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Something needs to change – Gravel Traps
As TJ has alluded to many time before in his musings over the modern F1 circuits, the gravel traps at the Tilke designed circuits do not do F1 any favors at all. The picture I have inserted below shows the run off area at turn 15 of the Circuit of the Americas.
Apart from the Pirelli advertising, the extra tarmac serves absolutely no purpose. So why not have this as a gravel trap instead so that it punishes the drivers who end up there, instead of being so forgiving. Romain Grosjean had an almighty off in the 2012 edition of the race which would have caused his car to become beached had it not been for so much run off. Allowing him to carry on means no consequence for pushing too hard.
Furthermore, had he been beached there it would almost certainly have resulted in a safety car which would have added an element of uncertainty to the race – something the 2013 edition was lacking, as Vettel cruised away into the Texan sunset to victory.
Formula One is supposed to be the highest level of motorsport in the world, so drivers need to be tested at all times. With more of the Tilke dromes entering the calendar, we are set to see more of the overly forgiving tracks on our TV screens. Something needs to change with circuit designs, otherwise they could soon start molding into one like Abu Dhabi. The last thing the calendar needs is another Yas Marina.
Useless Pub Quiz Ammo – Austin Edition
Austin provides more statistics and facts that you can use to impress your mates down at the pub, once you have enough Glysantin in the system:
- His 4th place finish meant that Lewis Hamilton finished a race on US American soil for the first time without being part of the podium ceremony afterwards.
- Austin was the first ever race for Romain Grosjean without a world champion as a team mate
- At 8 wins in a row, Sebastian Vettel took the record off Alberto Ascari, which had stood for over 60 years. Ascari is often credited with 9 wins in a row, but after his 7th straight win in the 1953 Argentinian GP was the Indy 500, which back then still counted towards the F1 world championship and Ascari didn’t run it. He won two more races after it, though, but even that record is in danger of being tied if Vettel doesn’t somehow crash out of the Brazilian GP.
- At 12 for Vettel and two for Nico Rosberg, German drivers have won 14 out of 18 races this year. Fernando Alonso made sure that with Spain at least one other nation got more than a solitary victory this season. One each went to Finnland and her Majesty’s Empire so far.
- Having won at Austin, Hungary became the last country that Vettel has run but hasn’t won a GP at. Of the 24 tracks he ever started a race at he won at 20. Fuji, Hungaroring, Hockenheim and Indianapolis still elude him. His buddy and idol Schumacher has won at 23 out of 34 tracks he raced at. With Bernard E. – knight of the short stature – adding more and more new tracks in new countries, Vettel even threatens to break Schumacher’s record of having run at over 30 different tracks in his career.
- If Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg don’t outscore Vettel by at least 25 points at Interlagos, the man from Heppenheim will end up with more points than the second placed team in the constructors championship.
- Having had a rather disastrous race, Heikki Kovalainen extended his streak of pointless races to an incredible 61. Luca Badoer would be proud.
For next season the amount of fuel that can be used in a race is limited to 100kg. Meanwhile, the batteries for the Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) must weigh between 20 and 25kg and be contained in single pack (not split, as Red Bull have done in recent years – upper drawing). This means it will be necessary to place the battery pack inside the fuel cell (red arrow, right). Also shown here are the exhaust tailpipes (red arrow, centre left), which must extend at least 170 to 185mm behind the rear axle line (and have a single exit).
Another difference for 2014 is that the rear wing can no longer include a lower, beam wing. This means that vertical pillars (red arrow, left) will once more be used to fix the rear wing to the car (Formula1.com)
Motorsport Total prepares for 2014
by Danilo Schöneberg
Some of you might have noticed that in recent weeks close to race weekends the news were posted by me rather than his honour, the judge himself. The reason for that is rather simple. While the fat hippo is usually at home, the honourable judge is at the scene of the crime, so once in while I take over this duty and considering the complaints, which top the comment charts, I think I’m doing well 😉
We’ve had several periods this year, when news were hard to come by. With every race being won by the same guy and the whole opposition waving the white flag, there seemed to be a reign of apathy in the paddock at times. During those times a plucky little German magazine by the name of Motorsport Total was a faithful source of news. Their site can be a harrowing experience if your browser isn’t equipped with a popup blocker, but they’re very quick with news and don’t block you after like 20 times looking at them in a month.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the folks at motorsport-total.de, who provided us with fresh material in times of drought. In preparation of the next season, they currently run a survey. It isn’t your garden variety ‘Tell us how great we are’ survey. They actually ask for real criticism, so if you happen to be fluent in German, please tell ’em what you think 🙂
Formula E to connect with Facebook generation
Speaking at a technology fair in Barcelona, Alejandro Agag, the chief executive of the new racing series believes the new electric racing car series will speak to the Facebook generation in a way that petrol-burning racing cars no longer can.
The argument is simple. Kids used to grow up dreaming of buying a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Jaguar but now they carve the latest iPad.
The combination of the shorter event, the urban setting of the races combined with interactive features such as online voting for which driver will be given a bonus push-to-pass power boost, Agag believes will be much more relevant to young people.
At the same event, ex-F1 driver Lucas di Grassi, enthuses about the new cars. He states that the electric powertrain gives a far more immediate response than any petrol engine. Di Grassi likens the difference between a Formula E car and a petrol-powered racing car similar to the dissimilarity between a normally aspirated petrol car and an old-fashioned lag-prone turbo engine.
Where Formula E should be smart, is by providing a revolutionary digital interface broadcast of the races, which makes the current SKY F1 efforts look like old hat.
It isn’t immediately obvious how online voting in itself will create the stir with the target audience Agag suggests. Yet were Formula E to really think outside the box and say deliver some simultaneous gaming platform during the race – then the reality of the ‘Facebook generation’ revolution which is hoped for – be more believable.
2014 tyres available for Brazil Friday practice
Pirelli will be providing all eleven F1 teams the latest-specification 2014 prototype tyres. The Italian tyre manufacturer is keen to give the early 2014 designs a run even though the V8 engines are still in use.
Each car will have two sets of next year’s tyres with the 2014 construction and profile on a nominally rated at present – medium compound. They are available for the team’s to use in FP1 and FP2, under the current regulations.
It will be interesting to see which teams bother to assist Pirelli and which teams do not run the 2014 prototypes – preferring to use every run setting up the car for the race on Sunday.
For those fans of one stop races, the Interlagos weekend will see the teams run on the Pirelli dry weather hard and medium compounds – as last time out in Austin.
Once accused of being a closet ‘lover’ of Mark Webber, I was outed this year for all to see 😉
Anyway, it’s time to write a few last Webber biased stories and memories.
It was fantastic to see Mark beat Vettel in qualifying – sector’s 1 & 2 anyway – and had he not f%^&$d up the last corner… as he admitted later in the paddock…. he would have claimed pole position in Austin.
The thing most F1 fans will remember @aussiegrit for is his straight talking and at times colourful language. But hey… If Vettel is already a true great, then Webber is indeed a very quick F1 driver too.
There are times over the past 4 years when he has been very close to Sebastian and as the young German admitted this past week, the Aussie’s competitiveness has helped to push Vettel to higher planes of performance.
Yet the dream F1 driver pairing could have been all over before Vettel won his first WDC. Back in early 2010 Webber admitted that if the previous year’s RB5 had been woeful, he would probably have retired at the end of 2009.
The RB5 in fact overcame the curse of the double diffuser designs early in the season and delivered a Red Bull 1-2 at the 3rd round of the championship in Shanghai. Webber finally broke his curse and won 2 races that year – the first in Germany and the other in Brazil.
Speaking to “The Australian” before the beginning of the 2010 season, he was candid over how close he came to considering retirement. “I don’t know. If we had a total shit box (of a car) last year…. Maybe.”
2009 had begun in a tough manner for the Aussie, following him breaking his leg in his own charity event in Tasmania. On a remote road just after lunch, Webber collided head on with a car and was airlifted to hospital.
He later reflected, “It was a very tough start to the year for me mentally with the accident and if that was coupled with a tough season result-wise, it might have been enough to put water on the flames, but fortunately, it was enough to put petrol on it.”
“Two or three years ago, I wasn’t particularly enjoying it a huge amount and I wasn’t a million miles away (from retirement) then. You have to be enjoying it and you have to be motivated. That fire has to keep going.
“Last year was very, very important in terms of the outlook on my whole career,” he added, “The fire is burning now, I am getting up each day and I care and I am taking responsibility for myself.”
Later that year Webber led Vettel in the WDC as the lights went out in Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season.
Paul DiResta to take the seat of his cousin?
With the second Lotus seat likely to be filled with Venezolan dollars, the opportunities for Nico Hülkenberg look rather limited, Motorsport Total reports. A return to Force India looks increasingly possible, which would make life difficult for 2010 DTM champion Paul di Resta. His team mate Adrian Sutil is more or less confirmed for next season. Not only has he got a long history with the team (7 years) since its former incarnations Midland and Spyker, he also has Medion sponsor coins and no history of publicly slagging off the team in his favour. Should Sauber be unable to convince Nico to stay or Lotus stop drooling over south american petrol cash, Force India could end up fielding an all-German lineup in 2014.
That of course would leave Paul out on the street and the Scotsman seems to have considered plan B already. His cousin Dario Franchitti was recently forced to abandon his 2014 drive with Chip Ganassi Racing in Indycars, which is akin to a vacancy at McLaren or Ferrari in F1 terms. Ganassi’s team has been one of the top teams in CART and Indycars since 1996, scoring multiple championships and Indy 500 wins with Jimmy Vasser, Alex Zanardi, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti. Other well known winners in Ganassi cars are Kenny Braeck, Bruno Junqueira, Michael Andretti and Dan Wheldon. With such an opportunity of getting his hand on top class machinery, Di Resta even reconsiders his doubts about the dangers of Indycars, which have caused his cousin’s retirement. “To be honest, I didn’t think about it before now,” he’s reported as saying. “I’ve always been sceptical about the safety, but the more I think about it, considering the amount of success he [Frachitti] had, it is a serious opportunity.”
Paul is right in noticing that Franchitti enjoyed a lot of success with 4 series championships and 3 Indy 500 wins for Ganassi and Andretti Autosport, but Indycar and Champcar racing comes at a price. In the last 20 years it has claimed the lives of Jeff Krosnoff, Scott Brayton, Tony Renna, Paul Dana, Greg Moore, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Dan Wheldon. Alex Zanardi lost his legs, Sam Schmidt was paralyzed and Christiano da Matta, Kenny Braeck and now Dario Franchitti suffered career-ending accidents.
For Sale: Mildly used championship winning car
The London auctioneer firm Bonhams announced that on Dec. 1st they’ll have a rather interesting piece on offer. The article in question is 19 years old, answers to the name of ‘Benetton B194’ and is the car in which Michael Schumacher scored four of eight wins to seal his first championship.
The car is perfectly servicable and comes with complete pit equipment and spare parts. On top of that the buyer, who should have a few millions to spare, will get a testing day on the Ascari Race resort.
How about that, Pastor? Didn’t you recently say you wanted championship winning material. Here’s your chance and it would free up a seat for someone, who actually deserves it. No more pesky guys sabotaging your tyre pressures either 😉