Red Bull using “Start Up KERS”?

Today’s Qualifying performance by Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is one that has left the F1 World scratching their heads. How did he manage it without using KERS?

When pressed for a reason why, Mark Webbers only reply was “there were internal reasons why”. Which would suggest they’ve got something they are trying to hide from the other teams.

For those that don’t know what KERs is, or what it does, here’s a brief explanation. KERS stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System, and works by using taking some of the energy that would otherwise be used as waste heat energy and stores it inside a battery. Drivers can then use this during the race as an “energy boost” or a “push to pass” button. FIA regulations currently state that it can be used for a maximum of 6.7 seconds a lap and this is governed by programmes in the FIA standard ECU (Electronic Control Unit).

The advantage of it is of course, the technical features listed above. However it does have two limitations that put off some teams- cost, and weight. In order to encourage usage of the KERS system, the FIA decided to raise the minimum car weight to 640kg.

It’s not a cheap system to implement however, and does require concessions in design concepts to fit it in- the KERS battery is both heavy and cumbersome and requires being designed around.

Suggestions right across a paddock suggest that Red Bull have devised a clever “Start Up KERS”. It is alleged that it will be “trickle charged” in the garage before the race session. Then, come the start of the race the energy inside this “Start Up KERS” will be activated, thereby matching the start pace of the KERS cars, without the cumbersome weight. So how does it work? Well it would appear that if true, it saves on weight (as the battery is a lot lighter). Also- as alluded to if the normal KERS goes wrong, it’s a lot of weight lugged around for nothing, creating a disadvantage.

This would explain Mark Webbers quote that “it’s an internal team thing”. No confirmation yet though. And if it is true it does not gather energy from braking, is it actually a KERS system?

Edit: For further information on this, BBC’s pitlane reporterTed Kravitz has done a great article here


NCB Sportswire Podcast: Australian GP Practice Sessions 1 & 2

In the first of the NCB Sportswire podcasts recording the 2011 Formula One Season in audio form, I take a brief look at Australian GP Practice Sessions 1 & 2.

It was an eventful kickstart to the F1 year- Karun Chandhok spinning out at turn 2 on his outlap, Hispania still building their cars and much much more…

Take a listen, leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Bahrain Grand Prix Review/Australia Preview

What an exciting race we had to start the season! AND who would have thought that Vitaly Petrov would have got Pole Position!!!..

Sadly, this isn’t the start of the Formula One season- temporarily postponed while the Middle East get their freedom (and rightly so, so put those daggers away :-)). So let’s just put it this way- The Hispanias started with three wheels as the fourth was held at Bahrain customs, Heikki Kovalianen wins from Kamui Kobayashi and Michael Schumacher while Fernando Alonso doesn’t start after suffering an horrific injury while playing with lighters- yes a singed eyebrow.

Looking forward to the new season- ITS AUSTRALIA IN TWO WEEKS TIME! Which of course means early bedtimes, usage of alarm clocks and sales of Red Bull going through the roof.

I personally cannot wait. So what’s in store for the F1 legion?

Red Bull Racing look very strong, as do Ferrari and a four way dingdong into the first corner looks almost inevitable if pre season testing is anything to go by.

McLaren- the less said about their pre-season. They completed less mileage than everyone except Hispania, and it is widely regarded that their new car is a mutt. They’ve clearly got a lot of work to do.  Similar can be said for Mercedes GP who still don’t seem to have recovered since the Brawn Euphoria in 2009. It would appear their design team still have hangovers because, by Ross Brawns’ own admission their car is a second off. They say they can regain it by Melbourne…….but I’m not so convinced.

The best of the rest accolade seems to be a very close scrap between Renault and Sauber. Both have looked quick in testing, though how much Renault will miss the injured Robert Kubica is yet to be seen. Out of all drivers out of a job there is no doubt Nick Heidfeld is the best option around. This season will tell if Petrov is any good or merely a pay driver.  Rubens Barrichello recently remarked that the “Sauber looks like a decent car” and their times throughout testing suggest likewise- Perez topping the last test.

A few weeks ago I almost wrote off Toro Rosso because I did not believe they’d be given swathes of funding by their parent team who I thought would put all the money into their sister team. But with whatever resources- the team at Faenza don’t seem to have done a bad job at all- they’ve looked fairly quick in testing.

Williams haven’t looked too bad either- and I’ve got hopes for the pairing of Barrichello and Maldonado. All in all- it could look like a competitive midfield scrap.

Sadly, I don’t think Force India will be joining them in that- it would appear that a winter spent sacking Liuzzi and taking legal action against Lotus (or being in court themselves) has been a distraction.

Talking of which- there are expectations to be filled for Lotus. After a season of being best of the newcomers, progress up the grid is their aim. There’s no issues in the driver department- once again Italian Veteran Jarno Trulli is partnered with Finland’s Heikki Kovalianen.

Straggling the back of the grid again is Virgin. Given that there has been masses of progress by other teams, Virgin would have to practically pull miracles to catch up from last year. That said if anyone can drag them up the grid, Timo Glock can.

And so… Hispania. They’ve got a decent lineup in Karthikeyan and Liuzzi. But their car has only just finished, with parts still at customs. Still…an improvement on last year.


And something amusing to end.... (c) Unlap 2011

Will the BBC Axe F1?

So the Guardian have today added to the list of things the BBC allegedly want to cut to save money- this time they suggest BBC F1 as one of the cuts.

So here’s my analysis of it.

BBC F1 returned to the BBC for the 2009 season, amid much publicity and hype. To the BBC it was the return of the “jewel” they lost to ITV in 1996, to the viewers it was “Hooray- F1 without adverts!”

BBC’s coverage has been much praised- especially the dynamic of the pundits David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan as well as the Presentation of Jake Humphrey, who has proved to be a revelation in the role. On top of that effective use has been made of their online and interactive platforms, and their crossovers with Five Live for the practise sessions have been much enjoyed.

A recent BBC Trust review of Sports acquisitions was glowing in its praise for Formula One, stating that it “exceeded” value in its cost per viewer.

So everything is rosy. Please bear in mind that at present this is pure speculation- the BBC have been silent on this issue and at present, rightly so. Newspapers will do anything to fill column space.

So what would happen if the BBC wants to axe F1? I can’t see ITV wanting it back, given they’ve made huge cutbacks themselves and it isn’t something that feature annoying bints or Ant and Dec. Channel 4 are too busy repeating Friends and probably wouldn’t have the budget, likewise Channel 5.

What about Sky? No chance. Who remembers F1 Digital back in the early part of last decade? Where you pay a subscription to watch each race and get a few extra cool features, one of which was Ben Edwards (now the ITV BTCC commentator). It failed spectacularly and given we’re in a era of budget cuts, I cant see broadcasting it on Sky Sports working. I don’t think F1 sponsors would enjoy the reduced exposure either.

So one of two things are going to happen- either the source is telling porkies, or Bernie’s going to have to make some serious concessions.

And as a last thought- what part of the BBC hasnt been speculated for axing bar Top Gear? We’ve had BBC3, BBC 6 Music, BBC Asian Network, BBC Local Radio to name a few….

Jonjo, Argyle & my latest predictions.


The Bobby Moore Fund for cancer research has benefitted recently thanks to the wishes & actions of 9 year old Jonjo Heuerman. A keen West Ham United fan, he undertook a walk from Wembley Stadium to West Ham’s Upton Park Ground.  He was hoping to raise £10,000 , following previous fundraising efforts by his older sister Megan.

Jonjo’s grandmother, Lynda passed away on 17th February 2009 from bowel cancer, just eight days before the anniversary of Bobby Moore’s tragic death from the same illness on 24th February 1993.  On 25th February, he set out to walk the 23 miles from Wembley Stadium to Upton Park. He arrived on Sunday 27th February, just before the Hammers took on Liverpool .  Before the walk, he said “The walk is 23 miles long & will take me 3 days because I am only little. I hope to raise £10,000 for The Bobby Moore Fund in memory of Nanny and Bobby”. 

He achieved this and has well beaten his original target  (it presently stands at just over £22,000),  and he has also been featured on ITV1 London’s “London Tonight” programme.

He has been an amazing inspiration to football fans everywhere, and all of us. 

Do visit…  

Plymouth Argyle

With having gone into administration,  Argyle have been deducted 10 points.  An application by HMRC to present the club with a winding-up petition was turned down at a High Court hearing on Friday (4th March)

The administrators have said they’re looking to find a buyer for the club, “A number of interested parties have declared an interest in acquiring the club,”  They continued  “It is imperative that a preferred bidder is identified who can provide ongoing funding by 17th March at the latest.

HMRC applied for a winding-up petition as without it they feared they could lose out on money owed to them by the club because of the administration process. They claim they do not initiate winding-up proceedings of football clubs lightly.

After having had these 10 points deducted, Argyle found themselves at the bottom of League 1,  however, after some good results against Colchester United,  Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon Town,  they have moved up a place.  Although they are still deep in the relegation places, they have everything to play for.

What are my predictions now

In the Championship,  QPR seem to have the winning habit and will go up – and I have a sneak feeling it’s going to be Nottingham Forest that will join them.  The Play-offs in any Division are always a bit of a lottery,  but I’m going to stick my neck out and say I think Norwich City will do it.

In League 1,  I think the top six will stay as they are,  and I think the three Southern teams will go up.  I think Brighton and Southampton will go up automatically, and Bournemouth from the play-offs.

In League 2,  Chesterfield will go up, and I think,  although Wycombe Wanderers are not as consistent as they were, they will join them,  together with either Port Vale or Bury.  As for the play-offs, I think Crewe Alex could be an outside bet to reach them,  but who will actually go up through them is really unpredictable, but I’m going to say I think Shrewsbury will do it.

In the Conference, or Blue Square Premier as they call it now,  AFC Wimbledon and Crawley Town are the clear favourites to get promoted into the League next season, although I have a strange feeling that one of these are not going to make it (only one team gets automatically promoted, with the other, through the play-offs) I am going to say here I think Luton Town might just regain their league status after a two year absence.