2016 Motorsport Calendars

2016’s calendars are now available!

Each year I produce motorsport calendars for use within Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and many other apps.

I have now added as many 2016 motorsport dates as I can find and they are available to use!

Just go to:   www.toomuchracing.com/calendar

There are a few notes on my methodology followed by a table showing each racing series:  F1, MotoGP, IndyCar, WEC, IMSA, NASCAR, WTCC, BTCC, DTM and many more. Just click the links on the right hand side of the table.

There are a couple of options, try each to find the one that works the way you want it.

If you subscribed to these feeds in 2015, or before, and have not removed them, you do not need to add them again. Just scroll forwards and the dates will be there. This obviously doesn’t apply if you took it as a download!

Thanks everybody for your continued support of this project. Do keep pointing out errors and omissions. And share with anybody who may be interested!

This Blog

A quick note on the blog:  I apologise for not posting more frequently. The last couple of years have been quite tiring. I keep meaning to return with lots of small posts and observations rather than the occasional long-read. I do miss the long posts as well.

I’m also considering a Facebook page. On Twitter I share or retweet lots of stories I think are interesting or funny and it might be useful to have a place on FB to do the same. Let me know your thoughts.

2012 Race Schedules

For the last two seasons I’ve created race schedules for use in Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook and any other compatible diary system. 2012 is no exception and I can now announce the calendars for the year ahead are now, mostly, complete!

IWTMR Motorsport Calendar for May 2012 (click for Large)

If you want to track some of your favourite series and events, just load your selection of racing categories into your calendar so that you can make plans to watch live or set the DVR – and hopefully never miss another race!

Please go to the Calendar page for futher details and updates.

I’m Watching… #5

I watch too much racing. What have I been watching over the last three weeks?

Before I answer that I’d like to note that I missed this blog’s 2nd birthday (or ‘blogaversary’) on August 5th, I’m very surprised I missed it as last year I had a birthday logo and everything. Thanks to everyone for your continued support and I hope you’re enjoying the blog. I’d also like to wish a happy 4th blogaversary to Alianora La Canta – apologies for not offering a question this year and I’ll make up for it on the 5th blogaversary!

Here are the races I watched between July 21st and August 6th – I’ll cover last week’s live races next time.

Formula 1 – German GP 2010 *live on BBC1*

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=F1+Germany&iid=9426344″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9426344/2010-german-alonso-wins/2010-german-alonso-wins.jpg?size=500&imageId=9426344″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

I thought Ferrari were good now. I thought now the Evil Axis of Todt/Brawn/Schumacher had moved on, the ‘New Ferrari’ of Domenicali & friends were all happy and smiley and open and ready to race fairly with the respect of their peers. Hah! Yeah right, how naïve of me. I’ve pictured the result as it should’ve been..

Aside from the team orders, the race was essentially decided on the first corner when Vettel tried to squeeze Alonso against the wall after a bad start, but turned it into a big push to the right and narrowly avoided collision. The delay to both allowed Massa into the lead. This race showed that Ferrari’s pace has improved significantly and they are now a factor for race wins, they managed to hold off the previously-dominant Red Bulls with apparent ease. Hamilton and Button finished well too, they haven’t been quite as fast all the time but they’ve posted good results all year.

Formula 1 – Hungarian GP 2010 *live on BBC1*

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=F1+Hungary&iid=9481764″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9481764/2010-rd12-hungarian-webber/2010-rd12-hungarian-webber.jpg?size=500&imageId=9481764″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

I was at my Mum’s for this one, which was quite embarrassing because it was a crap race. When I watch with people who never usually see racing I want it to be a good one to show the sport in a good light – when they ask why I watch it I can point at the screen. Why did it have to be Hungary? Of course this meant I was without access to my usual online accoutrements for watching F1 in particular, and live racing in general. I’m referring to things like Tweetdeck, the Sidepodcast live comments, the F1.com live timing and the BBC’s live tracker which shows the position of each car in real time.

Webber’s strategy saw him stay out during the Safety Car period when many had pitted, and he put in a dominant performance to build a gap on the field. He was aided by Vettel’s strange behaviour behind the SC attracting a penalty, you have to wonder how close Seb would’ve run him but to me it seemed Mark had stepped up a gear that day and once he was ahead he was untouchable.

I reckon Mark is ‘doing a Jenson’ – that is, he’s been getting better as a driver for years in midfield cars almost unnoticed by many people, and now he’s able to exploit a good car to make a run for the title at the expense of a perhaps more-fancied team-mate. Jenson did it to Rubens, Mark looks like he’s starting to do it to Sebastian. Good on him, he’s got my backing.

I think the points battles and the drama and incidents mid-race are more interesting than the actual racing competition at the moment, though you can argue F1 has always been that way. It certainly is a tight points battle in both contests – remember in the winter when everyone said the Constructors’ fight would be settled by July? It could still go any of three ways!

Very little else happened in the race, the only other thing of note was Michael Schumacher attempting to kill Rubens Barrichello and the team personnel and marshalls stationed on the pitwall. Michael on very worn medium tyres was travelling several seconds per lap slower than a charging Rubens, who was on a fairly new set of soft tyres and trying to make up for ground lost with what turned out to be a poor strategy. Given the blood between them you can appreciate Rubens wasn’t going to back down – a facet I love about the modern Rubens, he’s still the same warm gentle guy but in a racing car against Schumacher he’ll keep his foot in to the last. Needless to say, Schumacher swerved violently to the right just as Barrichello was passing him on that side. Bully-boy tactics that have scared off many in the past, Rubens has had enough of the man and he wasn’t passing up the opportunity of having a superior car than Mikey. Rubens kept his foot down, moving to the pit exit rather than backing off, and was heading for the grass effectively saying to Michael, “if you don’t give me room I’m going to have an accident”. Michael backed off and gave him the room. Score one to Rubens. You can bet those old demons have been slain once and for all, and Michael now has that marker against him. That it was done in a Williams made it all the sweeter, for me at least and I believe many others (not least Sir Frank).

IndyCar Series – Edmonton *live on IndyCar.com*

One of the most uneventful races of the entire IndyCar year, or even the entire racing year. I am struggling to think of anything noteworthy that happened prior to the controversial incidents of the final laps, perhaps I should take notes!

On the final restart of the race just a few laps from the end – and I must say, this Safety Car for debris seemed like a ‘phantom yellow’ to bunch up the scattered field for the finish, we certainly weren’t shown any debris on the web feed – as the field took the green flag Helio Castroneves took the defensive inside line into the first corner, while most of the rest of the pack took the normal racing line on the outside (if not all of the pack – I can’t recall if someone lower in the order jinked out). All fine and dandy in every series on the planet, the leader has the choice of where to place his car and as long as he’s not weaving across the track, changing line or chopping across the nose of the guy behind he is entitled to do so. This is no longer the case if you’re in IndyCar. Helio was given a penalty for blocking, which he either refused to serve or didn’t have to time to do so while the point was being argued.

It later transpired that the officials draw an imaginary line through each corner and if you deviate from the racing line, you are deemed to be blocking. You’re only allowed to do it if you’re attempting a pass on the driver ahead. Absolutely crazy. It basically moves the leader to one side and waves the 2nd-placed car through. It prevents the chasing driver from trying to force the leader into an outbraking error, forcing him to go wide on the exit and then executing the classic switchback to take the lead. That’s one of the classic hallmark moves of racing and it is now banned in IndyCar. Just as the series looks like it is building solid foundations for the future, it goes and pulls a stunt like this. Instant loss of credibility.

MotoGP – Sachsenring 2010 *live on BBC2*

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=MotoGp+Germany&iid=9374412″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9374412/motogp-germany-race/motogp-germany-race.jpg?size=500&imageId=9374412″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]

Aside from a large accident involving Randy de Puniet I don’t remember much about this one either. Randy made an error in practice/qualifying, got patched up and started the race anyway, as these crazy motorbike riders like to do. The risk is that you crash again and make it worse. Randy crashed again – big time. Cue a red flag while he was recovered, hopefully he’ll get well again in time. This being several weeks ago now, he may well be already well on the way.

One thing I do remember is a damaged and recovering Valentino Rossi basically doing the same thing as Randy, in danger of crashing and making it worse – yet after initially falling behind the pace he somehow managed to catch and race hard a perfectly healthy Casey Stoner who was giving it the full beans. The two traded places for a few laps before Stoner came off best, but with those injuries Rossi should’ve been higher than 8th (in this depleted field) if he should’ve been riding at all. Dani Pedrosa won the race.

MotoGP – Laguna Seca 2010 *live on BBC2*

A couple of years ago this venue, Stoner and Rossi fought another epic battle and hopes were high of something similar, if not involving those two then perhaps Pedrosa and Lorenzo. It was not to be. Pedrosa led comfortably until he crashed, which left Lorenzo to take a relatively straightforward win from Stoner. There were a string of bikes up next and these swapped places but for some reason my attention was lost. Rossi won that battle and took the final podium spot. Lorenzo leads the points by a quite ridiculous margin.

GP2 Series – Istanbul Park 2009

I’m so far behind on GP2 it’s not funny. Okay, maybe it is.. I’d recently set the goal of at least completing the 2009  season before I saw the 2010 series for real at Spa at the end of the month, but it looks like I’m not going to achieve that aim.

The Feature race had a fair amount of action, there was a great moment when race leader Nico Hulkenberg was challenged by Luca Fillipi at the final sequence of corners, only for the pair to run wide and Vitaly Petrov drove around the pair of them. Meanwhile Andi Zuber took 3rd in the process – Petrov took saw it coming a mile off and took a wide line into the corner. Quite a lot of attrition in this race for some reason.

It’s funny watching a junior series when the participants are in F1 now.. Petrov ran Parente off the road briefly, and Chandhok had a very slow start from 5th to fall to the back where he set about running a string of fastest laps. Hulkenberg put a superb move on Villa near the end, really well executed – thought of course Nico had only dropped back due to a problem in the pits. A dominant performance from Petrov once he’d got in front.

The Sprint race started in complete madness with cars dicing everywhere on lap one, contact and spins in turn 1 and elsewhere, Chandhok’s car failed to start properly again, and Grosjean moving from 26th to 12th in two laps. Crazy stuff! Settled down somewhat after that until Grosjean and Nunes got into a battle for 11th, and Parente caught Mortara for 9th. Neither managed to make the pass though.

Thursday Thoughts: Young Drivers

This week’s Thursday Thoughts question comes from RG of The Northern Waffler, who asks:

Which young driver, who is currently not in Formula 1, would you like to see in the series in the next few seasons?

This is a great question. When I’m asked about drivers who should be in F1, the default position is to look straight at GP2 – and if this had been asked three months ago it would have been a case of “well, pick one of these” from Lucas di Grassi, Nico Hülkenberg and Kamui Kobayashi (and he only on the strength of those stand-in drives at Toyota, his GP2 career was not great). Now each of those has been signed, to Virgin, Williams and Sauber respectively! So who’s left?

Frankly the remainder of the GP2 pack hasn’t yet impressed me enough, though I grant you I hadn’t kept up with GP2 very well in 2009. Paster Maldonado is fast and furious yet has apparently calmed down a bit, could he now be ready? What of Jerome D’Ambrosio and Giedo Van Der Garde? I like both of them and I would really like to see them in F1. Romain Grosjean was fantastic in GP2 but hopeless at Renault, does he deserve another shot in a different environment?

This question can’t pass without a nod to the oft-discussed Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta, the Brits seemingly having lost their deserved F1 opportunities to an era when test drivers were ample and race drives were few. With the situation reversed they seem to have been passed over for drivers behind them on the escalator. The same could be said of Adam Carroll. I’d love to see Adam in a Formula 1 car. I think these are probably too old to be considered ‘young’ drivers now, but they should be there.

I was going to go for Ryan Hunter-Reay. The man is fast on the IndyCar road courses and is the perfect fit for F1 in terms of speed and image, and he should be in a McLaren or a MercedesGP (but not a USF1.. yet). Unfortunately at age 29, for the purposes of this question he is too old (as are some of the other names above).

Then there are the Red Bull proteges Daniel Ricciardo and Jules Bianchi, both are hotly tipped and I’d be very surprised if they didn’t make it to F1 eventually, Brendon Hartley could be another. I think they are a while away yet though and to be fair I don’t know enough about them.

So who do I pick?

After a lot of deliberating I’m going to go for Vitaly Petrov. I’ve been watching him for a while and I think it would be very interesting to see him in a Formula 1 race. He finished 2nd in the GP2 points last year and has scored some wins over the last couple of years, and while he may not be the out-and-out fastest driver around he is a fighter, and I do like to see a fighting racing driver – that’s something that seems to have been missing lately in F1 aside from Hamilton (no I’m not saying he’s as good as Lewis), look at Vettel who is a great lap-time driver yet seems to have an aversion to overtaking anybody. I think Vitaly is your classic underdog and I always love to root for that kind of driver, even if it rarely pays off.

Of course I could be proven wrong when I eventually get around to watching last year’s GP2..

2010 Race Calendar

During the 2009 season I thought it would be a great idea to create a race schedule in Google Calendar featuring different racing series. I was busy with accounts studies at the time and I never got around to taking it further. Early last month I decided it was worth exploring so I set up a trial with F1 and IndyCar dates. I’d add more later if I decided it looked okay. Again I let it drop when other things got in the way.

Christine from Sidepodcast recently created a calendar highlighting F1 events and the SPC / F1 Minute podcast schedules and she did a great job, enough to inspire me to get on and finish my idea.

Here it is!

(note – WordPress doesn’t allow the iFrame code that makes the embed work so I have had to leave it out for now)

My schedule includes F1, F2, GP2, IndyCar, Le Mans 24hr, ALMS, LMS, MotoGP, WRC, IRC and WTCC. I’ve also put in Dakar, Goodwood and a couple of other things. I’ll add NASCAR Sprint Cup and DTM soon – there are categories already so if you add them the events will hopefully appear in your calendar automatically.

Christine’s calendar is F1-specific and it includes Free Practice, pre-season testing and car launches. My calendar includes none of these things, only qualifying and race. I highly recommend adding Christine’s F1 calendar if you would like this extra information.

Click the “+GoogleCalendar” button to add to your own Google Calendar account. I have split events by race series so you can just pick the ones you want. I think there is a way to get them into iCal and other systems, though I don’t know how.

The calendar is set to UK time because that’s where I am and that’s most useful to me. I’m not sure but I believe when you import it, it will adjust it to your own default timezone. Have a play with it and see.

Race start times are estimates apart from F1 and Le Mans. This information is surprisingly hard to find. E.g. IndyCar.com only lists TV start times, not race starts. Many sites only give the dates and I’ve had to improvise. Then there’s the issue of timezones which I may have got wrong. I plan to make each forthcoming weekend as accurate as I can, beyond that just use this as a guide.

I’ve included qualifying for F1, Le Mans 24Hrs and IndyCar (times estimated). I don’t intend to include any more qualifying.

I hope you find this useful and please let me know if there is anything you would like to add. If the demand is there and I think it warrants adding, I’ll do so. I’m already considering Indy Lights.

As you can see I’ve also added a list version to the sidebar. When I create the new site I will have a version similar to the one above on its own page.

EDIT – WordPress does not allow embeds so I have linked them on the sidebar. This means you can pick and choose the series you are interested in! I’ve also since created calendars for Indy Lights and GrandAm.

Race Review: GP2 Asia Sepang ’09

GP2 Asia Series 2008/09
Sepang, Malaysia
Held: 4&5 April 09
Commentary: Martin Haven & Gareth Rees

Continuing my Race Review catch up series, this was the primary support event to the Malaysian GP and is the penultimate round of the series.

Points coming in:

Kobayashi 39
Valsecchi 29
Hülkenberg 27
Perez 25
D’Ambrosio 23

Feature Race – 33 laps
(the Sprint Race is noted below)

Qualifying:
1. D’Ambrosio (DAMS)
2. Nunes (Piquet GP)
3. Jakes (Super Nova)
4. Kobayashi (DAMS)
5. Villa (Super Nova)
6. Petrov (Campos)

The top 22 are covered by under 1 second, which the guys say is a surprise, and as Gareth says “this isn’t Mallory Park this is a proper Grand Prix circuit”.

Drama as the coverage begins as D’Ambrosio has NOT taken his pole position! His car broke down on the warm-up lap and he had to pit, he won’t take the start, could rejoin later but will be many laps down.

The other omission is Nico Hülkenberg who is not racing this weekend, Pastor Maldonado has reclaimed the seat.

START

Several slow starts and the cars fan out wide, Villa stalls it from 5th on the grid. Lots of bumping and contact through that twiddly bit at the start of the lap.

Lots of side-by-side action throughout the first lap, but Mortara is out on lap one.
Nunes leads Petrov, Kobayashi and Maldonado.

32 to go – Parente passes..someone. Hard to tell. These liveries aren’t easy to ID.

30 – Perez started 18th but is already up to 10th.

27 – Nunes leads, in 2nd and 3rd Petrov and Kobayashi are all over each other!

26 – Early pit stop for Kobayashi. He was sort of caught behind Petrov.
Ooh, Petrov runs VERY wide and allows Jakes into 2nd place.

25 – Maldonado pushing hard runs wide, scoots across the grasscrete or whatever it is, rejoins with dirty tyres and some positions down. Gareth: “Typical Pastor”. The guys say he’s a charming chap but he’s a rough diamond.

Nice move by Yelmer Buurman on Vitaly Petrov, who is really struggling to get his car stopped yet still made Buurman work for it.

23 – Petrov loses another place as someone drafts him down the back straight, so he dives into the pits for new rear tyres.
Slow car on track: Razia crawling in 1st or maybe even coasting.

22 – Maldonado pits.. he’s got damage on the nose. He’s out in 15th with more yet to stop.

Shots of F1 personnel on the pit stand watching the race, including Nelson Piquet Jr and Felipe Massa. Remember this race happened shortly after F1 qualifying. Parente takes Gonzalez, who then pits..

20 – Nunes pits from the lead, as does Valsecchi who has a very slow stop with a sticking right rear.

19 – Perez has stopped in the pit entry, nearly blocking it. Dark clouds are approaching!
Perez has been pushed to his pit – replay and it looks like his radiator has been holed.

17 – Jakes is pushing Kobayashi for what will end up as 2nd after the pitstops.

15 – Al-Fardan finally makes his stop, the last to do so.

8 – Jakes is still close behind Kobayashi but can’t seem to do anything about it.

7 – Maldonado smokes his tyres in an attempt to pass Petrov, can’t make it by at the hairpin, tries it again at turn one and still can’t do it! Couple of flat-spots on those tyres now, Valsecchi watching on.

4 – Discussion on the merits of KERS and how GP2 could have it if F1 develops it to be cheap enough. Hmm, hindsight.. 🙂

3 – Maldonado makes an error and allows Parente to draw alongside, both have patience and Parente takes the position. Comment from Gareth that the Maldonado of old would’ve taken Parente out there and then.

2 – Maldonado and Valsecchi are close together as they lap a backmarker, both are just a little behind Petrov.

Diego Nunes wins!

Result:
1 Nunes (PiquetGP) 33 laps
2 Kobayashi (DAMS) +8.36s
3 Jakes (Super Nova) +9.15s
4 Rodriguez (PiquetGP) +13.87s
5 Buurman (Ocean) +16.81s
6 Petrov (Campos) +41.46s

Summary:
Pretty flat end to the race. Lots of drivers in little close groups but not seemingly able to do anything to make a pass. Good job from Nunes and Jakes, complete change of fortunes over previous form, well done. Amazingly, Al-Fardan came 9th after looking utterly hopeless back in Qatar.

Sprint Race – 22 laps

It is wet for Sunday’s race, which was held a couple of hours before the F1 race. As ever the grid is the result of the Feature with the top 8 reversed.

1 Valsecchi
2 Maldonado
3 Petrov
4 Buurman
5 Rodriguez
6 Jakes

As it turns out this race has been delayed by 30 minutes by the wet conditions and we will have a Safety Car start (and no formation lap).

START

Yamamoto has stalled at the start and so has one of the FMS cars, could be Chen. Both cars are pushed into the pitlane. Yamamoto gets fired but stops at the end of pitlane, while they are taking the engine cover off Chen’s car. I’m not sure why Yamamoto stopped, he has a green light which now turns red as the field comes by behind the SC to complete lap 1.

18 to go – Safety Car is in, green flag!
Contact on the last corner between Maldonado and Valsecchi.

A couple of spinners at turn two including James Jakes – that’s a shame after his race 1 run.

No rain but the track is very wet, the cars are kicking up spray so it is hard to see who is close behind someone.

17 – Maldonado tries several times and makes it by Valsecchi, Petrov’s coming with him. Meanwhile Buurman runs wide and loses a couple of places. I was doing the same at that corner on the Wii last night..

16 – Kobayashi brakes far too late and runs into the wide runoff at turn one, loses a position.

15 – Maldonado leads, followed by Petrov, Valsecchi, Nunes, Al Fardan, Buurman, Parente and Gonzalez. Kobayashi is 11th, D’Ambrosio 17th.

12 – The DPR cars are off course and out of the race.

Nice dive from Petrov at the final corner to pass Maldonado for the lead! Interesting to see Petrov is quite a bit faster today, relative the rest of the field.

11 – Petrov, Maldonado, Valsecchi, Nunes, Al Fardan, Gonzalez, Kobayashi, Buurman. Points only go to the top 6 in the Sprint though.

Petrov just set the fastest lap of the race. Apparently Jakes got the point for FL yesterday (Villa was faster, Jakes was fastest of the top ten finishers, a rule to prevent pitting for tyres and going for a time).

Replay of D’Ambrosio running off track into an area where several marshalls and a tractor were working on two cars already – dangerous stuff, he should’ve backed off under yellow and he didn’t. Commentary guys are saying he should get a penalty, I agree.

9 – Rodriguez off course, too much speed and into the gravel. I think he recovers eventually.
Pics of Razia walking back to the pits.

The track is drying now and there’s not much spray. Due to the Safety Car start and the wet conditions this is now a timed race and there are 11 minutes to go.

D’Ambrosio does indeed get a black flag, hooray for the stewards! Replay again, the car in front checks up and Jerome just drives by and off course. He pits and shuts down the engine – looks like a straight black flag and not a time penalty!

8mins – Replay of Al Fardan running wide at turn one, same way Rodriguez did.

Perez vs Gonzalez – Perez makes the pass through turns 1 and 2 but loses out at the switchback, he makes it stick a few corners later.

5mins – Nunes sets Fastest Lap. The guys are talking about setups, some of those who have gone for dry or intermediate setups should be getting faster than the guys with wet setups now.

2m30s – Parente is now fastest. Kobayashi is pressuring Al Fardan for 4th, he’s closed up but doesn’t seem to be able to make the move.

The clock hits zero, last lap.

Vitaly Petrov wins!

Kobayashi and Perez cross the line side-by-side!! Who got it? How did Perez get up to Kobayashi?
Replays: Perez gets the position by half a nose! Fantastic, and it was the final points place as well..

Result:
1 Petrov (Campos) 22 laps
2 Maldonado (ART) +2.91s
3 Valsecchi (Durango) +4.34s
4 Nunes (Piquet GP) +6.36s
5 Al Fardan (iSport) +21.54s
6 Perez (Campos) +24.49s

Summary:
A drying race track saw some desparate moves, some worked and some didn’t and it was fun to watch both those and the struggles to control the cars on the slippery surface.

POINTS:
1 Kobayashi 47
2 Valsecchi 34
3 Petrov 28
4 Hulkenberg 27
5 Rodriguez 27
6 Perez 26

Next up is final round of this GP2 Asia season supporting the Bahrain GP, and with 22 points available for two wins and two fastest laps it isn’t over yet.

Race Review: GP2 Asia Qatar ’09

GP2 Asia Series (08/09)
Losail, Doha, Qatar
7&8 of 12
Held: 14-15 February 2009
Watched: 3 October 2009
Coverage: Eurosport / Martin Haven & Gareth Rees

This is the first ever GP2 night race but Qatar has hosted night events for MotoGP and World Superbikes before so this should be no problem for them.

Feature Race (34 laps)

Grid:

1. Hülkenberg (ART) 2. Perez (Campos)
3. Petrov (Campos) 4. Kobayashi (DAMS)
5. Rodriguez (Piquet) 6. Yamamoto (ART)
7. Villa (Super Nova) 8. Valsecchi (Durango)
9. Mortara (Arden) 10. D’Ambrosio (DAMS)
11. Jakes (Super Nova) 12. Bonanomi (Meritus)
13. Parente (Meritus) 14. Nunes (Piquet)
15. Crestani (Ocean) 16. van der Garde (iSport)
17. Herck (DPR) 18. Ricci (DPR)
19. Razia (Arden) 20. Rigon (Trident)
21. Al Fardan (iSport) 22. Gonzalez (FMS)
23. Buurman (Ocean) 24. Porvenzano (Trident)
25. M.Dalle Stelle (Durango) 26. Nai Chia Chen (FMS)

[all Dallara-Renault-Bridgestone]

Kevin Chen was SEVEN seconds per lap slower than Hulkenberg in qualifying. Stunningly bad.

Formation Lap

Medium compound tyre this weekend. Like F1 there is a range of tyres, unlike F1 they use the same one for the whole weekend at the choice of Bridgestone.

Parente is new in at Ocean so he’ll take this race to acclimatise, he hasn’t raced since October.

Grid.. GO!

BIG CRASH on the start. Commentary says Yamamoto had stalled and he was hit. Huge impact as the back of the grid gets up to speed.

Safety Car

Yamamoto is ok. 3 or 4 others involved and those guys seem okay too. Buurman is one of them. Gonzalez another.

Safety Car is stopped at the beginning of the main straight to wait for the leaders, who reach it… and it doesn’t move. Front straight blocked with debris.

Replay: Buurman jinked right to avoid a slower car and rams Yamamoto, there’s no way he could have seen that car, he was unsighted due to the wing of the other car he was avoiding.

The field is now being led through the pit lane.

Very slow clear up. They don’t have a road sweeper, and they only have one man with a brush! They also only seem to have one Caterpillar lifter to move the cars..

32 to go – Perez leads. Al Fardan has stalled on pit entry. Eventually he gets in to the pits and is refired.
31 – Chen does the same. Gareth says it’ll be no loss if he’s not restarted.. Ah, they’ve found some more brooms.
29 – Main straight is now clear and the SC lights are off. Order: Perez, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Kobayashi, Valsecchi, Villa.
28 – RESTART
27 – D’Ambrosio pits from 8th or so. Rigon is in from a long way down. Tyre temps will be very low after this 20 minute yellow period, in which the SC was driving very slowly even for a Safety Car.

25 – Parente passes Mortara at turn one.
Kobayashi in trouble, Valsecchi and Villa pass him.
Petrov pits. Villa takes Valsecchi with the momentum from the other move. Good stuff.
24 – Rodriquez spins it at turn one, stuck in the gravel, he’s out.
21 – Villa passes Hülkenberg for 2nd, though they do need to pit. Petrov is fastest man on track.
20 – Perez pits from the lead. Kobayashi is dropping back again.
19 – Villa leads for one lap and then pits.

Petrov leads Perez after their stops, potential lead change between team-mates when it shakes out after Petrov put in solid laps – but Perez is now all over him.

16 – Perez passes Petrov, who’s shot his tyres with those fast laps. Hülkenberg has still to pit, he was pulling a gap on these two.

13 – Ahh, Villa has been given a drive-thru for pitlane speeding. He was driving well for a podium, too. Shame.
Della Stella is crawling around with a loose rear wheel. Hm.

Good racing between Valsecchi and the chasing d’Ambrosio, who makes a nice move on the main straight, the last of several clean attempts. No blocking or swerving here.

Bit of a stalemate for a while (that’s code for BORING).

6 – Provenzano spins at turn one, recovers through the gravel. I have never heard of him.
5 – Hülkenberg makes his pit stop from a huuuge lead. Slightly held up by a DPR car also pitting, from almost a lap down.
Nico H. rejoins the track still with a big lead! The entire length of the pit straight (and Losail has a long straight).
3 – Provenzano is off again, looks like a wheel hub breaking..
2 – Hülkenberg has a 16sec lead and Kobayashi’s tyres have come alive! He’s chasing Petrov for 3rd now, I didn’t notice that earlier. Tyres are an oddity here it seems.
1 – Last lap.

FLAG – Hülkenberg wins!

Top Ten Margin Pts
1 Hülkenberg 34 laps 10+1
2 Perez 13.295 sec 8
3 Petrov 14.343 sec 6
4 Kobayashi 14.746 sec 5
5 D’Ambrosio 23.419 sec 4
6 Valsecchi 33.919 sec 3
7 Mortara 35.214 sec 2
8 Razia 35.341 sec 1
9 Jakes 41.162 sec
10 Crestani 43.774 sec

Hülkenberg picks up the point for Fastest Lap. True FL-setter Parente was outside the top ten, this rule prevents backmarkers pitting for new tyres every few laps and doing qualifying runs to get the point. Keep scrolling down for Sunday’s race.

* * *
Sprint Race (23 laps)

Yelmer Buurman does not take the start after yesterday’s crash, it seems because they haven’t been able to repair the car in time rather than for medical reasons but I’m not completely sure.

Grid is the finishing positions from the Feature with the top 8 reversed.

1. Razia 2. Mortara
3. Valsecchi 4. D’Ambrosio
5. Kobayashi 6. Petrov
7. Perez 8. Hülkenberg
9. Jakes 10. Crestani

Pastor Maldonado’s seat has been taken by Nico Hulkenberg for a few races and this will be Nico’s last event of the GP2 Asia season.

Grid..GO!

Front row slow away, Campos guys [Petrov and Perez] away fast from row 3 and jump into 1st and 2nd by the first turn!
Kobayashi and d’Ambrosio dropped from 4th/5th to 7th/8th on the start.

22 to go – Perez leads Petrov, only just.
21 – Hülkenberg and Razia run wide into the dust!
19 – Jakes re-passes Crestani at turn one (didn’t realise he’d gone back..).
18 – Now he takes someone else.. can’t identify.

Parente is off-track, through the gravel, rejoins bringing lots of dust and crap on to the circuit. A few drivers have done this now, it doesn’t help the grip which is pretty bad as it is.

Perez, Petrov, Mortara, Hülkenberg, Valsecchi, Razia, D’Ambrosio, van der Garde.

16 – Top 3 well clear of the rest of the field which is still running in close proximity to each other. Bonanomi in the Qi Meritus Mahara car passes Rigon for 14th.

Meritus race in the GP2 Asia Series in place of Racing Engineering who only race in the European series, all the other teams race in both.

14 – Bonamomi racing closely with Nunes and takes the place, some close hard and fair racing!

12 – Perez and Petrov have cleared off in to the distance but Mortara has dropped into the clutches of Hülkenberg. Nico has been looking after his tyres much more effectively than his rivals who have all slowed down somewhat compared to earlier.

11 – Hülkenberg now racing Mortara, can’t quite make it work. Rear-facing onboard! We can see Valsecchi and Razia coming up behind them.

Kobayashi is dropping down the field, he’s 14th.

8 – Hulkenberg passes Mortara for 3rd just as we go to a commercial break! Now, can Valsecchi and the three guys behind him capitalise? Only a quick break, wow, Nico hit the warp drive, he’s suddenly 3sec up the road one lap after the pass!

6 – Parente gets really crossed-up in the dust and loses a bundle of positions. The Hulk is 1sec/lap faster than the two leaders, but may not have enough laps to catch up.

4 – Provencano spins into the gravel, elsewhere so does Chen. Replay: Crestani runs wide and Provencano loses control into the gravel trap! Avoidence or coincidence, hard to say.. Frankie Provencano has graduated from Formula Master.

2 – Mortara in 4th is bottling up a lot of cars behind him, big train has caught him up all the way down to 11th! And now they are all catching Chen, who did a 2 minute lap last time compared to 1m41 for the leaders…

Perez suddenly jumps forward in lap time, a clear 2sec faster than before.

Sergio Perez wins!

Top Ten Margin Pts
1 Perez 23 laps 6+1
2 Petrov 2.355 sec 5
3 Hülkenberg 11.929 sec 4
4 Mortara 19.454 sec 3
5 Valsecchi 21.735 sec 2
6 Razia 22.618 sec 1
7 D’Ambrosio 24.029 sec
8 van der Garde 24.346 sec
9 Jakes 25.253 sec
10 Villa 26.074 sec

Perez gets the point for Fastest Lap. A great result for the Barwa Campos Team, 2nd and 3rd in the Feature race and a 1-2 in the Sprint!

Points:

Kobayashi 39
Valsecchi 29
Hülkenberg 27
Perez 25
Rodriguez 22
D’Ambrosio 21
Petrov 19
Villa 12
Mortara 11
Bamber 8

The next race was at Sepang seven weeks later supporting the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Now that we’re in the off-season I will catch up with those rounds soon – I hope!