Category Archives: Robert Kubica

What I want from the 2011 Formula 1 Season

Been a while, but I’m back – how have you all been?

  1. First off I’d like to wish Robert Kubica a quick recovery – that’s my number one wish for 2011, that we see Robert back in a his Renault and thrilling us all with his spectacular driving talent once again.
  2. I want Lewis Hamilton to win the Driver’s Championship – did you really expect anything else? If his car is competitive from the start I believe the only thing stopping Hamilton form achieving title number 2 is himself. But then those mistakes that come from being over-zealous is also the mentality that makes him such an exciting driver to watch, and I love his all or nothing attitude. However, he just needs to reign it in once in a while to avoid giving away points needlessly.
  3. If Hamilton can’t win the Driver’s Championship he at least needs to beat Jenson Button, and convincingly from start to finish. I don’t want any of this Button getting race victories before Hamilton like last year – I want total team mate domination from the 2008 Champion, from the very first race and continuing throughout the season.
  4. McLaren to win the Constructor’s Championship. I may be more loyal to Hamilton than the team but I still like McLaren more than any other team and I don’t want them coming in behind the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari. Not sure this point and the previous sit well together, but I can dream!
  5. I don’t want a dominant car like the Red Bulls last year. Qualifying was on the whole very predicable and boring and this year I want more people on pole, and more people vying for a pole position during qualifying.
  6. With Hamilton ultimately winning, I want a close race for the Championship like last year. 2009 was a fairytale story for Brawn but it was boring, going down to the last race with 4 people statistically in with a chance made for a great season in 2010 – more of the same please.
  7. Weber to beat Vettel. I actually like Vettel a lot more than I did as I think he’s matured a lot, but I still want to see Weber beat his younger team mate. In fact if Hamilton doesn’t win the Championship, in the absence of Kubica, I want Weber to become 2011 Champion.
  8. Lotus (not the Renault team) to score points, and specifically Kovalainen. Drove brilliantly for a team that couldn’t really compete, but so very nearly did, at the back end of the established teams anyway. Any man that becomes his own fireman deserves at least 1 Championship point

That’s me done for now, there maybe nmore to come later. So, agree, disagree or have your own wishes for the season? To borrow a catchphrase from Sidepodcast; see you in the comments.

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Filed under Heikki Kovalainen, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel, Uncategorized

I think I’m a Hamilton fan, not a McLaren fan!

That’s probably not the post subject you’d expect to see on a blog called McLaren Fan Blog, but I think watching the race in Monza earlier has made me come to that realisation. The epiphany came when Lewis went out on the first lap and my heart sunk seeing Jenson Button in 1st, knowing full well that if it stayed like that then he’d only be a handful of points behind Lewis. There was then a chance that Jenson could end the season with more points than Lewis and possibly as champion, though not that likely. I didn’t like that – I wanted Lewis to be the highest placed McLaren driver, and when Alonso took the lead I was actually relieved that Jenson wouldn’t be as close to Lewis in the Driver’s Championship than I’d previously thought.

As I McLaren fan I should want either driver to win, I don’t.

To the people reading this post, I can imagine this will be a very unpopular opinion but all I can be is honest. It was Lewis Hamilton that first got me really interested in Formula 1 back at Fuji 2007, and it has now become clear that it’s him that I’m still firmly behind, and not the team he’s driving for. I want Lewis to be the number one driver in the team and I want Lewis to be a 2 time champion and not Jenson Button.

I guess this never became an issue before because in 2007 Hamilton was beating team mate Alonso and in 2008 and 2009 he was a long way ahead of Kovalainen. Earlier this season I had similar feelings but it was so early on that it didn’t seem like it could be a reality, not through the eyes of a staunch Lewis supporter. Now however, with just 5 races left, Jenson is a lot closer to Lewis and all it takes is a bit of bad luck and Lewis could be only the 2nd best McLaren driver – that’s something I’m not happy to accept..

I guess the ultimate question is if Lewis Hamilton drove for another team next year would I still support McLaren, and the answer is no. In fact if Lewis left Formula 1 I think my support would probably shift to Robert Kubica – he’s a great talent and my grandparents on my Mother’s side were Polish. Maybe it’s time I started thinking about renaming this Blog Hamilton fan Blog instead?

14 Comments

Filed under Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Italian, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Robert Kubica

Button Wins, Hamilton 6th and F1 is back, baby!

After the relative dullness of the Bahrain Grand Prix 2 weeks ago, today’s GP in Australia was the kind of race that reminds us all why we love Formula 1. From the start to the very finish there was drama, excitement and wait for it, overtaking! I kid you not, cars were passing other cars under normal racing conditions, and a fair amount of that was done by Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton at the Australian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Lewis Hamilton drove arguably his greatest race to date, up there with Japan 2007 for me personally, and that was the race that made me into a Formula 1 fan, so high praise indeed. After the disappointment of yesterday’s qualifying I was thrilled to see Lewis in such a racing mood, it’s what has always delighted me as a fan of his. If there was a chance to overtake than he took it, and a special mention has to go out to both Robert Kubica and Fernando Alsonso who brilliantly defended against a much faster Hamilton. In the case of Kubica it was Hamilton’s inability to get past that had the team bring him in for a tyre change, a move that ultimately led to Hamilton losing places, a probable podium place at that.

Later in the race, when chasing down Fernando Alsonso, it was Mark Weber who dealt Hamilton a a second blow when he shunted him into the gravel. At that point I was livid, and had it not been for the presence of my little boy then a fair few expletives would have been thrown the Australian’s way! Luckily it only cost Hamilton one place and he ended up finishing 6th, a result which is far better than the 11th place he qualified but worse than he should have got, had other circumstances and decisions gone his way. Hamilton’s lambasting of the team over the radio during the race wasn’t his finest moment but forgiveable, given the emotions that must have been coursing through him as he saw race positions taken from within his grasp.

Jenson Button cruises to victory in Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

The man in the photo above is none other than Jenson Button, 2 races into his career as a McLaren driver and already a winner. If I’m completely honest I’d have preferred Lewis Hamilton to win, but I won’t begrudge Jenson his victory and for the McLaren team it’s a fantastic result. Kudos to Jenson for making the decision to come in for an early tyre change to slicks, it won him the race, with a little help from Sebastian Vettel’s second problematic Grand Prix in a row. It’s astonishing that Jenson went so long and at such a high performance level on the second set of tyres, but if anyone could it was going to be him.

Jenson Button celebrates victory on Australia

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

At the start of the season I will hold my hands up and admit (you can read old blog posts so I can’t pretend otherwise!) that I thought Lewis was going to outperform Jenson easily over the course of 19 races. Though he did just that in Bahrain, and though there were mitigating circumstances leading to Lewis’s almost disappointing 6th place, Jenson Button has marked out his intention to succeed with today’s race and currently leads Lewis by 8 points in the Drivers’ Championship. The combined effort of both drivers puts them on 54 points, 16 points behind Ferrari.

Team McLaren celebrate Jenon Button's victory

Photo Credit: www.mclaren.com

Lewis Hamilton is ominously missing from this team celebration, but then so is Martin Whitmarsh – maybe they were discussing the second tyre change at the time of taking this photo! All in all it was a great day for McLaren and for Formula 1 fans everywhere – what a fantastic race. I have no doubt that Jenson’s victory will have lit a fire under everyone in the team, especially Lewis Hamilton, who doesn’t like playing second fiddle to anyone, especially not his team mate.

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Filed under Australian, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel

Lewis Hamilton Voted Number 1 F1 Driver in 2009 by 2 Publications

Despite the not so impressive first half of the season, it seems the Formula 1 world have recognised that the car was to blame and not Lewis Hamilton. This was evident in the second half of the season when improvements to his McLaren MP4-24 saw Hamilton back on top again, twice, in Hungary and Singapore, and competing for the top spot in most other races.

Hamilton thanks his car for victory in Hungary
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Lewis Hamilton has been voted the number 1 Formula 1 driver of 2009 by not one, but two of the most prestigious publications in motorpsort.

Autosport
Arguably the number 1 motorsports magazine in the world has a 2009 Formula 1 season review issue out at the moment which rates the top 10 drivers of 2009. At number 1 is Lewis Hamilton. The 9 drivers below him were rated as follows:

2 – Jenson Button
3 – Sebastian Vettel
4 – Mark Weber
5 – Robert Kubica
6 – Fernando Alonso
7 – Felipe Massa
8 – Kimi Raikkonen
9 – Rubens Barrichello
10 – Nico Rosberg

Very interesting top ten indeed – I’ll be picking up my copy tomorrow to see what justification there is for Barrichello being in only 9th place. Sure he didn’t do as well as team mate Button but he did his part to ensure Brawn GP won the constructors championship and towards the end of the season he was a better driver than Button himself. Also, Kubica in 5th – was that based on Brazil alone?

You can flick through a tiny version od the current issue over at Autosport.com

GP Week
If you didn’t know already, GP Week is a free, yes FREE, online publication with excellent written content and superb photos. They have rated the top 5 Formula 1 drivers of 2009, and like Autosport have Lewis Hamilton taking the number 1 spot. The other 5 are as follows:

2 – Sebastian Vettel
3 – Jenson Button
4 – Mark Weber / Rubens Barrichello
5 – Sebastian Buemi

The first thing you’ll notice is the inclusion of 2 drivers at #4 – there’s your top 5 there guys, but I will let you off as the extra driver is Buemi who performed very well considering his absolute dog of a car. Interesting to see they rate Rubens Barrichello a lot higher than Autosport, and rightly so in my mind.

So, anyone agree or disagree with the two sets of rankings?

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Filed under Drivers, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Rubens Barichello, Sebastian Buemi

Jenson Button visits McLaren HQ – looking for a seat in 2010?

As reported by BBC F1, Jenson Button visited McLaren headquarters this week, and sent the rumour mill reeling once again. There was talk a couple of weeks ago of Jenson Button joining Lewis Hamilton at McLaren but this was quickly dismissed by Brawn GP who said he was all but signed with them for the 2010 season.

Jenson Button still hasn’t signed with Brawn GP, with many citing money as the reason why. It could also be that Jenson Button doesn’t have faith in the Brawn GP car which didn’t have the same edge at the end of the 2009 season as it did for the first 6 races. Seeing how much the McLaren MP4-24 improved over the second half of the season and how much money and knowledge the team will pump into the McLaren MP4-25, there is a good chance that Jenson Button sees McLaren as the team to give him a championship winning car next year, more so than Brawn GP.

Rivals in Brazil in 2009 – team mates at McLaren in 2010?
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Kimi Raikkonen has been the man linked with that second seat McLaren for weeks, even months, but now Jenson Button is possibly back in the picture, could the ice cool Finn by third choice for only 2 places? Having an all British line-up, back to back championship winning Brits at that, seems on the surface to be a dream scenario for McLaren. For a team that have become more of a brand than possibly even Ferrari, at least in Formula 1, this would get them unprecedented publicity. They would also have 2 drivers who interact well with the general public, something Kimi Raikkonen has never been keen to be involved in.

There remains one important question – could Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton co-exist in the same team? Many believe Lewis Hamilton has been the number one driver within McLaren ever since his debut season, even when his ream mate at the time was the previous season’s champion Fernando Alonso. Would we see both drivers given the same attention and chances as each other, as is the ruling of the FIA, officially anyway.

This could of course all just be games by Jenson Button to get the Brawn GP he wants and believes he rightfully deserves. If there is even the slightest chance that Jenson Button could be offered a seat at McLaren for 2010, that could be an offer far to sweet to resist.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Jenson Button, and last year did little to change that, his drive in Abu Dhabi being a lone bright spot. Do I want to see him at McLaren? I think it would make things interesting and as long as the car is 100% I think he’d do very well. However, that’s where the problem with Jenson Button lies. Unlike Lewis Hamilton who fights tooth and nail no matter how bad his car is, Jenson Button seems to fall to pieces driving a car he’s not 100% satisfied with.

Maybe we are all reading more into this than is actually there, after all Kimi Raikkonen has visited the McLaren headquarters and more recently his managers have too.

At this point I’m nor sure who I’d prefer to see partnering Lewis Hamilton in 2010, neither Button nor Raikkonen excite me a great deal. I’d much prefer to someone like Robert Kubica join McLaren, someone who’s hungry, talented and willing to drive his heart out for the team.

2 Comments

Filed under Brawn GP, Constructors, Drivers, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Robert Kubica

Kimi Raikkonen will only race for the right team in 2010 – surely the only option is McLaren?

On his official website Kimi Raikkonen said:

I am very motivated to win races and a championship again and will only remain in Formula One if I can race for a team that can give me a car to fight at the front. Let’s wait and see what happen.

Let’s look at this realistically, who are the teams set to compete in Formula 1 in 2010 that will be fighting for the Championship:

Red Bull
If it hadn’t been for Brawn GP’s fairytale start to the 2009 season then Red Bull would have beena good bet to win the Drivers Championship with Sebastian Vettel and probably the Constructors Championship with Mark Weber as his team mate. Vettel and Weber are two of just a handful of drivers that are confirmed for 2010. this means that although Red Bull could enter next season in Formula 1 as the favourites, there is no room for Kimi Raikkonen in 2010.

Brawn GP
They had a fantastic head start coming into the 2009 season and built up an unassailable lead in the first 6 races of the season thanks to the developments they made to the car while under the Honda badge and at the sacrifice to their 2008 season. While nobody expects to see such dominance in 2010, they will still be one of the teams fighting it out at the front of the grid.

While the 2 race seats at Brawn GP are still unconfirmed, we’re all just waiting for Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg to be confirmed. As much as the UK press like to try their hand at fantasy booking an all British driver team at McLaren, it isn’t going to be happening. What this means is no race seat for Kimi Raikkonen at Brawn GP in 2010.

Ferrari
While 2009 was quite a poor season, at least in terms of the previous successes of Ferrari, you wouldn’t bet against them coming back strongly in 2010 and they in fact started working on their 2010 car towards the end of the 2009 season.

Ferrari has been Kimi Raikkonen’s home for the past 3 seasons, and where he won the Drivers Championship in 2007 while finishing 3rd and 6th in 2008 and 2009 respectively. However, the least surprising move in Formula 1 saw Ferrari sign Fernando Alonso for the 2010 season, who along with the returning Felipe Massa makes up their Driving team for next season. Once again, no room for Raikkonen in 2010.

McLaren
Like Ferrari, McLaren had a bad start to 2009 but by the middle of the season they seemed to be catching up and by the end of he season Lewis Hamilton had scored more points than any other driver in the 2nd half of the season. Ironically it was Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari who had scored the second most points in that same period. Martin Whitmarsh has said that the McLaren will be faster in 2010 so we can expect the MP4-25 to be battling Red Bull, Brawn GP and Ferrari for the big points next season.

Hamilton and Raikkonen – competitors in 2007, team mates in 2010?
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No disrespect to any of the other teams, but it would seem that if Kimi Raikkonen does indeed what to drive next season and be competitive, then McLaren is his only choice. It’s recently been said that Raikkonen could earn more by not driving next year than if he were to drive with McLaren. The figures being banded around are €17 million if he takes 2010 off and €15 million if he accepts the offer to drive for McLaren. In the world of McLaren the minimum €2 million pounds extra they’d need to offer Raikkonen to match his sabbatical earnings seems like a drop in the ocean, but then why should they offer him more?

It could be argued that if money is the only thing motivating Kimi Raikkonen is he really the right choice for the team and should McLaren look elsewhere to fill that second seat. I discussed the 2010 driver options here, and to be honest, even a money motivated Kimi Raikkonen could be McLaren’s best option for 2010 to get the most points possible. That is unless Renault do indeed quit Formula 1 in which case I’d get Robert Kubica into that second seat quicker than you can say ‘enjoy your ice cream Kimi’!

All will no doubt be revealed soon and I won’t be at all surprised to see Kimi Raikkonen announced as McLaren’s second river for 2010 – for how much is anyone’s guess.

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Filed under Brawn GP, Constructors, Drivers, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Weber, McLaren, Nico Rosberg, Red Bull, Renault, Robert Kubica, Sebastian Vettel