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Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Recap

Racing | March 30th, 2009 by 4
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It was Australian Grand Prix weekend and for BMW Sauber, the most used word is disappointing. From the Friday free practice sessions on to qualifying …

It was Australian Grand Prix weekend and for BMW Sauber, the most used word is disappointing. From the Friday free practice sessions on to qualifying the cars simply lacked the pace needed to compete with the obviously fast Brawn GP cars and the surprising Red Bulls. Both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld complained about a serious lack of grip leaving them almost a full half second off the pace throughout practice.

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Even though Kubica managed a solid 4th in qualifying, both Brawn GP and Red Bull with Sebastien Vettel seemed as though they were going to have a race of their own.

On the opening lap of the race, Nick Heidfeld got caught up in a 3 car crash that sent him spinning off the track onto the grass and then into the pits for a new nose. Unfortunately the car had significant enough damage to keep him off the pace enough to be lapped.

On the other hand Robert Kubica had a good start, fought off a charge by both Ferrari drivers and held his 4th position for most of the race. Toward the end of the race the car seemed to hook up and at one point Kubica set the fastest lap of the race and after Barrichello in 3rd had his final pit stop of the day, Kubica began closing down the leaders. It was for him a great strategy to use the medium compound (or prime) tires for the last stint while Button and Vettel were on super soft tires that were worn badly by the last 10 laps of the race.

With only a handful of laps remaining Kubica had closed up on Vettel quickly and made his overtaking attempt which went horribly wrong when Vettel drifted wide, Kubica kept his ground and the two made contact. Vettel retired a lap later with his front left tire perpendicular to the car while Kubica driving with little front wing left ended up in the wall.

Disappointment yes, but what was clearly proven was that even though no points were scored, the F1.09 is competitive enough to win races. Kubica set a fastest lap of the day and if he hadn’t crashed out, he easily would have been able to have a go at Button for the race win.

Finally, I can’t let this end without mentioning the stunning race both Brawn GP cars had finishing 1-2 in their first grand prix ever.

This article is courtesy of BMWF1blog.com, the most important BMW Sauber F1 related blog.

  • Tom

    Kubica was way too aggressive on the collision with Vettel. Very dissappointing. It’s clear BMW still has lots to figure out considering Nick had KERS and Robert did not. I’m just glad Mercedes and Ferrari are equally behind in their development.

  • Nizer

    Vettel didn’t drift wide – he was as far to the inside as the curve allowed. The stewards took the easy decision over the correct one but that’s nothing new. Kubica was just overly aggressive and pushed a bad pass. About the worst you could say of Vettel is that someone in the team should’ve told him that Kubica had the faster car and to let him go. Short of that, no racer worth his slat would have acceded the corner given that Kubica was on the outside and hadn’t completed the pass.

    Irony is that Kubica had four laps and plenty of pace to complete a safer pass. Take away driver error and crashes and BMW was on pace for a solid weekend with Kubica likely to have taken 2nd place. That would’ve placed BMW at the top of the rankings for non-enhanced diffuser cars. Relatively encouraging if you ask me despite the final outcome.

  • Matski

    Disappointing result, we won’t know what Nick could have done as he drove the whole race with a damaged car. Kubica had good pace until the crash and could possibly have won.

    In both cases I think the crashes were avoidable, both Nick and Rob removed any margin for error from the people on the inside of the corner by leaving very little room, however in neither case was the BMW driver the cause. Kubica could not be expected to sit behind Vettel and wait for another passing opportunity when he might only be a few laps from victory. Vettel knew he’d gone in too hard immediately and was straight on the radio apologising to the team.

    Disapointing start to the F1 season (and the ALMS season, and the WTCC – and the WSBK hasn’t been wonderful either,.. still the M3 GT4, Italian Superstars ROAL M3 and Alpina B6 GT3 might offer some hope.. maybe…)

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