Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 8th July 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day GMT 09:45 11:03 11:45 12:37 (Wolff sill not confirmed updated) 14:40 14:46 16:13 17:12 17:48 (Update – Bernie solves the bouncing tyre problem) 20:01

Wolff still not confirmed

Rumours over the weekend suggest Williams have given the green light to Susie to go testing. In 9 days from now the cars will roll out on track to test in Silverstone and the Grove team have not officially confirmed Wolff will drive.

“It’s not official,” commented Toto her husband but Susie believes she will be in the car at some point. “It’s not clear yet how many sets of tyres the team will have available, but I’m getting ready and I expect to drive — at least one day. I’m very happy, it’s a big challenge and I’m ready. I’ll do my best and hopefully that’s enough.”

Considering this is considered by many as ‘big news’ by many – a woman driver doing a full days testing in front of all the other teams and fans – Williams are playing this close to their chest.

Marrusia have confirmed just now they will not use Bianchi or Chilton in the YDT next week. Cypriot Ellinas who is currently leading the GP3 series will get to drive on the opening day. The Thursday and Friday will see reserve driver Gonzalez take over. He started his third FP1 in Germany this weekend.

Hamilton roller coaster

TJ13 gave a little insight about 2 weeks ago, that all was not well in Lewis’ world. The problem is his girlfriend who is a number of years older than Lewis feels her biological clock is ticking and wants more from Lewis, and soon. Lewis has been disinclined to be pressurised on the matter, presumably because he doesn’t want little Lewis’s running around distracting him for the next few years whilst he is focusing on trying to win races and titles.

5 days later the Daily Mail revealed Nicole and Lewis had again separated and TJ13 believes Lewis was given an ultimatum with which he refused to comply.

Lewis spoke at length with Martin Brundle on the matter this weekend and the Sky commentator reveals, “He got quite emotional… when talking about Nicole”. H concluded, “he’s on a roller coaster”.

Hamilton revealed to Brundle, “I’m trying my hardest to be positive but I’m going through a really, really tough time at the moment with the loss of someone really, really special in my life. My world’s turned upside down, but I have a job. If I come in with my head down and negative energy then that goes around to all my mechanics who work day and night, and I don’t ever want that. So I’m really trying to pull myself together and keep my head up but it’s so hard to do.”

To be fair to Lewis he appears to have done as good a job as he could this weekend, as the Mercedes and the softer compounds are still not a marriage made in heaven. The hard and medium compounds available for Hungary will suit the car much better regardless of the temperature.

Pit Lane chaos

Yesterday saw the Red Bull team once again bungle the servicing of their Australian driver’s car. They failed to fit the right rear tyre correctly and it sailed down the pit lane as Webber pulled away from his box. Conspiracy theorists will question why Webber was even called in at that point.

Vettel had just pitted from the lead and Webber had clear air in front of him. He was faster on the first two sectors of the lap than he had previously managed and was likely to arrive at the end of the pit straight level if not ahead of his team mate.

Those with a skeptical eye suggest that it appears to be Webber who always suffers these ‘incidents’ though of course Vettel lost 25 points in Silverstone when dominating the race and heading for a win.

Red Bull were fined 30,000 euro’s for an ‘unsafe release’ of he car and an FOM camera man is in hospital under observation with a broken collar bone and broken ribs.

We now hear the predictable calls for improved safety, a war that can seemingly never be won. Christian Horner commented, “It was a timely reminder that life in the pitlane is still a pretty dangerous place to be, that things can go wrong.

“Mechanics have to wear safety gear and helmets, and maybe it’s time some of the other operational people in the pitlane have some safety equipment as well,” he added.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn agrees: “On the basis of what we have seen here, we should be thinking that all people in the pitlane are properly dressed, equipped and should have a helmet on.”

You may well hear a new suggestion being advanced in the near future, I heard Christian Horner even prior to the race and the incident that super fast pit stops may not be necessary. He was advancing the idea of a reduced number of mechanics being allowed to service the car at each stop.

This appears a strange message to come from Red Bull as they are currently constantly the quickest at turning around their car. If you believe that team principal’s never advance an idea unless they would benefit from it, then Horner could be suggesting this because it reduces strategic options and makes matters more predictable.

Bad race management and stewarding – AGAIN.

It really is quite unacceptable that the law enforcers are silent following the decisions they issue during a race. On lap 6, Force India released Di Resta directly into the path of JEV. Unanimously, the opinion I canvassed from experienced F1 observers believed it was a stop go penalty – without question.

The team were awarded a 5,000 euro fine following the conclusion of the race.

Those of you who have been reading TJ13  since its  inception September 2012, will know I have advanced the idea that technology should make the safety car nigh on redundant. On the commencement of a safety car period each driver recovers a delta time to which they must drive.

There was no need for a safety car yesterday. The stricken Marussia was in a far safer position ultimately than where Bianchi had abandoned it on fire. Double waved yellows mean ‘slow right down and be prepared to stop’ – this would have been more than adequate to deal with the runaway Marussia which was on the loose for just a few seconds.

The result of the safety car did indeed improve most drivers’ gap to Vettel, Particularly Alonso, Hamilton and Webber. In fact anyone losing points to Mark Webber (1 lap and 67 seconds down) yesterday would be justifiably highly irritated by this. The rule which allowed Webber to trundle round and unlap himself is a complete joke and the problem it was designed to solve was a pimple compared to the mountain of injustice we now see.

In reality, the safety car may also have robbed us of an even more exciting finale as the 10% loss of race distance gave Vettel a greater margin for comfort on his final 2 stints tyre wear.

Hulkenberg released

The wildfire rumour in the paddock this weekend is that Nico Hulkneberg has been released from his contract with the Swiss team. Peter Sauber fanned the flames of speculation telling Sportpanoramam, “Basically, I won’t talk about contracts, but I am convinced that Nico will be with us in the second half of the season. It is very difficult at the moment, our resources are very limited and the situation is uncomfortable and embarrassing.”

Sauber denies the staff have not been paid, “In 20 years in Formula one, we have never not paid wages on time,” but admits the shortage of finance, “is affecting not only the development of the car, and also the suppliers. For the large part, we are being met with understanding, but it is very stressful for us and in many regards painful.”

Sauber do appear to be in advanced conversations for a rescue plan, “We are very confident in this regard. If it runs smoothly, we can give the all-clear by the end of the month. It is a good plan, but time is the big problem — we’re running out of it. Mainly because we might not be able to drive if suppliers begin to stop supplying us.”

The unthinkable has been thought by Peter Sauber – that of selling the team. “If there is no other way out, that is a possibility. But we are far from that. Closure is not an option. The fire inside me is kindled by situations like this. There is nothing else to do than fight.”

It has been some time since we have since a driver of Hulkneberg’s stature switch teams or replaced mid-season. Were the hulk to be a free agent, his options are limited – most probably to replacing Massa at Ferrari.

Ferrari fireworks

The time of the year when the team from Maranello lose all sense of common purpose and begin the blame game may well be fast approaching. The use of the royal ‘we’ as a collective pronoun has become standard speak in Formula 1.

‘We’, is often used to refer to the entire team, but drivers do us the term in a more restricted manner when they are referring exclusively to themselves, their car and personnel. Fernando is a master exponent of the more exclusive use of the term ‘we’ as he often uses phrases such as, ‘we extracted the maximum’ or ‘we did the perfect lap’.

What we hear rarely is the differentiation which Alonso made during his post race interview with the BBC. Looking forward to the rest of the season and his chance of challenging for the WDC he stated bluntly, “They need to do something and they need to do it now.”

Fernando has a contract until 2016, but each year comes and goes and he isn’t adding to his 2 world titles. This time last year Fernando was ahead in the table and going into the summer break was 40 points ahead of the field.

There is a sense that Ferrari are a long way off even being the second best team, regardless of their mere 3 point deficit to Mercedes who are in second place.

It may be that Fernando believes the team are burying their heads in the sand as a downbeat Dominicali appeared to suggest getting on top of the new tyres would be the key o the rest of their season.

“Now there is a very important element that has to be considered on top of the normal development of the car and that is understanding how the new tyres will affect the performance of the car. This is the most important thing that everyone has to deal with and it is essential for us if we want to believe in fighting for the championship.

What happens from Hungary onwards, I don’t know because we know what the construction is and we know what the compounds are but we have never tested them together. We see how things can change so quickly with a couple of degrees [in track temperature] so you have one car that is very quick on Friday and then struggling on Sunday. I think this is really the challenge that all the engineers at the teams will have to face over the next few weeks.”

All this is of course true, however Ferrari have not looked as though they will be dominant for even consecutive races, whereas Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes have all had periods of momentum.

Some of Alonso’s post race comments were a little disingenuous, “We finished four seconds behind the leader of the race so we did a good 60 laps overall, though not good enough for the podium”. Alonso was 25 seconds behind the leader on the lap the safety car was deployed. Fernando knows if ‘they’ don’t deliver improvements to the car soon, another year is slipping away fast.

Mercedes request to join Young Drivers’ Test

There is a feeling of some injustice in Brackley, that the YDT from which they were excluded has now become a test platform for a whole new set of tyres which will be used for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Mercedes do have the option to pursue the matter legally because the specific activity they were prohibited from is not what a number of teams will be doing in Silverstone.

Today they will be asking the FIA whether they can participate in part of the testing in Silverstone What response they receive – who only knows.

Tyres for the Silverstone test

With the test a just over a week away, Pirelli will be busy again. having manufactured some 200 tyres in 36 hours to be ready for the German GP, the Italian tyre manufacturer has little time to ready themselves for the young driver test July 17-19th.

The exact nature of the tyres will define the rest of the 2013 season and Paul Hembery told Sky Sports News, “We’re bringing along five sets tyres with the Hard and Medium compound, three of the Hard and two of the Medium, of the 2012 structure which is the tyre we’re going to be using going forward this season. Plus we’ve got a prototype compound as well, a hard compound, we’re taking there. So we’ve set out a schedule for teams to run and hopefully that’s what they’re going to do.”

Pirelli still have no contract for 2014 and beyond, something which is a source of bemusement for their commercial director. “We’re in a bit of strange situation knowing whether we should be spending millions or not at the moment, But we’re working in good faith at the moment and we need to start seriously getting ready for next year because the cars are dramatically different and a huge challenge for the tyres.”

Winners and loses

There were always going to be teams that benefited from the change in tyres and those who were penalised, and whilst we won’t understand the final picture until Pirelli have revealed the new compounds in Hungary, Force India were losers in Germany.

Bob Fernley feels aggrieved and explains why, “The tyre is so significantly different, and the car is designed specifically around that ’13 specification tyre, that we will have to re-engage design work on something that we’d actually thought we’d stopped, because obviously we want to move on to the ’14 car.

So it’s not good. It’s not healthy for Force India.” 

Force India were off the pace all weekend, and both drivers failed to collect any points. Having to divert 2014 resources back to the 2013 car will hurt Force India going forward and may prove a pointless activity.

McLaren are now just 10 points behind Force India, so the Silverstone team will most likely fighting to hold of Toro Rosso rather thsn finishing ahead of Jenson and Checo.

Bernie solves bouncing tyre problem

In a moment of inspiration, Bernie Ecclestone has solved the problem of camera people getting injured. “It’s a terrible thing to say, but it was just one of those things. There was a whole bunch of mechanics and the tyre could have hit any one of those guys.

The cameraman just happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time. In future, all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pit wall. If the camera guys are on the pit wall, then that’s normally higher than the track.”

At present a maximum of 6 FOM camera crew and 6 photographer’s are allowed in the pit lane. The photographer’s must be positioned on the pit wall at all times and now the film crew will have to stay there too.

As from next year it will be mandatory for all team personnel working on a car in a pit stop to wear head protection, paving the way to the suggestion others should follow suit.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said: “Luckily our guys saw the wheel coming but the cameraman didn’t. They were able to swerve out the way to avoid it but it was pretty nasty.

On the basis of what we have seen, we should be thinking that all people in the pit lane are properly dressed and equipped. Everyone in the pit lane should have a helmet on. It is certainly worth reviewing the whole thing.”

Mmm. Not sure how much Bernie’s been watching motor racing over the years, but…..

So will we see Newey, Brawn, Whitmarsh and Horner all wearing helmet’s soon? I guess it will add to the comedy value, however they should be banned from changing the colours and designs from race to race, otherwise we’ll never know who is who 🙂

Seriously, where does this stop? Do we really need a bunch of blokes and computers sat on the pit wall in the 21st century? The answer is no. They could all sit in a truck in the paddock if we want to reduce risk and improve safety.

TJ13 has solved the problem taking into consideration other matters no one is evening thinking of at present – such as law suits for carbon monoxide poisoning – and other nasty pit lane possibilities. Here is the pit lane attire as recommended by this court.

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The German GP according to Paul Hembery

51 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 8th July 2013

  1. Are the teams not going to test the Hungary tyre at Silverstone next week? If so, then Merc will lose out big time. Compounded with the heat in Hundary, I can’t see them on the podium. Kevlar was also supposed to help them but that didn’t happen.

    I have to admit that Lewis has done remarkably well considering the issues in his personal life. I hope he carries on like that and does even better. We need the top 4 drivers in the top 4 teams to be at their best!

  2. In a sport such as F1, women are a needless distraction to drivers (sorry if there are any ladies here, this is not meant to be mysoginist or anything). Especially now when the competition is so fierce. That’s where I admire the sheer dedication and commitment of Vettel, he just gets things done, over and over and over again. I never really warmed to him but I’m full of admiration of the driver, an absolute machine.

    Hamilton can be like him but he needs to clearly oust Nicole out. No ifs, no buts. If he’s serious about winning a WDC again, then he needs to get his head down and get on with it. I’m not implying that he’s doing a bad job right now, he has been remarkably consistent this season (always around the 3rd-4th-5th places, Barcelona being the only time he wasn’t in the points) and even with the massive distraction Nicole brings, he’s done well.

    For the Nürburgring, judge said it already but the absence of the hard tyre really killed Mercedes. My view is that Mercedes have just cracked how to work the hard tyre as their main racing tyre (though I wouldn’t want to see temperatures of +50°C on the track in Hungary). The other teams getting 3 days of testing will hurt but that’s not something they can do anything about now, move on and get ready for Hungary.

    • Vettel “an absolute machine”, who nevertheless by all reports has a female partner! I think some of Lewis’s problems stem from his overall desire for stardom and “bling” and the lady friend and his latest canine acquisition probably came into that category as well – nice to be seen with.

    • As I commented a few days ago, there are sure to be legal routes for them to get back in to the test. They were banned from a test, the purpose of which was primarily to give young drivers mileage. The other teams are now being permitted to perform testing work which is very relevant to both this season and next.

      I bet Ross is wishing he hadn’t put the idea in the mind of the IT now!

    • Maybe not as much as you think KimKas. Inspired by the good Dr. Beck (but minus his advanced maths) I have been poking around in the lap analysis section of the FIA race info, and truly it was Lewis’ 2nd stint that killed his race. It was so bad that his fastest lap with those tires was lap 8!! And he pitted on lap 6!! By lap 18 he was well into the 39’s, and there is no sign that fuel effect was there at all.

      Looking at the 3rd stint though, I found a section between lap 36 and 41 where Lewis was unimpeded by traffic (if I read the charts correctly, ;-)) and compared his lap times to Vettel (who pitted on lap 41, which is why the comparison stops there) since at that point they were both running in clean air.

      I found that Lewis was on average .213 slower than Vettel over that stretch. Hardly a disaster for Merc, but not as good as Silverstone looked last week for sure. And Lewis pitted on lap 22 and again on lap 45, compared to Vettel on lap 24 and lap 41, so Lewis’ tires were slightly older as well, and clearly not the massive problem everyone is making out, excepting the oddly anomalous 2nd stint ( his first on the Prime tire).

      One more bit of data: Fastest lap on Mediums was Lewis 1:34.156, lap 57. For comparison, Vettel was 1:34.164, lap 59. Rosberg 1:34.181, lap 55. Minus the second stint, I think Hamilton had a shot at the podium, though clearly not a guarantee. Food for thought

  3. Merc – Brawn reckons that the high temps and the ban on tyre switching were the main reasons for their high degradation yesterday.

    Safety car – Although there did appear to be no need for the safety car in the end, as Judge claims, the SC was released before the ad board stopped it. Re-watching the footage on BBC, the SC visual (ie for the TV) appeared whilst the car was on the track rolling down the hill.

    I don’t know how this works – does that visual come up as soon as it is called, as soon as someone responsible for the graphics presses a button, or as soon as the SC enters the track.

    If it is, say, the latter, then the SC might have been called just before it started rolling down the hill, with officials believing it had stopped in a dangerous place. Of course, by the time it had been called, and was on track, they probably did realise it wasn’t needed, but it would’ve been too late by then.

    • So take more time before deploying the SC. Proceed under ‘double yellows’ – ie be prepared to stop – before deploying the SC.

      • I definitely agree that the safety car here really showed how foolish the situation is.

        Maybe the answer is to re-write the yellow flag rules. Maybe in a double waved / flashing yellow section the cars are limited to pit-lane speeds? Wouldn’t be hard to set up detection at each flag post if it isn’t there already. Maybe have it as an average rather than a maximum speed limit to give a bit of leeway. No need at all for the safety car in Germany if this situation was in place.

        It would have been needed the first time in SIlverstone due to the exceptional nature of the problem, but many other races it could be done away with and just the section where there is a problem neutralised.

  4. To be honest, I always find the stop go penalties harsh for the driver, when its the teams mistake… i think thats why the fines for the unsafe releases were used, and I can appreciate that. I suppose you ‘win as a team loose as a team’… But… Bleh. A better option would be to fine them and dock the teams constructors points too.

  5. Hulkenberg to Ferrari would be logical, but Lotus might also want to hire the German, and i don’t think to replace Kimi, he’s probably staying.
    Grosjean brought Total as a sponsor, that’s why he still has the seat probably, but how much saying will the new owners (35%) Infinity Racing from Abu Dhabi have in the drivers choice?
    Maybe they prefer a driver who performs more constant.
    I think now would be a good time for Mr. Di Montezemolo to give Nico a call, and a contract.

  6. I have really enjoyed this site since I discovered it a few months ago so it’s with some trepidation that my first comment here is somewhat contraversial. There are a few things I’d like to mention, the first regarding the FIA’s penalties for the Webber and DiResta unsafe releases. I am that once again the FIA have issued their fines based on the outcome of the infringement rather than the infringement itself, much as they did with Grosjean last year at Spa.
    DiResta was released directly into the path of Verna and if he hadnt of jumped on the brakes then clearly there would have been an accident. I dont beleive Webber’s release was “unsafe” at all – he was released into clear air by the lollipop man who clearly thought there was nothing wrong with the car, indeed from his position I am sure Webbers car looked ready to go. Obviously is the man had seen an issue he wouldn’t have let Webber go – who in their right mind would let a 3-wheel shod car exit the pit box?.
    Technically therefore, the release was safe, it was just the pitstop itself which was an issue due to a mistake, so I am not sure how the FIA can penalise the team for making a mistake which ruins their own drivers race. It really did seem that the fine was severe due to what resulted from the mistake, which is not what they should be ruling on. Would Grosjean have been penalised so harshly at Spa last year if it was a Caterham he crashed over and not Alonso?

    Secondly with regards to the often heard line of Red Bull sabotaging Marks cars, well honestly you really can see how people could think this. It is happenign with rather monotonous frequency that whenever Mark is in a threateneing position to Vettel he is ‘removed’ somehow. Am i saying his team deliberately made his wheel fall off? – no of course not, I am sure that wasn’t part of the plan, but all they had to do was ‘fake’ a jammed wheel gun, add 3-4 seconds to his pit stop, and bam! he is now not a threat.
    I hear people say that teams wouldn’t do anything to risk their drivers or cost themselves constructors points – well, consider these counter arguments, firstly, Singapore 2008 – Renault TOLD Piquiet Jr to crash – is this not risking a drivers life? What about Colin Chapman who pushed car design to the limits in terms of fragility so much so that many judged his cars as dangerous. Of course with Webber, the majority of his convenient issues seems to be poor starts or kers issues, and realistically, these issues have never hindered him from getting points, just from getting up on the first couple of steps of the podium.
    With Vettels win-ratio and consistancy, Mark doesnt need podiums to help Red Bull in the WCC, he only needs to do those recovery drives into 5th-8th position every race, the inconsistancy of the other teams numbers 2 drivers (Massa, Grosjean, Schumacher last year, Hamiltons repeated DNF’s last year) means that Webber can be ‘mildy’ sabotaged and still do enough to win the WCC, this being proven by Webber’s 2011-2012 points haul.

    • Good to hear from you bender.

      I do know some serious people who believe in the small ‘mistake’ on Webber’s car theory.

      What surprised me was that he was pitted when he was going faster than he had prior to being released by Vettel.

    • I still haven’t seen any good reason, why RB should deliberately stop Mark from challenging Vettel. For all it’s worth it appears to be nothing but penis envy from people, who don’t like Vettel winning.
      Whenever people talk about Mark having all the bad luck, they forget that Vettel over the years had the majority of mechanical failures, more than once losing more or less secure wins (Valencia 2012 or Silverstone 2013, just to name two).
      I’m seriously reconsidering my participation in this community, because the endless ‘Vettel only wins because of the car’ and ‘Red Bull deliberately sabotage Webber to make Vettel look good’ malarkey is what drove me away from other sites, but it seems to become the normal stance here, too. Something that I can surely do without.

      • Newsflash Danilo!
        It’s called an opinion, and not everybody has the same.
        There is a site though I can recommend you, it’s called “Narcissus on F1.com”.
        Sorry man, to much Grappa today.

      • There is no logical reason I grant you. Especially if Mark does have this special relationship with DIetrich.

        I wonder who calls his strategy though. If it is a team thing then he does seem to get the questionable calls. If it is him with his engineer then he needs to find a better engineer.

        However, no matter who calls what there is no rational reason for the team to cost itself points on a regular basis. There are more subtle things they could be doing to slow him down a little to keep him behind Seb if that was the intention.

        My take on it is that he is a bit like Johnny Herbert – a driver who should be top class but just never gets the breaks.

      • I thought you’d gone already… 😉
        Vettel is a very good and dedicated driver but if he’d been in a McLaren or Mercedes (for example) for the past three years he would probably not have three championships…! Get over it – it’s F1, it’s motor-racing – it’s life…
        And what is all this whining about all the other sites who now have to get by without you…? Do you not see there’s a pattern here…? You sound like an expat in the south of Spain… 😉
        Are you so self-righteous that you want everybody else to suck up to you…? Try saw-ard’s blog, they’re good at it over there… But please try something because you’re not the only one to be unhappy with your presence here…

        • He might have won a Championship in the McLaren 2011 as after all Jenson was the runner up that year. 2010 Hamilton was only 16 points behind so maybe there to. Hard to know.
          Would he have won a race in the last three years of Mercedes never mind the championship?
          Every driver needs a competitive car no matter who they are. It’s the ones that make use of that car when they get it.

      • So, a lot of sites, similar to this one, have people saying the Red Bull team deliberately try and delay Webber so he can’t challenge Vettel? Maybe there is some substance to the rumours, then, have you thought of that? We will see next year if there is truth in it, if Vettel’s new team mate suffers the same problems at the start and throughout the race.

      • Danilo, if you want sensible and logical viewpoints then reading a lot of comments isn’t a good idea.

      • Chill Danilo. I was talking to 3 people last night who watch F1 casually. Their impressions of the race were.

        1) Webber was sabotaged (I don’t believe that by the way).
        2) The safety car was silly and it was a fix to get Webber back in the race (they didn’t know it was just the rules).
        3) They thought exploding tyres were a good idea because the Silverstone race was more exciting.

      • Dan no need to go. I like to read the opposite or alternative views to posts. IMO it make you think n ponder and not get carried away on a certain viewpoint and helps make up your mind and adds to the debate. I may or may not agree with everything you say but keep fighting your corner. Your passion comes across on what you feel 🙂 As a suggestion perhaps try n put it across in a rational, less emotive clear case and factual way. U can yell at them behind your screen while typing calm rational arguments. The yelling can be therapeutic but might scare the neighbours 😉

    • Got to disagree re Webber’s release – to me, it was unsafe to release the car as the wheel wasn’t properly connected. Nothing to stop the lolly-pop man wandering around, kicking all four tyres before he lets the car go. It is up to the team to implement whatever procedures are necessary to make sure the car is safe before sending it back our in to the fray.

      As someone who saw the seemingly innocuous incident which sadly ended the life of Henry Surtees I would say that a loose wheel in such an uncontrolled place is a very good reason for a very hefty ticking off for the team responsible.

      • This I definitely concur with. IMO, RB deserve a harsher punishment than Force India, even if it is another consequences rather than incident ruling. Consequences are why certain incidents are more serious, i.e. people getting hurt. The cameraman could have been hurt more seriously, while thankfully nothing harmful happened in the other incident. If two cars came together in the pits though, that could really hit multiple people.

        • I appreciate that, the point I was making is that the RB pit stop procedure is flawed if the car can be released without a positive indication from all four corners that the tyre is properly mounted.

    • Hmmm… I am pretty sure that the lollipop man is supposed to look for signals from all 4 corners before releasing the car (as well as monitoring traffic). There was clearly no sign (usually a hand raised) so that’s why the release was unsafe.

      Or you could just make the grammatical argument that in this case, unsafe refers to the condition of the car itself rather than the conditions into which it is being released. Just a thought.

      But clearly a big problem as what’s happening is the lollipop men are anticipating rather than reacting to events in order to save .25 seconds, and that is making for some dangerous situations for everybody.

  7. Here’s a thought for you, Judge. In many other formulae there is a limit on the number of mechanics working on the car at a stop. Why not have something similar in F1. It takes out another area where pointless amounts of money are spend developing systems to save tenths of a second which are otherwise unnecessary.

    Mandate standard rims, standard wheel nuts, standard wheel guns.

    None of that will impact on the technology transfer to road cars yet it will mean fewer mechanics need to be transported to each race and another area the lesser funded teams don’t need to devote precious resource to.

    • I quite agree, Stephen, and have for years felt there are simply too many (by FAR) people in the pits. I’ve recently been watching IndyCars (because they allow the film on YouTube – another anomaly…) where they have four guys on wheels, one on fuel, and one who seems to check things… And I find their pit-stops MUCH more interesting, and exciting…

    • This is what I heard Horner suggesting – less mechanics – the problem is the longer you make a pit stop, it removes strategic options and we’ll end up managing the tyres according to the analysts again.

      Standard rims, nuts and guns seems a good idea.

      • I guess it depends how long you lengthen the stops to. Going back to stops taking 7 or 8 seconds won’t make that much difference and you can increase the strategic options by widening the gap between the two compounds.

        You can argue that short stops limit the options as well. If you don’t lose much time with a stop you aren’t going to risk holding on to the tyres for as long as possible.

        • Agreed, but we want the drivers to race hard on the tyres – holding onto tyres and driving to delta times is what people are complaining about.

          There was allegedly 4 seconds difference between 2 and 3 stops – according to analysts prior to this race.

          In addition, if they reduce the pit lane speed from 100kph to 60 kph which is also being mooted -it does make a big difference.

          Further, Indy pit lanes appear to be a lot shorter than F1

      • Or how about we apply some of that magic FIA technology and interlock the wheel nuts being fastened with the ability for the ECU to put the car back into gear.

        LMP1 used air jacks, I think, and I suppose it might also be possible to design a similar system that wouldn’t release the jacks until all the wheels were properly attached to the car.

        Imagine the fun either system would generate while the bugs were being worked out. 🙂

    • I like the idea, but I think it depends on what it is you’re trying to achieve. If it’s to slow down the pitstops, this should work – but that might have a flipside of, for example, fewer stops and even more tyre -management. If it is to reduce the number of people who can be hit by a loose wheel, then this would certainly seem to be an answer – and that is a very sensible aim! But if it’s to reduce the chance of an errant wheel charging down the pitlane, then I’m not sure this works; I think that F1 teams will always try to be as fast as possible down to the fraction of a second – and the risk there is that the lollypop man will always release the car the very instant that he THINKS the pitstop is complete…

      • You could always make the driver get our and change one of the wheels…. 😉

        On a more serious note, I wonder if getting rid of refuelling has actually made the pitlane a more dangerous place? Granted we had the odd fire but they were easily controlled. The length of the stop was always limited by the time taken to refuel so loose wheels was much less of a problem.

        Another take on the fewer stops / tyre management debate, maybe a driver would have to push harder to make an extra stop work so that could add to the excitement?

  8. I’m glad to see Tio Ellinas get a test day, if he can make it to F1, perhaps he will be one of the last few to make it without a significant chunk of sponsorship money, until the governance of the sport changes, and he won a young driver competition to secure his racing career. In ideal circumstances, perhaps Tio could get 2 or 3 days and perhaps Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, improving in GP2, could get another try out.

    I can see Susie having a day in the car, good exposure for Williams and to be honest, alternatives like Daniel Abt or Johnny Cecotto Jr (forgotten who else was actually mentioned to be at the Williams YDT) still need some time to mature and would be a good pick for next year’s YDT. I think Abt will be stronger in GP2 in his 2nd or 3rd year, once he adjusts to the car. Also, if you notice the 2003 British Formula Renault season which is available on Wikipedia, Hamilton wins (2nd season, 3rd in 1st season), Alex Lloyd (2nd season), Rossiter (2nd season) and Conway (1st season) second, third and fourth, di Resta seventh (1st season) and Stoddart ninth (2nd season), beating Paul on a couple of occasions that year. So we can say it has taken Wolff a little more time to get up to speed in cars, perhaps due to higher muscle demand (although she was the top female karter in the world before moving to cars), and she has done OK in DTM, perhaps a little similarly to PdR (who got extra time in DTM to refine himself after the financial crash, rather than move to F1 around 2009), so she is well placed to do F1 testing.

    If I was Bob, builder of fast cars, I would have stuck with the veto on the 2012 tyres coming back. I would insist that it’s not my problem that the other teams couldn’t design around the 2013 tyre, or were operating them on the edges of causing themselves problems. Getting 5th in the WCC would be a huge boost for the team finances, although perhaps McLaren wouldn’t see it that way and they still rely on McLaren know-how. But even McLaren aren’t immune to monetary pressure, having taken Perez over Hulkenberg, which has also left Sauber with a problem or two, as with Perez/Gutierrez they would probably be in the same place, just above Williams, but with a lot more sponsor money flowing in from Mexico. Which driver would the Russians be backing? Petrov? Looking at junior formulae, Sirotkin looks alright but is still young, Aleshin has probably had his day, and Kvyat is on the RB program. Petrov/Gutierrez might take some time to gel/get up to speed – 2nd season for results.

    Mark’s strategy I think was to also cover against an undercut, which didn’t happen anyway but could have given traffic problems by the time Grosjean came out. I do concur that the safety car rules are not that great. They should let him catch up at racing speeds, given that danger has been cleared by the time this is allowed to happen, and cut a lap off (which even if they did as was true in the past, he had basically almost caught up at delta speed anyway) – this would have made the ending even more thrilling, with Raikkonen getting a chance to have a DRS attack on Vettel. Alas, not so, when you are at the front and have momentum (the most money to spend), luck usually goes your way, see Ferrari in the 2000’s! 😉

  9. As far as I know, Susie doesn’t have a super license. Nor the racing record to get one.

    • She doesn’t need a superlicense to go testing. In fact she could gain one by producing enough mileage. I for once would be happy if one team at last gives a girl a chance. I think Cyndie Allemann or Kathrin Legge would be the more obvious choices, but Suzie should get the job done, too. She racked up some pretty good results in a ridiculously uncompetitive car in DTM, so she isn’t exactly Slowpoke Rodriguez,

        • I would love to see women in F!, I just don’t think Susie is the real thing. If she has potential, why haven’t Williams had her out flogging a 2010 car around for a few thousand kilometers? Sure, it’s not the same car as a 2013, but she at least would get some track time in a vehicle pretty damn close to the current cars – at least close enough to learn how to drive the things. So, if Williams is serious about her, why haven’t they gotten her up to speed? I will also be curious to see how her times stack up if she actually tests. But I won’t hold my breath.

          • Even a test in an old car costs a lot of money and Williams are pretty cash strapped as are most other midfield teams and other than mileage for Suzie the team wouldn’t gain nuff anything from such a test.
            That’s what I loved about Minardi. They did such things. They sent Kathrin Legge out just for the heck of it.

      • “She racked up some pretty good results in a ridiculously uncompetitive car in DTM, so she isn’t exactly Slowpoke Rodriguez”

        Susie Stoddart/Wolf 7 years in DTM, over 70 starts, 2 point finishes.
        Define “pretty good results” please.

        • In the time during which Suzie ran the DTM she always was in small privateer teams (Mücke and Persson), who ran cars as old as 3 years. She scored two 7th places in a two-year old car, which is bloody amazing, considering that David Coulthard scored two 8th places and a lucky 5th in a race of extreme attrition.
          In fact the privateer Mercedes cars were so uncompetitive in comparison to the works entries that Mercedes received an official reprimand for it last year for delivering shit to the privateers, which prompted them to abandon the old cars and equip all privateer teams with fresh cars. I think scoring points at all in such a crap box is an amazing feat to begin with, especially considering that a 13-times F1 GP winner needed a lot of luck to beat that.

          • 2010 DTM Lausitzring, i was there as a guest of Trilux, a friend works for Trilux Italy.
            To be honest, in that race Coulthard, Premat, Ekstrom and Scheider all had DNF’s.
            She’s married to Toto, if her name wasn’t Wolf, she wouldn’t even be allowed near a Formula 1 car.

          • Exactly, a race with 6 dnf’s, but well done Vitaly 😉

          • “… She scored two 7th places in a two-year old car, which is bloody amazing…” – after seven years and 70+ starts. Coulthard achieved two 8th places… and isn’t being offered a test either… 😉

  10. I don’t think Susie Wolff deserves a testing opportunity in the least, and is only being considered for it because of her vagina. She may be a professional, and a better driver than most civilian males, but as a racer she’s shite and there’s no way to justify her getting any seat-time in F1 unless 1) it’s a gimmick or 2) she’s paying for it (or 3) both)!

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