Canada 2012 Qualifying

During the break between Q1 and Q2, Kimi was told: “Now we got a bit of an issue with the diff where it’s not reacting to what you do, so it’s sitting at 50 bar, which might be affecting your feeling in general, particularly on power, so you won’t be getting as much diff locking as normal”

The clutches in the differential are hydraulically regulated. Simply put, higher hydraulic pressures against the clutches bring the differential closer to locking characteristics, while lower hydraulic pressures induce characteristics closer to a limited-slip differential, thus allowing the wheels to differentiate in rotational speed as the car turns.

Electric servo-valves control these pressures and are able to do so very quickly with reaction times as little as 1 millisecond. The nature and speed of these valves allow the required hydraulic pressures to be dynamically adjusted for the three cornering phases of ‘Entry’, ‘Mid’, and ‘Exit’. For mid corner, the diff would need to be more open to allow the car to rotate, and as such would require lower hydraulic forces. In contrast, for corner exit, more differential locking would be desired, requiring higher hydraulic pressures. As you can see from the Lotus steering wheel below, the driver has a selector switch to easily change amounts of hydraulic pressure applied to the differential, as a function of the three cornering phases, Entry, Mid, and Exit.

When Kimi is told the differential is “not reacting to what you do”, it means that no matter what setting he changes those switches to, the hydraulic clutch pressure in the differential will not change, nor will there be any change in cornering performance.

When he is informed, “…it’s sitting at 50 bar”, it is reasonable to believe that a servo-valve is physically seized in a position, unable to adjust hydraulic pressure to the clutches.

Being told that the issue primarily affects him when “on power, so you won’t be getting as much diff locking as normal”, allows us to understand that “50 bar” must be intermediate of the total pressure range available, insufficient to provide higher amounts of differential locking. Unfortunately, we are not given any further insight into how far from optimal locking pressures 50 bar truly is.


Canada 2012 Free Practice 2

Time of Session:

ToS (h:m:s)**

01:23:58          De La Rosa informed that everyone else who went out in FP1 on option tires, are now using those same used options, but Hamilton is on a new prime set. “Ricciardo, Grosjean, Kimi, Vettel  are out on used options”

01:23:04          Narain to do 6 timed laps

01:22:07          Meteo France states: “No rain within the next 30 minutes” and “According to the radar picture, no rain for the beginning of P2”

01:21:34          After Glock spun in Turn 1, Perez’s engineer says, “Yellow in this sector, Checo, OK.” Continues to inform the gap to Narain is 5 seconds in front, and 5 seconds of gap behind. Also, “Can extend to one more lap, Checo.”

01:19:55          Senna, “I’m getting traffic really really bad.” Engineer, “Copy, so we have plans to box this lap, but if you want to do another lap after this one, then let me know.” Senna, “Yeah, one more lap.” “Copy, one more lap”

01:16:46          Vettel asked not to use KERS on exit of Turn 7, but use more “out of Turn 10”

01:16:21          “Box, Vitaly, box, box, box” Asked move multi-function steering wheel switch to “position 1” , and fuel mixture switch to ‘10’

01:14:44          Lewis told he is “fastest of anyone, last sector” with “maybe half a tenth to find first sector, two tenths middle sector, overall you are the fastest car on the circuit”

01:09:59          Vergne told to “push on the outlap”

01:08:42          Glock to run 5 timed laps, if he needs more, he “can try one more”

01:07:46          “Good job Sebastian, good job, try to stay out if you can”

01:05:43          Perez informed that Vettel, behind him, is on “high fuel” and to “stay there, Checo, stay there”

01:04:23          “So, Heikki, at the moment, it looks like the rain is going to hit us around 3 o’clock”, still possible to do a short run on prime tires of “about 4 laps”, but only if Heikki “thinks it will be useful”or do a “short run options” before stopping for fuel. After taking fuel, then to do “at least 3 or 4 laps or maybe more on high fuel load” to collect tire temperature data. Asked, “are you OK with this, or do you think we should go straight onto the options?”

01:00:22          Vergne asked for comments back in garage, “The same comments as before, first of all, I think the front-end comes in quick with a lot of understeer, first two laps, then was better, but yeah, a lot of understeer for the first two laps. But the balance is similar as before, I can’t push the entry as before, too much understeer. I’m very very not trying to push too much the entry” and also too much mid-corner “understeer in the change of direction.” Feels the car has “really really low grip.” Does not want to adjust the front wing because he feels “the front flap is at the maximum” and “the rear’s a little bit on the edge of braking”. Engineer then asks about rear degradation after running 3 laps. Vergne replies, “I can feel a little degradation, but not massive, I was still improving on last drying lap, I feel they may be one or two tenths quicker” but felt “some rear push through the last chicane.” “Yeah, otherwise I have a bit degradation”, and reports both front and rear tire temperatures “come in at the same time”

00:56:21          “OK, Kimi, suggest boxing this lap” to be able to correct tire pressures

00:54:42          Petrov in garage, asked to do next outing,  “long run on the same set of tires, keeping the option tires on” after making a brake balance adjustment, then asked, “is there anything you would like to do from a balance point of view?” Petrov replies that he does not want to do “a high fuel run” because the car “is still not balanced well and the braking is a disaster and understeer.” Engineer says they need to do a long run because the rain “might arrive, we need to get some information on the long run”

00:52:27          Ricciardo, reviewing a printed sheet of data, comparing his lap data to a 17.1 lap, asks, “the compare I’m looking at, is it a prime or an option?” Told, “17.1 with options”

00:51:54          Meteo France states, “According to the radar picture, rain is very probable only after P2”

00:51:38          Massa told, “OK, two more laps after this one, traffic is fine for the minute”

00:49:50          Senna informed that Alonso is currently on a low fuel run

00:48:38          Heikki informed, “rain is delayed at the moment, so you can do two more flying laps, this one and another flying lap”

00:46:33          Vettel given the choice of “coming in” or “having another go” at an extra lap

00:45:33          Lewis asks, “Where can I improve?” “OK, Lewis, at the moment, you are purple in every sector. The place where the other cars are closest to us, probably sector…every sector is about one tenth quicker than other cars. Just a little bit everywhere, no one sector standing out at the moment”

00:44:34          Massa asked to pit with a “hard inlap” because they plan to use the tires again for the next long-run outing and need the tire “temperatures up”

00:44:14          Heikki asked to set fuel “mix 1 on the flying lap” and change “multi-function map” switch to position ‘2’, which is 60 kilowatt discharge for KERS

00:37:54          Petrov informed the data indicates they are too far rearward on brake balance because it shows “we have almost no front locking, we see quite a lot of rear locking.” To correct, recommends Vitaly to “go one step forward with the quick-shift” brake balance adjuster lever, rather than with fine tuning knob

00:35:45          Glock complaining his brake pedal is “much softer than normal on the brake bleeds, compared to Monaco”

00:34:08          Heikki to do 4 flying laps on the next outing after the red flag. Engineer does not want to go back out right when the track goes green because “most people will be on long runs at the moment, so we’ll try to get you a gap”

00:33:29          Vergne will do a practice launch at the end of pit lane when the track goes green again and then “will push for the long run” with engine mode ‘10’, torque map setting ‘4’, and clutch map ‘8’, with a “complete procedure” of a rolling bite-point find with “tire warming”

00:30:13          Glock asking “did someone lose oil on track?” because he too had a “massive moment” in Turn 14 where Senna went off. Engineer, ”Quite probable”

00:28:00          Schumacher will perform a bite-point find check using “race mode start” settings on steering wheel

00:27:23          Hulkenberg informed, “So there’s a slippy track” message from race control, “turns 13, 14”

00:26:41          Perez on a long run outing, with “no DRS” and reminded to “be careful in the last corner”

00:25:48          Kimi reminded about potentially poor grip at the exit of the chicane from Senna’s accident cleanup and to “watch the exit of the chicane”

00:20:00          Webber’s data system appears to have experienced a fault in which it is unable to display a laptime delta for him to reference his performance against. Informed by engineer to correct issue by entering “Fault 60” on the steering wheel

00:20:00          Alonso told to increase KERS “charge” by “plus three” because the team saw an issue in the telemetry occur at the last corner, but told he “can keep going”

00:15:00          Massa instructed to decrease KERS setting down “three clicks” and come in “hard” on his inlap to keep tire temps up, so that they can quickly refuel, and go “right back out”

00:14:00          Ricciardo says, “If we could get a bit more front grip, I think that would help”

00:09:00          Lewis informed he is faster than all the other cars on “long runs”, such as Vettel and Webber

00:07:00          Button told to drive through pit lane to fall back into a gap in the traffic

00:04:00          Hulkenberg informed, “all cars on circuit are likely to be full fuel, so uh, when you need to find a gap”

00:03:00          Di Resta asked to practice “fuel saving” on next lap to gather data

00:00:00          Vettel instructed to stay behind Webber on track, maintaining a 5 second gap before coming in to practice “double stops”

** Time of session is the session time at which the message was heard on the television broadcast, as radio communications are delayed from when they actually occur.


Approximately 30 minutes into the session, FOM cameras focused on an MGP crewman scraping up fractured concrete with a putty knife in pitlane. After loosening and breaking up the fractured concrete, quite a large gouge remained in the surface, located at the rear of the pitbox, exactly where the rear jack operates. Given that the hole was approximately the same width as the rear jack, it is reasonable to believe the rear jack is what caused the concrete to fracture. When the rear jack was placed in action during pit stop practice, I believe the weight of the car, in combination with the small focused load bearing points of ground contact of the jack wheels, overcame the yield strength of the concrete below. Canadian winters are notoriously harsh on public road surfaces in inducing similar “pot holes”, while the concrete pit lane surface is exposed to the same exact weather conditions. If the gouge in the ground is left to remain unrepaired, it can greatly affect pit stop performance because the rear jack wheels may easily become impeded or trapped in the hole. Such an issue can easily be corrected with a fast curing concrete mixture, but unfortunately, we have not seen evidence of such repair yet. It will be interesting during the race to keep an eye out for the concrete patch below the rear jack during MGP pit stops. Here is a screenshot of the crewman scraping the fractured layer free.


When Webber experienced an issue with his data system in displaying laptime segment delta references, he was instructed to correct the issue by entering “Fault 60.” With the numerous and diverse interconnected electronics and sensors present on a modern F1 car, failures are not uncommon. Fortunately, there are many redundancies and contingency strategies designed into the system to compensate for failures that may occur. Those programmed software strategies can simply be activated all while the car is operating on-track. Technical regulations prohibit software controls to be sent from the garages to the car through telemetry. Therefore, the engineers in the garage are unable to remotely activate correction strategies for any faults, and responsibility falls to the driver to do so. When a team identifies an issue via telemetry data, they can reference their database of appropriate failure strategies to identify a proper solution. Each solution will be identified by a numerical code such as “16” or “33”. After identifying the proper solution and its code, engineers can then radio to the driver to enter the code into the data system to bypass or correct the issue. The driver will then enter the numerical code via a sequence of specific button presses on the steering wheel.

Let’s use a hypothetical failure as an example, while referencing the steering wheel photo below. If an exhaust gas oxygen sensor fails during a race, it may be sending incorrect data to the ECU, thus effecting engine mapping. The team will see the failure via telemetry data and identify a proper correction strategy to set the ECU to ignore the failed sensor and let’s pretend that correction strategy is known as Fail “34.” After receiving the radio message of what fail code to enter, the driver will then use the two “x10” and “x1” buttons to enter the code. For this hypothetical example of fail “34” the driver will press the “x10” three times followed by the “x1” four times to enter the code. It is noted, however that the driver must first inform the data system to accept a fail code by pressing a “Fail” button or by turning to “Fail” on the multi-function switch. With the code properly entered, the system now knows to either shut off supply voltage to the failed oxygen sensor and/or ignore its incorrect signal.

So, in reference to Webber’s “Fault 60”, he had to press the “x10” button switch six times to get his proper delta reference lap to work correctly for his dash display.


Towards the end of the session, we heard Force India request Di Resta to practice “fuel saving” to collect data. We know from listening to radio transmissions during the Monaco race, both Force India cars were saving fuel heavily to stretch their second tire stint as long as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t know if they plan to do the same thing for this race or if collecting “fuel saving” data is standard operating procedure for them at every race event. Fuel consumption can be managed by the fuel mixture control setting switch on the steering wheel, but also by driver characteristics such as short shifting or by coasting on corner entry and carrying more mid-corner speed through to the exit to require less throttle and acceleration on exit.

Canada 2012 Free Practice 1


Time of Session:

ToS (h:m:s)**

-00:02:00         Heikki to do do normal installation lap with KERS setting to “1” which is “100%”. Engineer then begins to remind Heikki about a “cruise control” that they had discussed earlier to perform on the “straight section” after Turn 10 “after the kink” of Turn 12 in the “complete straight section.” Instructed to set multifunction switch on steering wheel to “6”, reach 7thgear, and discharge as much KERS as possible on exit of Turn 10. If he is unable to use 100% of KERS on exit of Turn 10, told not to worry about it and his “priority” is to make sure to get into “cruise control” mode.

01:26:54          Schumacher asked to check his “driver drinks” and “boost KERS” on installation lap

01:22:28          Vergne told rain is to pass to the north of the track, so will continue with their plans. If the rain does come, they will wait until the end of the session for their “last run”

01:18:01          Pic says, “Direction is feeling lighter than normal.” Engineer, “You mean steering?” Pic, “Yes, steering”. Engineer says team has “had a look at the steering” on the car and on data, “there’s nothing hydraulically wrong” but “we have tried to optimize the castor and front track width, so maybe you’re feeling the effect of that” and “obviously it’s difficult to see on an install lap when you’re not using as much steering assist, so let’s see how you get on, on this next run.” “There’s nothing wrong, we’re happy, everything’s functioning OK.”

01:12:03          Perez told his front tires are cold, but to “just keep going”

01:10:16          Heikki set for a 6 flying lap run with KERS setting to “9”, fuel mixture setting to “10”. Told to discharge KERS on outlap, saving 50% for the “last corner” then, “after 3 laps, I’ll call you to switch off KERS” then will set KERS harvesting to “1” and “we’ll run like that for the rest of the run” and then for the last flying lap, “I’ll ask you not to use DRS at all anywhere” to perform a “wing comparison” using “cruise control, just like the previous run” and told to please remember to reach 7th gear before reaching a speed of 230 kph “before enabling the cruise control” to avoid the “revs on the low gears, and that’s it”

01:07:40          Glock reports rain drops on his visor. Engineer, “Understood, mate”

01:03:08          Ricciardo reports on corner entry, “the front’s a little bit light in medium speed” and in low speed corner entry, “I have a little bit too much rear bias on braking, so little bit of locking from middle to end of braking in low speed” corners.

01:01:20          Di Resta told the track behind him is clear and to “cool the engine as much as possible”

00:57:18          Narain reports front of the car “very stiff” and unable to brake where he “wants.” Suggests “going back on the front dampers” for the next session. Also “front lock ups, a lot” into Turn 10. “Car is generally working, but feels very harsh on the kerbs” feeling that the front is “jumping too much on the kerbs”

00:53:00          Ricciardo asked to move brake balance “1 click forward” and “judge the car as it is” because they “changed the rear end quite significantly in terms of high roll performance” so the car should be “better under braking.” Also “torque map 2 is available.” Will do 8 flying laps, with “DRS the last” lap with “engine braking 2” and “forward brake balance” to be tested.

00:49:11          Vergne says, “now I’m feeling a little bit more understeer at the middle of the chicane” and at “the first part of the chicane.” Complains that every time he touches the kerb, the car “is moving massively”

00:47:55          De La Rosa asks, “How’s the weather looking?” Engineer says, “drops possible at times” maybe over the next 30 minutes but “most of the rain is past us to the north”. For this afternoon, “it’s still saying the same thing at the minute, but it’s not been updated.” Judging by the weather conditions, engineer believes “that’s why there’s lots of people running now, whereas normally it would be a bit quiet. Everyone’s obviously trying to do their running before the rain.”

00:46:41          Senna has an off-track moment in Turn 3. After continuing on, told to have a “gentle next lap, to get temperatures back into the tires”

00:45:01          Pic to do a 9 timed lap run. Reminded to “seat your gears as soon as you can around a lap.” Told, “there could be a few drops of rain, but there’s nothing heavy forecast.” Asked to warm up tires as much as possible on the outlap because the tires are at “80 to 90 degrees, so slightly less than we would like to be”

00:43:47          Narain asked if the “level of understeer is ok, or do you need a little bit more front wing.” Narain says level of understeer is OK, and would prefer “no more front wing for the high speed, but at the moment, I’m not quite sure.”

00:42:25          Button told he is fastest in “middle sector” and can find “tons of time in sector 1”

00:40:55          Kimi asked to “cool the car on the outlap, please”

00:37:50          Senna warned about lots of debris from Heikki’s crash at Turn 9, “try not to get a puncture”

00:33:45          Hulkenberg’s engineer kneeling right next to car, for front wing asks, “maybe we should come a couple flap off”

00:33:21          Ricciardo will go out on next outing with “one step up front wing” and tire pressures “adjusted, just to square it up”, will set torque map to “4” and clutch map to “10” to practice a start launch at the end of pit lane, before running 4 flying laps.

00:30:34          Ricciardo asking if engineer would like him to remain in torque map ‘2’ and KERS “recovery” map ‘4’ for the next outing, “or back to 3 and 3?”  Engineer says, “start in 3-3” only using KERS out of “last corner, then I’ll let you know later.”

00:26:52          Alonso told not to use DRS on the outlap and first timed lap, then laps using DRS, then 2 laps “no DRS”

00:23:56          Webber asked to “pull the KERS overtake once, please Mark. Right-hand third lever”

00:17:56          Petrov told to use DRS on next lap

00:17:28          Ricciardo says, “to be honest, I didn’t feel any effect from the front wing. If anything I felt had a bit more understeer for first 2 laps, then the rear started to drop off”

00:15:53          Di Resta reports able to “get a good read on the tires” for his previous 2 laps. Engineer responds, “Ok, so we have 2 options. Stay out or, as I say, or come in and we’ll continue with the program as discussed.”

00:15:24          Di Resta’s engineer says,”Yep, stay out, Paul, stay out.”

00:12:18          Perez told on next lap to set shift map to ‘3’, fuel map to ‘12’,  and “DRS on”, “one more lap, Checo”

00:11:44          Kimi asked to change KERS recovery map to ‘6’ and “2 more clicks forward on the brake balance.”

00:09:59          Massa told, to turn “KERS recovery 2 clicks up” on the back straight

00:08:32          Perez told when he’s on his way “back at the garage”, to change to fuel map ‘11’, and “we will go for a new set of primes” and “plus 2 clicks front wing.” Will not make changes to front anti-roll bar because the change “takes too long”

00:04:15          Kobayashi told that Maldonado in front of him is on a high fuel load run

00:03:38          Grosjean asked to move brake balance forward, “if you can to protect rear tires”

00:03:00          Alonso told, “for this lap fine, we need next couple laps no DRS will be enough, then if next lap you want to do with the DRS, no problem for us”

00:00:07          Kimi told he has 1 more timed lap remaining and to use “full KERS”

00:00:00          Hulkenberg told to perform a bite-point find with “one burnout, and a box launch”

00:00:00          Timo reports he “had to brake” when coming back to the garage because “some guy was running” across pit lane.

** Time of session is the session time at which the message was heard on the television broadcast, as radio communications are delayed from when they actually occur.


Both Ferrari and Caterham have been using the Montreal circuit for straight-line aero testing, taking advantage of the long flat straight after the kink of Turn 12, for both Alonso and Kovalainen, respectively. For Heikki, the team have been instructing and reminding him to use a “cruise control” setting, while ensuring he reaches a specific maximum speed, 7th gear, no DRS, and with linear KERS recovery. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe they are performing a type of modified coast-down test on entry into Turn 13. Specific max speed, specific highest gear, and no DRS ensures data will be collected on corner entry without variable speed between laps of data, so they can be compared from similar baseline corner entry speeds. Downshifts and the subsequent engine revs that increase engine braking on entry are also being controlled to try to eliminate speed differentials due to engine braking in allowing as much of the “coasting speed” differential to come from aero drag, rather than mechanically induced. Ensuring the KERS is fully discharged before entering “coasting speed” on corner entry also promotes a linear predictable, KERS induced braking mechanical drag on the speed differential that would be seen in the data. For example, if KERS was only 50% discharged when entering the coasting, the battery may potentially reach 100% under braking, mid-phase of the coast-down, and then suddenly affect KERS induced brake balance, thus affecting entry speeds in addition to upsetting the platform stability of the car.

For Alonso, we can see that Ferrari is performing a standard A-B-A test structure in collecting data. We hear Alonso told to run outings, alternating between 2 laps of DRS, and then 2 laps of no DRS, and vice versa. That sequence of procedure is to validate the first 2 “A” laps of data to the last 2 “A” laps of data. Essentially, when analyzing data, you know you can trust the data from “A” laps if both “A” lap runs are comparable and predictably different from the “B” laps. When teams perform private straight line aero testing, such as at airport runways, they apply the A-B-A structure to all test item validations. That is why many drivers complain that aero testing is too boring because you spend all day long doing the same thing over and over again. The driver simply must reach proper maximum speeds, hit proper coast-down points, and press the right pre-determined combination of steering wheel buttons. As such, that is why the job of aero testing is given to aspiring young drivers because they are more than happy to do it for free and it is a relatively simple mundane procedure.

Towards the end of the session, an FOM cameraman focused on the RedBull lollypop man. An electronic control box, featuring multiple wiring loom connections, was attached to his waist. The box also possessed 3 push button switches and 1 LED indicator. Unfortunately, we are not able to discern what the labels read next to each switch. It is clearly reasonable to believe that, as the lollypop man, the box is used to control the pit light system. One function the box would indeed have to perform is to reset the system after a pit stop is completed, so it would be reasonable to assume he possesses such control. Here is a screenshot of the device.