Female F1 will be back in February 2017

Hi all,

What a start to the new year! No more Rosberg, Valterri Bottas is going to Mercedes and Bernie Ecclestone has been removed from his seat of power. Exciting times! I am currently working on moving female-f1.com to a new hosting server and giving it a new look – I am hoping to re-launch in February with new driver profiles, interesting F1 history tidbits and discussions on the latest news and gossip in the world of F1. Bookmark this page and come back in February as F1 testing and female-f1.com resumes!

 

Helene xx

Return of F1

It has been a long while since my last update and I’ve been busy with all sorts of major life events since I last wrote (yes I got married, and yes, we did go to Singapore GP for our honeymoon – more on this later!) as well as facilitating a major lifestyle change (my husband is going back to uni!). Long story short, I’ve been busy, so busy in fact that I’ve not even missed F1 that much. Until this weekend that is, where I got decidedly giddy at the thought of watching the Australian GP. Needless to say, I was up at 4:50 AM Sunday morning to watch the race live. And boy was it worth it!

A few thoughts, which I suspect largely mirror the general consensus following this first race:

#1. Holy S*** was Alonso Lucky!

For those of you who’ve not already seen the footage, Alonso had a spectacular incident after colliding with Esteban Gutierez. Alonso’s car hit the rear left wheel of Gutierez’ Haas car when he tried to overtake, continued to collect a bollard before skidding sideways at high speed into the gravel pit where his momentum saw him flying upside down for a handful of metres before colliding with the wall. In the words of Gene Haas: “Alonso went for a heck of a ride…”

Thankfully, and rather miraculously, Alonso walked away shaken but otherwise fine.

#2. The Ferrari has speed! And it tried to cook Kimi’s head.

Yes, Kimi’s Ferrari had a problem and he parked it outside the Ferrari garage where it started spewing fire at the back of his head. Thankfully a marshal was quick to react and ran over with an extinguisher and Kimi walked away as nonplussed as always. I’m still not sure he was even aware of how much fire was coming out of the overhead air box.

 

#3. Both Mercedes’ drivers bogged down on the start.

Not that it mattered much as they still finished 1st and 2nd, but both Merc’s were alarmingly slow off the start, especially compared to the two Ferraris which both jumped up ahead from 3rd and 4th on the grid respectively.

Rosberg held firm in 3rd place but Hamilton got caught out and was running in 7th position for a good proportion of the first part of the race. The winning results were thanks to their strategic decision to go to medium tyres during the red flag race stop while Ferrari crucially decided to stay on supersoft. As Arrivabene said to Sky: “We tried to go aggressive and it was absolutely the wrong decision”. Indeed.

 

#4. Haas might actually have some serious potential.

Let’s face it, normally a new team doesn’t score points on their debut. Even if they have taken over an existing team, it is extremely difficult to take away points in your first race. But Haas have got themselves 8 points from Grosjean’s 6th place. I can’t wait to see what the rest of their season will shape up like, but so far, so good!

#5. The new qualifying format was a flop.

By gradually eliminating cars throughout the qualifying sessions at 90 second intervals, the sessions were supposed to get more exciting and have more pace. Which did work somewhat for Q1 and Q2 but resulted in zero cars on road for the last minutes of Q3. It did, in plain words turn the qualifying session into a gimmicky 1st and 2nd act with a supreme anticlimax in the 3rd and final session. Thankfully the FIA have announced they won’t be using the new system in the next race and with that their latest antics have been parked with the “double points” rule from 2014.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

See you in Bahrain in April 2016!

British Grand Prix Round Up

Hamilton’s Silver Arrow slid into 1st but the real Silverstone Superheroes of 2015 was Massa and Bottas making this British race a classic for the future!

While the Mercs did manage yet another 1-2 finish, they had a bit of luck and even so, they had to really fight for it as the Williams boys dominated the earlier parts of the race.

Let’s start at the beginning…

Massa jumped both Hamilton and Rosberg from his 3rd grid position and Bottas tried to follow suit and slotted himself in between the two Mercedes drivers after a battle with Hamilton. The excitement continued further down the grid as Alonso spun into the side of Button and ending his race early and activating a safety car which bunched up the front runners and allowed Bottas to jump Hamilton at the restart! Not even the most optimistic Williams fans would have dared predict that!

Other early casualties worth mentioning include Grosjean, Verstappen, Maldonado and Nasr (whose car actually broke down before the race even started), while Alonso did continue after his ding-dong with the other cars and managed to bring home one much-needed point for the McLaren-Honda team.

Up front

After initially asking their drivers not to race, Williams changed tack as Bottas received the radio message “It has to be a very clean move and you have to pull away once you’ve passed” – essentially saying IF you overtake you have to do it with no risk and then deliver a winning gap. At the same time, Massa was told he was allowed to race Bottas and the Brazilian didn’t give his Finnish team mate an inch. Great defensive and fair racing.

Seeing the Williams race ahead, Mercedes grew a little desperate and did a “dummy”, which is technically against the rules, as they pretended to get ready for a pit stop. The intent was to trick Williams into going in to the pits early however; Sir Frank has been in this business a long time and Williams didn’t bite.

 

When the real pit stops started, Hamilton was the first in and Mercedes pulled out a lightening stop which effectively handed him the lead once Massa, Rosberg and Bottas completed their stops, while Rosberg got stuck running in 4th.

Then came the rain

…and with it, Rosberg finally managed to overtake Bottas and Massa. Different teams had different ways of interpreting the situation and some went straight in to put on intermediates while some stayed out on slicks.

The rain subsided and commentators were quick to doom those on inters as having misjudged their strategy but the last 7 laps turned wet again and Hamilton managed to judge the situation perfectly and go to intermediate tyres at the right time, causing him to jump ahead even further to the delight of the British crowd.

Oh, and Rosberg, probably realising the devastating effect finishing 4th would have on his championship chances, finally got aggressive on the last laps and jumped from 4th to 2nd.

What happened to the Ferraris?

They both had a pretty bad start and for Kimi, it didn’t get much better as he completely misjudged the rain and dropped from 6th to 9th as a result. Meanwhile his team mate Sebastian Vettel managed to take his Ferrari from 5th to 3rd through sheer strategic mastermindry. How can Ferrari get it so wrong for one driver and so right for another?

 

 

Austrian Grand Prix Round Up

Another boring race? No. Most definitely not. The Austrian Grand Prix 2015 was everything no one could have predicted. Apart from Massa Junior.

Straight off the marks, Rosberg jumped Hamilton and continued to drive a furiously fast race, making it impossible for Hamilton to get close. Some people may say that he was aided by Lewis’ mistake exiting the pit lane, where he picked up a 5 second penalty for crossing the white line. But the hard fact is, F1 is a sport and today Rosberg was on his game and Hamilton wasn’t.

More action on lap one was provided by Alonso and Raikkonen when they collided in one of the most spectacular-looking incidents in recent time. It is still unknown exactly what happened and what caused the accident but the end result was Alonso’s McLaren-Honda parked on top of Raikkonen‘s Ferrari.

Will Stevens retired under the ensuing safety car, robbing us all of enjoying his radio messages, which have become a firm favourite part of my race weekend.

Button came in for tyres under safety car, then once the safety car came in, so did button, to serve his drive-through penalty. Finally he retires only a few laps lager as the Honda engine starts sounding alarmingly like a leaf-blower.

All this in the first 10 laps! How can people call this boring?

The rest of the race saw some excellent overtakes from Bottas and Verstappen, some quality defensive driving from Hulkenberg and Massa and an additional 2 retirements from Sainz and Grosjean. Pastor Maldonado not only didn’t crash he finished 7th scoring 6 points and doubling his total while Massa drove home in 3rd ahead of Sebastian Vettel, something only his son had dared predict prior to the race.

Boring you say? It was glorious.

My boyfriend proudly brought me a surprise this evening. Two exhaust pods from an F1 car and one exhaust pipe. Every F1 girl’s dream come true, right?

Well, let’s say I have mixed feelings. While I am now one step closer to owning my very own F1 car, I am also currently living in a 35 m2 one-bed flat (that’s 375 square feet for you imperial types) and the addition of two giant carbon fibre exhaust pods is causing me quite a few logistical problems. Basically I have nowhere to put them and they are currently occupying the majority of my living room floor. Think I’m exaggerating? Here they are.

Me and my Caterham F1 Exhaust Pods | Female-F1.com

For comparison, I am 170 cm tall (5 ft 7) and quite a few stones overweight. Also, pretty strong.

I will confess that I am pretty thrilled about the exhaust pipe, and all three items come with that authentic smell of F1 garage and burnt fuel. Mmmh.

Me and my Caterham F1 Exhaust Pipe | Female-F1.com

At this point, you might find yourself thinking: “Where did your other half manage to get his hands on these excellent pieces of memorabilia!”. According to him, he was presented with a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. As a result of Caterham going into administration last year, part of the plan to recover the debt was to sell off their assets. Since no one stepped forward to pick up the whole package, parts of old F1 cars have recently been up for auction. Along with a lot of other stuff like office chairs, overalls, etc.

Anyway, if anyone have a hybrid engine, a complete chassis, front wing, fiddly technology bits, suspensions, and, well, everything else an F1 car needs to actually run, I’d love to hear from you.

F1 Exhaust Pipe: The Best or Worst Present Ever?

Canadian Grand Prix 2015 | Anyone Still Awake?

The F1 in Canada is normally an exciting affair full of racing skill and drivers kissing the wall. 2015 provided a slightly different race.

I’m not going to lie. The Canadian Grand Prix 2015 was boring. And not just that, it was a disappointment for many F1 fans. The Canadian Grand Prix is usually one of my absolute favourites and definitely features on my bucket list. It’s set on an island in a park in the vibrant city Montreal and it is usually pouring down.

This year however, the sun was out and the the track was dry. And while it was fast, it was also immensely predictable. Hamilton won and Rosberg came second. To be fair, Raikkonen did look like he would take 3rd but ended up spinning on the track. This meant he was over taken by fellow Finn Bottas, who landed the podium finish for himself.

Vettel also managed to do a lot of overtaking. He started well down he grid due to an issue with his ERS in qualifying but managed to fight his way up to a 5th place. Not bad.

Finally, Romain Grosjean misjudged the space available when overtaking Will Stevens and caused himself a puncture. Stevens reaction on the team radio was brilliant though, not the least due to his strong Essex accent which made a nice change in the F1 soundtrack.

Monaco Grand Prix Round Up

No one could have predicted how the Monaco Grand Prix 2015 ended in advance. Verstappen and Hamilton made big mistakes resulting in some nail-biting racing!

Monaco is always influenced by incidents and safety cars. The narrow streets of Monte Carlo form one of the most challenging and prestigious races in motor sport. For any F1 fan, the darkness through the tunnel and hairpin corner at Fairmont will lead to trembles of excitement.

Even those not interested in F1 will recognise the iconic track as it passes past the harbour and weaves it’s way through the Monegasque capital.

Hamilton lost the race to Rosberg

After having secured pole on Saturday, which would normally convert to a win around this tighter than tight race track, the Mercedes team made blunder of a decade by pulling Hamilton into the pit under the safety car making him drop from 1st to 3rd thus handing the race win to his team mate Nico Rosberg. By far one of the most awkward post-race celebrations and interviews I’ve ever seen, even if Vettel announced that he was quite happy with his 2nd place.

How could this happen?

That is an excellent question and I think the Mercedes team will be pulling an all-nighter trying to answer that question.
What we can say, is that Verstappen’s crash into Grosjean, which he thankfully walked away from, brought out the safety car. Verstappen can surely look forward to a firm admonishment from the other drivers at the next driver meeting, and it is a shame that this will likely overshadow his next races as up until this point he has driven superbly.

Finally, did Maldonado crash?

Yes, just few kisses between cars and nothing serious. Maldonado did eventually have to retire due to brake failure.