Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Domenicali: Qualifying Not So Vital This Year

Ferrari put out a news release today ahead of this weekend's first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne -- with some interesting thoughts on qualifying.

This year the Scuderia would appear to have a great car from the start, with testing indicating their machines to be both reliable and right on the pace with the Red Bulls.

Ferrari's Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali, will be desperate to banish the demons of Abu Dhabi, where a pit wall decision to pit Fernando Alonso cost him the championship last season.

Domenicali is naturally cautious about the pace of the Ferrari as nothing really counts until the first race.

But he did reveal that this year's new Pirelli tyres -- and their higher rate of degredation over the bullet-proof Bridgestones of last year -- will mean qualifying will be less important because there will be more pit stops.

"This is significant in terms of teamwork at the races, because more pit stops means the role of team members becomes even more important in terms of deciding the final outcome of the races.

"A further impact of having more pit stops is that possibly qualifying and therefore grid position will be less important than in 2010. In simple terms it is more likely that a car that has not set the fastest time and taken pole position can still go on to win the race.

"It will be absolutely vital to have the right strategy in order to win the race.”

Races will be marked with three, or even four pit stops, mixing up the order and bringing a new element of drama to proceedings.

Add to that the new moveable rear wing to improve overtaking, plus the reintroduction of KERS for an instant speed boost, means it'll be an unpredictable season as driver workload in the cockpit reaches near-saturation point.

Less than five days now to Lights Out in Oz!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Davidson on the new Peugeot 908

This weekend it's the start of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup in sports car racing with the 12 hour endurance event at Sebring in Florida.

And this year there are new regulations for the powerful diesel cars to try to narrow the gap with their petrol counterparts.

Peugeot is racing their 908 car in the LMP1 category, but with significant modifications this season. The engine is a 3.7L, V8 turbo-charged diesel delivering 550hp, roughly 150hp down on last year's 908 Hdi FAP.

And the new changes are clearly apparently to British Peugeot works driver Anthony Davidson, as he explained to Le Mans Live at Sebring.

"Performance is obviously not as good. We are about 5 seconds slower this year with the new regulations.

"(It's) difficult to forget last year's feeling in the car. Obviously you had more power, more grip so you forget that as much as can.

"You find yourself overdriving in the beginning and you are expecting too much from the car so we are having to restrain ourselves and relearn the car around this circuit. But I think come the race we will be more confident."

Watch the Le Mans Live interview here:

In the last couple of hours, Davidson took P1 in the overnight testing ... ahead of arch rivals Audi. Qualy today should be interesting.

The 12-hour race can be watched live on www.americanlemans.com.