Ross Brawn is to leave Mercedes at the end of the season, according to the BBC’s Eddie Jordan:
This has long been on the cards. He said a few weeks ago he was in negotiations with the team, and wished to remain but only on condition he was clearly the leader of the F1 team. Mercedes takes a hydra approach to leadership, and will, apparently, have Wolff, Lauda and Lowe as leaders once Brawn goes.
It’s unclear where Brawn will go, or if he’ll even stay in F1.
Soft and medium tyres, same as India, will be used in Abu Dhabi.
The race is a bit of a weird one because qualifying and the race occur during the transition from late evening to dusk. Because of this P1 and P3 are less useful because they happen earlier, during the heat of the day. So, unusually, P2 is the best for the teams because the temperatures and conditions are the most similar to both qualifying and the race.
In P1 Grosjean was fastest, ahead of Hamilton and Vettel. Webber, Rosberg and Raikkonen follow, with Di Resta, Button, Maldonado and Perez rounding out the top 10.
In P2 we had: Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Perez, Button, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Massa.
During P2 Gary Anderson reckoned the Lotuses (with high fuel) looked terrible. 55 lap race, James Allen reckoned 2 stops likely, but that Lotus or maybe Force India could make a 1 stop work.
Vettel fastest on softs, he and Webber basically the same on the medium, and Hamilton significantly off the Red Bull pace. Fuel loads unknown, but Raikkonen’s race start simulation (ie soft tyres, high fuel) was a second faster than Vettel. Relatively low fuel almost certainly was part of that, but it’s perhaps a positive sign.
It’s also emerged that Raikkonen is threatening to boycott the final two races (Austin and Interlagos) if he isn’t paid: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24776816
Apparently Lotus haven’t given him a penny all year.
In P3 Sutil described the Force India as undriveable, and both Grosjean and Di Resta have suffered significant brake problems (Grosjean in both P2 and P3). Gary Anderson reckoned Rosberg was very good on long runs yesterday. The Williams drivers reported improved performance with the removal of the coanda exhaust system (which can help, but if it’s a bit iffy it can make things worse by reducing driver confidence due to lack of consistency). Vergne also said he was struggling with lack of grip, and poor balance.
The time sheets for P3 had Vettel and Webber fastest, with Hamilton third (very narrowly behind Webber). Rosberg and Grosjean were next, followed by Button, Hulkenberg, Gutierrez, Raikkonen and Vergne.
In addition, Betfair now have a Winner Without Vettel market, which could be interesting on race day.
I had lots of ideas for qualifying bets, namely:
Hamilton top 3
Lay Alonso to reach Q3
McLaren drivers to reach Q3
Maldonado to reach Q3
Laying Force India drivers to reach Q3
However, every single one had bad odds. Alonso was 1.4, but I’d want circa 1.15 for such a bet, or at least 1.2-1.3. Vettel’s rightly favourite for pole, but 1.33 is just too short.
I expect the Red Bulls and Mercedes to be at the sharp end, and Ferrari to be well down the order. Sauber and McLaren seem to be having a good weekend, and Force India one to forget.
In non-F1/shameless plugging news, my short(ish) comedy, Sir Edric’s Temple, came out on the 31st. It’s a witty and wondrous read of about 37,000 words, chronicling the misadventures of Sir Edric Greenlock as he battles rockheaded golems, terrible sorcery and the Ursk: a race of brutal slavers who consider humans to be a sort of edible currency.
It’s available at Amazon, or if you buy it from Smashwords you can get 2/3 off with the code KF49K, until the 7th.