Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What We Learned: Malaysia 2011

Quick commentary which boarders on incoherence:
  • DRS worked better here than it did in Australia. I think there were two differences between here and Australia. First, the placement of the "determination" point just before the last corner was at the end of a long straight run with only the final corner between the "determination" point and the "active zone", meaning that cars which were faster through the curves than their pursuers were unable to get away as much. So the cars which were faster in a straight line than their targets ended up closer to their targets than they did in Australia. Second, the pit straight is longer and wider than it was in Australia, giving more time and space for the DRS advantage to be realized. DRS still seems gimicky to me, and I suspect the Australia experience will be closer to the norm than Malaysia. That said, DRS will probably work better in China than Australia.
  • Ferrari has some qualifying speed, but at Malaysia they were clearly slower than the McLaren and Red Bulls.
  • Ferrari's race pace looks much more promising. While still not challenging for the lead, the Ferrari can dice with the Renaults and pick up anything that the McLarens and Red Bulls drop.
  • Ferrari's DRS failure on Alonso's car is frustrating. This is a pretty simple system all things told. I point at this failure as the principle cause of Alonso's driving into the back of Hamilton. The collision threw away the podium to be sure.
  • Massa had a steadier race, but still doesn't look like he's on Alonso's pace. If the Ferrari was on pace with the McLaren this wouldn't be as much of an issue, but really Ferrari needs both cars coming home higher up than they have been.
  • At this point the championship looks like Vettel's to lose. Two wins in dominating fashion, the Malaysian one with KERS unavailable to him. If Red Bull can keep consistent, he'll be uncatchable except perhaps around some specialist courses like Monaco or Spa.
  • Nice to see Heidfield back on the podium. It is just hard to hear it over the sound of Kubica weeping.
  • Petrov does his audition for the Dukes Of Hazzard sequel. Scary stuff to see the steering assembly come apart in his hands on landing, but not really surprising since the cars are not designed to be bounced over anything. That's the picture of the year so far.
  • The current car rankings look like Red Bull, then McLaren, then Ferrari, then Renault. Lots of distance to go, and I think Renault will fade as the year goes on.
Short week then China this weekend.