Weekend Preview: 31 Oct – 1 Nov 2009

The last F1 race of the year and also the final rounds of F2, but the first weekend of the new GP2 Asia season.

Feature Events


FIA Formula One World Championship

- 2009 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- Yas Marina Circuit
- Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- (17/17)
- www.f1.com
- with GP2 Asia Series, Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, Chevrolet Supercar Middle East

The last F1 race of the year, and hasn’t it flown by? Both the Championships have been won so the paddock can let its collective hair down. The only pressure to perform will lie upon those still working on contract negotiations for 2010 – right now only a handful of deals have been announced. There is also the matter of McLaren vs Ferrari for 3rd position in the Constructors’ race, remember the higher you finish the better garage spot you get next season, not to mention the extra squillions from the TV money sharing agreement.

This is the first ever event held by the all-new Yas Marina circuit, another Tilke effort, and it should be a fun one. The first half of the track is fast and interesting, the second half after the chicane is a bit stop/start Mickey Mouse but at least we can look at the LED-lit hotel.. The other thing to note is this is a dusk race starting at 5pm local time, meaning we start in daylight and end at night, a first for F1 though perhaps not so impressive to those in the US who are used to this sort of thing.

UK TV: LIVE on BBC ONE at 12.10pm Sunday

US TV: LIVE on SPEED at 4.30pm ET Sunday.

Other Events

Single Seater:


GP2 Asia Series

- Abu Dhabi
- Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- www.gp2series.com/en/website/2009gp2asia
- Eurosport: Race 1 highlights on E1 at 12pm Saturday // Race 2 live on E1 at 9.30am Sunday

The first round of what is a cut-down GP2 Asia Series this season, rather than travel around Asia they will be restricting themselves to two visits each to Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, which is a shame.
I am not sure what genius at Eurosport thought it would be a good idea to restrict TV coverage of the Feature race to a 30 minute highlights show directly up against live F1 qualifying (albeit the BBC’s pre-qual show).

FIA Formula Two

- Barcelona
- Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
- www.formula2.com
- Eurosport: Race 1 live on E1 at 1pm Saturday // Race 2 live on E1 at 11am Sunday

Season finale of the relaunched F2.

Stock Car:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

- Amp Energy 500
- Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama, USA
- www.nascar.com
- UK TV: SKY SPORTS XTRA at 6pm Sunday
- US TV: LIVE on ABC at 12pm Sunday


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

- Mountain Dew 250 Fueled By Fred’s
- Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, Alabama, USA
- www.nascar.com
- US TV: LIVE on SPEED at 3.30pm ET Saturday (not covered in UK)

Sports Car / Touring Car:


FIA WTCC

- Okayama
- Okayama, Japan
- www.fiawtcc.com
- with Asian LMS and FBMW Pacific
- Eurosport: Race 1 live on E1 at 4.30am Sunday // Race 2 live on E1 at 6.45am Sunday
Repeated during the day at more civilised times..

The penultimate rounds of the touring car series is held in Japan, last year Tom Coronel went very well here despite being an ‘independent’ runner against the factory teams – can he repeat that this year?


Asian Le Mans Series

- Okayama
- Okayama, Japan
- www.asian-lemans-series.com
- with WTCC and FBMW Pacific
- Eurosport 1 at 10.15am Saturday and 5.30am Sunday

This test event for Le Mans racing in the Asian market consists of two races over the weekend, I believe the winner of the event as a whole will be whoever wins the second race. It is effectively a 6hr race split in half. It isn’t a big field by LMS standards with only 22 cars, but still as big as the American LMS this year with the added appeal of each class winner gaining an entry to the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours.
If the event is successful it could be the precursor to a new series being developed to run alongside the LMS and ALMS in this part of the world – though you have to say the cancellation of the 2nd leg, due to be held at Shanghai next week, does not bode well. Still, I wish it success.

* * * *
Sources
FORIX (sub req.)
Live Sport on TV
RadioTimes.com
Series websites as mentioned
Autosport magazine

FIA Presidency

Jean Todt won the FIA Presidential Election.

I don’t like him. I don’t trust him. He made many fans’ lives a misery for years at Ferrari with his sniping and bending of the rules.

It sucks that a) he had the better ideas and manifesto, and b) won.
Such a shame Vatanen came over as just a bit too clueless.

We’ll wait and see if this new era brings us the promised changes or if he’ll ‘forget’. His first act appears to be to make Michael Schumacher his F1 Commissioner. I have no idea how true that is. Let’s hope not at all.

On the plus side… he’s gotta be better than Max.

Weekend Preview: 24-25 October 2009

Another ‘Finals’ weekend as a clutch of series will be ending their seasons or deciding their championships on Sunday. This is a quick edition as I am in a hurry.

Feature Events


FIM MotoGP

- Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix
- Sepang International Circuit
- Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- (16/17)
- www.motogp.com
- with 250cc, 125cc

The penultimate round of the series, can Rossi win the top prize again?

UK TV: LIVE on BBC ONE at 6.45am Sunday (repeated 12.45pm)

US TV: DELAYED on SPEED at 6pm ET Sunday.

Other Events

Single Seater:


World Series by Renault

- Spain
– Hockenheimring, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
www.worldseriesbyrenault.com
– Eurosport at 2pm and 10pm.
- Season finale

Stock Car:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

- Tums Fast Relief 500
- Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia, USA
- www.nascar.com
- UK TV: SKY SPORTS 3 at 5.30pm Sunday
- US TV: LIVE on ABC at 1pm ET Sunday


NASCAR Nationwide Series

- Kroger On Track For The Cure 250
- Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
- www.nascar.com
- US TV: LIVE on ESPN 2 at 3pm ET Saturday (not covered in UK)


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

- Kroger 200
- Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Virginia, USA
- www.nascar.com
- US TV: LIVE on ESPN 2 at 12.30pm ET Saturday (not covered in UK)

Sports Car / Touring Car:


DTM

- Hockenheim
- Hockenheimring, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
- www.dtm.com
- I can’t find UK TV c0verage, it should be on the website though.


V8 Supercar

- Surfers Paradise
– Surfers Paradise, Australia
www.v8supercar.com.au
This is the event A1GP should have been attending :-(

FIA GT

- Zolder
– Zolder, Belgium
www.fiagt.com
– Live on MotorsTV at 12pm
- Season finale


FIA Euro Touring Cup

- Braga, Portugal
www.fiaetcc.com
– Live on Eurosport at 12.45pm

This is the annual standalone event inviting S2000 touring car teams and drivers from various European national series to come and race against the entrants from the WTCC’s ‘Independent’ class (manufacturer teams are barred). Could be entertaining.

Rally:

WRC

- Wales Rally GB

The final round of the WRC is a straight fight between Loeb and Hirvonen for the title. Coverage and Eurosport with highlights on Dave.


Motorbikes:

World Superbike

- Portimao, Portugal

* * * *

That’s it from me this week, as I say, I’m in a rush so if you spot any errors or other races to add please drop a note in the comments!

* * * *
Sources
FORIX (sub req.)
Live Sport on TV
RadioTimes.com
Series websites as mentioned
Autosport magazine

Congratulations to Button and Brawn!

Congrulations to Jenson Button and the BrawnGP team for winning the F1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ World Championships today!

5th position with Barrichello delayed by a puncture and Vettel not making enough progress through the field was enough to secure both titles. Rubens was running 3rd at the time which wasn’t enough for him to keep the fight open until the finale, so while cruel to be denied in this way it was immaterial in the end.

Well done too to Mark Webber for his second win of the year.

Full race notes will be written and posted later in the week, I am in the middle of moving so it’ll have to wait a few days!

Weekend Preview: 17-18 October 2009

Various series the world over are coming to the end of their 2009 season and the weekends are becoming ever more sparse of racing, there are only a few short weeks until it stops completely, with seemingly only NASCAR continuing on into November, and of course Macau. In the meantime let’s enjoy the championships being decided!

Feature Events


FIA Formula 1 World Championship

- Formula 1 Grande Premio Petrobras do Brasil 2009
- Autodromo Carlos Pace
- Interlagos, São Paulo, Brazil
- (16/17)
- www.f1.com
-

And so to Interlagos! This should be the season finale, such a great venue, much like Silverstone the atmosphere bleeds through the TV screen and into your living room and there aren’t many venues you can say that about. Yes the facilities are dire, the place is falling to bits and the resurfaced track sort of emphasises it but we don’t care. Interlagos is a modern classic and what’s more, ANYTHING can happen there!

This is the penultimate round of the season and could be the championship decider and for those in Europe and the Americas it is at a really favourable time so you really have no excuses, you must watch this race.

Button leads Barrichello by 14 points and Vettel by 16 points, with 20 still on the table.

For Button to win the title, he must:
- Simply finish 3rd or better at this race regardless of what Barrichello and Vettel do. If JB finishes 3rd it puts him on 91pts which is the maximum score RB can achieve this season, and Jenson would win the tiebreak (most wins).

For Barrichello to win the title, he must:
- Score 1 x 1st and 1 x 4th or better from the last two races, and that’s assuming Button does not score in either race. Long shot.

For Vettel to win the title, he must:
- Win both races and hope the Brawns have terrible weekends! He can still do it – just as Kimi did in 2007 when he came from 17 down with two races to go to win the title.

UK TV: LIVE on BBC ONE from 4pm Sunday.

US TV: LIVE on SPEED from 11.30am ET Saturday.


FIM MotoGP

- Iveco Australian Grand Prix
- Phillip Island
- Victoria, Australia
- (15/17)
- www.motogp.com
- with 250cc, 125cc

UK TV: LIVE on BBC ONE at 5.45am Sunday (highlights 12pm, full-length repeats may be on Red Button before the F1?)

US TV: DELAYED on SPEED at 6pm ET Sunday.

Since the TV coverage utterly sucks because it is not live, listen in live to www.radiolemans.com at 10.45pm UK / 5.45pm ET US.

Other Events

Stock Car:

NASCAR Sprint Cup

- Bank of America 500
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- www.nascar.com
- UK TV: SKY SPORTS 2, Saturday night (Sunday morning) 12.30am
- US TV: LIVE on ABC, Saturday 7pm ET


NASCAR Nationwide Series

- Dollar General 300
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- www.nascar.com
- US TV: LIVE on ESPN 2, Saturday 7.30pm ET (not covered in UK)

Sports Car / Touring Car:


Super GT

- Autopolis, Japan

Other:

BRSCC Formula Ford Festival

- Formula Ford Festival
- Brands Hatch, Kent, England, UK

The long-running Festival remains the event all F.Fordsters want to win, and long may it be so. A host of ‘name’ drivers have won the Festival over the years on their way to stardom and it looks as though this year’s crop will be no exception with the likes of Newgarden and Cole certain to rise up the junior series ladder over the next few years with an eye on F1, or perhaps sportcars or IndyCars.

The main event is for the Duratec-engined cars but as always there is a support event for the Kent cars, and a return this year of a separate race for the Zetecs.
A final note – if you are reading this from the US, or are just interested in American talent outside of ovals, and want to keep up with the latest on Newgarden in the Duratecs and the Team USA Scholarship drivers in the Kent race, you’d do well to keep up with Junior Open Wheel Talent.


Euroseries 3000

- Monza, Italy


* * * *
Sources
FORIX (sub req.)
Live Sport on TV
RadioTimes.com
Series websites as mentioned
Autosport magazine

Weekend Preview: 10-11 October 2009

Feature Events

(quick version as it is very late!)


IRL IndyCar Series

- Firestone Indy 300
- Homestead-Miami Speedway
- Homestead, Florida, USA
- (17/17)
- www.indycar.com
- with Indy Lights and GrandAm

Season finale! Who will take it? Dixon, Briscoe or Franchitti?

UK TV: LIVE on SKY SPORTS 2 from 10pm Saturday, repeated at 7am and 4pm Sunday on SSX.

US TV: LIVE on VERSUS from 4pm ET Saturday.


American Le Mans Series

- Monterey Sports Car Championships
- Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
- California, USA
- (10/10)
- www.americanlemans.com
- with Atlantics

Another season finale!

UK TV: I have NO idea.

US TV: DELAYED on SPEED at 2.30pm Sunday.

Since the TV coverage utterly sucks because it is not live, listen in live to www.radiolemans.com at 10.45pm UK / 5.45pm ET US.

Other Events

Stock Car:


V8 Supercar

- Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
- Mount Panorama, Bathurst, Australia
- www.v8supercar.com.au
– UK TV: LIVE on MOTORSTV at 9PM SATURDAY


NASCAR Sprint Cup

- Pepsi 500
- Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California, USA
- www.nascar.com
- UK TV: SKY SPORTS XTRA, Sunday 10pm
- US TV: LIVE on ABC, Sunday 2.30pm ET


NASCAR Nationwide Series

- Copart 300
- Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, California, USA
- www.nascar.com
- US TV: LIVE on ESPN 2, Saturday 4pm ET (not covered in UK)

Sports Car / Touring Car:


DTM

- Dijon
- Dijon, France
- www.dtm.com
- UK TV: ESPN at 12.45 Sunday
- suppported by F3 Euroseries


Grand-am

- Homestead-Miami Speedway


* * * *
Sources
FORIX (sub req.)
Live Sport on TV
RadioTimes.com
Series websites as mentioned
Autosport magazine

Race Notes: Japanese Grand Prix 2009

2009 Formula 1 Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix
Date: 4 October 2009
Circuit: Suzuka International Racing Course
Location: Suzuka-shi, Mie-ken, Japan
(PitlaneFanatic) (GoogleCircuits)
Distance: 53 laps
Tyre choices (red): SS / S / M / H

Coverage: BBC One with BBC Radio 5 Live audio
Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)
Interviewers: Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

R5 commentary: David Croft (Crofty) and Anthony Davidson (Ant)
R5 interviewer: Holly Samos

Coverage begins at 5am UK time. I recorded the pre-race show and watched it back after the race, on race day I got to the TV at 5.58am just in time for the start. BBC pre-show is good, but not that good.

DVR Notes

Three races to go including this one. Button has a 15 point lead over Barrichello, that needs to become a 20 point lead to win the title today. Red Bull need to score 6 more than Brawn to stay in the Constructors’ hunt.

BBC guys essentially giving the Constructors’ title to Brawn already, even if they outscore Brawn here they have a lot to do over the next two races. Have to say I agree.

Fernando Alonso has joined Ferrari, here’s a word from him:

“Ferrari has dominated F1 for the last ten years. The most popular team in teh world, the most famous team in the world you become a legend when you drive that car, whatever the performance is it is very attractive to drive for Ferrari.”

Eddie though says McLaren are about to overtake Ferrari in the table and they need to up their game. DC says Kimi is now the key to the driver market, will he go to McLaren or take the money at Toyota?

Qualifying Report with Ted Kravitz
- Friday Practice was run in the wet so by they time they got to quali on Saturday, the drivers didn’t know what cars they had underneath them.
- Webber had an accident in Saturday practice, the repairs ruled him out of qualifying so he starts from pitlane.
- Accidents from several drivers, the worst of which was Glock heavily into the tyre barrier which rules him out of the race today. He should be back for Brazil.
- Buemi caused controversy by returning to the pits after a heavy crash instead of parking it, this meant yellow flags when several drivers set their personal best (and in some cases only) lap time. For this reason several drivers were moved back five places, including Buemi.
- Vettel and Trulli line up on the front row, Hamilton and Sutil took 3rd and 4th – until Sutil had to change a gearbox and was moved back 5 places.

Grid:
Vettel, Trulli
Hamilton, Heidfeld
Raikkonen, Barrichello
Rosberg, Sutil
Kubica, Button
Kovalainen, Alguersuari
Buemi, Fisichella
Nakajima, Alonso
Grosjean, Liuzzi

Pitlane: Webber
Not starting: Glock

Jake says there were so many penalties the final grid was not announced until 10am Sunday! Overnight he saw six potential grids from six teams.

Glock says he has a cut in his leg 5-10cm long. Says he can walk, not perfectly, and it makes no sense to drive. The mechanics have the car ready, he just can’t drive it. He says it was his misjudgement on the exit of the corner.
Good stuff from Timo, admitted his error and a real shame he can’t drive this race.
DC claims the medical helicopter landed at the wrong hospital though, it had to take off and go to another..

The Buemi accident – DC says it was totally unacceptable that he didn’t stop the car and get out of the way after his crash, and instead chose to spoil the laps of those still qualifying.

Obligatory Recorded Button Interview
Says he didn’t think of slowing down for the stewards, trots out some excuse that he didn’t know what would happen with cars behind if he’d slowed down. Well if everyone obeyed the flags they would have slowed down too.. he does have the point that four other drivers did not slow down so he would’ve been in danger, but that’s crap, they should always obey the yellows, they are there for a reason.
Says for the championship the next two circuits suit their car more than this one so it is looking good for him. For this race though he’s got cars ahead which are heavier on fuel so he’s not sure how that’ll turn out, says it’ll be a fun race.

Back to the pitlane. Ross Brawn appears. He says the team will take this race as it comes. [Very philosophical because they know Red Bull has a car advantage here].
Eddie tell Ross he wants a promise: If Brawn wins this race he wants a rendition of ‘My Way’ in the karaoke club tonight – Ross agrees!
Ross says they’re fortunate that Webber had his accident and it takes pressure off them, ‘we don’t need a huge number of points here’.

Lee has recorded a piece with Vettel.
He’s talking us through his pole lap. Says the car is ‘a bit more lazy’ with race fuel onboard. This is the “5th gear through here, turn right here” sort of thing.
Lee says he has a good strike rate of converting poles to wins, but he says he doesn’t care about statistics. #SorryGavin
He’s looking back to 2007 when Kimi was 17 points down with 20 on the table, two races to go, and Kimi still won the title.

DC walking around the merchandise area! This weekend you can buy Jenson Button themed cushions and Jenson Button themed cookies.. okaaay..

Gridwalk with Martin Brundle

Vettel, P1: “Jarno is next to us [and Lewis behind], the run to turn one is not that long. We should be alright against both of them.”

Hamilton, P3: “I’m racing for the team, want to get the result. We’re in a good spot, there’s a lot of road before turn one so hopefully on the clean side I’ll get a good start. I was looking at the replays of the last few years and the outside of turn one doesn’t look a good place to be, so go for the inside.”
[Odd that he says there's a lot of road and Sebastian says there isn't.. a clue to their mindset?]

Heidfeld, P4: “So far so good, luckily I did lift in qualifying and others didn’t so they got penalties and I didn’t. I’d like more top speed, we’re slowest in the ranking because our 7th gear is too short.”
Martin: That’s ‘ranking’, everyone, make sure you get that right. [Heidy has a lisp]

Quick stop at Ferrari to get a good look at it while no-one is around, Martin says the cars are starting to look more like they were last year with all the aero developments being added.

Martin points up to his commentary box which is a ten minute walk from the grid so he has to get out of here, quick time for one more person..

Andy Shovelin, Button’s engineer: “Gonna be a difficult start, if we get off the line well we can do something in the race, definitely a tough afternoon. We think we’ve got a speed advantage in a straight line. He’s always relaxed on race day, that doesn’t worry him too much.”

Japanese National Anthem

Track guide with Martin and Rubens Barrichello. Rubinho says this place is special, along with Spa it is one of the top two circuits F1 visits. 130R is easier than it used to be, the entry is the same ‘wow’ as before but they’ve widened the exit. Keep off the astroturf all around the track, it slows you down.

Ted Kravitz says Sutil will be the first to pit, lap 14. Race win contenders on laps 17 or 18, with a long stint of 28 laps for Kubica.

Eddie, pick a winner: Trulli. [interesting choice, outside chance, could do it]
David, the title? Brawn will get the Constructors’ but not Drivers’. [I agree]

Live Notes

Formation Lap. 53 lap race.

1.2.3.4.5..Go!

Awesome stuff on the first lap, very fast and frantic and yet everyone is through! Amazing. I swear the cars look 2x faster here than at the likes of Bahrain or Shanghai.
Buemi very slow away at the back.

L1 (Lap 1 completed) – Vettel leads Hamilton, Trulli, Heidfeld, Kimi, Rubens, Sutil, Rosberg, Kovy, Kubica, Button.

Alonso passes Liuzzi. Webber pits despite starting from last, he’s changing from soft to hard tyres.

L3 – Webber pits again, his headrest has come loose and he goes a lap down while they try to fix it.

L4 – Lots of replays. Jenson passes Kubica! 10th.

Fuji TV directing this race, not FOM as per usual, so we’re getting a very odd choice of camera shots.

L6 – Webber pits again, guess this is now a test session for him.

L8 – Vettel is 3.3sec up on Hamilton, then a 1.9sec gap to Trulli and 3.1 to Heidfeld.

L9 – Vettel gets another half second up.

L12 – Button’s radio: Kubica is still a threat behind.
I can’t hear JB’s response. Something about Sutil.

L14 – Sutil vs Kovalainen – SPIN! Adrian spins around, Heikki runs wide and Button passes the pair of them for 8th and one point!

L15 – Buemi retired for some reason. He’s with Holly:
“We had a problem on the start with the clutch, and it finally failed.”

L16 – Hamilton pits and takes the harder tyre.
Sutil also pits from 12th.

L17 – Trulli is in, he’s out between Hamilton and Button.

L18 – Button pits and takes the harder tyre. Out in clear air. Fisichella also in.

L19 – Vettel pits from the lead, he’s taking hards as well. Barrichello, Heidfeld, Raikkonen also in.
Webber has picked up a penalty for ‘unsafe release from the pits’. Not his day.

L20 – Not a stellar race so far.. for Suzuka I’m disappointed, this race usually has drama – maybe we used it up yesterday. Most of the racing was on the first lap.

L21 – ALG complains about Rubens holding him up. Davidson, 5Live: “Well PASS HIM THEN!”

L22 – Rosberg pits, was running just behind Vettel and drops down to 9th.

L25 – Lewis radio.”OK Lewis, you need a 3 second gap to Trulli.”
“OK Lewis..” his engineer always starts like that. “OK Lewis, an anvil is going to be dropped on your head at turn 4, turn 4.”
Kovalainen pits.

Strategy races. Meh. Wonder if we’ll be clamouring for them back next year when refuelling is banned, just so fuel stops give us a break.

L29 – Groskjean runs wide at Spoon Curve. Loses a place.

L31 – Vettel sets fastest lap on lap 30. Alonso was very heavy on fuel, he’s the only one yet to stop.

L32 – Liuzzi passes Nakajima! Front straight. Kaz tries to run him off the road or into the wall by swerving over, Tonio’s having none of it, love it Tonio – we like Tonio.

L33 – Fastest Lap from Raikkonen in 5th. Catching Heidfeld quickly.

L36 – Raikkonen pits from 5th and is out in 8th.
L37 – Heidfeld in…and out, Raikkonen beats him! They made that work. Nick is out in front of his team-mate and holds him up massively.

L38 – Hamilton pits.
L39 – Kubica tries to pass Heidfeld at Spoon! Can’t do it, loses time but by the chicane he’s caught him again.
L40 – Trulli pits, quick stop, he’s beaten Hamilton!

Fisichella and Kovalainen pit, Fisi beats him on strategy but Heikki pushes his way through in turn 1 – Fisi was caught sleeping by a Finn at turn 1 at Suzuka… I’ve heard that before somewhere.

L41 – Vettel pits from the lead, slight problem on the right front but he’s so far ahead it doesn’t matter.

L42 – Kubica pits. Wonder how much time he lost behind Heidfeld.
Of the current frontrunners, Barrichello and Rosberg have yet to stop.

Oddly, this race hasn’t been great yet it seems to have gone by very quickly. Only 10 to go.

L43 – Barrichello pits and is out ahead of Button! Change of running order for the team-mates. Title-deciding?

L45 – big accident for Alguersuari. SAFETY CAR
Spin at 130R. Radio – he says he’s fine.
Rosberg pitted and is out ahead of the Brawns, he did that because the Brawns were running slow under yellow before everyone caught the Safety Car.

Hamilton is reporting a KERS issue just like in Singapore. He got it cleared then, can he now?

Replay: Alguersuari took the inside of 130R and got on the grass, through the advertising hoarding and on to the gravel – the gravel sends him into the tyre barrier.

Longish hold while he is recovered in the ambulance and the barrier is fixed.

L50 – Restart. Seems nobody made a move.. until the chicane at the end of the lap, Button takes a look, not close enough. Kubica too. Nah.

L51 – Kubica very good on braking, looking to pass Button.

Webber gets fastest lap… in last after 5 pit stops..

Last Lap

Kubica trying.. nope.

VETTEL WINS!
Lights to flag, flawless run.
Trulli 2nd, Hamilton 3rd.

Title fight? Barrichello 7th and Button 8th. Jenson made up a lot of places but Rubens fell back, not sure why, but he still got a point nearer to Button – not sure it will be enough. Vettel took a nice chunk of points out of the pair of them.

Parc Ferme
Podium
Anthems
Champagne!

Query over Rosberg’s position – BrawnGP say Nico went too quickly on his in-lap for his second pit stop, when he stopped under the Safety Car. On the lap they catch the SC they have to hit a computer-generated lap time readout on their dashboard for safety reasons and Brawn say he failed to do so, and was too quick.

Conference

Vettel, P1:

“What a race. With pole position and strategy-wise we were the favourites but first of all we have to do the start. We were pretty confident, we’ve had good starts in the past, it was closer than I thought it would be in turn one, all of a sudden I saw a Silver Arrow on the inside. I tried to push every lap, the car was fantastic. With strategy we were 2 laps longer than Lewis in the first stint. It was pretty much in control until the soft tyres in the last stint, I was taking care of my tyres apart from the fastest lap. Finally we made it, the last couple of races were a little bit up and down. Good to be back in 1st position.”

Trulli, P2:

“I knew the start would be the hot spot of the race and most difficult, Hamilton is strong on the start with KERS, this time the car pulled away pretty well but obviously came by. From then it was fantastic, qualifying laps with Lewis, closing the gap and pushing again. After the first stop again chasing closely, I was really enjoyed it because the car was strong. Eventually thanks to the strategy we got him at the last pit stop. Really happy.”

Hamilton, P3:

“We had a great race, tried to get both of them at the start but they both got a really good start which is not always the case. Sebastian drove a good race and pulled away into the distance, Jarno and I were battling with our times, after our first stop I lost KERS. I had to have a 3 second gap before our last stop and I lost half a second or something, good job by these two and we’ll battle until the last race.”

Vettel:

“Tactic was to get a good start, after that look right look left, quickly I noticed I had a decent start so I stayed in the middle. Fortunately apart from that I didn’t have wheel-to-wheel racing this race. The speed of the car was fantastic, this circuit is unbelievable. I really enjoyed myself today.”

Race Result

Driver Gap Pts
1 Vettel 53 laps 10
2 Trulli 4.8sec 8
3 Hamilton 6.4sec 6
4 Räikkönen 7.9sec 5
5 Rosberg 8.7sec 4
6 Heidfeld 9.5sec 3
7 Barrichello 10.6sec 2
8 Button 11.4sec 1
9 Kubica 11.7sec
10 Alonso 13.0sec
11 Kovalainen 13.7sec
12 Fisichella 14.5sec
13 Sutil 14.9sec
14 Liuzzi 15.7sec
15 Nakajima 17.9sec
16 Grosjean 1 lap
17 Webber 2 laps
DNF Alguersuari Accident
DNF Buemi Clutch
DNS Glock Accident

There was a query on Rosberg’s position – but after the race it was confirmed he would not receive a penalty because his dashboard showed a low-fuel warning rather than his lap time delta for the SC period, this was a fault with the common ECU everyone uses and so not the fault of Williams or Rosberg.

Drivers’ Championship

Driver Prev JPN Total
1 Button 84 1 85
2 Barrichello 69 2 71
3 Vettel 59 10 69
4 Webber 51.5 51.5
5 Räikkönen 40 5 45
6 Hamilton 37 6 43
7 Rosberg 30.5 4 34.5
8 Alonso 26 26
9 Glock 24 24
10 Trulli 22.5 8 30.5
11 Massa 22 22
12 Kovalainen 22 22
13 Heidfeld 12 3 15
14 Kubica 9 9
15 Fisichella 8 8
16 Sutil 5 5
17 Buemi 3 3
18 Bourdais 2 2

Vettel closes in! Can he pull a Raikkonen and fight his way back into contention? Rubens could still take it too, but the odds are still in Button’s favour.

Constructors’ Championship

Constructor Prev JPN Total
1 Brawn 153 3 156
2 Red Bull 110.5 10 120.5
3 Ferrari 62 5 67
4 McLaren 59 6 65
5 Toyota 46.5 8 54.5
6 Williams 30.5 4 34.5
7 Renault 26 26
8 BMW 21 3 24
9 Force India 13 13
10 Toro Rosso 5 5

All over bar the formalities, Brawn are 35.5pts ahead of Red Bull with only 36 available. This title should be won in Brazil. Keep an eye on Ferrari vs McLaren though, just two points in it for 3rd and the resultant extra squillions in TV money next season!

Next Event

The next race is the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, Sao Paulo on 18th October – the penultimate round. As it is Brazil it is an evening race for us in the UK, 5pm start (4pm-ish on TV) which is a great time for a title decider- and remember Interlagos, where ANYTHING can happen.

That’s it from Japan. I am moving house during the week of the 12th and it might run into Brazil weekend, if my internet is restored in time I’ll be live-tweeting and live-commenting the race as usual with blog notes appearing later in the week.

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