Castrol GP Predictor Summary – Spa 2013

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald.

One incident that seems to have been largely overlooked over the past two race weekends is the issue of boundaries.  The track limit is one very contentious part of the rules, where in some places it is overlooked and assumed to be ‘just the done thing’, where as elsewhere drivers are penalised for even the slightest infringement.

The most obvious recent infringement was that of Romain Grosjean, where he overtook Felipe Massa round the outside of turn 4.  Massa actually came out after the race in support of the Frenchman, saying he should not have been penalised.

Then there was the incident involving Grosjean and Perez at Spa.  Whilst it was slightly unnecessary, it was for the most parts a fair move to defend his position.  Unsurprisingly, the Mexican commentators where I was watching the race felt it was unfair, but they did have a point.  In both cases, common sense should have been applied if the rules had permitted this.  Enter a revolutionary rule change to even out the current regulations.

What if they thought this one through…

Abu Dhabi is often criticised for its docile racing and uneventful processions, in a desert land far removed from the F1 heartland.  However, it could be the Yas Marina Track that holds the key to a revision in the rule book.

The (my) revised rules would allow a driver defending him position to defend within the original track limits (the inside lines) without allowing any wheels outside, and a driver trying to overtake as far as the outside lines being required to keep only 2 wheels inside.  This would work at Abu Dhabi, which can be seen in the picture below.

Yas Island F1 track, Abu Dhabi

If a driver did exceed the track limits, the stewards would be allowed digression to veto anybody who was forced into exceeding the limits.  This would ensure a fair situation for all, where common sense would be applied in extreme situations.

Of course this would not work for street circuits like Monaco and Singapore, but this would add to the uniqueness of these tracks further ensuring variety on the F1 calendar.  Furthermore, this would mean the newly designed Herman Tilke tracks become part of the new generation of tracks with a completely different style of racing there.

It would be good to hear the views of TJ13 readers, as I feel this is one rule that needs clarification.

On the Up

Usher’s XI and Somers GP both successfully predicted the podium, and managed to move up 21 and 18 places respectively.  A correct prediction for 5th place of Mark Webber further helped Usher’s XI’s great week.

Spa 2013 - Usher's XI

One to Forget

A poor weekend for Equine Alpine meant a drop of 20 places.  The sight of Kimi Raikkonen retiring must have brought tears to the eyes.

Spa 2013 - Equipe Alpine

Nobody saw it coming

Once again Lewis was surprised to be on pole.  The record is becoming rather boring as they have a clear strategy in practice sessions to not show their true pace.  Given their straight line pace, will he be surprised when he takes the pole position ahead of the Red Bulls in Monza?

Food for thought

Force India have clearly lost their pace after the revision to the tyres.  The McLaren boys will now cruise to 6th place in the WCC.  It’s a great shame after their impressive first half of the season.

The Red Bulls lack straight line speed, so is Monza going to prove tricky for their traditional high down force setup?  A tricky choice for pole and the win awaits us all.

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!

Red Bull Racing can now boast 2 wins at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.  Which other constructors have 2 victories to their name there?

(Answer will be posted in the next Predictor summary)

Last question’s answer

The question was: Which constructor has the most wins at Hungarian GP?

Answer: Of course, the usually ever reliable McLaren have 11 wins in Hungary.  Whether they will have a car capable of competing in 2014 there remains to be seen…

7 responses to “Castrol GP Predictor Summary – Spa 2013

  1. My recollection of the race is that RBR had changed their downforce levels at Spa and were some of the fastest cars in a straight line. Do I disremember? I have always thought it a bit strange that Red Bull chose to run on the rev limiter in races; they didn’t leave anything in hand if they (read Vettel) didn’t jump to the front, and it certainly has hurt them with DRS overtaking.

    • It is often reported Red Bull are amongst the slowest cars timed thru’ speed traps, seemingly attributed to their downforce altho’ acknowledged Newey’s designs are slippery. Spa seems a basic change caught the opposition sleeping and it certainly worked.

      • RB develops tremendous DF with their floor and needed less rear wing at Spa (I think it was Somers wrote a nice article about that). The other is location of speed trap at Spa is at the exit of eau rouge. I have seen it suggested that some cars were still in 6th gear when they hit it, thus the odd order. Last, the Mercs in particular were shaded towards a wet set up with extra wing. This turned out to not help them so much in the actual race.

        Scariest quote was from Seb, who chillingly alluded to the fact that they have finally figured out how to use 7th gear properly.. I’m just thinking, wow, look at all the damage you’ve managed to do with just the 6 you already figured out. 😀

  2. My ideas for penalizing exceeding track limits:
    1- get better stewards that have common sense.
    2- some sort of mandatory democratic electronic vote required from all team principals when prompted at track via a button on their dashboard.
    3- make a rule where if one penalty is assessed, any physically equal and non interpretive action done by a driver will be automatically met with the same penalty first assessed for the remainder of the GP.

    • Adam, your two examples of the problem, Grosjean’s pass of Massa round the outside of T4 at Hungaroring, and Perez squeezing Grosjean off track in the braking zone of Les Combes on initial view seem unrelated (gaining an advantage by leaving the track versus forcing a competitor off track respectively).

      On further review, what they both have in common is that it is not clear to many folks why the steward ruled as they did.

      Your proposed solution to this problem would not help Mr. Perez in his penalty, since it was Mr. Perez who was attempting to overtake Mr. Grosjean. With your proposed rules, Mr. Perez would have had the wider track (as the overtaker), and Mr. Grosjean would have had the narrower track as the defender.

      One significant problem with your proposed rule changes is the possibility of more penalties. In general, racing fans don’t care for drive-through penalties as too many penalties disrupts the natural flow of a race, makes it more confusing for all parties involved, and introduces the stewards as a more significant primary factor of the competition.

      My proposals, in order of importance, are that first the FIA provide a fan friendly explanation for each penalty after the race. Second, that the FIA encourage each track to work on their track boundaries so that if a competitor leaves the designated track that they also lose time (due to less grip). Given the safety factors of high grip run off areas (asphalt often) this might mean wider strips of a low grip surface (perhaps a car width or less) on the edge of the track with the high grip run-off beyond.

      It’s a good subject to discuss! Thanks for this! 🙂

  3. Regarding track limits, it seems to be fair to allow a competitor to exceed track limits to avoid a collision, the judgement is whether or not they gain an unfair advantage. If so, they should yield the position, otherwise, carry on, it’s called racing. Personally I would suggest that some combination of the delta between defender and overtaker and actual physical position when all 4 wheels leave the track be used to make the decision. But that’s probably too reasonable so it could never work. 😉

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