F1 2012 Malaysian GP in Pictures

Note: Panorama photos stitched by Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) 64 bit version.

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F1 2012 Malaysian GP

Sepang Circuit Main Entrance

This year I attended the full 3 days event of the F1 2012 Malaysian GP. For two nights I slept in the car and camped in the R&R of the North-South highway. It had all the necessities that I need, food, shower and sanitation 24/7.

Friday’s practices were opened to the public but the public pit-lane walk held after the practice sessions was only for ticket holders. It was nice to be at the grandstand watching the happenings opposite at all the garages. The sound of an F1 car engine at the grandstand was obviously much louder than that heard at the hillstands. Although there were other events on Saturday morning, I just attended the practice 3 and qualifying sessions which were held in the afternoon as I decided to have a rest in the morning.

Caterham F1 Team

Drivers’ autograph signing session was held on Sunday at 11.30 am. I was a little dismayed. The cars that brought the drivers stopped close to the tables, many fans that were far away including me could not get full view of many of the drivers. The cars then parked in the open area, further blocking the view. After the autograph signing session the drivers then had a short walk to the cars, so many fans on the outer perimeter missed to see them. I hope the event organiser will consider this and sort this out next time.

Waiting for the drivers

Nothing to see, move along

Sebastian Vettel waving to fans

Sebastian Vettel, as was in last year, handed out postcards to fans at the perimeter fence but this time he did more, he signed it too…lucky fans. Then another driver surprised me. I saw this driver took photograph of himself and the fans at the tables with a cellphone. I thought it was a request from a fan but then I was wrong. As the car that he was in was pulling out, it suddenly stopped. Out came Fernando Alonso and went straight to a Ferrari fan just an arm length next to me. He then said something about taking photograph which sent me into frantic mode, adjusting my camera setting to capture the event with the camera held up high above since there was someone next to me. Unfortunately the images I managed to capture were frantic too except for one. He then rushed out to the outer perimeter and did the same to the fans there. Obviously the fans were very pleased. What Vettel and Alonso did was good for them. At least it detracted their mind, albeit a short while, from the stress or whatever problems they might be having with their cars. It also paints a good image for their teams and sponsors, a very positive image.

Sebastian signing before giving it away

Fernando Alonso setting the cellphone camera

Can't believe her luck

Obviously they were very delighted

Fans are the most important aspect in F1. Without the fans, there will be no sponsors and without the fans and sponsors, F1 is just another club race. Some travel long distances, stand in queue or close to the perimeter fence for more than an hour just to see their idols and other drivers up close. The drivers just need to look around, smile and wave, that’s all but what Vettel and Alonso did was better. F1 needs to take note on this.

For this year’s race, I was at the C3 hillstand and it was my first wet race. I did not mind being wet but the camera and the lens must stay dry. Though it was cloudy since Friday, there was no rain at the track until just after the race had started. When the race was stopped for safety reason, a few of the fans did left the circuit. I only left the hillstand for the comfort of the car where I had a thermos full of hot coffee. I rejoined the crowd when the race had restarted.

C3 Hillstand view and the weather

Click here for more pictures.

2012 F1 Season Opener Begins Next Sunday

Been anticipating and counting the days. I am still rooting for the same team but with a different name now. With the rules that restrain the overwhelming performing cars last season in place, this 2012 season many predicted will be tight. Whatever it is, may the best team and man win.

Here’s hoping for safe, exciting and full of drama races ahead. So, gentlemen,”Start your engines.”

F1 2011 Malaysian GP

F1 2011 Malaysian GP

This was my second time attending an F1 GP in person and both were at Sepang. My wish for a C3 Hillstand was dashed as it was sold out. There were only three hillstands and I was left with two choices that was C1 and K2 and I chose C1. My intent to have a seat at C3 was because this time around I was better equipped and I wanted to correct the mistakes that I did last year plus some other ideas that I had in mind. No dismay though,  it was also a good thing to have had the experience at other location in Sepang.
C1 and C3 is seperated by C2 which is a covered hillstand. Facing the circuit, C1 is on the left while C3 is on the right-side of C2. An added bonus was that you get to see the big screen display in the field across the track that was meant for C2 spectators albeit at an angle. At C1 you get to see the cars coming out from the tight corner of turn 9 then picking up speed going uphill to turn 10 and into the fast corner of turn 11 before disappearing out of view just immediately after turn 12. Turn 11 is a place to have a good shot. Turn 10 is further out unless you have the reach.

Track & Weather viewed at C1 Hillstand at Sepang

The clouds looked menacing though but fortunately for us spectators in the uncovered hillstands, it just drizzled slightly on a few instances and that it did not demand an instant mass retreat for shelter. During the race, there was nothing spectacular to see at this location as the cars were generally spaced out. I regretted not to shoot Barichello driving pass with the left rear wheel devoid of rubber. The event was won by Vettel, second and third placing went to Button and Heidfeld respectively.

It was nice that some of the drivers put in an extra effort to show their friendliness to the fans. My view of Michael Schumacher getting into the car after the autograph session was blocked and I was surprised that he climbed up and waved to the fans on the other side. This goodwill was  repeated by Lewis Hamilton but the best came from Sebastian Vettel, he handed out postcards personally to some lucky fans.

Vettel handing postcards to the lucky few

Some of my selected pics of the day;

 

Early birds queuing for the autographs

The girls

Drivers arriving

The Ferarri Team

The Fans

Thats the spirit

Vettel

Button

Heidfeld

Heikki

Jarno

Kobayashi

Sutil

Barichello

Can you confirm you understood the message?

Alonso in a Ferrari at the Malaysian 2010 GP

For those people who have been following F1, the outcome  of the phrase is the talk of the community currently.  It’s one of the agenda in many F1 online communities. Heck, it’s also been used in pulling legs.

F1 in it’s current form is a team race. So it should be WCC only and not WCC and WDC. This is my opinion. Is it pure sports? No. Sadly to say money talks. As the saying goes, “Money makes the world go round.” Teams need money and one of the means is through sponsorship. Sponsor brings advertisement and with advertisement comes promotion. For F1 to be truly WCC and WDC, then there should only be one driver and not two or even three as some had suggested.

To be the pinnacle of motor sports, F1 should also lead the way for the advancement in the motor industries. No point in building innovations that cannot be used by the general public at large. Lots of money being wasted though some of the innovations did make it into road cars albeit the premium ones. All those research gone to waste. Money down the drain flows like water, no wonder it’s expensive. Not a very good financial management. It is time for the F1 authority to put limitations at the appropriate places. Budget cap, yes. Need to find the optimum level. Engine capacity as in cc, yes but not to freeze it’s developments. If the engines can be easily adapted to normal road cars, then many engine makers would be more than willing to join the fray. It makes economics sense.

Come 2013, hopefully a more meaningful formula will be set. A formula which generally will be good for the teams, drivers and fans… and oh, sponsors.

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F1 2010 Malaysian GP

Sepang International Circuit, C3 Hillstand View

This had been my first attendance to watch a F1 GP race live in person. Many times before I wanted to attend but I don’t really have a strong enough urge to give it a full commitment. There was a pulling factor though this time, and that pulling factor was Lotus Racing.

I bought an uncovered hillstand ticket for RM100. The ticket allowed me to attend for two days, Saturday qualifying and Sunday race, but I could only attend the Sunday race. The race was scheduled at 4.00 pm in late afternoon and there were other programmed events for the fans which began at 11.00 am. Obviously some were for VIPs and the privileged. They got to walk around the pit lane. Grand stand ticket holders got to see the happenings on the grid before the race, one of which was the drivers’ track parade. Hillstand? Well, we had the palm trees.

Mark Webber waving to fans

There was an autograph session by the F1 drivers from 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm at the circuit Welcome Centre. Drivers attended the session in a group of eight (4 teams). One group after another. Each group had about just 20 minutes with the fans. So many people so little time, only those who were early and managed to get near the tables were the lucky few. I managed to stand next to a line that cordoned an area where the cars ferrying the drivers parked and got a few clear unblocked snaps.

Once the session over, I went straight to the hillstand. There was an aerial display put up by the RMAF pilots in their Mig-29s. I had always admire Russian aircrafts, they are awesome in aerial manoeuvres. I remember seeing a Sukhoi performing a cobra manoeuvre many years ago at an aerospace exhibition in Singapore.

Heikki Kovalainen in the Lotus T127

As usual in every F1 race, there was a warming-up lap around the circuit prior to the race start. The engines sounded kind of rough and sputtered on braking after the long straight for the sharp corner. But that was just a warming-up, the real screeching and screaming sounds was during race time, which, after more than an hour of bombardment to my eardrums, did cause me a tad bit of discomfort. Both of the Lotus cars had somehow managed to rough it out with the Virgins, touching one another in the early part of the race. Anyway both Lotus cars completed the race albeit Heikki Kovalainen was ten laps down after being in the pit with hydraulic problem. Only Jarno Trulli got a classified finished at 17th behind the other new teams, still not so bad for the Lotus team. The race was a breakthrough for Hispania Racing. Both of their drivers, Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna drove to the chequered flag finishing 15th and 16th respectively, theirs and the team first finished since the start of the 2010 season. Same goes to Lucas Di Grassi of Virgin Racing who finished 14th for the team first complete race. Timo Glock, the other Virgin driver, had a DNF. Overall there were 7 DNFs which include Michael Schumacher for having a wheel nut problem. The full race result is here:

http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2010/826/

More photographs on my flickr account here. Not so good panning though except for one or two.

Congratulations to Lotus Racing

Congrats to Lotus Racing on finishing the 2010 season opening race in Bahrain on their return debut in F1. Not one but two cars for that matters.  It may means nothing to some, but the fact that they built the team and cars in under six months is quite an achievement by itself. For both cars to finish the race is another. It shows that the cars are reliable.

The next target of course is to make the cars faster and more competitive. At the present stage of the car, I believe much can be shed. So midfield should be no problem for next target.

Once again kudos Lotus Racing and keep the heads thinking and level headed. Take criticism as ammunition to excel and shoot for the stars or shall I say top podium.

Interesting 2010 F1

As of today, four more weeks to go before the start of the first 2010 F1 race in Bahrain on the 4th of March. Two of the four new teams, Virgin and Lotus, are testing their cars in Jerez this week. This left two more teams, USF1 and Campos, to show up with their cars. Of these two teams, one team seems unlikely to make the grid while the other might probably will albeit in another form. On another note, there is one more team, Stefan, waiting by the side ready to jump in. Hopefully all is well.

I have been following F1 for quite a while now. Now I have a team to root for. Go Lotus go, smoke em. Also, I will be watching in earnest, the other new team, Virgin. They have decided to do away with wind tunnel and rely solely on Computation Fluid Dynamic or CFD. To those who have not heard of it, CFD basically is a simulation program.

I do not know much about wind tunnel but I do know computer. While having huge computational power helps in shortening the computing time, it is the CFD program that matters. To produce a good and accurate simulation in aerodynamic, first, the programmer must have detailed knowledge in aerodynamic. The resulting CFD program will then at the very best, be equalled to his knowledge. Second, the coding of the program with all the algorithms must be accurate and no bug. Third and last, the person that is using the program. He/she must know what he/she is doing very well. These are the basic limits to a good and accurate CFD approach in designing F1 car in my opinion. As we know Rome was not built in a day so too are CFD programs. As time goes by, it will only be getting better and better. Just look at the aeroplane today and compare it to the one built by the Wright Brothers. Whether CFD only approach is right or wrong, we will know it at the end of the year.

One for the wallpaper