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Malaysia 2009: Pitstop & Fuel Strategies

Malaysia 2009: Pitstop & Fuel Strategies

With the heavy rainfall experienced in Sepang, all strategies went cleanly out of the window. All cars started on the soft tyre, the compound being not as soft as the super-softs Bridgestone took to Melbourne last weekend. Because of this, the soft tyre lasted a lot longer than the super-soft did and the durability meant that the drivers could use it for longer stints. The ruling about drivers using both compounds is negated when it rains, and as the drivers ended up swapping between the full wet weather tyre and the intermediate rubber, the hard compound was not used.

Malaysia 2009
Pitstop Strategies

Stint 1
(Start Tyre)

Stint 2
(Lap)

Stint 3
(Lap)

Stint 4
(Lap)

Stint 5
(Lap)

McLaren
British FlagLewis Hamilton Soft Wet (22) Int. (27) Wet (31)
Finnish FlagHeikki Kovalainen Soft DNF
Ferrari
Finnish FlagKimi Raikkonen Soft Wet (18) Int. (30) Wet (31) DNF
Brazilian FlagFelipe Massa Soft Wet (22) Int. (30) Wet (31)
BMW
German FlagNick Heidfeld Soft Wet (22)
Polish FlagRobert Kubica Soft DNF
Renault
Spanish FlagFernando Alonso Soft Wet (22) Int. (29) Wet (31)
Brazilian FlagNelson Piquet Jr. Soft Wet (22) Int. (30) Wet (31)
Toyota
Italian FlagJarno Trulli Soft Soft (17) Wet (22) Int. (29) Wet (31)
German FlagTimo Glock Soft Soft (16) Int. (26) Wet (31)
Scuderia Toro Rosso
German FlagSebastien Buemi Soft Soft (3) Wet (22) DNF
French FlagSebastien Bourdais Soft Wet (21) Int. (27) Wet (31)
Red Bull Racing
British FlagSebastian Vettel Soft Soft (14) Wet (22) Int. (27) DNF
Australian FlagMark Webber Soft Soft (17) Wet (22) Int. (30) Wet (31)
Williams
German FlagNico Rosberg Soft Soft (15) Wet (22) Int. (27) Wet (31)
Japanese FlagKazuki Nakajima Soft Wet (22) Int. (29) Wet (31)
Force India
Italian FlagGiancarlo Fisichella Soft Soft (19) Wet (29) DNF
German FlagAdrian Sutil Soft Soft (16) Wet (19) Wet (32)
Brawn
British FlagJenson Button Soft Soft (20) Wet (22) Int. (30) Wet (31)
Brazilian FlagRubens Barrichello Soft Soft (21) Wet (22) Int. (29) Wet (31)

In reality, there isn’t much more to say about the strategies. The teams would have liked to have done two pitstops during the race, and they probably would have ended on the hard compound. Some may have been tempted to use the hard tyre in the middle, but with the threat of rain, why bother using something that they may not need to?

The only points that are worth mentioning are Ferrari’s gamble with Kimi Raikkonen on the full wet weather tyre, taken on lap 18. By lap 24, Raikkonen had radioed his team to say the grip had completely gone. Also of note is Timo Glock’s excellent timing, being the first to go to the intermediate tyre and also, just as everyone else was catching up, the first to revert to the full wet. Adrian Sutil did not return to the track after his final stop and finished in the pitlane.

Oliver White

8 comments

  • Timo Glock stands out of the crowd having gone onto inters on lap 26 – it would be interesting to know if that was his call or the strategists – it was a brave call and earned him a podium finish!

    You have to say, thou, what on earth was Ferrari doing putting full wets on Kimi on lap 18. It would have looked brilliant if they had stuck some inters on thou.

    In the end it just made Ferrari look desperate and was a true reflection of where they are this year!

  • Timo Glock stands out of the crowd having gone onto inters on lap 26 – it would be interesting to know if that was his call or the strategists

    In the post-race press conference, Glock said it was his suggestion and the team went along with it.

    You have to say, thou, what on earth was Ferrari doing putting full wets on Kimi on lap 18 […] it just made Ferrari look desperate and was a true reflection of where they are this year!

    It did look desperate, probably because it was. These kind of stunts are what the backmarkers do because they have nothing to lose but lots to gain. For a team like Ferrari, they should have never attempted anything as audacious as that, not with all their knowledge and experience.

    Now I would love to know if the call for wets was Kimi’s or the team. Me thinks it was the team as the drivers tend to know which rubber they need at any given time.

  • Now I would love to know if the call for wets was Kimi’s or the team.

    I know in the past some of the back markers have taken some pretty random decisions that look inspirational when they pull them off, but as you say, you don’t expect Ferrari to and I can’t believe Kimi made the call.

    Perhaps he plugged himself into the overheating KERS and fried himself which is why he jumped out and got an ice cream 😉

  • Apparently, according to a comment on Sidepodcast by GrahamS, Michael Schumacher made the call for Kimi to go onto full wets. It is mentioned in David Croft’s Chequered Flag podcast.

    Shocker!

  • It was more than desperate, it was insane when one start to think of context: Kimi was 5th, both Trulli and Rosberg had already pit and come back ahead of him (thanks to the time Kimi lost behind Alonso) and Brawns were yet to pit, so exactly which positions Kimi was supposed to gain? There were a whole pit window between him and everyone of the drivers ahead of him that had already pit, the only way the gamble would pay off was if hard rain started almost after Kimi went back.

  • Appreciate if anyone has average laptimes of Trulli and Glock between laps 22 and 26. This would highlight the performance differences between wets and Inters.

    Also if possible the laptimes between laps 27 to 30 when Roseberg, LH and Glock were all on Inters.

    Thanks

  • Looks to me like Ferrari rolled the dice and missed out on becoming heros. Instead their move to wets on 18 now makes them look like zeros. Pretty much the rest of the field came in on 22 and did get wets. In Ferraris defense the weather was changing rapidly but not quite soon enough…they took a chance to win with adverse conditions nearby. They will right their ship and learn from this. Remember early last season when the media had all but given up on Massa. The team rebounded and Massa barely lost the drivers title. Ferrari and McLaren will become much more competitive this season.

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