative time in the wet, as both Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas were 19th and 20th respectively, both were 12 seconds off the pace.

Pastor Maldonado struggling in the wet - Photo: Williams

Pastor Maldonado struggling in the wet – Photo: Williams

Max Chilton was again slower than his French colleague Bianchi, and was 21st, and Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes didn’t really bother to set a decent time, and was 22nd and last, 20 seconds behind Grosjean, Hamilton only completed 9 laps this morning.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Australian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Australian GP Results (Opens in new window)


Australian GP: Vettel again op top during second practice session at Albert Park


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Vettel again op top during second practice session at Albert Park - Photo: InfinitiSebastian Vettel made no bones about it, he is still the strongest Formula One driver as he was once again on top of the second practice session for round one of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne.

The German triple World Champion set a time of 1m25.908s, three-tenths of a second faster than the time he set in the morning. This time Vettel was joined by Mark Webber who took second place for Red Bull, but the Australian was 0.264s slower than his team mate.

Again, Mercedes had an encouraging afternoon, this time Nico Rosberg was third, but again reliability problems for Mercedes, at the end of the session the German had to stop his car on the track with a gearbox problem. Lewis Hamilton was seventh this afternoon, after he had spun at Turn 3 — according to Mercedes, due to damage of the floor of the car.

Nico Rosberg third for Mercedes - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Nico Rosberg third for Mercedes – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Kimi Raikkonen was fast again, he took fourth place, but was almost half-a-second slower than Vettel. Romain Grosjean in the second Lotus was quick too, he took fifth place after completing 30 laps.

Ferrari was a bit further down the order compared to this morning, this time it was Fernando Alonso who was faster than Felipe Massa, as the Spaniard took sixth place, while his Brazilian colleague took eighth place this afternoon.

Adrian Sutil again proved Vijay Mallya has taken the right call to re-sign the German for 2013, he was ninth after completing 30 laps at the Albert Park Circuit, Paul di Resta was 12th, but he was a full second slower than Sutil, who seems to feel more comfortable in the Force India VJM06.

Nico Hulkenberg was in tenth place, but was actually slower than this morning, when he scored 12th place. Mexican rookie Esteban Gutierrez was fifteenth, and improved on the time he set this morning.

Fernando Alonso at Albert Park - Ferrari

Fernando Alonso at Albert Park – Ferrari

McLaren slid even further down the order compared to this morning, Jenson Button was 11th, and Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez was 13th, and it indeed looks like McLaren is struggling to get some speed in the MP4-28.

The second Australian driver on the 2013 grid, Daniel Ricciardo, was a full second quicker than this morning, and he took 14th place for Toro Rosso. Jean-Eric Vergne was this time 17th, still three seconds slower than pace-setter Vettel.

Also Williams dropped down the order, this morning they were 14th and 15th, this afternoon Pastor Maldonado was 16th, while Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas was 18th after completing 38 laps.

Jules Bianchi was once again the quickest Marussia driver, he was 19th, while his team mate Max Chilton was 21st.

Charles Pic was the fastest Caterham driver as he took 20th place, while Dutchman Giedo van der Garde was struggling to keep up with the Frenchman, and again finished in 22nd and last position. Unfortunately, van der Garde spun at Turn 3, and that was the end of his afternoon, he only completed 11 laps.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Australian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Australian GP Results (Opens in new window)


Australian GP: Vettel fastest during first free practice session at Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Vettel fastest during first free practice session at Melbourne - Photo: InfinitiIt already had been predicted: Red Bull was sandbagging during pre-season testing and unsurprisingly was the fastest this morning during the first free practice session for the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.

Vettel set a fastest time of 1m27.211s, beating Felipe Massa in the Ferrari with just 0.078s. Ferrari looked strong as Fernando Alonso claimed third place in the new Ferrari F138. Lewis Hamilton was surprisingly fast and took fourth place in the Mercedes, he was 0.341s off the pace set by Vettel, but it was an encouraging first practice session for the Silver Arrows team, as Nico Rosberg was seventh after completing 17 laps on the Melbourne circuit.

On a still green track many drivers opted to save tyres, but Mark Webber was fifth in the second Red Bull, half-a-second behind his German team mate.

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth this morning - Photo: Lotus F1

Kimi Raikkonen was sixth this morning – Photo: Lotus F1

Kimi Raikkonen took the honours for Lotus, the Finn was sixth in the new E21. His French team mate Romain Grosjean was tenth, 0.643s slower than Raikkonen. A great result for Adrian Sutil who made his Formula One comeback for Force India, he was eighth. His team mate Paul di Resta spun after he had put his wheels on the grass, and finished the morning in 13th place.

Not a good start for McLaren, Jenson Button was correct in his prediction that McLaren still has a lot of work to do, as he didn’t get further than ninth place in the McLaren MP4-28. Sergio Perez, who made his debut for McLaren, didn’t do much better and took 13th place this morning.

Much was expected of Sauber, but Nico Hulkenberg took a disappointing 12th spot, while his team mate Esteban Gutierrez, who made his Formula One debut today, was 16th, the young Mexican was almost three seconds slower than pace-setter Vettel.

Sergio Perez was clearly off the pace - Photo: McLaren

Sergio Perez was clearly off the pace – Photo: McLaren

Further down the order were the two Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas, they took 14th and 15th place respectively, Bottas was half-a-second slower than the Venezuelan driver.

The next two on the list are both Toro Rosso drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, they claimed 17th and 18th place, the bad news was that they were both over three seconds off the pace.

Jules Bianchi beat his team mate Max Chilton, and both drivers, who will also make their Grand Prix debut this weekend, scored 19th and 20th position in the Marussia, Chilton was one second slower than his French colleague.

It already had been predicted, Caterham have lost their advantage to Marussia, and Charles Pic, who drove for Marussia in 2012, was 21st, while also rookie Dutchman Giedo van der Garde took 22nd and last place, but he was only one-tenth slower than Pic.

All Formula One results can be found in the menu of the F1 2013 Season > Australian GP, together with links to the practice, qualifying and race reports.

Australian GP Results (Opens in new window)


Australian GP: Ferrari will be battling until the end, Domenicali targets podium


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Ferrari will be battling until the end, Domenicali targets podium - Photo: FerrariAlso the most famous team in Formula One, Scuderia Ferrari, are on their way to Australia for round one of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, which will take place at the semi-permanent Albert Park circuit, near Melbourne. After testing Ferrari reckons they are in a better shape than at the start of the 2012 season.

Team Principal Stefano Domenicali: Australia an important test bench

For Ferrari’s Team Principal Stefano Domenicali, the Australian Grand Prix will be an important test bench, “To think of drawing conclusions after the first qualifying session in Australia would be premature because it represents only the beginning of a long voyage that ends in November. For many reasons, however, it can be considered an important test bench to establish the state of play.”

Ferrari also spent the winter reorganising their design and race teams, and Domenicali is confident the Scuderia is ready for 2013, “The new business structure, the working methods, the modifications to the equipment that we have used to work on this car, the consistency of the results compared with our targets and what we saw in the recent tests — these all seem to tell us that we are on the right path at last compared to the past.”

And he added, “A podium in Australia would be a good base on which to build the kind of successes we need.”

Felipe Massa is also ready for Melbourne - Photo: Ferrari

Felipe Massa is also ready for Melbourne – Photo: Ferrari

Fernando Alonso: Understanding Pirelli tyres will be essential

Star driver Fernando Alonso also thinks the Scuderia is on the right path, “I think we are more or less ready for Melbourne,” said the Spaniard. “I feel confident in the car, while knowing Australia will not be easy. As usual, our aero development will be the key to having a good season, while getting a good understanding of the new, more complicated Pirelli tyres, will also be essential.”

Asked about what he expects this season he commented, “I don’t think we will see one team dominate, but also I don’t expect seven winners in the first races, like last year. And he added, “It will be very close and from our point of view, a good result this weekend would remove some of the stress. I enjoy the Albert Park circuit, it is technical and difficult and the track, being a street circuit, evolves throughout the weekend.”

Felipe Massa: We start the season with a better car

Felipe Massa was given another chance by Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, and the Brazilian is ready to roar again. “I plan to start the 2013 season the way I went during the second half of 2012 and then build on that,” he said.

“I expect the drivers from two or three teams to do most of the winning,” Massa predicted. “As for ourselves, we start the season with a better car than we did last year, so I am happy and positive with the way testing went, when I felt the car evolved from the first day to the last, when I was happy with the balance of the F138 and felt comfortable at the wheel.”

Quizzed about his expectations for the first race of the season he said, “I can’t say Albert Park is my favourite track, but I love coming to Australia, which is a great country with very nice people who really like their racing. The track here is demanding, but I expect the F138 will be well adapted to it and that we can have a good first weekend.”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Australian GP: Force India aims to perform well and score points in Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Force India aims to perform well and score points in Melbourne - Photo: Force IndiaForce India aims to score points during the opening race of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Circuit near Melbourne. Force India is pleased to welcome Adrian Sutil back to the team, and were impressed by his pace during testing.

Team Principal Vijay Mallya: VJM06 has shown excellent reliability

It has taken a while, but Team Principal and Team Owner Vijay Mallya decided to take Sutil back. “Over the winter we thought long and hard about the decision, but I’m sure we have made the right choice. Adrian is very quick and has a great history with the team — he has been with us from the very start and is truly part of the family. Everyone was impressed by his performance during winter testing in Barcelona: he was able to deliver great pace right away.”

About the first race of the season Mallya commented, “The VJM06 has shown excellent reliability in winter testing. The rules haven’t changed much from 2012 and everyone in the team is confident we can pick up where we left off at the end of last season. The first race of the season on a track like Melbourne is always a lottery; if any of the front-runners stumble, we will be ready to pounce.”

Adrian Sutil rejoined Force India again - Photo: Sahara Force India

Adrian Sutil rejoined Force India again – Photo: Sahara Force India

Paul di Resta: Consistency will be very important this year

It will be Paul di Resta’s third season with Force India, and the Scotsman has spent the winter preparing himself for the first race of the season. “I’ve got the same team around me so I think that consistency will be very important this year,” he said.

Like most drivers, di Resta thinks the new Pirellis will play an important role this season, as most teams are struggling to get to grips with the new rubber compounds. “Pirelli have kept us busy with their new 2013 compounds, which appear to be more aggressive than last year. We have stability in the technical office, which helps, and we’ve tried to build more consistency into the car.”

He didn’t want to make any predictions about the strength of Force India’s opponents, but remarked, “We’re as well prepared as we can be, but the first two races in Australia and Malaysia are two of the toughest of the year. The grid seems very closely matched so it’s going to be interesting to see how things shake out in Melbourne.”

Adrian Sutil: This team still feels like ‘home’

Sutil is of course happy to be back with his old team, and the German said, “I am working with my old race engineer [Brad Joyce] and this team still feels like ‘home’. It’s a new beginning; my second chance in Formula One and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.”

Asked which targets he has in mind for this weekend he commented, “It’s difficult to set a goal for this weekend, but my target for the season is to improve on my 2011 performance and aim for some podiums. So we need to start the year well, aim high and take our chances.”

Like his team mate, Sutil is pleased with the handling of the new car, but reckons the tyres are the unknown factor, “I’ve only spent three days in the car during testing, but already I’m feeling very comfortable. It’s very driveable and the balance is good. There is still a lot I need to understand, especially in terms of the tyres, but we’re in a good place already.”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Australian GP: Lotus confident to have made a step forward, continuity key to success


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Lotus confident to have made a step forward, continuity key to success - Photo: Lotus F1Lotus continues another season with drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, and the black and gold team is confident to have made a step forward, despite the technical glitches during testing in Spain. For Lotus, the first race in the FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, is the first real test of the season.

Team Principal Eric Boullier: 2013 is going to be as competitive as ever

For Team Principal Eric Boullier, keeping Raikkonen and Grosjean for the 2013 season, was very important. “To keep both these drivers, who are very complimentary, is the best situation for the team. Both now know the team well and it is their second consecutive year together in Formula One. With this you can build up a nice momentum for the start of the season,” the Frenchman said.

Asked how intense the competition is going be, he said, “I think it’s going to be as competitive as ever. You can see at least five teams having the potential to win races and it’s getting very tight.” But the Pirelli tyres will dominate the sport once again, and Boullier added, “The most important thing is we want to keep the strength we had from last year in that we managed the tyres well. This is one of the key points we could see during testing, but I think it’s going to be another challenge to understand these tyres.”

“We still have to try these tyres in hot conditions; we’ve only run in cold weather so far and they have been specifically designed for higher temperatures, so we may have some surprises.”

The Lotus team at the presentation of the E21 - Photo: Lotus F1

The Lotus team at the presentation of the E21 – Photo: Lotus F1

Kimi Raikkonen: Not concerned about reliability

Of course the Iceman, as he is nicknamed, is one of the most colourful drivers in Formula One. Normally he’s not very talkative and he’s not really a fan of press conferences — sometimes he just falls asleep — but he is enthusiastic about the new season and the new Lotus E21.

Testing wasn’t a complete success due to several technical problems, but Raikkonen is not worried. “I’m not really concerned about reliability or anything like that as it was the same problem which caused us the biggest problems in testing and we’re on top of that now.”

The E21 is a step forward, the Finn reckons, “I think you always want more, but this car is a pretty good starting point and we’ll see; hopefully we’re fast enough. I don’t think there’s any area where it feels worse than last year’s car; so far everything is better.”

Asked what he would like to achieve at Albert Park, he answered, “I’d like to start the season strongly and hopefully run the first races better than we did last year. We don’t know exactly what to expect so we’ll try to do the best we can; we should have a reasonable start to the season.”

Romain Grosjean: Ready for Albert Park

Romain Grosjean has learned a lot since he was banned from the Italian Grand Prix after his first-lap escapades in Belgium, and he is looking forward to another year with Lotus and Raikkonen.

He too thinks that the E21 is a step forward, “It’s a good continuation of the E20 and definitely a step forward; the team have been working hard and are doing their best to give us a good car. The answer will only be clear after qualifying in Melbourne; we looked quick during winter testing but it’s always different to race weekends, so let’s see what the first race brings us.”

And finally, asked about his relationship with Raikkonen he commented, “Kimi is a good team mate and the relationship we have is ok. We’re both quite quick and we’re always pushing the limits. In engineering meetings and internally we share everything which helps us both perform better on track and when we’re out there we push each other hard, but it’s always with respect and fair play.”


Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Australian GP: Mercedes soon to find out how much progress they have made


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP: Mercedes soon to find out how much progress they have made - Photo: Mercedes BenzFor the Mercedes team the season will also kick off in Melbourne, as it will host the first race of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship. Many changes at the Silver Arrows’ team, after Norbert Haug and Michael Schumacher left the team, the management team has been reinforced with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, Ross Brawn remains the Team Principal, and Lewis Hamilton will take over Schumacher’s place.

Team Principal Ross Brawn: Intense but exiting time for the team

“Our factories in Brackley and Brixworth have been buzzing with activity this week with both Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton] visiting to complete their final preparations on the simulator, and the team working to finish the cars, engines and pack the freight for the four flyaway races coming up,” Brawn said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.

Asked about the progress the Silver Arrows team has made, he commented, “The first race is where we can really begin to assess our competitive position and how much of a step forward we have made with our new Silver Arrow. We had a successful pre-season testing programme and personally, I am pleased with the progress we have made, both with the car and in terms of how we operate as a team.”

But testing is testing and Brawn added, “Racing is a completely different situation and Melbourne will see much higher track temperatures and more varied conditions than we have experienced so far. We’re looking forward to the challenge and to the action starting in Melbourne next weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg - Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton: The beginning of a new adventure

For Lewis Hamilton, everything will be different this season, a new team, a new car and a different way of working. But the 2008 World Champion is looking forward to the new challenge, in fact, he changed teams because he needed a new challenge. “It’s the start of a new season and the beginning of a new adventure for me with Mercedes. I can’t wait to get to Melbourne, get out on track and find out where we stand,” the Briton said.

He’s of course looking forward to race the Silver Arrows in Melbourne, “The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race: the teams don’t know how they compare in terms of performance, the fans are fantastic and, with big changes to the tyres again this year, we just don’t know what will happen in the race.”

“We had a good, reliable car during winter testing so that’s the positive we can take with us into the weekend but we know that in terms of performance, everything begins again from zero in Friday practice.”

Nico Rosberg: Tyre degradation biggest issue

Nico Rosberg welcomes his new team mate, and for him it will be a challenge too to race alongside Hamilton. He too has no idea how fast the Mercedes is, or how fast the competition is, “The first Grand Prix is where everyone finds out where they really are and we can judge how well we have done against our competition as the times in winter testing just don’t tell the full story.”

He’s a little worried about the new tyres, but confident his team will do well down under, “Tyre degradation will be the biggest issue for everyone so we need to look at that carefully and do a good job in managing it. I’m really looking forward to next weekend and getting the season underway.”

Also read:

Red Bull Australian GP Preview
Ferrari Australian GP Preview
McLaren Australian GP Preview
Lotus Australian GP Preview
Mercedes Australian GP Preview
Sauber Australian GP Preview
Force India Australian GP Preview
Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
Caterham Australian GP Preview
Marussia Australian GP Preview


Australian GP: Pirelli brings medium and super soft tyre compounds to Melbourne


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Pirelli brings medium and super soft tyre compounds to Melbourne - Photo: InfinitiPirelli will bring the medium (white marked) and super soft (red marked) rubber compounds to Australia this weekend, the 2013 tyres are generally softer and faster than the 2012 compounds, and the Italian tyre manufacturer expects two to three pits stops per driver this season.

Paul Hembery: Performance gaps between compounds larger

Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery reckons teams haven’t seen the best of the new tyres yet due to the low temperatures during testing, “Cold weather conditions during pre-season testing meant that we weren’t able to showcase them to the best of their abilities, but we are expecting a different story in Albert Park, with two to three pit stops per car.”

About the new rubber compounds he remarked, “All the compounds and constructions have changed for 2013, and the drivers should notice a wider working range and a bigger window of peak performance. The performance gaps between the compounds are also larger, which means that teams have a greater opportunity to use strategy to their advantage by exploiting the consequent speed differentials.”

Pirelli ready for 2013 season - Photo: Infiniti

Pirelli ready for 2013 season – Photo: Infiniti

The Pirelli tyre from a circuit point of view:

• With all the compounds having become softer this year, the medium and the supersoft were chosen in Australia to give the teams a challenge in terms of tyre management and strategy, in accordance with Pirelli’s brief from the teams themselves and Formula One’s promoters.

• The P Zero White medium tyre is ideal for circuits with lower ambient temperatures and not particularly aggressive asphalt, such as Melbourne. Its durability characteristics are very similar to those of last year’s soft tyre, resulting in lap times that are around 0.8s quicker than the 2012-specification medium.

• The P Zero Red supersoft has been designed to come up to temperature quickly and it is ideal when it comes to delivering maximum performance instantly on a twisty and slow-speed circuit.

• Last year, the medium and soft compounds were chosen for the Australian Grand Prix, with the top seven drivers adopting a two-stop strategy.

Pirelli’s Technical tyre notes:

• Acceleration and braking are the keys to a good performance in Melbourne, with the longitudinal forces at work on the tyres being greater than the lateral forces. The improved combined traction of the P Zero tyres this year marks a significant step forward in this area.

• Melbourne has hosted a number of wet races in the past: last year’s Friday’s free practice sessions were held in wet weather. Pirelli is bringing a new-specification of Cinturato Green intermediate and Cinturato Blue full wet tyre to Australia, which has a redesigned construction to help improve traction and prevent snap oversteer.

• The left-rear tyre works hardest in Melbourne, with 10 right-hand corners and six left-hand corners.

• The 5.303-kilometre Albert Park circuit is not used outside of the Australian Grand Prix, which means that it is extremely ‘green’ and slippery on Friday in particular. But the faster warm-up time of Pirelli’s 2013 tyres should help drivers find grip more quickly.

Australia 3D Track Experience – Video: Pirelli