In this post I hope to give you a quick catch up on each team’s progress, an news stories which have effected them since the last race, as well as a quick look at their prospects for the weekend ahead and there free practice 1 and 2 times.
(In reverse championship order)
No major news of note at the junior side of the red bull stable since Monza. Following the assurgency of Force India at the previous two races Torro Rosso lay bottom of the pile, 8 points shy of their nearest rivals. If there is any call for positivity, the Singapore street circuit is very different to the two previous low and medium downforce tracks of Monza and Spa. Despite suffering from similar electrical surges to those effecting by Red Bull last year the team believe the problem has been solved, demonstrated by the fact their head of electronics Alessandro Poggi has remained in Italy for the race to celebrate the birth of his daughter on Thursday.
Seb had a good start to preparations for the race when he beat his teammate in a 5-lap karting competition at a new track in the island state. He doesn’t look to be threatening the points this weekend however, but setting the 13th quickest time in FP1 was relatively impressive and he will be keen to secure a place in Q2 tomorrow.
Jamie has been busy during the “weekend-off” between the two races, as he has continued competing in the Formula Renault 3.5 alongside his F1 commitments to Torro Rosso. Last weekends race at the Nurbergring was the penultimate round of the season, however it was not as successful a weekend as he might have hoped, qualifying 10th and finishing 5th and 8th in the races. He may be feeling some pressure for his place in the F1 car as fellow Red Bull driver Brendon Hartley was quickest in Qualifying and finished 2nd in the main race. Sebastian was less than stellar in the first free practice sessions Finishing last in FP2 and last but for Roman Grosjean whose session was curtailed in the first session.
The teams stellar performances at the last two races have shocked both the paddock and those watching at home, if not that team themselves. They have had to deal with the departure of the experienced Giancarlo Fisichella to Ferrari, and the debut of his replacement, Vitantonio Liuzzi Impressed many last weekend before mechanical troubles ended his race early. The twisty, slow speed nature of the Marina Bay circuit is unlikely to suit the team as well as the high speed sections of Spa and Monza. However the team will be hoping that the update that brought the team 10th and 12th place finishes in Valencia will pay dividends on the Singapore streets.
Adrian will have been pleased to have pushed Kimi Raikkonen all the way for a podium finish at Monza after being out-performed by his team mate at spa. However the departure of Fisichella may well prove to be a mixed blessing. Whilst he is now the senior driver in the team, he is up against the highly rated Liuzzi. He will be keen to beat him this weekend and secure his future with the team. He performed relatively well in the Friday practice sessions, beating his teammate by a second and a half in the first session and just under a second in FP2. However two twelfth place times will be a disappointment after the heady performances of the past 2 races.
Antonio impressed on his debut for the team at Monza, however Singapore is a track which he does not know and will pose far more of a challenge than his home grand prix. He has tried to temper expectations ahead of the race, and it would seem rightly so after he was only able to manage two 18th places. However he was able to beat fellow midseason newcomers Alguersuari and Grosjean in both sessions.
Tumultuous probably isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe the goings on at Renault F1 over the past month. If you haven’t heard about what happened you are probably reading the wrong blog, suffice it to say Nelson Piquet Junior now unofficially has a corner named after him on the Marina Bay Track. However I will point you in the direction of the recordings of the FIA hearing which are a good listen. The team has had to get to grips with new leadership, as former technical director Bob Bell has taken the reigns.. It’s been a difficult start as the team had to quickly redecorate the car as two sponsors, including title sponsor ING pulled their support. The cars have large black Renault stickers in their place
You might have thought that returning to the ‘scene of the crime’ just days after being cleared of any personal involvement in his teams conspiracy at last years race would prompt Alonso to keep a low profile. He has been trying, but understandably the press has been pushing him hard for answers and comment. Ironicly he is also involved in the other big off track story, where will he be racing next year? He claims to have made his mind up where he wants to race, but Ferrari have said they will be meeting in the next few days between Kimi and Alonso. He hasn’t let all the off the track events distract him however, easily out performing his rookie teammate by converting a 4th place in FP1 into an impressive 2nd in FP2
Although I cant be certain, I suspect Romain has been working at his day job in the bank. His weekend began badly as he was almost ruled out due to food poisoning, but managed to fight back to 99.9% fitness for FP1. Its likely his stomach along with those of the rest of his team took a turn for the worse however, as he managed to replicate his predecessors accident at the infamous ‘turn 17’. He was unable to get off the bottom of the time sheets finishing 20th and 19th. He will be keen to do better this weekend as rumours abate of him being replaced by Lucas DiGrassi before the end of the season.