Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 11th June 2014


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When will Lewis’ luck improve?

Marko: Team Mistake cost Vettel the Win and why the Champion is struggling

Location, Location, Location

The difference a brake makes

Rosberg “more rounded” than Hamilton

OTD lite quiz

When will Lewis’ luck improve?

The ‘law of averages’ expresses a belief in the natural world that the outcomes of a random event will “even out” within a small(ish) sample. Unfortunately, this law is based upon bad statistical supposition or just wishful thinking rather than any mathematical principle.

Many amateur gamblers have rationalised that because the roulette wheel has landed on red in three consecutive spins, “the law of averages says it’s due to land on black!” Of course, the wheel has no memory and its probabilities do not change according to past results.

So even if the wheel has landed on red in ten consecutive spins, the probability that the next spin will be black is still 48.6% (zero is green).

The belief that numbers which haven’t appeared recently are more likely to appear soon is known as the ‘gamblers fallacy’.

How does all this relate to F1. Well, a number of fans on various websites and forums have suggested that because Lewis has had 2 DNF’s in 7 races this year, it is likely to be Nico Rosberg who gets the next one.

Given the same effort into each car’s engineering and build and assuming driving styles cause no statistical variations, TJ13 has to say this logic falls into the same category as the gambler’s fallacy.

Statistics in fact demonstrate that were a coin to be flipped 100 times, there is only an 8% chance of the results being 50 heads and 50 tails.

Empirical evidence that the ‘luck’ does not even itself out in F1 has been ‘proven’ 😉 in the analysis of the inter team battle over some years between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. One had all the luck and 4 world titles and the other had none and none.

In probability theory however, the law of large numbers (LLN) is a theorem that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times. According to the law, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the ‘expected value’. This will tend to become closer as more trials are performed.

So in layman’s terms, were Nico and Lewis to sign 20 year contracts with Mercedes, there may be more hope that over that time the law of large numbers may begin to weave its magic – sorry – tend towards the expected value of….. Lewis 50% DNF’s and Nico 50% DNF’s… favouritism and driving style bias being excluded..

Next time up in Austria it’s again 50/50, which of course would be devastating for Lewis should Nico once again ‘have all the luck’ and win… and he have none… along with a DNF.


Marko: Team Mistake cost Vettel the Win and why the Champion is struggling

On paper the reigning world champion’s 2014 balance sheet looks devastating. After winning the last nine races in 2013, because everyone basically had decided not to bother anymore after the summer break, he is still waiting for his first win of the season. To add insult to injury, it was his team mate, who snatched up an unlikely win, when both Mercedes decided to throw their opposition some bread crumbs in the form of two fried electronic boxes that rendered the MGU-K inoperable. Last year that would have been called a KERS failure.

In the least surprising move ever, the German’s detractors are having a field day, proclaiming that they knew all along that he was mediocre and the car did all the winning for him. Mind you, that’s the same people, who have claimed all along that he doesn’t want to be challenged, yet unwilling to follow their script, the struggling serial winner of 2010-2013 seemed genuinely delighted for his team mate, even though he had just lost a win that was supposed to be his. The naysayers are left scratching their heads, why the champion doesn’t hate the Australian. It confuses them. Seb being gracious in defeat – that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Why is that? There are several reasons. First of all, Vettel is realistic. He has spent years carefully developing a completely counter-intuitive driving style to get the most out of the creations that came from Adrian Newey and his team of engineers. He knows that you don’t unlearn that in a matter of weeks.

As a programmer I can easily attest to that. There are programming languages that require each statement to be finished with a semicolon (;), others do not. Try switching between them. The missing or superfluous semicolons will drive you insane and slow you down for weeks! And Seb has a far taller mountain to claim – he has to unlearn and relearn complex instinctual movements.

Danny Ricciardo came in with a massive advantage. The Toro Rosso always lacked rear down-force, so he was used to driving a car with less than ideal handling. Added to that he didn’t even remotely lose as much track time through technical failures. The reason why Vettel doesn’t crack is, that he knows he still has it. He lost almost all free practice time in Barcelona, got whacked with a 10 place grid penalty, yet still finished directly behind Danny Ric. Sometimes you don’t need a win to reassure yourself that you can still cut it.

The team’s outspoken consultant Dr. Marko now reveals that normally Vettel would have been the one to grab the win that Mercedes ‘graciously’ decided to let the opposition have a fight for. Normally loathe to admit to any mistakes, the Austrian admits that the boffins behind the team wall are responsible for Seb losing his track position to his team mate.

“Something went wrong with the GPS,” the former racer explains. The teams use the global positioning tool to calculate where a driver ends up after a pit stop. This is done to avoid releasing the driver into a pack of slower or hard-to-pass traffic. But that’s exactly what they did, according to the Doctor.

“Sebastian lost a lot of time behind Hülkenberg on his in-lap and we miscalculated the GPS data, so we released him and he came back out directly behind Perez. Daniel, meanwhile had clean air as he was farther behind Hülkenberg than Sebastian.”

As a result, Vettel lost over two seconds within less than three laps, mainly because the dyson in the back of the RB10 made it impossible to overtake the Force India’s, who were faster down the straights than the Red Bull with open DRS.

“That was not Vettel’s fault. Our people behind the pit wall made the wrong call,” the Austrian confessed to Auto Motor & Sport. “We would have had to slow down Daniel deliberately to avoid him coming out in front of Sebastian.”

The last bit is especially interesting as that was exactly what aforementioned detractors always accused Red Bull of – slowing Mark down deliberately.

The German language viewers this year have the luxury of watching the ongoing hilarious verbal sparring of two Austrian loud-mouths – the Doc and Niki Lauda. The Canadian round went easily to the Red Bull consultant.

After qualifying Lauda had praised Vettel’s qualifying effort in a Sky Germany interview, but taunted Marko that in the race they would be simply too slow to challenge his Mercedes cars, to which the Doc replied. “If there will ever go something wrong on your cars, we will be there. So I wouldn’t want to be as sure of myself as you are, Niki,”

Foot firmly planted in mouth. Ten-count for Mr. Lauda…


Location, Location, Location

In the property – or real estate – market, there is a maxim which addresses the three most important considerations when valuing a property. Location, location, location. In other words the area in which a property is situated is so important, discussions about all else are relatively insignificant.

Here at TJ13, 30% of our readers are from North America, and we value their observations and input regularly. It gives us Europeans perspective on how fortunate we are with our F1 lives.

So, TJ13 embraces a USA backed team entering F1. It would be fantastic for F1 to race more in the USA, A return to Long Beach would be great and maybe to a ‘new’ Watkins Glen – who knows. One thing is for sure, the US of A is a bloody large place and could easily, and should, host 3 or 4 rounds of the F1 calendar.

Yet, may people’s first, and ongoing, reaction to the Gene Haas notion of setting up an F1 racing base in the USA, is one of shock. Clearly there has been a historic rivalry between the US and European petrol heads over who makes the best cars, but F1 is another matter all together.

Now time to upset the Europeans. Whether they like it or not, F1 is an English based sport located in “Motorsport Valley”. In any front line industry there are support industries and many personnel who are employed behind the scenes – all this provides a location specific expertise adding a huge amount of value to the industry.

The reason Silicon Valley developed is a recognised and established business concept which understands the importance of location intense expertise. Maybe, to truly understand the challenge he is engaging in, Haas should take a look at Ferrari.

Mr. Flavio Briatore believes firmly, “In my opinion, Ferrari must have a base in the UK, where all of the technology of Formula One is concentrated. At Maranello it is difficult to create an effective team and to recruit these British engineers.”

In December TJ13 reported that Ferrari had made overtures toward Ross Brawn, however, since returning from Maranello, Brawn has restated a number of times, he would not want to relocate again to Italy.

Mad dogs and Englishmen huh??? Where to live? Italy….Mmm….England…. Derr…

However, despite the national pride the Brits take in bemoaning their lot, the UK is not a bad place to live and get things done.

Ferrari recently attempted to lure Adrian Newey to their spider’s lair with a staggering offer of $30m pa, but he refused. Whilst there is no evidence this decision was location dependant; however, could Ferrari have facilitated Newy with his own UK based personal technology centre, which will soon be focusing on hulls and not bulls?

Autosprint are reporting today that another high profile F1 engineer said no to a life of Riocca, Gorgonzola and womanizing. Allegedly, Andy Cowell of Mercedes has been offered big big bucks to defect from Brixworth, but he has declined the advances from the team in Red.

Briatore sums up the situation. “Ferrari this year is in deep crisis and has lost the chance to recover. Ferrari is paying for its location — Maranello is definitely not the centre of the (F1) world, it’s England,” he told Italian radio.

Ferrari is of course undergoing a review by Marco Mattiacci and Briatore agrees, “I think that for Ferrari, it will take a major restructuring of the team”, which of course requires some recruitment. Flav knows where to find the missing Ferrari links, “We know exactly who are the best ones, and it is difficult to get them to Italy.”

Ok, so Gene Haas isn’t trying to dominate F1.The first goal for Haas racing is to deliver a car which can consistently meet the 107% qualifying rule – and there are plenty of… ‘on the way down’ … Mike Gascoyne characters who will be happy to move to the USA and help Gene achieve this target.

Whether Gene is just ‘having us all on’ at present while he drums up some US sponsors – who knows? However, it is surely farfetched to believe Haas can recruit a bunch of US engineers and auto designers who with no F1 experience will be capable of designing, engineering and building an F1 car.

The shambles that is Ferrari is a monument for all who believe the location of an F1 team is not that important. The team in Red’s most dominant era in F1 – EVER – was when they managed to recruit a happy bunch of foreigners to go to live and play in Italy; which did indeed include one rather exceptional German driver.

(OK, so who has TJ13 upset this year. Anyone who is friends with Tony Fernandes, Lewis Hamilton Fans, mates of the Red Bull F1 hierarchy, Bernie, Todt, Vijay, Rob Roy, Vettel must be in the list, but I can’t think why…. Johnnie Bloody Herbert, the BBC……plusmany more…. and now the entire Italian nation…)


The New Red Bull Ring

For those relatively new to F1, the Red Bull Ring (previously known as the A1 ring) is maybe an unknown. So here’s a quick look at the F1 circuit which in effect has just 7 corners.



The difference a brake makes

When Lewis Hamilton moved from McLaren to Mercedes he immediately became aware that the brakes on the W04 were not how he liked them. The team implemented a number of minor redesigns/reconfigurations on Lewis’ brakes over the year, but even prior to the GP in Spa Hamilton was still uncomfortable with them.

“Tomorrow, whatever package we have on, it will or will not work. I’m just hopeful that we have the right wing level, there or there abouts, and it’s competitive to others,” he said. “I think my biggest concern will be braking, so that will be my real focus – to maximise braking stability and getting the most out of the brakes.

I need that confidence to really attack them, which I’ve had for so many years, and I still don’t feel like I have that now. There’s no reason why this weekend is going to be any different but that’s just a particular point I need to focus on more than at any other weekend.”

The problem Lewis was having was not merely brake related, but in fact was due to the different designs between McLaren and Mercedes. The car had different roll and pitch characteristics from the fundamental McLaren designs Lewis was used to and this took the British driver sometime to get to grips with.

Evidence that Hamilton was getting on top of this difficulty became evident in the latter part of the season. Lewis revealed, “I think I’m [now] getting the best out of it. If you look at my brake pressure compared to Nico’s, who’s much more comfortable with it, they’re similar, but if you look over the past seven years my brake pressure was way more than Jenson’s, way more than Heikki’s and it was always more than Fernando’s. That’s the difference that I see this year but we are just trying to make improvements on it and I am doing the best I can with it.”

This year we’ve heard little or nothing from Lewis about him having difficulties with his brakes, except of course for the obvious catastrophe that was the Canadian GP.

However, it behind the scenes it has been Rosberg in 2014 who has not been entirely comfortable with his brakes. In fact prior to the Canadian GP where brakes play such a large role – this was a matter of particular concern for Nico.re

Following Friday’s practice sessions, the German driver had this to say. “It’s going to take a lot of time to get on top of that [the brakes], because it takes a long time to make changes and produce new brakes, like four months or something. But in general today it was a positive day on that front. I’m not sure why, but I felt more comfortable with them, which was nice. We tried something different with them this morning, but that didn’t work. This afternoon was a lot better.”

Mercedes have been working on a new braking solution for Rosberg since China which is believed will be ready either just before or just after the summer break. Whether this will lead to a leap forward in the German driver’s performance, we’ll have to wait and see.


Rosberg “more rounded” than Hamilton

The often outspoken and controversial ex British F1 driver has described Nico Rosberg as a “more rounded and complete package” than his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Speaking to GPUpdate he suggests, “Everybody knows [Hamilton] has brilliant natural speed – all the things you need to be quick. [But] in terms of the two people, I think Nico is more rounded and complete.

He may not – even though he proved otherwise at the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix – be the quickest guy in the world, but he is maximising his strengths extremely efficiently and productively.

Lewis has got to win the next four events [to close the gap to Rosberg in the standings]. But it’s not easy. Rosberg’s performances at the past two Grands Prix have been very, very impressive.”

Watson believes Hamilton lost out on the last round of mind games with his team mate and now finds himself significantly on the back foot. He recommends Lewis forgets trying to get one up one his team mate in the psychological stakes and simply focuses on what he does best – being fast on track.

“Lewis is an emotional, ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ sort of person,” Watson went on to explain. “He didn’t help himself by references to his background and upbringing. He doesn’t need to go down those routes.

He should think and not speak and let his driving do his talking, which he is more than capable of doing.”


OTD lite quiz

25 years ago today, who and what in, did what?



130 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Wednesday 11th June 2014

  1. I would say on Lewis’s luck – Its only apparent when Timo Glock is involved. Won in 2008 thanks to him and …
    Him getting a post race pen in 2006, he won the GP2 title.

    Maybe lewis, has already spent his luck ….

    Im sure there is a something about the sports psychology of ”luck” in sport.

    You can have all the talent in the world, but the head needs to match up with the heart ….

    • The championship is not won at the last race, just the final tally.
      You forget Glock was only ahead because he was taking a gamble on slicks in very heavy rain when almost every other driver stoppped for wets.
      The person who caused Hamilton to drop behind Vettel was Kubica unlapping himself and brake testing Hamilton.
      Massa was in contention because he got gifted a Hamilton win due to an on the spot invented rule.
      How about all the draconian penalties Mclaren were receiving from Mad Max which slowed Hamilton’s championship?

      • “The person who caused Hamilton to drop behind Vettel was Kubica unlapping himself and brake testing Hamilton.”

        Indeed!! I was shocked when I saw Kubica’s move in the race, and the way it endangered Hamilton’s own race in very tricky conditions. Surely Kubica knew that Hamilton had bigger fish to catch that day, and if Kubica were that very quicker he surely could have selected a better place to overtake.

        I was eminently surprised that the move wasn’t much discussed after the race, probably courtesy of Hamilton actually clinching the title.

  2. While I specialised in mechanics rather than statistics when I did maths many years ago, I don’t believe you can compare the chances of a car failure with random events.

    We know that Lewis and Nico have quite different driving styles – Nico ends up using more fuel for example and the radio traffic suggests Lewis runs with the brake bias more rearwards.

    Either style could lead to car problems, either highlighting generic weaknesses or track-specific problems. This latter was certainly the case in Canada – I do wonder if Lewis would have reached the end even if he hadn’t had his MGU-K failure. The brake failure happened too soon after the initial failure to suggest they would have lasted to the end…

    As you do point out, we don’t have enough data to base a good conclusion on but if anything the data we do have suggests it is more likely Lewis will be the one who has the next failure.

    • …indeed…. the odds of Lewis or Nico getting the next failure is not a 50/50 flip of the coin as you say…

      …I felt it was too complex to get involved in such discussions of this nature as the article would become very lengthy – but you summarise the situation very well…

    • I don’t think Lewis always works with a rear biased brakes, but had a better balance in Canada which Rosberg copied.
      The electronics failure which occured on Hamilton’s car first, resulred in the engineers telling Rosberg to move his bias back forward, but I don’t know if Hamilton got that message or on time.
      The funny thing is that the temperatures rose during the pit stop damaging the brakes and not while he was driving.
      The fact he Hamilton also uses less fuel means he probably is spending less time on the brakes.
      I believe the race engineer had an influence on whose brakes got burnt.

      • “The fact he Hamilton also uses less fuel means he probably is spending less time on the brakes.”

        Hamilton is slow in fast out, Rosberg fast in slow out in terms of corner entry/exit so you’d expect the opposite – Lewis on the brakes more!

        The fuel difference between the two has always puzzled me though, as Lewis was renowned for been fuel heavy at McLaren. Now, somehow, he’s always using less fuel than anyone bar the Williams guys. It doesn’t matter if he’s in front or behind Nico, he still uses less fuel, so it’s not a clean/dirty air impact.

        Judge, any ideas on why that might be? More favourable fuel sensor? Different driving styles (although I’d be surprised at that one – given how close other teams drivers are!)? Something else?

        • Wasn’t there a comment that Lewis is better at lifting and coasting on the way in to the corner?

          That would mean he’d be on the throttle less at the end of straights which would save fuel. However, he’d need to brake harder over a shorter distance to compensate.

          The point about difference between other drivers is very valid though and as you say would be interesting to look in to deeper.

          • It may not be a factor at all tracks, but I recall that one driver was told on the radio on Sunday not to lift and coast so much because the MGU-K wasn’t getting a full charge.
            Lift and coast reduces the overall braking effort because the car aero acts as an air brake. Lift and coast doesn’t necessarily mean that you brake any later either – it depends when you lift and the speed / distance to corner throw out the picks.

          • I think this was always a known for Canada – I’m sure it was mentioned on here on the build up to the race.

            I don’t know what the restrictions are on how the MGU-K works but if it was legal I’d have thought that they could set it up to do K recovery during the lift and coast as well as during actual braking.

            Would mean drivers having to adapt but would give a better combined benefit I’d have thought. Only question is how to activate it in a ‘legal’ manner.

        • Are you sure about the slow in fast out comparison Paul?

          Because it’s widely known that Lewis tends to make up a lot of his time on the brakes by braking later and deeper into the corners, hence caring more apex speed. So wouldn’t it be more fast in fast out for Lewis?

          • No. What you describe is fast in, fast out. If he’d be braking late and be early on the throttle he’d be fast in fast out. The speed you cary with you due to late braking even up to the apex still counts as the going in part

          • Surely fast in / fast out doesn’t work?

            Not being a racing driver I don’t know, but as an engineer I’d think the options would be to compromise your entry speed to gain a better exit, to enter the corner quickly but not be able to put the power down as soon so exit is compromised, or achieve a balance between the two. Sort of medium in / medium out.

          • I’m pretty sure Lewis was the one who said it Fortis. Spain this year perhaps?

          • Where’s DQ and Still I surprise when you need them to clarify things for us. Being ex drivers and all.

            I think so Paul. I think AD also did some analysis as well awhile back, think it was last season.

          • There is a balance. You can be a banzai late braker, outbrake everyone and then miss the apex, understeer leading to poor throttle application and acceleration, and basically muck it all up but the stopping part. I always looked at it with my (patent pending) ‘drag race theory of road racing’ – if you can balance the car and be on throttle sooner than the other guy you will always be faster (assuming equal cars and equal corner speed) since v=at. It’s quicker to be in control and accelerate sooner (assuming you’re not an idiot about braking) than to dynamite the brakes and bobble the corner.

          • @ SteveH

            ” … if you can balance the car and be on throttle sooner than the other guy you will always be faster … ”

            That’s what Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart always preached

            It’s not how fast you go into a corner – it’s how fast you come out of it …

          • I would say that at the top top level it is probably fast in, fast out. The differences then come down to how much everyone has mastered trail braking. But in F1 you can also ‘develop’ your style to the best outcome – see the EBD and adapting to more rear end grip by Vettel.

            The rookies generally take about half a year to settle down and get the ‘fast in’ part… of course first is ‘fast out’. The hardest bit being ‘taking your foot off the brakes’ as JYS said.. basically how you gain time getting faster in and still holding a perfect line to apex, still with the optimal exits.

            What interests me is how in wet conditions some drivers like Vergne who struggle sometimes in the dry really come to the fore. Bottas with 3rd at Canada 2013 was also very interesting. Driver experts like Rob Wilson also hint at how Kimi for example is ‘a master of weight transfer’, i.e. the subtleties of each driver’s idiosyncrasies.

        • I don’t think you can say any driver at this level is either slow in / fast out or fast in / slow out. It’s best to use the strategy that fits the corner geometry and what’s coming next on the track.
          As far as I understand it (and fail miserably at implementing) if you have a big straight coming up you want to get the car straight and on WOT ASAP, so slow in, rotate, then fast out is the go.
          If there’s a twisty bit coming then positioning the car is more important so you can maybe brake a bit later (fast in) and harder (slow out) to pick up some time but ensuring that you set yourself up properly for the next corner.
          I thought Hammo being good / late on brakes meant he was better than most at juggling pedal pressure and steering to keep his car stable and pointing where he wants it.

    • I wonder if Lewis had more rear bias because then you’re less likely to lock a wheel when trying to pass. That plus more rear bias introduces more oversteer into corners, something Hamilton is well known for liking, Rosberg less so.

      RE: Failures, what was the eventual failure rate between Webber and Vettel? At one point in 2013 it was reported on one of the F1 tech sites as 44/56, which isn’t anywhere near as large a difference as the media (nor most fans) were trying to suggest. The Schumacher Barrichello rate would be interesting to know as well. I always wondered if Rubens was just harder over kerbs and so on which caused more issues? I’d be willing to bet Vettel has a worse failure ratio to his team-mate than any of the above for the 2014. That plus the fact it’s impossible to win the title in a non Merc car in 2014 means he’s probably far more relaxed about it all. I remember he was at lengths to say things like “enjoys these days because they don’t happen often” after wrapping up wins number 6/7/8 in a row in late 2013, perhaps he knew the ’14 car wasn’t great? I digress…

      I think whilst the Lewis Oz failure is absolutely nothing to do with him (that is just shit luck!), the jury is out on what impact he had upon his Canada retirement, or more specifically who/how the Rosberg side mitigated the issue whilst the Hamilton side did not. With the current info available it’s impossible to lay the blame with solely bad luck, Lewis or the Hamilton side of the garage though.

      The other aspect of the Hamilton failure is where it puts the Mercs in terms of part failure. I’m pretty sure Lewis is now ahead of Nico in terms of parts used, which would lead me to think he’s more likely to get a grid penalty than Nico in the latter part of the season.

    • I liken it more to physicists assuming the world is a perfect sphere when making their calculations. Engineers on the other hand would look for evidence is systemic problems that lead to failure.

      In Lewis’ case as you point out, the failure in Australia had absolutely nothing to do with his driving. In that instance, it’s essentially a random event.

      Canada is more complex, yet I feel the brake failure is more likely due to a cascade effect on the garage side. Basically they got so concerned with managing the MGU that they didn’t notice the brakes until it was too late or at all.

      So, parsing it more narrowly, the chances of an Australia type failure is equally likely for either driver, which means that one shouldn’t assume that it should be Nico’s “turn” because that’s not the way random events work. Which is the main point the writer is trying to make.

      The verdict on a Canada type is still out, as it may be due to a complex interaction between driver and car, and needs further evidence to properly classify.

      • The simple fact is that a tiny handful of failures can’t tell us anything.

        I do stick with the assertion that a failure at a particular race can’t be 50/50 as there are too many variables involved.

        For example, I believe that as Lewis didn’t finish in Canada he can change certain parts without penalty? I’m not sure how that rule works this season. Even if not, his race car did fewer laps so parts are less worn that Nico’s. You could argue that points things in favour of Nico having a failure if one were to happen. Nico also raced for longer with a crippled car which – I would assume – would put more load on the engine as he would have to try and make up for the loss of K.

        It also depends if they manage to work out what happened to the CE – if not then it could fail again in Austria and it would be roll of the dice who had the first failure.

        The point really is that the situations aren’t sufficiently similar to say 50/50. Different driving styles, different distances covered, different age of parts. All that will push the odds in one direction but with the information we have we can’t say which way to any degree of certainty. The choices are either Nico ‘because it’s his turn’ or Lewis ‘because he breaks the car’. Neither would pass the most basic scrutiny…

        • With regards top Canada I am in agreement with you, however with regards to Australia we have clear evidence that it was a manufacturing defect which to me puts it into the random event category.

          “A hairline split in the side of a rubber tube that holds the Mercedes spark plug was the cause of Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from the Formula 1 season opener in Australia, AUTOSPORT has learned.”

          and further down

          “Following inspection of all the identical rubber tubes used by its teams in Melbourne, Hamilton’s was the only one that had failed – although similar faults were discovered in tubes in Mercedes’ Brixworth factory stores.

          To prevent a repeat, Mercedes has refined the manufacturing process of the tubes to get rid of the seams where the fault developed – so they are now injection moulded – and it has thickened up the area where the hole developed.

          Cowell admitted it was just pure misfortune for Hamilton that the failure occurred on his car when it did.”

          From http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/113152 in case you wish to read the entire article

  3. Few points
    1. Great to see more on Mark – cant wait for next years webruary!
    2. There are two many factors involved in F1, or any sport, to use the luck evens out analogy. Agree with TJ here.
    3. Good to see Danilo’s bromance with Seb is still alive and well. Much as he tries to claim impartiality, and present only facts, the TJ community know better. He’s got the same goggly eyes, sweaty palms and nervous stammer when thinking of Seb that TJ gets when reminiscing over Mark. Ah….isn’t young love just too cute!!

    • I have never claimed impartiality, Colin. In fact I’ve never made a secret of where my preference is. What I do claim though is that my wish to see Vettel do well does not automatically compell me to hate other drivers, which is a common phenomenon among fanbois.

  4. On Her Marko’s quotes

    Why on earth would the slow down Ricciardo? He’s the future while Vettel will be gone in 2 years’ time.

    And if I go down the psychologist/conspiracy route, why would you ever slow down one of your drivers? It’s as if admitting, indirectly, that they have considered doing this (or done this) in the past, which would still fuel all the conspiracy theories around the Vettel/Webber relationship.

    Here’s to controversy!

    • It’s difficult to translate the nuance to English. He basically said that they knew Seb would lose the place to Dan when they realised they had called Vettel in too early and brought him out directly behind Perez. What he was trying to say is ‘sorry for Seb, but we couldn’t slow down Dan just because we mucked up his pitstop’.
      Take it as Marko’s answer to Seb’s ‘tough luck’ 😉

  5. Why does the author of today’s “news” feel the need to reply to very comment made?

  6. Judge, can you please do a piece on why you think Ferrari are struggling and what they need to do to turn it around? I don’t know if you’ve done this already, so i may have missed it, but getting your opinion on the matter with some insider knowledge would be good.

    • …Hi Formula… now that would be an interesting project… the latest news item gives one suggestion…. move to England??? 😉

      Seriously, the scope of your question is enormous, and if Mattiacci does the job he has been tasked with – and is capable of doing – we’ll hear more in the coming months…

      However, for a start, they do not have the best people. James Allison is one of the best, but his fingerprint will only become visible in 2015 – and EVEN THEN – I don’t believe he can turn Ferrari around alone.

      • Agree.

        As I was suggesting last year, regularly, Luca being removed will be the start of a rebirth for the team.

        They need to get rid of the hysterical bullshite and knife biting and just accept that they’re not in the game, and won’t be, for a WC until proper long term strategic planning is done. And more importantly, implemented.

        Bernie gave Luca todt on a plate. Todt was the reason for success, not Luca.

        The clown was partially responsible for the break up of the dream team. He pushed out todt, wouldn’t renew Michael and should have ensured that Ross took over from todt – eh, succession planning?

        He’s a massive liability, and has been for quite some time.

  7. 30% of the readers is from America? I’m stunned. I knew there where a couple here, but that many. I thought f1 was dead over the ocean…

    • And some of us Americans who visit daily no longer reside in America. In one case with which I am familiar, he left during the Reagan administration.

      • that is just because the NSA has routed the traffic thru the States – it is easier to spy that way 🙂

    • Yes, ‘Murica is really big. Which means even with hopelessly anemic TV numbers (which may not reflect the true audience BTW) it’s still rather a lot of folks. Who are all desperate for any kind of F1 news, as the subject is mostly invisible in the States.

  8. *** Gene Haas now wants a technical partnership with a current Formula 1 manufacturer to get his new team on the 2016 grid, having decided against plans to use Dallara chassis. ***

    ‘Customer car’ rules will be relaxed from 2015 to allow teams to buy more parts from other outfits – a new opportunity Haas intends to make the most of.

    Rather than the original idea of using racing car constructor Dallara to build his first F1 challenger, Haas wants to buy engines and as much of a car as his team can from another squad.

    “We are trying to nail down a technology partner,” Haas told AUTOSPORT. “We’ve spent a lot of time with Ferrari, and talked a little bit with Mercedes. Engine supplier is only half the equation here, and we’re still working on that.”

    Haas said that the Dallara option would have been pursued if he had chosen to enter F1 next year, but he reckons his own company has the ability to build a car itself for 2016 if it can purchase as many other parts as possible off another outfit.

    “If we were going to race in 2015 we would have had to have done that package,” said Haas about Dallara.

    “We have 50 per cent of what we need to start building our own cars, and the ultimate goal is to do that, and that’s the way we are going to go.

    “But that list of parts we can buy, as it increases, we want to be the team that takes advantage of that rule and try to buy as much as we can. It just costs too much to make all these intricate little detailed parts.”

    Team principal Gunther Steiner added: “We will pick up from our technical partner the suspension and all those parts because appendix 6 [listed parts that teams must make themselves] is changing next year.

    “We will take on making the remaining stuff ourselves, like the chassis.

    “If it had been 2015 then we wouldn’t have had the time to do it, so now with a little more time we can do that ourselves without going to an outside supplier.

    “With the list expanding, that is how we want to act, so therefore the negotiations are a little longer with technical partners because nobody has done that yet.”


    Haas is understood to be in most advanced talks with Ferrari regarding a technical partnership, having spent most of his visit to the Canadian Grand Prix with the Maranello-based team.

    But he says until a deal is agreed then nothing is guaranteed.

    “Until we have a signed contract, it’s open,” he said.

    When asked when he hoped to have sorted a deal, Haas said: “I would hope we could do that in the next few weeks.

    “Even though we are not racing until 2016, a year is going to go by pretty quick. So it’s important to have a relationship with somebody we can get started with. ”


      • If I were Haas – given that he’s not planning on using Dallara or having a European base – I’d forget about Ferrari.

        I can’t see Ferrari producing anything worthwhile even by 2016.

        I’d be talking with Mercedes.

        They have the best power unit and their suspension looks one of the best.

        Plus I’m sure Merc would love to raise their profile even further in one of their most important markets.

        • He said he is also talking to MB. NBC Sports had a little interview with him last weekend.

        • Yes, with you there, the dance with Ferrari makes no sense when you look at the PU. Honda would work, and I’m sure there’s some familiarity there but I don’t know the nature of their deal with McLaren.

        • Ferrari are going to supply ‘Forza Rossa’ or what ever their called as one of the backers is the sole importer of Ferrari to Romania, so I would say that’s a done deal and it would over-subscribe Ferrari with regard the number of teams they can supply engines to if they supplied Hass too.

          • @ CV

            that was my impression too – re Forza Rossa

            and Mercedes will have a ” spare ” allocation of engines not Woking bound …..

          • @Manky
            I was thinking the same thing, I can’t see Hass and Honda being likely bedfellows as no-one has a clue how Honda will go and even though Hass isn’t going to be on the grid till ’16 he needs an engine partner soon to start designing his chassis and working on power-train integration.

    • And le mans also show it on their own site.
      I saw a picture today, audi will be having head beams made out of lasers. Where as they had some 420m of light in front of them last year (led) they now have a whopping 836m of light in front!

      • You’re probably more tech savy than I’m, so help me out….

        I was looking at a video lastnight at the specs for all 3 cars (Audi, Porsche and Toyota) and the Audi was down on the other 2 cars in engine spec and hp, ERS output, can only store 2mj and has a smaller fuel tank. Is this a result of them running diesel compared to petrol with the other 2 manufacturers.

        • It’s a choice Audi made.

          They’ve increased the engine capacity to 4.0 litres for more torque and power over last years 3.7 litre engine.

          And they went for the lowest 2 Mj – as it means the lowest weight possible.

          Here’s an interview with Leena Gade – Audi’s chief race engineer


          They are going for good old fashioned bhp over electricity ……

          Oh BTW – don’t believe the horsepower figures – remember it’s the Great Baretzky that designed this engine.

          • Thanks for the link…

            “This year Porsche has formula 1 refugee Mark Webber”….lol…is that what Mark has become, a refugee?…lol

        • and –

          ” …. the Audi was down on the other 2 cars in engine spec … ”

          I have no idea what that means ?

          was that something in the video ?

          could you post a link ?

          Audi’s engine is the most sophisticated design wise of all the LMP 1 cars.

          The other two are pretty bog standard turbos.

          • Last year this was true. Audis diesel had less electrical power than toyotas running the real feul engine. Due to regulations. To make the gap there is in torque smaller.

          • It’s on the Eurosport website. I’m using my phone, so I’m unable to copy and paste the link. Sorry.

        • Yes it is. Le mans regulation to make the difference between diesel and petrol smaller. To make the race more exciting for us. Last year it was so that toyota had more hp in their electrical motor than audi. When they came in the pit for example toyota only drove on their electrical motors. But then again audi had four wheel drive electrical. Toyota only rear. So they struggled as the extra power made the rear twitchy.

          • Interesting that Toyota haven’t gone to four wheel drive like Porsche & Audi.

            It usually rains @ Le Mans – so will that disadvantage them ?

          • Maybe this year they have. I dont know actually. Seeing the problems they had last year it would have been the better choice

          • @manky lighter weight and tyre wear maybe? I know that on regular AWD you have to change all 4 at the same time. Maybe Toyota think they can save time by only changing a deuce at some stops.

          • @ Matt

            listening to free practice – Toyota are talking about doing a full lap at the end of a stint on KERS only power.

            That would save them a lot more time than only changing 2 tyres.

            Plus most of the tyres can triple or even quadruple stint – it’s the fuel consumption that dictates the number of pit stops.

            If you’ve seen the film Truth in 24 II – Every Second Counts

            it showed how Audi beat Peugeot by doing less stops.

          • @manky- that’s interesting regarding doing a full kers lap. I was just trying to come up with plausible reasons for sticking with the RWD rather than AWD and those were the ones that came to mind.

            And from watching Daytona events earlier in the year aren’t the pit stop rules rather different with regards to personnel and refuelling etc? I would say correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure you will anyway, LOL!

            It may not be much, but still it’s got to be faster to change 2 tyres than 4.

          • @ Matt

            the pit stop rules which have been around for years now are

            pit crew of 5 people

            you have to re-fuel first before doing anything

            you can have someone clean the windscreen and / or can help the driver – drinks bottles / seat belts etc. – but nothing else

            you are only allowed 2 people touching the car at any one time – but you have 4 people available for changing tyres

            so unlike F1 – tyres are essentially changed one at a time – but choreographed so to minimise the time taken

            so the difference between 2 tyres and 4 – somewhere around 5 – 10 seconds.

            Being able to go an extra lap further than your opponents is of far greater benefit.

          • @manky- not trying to argue that less pit stops = more benefit than only having to change 2 tyres.

            But looking quickly on teh google i see that the 2012 winner made 33 pit stops. If only changing 2 tyres every other stop nets you 10 seconds you’ve just saved yourself 160 seconds, which is getting close to a full lap. Even if its every 3rd stop its 100 seconds and getting close to half a lap. Not bad, assuming you can program your ERS to give you similar traction to the AWD cars. Also would think RWD would be simpler and less prone to breaking, but that might not be true anymore.

            Can’t wait for Quali 🙂

          • @ Matt

            re stops vs tyres – I’m only going with what everyone interviewed in the teams say.

            Only way to find out if you’re right is to see what happens during the race.

            IMO – no one will change only 2 tyres.

            But if they don’t – based on your calculations – maybe you should write to Audi / Porsche / Toyota / Nissan – and ask for a job as a strategist ?

            And re ERS – the Toyota RWD set up is vastly more complicated than the 4 wheel drive set up of Audi or Porsche.

            Just look at the mechanical and electronic complexity of the F1 power units in combining an engine with the MGU-K motor and driveshafts / gears etc.

            That’s like what Toyota have – like a Prius on steroids ….

            With 4WD – the motors / drives are completely separate. All you need is good electronics / software to integrate them. There is no mechanical parts needed.

            It’s not like a road cars 4WD system – where you are mechanically splitting the power with diffs & driveshafts etc.

          • @ Matt

            I forgot to reply to your comment about lighter weight and tyre wear.

            Audi are probably going to be the lightest car in LMP 1

            So I don’t think your analogy with Toyota and only changing 2 tyres holds any water – sorry mate 🙁

            Audi are likely to be easiest on tyres – Toyota might eat them up …

          • No problem, I know you pay serious attention to WEC which is why I ask. And most likely you’re right re tyres, unless they have got their software act totally together. So the question still is, what is the advantage for Toyota with the RWD? Those were my best guesses, but maybe you’ve got some other ideas.

          • Ok it seems toyota isn’t rwd anymore since this year… The team has just revealed the first official details about its 2014 TS040 LMP1 car, and it has a big surprise – all-wheel drive.

            The TS040 will follow Audi’s lead and will use a combination motor and generator to power the front wheels. The system will generate power under braking and will use it up when accelerating to give a boost in traction over last year’s rear-wheel-drive Toyota TS030. Toyota will stick with a gasoline-fueled, naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 to feed the rear wheels and will take on Audi’s diesel, turbocharged 3.7-liter V6 and Porsche’s gasoline-fueled, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

          • And Nissan just confirmed that they’ll be competing in lmp1 next season.

          • TBH Matt

            I have no idea why Toyota have stuck with RWD ?

            I’ve never seen it explained properly – other than as I said – it’s basically the same design as their hybrid road cars like Prius’s.

            Porsche came in with a clean sheet of paper and decided in favour of 4WD – they must have reasons not to go rear wheel only – as I alluded to – such as complexity, better drivability, etc.

            Maybe they ( Toyota ) are just wedded to a design philosophy and unwilling to change ?

            Not unlike a couple of very big F1 teams we know …. eh ?

          • @ bruznic

            What’s more important is they are claiming that they –

            NISSAN WILL WIN NEXT YEAR 2015

            Aha ha ha ha ……..

          • @ bruznic

            cheers for the info on the TS040 – I hadn’t seen that.

            BTW – Audi is 4.0 litre not 3.7

      • for some reason – the picture quality isn’t as high on le mans own site as the dailymotion feed ?

        are you finding the same problem mate ?

  9. I know it’s a futile exercise, but based on past performances and track characteristics, could we second-guess the more likely winners for the next 12 grands prix between Lewis and Nico?

    For example, China, Spain and Monaco were deemed to be good for Nico but he won only 1 of these. Similarly for Lewis in Canada, he lost out on a win.
    Silverstone and Hundary should suit Lewis, India and Abu Dhabi Nico, what about the rest?

    • I’d have Abu Dhabi as a Hamilton track all day long. I think he drives very very well at that track. Nico normally goes very well at Singapore.

      • I’d put Singapore down as a Lewis track as well. He has a pretty good record there as well, similar to Canada, whereby if he doesn’t win or finish the race, he tends to suffer some kind of retirement.

        • Let’s flip a coin 10 times and use the probability formula.

          Probability of an Event = Number of Favorable Outcomes/Total Number of Possible Outcomes

          Don’t ask me to work it out, I slept through most of Statistics lecture and seminar classes 😄

          • Okay. Favorable outcome = heads. Flipped 10 times, heads came up twice therefore probability of heads = .20 or 20% according to your comment.

            But the probability of heads is actually .50 or 50%; during each flip of a fair coin the outcome can only be heads or tails with equal chance. In actuality the chances of 2 heads in 10 flips (or 8 tails in 10 flips) is approximately .0039 or about .4%. I’m failing you in this math course. You should have stayed awake.

          • Yeah, well the point of The Judge’s article is that the probability for a single even does not affect the probability of the event occurring in the future. Flipping a coin and getting heads doesn’t increase the chance that the next flip will be tails. Your ‘probability formula’ only approaches reality, at least in the simple case of coin toss, with a large number of tries. For example, if we only did one coin toss and it came up heads your ‘formula’ states the the probability of heads is 100%, which is not true. A mind experiment I use to good effect is to look at a situation from both the zero and infinite views, effectively taking a derivative or an integral of the problem; this can help determine the applicability of analysis. In the case of a single coin toss the result is obviously stupid, but with a very large number of tosses the result will asymptotically approach the correct 50% probability.

            I didn’t say you failed YOUR statistics class, I said you failed THIS statistics class.

          • Seriously, there was no need for that long drawn out explanation, because my comment was just sarcasm, hence the emoticon at the end of the post. I wasn’t suggesting that we literally use the formula so as to derive who would have a DNF.

          • Seriously, I thought your were demonstrating your understanding of probability. Just trying to help; sarcasm can be hard to detect. Thank god for the emoticon, which, by the way, doesn’t show up here, probably because of ad blockers. I have been wondering what all the little graphic things were on your comments. But really, if you have to explain sarcasm…….

          • And while we’re on the subject, Fortis, I was actually giving you a good way to look at problems, at the micro and macro scale, to get a feeling for a solution. But, I know, you are young and know it all. Even more, emoticons are pretty stupid IMHO; if your words can’t convey your feelings and meanings then WTF.

          • Here we go again!!

            Good god man!!! What’s with you and the long speeches???

    • Agreed…

      Watson tend to only talk whenever Lewis has a bad race. He was on the F1 show a few weeks ago, but made no reference as to who he thinks is more “rounded”, it just so happens, that that was around the time Lewis went on his winning streak.

      He highlighted the last 2 round of races and how “very very impressive” Nico was. Now that’s only 2 races, what about the 4 he got trounced at? Did he only become more rounded at Monaco and Canada?

      Watson is a relic and maybe should take his own advice.

    • Certain ex-drivers are just not worth listening to. Watson never liked Lewis, Coulthard (due to his role in RBR) will always be pro-Vettel, and don’t get me started on Herbert.

      I have to admit though, as long as Vettel or RBR are not thrown into the discussion, Coulthard is OK.

      • I’ve always found Herbert pretty pro Brit. It doesn’t matter if it’s Lewis or Jenson (or PDIR in 2013) the sun shines out of all their bottoms for Johnny. Same for a few journalists, I’ve always put that down to them not wanting to say anything too negative and thus not be able to get interviews.

        E.g. Eric Bouiller stopped speaking with Ted Kravtiz at one point because Ted said something about Lotus/Eric not doing a good job. iirc.

        That’s why you’ve got to be careful with the likes of Benson on the BBC (urgh), Eason in the Times and James Allen. They have a vested interested, i.e. their career, so can’t be quite as cutting.

        Never rated Watsons comments. I think Rosberg is a wiser, smarter and a good bit less arrogant character than Lewis, but Lewis is faster in terms of raw pace for me. That’s what makes the battle interesting.

  10. OTD Lite: Sauber C9 with Mercedes power. 1989 Le Mans. Can’t seem to nail down the driver who clocked nigh on 400km/h on the Mulsanne Straight during qualifying – Jean-Louis Schlesser???
    Rather than make brown corduroy overalls the standard issue driver apparel they put in a chicane to slow the cars down at bit.

    • Yup the magic 400km/h is what I think it’s in reference to. I’ve no idea who was dri… the pilot at that point either!

    • That’s like …. 248 mph. And I though CART at Fontana was fast in the day. Holy Toledo! How fast are they now with a chicane?

  11. On all this rounded/complete driver debate.

    Let’s look at some examples.

    Gilles – Pure talent
    Lauda – ‘Rounded’ driver
    Ayrton – Pure talent
    Prost – ‘Rounded’ driver
    Montoya – Pure talent
    Alonso – ‘Rounded’ driver
    Vettel – ‘Rounded’ driver
    Hamilton – Pure talent
    Rosberg – ‘Rounded’ talent

    You see the picture there through all these rounded loops? If you reach the top in F1, either your pure talent in speed will drag you there, or becoming a more ’rounded’ driver.

    The difference is this. Stats, wins and titles tell only half the story. I thoroughly respect all these ’rounded’ and ‘complete’ drivers, but they don’t excite me as much as the others. If I want to watch a full season of long-drawn strategic battles and politics I prefer to dig up some old tapes of Kasparov v Karpov or Fischer v Spassky! It;s those ‘idiots’ with the pure talent that either win or crash out that draw the fans to this sport. Of course it would be a disaster if you only had a race full of Hamiltons, so you need both. I guess that all I’m trying to say is this. Rosberg being more ’rounded’ or ‘complete’, doesn’t make him the better driver for me.

    • I’ve got to say I disagree slightly on Senna, he was actually very good with technical knowledge/feedback, so much so that I’d say he blurred the line between raw talent and rounded talent IMO.

      What about Schumacher, Hakkinen and Mansell btw?

      • Very true on Senna, but people usually focus on the traits that made them stand out. Lewis is also depicted a bit ‘stupid’ at times, but I think he’s quite decent on feedback and technical knowledge too.

        The one that really blurs the lines for me is Schumacher. Great talent and as his career moved on he started becoming more and more rounded. Mansell was just a racer, as for Hakkinen, no idea. Don’t think he was uber fast, more like the kind of driver that if the car suits him, he’s unbeatable.

  12. I think Haas should base his F1 project here in California. There are plenty of laid off aerodynamicists and engineers from Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and General-Dynamics out here and doing an F1 car should not be that much of a stretch for them. There are more than a few wind tunnels not being fully utilized as well. Design and build the cars in California and have them prepped by a base in the UK. This way the UK people can give their expertise on the car. It could work!

    • Haas has already built a new building for F1 on the site of his current race operations. Charlotte has a fairly massive motorsports alley, but I bet given property taxes (and costs) it wouldn’t be too difficult to lure the odd aerodynamicist from Cali.

      You’re right in that it would make a lot of sense for them to have some kind of base in the UK as otherwise everything becomes a flyaway except Montreal and Austin.

  13. Judge,

    I would enjoy a piece on your thoughts on the subtleties and artistic side of why designing an F1 car isn’t like following a blueprint for a house, and how a small group of people are able to be the best at something that seems to be mathematical in nature. We are all bound by the same rules of physics, but the beauty of F1 is how someone is able to figure it out better. You would think 1+1=2 right? I suspect this is the reason why the talent in England is considered the best. They know the grey areas better.

  14. Maybe Rosberg is chubbier than Hamilton, in comparative terms, but more rounded? I guess that means he posesses the usual quiet effectiveness of those naturally more limited

    • Sauber Mercedes C9 at Le Mans – possibly with the winning car following the 2nd place car

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