tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Tech-know-crat 2018-01-22T13:51:15Z Ankush Ahuja tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1226408 2018-01-05T13:12:00Z 2018-01-22T13:51:15Z 2017 F1 Season Review - Fantastic Fourth!

F1 turned over a new leaf in 2017. The ownership changed hands and Liberty Media added a freshness to the sport. Fan Interactions increased, Experiences were added and the future looks bright for a sport that aims at expanding its global footprint.

2017 also saw 3 rookies make it to the grid - Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly & WEC Champion Brendan Hartley ( replaced Daniil Kvyat towards the end of the season )

20 races made up the 2017 Season and pre-season tests suggested that Ferrari would be a formidable challenger. Red Bull seemed to be off the pace while Mercedes had another reliable run into 2017. Was Ferrari able to dethrone Mercedes from their perch? How did Red Bull fare with their new Tag Heuer branded engine? Bottas vs Hamilton? Hamilton vs Vettel? Bottas vs Raikkonen? Who reigned supreme in 2017? Well lets have a quick recap of the season gone by.


Mercedes AMG F1 Team :

Mercedes, the most successful team and engine supplier in the turbo-era went into 2017 with a little bit of uncertainty. The W08, their 2017 challenger was fast but not the easiest to handle. Nico Rosberg the reigning World Champion retired from the sport and Mercedes had to hire Valtteri Bottas from Williams, so that wasn't ideal. Questions were raised about the worthiness of Valtteri Bottas. Doubts lingered about the kind of relation he would have with Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari seemed to have done their homework and the gap was considerably lower than in 2016. This was going to be one tough fight.

The season started off more as a boxing bout as the contenders to the crown traded punches taking victories in alternate rounds. Lewis Hamilton took the first win of the season for the team in China and Bottas responded with a win of his own in Russia. Hamilton then took victories in Spain ( a hard fought one ), Canada and Great Britain while Bottas notched up another win in Austria. The Finn kept his more experienced team-mate honest in the title fight. Hamilton went on a winning spree in Belgium, Italy and Singapore and became the Number 1 driver in the team. Japan and USA sealed the deal. P2 in Mexico saw him being crowned the Drivers' Champion for the 4th time! He also surpassed Michael Schumacher's record of the most pole positions in Italy and with the British Grand Prix win, he equalled the records of Alain Prost and Jim Clark, who also won the race five times each. Lewis made it happen when it mattered the most. He won the those little battles to win the war and a well deserved title it was. Kudos to the Englishman for his win. Hamilton had amassed 363 points with 9 wins and 4 podium finishes at the end of 2017. Bottas who played catchup with Vettel in the second half of the year eventually finished in P3 with 305 points, 3 race wins and 10 podium finishes under his belt.

Mercedes will still be the team to beat in 2018. Period.


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

Ferrari, the most successful team in F1 - A name synonymous with winning. A lot of hopes were pinned on the Maranello based outfit to take the fight to the Mercs . Many believed this was the year that Ferrari would finally deliver; after all it had been 10 years since they last won a Drivers' Championship! Ferrari persisted with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen a pair that gets along extremely well. The year started off on the right note for Vettel with 3 wins out of 6 and Lewis Hamilton having to play catchup. Going into the mid-season break, the German trailed by 3 points in the championship with 4 wins ( Australia, Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary ) & 6 podium finishes. His championship hopes seemed to be on track after Lewis struggled in qualifying in Mercedes' bogey track ( Singapore ) and Vettel put it on pole. However an uncharacteristic error on the Sunday ( on a wet track ) took the top 3 qualifiers Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen out of the race. Verstappen got sandwiched with Vettel cutting across and Raikkonen, who had a blistering start overtaking him resulting in a mighty shunt for the 3. Lewis took the win and it dealt a heavy blow to the championship. Retirement in Japan proved to be the final nail in the coffin and Lewis took the championship in Mexico. Vettel finished P2 ( albeit just ) with 317 points and 5 wins under his belt.

Kimi Raikkonen on the other hand had a slower start to the year. He put his car on pole in Monaco and could have won but for Vettel to come out on top thanks to a better strategy. Kimi played second fiddle throughout the year ( inspite of constant denial by the team ). He finished P4 in the Championship with 7 podium finishes, his best being 2nd in Monaco and Hungary. Once again, the Iceman didn't have reliability and circumstances going his way, robbing him of more podium finishes and possible victories. Kimi was praised for being a team player on many occasions and Belgium is one instance that comes to mind. On his final run in qualifying, Kimi made an error and had to abort the lap. He managed to give Vettel the tow towards the end of the lap, that helped the German end up on the front row to challenge for the win. One thing is certain though, he might be the oldest driver on the grid but he hasn't lost his racing edge. On his day, the Iceman is still untouchable. Will we see him win again? ever? Well that is one question no one can answer.

Ferrari were on track in the first half of the season, then they lost the plot altogether. It isn't going to be easy beating Mercedes over a season but the team can take encouragement from the fact that their competitors aren't invincible.


Red Bull Racing F1 Team :

Red Bull Racing began their 2017 campaign with a Tag Heuer branded power unit. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen renewed their partnership and things didn't seem too promising at the start of the season. However the duo gave the works team a run for their money notching a victory each under their belt. Ricciardo won in a power dominated circuit in Baku ( thanks to Vettel and Hamilton bickering and incidents galore around him ). Verstappen after a slew of retirements ( thanks to mechanical failures ) finally won in Malaysia. A coming together in Hungary brought Ricciardo grief but the Australian prevailed over the Dutchman, finishing 5th in the Drivers' Championship with 1 win and 8 podium places. 3 retirements towards the end of the season denied him the chance to retain 4th place ( eventually taken by Raikkonen ). Verstappen too suffered retirements at pivotal moments in the season and finished in 6th place with 2 wins ( Malaysia and Mexico ) and 2 podium finishes.

Red Bull must ensure that they lock down the duo for the future as they share a wonderful chemistry and have an abundance of talent. The chink in the armour was the reliability of the power units. The difference to Ferrari in 2nd seems big but it would have been a lot closer with more podiums and points finishes. They were perceived as the biggest threat towards the end of the season. Red Bull know how to win. They have been there, done that. Improving in 2018 is a given.


Sahara Force India F1 Team :

Force India continue to go from strength to strength in the Turbo Era. The Best Mercedes Customer Team tag remained with them in 2017. Sergio Perez & Esteban Ocon pushed each other throughout the year. The push became a shove and the team had to ban them from racing each other in order to protect their position in the championship. Perez finished on 100 points in P7, 13 ahead of his team-mate Ocon with points finishes in every race barring 3. His best finish was P4 in Spain. Ocon went on a record run of race finishes until his retirement in the Brazilian GP. The Frenchmen scored 87 points with his best finishes of P5 in Spain and Mexico.

Force India were truly a force to reckon with in 2017. Finishing P4 in the championship was no mean feat. They even made the Big 3 sweat on a few occasions. 2018 wont be easy sailing as those trailing behind will have more powerful units under them.


Williams Martini Racing F1 Team :

Williams fielded a mix of experience and youth in Felipe Massa and Rookie Lance Stroll. Massa called it a day at the end of the 2016 season but had to return after Bottas switched to Mercedes AMG F1. Williams finished 5th in the Constructors' Championship and amazingly managed to bag a podium with Lance Stroll in Baku! The team's struggle continued in 2017 after the initial successes of 2014. Felipe Massa outscored Stroll but only just ( 3 points ), 6th being his best finish in Australia and Bahrain. Paul di Resta stepped into Massa's Seat for one race ( Hungary ), the Brazilian having to sit it out due to illness. Lance Stroll struggled in the initial rounds of the season but the 3rd place finish in Baku sent many doubters into silence. Stroll finished in the points in 7 races and suffered 4 retirements. His performances are bound to approve in 2018. The 19 year old still has a lot to learn in the world of motor racing and the team has played a big gamble by having another rookie join their ranks in 2018.


Renault Sport F1 Team :

Renault Sport F1 finished the season in 6th in the Constructors' Championship, a marked improvement from their performances in 2016. They would not like to be where they are at but the only way forward is upwards and thankfully being a works team will ensure that funding never becomes an issue for R&D.

Nico Hulkenberg scored 43 points and finished 10th in the Drivers' Championship. He finished in the points in 8 races with 6th being his best finish on 4 occasions. Jolyon Palmer had a painful 2017 again, only 6th in Singapore being his finish in the points. He was eventually relieved of his services after Japan, a forgettable F1 Career for the former GP2 Champion. Carlos Sainz Jr. then joined the ranks and produced his best finish of 7th ( for the team ) in Austin, USA.

Renault will be a potent team in 2018. The dynamic duo of Hulkenberg and Sainz Jr. will be pushing each other and I see the team finishing at least P4 in 2018.


Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :

Toro Rosso began the 2017 campaign with Daniil Kvyat & Carlos Sainz Jr. Kyvat was then replaced by Pierre Gasly for Malaysia & Japan and left the team after the US Grand Prix. Red Bull Loaned Carlos Sainz Jr. to Renault F1 for a year ( for 2018 ) but Renault relieved Jolyon Palmer of his services after Japan so Sainz had to effect the switch earlier. LMP1 Porsche Driver and WEC Champion Brendon Hartley took his place for the final 4 rounds of the season. This merry-go-round didn't create the ideal situation for the team since they had to fight hard to retain their place against a resurgent Haas towards the business end of the season. The team also suffered from misfiring Renault Units on many occasions.

Carlos Sainz Jr. led the charge with a career best 4th in Singapore, who can forget the Radio Communication that night "Vamos Vamos Vamos!" Daniil Kvyat only managed 5 points, 9th being his best finish. Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley weren't able to open their accounts.

Toro Rosso won't have it easy in 2018 as they switch to Honda Power. Gasly and Hartley are supremely talented but will need a reliable car under them to help the team achieve the points that they need.


Haas F1 Team :

Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen led the charge for Haas F1 in 2017 and the relatively new team continue to impress in their 2nd year. Finishing P8 in the championship, they narrowly missed beating Scuderia Toro Rosso ( 6 points ) to P7. Romain Grosjean bagged 28 points in 2017 inspite of having brake troubles throughout the year. His best finish was 6th in Austria. Kevin Magnussen's best finish was P7 in Azerbaijan and he finished the season on 19 points.

F1 is a demanding sport and Haas will have to maintain a steep development curve to stay in touch with those in front. Nevertheless they can take pride in the fact that they have fielded a more reliable car in 2017.


McLaren Honda F1 Team :

McLaren's partnership with Honda has been one of its biggest fiascos. The Engine Manufacturer failed to make inroads even in 2017 and the team suffered massively from multiple engine penalties over different race weekends. There were silver linings but the news of a split developed through the year. The Team had both cars cross the chequered flag only on 7 occasions. They did reduce the deficit to Haas F1 towards the end but were unable to finish any better than P9 at the end of the year.

Fernando Alonso & Stoffel Vandoorne finished their season on 17 and 13 points respectively, their best finishes being 6th and 7th. Alonso also enjoyed the opportunity of racing in the Indy 500 in the US which coincided with the Monaco GP. Jenson Button was recalled out of retirement and got to race but had to retire after an incident with Wehrlein. There is no doubt in the ability of the duo and results will improve with a much faster and more reliable Renault power unit for 2018.


Sauber F1 Team :

Sauber F1 finishes last in the standings, financial constraints limiting their progress in 2017. The team already had a power deficit with a 2016 Ferrari engine and their problems were compounded when the team principal Monisha Kaltenborn left mid-season. Marcus Ericsson drew a blank again while Pascal Wehrlein's P8 in Spain & P10 in Azerbaijan brought home the team's points. Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari's Reserve Driver also got 2 weekends under his belt in Australia & China after Wehrlein injured himself in the Race of Champions earlier in the year and felt under-prepared for the start of the season.

Its been a disappointing year again for Sauber F1 but with Alfa Romeo investing in them for 2018, a lot can change.


I had the privilege of attending the Spanish Grand Prix and the Belgian Grand Prix in 2017. Planning to do 3 races in 2018, God Willing.

The 2018 season kicks off with pre-season testing in Barcelona in February. The much debated Halo makes its debut. The lineup for 2018 is complete and car launch dates are out too.

Mercedes won a hard fought battle in 2017. Ferrari were left wondering what could have been.

Truly
it was a Fantastic Fourth for the team from Brackley! Well Done Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team!

The Countdown to the 2018 season has begun. Can't wait!




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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1222773 2017-12-27T19:17:08Z 2017-12-27T19:17:33Z Featured in the Top 100 Motorsports Blog

I want to take the Opportunity to thank all the readers and followers of this blog as well as those following Tech-know-crat on all social media platforms.

It gives me immense pleasure to announce that the Blog has been featured in the Top 100 Motorsports Blogs of the World through Feedspot.com


None of this would have been possible without the support and the encouragement shown to Tech-know-crat through the years.


Promise to stay committed on delivering Quality Content with a better posting frequency from hereon!


The Badge is now visible on the Blog and Once Again A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR MAKING THIS A REALITY!


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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1193141 2017-11-30T19:46:00Z 2017-12-27T19:10:26Z Paddock Club Diares - 2017 Belgian Grand Prix - Day 3

Sunday had arrived! D day! The Day that mattered! Friday and Saturday's performances are meaningless if a team or driver can't perform on the Sunday!

Race Day beckoned and once again it was an early start to the day. The Commute from Hasselt could easily take a good 2 hours..so it was imperative to head out at 630 in the morning.

Enroute to the Circuit :


Croissants for Breakfast!


The Second Event of the day was the Formula 2 Sprint Race. I was busy shopping in the F1 Village hence missed Race 2 of GP3.


Formula 2 Sprint Race Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :

 


Formula 2 Sprint Race Start ( Video Link ) :

 


Lap 1 of Formula 2 Sprint Race ( Video Link ) :

 


Formula 2 ended and we were joined by Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team Principal Maurizio Arrivabene in the Ferrari F1 Club :


A Moment with the Man :


Maurizio Arrivabene in the Ferrari F1 Club ( Video Link ) :



Kimi Raikkonen then visited the club for a quick Q&A!


I had to run behind him to click this. He did stop but my phone camera failed me! This was the best I could do! Next time..


Kimi Raikkonen Interview in the Ferrari F1 Club ( Video Link ) :

 


A Quick lunch before heading down for the final pit lane walk of the weekend!


Shots from the Pit Lane Walk :


Mick Schumacher driving his father's Benetton!


Some Stills with the GoPro Hero5 Black :


Gino Rosato from Ferrari :


Time to return to the Paddock Club and grab a vantage point for the race!


Cars heading out for the sighting laps as the pit lane opens :


Team Personnel, celebrities make their way to the grid :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team readying their grid slots :


5 minutes to the Race Start :


Kimi Raikkonen doing a final run through with his strategists :


The Grid gearing up for the start of the Formation Lap..the tension mounts!


The Clock winds down and we are ready for the Formation Lap before the Start of the Belgian GP!


Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :

 


Race Start ( Video Link ) :



Lap 1 of the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix ( Video Link ) :

 


Shots from the Belgian Grand Prix :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team fighting it out in the Belgian Grand Prix :



Chequered Flag ( Video Link ) :




Lewis Hamilton took victory from Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. Kimi Raikkonen finished P4 while Valtteri Bottas had a race to forget in P5.


Cars returning to Parc Ferme :


The Podium Celebrations!!


Crowds allowed to run onto the track after the race and join in the celebrations


Mechanics rolling the cars back to the garages post race :


Lewis Hamilton decides to join his faithful and do some crowd-surfing.


Scuderia Ferrari were gracious enough to bring Vettel's P2 Trophy to the Paddock Club.


With Sebastian's P2 Trophy :


Some more pics with Friends over the weekend.


A Selfie with the Hosts in the Ferrari F1 Club :


Packing up to head to Monza which was only a week away, so the turnaround time was short.


Enjoying the Track Walk after the Race!


Massimo Rivola, Scuderia Ferrari Academy Supremo :


Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Sir Franz Tost, Team Principal, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 Team :


Moko!


Silvia Hoffer, McLaren F1 Team PR and one of the oldest faces in the paddock :


Mark Arnall and Kimi's Partner in Ice One Racing ( Motocross ) :

Giuliano Alesi, Jean Alesi's son & Scuderia Ferrari Academy Driver in GP3 :


Returning to Hasselt from Spa :


It was a memorable weekend in Spa and I would like to thank Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team for the Hospitality and the graciousness shown to me over the weekend. Of course Kimi Raikkonen just missing out on the podium was a disappointment but the team had a great weekend nonetheless. A big thank you to Edge Global Events for ensuring nothing was out of place and ensuring that I had an enjoyable weekend.

Sadly this marks the end of the Paddock Club Diaries for 2017. The Diaries shall return in the 2018 Season!







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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1192894 2017-11-10T19:12:00Z 2017-12-26T17:40:06Z Paddock Club Diares - 2017 Belgian Grand Prix - Day 2 Saturday Mornings mean an early start when one attends a Formula One Race Weekend. The Day begins with a Paddock Club Track Truck Tour, followed by the morning Pit Lane Walk where Paddock Club Guests can see teams practice their pit stops up-close. Free Practice 3 takes place in the morning where teams run their Qualifying setups followed later by the Qualifying in the Afternoon.

So how did the Saturday at the 2017 Belgian GP pan out? Time to take a peek :

Enroute to the Circuit :


Walking to Spa Francorchamps Circuit via La Source Hairpin :


Photos of the Paddock Club Track Truck Tour :


Some Photos with the GoPro Hero 5 Black :


The First Pit Lane Walk of the Day :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Garage during the Pit Lane Walk :



Romain Grosjean's Haas being readied for FP3 ( Video Link ) :




Saturday morning also see the teams practicing their Pit Stops.


Williams Martini Racing F1 Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :


Sahara Force India F1 Pit Stop Practice ( Video Link ) :




We had the Opportunity of visiting ART Grand Prix in the Formula 2 Paddock :


The Final Practice session of the Weekend FP3 :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team during FP3 :


Chequered Flag :


Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel were the fastest in FP3 with Lewis Hamilton a close third.


An Early Lunch before heading down for the final Pit Lane Walk of the Day :


Shots from the 2nd Pit Lane Walk of the day :

Shots of the GoPro Hero 5 Black from the Pit Lane Walk :

Sebastian Vettel's Car being readied for Qualifying ( Video Link ) :




It was then time for the Qualifying Session to commence.

Shots from Q1 :

Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Q1, Sebastian Vettel & Max Verstappen were P2 & P3 respectively.




Shots from Q2 :

Q2 saw Mercedes Flex their muscles and Lewis Hamilton dipped into the 1:42s and was fastest again. Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top 3.

Q3 was the top 10 shootout.

Shots from Q3 :

Lewis Hamilton took pole. Kimi Raikkonen had to back out of his flying lap due to a mistake and a tow to Sebastian Vettel helped him to snatch P2 from Valtteri Bottas!


The Top 3 parked on the Grid for the Post - Qualifying Interviews :

Top 3 Driver Interviews ( Video Link ) :




Vettel and Hamilton inspecting each others' machinery :


Marshalls fortunate to have their suits autographed by Vettel and Hamilton.

We were then joined by Antonio Giovinazzi, Reserve driver for Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team :

Antonio Giovinazzi Interview in the Ferrari F1 Club (  Video Link ) :




Sebastian Vettel visits the Ferrari F1 Club post Qualifying.

Sebastian Vettel Interview ( Video Link ) :




Vettel left and it was time for the start of the Formula 2 Feature Race!

Shots from the Feature Race :

Arjun Maini on the grid for Race 1 in GP3 :

GP3 Race 1 Formation Lap ( Video Link ) :




Formation Lap done for GP3 :


GP3 Race 1 Start ( Video Link  ) :





Shots from Race 1 :

Post race I walked down to the other end of the Paddock Club to experience the F1 Simulators on offer.

F1 Simulators in the Paddock Club :

Got a sneak peek of the Podium!

Williams Crew sitting and watching the movie on "Sir Frank Williams" and the team of yesteryear.


Returning to Hasselt from Spa :


Kimi Raikkonen's mistake in his final run in Qualifying cost him a chance to be on the Front Row. Arjun Maini also narrowly missed the podium in Race 1 in the evening. Barring these disappointments, it was a great Saturday at Spa Francorchamps! The Highlight for me was the Track Tour early in the morning.

A Big Thank you to Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team and their hosts for their hospitality throughout the day. Thank you to Edge Global Events for ensuring everything was in place for the Saturday.

Sunday Experience to follow soon..

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Ankush Ahuja
tag:tech-know-crat.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1192631 2017-10-09T19:27:00Z 2017-10-18T18:46:56Z Paddock Club Diares - 2017 Belgian Grand Prix - Day 1

The Latest post in the Paddock Club Diaries comes in from the 2017 Belgian Grand Prix. The Event was held from 22nd August to 24th August at the iconic Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

I had the privilege of being a guest of Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team in the Paddock Club and as always, the first post is from what I experienced on Friday.

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Hasselt. Hasselt is the birthplace of Red Bull Racing Driver Max Verstappen and about an hour's drive from the circuit. An early morning drive from Hasselt is recommended as the traffic was atrocious going into Spa.


Enroute to the Circuit :


The Race Passes picked up from Radisson Blu Hotel in Spa :


Walking to the circuit :


The Scuderia Ferrari F1 Club :


The View from the Ferrari F1 Club :


I didn't have the opportunity of making it to the First Pit Lane walk of the day and as soon as I settled in the Suite, it was time for Free Practice 1.


Shots from FP1 :


Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team during FP1 :


Chequered Flag :



Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest in FP1 with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel completing the Top 3. Only a tenth of a second separated the trio.


Marc Gene visits the Ferrari F1 Club for a quick Q&A :


Video Link of the Interview :



A Moment with Marc Gene :


Friends, Scuderia Ferrari Family!


Prior to the Pit Lane Walk, I signed up to go downstairs and join other guests on a truck which would take us around the track for an amazing tour. Its a part of the F1 Experiences, a new initiative by the new owners of F1 to bring the sport closer to its fans.


I got the Chance to do the Paddock Club Track Truck Tour. The Best Experience ever!


Video Link of the Track Truck Tour :



Shots from the 2nd Pit Lane Walk of the day :


The Scuderia Ferrari Garage :


Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari being readied for FP2 ( Video Link ) :



Lunch!


I had a hearty lunch and it was time to settle in for Free Practice 2. FP2 saw limited running after an hour thanks to rain belting down on the track. Only Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso volunteered to venture out but the conditions got treacherous really quickly.


Shots from FP2 :