Singapore GP – THE POINT

Sorry for the delay but, despite a comfortable and quick journey back to Italy, I landed yesterday in the morning, so I didn’t have time to talk about the GP immediately after the race. Before analyzing the Singapore GP, I’d like to talk about my experience in Singapore. It’s been fabulous to live a one-of-a-kind experience, which is completely different from any other F.1 racing week ends both for the night background and for the Paddock opening hours. The circuit opens at 3pm and closes at late night, so race enthusiasts have the time to visit the city, which is full of modern buildings. Me too, I had the chance to live that city as a tourist. What is more, it’s an honor for Italian people to see an Italian company (DZ Engineering) taking over the management of the whole track lighting system, all the audiovisual and safety control equipment. It’s a huge circuit, even bigger than the Montecarlo’s.

As far as the race is concerned, I had the chance to see cars and drivers in action from two different perspectives.  In particular, I had the chance to appreciate all drivers in action on the first hairpin after the finish line, especially Alonso’s amazing start. It was a breathtaking manoeuvre. He analyzed the video of the past season and arbitrarily planned to do that manoeuvre. He managed to do that the best way. We don’t have to forget that he Spaniard was able to do that with a 180 kg- gas- load on board…..It was also very impressive to see how easily Sebastian Vettel tackled that stretch of the track; it was like he still had room for improvement. Unless something unordinary happens (which is unlikely), the situation won’t easily change. Beyond his predominance from the technical point of view, I would like to applaud Vettel also because he is always able to handle his Red Bull the best way, unlike Webber (even if I think he’s a fast driver).

Despite an unlucky Saturday for Ferrari, Alonso and Massa scored some points which placed the Italian team ahead of Mercedes. Once again the Spaniard didn’t resign himself to the Red Bull’s predominance, displaying all his determination until the end. Felipe delivered a good performance; the Brazilian scored important points for the team. It was his first race after his official departure from the Italian team. Despite the strategy he carried out was different, he managed to recover. It’s a great result…Kimi Raikkonen drove an excellent race; despite he had a backache, he was author of a great recovery, confirming Ferrari’s excellent choice.

Once again Nico Rosberg gave troubles to his teammate. I liked his way of driving very much and his performance level was higher than Hamilton’s throughout the week end. Mercedes goes on delivering good performances in qualifying; for what concerning the race, the fact the team has two drivers of the same level, is an added value in terms of points. That should make us think about Ferrari’s choice, even because Mercedes will be a very competitive rival next year.

McLaren improved its performance level a little bit, but this is an unlucky season for the English team. The two drivers’ confirmation for the next season is a symptom of continuity, the project will gain substance starting from 2015, which is the year Honda will become the official engine supplier.

Hulkenberg and Sutil close the top 10. Despite Sauber’s encouraging results over the last races, I don’t think the Austrian team will bother the Toro Rosso’s seventh place as, except for some unordinary event to happen, the two teams’ gap is 12 points and each GP only one or two points are made available (9th and 10th place). What is more, the Faenza-based team proved to be very competitive in qualifying, even if a mistake made by Ricciardo during the race frustrated all the work done until that moment.

Italian GP – THE POINT

Vettel-Alonso-Webber. I like that podium so much because the three drivers who finished on that have the place where their career into F.1 started in common: Faenza. Alonso and Webber made their first steps into F.1 alongside the Minardi Team, while Vettel made his debut alongside Toro Rosso, sealing his first win in 2008 at Monza. It is clear that in Faenza the atmosphere you can breathe, brings  not only the history linked to the world of pottery and its famous museum with itself, but also the technology and good fortune linked to the world of Motorsport.

We saw a very performing Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel is more and more determined to become the World Champion, even if Alonso demonstrated to be the best driver once again. Singapore is the crucial point for Ferrari’s final part to the season to be decided. Seven events are yet to be run and many points are still up for grabs and we know how easy it is to make mistakes or have a moment of weakness. It won’t be easy for the Maranello team to challenge Red Bull, considering that the Austrian team usually makes consistent upgrades, but the men “in red” will have to stay focused and try to get the most of their potential, just as they did on Sunday. With regards to the strategy, Fernando’s race was flawless. Massa ran a great race but he didn’t manage to bother Webber after his pit stop. The Brazilian’s fourth place was not due to tyre change in my opinion, since the time gap between him and the Australian was only 4 tenths….In the last races Massa’s contribution to get the second place in the constructors’ championship to the detriment of Mercedes has been very important, however his engagement as a Ferrari’s driver is still a pending matter. I think this week will be the decisive one.

I would like to give credit to Toro Rosso, as its two cars qualified in the top 10 and to Ricciardo as he finished seventh (4 Ferrari engines in the top 10 is a very important result). I would give credit to Sauber and Hulkenberg, as well. The German driver drove a flawless race on Saturday afternoon and got an unexpected third place. On Sunday he finished fifth ahead of Mercedes, Lotus and McLaren, demonstrating his car is very competitive. I hope this result will help the team to overcome a difficult situation.

The challenge Raikkonen – Hamilton was very interesting. The Lotus’s Finn, after a collision on the first lap, ran several fast laps thanks to which he got the top positions before pitting. If he hadn’t pitted one more time, he could have bothered Hulkenberg. Lewis Hamilton showed what he’s made of by overtaking Kimi and Button in the last laps; he bothered Grosjean (he finished eighth).

 In a couple of weeks the circus will fly to Singapore, which represents the last chance for rivals to challenge a very performing Vettel, who is supported by a team which doesn’t give anything to rivals.

Belgian GP – THE POINT

The Belgian GP was very strained. Three world champions scored a podium finish and Fernando Alonso delivered excellent performances. That is the Alonso everyone is willing to see, the one who speaks with actions and gets results instead of speaking with a microphone. He has to demonstrate all his talent through results, even if his main rival, Red Bull, is an unbeatable team. The Spaniard was excellent in the first laps, as he was able to exploit all his car’s potential and got a good result, which was unexpected until Saturday night. He managed to make it up for the mistakes made by him and the technicians during qualifying.

Even if the slue round hadn’t happened on Saturday, his final result would not have changed, but that episode made us have more fun. His second place was a very good result, since he is now ahead of Hamilton. Unfortunately the gap with Vettel is still so far to be reduced, but 8 GP are yet to be raced, so anything can happen. Vettel outdistanced the Spaniard by 17 sec., while Massa was outdistanced by the German by 50 sec. That is a clear proof of how a driver can really make a difference on technical tracks like Spa. He really pushed hard to get a podium finish between the German and Hamilton. This result has to bring back a little peace of mind to the Maranello’s team. I’d like to see Fernando to be less gloomy, especially after achieving such a great result. He doesn’t have to fuel anxiety.

Mercedes set off on a bare foot, but managed to get the pole thanks to Hamilton who was expected to deliver better performances on Sunday. Anyway, the English team is still a title contender and it’s second in the constructors’ championship. It will be an exciting run-up to Vettel and Red Bull till the end, what’s important is not to waste points as much as possible. It will be a hard fight against aliens such as Vettel and Red Bull.

For what concerning Lotus, Grosjean was overtaken by Massa in the last laps. Unfortunately Raikkonen had a front brake issue because of which he was forced to abandon the race after achieving 27 good results. He could have scored important points for the Championship. The room left vacant by the Finn was achieved by a very performing Ricciardo who got the better of Perez, scoring one point for Toro Rosso.

Thanks to Button’s 6th place, McLaren got the better of Force India in the constructors’ championship (the Indian team is now 9th with Sutil), jumping up to 5th. The McLaren’s Englishman hasn’t signed any contract for the next season yet; he had previously stated that he was thinking about taking a sabbatical year. Ferrari will hold the balance of power of the drivers’ market. As soon as the Italian team puts the driver “matter” right, we’ll have some news about the drivers’ market. Next season McLaren will experience a phase of transition before switching to the new Honda engine. The two world champions Raikkonen and Button will have the possibility to continue to race alongside two competitive teams such as Lotus and McLaren, however they will wait for Ferrari’s decision, too.

Next GP will be raced at Monza; the good results achieved by Ferrari in the Belgian GP could be an incentive for Ferrari’s fans to go to the circuit and support the Italian team. Ferrari’s goal at Monza is to score a win, given the fact the Italian track doesn’t suit Red Bull very much.

Hungarian GP – THE POINT

During the Hungarian GP the Mercedes delivered excellent performances and was able to reverse the situation, after taking a very disappointing start of the season. Apart from being so fast in qualifying, they demonstrated to be very performing also in the long run. They could bother Red Bull and Ferrari, but they’re becoming the new pretenders to the success. The next 9 GP will be so taut.

Ferrari ran a very disappointing race. The Italian team also drove a very disappointing qualifying race. If they don’t find a way to recover, they’ll have a very hard end of season. We have several main actors at the moment, so this makes the recovery even more difficult and the result even more uncertain. The forces deployed have changed again, Red Bull still leads the Championship, but now the Austrian team is followed by Mercedes and Lotus. Ferrari is the Championship’s fourth force and Fernando made a mistake when he decided not to take part in the Silverstone tests. The Spaniard will have to talk less. You can’t get results by talking. Lotus is getting ready to bother the Ferrari; the team’ drivers usually bring home important points. If he wasn’t penalized, Grosjean would have fought with Webber. Car upgrades don’t let the team to get the expected good results, so the “Red” is not able to recover at the moment. The situation can be reversed for sure, but they have to work hard and roll their sleeves.

Finally Williams was able to score its first point, as Maldonado finished tenth. It will be more and more difficult to enter the top 10, as top teams won’t give away points. The room left free by Rosberg was occupied by the Venezuelan driver. Force India reduced its advantage over McLaren. At this point of the season, second-tier teams will have to be good at calculating their resources, also with a view to 2014 racing season.

Now we’ll go on holiday, let’s see what will happen at Spa.


Once again the GP was spectacular, even though it was affected by tyre behaviour. Some teams disappear too quickly and reappear in the following GP. Sometimes their performance changes as the temperature of the asphalt changes within the same race week end. Now, I wonder why  teams have to spend so much money in car development and wind tunnel testing if it only takes the slightest mistake to ruin their work.

That being said, I don’t want to devalue Red Bull’s great performance in any way. The team recovered from the technical failure it was victim of during the British GP. They have the best car which id driven by a racer who can manage it in an excellent way. Webber was very good, as well. The Australian was finely able to manage the pit-stop issue and entered the top 10, scoring important points for his team.

Unfortunately at the Nurburgring the Ferrari, which tried to reverse an unlucky situation into a good result, was not so performing. The Italian team finished fourth with Alonso at the Nurburgring, which is a very good result if we consider the bad start of the race weekend. Doing that, the team gives way to rivals. If they go on like this it will be difficult to preserve the third position in the constructors’ championship, as the Lotus will be very performing also in Hungary. If Kimi gets one more good result, he will probably reach Alonso’s points. It will be important to understand what’s happening to Massa. To be honest, what happened to him on Sunday is very strange. If he had come lengthwise, the car would have headed for the right side, but the tyres of the Brazilian’s car jammed and it headed for the left side. I don’t feel like blaming him for the matter, but unfortunately the Scuderia lost points with a view to the constructors’ championship. Unlike his main rivals, Alonso is not covered in an efficient way.

The Championship is still so long; however we can say that the Red Bull is the favorite team at the moment. Let’s hope that the three-week-break before the Hungarian GP and the sabbatical month of August will bring some changes to the Ferrari. I think that Sunday’s arrival order reflects the teams’ current technical value, with the five top-tier teams in the first nine positions. Just Massa is still missing, in his place Hulkenberg drove an excellent race and scored one point. The McLaren was able to take advantage of hot weather, getting the better over Toro Rosso and Force India which finished in the top 10 on Saturday. Talking about Webber’s accident in the pit, I had already pointed out the dangerousness of the tyre change process. Until now tyres came off while the car was on track, but this time it happened in the pit lane, where the room is so tight and luckily it didn’t happen the worst. Unfortunately a cameraman was injured so, starting from next GP, they can only stay on the wall. Although it’s not easy to try to find a solution, I think that the “fence is always closed when horses have already bolted”……Before the Hungarian GP, I would like to talk about the Mercedes’ request to take part in the tests at Silverstone. Beyond all the exceptions given to the German team, I think it’s fair that they take part in that test, as tests at Silverstone were conceived for a matter of safety. The commissioners will have to make sure that everything runs in the right way. However I think that it’s extremely fair to leave the Mercedes off the rookie tests.


If, on the one hand, we lived two intense hours, on the other hand the GP was deeply affected by the safety car deployment and by tyres. To be honest, I think this is not the right way to run a GP and the Pirelli will have to batten down the hatches as soon as possible, above all for a matter of safety.

I hope rookie tests won’t be cancelled, as that would mean to frustrate car and tyre development. At the beginning of the weekend the Ferrari was in trouble, but the team was able to recover, as it was kissed by fortune. In such a long Championship some episodes cancel each other out. Vettel’s zero point cancel Alonso’s zero point scored in Malaysia. They’ll have to roll their sleeves up quickly to get ready for the next round, to be held at the Nurburgring in seven days.

Once again Alonso was the author of a hard-fought GP, but, although he managed to score a podium finish, which was an unhoped-for result until Saturday night, that is still not enough. In this moment the Mercedes is fighting against the Red Bull to become the Championship’s leader.

They took a great win with Rosberg, after monopolizing the first row on Saturday. Hamilton was delivering great performances, as well, but he was the first victim of tyre blow-out. The German team has the best couple of drivers, as they both can take the pole and win. They’re progressing, but the Red Bull still remains the reference car, as proved by the standing.

 Despite Raikkonen’s comment, Lotus made a strategy error again. It was a pity, because Kimi drove a great race and I think he would have deserved something more. Positive weekend for the Toro Rosso and the Force India; the two teams showed they can bother top teams. They’re fighting to get a good position inside the Championship. The Faenza-based team scored some points, increasing the gap with Sauber and the Force India increased the gap with the McLaren, as well. It’s such a good result for two second-tier teams.

In its 600th GP the Williams almost scored points finishing 11th and 12th. To be honest, I hoped they would have finished in the points zone to make their celebration day even more special. No doubt we have to praise Frank who is still fighting for his team’s development. I wish him to be a protagonist again.

Canadian GP – THE POINT

As it has happened many times since the beginning of the season, last weekend was a double-faced weekend for Ferrari and a one-sided one for Red Bull. Once again the final result was influenced by weather and tyres.

It was a very difficult Saturday for Ferrari but excellent for Red Bull, especially for Vettel who achieved Sunday’s great success thanks to a very good qualifying session. He ran very fast since the beginning, taking a good advantage over rivals. They were so good at turning a difficult situation around to their benefit, but they were also so lucky, because, despite Sebastian brushed a wall and ran off the road on the first corner, he didn’t break his stride. The two driver errors are a clear symptom that even the German driver can make mistakes.

Fernando Alonso drove an excellent race; the Spaniard showed to be a crushing driver, as he ran an aggressive race. His second place tastes like a victory. There’s also a little bit of regret for losing time, being held up by Rosberg and Webber. Felipe Massa delivered a positive performance, as well. After an accident ruined his qualifying session, he was able to gain several positions and set excellent times, driving a very good race and scoring precious points.

Mercedes demonstrated to have solved tyre issues, finishing 3rd with Hamilton after a hard struggle against Alonso.  They can play the role of Championship’s arbiters. Among the four teams Lotus could be the less dangerous, as I’m not sure the team will have enough financial resources to carry out the car development programme until the end. I hope that Sunday’s performance doesn’t sound like an alarm bell for the team. I think that track’s low temperatures had a bad influence on their performance: 28°C is a too low temperature for them. Despite that, Kimi was able to finish in the zone points, unlike his teammate.

Congrats to Vergne and Toro Rosso. They not only finished in the zone points, but also in the top 6, fighting against top teams on equal terms. In the past the top 6 limited the zone points, luckily today the zone points limit has been broadened to the top 10. Nowadays, finishing 7th or 8th is an important result, while in the past it meant to finish outside the zone points. This is the reason why, finishing 5th means achieving a very good result for a second-tier team’s driver. Sunday’s result was the Faenza-based team’s best result achieved after the victory at Monza and demonstrates the team is going to the right direction. The Italian team’ drivers are very competitive.

Force India demonstrated to be an excellent outsider once again. The Indian team finished 5th ahead of McLaren, which didn’t manage to finish in the zone points.

F.1 will be back to Europe in three weeks. Races will be run on European historical tracks; teams have two weeks to make further upgrades.

The point on 2014 F.1 racing season’s engines

Intense days for F.1, not only for the speculation about Pirelli tyre test with Mercedes, which hogged newspapers’ pages, but also for the agreements involving the supply of turbo engines which will be the “beating heart” of F.1, starting from next racing season.

All the eleven teams have signed an agreement with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault “With Mercedes’ choice to become Williams’ official engine supplier, along with McLaren and Force India, the team base has been 100% covered, says Gian Carlo Minardi “This choice sounds like a measure to avoid other manufacturers to enter into F.1 as suppliers, but the situation is still far from coming to an end, as we know that Porsche and Toyota are carrying out the new engine unit. What is more, even Ford and BMW are interested in entering the Circus.”

Car manufacturers are interested in F.1 again “The future of car racing is focused on KERS, turbo, and electronics. Manufacturers have already begun to invest on those three aspects. So, supplying teams with one’s own engine for free or upon a little payback, could be an added value in terms of communication and brand image. It has also to be considered that many teams are undergoing financial difficulties and the lack of sponsors doesn’t help the whole situation. This is the reason why costs will increase. We will go from 6-8 millions dollars spent nowadays to 18-21 millions with the introduction of turbo engine. Due to that, there could probably be some news in the future; who wants to get into the Circus will have to display a great showdown. Something unexpected could happen.”


The Monaco GP was featured by several accidents, the presence of the safety car and a very competitive Mercedes. Despite “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”, the GP was run at a very particular circuit, using two types of compound that will be hardly re-used. The German team showed to be very competitive and if the team demonstrates to have tyres degradation’s issues solved, it will strive for the title, as well.

I use the conditional clause as things change so quickly, so what happens in a GP never happens in the following one. Anyway, the German team has demonstrated to run so quickly since the beginning. We have to give credit to Nico Rosberg, not only for the win but also because he has demonstrated he can handle tyres and car at best, both during practice and race. This result restores Michael Schumacher’s performances. The German ex-driver competed with a driver who is not considered as a second class driver, but a top class one. Today the German young driver is standing comparison with an emerging driver who is a world’s champion and is considered as the best by everyone. This time he didn’t take a good start.

If, on the one hand, Mercedes successful performances will make this racing season even more uncertain, on the other hand, the presence of one more rival will make it difficult to regain points. This aspect remarks Ferrari and Alonso’s unlucky weekend, featured by Felipe Massa’s double accident. The Italian team will have to roll its sleeves and try to focus on the mistakes made after the Spanish successful race. In Canada, weather and tyres could probably affect the final result.

Positive race for Force India and Toro Rosso; Vijay Mallya’s team confirm the 5th place and demonstrates to be a powerful outsider. We saw an excited Perez who wants to demonstrate at all costs he can make it and he’s not a second class driver. He was very impetuous but also so unlucky at the same time. He was treated quite badly by other drivers. Raikkonen pushed so hard in the last part of the race and hindered the Mexican driver twice. It is important that Commissioners judge drivers in the same way, in every race.

It was a contentious Sunday, the argument was fuelled by the Mercedes-Pirelli test. Mercedes took a 1000 km testing on Pirelli tyres using a car which was not 2 years old accordingly to FIA’s regulations.  Regulations are clear but their interpretation is based on teams needs.

Spanish GP – THE POINT

Ferrari and F1 made us live an extraordinary GP on Sunday afternoon. I experienced in person the first two days of the Spanish GP and I can say that the Scuderia showed to run very fast in the the long run since free practices. It showed to be comfortable on both rubbers.

No doubt the F138 has to improve on the single qualifying lap, which is its Achilles’ heel, but in this F.1 season we see many passes due to Kers, DRS and high tyres degradation. Most of the success achieved by the Italian team is due to Alonso, who made an excellent pass on the first corner. That manoeuvre will make the history of F.1; thanks to that kind of manoeuvres we have the opportunity to live an exciting season.

Today’s result is a clear proof that a team can easily shift from a disappointing race to an excellent one. The Spaniard scored a great success in his homeland, thanks to which he is only 17 points from the leader of the points table. In the next two races to be run in Canada and Monaco, the Spanish driver can make the difference again. Congratulations to Felipe Massa, who managed to recover. He was able to handle tyres’ issues in the best way, taking home a fantastic third place which moves the Ferrari team up to second in the constructors’ championship. The two drivers made also excellent pit-stops. That was an excellent birthday gift for Stefano Domenicali, I seize the chance to re-extend to him my best birthday wishes.

The Italian team’s excellent weekend was enriched by the second successful result achieved by Antonio Fuoco, a FDA driver, in the Formula Renault 2.0 Championship. On the track of Imola Fuoco replicated the success achieved in Vallelunga in the opening race. Even the FDA youngest drivers give their contribution to make the history of the Italian team even more interesting.

I was afraid of Raikkonen since free practices. If Lotus’ financial resources don’t drop down, the Finnish driver will be Fernando’s first rival. Kimi made an excellent start of season, as well as Force India; Paul Di Resta’s seventh place placed the Indian team ahead of McLaren, which finished in the points with both drivers. Once again Button made the difference on hard rubber.

Toro Rosso drove an excellent race, as well. The team form Faenza scored a point with Ricciardo, even in a hard-fought race such as the Spanish GP, where the track was full of debris and the risk to make a trivial mistake was high. The Italian team consolidates its seventh position.

Mercedes drove an excellent single qualifying lap, but the German car had many problems during the race. They weren’t the rivals to be afraid of, for sure, even if I’m so happy with Niko Rosberg’s qualifying performance, as the German driver drove an excellent lap and managed to keep Hamilton behind him. The German driver could hardly be overtaken and finished sixth, so that Mercedes could preserve the fourth position in the constructors’ championship. Their car wear out tyres too much, I think that they have a great margin of improvement over the next races.

Next race will be run in Montecarlo, where drivers will use soft and super-soft tyres. Even in this case, drivers will have to suffer so much. Despite drivers will have the chance to make several passes through the narrow streets of the circuit, qualifying still remains so important.

GP Bahrein – THE POINT

In the most exciting GP since the beginning of the 2013 F1 Championship, one of the main protagonists, Fernando Alonso, didn’t manage to achieve a good position because of a technical issue. The GP was featured by battles, overtaking on the borderline of regulations.

Perez’s behaviour towards Button was really uncontrollable. Button didn’t want to lose his leadership inside McLaren team and Rosberg was unfortunately penalised by tyres degradation. His qualifying lap was almost perfect, running ahead of two world champions such as Vettel and Alonso. The team was aware that the situation would have been upside down during the race, because of rear-tyres over degradation. The battle at the beginning of the race didn’t help him. On the contrary, Lewis Hamilton delivered an excellent race performance; the Englishman managed to jump up to the fifth place, as he made the most of Pirelli tyres. Running 2/3 more laps before pitting in the last phase of the race allowed him to finish the race on less consumed rubber, managing to get the better over Webber and Perez.

It was a lively weekend since Saturday; all top drivers crossed the line within few tenths. Unfortunately it was a bitter race for the Italian team, as Alonso was slowed down by a DRS failure and Massa was penalised by two tyres punctures which have to be deeply analyzed. The Spaniard delivered an excellent performance: despite pitting in advance and lacking the DRS, he ran an extraordinary race being only 37’’ behind Vettel.  He scored 3 points, which is a very good result considering the unlucky start, even if I think the Italian team would have deserved more than it achieved. Besides an excellent performance and the win scored, I find it hard to consider Vettel as the author of a “lonely” and smooth race, after Alonso and Rosberg’s overtaking. Anyway I think he still has room for improvement, despite his team suggests him not to push on track and the lap times set during the race. On the contrary Webber didn’t rise to the occasion. It’s difficult to judge his performance, as he had tyres issues. Unfortunately he was involved in several on-track battles which caused quicker tyre degradation.

Raikkonen and a recovered Grosjean complete the podium. Lotus scored precious points and preserves top positions, showing to be the third team in the constructors and drivers’ standings. After suffering a very performing Kimi, who always makes the most of an excellent car, Grosjean got back to the right direction, thanks also to chassis change. The E21 racing car delivered excellent performances on these tyres and scored much more points than in the past season.

We have to clap our hands to Force India and Di Resta who finished at the foot of the podium. He’s always in Q3 and he’s entering the struggle to get the sixth place. If Sutil hadn’t had a clash in the first phase of the race, he would have taken home important points. It’s good that he’s able to struggle against top drivers.

Now, we’ll have three weeks before the world championship will be raced in Europe. At this point of the season teams and drivers have a complete picture of tyres behaviour, since they test them under different weather conditions. Next race will be held on a well known track such as the Barcelona circuit, where pre-season tests took place. Red Bull remains the reference car, even though Ferrari is closer to it also in qualifying. There are also many outsiders striving for the title: Mercedes, which is usually so fast on a single qualifying lap and Lotus, always at the top of the standing. According to performance equalization, every single mistake will be paid off twice. So much attention should be paid. There are still 15 GP to be raced, so everything could happen. In Spain we’ll see several upgrades.

Chinese GP – Gian Carlo Minardi’s point of view

Before starting to comment the Chinese GP, I would point out something that made me laugh. Andrea Stella’s comment on Fernando Alonso’s performance and the Spaniard’s answer (the former told to the latter that he didn’t need to push hard, so the Spaniard answered: “I’m not pushing at all”) on the last few laps of the Chinese GP reminded me of 1999, the year Nando tested the F1 Minardi in the wet at Jerez. On that occasion, just after three laps, he set the fastest lap time, running 1 sec. faster than any other tester.  At that point we told him not to push, as it was only a test, and, even at the time, Alonso answered he wasn’t doing anything particular and could improve his performance……

The Chinese GP was full of suspense, overtaking, collisions and pit-stop mistakes (sometimes heavy). Strategies and tyres were the real protagonists of the third GP. 5 world champions finished in the first five places; each driver belongs to a different team. A perfect Fernando Alonso finished on the top step of the podium. The Spaniard undertook an offensive strategy form the beginning to the end, scoring the first win of the season. The car, along with the pit lane staff and the pit-stop staff, undertook a flawless strategy and delivered good performances.

On the contrary, it wasn’t a perfect weekend for Red Bull because of Vettel’s strategy and a gasoline mistake regarding Webber’s car. This is the second time within two years that such a mistake is made by the team, but I think the most suspicious thing is that this was the third time Webber’s race was affected by trivial mistakes made just after some problems between the team and the Australian driver had occurred in the previous race……

The Malaysian episode could have been the cause of those mistakes, which are so heavy if made by a team which won the last three constructors’ championships.

Lotus and Mercedes delivered excellent performances. The two teams and their two drivers Raikkonen and Hamilton will be the protagonists of the next race to be held in two weeks time. Jenson Button undertook an excellent defensive strategy, as well, and finished fifth behind Vettel, driving an even more performing McLaren. Grosjean and Massa’s races were less exciting, but, thanks to the position achieved, Lotus and Ferrari ranked second and third in the Championship.

Daniel Ricciardo and Toro Rosso were stunning. After the Q3, the Italian team finished seventh and scored new points which led it to the seventh place ahead of Sauber, who finished tenth thanks to his driver Hulkenberg.

With the fourth race of the F1 Championship to be held in one week time, we’ll have a complete picture of the 2013 Pirelli compounds. On that occasion teams and drivers can use the P Zero Yellow (soft tyres) and the P Zero Orange (hard tyres).

Malaysian GP: THE POINT

The Malaysian GP was full of mistakes, which can become the leitmotiv of the season. When teams have to pit three-four times per car and the battle is within few tenths, it is clear that problems are just around the corner. What is more, if we consider the excitement for the strategy, the difficult weather conditions and the attempt to pit faster and faster (2 seconds), we have a more complete picture of the situation.

Among the teams who bored the brunt in Malaysia, we have to mention Force India; the Indian squad had air pistol and hub issues. Jenson Button had a right-front wheel issue as well as Hamilton, who thought about visiting his previous mechanics. We don’t have to forget about Fernando Alonso and the Ferrari team.  Just after few laps we lost a great driver who hadn’t been making any mistake for many GP.  He made an evaluation mistake, but the technicians’ decision to leave him out without replacing the damaged wing, is somehow very strange. A risky strategy could have been good, but it was important to finish in the score zone.

In a 19-race- championship, positions are very important, as we saw in the past season.  The Italian team lost the championship missing only 3 points. Strategy or the will to get results, are sometimes taken to the maximum level, even in situations which are so different if compared to what it was expected. In this case too many risks were taken. The Spaniard was only on the second lap, so they had to try to limit the damage and risked leaving him out, trying to finish in the score zone, as this championship is getting more and more competitive.

It will be hard to recover from zero point, giving the fact the fight is not only between two drivers but between 5, to whom outsiders such as Williams, Force India and Sauber have to be added. Last year Fernando lost the championship and finished second in Spain and Abu Dhabi behind Maldonado and Raikkonen, two drivers who weren’t considered to be running for the world title at the beginning of the season.

Red Bull was once again the car to be defeated, even if they’ll have to solve a big internal issue. It won’t be easy for Horner and Newey to manage the two drivers. The strategy can cause trouble for the drivers. Even Mercedes drivers were given some recommendations. This is something that doesn’t ring true inside a championship full of overtaking, sharp braking and inner fight. Sometimes the battle is taken to the limit.

Once again tyres handled the race; this is due to a variable weather which changed on-track situations. Teams are still learning how to make the best use of tyres, so in Malaysia things changed if compared to Australia, where Lotus got the best over McLaren. Despite the fact everyone considered the Walking Team almost “dead”, Button was fighting for a podium finish.

Thanks to his long experience and a good performance on hard tyres, he’s making a difference over his younger teammate Perez, who is at his first experience in a top team and has to deal with a car which is still not so performing.

Felipe Massa had a good start of season. The Brazilian driver delivered good qualifying performances over the past two weekends; his race performances were not bad, as well. His Ferrari had issues on medium tyres. In the wet the car didn’t keep pace with rivals and it had many problems when the track was still cool. Finishing fifth was the best result he could get, giving the fact Red Bull and Mercedes were much more competitive.

Now we’ll have a three-week-break before the Chinese GP. In China teams will showcase several upgrades and they will use the Pirelli soft for the first time. At that time we’ll have a complete overview of the Pirelli compounds.

Sepang – Gara
1. Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault – 56 giri
2. Mark Webber – Red Bull-Renault – +4″2
3. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +12″1
4. Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – +12″6
5. Felipe Massa – Ferrari – +25″6
6. Romain Grosjean – Lotus-Renault – + 35″5
7. Kimi Raikkonen – Lotus-Renault – +48″4
8. Nico Hulkenberg – Sauber-Ferrari – +53″0
9. Sergio Perez – McLaren-Mercedes – +1’12″3
10. Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +1’27″1
11. Valtteri Bottas – Williams-Renault – +1’28″6
12. Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber-Ferrari – +1 giro
13. Jules Bianchi – Marussia-Cosworth – +1 giro
14. Charles Pic – Caterham-Renault – +1 giro
15. Giedo van der Garde – Caterham-Renault – +1 giro
16. Max Chilton – Marussia-Cosworth – +2 giri
17. Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes – +3 giri
18. Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso-Ferrari – +5 giri

La classifica del Mondiale Piloti:
1. Vettel 40; 2. Raikkonen 31; 3. Webber 26; 4. Hamilton 25; 5. Massa 22; 6. Alonso 18; 7. Rosberg 12; 8. Grosjean 9; 10. Sutil 6
La classifica del Mondiale Costruttori:
1. Red-Bull Renault 66; 2. Lotus-Renault e Ferrari 40; 4. Mercedes 37; 5. Force India-Mercedes 10; 6. Sauber-Ferrari e McLaren-Mercedes 4; 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1.