Monday, December 14, 2015

F1: Pirelli's Abu Dhabi Nightcap (Constructor Rankings 8-10)

Rio Haryanto at the controls of Manor Marussia F1's "Speedy Chariot" during the recent Abu Dhabi tyre test. (Image source:
Will we learn anything overly useful from the Abu Dhabi Post-season test? Highly doubtful, especially since its basically built around Pirelli getting one last chance to test new rubber compounds and tyre construction for 2016...

Constructor’s: Team/Chassis/Engine)
(8) Sauber F1 Team
Chassis:  C34
Engine: Ferrari
Points: 36
(Car No. + Driver)
9. Marcus Ericsson
12. R-Felipe Nasr; Brazil
Reserve Driver) Raffaele Marciello
(R Denotes Rookie Driver)

According to Adam Cooper, Sauber was set to run regular race driver Marcus Ericsson and the totally unknown to Mwah Adderly Fong, a 25yr old Hong Kong driver currently contesting the GP3 championship, along with being the reigning Audi R8 LMS Cup champion at the 12hr Post Abu Dhabi Pirelli tyre test.

As Fong, who has ties to Vancouver, BC and apparently having dabbled briefly in Indy Lights, is currently a Lotus F1 Development Driver and has run once before for Sauber during last year's Abu Dhabi Grands Prix Friday's (Free Practice) FP1 session. As Fong  primarily aims to extend his FIA Superlicense by running the minimum 300 kilometres, while Ericsson finished a close third behind "Works" Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen.

3rd) Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m44.480s 50-laps
13th) Adderly Fong Sauber 1m48.439s 57-laps

(9) McLaren Honda
Chassis:  MP4-30
Engine: Honda 
Points: 27
14. Fernando Alonso
22. Jenson Button
Reserve Driver) Stoffel Vandoorne

McLaren's season was so traumatic upon its regular race drivers with the woefully underperforming Hondre' PU that they decided to run just reigning GP2 champion and 2016 Reserve Driver Stoffel Vandoorne at the test, who rewarded the team by being P1, an unfamiliar position this year for the once mighty Woking based F1 Constructor. As hopefully this is a sign of things to come for next year?

P1) Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m44.103s 99-laps

Meanwhile McLaren Supremo, Thy Ronster', nee Ron Dennis is sounding full of his usual boastful self, proclaiming the Organization's set to make a massive step forward! While gleefully intoning although he knows where the Motorhome will be parked next year, the cars will be further up the grid...

(10) Manor-Marussia F1 Team
Chassis:  MR03B
Engine: Ferrari (2014-Spec)
Points: 0
28) R-Will Stevens; UK
98) R-Roberto Merhi; Spain
53) R-Alexander Rossi*; USA
Reserve Driver) Fabio Leimer
Development Driver) Jordan King
(R Denotes Rookie Driver)

Although Manor had originally announced its intentions to skip the test, presumably due to the added costs, the team subsequently decided to run 22yr old Indonesian Rio Haryanto and Development Driver Jordan King, son of Justin King, who was announced as the team's interim Chairman this past March.

As both King & Haryanto  currently compete in GP2, with the latter's apparently sniffing around for one of the team's two 2016 race seats - in what could be an audition for next year? As Scuttlebutt suggests he's got plenty of Dinero courtesy of his state's Oil conglomerate. Although now approaching the "Century Mark," i.e.; 100-starts in GP2, currently sitting at 91-starts he'll need some generous backing to move up the ladder.

Manor is the only F1 team currently to have not announced their 2016 drivers, although Will Stevens is hopeful of retaining his position with the team, whilst perhaps Mercedes inquiry about the Ferrari  Haas F1 "B-Team" alignment is to see how far they can go with Manor along with inserting reigning DTM champion and F1 test driver Pascal Wehrlein, eh?

As it seems those "Story-makers" on Zed Internetz are casting about on any gossip possible regarding the final two F1 seats available...

Naturally, the Manor Marussia's were running in their typical Tail-gunner Charlie position, especially since they're the only team campaigning year old PU's! As Haryanto, having enjoyed his most competitive campaign in GP2 in his fourth season - En route to scoring a Hat-trick 'O victories, including his maiden GP2 win, has previously participated  in Young Drivers test for Manor's earlier incarnations as Virgin and Marussia in 2010, 2012.

Hence, Haryanto's third crack at a season ending test session saw the promising Indonesian finish one place ahead of King, with the 21yr old Brit' getting his debutante outing in F1 machinery - Whilst both drivers prevailed from damaging the equipment.

15th) Rio Haryanto Manor 1m49.593s 56-laps
16th) Jordan King Manor 1m49.661s 59-laps