Alonso can get payback for 2010 in Abu Dhabi

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Fernando Alonso has a major opportunity to overhaul Sebastian Vettel’s 13-point championship lead in a single race in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel will start the race from the pit lane after being penalised for having insufficient fuel available for a sample following qualifying.

Two years ago Vettel snatched the championship from Alonso at this very track. Now Alonso has a chance to claim payback and stake his claim on the 2012 crown.

The start

Vettel’s demise means there are now four different cars in the top four places on the grid: McLaren, Red Bull, Williams and Lotus. The highest Ferrari, that of Alonso, is only sixth, and his start will be critical to how his race develops.

The run to the first corner is short at just 300m and the pole sitter has never lost the lead between the grid and the first corner. Even so Lewis Hamilton, who started from pole here in 2009, is anxious about making a clean getaway:

“At the start, it’s down to the team to make sure the clutch performs perfectly because the getaway will be incredibly important. Our race pace is very strong, but so is Red Bull’s – and staying ahead will be tough, particularly with the double DRS zones.”

The only good news for Vettel is he won’t have to go through turn two on the first lap, which was where his race went wrong last year. As the field scream through the first two corners he will negotiate Abu Dhabi’s unusual underground pit exit and then go sprinting after them.


How Vettel’s race unfolds from there will be shaped to a large degree by how well-equipped the Red Bull RB8 is for overtaking. As we’ve seen in recent races the car is conceived around taking pole position and pulling away from the field. Straight-line speed isn’t its strong point (see below).

This was particularly clear in Belgium, where Vettel did a superb job to climb from 12th at the end of lap one to finish second. He struggled to pass cars in the DRS zone, but was able to use the RB8’s superior downforce to close on cars through the high-speed Blanchimont and make passes at the chicane.

Though he should have little difficulty picking off the stragglers in the DRS zone, Vettel may have to get creative once he finds himself in the midfield. Merely getting into the lower reaches of the points may prove a challenge.

As his car has been taken out of parc ferme and will start from the pits the team may be able to make some set-up changes to help him. But they’re unlikely to be able to radically transform the car’s top speed.

One factor that would considerably aid Vettel’s progress is a safety car deployment. That would close the field up and bring him closer to the cars in front. However in the past three races here it’s only come out once.

As the tyre selection for this race is again on the conservative side we are likely to see drivers making single stops for tyres during the race. This may give Vettel a strategic opportunity to gain places using an aggressive two-stop strategy.

There wasn’t much to separate the front-runners on their race fuel stints during second practice. However Raikkonen (speaking before Vettel’s penalty) believes his car is quick enough to take on those in front of him: “The car hasn’t felt fantastic all weekend but we decided we weren’t going to change the car’s set-up from where it was for the last race.

“It was the right choice because in the end the circuit came to us in qualifying where the car was the best it has been so far here. We’ll give tomorrow our best shot; Let’s see if we can make a good start to get right behind the Red Bulls, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’41.4971’40.901 (-0.596)1’40.630 (-0.271)
2Mark WebberRed Bull1’41.9331’41.277 (-0.656)1’40.978 (-0.299)
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’42.1601’41.511 (-0.649)1’41.073 (-0.438)
4Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’41.9811’41.907 (-0.074)1’41.226 (-0.681)
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’42.2221’41.532 (-0.690)1’41.260 (-0.272)
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’42.3421’41.873 (-0.469)1’41.290 (-0.583)
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’41.9391’41.514 (-0.425)1’41.582 (+0.068)
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’41.9261’41.698 (-0.228)1’41.603 (-0.095)
9Felipe MassaFerrari1’41.9741’41.846 (-0.128)1’41.723 (-0.123)
10Romain GrosjeanLotus1’42.0461’41.620 (-0.426)1’41.778 (+0.158)
11Nico HulkenbergForce India1’42.5791’42.019 (-0.560)
12Sergio PerezSauber1’42.6241’42.084 (-0.540)
13Paul di RestaForce India1’42.5721’42.218 (-0.354)
14Michael SchumacherMercedes1’42.7351’42.289 (-0.446)
15Bruno SennaWilliams1’43.2981’42.330 (-0.968)
16Kamui KobayashiSauber1’43.5821’42.606 (-0.976)
17Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’43.2801’42.765 (-0.515)
18Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’44.058
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham1’44.956
20Charles PicMarussia1’45.089
21Vitaly PetrovCaterham1’45.151
22Timo GlockMarussia1’45.426
23Pedro de la RosaHRT1’45.766
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT1’46.382

Vettel’s penalty is a lifeline for Alonso. His championship chances initially suffered a setback in qualifying as he could only manage seventh. Technical director Pat Fry admitted that despite breaking the curfew twice and bringing a stack of new parts the team had not found the gains they needed:

“We had brought various updates here, some only fitted to Fernando’s car, because we do not yet have enough of them for both. Unfortunately, the whole package did not work the way we had expected before coming here, at least relative to the progress that the other teams have made.

“Both Felipe and Fernando did the maximum they could: unfortunately they had already reached the limit in Q2, which explains why it’s not by chance that Fernando did practically the same time three times in a row, while the others raised the bar in Q3.”

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton17.627 (1)42.620 (1)40.349 (1)
Mark Webber17.760 (7)42.681 (2)40.501 (2)
Sebastian Vettel17.756 (6)42.691 (3)40.543 (3)
Pastor Maldonado17.867 (10)42.701 (4)40.658 (5)
Kimi Raikkonen17.751 (5)42.833 (8)40.587 (4)
Jenson Button17.711 (2)42.715 (5)40.864 (7)
Fernando Alonso17.719 (3)42.844 (9)40.883 (8)
Nico Rosberg17.940 (14)42.724 (6)40.939 (10)
Felipe Massa17.821 (8)42.761 (7)40.998 (12)
Romain Grosjean17.730 (4)42.979 (11)40.781 (6)
Nico Hulkenberg17.904 (11)42.960 (10)41.155 (13)
Sergio Perez17.823 (9)43.137 (16)40.906 (9)
Paul di Resta17.937 (13)43.023 (13)41.182 (14)
Michael Schumacher18.055 (16)42.989 (12)41.183 (15)
Bruno Senna17.918 (12)43.213 (17)40.976 (11)
Kamui Kobayashi17.977 (15)43.093 (15)41.373 (16)
Daniel Ricciardo18.141 (17)43.076 (14)41.548 (17)
Jean-Eric Vergne18.177 (18)43.314 (18)42.167 (18)
Heikki Kovalainen18.351 (21)43.831 (19)42.694 (20)
Charles Pic18.283 (19)44.175 (23)42.573 (19)
Vitaly Petrov18.367 (22)43.897 (20)42.887 (21)
Timo Glock18.305 (20)44.165 (22)42.930 (22)
Pedro de la Rosa18.416 (23)44.081 (21)43.124 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan18.604 (24)44.309 (24)43.230 (24)

Jenson Button was surprised at his gap to Hamilton, most of which came in the last sector, where Hamilton has tended to be strong:

“I shouldn’t really be starting this far back,” Button admitted. “All weekend, I’ve been pretty happy with the car, but, for some reason, we just couldn’t find the pace in qualifying – and we don’t know why.

“Obviously, our car is very quick around here – Lewis put it on pole by quite a margin – so there’s some more time to find.”

Speed trap

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Pastor MaldonadoWilliams325.8 (202.4)
2Bruno SennaWilliams323.0 (200.7)-2.8
3Sergio PerezSauber322.2 (200.2)-3.6
4Felipe MassaFerrari320.0 (198.8)-5.8
5Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso319.9 (198.8)-5.9
6Kamui KobayashiSauber319.8 (198.7)-6.0
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari319.7 (198.7)-6.1
8Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso319.4 (198.5)-6.4
9Narain KarthikeyanHRT317.3 (197.2)-8.5
10Pedro de la RosaHRT317.3 (197.2)-8.5
11Michael SchumacherMercedes316.9 (196.9)-8.9
12Nico RosbergMercedes316.6 (196.7)-9.2
13Charles PicMarussia316.3 (196.5)-9.5
14Timo GlockMarussia316.3 (196.5)-9.5
15Romain GrosjeanLotus314.8 (195.6)-11.0
16Kimi RaikkonenLotus314.5 (195.4)-11.3
17Paul di RestaForce India313.8 (195.0)-12.0
18Nico HulkenbergForce India313.7 (194.9)-12.1
19Lewis HamiltonMcLaren313.7 (194.9)-12.1
20Jenson ButtonMcLaren313.5 (194.8)-12.3
21Vitaly PetrovCaterham311.8 (193.7)-14.0
22Heikki KovalainenCaterham311.7 (193.7)-14.1
23Sebastian VettelRed Bull311.4 (193.5)-14.4
24Mark WebberRed Bull311.2 (193.4)-14.6

Alonso’s strong straight-line speed was a major factor of his strong race in India.

But if anyone should feel confident about making passes tomorrow it’s Pastor Maldonado, who was comfortably the quickest in a straight line during qualifying.

Abu Dhabi has two DRS zones on consecutive straights, each with their own activation point. This may make it possible for a driver who is overtaken in the first DRS zone to re-pass in the second, as we saw last year.

Over to you

Can Alonso make it onto the podium? Where will Vettel finish after starting from the pit lane? And who will be leading the world championship in 24 hours’ time?

Share your views on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the comments.

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Images © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty images

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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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91 comments on “Alonso can get payback for 2010 in Abu Dhabi”

  1. Nick Jarvis (@)
    3rd November 2012, 22:00

    starting from the pitlane? thought it was from the back of the grid?

    1. @nickj95gb See the link on that text in the second paragraph for an explanation.

    2. They will probably change gear ratios and some of the rest of the setup on the car, so that’s why.

      1. They’re not allowed to change gearing. They have to declare gear ratios on Friday evenings and use them for the rest of the weekend.

        On the f1technical forums, some people are suggesting they still could do it if the penalty amounts to additional grip places only, which obviously wouldn’t affect Vettel any more from where he starts. I don’t know how realistic that is.

        1. @ral you can – with a 5 place grid penalty. Obviously now the grid penalty costs nothing, so…

        2. @Ral They are allowed to make these changes and have – see here for details.

    3. Nick Jarvis (@)
      3rd November 2012, 22:11

      got it, thanks. didn’t see that in the first article first time round.

      1. Starting from the pit lane is worse IMO. If Vettel started under normal circumstances from the back of the grid he at least has a chance to make up a few positions right away. When starting from the pit lane they wont release him until the cars have completed sector 1. :P

        1. Well he can now change from a qualifying setup to a race setup. He could very well be the fastest tomorrow in the race, thanks to the changes.

          1. Not sure if they can make drastic enough changes to the car to seriously alter it. However, anything helps at this point.

        2. they don’t release him till all the cars have gone past him which is not the same as sector 1. sector 1 is around 19 seconds, they never wait that long to have a green light in the pit lane

        3. I saw some tweets from journalists who asked Whiting how that will be handled. Apparently Whiting will wait until all cars get through turn 1 and are out of his sight before turning the light green. All that time Vettel will be waiting at the end of the pitlane right behind the HRT pitbox.

          On the other hand, Vettel will avoid any problems in the first couple of corners (remember the crashes at the hairpin last year?), have a bit of clean air in front and will likely still get past the back 4 in the first lap, not sure about Petrov though (Alonso might thank him this time!) and he will hope he won’t have to do them in the slower sector. The STR cars will probably just move aside, but then he will quickly run up to the backs of the Senna, Saubers, FI group, and Schumi where he will lose a lot of time, if he gets past at all without waiting for their pitstops. All in all, avoiding the chance to change setup and avoid fírst corner problems is fully worth catching them a bit later.

          1. I don’t know, Vettel is pretty lucky with Pace cars :(

  2. I do hope Vettel gets stuck behind Petrov for a good 40-50 laps

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      3rd November 2012, 22:10

      and petrov wins :D

      1. Wouldn’t Vettel behind Petrov and Alonso winning be the perfect mirror image?

        1. :-) With Webber right behind

    2. Incredibly unlikely…
      but dear god that would be be a fist full of irony to the buttocks ;)

      1. Love to see that but it is highly unlikely! history repeating? only if Petrov is in a Renault so…mission impossible! but let hope Petrov is not going to make it easy…let’s drag out for a few laps would be good enough.

    3. haha..and there’s me thinking Vettell is well liked.. how wrong could i be!!

  3. What great news to wake up to! Alonso gonna need all the points he can get going into COTA and especially Interlagos.

    1. Best f1 news I’ve read for months…quoted SV “that’s what I’m talking about!” anyhow just glad to wake up and read the f1 news without any finger pics up your face for once in the headline!. FA had 2 bad luck being taken out of 2 races, it only fair that luck goes the other way. if luck also play a part of the Championship then that’s it.

  4. As he’s starting from the pitlane, can RBR change the gear ratios and aerofoil angles to aid overtaking?

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      3rd November 2012, 22:13


    2. @xjr15jaaag – that’s the primary reason hey have taken the decision to start from the pit lane. Hopefully it will pay dividends with easier overtaking and a better race set-up so he can go faster. A safety car late on wouldn’t go a miss also!

      1. But I’m still a little confused as to the gearing issue; they declare gear ratios on the Friday and stick with them; what’s the penalty for changing them?

        1. @xjr15jaaag Vettel was already P24. so don’t need to worry about additional penalty…except start from pit lane which means he should start several seconds later with bonus of avoiding first lap crash.

  5. Pastor Maldonado for winning Abu Dhabi 2012 Grand Prix!

    1. Also, I think that this will greatly screw up the prediction championship!

    2. Nick Jarvis (@)
      3rd November 2012, 22:14

      it’s safe to say maldonado won’t finish, and if he takes out button and hamilton’s car fails, raikkonen may win!

      1. This season has been well and truly Pastor Maldonado’d.

      2. You guys are too harsh on Maldonado. He’s more than capable of handling pressure and I have complete faith that he’ll have a clean start and with his straight line speed possibly get a podium.

        1. IMO if Maldonado had a bit more consistency and a bit less bad luck he could’ve been up there in 7th in the championship, I’ll give him that.

        2. I wasn’t being fully serious, but i do think there is a quite a chance, seeing the Williams’ top speed…

          1. Drop Valencia!
            4th November 2012, 1:31

            Thats right, he will have 15 kph on the others if he can get in the drs.

  6. Alonso has an opportunity, but does he have the race pace?

    1. I think he might considering what happened in India.

    2. He’s almost always had it this season.

  7. Magnificent picture that one!

    1. @kingshark Haha reminds me of Borat, “Very nice, very nice!”

        1. oh god! My sides!

      1. “I go to US & A with same points as Fingers” Haha! I always thought Alonso reminded me of Borat

    2. great success

  8. As the tyre selection for this race is again on the conservative side we are likely to see drivers making single stops for tyres during the race.

    Pirelli makes huge gambles at the start of the year in terms of tyre selection, but then they go all “Bridgestone”. They surely doesn’t want to be the one to blame if the end of the champion goes “radical” because of the weird tyres…

  9. Seems Vettel was slower than Webber right through the session, does this mean he is running out of strong engines ? Fits my oft stated theory that Vettel gets the “full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes” strategy while Webber gets the “steady as she goes” strategy. Hopefully the team will be giving Webber every thing they can to get a win and not using him as a roadblock to help Seb.

  10. Hopefully the set-up changes will aid Vettel’s efforts significantly. Easier DRS passes combined with a good strategy by perhaps starting on he hards could serve Vettel well tomorrow.

    1. @vettel1, As others have pointed out, it is not that easy, if they reduce “wing” the car will have less grip not only making it slower around bends but also hastening tyre degradation which will already be higher than anticipated due to running in turbulence behind other cars.

      1. @hohum that’s not strictly true to be honest. With the characteristics of the old Bridgestones – you could definitely keep them alive, for longer – with more downforce. But with these Pirellis it’s a different story.

        1. @raymondu999, I think you have it back to front, clearly, all else being equal, with the Pirellis the more you slip the faster the tyres wear, more downforce equals less slip, it is how SV has gone faster longer on tyres.

          1. @hohum More downforce is less slip. No arguments there. Slip causes wear, but NOT degradation (important distinction)

            But the Pirellis have, since early 2011, shown a remarkable resistance to wear. I spoke to Paul Hembery a while ago about this very question and he confirmed that indeed the tyres are more degradation limited rather than wear limited.

            Hence why tracks that were traditionally tyre-killers for the Bridgestones in terms of heavy traction, such as Monaco, Singapore, Canada – all have seen 1 stoppers (2 in the case of Singapore) comfortably.

            Instead, those with high energy corners have become the tyre killers.

            If you were to look back at how races panned out on Bridgestones, and compared them to how they panned out on Pirellis – you’ll see that the ones with faster, more sweeping corners have proved more trouble for the Pirellis, relative to the slower corner tracks.

          2. Thanks guys @hohum and @raymondu999 for the interesting discussion here!

    2. @vettel1 starting on the hards is never a good idea to be honest. Starting on the hards guarantees you have to make places via overtaking

      1. Especially when the the softs are likely to get them to over half distance here. The only thing it might enable is to wait for the stops of the mid field to gain places when they think Vettel won’t be able to pass much on track anyway. And then save the best set of softs for a shorter stint in the end where he can try and gain on people having older mediums. But since those will be fast cars, and the tyres will be durable (and both the McLarens and the Lotus cars were very good on their mediums) there’s not that much chance it would pay off IMO.

  11. Pastor 325.8, Lewis 313.7 and Mark 311.2 mph top speed. It’s going to be a very interesting first lap between the top 3 assuming they all start well off the grid.

    Hopefully the set-up changes will aid Vettel’s efforts significantly. Easier DRS passes combined with a good strategy by perhaps starting on he hards could serve Vettel well tomorrow.

    Mark recovered from 17 seconds down from the tailenders at the end of the of the safety car in Suzuka to finish 9th, so Sebastian should be able to pick up a 7th or 8th place if his strategy works out perfectly and he doesn’t get stuck behind anyone for several laps.

    However the dual DRS zone worked against Mark last year in his battle with Jenson, so I wouldn’t be suprised to see Sebastian overtake in the first DRS zone only to be repassed in the second.

    1. He could sit behind Massa for all Ferrari care.

    2. @njack – that is possible, but we shall see. His car may be quick enough to resist the retaliation threat but we obviously won’t know until tomorrow.

  12. I say Alonso 4th or 5th and Vettel 7th or 8th

    1. Yeah I think your prediction is just about correct.

  13. I am now looking forward to tomorrow’s race more than I have for any this year. Regardless of whether or not there is much action on the track, it’s going to be super tense. Vettel and Alonso will be battling it out without actually racing each other. I’m sure both will be constantly updated with the other’s progress. Meanwhile, there are all sorts of wildcards to add spice: Hamilton looks to have the pace to win, but Webber is alongside him in the fastest car (in general, not just at this circuit), Maldonado is one place behind with the best top speed and the opportunity to pull some DRS passes, Räikkönen is alongside him and should have the pace to at least hold off the Ferraris, or perhaps even move forward himself. Not to mention that we’re going to see whether Vettel really does lack the ability fight his way through the field, as so many people say he does. Personally, I think he’s a much better racer than people give him credit for, and I fully expect to see him picking up a point or two tomorrow. I imagine he’s going to treat the race like it was the last one of the season, and do everything in his power to make sure Alonso doesn’t leave the weekend with a points lead. Should make for an enthralling race!

    1. It makes sense.. Vettel would want every advantage he can get going into the final 2 races.. Especially as 1 of them is a completely untested venue, and Interlagos has been known to spring a few championship surprises over the years.. Really hope it goes down to the wire in Interlagos like 07/08, would be entirely fitting for a championship like this to go the whole distance…

    2. @estesark Nice summary of what we can expect … I would add a mention to Button as McLaren has been super strong on medium tyre, would be nice to see a great come back at the end of the race from him. With all those elements it can’t be a boring race ^^ (even if I never really find any race boring, let’s say procession are less exciting)

      For the champ lead, Vettel has 13 points lead, Alonso should finish on the podium to get ahead (Vettel not scoring any point) but that alone, I don’t see it happening. But why not Alonso finishing 4th or 5th and closing …

  14. I wonder if Helmut Marko will have a chat with the Toro Rosso boys to let Vettel right trough (I’m guessing yes)

    1. Could be interesting, are intrateam orders allowed? Could also be difficult owing to STR having an 8kph advantage in top speed. But I’m guessing you’r right.

      1. Drop Valencia!
        4th November 2012, 1:35

        Yeah not really fair but the Torro boys know the guy that butters their bread is Vettels biggest fan…

    2. I wonder if Stefano will also have a chat to Toro Rosso considering that they are running Ferrari engines :P

    3. We’ve already in the past that STR were letting RBR pass by not giving much of a resistance, don’t see why it would change …

  15. Christmas has come early!!! Alonso 3rd and Vettel 7th is my prediction, which would cut the lead to 2 points.
    Then we just need some rain in Texas or Brazil.

    1. Hardly any chance of that in Texas though. But having a wet Brazillian title defender where Alonso and Vettel go head to head, that might be a treat!

  16. As much as I want Fred to win the WDC… I wouldn’t be disappointed to see Lewis get the win here. He’s going to Merc and who know’s when he’ll get another.

  17. Alonso can get a pay cut in 2013.

  18. Ha, it may be interesting to see how Vettel crawl back on the grid, which is quite possible given RB’s capability. Question would be how many places and will it be enough to get into the points? If he can climb up to maybe 10th, wouldn’t Ferarri instruct Massa to definitely defend him off the scoring position? Well, got to see.

  19. Red Bull have made the following changes to Vettel’s car, presumably to give him better straight-line speed and improve his chances of getting through the field:

    The following part has been replaced during the parc ferme today by the Red Bull Racing team:

    Car 01: Gearbox

    The gearbox has been replaced with the approval of the FIA technical delegate following a written request from the team concerned, this being in accordance with Article 34.1 of the 2012 Formula One Sporting Regulations. But this gearbox change was before the five consecutive Events expired.

    Therefore this is not in compliance with Article 28.6a of the 2012 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

    Further the new gearbox has different ratios fitted than declared Friday after P2. Also changes to the suspension set-up are made on car number 01.

    Due to the different gear ratios been fitted and the suspension set-up changes car number 01 should now be required to start from the pit lane according to Article 34.5 of the 2012 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

    The stewards have received a report from the FIA F1 technical delegate that the gearbox, gear ratios and suspension set-up have been changed on car 1.

    The stewards decide that car 1 is required to start the race from the pit lane in accordance with article 34.5 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

    As the first part notes Vettel should get a five-place grid penalty for the gearbox change, but it’s a moot point as he’s starting from the pits anyway.

    1. so we will see what pure race spec RB8 can do. but time penalty of pit lane start is significant unless there’s SC.

    2. Why wouldn’t they transfer the 5 place grid penalty to the next race?

      1. Because there’s no provision for that to be done under the rules.

        1. To be honest that’s quite a severe oversight in the rules and regulations. Everyone else on the grid has to race what they brought to the race, and the reason that Seb is starting in pit lane is because of what “RBR” brought to the race. The rules should not allow changes in the car because a rule was broken in the first place. There should be a penalty for changes into the next race.

          1. The penalty is that he is not just starting dead last, but starting from the pit lane. He will have to pass 14 cars to get a single point. Six are backmarkers, but the rest will put up a fight.

        2. Yes KJ … but my point is that RBR have to race what they brought to the race as everyone else does. How is it fair that RBR can change their gearbox, settings and whatever when back-markers have to race according to the rules?

          1. I totally agree with you and do not understand how FIA allowed it. How fair is it that RBR can now break any other rule just because they have already been penalized for something unrelated?!

          2. It’s not fair but there is no rule against it.

          3. I guess, but that’s where stewards usually come in with common sense. Ex: There’s a rule for causing a collision, but I don’t think there’s a specific rule where someone will be penalized when causing collisions in multiple races, but common sense had the stewards ban Grosjean for a race.

    3. That is excellent news :)
      I hop to see him fighting his way through the field today :)

    4. So much for “cheats never prosper”.

      But I guess the new set-up is untested, with new gear ratios, suspension settings and everything – and wasn’t the team’s first choice. They may have simulated the life out of it, but they won’t know how it rides over the kerbs for real. So he could struggle for pace anyway.

      I hope the TV director shows lots of Vettel on the attack early on.

      1. @bullfrog What makes you think they cheated?

        1. Don’t mean to imply it was all premeditated – but they broke a rule. And it puts them in a position where they have a free shot at changing their car significantly, with some prior knowledge of the set-ups everybody else is running.

          I guess it’s only the same as a driver with a grid penalty from the previous race (or an engine change) choosing to change a few things, and start from the pit lane – but still doesn’t seem quite right to me.

      2. I’d say that most of the drivers will do their best to keep Seb behind them.

  20. Vettel’s misfortune really has set us up a potentially brilliant race…this could overhaul Valencia s the race of the season :P

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