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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 10:34 PM
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Analysis of Belgian GP fuel loads

F1 | ITV Sport

Analysis of Belgian GP fuel loads

Saturday, 29 August 2009 00:00

The FIA has revealed the fuel loads with which all 20 cars will start the Belgian Grand Prix. We analyse the data here.

After an extraordinary qualifying session at Spa on Saturday served up the most improbable grid for a grand prix in recent memory, the publication of the car weights was eagerly awaited.

Was Giancarlo Fisichella’s sensational pole position for the unheralded Force India team quite the giant-killing feat it appeared?

Well, the answer to that is largely yes. Granted, the Italian veteran was light on fuel, but even taking that into account he was the fourth fastest driver on outright pace – in a car that hasn’t even made the top-10 shootout before, with the exception of the rain-affected Nurburgring qualifying session.

So there’s no question that Vijay Mallya’s squad can be justifiably proud of a superb accomplishment.

Jarno Trulli’s front row effort was less of a surprise given Toyota’s practice form (although that in itself was a complete turnaround from Valencia), and the man from Pescara was fastest on the fuel-adjusted times by 0.14s from…Sebastian Vettel.

The Red Bull driver may have qualified a disappointing eighth, but he was lugging around the second heaviest fuel load of anyone in the top 10, masking his true speed.

Whether that will prove to be a wise strategy is debatable, since it may have left the German too far down the grid to challenge for victory in a race that Red Bull really must win to keep its title hopes alive.

Vettel also admitted that he had made a mistake at Stavelot on his final qualifying lap, without which he wouldn’t have such a mountain to climb on race day.

BMW’s sudden return to the front was another of many surprises, but the Hinwil team’s pace appears to be genuine, at least here at Spa.

Nick Heidfeld’s third on the grid was mirrored in the fuel-adjusted order, which sees Fisichella fourth, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen fifth and Mark Webber sixth in the second Red Bull.

The man whose qualifying performance flattered to deceive was Rubens Barrichello.

The Valencia winner was carrying less fuel than anyone else, increasing his deficit to the pole time from 0.21s to 0.57s in real terms – underlining the fact that Brawn is not on the front-running pace here despite no recurrence of its tyre temperature problems.

If it’s a dry race we can expect Barrichello to initiate the first round of pit stops on lap 10, with Fisichella, Robert Kubica and Timo Glock following him in on the next lap.

Heidfeld can make it to lap 13 and Trulli to 13 or possibly 14, so whichever of these two is ahead at the end of the opening lap may well be in a position to control the race.

Raikkonen is similarly fuelled, so he could be a major factor too if he can use his KERS power to make up a couple of places on the first lap – particularly since Ferrari’s race pace has generally been stronger than its qualifying performances this year.

Add to that Raikkonen’s special affinity for Spa – he has won here three times since 2004 – and the Finn may be an outside bet to deliver Ferrari’s first victory of the season.

Vettel can go as far as lap 15, so the key for him will be to make some early headway and try to minimise the time loss to the leader, then pump in some ultra-fast laps on low fuel before his stop.

It’s much the same story for Webber, who is 4.5 points closer to championship leader Jenson Button and likewise needs to score big at Spa.

Nico Rosberg did well to make it into Q3 considering Williams’s uncompetitive showing in Friday practice, and the team opted to fuel him for a long first stint in a bid to make up ground through strategy.

Rosberg is fuelled to lap 17 and may come into play if the FW31 is quick enough to make the extra laps count.

Jenson Button finds himself starting outside the top 10 for the first time this season, after struggling with a general lack of grip and rear-end instability in qualifying.

He isn’t heading into the race with a great deal of confidence, but knows he needs to limit the points damage as effectively as possible and will be looking to Brawn’s pit strategy to help him do this.

Button is fuelled to lap 25, twice as far as most of the top 10, but will be looking to make a few cheap places up at the start to ease his task.

That may not be straightforward, however, for starting directly ahead of him are former world champion Fernando Alonso and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, neither of whom is known for being a soft touch when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing.

Hamilton will also have the benefit of KERS and will hope that helps to compensate for a disappointing grid position.

The big unknown is what the weather will do. The forecast is for a dry race, but in the Ardennes such predictions count for little, and rain can never be ruled out.

Wet or dry, though, it promises to be a fascinating race.

Car weights including fuel (in kg, by grid order)

1. FISICHELLA Force India 648
2. TRULLI Toyota 656.5
4. BARRICHELLO Brawn 644.5
6. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 655
7. GLOCK Toyota 648.5
8. VETTEL Red Bull 662.5
9. WEBBER Red Bull 658
10. ROSBERG Williams 670
11. SUTIL Force India 678.5
12. HAMILTON McLaren 693.5
13. ALONSO Renault 684.4
14. BUTTON Brawn 694.2
15. KOVALAINEN McLaren 697
16. BUEMI Toro Rosso 685
17. ALGUERSUARI Toro Rosso 704.5
18. NAKAJIMA Williams 706.1
19. GROSJEAN Renault 704.7
20. BADOER Ferrari 691.5
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 05:43 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Teutone View Post
It should be an interesting race.
In the past, Fisichella used to show flashes of brilliance
With Badoer to slow to fill Massa's cockpit, how about one of the Italian's finishing the season at Ferrari?
Driving for Ferrari has to be every Italian F-1 drivers dream.
Niki Lauda agrees. "Ferrari must absolutely get Fisichella into the cockpit at Monza," the triple world champion told Switzerland's Sonntagsblick.

Force India still owes Ferrari money, so the contract issues aren't a problem.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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Great job by Fisi to bring it home 2nd. What a drive!
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