Belgium 2009: Post-Qualifying Car Weights

Belgium 2009: Post-Qualifying Car Weights

The FIA have published the measured and declared weights of all the runners and riders for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix. With a Force India on pole position, it had been expected that Giancarlo Fisichella was light on gas. As you will see in just a moment, the Italian is not that skinny, and in P2, Jarno Trulli is heavier and poised for a Trulli-train; Rubens Barrichello is probably kicking himself right now.

If we take Williams’s figure of 2.25kg of fuel needed to cover a normalised distance of 5km, we can figure out that a Formula One car will on average use 3.15180kg of fuel to complete a 7.004km lap of Spa Francorchamps. Allowing for a couple of laps for grid formation and margin and taking off the minimum weight of the cars, we can guess when the drivers will first call into the pits for fuel and tyres, assuming the weather is dry and the safety car remains at the end of the pitlane.

Belgium 2009
Post-Qualifying Car Weights

Car Weight
Kilograms

Fuel Weight
Kilograms

First Stop
Estimated Lap

1. Italian FlagGiancarlo Fisichella Force India 648 36.7 12
2. Italian FlagJarno Trulli Toyota 656.5 45.2 14
3. German FlagNick Heidfeld BMW 655 43.7 14
4. Brazilian FlagRubens Barrichello Brawn 644.5 33.2 11
5. Polish FlagRobert Kubica BMW 649 37.7 12
6. Finnish FlagKimi Raikkonen Ferrari 655 43.7 14
7. German FlagTimo Glock Toyota 648.5 37.2 12
8. German FlagSebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 662.5 51.2 16
9. Australian FlagMark Webber Red Bull Racing 658 46.7 15
10. German FlagNico Rosberg Williams 670 58.7 19
11. German FlagAdrian Sutil Force India 678.5 67.2 21
12. British FlagLewis Hamilton McLaren 693.5 82.2 26
13. Spanish FlagFernando Alonso Renault 684.4 77.4 25
14. British FlagJenson Button Brawn 694.2 82.9 26
15. Finnish FlagHeikki Kovalainen McLaren 697 82.2 26
16. Swiss FlagSebastien Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 685 73.7 23
17. Spanish FlagJaime Alguersuari Scuderia Toro Rosso 704.5 93.2 30
18. Japanese FlagKazuki Nakajima Williams 706.1 94.8 30
19. French FlagRomain Grosjean Renault 704.7 93.4 30
20. Italian FlagLuca Badoer Ferrari 691.5 80.2 25

From the table we can see that Fisichella is not the lightest of the front runners and in fact Rubens Barrichello should be calling into the pits before him. Fisichella is on par with Robert Kubica and Timo Glock, and only a couple of laps lighter than Jarno Trulli, Nick Heifeld and Kimi Raikkonen. If Rubens is to have an impact on the leading trio, he will need to make up places on the first lap, otherwise he could find himself stuck behind the slower BMW and Toyota.

The top ten all seem to be on a two-stopping strategy (although Nico Rosberg remains flexible), and the bottom ten all seem to be attempting a one-stop strategy. The heaviest driver on the grid is Kazuki Nakajima, closely followed by Romain Grisjean and Jaime Alguersuari. The lightest car starting the race tomorrow is Rubens Barrichello, which just highlights the problems facing the Brawn team at the moment.

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