2010 Australian Grand Prix preview

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Webber heads to his home event as a Grand Prix winner for the first time

Can Fernando Alonso bolster his championship lead with another win at Melbourne? Might Mark Webber finally get on the podium or even win his home Grand Prix?

F1 heads into the first double-header event of the season with the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne followed by the trip to Sepang for next week’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

Reasons to be cheerful

Will we see a better race in Melbourne than we did in Bahrain? I think there’s a good chance we will.

The Melbourne track, with its limited run-off and tricky braking zones, tends to invite incidents. And, happily, no one has bolted an ill-advised one kilometre long extension on it which consists entirely of slow, narrow corners.

Turn one is often the scene of first-lap accidents, like last year when Rubens Barrichello ran into Mark Webber. This time we’ve got an extra four cars to funnel through the right-left flick and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one driver’s race lasted no further than the drive to the first corner.

Melbourne often produces stop-start races with several safety car interruptions. Last year there were two, courtesy of Kazuki Nakajima and the Sebastian Vettel-Robert Kubica crash in the dying stages of the race.

Bahrain was a cagey affair – you got the impression that even some of the front-running teams were still exploring the limits of their cars’ performance and avoiding taking risks for fear of ruining their tyres and falling down the field.

But it’s still as hard to pass in F1 as it’s ever been and qualifying will be extremely important.


We could see some very early pit stops this weekend.

At Bahrain teams discovered the best way to make progress in the race was to make your first pit stop as early as you could get away with. Lewis Hamilton, for example, came in as soon as McLaren realised they could slot him into clean air further down the running order, which allowed him to move ahead of Nico Rosberg.

Assuming we get a clean start without a safety car appearance, what will be the earliest lap the front running teams can bring their drivers into the pits?

That will depend partly on how the field is spreading out behind them and when those drivers make their pit stops. It will also depend on how quickly the leaders catch the slowest cars – expect the race leader to catch the HRT duo around lap 12, assuming they’re still running.

Tyre wear will be important as well. Last year Bridgestone brought medium and super-soft tyres, and drivers complained the latter wore out too quickly. This year the tyre choices are soft and hard and that more durable combination may make it possible for teams to do very long stints on one set of tyres. But we’ll have to see how those tyres perform in practice to get an idea if that is the case – especially as the track temperature falls towards the end of the ‘twilight’ race.

As it’s quite likely we could see a safety car deployment on lap one, could drivers pit for tyres then and try to make it to the end on a single set? I think it’s possible – but the scramble into the pits would create problems of its own.

Not only will teams have to turn around both their cars within a few seconds of each other, but the new ‘exclusion zone’ rule in the pits could cause some drivers to lose a lot of places. Teams may only release their cars when there is not another car within a certain distance of them, and with the entire pack streaming into the pits at once it’s not hard to see how one unfortunate driver might lose a lot of positions.

(Looking ahead, we may see the FIA discourage this by copying the rule used in GP2 which says that a pit stop taken within the first few laps does not count as the mandatory pit stop a driver must take. A better solution would be to remove the requirement for each driver to use both types of tyre during a race, but I digress.)

Drivers to watch

Four driver to keep an eye on this weekend. Name your top picks in the comments.

Mark Webber – How can it be that Mark Webber’s best result in his home Grand Prix is still the fifth place he scored for Minardi in 2002 (which he matched at Williams in 2005)? He has had some miserable luck at Melbourne, not least his gearbox failure while leading in 2006 and being taken out at turn one last year.

The Red Bull RB6 is clearly quick but Webber failed to capitalise on its performance in qualifying at Bahrain. This weekend the pressure will be on him not just to perform in front of his home crowd, but also to get on terms with Sebastian Vettel.

Robert Kubica – Another driver who is owed a result here after his tangle with Vettel last year and being taken out by Kazuki Nakajima in 2008.

His first outing for Renault was frustrated by a first-lap collision but he showed good pace in the R30 and ran a longer stint than anyone else did. Surely the driver most likely to break into the ‘big four’.

Felipe Massa – Beat Alonso in qualifying but lost out to him in the race. Needs to hit back while the F10 is still the class of the field.

Paul di Resta – Set to make his first appearance as a test driver at Force India in free practice one on Friday. His planned first appearance at Bahrain was cancelled as the team wanted to run their race drivers having lost so much preparation time due to rain during in pre-season testing.

The Australian Grand Prix on F1 Fanatic

Join us for live blogging during all the practice sessions for the Australian Grand Prix, plus qualifying and the race itself. Times here: Australian Grand Prix live TV Times

Before the race weekend starts look out for our unofficial race programme with quick links to all the important information.

We’ll have analysis of the times during Friday practice and extensive coverage of qualifying and the race.

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Are you going to the Australian Grand Prix?

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2010 Australian Grand Prix

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    161 comments on “2010 Australian Grand Prix preview”

    1. Go Webber! Be great to see him win in Australia. The last driver to win his home grand prix was Massa in Brazil in 2008.

      1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
        22nd March 2010, 13:51

        No it was Vettel in England.

        1. erm…. Vettel is German?

          1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
            22nd March 2010, 14:03

            But he thinks he’s more British than German!


            1. Well Vettel’s almost as British as Queen Victoria… :D

            2. @ KNF

              So his father’s German, he’s half German and he married a German ?

        2. Mouse_Nightshirt
          22nd March 2010, 14:01

          Vettel is German, or have I missed something…?

          1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
            22nd March 2010, 14:04

            see the above video :)

      2. Ain’t gonna happen!

        1. Jason, right on. ‘Ain’t gonna happen’ is correct. In fact, I like FA, Vettel, Massa and Lewis (and perhaps even Nico) to finish in front of Webber.

          1. Why? And whats to say it won’t, it’s his home race and in a quick car, people shouldn’t right this guy off so soon.

          2. i like how you say ‘ain’t gonna happen’. this is F1, like cricket, anything can happen! i would give webber a better chance of winning than buemi but remember vettel won in a toro rosso! i would never have picked that. nor fisichella’s win in brazil 03, or his pole in belgium last year. i repeat, ‘anything can happen!’

          3. F1Fan. Errrr. Such a hater.
            Go Webber!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            1. Not a hater at all. In fact I really, really like Webber as a person. He conducts himself honorably, no lies (unlike Lewis), no pretending. But as a driver he is really, really mediocre. He may be quick here and there and may win a race or two, but to be up there w/ Alonso, Lewis and Vettel requires not only ***consistent*** technical (driving) skill, but also race management and ability to judge and react to a race while it is unfolding. Webber lacks in both, epsecially in the latter. Even if he wins pole (which can only happen if Vettel blows it in Q3), chances are that he won’t win the race. I am simply stating facts, and Webber’s career numbers are there as backup.

            2. “Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does”

              From the great Murry Walker. ^^

    2. Terry Fabulous
      22nd March 2010, 9:51

      It is going to be a great race. It HAS to be after Bahrain!

      Nice analysis there Keith, I like your pick of Massa as a man to watch, never really shone at Albert Park. Although we will all be wanting to see Webber kick ass!

      Would any F1Fanatic at the race want to meet up and have a beer/coffee/soft drink? There is a two hour break between Prac 3 and Qually and we could meet up 4pm under the Golf Course Giant Screen?

      Anyone keen, let me know and I will see you there for a chat, drink and a laugh!

      1. you’ll be in the same grand stand as me won’t you? Jones? probably see ya there!

        1. Terry Fabulous
          22nd March 2010, 20:25

          Section B, Block B, Row C, Seat 31!

          See you there!

          1. if you see a water bottle fly your way that is me .. lol j/k

      2. Would any F1Fanatic at the race want to meet up and have a beer/coffee/soft drink? There is a two hour break between Prac 3 and Qually and we could meet up 4pm under the Golf Course Giant Screen?

        I’m so jealous! Make sure you send us some pics.

        1. So am I! I went last year and wish I could have gone again… Maybe next year!

          1. I’ve got tickets at the senna stand. That’s the last corner and the start/finish.. Kinda wish I was at the first corner now. Either way I’m so excited!! Anyone going to the autograph session on Thursday?

            1. when is the autograph session? i haven’t found any official times yet. and i don’t really want to waste time heading out on thursday at the wrong time…

            2. Terry Fabulous
              23rd March 2010, 3:07

              Schumi, Tommy…. Saturday 4pm under the golf course giant screen.

              We are having a catch up with a few laughs, drinks and informed F1 chat.

              Hope to see you then!

      3. I’m in Jones for sunday only (got the 4 corner pass this year). Can’t remember the seat number off hand though ;)

        Anyone going tomorrow to the behind the scenes tour? Might see you there !

        1. Terry Fabulous
          23rd March 2010, 10:01

          Pink I am leaving Sydney tomorrow morning at 3 and hope to be there for the tour.

          Come and say gday under the big TV at the golf course on Saturday 4pm!

          1. Terry Fabulous
            25th March 2010, 22:01

            OK Gang…

            I have a big Yellow sign that says F1FANATIC!
            I will be wearing a big red SUPER AGURI hat.

            4pm Tomorrow under the big TV at the golf course.

            See you then!!!!

            Email me on missingthechilli@gmail.com if you want to contact me.

    3. I expect the drivers will be more aggressive this time around, and this track produces a good race more often than not. However, I can still picture a Hamilton or a Webber being stuck behind a slower car like in Bahrain. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

      Also, is this going to be a twilight race like last year?

      1. Yes, it’s at the same time I think. The race should be at 2 p.m. local time.

        1. If its a twilight race, the race wont be starting at 2pm Melbourne time, I went last year and it was 4 or 5 I think.

      2. It’s the same start time as last year – 5pm local which is 7am in the UK.

        You can find start times for all the sessions of all the races at the bottom of the page – just click the link for the race.

        1. that means more sun glare at turn 9-10-11 for the viewers :/

          I was at the clark chicane last time, might do same this time.

    4. Nathan Bradley
      22nd March 2010, 10:47

      Hi guys, I think the McLarens’ could also be worth watching this weekend. With the blend of quite a few high speed, slightly lower downforce corners, and quite a few straights long enough to take advantage of the F duct, they might have a shot at the podium, although I still think Red Bull/Ferrari will be fighting for the win, dependant on Red Bull reliability.

      Your thoughts please,


      1. McLaren, like Sauber, struggled with the new bump at Bahrain. I think they’ll do better relative to their rivals here. But I suspect Ferrari and Red Bull will retain their edge.

        1. I agree w/ Keith. Look at the track outline and tell me where you see long enough straights for the MP to capitalize on its straightline speed advantage. There are none. Even the start-finish line is far shorter than in Bahrein. The are faster corners here but the RBR and F10 are pretty good around those as well. I don’t expect a significant MP step until Spain. It will only be because of Lewis’s ability if MacLaren can get another podium (forget about the other guy).

          1. dont forget the only weak point of the mclaren was the qualifying, thier (lewis’s) race pace was identical to the red bull and both ferrari’s in the race,

            maybe bahrian was just a glitch, in lewis championship year i remeber him qualifying more than a second behind the pole sitter in some races and then going on to win the race, its too early after one race to say that ferrari and red bull have a huge advantage because they dont, the diference may be 0.2s but that can easily be made up by a good driver

            1. Indeed, if Hamilton hadn’t been pushed off track by Massa and/or hadn’t outbraked himself in the next turn, he could easily have been behind Alonso fighting for the win.

              A cruise to a podium or a battle for the lead can be just one split second away.

    5. My guess goes to Massa, while Alonso and Hamilton hit each other out and Button just misses out on top 5 battling with Schumacher ;-).
      It will be very exiting but no more overtaking then usual.

      1. As Jason said above ‘Ain’t gonna happen’.

    6. happily, no one has bolted an ill-advised one kilometre long extension on it which consists entirely of slow, narrow corners

      That made me laugh, here’s hoping for a good weekends racing, I’m behind Webber for a home GP win this year!

      1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
        22nd March 2010, 14:14

        I’m behind Webber for a home GP win this year!

        I am afraid you’ll go home disappointed.

        1. How can you tell the future, stop being negative about other drivers.

          1. Blessed yelrom and Invoke!

            Go Webber!!!!!!!!!!!

    7. “A better solution would be to remove the requirement for each driver to use both types of tyre during a race”

      The voice of reason speaks again!

      1. Eje Gustafsson
        22nd March 2010, 15:34

        Absolutely true. This would make for some very interesting tire choices and strategies. Could see some teams go for all soft tires and do 2 stops instead of 1 stop on each tire. Figure 2sec per lap faster on soft tires. 60 laps means 2min faster and 20-30sec to change tires.

    8. Mark Hitchcock
      22nd March 2010, 12:03

      “Last year Bridgestone brought medium and super-soft tyres, and drivers complained the latter wore out too quickly.”

      And that produced an exciting race. Should have brought the same tyres again to give the teams something to think about regarding strategy. As it is, if the soft is durable enough, it’s another certain 1-stopper.

      1. Agreed. Then we could have this situation:

        Webber goes for gold in qualifying and gets pole, but effectively ruins his tyres in doing so. He leads away from the start, but then dives into the pits on Lap 1 for his only stop. Slowly, he starts to catch up with the pack. By the time everyone has made their stops, Webber is back in the lead, but has to fight off Hamilton and Alonso, who are on fresher tyres. That would be a exciting race.

        1. Mouse_Nightshirt
          22nd March 2010, 14:06

          Flaw is that the hard tyres will easily last. Webber wouldn’t have an issue.

          1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
            22nd March 2010, 14:09

            Is this going to be a twilight race like last year?

            1. Yes. Fifth paragraph under ‘strategy’ heading.

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            22nd March 2010, 18:32

            Yes, but Hamilton and Alonso will also have the harder tires, but they will just be fresher

          3. Nope. First of all, they’de be using the medium tyres, which can last but have to be managed. Webber will have run on them for quite a bit longer, and so the freshness of the others’ tyres will be noticeable in the extra grip they’d be able to extract from them. It won’t be seconds, but it might be enough.

            Of course, it wouldn’t definitely happen this way, but at least it could, unlike with a soft/hard split.

    9. We are heading to Melbourne this weekend. Long range forecast mentions there might be the chance of a shower on Sat and Sun, that will be interesting.
      Not too sure how the late start will go, if it is overcast it will get quite dark early. The days are getting much shorter now that it is almost late March. I don’t like the fact that we have to hang around all day for the race to start around 5pm. Plenty of action on track though, which should be good!
      I will try and grab some good photos.

    10. Its either vettel or Robert

    11. My drivers to watch:

      1. Alonso/Massa – who will win?!
      2. Vettel – hope he will be around 12th after Q. I want to see him overtaking someone at last and win race without having PP.
      3. Sutil – another crash?
      4. Kubica – to prove good Renault performance.
      5. Webber – possible home race? i doubt, but lets see…
      6. Button – again watching Hamiltons or Merc back :)

      1. He has already won a race without pole position :)

        1. well, thanks to HAM retiring…

      2. if you can win without having to make a crusade through the field surely that is better. That means the driver has performed more consistently and qualified well!

        Vettel is an excellent driver, i remember everyone saying how great Button was in Brazil, didn’t Vettel do an even better job in that race coming up through the field….?

        1. And Hamilton done an even better job than bith of them !

        2. Yeah Vettel started behind Button but finished ahead I think

          1. Qualifying
            Jenson 14th, Vettel 15th and Lewis in 17th.

            Hamilton 3rd, Vettel 4th and Button 5th (But that’s all he needed) Button was driver of the day i’d say!

            McLaren are always awesome on strategy and this is what helped Hamilton move up to 3rd (And the fact he had KERS and slashed Barrichello’s tyre)!

    12. I am looking forward to the GP. Hope to see Webber going for gold, and also would like to see McLaren get something out of their F-duct solution with overtaking on the straits.

      1. (a) Webber win – ain’t gonna happen.
        (b) What ‘straits’ ???

        1. stop saying it’s not going to happen,you obviosly dont like Webber (no idea why) but stop being so negative about him here. It’s his home race and out of all the drivers I think he deserves to win the most. And guess what I’m not even Australian.

          1. I actually do really like Webber as a person. In fact, I like him a lot. It is just that as a driver he is defficient. His concentration is lacking, he is a poor race manager and doesn’t have that racing instinct that champions have. He has crashed too often, caused accidents and has not shown up when it counted. He is no better than an average F1 driver. And if you cannot accept these facts, it is not my fault. They are there for all to see.

            If RBR wins this race, it will be Vettel. He is going for the WDC and he is clearly the superior driver in that team.

          2. webber is a nice guy,but sorry my aussie friends,he is so over rated,vettal just keeps crushng him under his heel,its getting to the point were red bull,would love to ease him out for kimi-read these words-THE ICEMAN DOES COMETH..

        2. Well at least on the parts between the corners, where they don’t need downforce.

          I didn’t even say, Webber will win it, just that i was looking forward to him having a go at it this time. If he gets a good qualifying he should be right on it. It would be great, to see Webber win in his home race.

    13. Vettel will take the pole again. Will he use a new engine?
      And It’s time to shine for Webber. So I think RBR gonna grab the front row at Saturday.

      1. (a) Webber can’t/won’t get pole
        (b) Even if he did somehow (Vettel blows it in Q3) he can’t/won’t win

        Vettel can only win if he gets pole, in a normal race (i.e. no SC, which of course is very, very likely at Albert Park, especially w/ amateur drivers also participating this year)

        1. you’re hilarious F1Fan… GO WEBBER!!!

          1. ‘Go Webber’ sounds nice, but check again w/ us here after the race on Sunday.

            1. It’s called ‘going for the underdog’. Ever heard of it?

              Even if he doesn’t win I’ll still be yellin’ it. You miss the whole point of motor racing/life.

              F1Fan’s a loser with no friends.

            2. It’s called supporting your favourite driver mate. What you wan’t me to start shouting GO HAMILTON! Well that ain’t going to happen. As Chillax said it’s called supporting the underdog, why do we always have to support the guy who always wins?

            3. Going for the underdog is a *very* ‘Stralian thing to do. Especially when it’s ‘our’ underdog. Go Webber !

    14. Drivers to watch:

      1. Schumacher – will he get back on track?
      2. Vettel/ Webber – ‘baby schumi’ or home hero?
      3. Hamilton – has success in Melbourne

      1. Is he still “Bubi-Schumi” or “new Schumacher”? I guess, he’s Sebastian Vettel already, a man with his own name.

        1. Eje Gustafsson
          22nd March 2010, 15:40

          definitely a man with his own name. He has none of the arrogance and “superior” behavior style as Schumacher show for so long. Seb let his driving talk for himself and shows humility and personality. If he botches for some reason he apologizes all over himself and take the blame all on himself. None of this arrogance behavior many other drivers has (Schumacher, Alonzo, Hamilton).

          1. I do think Vettel is pretty arrogant to. They probably all need to be.

            I feel the way he dismisses other drivers because they have KERS, a Mercedes engine, a double diffusor or whatever advantage he perceives as unfairly taking away his just victory, rather arrogant. Especially since the previous season and this one he’s really driving the fastest car.

            The difference is that he is arrogant when he loses rather than when he wins. When he wins he’s all smiles and a very good boy. Schumacher, Alonso and Hamilton tend to get even more arrogant after they win :)

            1. yes, it all depends on their mood. But I believe Vettel is much more polite and probably more considerate towards others, but i dont think he reveal his true feelings.

              Shumacher = what you see is what you get. If that is arrogant then its arrogant, if its not then its not.

              Alonso = fake, does not reveal his true colours.
              Hamilton = fake but prob not as much as Alonso.

              I’de say Alonso and Hamilton are more alike than not. Thats probably why they did not get along.

              The driver with most honest personality? I’de say Webber.

    15. The McLarens normally do well at this venue. I see Ron Dennis thinks that Red Bull may have fuel problems, either a small tank or thirsty car, this would slow them down in the later laps. Getting back to McLaren they were fastest cars in a strait line and quicker in the final stages in Bahrain. This circuit’s characteristics could put the McLarens alongside the Ferraris and just short of the Red Bull’s giving Hamilton the win when Red Bull runs out of fuel on the final lap!!

      1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
        22nd March 2010, 16:06

        I think that the mp4-25 is an over-developed car, just the opposite of last year’s car.

        Its a dormant beast waiting to be understood & unleashed by its designers & engineers. I think we will have to wait until Barcelona to see the true potential of this car.

        Lui Hamilton & Jen Button seem to be facing the same problems that Kimi Raikkonen & Juan Montoya did in 2005 with the mp4-20.

        This car has a lot of potential & seems to be very reliable as well. I think Mclaren should take over the lead in the constructors championship by the time they get to Silverstone.

      2. Ron is just stirring things. If he had the volume turned up enough to hear (all the years at the track apparently damaged his hearing) Vettels car sounded lot different and didn’t fire right. The SpeedTV commentators even commented on that someones car didn’t sound right just shortly before Vettel got on the radio. It was obvious on the straights that Vettels car didn’t fire right the V8 song was of tune. After 6-8 laps his engine started sounding somewhat better and his lap time started to get much better to.

        1. Thats what Ron was saying. The Mclaren ECU allows a cylinder to be turned off to save fuel. He thought that Red bull did this to save fuek but it didnt work out correctly.

        2. But Ron knows the ECU as his company produces it.
          The message from Renault reported electronical problems with a failure in the spark plug, if i remember well. So maybe the “electronical problem” was an ECU saving the engine from stalling for lack of fuel flowing in.

    16. Forget Webber. He is just not that good, this has been proven over and over. I think it will be between Vettel and Alonso, and I expect this trend to continue at least until Spain. Hopefully McLaren will catch up quickly so Lewis can join the fight at the top (forget Button too). Massa might spring a surprise here and there, but he is clearly the #2 driver at Ferrari behind the double world champion. Alonso, Lewis and Vettel are just at a different level altogether. I really hope Kimi comes back w/ RBR next year, that should be something to watch w/ the 4 best drivers going for it.

      1. Webber has been quite close to Vettel at times. I doubt he’s the same level but he’s had some great drives, overtakes and is challenging Seb which is all he needs to do even if Seb will almost certainly come out of top at least he’s pushing him.
        Massa has had one race with Alonso so it’s too early to say “clearly #2” esp when he outqualified Alonso lthough Alonso should win in the long run.
        Having another champ back would be great but Kimi couldn’t beat Massa often enough and we already have enough top class drivers. He may be very quick but I also think he’s got a bit too much hype and eprsonally I lvoe how he’s trying rallying as it’s great to see someone be so brave to make the switch.

        1. Steph and others on this thread, Webber has been in F1 for ever and has accomplished next to nothing. He has consistently lost out to his teammates and has crashed out way too often. And I will say again, all of these things are known to the paddock and that’s why the big teams have never gone after him and that’s why he will be replaced by someone (whether it’s Kimi or another driver) at the end of this season.

          1. by crashed out, do you you mean to say mechanical failure? i think you’re thinking of some other ‘webber’. by the way, he was offered a spot by flavio to drive at renault in 05. i wonder how that would have panned out and i didn’t know red bull wasn’t a top team…

            and last year, his team did let him down at crucial moments eg: releasing him into heidfeld in belgium.

            now that i really think about it, i can’t really recall an unusually high frequency of crashing at all.

            1. h yeh, and vettel is the only driver he has truly been beaten by. and technically heidfeld, but he missed the last few races so webber still finished on more points

          2. Webber hasn’t been in F1 for ever. He hasn’t acomplished much because he has never been in a good team. Last year the two wins Webber achieved he domianted them, what about your presiuose Hamilton, he has been in the best team all his career. It’s kind of funny how you think you no everything, where you say he has consitlenyl lost out to hsi teametaes it pretty lame, he has beat all his teamates expept from 2007 and 2009. I think you are writing off a GOOD driver way to quickly, shut your trap for later.

            But seriosluy F1Fan you need to stop with your whinging because you no your wrong and everyone here does.

            Kind Regards, :)

            1. Funny post. I will not belabor the points you are making because they are not worth my time, except “He hasn’t acomplished much because he has never been in a good team”. For the Nth time, the very reason he hasn’t been w/ a good team is because he is a mediocre driver, period. Where was Massa before Ferrari ? Where was Kubica before BMW ? Where was Alonso before Renault ? There have been ***many*** open seats at the top teams in the last 4-5 years and not one of them chose to bring over Webber. If anything, the discussion this year will be about who is going to replace Webber in 2011.

          3. Two races wins is “nothing”? Maybe comparatively, but few drivers have ever won a race in the first place. He has had bad luck at times and it’s taken him a while to be in a truly top team. Yeh, if you have a choice between Webber and Hamilton, Massa, Alonso, etc., you’d overlook him, but that doesn’t “prove” Webber is no good at all. Had luck gone his way a little better last year, he would have challenged Button for the championship.

      2. Like when he won in Germany even though he had to take a drive through penalty, the only reason vettel scored a win before webber is cause he speared him off the track in japan 08…

        1. There’s no shame in what Webber did last year – coming off the back of a horrible accident and doing most of the season at a less than ideal level of fitness, to finish so close to someone who is obviously a huge talent and beat him on 6 of the 12 occasions they finished together was, I think, quite impressive. It’s far to early to judge him against Vettel this year too, cos we’ve only had one blimmin’ race!

          1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
            22nd March 2010, 15:24

            It’s far to early to judge him against Vettel this year too, cos we’ve only had one blimmin’ race!

            Fair enough Mr Thorn. But Mark Webber doesn’t seem to share your views when it comes to Schumacher.

            How is it fair on Mark Webber’s part to have said the things he has said?

            He says Rosberg will flatten Schumi, yet at the same time he doesn’t want to talk about his own performance compared to Vettel.

            Why is that?

            1. Don’t forget that at part of last year Webber lead in points over Vettel. At numerous occasions he did out qualify Vettel last year as well. But for most Vettel did get the better of Webber so wouldn’t completely write Webber of but yeah Vettel certainly seem to have the edge over Webber.

            2. He was asked them questions in an interview. It isn’t like he jumps on top of a building, waves his arms about and sais “HEY I have something to say.. Rosberg will flateen Shumacher”!

            3. Jesus loves Webber.

              He speaks his mind and has the passion (not mine, that’s just for me). Rosberg is match ready and may well have the edge of the Chin this year, so ups to Webs for stating the obvious. Webber is always the teamster too, thanking the boss and congratulating Vettel when he succeeds and supports the team. When me and the other gods get together each fortnight we wear our team shirts and mine says ‘#@!* Go Webs You Legend’. Allah gets all whingy cos of the swearing but he gets his own cos he once wore a McNish shirt a few years ago and the Toyota couldn’t even get off the start line! Ah, good times….

              Go Webs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        2. “the only reason vettel scored a win before webber is cause he speared him off the track in japan 08…”
          But Vettel got a win (in the other Red Bull team) before Japan 08?

          1. You probably meant Japan [b]07[/b], but still, Hamilton probably would ahve won that.

      3. I don’t think Kimi Räikkönen will be back in F1 next year. I don’t think he would want to come back.

        In F1 what is the challenge for him? He has won a world championship, driven for “the best” teams, earned a heap of money. What is left for him to prove? Besides winning more championships, and how many world championships does a man really need?

        Last year he looked so fed up / bored with the whole Formula 1 circus. He is an adrenaline man, F1 is mostly clincial, rally is not, which is probably why he went to rally, because it excites him.

        1. I agree w/ all your points. Well said.

    17. Drivers to watch:

      1. Alonso; He’s probably the fastest and most consistent driver out there at the moment and he’s driving a Ferrari. Curious to see if he can defeat massa in qualifying now too.
      2. Vettel: He looked very very fast last race. If his engine holds, he’s my favourite to win this race.
      3. Hamilton: Looked pretty good in Bahrein. I wonder how McClaren is going to cope with that diffuser ban etc.

      The interesting team battles:
      1. Schumacher/Rosberg; Rosberg was ahead of Der Michael all weekend. The German won’t like that.
      2. Hülkenberg/Barrichello: This is my favourite battle this year, I just want to see how fast Nico evolves.

      but most of all I hope for a fun race with more overtaking. It’s a huge factor in F1 now.

      1. Mouse_Nightshirt
        22nd March 2010, 14:08

        First we have someone thinking Vettel is British, and now someone who forgets Rosberg is German! ;)

        1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
          22nd March 2010, 14:11

          Mouse_Nightshirt you have forgotten to see the video ;)

        2. Well he is German, but with a Finnish father i suppose the general public in Germany (including those 5 million who started watching F1 again because of him) would rather seeing Der Michal win than Rosberg – prince charming.
          Give it to him Nico, we all like Schumacher to struggle a little bit before getting into it!

        3. Haha I didn’t forget Rosberg is German, I understand the confusion though! But I was talking about Schumacher, I don’t think Rosberg minded finishing in front of Der Michael last time! ;)

    18. Yorricksfriend
      22nd March 2010, 14:11

      I’ll be going. 4 day grandstand pass at the senna stand. flying to melbourne tomorrow, cant wait

      1. Terry Fabulous
        22nd March 2010, 20:32

        Gday Mate, I am organising a casual F1Fanatic meet beer/coffee/soft drink!

        There is a two hour break between Prac 3 and Qually and we are meeting at 4pm under the Golf Course Giant Screen.

        Come along if you want, if not, no dramas!

        1. Yorricksfriend
          24th March 2010, 10:27

          no worries, might come along

          1. Terry Fabulous
            25th March 2010, 22:04

            Yorrick mate…

            I have a big Yellow sign that says F1FANATIC!
            I will be wearing a big red SUPER AGURI hat.

            4pm Tomorrow under the big TV at the golf course.

            See you then!!!!

            Email me on missingthechilli@gmail.com if you want to contact me.

    19. Those saying “Webber do well….”, please stop it is hurting my eyes. IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! I would like those that are going to the race (yes, I am jealous), don’t expect Webber to do well at all, then you will not go home disappointed. Sorry to sound anti-Webber, but you can’t be anti-something unless you believe something is, for me Webber isn’t :-|

      1. Farrokh Bomi Bulsara
        22nd March 2010, 15:18

        Yes. Webber really needs to deliver on track if he’s to remain with Red Bull for 2011. I personally would love to see him replace John Legard at BBC.

        His outrageous comments on other drivers are sometimes a real comedy. Like the kimi-vodka thing.

        And I really don’t get it when Webber says all the current crop,including Alonso & Kimi are kids.

        Just to remind Mark, he made his debut a year later than those two guys, not to mention that they are both world champions.

        1. I too think he would be a brilliant announcer. I love his honest, rustic, mildly vulgar quips. However, if he worked for SpeedTV, the broadcaster would need to set aside substantial sums for fines they would pay to the FCC—our officials tend to get a bit “shirty” about colorful language.

          1. Y’know, this is getting me thinking… Keith needs a “best driver moments” post. Times where driver’s personalities themselves made for great entertainment. Off color comments, temper explosions, strange reactions, emotional outbursts, great jokes or general tomfoolery…

            1. Talk about Mark and great jokes. Love the video of Mark getting bumped on the head by a TV camera when signing something for someone. If you seen the Montoya video where a camera man by accident hits Montoya and goes absolutely crazy then Marks “impression” is absolutely great… =)

          2. Agree would love to hear him as a announcer. What did you think of “WG” as pitlane guy for SpeedTV? (I think he stunk). They had no interviews (understand there where not many drivers on the grid until last minute and guess they where not allowed into the pit area). But no comments where made of it. Can’t wait for them to get someone else in instead of “WG”.

          3. But let us hope, he would not be as RedBull PR man as David Coulthard often is.

        2. “And I really don’t get it when Webber says all the current crop,including Alonso & Kimi are kids.”

          I only read an interview where he referred to Hamilton and Vettel as “kids who are doing well”. Seems pretty accurate.

          People shouldn’t forget that Webber was actually ahead of Vettel before the last 5 races of 2009.

          He lost moslty because of bad luck and mechanical failures. Rammed out of the Italian GP by Kubica, broken brakes in Singapore and a whole slew of mechanical problems in Japan.

          The last 2 of those 5 races Webber scored more points than Vettel.

          BTW and before someone starts about the mechanical failures that Vettel had. Those were in practice. Webber had those too. Vettel had one mechanical failure (not induced by a accident like in Hungary) and that was in the race in Valencia.

          1. True. And even though Vettel out qualified Webber in many more races, Webber was heavier on just about all occasions. Not saying Webber is better the Vettel, but some of the comments above saying he is much worse, is not really painting a true picture. I hope he wins just to silence a few people.
            And to the people who are having a go at Webber for some of his comments over the yrs? What would you prefer, someone with the personality of Raikonnen?

          2. I think the poster was referring to the incident at Fuji ’07, when he said “That’s what happens when you let kids in” or something to that effect. Debate has gone on over the years as to whether he meant Vettel or Hamilton, the opinion usually depending on whether you like Lewis or not ;-)

      2. Yhe you get to decide when stuff happens. Grow up dude. And you dn’t expect us to believe Webber won’t do well at all, what a load of crap. I think you should shut your trap just like the other guy who was carring on. Watch the race and save your stupid opinions for later.

    20. The Melbourne track is an aggressive one and sutill also is an agressive drive ……

      would really be interesting to see sutil on pole with the softer tires….

      1. Interesting thought. I like Sutil as a driver and do agree that the FI car might just be quick enough to get him high up there in Q3. But I just can’t see pole position, given the speed of the RBR over a single lap.

      2. im not sure if sutil is agressive or stupid?
        sometime hes more stupid i think (see last GP @ Bahrain).

        1. Actually that was Weber fault with his ‘intended’ smoke screen. Kubica wasn’t pleased either about that. Weber should have gotten a drive through penaulty. Vetel and the renault team had no smoke screen as they tapped the extra oil away.

          I think Massa is going for Pole and Sutil wil be much higher in Q3 if he uses the same tyre as the rest.

          1. To make racing more interesting FIA should allow car weapons ;) commanded oil spills, glass fiber droppings and smoke screens. The oil spills and glass fiber from a previous released on a previous lap ;)
            Race engineers would provide updates of danger spots to the driver instead of what they do today ;)

    21. theRoswellite
      22nd March 2010, 18:41

      I have a general question about the possible “nature” of these early GP’s.

      With the heavy fuel loads making the cars much less responsive, both in braking, cornering and acceleration, will the race develop into a parade, broken only by the possible pit stop shuffle, until the closing laps when people are going to possibly have fuel and tire problems while other cars will be doing some of their fastest laps of the race?

      So, basically I’m asking…will the races be considered a success if the cars are only able to hold station for perhaps 80% of the race, with the last 10%-20% being a period for passing, or at least much closer racing?

      If this is a pattern repeated from race to race will that be ok, will that be considered a “good” race?

      Honestly, I’m just asking…I’m not expressing my opinion.

      1. OK, I’ll bite. The answer to question 1 is yes. But the reason, you must understand, is aerodynamic interference thwarting passing—rather than the decision to freight the cars with 350 pounds of high-mounted weight and fit tires that will go as long as a driver wants them to. The answer to questions 2 and 3 will be, I fear, no.

        1. Simply put, the cars nowadays rely so much on aerodynamics, that when they follow another car, which is punching a hole in the air, they can’t generate the down force they need,

          In the past we knew this as slipstream, and it was used to pass down a straight, but now, the aerodynamics have become so good compared to the mechanical grip, that the car can not perform without clear air.

          I will be interested to see if the slower teams (lotus, HRT and Virgin) can make passes, due to the (even slightly) less efficient aerodynamics.

    22. I don’t see anyone trying anything else other than a one stopper. There is no chance that a driver can make up enough time ‘using his tires’ to make a space for a 2nd stop.

      If bridgestone bring higher wear tires like a soft and a super soft, this means a one stopper will take a lot more care. I think the only way will we ever see a two stop stragedgy this year is if the circuit is destroying the tires and it is almost impossible to make the medium and option last a whole race distance without having to tippy-toe around the track.

      Please bridgestone bring tires that will last no more than 15 laps, please.

      1. There is going to be at least one Safety Car on Sunday (probably due to a Chandhok-induced crash), so that should spice things up. Vettel *** must *** get pole here, otherwise he can’t win this race from Alonso. The track is not so harsh on tyres, plus BS is bringing harder compounds than last year. So Alonso’s strategy is pretty straightforward: run the mediums in Q, get P2 worst case, then follow Vettel closely for 12-15 laps, pit first and then cruise to victory on a loooong 2nd stint on the hards. F10 just too quick on hards w/ lots of fuel.

        1. If there is a SC, Alonso/Massa will have to worry about Hamilton, Button and Rosberg. They were pretty quick in the middle of their second stints last time. Red cars may not be a liberty to cruise around behind Vettel saving up tires for the end if they are being hounded by cars with F-Ducts.

          1. Agreed. If it’s a normal race, Alonso wins. If there are (and probably will be) SC’s, then things could get very interesting.

        2. Hang on F1fan, who are you to say Chandok won’t be a half decent driver, We have already seen him get out of the way of the faster cars, and this courtesy, will most likely mean he will not be the cause of an accident not related to car failures.

          Then, I must ask, are you luca per chance? you seem to know Alonso’s plan pretty well,

          I think considering the differences in track, both layout and temp. we can’t really say who will be fastest, lets rest our judgements and only speculate for now eh?

    23. For weather forecasts:


      Looking more likely to be slightly wet in Melbourne.

    24. GO Webber and Kubica, I’ll be there 9th melb gp in a row so pumped this week hoping for an interesting race best weekend of the year!!

    25. Looking forward to being @ the track this weekend. Hopefully we will see some good racing.

    26. I hope Webber gets to show what he’s made of and win.

      1. You really don’t want Webber to show what he’s made of.

        1. Dude, I’ll change my mind, I hope webber wins just to get you to be quiet… least say something constructive, err…. like…

          I hope Schumacher does well, but i suspect he may still struggle against Rosberg, That being said, if Rosberg makes a mistake, and i believe he is more likely to do so, Schumacher will pounce.

        2. How come very time someone sais “Go Webber” you have to make some stupid comment. Now come on dude just leave it. Webber might not win but of course im still going to go for him. But I really hope he does win, it would be great for him to win his hope GP. Just stop what they call it… Webber bashing all the time.

          Let’s just leave it at that and watch the race, not long to go now :)

        3. @F1Fan your nick on another forum don’t happen to be STR3 is it?

    27. I will wait until P-3 to come to a conclusion as to who is competitive and who’s not. Bahrain tought me that.

    28. theRoswellite
      22nd March 2010, 22:54

      DMW….thanks for the return post.

    29. I think that Ferrari will be strong again with Red Bull.Both Mclaren & Mercedes needs to do some catching up, & we may see a good racing from Schumacher.

    30. Mclaren will bounce back in form …..

    31. It would be yet another boring procession. There’s a petition to FIA to allow refueling for this season. Let us support by signing it.

      1. Refuelling does not improve the spectacle one bit. You want overtaking happening on the track, not in the pitlane.

        1. Well said F1Fan… wait what?

        2. theRoswellite
          25th March 2010, 4:13

          Exactly, forget the in-race refueling.

          If we are faced with “…the parade” again and again, and realizing that an alteration in the design of the car requires too much time, not to mention money…there is one area that can be altered…relatively easily.

          (If anyone claims I wrote this I’ll be in complete denial.)

          One year only, a trial, just till the aero-down-force is massively reduced.

          Race is run in 3 heats: First-25%, Second-25%, Third-50%.

          Only 10 minutes between all heats.

          Grid for heat is based on the finishing order of previous heat.

          Cars can be refueled only between heats.

          Any tire choice, change whenever you would like. No two tire requirement.

          Obviously, no back up car is possible.

          Race outcome is based on the results of the Third heat, no cumulative time formula.

          Result, we get closer racing (X3), cars are lighter and more responsive…and best of all we don’t have…”the parade”. (hopefully we wouldn’t have three little parades)

          I didn’t write this, and I would appreciate it if I wasn’t slammed too heavily.

          1. not a bad idea at all, the start is always very interesting, having 3 stars/race would be great.

    32. all refuelling means is that drivers wait till the pits to overtake, in the last race some teams should have tried pitting about 10 laps before the end, compare the end of race pace to the qualifying times, this could have made for more exciting racing,
      also more drivers finished closer together than I’ve seen for a while

      1 spain F Alonso 1:39:20.396
      2 brazil F Massa 1:39:36.495
      3 great britain L Hamilton 1:39:43.578
      4 germany S Vettel 1:39:59.195
      5 germany N Rosberg 1:40:00.609
      6 germany M Schumacher 1:40:04.559
      7 great britain J Button 1:40:05.676
      8 australia M Webber 1:40:06.756
      9 italy V Liuzzi 1:40:13.404
      10 brazil R Barrichello 1:40:22.885

      note 4-8, the refuelling ban may close them up, the problem of ‘not exciting racing’ is down to double diffusers and not being able to overtake

      1. Actually, if the diffusers were about the only aerodynamic device on the car, it would improve things, as they’re not as sensitive to turbulence; with barely any other aero stuff to rely on, a following car wouldn’t be affected by “dirty air”.

        1. yes, but the diffuses mess up the overtaking groups designs for being able to follow more closely

          1. and thier more likely to get rid of diffusers than wings…etc

            1. That’s my point (sort of): they’ll get rid of something which on its own is relatively harmless because it interferes with the bigger problem, which they’d rather keep!

    33. Felipe Massa – Beat Alonso in qualifying but lost out to him in the race. Needs to hit back while the F10 is still the class of the field.

      I don’t see Massa hit back at Alonso in Australia, Massa finished only twice at Albert Park out of 7 GP’s (6th in 2007 and 10th in 2005).

    34. mclaren and red bull will be on form. i think mercedes will be right up there too. definately more driver skill needed for Melbourne.

    35. ……………JUST GIVE ME A RACE PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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