Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Budapest 2014

•July 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)


There will be little overtaking opportunity they said, pole position will be the most important thing they said, this will be a Lewis track and pole position they said – ‘They’ were wrong.  Of course, much of this is due to extreme cases of luck and intervention from Mother Nature but can anyone really deny they enjoyed this?

I would take a different stance to TJ in that the integrity of racing is lost when a poorly timed safety car messes up a race.  Luck has always been a part of most sports until recent times, where technology has started to rule instead.  However, in a sport that any of you who follow TheJudge13 on Twitter will know enjoys, cricket, weather is still a crucial factor in the result of a match or series.  We rarely hear of people criticising this, save for those bemoaning a certain win being taken away by weather, as it is accepted as part of the game.

To my mind, the safety car is part of Formula One and should remain in place.  If only for symbolic purpose seeing the snake of cars behind the Bernd Mayländer is something that should remain.  Misfortune is something that keeps racing slightly unpredictable, which is far better than any double points idea.  Luck is one of the few elements in life we will never be able to control.

On the Up

Rads Racing has improved 19 places to head into the summer break on 484 points, in 75th place.  The intervention of the Ericsson crash meant Bottas dropped down the order, giving the full 10 point score as well as Kimi being predicted for 6th place.

Had more faith in Daniel Ricciardo than most

Had more faith in Daniel Ricciardo than most

Also on the up

Seeing Sergio Perez slamming into the barriers ended the chance of gaining any bonus points for the round for Waleran.  However, scoring on 8 of the top 10 drivers made for the 19 place increase to sit in 44th place.

Scoring throughout the top 10

Scoring throughout the top 10

The only way is up

Jaguar Racing dropped out of the top 20 with a poor weekend, scoring just 11 points.  Like many, the team predicted Lewis for pole and the race win meaning it was always going to be a difficult weekend.  The only other scoring apart from the podium positions was Bottas in 7th.  Better luck next time!

Luck just was not there

Luck just was not there

Nobody saw it coming

A weekend that was so unpredictable, not even someone with the wildest imagination would have conceived it to be possible.  It should be noted that until that safety car the pack had largely maintained grid order with little overtaking apart from a handful of positions.  Who would have thought Marcus Ericsson could decide the fate of so many?

Food for thought

How will teams develop their challengers over the summer ‘break’ as teams are forced to close down?  Red Bull have a strong history of developing in the latter stages of the season, but surely the next two races will prove difficult for any car without a Mercedes powertrain due to the nature of Spa and Monza.

Remember when…

In this section there will be a question each week to test your memory from GPs gone by. The idea is not to look it up but see if you can remember it first!

Q: Valtteri Bottas managed to pass Sebastian Vettel at turn 1 after pulling out of the spray of the Red Bull and going around the outside.  How far is it from the grid into turn one at the Hungaroring?

(Answer will be posted in the next Predictor summary)

Last question’s answer

The question was: When was the last time two different German drivers won the German Grand Prix, in consecutive years?  What were their names and who were they driving for?

Answer: The answer is the Schumacher brothers, firstly Ralf, then Michael, in 2001 and 2002 driving for Williams-BMW and Ferrari respectively.  Well done to the Fat Hippo who recalled that one.

#F1 Features: Lewis – Opportunistic or Naïve at the 2014 Hungarian GP

•July 28, 2014 • 97 Comments

The past 24 hours has been reminiscent of Malaysia 2013 and the whole multi-21 saga. Team orders or just ‘let em race’ are the opposing philosophical views.

The ‘let em race’ brigade  believe they a pure racers at heart and that their heroes should be blood, guts and thunder – all out from flag to flag. “Screw the rest, I’m here to do my best”

This of course was the eventual line Sebastian Vettel trotted out after the three-week break following the multi 21 race.

The problem is that whilst this appears passionate, full of valour and being true to oneself, the reality behind the scenes makes this position disingenuous.


Many hold to the perception that Vettel mugged his team-mate Mark Webber in Malaysia, as the cars were cruising for a 1-2 they had been instructed to turn down their engines to ensure reliability.

Turning up his engine and launching a sneaky attack on his unsuspecting team-mate, meant Sebastian lost credibility in the eyes of many fans. It wasn’t a fair fight.

However, had young Seb told the team to ‘screw their team orders’ and inform Mark he had one lap to get ready for the impending onslaught, Vettel may have been deemed by many as heroic and a champion of anti corporate influences on F1.

So in Hungary 2014, was Lewis Hamilton a champion of the real racers or just a ‘sneaky’ Vettel-esque opportunist move?

Mercedes discuss the various strategies available to both drivers prior to the race and both drivers are aware of each others’ plan A and Plan B or C options.

For the driver who is behind arriving at the first pit stop, there is often a counter strategy devised, to give him the opportunity to actually create the opportunity to jump their team mate should the strategy play out as simulated.

Due to Lewis’ position, it appeared track position would be a problem for him and so running long on the prime was thought to deliver better long-term track position for him.

This could mean that Hamilton found himself ahead of his team-mate, who was on fresher tyres but who had another pit stop-loss of time to suffer.

The call came for Hamilton to let Rosberg, who had been catching Hamilton at over a second a lap, through and again Lewis chose to question the team’s decision and whether they were putting him at a disadvantage.

The result being for around 12 laps, Rosberg was ‘stuck’ behind Hamilton.


Due to the lower track temperatures during the race when compared to the rest of the weekend, the difference between the pace of the prime tyre and the soft tyre was less pronounced. The prime worked better at lower temperatures. This was why Mercedes fitted him with the prime at his second stop.

Rosberg knew on the go-kart circuit that is Hungary, it was pointless ruining his tyres and strategy to challenge Hamilton and was informed by the team on more than one occasion Lewis had been given the call for him to move over.

Lewis in the meantime was punishing the prime tyre during the first half of its life, lap times of the other prime runners demonstrate he was 1-1.5s quicker than Massa, Vettel and Bottas at equivalent stages of them running the prime tyre after the second stop..

However, payback was always likely, during the last 10 laps of the race, Hamilton was up to 2-2.5s slower than other prime tyre runners, because he failed to take the measured approach to the entire stint the tyres required and the team had set out.

Yet he finished third and ahead of his team-mate rival for the WDC.

So what? Lewis did – as he said post race – what was right for him, just as Vettel did some 18 months earlier.

Add to this that Mercedes most likely have the WCC in the bag, so its gloves off time – time for Nico and Lewis to slug it out, so we can see who is the best… Right?

untitledYet this was no fair fight. Had Rosberg known his team-mate was going to hi-jack his strategy, he would never have pitted from behind JEV. At the time, Vettel was behind Rosberg and Lewis behind Vettel. Nico had track position.

If the duel was merely to be between Lewis and himself, Nico would have run as long as possible on the soft tyre, which was already proving to be surprisingly durable – again due to the lower track temperatures. This would have given Rosberg track position over Hamilton. Rosberg didn’t realise the rules of the game had changed and track position was now ‘king’, so he pursued the optimal strategy provided by the team.

Had Nico abandoned the strategy, run long, this would have created a situation where as the driver ahead, Rosberg, would have eventually received first call on tyre strategy for the second stop. the german would have chosen the optimum moment where he had a gap to Lewis, pitted for fresh rubber and blasted out of the pits and created the undercut on Lewis with his ageing tyres.

So was Lewis really a hero? He couldn’t have achieved the result he did without Rosberg failing to understand the new rules of the game.

Once again, Lewis placed himself at odds with the team. As Toto Wolff said after the race, “What we had at the beginning of the season doesn’t function anymore. Perhaps we need to have a new way. It’s getting intense and we need to sit down and discuss how to handle things.”

These are not the comments of someone deliriously happy with the way the day panned out or the fact Lewis drove spectacularly from the pit lane to the podium. Maybe the rules of the game will change, and track position will be the new strategy goal from the moment one driver gets pole position.


Yet Lauda’s insistence that the drivers be allowed to race without strategy protocols, wasn’t completely endorsed by Wolff who said, “This is one of the thoughts we are having. At the moment, we have a 170-point advantage in the constructors’ championship and maybe it is a moment of loosening it a bit, in agreement with both of them.” – See more at:

Toto has one eye on Stuttgart, who may be less than impressed if designing race strategies for each Mercedes driver to overcome the other, will result in a sub-optimal performance of the team, and more race wins are jeopardised.

This of course would be great for the fans, but the blanket global marketing campaign issued from Germany following each race win may then have to take a rain check every now and then.

untitledThis should have been one of Hamilton’s most euphoric moments after such a mesmeric drive and following a day of woeful despair. Yet Lewis’ demeanour on the podium was subdued, because he knows there will be ramifications for his actions – though what they will be – we can but speculate.

And for what; a handful of points which pale into insignificance when the prospect of Abu Dhabi and double points looms on the horizon?

#F1 Features: Safety Car farce needs addressing – brought to you by @GoMotorFleet

•July 28, 2014 • 105 Comments

In his post race video blog, Nico Rosberg identifies the randomness of the safety car as costing him the win in the Hungarian GP (Though why he is levitating at 90 degrees to the horizontal is anyone’s guess).

In the mean time Lewis was thanking ‘the Lord’  on the podium as Martin Brundle dodged asking the tough questions.. Brundle was inundated with queries from F1 writers and TV presenters alike on Twitter as to why he failed to ask Hamilton about his failure to obey team orders.

Anyway, that’s a tale is for another day.

So far this year, the safety car has been deployed at a time giving the leading car the opportunity to pit before catching the safety car. This nullifies the opportunity of the lead car being jumped due to the opportunity of others further back to pit and gain an advantage.

In Hungary, this was not the case. The safety car light was displayed on circuit boards and on the drivers’ dashboards just as Vettel, who was in third place (behind Rosberg and Bottas), passed the pit entry.

On lap seven, Rookie Caterham driver Ecricsson, demonstrated the reason why he may be in Formula 1 for only a brief period. He floored the throttle exiting turn three with the resulting heavy hit on the tyre barrier spreading shards of carbon fibre across the concrete run off apron and a portion of the circuit.


At the time of Ericsson’s demise, he was 54 seconds behind Rosberg, or put it another way, Rosberg was around 48-50 seconds from catching him. This places the race leader about 13-15 seconds from completing the lap, yet by the time he crossed the start finish line, the safety car was appearing from the pit lane.

The timing of Charlie Whiting’s decision to deploy the safety car meant the pack was shuffled. Rosberg with a 9 second lead was in fact least affected amongst the front runners by having to pit a lap later than those behind Vettel who all had the opportunity – deprived of the first three – to dive into the pits a lap earlier than the leaders.

Ricciardo, previously 6th,  came out ahead of the rest and behind him was Jenson Button (previously 5th). However, the McLaren weather radar system must have been sourced from a Christmas cracker as the team made the ill fated decision to send Button out on another set of intermediate wet tyres.

It did not rain again.

Massa faired well as his 8th position became third, and Nico Rosberg found himself behind the leading Williams in 4th.

Vettel who prior to the SC was 3rd, fell to 7th and second place man Valtteri Bottas was now way out in 11th. Neither driver recovered from the disadvantage the safety car dealt them in terms of the track position which resulted following their inability to pit at the same time as those behind them.

Here’s the order pre Ericsson’s misdemeanor. untitled

Rosberg (9 seconds ahead)

The snake which eventually followed the safety car for 6 laps, was in the following order.

Magnussen (up from 19th and didn’t pit)

The safety car meant Bottas and Vettel, previously 2nd and 3rd, finished the race in 7th and 8th. Rosberg faired somewhat better due to his 9 seconds lead prior to Ericsson’s off.

This brings us to a crucial issue for Formula 1 going forward, particularly with the spectacle of post safety car standing restarts. Should the decision to deploy the safety car take into consideration the integrity of the racing thus far?

Let’s remember, the safety car was introduced to improve safety during a Formula 1 race, not to ‘spice up the show’. At the time of its introduction, ‘hard core’ F1 fans objected to the arbitrary interference with race order. Though through several iterations of rule changes and the mantra of safety, the modern PC F1 fan accepts the deployment of the safety car without question.

“Simples… its for safety…. innit?”

Clearly, driver and marshal safety must be paramount, however, as was evident in the previous race in Germany, there are other tools at the disposal of the race director to ensure the safety of all concerned.


Double waved yellows in all levels of motorsport, indicates to the drivers that a very serious incident has taken place on track and that they should “slow down and be prepared to stop”.

At the 2014 Hungarian GP, Marcus Ericsson’s car had been concertinaed and the driver was still in the car. Carbon fibre debris was scattered, and the scene of the crash at first sight looked grim.

The safety car was deployed within 10 seconds of Charlie seeing the incident on the monitors.

Yet had double waved yellows been the tool of preference for the race controller, and the drivers obeyed the letter of the law, the safety car could have and should have been delayed without compromising safety. This would have preserved the integrity of the race thus far.

To ensure the integrity of the race, the Ericsson incident in Hungary would have meant delaying the decision to deploy Bernd Mylander by around 38 seconds, under double yellows, and the race leader would have been able to pit and come out in the lead behind the safety car.

38 seconds was the time difference between Magnussen and the race leader, and because the McLaren driver chose not to stop following the safety car deployment, he was the first car ahead of Rosberg following the pit stops shuffle enforced by Ericsson’s shunt.

As it turned out, Ericsson was unhurt, as has been the case with the majority of drivers in similar incidents for many years, due to the fabulous safety of the modern monocoque design.

untitledThe recent furore over whether the safety car none deployment in Germany over Sutil’s stranded car (way off the racing line as anyone who has even driven a kart would know), should be a cause for concern. The huge number of views expressed by F1 fans on social media, appeared favour the view that the safety car should be deployed – if there is any shred of doubt over safety.

However, absolute safety in motorsport is impossible,

Failure to challenge the use and protocols which deploy the safety car, will definitely lead to a creeping use of a device which interferes with proper racing. What is required is a proper risk management based approach to balance safety and interfering with the integrity of the race.

Double waved yellows are a powerful tool at the disposal of the race director to prevent the interference with the race order, until the appropriate time arrives to deploy the safety car.

Drivers must be forced to respect the double waved yellows, as Hamilton confessed he failed to in Germany. “You come around that corner at serious speed and then there are marshals not far from where you are driving. It felt like the closest thing I have seen for a long, long time.’

If drivers refuse to obey or push the limits as to what exactly double waved yellows mean, then it is easy enough to provide them with a delta time/speed for the sector affected by a serious crash. This speed limit could be equivalent that imposed in the pit lane where scores of mechanics are regularly exposed to passing cars. Breach of this should result in severe penalties for drivers endangering lives.

The focus thus far has been on double waved yellows, because this is a current tool at the disposal of the race controller. Of course, Charlie has the technology available at is disposal to flash an instant message to each car, stating the sector affected by an accident and instructing the drivers to reduce speed to pit lane speed limits.

Formula 1 teams want to go racing, understandably, though the wisdom of allowing cars to fit slick tyres in Hungary last weekend to be driven slowly behind the safety car on a wet and cool track where the pressures and tyre temperatures were way outside their operating window – is at least questionable.

Romain Grosjean discovered this to his cost during the race in Hungary, when trying to warm his tyres behind the safety car, he stuck it in the barrier.

Formula 1 fans have been highly vociferous this year over current and proposed regulations which may manufacture the results of races and even where the eventual drivers’ championship may fall.

Most opposed has been Ecclestone’s decision to award double points in the final race of the season.

Yet the safety car has been manufacturing race results for years, based upon the timing of race control’s decision on when it should be deployed.


Of course the safety car spices up ‘the show’, but if we the fans endorse such a random shuffle of the deck, when technology and simple protocols offer other solutions, then we have lost the moral high ground and when when Ecclestone and Flavio dream up silly ideas which affect racing integrity, our opposition will lack credibility.

The effect of SC periods at times is akin to throwing a ‘multiball’ period into Association Football.

The problem with the safety car is in Hungary was clear. Drivers are given a delta time to which they must drive when the safety car is first deployed. This is a reduced lap time from race pace, designed for safety and to slow the cars down.

However, if a driver pits before catching the safety car, his delta time for the next lap includes the pit stop. Of course having been stationary for a few seconds and trundling through the pits at 80kmh, this then allows  driver to blast out of the pits and drive far more quickly in sector 1 because his delta time includes the stationary time in the pit lane.

This is both dangerous, and delivers an advantage to those pitting during the first lap of a safety car, over those who choose, or are forced not to do so. So for the lucky ones, the result is a the best part of a ‘free pit stop’.

Given the technology in Formula 1, this is a complete farce.

untitledUnless we regain control of safety car regulations, we may see similar results to that of the recent IndyCar race – no. 2 – in Toronto, where the victory was taken by a driver who gambled on a safety car incident whilst the track was still green and there was no evidence there would be a full course yellow.

Mike Conway won a race described by certain North American racing media outlets as “The Toronto lottery”. The race in fact ran under the safety car for longer than it did under green track conditions.

The danger for F1 is…. that as in IndyCar, the safety car becomes a creeping menace. This may be great for TV companies who wish to take and advertisement break, and should they offer Ecclestone more cash to facilitate this – then inevitably, more safety car periods will ensue.

Remember, the proposed standing restarts following the safety car in 2015 will be at the discretion of race control, and is that what we want?

F1 fans need to think long and hard over this before throwing their arms in the air and complaining about the proposed manufactured racing and scoring regulations. Double points and other ideas designed to improve “the show”, are no worse than the randomness and manufactured results created by the lack of proper current safety car protocols.

Yet, the safety car ‘spicing up the show’….. has been going unchallenged for many a year.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 28th July 2014

•July 28, 2014 • 148 Comments

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Features: The F1 school of bloody stupid ideas

#F1 Polls: FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014 – Driver of the Weekend

#F1 Race Review: Red Bull’s Ricciardo pulls a rabbit out as Mercedes miss out on the Win

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014?

OTD Lite: 1935 – Nuvolari cements his legend in Germany

Il Padrino is not fooling anybody

Pat Symonds compares Bottas to the legends

Mercedes to rethink team orders after Hamilton defiance (GMM)

Alonso, Hamilton say Ricciardo among F1’s best (GMM)

OTD Lite: 1935 – Nuvolari cements his legend in Germany

In what has become known as “The Impossible Victory” – on this day 79 years ago – the 1935 German Grand Prix passed into legend when the dimunitive man from Mantua embarrassed the German teams with his under-powered Alfa-Romeo and left the 300,000 strong crown momentarily silent.

by lap 10 of 22, Tazio Nuvolari led the German teams in the sole surviving Alfa but a disastrous pit-stop dropped him to sixth place and he returned to the rain soaked track to chase down his adversaries. By the start of his final lap he remained 35 seconds behind Von Brauchitsch, but he had destroyed his tyres and Nuvolari passed him to win. Hitler and high-ranking members of the Third Reich were enraged – so confident had they been of German engineering succeeding.

Following the inspirational Nuvolari were 8 German cars that had been considered unbeatable – driven by the likes of Carraciola, Varzi and Rosemeyer; even the runner-up, Hans Stuck, finished over two minutes behind. Popular legends from this race include Nuvolari giving the German authorities a record with the Italian anthem  because they hadn’t been expecting a foreign victory and an Italian flag because the one to be displayed was in poor condition.


Il Padrino is not fooling anybody

Il Padrino stated he was happy for all Ferrari’s fans after witnessing a Ferrari driver take second place on the podium but when you consider that this was Fernando Alonso’s 22nd time of starting fifth on the grid since he joined Ferrari in 2010, the new “Old Man’ of Maranello is clearly deluding himself. Any level-headed Ferrari fan is merely happy that they can count on Alonso’s brilliance to overcome a stuttering car on so many occasions.

Ferrari’s team principal, Marco Mattiacci, was beaming in his initial interviews following the conclusion of the Hungarian Grand Prix but reality settled in soon after as he was observed by his squad with a surgeons scalpel in hand. The man who has won industry acclaimed awards for his management achievements running Ferrari America, is proving that his brief is to turn around the ailing company through dedicated work and ignore the much overrated passion.

“Fernando’s second place is an injection of confidence in the great effort that we are all making to try to return Ferrari to the top, but it must be tempered with great realism. Here the weather conditions and the characteristics of the track leveled performance and for this reason we must not delude ourselves, but only to return home with the desire to do better and better. Today we had two great drivers, Fernando was fabulous and Kimi was extremely important. Tomorrow’s meeting will begin with what happened in qualifying not from the second place that circumstances delivered today.” A subtle but definite warning that someone is culpable for the fate that befell Raikkonen.

With the procedures used in qualifying under scrutiny, MM was adamant, “We must be careful in how we make changes because it could result in making the situation worse but I am aware that we have a deficit to the front of between 1 and 1.2 seconds and we need to bridge the gap. I am confident in our team spirit and the people working on the project. Ferrari is a company with a history and values and Fernando is an important element of our project.”

Director of engineering, Pat Fry, was also reflective in his views of the weekend and offered little in the way of hope for the diehard tifosi, “After the summer break, we come to two races that will be difficult for us, on two tracks where it will be important to make the most of any opportunity, just as we did today.”

Ferrari’s talisman Alonso was as honest in his summation as always. “This podium means a lot to me and the whole team, because after so many difficult races, we managed to get the most out of everything, also taking a few risks and second place seems like a win. This race shows that anything is possible when there are unusual conditions like today, with a wet start and the appearance of the Safety Car. We managed to make the most of all opportunities that presented themselves, taking the best decisions even at the most difficult moments. Sure, the characteristics of the circuit, with its limited overtaking opportunities, helped us and that’s why we have to be realistic and continue to work on the car, to improve in all aspects.”

With viewing figures and race-goers seemingly dropping around the world, the sport’s headline act is certainly not helping Monza’s cause when the message emanating from the Scuderia is of struggles. Traditionally the qualifying performance on the Saturday of the Italian fixture mirrors the crowd on the following day. Irrespective of the passion, Italian race goers vote with their feet.


Pat Symonds compares Bottas to the legends

It’s remarkable the animosity that Flavio Briatore generates whenever his name is mentioned in connection with Formula One. With the ever-increasingly absurd Bernard Ecclestone providing the comedy, all Formula One sites have been left aghast at the mere thought of this cheat returning to ‘our’ beloved sport.

symondsbriatoreFernando Alonso was tainted by his victory in what has become christened Singapore-gate in 2008, where Briatore instructed Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash deliberately to allow Alonso the victory. Almost forgotten in this maelstrom is another man who was found guilty of collusion, a certain Pat Symonds; now Chief Technical Officer at Williams.

Talking over the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Williams’ Technical Director voiced his opinion on his young charge Valtteri Bottas. “In many case he reminds me of Alonso, you notice that he is very mature for his age and has what it takes to become a great driver. He is fast, hardly makes mistakes and incredibly intelligent. If he manages to win a race this season, it will create an interesting parallel with Fernando who scored his first victory in Hungary 2003, only his second season in Formula One.”

“I’ve worked with many great drivers and the ones people remember most are Ayrton, Michael and Fernando. The thing that they shared was this amazing self-esteem. I don’t think that’s something unique to racing drivers, I think it’s unique to world class sportsman, that they have to believe they’re the best; they have to go in to every event thinking “I’m the best driver here, so if I don’t win this race it cannot be my fault, it has to be something else”. Ayrton was the first one I saw that thought like that and all the greats seem to apply that logic to everything – and I realised that was a part that made him so special.”

“We did one season together, Ayrton and I, but while everyone talks about his second place in Monaco, the one that stood out for me was Dallas, where he crashed out, but we came out with such a special story from that race. The car was reasonably competitive there, so we expected to have a good race but Ayrton spun early in the race. He then found his way back through the field in a quite effective way and we were looking for a pretty good finish but then he hit the wall, damaged the rear wheel and the driveshaft and retired, which was a real shame.”

“The real significance of that was that when he came back to the pits he told me what happened and said ‘I’m sure that the wall moved!’ and even though I’ve heard every excuse every driver has ever made, I certainly hadn’t heard of that one!”

“But Ayrton being Ayrton, with his incredible belief in himself, the absolute conviction, he then talked me into going with him, after the race, to have a look at the place where he had crashed. And he was absolutely right, which was the amazing thing!”

ayrton-senna-at-1984-dallas-grand-prix“Dallas being a street circuit the track was surrounded by concrete blocks and what had happened – we could see it from the tyre marks – was that someone had hit at the far end of the concrete block and that made it swivel slightly, so that the leading edge of the block was standing out by a few millimetres. And he was driving with such precision that those few millimetres were the difference between hitting the wall and not hitting the wall. While I had been, at first, annoyed that we had retired from the race through a driver error, when I saw what had happened, when I saw how he had been driving, that increased my respect for the guy.”


Mercedes to rethink team orders after Hamilton defiance (GMM)

Mercedes has moved to put the intensifying battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind closed doors. “Corporate answer,” boss Toto Wolff smiled late on Sunday, when the extent of the potential controversy triggered by the Hungarian grand prix became clear. In the race, after technical failures blighted his last two qualifying outings as he chases down teammate and enemy Rosberg’s points lead, Briton Hamilton was asked repeatedly to let the sister silver car past.

Predictably, team chairman Niki Lauda dismissed as “bullsh*t” any conspiracy theory about Mercedes wanting its German driver to prevail in 2014 over a Briton. Indeed, the much more sensible reasoning for Sunday’s team order was that Mercedes had devised on the fly a new race-winning strategy for pole-sitter Rosberg, after the timing of the safety car period left him trailing Hamilton, who started the race from pitlane. Even Wolff had to admit that, had Hamilton obeyed the order, “Nico could have won the race. It is a difficult situation now,” he added.

The team finds itself on a delicate line between letting its drivers fight freely for the drivers’ title, and handling situations like Sunday, where two non-Mercedes cars eventually crossed the chequered flag first and second. Hamilton’s defiance probably cost Mercedes victory in Hungary, but it did help him narrow the points gap to Rosberg with eight races now to run. 2008 world champion Hamilton said immediately after getting out of his W05 on Sunday that he thinks his bosses issued the team order “for the right reasons”.

But the wheel-to-wheel title battle is something different. “I was in the same race as him,” he said, “so I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position. So that was a bit strange.” Hamilton revealed on Sunday that, after his qualifying fire, he had lifted his spirits by sharing a pizza, some chocolate and “a prank” with Lauda.

Lauda said Hamilton was right to ignore the team order. “I would have done exactly the same,” said the great Austrian. “The team was under enormous stress because the race was a very difficult one, there is no question. The call was unnecessary but it was made.”

Even Wolff admits that Mercedes will need to use the three-weekend ‘summer break’, including a two week factory shutdown, to devise a better strategy for dealing with the intensifying championship battle between the two drivers. “What we had at the beginning of the season doesn’t function anymore,” he acknowledged. “Perhaps we need to have a new way. It’s getting intense and we need to sit down and discuss how to handle things.

TJ13 Comment: We have been saying for some months that two rivals in the same team driving the most dominant car in a generation were never going to remain friends due to the pressure of winning motor-sport’s ultimate prize.

It’s indeed refreshing to hear Lauda speaking as a fan whereas corporate Wolff is looking at the things from a board-level members point of view – dark surroundings, muted sound, emotion unwelcome and the minions to be controlled.

Of more alarm is probably the fact that Hamilton has been downgraded from being a guest in Niki’s private jet to going out for a pizza and some chocolate with the Austrian legend… which will cause consternation amongst the heavier drivers of the paddock who can ill afford to gain weight.


Alonso, Hamilton say Ricciardo among F1’s best (GMM)

Daniel Ricciardo has joined the upper echelon of F1’s very best drivers. In the paddock, a big rumour is that for its new works Honda partnership beginning next year, McLaren is on the market for one of the sport’s ‘big three’ drivers. They are Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. But is a new kid on the block about to join their calibre? So far in 2014, Australian Ricciardo has stunned the paddock with his rise from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso.

He has undoubtedly humbled reigning quadruple world champion Vettel over the first half of the season, recording two wins to the German’s none. 25-year-old Ricciardo, two years younger than Vettel, recorded his second career win on Sunday, audaciously overtaking none other than Hamilton and Alonso for good measure in Hungary. Asked if he has now established himself at the top of F1, Spaniard Alonso agreed afterwards: “Yeah, definitely. I think he’s leading the champion team. That says it all.” Hamilton agreed: “Not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock but also one of the best drivers here, for sure.”

Throughout 2014, although regularly beaten by Ricciardo, Vettel has kept up an amiable relationship with the Australian, including in Hungary where he appeared for the customary post-victory team photo. Still, the plaudits are not flowing quite as smoothly from his mouth.

Vettel looked to have the upper hand on Ricciardo around the twisty Hungaroring until the race, where the safety car and a spin halted his progress. “It was not a good race,” he is quoted by Germany’s DPA news agency. “It was simply a question of being at the right place at the right time.” Vettel said the safety car helped Ricciardo. “That was his good luck,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “And then he did everything right.” Vettel is now looking forward to the summer break, which is “good for everyone. It was a tough first half of the season,” he admitted.

TJ13 Comment: There are many who would agree with Vettel about DR having been in the right place to benefit for both his two wins this season. There is evidence to suggest it could well have been Vettel as the beneficiary for both the wins, but as the German proved conclusively over the previous four seasons he has also had his fair share of luck.

Being in the right place in Abu Dhabi in 2010 meant that when Ferrari reacted to Webber’s pit-stop, Seb was left in a lead which claimed his first drivers title. The right place in 2011 was a Newey designed rocket ship and then in 2012, after turning in to the Williams of Bruno Senna, spinning amongst the pack and receiving minimal damage whilst rolling backwards his “good luck” allowed him to finish and take the triple crown.

Last season in Brazil, Alonso offered words of warning to Vettel about how his four titles would become a curse when he found himself pedaling a car that was not the best of the field. The implication being that it would either cement his legacy or destroy it and Alonso once again took the opportunity to twist the knife into a floundering Seb by suggesting that Daniel is the new team leader.


#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014?

•July 28, 2014 • 42 Comments

2014 HungarianGP Podium 2

How do you rate the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix? What made the race in your opinion? Changeable conditions, freedom for the drivers to race, just lucky that it was such a good race? Is there anything else that can be done to “spice” the racing up? Please use the comments section to state why you voted the way you did.

#F1 Race Review: Red Bull’s Ricciardo pulls a rabbit out as Mercedes miss out on the Win

•July 27, 2014 • 50 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

2014 HungarianGP Podium


The Hungarian GP started under angry skies and turbulent weather. A massive downpour had turned the track into a river 40 minutes before the start of the race and the warmup laps featured anxious drivers and engineers on the radio in a desperate bid to nail the right starting tyre. With the field settling on inters and 3 starters from the pitlane, Kvyat having been stranded at the start of the formation lap, the Grand Prix of Hungary featured everything a proper race should: Safety cars, Spins, Shunts and Strategy, brilliant overtaking, a pitlane to podium drive and a non-Mercedes winner, with a massive dash of teammate controversy thrown in to boot. The best possible send off for the summer break.

The early laps featured a drying track with all the drivers trying to conserve their inters after the first few laps. Hamilton had an early spin with front wing damage and sounded anxious on the radio. Despite this, he recovered and began to carve through the field. Rosberg was not immune; he too had an off all by his lonesome, but without the accompanying damage. And thus it was till Marcus Ericsson decided to shave all the corners off his car, bringing out the safety car. Seizing the moment, with the leaders already past the pit lane, Ricciardo dived into the pits strapping on a pair of softs and making his race. The rest of the field was left to chase the new leader and at the end of the day, they just wouldn’t have enough.


Massive clouds darkened the horizon at the Hungaroring as an epic but short-lived storm had soaked the track shortly before the start. With a whirlwind of activity, the field settled on inters for the start and wound up with 3 pit lane starters as Kvyat was unable to leave the grid for the formation lap. Temperature on the ground was 21◦C with a track temperature of 28◦C, much cooler than yesterday. Both Mercedes taped their brake ducts to help keep temperatures up and the pre-race featured shots of Merc trying to heat Hamilton’s brakes before the start.


AS the lights went out, Rosberg managed a slow but steady start that saw him well clear by turn one. Vettel drifted back into his spray and Bottas, thinking clearly stayed wide and took the position from him. Alonso pounced a turn later as the Red Bull struggled on the wet track. Behind, Hamilton lived up to his dramatic reputation by immediately spinning his car as his brakes were cold as ice and still in passive mode according to race radio. He recovered rapidly with minor front wing damage and the next laps saw him anxiously on the radio making sure the car was copacetic.

Alonso booted turn one on the second lap which allowed Vettel back through and with his car up to temperature the leaders settled in to tiptoe round the rapidly drying track. Further back Lewis began to get it in gear and had managed to get up to P17 by the fifth lap. Rosberg decided to push hard and had opened a substantial gap but paid the price on lap six as he had quite the little off through turn one, which featured as the slipperiest on the track when wet.  The drying track began to take its toll as well as more and more drivers began heading off line to pick up water to cool the inters.

This was to be short lived as Marcus Ericsson continued to endear himself to the new Caterham owners by ripping all four corners off his car due to putting a wheel on to the wet AstroTurf. The resulting massive shunt immediately brought out the safety car, but after the leaders had passed the pitlane entry. Button was the first to react, but McLaren apparently had the wrong location dialed into their weather radar and kept Button on inters after a long and confusing stop.

Ricciardo chased Button into the pits and unlike McLaren, Red Bull strapped on a pair of softs without hesitation and thereby turned the race. Passing Button in the pits and emerging P1 made the race and having seized strategic control Red Bull would not relinquish it. Due to the reshuffling, Ricciardo led, followed by Button and Massa. Rosberg was into 5th with Vettel even further back and Bottas into 11th with Hamilton up to 13th.

Button meanwhile demanded certainty over the weather from his team, who were starting to sound less certain as they looked about and saw everyone else off the inters. The Safety Car was in lap 14 and the race was back on, with Button making the most of his inters and taking Ricciardo’s position, but not for long as the promised rain was looking less and less likely. Lewis made the most of his new tyres on the restart and rapidly advanced to 9th behind Vettel. Rosberg was struggling with an issue as there was visible smoke coming from his rear brakes during the safety car period, but he was assured that all was well as the car returned to racing speed.

Rosberg , taking advantage of the good news had an ill-advised go at Magnussen which wound up costing him a place to Vergne who came up the inside at turn 1. All the cars were sliding the rears through the turns as the track had yet to finish drying .

Hulkenberg mucked it up lap 16, collecting his teammate and parking it up out of the last turn, for his first DNF of the seaon and the end of his points scoring streak as well as bringing out the double yellows. DRS returned for lap 17 as Hamilton remained behind Vettel and Vergne was on fire, maintaining his 4th and seemingly keeping Rosberg at bay.  An understeery Pastor bounced off the back of Bianchi as Ricciardo continued to dance off down the track, making 5 seconds by lap 20.

Hamilton, seemingly out of patience was once again pressing Vettel, but just couldn’t seem to make it past as his teammate continued to cruise behind Vergne without really looking racy. Lewis continued pressure came at a price as the team warned him of marginal brake temperatures on the fronts. It wasn’t going to be a lasting issue as Sergio Perez was the next to bring out the safety car, with an epic impact into the pitwall following an excursion onto the AstroTurf down the start/finish straight.


Once again Ricciardo was in the right place at the right time and he led the exodus into the pitlane for new tyres. The new order was Alonso Vergne, Rosberg, Vettel Hamilton and Ricciardo as ominous clouds graced the horizon. As the Safety Car prepared to come in, Kobayashi parked it up on lap 26 with an issue. Hamilton was told it was critical to get past Vettel and Vergne, ignoring his teammate entirely and at the restart he got right down to it. With a massive DRS train, it turned out to be no easy task and aside from occasional peeks up the inside, there was nothing in it for Hamilton as neither Mercedes was making headway.

Ricciardo hung back watching tyres as Hamilton continued to struggle with finding a way past. Rosberg opted for pit strategy and boxed on lap 33 and as he did so the gods of the race chose to frown on him. Under relentless pressure Vettel too had taken to the AstroTurf to maintain a gap down the straight and it finally caught him out. Spinning him into the wall and letting Lewis past. Not one to waste an opportunity he immediately chased down Vergne and executed the kind of multi-turn pass that should make even the haters stand up and cheer. Rosberg suffered an extra slow pitstop that was down to removing tape from the brake ducts as the lack of rain meant the brakes were on the temperature limit. This cost him dearly as he slotted back into 11th behind both Bottas and Magnussen as Hamilton drove off into clean air to eat massive chunks of time out of Alonso who was now the next driver up the road. This effort put Lewis in front of his teammate on strategy and a desperate Rosberg radioed for permission to push like crazy to make up the difference before Hamilton had to pit.


Driving like a man possessed, Rosberg took after Bottas and ran him wide through the exit of turn one to get on with the job at hand. The clean air was benefiting Lewis and he continued to extract the maximum from his tyres as Alonso cleared the way by pitting and emerging in front of Rosberg, compounding Nico’s woes.  Hamilton finally brought it in on Lap 40, with Mercedes taking extra time to remove the tape from his brake ducts as well as adding a wing adjust as they had chosen to send him out on the Mediums, to try and run to the end of the race. He emerged in front of Rosberg and behind Alonso whose gearbox he would be intimately familiar with by the end of the race. Raikkonen, who had been in front of Alonso, cleared the way as Hamilton’s tyres came on by pitting. He emerged in 9th and was immediately set upon by Vettel, who was trying to atone for his earlier error whilst defending against Hamilton. Though he looked to have the edge, after a bit of a dice it was Kimi coming out ahead, starting to show a little of the form that has been sadly missing this season.

Rosberg was making the most if his tyres in the meanwhile and as Hamilton managed the gap to Alonso Rosberg clawed to DRS range on his teammate, and that’s where the fun truly began as Mercedes ordered Hamilton to let Rosberg by as he would be making an extra stop, Rosberg having made clear that it was Mercedes, and not he who made the request.

Hamilton, appearing to be in no particular hurry to respond and apparently not entirely convinced he would make the end without another stop himself, demanding clarification about tyre life from Bonnington, his race engineer. Displaying a race intelligence many thought he lacked, Hamilton rightly divined that letting Rosberg past would guarantee Nico finishing ahead of him. AS Mercedes continued to gently chivvy him, Hamilton continued to hold his ground, willing to let Nico go but not willing to slow his own pace to make it happen. AS for Rosberg, he continued to drift in and out of DRS for the next 8 laps, never once closing up on Lewis and forcing the issue. According to post race Sky analysis, Rosberg would have finished 2nd and Hamilton 4th if  Lewis had pulled over, but the larger question of why Hamilton was kept on the slower strategy once he passed his teammate is one that Mercedes should be looking at over the break.

Act IV

AS the Mercedes melodrama continued, Ricciardo’s tyres breathed their last and he came through the pits on lap 54 to be reshod. Ricciardo wasted no time coming after Lewis and in response Lewis upped his pace and began to reel in Alonso at a rate that guaranteed all three of them coming together at the same time. Rosberg played his final card for a used pair of softs lap 57 and the die was cast for a remarkable finale.

In short order Rosberg picked up two places as he took first Raikkonen and then one lap later Massa for 4th.  He set about chasing down the leading trio just as all three came into DRS on lap 61. Hamilton and Alonso beginning to struggle on their old tyres and Ricciardo’s claim of possible victory looked more and more likely with each passing lap as Rosberg was approaching at almost 2 seconds a lap.

Hamilton, unable to get to grips with Alonso on the softs, was told by his engineer to use revs not torques. Alonso under pressure went wide on turn one and then utterly missed the chicane. Acknowledging his error, he drifted back rather than pressing home the advantage thus avoiding the scrutiny of the stewards. Rosberg clearly had the pace and Ricciardo, looking to do the deed got past Hamilton but went wide on the exit giving Lewis another chance. But the end couldn’t come soon enough as he began locking up turn after turn as the mediums had been flogged down to the canvas at that point.

Alternately defending from Daniel and attacking Alonso, Hamilton eventually couldn’t maintain his position as the poorer characteristic s of the Mediums made themselves apparent on lap 68. Alonso locked it up getting round a backmarker, and in reaction so did Hamilton. Ricciardo finally drove home the advantage and in rapid succession passed both drivers to race off for the checkers. An increasingly desperate Hamilton, sensing his vulnerability to Rosberg was once again told to use revs instead of torques as the Mercedes driver was just unable to get past the wily Alonso with no tyres left.

Lap 69 finally saw the eagerly awaited showdown between the nonplussed Rosberg and Hamilton, but it was for 3rd rather than 1st.  Entering the DRS zone for the last time Hamilton made a mistake exiting turn one. Rosberg closed up down the inside but Lewis fought back, effectively taking Rosberg to the edge of the track as he wound up on the outside after having started his pass on the inside. It was a brutally effective shutting of the door, but in replay it was clear that Hamilton had left room for Rosberg and had not put him 4 wheels off. From there it was white knuckle ride for Hamilton but one that saw him cross the line ahead of his teammate and having taken a further 3 points out of Rosberg’s WDC lead. Alonso lifted the hearts of tifosi by cruising across in 2nd and no one would begrudge Ricciardo’s primal howl of joy as he took his second win of the year, his smile illuminating his helmet from the inside.


The best race of the season by far, today’s result should be a concern for the Brackley squad as creeping unreliability is beginning to eat into their unerring dominance. More importantly, their artificial equalization of strategy might be causing them more trouble than it’s saving them, as switching Lewis to an extra stop and covering Ricciardo would have left them dicing for the win rather than 2nd or 3rd.  Conversely both Ferrari and Red Bull have to be heartened as the relentless pace of development begins to open opportunities for them. Lastly, today’s race makes an utter mockery of the need to “spice up the show” and hopefully it will put paid to the effort to rehabilitate Briatore once and for all.


Final Results:

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Pits
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:29.140 1:53:05.058 3
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:29.602 5.200 2
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.723 5.800 2
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:29.653 6.300 3
5 Felipe Massa Williams 1:30.016 29.700 3
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:30.296 31.300 2
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:30.049 40.700 2
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:29.961 41.000 3
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:30.597 58.100 2
10 Jenson Button McLaren 1:32.125 66.800 3
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:31.977 67.600 2
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:32.910 77.800 2
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:30.606 83.300 3
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:33.478 1 lap 2
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:32.125 1 lap 3
16 Max Chilton Marussia 1:31.933 1 lap 2
R Nico Hulkenberg Force India RETIRED 15 laps 1
R Esteban Gutierrez Sauber RETIRED 33 laps 2
R Sergio Perez Force India RETIRED 23 laps 1
R Kamui Kobayashi Caterham RETIRED 25 laps 1
R Marcus Ericsson Caterham RETIRED 8 laps 0
R Romain Grosjean Lotus RETIRED 11 laps 1

Drivers World Championship

2014 Drivers' Championship Graph Hungary


Constructors World Championship

2014 Constructors' Championship Graph Hungary

#F1 Polls: FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014 – Driver of the Weekend

•July 27, 2014 • 126 Comments

2014 HungarianGP - Qualifying

As the sun sets on the first part of the 2014 Formula 1 season who was your driver of the weekend during the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix? This takes into account the whole weekend and not just the race. Please use the comments section to state why you voted the way you did.

#TechF1 Treasures- The #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents #HungarianGP

•July 27, 2014 • 12 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55 - the best in Scrutineering, Stewards’ Decisions, and other assorted FIA documents looked at slightly irreverently  

There’s the race we see on telly, and then there’s the race behind the scenes. One rarely talked about by reporters but told in part by the official FIA documents. Here is a selection of this weekend’s documents for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy. Wonder where all this great stuff came from? Right Here




From the Dept of Leftovers





Who is the Tom Kristensen and what does *He* know about racing compared to Felipe? LOL


From the Dept of All the Kings Men




They couldn’t put Humpty together again, but were able to screw Lewis’ Merc back together. Similar≠Same. Extra Points if you know what a SPLEF is. Wonder if they billed Brembo for all that?


From the Dept of Back to the Future




Well, that will keep them to only using 1.95 metres then.



From the Dept of Paved Roads




Let’s hope they actually get around to putting it up before the event.


From the Dept of Inferred or Implied




We can infer that it is implied that *someone* was rather naughty at the last GP


From the Dept of Counting All the Things




This is liable to be the only race Pastor is odds on to win this year. But either Toro Rosso or Grosjean could still pull it out of the bag and clinch as early as this weekend.


From the Dept of Dental Hygiene




So when is a gearbox not a gearbox? When the FIA says so, that’s when.


From the Dept of Let’s Turn these in on Time, Please




He must be special, since he get’s his own document


From the Dept of Wordy Words




That would be everyone including your teammate,right?


From the Dept of Why Not?







It would have been vastly more interesting than what you did ask him…


From the Dept of Silly Questions with Silly Answers




Yes, by crashing with Pastor at every opportunity


From the Dept of Crash Courses





Glad to see they have both learned this little life lesson


From the Dept of Planning







Now if they just had a plan for making a better car


From the Dept of Perspicaciousness





Yes, I suppose it is true, not finishing the race is not the best for performance.


From the Dept of Commonality





Yes, 5 DNF’s would pretty much be a problem, all right.


From the Dept of Testify




I ran this through Google Translate and it came out as “I can’t believe I left Ferrari for this disaster of a team”.


From the Dept of Secret Identities




Holy Hopping Horse-Toads, could we have found the judges secret alter ego? .


From the Dept of Shiny New Things






Well, we’re halfway through the season…


From the Dept of More Shiny New Things





Pretty sure 4 isn’t half of 5 though….


From the Dept of Officially Shiny New Things





Took me a minute to figure out it was gearboxes. LOL


From the Dept of Hot Air




Why do they insist on calling it “Sahara”. I thought that was done.


From the Dept of Passing the Buck




Wow, we’re just following orders answer. How could that possibly go wrong


From the Dept of passing the Euro





Wow. Just wow. Craven.Especially considering Bahrain cost McLaren their title sponsor.


From the Dept of Passing the Pound Sterling




So if you think it wrong for F1 to make political statements, wouldn’t you think it wrong for F1 to be used by other countries for the same purpose. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to happen. Disingenuous would be the polite word.


From the Dept of Where Have All the Germans Gone




LOL, that Christian does have a quick wit. Though Seb was pretty disparaging earlier in the year.


From the Dept of Actual Questions




Holy Cow, someone screwed up and let actual reporters in. Ask a decent question, get a terrible answer, LOL. Though someone should tell Dieter that it’s an *additional* billion bringing the total debt to $3.5 billion. CVC has cleared $4 billion. No need to worry their poor little brains about that.


From the Dept of Dry Your Tears




So Azerbaijan is crying out for motorsport. Who knew?


From the Dept of Arbitrary Decisions




Marco wins the argument, hands down.


From the Dept of Mix and Match





This week it’s Match


From the Dept of Incongruity



Finally, an answer to the question of what do Lewis and Pastor have in common.


From the Dept of Janus






LOLtasty! Now we know for sure. Also, think Nico left out “when it’s not spontaneously bursting into flames” discussing the engine.


From the Dept of Proximity





*Sigh* close but no cigar.


From the Dept of Long Term Planning





It’s good to have a goal.


From the Dept of Loose Language





Like, say, overage charges on your mobile? OR are you talking Caterham. Enquiring Minds and all that..


From the Dept of Unexpected Things




Until Massa runs into something again, that is.


From the Dept of Understatement





Until the tarmac dried. Then it was taking candy from babies time.


From the Dept of Famous Last Words




Free Beers on Seb, everyone’s new favorite driver. Can’t think of a better way to wrap it up. Happy Race Day Everyone!




From the Dept of Happy Days They Published Parc Ferme







From the Dept of Sat on the Naughty Step






There you have it.







#F1 Features: The F1 school of bloody stupid ideas

•July 26, 2014 • 40 Comments

Briatore returns to F1

In the short time between FP3 and Qualifying, team principals’ are usually engaged in frenetic activity which includes final preparations for their cars and drivers, along with pressing the flesh of important sponsors. So when Bernie calls an emergency meeting for the top brass in F1, something big is afoot.

The most likely rumour fitting this extra-ordinary event was that Ecclestone had reconsidered his position on racing in Russia. This was not to be the case.

In fact the topic of the meeting was no surprise to anyone in the end in that it was Bernie banging the drum and rousing the troops for more spicing up of what he now calls, “the show”.

What was a big deal, was that Ecclestone was insisting the teams accept his decision to recall disgraced former team boss who was found guilty of race rigging – Flavio Briatore.


The F1 supremo has become obsessed with this issue because as the year unfolds, the fall in the global TV audience continues and the recent collapse in attendance at the German GP have highlighted the fact that people are turning off to F1 and the sport is failing to attract a new audience.

It appears that Briatore will be joined by Christian Horner, Marco Mattiacci and Toto Wolff and form an F1 ‘popularity working group’. Wolff explains, “A couple of guys will sit together [to work out what to do], because it’s difficult to do when you invite everybody and come up with priorities and solutions.

Speaking to a smattering of F1 writers, Wolff added “We’ll probably get you guys involved to avoid the situation last time when you found our ideas really s***! So that’s the procedure”.

Following Christian Horner’s little outburst when he lectured F1 reporters about being negative, this is clearly the buzz word of the moment. Wolff insists, “It wasn’t a negative meeting, we have seen some great racing and some packed race tracks, at Austria, Montreal and Silverstone.

But then we have seen smaller audiences here and at Hockenheim – why is that? So we’re going to come together and come up with ideas.”

Flavio has been chunnering away in the background for some time about ways to improve the current F1 show, and one of his ideas includes a ballast handicap system, whereby the faster/winning cars will receive a weight penalty to the playing field.

One individual who was at the meeting, revealed off the record, the ballast idea had found a surprising level of approval from those present.

Meanwhile, the BBC recently reported that in Asia, technology has been developed which will deliver virtual fans to venues lacking in attendees and atmosphere.

untitled Hanwha Eagles fan-bots in the pipeline

Fan Robots are in the pipeline for a Korean baseball team who can cheer, chant and even perform a Mexican wave. The robots can be operated by real fans over the internet, and even the face of the bot can reflect the face of the fan operating the machine.

There is an opportunity to monetarise the army of robot fans, as real fans can pay to operate a bot for a sections of the sporting event, then handing over to others ready to pay based upon simple supply and demand.

Of course, no one is certain how misbehaving robots, getting abusive, drunk and throwing food will be handled yet. The spectre of the robot hooligan does indeed loom large on the horizon.

Then again, if fanbots are recruited for Formula 1, we may see what would have been an empty grandstand filled with an army of mechanised fans holding up different messages from Ecclestone. “Bernie says…”

There was a recent move in Japan to develop technology which could re-create live matches using holographic technology in other locations. It would mean, in theory, that several stadiums full of fans could be watching the same match at once.

The development of the technology was halted when the brown envelopes under the cushions of the FIFA delegates seats, meant that Qatar beat Japan in their bid to host the 2012 Football World Cup.

This persistent debate over the F1 “show” and fans race attendance is absurd, particularly when hundreds of man hours and millions of wasteful words merely result in ideas such as double points, trumpet exhausts and now a weighting handicap system.

F1 is being run by fools because the answers to the problems of falling fan numbers are simple.

Two years ago, fans could attend a race weekend and hire FanVision. This gave the viewer a mobile hand held device which delivered commentary and pictures for all of the on track action.

Ecclestone refused to extend the FanVision contract, believing FOM would be delivering a solution which would create a direct and more profitable revenue stream.

However, Tata communications have not yet delivered the blanket WIFI transmission technology at F1 circuits yet, so the planned mobile device application to replace FanVision has been neutered.


Personlaised Fanbot

Within a short time, every premier league club will be offering this technology to football fans according to BBC Sports business correspondent Matt Cutler.

Hardcore fans will attend F1 racing with or without FanVision or whatever one day will be its replacement. However, FanVision had become very popular with a significant section of race going fans and anecdotal evidence this writer has seen, suggests most of these folk are staying away from F1.

Further, a TJ13 representative speaking to a senior individual from Santander at the British GP was told they had struggled to fill their huge corporate ticket allocation and the biggest complaint from guests the previous year was the loss of FanVision.

Of course the escalating cost of attending an F1 race hits everyone, and this too is preventing F1 fans from enjoying their sport in person.

Yet the single biggest reason F1 is losing ground in TV land, has been the move from free to air TV to subscription based channels.

BSkyB’s recent acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV assets in Italy and Germany, Sky Italia and 57.4% of Sky Deutschland,  created a European powerhouse with c20 million subscribers.

One London City analyst commented that this would mean BSkyB would be well placed to buy broadcasting rights on a pan-European basis if that ever replaces the current country-by-country basis.

This could clearly affect Formula 1 TV audiences if the UK fall in viewing numbers is replicated since SKY UK obtained the rights to broadcast all races exclusively.

The return of Briatore to F1 will have a ‘marmite’ effect on F1 fans. Some will appreciate the return of Flavio’s flamboyant character, whilst others will question the wisdom of giving responsibility to a man who was found guilty of corrupting the field of competition.

F1 is facing dangerous time as the commercial rights holder’s CVC realise they have extracted the maximum value from their investment and want out. The perception that F1 revenues have reached a high water mark under Ecclestone’s current business plan is widespread. However, this has led to the senior figures of the sport acting like headless chickens as they lurch from one “sh^t idea” – Toto’s words – to another.


There is an obvious and simple 5 plan solution to an F1 future of unfettered joy and harmony, which is blindingly obvious.

  • Get rid of Ecclestone
  • Get rid of Ecclestone
  • Get rid of Ecclestone
  • Get rid of Ecclestone
  • Get rid of Ecclestone

Until then, our heroes will ‘think tank’ themselves silly and bring on the trumpeting exhausts, exploding sparks, probably quadruple points, Azerbaijan, the handicap ballast and maybe next the Hanwha Eagles Fanbots…… the list, whilst not quite endless, appears to grow by the week.

#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes on pole but are the wheels coming off?

•July 26, 2014 • 47 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

2014 HungarianGP - Nico Rosberg Pole 1

The start of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix saw the temperature plummet 4◦C as the clouds rolled in just before the track went green. With rain in the area and storms forecast for tomorrow, weather metaphors were in plentiful supply regarding the long term fate of the sport. The action on track mirrored the mercurial meteorology as spins, mechanical failures and a Mercedes flambé led the way and that was just in Q1. Despite being robbed of the drama of a Hamilton-Rosberg showdown, the rain stepped in and made Q3 the best chance in recent memory for someone other than Mercedes to take pole. It wasn’t to be however, as Rosberg’s steady hand and cool demeanour saw him once again in charge at the end of the day


With both Mercedes at the top and only a hair apart in times for FP3, qualifying promised to be an exciting one especially as Sky was reporting zero grip with the Mediums in the suddenly cooler temperatures. And as the track opened for business, Pastor Maldonado wasted no time in foreshadowing the day’s events by pulling his stricken Lotus off track at the 15 minute mark following a massive lockup.

The sharp end was out to play once the yellows cleared and it was Rosberg on it for Mercedes, as rain was reported in the area. AS 12 minutes ticked by he spoiled his first effort by missing the chicane entirely as his struggles with the early Q1 runs continued.

Not that it made a difference today as just like last week, a jarring cut to a car in trouble led to the rapidly dawning realization that it was once again Lewis Hamilton, only this time his car was spectacularly engulfed in flames instead of having a 30G impact. As he guided his car gently down the pit lane looking like a rolling bonfire, he replied to his teams entreaties to stop the car by the marshal with the extinguisher by saying he was unable to stop the car. He eventually got it off track in a good location but it was clear he was going no further and he was out without even setting a time. There are those who don’t believe in luck, but you’d be hard pressed not to argue Hamilton has seen more than his fair share of travails this season and you could hear the Hamifosi gnashing their teeth across the Atlantic

Qualifying continued regardless, and it was Bottas with the early pace followed by Ricciardo and Vettel. Rosberg began banging his lap out as Hamilton’s ride belched forth smoke. Magnussen slotted into 4th as Rosberg completed his lap and to no one’s surprise took the top spot away. As the Sky director lingered on an arty shot of a forlorn Hamilton watching his car burn, it became clear that with him and Maldonado out, there was a real chance for one of the backmarkers to steal a march into Q2.

With 7 minutes left to go and the reverberations receding, the bottom of the grid retired to change to new softs. As Bianchi, Chilton, Grosjean, Kobayashi and Ericsson got ready to duke it out with Kamui currently owning P16 the sharp end parked it up to make the hard choices about whether their times were good enough or whether they needed to sacrifice a set of new options on the altar of expedience.

4 minutes to go and it was Grosjean out and flying into 8th. Perez followed up with a P6 and Hulkenberg lagged into 16th after mucking up the final turn. Vergne claimed top spot with Kvyat third as the seconds ticked to less than 2 minutes with Kobayashi’s time just 0.1 seconds off Hulkenberg’s.

Super Max became Super Slow Max as the cold hand of reliability reached out yet again and tapped him on the shoulder, ruining any chance he might have had to play with the big boys in Q2 with fuel pressure problems.

His teammate was having no such problems and as he flashed round the circuit Raikkonen fell into 15th, Ferrari having decided to save tyres for Q2. Hulkenberg was into his last sector when the checkers fell and his drive to P12 displaced Raikkonen to P16 and as the Iceman looked helplessly on, in a glimpse of the future, Bianchi completed his last flyer to take P16 away from Kimi and knock him out of Q2. Massive fail from the Ferrari strategy boys as the team continues to struggle on all fronts. Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Chilton, Ericcson, Hamilton and Maldonado all out with the rest moving on.


Well, the chance had opened for someone to make Q3 and Perez, deciding it might as well be him, leaped onto the track followed closely by Hulkenberg. Sergio’s started his first lap at the 12:30 mark and as the first wave of times came in, it was to be Bottas on top until Rosberg got it done.  The Red Bulls lingered in the garage and first impressions of a fuel leak were confirmed by Lauda and in a simultaneous interview Lewis actually managed a bit of a laugh about seeing flames in the mirror.

Vettel settled down to his effort as Lewis walked through the onboard action which started with a brake issue that required resetting some functions followed by a loss of power. The engine was cutting in and out for him as he sought a place to stop, never sounding out of sorts whilst on the radio. Vettel got through in P2 and confirmed that he had the pace over his teammate as Ricciardo could not best him and had to settle for P3. A bitter pill for Hamifosi as Lewis confirmed top 5 would be a miracle for Sunday, though true race fans will hope for an epic wet and storming drive to liven up the day.

Sudden shots of Perez climbing out in the garage brought home the fact that as the season goes, reliability will start to play an increasing role in the fate of the drivers, with a 2nd problem for a Mercedes powered car. Reported as hydraulics at 5 minutes left, it must still be a concern to Brackley to see these issues cropping up after such a solid start to the season.

The bad news for Force India was going to be good news for someone as Sergio’s ill–fortune opened up a spot in the top 10. With Hamilton out as well, the drama was gone. Rosberg and the Red Bulls decided to stay parked but the rest were out to defend their positions. A big lockup for Massa saw P5 as the best he could do.

Hulkenberg improved to P9 moving Button to P10 and relegating Kvyat. Double waved yellows spoiled the rest of the runs as it transpired Kvyat had driven himself right out of Q3 by putting his left front onto the grass and spinning as a result. Track limits indeed!

Kvyat’s adventure saw himself, Sutil, Perez, Gutierrez, Grosjean, and Bianchi all out. Grosjean was clearly unimpressed with his inability to beat Sutil, before settling on the cooler track temps as the main source of Lotus woes. Aside from the lack of money and a decent engine, of course.


Given the lack of Lewis, Q3 promised to be a perfunctory affair to yet again confirm the dominance of Mercedes. Yet Mother Nature helpfully stepped into the void for as the track waited to turn green, shots of Kvyat’s Toro Rosso being recovered showed drops of rain glistening on the bodywork of his car. There was a sudden crush at the pitlane and at the off it was Rosberg leading the way as the radios crackled with nervous engineers imploring their drivers to get a banker in in case the track went away from them. Only Alonso and Vettel bided their time, hoping to hit the gap between the traffic and potentially worse weather.

AS Rosberg hurtled across the start/finish, the adrenaline must have been full tilt as he hit the first corner since it was the only one he wouldn’t have driven on his warm up. And rightfully so as it appeared that was where all the moisture was. Rosberg didn’t have a chance and was forced to take to the run off area completely spoiling his lap. For a brief, shining moment the door was open and it was possible that Mercedes might not have the pole yet again. Then, having seen no yellows Kevin Magnussen entered T1 on full song, slamming the door shut by smashing into the tyre barriers and red flagging the session. AS the marshals came round to assist him, Brundle could be heard imploring them to stay back as with more traffic approaching, they were indeed in a perilous situation.

It didn’t take long to reset the tyre barriers, but it was enough for the weather to clear and as the cars hit the track with 9:59 to go, Rosberg was told he was fueled for 3 timed laps.

Once again in the lead, Rosberg tiptoed through T1 but it was clearly drying and further back Bottas took advantage of Rosberg’s caution to set a time nearly a second faster. At the end of the first set of runs it was Bottas, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Button, and Massa all in front of Rosberg, but the Mercedes man’s 2nd turn saw him take his customary lead as the sun once again began to shine.

No sooner did they make for the pits than calls for returning rain hit the airwaves. Bottas, looking for any advantage, tore out of the pits as Vergne turned his lonely lap in, good for P5 as the live stream inexplicably changed channels to lawn bowling for a moment.

Fortunately not for long as the time had clocked down to less than 2 minutes. Bottas, having followed Button, was unable to improve on Rosberg’s time but stayed P2.

12 seconds to go and it was Rosberg, Bottas and Vettel – though Sebastian was on a flyer and as the last seconds ticked off he was the fastest man on track, just edging Rosberg’s time and displacing Bottas to P3. But not for long as the Mercedes of Rosberg, having claimed ultimate track position, came across nearly a half second faster than Vettel. That brought the session to a close, Rosberg Vettel and Bottas, followed by Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa, Button, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Magnussen to round out the top 10.

With storms on tap for tomorrow, and Hamilton once again starting from the back and Alonso and Ricciardo next to one another, tomorrow’s race ought to be a cracking send off for the summer break.


Qualifying Result:

# Driver Ctry Team
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
6 Felipe Massa Williams
7 Jenson Button McLaren
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
12 Adrian Sutil Sauber
13 Sergio Perez Force India
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia
17 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
19 Max Chilton Marussia
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham
21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus

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