Monthly Archives: April 2010

Chinese Grand Prix Review

With the Formula One circus having slowly trickled their way back to Europe following the closure of the European airspace, we’re able here on the Stefan Grand Prix blog to look back and evaluate the third exciting race in a row after the turgid start in Bahrain.

As qualifying was held in perfect sunny conditions, it was no surprise to see all three new teams competing in the SGP Championship falling foul in Q1. This time around, it was Timo Glock in the Virgin-Cosworth who stole pole position from Jarno Trulli in the Lotus-Cosworth by 0.100 seconds. Meanwhile, Bruno Senna regained the upper hand over Karun Chandhok qualifying the Indian driver by 0.100 seconds.

Of interested as well was Bruno Senna’s Hispania Racing’s qualifying time compared to Lucas Di Grassi who qualified just ahead of the Brazilian. It would appear that the HRT’s are now only 0.7seconds off the Virgin & Lotus pace.

Race Report

Now, be honest, who would have thought after 4 races, you would have seen a Lotus racing in 6th place? Ok, dreaming it isn’t the same and thinking it would happen. Keeping his Finnish head cool while all others lost theirs and came in to change their tyres twice, Hekki Kovalainen eventually crept up to 6th for several laps until he was gobbled up by the recovering pack. After a tense battle with Nico Hulkenburg’s Williams, Hekki eventually finished 14th and on the top spot for the 3rd time this year of the Stefan Grand Prix Championship. He also picked up an extra point for the fastest lap of those competing for the Championship.

Meanwhile, for the second race running, the two remaining podium places here taken by the Hispania Racing Team’s Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, although this time around, it was the Brazilian who led home his Indian team mate. After a week of negative headlines from it’s own employees, it must be heartening for the small Spanish team to again achieve such great milestones as the F1 paddock heads home to Europe.

Dr. Kolles said after the race “A good day for the team completing our second two-car finish in the rain in our fourth race. Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna drove their second wet race after Australia. Again we reached our goal with two cars finishing the race and we gathered quite a lot of data on this track that can be used for the European season. Congratulations to the team. Now in the three weeks to come, we must work on more developments for the team’s home Grand Prix in Barcelona.”

Retiring on lap 26 was Jarno Trulli, who had to retire with hydraulic failure…again. A common gremlin for all of the new teams. Jarno has said this week that he feels the team are only achieving 10% of their potential.

“I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, that everything would be new and we would need time,” he said. “I had expected at least to drive. Instead, after four races I did not start once and when I got to the finish, it was because it was decided I should take the chequered flag but in far from ideal conditions.

“We operate like a real team in the top series, but unfortunately we are only at 10% of our potential because of lack of time. There’s no testing, and the racing weekend is the only chance to test and oil the structure. For us this is our apprenticeship year.The thing Lotus has lacked is time, the main culprit for our difficulties. Had we had time to program everything more in advance, we would have better prepared the structure, the car, the gearbox, our hydraulics system and everything you need to start well. All this work is being done now, race after race.”

Coming in last again was the Virgin Racing Team, whose season is progressing from bad to worse with the news last week that the delay in getting back to Europe due to the complete shutdown of Northern European airspace has meant that only one Virgin Racing car will be ready in time for the Spanish Grand Prix with a bigger fuel tank. Currently, they have reasonable pace, but reliability is severely lacking.

Nick Wirth explained after the race what has happened during the Chinese Grand Prix. “Following the overnight Parc Ferme, we started the cars this morning and discovered that the clutch on Lucas’ car was not functioning correctly. We changed the clutch before the Race, but it still wasn’t working properly even when we eventually got Lucas out and into the Race and ultimately we had to retire him. Timo’s car lost engine valve system air pressure on the Grid, which required us to move him back to the garage. We attempted to refill the air system but it was clear that there was a substantial air leak from the system in a place which was difficult to access quickly, so we were also forced to retire his car. All in all, a very disappointing day, but I know that we will get to grips with the problems and bounce back in Barcelona.”

Driver Standings

1st: Hekki Kovalainen 36pts

2nd= Karun Chandhok 17pts

2nd= Lucas Di Grassi 17pts

4rd: Bruno Senna 16pts

5th: Jarno Trulli 13pts

6th: Timo Glock 9pts

Constructor Standings

1st: Lotus 49pts

2nd: Hispania Racing 33pts

3rd: Virgin Racing 26pts


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Stefan Grand Prix Press Conference

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Stefan GP confirm 2011 entry (plus new website!)

Zoran Stefanovic (right)

News earlier this evening confirmed that Stefan Grand Prix, led by Zoran Stefanovic, have lodged an official entry to the FIA for the team to compete in the 2011 Formula One Season as well as plans to build a technology centre and an F1 standard track.

As official anouncement read on their new website as follows;

“STEFAN GP would like to make a public announcement that the AMCO Corporation and its owner Zoran Stefanovic have today signed an agreement with the Mayor of Stara Pazova, located 25km from Belgrade , Serbia , to build the STEFAN TECHNOLOGY PARK . This will include a racing circuit suitable for the competition of Formula One, and a technical complex that will serve as STEFAN GRAND PRIX’s team headquarters upon completion in two years time.

“I think this is an excellent development for our team, Stara Pazova city, region and country,” Mr Stefanovic said today. “This is proof that we want to put ourselves on the map as a serious hi-tech company, and that we are serious about competing in Formula One for the long term.”

As well as this announcement, it would appear that the team have put a lot of effort to rebuke the critics of its simplistic websites. Us fans now have a plethora of extra sections, photos and announcements to keep us busy and entertained. Plus a new logo. (Darn..a redesign for me then!)

Who's missing...? (Bravo Mr. Stefanovic)

Also, a picture over the headline “Stefan GP Team”, there seems to been some good work from the Photoshop man in editing out Mike Coughlan. (Opinion: Good Move!)

So, after this rather exciting evening, I’ll leave you with the words of Mr. Stefanovic.

“A great man by the name of Sir Winston Churchill once said something that I try to implant into the minds of the people in my team. It’s something along the lines of: NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! In the last almost 12 months you were all witnesses of the fact that I strongly stand behind my beliefs.

I still believe that F1 would be a much more interesting competition with SGP, and my team and I feel like the battle is just starting. We want to be a part of F1 for both the long and short term future, and I hope that we will finally have the success we deserve.

This quality is shared by every person who has changed the world. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! Thank you for supporting us, and I hope to see you at GP soon!

Best Regards, Zoran Stefanovic”

As ever…Go Stefan GP!

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Wikipedia – To be, or not to be…believed…

Well, never to be believed, without a reference aleast. So, once again, the hollow ring of wikipedia is tolling out across the internet highway with this rather bold statement.

“It is now confirmed that StefanGP did apply for an 2011 entry. Their plan is to have Canadian Jacques Villeneuve test the car for them during 2010 while it is reported that Villeneuve will races in other series for the remainder of the year.”

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. And the reference?? Well, for this part of the story, there isn’t one. It only goes back to the Autosport story regarding the separation between Stefan GP and Toyota.

So, who wrote this? Anyone out there know? Investigations are afoot. Any information anyone has, let us know!

In the meantime, lets hope that Stefan Grand Prix’s enterprise of great pitch has not turned awry and lost its name of action…

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Stefan Grand Prix – Update & Championship

Yes, the Stefan Grand Prix blog is back, for the second time, after it’s brief brush with eternity. As its author has been given the all clear with five years of check-ups and scans, the Stefan Grand Prix blog can continue with it’s mind fully focused back on F1 and the future.

Quick Championship Update:

Turning our minds back a week and a half to the weary hours of last Sunday morning, sitting there wondering if the rain was to come and wash away the Red Bull white wash, we remember that in the SGP Championship podium , it was the driver débutantes claiming all three steps beneath the rising flags and anthems.

Despite having to desperately save  on fuel in the last 20 laps, Lucas Di Grassi and Virgin Racing claimed their first victory in the championship, crucially beating the reliability issues that had plagued them since the teams inception.

Coming a close 2nd and on the same lap was Karun Chandhok, once again showing he has the making of a great F1 driver and showing the critics wrong who said he would be outperformed by his team-mate Bruno Senna who came in 3rd.

Disappointingly,  at their ‘home’ Grand Prix, Lotus F1 dropped crucial points against its rivals with both cars suffering issues, putting both drivers down the pecking order in 4th & 5th place. Kovalainen picked up a point for the fastest lap of 1:42.701. Propping up the SGP field after a spin on lap 2 was Timo Glock whose over-exuberance at the start of the race got the better of him.

Championship Standings

1st: Hekki Kovalainen 25pts

2nd: Lucas Di Grassi 15pts

3nd: Karun Chandhok 13 pts

4th=: Jarno Trulli 10pts

4th=: Bruno Senna 10pts

6th: Timo Glock 8pts

Constructor Standing

1st: Lotus F1 35pts

2nd: Virgain Racing Team 25pts

3rd: Hispania Racing Team 23pts

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Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying Report

A quick update from the Stefan Grand Prix blog due to it’s authors recovery and treatment shows an exciting Malaysian Grand Prix Qualifying session, resulting in an upside down grid and two of the débutantes making it into Q2

Hekki Kovalainen

The stand-out driver so far this season has been Hekki Kovalainen in his Lotus and he did not disappoint infront of the teams home crowd, beating nearest rival Timo Glock in the Virgin Racing. Both capitalised on mistakes by the Ferrari and McLaren drivers to make it into Q2 for the first time this year. Kovalainen lapped the Sepang circuit in 1 minute 52.270 seconds, 2 tenths faster than Glock. A result which left team boss Tony Fernandes delighted “To get 15th place in our home country, in front of our home crowd is amazing. I’m over the moon and just so excited. We gave the Toro Rossos a run for their money today and Jarno was just unfortunate to get blocked, otherwise he’d have been in Q2 as well. Tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll see what happens, but it’s a good step forward.Today we’ll enjoy it, and we’ll live for the day, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

Karun Chandhok

The other stand out performance for the second weekend in a row was Karun Chandhok, who not only out qualified his team-mate Bruno Senna, but also for the first time this season, his Hispania Racing out-qualified Lucas Di Grassi in the Virgin Racing car. “I will start tomorrow’s race just behind Trulli, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa.” Chandhok said after qualifying. “The weather was not looking good in the afternoon before qualifying and I was not sure if it would hold until the qualifying session as well. It didn’t and that gave us our first wet experience driving the car for the first time in heavy rain. I made the best of it.”

For the second year in a row, the start time for the Malaysian Grand Prix has been put back for the convenience of the European audience. However, this has placed the race firmly into the grasp of the Malaysian monsoons which cleans the days events as regular as clock work. For those of us who will now watch the Grand Prix with less sleepy eyes, we will have greater clarity of the entertainment unfolding beneath the Asian cyclones.

15.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:52.875  1:52.270
16.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:52.398  1:52.520
17.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:52.211
18.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:52.884
19.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:53.044
20.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:53.050
21.  Massa          Ferrari                1:53.283
22.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth           1:56.299
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:57.269
24.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:59.977

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