April 17, 2009

F1 Practice: China 2009!

So that's the new McLaren diffuser.  As predicted, McLaren's fast lap in Friday's first practice didn't carry over to the second, with the best the team could do was Heikki Kovaleininninnie's 9th, almost a second behind... yup, you guessed it, BrawnGP's Jenson Button.  Lewis Hamilton could do no better than 13th, 1.262 seconds behind Button.

And, as I said in the last post, we really can't predict anything from practice results.  I will venture to say that the McLaren looked much more stable than it did in Australia or Malaysia.  In those races, the rear end was slipping out on practically every turn.  Today, though, it was... well, not nailed down, but a lot better.  I have a feeling we'll see a McLaren in Q3 on Saturday for the first time this season.

One problem that every team is going to have to deal with is the tire selection Bridgestone was told to bring to China.  As with Australia, we've got the Medium and Super-soft compounds.  To be blunt, the super-softs are going to be crepe.  Don't get me wrong, they're blindingly fast... nearly five seconds per lap faster than the medium compound tires.  Too bad they only last around four to six laps before they've gone straight into the garbage.  There were in-car shots that showed chunks of the tires flying off in the turns after only a couple of laps, and everybody seemed to be suffering terrible graining.

As with Australia, the Brawns seem to be better on their tires than everybody else: this tire lasted about eight laps before it kicked the bucket.  It doesn't help that the Shanghai circuit has a rather abrasive surface, either.

However, for those few laps they last, the super-softs are world beaters... which makes them perfect for Quals, which we'll see on Saturday.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:24 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Seems like there's room in there for an in-between formulation, but maybe this is another case of FIA trying to make things not be as easy, so as to provide more opportunity for strategic decisions.

Is this like the NBA outlawing the zone defense, because it made the game boring?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 18, 2009 12:43 AM (+rSRq)

2 Basically, yeah.  It was done to make a more obvious performance difference between tire compounds.  Last year, there really wasn't much difference between, say, soft and medium rubber, or medium and hard... some, sure, but not a whole lot.  It just meant that one could last 20 laps and the other 30.

Y'know what?  I really don't have a problem with the "two compound gap" for each race.  In fact, I rather like it, it creates the possibility of a  lot of strategy in a race... more than just fuel stops.  I guess I just don't like the use of the super-soft compound anywhere other than Monaco.

The FIA did something right with this idea... we just need a slightly wider array of tires, say seven compounds instead of four maybe.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 18, 2009 08:48 AM (2+BgR)

3 That is not a grained tire.

Posted by: Jersey Tom at February 03, 2011 07:14 AM (WQPbm)

4 Ah, necromancy... is there anything that people won't nitpick, even after two years?  And when both the BBC team and the Legendary Announce Team say it's a grained tire, I'm quite willing to believe them.  What makes you think it isn't, Jersey?

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 03, 2011 09:44 AM (W8Men)

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