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Old 13th March 2012, 06:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

New season, new thread, new broadcaster: but will it be better?
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Old 13th March 2012, 07:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Here are my thoughts.

Many changes have taken place. The exhausts are limited to about 100mm above the body –meaning an end to exhaust blown diffusers. No liquids are allowed within the exhaust system (again a rule against hot blown diffusers). The nose has to be much lower (150mm lower I believe) as a safety feature and Pirelli have adjusted both tyre makeup and shape. Driver behaviour has been addressed by a rule that prevents moving back to the racing line after a defensive move.

All these things will have an effect but the most striking from an observer point of view is the nose. All apart from McLaren and Marussia have gone with a stepped nose and many say they look ugly but, as far as I’m concerned, as long as a Ferrari wins, I don’t care what it looks like. Unfortunately, that is looking a bit unlikely right now. The Prancing Horse has gone radical – perhaps too radical. It’s as if the pendulum has swung from full on conservatism to extreme for extreme’s sake. I hope I’m wrong – and I’m sure Fernando will wring every last drop of speed out of it but it’s in the corners where the championship will be won or lost. Most reports are saying that the Ferrari is pretty unstable in cornering. Pat fry has even come out and said don’t expect podiums in the early races. Oh dear!

The McLaren looks good and appears to be fast and stable– but is it enough? With two world class drivers, the team from Woking have a good opportunity this year – if they hit the ground running. They always seem to be on the back foot at the beginning of a campaign but their record of development is pretty impressive.

Mercedes or Lotus could be dark horses and it’s good to see my second favourite driver back on the grid. Can the Iceman keep his cool? Methinks young mister Grosjean will give him a battle royale. The Frenchman looks pretty handy behind the wheel.

Really hope Force India do well but second seasons are notorious for going wrong for new drivers. However, Paul di Resta really looks like having his feet firmly on the ground. He’ll need all his skills to deal with the Hulk!

The Red Bull really worries me. There’s something going on there that has yet to be revealed. There is a vent in the nose step. Newey says it’s for driver cooling but I don’t believe a word of it. Could it be a new ‘f’ duct? There’s nothing near the rear wing to channel the air there so I don’t think so. What it might be is a way of channelling air from the front to the rear diffuser (in essence creating a cold blown diffuser). Paranoid? Yes, perhaps I am, but if anybody can pull an ace out of his sleeve, it’s Newey. God help the other teams if I’m right because this might be another runaway championship.
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Old 13th March 2012, 09:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

I shall miss you, 2011 thread.

Red Bull and others are still deriving aerodynamic advantage from exhausts, I've read, though the advantage is markedly reduced from 2011.

I agree that Ferrari look a bit screwed. Their bigger problem isn't keeping up with Red Bull and McLaren, it's that Lotus and Mercedes look properly competitive and might beat them. Massa's a shadow of his former self, and whilst I think Alonso's a fantastic driver he can't win if the car's a dog.

McLaren could get the Constructors. Their potential problem is that Vettel's a de facto number one so at Red Bull circuits he'll get the full benefit of the winner's premium (the 7pt gap from 1st to 2nd) whereas at McLaren circuits Hamilton and Button may end up taking points away from each other. It could be pretty tasty.

Wasn't Raikkonen spelt Raikonnen a little while ago? Anyway, I hope he puts in some great performances, and I'd love it if Schumacher got a podium (and perhaps remembered how to qualify). That said, his starts have been spectacular and in the latter half of 2011 he out-raced Rosberg.

Di Resta and the Hulk could be serious contenders in a few years, and it's great to see an exciting pairing that has nothing to do with pay drivers.

The letterbox is not an F-duct, as they're banned. It's officially there to cool the driver, and might well do that, but it'd be more surprising if it didn't channel air in an aerodynamically advantage way than if it did. It'll always be open, and seems like a similar shindig to the gap in the Mercedes nose which has already been copied by McLaren.

Newey's good, but nobody's invincible, and Hamilton and Button are no pushovers.
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Old 14th March 2012, 06:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Webber recently alluded to some new rear suspension bits and pieces. Red Bull were keeping that rear end well covered at the recent testing. I wonder if this could be where the real battle takes place (accusations of movable floors, pseudo-active suspensions etc)?

Anyway, Forza Ferrari
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Old 14th March 2012, 09:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Not uncommon for shiny new bits to be taken to the first race. The rear end might also have been covered if they were pushing the limits (and, although they got the green light, they were) regarding chanelling exhaust gases in an advantageous way.

The pseudo-active suspension of Lotus and Ferrari (I think) has been axed. It was initially ruled legal, as it involved no action on the driver's part, just an automatic alteration of ride height to compensate for the significant change which occurs during the course of a race as fuel runs down.
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Old 15th March 2012, 12:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Breaking News: The Mercedes f duct has been deemed legal and is now likely to be copied by the other teams.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/98035

And so the merry-go-round begins
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Old 15th March 2012, 01:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Point of order: it's not really a proper F-duct as it's not driver-activated. I just read about this on the ESPN site, and it seems to work in conjunction with the DRS. Mercedes, last year, had perhaps the best DRS anyway. It'll be of more use at circuits like China (with that ridiculously long straight) than Oz, and I'm sure the other top teams will copy it quickly.
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Old 15th March 2012, 03:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Point of order accepted, Mr Speaker

It appears to be some kind of special vent that, by its description, does almost the same as the original f duct.
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Old 17th March 2012, 10:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

It's still irritating to not have it on TV, but qualifying was pretty exciting.

I hope Schumacher can get himself a podium, and am amused by the whining from Lotus and Red Bull. It's a bit pathetic, really, especially after Red Bull had to put up with flexi-wing, movable floor etc etc protests.

Really surprised the Williams were so fast, and the Ferraris so rubbish. I think Alonso could've made Q3, but he wouldn't've been that high in the top 10.
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Old 17th March 2012, 11:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Fantastic result for Grosjean! Agree that Alonso could have made Q3 but I can't see Massa lasting the season like this. Even after crashing out, Alonso still ended up a second faster than Massa. With half the session left and the track rubbering in, the Brazilian really should have beaten his team mate.

McLaren look the team to beat this year but hopefully nobody will dominate like last year. I really think Mercedes could get a win this year.

As for the protest....well....we knew it was just a matter of time before the whining started
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Old 17th March 2012, 11:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

I agree with all of that.

If they can, Ferrari should try and get Di Resta or Hulkenberg for the rest of the season. Neither would challenge Alonso's number one status but both are good drivers (perhaps very good) and have long term potential.

I really hope Mercedes can get some wins. It'd be fantastic for either driver. I hope their funky reverse F-duct gets kept as well. Red Bull's whinging is particularly unedifying.
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Old 17th March 2012, 11:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

I'd love to se Di Resta in a Ferrari. Right now, he's as close as they are likely to get to a potential winner with an Italian heritage.
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Old 18th March 2012, 05:33 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Enjoyed the race. As a Ferrari fan, I'm happier than I thought I'd be. It's still going to be a long hard season but, as always, Alonso brings us hope.

Great win for Button - thoroughly deserved. I wonder what that will do to the Hamilton mindset? Great to see Kimi and Kobayashi duking it out. More please

Commiserations to Grosjean, Schumi and Maldonado who all had the potential to do some serious point scoring.

I think Red Bull will be reasonably happy where they are. They still seem to have the pace to take it the McLaren in the race (although the safety car helped). But, as they say....fortune favours the brave

Bring on Malaysia

P.S. Special mention to the BBC for their great version of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues.

Last edited by Foxbat; 18th March 2012 at 05:43 PM.
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Old 18th March 2012, 07:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Sauber had a great day. Alonso likewise, but Massa needs axing pronto.

Wish Schumacher had not suffered that gearbox issue. Would've been fascinating to see if he could've held third.

Radio coverage of qualifying is comparable to the TV coverage, but the race is clearly inferior on radio. *sighs*
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Old 19th March 2012, 06:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Formula One: 2012 - (caution - may contain result spoilers just after a race...)

Should add that I've decided to give up watching online. Sure, it's live and all that but even the BBC highlights (the only bit I noticed they cut from the race was the safety car laps) are far superior. Well done Beeb
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