F1 China FP1 Results & Report: Vettel Way Ahead of the Rest in Low Visibility

What Happens When It Keeps On Happening

11:42pm EST — Smog and fog hung thick over the Shanghai circuit for the first practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, with Sebastian Vettel the fastest driver. He led teammate Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, and Nick Heidfeld as the fastest five, though only Webber was anywhere near the championship leader, over a half second slower. Third through fifteenth were two to three seconds slower than Vettel, with Fernando Alonso twelfth fastest and Michael Schumacher eighteenth in this first session. There only Heidfeld had a major incident, losing control and slamming into a wall, though multiple drivers spin or made use of runoff areas.

Fifteen minutes into the smoggy session, no driver had set a time, though Button had put together two of the fastest sectors of the session. Karthikeyan was the first to set a time, with teammate Liuzzi quickly following but not bettering the Indian driver’s time. Early on, Hamilton had a small triip trough the runoff area, but sustained no major damage. More drivers entered the timing fray with twenty minutes into the hour and a half session, with Hamilton the first of the top teams to set a time, soon followed by teammate Button. Webber led a half hour into the session, followed, as has become routine, but the McLaren duo of Hamilton and Button, then Massa. Continue reading

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F1 Brazil FP3 Results & Full Report: Kubica on Top at the End of Rainy, Damp Session

What Happens When Rain Makes Everything More Interesting

10:12am EST — Robert Kubica took the fastest lap (1:19.191) from Sebastian Vettel as the final practice session for the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix ended. It was a damp session, with rain falling as it began, but the track attempted to dry out, leaving the drivers on inters as the session ended. Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa, and Fernando Alonso rounded out the fastest five, with Jenson Button ninth and Mark Webber eleventh. The forecast as the session ended was for an interesting qualifying, with intermittent rain through the day.

Vettel was again fastest in the second practice session on Friday, the only driver of the weekend to post a time under 1:12s, with his 1:11.968 lap time. He, also again, led teammate Webber, though Alonso was third fastest, with Hamilton and Massa, who stopped about two-thirds of the way through the session with a clutch issue rounding out the fastest five. The sessions could be very helpful or a waste of rubber as heavy rain was forecast to wash off the rubber laid down Friday, before the Saturday practice and qualifying sessions, which also had the possibility of rain, along with Sunday’s race.

Vettel was fastest (1:12.328) in the first practice session Friday, leading teammate and title rival Webber, Hamilton, Button, and Kubica as the fastest five. Vettel’s time was set about two-thirds through a generally uneventful session. The first half hour was marked by a lack of traffic, but Vettel and Hamilton dueled via lap time for a portion. The real dram was in the last ten minutes, though not from lap times. Petrov lost his Renault heavily into a tire barrier after over-compensating for a serious wiggle, causing extensive damage. Alonso, who ended the session thirteenth fastest, stopped on the side of the track in the final seconds with a suspected (and anticipated) engine failure, while Kobayashi also lost his Sauber at the same turn as Petrov, though a bit later and without hitting the tire barrier. Jerome D’Ambrosio was in for Lucas di Grassi for just the first Friday session again, while HRT had announced Thursday that Christian Klien would replace Sakon Yamamoto for the entire weekend.

The final practice began after a rainy night, with the rain still falling at Interlagos as the session got underway. Newest weather reports were suggesting that it would be dry for the race, but the rain would make for an interesting qualifying later in the afternoon. Kovalainen was the first driver to test the conditions when the hour-long practice session got underway. He was quickly joined by half the field, though only Button of the larger teams, then Hamilton. Five minutes into the session, everyone had done and installation lap, but no on had set a time. Nearly all of the drivers went out on wet tires, but Massa tried his hand at the intermediates, though, according to Mike Gascoyne, “Both drivers saying intermediates should be okay, maybe a couple of laps on the extremes to see and then change.” Continue reading

F1 Silverstone Quali Results & Full Report: Vettel Leads Red Bull Front Row

What Happens When Things Become Predictable

9:04am EST — Sebastian Vettel won another pole for Red Bull, with Mark Webber to start second in a Red Bull front row for the starting grid of the 2010 British Grand Prix.  Fernando Alonso led the charge of the other teams to qualify third, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg rounding out the top five.  Felipe Massa only barely outqualifed countryman Rubens Barrichello, who continued the Williams’ resurgance, qualifying seventh.  Meanwhile, Pedro de la Rosa also managed a coup, making Q3 in his Sauber and beating out Michael Schumacher to ninth position.  It was disaster, with little knowledge of why, for Briton Jenson Button who did not make it out of Q2, qualifying fourteenth.

Red Bull led again in the final, Saturday morning practice session, despite a loose nosecone on Vettel’s car on his final run, just after he set the session and weekend leading time of 1:30.958.  Webber was second fastest, with Alonso, Rosberg, Massa, Kubica, Hamilton, Schumacher, de la Rosa, and Barrichello rounding out the top ten.  McLaren had, somewhat controversially, completely removed it’s blown rear wing setup for the weekend after being quite low in the pace, though it did not seem to be improving their positions, at least in the practice, dramatically.

Q1:
With a surprisingly dry Silverstone, qualifying got underway with no great haste, as Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli were the first men onto the circuit in Q1. Petrov was the early leader, with Button soon bettering his time.  Alonso, Massa, and Schumacher had taken over five minutes into the session.  Then Rosberg went fastest, with Barrichello second.  Webber soon took over with Red Bull’s dominance, even as Alonso goes for the lead.  It was Red Bull and Alonso fighting for fastest in a session where it meant very little. Continue reading

Tweeting From the Road: On the Way to Daytona

What Happens When Half Race Distance in One Day as a Passenger is Tiring

10:13pm EST — While traveling from home in Western PA to Daytona, Florida can be a fascinating trip, it is also a long one.  Tuesday covered nearly twelve hours of drive time, from mid-Virginia through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and into Florida.  The following are the often inane and sometimes humorous tweets from Monday and Tuesday’s travel.  We arrived earlier than scheduled and coverage from the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona begins here (and on Twitter) now, though racing events do not begin until Thursday, January 28th.

— Have embarked. Eight states, countless food stops, rain, and 24 hours of racing at the end of the journey! 12:03 PM Jan 25th from txt

http://twitpic.com/zqbyf – Still in pa 1:41 PM Jan 25th from TwitPic

— Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia: 1/2 the states to be covered done in about 30 min (except the bulk of travel remains) 3:36 PM Jan 25th from txt

http://twitpic.com/zr36l – Rolling countryside of virginia 4:37 PM Jan 25th from TwitPic

— in a hotel in Ashland, Virginia…delish Chinese food for supper, safely bunked and writing before an ungodly early start in the morning 8:22 PM Jan 25th from web

— 6 month anniversary for OASTD! Thanks for all your support and reading. Today’s travel coverage to the Rolex continues… about 15 hours ago from txt

— Up and on the road. Can’t believe how much I’ve missed watching the sun rise…except it’s not quite up and is yet only an orange glow. about 15 hours ago from txt

— entered South Carolina where Mark Sanford is governor and climbing the Appalacian Trail is a euphamism for visiting one’s lover in Argentina about 10 hours ago from txt

— Leaving South Carolina, entering Georgia, waving @ the city of Savannah as we drive past. About 5 hours and we’re in Daytona…thankfully 🙂 about 7 hours ago from txt

— Have entered Florida…I can see some light at the end of the (figurative) tunnel! about 6 hours ago from txt

— Passing through St. Augustine, first place settled on the continent. about 5 hours ago from txt

— Going 70-something-over-the-speed-limit on I95 and a *smart car* just flew by and is seriously pulling away…sheesh. about 4 hours ago from txt

— Correction: going an appropriate and legal 75 mph and said car has disappeared into the distance. about 4 hours ago from txt

— Have seen the day go from dark to light and back again. The last few rays of orange light are receding, after having arrived in Daytona. about 4 hours ago from txt

— Why does the Barnes and Noble within spitting distance of Daytona IMS not stock the F1 magazine?! frustrating. about 2 hours ago from txt

Live Coverage From the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

What Happens When Coverage Expands

2:35pm EST — For all those readers interested in other forms of roadracing, On Any Sunday, These Days will be providing live coverage of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona beginning on set-up day Thursday, January 28 through the race beginning at 3pm EST Saturday, January 30th and ending after the winner’s circle festivities Sunday, January 31st.  Coverage will be provided through articles and pictures at this site and Formula1Blog, but minute-by-minute coverage (complete with pictures from the pit lane and garages) will be available at “VMR on Sunday” on Twitter.  Interviews with drivers and the various racers simply participating as spectators will also be found at F1B through the weekend and after the race.

For those who are unaware, the Rolex is a sportscar race run under the Grand-Am umbrella and part of that championship here in the States.  It is similar to, though not as prestigious as, the 24 Heures du Le Mans.  More information can be found at the series’s official site, including a current entry list, which includes such drivers as Juan Pablo Montoya, Max Papis, Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Scott Pruett, Jamie McMurray, Max Angelelli, Raphael Matos, Ricardo Zonta, Alex Gurney, Jimmie Johnson, Jimmy Vasser, Dominik Farnbacher, Patrick Dempsey, Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard, Bobby Labonte, and many, many others.  SPEED will broadcast the race with a preview of the event at 2pm on Saturday the 30th, with race coverage starting at 3pm.

I will attempt to satisfy any questions or requests for interviews or pictures from the Rolex submitted as comments here, sent to onanysundaythesedays@gmail.com, or @vmronsunday on Twitter.

UPDATE: No Bridgestone, Pirelli, Goodyear, or Michelin as Tire Suppliers in F1 2011

What Happens When “Rubber Town, USA” Gets the Scoop

1:15pm EST — When Bridgestone announced that it would not renew its contract as the sole tire supplier for Formula1 after the contract ends at the end of the 2010 season, the next question was who would take over  in F1.  Soon, Reuters published that Pirelli had no desire to supply F1 with tiresOn Any Sunday, These Days then suggested that multiple tire suppliers might add some more on-track excitement with the removal of re-fueling, but that there were only a few manufacturers capable of producing the type and amount of tires necessary for F1.

Goodyear and Michelin are the most likely contenders, despite, or perhaps because both have supplied F1 with tires within the past ten years.  Unfortunately, according to an article by Jim Mackinnon, business writer for the Akron Beacon Journal, “Michelin isn’t interested in re-entering Formula One — also known as F1 — racing, a spokeswoman for the company’s North American headquarters said Monday.”

Similarly, Goodyear North America spokesman Ed Markey said, when asked by Mackinnon, that, “We have no plans to re-enter F1,” though, the company is “continually evaluat[ing] a wide range of opportunities to determine the best fit for our strategic direction and make decisions based on the best interests of the company,” and, apparently, might be persuaded to re-enter the F1 tire market.

With these four major racing tire manufacturers out of the running, what companies are available, and who will take on such a project?  There is time to plan and execute the necessary production for a supply of F1 tires, but that will require resources that seem to be sorely lacking in a down economy that has three manufacturers or teams withdrawing from the series, or considering doing so, within a week.

Romain Grosjean Waiting on FIA

What Happens When A Young Driver Has a Ride, But Can’t Talk About It

— Apparently, Renault is waiting until after its suspension hearing Monday to announce Nelson Piquet’s replacement.  Romain Grosjean, current Renault test driver, will replace Piquet after his previously expected sacking.  If the team wins its appeal to race in Valencia, Grosjean will be announced then.  If not, he will be announced for the next race at Spa.  Whether the team races in Valencia or Spa, Grosjean has the seat for (presumably) the season, or as long as he preforms adequately against the rest of the field and his teammate Fernando Alonso.