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So just three weeks on from Formula E’s ride on the Marrakesh express it takes a tour for the first time around the streets of Santiago. Like most places in Chile the city sits significantly above sea level and I have no idea how this will affect the running of electric cars. The population of city is just under 8 million and, with Chile having no history of hosting motorsport events, it will be interesting to see what kind of crowd turn out the race will get. This will be the 4th round in this years Formula E season and with only 12 races it is a third of the way through . That is good news for Felix Rosenqvist who comes to this race after back to back wins and leading the championship. Rosenqvists performance in Hong Kong wasn’t as impressive as it should be but last time out in Marrakesh he passed both his main championship rivals, Buemi and Bird, for the win. If Felix gets another win here as well its pretty much a finger on the championship trophy.
Second in the championship...
It's so close to Xmas that the mechanics still have cold turkey sandwiches but this Saturday it's time to charge up and get back on the Formula E train. Just a single race this weekend on the series second visit to Morroco on a circuit which Isn't too bad IMO.
The double header that opened the series in Hong Kong certainly gave us something to reflect on. Virgin's Sam Bird leads the championship after taking the win in race 1. All this despite the fact he nearly took one of the officials out by crashing in the pit lane. Jean Eric Vergne, who eats up energy like housewives eat Valium, somehow find himself just two points behind in 2nd in the customer Renault team, and despite his worst weekend in the sport Felix Rosenqvist is not far behind in 3rd. All three have a problem where consistency is concerned so it will be interesting to see if this head start they've got over the others will lead to greater concentration.
Of course what we'll all be looking out for is if the new order...
As 2017 draws to a close we are less than 3 months before the first race of 2018. Here's a place to offer your opinions on the runners and riders for next year. Firstly, here's the calender:
25th March - Melbourne, Australia
8th April - Sakhir, Bahrain
15th April - Shanghai, China
29th April - Baku, Azerbaijan
13th May - Barcelona, Spain
27th May - Monaco, Monaco
10th June - Montreal, Canada
24th June - Le Castellet, France
1st July - Spielberg, Austria
8th July - Silverstone, Great Britain
22nd July - Hockenheim, Germany
29th July - Budapest, Hungary
26th August - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium
2nd September - Monza, Italy
16th September - Singapore, Singapore
30th September - Sochi, Russia
7th October - Suzuka, Japan
21st October - Austin, Texas
28th October - Mexico City, Mexico
11th November - Sao Paolo, Brazil
25th November - Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
21 races, kicking off in Australia and finishing in Abu Dhabi with races returning in France, after a 10 year break, and Germany...
So the question in the thread title is necessarily a subjective one (leaving aside the question of whether "fastest" = "best"). However we do have some objective data to try to make an assessment. Although cars' performance varies we do have team mate comparisons to draw on, and qualifying times are a 'cleaner' data set than race results given the number of variables involved in a Grand Prix.
So, with apologies and thanks to Rutherford, I've analysed the relative performances of team mates in qualifying sessions for the past decade and more, the results of which are shown below. The basis of measurement is a percentage, representing the average gap between the faster and slower driver(s) over the course of a season. To save decimal places and for easier interpretation, I've scaled them up by a factor of 10,000. So in the chart below, +1 means a difference of +0.01%, and +100 means a difference of +1%. Over a typical lap time of 1m40s, +1 = +0.01% = +0.010s...
In one of Spike Milligan’s autobiographies he recounts a story of a speech given by one of the senior officers in the North African Campaign who told the troops that there would be “many hours of boredom with brief moments of excitement”. Welcome to F1 2017
Up until the mid-season break we thought we might have a title fight on our hands but from Belgium onwards Lewis Hamilton decided that he had enough of messing about with what was, without doubt, the best car on the grid and slapped all the other drivers back in to place, dominating the races in way we haven’t seen since Vettel in the all-conquering Red Bull RB9 in 2013.
In the early part of the season Ferrari flattered to deceive. Well, Vettel in the Ferrari did anyway whilst Kimi played the good No.2 to maximise Sebastian’s chances in the title race. The same could be said of Bottas at Mercedes as well but Valterri did at least manage to snaffle a couple of wins during the season. Kimi never looked like he wanted or was...
As the tire smoke from the Hybrids fades and clears you'll be able to glance over and see the battery on the electric single seater series has reach 100% and Formula E 2017/18 is ready to go. First stop is Hong Kong for a double header. I have very little memory of the track from last year but I remember the crowds being large which is probably why we are kicking off with a double header. The track will fit the usual bill of being a tight street circuit with lots of 90 degree corners. Some people love that and some people hate it but as we've seen it does lead to close racing in Formula E.
So whats new this year? Well the power outage has been upped from 170kw to 180kw which means the cars should be faster this year (or the race distances longer). Abt has now become the full works Audi entry as the German giants 'go early' on the big manufacturer Formula E pile on, BMW are here too as the official 'sponsor' of the Andretti team - although there are rumors they are more heavily...
So it’s Formula One’s tribute act to New Years’ Eve: an interminable and unexciting pre-amble to ten minutes of fireworks then the vain hope that next year will be better.
Ok, so that’s the least optimistic take ever, but Abu Dhabi has only really produced one race that is memorable for being a great race - 2012 - and we all recall the radio calls of the winner more than the action.
Brazil suggests that Hamilton’s Mercedes (with the 2018 engine) is the best around, but they’ve not shown much pace at night this year even if circumstances conspired to deliver victory in Singapore. There’s usually a multi-chassis race in the top six, somewhere.
It’s the end of an error, erm... era, at Woking as McLaren bail from the Honda project. Toro Rosso are currently showing them how easy Renault can be to work with.
Most will expect the pink Force Indias to be followed home by yellow, orange and white machinery with the Heartgas partnership at Toro Rosso around too.
Sauber will probably...
So both the drivers and constructors championships are over. Mercedes are constructors champions (again) and Lewis Hamilton has recovered the title stolen from him by Nico Rosberg last year. Now it's time to go to (often not so) sunny Brazil and the race between the lakes.
Do you remember last year? It rained and the race stopped and started as as showers turned in to storms and back again. It went on for over 3 hours, 3 hours and 1 minute to be exact. Lewis won but Max Verstappen won a whole host of new fans as he pitched his Red Bull about in the rain in a fashion rarely seen in modern Formula 1. In reality the driver of the day last year was Lewis, his control and poise in the race were sublime and this race, of itself, probably deserved a title of its own. But Nico tippytoed around behind Lewis, stealing second and doing his best Nelson Piquet impression as he did "just enough" to keep his title bid on track.
So what can we expect this year? The last couple of races...
Unlike most of the flow of border traffic F1 has crossed from Texas to Mexico. This Grand Prix has not been back for long but has already established as a firm favourite with fans on TV and at the track alike. The podium celebrations have always looked amazing and this year it should be even more spectuacular as this is likely to be the title decider. All Lewis Hamilton has to do is finished 5th or higher and 2017 is done and dusted. Even if he was off form it wouldn't be that difficult but in his current form I fully expect to see him on the top step, wearing a sombrero, telling us the Mexican fans are the best in the world and celebrating championship number 4.
Is a Lewis Hamilton win a forgone conclusion? Well I wouldn't bet against it. To be fair to Vettel he had a great race at Austin it was just that Hamilton and Mercedes were on another level. Its possible Hamilton will just coast it home in Mexico so as not to risk the title but it doesn't seem in his nature. Looking...
And so we enter the final phase of the 2017 season and we are now at the point where the points leading driver can win the title should his rival finish lower than a certain position (in this case, 4th I believe). It just so happens that we arrive at a track where the Mercedes team have always ran well having won the last 3 races held there. Also, of the 5 races held to date, Hamilton has won 4 of them and his title rival Sebastian Vettel the other.
Quite why Ferrari have managed to implode in the second half of the season remains to be seen. Kimi hasn't really been in the races all year and Seb seems to be losing the plot at every opportunity. The increasing speed, reliability and confidence from the Red Bull camp has not helped matters but any hope of this season being a close two way battle between Vettel and Hamilton disappeared a long time ago. Only a monumental disaster could stop Hamilton from winning the title now.
As for the track, its always been a popular one with...
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